DIY – Magnolia Cupcakes

What does a Californa girl do when she can’t get to New York’s Magnolia Bakery?  Find out how to make it herself. 

I tried my baking hands at it for the first time today.. Let me just say icing cupcakes is an skillful art that I don’t have!  But luckly I can practice in the comfort of my own home! =)  

from Barnes & Noble online

vanilla cupcake with vanilla buttercream frosting

made about 2 dozen of these lovely pink ones

Happy Friday!

Cookbook: Barnes and Noble

Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf Love Note for the Troops


CBTL's Love Note to the Troops

My good friend, Mike, and I use to play tennis on the weekends and then after our “workout” we’d go to Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf (CBTL) to negate the calories we burned… and then we’d do it all over again the next weekend.  But he is now on a tour in Afganistan (since Feb) and I miss him picking me up from his house 200 yards away and going to tennis and coffee. 

So, I stopped by our local CBTL this weekend to buy a bunch of coffee beans (grinded and whole) to send over there.  When I told the staff at CB why I was buying so much, they gave me a military discount and threw in a little “love note” and some gift cards.. (how they’re suppose to use the gift cards in Afgan, I’m not sure…. but, maybe Mike wouldn’t mind giving it to his BFF!!!)  

Gotta love CBTL *Carlsbad* ! 

(Hopefully when Mike reads this, he’ll get a kick out of the term “love note”, being a leatherneck marine!) =)~

Sugar Bakeshop (Charleston, SC)

I’m in Charleston, South Carolina this week! I looked up what there is to eat around here.. and stumbled upon the Sugar Bakeshop! Always have room for new dessert shops!  

They are located in Charleston’s hip new bridal district! I’ll make my way there tomorrow with my handy dandy mobile google maps! What should I eat ?!  (ps. they even have .50 cent Ginger Molasses treats for doggies!) 

Located @:   591/2 Cannon Street, Charleston, SC 29403
Phone:  843.579.2891
Hours:  M – F 11am – 6pm, Sat 12-5pm, Closed Sunday

Be inspired by Yellows + Greys

If you know my just a little.. you already know that my fav color palette is… Yellow + Grey!
I’m all about excitment this week!  Dawn Smith, of “Not Just a Mommy” put together this great inspiration board using a collage of photos; one of which is from my very own wedding (dessert bar, from the wonderful Melody Brandon of Sweet & Saucy)!  Thanks Dawn! 

Yellow+Grey inspiration board by "Not Just a Mommy"

Great collage Dawn!  Lolliblog’s beautiful shower features great DIY tips; grey sitting room; my favorite, these paper camera escort cards doubled as favors; this beautiful grey table has simple yet elegant flower accents; had to sneak in a dessert table; pretty sunburst invitations; cocktail stirrers; a perfect shower features cute pachyderms and yellow.

Fashionably Chic Minimalistic Wedding

 This past weekend, I coordinated my fashionably stylish cousin’s wedding in Palo Alto, CA.  I love weddings.. simply because each bride’s (and groom’s) style shines through to create an all unique event – every time!  The whirlwind of events started on Friday (day before wedding) when flowers were to arrive from San Diego and when the Bride (Minh-ha) and I headed to the flower mart in San Francisco for some last minute greens. 

Wedding Part I:  Vietnamese Ceremony

Saturday morning started off with a traditional Vietnamese ceremony where the Groom (Brian) and his family arrived at the Bride’s house for the marriage ceremony; essentially this process can be interpreted as “Picking up the Bride” to be brought back to his home.  The ceremony was a shortened version from the ultra traditional tea ceremony. 

Minh-ha and Brian wore tradtional “ao dai” attire.  Her ao dai and crown was especially unique since it was her mother’s from 38 years ago when she married in Vietnam.  Minh-ha’s late grandparents were recognized and included (in spirit)in the blessing of the marriage.

Gifts from Brian and his family were presented to Minh-ha & family, to include:  Tea, Dried Fruits, Alchohol, and Fresh fruit.  Both sides of the families were introduced and gifts from the Moms were presented to the Bride.   Here is a photo from the ceremony:

Vietnamese marriage ceremony with the bride and groom in traditional vietnamese aio dai.
Vietnamese marriage ceremony with the bride and groom in traditional vietnamese ao dai.

Wedding Part II:  Vow Exchange (Redux)

The wedding continued later in the day with a vow exchange ceremony with all guests as witnesses.  There was no officiant and the bride did not wear a white dress. Several family members and close friends were invited to provide poem readings, and then the Bride and Groom exchanged vows written for eachother.  The celebration of unity symbol was through the placement of a lasso around both of them and the lighting of their unity candle.   Then the party began! 


Boutinniers made from seeded eucalyptus and yellow billy ball, wrapped in white silk ribbon and twine for a rustic look.
Boutonnieres:  seeded eucalyptus and small billy ball, wrapped in white silk ribbon and twine for a rustic look.
Minimalistic approach to center pieces is a good way to keep costs down!  The Bride loves Cattaleya Orchids. Centerpiece:  3 Cattaleyas in multifaceted vase with white silk ribbon.

Centerpiece: 3 Cattaleyas wrapped with white silk ribbon in multifaceted vase. NOTE: This is an ultra minimalistic approach to center pieces and a great way to keep costs down!

Me & J with the fashionable bride & groom
Me & J with the ever-so fashionable bride & groom. Groom sported a BR suit and Bride chose a 3.1 Philip Lim double pleated gold cocktail dress.  I personally loved it.
Placecards were designed by the Groom. It included a variety of photographs taken by him as a professional photographer/graphic designer.
Placecards: designed by Brian. It included a variety of photographs taken by him as a professional photographer/graphic designer.
Cupcake as dessert

Cupcake as dessert - provided by Brian's sister-inlaw. MmmM Good!!

Mini cupcakes
Mini cupcakes

The entire wedding went smoothly and everyone had a fun time!  Luckly I had a fashionably chic, minimalist bride & groom to work with!   Thanks Minh-ha & Brian!  Congratulations!

For those interested in reading, you can find my clotheshorse cousin’s blog at:

Tasting Desserts, Cupcakes, and Cakes

IMG_1453_smSeveral months ago, I was looking for a cake vendor for my wedding; cupcakes in particular. (My reception location charges a cake cutting fee of $3/person; or per slice). Cupcakes = no cutting fee!! After surfing the web for a decent vendor in SD to no avail, I stumbled onto Melody Brandon’s Sweet & Saucy Shop (of Long Beach, CA) and contacted her for a tasting. Exactly what I was looking for! I was a little hesitant because she was not local, but spending more time surfing to no avail and settling for something less desired was not worth it for me. I believe in always working with people you can trust and that understand a client’s vision to the “t”. I loved Melody the second I met her! AND her deserts taste good!

Some may think the desserts are a bit pricey, but I would say this: The difference in cost MORE THAN COMPENSATES for the assurance of dependability, quality, reliability, workmanship, and professionalism she provides! Preview of my dessert bar, with a little less black, more grey, and cupcakes.. and no swirly backdrop; too elaborate for me. =) Can’t wait!