First Comes Love, Then Comes Marriage…

Several months ago I received a funny little message on my facebook wall.  It went a little something like this…

“In your opinion, do people that have three-month old babies like to bake wedding cakes?”

My gut told me to reply with any of the following answers:

“Are you kidding?”

“Not this gal with a three-month old!”

“Absolutely not.”

But my heart made my fingers type,

“This gal with a three-month old would love to.”

The one who asked me that silly little question was my sweet friend Jessie.  We have been friends for the past four years, and have been through lots and lots and lots together.  As much as I knew it was going to be difficult to juggle baking 250 cupcakes for a wedding while taking care of a baby, I’m so very glad I said yes.

This past weekend we celebrated Miss Jessie Carpenter and Mr. Alan Dale as they became Mr. & Mrs. Dale. ♥  It was beautiful and sweet and I’m so thankful I got to be a part of it.

The Johnson Estate at the Metolius Headwaters

Best friends, Clara and Ivy!

Miss Ivy enjoys the wedding!

Mocha cupcakes and Champagne cupcakes

The girls eyes are glued to that bouquet!

Some of the girls I love most!

What a fun evening filled with friends, laughter, good food, great wine, beautiful weather, gorgeous scenery, and lots of love. ♥ Congratulations Alan & Jessie!

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Nothing says love like a monogrammed sugar cookie

After an entire summer of very little baking being done, a wedding featuring 500 individual desserts was probably not the most seamless way to ease back into it.  However, my dear husband was extremely patient with me, and I am ever so grateful that with each crisis averted, he only got better at hiding his amazement of my clumsiness.  This past weekend I spent two days baking sweet treats for Travis & Jenine’s special day.  This couple has a quirky and fun obsession with Scrabble, and incorporated the delightful game into little bits of their big day.

Heavenly chocolate cheesecake bites, topped with ganache…

Red velvet deliciousness with cream cheese frosting…

Whimsical pumpkin whoopie pies filled with  marshmallow cream…

Adorable sugar cookies made to look like scrabble pieces (“L” for their last name)!

36 hours, 3 full dishwasher loads, 500 pieces of dessert, and 1 flat out fall off of the curb outside of my house later…and I delivered these treats to the wedding site with time to spare.  Nothing says love quite like a monogrammed sugar cookie. ♥  Congratulations Travis and Jenine!

Sparkles!

I have an obsession with glitter.  Anything that sparkles, really.  It just makes me feel ready for something big!  Even my sister has taught my clever nephew that when asked, “What does Nie Nie say?”, that the correct answer is “Sparkles!”

Like these, for instance…

Sparkly shoes are one thing, but add to that, the fact that they are TOMS, and that’s a whole new level of awesome!  I very badly want to sport these lovely kicks.

And this stunningly feminine dress…swoon!

Seriously so gorgeous!

And this fabulous satin head wrap!

Point made.

So you can imagine my excitement when I was asked to create a small wedding cake for the winter themed wedding of a young giddy couple in love.  I knew that given the opportunity I could go way overboard, so I tried my best to not be completely ridiculous.  And this was the result…

I found that lovely sparkly snowflake topper at Target during Christmas this year, and was instantly in love with it.  So elegant and beautiful!  What a pleasure to have been a part of such a stunning event!  Thanks to newlyweds, Clif & Michelle, and their unbelievably talented wedding designer, Angie!

Cake specifics:

2 stacks (one 8″, one 6″), 3 layers in each stack

White cake

Raspberry filling

Classic Buttercream frosting

Formative Friendships

This past weekend I had the joyous privilege of doing the wedding cake for one of Aaron’s high school friends.  Not knowing anyone at the wedding I had a lot of time to sit back and watch and reflect upon high school friendships.  Those friendships that are originally developed solely based on the idea that our options are limited at that age, but then grown out of a sincere enjoyment of that person.  And while many times life leads us out of our home towns for college and beyond, those friendships remain some of the most important ones that a person makes…because they are formative.   They are the kind of friendships that help in molding us during impressionable years.  And there are a few that I am so thankful for.

The first for me is my dear friend Ceri.  I shared my most typical and memorable high school moments with her.  We met as first year cheerleaders our sophomore year of high school, and for the next 3 years were a part of every aspect of each others lives.  We spent hours upon hours with each other, dated several guys with each others “expert” advice on the subject, got ready for numerous dances together,  traveled to countless football and basketball games for cheerleading with each other, supported each others efforts in being mad at somebody for dating the others ex-boyfriend…the important stuff in high school!  And as silly as that all sounds to me now, if I hadn’t had that, I would have felt alone.  It was essential to me during those years, and my enjoyment of high school would not have been the same without her.  Still to this day, I think of her often and the impact she made in my life.  She was a fundamental part of me learning how to believe in myself and become somebody other than a shy girl, and for that, I am forever grateful.

Second is my life-long friend, Robyn.  She and I met in church when we were in junior high.  Those dreaded junior high years that I so desperately wish I could forget, but unfortunately are seared in my memory forever.  Robyn became my best friend quickly.  So many of my memories with her involve church camps, youth group, and countless Sundays mornings.  Robyn and I could talk to each other about anything…and we did.  My last year of high school we spent nearly every day with each other and were devastated when I left the following fall for college.  I think we really did feel like life was over!  But I think what I love best about my friendship with Robyn is that it has without fail stood the test of time.  We have had several ups and a few downs, but still to this day remain good friends.  I thank Jesus for her often and wonder how my high school years would have been without her.  My guess is that they would have felt empty without the rich friendship I had with her.

Once high school was over I began a new season of friendships in college.  And then when I moved to Oregon to be with Aaron I started over once again.  I think one of the hardest things about moving to your spouses home town is learning how to fit into their life.  It’s hard.  Really, really hard.  Their memories are their own, and somehow you are supposed to find your place in those.  It was not my favorite part of that transition in my life, but there were a few people that made it so much easier for me.

Selah.  I don’t even know where to begin with her.  She was one of the only girls in Aaron’s high school group of friends that not only treated me kindly, but made an effort to know me and love me.  I consider her such a good friend and am so pleased to have made it through almost 10 years in Bend with her as my friend.

And then there is Bart.  He is one of Aaron’s best friends and made me feel like he had known me forever since the first day I met him.  He took a genuine interest in me and my life apart from Aaron and continues to do so.  I’m so thankful that he has never made me feel like I don’t belong.

While I watched Amber enjoy her most special day this past weekend I thought about how significant it is for me that she asked ME to make her wedding cake.  She doesn’t even live in Bend!  She lives in Washington and could have had anybody take that job.  Still, she asked me.   Here is what I made her:

Almost 12 years after she and Aaron went to school together, and she thought of us.  Formative friendships.

A friend is someone who understands your past, believes in your future, and accepts you just the way you are.

What I love most about this quote is that it doesn’t apply to high school friends at the time you make them, but often times grows into this the longer they last.  In high school you typically haven’t lived long enough to have a “past”, and you’re too self-centered to believe in anyone’s future but your own.  And often, in high school, people are not accepted just the way they are.  But this quote takes on new meaning each year that passes and you move farther away from high school.  Because some of those same friends you made in high school begin to exemplify these very attributes.  While I only spoke of a few select formative friendships that I made, there are several that helped to make my formative years the best.  To Ceri, Robyn, Laura, Sarah, Carolee, Selah, Chris, Ryan, and Bart…here’s to friendships that endure!

The surprises

Well, that’s the thing about life, is the surprises, the little things that sneak up on you and grab hold of you.

It’s wedding season.  And I really just have so many mixed feelings about the part I play during the wedding season.  I get nervous to work with brides.  I worry about not doing a good job.  I start wondering if I’m capable of some of the intricate design that you find in wedding cakes.  But on the other hand, I love the creative aspect of giving life to an idea that a bride might have.  I love the challenge of trying something new.  And most of all, I love the end result.  I love delivering a cake or cupcakes to a wedding reception site and seeing how much love, time, work, and thought has gone into what should be one of the happiest days of a person’s life.

I think the best thing I remember about my wedding day almost 8 years ago was the moment right before I walked out and realized just how blessed I was.  When I left my hometown of Sterling, Colorado in August of 1999, I walked into a new life, new friendships, new relationships, and I was surprised…by the best man I know…and love snuck up on me and grabbed hold of me.  And on September 7, 2002, I said “I do” to that wonderful surprise.

It’s impossible to not think about that every single time I get myself involved in someone’s special day by making their cake.  All of the anxiety that may come with it ends up being so worth it to see two people so incredibly happy and about to embark on the most wonderful surprise.  This weekend I made my first wedding cake of 2010 and was so thrilled with how it turned out!  The bride was amazing to work with, had exquisite taste, and allowed me to be creative!

She picked a small 6″ cake to have them cut into, and then ordered these adorable cupcakes!  It was a black and white wedding with a vintage theme robed in gorgeous lace, candles, and crystal chandeliers.  It’s so fun to create and design a cake and/or cupcakes for a wedding as breathtaking as this one was!

We as humans need love.  It makes us tick.  It teaches us appreciation.  It brings delight and devotion. Love gives us reason to admire and cherish.   And while there are so many ways to give love and be loved, marriage is one of my favorite expressions of such a powerful emotion!