Love Like Cake

For our rehearsal dinner, I wanted to surprise Joshua with a grooms cake. I called up my friend Sandy, who I worked with on a big bakery design project up in New York at my previous job. She’s super talented, and I knew she’d be able to come up with any theme I asked for.

After lots and lots of brainstorming (patriotic themed cake? Marine Corps themed cake? running themed cake?), I decided to ask Sandy if she could do a tattoo inspired cake, since Joshua has (and loves) tattoos. I figured it wouldn’t be too over-the-top with our already military-themed wedding, but would be unique to Joshua and something he enjoys.

WELL. Sandy is just brilliant, because after sending her some examples I liked and directing her to my blog, which currently has the tattoo theme… she took the idea and ran with it, even asking me to send photos of Joshua’s tattoos and company info so she could incorporate it into the cake design!

You guys, I seriously cried when she delivered the cake to us. Not even kidding. It was so special, so personal, and so beautiful that I just couldn’t help it. The swallows, the roses, Joshua’s old & new unit info, the big sparkly silver dog tag, the little red heart good luck charm… it came out absolutely amazing. She included both of us in the cake design, and it was so much more than I expected.

Not to mention delicious! Joshua isn’t a fan of chocolate, so when I listed off a few of his favorite flavors (cheesecake, key lime, vanilla, etc.) to my delight, Sandy made a key lime flavored cake with cream cheese flavored frosting. It was outta this world delicious!

The grooms cake was a special part of our rehearsal dinner, and I’m so happy so many photos were taken of it. Thanks to Val for the bottom left photo and Megan for the first and last photos. Even bigger thanks to Sandy for such a lovely cake, if you ever read this! Everyone at the dinner loved it just as much as we did. :-)

4th of July & Post-Wedding Rush

How was everyone’s 4th of July weekend? Joshua & I had a splendid time, because for the first time in 3 1/2 years of being together, we did not have to TRAVEL in the holiday weekend traffic! I know traffic is bad for many holidays throughout the year, but in my opinion— 4th of July traffic is the worst of it all. So we were very happy to stay local in Virginia and have fun with friends!

I was feeling a bit under the weather both Friday and Saturday of last week— I think it was from all the company we’ve had and the post-wedding rush. Let me fill you in on the events we’ve had since our wedding.
Our wedding was the weekend of June 18th. Well, we came back to Virginia late Monday evening, had two days to ourselves (with Joshua back at work), then our friends Felice and Christian came to visit from Thursday to Friday evening. During that time, it was work-work-work as I made the wedding invitations for their August wedding! We then had two more days to ourselves to run errands, get my car fixed (broken AC, no fun at all!), etc. Then Monday evening I had a few of my new Quantico girlfriends over for Bachelorette night (we’re a little obsessed), then on Tuesday my maid-of-honor Sue visited from Boston. She stayed until Friday and cooked for us (yum!), we visited friends in DC, went to the movies, and had a grand ol’ time. Our friend Ashley came to stay the last night Sue was here, which was also the day I hosted my first ever Scentsy party with all the local girls. I don’t sell Scentsy— I just buy it. :-) I’m receiving over $100 worth of product for only $34, just for having a party! Lovely.
So that led to me being “under the weather” for the first two days of the holiday weekend. But it wasn’t long before I was up and at ‘em with Joshua and our friends Erika & John for a day of fun at Kings Dominion! Military got in free, and spouses got discounted tickets. Thank you, Kings Dominion! We rode all the roller coasters, went to the water park, and nearly made it home in time to miss the gigantic lightning storm that took over Virginia that evening. :-)
For the actual 4th of July, we had a barbecue at our friends Alison & Ben’s house. There were a lot of people, and Alison asked us to bring a dessert. I was so excited to use the new trifle bowl we got for our bridal shower! I’ve wanted this trifle bowl ever since I saw it, even though I had no idea what to use it for or make in it.

Thanks to the Google Gods, I found this recipe: Patriotic Trifle, and I made it and brought it over for the holiday. Of course, my camera died AT the party, so Erika took the above photo for me with her phone. Luckily for Joshua and I, there were leftover ingredients at my house. So on Tuesday, I made four mini trifles in the mini trifle bowls we also got for our shower! (I asked for a total of 8 of these, and I received them… I daydreamed about serving cute little trifles for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners with our family and house guests. Lol.)

It was perfect, because we had company for dinner on Tuesday night, and there was just enough.

I’m also obsessed with patriotic recipes. Love love love. Last year for Memorial Day, I made patriotic cupcakes. Nom nom nom. :-) Any patriotic recipes to share? Please do!

Patriotic Cupcakes!

It was a busy weekend celebrating Father’s Day x2 for me… on Saturday, I spent the day mini-golfing and having lunch with my Daddy dearest because he was traveling on Sunday. Instead, I went to my uncle’s house and spent actual Father’s Day with him and my cousins. I have to get off to work right now, but later tonight I have a scrapbook page to post and my P90X week one recap! I just finished up this morning’s workout and I’m feeling GREAT!

I wanted to share these cupcakes I made Memorial Weekend… great for fellow mil•spouse bloggers, or anyone who is feeling a little patriotic or festive like I am most of the time! I combined a few ideas I found floating around online with the flag tops and red/white/blue layers inside.

To make them striped, divide regular white cake batter into three bowls… keep one white, color one with red food coloring and the third with blue food coloring. 
To make the tops, the “stripes” in the flag are fruit roll-ups or fruit-by-the-foot and the “stars” are blueberries!
They might look a little messy, but they sure were tasty. Have a great day everyone! :-) 

Living Out Loud

So. Eight hours of work, one peanut butter chocolate ice cream cone, a trip to the grocery store and weigh-in at a local WW meeting, Giada’s Cheesy Baked Tortellini, and three cups of royal icing LATER, and I’m finally able to sit at my laptop and just… chill.

Phew! What a day. Some days, I just *wish* for five minutes to be bored.

The breakdown:
Work— okay this week. Our corporate office is moving to a new location downtown, so we’ve been packing, archiving files, burning backup CDs, and organizing all week. I set an out-of-office reply to let everyone know that I wouldn’t be by my desk, but to call with emergencies. So far, there have been no emergencies in the world of food packaging design land. Oh, and we get to wear jeans to work this week… I love dress down days.

Ice Cream— was after lunch, when my awesome boss took my co-worker and I for a last treat before we move. It was delish.

Grocery Store— for the third time within the past week. I’m finally getting back into cooking and trying new recipes, but I’ve needed to stock up my kitchen a bit. Lots of FRESH foods lately, yum yum. The first trip was at Target when I was care package shopping for Joshua last weekend, the second was on my way home from visiting the girls when I saw a Trader Joe’s and flipped out (I shopped there when I lived in Boston and Cleveland!), and today’s trip was to get ingredients for two new recipes I’m trying this week.

WW— I have aspirations of being a kick-ass, buff bride… but I love food way too much. So I joined Weight Watchers today to help me along. I NEED to reach my goal weight for our wedding day… and preferably before Joshua returns from Afghanistan. My family and friends have done WW before and had success, and this time around I’m hoping I do, too! It’s part of the new me… eating smarter and working hard at the gym.

Tortellini— Mmm. Felice has made this dish for me twice. It’s soooo wonderful. I figured I’d make it tonight as a last hurrah before I begin counting my points and getting in shape. Very worth it!

Royal Icing— I have my Wilton cake class tomorrow night, and the lesson calls for one recipe of royal icing divided into five different colors. We’re learning to make new flowers tomorrow, rah!

Speaking of cakes…

The first is the birthday cake I made my dad on Easter. The second is my cake from last week’s class on fondant. That stuff is FUN to work with!

Jesus. It’s already 11pm and I haven’t even written about last weekend, Easter weekend, or the fun blog award I was given. I suppose that will all have to come tomorrow, eh? I haven’t slept in three weeks so I’m going to try to get to bed a bit early tonight. Apparently deployment also causes insomnia?

Sweet dreams, blog friends. 

Wedding Wednesday #2

I’m back again after last week’s Wedding Wednesday failure! Tonight, I’m hoping to have better luck. I’ve been getting lots of ideas from the many wedding shows, bridal magazines, and online research I’ve done, so I’ll just start by sharing some of these ideas and cool things I’ve found… Here we go!
This past January, I attended my very first bridal show. It was! I’ve been to two more since then. There were all kinds of vendors set up with info about photographers, bakeries, venues, music, jewelry, flowers, a surprising number of weight loss programs (?), gowns, etc. I went with my Mom & my cousin Amanda (who will be a bridesmaid in my wedding!) and collected all sorts of brochures, business cards, samples, you name it! I have lots of info to share. Note that I still have to go over everything with Joshua, since his input is very important in our wedding planning and he wants to be involved!

So far, I can tell you we’re planning to have a military wedding. We’ve chosen our date, venue, colors, rings, my dress, his attire, bridal party, and some other things! But all that will come in future Wedding Wednesdays. For now, let’s start back at where I started in my wedding planning process.

My first choice of venue was the beautiful Sagamore resort on Lake George. I’d been wanting to get married there since I was young… of course, in reality it ended up being very pricey and very much out of our budget. I’m now considering having either the engagement party there or simply staying there the nights before/after the wedding. Maybe even having a photo session there? Still, you can daydream with me…

My #1 priority for the wedding is the photographer… if you know me, this obviously makes sense. I fell in LOVE with this photographer, Mitch Wojnarowicz. His work is absolutely breathtaking and stunning… it’s exactly the style I want: photojournalistic. I have to have him! I called him a month too early and was told to call again the beginning of April for his 2011 pricing. Hopefully this time next week, I can report back with news.

That last one is at the Sagamore!

Next, I fell in love with these old fashioned cars that I think would be SO classy, although I’m not sure that Joshua and I will even need a car since the ceremony and reception are at the same location. I don’t know if people rent cars from the hotel to the ceremony? Either way, a cool idea!

I particularly liked the 1963 Bentley and the tuxedo 1950 Rolls Royce they had at the show. How fun would it be to roll up to the wedding in that?! This is so exciting.

I also fell in love with the idea of red velvet cupcakes… again if you know me well, this comes as no surprise. I’d like to have a cake AND red velvet cupcakes at the reception. Oh… and I’m still not ruling out a candy bar or chocolate fountain… I’m the dessert queen, after all!

Lastly for this trip, I am obsessed with a place called Zachary’s Pastry Shoppe. I’ll have to see if they can do red velvet cupcakes, but their wedding cakes are gorgeous! And they taste amazing, too. The pastry chef can do ANYTHING, his designs were incredible…

I’m still not ruling out the idea of making my own wedding cake, crazy as it may be. I’ll have to see as the date gets closer. A cake is included in the wedding package at our venue, but I haven’t tasted it yet and I’m not yet sure what I want to do with that yet. Cake = important!

So that’s everything for my second Wedding Wednesday! I love this, I just really really wish I had Joshua here to bounce ideas off. I suppose I’ll just have to send him photos in the meantime. ♥