Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Menu Planning with a Carnivore and a Vegetarian

I have mentioned that I'm not a big meat eater many times before.  I don't have a problem with other people eating meat (hence cooking a bacon explosion for the Super Bowl every year), but I've had an aversion to eating it myself since I was fairly young.  I choked down lamb and negotiated how many bites I had to have when steak was served at home.  I can distinctly remember my first taste of my favorite vegetable, red bell pepper (I was four years old and it was "let's try all different kinds of veggies" day at nursery school).  For some reason, I'm just wired to prefer vegetables over meat. I'm not a strict vegetarian, so I'm happy to make Marc meatballs (out of ground turkey) and I won't freak out if there's some meat winds up on my plate when we're out to dinner.

Marc was raised by a woman he describes as Virginia's Paula Dean.  I personally think her food is far better than Dean's, but it's definitely rich, southern, and heavy on meat.  He is an enthusiastic carnivore, but bends over backwards to accommodate me.  When we go to beer dinners, he'll talk to chefs days in advance to see if they'll make me something different for meat courses.  It's totally unnecessary, as I won't go hungry if I can't eat part of a meal, but I think it's very sweet.

When Marc started talking about our rehearsal dinner, I was adamant that he truly take the reigns.  I wanted him to feel like it was the groom's family's event.  As he talked about different restaurants, I knew he was trying to keep my preferences in mind.  I knew he wanted to have the dinner at a local restaurant that is a temple to meat, Brookville.

That's pancakes, foie, bacon, and a quail egg on top  / Photo from Brookville's Facebook page

Brookville is a meat lover's paradise, a place where beef is celebrated and pork is elevated.  Marc quickly became a devoted fan of the restaurant when it opened over a year ago.  He didn't take me there for a long time, for fear of me not liking the menu, but would tell me about chef Harrison Keevil making him a fried pig tail or about having a burger that was made from ground beef and ground pork with an egg on top.

One day, I finally got to eat at Brookville and I loved it.  First of all, Harrison and his wife Jennifer, who manages the restaurant, are totally charming.  They clearly love each other, their restaurant, and their food.  You can't help but be excited waiting for your meal. Though the menu is heavy on meat, there were definitely options for me.  My favorite part: 90% of what they serve comes from farms that are within 100 miles of Charlottesville. 

Chef Harrison Keevil and Brookville manager Jennifer Keevil / Photo by Jen Fariello Photography

 A couple weeks later, we returned to look over menus from past private dinners and talk with Jennifer about our options. We were really interested in having mini versions of Harrison's famous grilled cheese (which was recently recognized by a magazine as one of the best gourmet grilled cheeses) as hors d'oeuves and I was touched that they offered to make some without meat. Both the carnivore and the vegetarian were happy.

Photo by Miss Mink

Now, we have to finalize our guest list for the rehearsal dinner.  We have to decide whether we're going to keep it traditional and invite our immediate families and bridal party or include extended family and some out of town guests. I'm attracted to the idea of an intimate dinner with our closest friends and family, but am also looking forward to spending some time with some some family we don't see very often.  I'm torn!

Did you have a traditional rehearsal dinner or use the event as a welcome party for a larger group?

By the way, Harrison and Jennifer were married just a few months ago.  You can see beautiful images from their wedding on Jen Fariello's blog (scroll down to the "Jennifer and Harrison" entry).  If you like brooch bouquets, you have to see the one Jennifer carried.  It's stunning!
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Friday, February 24, 2012

Getting Fancy

Every Bee seems to post a big invitation reveal close to their wedding day. I've had my invitations for a while, so it's been hard keeping them out of my blog posts. I won't break tradition, but I thought I'd share my envelopes now since they arrived just a few days ago.

While I really liked the calligraphy that was on our Save the Date cards, it was a little modern.  I decided to look for someone whose work might be a little more ornate for our invitations.  I pored over blogs, Facebook pages, and websites.  There are so many beautiful styles of calligraphy out there and many calligraphers command some pretty steep prices for their work.  Calligraphy is an art, so I understand the cost.

When I found Elizabeth Bartucci of Tuccicursive (I believe that's pronounced like the last part of her last name + cursive), I was almost afraid to ask for a quote because her work was so beautiful. The quote was startlingly modest. I couldn't ship our envelopes quickly enough! About a week later, the package was back on my doorstep. I thought to have Liz address one envelope just for the Weddingbee so I didn't have to block out any of her beautiful letters...

Aren't they pretty?  You might recognize the envelope to the left of the Weddingbee one.  That one has already been sent to the White House in hopes that we get one of those congratulatory cards that they've been sending for the last few decades.

By the way, Liz posted on her Facebook page that her work is going to be in the March issue of Martha Stewart Weddings.  Isn't that exciting?!?

I'm curious about the wait to receive a response from the White House.  Did you send the President an invitation when you got married?  How many months did it take to get something back, if you got anything at all?
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Thursday, February 23, 2012

Taking a Shortcut Pays Off

I made a fabric board for our guests' escort cards a few weeks ago and wasn't quite sure how I'd finish it.  I considered propping the board up on an easel, but also thought about putting the board in a large frame and putting it on a table, leaning against a wall.

The board is 24 inches by 36 inches and a frame large enough for it would probably cost quite a bit.  I decided that I should visit some of my favorite antique shops to see if I could find something that would work. If that didn't work, I'd buy some cheap art at a Home Goods type store and pull it apart to use the frame.  A new frame would probably cost quite a bit.  The last time I had something framed, the framing cost as much as the piece of art I was framing.  It was my first serious piece of art, so it was worth it.  My escort card board isn't in the same league, so spending hundreds on framing it doesn't make any sense.

While picking up supplies for a project I'll share on DIY Friday, I wandered into the frame section of Michael's craft store.  I expected to see fairly plain, simple frames.  For the most part, that's what I saw.  However, in the last aisle, in the open backed frame area, there was one 24x36 frame that caught my eye.  It was wood, had a metallic finish, and has some nice detail.  The $100 price tag was a bit much, but 50% off signs lined the aisle.  I quickly took a look at the Michael's app on my phone and realized that there was a 25% off coupon for all frames and it was good on sale items. 

I did some math in my head and decided that the figure I got was too good to be true.  So I lugged the frame to the front desk and asked a salesperson to scan the code.  Sure enough, the frame rang up for $49.99.  I showed her my coupon expecting her to say it didn't apply to what I was buying, but it went through! I got that $100 frame for $37.49.

The frame is a little more "antiqued" than I wanted, but for $37, I was willing to deal with that.  Who knows...maybe I'll rub a little something on it tweak the color.

I haven't secured the escort board to the frame, but I taped it into place to snap a picture.  

I'm so glad to check another task off my list.  I don't think I have time to dig through stores right now!  We have just over three months until our wedding and I have a few weeks until my busy season is over at work. I still have to decide on what's going on this board, but that obviously can't be done until closer to the wedding.

Did you opt for any easy purchases to save yourself some time lately?
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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Back to My Paint Obsession

When envisioning a wedding, you probably imagine the ceremony, the bride's dress, the handsome groom, and dancing the night away with loved ones.  You might think about a few of the details, but only when you jump over to engaged territory do certain details come to mind.  Case in point: the wedding card box.

Before I was engaged, if you asked for my thoughts on wedding card boxes, I'd probably ask if people could just leave cards on a tray.  Oh no!  That just won't do. One must have a cute depository for cards.

Collecting cards in a bird cage has become pretty popular.   I've seen some lanterns used for this function and goodness knows I have a few to spare. I love the idea of repurposing something for a card box!

I've seen a few people make a box out of picture frames in the last year or so.  It's a really sweet idea, but I think the pictures frames have to be pretty large to allow the box to hold greeting cards.  

The best card "box" I came across while looking for inspiration was a modified pinata.  I literally laughed out loud when I saw this one.  It doesn't fit with our aesthetic, but I think it's funny and clever.

Pinata from Target / From Style Me Pretty / Photo by Soda Fountain Photography

I have a thing for birds (all animals, really), so the bird cage card box might have been a natural choice for me. When I thought about it, though, I like to see birds at my feeders outside or on the patio, taking a nibble from some suet.  A bird house seemed like a much better choice for my card box.

In my browsing for bird-house-turned-card-box inspiration, I came across the Etsy store for Clegg Farm Creations.  Michael at Clegg Farm makes beautiful bird houses and is willing to customize them with any paint color available at the big box hardware stores.  My brother and/or sister-in-law saw that I pinned a bird house from Clegg Farm Creations to my "want" board on Pinterest and offered to give me a custom house as a Christmas gift. 

I love picking out paint colors, so I assembled a few items that had our wedding colors on them and spread out paint chips in hopes of settling on a color to use on a bird house.  I knew I'd use the same light blue that I had used as the background on my corn hole boards, but I had to find the perfect, deep, blue-green in a Valspar paint color.  A few struck me as good options and Mr. Mink helped make the final decision.

After the order was placed for our bird house, we just had to wait for it to be made and shipped.  My mail carrier, who has been coming to the door with packages so often lately that Baxter runs to greet him, brought the finished product yesterday afternoon. 

Isn't it so cute?  The little plaque above the door has our family name and wedding date on it.  The roof is held in place by small, wooden pins. 

My favorite features are the ones that let us use the house after our wedding.  It came with an extra roof that isn't slotted and there's a hole behind the little wreath.  Once we're settled in a home, we can put the house outside so a bird could get inside and make a cozy, protected nest.

I am so impressed by the paint job.  Michael's attention to detail is wonderful. There is no way I could have made something with similar quality myself.

This is the second day in a row that I've talked about a wedding related purchase.  I fear that I'm letting the DIYers down!  I promise I'll have something fun to share on DIY Friday tomorrow.

Thanks to my brother and sister-in-law, I have the cutest card box I've ever seen.
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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Wave That Flag!

My wedding DIY projects so far have come to me while looking for inspiration online.  I've been digesting wedding blogs for over a year and they've been integral in helping me develop the special, little details that we'll incorporate into our big day.

One project came to me in a very unusual way.  I was on a business trip a couple months ago and built an extra day into my week to see my brother's family, who live in the city where I'd be working.  My brother and sister-in-law have three charming little boys who I adore. While my sister-in-law and I were talking about wedding planning during my visit, their middle child was playing between us. I asked him if he wanted to be a ring bearer in the wedding and without missing a beat, he said "I'll need a flag."

My sister-in-law was a little startled and tried to tell him that he didn't need a flag, but I decided that if he wanted a flag, he could have a flag. So I set about looking for a little inspiration.  The flags I saw online were definitely put together using a sewing machine.

Totally cute, right? I realized that I'd have to make my version very sturdy. It looked like the flag in my inspiration picture was falling apart a little bit. Small hands are going to play with these things. I imagine my nephews might wave their flags with...fervor. Disintegrating flags might ruin the fun.

My ability to work with fabric is limited by the fact that I don't have a sewing machine.  Most of the flags I saw online were put together using one, so those of you who sew might take a totally different path on this sort of project.  I hope that those of you whose sewing skills are like mine, limited to putting buttons back on coats and tacking up hems, find this approachable.

Supply list
  • Fabric (cotton or cotton blend is probably best)
  • Iron transfer paper
  • Fabric fuse tape 
  • Wooden dowels 
  • Fabric Glue
  • Hot Glue
  • Ribbon
  • Iron
I like to assemble as many pieces of my projects as possible before I start to put them together, so my first step was to cut pennant shapes out of my fabric, cut the dowels down to appropriate sizes for each of our ring bearers, and print the flag designs on the iron transfer paper.  I have three nephews who are about the same size and one that is considerably smaller, so you'll notice that there's one "mini" flag being constructed.

Each of my flags needed two pieces of fabric because the material I had was lightweight.  If I just used one layer of fabric, the design on one side would show through on the other.  The dowels I found at the craft store were about a yard long, which were far too big for children.  I just kind of picked a point on the dowels and hacked at them.  For the designs, I took a picture of the corn hold boards I painted, printed a mirror image on iron transfer paper, then printed out some text that would replace our monogram in the design.

Photos by Miss Mink

With a tiny pair of scissors I last used to cut out chiffon circles for my bridesmaids' shoe clips, I carefully cut the floral design and text out of the iron transfer paper.  I lined the pieces up and ironed them for about 20 seconds.  Holding my breath, I started to peel the paper off...

Photos by Miss Mink 

Whoo Hoo!  It worked!  For the back of each flag, I printed "Hooray!" with a fade to one side. I couldn't figure out how to do this on my Mac, but on my PC, I was able to add a fade to a text box in MS Word.  

I didn't like the raw edges of the fabric pieces, so I decided to add some grosgrain ribbon as trim.  First, I steamed the ribbon while folded in half.  I put fabric fuse tape on each side and used that to bind the ribbon and the two pieces of fabric together. 

 Photos by Miss Mink 

The ends of the ribbon didn't come to a point, but I'm okay with that. I actually convinced myself that once tucked and secured, the ribbon looked kind of cute. A little glue and the fabric was attached to the dowel.  I did a few furious waves to make sure the bond would hold up to the passionate energy of five and seven year old boys.

 Photos by Miss Mink 

I thought I was done, but I riffled through my ribbon cache (I have a thing for ribbon) and added a bundle of ribbon to the top of each flag.

Photos by Miss Mink

I LOVE how my ring bearers' flags turned out.  I may have paraded around the living room with one because I was so proud of myself. I can't wait to put these in the hands of the little boys in our bridal party!
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Friday, February 17, 2012

DIY Lawn Games

Remember the corn hole boards I painted for our wedding? I'm so excited to see people playing with them during our cocktail hour and I've been thinking about adding croquet and boules (aka bocci) to the mix to make things interesting.  When I pictured the scene, I realized that I was ignoring the little ones.  Our ring bearers and flower girl are a bit too small to take part in any of those games, so I decided to make a game just for them.

I'm pretty sure all of the little ones can understand and play tic tac toe, so I made a lawn version for them to play with.  To give credit where it's due, I saw a variation of this project in a magazine last year.  If I could remember the magazine, I'd share a picture or link, but I don't!

I had some canvas drop cloths around and cut a square out of them to use for this project.  I turned the edges under and secured them with fabric glue.  This gave the "board" a smooth, clean finish.

I contemplated painting the tic tac toe lines onto the canvas.  I came across some decorative duct tape at a gift shop and thought that it could have the same function and not get dirty.

I measured out five inch squares and taped them off with the duct tape.  I wound up with five inch squares, but I kind of wished I had made them a tad bigger.

I picked up some small, linen bags at a local cooking store to use as "bean bags."  These are the bags that are meant to hold bouquets garni in soups.  I dyed half of them to match the blue in the decorative tape and left the others plain.  I figured that closer to the big day, we could get some sand and fill the bags.

Once I finished this project, I realized that the colors were all wrong.  So...I did it again.  I used white denim and teal duct tape for the second attempt. I think the new set goes well with our color scheme and I also got to make it a bit larger than my original board.  I guess I'll give the blue tic tac toe set away.

Did you have to do any of your DIY projects over?  Did the second attempt turn out better than the first?
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Thursday, February 16, 2012

From the MLS: Instant Price Reduction!


The difference in the listings is the acreage (507 acres vs. 115 acres), but the text that accompanies these listings doesn't make that too, too clear. 
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Taking a Backseat in Honeymoon Planning

I pulled out my passport the other night to send it off for renewal and realized something a little sad.  The last stamp in my book is from 2003.  I studied two languages and went abroad three times in college. It's a little startling to realize that I haven't left the country in almost a decade. The sad fact is that despite telling myself that I wouldn't let it happen, I've become a workaholic. I get to use technology and social media, which make my job pretty enjoyable.  It's not that I don't travel. I do quite a bit of business travel (enough that I could trade in hotel points for the $200 Pottery Barn gift card I mentioned yesterday). I just haven't done much leisure travel in recent years.  Clearly, I'm really looking forward to our honeymoon.

Marc, on the other hand, has been to every sunny vacation destination you can think of. Name a tropical island and he's probably been there.  As a result, I told Marc that he could decide where we'd go on our honeymoon, but I had three requests.  First, there must be a beach.  Second, I did not want to be on a six hour flight. I fly enough for work and I don't want to spend an entire day traveling.  Third, I want to see dolphins.  My response to the idea of swimming with dolphins is a lot like Kristen Bell's reaction to the idea of meeting a sloth, which you may have seen on the Ellen show recently.

For what it's worth, as an animal lover, I also feel this way about the prospect of meeting a panda, elephant, sloth, sea otter, or seal pup.

Shortly after articulating my requirements, I thought the dolphin request might be too limiting, so I retracted it, but Marc said that if I want dolphins, we'll find dolphins. After evaluating all the options, he decided that we are going to Jamaica. Apparently, there is a cove where visitors can interact with trained dolphins.  When Marc read the description out loud, I almost lost it.  I read reviews of the experience on TripAdvisor.com and they are mostly positive.  I told Marc not to make a reservation at the dolphin place just yet because I want to do more research about it (I want to make sure those dolphins are treated well), but I'm thrilled that we have a destination chosen.

Of course, now we have to figure out exactly where on Jamaica we'll go and where we'll stay.  For a relatively small island, there sure are a huge number of options for resorts there!  Marc wants to go to either Negril or Ocho Rios and each have the all-inclusive reports that are popular with honeymooners.  There are also some lesser known resorts in both locations.  To say the options are overwhelming would be an understatement.  We could spend weeks reading reviews online.

We need to book soon, so I'd love some direction.  What websites did you use to settle on your honeymoon destination?
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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

More Gifts for My Bridesmaids

Pictures of bridal parties getting ready while wearing flower print kimonos hit the wedding blogs in a big way last year.  I saw them everywhere and I have to admit that I was quite smitten with the images! I looked into ordering robes for me and my bridesmaids from the company that seems to be all the rage.  Their patterns are so beautiful and I could just picture us getting ready in the bridal suite on my big day wearing them.

Upon further inspection, I thought the robes  seemed a bit short. The description says they are knee length, but they seemed to hit mid-thigh on most of the women I saw in pictures on the blogs.  Maybe they're knee length before they are tied?  They also seemed to be heading into the trendy category and when something becomes too, too popular, I often shy away from it.

I started to look for alternatives and came across this pretty robe on the Pottery Barn website. I decided to wait around and see if one of those lovely discount codes might come my way and knock the price down a little. I put the idea of getting robes for my bridesmaids on the back burner, but I checked the Pottery Barn website every now and then to see if they had gone on sale.

The Giselle Kimono Robe / From PotteryBarn.com

Two weeks ago, I got a message from a hotel chain's frequent stay program saying that some of the points I've accumulated over the last decade of business travel were about to expire.  I thought I'd see if I could redeem them for something wedding related and went shopping on their website.  I had no idea that points could be redeemed for gift cards!  I didn't have enough points for any of the gift cards through that program, but I quickly logged into another company's frequent guest site and found that I had the points needed for a $200 Pottery Barn gift card.  

I had to wait a week for the physical card to come in the mail and right when it arrived, I heard that Pottery Barn had sent 10% off and 15% off codes to some people on their mailing list.  What a great news! Unfortunately, I wasn't one of the lucky ones to get a code. I put out pleas for a code on Twitter and Facebook and a day later, a local photographer sent me her 15% off code. Jackpot!

After entering in the code and my gift card information, I would up paying $10 for four robes.  I think this qualifies as the best deal I've gotten during wedding planning, outside of winning my wedding gown.  The robes arrived a couple days ago and I love them!

What was the best deal you got for something related to your wedding planning?
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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

My first (and only) post about makeup

Confession: design bloggers that also write about fashion and style don't really appeal to me.  While I care about how I look, I am far more excited by color and design in my environment than on myself.  I almost didn't post about finding a hair and makeup artist to work with me on my wedding, day, but I figured that you all have hung with me while I've put home projects aside for a couple months and you might actually read this...

Right on the heels of my bout with feelings of being old, I realized that it was time to book a hair and makeup artist.  Some very kind friends told me that I did my own makeup well, but I honestly feel that my skills are a little lacking in that area. I have one look. I don't experiment with anything new or different. I've been using the same products for years and only changed my foundation when the TSA started limiting how much liquid we could carry on flights (I travel for business and switched to mineral foundation to avoid checking bags).

When I started my search for a hair and makeup artist, my only requirement was that they work on site.  I plan on relaxing and enjoying the beautiful bridal loft at our venue.  I don't want to be running all over town. Luckily, there are plenty of wonderful artists who are willing to work on site. 

As I looked at portfolios and blogs, I was swept up in how wonderful every image looked. There were glowing brides on their big days and beautiful models at dreamy inspiration shoots.  Slowly, I realized that I was craving diversity. I'm not a model (anymore) and I'm not in my 20s.  I wanted to find someone whose portfolio included some people who might be like me. 

Just when I thought I had looked into every possible option, Stephanie from Charlottesville's Fete blog profiled Jeanne Cusick. I quickly made a coffee date with Jeanne to talk about working together. I felt so comfortable and at ease talking to her that I knew pretty much on the spot that I would book her.  Her portfolio showed diversity, she has a calming presence, and was enthusiastic about working with me.  She also complimented my hair, something that wins me over almost instantly.

I didn't feel the need to have any other consultations, so I guess the blink theory that led to booking my photographer struck again!

Usually, I research everything to the hilt and I was worried about how I would handle wedding plans during my busy season at work, which runs from November to April.  I actually think planning during this crazy period has forced me to be more decisive. 

Now I have to figure out exactly what I want Jeanne to do with my hair!  I haven't given too, too much thought to that at this point.  I don't really know where to start!

Where did you look for hair and makeup inspiration for your wedding day look?
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Friday, February 3, 2012

A Fabric Corsage for our Flower Girl

Do you remember the boutonnieres I made for our ring bearers, which I shared a few weeks ago?  I stacked rosettes made out of ribbon and added a little puppy figurine to make them a little less stuffy than the traditional boutonnieres that the groomsmen will be wearing.  My golden retriever is our constant companion (so constant that people seem surprised if they see us downtown without him!) and I thought it'd be fun to have a few references to him at our wedding.

In addition to our four ring bearers, Marc's niece (I'll call her Little M) is going to serve as our flower girl. I have a feeling Little M is going to love her role.  I wanted to give her something along the lines of the boutonnieres that would fit in with her position.  I decided to make her a fabric flower corsage.

I used almost the same method on this project that I used to make floral shoe clips for my bridesmaids. I wanted more floppy petals on Little M's corsage, so I downloaded a large template from the Martha Stewart Weddings website and used it as a guide to cut out some satin flowers in our primary wedding color, a deep blue-green.  This fabric matches the ribbon I used on the ring bearer boutonnieres almost perfectly and it's a very close match to the dresses our bridesmaids are wearing.

The blue flowers was going to be my base.  I layered at least 20 flowers cut from the same pink chiffon I had used on the floral shoe clips.  Folded the stack in half, then in half again, and used some thread to pinch the bottom of the stack.  From afar, it looks pretty cute, doesn't it?

I used some hot glue to attach the flower to a length if ribbon and tied it around my wrist to testing the corsage.  It was definitely light enough not to bother Little M. However, I wasn't as thrilled with the results up close.  I thought the flower looked pretty, but the chiffon was fraying pretty quickly.  I couldn't see a little girl wearing it all day without picking it apart.  From certain angles, the entire thing looked like a messy stack of floppy chiffon.

I went back to the drawing board.  I used a heat gun to warm the hot glue back up and pulled the chiffon flower off the ribbon.  Then I pulled a fabric flower that I bought at Michael's off its stem to see if it would be light enough for Little M. The fabric flower was actually lighter than the chiffon, which was a relief.

I glued the flower to the ribbon, but thought it was looking a bit too generic.  So, I pulled the plastic pistil/stamen thing out of the flower and hid the same puppy figurine that that the boys had inside the flower. 

When the flower is fluffed up, you can tell that something is in the middle, but you can't see exactly what it is. I think Little M will like her secret puppy. 

If Little M finds the flower too big or too heavy, we can simply tie it to her flower basket.
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Thursday, February 2, 2012

Channeling the God of Cake

Have you heard of Hyperbole and a Half?  It's a hilarious blog that covers a range of topics from the simpleton dog to the childhood exploits of the author and illustrator.  A little over a year ago, she wrote about being a sugar addict as a child and ruthlessly pursuing a cake made for a grandparent once she snagged a bite of it.

I had no idea that once I scheduled cake tastings that I'd morph into a bit of a cake monster myself.  All I could think about was cake.  Cake. Cake. Cake.

God of Cake is one of the funniest blog posts I've ever read / From Hyperbole and a Half

I manged to hold myself together on our way over to Charlottesville baker Anita Gupta's house one Sunday morning for a tasting.  Anita is the wonderful woman behind Maliha Creations and half of the team behind EyeCandy, a company that creates beautiful dessert tables.  I met Anita a year ago while attending an event for a charity I was working with as a volunteer (I have met the most interesting people while volunteering...more to come on that front) and was really looking forward to finally try some of her beautiful cake.

I was so excited to try our samples that I forgot to take a picture before we got started.  We each had a plate of cakes and a platter of fillings and buttercreams to share.  We tried almond, vanilla, lemon, chocolate pound, chocolate and red velvet cakes.  For fillings, we tried lemon curd, raspberry, chocolate ganache, and dulce de leche.  Our buttercreams were vanilla, raspberry, and coffee.  Anita makes plenty more fillings and buttercreams, including ones flavored with liqueur.

We were in heaven.  I was so caught up that I wasn't taking any notes as we tried different combinations.  Only after we kept going back to the same cake and fillings did Marc suggest we write some comments down.  I was really enjoying the bright, clean flavors of the lemon and raspberry fillings with the lemon and almond cakes, but was a little nervous that Marc would want chocolate and dulce de leche. He was hitting the dulce de leche pretty hard.

Marc attacks the dulce de leche filling

 I was so happy that there was plenty of common ground once we rattled off our favorite combinations.  It turns out that Marc was loving the lemon curd as much as I was!
Pardon my scribble...I was writing while eating!

At this point, Anita came back to guide us a little bit and explain other options that we had.  Her cakes have four layers of cake, which would allow for different fillings to be used within the same tier.  She suggested that we use the fruit fillings that we liked and add in some fresh fruit and buttercream as well.  Our tiers will ultimate look like this:

nom nom nom

As for the drawing, I have fallen in love with buttercream cakes that have a little texture and one, large flower on them. I've been seeing more and more buttercream cakes on the wedding blogs recently and I'm so happy.  They seem more organic and whimsical, which fits with our overall style.

I still think fondant is very pretty and can be a great platform for intricate or creative designs.  However, I love the soft look of buttercream.  I think it will also compliment my wedding gown, which designer Jorge Manual suggested when we chatted during my trip to Charleston to pick up the dress.

I actually found a picture of a cake Anita made a few months ago that would be perfect...if the fondant was traded out for butter cream.  It just so happens to have been photographed by my photographer during a styled shoot she put together at my venue.  Isn't that a nice coincidence?  

Another check off the list of to-dos!  We are SO excited about our cake.  Oh, and one of the best parts about getting a Maliha Creations cake is that Anita bakes a fresh tier for her couples on their first anniversary.  I think that is one of the most wonderful services.  We can eat the entire cake at the reception and no one has to worry about wrapping it up to go into the freezer.

Needless to say, Marc had to scrape me off the ceiling after I had cake and coffee for breakfast.  I truly channeled the God of Cake that day.
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