the most fun that taxes will ever get

i have a co-worker named kim.

kim is fantastic. she’s funny, she’s beautiful, and she’s super awesome-you know, the perfect co-worker. i like to write her notes at work.

20130730_125806

kim is so sweet. she always brings snacks to work (she got us girls into gluten-free pretzels. have you tried them? they’re FLIPPIN’ AMAZING! all $7 of the bag!!) and would get me drinks while i worked my gift wrap station during the holidays (i was so busy that i pretty much never had time to even get myself a drink or a snack) or on any day, really. she brings me little gifts. for my birthday this year, she gave me flowers and a balloon!!!!!!

20130125_122335

kim is my mom’s age and what’s great about working with her or knowing her is that she is definitely more wise. she has dated, she has been married, she has kids, she has grandkids, she owned companies, she travels, she has had her shares of ups and downs, and she gives great advice. she’s great to talk to and confide in, and she’s non-judgemental. she’s very caring and kind. like i said, “the perfect co-worker.”

well, now we go to her husband. he’s pretty perfect, too. talk about a power couple. you want to hear a good love story? you talk to kim. kim and her husband are just a fantastic couple. the couple you look at and think, “i want THAT.” you can also look at them and want to cry and eat a 10 pound tub of ice cream because you don’t have that, but it depends on how you look at it-so think positive. haha. they are very loving and fun and romantic and sweet. they are so great together, i really could hear kim tell me stories all day. well, i’m not going to dive into their personal history (she really could write a book about her life, let me tell you), but kim’s husband’s birthday had passed a few weeks ago and i had the pleasure of being a part of it.

kim asked if i could make her husband some cupcakes for his work (and if so, she would cancel her cake order at a bakery). he loves white cake with white frosting. it can’t get any more simple than that. he’s a CPA. she thought it would be cute to put mini pencils on the cupcake. i suggested writing his name on the icing in front of the pencils. white cake, white icing, a pencil, his name. done?

nope.

the night before i was to make the cupcakes, i decided to google images to think of other ideas for the cupcakes and i came across this:

DSCN1726

of course, i took a look at it and thought, “hm, i can make that better.” i like to look at cupcake decoration photos and try to make mine better, yes. i mean, who doesn’t try to be better? now, whether my decorations were good or not is up to you. i made a few “tax-themed” cupcake decorations until 4:30 a.m…i made mini 1040 forms. mini 1040 forms!!! try piping THAT! a ziplock bag was needed to pipe the finest lines i’ve ever piped. i also made another basic calculator and a monthly calendar of april, circling april 15, tax day.

20130916_024425

20130916_024455

of course i did the 1040 form wrong when i put “2013” but that’s okay. i knew i was going to do something wrong somewhere. the office still loved the cupcakes.

i thought it was funny that i was planning on making simple cupcakes but ended up doing what i always do-staying up late with an exacto knife. it was fun-it was surely something i wanted to put on my blog (and duh, it was on instagram the day i made them-so i know i’m way late!) because i notice how rare these cupcake decorations are. i thought they were fun to make and i’m surprised not many people made accountant-themed cupcakes. i hope i impressed some of my accountant friends, and of course, my co-worker’s husband.

i made vanilla cupcakes with a vanilla buttercream icing. i decided to dye the icing pink because it’s kep’s favorite color-and mine. i couldn’t find my wider piping tips, so i had to improvise. i really need to invest in 2 of every wilton piping tip, i swear. and a case to put them all in.

well, here is my final result. what do you think? =) thanks, kim, for liking my last-minute designs for the cupcakes!

xoxo,

sierra lei

20130916_114922

Advertisements

the dallas arboretum and the 90th birthday

still trying to catch up on my blogging, here are 2 fun dates a few months ago.

at the end of may, we took my nephew to the dallas arboretum because they were having an event for kids. face painting and a petting zoo. i had bought a family membership at the arboretum which allows me to bring 4 people with me when i visit. i love it. it’s just too DANG HOT this summer to go visit the arboretum. UGH. but anyways, my nephew got his face painted as a tiger and SWORE that he ran MUCH FASTER around the gardens. it took the lady all of 2 minutes to paint his face and she did a fantastic job. too bad adults weren’t allowed to get their face painted, i would have been all about that. my nephew’s nose was running that day, so he was worried that he wouldn’t look like a tiger since some of the paint had rubbed off above his lip. he cracks me up. he probably took 300 photos of himself on his nexus in the car when we were driving home. it was a fun day.

one of the guys that i shoot pool with turned 90 on june 6. his name is bob. he is the cutest and sweetest old man. and he’s a good pool player. our friend, penny (also a fellow pool player), suggested we throw a birthday bash for him at the pool hall, and it was a whole lot of fun. there were balloons at the front door, balloons in our corner of the pool hall, desserts on the table. i had made a little birthday sign for him. there was a picture frame that we had all signed for bob. he had a blast. i made cupcakes and brownies. someone had made cookies. there was a fun cake. it was an awesome sugar overload.

so here are some photos from both events.

enjoy!

xoxo,

sierralei

 

Camera 360 Camera 360 20130527_130820 Camera 360

 

 

20130606_162901 20130606_184539 20130606_195626 20130606_200157 20130606_200232 20130606_201232 20130606_201457 20130606_201604 20130606_224949 20130607_000542

butterflies and princesses

last year i blogged about the baby shower of baby showers. click HERE to see the baby shower madness.

today we celebrated ashton’s 1st birthday.

the theme was butterfly princess. the colors were lime green, purple, and hot pink.

it was so cute. and it was a blast.

ashton’s grandparents own a mexican restaurant in colleyville, costa vida. there was a taco bar at the birthday. last year, for the baby shower, it was a fajita station. the food just keeps getting better and better. i ate 3 plates today. veggies and ranch dressing, crackers and cheese (the cheese was in the shape of a CROWN. a crown!), fruits, and chips with salsa, guacamole, and queso.

and then there’s the dessert table. oh, boy.

ashton’s grandmother made the cutest butterfly cake. she has never worked with fondant before. you would have never guessed, the cake was sooooooo cute. i gained 5,000 calories just looking at the dessert table. there were cookies and chocolates and marshmallow lollipops. i made pink and purple rice krispy treats and butterfly cupcakes. i was going to make crown-shaped sugar cookies using the same crown cookie cutter from the baby shower, but i was piping grass on the cupcakes until 5 am, so i didn’t get to the cookies.

the decorations around the house were amazing. the entrance had a sketch of baby ashton that one of her relatives did for her. the staircase had all the gifts. there was a table for the guests to sign in and take party favors. balloons and tulle and butterflies everywhere. it was just so cute and fun and bright.

it looked like a million bucks and costed next to nothing. it’s all about shopping sales and finding great bargains.

the party was awesome. my friend’s family is amazing. they’re so easy to talk to and so much fun to be around.

here are a ton of photos from the party. i had a long day today (after the party, i had a work dinner to attend…and it was at a mexican restaurant-haha) and i am exhausted.

i hope you all had a wonderful weekend!

xoxo

 

Camera 360 Camera 360 Camera 360 Camera 360 Camera 360 Camera 360 Camera 360 Camera 360 Camera 360 Camera 360 Camera 360 Camera 360 Camera 360 Camera 360 Camera 360 Camera 360 Camera 360 Camera 360 Camera 360 Camera 360 Camera 360

MARIO BROS. CUPCAKES

20120714-140255.jpg

Here’s to another night of cutting fondant with an exacto knife. Buttercream icing was the choice of icing. I tried elevating the cupcakes to make them look like a screen shot but I’m running late for The Taste of Dallas, so I threw this together. The flowers were my favorite, but most time consuming. The Mario and Luigi are collectible dolls because I wasn’t going to take on the headache of making them with fondant. It was a really tight week this week with work and everything. How did I do?

xoxo,
sierra lei

i tasted cakes…

i got sick eating cakes last night. and i loved it.

last night was the 3rd annual platinum wedding cake competition held in dallas, texas. eight bakeries were chosen to compete for “best taste” and “best in show.” the former was chosen by a panel of judges and the latter was chosen by the crowd.

first of all, i really hope i get to attend more of these events. heck, i’ll even attend an elementary school’s cupcake competition if they had one. anything to eat pastries for free! there were also free appetizers and an open bar!  i don’t drink so i sipped on some coca cola classic.

as far as the cakes went…they were all beautiful. gorgeous. now, the flavors…some were a total HIT and some were a complete (dry) MISS. if there is something i absolutely can’t stand, it’s dry cake.

before each cake, i will introduce the bakery and flavor of the cake…and what my taste buds thought of each one.

contestant #1, OPULENT CAKES

Orange Grand Marnier Cake. delicious, and i loved the icing, whatever it was. i had the chance to taste their cake last year at the dallas bridal show i attended in october…they had a 4-layered slice sample that had a different flavor for each layer. might i say that i went nuts. it was one of the most amazing slices of wedding cake i have ever tasted. and i know that wedding cakes don’t usually come with 4-layered slices…but each of those flavors were just amazing. so i was excited that i got to taste test their cake again…and pleased that it was just as delicious. as far as the design goes, i thought it was gorgeous. if you stood in the far back of the room, away from the cakes, your eyes would most likely catch this cake first because of the pop of color. i posted some pictures of some of the cakes that opulent cakes did for the dallas bridal show in october, and if you want to see them, click here to be directed to that blog. i wore a dress made out of PAPER that day! it was fun!

contestant #2, THE CAKE GUYS

White Cake with White Chocolate Mousse and Raspberry Fruit Filling. mmmm, delicious…that raspberry was amazing, that icing was amazing…mmmm….and just to let y’all know, the cake was on a generator that spun it around so you could see the cake from front to back, because it was so highly ornate! i also posted a picture of what the cake looked like as i was putting it in my belly. standing in front of the cake is chef chad fitzgerald of the cake guys, who is on TLC’s Next Great Baker. this cake…or shall i say “cake dress”….DUH, TOOK FIRST PLACE FOR BEST IN SHOW! as they did last year, too…i asked chef chad how long it took to decorate the cake and it took about 14 hours non-stop. amazing! each fondant “flower” with the feathers were applied individually to the bottom part of the cake. craziness!!!

contestant #3, FROSTED PINK CAKE COMPANY

White and Black Cake with Vanilla Buttercream and Raspberry Filling with Chocolate Butter Cream Frosting. unfortunately, i don’t remember how this cake tasted…hm. i feel bad, but then again, in a competition that requires you to stand out, i think it should be important to come out with a flavor that makes a statement. as far as the design goes, i love a white on white presentation, but i could have done without about a quarter or a third of the flowers. my co-worker said that they should have added an extra tier and i agree. this cake was definitely the shortest and smallest out of all the competitors. then again…it was the shortest, smallest, and plainest out of all the competitors. but it was still cute.

contestant #4, SUGAR BEE SWEETS

Vanilla Cake with Honey Banana Jam and Cream Cheese Filling. what a DELICIOUS cake!!!! what a very unexpected burst of flavor! talk about a party in my mouth!!! as far as the design, i loved how clean the cake looked. i also enjoyed how it was the only cake i noticed that i thought of using for other occasions-think of a gentleman having his 50th birthday party. it was very simple, yet very elegant. this design took 3rd place for BEST IN SHOW. 

contestant #5, DELICIOUS CAKES

Vanilla Cake with a mix of Buttercream and Cream Cheese topping, then Raspberry Mouse over Raspberry Liquor Cake with Butter Sauce. umm…there was A LOT going on with this cake flavor…it was an overload of icing. it felt as if i ate a tub of buttercream icing. i looked at the open bar and thought, “i really could use a gallon of water right now to wash this down…” as far as the design goes, i loved the colors of the cake. i thought this was the “busiest” looking cake out of all of them. i didn’t like the tiers that had the covered pearls, especially the bottom tier. it looked unfinished. i loved how “spring” the cake looked, though. 

contestant #6, LEGACY CAKES

White Chocolate Cake with a White Chocolate Ganache and Chambord Buttercream. yummy cake, the white chocolate ganache was on point. i was really enjoying all the white chocolates! it’s not too overwhelming as a flavor. the design was absolutely gorgeous. i especially loved the fondant gathered tiers. in case you don’t notice, this is an 8-tier cake. the base is also a tier! the piping on the gray tiers were just amazing. i don’t know how these chefs do it. i just don’t know. this design took 2nd place for BEST IN SHOW.

contestant #7, CAKE CAROUSEL

Amaretto Cake with Lemon Mousse Filling. this cake was divine. i was very, very upset that chef kelli duffy did not take a win for flavor this evening, i thought this cake flavor was so light and refreshing, definitely something i would have loved to have a HUGE piece of after any type of dinner because it’s not heavy. the cake texture was perfect and the lemon mousse filling was delicious that if i had to eat them separately, i would have really enjoyed each alone. did i mention i was upset that they didn’t take a spot for best flavor? ugh…i loved the design of the cake. i love how clean it looks and how simple it is. the pop of color was pretty and the tiniest details on the cake were flawless.

contestant #8, ESSENCE CAKERY

Cassata Cake with French Mousseline, Raspberry Jam and Cream Cheese Frosting. umm…my co-worker said it best…”it’s like i’m eating cornbread.”  it definitely was the most unusual cake texture out of all the cakes i tasted, but i’m not sure if that was in a good way or in a bad way. i googled “cassata” and based on what i read, i didn’t get that from the cake i had. in fact, i didn’t eat the entire piece. it just didn’t do anything for me, unfortunately. as far as the design went, i loved the blue, quilted tiers. i loved how the design faded into a nice, smooth fondant. i think if the columns were removed, i would have enjoyed the cake design more.

i had a blast tasting all these cakes. i have a blast anywhere there is food, really. haha! but they are usually never pastries! i thought the designs were all very gorgeous, and i commend anyone who does cake because i don’t know if i’d have the patience to do it. i don’t know if i’d be able to work with fondant in large pieces, and i don’t even have a big kitchen to work in, so that would frustrate me. the night was definitely inspiring as far as design and flavor went.

what a yummy night!

xoxo

i should be blogging every day…

i have too much to say on a daily basis, but once i get on my computer, my brain goes blank. this is why i should write everything down. i have personal jotter cards, a journal, a pocket calendar, an address book, and a planner in my purse and i can’t even write down what i want to put in my blogs. i should just write them on my hand so i don’t forget…

so here goes my past few days…

yeah, i’ve never been this obsessed with anyone’s cupcakes. sugar queen cupcakes are cupcakes i want to eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. i love how dense and moist their cupcakes are. but these cupcakes weren’t for me. they were someone’s special surprise a few days ago. 

 

the papyrus holiday cards have arrived! and the HANDMADES are prettier than ever!! i’m so stoked! guess which one in that picture i will be getting! i love our papyrus handmade boxed sets. they come in a box of 8 cards and lined envelopes for $24.95. they can have anything from felt cutouts to gems, laser cuts, glitter, ribbons, and more. i had the picture enlarged so y’all could see the embellishments on the cards. enjoy.

 

i had a nice and relaxing past few days. it’s rare that i don’t think about doing work when i’m at home, so the past 2 days felt like a semi-vacation, which was nice. my dad would get a kick out of the fact that i probably watched more sports in the past 2 days than i have in the past year. that’s probably including the movie “moneyball” that i watched recently…i’m not sure. haha.

 

i have the motherload of all cupcake projects.

150 cupcakes with purple high heels.

aaaaaaaaaah!!!!!!!!

so i did my research…

this was the best decoration i saw online, but i don’t know if that’s edible…if it is, then that’s one TINY BRUSH being used to make that zebra print on there!

when i was told that the color was purple, i IMMEDIATELY thought of these gorgeous cupcakes that my friend, michelle, made last year. she made them for her daughter, and i thought they were AH-MAZING:

that purple/silver combo is one of my favorite color combinations. this picture looks like it came out of a magazine. i love following michelle’s facebook because she bakes and makes these amazing creations that i’ve either never heard of or never tried…like PIG CAKE! i have known michelle for about 10 years now. back when i was 19 (now you all know my real age), i went to a valentine’s dinner with my mom, aunt, and grandmother. a few days later, my friend, grace, told me that michelle saw me at the dinner and wanted me to join the 2001 MISS NMI UNIVERSE pageant. first reaction: NO. second reaction: WHAT!? third reaction: take grace with me to watch “miss congeniality” with sandra bullock to see what this beauty pageant business was about. fourth reaction: if one of the most beautiful women on the island tells you to join a beauty pageant, you take it as a great compliment and you join it. i think all of us looked at michelle as the women we wanted to be-she’s so elegant and feminine and classy. she was engaged at the time and would tell us stories of her then-fiance-now-husband and all the sweet things he would do for her or surprise her with. we were just a bunch of giddy girls every time michelle told us stories. i loved it. i loved that year. now michelle is happily married with 2 beautiful daughters. she’s such a beautiful fairy tale. ❤ there’s my little story and picture inspiration that michelle kindly allowed me to post! thank you, michelle!

in between thinking of what i could do for the cupcakes, i got the chance to pick up my little man from school! he’s my favorite shopping partner, so i decided to plan a trip to michaels right after the school pick up. i was hoping to find edible silver paint, but i didn’t find any. i found silver powder, though. and halloween products:

i always have fun when my nephew poses for pictures and gets creative!

my mom told me that i needed to take my nephew on a mc donald’s date…well, she told me this months ago…but better late than never. besides, he knew it was going to happen.

walking into michaels…

“ra ra, can we get something to eat in here (michaels)? i’m actually hungry” (“actually” seems to be his word of the month)

“no, punkin. there’s no food in here. what do you feel like eating?”

“i think we should go to mc donald’s. i’m sure there’s one around here somewhere.”

there you go, mom. proof that i have completed my task. he needs about 5 more years on him before i take him out to a dinner date like you want me to do. i can handle him in any store and any fast food place, but NOT in a restaurant. not yet, at least.

the project high heel cupcakes will be for october 22, but i decided to try cutting some today just to get some creative ideas going. i bought a bunch of magazine last week to read up on some current trends:

back home, in saipan, my mom and i would stock up on our monthly magazines. i decided to start that habit again, just to make sure i’m up to date with everything that is going on in the fashion world. one of these came in handy when i was looking for pictures of heels that i could cut out…i didn’t know whether i wanted to do one type of heel or a few. i decided to do 3 pairs of heels:

 

all my supplies were brought to you by wilton. it’s a good thing i am starting early on this project because i don’t like the first run i did on the shoes. i want embellishments on the shoes, definitely. the silver powder didn’t show up how i thought it would. the pearl sprinkles will not be used on the shoes because they just don’t look right. there will be some painting, but i also want BLING. hopefully there is such thing as edible crystals. little edible crystals. i could make these shoes look spectacular with NON-EDIBLE supplies, but i’m too scared that someone might take a bite into the decoration on accident. i’ll do more decoration research before i decide on how to decorate the shoes. for now, i made 4 blank cut outs of each shoe because i dyed and rolled out a lot of fondant and i didn’t want to waste it.

my shoe inspiration is one of the cut outs that i blew up to fit the whole page and taped to my bedroom wall:

i thought that was just a graphic until i found out that it really is a shoe….that costs about $530. woooooo! that brand, jellyfish, sells hand painted shoes and accessories that are out of CTRL. they’re so cool, and that shoe is just insane!

my next few weeks are going to be jam-packed with tons of fun and work. parties. weddings. the state fair of texas. TAYLOR SWIFT! pool league. project high heel cupcakes. business training. the beginning of the holiday season. where has the year gone!? i wish i blogged earlier this year so i could read back on how the past 9 months flashed before my eyes. this has definitely been the busiest year i have had to date. “time flies when you’re having fun.” wow, it’s so true. i have many, many people to thank for that. and that leads me to my next paragraph.

next year is going to be big. it’s going to be my year. it’s not so much the part about being the big 30 (although it’s not all that bad), but more because all good things will happen. and i’m excited. i don’t think i’ve ever been this excited going into the next year as i have been lately. i thank all my friends and family for their support in the decisions that i make and have made.

on that note, you all have a good night, and enjoy my little fondant fun:

xoxo