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

 

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baby shower madness…

it was a crazy weekend…

we (my friend, tiffany, and i) baked, piped, iced, floured, shaped, rolled, dyed, mixed, burned, and actually taste tested for 22 hours.

here’s another “blog in pictures” that i will caption for you all. i co-hosted a baby shower for a friend, and although a million things went wrong (i totally burned a batch of lemon cupcakes…what in the world!?), the best made it on the tables. haha.

oh, and if timing couldn’t be any better, our friend gave birth today! almost 24 hours after the baby shower, baby ashton was born. there was a miscalculation in due dates and how far along our friend was, but she was very aware of her body and knew that ashton was not going to make it another month. so i’m glad we all got to enjoy the food and fun and desserts, because if the baby was born during the shower…i don’t know what would have happened! haha!

enjoy!

good lemon cupcakes. burned lemon cupcakes.

figuring out a font for the sugar cookies…

attempting to doodle for the sugar cookies…

graham cracker crust for the reese’s peanut butter mini cheesecakes!

after this batch, i decided to cut the peanut butter cups in half, horizontally…

the peanut butter cups looked too tall in the mini cups…

strawberry cake pops!

these reese’s peanut butter mini cheesecakes were….so…..good…….

more cake pop prepping…

this was when i wanted to give up. just give up. we had a dipping disaster.

piped the lemon cupcakes with a lemon pudding down the middle, topped with white icing. i put less batter in the cups to give me a more flat top to write on.

the letter “A” for Ashton.

pink crowns!

baby’s first monogram!

oreo truffles with some drizzle…

mini nutella cheesecakes!!!…the only one dessert i had at the baby shower other than fruits! and they were AWESOME!

the mom-to-be’s favorite, old fashioned rice krispy treats! with some pink icing. =)

some “disaster dipped” cake pops that ended up looking good on the plate!

the cookies, ready to rock and roll…

ta da!!! the dessert spread!

we cut up some of my note cards with squiggly scissors and made little description cards, like at buffet restaurants!

the lemon cupcakes on what was a light fixture that our friend’s mom turned into a serving platter! it was insanely gorgeous!

here’s the light fixture, with a platter, with jewels hand applied on the ends, and doilies on top. isn’t this the neatest thing EVER!?

i noticed that no one touched these oreo truffles. i think it was because they were not in a good spot. so we moved them. and then they disappeared.

strawberries. they were to be dipped in sour cream (whaaaat!?) and rolled in brown sugar and chopped nuts. so good!

veggie tray, marshmallows, and oreo truffles.

baby’s got some napkins already.

our friend’s mom is such a creative genius..turning her kitchen bar into a dessert heaven using different heights and painting a hat box pink, turning it upside down, and decorating it to be one of my favorite things on that table!

the cookies and cheesecakes.

the delicious chips and dip spread….

our friend’s parents own a restaurant called COSTA VIDA. let’s just say that after my juice fast diet, i will be paying them a visit. the food was so good, it was…unreal.

cute plates!

we held a DIAPER CAKE COMPETITION!!!

a diaper tricycle cake!

a fun, sassy PRINCESS cake!

an adorable cake! it even had a little bible on top!!

a cute cake with the baby’s name on it!

a heart-shaped cake with the baby’s name on it!

little washcloth cupcakes!

the winner of the diaper cake competition! tulle, leopard print, and sofie the giraffe!

prizes for the diaper cake competition and games. they included stationery, cute magnets, jewelry, victoria’s secret scents, gift cards to victoria’s secret, bath & body works, and dinner for 2 at costa vida, and more!

the entrance to the shower.

a photographer was on site to take pictures and print them out quickly so we could take them home with us! how fun!

voting on the diaper cakes. hmm….serious face.

opening gifts before the diaper cake winners are announced!

after 2 hours of sleep, my partner finds some time to herself…and the diapers.

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

cupcakes

i had to make baby shower cupcakes for my co worker’s sister’s baby shower. i saw this picture and thought it was cute:

 

the color palette i was working with was blue, green, and yellow. this is what i ended up with:

 

my little man helped me out by punching out blue circles. he was pretty happy that he got to help. and happier that i actually used the blue circles. =)

 

i have a co worker, madeleine, who made me a peach cobbler for my birthday…so for her birthday, i wanted to make her cupcakes…i knew she was in a book club, so i did some research of books for decorations.

 

 

i thought it was adorable…but i wanted it to look better…so this is what i came up with after 2 days of fondant coloring and blade slitting of little book pages (as shown in the first picture of the 2 pictures above)…

 

 

karon, my other co worker, got me an apple gift card for my birthday, so i wanted to make him a little something, too. he sings for his church, so i wanted to do musical notes.

 

this is what i came up with…after pulling up pictures of music sheets…

 

 

those were fun…but they were pretty hard. working with fondant is hard because my hands take a beating. every time i walk off to do something, i have to wash my hands well before i get back to the fondant, so my hands were super dry and unable to heal…until now! i’m in need of an amazing moisturizer right now…

my dear friend, jessica, also celebrated her 30th birthday…she is the one who gave me the cupcake holder for christmas, so i got to make her birthday cupcakes and display them in my cupcake holder!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

my favorite tool to pipe lettering is a ziplock bag. until i find something better, it will be a ziplock bag. i pipe better when i write in cursive. my print is good on paper, but awful on a cupcake. i don’t know why that is.

i found this yummy buttercream icing. that is what the white icings on the cupcakes are. on madeleine’s cupcakes, i used a chocolate icing, which i also loved. i don’t even like sugar icing but those 2 recipes turned out great. i was very pleased. =)

anyways, there you are! cupcake madness!!!!!!

xoxo

 

january 19, 2012

ugh!!!! i’ve been so busy lately!!!!

where do i start!?

love life: 

so after my first date on january 6, i went on a lunch date with R (because i couldn’t think of a nickname, i’m just using a letter for now…haha) that following monday. we had sushi buffet. =) i was happy. things have been going great since then. i’ve been terribly busy so that was the last time i saw R, but it’s okay. i use other ways to communicate with him-we talk on the phone, text, and i shoot him emails often to let him know how my day has been. he’s real sweet. i think this would be the time in which girls ask themselves, “hmm…what IS bad about him? is there something on the other side? there has to be something.” nah, i’m not gonna look or try and figure that out. i’m not out to look for the bad in people. i don’t have time for that, and my first few weeks of the year have been GREAT, so why ruin it? =) he’s REALLY, REALLY sweet…like, “no, sierra, you better not be playing taylor swift over and over again” sweet. okay, enough of this mush…but hopefully, i’ll get to see him tomorrow. =)

moving along….

work life: 

work has been great. this week was inventory week and it’s finally over. when i think of inventory week, i think of all of us getting together, which is very rare, so it was fun. here are some pictures of more gorgeous NIQUEA.D jewelry. the bracelets are new. swarovski crystals. UUUUUUUUGH, SOOOOOOO PRETTTTTTYYYYY!!!! i want THEM ALL!!! and the rings are amazing.

 

my life: 

there are 7 days left until i turn 30. where did my 20s go? to texas. this year marks my 10th year here in dallas, texas. i love it. i’ve definitely enjoyed my 20s. they were spent discovering texas, driving through cities, making new friends, going to new places, meeting and loving my nephew, going to school and working, finding hobbies and passions, reading good books, eating good food, tasting bad alcohol, and breaking hearts. i was half joking on the last one.

i’m very excited for what my 30s have in store for me! =)

my nephew did very well in kindergarten, so he did not fail to remind “aunty ra ra” to give him a prize:

 

on the way home from spending too much money on whatever those things are, i drove by a field that looked great for pictures. the grass was almost all dead, there were no leaves on the trees, the sky looked nice, and the weather was great. i thought, “man…punkin would be great to take pictures of in that field.” and so i did take some pictures….if you consider 92 pictures “some.”

this first picture was just a test shot and it turned out great:

 

out of the other 91, here were some of my favorites. i usually need help from someone to get my nephew to look off in the distance, so i used my sister for that. there were a lot of “look at mommy!” and “look at the cars!” so i could capture some good photos. none of these photos were edited. he just looks that awesome. haha.

 

it was a fun little photo session. =) i’m glad my nephew loves getting his pictures taken or i’d be in big trouble! he’s so much fun to photograph. ❤

 

this week, i made 4 dozen cupcakes. my friend (who is also on my pool/billiards team) asked me to make birthday cupcakes for her husband and have them north carolina tarheels themed. all i knew about north carolina was “baby blue and white.” because i was so busy, i never got a chance to practice my piping skills, but i think they turned out pretty good…my friend’s husband was super happy for them…and even more pleased that he got to take them home. usually, when i make cupcakes and bring them to my pool league, they vanish…so what i did was make 2 dozen for him and 2 dozen for the people at pool league.

 

 

i would much rather pipe icing from a ziplock bag than a tip. i don’t seem to have as much control on the icing when i use a tip and i’m piping tiny letters. i think my lettering is pretty alright. the other 2 dozen cupcakes were just strawberry with a banana cream pudding/cool whip topping.

 

the great thing about a pudding/cool whip topping is that there’s not much sugar and it’s lighter. i found the recipe somewhere on the internet and was obsessed…because i hate sugar icing!! i wanted to do a take on strawberry and bananas. everyone seemed to enjoy the cupcakes, they kinda just disappeared. the picture doesn’t look spectacular because i was running late for pool league and i just squeezed the topping on before heading out the door.

next week, i will be working on baby shower cupcakes. i took a picture of a photo i saw on google images from my phone, so it’s not all that clear, but this photo is going to be somewhat of my inspiration for the cupcakes:

the colors will be baby blue, light green, and yellow. i won’t be doing the little baby cupcake there, with the head. i just want the decorations cute and simple, and something that wouldn’t take an entire day to make. i didn’t want to spend my birthday weekend making cupcake decorations. we’ll see what i end up doing, i might change my mind if i see something better.

i must say, i’m really enjoying my first month of the year. i’ve been in such a good mood lately, there’s a high possibility that i could be annoying a lot of people because of it. haha. but i hope you are all having a great jump start to 2012 as well. =)

that is all for now.

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