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I’m Louise. Blogger. Wife. Designer of TruLu Couture Veils + Accessories.  If you’d like to know more, check out my bio.

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Entries in Cake (10)

Monday
Dec192011

Eating Cake

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I couldn’t sleep last night.

I made a banking error that had me tossing and turning well past the time I should have been snoozing away. The error was eating at me. It was stupid. I’d made it before. All the more reason to be mad at myself for not learning it the first time. It’s not my personal banking, it’s my TruLu Couture banking. It’s not a big mistake, but it is a stupid one. It’s got me paying fees and fines and smacking myself upside the head, for those fees and fines are money out the door that got me ZERO in return.  Infuriating.

So I got up  in the middle of the night to send a few emails and try to right the wrong; to give myself some sort of peace of mind that I was fixing what I had inadvertently screwed up. I stayed up until all hours of the night managing what will most likely be about a $75 jack up. Yup.

I look at that relatively small dollar number and shake my head in wonder. It makes me remember the biggest single order I ever personally signed off on, which was just shy of $1M. I mean, I’ve managed millions and millions of dollars in merchandise over the years. How can $75 keep me awake at night?

I suppose it’s all relative. The $1M order kept me tossing and turning then, now the $75 keeps me up. Great.

As 2011 starts to wrap up, I find myself more reflective this year than in years past. Perhaps I’m just more conscious of it; there’s more thinking time at hand, you see.  Or maybe this shit just starts to happen when you get older. It’s hard to determine the cause, I just know it’s happening.

I had myself a little revelation of sorts a week or so ago. I realized that I have been spinning my wheels, spreading myself too thin. I’ve been spending too much time on things that are completely peripheral. Tasks. The minutia. I realized I’m approaching my life right now the same way I used to binge-eat. I’d want a piece of cake and instead of eating the piece of cake, I’d eat everything around the piece of cake in order to not eat the piece of cake. Now substitute that piece of cake for my career and I think that metaphor is clear.

In order to get at the cake, I had to remove those snacks circling the cake. Those “snacks” are actual things though. They make up  people, projects, expectations and deadlines – most of which make me little to no money, but take up an exorbitant amount of my time. They fill me up with something that isn’t cake, invoking a sense of fullness, but not satisfaction.

What sucked about this little cake revelation is that I had to make a few difficult phone calls. I had to explain to people why eating the cake was more important and profound than snacking. I had to let some people down in my honesty, but honest I was. I’m sure there will be a ripple effect to some of these decisions. I’ll deal with them as they come, I suppose.

I’ve made some mistakes this year in running my new business, on this blog and in my life. Mistakes in a small business are more blindingly apparent than they are when working for someone else, where mistakes can be fixed before anyone realizes you made one. You can work furiously behind the scenes and emerge shining and sparkling, like it was an effortless task that brought you this nugget of more shine and more sparkle. There was that moment of the big reveal.

Those moments nowadays are few and far between. There’s less to judge myself with and by. Where is the bar to be set? What is the measure of success today? Tomorrow? Better goals must be made with means to accomplish them, that I know for sure.

There are some interesting good things that have happened this year. Save a day where I had a terrible migraine, I haven’t been sick this year. I used to get sick all the time: sinus infections, bronchial infections, stomach flus, laryngitis. I felt like I was constantly battling some sort of something. Perhaps I’m less susceptible now since I hardly ever leave my house. Perhaps it’s because I sleep more and better (with the occasional restlessness like last night). I get to see my parents more often since we live only a few hours away now.  I’m better able to assess my needs versus my wants. Those are good things, right?

On the business front, there have been successes. I got mentioned on SMP as well as several other blogs who believe in me and support me (thanks y’all!). I’ve been told one of my pieces will be in the January issue of Carolina Bride magazine. I’m for sure featured in Premier Bride magazine come April. I’ve sold some stuff and have hopefully, made some brides happy on a day where they deserve to be the happiest they can be.

It’s these small accomplishments that I need to keep me moving forward towards my cake.

And as you brides (past and present) know, a slice of cake can sometimes cost you $75.

Wednesday
Jul132011

Cupcakes: Quirky, Pretty and Butch!

I recently came across the cutest effing cupcake (I tried to write “fucking cupcake” but that just seemed a little extreme, even for this Potty Mouth) ever and it started me on this eye-candy search for all things cupcake and then I started finding all these incredibly quirky and fun cupcakes, so of course, I had to share them ALL. I mean, as a trend, I do believe cupcakes are here to stay. Agreed? Yeah. It’s pretty much anything goes these days: cupcakes, candy buffets, cookies, pies. If it’s sweet, consider it wedding-able as a traditional cake stand-in or as an extra sumpin’ sumpin’ - if you’ve got the budget! And why not have them just for the cake of it (sorry)? 

First the fun:

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Dr. Suess inspired! It’s cotton candy on top! Love. Via AppleDay.

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Chinese take out cupcakes! That broccoli looks way too real! Via Oh! Cupcakes!

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Minions! Made from Twinkies! I love it! Via Confessions of a Cookbook Queen.

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Spaghetti cupcake? Apparently so! Looks so real, eh? Via The Well Rounded Mama.

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Hamburger Cupcakes! Clever. Via Cutest Food.

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Push pop Peep-style mini cupcakes??? I kinda want these, like NOW. Via Shine.

image Naughty cupcakes! Via Flickr.

And now for the pretty:

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Wrapped with lace. So pretty. Via Cutest Food.

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Details, details. Via The Cupcake Studio, UK.

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Sometimes simple is all you need. Via For Goodness Cakes.

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Love. Via Cute Things.

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Holy cameo! Via Vintage Rose Brocante.

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How do we feel about fondant on cupcakes? I vote no on taste, yes on gorgeousness. Via Cute Things.

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Let’s eat art! Via Nevie Pie Cakes.

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Via French Knot.

And for the guys:

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Rock out with your….oh, you know the rest. Via Fluffy Cupcakes.

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For the golfer guy in your life! Via Flickr.

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Simple and cool. Via The Butch Bakery. This guy makes super-dude-style cupcakes.

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Dun dun dun dun DUN dun dun dun DUN dun dun dun dun DUN dun, dun dun dun DUNNNNNNN! Via The Star Wars Blog.

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Put the smack down old school WWF style: Hulk Hogan, George "The Animal" Steele, Jake "The Snake" Roberts, Junkyard Dog, Hacksaw Jim Duggan, and Macho Man Randy Savage. Via Flickr.

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For the fix-it dude. Via Flickr.

Writing this just made me hungry. You?

Friday
Mar262010

Cupcakes & Clash of the Titans

All day yesterday I had this DIY project mulling around in my head and it's STILL mulling around in my head, but it got me to thinking about cupcakes. Yes, cupcakes. So last night after The Candyman and I had eaten dinner and watched Bones, I decided to make some cupcakes. From scratch. And frosting. From scratch. At like 8pm. Weird, right? But I totally wanted to make some cupcakes! More specifically, I think I wanted to use my bad-ass KitchenAid stand mixer that I registered for, didn't get as a wedding gift, but got for Christmas from my folks. SWEET! If you enjoy cooking at all, I highly recommend this sucker.

I pulled out the recipes I used when I thought I might bake my own wedding cake. Remember that? You can read about it here. And here. Thankfully, it only took me two tries to realize I am not a fancy cake baker.

So anyway, I decide to make a half batch since I only have the ability to bake 12 cupcakes at a time. I'm mixing away, and I'm realizing that something doesn't smell right. It doesn't smell bad, but it doesn't smell real good either. I taste the batter. Hm. What? I taste it again. What the eff? Something is just not right in a nasty, but not rancid sort of way. I check my  fresh ingredients and they are OK. I check the vanilla and almond extracts. Wait, where's the almond extract bottle? Oh, I used it up and it's in the trash. I go and grab the bottle sitting on top of the trash and there it is. Anise extract. Not familiar with anise? It's basically freakin' BLACK LICORICE. I HATE BLACK LICORICE. So image if you can the lovely taste and aroma of butter, vanilla and Sambuca. Um, vomit. And the only reason the damn stuff is even in the house is because The Candyman uses it when he makes Pho soup. It's all his fault, right? Right.

So I clean up the nasty licorice batter and start over. Why? Because I want some goddamn cupcakes. I get it right this time and bake up some lovely treats. Once they've cooled, I go to frost them with the kick-ass butter cream I've made (sans anise, thank you very much) and I can't frost them. They are so light and fluffy that they just fell apart. I think the I let the KitchenAid have it's way with the batter a little too long. So in order to get the frosting on them, I basically have to take a big giant spoonful of frosting and just plop it on top and push down on the frosting to make it stick. They are the world ugliest cupcakes. They are the white trash of all cupcakes. Here, look:

These are cut in half for sharing with office mates, but still. These are effin' ugly. They do taste scrumdili-iscious though!

So I bet y'all are like, "What's up with the Clash of the Titans blog title, Louise?" I know I would be. So, they remade Clash of the Titans. The trailer is bad-ass. The Candyman has been walking around the house going, "Release the Kraken!" for the last couple of days. Every time the trailer comes on he's all, "Did you see that freakin' scorpion, honey? Did you see the Kraken? RELEASE THE KRAKEN!"

I totally want to see this movie, but it has nothing to do with scorpions or releasing the Kraken. I LOVE Clash of the Titans. The original, starring the oh-so dreamy Harry Hamlin, was the first movie I ever went to with a boy. Actually, it was a big ol' group of girls with a big ol' group of boys. It just so happened that all the girls in the group were "going with" a boy in the group of boys. Sneaky, right? I was "going with" Bryce Tani. He was so cute. So shy. And sooooo cute. We sat next to each other in the movie and he held my hand. It was the first time I had held hands with a boy and it was sooooo dreamy. Almost as dreamy as Harry Hamlin from Clash of the Titans

About the time the Kraken was released, Bryce had nerved himself up to put his arm around me. I was in giddy-girl heaven. I looked down at all my other friends and they too were nestled in the crooks of their boyfriends arms screeching appropriately at the scorpions and Medusa and yes, the Kraken. So when The Candyman asked me if I wanted to go see a total dick-flick with him, you know what my answer was? "You betcha, babe." I have every intention of looking dreamily into his eyes as I get that giddy-girl feeling when he reaches over to hold my hand. I will screech appropriately at all the scary parts (no fakin', I get scared at movies!) and nestle into the crook of his arm when they release the Kraken. I can't wait.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

 

Sunday
Jan172010

Communism and Playing Dr. Phil

I am so annoyed with China. I have had a blog brewing in my brain for several days now and I have had NO TIME to write. I am all go-go-go in the land of rice and pork and I just haven’t had a moment to gather my thoughts and put type to blog. I woke this morning at 5am and my blogging thoughts were racing and ideas were churning so I decided to get up and write.

 

Well, I couldn’t get onto my new blog over a SquareSpace. Eh? What is up with that? I tried a few entry portals to no avail. Sigh. Is the hotel server down or something? So what’s the next best thing to writing the blog? Well, the Google Reader, of course! So I go giddily over to gorge myself on my favorite blogs. I see that Mismikado's Journey Down The Aisle has posted about her DIY cake plates. They are so uber-pretty! However, I saw that her tallest cake stand is top heavy. Since I am a home décor designer and product developer, I know that as soon as she stacks her wonderful Mexican Wedding Cookies atop this sucker, it’s going to topple over. Or, someone will touch the edge and it’s going to fall over. I am worried about this bride’s desserts. Silly? Perhaps. Nonetheless, I click on the link to leave a comment to tell her of my fear of her impending cookie doom. I get the same bullshit “connection timed out, unable to connect to server” error message that I did for my blog.

 

Hold on a second here……

 

Twitter.com? Error message.

Any blog I know the address for off-hand? Error message.

Facebook? Error message.

 

Let us not forget that I am in a Communist country, right? Damn Communists keeping me from my social networking. WTF?

 

I go back to Hong Kong just for the night, so will post my brewing then. I’ve settled for purging into a Word document for the time being.

 

One of the things I had brewing in my noggin’ was prompted by a sweet email I received from one of the brides who reads my blog. She’s getting married in Nashville, liked our idea of a cake buffet, but was meeting resistance from her parents on having a non-traditional wedding cake, even though the happy couple is paying for the wedding on their own.

 

A few thoughts and comments on this, of course:

 

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. In the wise, wise words of CJ Dickson from CJ’s Off the Square in lovely Franklin, TN, DO NOT be tortured by tradition. If a stacked, fondant, over-priced concoction of flour and sugar is important to you, by all means, blow the cash. Hey, The Candyman and I shot our wad on our kick-ass ride. It was our splurge. We knew it, we accepted it, and we paid for it. However, there is no one to tell you that you must have any sort of cake anywhere at anytime.

 

Wait, strike that. Back up. There are PLENTY of people to tell you what you should have, what you should want. That, my dears, is the Wedding Industry Complex selling you a load of shit. Do what you want, not what people expect, or what The Knot tells you. There are some people out there who don’t like cake. I don’t personally know any of these people and I think maybe they might be a little nutso, but if you are a bride and you don’t like cake, then serve pie, dammit.

 

As for the parents, well that’s a touchy subject. However, since these particular parents are not ponying up for the shindig, they truly have no say. Truly, they do not. If they are laying out the cashola, that’s a whole other conversation.

 

Do you guys ever read Oprah magazine? I do and it’s a love/hate relationship going on with me and Oprah. Anyway, Dr.Phil has a column where he gives these suggestions for dialogues to wives who have cheated and want to come clean, or to the adult child whose siblings are stealing money from the aging parent or whatever drama lives in the world of Dr. Phil. I’m going to play Dr. Phil for a second.

 

The Cake Conversation with The Parents Who Are Not Paying:

Mom? Dad? Can The Fiancé and I have a quick discussion about the wedding plans? Great, thanks! We’d like to talk to you about the plans for our wedding cake. Since we are paying for this wedding ourselves, there are things that need to be budgeted. In that budget we have decided on aspects that are important to us in both our ceremony and our reception and we have allotted our funds to those things. One of the things that does not hold great importance to us is a traditional wedding cake. We understand your position on the traditional wedding cake and respect it. However, it is simply not something that is important or affordable for me and The Fiancé . We would much rather have a fun and interesting cake buffet/candy buffet/cupcake tower/cookie buffet and put our money towards my dream dress/bitchin’ ride/honeymoon/top shelf liquor. We hope that you understand and respect our budget as well as our wish to have the wedding of our dreams. We’ve done some research and we can show you how acceptable it is in today’s wedding world to stray from the “norm” of a traditional wedding cake. *This is when you whip out the pictures from all over the blog-o-sphere of all the available options. *

 

The Cake Conversation with The Parents Who Are Paying:

Mom? Dad? Can The Fiancé and I have a quick discussion about the wedding plans? Great, thanks! We’d like to talk to you about our plans for our wedding cake. Mom and I have been talking about having a traditional wedding cake versus another dessert option. Since you are paying for this wedding for us, for which we are completely grateful, we do have some personal preferences. We have agreed that there are things that need to be budgeted. We also need to discuss what is truly important to each of us regarding this wedding. The Fiancé and I are committing ourselves to one another – that is first and foremost. One of the things that does not hold great importance to us is a traditional wedding cake. We understand your position on the traditional wedding cake and respect it. However, it is simply not something that is important to us. We would much rather have a fun and interesting cake buffet/candy buffet/cupcake tower/cookie buffet and put our money towards my dream dress/bitchin’ ride/honeymoon/top shelf liquor. We hope that you understand and respect our opinion as well as our wish to have the wedding of our dreams with the funds you have provided for us. We’ve done some research and we can show you how acceptable it is in today’s wedding world to stray from the “norm” of a traditional wedding cake. *This is when you whip out the pictures from all over the blog-o-sphere of all the available options. *

 

OR – If you’re the sassy Thirty-Something Bride….

 

The Cake Conversation with The Parents Who Are Not Paying:

We’re having a cake buffet and that’s it. It’s cheap, it’s tasty and we’re blowing our cash on a phat ride.

 

The Cake Conversation with The Parents Who Are Paying:

I swear to God, if you make me buy that hideous tower of hell, I’m eloping.

 

You know, either way.

 

And speaking of cucake towers (OK, I wasn't really, but I did mention cupcakes as a possible dessert option), check out THIS bad-boy!

Because I haven't channeled Rachel Zoe in a while, I have to tell you I totally pulled an "I DIE!" when I saw this! Yes, it's a white cupcake tower that holds 48 cupcakes and is dripping with sparkling dangles.

Is it possible to renew your vows like 3 months in? I'd love to plan it all over again, but already be married. How fun would that be? 

Oodles. So. Much. Fun.

Later folks, I gotta go Skype The Candyman.


Tuesday
Aug112009

I've Fallen into the Internet and I Can't Get Out!

So you know how you can totally get lost in the blog-o-sphere? I do it all the time and it's a total time-sucker. I read about something cool and click on a link. Then I see something else on that site and then click on another link. Suddenly, I feel like I'm in the 70's Fabrege Shampoo commercial (and so on and so on and so on). Blogs are the worst. I mean, come on! They really are. I follow 80 bazillion blogs and want to read each and every post on every single one but I simply do not have the time. Especially now that I am in wedding crunch time, coupled with the fact that I'm working double-time to help keep my company afloat so that I can pay for said wedding! I just need a "pause" button for about a day. Maybe two.

I'm totally off track here. My point is that I got lost on the Internet the other day and found the cutest Etsy shop. It's called Natalie As Is. She doesn't have many item, but what she does have rocks. Hard.

look at the gorgeous handmade sketch books! I think these would be perfect for a registration book - or simply a wedding gift. Maybe for a bridesmaid? The paper is acid free, so could be used as a photo album too. Lovely. Just lovely.


The other really interesting this she has for sale are Cupcake Pamphlets. Uh, come again? What the hell is a cupcake pamphlet? This is:

She has 2 volumes of 3 eight-page pamphlets contains the illustrated recipes. The first volume has:

~ Marbled Lemon-Berry Cupcakes with lemon Chantilly cream

~ Earl Grey Cupcakes on pâte sucrée with dark chocolate filling, earl grey Italian meringue butter cream

~ Walnut Browned Butter Cupcakes with browned butter & Scotch pastry cream filling, white chocolate walnut glaze

These are handwritten recipes that are accompanied by watercolor and graphite illustrations. Ingredients are given in both weight and measure. The pamphlets are ink jet printed on 28 lb acid free paper and hand bound in a vellum jacket. So cool! I headed over to her Flickr page and found these examples of her mad baking skills!


Who else gets lost in the Internet? Do you find as many interesting things as I do?