The Underlying Wonderful.

I can’t remember quite how it came to be, but when my husband and I were in our early stages of romance, I believe it was he who said something along the lines of “No matter where life takes us, never forget the underlying wonderful.”  A lot of people ask me how we met. I think it’s a pretty amazing story in it’s own right, and one that might just give others some hope who feel lost or alone and like they might never find “the one.” Not everyone finds “the one” when they’re in their early 20’s. And that’s ok. If I could do it all again, I’d do it exactly the same. Because it has led me right here.


photo taken by The More We See.

It was the start of the summer of 2008. I had just come out of a two year relationship with someone, and wasn’t really looking for a new someone. I was playing with a new band at the time, and was nervous for our first show, so I asked some friends to come out for support. A friend of mine agreed to come with his wife, and he said he’d bring friends. I was on stage when they arrived. I walked over after the set to say hello…and that was when I met him. And I knew it right then, although I wasn’t really sure what it was that I knew. But there was something about this “friend” of my friend that I couldn’t stop thinking about. Sadly, this “friend” was there with his girlfriend. But we all became friends because I just had to be around this guy. He and his girlfriend wound up breaking up a few months later, and he and I went out. 4 times. It just wasn’t the right time for us though, and he got back together with his girlfriend, and I found someone else. But those 4 times never left my mind. I thought about him every single day and wondered why it happened that way. I was so sure he was who I was supposed to be with. How could I be so sure that he was “the one” if I wasn’t even going to be with him? As the years went on, it seemed less and less likely that we would ever find our time. Another relationship ended for me, and I decided it was time for me to figure out what the heck I was doing.

I started practicing yoga. I started journaling. I graduated pastry school and got a new job. I hung out with friends and did the things I always wanted to do. I traveled all over the world.  I asked myself why my life was the way it was, and I found the answer: it was how it was because of me. Not because of anyone else. Everything I did in my life was my responsibility. Once I came to realize this, old unresolved relationships began to either mend or end. I was able to confidently move in the direction of my dreams. I was able to forgive myself for my past mistakes. I was able to admit them to others and to myself, and say sorry.

By now, it was early 2013. I had just returned from another trip. I was thinking about “the guy” again, since this seemed to be the only relationship left that I still hadn’t gotten any closure on. One day, on a walk with a friend, I told him the whole story. I said I thought I might always wonder what could have been. We chatted about a few other things, and somehow on that same walk, I recounted a random story about how some girl was jealous because she thought i was interested in her boyfriend and how ridiculous that was. My friend stopped in his tracks. “How is this any different from the first story?” he asked. I told him it was because I actually DID have feelings for the first guy so that made it ok, and he went on to say, “that doesn’t matter. This is the exactly the same thing.” I argued with him, but began realizing he was absolutely right. The reason it never worked out with “the guy” was not because of him or his girlfriend our our friends – it was because of me. I suddenly was sorry for how I handled things. And I felt, at that moment, that I could move on and be just fine.

A month later, out of the blue, “the guy” emailed me. He was single, I was single. We agreed to meet. Two years later, we were married. We’re both 39.

photo taken by The More We See.

photo taken by The More We See.

The point is not that everyone is worth waiting for, or that you should sit around and let love find you. The point is that once you find you, meaning once you realize your own faults, your own hopes, your own dreams – only then can you be the person you would want to be in a relationship with. And the door to the underlying wonderful opens. 🙂

modern sugar art.

Pronounced “pah-stee-yazh”, pastillage is, in simple terms, a sugar paste. Don’t worry, I never heard of it either, and I’m supposed to know these things. But that’s why I go to school, right?

Anyway, I just learned how to make and decorate with this lovely pasty substance, and it really wasn’t all that hard. That is, the working with it wasn’t that hard. The stuff itself dries so hard that if you drop it, it shatters. You could make weapons out of this stuff. Edible weapons. For the ninja on the go. I’m so patenting that.

give us some sugar...weapons.

Anyway, my first and only pastillage creation to date was not a weapon (not intentionally anyway), but it did look a little….spikey.

it's a bird. it's a plane. it's sugar paste!

I admit, in the photo it looks…odd. Kinda like  Frank Gehry meets Jurassic Park. It’s just not very photogenic, sadly. Live, it was pretty cool. My teacher even said so. So nyah nyah.

married? yes, married!

A good friend of mine got married yesterday. A year and a half ago, she got engaged. At that time, she asked me if I would be a bridesmaid in her wedding. I said yes, with 100% assurance.  She went on to say that they were opting for wedding cupcakes in lieu of a cake. She then asked me if I would make the cupcakes. I said yes, and then threw up in my mind from fear. This was big. HUGE. Sure, I’d been baking for years on the side. I had no real professional training at that time. I was flattered and honored that she would ask me to take on such a huge and personal endeavor. I feigned confidence as we chatted periodically over the next few months about said cupcakes, discussing flavors, decorations, etc. I was mortified. It would be one thing to screw up a stranger’s wedding confection of choice, but a close friend? This is the biggest day of a girl’s life – the one we are trained to live for since the very second we as baby girls are thrust out into the world, screaming our heads off.  Anyway, the last thing I wanted to do was to have ugly cupcakes not only ruin my friendship, but also my just-starting-to-spread positive reputation as a dessert artiste.

But, as they often do, things began to change.

First, I started a formal education in the baking and pastry arts.

Then, I got a part-time job at a real life bakery.

Then, I was asked by another friend to make wedding cupcakes, with great success. (see them here)

In the last month leading up to the wedding, as my friend and I again discussed the cupcakes, I suddenly realized that I was no longer afraid. That I couldn’t even imagine feeling afraid of baking something anymore.

I’d made it.

And the cupcakes turned out great (so practically every guest at the wedding said, anyway, including – most importantly – the bride ). 😉

bring it on.

Smart brides think “small”: 4 reasons to choose wedding cupcakes over cake.

I have mixed feelings on wedding cakes. On one hand, they are beautiful works of art, to be ogled and photographed, executed by an expert hand with meticulous detail. On the other hand, they taste like crap. At least, I’ve never had a piece of one where I walked away from the wedding thinking, “now that’s a cake I need to eat again!” They’re usually bland, dry and boring, with icing so sweet your teeth start dropping out on contact. I get it in theory – it’s about that magical day – brides want a cake that looks almost as good as they do. Something people will see and say “what a beautiful cake!” But when did we stop caring about taste? Ultimately, the point of a cake to be moist and tasty – not dry and cardboard-esque. Now i appreciate and am even envious of a good “cake artist,” but often times the greatest artist does not the greatest baker make. I know that some of it is due to the fact that in order for a cake to in fact BE meticulously decorated, it needs to be dry and baked ahead of time. The icing needs to be sweet to be the right consistency for decorating. But this begs the question: are you paying for a cake or for a piece of art? If you’re willing to sacrifice taste for looks, that’s your prerogative. But I really don’t think you have to.

Enter the wedding cupcake. A rising trend for brides-to-be is choosing wedding cupcakes over the traditional cake. There are many benefits to going the small indulgences route for your wedding:

1. cupcakes are cheaper than a traditional cake

2. cupcakes can be made in a larger variety than a traditional cake

3. cupcakes can still look beautiful, but remain moist and tasty, due to their smaller scale

4. and last, but not least – cupcakes are just more fun to eat

I did a wedding last year where the bride wanted cupcakes, and let me tell you, the entire reception was just gushing over them, both for looks AND for taste. And the bride was able to save some money and spend it elsewhere (hello, honeymoon in the tropics!).

Chocolate Kahlua Wedding Cupcakes


Vanilla Coconut Rum Wedding Cupcakes


The perfect union.