Thursday, April 30, 2009

How to Bake a Wedding Cake or Am I Freakin' Nuts?

The test cake. I couldn't get The Candyman to do a test cake-cutting. He was all about the taste-testing though!

OK, my tutorial here is mostly for self-examination of my own cooking skills. Follow at your own risk! If you have helpful hints, by all means, SHARE! :)

A premise – I am a pretty good cook. I’m not a fantastic cook, but I’m good. I know my strengths (all things veggie related, pork tenderloin, grits, Thanksgiving turkey, my special chocolate chip cookies, casseroles) and my weaknesses (beef related items, grilling, deep frying anything). I am a so-so baker. It really depends on what it is.

So I started this foray into baking my own wedding cake because I think $4.50 a slice is ridiculous. I really do. Getting a really nice cake is probably worth that kind of money, however we just don’t have that in the budget. I spent the cake fund on my dress!

I began by reading several recipes on-line and researching wedding cake preparation. I needed just a few tools, so headed over to Joann’s, armed with 40% and 50% off coupons. I purchased items that I knew I would use again or that were really inexpensive:

I got the smallest decorating tip, one reusable parchment bag, a cake leveler (WHY have I not invested in one of these before?), an icing spatula and Meringue Powder (the butter cream recipe called for it). With my coupons and tax, I spent $16.48. Not too bad since I’ll use most things again.

First note to self: you need a stand mixer. Thank goodness we registered for one. If I actually go through with this plan, I’ll have to borrow one, for sure. I made the icing first using a recipe I found on What’s Cooking America. I didn’t use the Wilton recipe as it uses only shortening and I wanted this to have butter in it. I did not use the butter flavoring here, instead I used butter flavored Crisco. It worked fabulously.

Butter Cream Icing

  • 2 sticks butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups Crisco shortening
  • 1 teaspoon butter flavoring (Wilton's makes this and is available at Joann's)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (some recipes said to use clear, I didn't)
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 pounds powdered (confectioners) cane sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon meringue powder (optional but the texture will be smoother)*
  • Water as necessary (the recipe calls for 2 tablespoons but you may need more or less depending on the humidity in your neighborhood. I didn't use any.)
*You can purchase meringue powder at your local grocery store under the brand name of Just Whites or at Joann’s.

In the mixer, mix butter, Crisco shortening, and salt together to incorporate, about 5 minutes on low.

Add almond, butter and vanilla extracts. Mix together well. Add about 1 pound of powdered sugar and the meringue powder and mix.

Add 1/2 cup of powdered sugar at a time and mix until you get the consistency you want.

Add a little milk, a teaspoon at a time, if necessary to thin the frosting. Blend well on low for several minutes.

Just so you know, this makes a hella lot of icing. I stuck this in the fridge to chill and went to Lowe’s with The Candyman. When we got back from our expedition in patio tiles, I got to work on the cake batter. It was relatively simple, as was the icing, just time consuming because I only have a hand mixer.

Mmmmmm....butter cream!

For the cake, I followed the Wilton recipe and guidelines.

Butter Cake

  • 1 1/2 cups butter, room temperature
  • 2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 teaspoon clear almond extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
Makes about 7 1/2 cups cake batter.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray pans with vegetable pan spray, or use Cake Release.

In mixer bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Mix in vanilla and almond flavor. Mix flour with baking powder and salt. Add flour mixture alternately with milk, starting with the flour; mix well. Pour into prepared pans.

Refer to baking chart, for baking times and temperatures for specific pans.

I made a 2-layer 8" round cake and used 3 1/2 cups of batter in each pan. I had left overs so made some cupcakes too.

So, not all that pretty, but they tasted okay!

The issues I had:
  • The instructions said 30-35 minutes to bake. At 30 minutes, the center was still liquid. I set the time for eight more minutes, meaning to check at four, got side tracked and over-baked slightly.
  • I used 2% milk and I think it needs whole milk.
  • I whipped my icing on high instead of low (ooops) and it had LOTS of air, making it difficult to get smooth (see top picture!).
  • I took too much air out of the cake layers by banging the pans on the counter too many times.
  • Excellent tasting icing, but not smooth. I think if I don't try to get it smooth (embrace texture) and top with flowers it will be nice.
  • Cupcakes weren't over cooked and were light and airy, but a little dry.
  • Cake was over-cooked therefore too dense and a little dry.
  • Use fresh ingredients. I always update my baking soda and powder when I'm baking something I want to be good.
  • Use quality ingredients, especially with flour and sugar.
  • Be consistent in the products you use. I learned from watching Baking with Julia Child that using the same kinds of eggs (I use cage-free and organic) every time you bake bread teaches you how to adjust your kneading. Sounds weird, but would YOU question Julia?

I think the whole milk might help the dry factor. Does any one know anything about this? Does anyone have any fabulous cake recipes they would like to share? Do people think I'm a nut-job for even thinking about attempting this? Based on Wilton's serving guidelines, I'd need four cakes. Will I have time to do this? I need some feedback!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Aloft Hotel Coolness

OK, so check it out. The Aloft Hotel opened up not long ago down in Cool Springs, about 15 miles out of Nashville. I work nearby and my company started using them when overnight vendors would come. I knew I had to work with them and get a hotel block for my Out-of-Towners!

So, I hooked up with Kristen, the Sales Goddess at Aloft. I met up with her the same night the hotel was doing this cool after-work wine tasting, snack eating thing. I mean, it was nice cheese and crackers and yummy tiny cookies and such. Snacks, but nice snacks. And the wine was good too (a local one!) and if someone would remind what it was, I'd be happy to sing praises.

Anyway...The Candyman and I sat down and chatted with her about Bridal Blocks and such. I like the lobby vibe there. It's cool and chic and new, but small so cozy feeling. We decided to have our Rehearsal Gathering there and I'm just totally psyched about it. I hope everyone comes. Since The Candyman and I are paying for this shindig, an additional Rehearsal Dinner would equal almost another reception and we just can't do it. We had been to a similar Rehearsal Gathering a year prior at James and Honni's wedding in Chapel Hill. I thought it was a grand idea. Most of our guests are from out of town and I think it would be hard to get everyone there on time for a rehearsal dinner the day before The Big Show. This way, people can come early, come late, whatever - just come!

At any rate, Ashely over at Ashley's Bride Guide (Nashville's local resource for all things bridal) hooked up with Kristen too not long ago and snapped these uber-cool photos of the lobby. Check it out!

All photos courtesy of Ashley's Bride Guide

It's got a very nice feeling at night. These day-time photos don't do it justice! It will be a great place to mingle and chat everyone up and really socialize. I have a feeling I'm going to be a little freaked out 24 hours later. In a good way though - a "HOLY $H*T, I'm MARRIED to The Candyman!" way. And that will be a very, very good thing. Remember the love, people. Remember the love.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

How to Honeymoon, Part Numero Dos

OK, so I'm jumping all over the place with my blogs, right? Veils to travel to CAKE (it's coming)!

I'm going back to the travel part of having a honeymoon and how to do it a little less expensively than an all-inclusive resort or hotel somewhere. My Modern Bride magazine called out 3 places (might have been a few more) under $200 this month. Conde Nast Traveler was all excited about their "under $250" specials. I am sorry, but that is not a deal in my book.

I digress (I think). The last time I mentioned honeymoons, I was talking about my solo vacation in 2004 (prior to meeting and loving The Candyman) in Hawaii. The Candyman had never been further west than Texas in all of his thirty-something years, so I was bound and determined to show him the Pacific. I had a big ol' pile of frequent flier miles to my name and Home Away at my fingertips, so I got to planning. I wanted to try a new place (not that there was anything wrong with the place I stayed originally). I wanted a change of scenery. I found another cottage two blocks over called Savannah's Cabana! Terri Cordell, the owner of the main house and her family were just the sweetest people we had ever met. They made us feel really welcome and the cottage was perfect. We had less of a kitchen than I had a Kailua Beachwalk, but it didn't matter. All we really made was coffee and lunches to go.

Our "home away" in Kailua, Hawaii!

Our protective yard Buddha!

In the shared yard - a great place to chill and chat with the neighbors!

A slightly sunburned Candyman!

Savannah's Cabana was $135 a night, plus a cleaning fee and taxes. We stayed over Labor Day weekend and instead of the rates going up, we got a small discount. Their site doesn't mention this, so they might have changed it, I'm not sure. Again, we were a block away from the best beach ever.

Looking south on a Friday afternoon.

Looking north on a Friday afternoon. Note the crowds.

OK, so for our honeymoon, I wasn't sure what we should do or where we should go. Part of me just wanted to jump in the car and head up to Gatlinburg, TN, or Asheville, NC, and hide out in a cabin for a week. But, Asheville reeks of patchouli and Gatlinburg can get a little too mountain-like (Deliverance, anyone?), so I started searching all sort of crazy places that I'd always dreamed of going. Lo and behold, Home Away served up what I was hungry for. I found Sueno Del Mar in Zihuatanejo, Mexico, on the Mexican Riviera. Never heard of it? Good. That means fewer people will be there! Kidding (sort of). If you've ever seen "When a Man Loves a Woman" (Meg Ryan plays a drunk and Andy Garcia her pilot husband), you've seen Zihuatanejo (scene in an infinity pool). If you've seen The Shawshank Redemption, you've seen Zihuatanejo. It's where Morgan Freeman meets up with Tim Robbins at the very end of the movie. See, you know where it is!
Check out these photos of the place!

All photos courtesy of Sueno Del Mar

Amazing, right? We are going at the end of their low season (could be rainy), so got the lower rate of $165 a night (this is a 2-bedroom), but the owner Harriet Garfinkle, gave us a discount of 10% since we are just 2 people! Sweet! I did opt to pay $150 more to have them stock the kitchen with groceries for the week. We'll see if this was worth it, but my guess is that it will be. Upon receipt of 50% of payment (standard), Harriet sent me the most comprehensive guide book I've ever seen! All about where to go and what to avoid, what to eat, what not to eat and all sorts of little things you'd never think about (i.e there are scorpions in Mexico. Holy $H*T !). Harriet has also been updating us via email on the crap going down in Mexico. Mostly that stuff is happening in scary border towns and larger places like Mexico City. If you're smart, most of that kind of stuff can be easily avoided. I read a few articles that state most problems Americans have in Mexico are Tequila related. Thankfully, I learned my lesson with Tequila long ago and I now avoid it at all costs.
On Home Way, there are 8 reviews - all give 5 out of 5 stars. On Trip Advisor, there are 28 reviews - all with 5 out of 5 stars.
Lastly, check out their website with amazing photos and one honeymooner's description of their paradise. Harriet also called out my BLOG! Thank you, Harriet!!!! We can't wait!!!

If you want to book Sueno Del Mar, email Harriet at and tell her Louise sent you!

Monday, April 27, 2009

The Veil, Part Trois


I am so excited! I think it looks pretty good too. Since I'm still not sure how I'm going to wear my hair, I'm hoping for the best. In the end, I'll only be wearing it for the ceremony, so I'm not too up in arms about it.

The last bit of veil construction consisted mostly of just hand-sewing the lace to the tulle. I did a little at a time so I wouldn't get burned out or sloppy, both of which I have a tendency to do with hand-work. Using the Mettler Silk Finish Sewing Thread was a great idea given to me by my aunt, whom we call Sister (don't ask). I just happen to have a spool of ivory on hand! FYI - The one who dies with the most fabric/thread/yarn/floss wins! The best part about this thread is that it doesn't twist during handwork (meaning fewer knots).

Photo courtesy of Mettler.

The one tough part was splicing the lace where it had originally been joined at an angle on the mantilla. I wasn't happy about doing it, but I took my time and it came out OK.

After I had the lace all sewn on, I did a quick check in the mirror to see how it was falling and it looked fine to me! I went behind the lace (on the wrong side of the veil) and cut the tulle right up to the edge of the lace so that the lace was then free of the tulle backing. The lace hangs beautifully! I need to steam it to get it just right, but it I'm really excited that it came out so well.

Booty shot courtesy of The Candyman

I had The Candyman snap this so I could see how long it was in the back and I think it might be perfect as I believe my train starts right where the veil ends. Whew! I'll have to take The Veil to visit The Dress soon to be properly introduced. I wish I could introduce The Veil and The Dress to The Shoes, but those have yet to be discovered.

Photo courtesy of T30SB!


Go Cheap or Stay Home!

The Wendy Perrin Report

I snaked this info from Condé Nast Traveler Magazine and thought it was après peau since I’m blogging about Honeymoon travel. First, check out Wendy Perrin’s Daily Deals here. She’s got great posts on travel deals.

Airfares to Europe

Summer fares to Europe will be cheaper than in recent history. Good deals in coach, even better deals in business class!

England, specifically London

While London is expensive, folks are saying the weak dollar is creating a 1985-esque travel experience, approximately 35% cheaper than last year. Advice is to check for airfare-hotel packages and to check out offer’s for free museum entry.

Las Vegas, New York, San Francisco (as well as Arizona, Hawaii and Florida)

Convention business is at a fraction of what it once was. Big summer sales have already started!

Also, luxury hotels and resort-spa locations that draw corporate meetings are slashing prices – about 30% off.

On-line Auctions and Name-Your-Own-Price Sites

Savvy shoppers have reported winning bids of 50-60% off retail rates for 4-star hotels! Also, check out for auctions on amazing vacations! Another travel search engine I like is It compares rates on multiple sites.

Photo courtesy

All-Inclusive Resorts

Not my favorite way to travel, but it fits the bill for some. Beaches and Sandals resorts have been slicing 55% off their rates.

Africa Safaris

Hippo Creek Safaris and Explore reported incredible rates at 30-40% off. While these are expensive trips, now is a good time to take a trip of a lifetime!

Australia and New Zealand

The dollar goes 30% farther now than it did before, but airfare to these countries are still high. Look for discounts as the US increases its airline services down under.

Last-Minute Deals

To get a sense of the options here, try a “dateless” search on Orbitz and you’ll get the best rates available in the next 30 days. If you fly by the seat of your pants and are open to locations, this might be the way to go.

Frequent Flier Redemption

Don’t waste these on cheap flights! Check to make sure paying for the flight is worth the miles needed to get it for free. Purchased flights create miles, so the value may not be there. Otherwise, fly free!

Other stuff to check out now!

Sofitel is offering three nights for the price of two in Chicago, LA, NYC and Washington DC.
Book by May 31 with 3-day advance booking.

Regent Seven Seas has an Alaskan cruise two-for-one package that includes airfare, and unlimited shore excursions on the Seven Seas Mariner. Book by May 31.

Crystal Cruises is offering $2000 in shipboard credits on European itineraries.

Photo courtesy of Regent Seven Seas

Saturday, April 25, 2009

How to Honeymoon - Part Numero Uno

I am going to write instructions on how to travel and therefore, how to Honeymoon. I think I've got enough Frequent Flier miles under my belt to be able to comfortably say, "I know how to freakin' travel." I swear, I could kick some serious ass on The Amazing Race.

How did I become so savvy, you ask? Well, when you travel overseas 3 times a year for a month at time, touching down in Europe, India, Vietnam, Thailand, China and The Philippines along the way, you sort of figure it out. I've been doing this kind of thing for the last 10 years, at different intervals, for different time periods and different companies. When I travel, I am lucky enough to go first/business class and to stay in 4 or 5 star international hotels. I eat at 4 and 5 star restaurants around the world. Most times, I am blown away by the life I lead. Some of the time, it's glamorous. Most of the time, it's not. There is nothing sexy about flying 28 hours to get to a final destination. Nothing is glamorous about peeing in the Jaipur, India, airport. And there is nothing funny about a 5'10" woman flying coach on China Southern Airlines. I might as well just eat my knees, the seats are so small.

What has this got to do with a honeymoon? I'll tell you. It has to do with what you want to do on your honeymoon. My main objective when I go on holiday is to make sure I have plenty of nothing planned. I might schedule a nap, if I feel like getting crazy. Happily, The Candyman is excellent at doing nothing and enjoys this as well. I want to be warm, I want to see a beach and I want to do nothing on that beach for a week. Now, I can pay thousands of dollars for that to happen. Or, I can pay less. Much less.

If you are the type of couple who want the all-inclusive, spa-type hotel honeymoon, you might want to stop reading (but please don't!). If you are the type of couple who wants to go zip-lining in Belize, this might not be your best read either. However, if you want a nice place to stay and to
relax, keep on!

I do not want a fancy hotel to vacation in. I stay in fancy hotels enough and they are totally overrated. I want to lounge in bed all day and not have a hotel maid disturb me even though I put the 'Do Not Disturb' sign out. I want to make peanut-butter toast and sit in bed with my new husband and chill and talk and drink coffee on the beach, on by the pool.

You can do this if you rent a house. This is not hard to do. Two of my most favorite websites in the entire Internet are Home Away and VRBO. These websites offer rentals in locations around the world. It really is amazing and the deals are out of this world.

The first time I used Home Away, I went on my first solo vacation in 2004. I had just run my first marathon and I wanted to reward myself for all the hard work.
I'm in the red shirt and green hat. Can you find me? Photo courtesy of my dad.

At the time, there was no way I could afford that kind of trip without my frequent flier miles. I did have that massive perk. Anyway, I lived in Hawaii when I was a kid and had always wanted to go back. I had looked into it, but had no desire to go stay in some cheap hotel in Waikiki. I wanted to stay in my town, where I lived and kick it on my beach. I wasn't a tourist so I felt I wanted to go local. After hitting the Internet hard, I found Home Away and also found my first Hawaiian get-away!

Through Chris and Rochelle, the owners of Beachwalk Cottage in Kailua, Hawaii, I found my own private paradise! Basically, it was a mother-in-law type house set away from a main house with private access. Their rates have gone up in the last few years but in 2004, I paid $95 a night. There were some cleaning fees and tax and that's it. It was an 8 minute walk to Kailua Beach, one of the world's best beaches. Here's the cottage I stayed in:

The bead was super comfy!

The living room area. The satellite TV had every single channel known to man. The one night I stayed in I nearly killed myself with movie-watching.
The gated entrance was just to the left. This was my little private yard.

The other side of the yard. There's a little waterfall in the corner you can turn on. Nice.

A little desk area looking out to the patio and the bathroom on the left.

Tiny kitchen that did the trick!

It was clean, quiet and had everything that I needed. Kailua is a sleepy little town with all the stuff you would need, plus some, to have a wonderful Hawaiian vacation. Minus airfaire, I paid about $1250 to stay in Hawaii for a week - including food, drink, entertainment, Jeep rental, gas and a suitcase full of Kona coffee, Li Hing Mui and Guava Jam to give as Chritmas gifts!

Coming up.....Home Away takes T30SB and The Candyman back to Hawaii in 2008. We've booked again for our honeymoon...but where?!? Check in later and find out!

Where are YOU going on your honeymoon? What is your dream vacation?

Friday, April 24, 2009

Nashville Vintage Weekend!

A quick update on some vintage news for my Nashville peeps! My good pal Trisha, owner of Nashville's numero uno vintage clothing shop, The Hip Zipper has the following info to share:

LOTS of Vintage in Nashville this weekend!

- The Waldon Artisan Market is going on this weekend from approx 9:00am until 4:00pm Saturday and Sunday! They're located at the 1900 block of Eastland Across the street from Rosepepper Mexican Cantina. Lots of great vendors selling their crafty and vintage wears!

- There are also lots of great vintage clothing vendors set up at the Tennessee State Fairgrounds Flea Market this weekend. Most notably: Closet Case Vintage is located outside the Rabbit Barn in Booth 73, Parlour Vintage is located in front of Shed 4, Booth 4027, and Dianne Grossman's spot is INSIDE the Rabbit Barn - you can't miss the mass of vintage on the racks inside.

The market looks pretty swollen with merchandise of ALL kinds, so head out there if you can and see what treasures you can find.

We hope to see you TOO (at some point in the weekend)

We've put out all our spring summer stuff that we've been saving up the past year... waiting for the right season...

There are also even more NEW vintage acquisitions that will be inventoried, washed & put on the racks soon. This includes men's & women's clothing. LOTS more to put out when I can get to it! Keep checking back!

Have a great weekend ya'll, and we appreciate your business!

Hip Zipper Vintage

I sent my darling Trisha (who is the world's sweetest shop owner) some photos of stuff I was looking for and I got a text message from her today telling me to stop by the store this weekend. I wonder what kinds of goodies she found!?! How am I going to fit all this in with all the other stuff I'm supposed to be doing? Oh, who am I kidding? I am SO going vintage shopping.

Check out her awesome store!

All photos courtesy of Heidi Ross. Her stuff rocks.

The Key to My Heart

Oh, the pain. I love these so much. One day The Candyman will be some rock-star lawyer (not that I'm not proud of my current, not-for-profit, double-state Bar passing, kick-ass lawyer!) and will deck me out in my heart's desire.

My favorite is second from the right in the bottom picture. In platinum, please! We all know that Tiffany isn't affordable at all. However, they do offer these little guys for $100, sans chain.
All photos courtesy of Tiffany.
Actually, Tiffany does sell a few things that are under the one hundred dollar mark if that's where your gift giving budget falls (mine doesn't, sorry Cousin/Matron of Honor!). The have a few bracelets, key chains and charms that hit the mark. So if you're big on the brand name and short on cash, those might be the way to go!

Honeymoon blogs to come - hopefully this weekend. However, I have a veil to finish sewing, invites to assemble, a backyard that has a pile full of DIY dirt in it (maybe I'll blog about the "tile" we're laying) and a wedding cake yet to be discovered. I NEED A CAKE! The Thirty-Something Bride might be headed fro another WPB (Wedding Planning Breakdown). Noooooo....

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Bracelets, Clutches and Tiaras, oh my!

I hope I've got some local Nashville brides reading my blog because The Bride Room is having a Paris Trunk Show on May 1st and 2nd. Now I'm not sure about the "Paris" part because we live in Nashville (that was an attempt at humour, dear bloggers), however it will be featuring Debra Moreland. She makes pretty things like this:

Photo courtesy of Debra Moreland

I might have to go check it out! There's a 10% discount, so that will at least get in me in the door. Hm, I really like the hairstyle in the picture above and well as the head bling.

Check out this gorgeous Lucite clutch I found on Ruby Lane. It sold for $200 and it wasn't even signed. She guessed it to be a Wardley. It's sooooooo pretty.
Photo courtesy Ruby Lane

So ever since I signed up at Gartner Studios for my invitation templates and 50 FREE FONTS I've been getting some updates via email. I highly recommend doing this. Getting myself on a bunch of wedding email lists was the best thing I've ever done in this whole wedding planning gig. It's annoying, for sure, but all the information starts coming to you much more quickly than if you were hunting for things solo.

At any rate, Gartner Studios is having a 15% off any sale over $20. Here's a cute, personalized and inexpensive gift for only $14.00! Buy a couple of them as bridesmaid gifts and you save some cash. And guess what? The engraving is free. Booya. What a deal. Go here to find it!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Uber-List

Check it out! Go to the Stylish Events blog for the greatest list of all time! The 101 DIY Projects and Ideas! The go-to list for any crafty-budget-minded bride!

Cake Hell

The Candyman and I are actually contemplating baking our own wedding cakes. We don't want anything fancy, just something that tastes good and is LESS than $350 (including tax and delivery). To be honest, we can't find one reliable resource that tastes good in all of Nashville who charges less than $3.50 a slice. I think that's sad. I think it's sad that regardless of the amount of work put into a cake (and I know that it's a tough gig), the power-bakers still charge the same amount per slice. I am just looking for a two-tiered cake (bottom to slice, top to keep for our anniversary) and I don't care how big it is. I don't want any decorations, just a butter cream frosting with piping at the base seams. Simple. We are totally cool with serving from sheet cakes in the kitchen. No one will know and no one will care, as long as it's yummy!
Even though I love Martha, this is the kind of cake I do not want: a highly decorated, gum pasted, fondant tower of hell.

Photo courtesy of Martha Stewart Weddings.

I want something simple and pretty, like this:
Or this:

The best price I got was around $275, but it took that bakery a week to get me a quote that was incorrect. I fixed it and sent it back and then they took another week to reply. I don't think that's the kind of vendor I want. I need a little more attention to detail from the get-go. Sadly, her cakes were awesome tasting.

I had some email discussion with another, affordable and reccommended baker. I sent her an inquiry email, which she replied to after several days. Her tasting appointments are limited, so I asked her where she was located and what her last appoinment could be (her tasting times are Monday and Tuesday 10-6pm, not the most convenient for working peeps, right?). A week went by with no reply. I resent the email and I got the same, cut and paste email I received the first time, most of which outlined her costs, cake stand rental fee, late fees, depostits, etc. This was annoying, at best. She failed to answer my original questions so I have let her fall off the radar.

We got another very affordable quote from a lisenced home-baker, but her cakes weren't that good. :(

All the other quotes have been through the roof. I spoke to one well-known, highly publicized baker who, when I mentioned other smaller bakers, started slamming them. He claimed one was operating illegally (I checked it out, the claim is false) and that all home-bakers aren't serious about their craft and most don't have health inspections. The one home-baker we spoke to is legal and licensed and insured. I guess my point is that this fancy-schmancy baker was a little rude and unnecessarily competitve.

I read last night on That Bride's blog that she and her groom had a "Cake Buffet." I think that might be a great idea, whether we bake ourselves or not. I think a couple single cakes, decorated with flowers would be quite pretty. We have one or two more independent, small bakers that we need to talk to before we figure out what the hell we're doing. I am not opposed to the cupcake idea either. We have some great cupcake people in Franklin, TN, that I did some preliminary tastings with (meaning, I went in and bought a bunch of cupcakes to try). One was The Curious Gourmet Cupcake Cafe and the other was Ivey Cake. Both had yummy cupcakes and were about the same in price. I think I need to go back to them to chat about cakes. There's also a new-ish bakery in East Nashville called Sweet 16th (it's on 16th Street) and there are some options there too. We need to schedule a tasting at all these places and get some quotes. One of the issues I'm having with cupcakes is that the stands are: a) expensive to buy or rent b) ugly c) don't hold a whole lot of cupcakes. What's a Cakeless Thirty-Something Bride to do? Any tips?

The funny thing is, I don't really enjoy eating a lot of cake. I mean, I LOVE cake. I LOVE icing even more. I just can't eat a lot of it. I was oogy feeling all night after our first cake tasting. I ate much less at the second tasting and still felt a little gross.