Friday, September 30, 2011

A Day In the Life Of.....

Over the course of the past few years, I've often been asked "How do you do it?"....more recently, I've heard "I don't know how you do it!!"....I really haven't considered myself "super" anything and never really sat down to analyze my normal every day routine.  I honestly spend the majority of my time in some sort of fog...which probably is the one thing that keeps me sane....

Ok, let's disect: I make cakes (ALOT of cakes), I'm a mom (to two amazing little people), I have a home, a dog, a guinea pig and an 18 year old cockatiel...thank goodness I put my fishtank away or else it would be full too...I think part of my personality is to overload everything...including myself :)  Nothing is small...I'd have more kids if I didn't think that it would give my inlaws an complete coronary and I'd have more dogs if my husband would just nod his head yes (ok, who am I kidding - when do I ever ASK for anything...I just "do") hahaha!

So, in an effort to explain a typical day in the land of Julie - I decided to a breakdown.  Apparently this is supposed to help myself as well.  According to my mother, I need to keep track of my activities to avoid burnout.  Hello mom - burnout was last year??!!!

My days change - well...daily :)  Some days the kids have extra curriculars and some days are supply days where there's running around picking up items for the weeks orders.  Most days I don't know what day it actually is.  Hence, forgetting an appointment or an important phone consultation...oops!

Here we go:

A Julie Day:

5:30 am - first alarm...try to open eyes hit snooze
6:00 am - drag butt out of bed - negotiate a workout
6:15am - with coffee in hand head down to workout room and kill myself for 40 minutes
6:55am - check email briefly - post some random complaint on facebook
7:00am - head upstairs to face a grumpy child who refuses to get her butt out of bed and wants to negotiate hitting mother like daughter
7:15am - wake up child number 2 who is luckily a morning person
7:30 am - kitchen - breakfast for child 1 and 2 - make school lunch for child 1 - pack backpack and out the door
7:55 am - drive and drop off child one at school....still haven't had coffee #2..not cool
8:01am - home with child 2 who whines for more food...a constant battle through out the day..need to feed myself
8:15 am - email backlog...catch up on phone calls...make supply list, work on sketches - oops forgot to shower...eeeewww...
10:00 am - prioritize orders for the week and start baking
11:00am - feed child 2 lunch - pack snack - schoolbag
11:50am - drop off child 2 at school
12:00am - try to eat something supportive...ok..
12:15am. - back to work...molding...creating...getting dirty...
2:15 pm - pick up child 1 and 2 from school...
2:40 pm - jet home grab child 1's gear for riding and off to stable..
3:30 pm - at stable - listening to child 2 whine for food...(I do feed him)....trying to watch child 1's lesson while answering messages on my BB...
5:00 pm - leave stable
5:30pm - dinner....
6:30 - supply run
7:30 - bedtime routine...and they want mommy
8:30 - bake, bake, bake
11 pm - crash...

if this were a Thursday, Friday or Saturday, my day would start at 5am and end at around 1am...I'd have to factor in hockey too...and deliveries...somewhere in there I need to factor in my house duties...not sure where they fit in...

That's just a tiny's not that bad....Nothing different than most working/stay at home mom's do...

We should all be looking at each other saying - "How do WE do it!"

Now I'm going to go paint some eyeballs on my eyelids and pretend that I'm awake...

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Olivia's "Lucky" 7 Birthday Bash!

September 24th marked a huge milestone for my little girl.  She turned 7.  This was a very special birthday.  Olivia has overcome many obstacles during the past few years.  She's worked so hard and has really given everything her all.  It's been so evident to those around her of her growth and maturity that I felt she really deserved a super special day!

Olivia LOVES horses!  She's currently enrolled in English Riding lessons at a local riding school and we decided to share her passion with her friends and family.  After doing some very time consuming research, I found that horseback riding parties are hard to come by in the Ottawa area (or just aren't advertised very well).  On my 5th day of "google" searches, I finally stumbled across Smithvale Stables.  Owned and operated by a lovely farmer, Kevin Smith, this 270 acre farm was the perfect backdrop for some families to get together and celebrate. 

Of course the most important element were the horses .....

How could you not walk over and say "hello"??

Even I got a chance to have some fun with Barney the Clydesdale

and of course the ponies!!!!

Waiting patiently for their turn..

The birthday girl riding one of Smithvale Stables' beloved ponies.
With a total of 18 children, the ponies had their work cut out for them....but they didn't seem to mind :)

I got a little workout too!! LOL

Tons of fun!!

We continued our party in Smithvale Stables' banquet room.  Large enough to hold up to 100 guests, it provided ample room for the kids to take advantage of some snacks...socializing....and............


I was lucky enough to find Chelsea from Funtabulous Faces through a friend on facebook who had recently hired her for her little girls party.  What a find!!!!  Chelsea is INCREDIBLE!!  Check out some of these amazing faces!!

My beautiful Birthday girl and her gorgeous face art!

Chelsea was professional and oh so talented!!!!  I can't get over my little guys face! 

A huge Thank you to Chelsea for adding that extra special touch to our day!!! 

Here are a few more photos of Olivia's special day.  This blog post wouldn't have been the same without the phenomenal images captured by Urban Bent Studio.  Christine Groulx spent her time chasing the children capturing these special moments.  I'm so grateful to have these memories frozen in time!  Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!!!

Gathering grass to feed some 4 legged friends

Cake and Gourmet Apples made by moi!

Make a wish!!


The special touches that we remember..


Happy Trails :)
  My wish for my daughter is a new, wonderful year with a fresh start! Thanks to Smithvale Stables, Funtabulous Faces and Urban Bent Studio along with her friends and family - she has memories to last a lifetime!!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Importance of Chemistry!

Chemistry: the interaction of one personality with another

If there's one tip I could give all brides and grooms to be, it would be to shop for good chemistry.  No, not with each already have that :) 

You need to find it with your wedding vendors.


 But why, you ask???

Simply put - a wedding isn't just one day!  Weddings take months, a year, or even more of planning.  Your time is full of research, shopping, meetings, consultations, emails, phone calls and tastings.  Planning a wedding can be a stressful time - especially in our work overloaded society.  Trying to find time to squeeze in that meeting with you planner, or go visit your florist halfway across town can be tough....and tiring!!  Making the necessary decisions can be frustrating at times. 

This is why it's so important to have vendors that mesh well with you.  It's so much more relaxing and fun to be working with someone who you 'click' with.  The planning phase becomes less stressful and enjoyable - making the end result even more fantastic!!!!
The term "The joy is in the journey" truly applies to wedding planning.

So how do you find "chemistry"??  Back when I was planning my wedding (what feels like ages ago), I wasn't tuned into social networking.  Actually, I don't know if it was even as prevalent as it is today.  You brides have it GOOOD!!!!!  Tap into those resources.  They give you an outstanding view of your potential vendors.  Twitter is great for seeing where they stand within their business communities and Facebook can help you scan interactions with their clients as well as photos and blogs.  Both these online tools will help you start your research.

 A good old phone call is another way to tell if you communicate well with someone.  Email can be tricky - perfect for quick info - but sometimes a voice is so much more comforting. 

Obviously the initial meeting is the most important factor.  You can tell right away if you want to spend the next 10 months planning your cake, or flowers, or decor with an individual.  They may be able to offer you the most luxurious of product - but if they have no people skills, then it may not be worth it.  You want someone who would go that extra mile for you, do their best - and take your wedding day very personally. 

I try my best to have this kind of relationship with all my brides and grooms.  After all, they've chosen me to contribute to one of the most important days of their lives - that's a big honor....and a big job :)

There's no reason to feel overwhelmed or stressed in the days leading up to your special day.  That's what good wedding professionals do...relieve the burden. So, try your best to search for those people who you really like.  Trust me, it will be so very worth it!!!

I'll leave you with a photo of my most current wedding.  A couple that I truly enjoyed working with.  I wish them all the best that life has to offer!! xo

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


Once again, this blog is behind.  It really is the story of my life (even my children were overdue!!), but I'm here!  YAY - and relatively unscathed from December.   The month started off with a bang and was a marathon race right up until Christmas Eve. 

December 4th I had the pleasure in taking part in a fundraising event called Shopping and Sweets.  It was the collaboration of Rebecca Stanisic and Gwen Leron, two absolutely wonderfully driven and successful ladies looking to bring women entrepreneurs together for an exculsive shopping event while raising money for a good cause. 

They approached me sometime in November to be their exclusive "sweets" sponsor.  Basically all of the money raised from the purchase of my goodies would go towards the charity of choice.  In this case it was the Ottawa Christmas Exchange.  I didn't hesitate.  It was a wonderful opportunity to get out and meet some fellow entrepreneurs while being able to give back to the community. 

I decided that cupcakes were the best treat of choice.  They're decadent, affordable and portable :)  I put my head together with my handy, dandy, hubby assistant and came up with our flavors of choice - red velvet, chocolate caramel, pumpkin spice, very vanilla, double chocolate and ebony and ivory..something for everyone.

Rebecca and Gwen made an appearance on Rogers Daytime to promote the event.  I was asked to go but unfortunately was knee deep in flour and icing sugar.  Above is a photo of the cupcakes that I sent to the show.  Apparently they were enjoyed by all!

 We baked and iced over 300 cupcakes for the 3 hour event and we sold out!

Over $1200 was raised that day for the Ottawa Christmas Exchange.  An absolutely wonderful way to start off the holiday season - a true "feel good" experience and I hope to be asked to participate again next year.  Working with Rebecca and Gwen was wonderful and I'm so pleased to have met them!

The rest of December was just as crazy.  Bookings for cakes, cupcakes and cookies were overwhelming at times.  During the last 3 weeks of December, over 780 handpainted sugar cookies were created, along with over 400 cupcakes...not to mention the regular cake bookings! 

                                                 And we survived.......

There are a few sore muscles and bags under the eyes but it was worth every sleepless night!

2011 has started off with a BANG.  There hasn't been a usual slow period yet - which is AWESOME!  This "cake" opportunity has changed my life.  I've been so blessed to not only be part of special occasions, but to meet some seriously awesome people and make many new friends.  It's amazing what kind of relationships can blossom out of "sweet" talk :)

Thankyou to every customer, old and new, who helped make this year my most successful.  My facebook group is climbing to 1000 and the feedback from my fan page is extremely positive.  I feel truly blessed and am grateful for each new opportunity!  I look forward to contributing to more happy times this year, meeting more amazing people, and reaching new 'cake' heights!

Eventually, I will get that wedding cake post up....I promise :)


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Happy Birthday!!

This week I celebrated my 32nd birthday.  Not too much to say about that.....

Apparently 30 is the new 20, so that would mean that 32 is the new 22. 
I really shouldn't be feeling too bad about it, but really, at 22 I didn't have a care in the world and my jeans were much smaller....

I definitely feel 32.

 I giggle at my parents and inlaws, who are in their 60's, saying "oh, to be young again!"...or "you're just a baby!"....I don't know if babies feel the way I do  -  is it just me???

ok - enough age loathing......

Ever since entering the wonderful, mouth watering world of cake design, the constant question on everyone's mind is if I create my own birthday cakes.  My question to all inquisitive minds is WHY?  Yes, I love making cakes - it's my business.  I work 7 days a week, mixing, molding, painting, assembling and delivering edible works of art.  But, do I really want to make my own?  No way!!!!  This is my day!  I don't cake if my loved one's get me an ice cream cake - which are fab btw! - but don't expect me to show up at my own party toting my own cake.  It's never going to happen.

To be honest - I was raised in a very superstitious household by a tea leaf reading mother who never let me put my hat on my bed,  never passed anyone on a set of stairs, never walked under a ladder and told me to NEVER MAKE YOUR OWN BIRTHDAY's bad luck...Actually I really enjoy the tea leaf readings that I get, and these superstitions have made for some very humorous memories :)

So....what happened this year??

I got a cake!!!  A very special one at that!!  My wonderful husband teamed up with my 6 year old daughter and 4 year old son to come up with their very own custom creation just for me!  How special is that???? 
My husband, Jon, was a trooper!  He managed to bake this cake with two screaming and fighting children at his heels, arguing over who will crack the eggs and who will get to turn on the mixer.  He also waited patiently for me to pass out on the couch before beginning the decorating process.  Laying in a half daze I would hear a muttered "oh crap" or "oops"...sometimes an "oh well" or " D'OH!!"...He was trying so hard :)
They were so excited to present it to me.  The kids picked out the colors and daddy did the piping....

and the end result......was PERFECT!!!

The absolute best cake is one that someone pours their heart and soul into.  It not only warms your heart - but ends up tasting absolutely FABULOUS!!!!

And of course very satisfying when your husband says with his hands held high:

"I don't know how you do it!"

Thursday, September 30, 2010

One Crazy Summer

I've been feeling so neglectful toward this blog!  I knew when I decided to start keeping an online journal that I'd eventually fall off the map for awhile.  Obviously it didn't take very long....There's little spare time when you work at least 6 days a week baking, molding and mixing...Not to mention trying to balance school pickups and dropoffs, horseback riding lessons, gymnastics, meet the teacher nights, wedding cake consults and supply runs.  I'm sure I'm missing something there......oh time :)  But that rarely exists!

Anyhow I've finally found a spare few moments.  Acutally I'm just taking a breather. I really should be working as it's a Thursday - and anyone in the baking world knows how important a Thursday is.  I'll just end up tacking on an extra hour tonight :)

This summer has been INSANE.  Wonderful...yet stressful at times.  After all, when you're creating a very important part of a wedding day (ahem..the cake!), there's a little bit of pressure involved.  And, this has been one busy wedding season.  In all honestly, it isn't even over yet.  Fall weddings are just as prominent as summer weddings now.  Beautiful colours and tolerable temperatures make for absolutley gorgeous backdrops for photos and endless possibilities in style.  I just LOVE the rich colours of fall!!

Below is a recap of a few of my favorite summer wedding cakes from this past season.....In my next post - I'll outline some important tips to consider when planning your wedding cake.  Now - back to work :)

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Congrats Danielle & J-M!!!

One of the best parts of what I do, is getting to know my clients.  Creating cakes for people is not the same as placing an order at a local bakery or grocery store.  Custom design requires numerous emails and sometimes hours of chit chat to determine what kind of cake is to be created.  During that time, you get to know people and develop relationships.  Sometimes, someone who comes to you for their wedding cake, ends up ordering for their baby shower, baby's first birthday, their wedding anniversary and all of the sudden you've become a part of every special occasion!  That's pretty cool :)

A few weekends ago I had the pleasure of creating some cakes for Danielle and Jean Michel....Two absolutely FABULOUS people who I definately hope to work with again.  Their wedding took place at the glamorous Chateau Laurier hotel in Ottawa and was made spectacular by Stacey Price of Marry Me Productions .

Danielle and JM wanted a very romantic wedding cake with a traditional feel.  Their wedding cake was created to feed 150 guests.  Every inch of the cake was covered in a handmade fondant flower applique.  There were 6 different applique styles ranging from daisies to fern like leaves...Once the cake was assembled in it's first layer of fondant, the applique process took a total of 10 hours.  Each flower was hand cut and created fresh (not in advance) as they had to be pliable to adhere to the curves of the cake.  The flowers were also created in varying shades of white and ivory to give texture and depth.   

The groom and groomsmen had all recently graduated from medical school and Danielle wanted to honour them in some way.  She came up with the idea of having a grooms cake in the theme of  the Operation board game.  It was definately a way to add a giggle or two to the head table :)

I'm very pleased with how Danielle and JM's cakes turned out and I wish them all the happiness in the world!  They really are a sweet couple and deserve all the best that life has to offer!  Congrats guys!!