Fall Dessert Display

As seen in the Fall 2014 issue of Ella and Annie magazine and on Amy Atlas, this fall inspired Dessert Station was created with the DIYer in mind. I was inspired by the colors, smells and flavors of fall and wanted to design something that was easy to recreate. There are so many fabulous vessels and utensils that can be found in your own kitchen! With a little bit of creativity, you can turn almost any item into a cake stand or dessert tray. I utilized baking pans, bundt pans, cupcake trays, pie tins and jars as cake stands, cookies trays and more! Everything is reusable and adds a lot of depth and height. I didn’t have to purchase a single item and I feel it gave the whole table a very warm, homemade feel.

A friend of mine has a gorgeous vegetable garden and a lot of the vegetables were incorporated into the decor. I found some coordinating scrapbook paper and made paper medallions and garland in order to add a bit more detail. The PolkaDot Pickle sewed a gorgeous fabric bunting banner and used her Cricut to make the leaf garland. With natural setting such as your backyard, the amount of decor needed is minimal and the garland and bunting were perfect!

For the desserts, I focused on mini tarts and an assortment of cookies and chex mix. By purchasing pre-made tart shells, you can make your own filling and turn any mini tart into an inexpensive, easy dessert option while still giving the guests several flavor options to choose from. The egg cartons were the perfect size for guests to fill with mini tarts and take them home. If you don’t have time to bake several different cookie recipes, head to your local grocery store for an assortment of cookies! You’d be surprised at all the options you can find during the holiday season.


Concept, design and styling: Sweets Indeed
Photography and paper goods: The Pixel Studio
Fall Bunting: The Polka Dot Pickle

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The Walking Dead

Let me start by saying I am a HUGE Walking Dead fan. I have always had a love for all things zombie and am counting the days until the next season starts. When Miriam Corona contacted me with a referral for a client who wanted a legit Walking Dead dessert station, I couldn’t contain my excitement. I am still saying thank you to Miriam for sending THE raddest client my way. We had a phone consultation and the first thing out of her mouth was, “I have to have The Governor’s head collection somewhere on this table”. Yes, please! This wasn’t going to be a cutesy set up, she wanted details, gore, had some great ideas and totally let me run with it. We’ve had many Walking Dead related conversations since! I had a blast designing the station and am now a big fan of the coolest zombie loving family, EVER!

I started by having The Pixel Studio design a dark, wooded, zombie filled backdrop. Can you spot them? A huge shout out to James Litho for the phenomenal print job and excellent customer service. They got the job done fast and made it really easy to display the canvas on pipe and drape. Of course, I had to have Daryl and Rick make an appearance. This is them right before they went to work exterminating the zombies.





I found some old oil barrels and plywood for the table and PonchoDave on Etsy sold me some of Daryl’s poncho material to drape over it. I also made a mini poncho for my littlest man and he had a lot of fun wearing it around the house. Considering how the last season ended, I knew we had to include Terminus in there somewhere. The signage and grill with our custom packaged “dipping body parts” served as take home favors for the guests. I’m pretty sure Terminus is full of cannibals and we shall soon find out.









The client had originally wanted a whole wall of zombie heads in real aquarium tanks but the venue wouldn’t allow glass or much water so, we improvised. An aquarium full of the Governor’s trophies served as the centerpiece and cake stand for Sweet and Saucy’s recreation of the prison. They even turned Michonne into a replica of the birthday girl. She was a pro at warding off the zombies.






For the desserts, there were SO many memorable quotes and moments throughout the seasons that is was hard to not go overboard with every idea that popped into my mind. I decided to focus the majority of this table on the most recent season and chose a few of my favorite quotes as flavor tag and tent style table decor. I still have these tent cards in my office as I just couldn’t part with them.

Lets start with Carl’s infamous pudding. I called upon Kristin of Meringue Bake Shop to create some chocolate pudding inspired dessert shots and she knocked it out of the park in both look and taste. These were SO delicious and gave the guests a chance to share the love of pudding.



I loved Merle’s character and the transformation that he went through. One of my favorite lines was “I’ll bake ’em a cake with pink frosting” so of course, we had to have some mini cupcakes. These served as a “choose your weapon” display with the most detailed fondant toppers by Edible Details. That crossbow? Seriously amazing. I did leave one cupcake sprinkled just for Merle. The other cupcakes (salted caramel flavored) had chocolate brains on them.






You can’t have a zombie table without some guts and let me tell you, those cream puffs with the oozing green goo went right along with the theme.


There had to be some zombie grub on the table so as a nod to Glenn finding Maggie’s engagement ring, I had Bella’s Bakery and Bowtique create finger cake pops. Displayed in a baking pan, they looked so real in person that I had to remind people they were, in fact, edible. The edible ring was found on one of the fingers as an extra treat. I can’t stop staring at these fingers and am still in awe of how incredibly gruesome they were! She also created scrumptious eyeball cake bites. I spy with my little eye…. the Governor’s infamous patch!






Chocolate coated Oreos gave guests a chance to show their team spirit. Who’s team are you on?



Of course, Daryl Dixon can be on my zombie killing team any day. His ear collection can be found strewn across a jar of chocolate gummy ears and is accompanied by a jar of “Penny’s boogers” (TWD fans will know who she was).








We’ve lost so many beloved characters so I decided to create an “in memory of” cookie collection. Firefly Confections creates crazy amazing cookie designs and was able to take the characters faces and immortalize them in the most delicious sugar cookies. I’m tempted to have a set made just for me so that I can put them in a shadow box on my wall. Yes, I love them that much. Oh Dale and Hershel, how I miss you.







I hope this temporarily eases the longing for a the new season to begin. If you’re anything like me, you’re itching for it even more!


Dessert Station concept, design and styling: Sweets Indeed

Backdrop design, paper goods and photography: The Pixel Studio

Backdrop printing: James Litho

Chocolate “pudding” dessert shots, cream puffs and mini cupcakes: Meringue Bake Shop

Finger and eyeball cake bites, custom Oreos: Bella’s Bakery and Bowtique

Prison inspired cake: Sweet and Saucy Shop

Custom cookies: Firefly Confections

Fondant Cupcake Toppers: Edible Details

Dip-A-Body Part, chocolate brains, ears and hearts, gummy frogs and “Penny’s boogers”: Sweets Indeed


Fruity Flamingo

In June of this year, my 7 year old niece was diagnosed with leukemia. I was quickly reminded how precious life is and how things can change overnight. My family came together to support my sister and brother-in-law as they dropped everything to be by their daughters side. We formed a fundraising site in order to help relieve some of the financial stress and allow friends to join in the ranks in surrounding them with love and encouragement. The outpouring of support has been immeasurable and we will be forever grateful. To donate or acquire updates on Lily’s progress, you can go to http://www.youcaring.com/other/love-for-lily-belle/193491

My daughter’s 10th birthday approached shortly after Lily’s diagnosis and she so graciously decided that she wanted to “donate” her birthday to her cousin. The two had spent Avie’s birthday together for several years and this year, Lily would be unable to attend. We decided to throw a festive and fun “fruity flamingo” party in order to celebrate summer, hope and life.

We had a ton of fun planning the details and there were so many fantastic party people involved! I was inspired by the Oh Joy! for Target summer collection and all of it’s bright colors. I picked up some of the cups, plates, a fruity tray and a few other pieces and planned the color palette around those fun pieces.

The TomKat Studio designed a printable party collection which provided the perfect flamingo flair. The collection can be purchased in her shop at  The TomKat Studio. The shop also has a fabulous assortment of honeycomb balls in all different colors and sizes. I knew these would be perfect to create over sized fruit decor with. The Pixel Studio helped me design a template for a pear, apple, and strawberry and the orange honeycomb balls were ready to go as is.  The Tomkat studio will have a DIY tutorial on her blog which will include the templates and how to create your own fruit decor!



Couture Party Decor provided a plethora of gorgeous colors and sizes of paper lanterns. I used the lanterns and the honeycomb fruit to create a backdrop for the sweets and sorbet stations and as decor underneath the tiki umbrellas. The kids also loved playing with the decor on the lawn. These were such easy, inexpensive decorative items and they filled up the space beautifully making the party bright and fun.

The tables, linens, chairs and the tiki umbrellas were from Jump Connection. Those tiki umbrellas were full and fabulous. I LOVED them! Each place setting had an Oh Joy! plate, a cup for ice and some perfect items from Shop Sweet Lulu. Their soda pop bottles held lemonade and striped straws and I used The TomKat Studio printables to hold the utensils. Shop Sweet Lulu’s Daffodil Yellow Triangle napkins looked darling under the CUTEST pineapple cups and flamingo straws from Oriental Trading Company. Each party guest was ecstatic about their own mini pinatas by Lisa Frank of Handcrafted Parties. Talk about darling and unique! Those pinatas actually had candy in them and were the real deal! I added tissue tassel garland details and painted faux fruit throughout the party.

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I used fruit stickers and sunglasses from The Oriental Trading Company and the kids had a blast decorating their own sunglasses. This was the simplest and most fun “craft” station and the party guests each went home with new shades.

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Floral arrangements added fun to the food stations and tables. These darling mason jars were hand painted by Always The Occasion. After placing flowers in each one, I felt like it needed something more. Made By A Princess created custom, glitter flamingo cupcake toppers but I couldn’t help using them in the floral arrangements.


I had to have some yard flamingos and found the perfect ones via Oriental Trading Company. Inspired by Carmen Miranda, I made little fruit hats for each one and placed them all over the yard. The girls were pretty excited to play “models” in some pretty adorable outfits. Each outfit was created by Redeux Kidz. I am a huge fan of up cycled items and they take vintage clothing and make them into one of a kind pieces. The company always donates a percentage of their profits to charities and the owner is the absolute sweetest.


From left to right, the girls wore custom Redeux Kidz outfits. Kids Aztec Dream Kaftan, Lemonade and Cherry Peasant Dress, Canary Palazzo Pants, Sunset Orange Bloomies, Aqua Floral Pleated Sun Dress

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Of course the birthday girl had to have something special and there’s nothing better than a custom party hat that can be kept long after the party is over. Among many other things, Shawna Brockmeier Events makes the most adorable, custom party hats. This one was perfect with it’s tropical print and fruit details. Avalon still parades around the house with it on.

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It’s been a hot summer and I wanted to do something different for the kids so I designed a sorbet station with Kristin of Meringue Bake Shop. Known for creating the pushcake, her push pop containers were perfect for sorbet. My mom spent a whole day perfecting recipes and filling containers. Sawyer Leigh Boutique sent die cut fruit and flamingos to match the party colors. They were perfect for separating flavors and added the right amount of detail to each treat. Sweetly Chic Events and Design created hand painted letters which clearly made the Sorbet station stand out. I attached them to the table and they were perfect! Spoons from Shop Sweet Lulu came in handy when the party goes wanted to share their sorbet and I placed a few pineapple cups from The Oriental Trading Company to remind guests that drinks were nearby.

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Of course I HAD to have a dessert station and collaborated with some of my favorite dessert vendors. Mallory of The French Confection Co. created the perfect, most delicious cake and we almost didn’t cut into it as it was just too cute! Mallory also made scrumptious confetti cupcakes with fondant fruit details, the most popular fruit macarons (let me tell you…the coordinating fruit fillings were to die for) and mini strawberry tarts. All of the desserts were displayed on our cake stands on top of a custom tie dyed table runner by Cupcakes With Character. It was gorgeously detailed in person and added the perfect pop of color. Fruity-Flamingo-50 Fruity-Flamingo-51

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Bella’s Bakery and Bowtique made the most perfect chocolate covered Oreos and pineapple cake pops. Each one is like an edible piece of art.

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I teared up when I opened the box of custom lollipops by Lollipics. A picture of my daughter and niece made each lollipop extra special. I’m all about personal details and this company creates just that in edible form. Displayed next to our Pineapple Candy Kabobs, they went home with party guests as one of many party favors.

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Kate Aspen sent their “All That Glitter” gold favor boxes and I hot glued pink flamingos to the top. Inside each box was a “Love for Lily Belle” bracelet and some fruit shaped erasers. They added the perfect touch of glitter to the table.



The kids also munched on cotton candy from Dolly’s Cotton Candy. Let me tell you, you haven’t tasted flavors as fun as watermelon, orange crush and lemon. Their cotton candy lolli’s were a huge hit!

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I had a little kids splash area and used tissue bunting garland from Shop Sweet Lulu as a backdrop for The TomKat Studio “Happy Birthday” banner that I made using tissue paper garland from Fancy and Fold. I added pictures of the birthday girl and my niece to the cutest felt fruit garland by Fizzy Party. Both of these are now hanging as decor in my daughters room.

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I can’t thank everyone enough for bringing this party to life and in turn, celebrating my daughters birthday and the hope we have for Lily’s recovery. I am truly blessed!

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Fruity Flamingo Vendors:
Sweets Indeed – Concept, Design and Styling, Pineapple Candy Kabobs, Dessert Station Cake Stands –  www.sweetsindeed.com
The Pixel Studio – Photography –  www.thepixelstudio.com
The TomKat Studio – Printable Party Collection and Honeycomb Balls –  www.thetomkatstudio.com
The Oriental Trading Company – Yard Flamingos, Sunglasses and Fruit Stickers, Pineapple Cups, Flamingo Food Sticks, Flamingo Straws and Fruit Erasers –  www.orientaltrading.com
Redeux Kids – Upcycled Vintage Clothing –  www.redeuxkidz.com
Shop Sweet Lulu – Striped Straws, Soda Bottles, Pink Lemonade Spoons, Tissue Bunting Garland, Paper Doilies, Daffodil Yellow Triangles Tableware Collection –  www.shopsweetlulu.com
Meringue Bake Shop – Pushpop Containers – www.meringuebakeshop.com
The French ConfectionCo. – Cake, Fruit Macarons, Cupcakes, Fondant Fruit Toppers, Fruit Tarts –  www.thefrenchconfectionco.com
Lollipics – Custom Image Lollipops – www.lollipics.com
Dolly’s Cotton Candy – Cotton Candy Lollipops – www.dollyscottoncandy.com
Bella’s Bakery and Bowtique – Custom Oreos and Pineapple Cake Pops –  www.facebook.com/BellasBakeryandBowtique
Sawyer Leigh Boutique – Die Cut Fruit Shapes –  www.etsy.com/shop/SawyerLeighBoutique
Kate Aspen – “All That Glitter” Gold Glitter Favor Box –  www.kateaspen.com
Sweetly Chic Events andDesign- Custom Sorbet Letters –  www.sweetlychicevents.com
Fizzy Party – Fruit Felt Garland –  www.fizzyparty.com
Fancy and Fold – Tissue Paper Tassel Garland – www.facebook.com/fancyandfold
Always The Occasion – Flamingo Mason Jars – www.facebook.com/alwaystheoccasion
Lisa Frank – Mini Fruit Pinatas – www.handcraftedparties.com
Cupcakes with Character – Dessert Station Rinner – www.cupcakewithcharacter.com
Made By A Princess – Glitter Flamingo Toppers – www.partiesinstyle.com
Couture Party Decor – Paper Lanterns –  www.couturepartydecor.com
Shawna Brockmeier Events – Birthday Hat – www.facebook.com/pages/Shawna-Brockmeier-Styled-Events
Jump Connection – Tiki Umbrella’s, Linens, Tables and Chairs –  www.jumpconnection.com




Black Friday Sale!

To say thank you to all of you, we are hosting a special in our shop for BLACK FRIDAY! Order your stocking stuffers, unique gifts or even plan ahead for next year!

Enjoy FREE SHIPPING on all orders placed starting tomorrow November 22nd (Thanksgiving Day) through midnight on Friday, November 23rd. This includes Sweet Skewers, candy favors, Table Tutu’s and more! Anything in our shop is eligible for free shipping AND you can specify shipping for a later date if you’d like to plan ahead.

Check out our Holiday section here!

Simply use code Holiday upon check out for FREE SHIPPING!

Creepy Halloween Treats

I love Halloween with all it’s fun, creepiness. I am a huge Walking Dead fan and will happily admit to being a zombie fan altogether. I’ve found some really awesome goodies this year and love all the creativity out there. I thought I’d share some of my favorites!

These awesome candy bar wrappers and treat toppers are a free printable by Creature Comforts.

I love the apothecary jar labels by Pen N’ Paperflowers. They would be perfect as a mantle display, part of a witches or mad scientist lab and have the most creative titles.

k.becca designed these beverage labels that could easily spruce up any soda or wine bottle.

Our mini Halloween Sweet Skewers™ come with an eyeball drink stir topper. I spy with my little eye…something spooky and sour!

Of course I love these Zombie Boogie treat bags by PaperandParcel on etsy!

Martha Stewart does it again with these “Eyes of Newt” clip art favor boxes.

I plan on throwing a zombie themed party at some point and couldn’t resist starting a Pinterest board for inspiration.


Happy Halloween!


Pink Inspiration for Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October is breast cancer awareness month and I am amazed at how much this movement has grown over the years. There are so many walks/marathons dedicated to raising money for research, creative fundraising events and product where a percentage is donated. While watching football with the hubs, I noticed all the players had on something pink. I think the pink cleats were my favorite. It grows every year and I do not know a single person who hasn’t been affected by this disease in some way.

I lost two of the most amazing women I knew, my grandmothers, to breast cancer and I am always inspired by even the smallest act of recognition or awareness building when it comes to the disease. I recently walked into Vanilla Bake Shop where they are donating every cent of the sales from their Mom’s Birthday Cake cupcake to breast cancer research. Stop by their shops on October 19th and 20th to support the cause and enjoy some scrumptious treats.

It got me thinking, every little bit helps and every new person who is made aware, is completely worth it. Why not throw a fundraiser at home? I hope this post provides some fun inspiration for your pink soiree and brings you closer to the ones you love.


From top left to right: Tickled Pink Pound Cake Bites via Amy Atlas, Strawberry Colada Smoothie via The Menu According To Ryan Braley, Mini Princess Wand Sweet Skewers via Sweets Indeed, Pop Tarts on a Stick via The Family Kitchen, Bubblegum Surprise Cupcakes via A Little Zaftig, Pink Velvet Roulade via Sprinkle Bakes, Puffy Marshmallow Poles via Candy.com, Gather Valentini Cocktail via The Pulse Magazine


Mission: Small Business

Hello my lovely, sweet peeps!

I have some major catching up to do on the blog as I’ve been preoccupied with so many amazing projects. I thought I’d share a little bit of what’s been going on behind-the-scenes at Sweets Indeed. Let me start by expressing my gratitude to all of you who have supported me on this ever changing journey. As you know, I have been asking for votes for this amazing opportunity described below.

Chase  through their Community Giving program and LivingSocial have launched Mission: Small Business. The title gives me goosebumps. Many of you are small business owners and entrepreneurs with brilliant ideas. You know the massive drive and desire that comes alongside and are aware of how difficult it can be sometimes as a small business owner. I personally feel like I have been sitting on a gold mine, waiting to share this sparkling mountain of gems with the world, yet it’s just out of reach. As a small business, I am self funded and lack the bulk investment money needed to expand. Mission: Small Business has given me hope! Chase and Living Social are awarding up to 12 individual small business grants of $250,000 to 12 different small businesses. WOW! For every person that votes, they add $5 to the grant pool and that’s where you come in!

Until June 25th, you can follow this link and log in using Facebook. Simply type in Sweets Indeed (we are located in Glendora, California) and click “vote“. It’s SO EASY!! We have to obtain a minimum of 250 votes in order for our application to be accepted. YOU make this possible. Many of you have already voted and shared our mission to your friends. I cannot even begin to express my gratitude. I see each and every one of you and am so, so appreciative. I feel like I’ve been saying those two sentences over and over again but it’s true!!

Click. Type in Sweets Indeed. Vote. Share. Every single vote counts!!

Now, I’d like to share a bit of what we would do if awarded this grant.

I am blessed to have grown up in a creative environment where both my parents encouraged me to dream big and instilled the confidence that I could do anything I set my mind to. My childhood is full of fun, fond memories, the majority of which are related to special events that encompassed my favorite things. Somehow, my parents always made us feel special and unique amidst generic party themes and lack luster supplies. Oh how the party world has changed!

It was the handcrafted details and customization of each party, each reward, and each summer activity that spurred life long memories. I remember the smell of strawberries and angel food cake (my favorite), the look on my sisters faces when they dug into their duel birthday cakes, and my daughters own birthday parties. Not just birthdays either, my grandparents wedding anniversary, my dads graduation, my wedding day and my sisters graduation party are just a few of the memories I have that stem from custom partyware and delicious treats. Sweets Indeed was born out my desire to help others create the same, sweet memories.

Daddy and I. We LOVE chocolate chip cookies, hostess cupcakes, and donuts.

My adorable twin sisters and their confetti cakes.

Mom made angel food and strawberry cakes for me almost every year.

Bean and Nana prepping for one of their infamous tea parties. All sugar free!

Bean and her bumble bee birthday cake from last year.


When I officially launched Sweets Indeed in 2009, my hobby had taken on a life of it’s own. When times are tough financially, I think the population looks forward to special occasions even more. It’s a chance to gather with loved ones and forget daily struggles, embracing a new baby bump, a child’s first birthday, college graduation, a wedding, an anniversary, and more. I have seen the “party industry” grow and boom with success as I think many more parents are becoming DIY’ers and those that aren’t still want to make sure that their special event is truly unique to them. There’s a need for customization and room for new, innovative takes on popular themes and fresh color palettes.

This is where our BIG PLANS come in. I receive daily inquiries asking how people around the globe can get their hands on our Circus Party or Nursing Station. YOU want to know how to create Sweets Indeed’s look even if you are unable to hire us directly for catering. YOU want something new, something custom and to feel like your wedding day or your child’s birthday is unique. I do not like to say “no” to anyone. Or, “that isn’t available to the public yet.” I hear your requests and for the past year and a half, I have been working on a 4 part expansion project.

Although I must continue to protect our ideas until they come to fruition, my desire to share is so HUGE and me being a NOW person does not help keep me quiet. That being said, I’d like to share a peek into what our plans are and how YOU can be part of this exciting, sweet journey with me. I’ll be as vague, yet informative as possible. Ha! Is that even possible?

1. The brick and mortar store front:

A one-stop shop where everyone from party/event planners to your next door neighbor can acquire everything they need to create a successful Sweet Station and customize a special event.

I personally visit at least half a dozen different shops when I am creating a Sweet Station and I have yet to find a place where everything is under one roof AND there is the ability to custom create. This sweet shop will go beyond the “by the pound”, tasty candy store/bakery to a full supply store filled with everything from cake stand and candy jar rentals to backdrop, hanging decor and more. A whole section will be dedicated to gift and party favor making where many different packaging/decorating styles with be available for custom creations. Sweets? Oh yes. Bulk, affordable candy and treats in a plethora of colors. Have allergy/health concerns? No problem. We’re dedicating a portion to sugar free, nut free, gluten free, kosher, vegan and beyond. No one is left out!!

I also hope that Sweets Indeed will become a platform for other small business owners to showcase their crafts and confections. Part of what makes Sweets Indeed unique is that we utilize local, “homemade” creations. We strive to find the best chocolatiers, confectioners, pastry chefs and products. Coupled with our in house team, there are no limitations as to what we can offer and YOU could be part of this as well.

2. Online store:

The online store will be an extension of the storefront. All of our favorite party supplies and custom designs will be available nationwide and eventually, internationally. From Sweet Skewers and Table Tutu’s to packaging and decor, it’s all there! The online store will also showcase #3.

3. Custom line:

I’m jumping up and down about this one. I cannot reveal the official name or full details on this project as it is truly one of a kind BUT I will say that we have been developing a solution that will bring Sweets Indeed to YOU. Whether you’re in Southern California, Florida and eventually internationally, our hope is that Sweets Indeed’s custom themes, branded look and beyond will become attainable for anyone. (I know, such a tease and not enough detail. Practice patience with me?)

4. Sweets In Need.

I have known since the day we came up with a name for our business, that some day I hoped to be successful enough to support an ever growing charity portion of that business. Dedicated to giving back and making life sweeter, Sweets In Need will be the outlet for support to some of our favorite non-profit organizations, local community outreach, and individual donations. The sky’s the limit!

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Here’s how you can help us attain these goals.

Click. Type in Sweets Indeed. Vote. Share. Every single vote counts!!

I would also LOVE to hear what your sweetest memory is. Please feel free to comment below!

Thank you so much for your continued support and encouragement. Life is sweet, and I truly hope to help make life sweeter for you and yours.

Operation Shower Sunshine Safari – Dessert Station

I HAD to make a separate post for the dessert station we designed for Operation Shower. There are so many details and fabulous desserts and let’s face it…I love sweets! Sunshine Safari quickly became one of my top favorite dessert stations for many reasons.

When I design tables for charity events, we encourage local vendors to donate their specialty items as part of the overall display. It’s a great way to showcase some amazing talent and I get to meet and try new treats! As part of the design challenge, I really wanted to showcase the adorable printable party set that Paper & Cake designed and play off the colors and patterns. I LOVE the flavor tags, arrow signs and all the fun she incorporated into the design. It really brought this collection to life. It’s important with a bright color palette to make sure the table doesn’t get too over saturated and crazy, or nothing will stand out. That being said, I instantly knew the background and general decor for the tablescape needed to be more neutral and reminiscent of the natural colors found while on safari. I took a more literal approach to the challenge and wanted the animals to be the art and the desserts the focal point.

I always start with the backdrop and basic table design first to give a base for the rest of the table. I draped large sheets of burlap and an old fishing net over a metal photographers backdrop frame. Thank goodness my husband, The Pixel Studio, was there for set up b/c placing the leaves just right proved to be a two man job. Carolyn Horton Events loaned me her bag full of greenery and I used a lot of it to frame the backdrop on each side. I think the green created a nice, natural frame and reminded me of a real safari tent!

Then the fun part! When I was told that Pottery Barn Kids was allotting each designer $250 of product toward their table design I about flipped. I am obsessed with Pottery Barn Kids and spent quite a long time trying to decide what to use. There were so many perfect pieces! When I saw the Zebra and Giraffe Explorer Canvas Art I just knew they’d be perfect hanging from the backdrop. It really tied everything together and provided the subtle color I wanted. I’m not gonna lie…I wanted to change my daughters room to safari after seeing these. They also come in this pink and gray Hippo and Giraffe Canvas.

When I think safari, I think old trunks, luggage and treasure. I was thrilled when Found Vintage Rentals let me raid their warehouse in search of the perfect pieces. This is where my vision really started coming to life. My concept for the table was that an explorer on safari had come across various animals and plants and wanted to take them home to show his kids. The desserts are miniturized versions of all his wild findings. Showcased on crates, in drawers, on trunks and old tool boxes I absolutely loved how perfect the pieces from Found Vintage Rentals proved to be. I also used their globe and lantern…a safari must have. I get so giddy when I get to use “prop” pieces in a design. I really think they add texture, height and depth in all the right places.

Now on to the desserts! When working with many different vendors, it’s almost like having lots of different designers come together under one roof. Part of the design challenge for me, was making sure everything was cohesive and didn’t get too eclectic. I knew that the desserts should be the focal point (of course) and that each donating vendor should stand out in their own way. Knowing this, I decided it would be best to choose an animal and color for each dessert. This is a great way to have each treat showcased in it’s own light without them all looking to similar. I could not have been more ecstatic about how each dessert told it’s own story.

First up, the cupcakes! I chose bright pink as a main base color that would start to highlight the Paper & Cake designs and spray painted floral boxes to use as the cupcake stands. Floral boxes are a cheap and easy way to create height. Because they come in wood color, you can easily paint or spray paint them any color you want! I wrapped some orange yarn around the boxes to give them some subtle texture. The lovely JennyWenny Cakes donated the cupcakes for this event and let me tell you, they were delicious! I am a huge banana fan but it has to be done just right when it comes to desserts. She made the most amazing banana chocolate chip cupcakes. AMAZING! She also made chocolate with caramel and vanilla buttercream cupcakes. A big favorite. Her animal was the blue elephant. JennyWenny Cakes created the fondant toppers with suns and elephants and they were sheer perfection. I love to watch people bite into cupcakes and these produced instant smiles and had eyes lighting up.

Next up, a treat that is quickly becoming a new dessert trend. Meringue Bake Shop created the PushCake long before it became popular and she is truly an expert in this area. The PushCake is layered cake and frosting in just the right amounts. Served in a push pop container reminiscent of the ice cream treat I enjoyed as a kid, these are easy to eat and are full of flavor. She created her own display trays which provide the perfect stability and spacing between pops. Her popular Orange Crush and Chocolate Vanilla were enjoyed by all. For most, this was their first encounter with a  PushCake and they were “ooohing and aaaahing” over how cute, fun and tasty they were. She incorporated the zebra designs from Paper & Cake on each PushCake too! Cute! If you live in the Orange County area, Meringue Bake Shop sells her confections at local farmer’s markets and takes orders daily.

Salted caramel. I’m going to let you salivate over those words. I believe salted caramel is the flavor of the year. I am obsessed and in love with this perfect blend of sweet and salty and have a whole slew of recipes involving these two ingredients that I cannot wait to use. Caramels to me are a delicacy. I relate them to my great grandmother who always had one in her mouth. I never thought I’d be so in love with them myself. To find a really good…I mean REALLY good caramel is a challenge. Once you’ve had one though, your life will be changed forever. When Firefly Confections sent several pounds of their handmade, hand wrapped caramels, I eye balled them for hours. I finally gave in and tried one (hey…a girl has to taste test!) Heaven. Pure, salted heaven in a caramel. The perfect texture, consistency, and flavor. HEAVEN! I had to hide the rest b/c they are so addicting! These caramels were such a treat and I saw many guests stuffing handfuls into their pockets for later. I placed them in the drawers of a Found Vintage Rental find like the little, bite size treasures that they are. Now I know why grandma always had one. ADDICTING!! Firefly Confections make an array of sweet treats. You MUST order some caramels.

The Marshmallow Studio. If you haven’t heard this name, you’ve been under a rock. The Marshmallow Studio has revolutionized marshmallow treats, creating some of the most detailed, edible party favors in any theme or character imaginable. Alejandra was kind enough to spend the whole day helping with set up and she is just as sweet as her mallow creations. I instantly knew she had to have the flamingo. What she created was beyond what I had ever envisioned. These adorable, pink flamingos are completely edible! I placed them in an old tool box with styrofoam and blue tissue paper. They were wading in an oasis waiting to go home with each guest! I lost count at how many people could not believe they were made of marshmallow. AMAZING! So, so cute and fun. I’m a huge fan. She also hosts classes so check out her website for more info.

I love seeing something unique in the industry and when I went onto The Sweetest Affair’s website I was quickly intrigued. They specialize in handmade lollipop bouquets and custom flower favors. These creations are truly works of edible art. You must head over to her site and check out all the gorgeous displays. She took the patterned paper from Paper & Cakes designs and turned them into beautiful petals for each custom lollipop flower. Not only were these displayed on the dessert station, they were found in vases throughout the shower and definitely caught everyone’s eye. They provided the perfect edible floral bouquets for this safari and I cannot wait to place an order with her for future events. LOVE THEM!

You can’t have a safari without binoculars and safari hats! Allyson Jane has been donating to Operation Shower for many many events and I have been dying to see her creations in person. She designed these fun cookies that made their debut on a bed of grass. They were the perfect size and tasted so good! Sometimes decorated cookies don’t taste that great and it’s all about the design. These were such a sweet surprise as they tasted DELICIOUS and looked perfect. Allyson Jane is a true artist and these cookies disappeared in the blink of an eye! Check out he website for photos of her fabulous confections.

I wanted each mom to go home with a safari animal so we cut out Paper & cake characters and make chocolate pretzel favor bags for all the guests. The palette that they are hanging on was found by a dumpster. No joke! I saw it and instantly knew they’d make the perfect display. I attached each bag with a clothespin and propped it on against the table on some vintage trunks. How easy is that?!?

Bring on the monkeys!! A Twist of Cake is a cake pop genius. I am in awe of what she can make out of a cake pop! For baby showers, she makes characters or shapes into baby rattles. For reals!! I knew she had to have the monkeys. How cute are they?!? I check her Facebook page daily for new designs. If you dream it, she can make it! These pops were red velvet and so scrumptious. I saw moms taking two or three as they couldn’t believe it was cake under there! I used flower vases for the display vessels. I wrapped pink and orange yarn and added some of the patterned paper to the tops, filled them with lemon heads and stuck the pops in. They had their own, bright trees and looked so cute on display. A Twist of Cake also gives classes and is constantly creating new characters.

I know you’re all dying to know about the cake. It shouldn’t even be called a cake. It should be called an edible masterpiece. I have been a huge fan of Hey There, Cupcake! for a  long time and had the pleasure of meeting Stevi at the Hostess with the Mostess launch party where designed an insane Alice inspired creation. When I was told she was donating a cake for Operation Shower, I couldn’t have been more excited. I knew it had to be the centerpiece for the whole station and set aside the perfect crates to display it one. Every single detail was edible. From the flowers made of rice paper and fondant to the edible chevron design and the rice krispie elephant. That elephant was amazingly sculpted and dusted with edible disco glitter. Hey There, Cupcake! did such an amazing job of incorporating the colors and feel of the table into her cake. It could not have been more perfect and people were snapping photos left and right. And guess what…it was chocolate salted caramel flavored. GET OUT! I could live off the frosting/filling alone. I still can’t stop staring at it. LOVE!

And now, I will leave you with this funny flamingo that I couldn’t resist placing on the table. He was a white elephant gift that I won. My dad found him at a thrift store and he’s full of personality.

A special, HUGE thank you to the photographers at Operations Shower. Nicole Benitez Photography and Jackie Culmer Photography captured all the sweet moments. The Pixel Studio provided some detailed shots as well.

Please help Operation Shower continue their amazing work by donating or gifting items from their Amazon wishlist. These showers make such a huge, positive influence on the families that they support.