Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Couture Cupcake Craziness

modeling a caramel apple cupcake - still smiling one order in.
I've been blog MIA for a few weeks now because (thankfully) the cupcake business got off to a great start!

First up was 5 dozen holiday cupcakes for my friend's annual Christmas shindig, plus a few to-go cupcakes for a friend moving back to Michigan.

After that was a few shipments around the States for friends and then the doozy: 7.5 dozen cupcakes for clients, courtesy of my boss (who has thrown support behind me from the get-go.)

Here are a few photos from the Christmas party - my menus,
business cards and flavor flags are courtesy of Lila Designs. If you have stationary needs - Lindsey is your lady! She's also the blogger over at Wed Michigan; check it out if you haven't yet (her blog always makes me want to get married in Michigan.)

*All photos are courtesy of Lindsey (pictured below)Lindsey was dying to try the champagne cupcakeholiday sampler cupcake tower - I picked up the towers at Michael'smenu cards, designed by Lila Designsflavor flags designed by Lila Designs

After making about 200 cupcakes for the holidays (that's a lot for a one-lady shop!) I am closing shop until January. I'll be back with some new menu offerings for the spring, but for now I am going to enjoy some much-needed family time back in Texas.

Have a Merry Christmas everyone!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

And Eat it Too (A Follow-up to Having Your Cake)

Who says you can't have your cake and eat it too? Here is my finale cake to Course 3 of Wilton Cake Decorating. I constructed this cake the Tuesday night before Thanksgiving, so I wanted something that would travel well since I was flying out to South Carolina the next day. I originally thought about a fall-themed cake with red, orange and gold fondant leaves, but couldn't find a leaf cutter. Instead, the night of class I opted for a simple wedding-style cake. It helped that Stephen's dad recently got married and we would celebrate that over the holiday. Without further ado, the cake:

The base cake is a home made chocolate cake layered with home made strawberry buttercream frosting. The top layer was boxed vanilla cake (lazy, I know) with home made lemon buttercream frosting. Both cakes are covered with fondant. I went a little heavy on the extracts for the buttercream so that the flavor would seep into the fondant.

The trim is silk ribbon "glued" to the fondant using piping gel.
The Lillies are made from royal icing with Wilton stems.

I'll post finale cake photos from my last class next week. Until then, have your cake.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Have Your Cake

As I head into my final two weeks of cake decorating lessons, I thought I'd show you some recent creations, from class and one that I did for my boss' birthday/ company get together.
Course 3 (Fondant) Class 1 - a pretty wrapped present
Not bad for my first try at fondant
B-day cake for Emerge and my boss. Writing is getting better. Next up: centering text.

How cute are those daisies?

Coming up I'll show you the two-tiered wedding cake I did for my course 3 finale.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Couture Cupcakes

It's official folks! I have taken the plunge and started Couture Cupcakes! The place for gourmet cupcakes without the gourmet price tag!

I can't tell you how excited/nervous/anxious/pumped I am about this opportunity. It feels good to start something and hopefully it will be fruitful. You all know how much I love making cupcakes for birthdays, parties and events, and the cake decorating classes just helped strengthen the need to do something different.

So, please, check out my site - www.couturecupcakesboston.com and tell me what you think. Couture Cupcakes make EXCELLENT Christmas gifts, so
please e-mail me at couturecupcakesboston@gmail.com if you're interested in getting some cupcakes for the holidays and beyond.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Something to Love About New England

I'm pretty sure they don't show this commercial outside of New England, but McDonald's has the most awesome spots up here for its McCafe New England specialty coffee. It deals with a Rhode Island (maybe Connecticut) fisherman "testing" his pal on New England terminology before he hands over the coffee.

I admit I had to ask about one of these terms (admittedly not a true New Englander... yet) but see if you can figure them out.

Monday, November 16, 2009

I Have a Secret

I have a secret, and I'm DYING to get it off my chest. But, as much as I hate secrets, I also respect the need to keep some things private (so don't worry those of you who trust me with secrets.)

So I'll keep my secret for just a little bit longer, but just know that some big news is coming from my camp.

Friday, November 13, 2009

C'mon Down!

In an effort to tempt fate and further the game show winnings, Stephen and I are spending tonight at The Price is Right at Foxwoods Casino in Conneticut. It should be fun and we'll have the opportunity to gamble afterwards, as well as go on a hunt for Wilson's BBQ that was featured on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives the other night. Wish us luck - maybe one of us will be on TPIR!

So lovelies, what's on your agenda this weekend?


A SUPER HUGE THANK YOU to PBS Gal for scoring my tickets to see only the hottest rapper March 11.

Jay-Z is playing at the TD Bank Garden and I am just so giddy at the thought of seeing him live!

Did anyone else notice the BP3 tour kicks off in Houston? Looks like Mr. Carter is giving a shout out to his wife, Beyonce.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Edible Arrangements

Here is the cake I made last week for the finale of my second course cake decorating lessons.
Have you ever seen something so pretty that you didn't want to eat it? Stephen hasn't; he cut into this cake the minute I brought it home.
Getting better, don't you think?

Each week we made different royal icing flowers for our basket. I won't lie, it feels pretty awesome knowing how to make fancy little flowers.

We learned the basket weave in the last class. A little practice on the boards, then onto the cake.
It takes a little skill (and a lot of luck) to make sure the frosting sticks to the cake.
Rim the edges with a rope design and voila!

Sunday, November 1, 2009


My grandmother had the most amazing garden in her backyard - a beautiful reward for the hours she spent tending it. As a kid one of the best rewards for me was the butterflies that would flock to her oasis.

I would stand in the yard for hours, standing still like a statue with my hand out willing these butterflies to land on my hand for a close-up look. Often times they would. To this day it amazes my parents how an 8 year-old child could have such focus.

When my grandmother died and I flew back home for her funeral, I took a stroll through her backyard, not quite the oasis it was, but still lovingly cared for by my mom who had taken care of my sick grandmomther for years. No longer a child, but a grown woman stood in the same spots from 15 years before. As I walked through the garden, reminiscing on the memories, I thought about the butterflies. I stopped in my favorite spot where the tulips once grew. Thinking about how much I loved those tulips and how much I loved my grandmother, the most amazing thing happened.

A monarch butterfly landed on my hand. A gift from my grandmother to let me know that everything was, and would be, o.k. The kindest farewell to say she loved me too.

Today is the anniversary of my grandmother's death, and even though I haven't been grazed by a butterfly since, I know she is smiling down on me.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

NieNie = Love

I've been wanting to write this post for a long time, but didn't know how to say it or where to start. Blogging is that weird mix for me of the personal and public. I love reading other people's blogs, but I feel like I'm breaking a secret if I talk about it. So I struggle when I find someone whose story deserves to be shared.

I don't know when I first got introduced to NieNie, but ever since my life has been impacted. If you're one of the few who hasn't been introduced to Nie, I highly suggest you jump on the train ASAP. I'm not going to recap Nie's story because she does that so brilliantly herself, but I want to talk about my experience with her.

Each of her entries is a reminder for me that love is real. I relish her posts about her and Mr. Nielson - a love so powerful you think you're seeing a movie. It's very rare that I don't leave her site with tears in my eyes. She's a brilliant writer and captures the daily routine of being a wife, mother and daughter so amazingly well. I guarantee that when you read Nie you will feel the same joy and hope that I do. I also guarantee that you will want to tell your significant other how much you love them, same with your parents; because Nie makes you realize how precious life really is.

So why write about her now? Well, because Nie was on featured on Oprah yesterday. I didn't get to see the episode, but the very lovely Joanna kindly posted a clip on her site. I will try to search for an actual clip on YouTube, but watch this clip for now.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


I spend a lot of time talking about all the important things in my life... well, at least the things I consider important, but which most people would consider silly. But one of the things I've stayed away from has been my kids.

It's not that I'm ashamed of them. In fact, I'm actually proud to be their mom. Like any kids, they have good days and they have bad, but it's mostly good. And you should see how much they love Stephen, and the way he loves them back. We're a very happy family. I guess my problem with talking about them so much is that it will publicly seal my "crazy lady" status. But I've decided to admit what I really am and show off my kids.

Big brother Maxwell. He's definitely his mother's son. Loves: shoes, feet, shoes, laps and having his ears rubbed. He's easily embarrassed and knows when we're laughing at him.
Princess Maggie. She is the baby and she knows it. She loves everything and is set on permanent purr. Give her an open lap and she's on it - she wants attention and it doesn't matter where it comes from. She's the smart one in the group - she's been known to open sliding drawers to get what she wants - usually a hair tie.Dad loves his kids

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Where in the World is Michele Moore-Diego?

Wow, can you believe it's already October? Where did September go? And more importantly, where did my posting go? Oh yeah, between cake decorating lessons, work kicking my butt and a semi-thriving social life, the month got away from me.

I'm through with course 1 of my cake decorating class. Below are the outcomes of 2 of the three cakes I made (the last one Stephen cut into before I could take a picture.) Here are some important lessons I learned:

1) Icing a cake is the bane of my existence. Seriously, mad pro
ps to professional decorators for the amazing work you do. It blows my mind how you ensure that no chocolate cake peeks through the frosting - I will master that one day (I hope)

2) Icing roses (what's supposed to be a very difficult task) is actually easier for me than drawing little sweet peas. How in God's green earth can I make rose
s but not 3 lines to form a sweet pea?

3) What goes into frosting is disgusting. I mean, it tast
es delicious, but the ingredients used gross me out (and clean up afterward is even worse)

4) Cursive style vowels are just about as hard as icing a cake properly. I will eventually master this as well. Until then... at least it tastes good.

Week 2 - Cake #1 - Lettering is off-center, but so proud of what I did for the border!

Week 3 - my shell border looks great, but the swirl flowers turned out amazing - the frosting job wasn't so bad either.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Oh Can-a-da

Stephen and I are heading to Canada this weekend. I'm embarrassed to tell you the one thing that we're absolutely doing while we're there, but I'm excited.
It's been a very long, busy summer with work and I'm looking forward to spending a few days out of town and exploring another country. It will be a nice way to cap off summer and welcome fall.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Expanding Waistlines

I started my cake decorating classes tonight and I imagine that my (or Stephen's at the very least) waistline will be expanding rapidly. You see, each week I will be baking a cake, crumb coating it (you learn something new every day) and taking it to class to decorate.

Each week.

For 16 weeks.

I'm hoping this knee heals up pretty quickly so I can balance the ying and yang in my life.

Things I learned in my first class:
*Crumb coating - the layer of frosting you put over a cake to set the crumbs so you can properly frost the cake.
*Real Frosting - how to make real frosting that can be used to decorate cakes. I won't gross you out with the contents since it's the gross stuff that makes it taste SO good.
*Proper cutting - apparently there is a right way to cut a round cake. I, apparently, have not been doing things the right way.

I'll post pictures each week of my cake so you can see the (hopeful) progression from crummy artist to something at least presentable which people will pay money for.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Coutoure Craziness

I spent Monday sick at home and was lucky enough to catch the fabulousness that is the Rachel Zoe project.

I'm by no means fashionista, but I'm definitely a girl who appreciates the finer things in life, which is exactly what Zoe brings. Watching this show makes me wish I could be part of the scene, even for a millisecond. The shoes, the clothes, the drama... oh my! It's so fantastic.

Here's a great write-up of the show

So if you're ever home sick for a day, take a minute to watch this show. If you're someone who loves the fashion world, you'll love this show.

Running Update

It's been a while since I talked about my marathon training, and there's a reason: I fudged the knee again and every time I go for a run my knee starts screaming at mile two.

But there is hope (although no hope for the White Rock in December): I went to the doctor today and I have Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (aka Runners knee.) It basically means that all the muscles surrounding my knee aren't as strong as they need to be for my knee to function properly.

So I'm banned from running for a bit, and allowed to return once I strengthen the leg muscles surrounding my knee. Hopefully I can heal quickly and get back out on the road.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Breaking Up = Hard

I hate breakups. They're hard, bitter, and even though you tell your ex you wish them the best, you secretly hope something bad happens. That's what happened to me today. When I got dumped.

Yep, you read it right. I got dumped.

"It's not you, it's me." "You're really terrific, but I'm just not feeling it anymore and it's time to make a change."

And don't freak out. I'm not talking about Stephen. I'm talking about my client.

A client gave us the pink slip yesterday, after a long term relationship and I'm a ball of mixed emotions - relief, grief and guilt. I feel l could have done more, been just a little bit better. That maybe if I had given 111% instead of 110, that things would have been different.

But you know that's not the case. It never is. I'm just going to have to wish them the best and look ahead.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Happy Birthday to Me

30. Come and gone. Just.Like.That.

I've been 30 for 2 weeks now. I haven't had a chance to enjoy it. I haven't had a chance to reflect on it. write about it. revel in it. I've been busy.

So here it is. My celebration of turning 30.

The party was great, the guests even better. A few photos of the event.

Jason and his lovely date
The wonderful MSU girls
The Analogers, along with JP.
The Fab Four, Boston editionThe greatest man ever.
The bubbly Stephen bought us for a proper celebration on the b-day.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

In Just a Few Days

On Sunday I turn the big 3-0. People have been asking if I'm excited, and the truth is that I've been so busy I haven't had the chance to get stoked about turning 30.

I feel like I've been anxiously waiting to turn 30 since I turned 21. Heck, it's probably even been longer than that. I can recall being a teenager and my step-mom telling me how great your 30s are, and me wanting to be 30 so I could get to the great part of my life.

Well, here it is and I just want to say that my 20s were pretty great, so if my 30s will be even better then I am eagerly looking forward to celebrating each blessing.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Cape Codder

Stephen and I are notorious for not taking advantage of the many gifts around us here in Boston. Example: we've been in Boston for over a year-and-a-half (he's been here longer but it doesn't count since I wasn't here yet) and we've never been to the Cape. Yep. THAT Cape.

Well, I'm proud to say that's no longer the case. We've officially weekend at the Cape

My pal Mark was visiting friends from Texas who SUMMER IN THE CAPE, and they were kind enough to invite us for the weekend.

Chatham Beach

goofing around

boating on Bass River

on the beach watching kite surfers

Just one more thing we can knock off our "to see/to do" list. Oh, and did you notice the sunshine? Yep, it's finally coming out. Summer in Boston is finally here.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Just a Teeny Rant

*Engaged friends, don't read too much into this.

Many of you know how much I want to be married.And most of you know that since December seemingly everyone I know (and tons of people I know through association) have gotten engaged. Everyone. But. Me.

And this is starting to wear on me. Every wedding detail I hear about is another smack to my non-wedding-planning face. Don't get me wrong. I am SO happy for you friends and I WANT to be part of your special day and hear about all your wedding craziness. I also know that when it finally does happen for me, I will be the one talking non-stop.

I am just taking this moment to voice my frustration at once again feeling like I'm the only one who isn't there yet.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Another One Bites the Dust

Sending very warm congratulations to my pal Becky on her recent good news. I love her and John dearly, especially since John is the dark-haired version of Stephen.

Don't believe me? These two started a bromance when Becky came to visit that was sparked by a shared love for "Battlestar Galactica" and a passion for video games (go figure.)

So congrats again Becky. Wishing you and John a lifetime of happiness! I can't wait to celebrate with you!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Wish Me Luck

We're hosting Stephen's mom, sister and 7 year-old niece for the 4th of July weekend. You should have seen us grocery shopping - trying to figure out what to buy for the distinct tastes of a kid:
jello versus pudding
should we get chocolate milk?
Do you think she'd like fruit snacks?

Two calls and a text to his mom and sister (mother of the 7 year-old) we learned that his niece doesn't like avocados or black beans.

I may be over thinking this, but these are future family members (in theory, not reality... yet) and I want to make a great impression.

So wish me luck!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Way You Make Me Feel

I was five when Thriller caught my attention, and every time it came on MTV (you know, back in the day when MTV was actually music.television?) I sat spellbound. That's no small feat for ADD-riddled kids who can't sit still for .5 seconds, let alone for the duration of a music video that went on FOR. E. VER.

I loved Thriller so much I named my cat Jackson. She was a rescue that a creepy lady went door-to-door offering to the first person who would say yes. How could my parents say no to a little girl begging for this kitty? Jackson was black with a white underbelly - literally black and white. How ironic when you think about it, no?

So when I think about Michael Jackson's death, it's not so much about him than it is for my first cat that I loved so much. My own little black and white thriller.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Summertime, are you there?

Oh Boston, what are you doing to me? You know how hard winter was for me, with your 50- or 60-something inches of snow and never ending cold. So why, then, are you robbing me of summer? You know, the summer which is far too short anyway?

You were so promising in April, with some sunshine and then again in May, but now you're just cruel. You've been raining almost every day for the past few weeks, and I can't begin to describe what you're doing to my psyche. It's not just me either - everyone I talk to is suffering. How can you do that to us?

So please, PLEASE, let the sun come out. Give our ever-so-brief summer a chance to happen before you fade into fall. I promise we'll all take advantage of every beautiful day.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

No Choo for You

With the big 3-0 around the corner, I thought there would be nothing better in life than to buy myself my first pair of Choo. So last Saturday Stephen humored me (after making peace with me spending ridiculous amounts of money on shoes) and took me to the Jimmy Choo store to try on this pair of Jimmy.

I'd like to think of this as the shoe session that wasn't meant to be.

First, the store doesn't carry this pair - the only pair I want. They carry the black version, but seriously, who wants black? I have a dozen pair of black pumps. So I thought I'd try on the black pair just to get my size and then order them online.

So I put on my size 40s and what do you know? Toes all jammed together, one on top of the other. Seriously. On.top.of.each.other. The sales lady SWORE they could stretch them out for my mammoth sized feet. I decided to try a different pair.

Six different pairs of Choo later and the same thing. One after another, each too small for my not narrow feet. Defeated, we walked out, with nothing but disappointment.

I'm ok with the fact that my feet don't fit Jimmy, but I'm not ok with the thought of paying $600 for shoes that may or may not stretch out.

So the shoe quest continues.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Your Vagina Deserves a Beer

This little blog of mine got a shout-out today. Or yesterday. But I saw it today, so that means today, right? Like if a tree fell in the woods and no one was there to hear it, would it still make a sound?

I digress.

Becky gave me a shout out of blogs she looks forward to reading every day. It's probably because we're BFF's*, but that's not the point. The point is that Becky has friends. Powerful friends. Don't believe me? Look at this comment from Jenny, one of MY favorite bloggers.

So the moral of this story is that I love getting shout outs. Giving me a shout out guarantees that I'll buy your vagina a beer when you come visit.

the end.

*Becky went to grad school in Boston, but we met in Texas at a PRSA event. I was moving to Boston, and that connection made us instant BFFs. Who says networking isn't a good thing?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

I Scream, You Scream, We all Scream for Ice Cream!

Just got back from the annual SCOOPERBOWL, to benefit the Jimmy Fund, and take a good look at that picture. That, my friends, is about how many scoops of ice cream I put down tonight.

Now, I'd love to give the excuse that I ate so much because it's charity, but we all know that's not the case. C'mon people, this is a recession! And in a recession, you get your money's worth. So.I.Did. So there!

Here's a list of all the flavors being offered - I confess to have sampled at least 90 percent of these. Hands down, Ben & Jerry's had the BEST flavors. Oatmeal Cookie Chunk, Strawberry Cheesecake, Goodbye Yellow Brickle Road and Chocolate Macadamia - oh boy, my mouth is watering all over again just thinking about it!

There are a few things I absolutely love about Boston, and this is definitely going on the list. I can't wait to go back next year!

Monday, June 8, 2009

A Beautiful Day for a Run

My first race in almost a decade went really well on Saturday. I set out to keep a decent pace of 10 minute/mi and surpassed that by :30/mi. My final time was 50:49 (for 5.3 miles.) Not too shabby for my first race, but I know I can do better.

I felt great after the race - both knees and shins held up throughout the run, and just a little sore afterward. As nervous as I was for this race, I had a great time and can't wait until my next race.

Friday, June 5, 2009

The Intersection of Beer and Running

Wish me luck - I have my first road race tomorrow. This is the first race I've run in about 8 or 9 years - crazy right?

And could I have started out with a minor race? a 5K maybe? No. That would make TOO much sense.

No. Instead, I decided to go with this 5-miler. Technically, it's 5.3 miles. What can I say, it's for charity. So what could make running a race for charity even better?
DRINKING BEER after the race. That's right. Beer. This is, after all, the Harpoon 5-miler. For those of you readers who aren't familiar, Harpoon is a local brewery. So here's how it works:

I'll wake up early tomorrow morning, run this course, which starts and ends at Harpoon (all 5.3miles of it - but at least I'll have the Garmin), then enjoy some Harpoon brew.

I mean really, what could be better?

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Happy Happy Joy Joy

Remember Ren and Stimpy? Remember the Happy Happy Joy Joy song (and yes, Stephen is the Ren to my Stimpy)? Of course you do! It was - and still is, in my mind - one of the coolest cartoons. EVAH.

Well, I'm doing the dance right now. Why? Because my Garmin FINALLY arrived!

*note, NOT my arm, nor my engagement ring!

This watch is one of the coolest things I've ever seen. An equal mix of functional and badass, this watch does it all. It monitors my heart rate, it tells me how far and fast I'm running and more. I can program it for a specific workout/distance/pace.

Needless to say, I am so excited to take this watch out and see all it can do. Most importantly though, I am stoked that I won't have to calculate my route on Google Maps anymore to see how far I've run after the fact.