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Adventure Together

I'm not a therapist or a marriage expert by any stretch (been there, done that, bought the tshirt, wore the tshirt, returned the tshirt), but I do have a solid grasp of what a good marriage looks like thanks to my parents. Unfortunately, when I was married at 26, I still wasn't paying attention to my parents (isn't that what all young people do?). It's only been in the last 5-8 years that I've really observed and analyzed my parents' relationship (married for 46 years, together for 50) and thought about my own past/present relationships. And the big thing that really stands out for me is: adventure together.

"A family that plays together, stays together." - Clarence Landry (not the original writer of this quote, but he has told this, repeatedly, to all three of his girls).  

Mom and Dad have seemingly done it all: they camped (pop up tent) with their friends in their early 20s, continued camping throughout their 20s as they raised their girls. When I was 13 or 14, they ditched the camping for a cottage and did some boating on the Bras d'Or lakes - not always fun when you have a petulant teenager who was missing a school dance or a party, but they chose to ignore my behaviour and by the time we were all sitting around the campfire and eating smores, I was their happy(ish) kid again. In winters we skied - as a family. As we got older, they started to do some things on their own. Dad bought a Harley and mom rode on the back and they traveled across Canada one summer. One day Dad came home with a yellow Sportster and told Mom she now had her own bike. And at 48, this badass grade 1 teacher got her motorcycle license and they rode the roads. I could write a book - that's how much they've lived their lives - but the common thread that really sticks out for me is that they adventured together.

So, when I met with Mayannda about her wedding cake and she told me that they love to travel and that a travel theme would be a big part of their wedding, I thought this is so fantastic - they love to adventure together

I hope they have a lifetime of together adventures. 

Photos by Halifax wedding photographers Cooked Photography

Double Digits for this Little Rockstar

Where does the time go? I know... we all ask this question as we watch our kids grow up. If we're being completely honest here, age 0 to 5 is pretty much a blur when it comes to Alexis. Second kid syndrome. I look at pictures (the few that I have in comparison to when my first born son) and I remember all those moments - but I can't just sit here and remember them (make prints, folks!). 

But things change and now Alexis is photographed far more than her older brother. It's been a big year for this one: we went to see One DIrection in concert back in August. Hands down in my Top 5 Best Mommy Moments. 

This kid is such a girly girl. So much so that I really wonder where she came from. Loves boy bands, make up, clothing and fashion. Pretty sure her hero right now is Bethany Moda. And she sings. All the time. About anything. She's the kindest, sweetest, most sensitive kid. And I love her to pieces. 

ALEXISONFIRE ?

ALEXISONFIRE ?

Loves it!

Loves it!


Her birthday is actually in April. I'm just a terrible blogger.

Her birthday is actually in April. I'm just a terrible blogger.

You've Got Mail.

Do you remember how much fun it was to get a letter in the mail from a friend? These days, I simply empty my mailbox of flyers, newletters, and bills. Items are sorted into recycle and keep piles and I carry on with my day. Nothing fun there! Until one day in late March when I received a thank you note along with some pictures (in print!) from Mariko and Nathan. 

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Thank you, Mariko and Nathan, for this thoughtful gesture. It totally made my day! You've inspired me to pick up a pen and paper and write more notes. Send more cards. Maybe even pen a long letter to my cousin in Kelowna... like I used to do when we were teenagers and living only an hour and a half away from each other (and not a country apart). You've also inspired me to make more prints. There are few things better than sitting with a coffee and a shoebox full of family photos on a rainy day and listening to my kids say things like, "oh my gawd, that was YOU?!". I love technology, but this is where I'm going to go old school.

Who's with me?


The Intimidator - a NASCAR legend

I was exposed to NASCAR in my early 20s when my then husband would spend Sunday afternoons kicked back in a recliner, watching cars speed around a track. At first, I just rolled my eyes and wondered how anyone could sit and watch multiple cars zip around and around the same track. I didn't get it. So, I'd leave the room and do my own thing and then check in towards the end to catch the last 10 laps. It wasn't until we went to a live race in Louden, New Hampshire that I fully understood the enormity of this sport. Fans are passionate about their drivers and teams. These drivers are considered celebrities. The race was actually a lot of fun to watch in real life. As was the people watching!

I started watching televised races, too. Though I did skip out once in a while - or multi-task while watching. I think I may have picked Bobby Labonte at the time as the guy I'd cheer for. I liked his green car. And he seemed like a really nice guy in interviews. I'll never forget watching the Daytona 500 and the crash that took Dale Earnhardt's life. We grieved with the entire NASCAR family for days.

This cake was for a NASCAR themed 50th birthday party. Danny's wife was surprising him with tickets to go see the Daytona 500 in February - so we knew that part had to be represented on the cake. I asked who his favorite driver was and his wife said it will probably always be Earnhardt. So, I suggested that we commemorate him on the cake somehow.

The top tier is a hand-cut logo out of fondant. The bottom tier include's Dale's number and an autographed portrait that was hand-painted on the cake using diluted black gel food color. Painting on cakes is fun, but a little stressful. You only get one shot!

Happy Birthday, Danny! Hope you enjoyed your trip to the Daytona 500!


Breaking Records

I can't ever remember life without music. Can you? I'm a rocker chick at heart. Though I enjoy a variety of music from classical to rap (okay, only Eminem for rap), there's nothing that makes me happier than blasting a little GNR, Poison, or Bon Jovi. Old school, yes, but I still know all the words (and air guitar solos) - and that makes rocking out just that much more fun. So, when AutoCanada contacted me to design a cake for their amazing team at Dartmouth Dodge because they broke all sales records, my first response was, "they rock!". Then I thought, I have to find a way to incorporate this whole record breaking thing! 

The result: a broken record (made from gumpaste) at the top with the Dodge logo at the center, a red/black/silver scheme (think awards ceremony), red carpet, some sparkle, and a bit of grunge splatter.

Congratulations, Dartmouth Dodge, on your amazing achievements!


Special Olympics Festival: 20th Anniversary Gala

Back in January, the Special Olympics Nova Scotia organization celebrated their 20th annual Festival gala fundraiser. I was thrilled to have been asked to participate by making a showpiece cake that would be displayed at the center of their dessert station. After consulting with their amazing decorator, Susan Carrigan (Simple Touch) and Christina Millar (Millar Productions), I was told the theme was going to be elegant and sparkly and to "do my thing"! Awesome.

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Since there would already be blue up lighting and the room would be fairly dark, I chose to go with a light ice blue/white color palette. The ice blue tiers were covered in sanding sugar in hopes that the lights would reflect the shimmer. Adding to the sparkle: glitter snowflakes. The 20 at the top matched the font on their marketing material and the Special Olympics logo was added in a neutral black and white. 

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For the silent auction, City Girl Cakes donated a box of chocolate covered Oreos, a $50 gift certificate, and a 4-pack Cake in a Jar gift box!

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The event raised $70,000 - a great success if you ask me.

Corporation: Special Olympics Nova Scotia                                                                                                Venue: Cunard Center                                                                                                                                  Decor: Simple Touch (Susan Carrigan)                                                                                                           Event Production: Millar Productions (Christina Millar)

I Like Boats and Nice Butts

We recently celebrated a friend's 40th birthday. I've made many cakes for 40th birthdays and every time I add the 40, there's a sharp intake of air and then it's slowly whistled out with a, "wowwww... 40", and then I abruptly stop breathing when I realize that I will be turning 40 in April. It's kind of funny. But not really. I can't stop it from happening, but I have a plan to kick 40 in the face. I'll share that with you soon. Anyway, back to this cake...

When I got the invitation, I asked (as I tend to do), "can I bring a cake?!". I've never been declined on that offer.

The deal with these cakes, though, is that you're not going to know what you're getting. I will ask (if I don't know) for some personal details, likes, and interests and then will create based on that information (and my interpretation of that information). Those are the rules. (No one argues.)

So, I ask his wife for some info and she says he loves his boat and his motorcycle. The ass cake would also work too because he likes nice butts! So, Paul and I are driving to Cape Breton and I start rambling about cake ideas for this 40th birthday. The conversation kind of went like this (Paul asking questions, me replying):

"Well, you could make a cake shaped like a boat." - Been there, done that, bought the tshirt. Can't be something I've done before.

"How about a motorcycle?" - Must I remind you that this is a gift?

"Okay, I give up. But whatever you decide, I think you should put Melanie (wife) on there in some way, cause we all know who wears the pants in that relationship." - (oopsie... did I just use my outside voice?). 

I think I talked to myself, throwing ideas around, from the airport to at least Antigonish (about 2 hrs). Remember the puzzles where there are little squares in a bigger square and you can't take the pieces out but you can slide them around? That's kind of how my brain works when I'm designing a cake: Yes. Yes. No. No. Back up. Throw it down. Pick it up again. Success.  Once all the pieces came together, I decided on a tropical theme (selfishly, because I'm so effing sick of this winter), with his boat anchored off "nice butt islands".

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Happy 40th Birthday, Chuck!

My Daughter's Big Surprise (and the lengths we will go to for our kids)

I thought I'd share a little personal  story today - my life isn't ALWAYS about cake!

Alexis has been infatuated with One Direction for the past 2 years. I find it entertaining (and adorable) because anyone who has known me from an early age knows of my infatuation with rock bands and celebrities. She's definitely a mini me.

She has posters all over her room (this was a year ago - there's barely wall space now). 

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She doodles in my notebooks about the boys.

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Posing with her new 1D shirt

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Celebrating her 9th birthday with a 1D cake - lovingly made by City Girl Cakes ;).

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After weeks of waiting... about to see the 1D movie This is Us (and, of course, wearing her 1D shirt).

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So, when they announced their 2014 dates, I was determined to take her somewhere to see them. But here was the problem: the closest venues to us were Toronto or New Jersey (both a long way from Dartmouth, NS) but even more problematic were the dates: first week of August - at the height of wedding cake season. I have never taken vacation during the summer where I've had to miss a weekend. This business is like farming: you make hay while the sun shines and the sun mostly shines between May and October. Sometimes the self-employed forget that they are entitled to vacations, too.

So, I decided to try for New Jersey because it was on a Tuesday and it would also mean that we could scoot over to NYC for a visit (happy Mommy!). The event promoters announced pre-sale dates. On the first one, I sat at my computer at exactly 11am, clicking refresh repeatedly trying to get in for tickets. I tried for 25 minutes and finally was offered level 3 tickets (way up there) but I didn't want to sit that far up so I walked away. On the second pre-sale date, I pulled up seats the first try but again, they were all in the 300s. Then I hit seats in section 116 and after about 10 seconds of debate, clicked on purchase tickets. I was so excited and my hands were so shaky I was barely able to type in my information. Once the confirmation came through, I cried. Like a baby. Sobbed. I was just so overwhelmed that I was actually going to be taking Alexis to see One Direction. This was her dream and it was going to come true!

We managed to keep the tickets a secret until Christmas. I wanted a unique way of giving them to her. Of course, my initial "over the top" thought was wouldn't it be amazing if I could somehow get 1D to shoot a short 15 second video clip where Harry (her favourite) would say something like, "Hey Alexis - we're looking forward to seeing you in New Jersey on August 5th"... or something like that. Then she'd unwrap her ipad that would have a sticky note that would say "press play" and the video would start. Awwwwwesome, right??

Instead, I opted for the next best thing and with a little photoshop magic (not really magic.. it took me about 45 minutes to figure out how to rotate a text box, ugh!) created this little gem:

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Here's a little video clip of her opening her present. It was exactly how I was hoping she'd react! We haven't started counting sleeps yet, but we will soon!

The Walking Dead

When I  first heard there was a television show about zombies, I'm pretty sure I slapped my forehead in angst and longed for the days of Friends, Dawson's Creek, Everwood, and Gilmore Girls. I mean, zombies? Really? I decided that cable sucked and signed up for Netflix. And there it was... The Walking Dead. Alright, what exactly is everyone raving about? So, I clicked on S1 E1 and binge watched the entire first season. 

It's not about the zombies at all! The show is cast with some incredible talent, extremely well written, contains a myriad of complex relationships, and just when you think you've figured it out... everything gets turned upside down. I'm always asking my son (we watch it together religiously now), "what would you do?". Will they survive? Will they ever find a "normal" existence? And as long as they don't kill off Darrell, I'm pretty sure I'll be watching to the end of the series. ;)

When I was contacted about a Walking Dead themed cake, my first thought was the chain-link fence. It was a constant in every episode - especially towards the end of their prison stay. Would they be able to keep the zombies out? And then, of course, you had to have Rick.

It was the first time I'd used a mix of mediums to paint on the cake: food coloring for the outlines and then petal dust for the shading - and I love the effects! 

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This is the kind of stuff I usually do late at night when no one (aka, kids) can bug me... and I can turn on the tunes and just get lost in my zone.

Add some gaping flesh...

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The final version...

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Fred's 45th

Usually, people make a big deal out of milestone birthdays. I'm kept busy with cakes for 30th, 40th, 50th, 60th, etc., birthdays. I immediately knew I'd like these clients because they go against the grain. They celebrate big on the 5s (25, 35, 45, 55). For Fred's 45th, his wife wanted a bright, fun and whimsical cake that matched his personality and also wanted to incorporate some of his favourite things: the Beatles, The Big Apple (NYC), Italy, and Happy Socks (seriously, these socks rock: www.happysocks.com). And a 45th birthday worked nicely for adding the 45 record at the top of the cake - which worked nicely with the Beatles theme. I love it when it all clicks.

Happy Birthday, Fred!

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Now Available: Cake Push Pops!!

pushpopMove over cupcakes...  Cake Push-Pops - layers of our delicious cake and buttercream in an easy to eat, no-mess-kid-tested push-pop container are perfect for parties, school functions, favors & gifts. Each container comes with a snap on cap so they are super portable. Cake Push-Pops  are available for special order with advance notice.  The minimum order is one dozen (12) at $42/dozen in any one flavour (vanilla, chocolate, or red velvet).

How to Order:

Send an email to shauna@citygirlcakes.com with the following information:

Quantity: (must be in multiples of 12)

Flavour: vanilla, chocolate, or red velvet (all with vanilla buttercream). Minimum  one dozen per flavour. We are not able to mix or split dozens.

Sprinkle color: multi, blue, pink, red, etc...

Date required: a minimum of 2 business days is required

Payment: send your payment via eTransfer (email Interac money transfer)

You will receive a confirmation email with information about pick up times and location within 24 hours of your request.

Another fantastic feature: Cake Push-Pops  are easily (and affordably) customizable to your event!

...tie a pretty ribbon around the stick.

...stick a personalized label on the front.

...arrange them in a bowl, vase, or glass – or make a push pop stand from styrofoam covered with wrapping paper or fabric.

These Cake Push-Pops  will keep for 3-4 days at room temperature. They can even be frozen or shipped (sorry, we cannot ship these for you at this time). *It is possible that some shifting of the buttercream and cake may occur if laid flat for an extended period of time.

Cake Push-Pops are currently only available for local pick-up

Art Deco Wedding Cake

Danielle and Richard decided to go with a white on white Art Deco style cake for their wedding. I now love white on white. DSC_0207

The vibe in the ballroom at the Lord Nelson made me want to rush home and change into my best 1920s outfit - which I don't actually have but if I did would have looked something like this:

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The coolest part? They had a really (really) old, working typewriter where guests could leave best wishes. My 9 yr old daughter thought that was neat.

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If there was one era I'd love to be able to go back to, it would be the 1920s. And preferably in New York City.

Congratulations Danielle and Richard!