The Inspired Room

Refining Your Home for Authentic Living™

Sweet Escape: Wedding Cupcakes Behind the Scenes August 22, 2008

Filed under: Domesticity,Holidays & Entertaining,Sweet Escape,Traditions & Memory Making — Melissa @ The Inspired Room @ 1:00 am

So, you want to see some behind the scenes from the wedding?

Of course you do. Alrighty then. {Hey, I see 1,000 of you slinking quietly out the back door, that is OK. You can come back when this is over. I don’t blame you}. I was so overwhelmed by how to show you all the happenings and photos that I was almost paralyzed. What to show? Where and how to show it? Will you all be bored out of your minds? Will there be people un-subscribing right and left? Should I start a wedding blog (nah, I’m not worthy)?

But then I just decided to stop worrying and BREAK IT DOWN. And really, what better SWEET ESCAPE than to show you the CUPCAKES? And because we had a couple of sweet things about this wedding, how about two sweet escape posts in one weekend? Sure. Part Two will be Sweet Escape: The Candy Bar. Stay tuned.

When my daughter and I started wedding planning, we thought cupcakes would be the appropriate dessert choice for a youthful, fun beach town wedding. We weren’t super original with that idea, or the “candy bar” idea, but I can say they were both BIG HITS nonetheless. Thank you to all the wedding bloggers who shared ideas, we stole tons of them. Here are a few I enjoy, not only for wedding planning but for inspiration in other areas as well: Southern Weddings Magazine, A Classic Bride, Style Me Pretty.

So, in our quest for the cupcakes, we visited the local cupcake bakeries and sampled all the options. {Shut up, I know I gained a few pounds in sampling}.

But at over $3.00 a piece for the standard cupcakes, we started to wonder “how much trouble could it possibly be to make our own cupcakes?” (note: only in my family would we contemplate such things).

Yeah. No trouble at all. Maybe no trouble for an ordinary day at home. But on an over 100 degree day, baking 200 cupcakes was a bit hot. But even more than the baking, the transporting of the cupcakes was the biggest issue. We had to bake most of them at home in Portland, drive them to Gearhart to frost them and then transport them a little further down the coast to our beach house where the reception would be held. The logistics of a “destination wedding” made things interesting. Not to mention we had never used a pastry tool before.

The upside of baking our own was 1) the reasonable cost and 2) we could personalize them to the wedding colors and 3) my daughters & I now have great memories of frosting in our hair and flour on our faces. And honestly, our cupcakes were tastier than any we had sampled. We ended up with three varieties.

The chocolate brownie cupcakes, topped with chocolate curls and mint green bark were SO TASTY. THE CHOCOLATE MINTY GOODNESS was to die for. We decided to make things easier and use a Ghiradelli brownie mix. Yeah, we used a brownie mix. Shoot me. Have I disgraced the meaning of all things sacred & acceptable for weddings by not having a fancy schmancy bakery make these from scratch? Sigh. Probably. But I’m a Blissfully Domestic Diva and that means I can do whatever I want, including using boxed mixes even for a wedding. So there. I don’t get all bent out of shape over those sorts of things. Am I crazy?

In addition to the brownie ones, there were white ones with the pink frosting and white pearl candy top, as well as the white ones with the white frosting and the pink pearl candy top. My daughter had to learn how to use the frosting tube in order to make them. They may not have been perfect, but they sure turned out cute enough all together on trays at the wedding.

We made batches of the brownie cupcakes and frosted the white cupcakes at our friends’ beach house in Gearhart. She was generous to allow us use of her home for some of the wedding party’s accommodations. And we took full advantage of the kitchen the day before the wedding. Just in case you are wondering, here is what this house looks like from the outside.

While us girls were in the middle of making frosting and baking at the house, we heard a knock on the door. Hello, it was a real estate appraiser. Fancy that! He wanted to take PICTURES OF THE KITCHEN. It was so embarrassing, we really had a big mess, flour and junk everywhere — I am sure my friend is going to shoot me when she sees the appraiser’s pictures. Oops! Sorry. Probably cost her a few thousands dollars off the appraisal.

Not only were we working on wedding cupcakes, but we were assembling breakfast for the next morning, and lunch for right before the wedding. Good thing there was a great big farm table for all of the food and care packages. I forgot to take a photo of the girls’ care packages. Super cute spring green Chinese take out boxes.

Once we got those pupcakes (as my niece called them) all pretty and frosted we suddenly realized we had to transport 200 of them perfectly INTACT (i.e. not STACKED) for another 1/2 hour ride to our beach house. Along with my girls’ 300 suitcases, a wedding dress, a karaoke machine and various other miscellaneous necessities crammed in my mini-van. It was a crazy day, but we managed to pull it off. Was it worth it? I will have those memories forever. Yeah, it was worth it.

Stay tuned for Sweet Escape part two, THE CANDY! The candy display was one of my favorite things we did to decorate! But will you get to see the wedding, the flowers, the dress and the red shoes? Oh yeah. All in good time. All in good time, my pretties.

Are you new here and want to read who this wedding was for? Welcome! Click here!
Want to see what our beach house (which we used for the reception) looked like just weeks before the wedding? Click here!


Sweet Escape: Fathers & Backyard Barbecues June 13, 2008

Filed under: Holidays & Entertaining,Sweet Escape,Traditions & Memory Making — Melissa @ The Inspired Room @ 8:59 am

Happy Father’s Day to those special Dads in your life!!

I’m going to be spending a delightful day with my two favorite fathers,
my own dad and the dad of my three babies.

Enjoy the weekend, everyone!

From Sunset’s Ideas for Building Barbecues, 1961


Window Shopping for Summery Goodness June 5, 2008

Hey girls! Wow, I cannot believe it was Easter the last time I did a little window shopping with you all! My how time flies! I love checking out what is available at Sur la Table each season. I was not disappointed at all the summery goodness to be found! I would love to get a cute ice cream maker like this red one. Oh, nothing better than homemade ice cream on a hot summer day!

Or, if you must resort to a pint of Ben & Jerry’s (painful as that would be), why not eat it in style from your very own little ice cream cooler?

A very fun way to serve hot fudge and ice cream toppings! Remember, it is all about making memories with the kids. And having that cute little server would definitely make a memory. Use it for family night, or a kids birthday party! Oh, or you could have it on “SUNDAE”. A new tradition: Sunday Sundae’s.

Wait! Don’t sit on these candle holders! You’ll burn your bum.

Bzzz…. candle bees! Don’t sit on this candle either. Ouchy.

Refreshing lemonade served from a fancy schmancy server! Perfect for having your girlfriends over. Come on girls, let’s have a little lemonade party! Fresh squeezed lemonade. Yummy!

Love these pale pink French Bee bistro glasses, perfect for lemonade!

Ooooo, look at these little flip flops are coasters! Not exactly sure how you get your drink to fit around the straps, but they are cute anyways! My son would certainly be trying to get these on Winston’s feet.

These little ice cream cone cupcake pans are the cutest! Are they cake, or ice cream? So much fun. Why make ordinary cupcakes when you could make ice cream shaped ones?

You could put your cupcake right on a cupcake plate! Can’t get much sweeter than that!

I would love one of these little market baskets to carry all my goodies home!

All of this summery goodness can be found at Sur la Table.


Fun Idea: Chalkboard Cloths & Placemats May 14, 2008

I saw this very cute product and idea from Dianne of Desperate Diva and I loved it! I love easy ideas like this that are not only unique but are also a conversation starter or memory maker. They serve a purpose beyond CUTE. Love that.

This would be such a nifty idea to celebrate someone’s birthday (have it on the table with birthday messages) or to honor any special person or day. Leave a love note for your sweetie. You could use it to share family activities or plans at the breakfast table, a memory verse for the week, an inspirational quote, a menu, or keep kids busy when they say they are bored (as my son says at least five times a day). Or, use them as a fun party activity! It would definitely create memories!

You could also do similar things with regular sheets and fabric pens, or even rolls of paper spread out on tables. Or, get out your chalkboard paint and use it directly on a table.

For the chalkboard cloth or placements, I believe Desperate Diva also has clear protectors you can put over the cloth in order to preserve what you wrote while you use the table.

Thanks for the great product and idea, Dianne! Everyone, pay Dianne a visit! She has a great blog and is a neat person, too!

Happy Creativity!


Easter: Inspiration March 9, 2008

Filed under: Holidays & Entertaining,Traditions & Memory Making — Melissa @ The Inspired Room @ 10:30 pm
Williams-Sonoma never fails to inspire me around the holidays.
These adorable papier-mache eggs would be a beautiful addition to the Easter basket. Most of our eggs are plastic, I’ll be honest, but sometimes I stick something special in our kids’ baskets to be a keepsake. I was more into special little things like this with our girls, however. Unless these eggs had spideman printed on them, our son wouldn’t even care.
What a cute bunny pan! If I was into baking I’d make bunny cakes for sure.
You could make this yourself. A nest wreath with candies in the middle — easy centerpiece.
Ok, now, I adore those straw bunnies, birds and chicks. I must have them! They are so life-like. They’d be adorable perched on the table or basically anywhere. I love them.
The Easter Egg tree is a seasonal tradition in many European countries. You could make this with branches from outside.
These little chicks are just the fluffiest cutest little sweetie chicks ever. These are another good example of the kinds of little surprises I always loved sticking in plastic eggs to surprise my girls when they were little.
Super easy decor. Love the eggs around a pillar candle.
Of course, baking sugar cookies in fun Easter shapes would make the holiday special.

Easter: Centerpieces & Placecards

Filed under: Holidays & Entertaining,Traditions & Memory Making — Melissa @ The Inspired Room @ 9:55 pm

At our house, Easter is favorite opportunity to create a festive and memorable table. While we celebrate the true meaning of Easter and that is what is most significant to us about the holiday, we also enjoy the traditional Easter decorations such as painted eggs and cute little bunnies. It feels great to put away the more wintry decor and set up vignettes in spring colors. The Easter table is one of our most memorable of the year.

Easter Sunday our family expects the Easter bunny to stop by and hide candy while we are at the morning service at church. Once we return home, just before brunch, the kids run around the house with their Easter baskets gathering up the eggs and candies hidden throughout the main rooms of the house. Our Easter bunny is pretty sneaky about hiding the candy and we usually find some of it the following winter. Nothing like a petrified jelly bean stuck to the back of a drawer in mid-November.

Here are a few ideas I pulled from Better Homes & Gardens that might get our wheels turning for some creative table decorations!

You could use just about any candle holder to showcase eggs!

The tulips and white eggs look so pretty in a clear glass bowl.

I love this fresh and natural looking centerpiece.

These little baskets look adorable tied to the back of a chair!

Of course, a nest always looks like spring! Fill it with some candy eggs!

Using wheatgrass from a pet store makes the perfect soft bed for an egg placecard.

You can’t go wrong with a chocolate bunny. Being able to eat your decorations is always a bonus in my world.

Creating a sweet “egg” tag to tie on a napkin is something even I could do.

For these ideas and lots more, visit Better Homes & Gardens online!


Our Little Escape + Coastal Drive Bys March 3, 2008

Filed under: Authentic Living,drive bys,Inspired Living,Sweet Escape,Traditions & Memory Making — Melissa @ The Inspired Room @ 8:37 pm
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On Thursday of last week I decided I was ready for an ESCAPE. For real. No imaginary trip to a castle in Scotland was going to do this time. I called my husband and sheepishly said, “Do you want to leave the kids this weekend and head to the beach?” He said, “You mean for the day, right? The beach house isn’t done yet.” And I said, “No. I’m talking about going to The Cannon Beach Hotel — for two nights.”

I could hear him smile on the other end of the phone. It was a spur of the moment idea, the sun was shining and I knew we had a window of opportunity that probably wouldn’t come again until summer. And I was ready to get out of town NOW! This is not something we do very often — just taking off spontaneously without the kids. And normally it involves a bit more planning and reality is, it usually involves an anniversary. This time, it was all about being spontaneous and fun. And continuing in my resolve to be deliberately disconnected from the computer in order to live a full life in the real world.

I called the charming Cannon Beach Hotel and lo and behold, they had a vacancy! We threw our bags in the car the next morning and off we went! One and a half hours later (and a Dairy Queen Oreo Blizzard for each of us), we arrived. YAHOO! A weekend, UNPLUGGED and CHILDLESS! I think all that talk about the beach house and coastal kitchens last week, coupled with the “Disconnect Challenge” finally merged. A Beach Weekend, Unplugged. I was determined to live out my dreams, yes indeed.

I have to say that we are pretty much homebodies most of the time. We love travel but our life usually revolves around kids, schedules, our house, computers, cleaning, cooking, laundry, working and starting over again the next day with the same routine. Typical days for families with several children. The routine grows comfortable and familiar. Life is good and we are happy with it. But every now and then it is good (and necessary) to escape and get away as a couple (or even alone or with friends!). And that we did. Usually we’d escape to our own beach house, which we are so blessed to have, but knowing that it is still a ways from completion, we splurged on a hotel.

We had breakfast in bed overlooking a cozy fireplace, leisurely walks, tasty food from real restaurants (no Burger Kings), coffee breaks in charming bistros and time to breathe in the fresh sea air. The sun was shining most of the time. We took a couple of naps. We had time to talk about anything and nothing all. We had no where we had to be. And no computer in sight.

I loved this little espresso cafe (below). It had tons of vintage Scottie stuff and antique paintings everywhere. We sat at the copper counter and drank lattes and ate cinnamon rolls. Yummy. The cafe was in Gearhart, a town just a few miles from Cannon Beach near Seaside. Super quaint beach town.


Across the street from this cafe was an adorable cottage shop. Much to my utter embarrassment, my husband got the hiccups (very LOUD hiccups) while we were chatting with the owner, oohing and ahh’ing over all the cute stuff she had. I tried to usher him quietly out the door, but the owner stopped us and graciously shared her natural remedy for hiccups. She ran and got him a lovely bottled water and a cup. You would have laughed hysterically had I taken photos, he was drinking out of a cup upside down bending over in the middle of her cottage shop. She was carefully instructing him how to drink from a cup while upside down. I was mortified. But, it worked. He was hiccup free the rest of the trip. Thank goodness.


Cannon Beach has some really charming shops, restaurants and buildings. I never tire of wandering through them. In the summer all the flower beds are absolutely gorgeous bursting with blooms and greenery. In the winter all the trees are covered in magical white lights.

This is an adorable theatre where we have seen a few plays over the years. My parents just bought season tickets so I’m sure it will become their regular hangout!


I couldn’t resist taking a few little charming Drive By beach cottage photos just for you, my chickadeees! Yeah, my husband graciously pulled over and backed up and nearly drove off the side of a cliff for me to snap a few photos for you. He’s a gem. I tried not to take too many as I was trying to be completely unplugged from blogging. This was just a wee compromise. We do both enjoy houses so it wasn’t too torturous for him.


I had to show you photos of these furry Easter bun buns. Aren’t they adorable? They were just romping around freely in one section of Cannon Beach. Tons of them hopping all over the place. I’m a sucker for little cute animals. I love them.

OH, yes, and speaking of bunnies, I saw a movie I absolutely adored. I rarely love movies, most of them leave me snoring, but I thought this one was exceptional.

Miss Potter. The story of Beatrix Potter.

I am definitely buying it and will add it to my other list of favorites, including Father of the Bride and Father of the Bride II. It has a great story, cast, awesome scenery and houses (a must for me!), and cute little animals frolicking about. My husband even liked it, which was a miracle because it had nothing remotely to do with sci-fi, action or aliens.


There you have it, My Beach Weekend — Unplugged.