Getting Caught Up on Catching Up!

Hey guys! So, It’s obvious I have been away for a while, and I’m sorry! But, if it is any way I consolation, I have missed using this forum with you all SOOOOOO much! This space, this place brings me great peace, fulfilment and excitement! I find a balance with in myself that organically occurs whenever I have “blogging” consistency. It allows self-reflection, an openess about myself, my life and the people who I care about (which I don’t feel comfortable exercising in my day-to-day life, although I strive to not be so guarded) and lastly, it allows me to connect and learn about you guys in whatever fashion or capacity you wish. And for all of those things I am BEYOND grateful!

So, here is a “quick” update of what has been going on in my world.

1. I had my thymectomy. The surgery to remove the thymoma I had. The surgery went well and my surgeon feels confidant they got it all! I went in the night before my surgery and received my immuno-therapy. The following morning my surgery was preformed bright and early (I had the rudest awaking: I awoke to my nurse scrubbing me down with the surgical prep soap…which so happens to be ICE COLD!) I chatted with my doc and said my “see you later’s” to my mom and dad, and then off I went for a 5 1/2 hr surgery. Post-operatively I was informed that the mass was much larger and substantially more dense than the CT Scan had indicated. I had a 5 day stay in ICU/intermediate Care Unit, with my wonderful and lovely nurses, other medical staff and the most pleasant janitorial personnel you could ever ask for! They all indulge my intrinsic need to communicate and learn about people. It was one of the single most influential moments in my life, I could not have experienced everything I did and remain unchanged, I am not the same person I was before this diagnosis, months of treatment and ultimately the surgery that has brought me to where I exist now. I still have to go through a couple more rounds of treatment, but I’m optimistic that this chapter will come to a healthy conclusion. As I sit here in front of my laptop typing away about myself (I know…gosh), I promise to become everything and all of whatever it is that I am supposed to become in life with my time here on earth, and I will take you all along for the ride for as long as you guys care to know.

2. My brother David is officially a married man…YAY! He married his best friend, the mother to his little girls and the love of his life! Plus, the cake I made them was AMAZING!

3. I FINALLY TRAVELED TO HAWAII!!! I will be post al; about that in a following post.

4. I had one of the most amazing career experiences I could have ever asked for 2 weeks ago. I had the privilege of making a cake for a styled photo shoot on Kent Island, at the Chesapeake Bay Beach Club! I promise to fill you guys in about that and share some of the lovely behind-the-scene photo, in a blog post to come.

5. Lastly, I am planning a trip with my mom and best friend Tara (hopefully…fingers crossed she can get off work) to Santa Barbara, California. I am quite thrilled, as it has been a dream of mine to visit for about 10 years now.

Here are a couple of photos of me the night before surgery and during my recovery:

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The night before surgery goodies…Dolcezza gelato! And a photo montage of some of my favorites, whom we had dinner with!

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There it is…the bane of my existence for 9 1/2 months. GONE! 

I want to take this time to say a huge thank you to my family and friends, who with out your constant support I would not be living the beautiful, wonderful and lucky (albeit challenging) life I lead. I love you guys!

So Guys…I Turned 25! Birthday Shenanigans and Exploring Key West!

Hey guys! I’m back, do you notice something different about me…oh you do? Well, that’s because I am %100, bonafide, grown ass WOMAN! Lol…no really I turned 25 on April 20th. In the small scope of my world this year has been tough, which made it all the more beautiful and immensely important I made it to this milestone in life. I know some people believe age is just a number, and to some degree that is true. But, for many, it signifies the growth, fight and hardship we endured to reach that next age. I find that I become so aware of how my spirit, body and heart perseveres, through all of my changes. This year I got another medical diagnosis (that would bring about an additional layer of medical issues, endless doctor visits, treatment therapy that feels like it will go on forever and BIG surgery coming up), I lost my dear friend Devin Cook and I had to take time away from my bakery. Those things alone were enough to bruise my spirit, but I refuse to let things steal the threads of beauty, immense gratitude and inherent optimism that are so deeply ingrained within my soul and weaves throughout every aspect of my life.

Since I turned the big 25, I was lucky enough to take a little trip with the madré! We headed to florida, it was amazing, as florida always is. But, this time we went somewhere different, and different was…KEY WEST! I could have been more surprised, excited and complete thrilled! After a couple of days hoping around florida, I anxiously awaited “the day”. The following morning, we took a small charter plane and landed on the island for 2 days and 1 night of shear awesomeness! Once, I found out, I became strategic, I looked up what to-do, talked to locals and just walked around and explored with my mama! We found a local stop called El Siboney, a favorite cuban restaurant of visitors and locals. And as you know “we” LOVE CUBAN FOOD! We walked along Duvall St., we bought gifts for the fam and found lovely little shops, that shape the beautiful and unique culture, community and way of life that you experience down in the “keys”! So, here is our trip at a glance…
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We had lunch at The Bohemian Hotel, in Celebration, FL. It sits on the edge of the town, with a lovely view of the town lake.
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For lunch I had a delish Pan Seared Salmon over a Tossed Green Salad, with Sparkling water (I kept the bottle and I plan to turn it into a candle holder)
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The decor of the hotel is that of its namesake, bohemian! It’s beautiful, with warm tones that are quite inviting, the staff exhibit wonerdful hospitality and the space also is home to a eclectic art gallery.
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After one of the best lunches of my life. The madre and I walked around town, got coffee, bought some gifts and headed back to the hotel for one last night before we flew to Key West in the morning.
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The view from our balcony, our last night there. Now, off to KEY WEST!
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We have arrived…
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Some of the sights, but firt thing first…FOOD! We walked from our hotel to the glorious, acclaimed and completely authentic Cuban restaurant El Siboney!
DSC_0196DSC_0197DSC_0202IMG_2082 Just us girls!
IMG_2088 We got arroz y frijoles, yuca fritas, mojo, tostones, platanos maduros, and pargo rojo pescado con arroz…and it was AMAZING!!! Do yourself a favor and if you are ever in Key West, stop by El Siboney! After lunch we headed into town and saw alot of the natural beauty that makes up Key West.
DSC_0205DSC_0211DSC_0214DSC_0215DSC_0216 Oh, and of course we hit the beach!
IMG_2092IMG_2091DSC_0219DSC_0226IMG_2095 Once the time in the water came to and end, we headed back to the room the shower and change for dinner! We ate at A&B Lobster House, which sits looking out at the gorgeous harbor. And as you will see below, I still get carded at 25.
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And our wonderful waiter surprised me with this…
IMG_2121 It was be far the best key lime pie I had ever had! It is entirely unique and no one can do it like Key West can! After a lovely and memorable dinner, we went back to the hotel to pack, relax and enjoy the view of Key West at night. But before I go…
DSC_0244DSC_0245 The Ernest Hemingway Museum was so interesting, I think I need to see it again, but next time I won’t be runnign around like a mad woman, trying to see it all before we head to the airport.
IMG_2148 Bye, bye, Key West…until next time!
Thank you to all who wished me a happy birthday, I look forward to many, many, many more! I will se you guys tomorrow for “Wednesday’s with WinniE’s”! So be well and thanks for allowing me to share my experiences with you all!
An info list of local shops and restuarants:
1. The Bohemian Hotel: http://www.celebrationhotel.com/
2.El Siboney: http://www.elsiboneyrestaurant.com/
3. A&B Lobster House: http://aandblobsterhouse.com/
4. The Green Pineapple: http://www.greenpineapplekw.com/ This place was amazing! It’s a yoga studio, cafe/bakery and boutique. They have delicious gluten-free baked goods and the vibe is great! I had a wonderful talk with the manager Karen!
5. The Ernest Hemingway Museum: http://www.hemingwayhome.com/
P E A C E + L O V E + B A K I N G !
P.S.: Peak in on Saturday, I have a special post for you guys!

Wednesday’s with WinniE’s (May 6th…from somewhere SPECIAL!)

Hey guys! This week I am writing my blog post from the most charming, bohemian and local coffee shop. It’s located smack dab in the heart of New Orleans, Louisiana. The name of the coffee shop is MOJO, but more about them in next weeks post. This week I want to share with you all the newest creation in the WinniE’s Bakery “test kitchen”! I made a 6inch round, 3 layer, triple chocolate cake with Salted Caramel buttercream for my sister-in-law (Heidi’s) bridal shower. I had so much fun making this little confection for her. It’s been wonderful, restoring and healing for my spirit to be back in the kitchen, just baking and cooking whatever my little heart and the crazy imagination in my head throw together. I was deeply influenced by the blossoming of the buds on the trees and wild flowers dancing in grass. So, here is how the cake turned out…

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floral elements

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and now for the finished product…eek!

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I kept with the theme and harmony my brother and Heidi are striving to cultivate into their upcoming nuptials. Heidi’s wedding shower was lovely and thoughtful, with her closest and oldest family and friends there to celebrate with her. It’s an anxious count-down until the wedding. I have had Heidi in my life for 10 years and apart of my family for about 7 (reaching 8 years). I couldn’t be more thrilled for it (their marriage) to be officially documented and celebrate before the people who matter most to them! Until next week!

P E A C E + L O V E + B A K I N G !

I’m Back…Wednesday’s with WinniE’s ( May 29th)

Hello everyone! I couldn’t be happier to be back, here with you all and sharing the time I spend developing and creating new recipes or designs for cakes, cupcake and more! Today in the WinniE’s Bakery “test kitchen” something incredibly personal is going on. I know I mentioned before, but my brother David and his fiancée Heidi are getting married. And, you may ask, who might be the lucky one doing the wedding cake? You guessed it, me…eek! So today, I will show the “demo cake”. A “demo cake” or “concept cake”, essentially is an idea that puts to form the design you conceptualize between your client and yourself. Whatever is agreed-upon, can then be displayed through the medium of a styrofoam cake. I absolutely love doing a “demo cake”! The key inspirations for Heidi’s demo cake: rustic, simplistic, small, floral accents (white roses and sunflowers) and all buttercream. All of my favorite things to have in a cake! So here’s a look and how it turned out…
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and after…
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This is the finished product. I couldn’t have more excited to be back at trying to create beautiful baked goods. And Heidi was so excited to have a chance to see how the concept we had been discussing and tweeking looked. That way she would feel calm, confident and completely at peace with her desicion to have this style of cake at one of the most important days of her life!
Thanks again guys, see you next week for “Wednesday’s with WinniE’s”! By the way, if you want to follow the happenings of my bakery between each week “Wednesday’s with WinniE’s” you can follow our bakery on Instagram @winniesbakery. Be well!
P E A C E + L O V E + B A K I N G !

Wednesday’s with WinniE’s! (June 11th)

Hey guys, happy Wednesday!

This week in WinniE’s Bakery we decided to ‘TEST’ bake an “oldie but goodie”. I have a very BIG event coming up and I want to showcase this flavor as one of the “tasting cupcakes”. I have always loved my “Strawberry Champagne” cupcake, but with this event coming up I wanted to breathe new life into this cupcake recipe. I am all about evolving and trying new things, so I revamped the recipe, and I think I have found the perfect balance of complementing flavors! Or as my dad would say, “All the same players, just new positions!”…my dad and his sports metaphors. Anyway, for those of you who follow WinniE’s Bakery Instagram account @winniesbakery, you know that I said I would reveal my BIG news. Drum roll please…WE ARE THE JUNE FEATURED BAKERY FOR Williams-Sonoma Wedding Registry Event, AT COLUMBIA MALL, on June 24th 6-8pm!!! I could not be more grateful and ready for the new opportunities that this will bring to WinniE’s Bakery! I told you guys exciting things were happening with WinniE’s Bakery!

With that said, here is a look at what happened in WinniE’s kitchen today…

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A fresh start.

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Now for a little bubbly…

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Before…

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After.

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I couldn’t be happier with how they turned out! I feel like they are ready for the event!!!

I wanted to share with you guys a beautiful occurrence that I witnessed, while I was baking. One of my favortie things on earth is when it rains outside, while the sun is shining!!! It’s breath taking, rare and majestic. I couldn’t have been more excited and grateful to watch such natural beauty.

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Until next time. I’ll see you guys next week, for another ‘Wednesday with WinniE’s”!
P E A C E + L O V E + B A K I N G
E

Wednesday’s with WinniE’s! (June 4th)

Hey guys, happy Wednesday! Yes, I know…it’s Thursday, Thursday evening at that.

Sorry to get this post up so late, things are really happening at WinniE’s Bakery. It’s “wedding season” and graduation time, so that means lots of orders=lots of work…yay! I love being busy, I thrive on the balancing act that is work and life. I am learning and enjoying the journey! Anyway, I wanted to show you guys a special order I did for one of my favorite customers. It was an out of season order, but for her, I will always make this exception. Her favorite item on the WinniE’s menu is my “Winter Special” ‘Peppermint Mocha’ cupcake. I was more than happy to accommodate, she had loved the cupcakes so much she wanted have them as apart of her sister’s birthday celebration.

Here’s what’s been happening in WinniE’s Bakery…

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Just a sprinkle…

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Now to box!

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I hope you guys like this weeks post. I know that this weeks post was short, but hopefully sweet! Until next week!

 

P E A C E  + L O V E + B A K I N G !

E

Wednesday’s with WinniE’s! (May 28th)

Hey guys, happy WEDNESDAY!

So sorry I missed last weeks post, I had fallen ill. But, I am all better now (not really) but my spirits are high and some of my energy has returned…yay! Exciting things have been happening at WinniE’s Bakery. It’s graduation, barbeque/cookout and wedding season!!! And, everybody knows WinniE’s Bakery is “where you can always find your piece of sweet!” Each season I host a “Bite & Buy” party, to debut new and seasonal treats I have created. The party aims to premote our new additions to the menu, enocurage old customers to reorder and cultivate new clientelle. So far, over the spring I’ve created the “Jordy’s Triple B” cupcake, “David’s Strawberry Delight” cupcake, “Banana ‘Nana’ Infused” cupcake w/ Nutella buttercream and lastly, our “Lemon Coconut Creme” cupcake. I have been so fortunate that I’ve been and continue to be inspired by the undeniable multitude of things that life has to offer. I am currently developing new recipes for the bakery and they will be feautred on the menu and I couldn’t be more excited! Of course you guys will be the first to know, seeing as I share my ‘TEST’ baking sessions with you all each Wednesday…you guys are that special to me! Anyway, I wanted to share with you a glimps into my most recent “Bite & Buy” party.

Here is a look into what was the outcome…

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After the festivities were finished, we sent “to-go” boxes home with our guest!

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How cute!

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See you guys again next Wednesday, for “Wednesday’s with WinniE’s”. I hope you guys enjoyed this post!

P E A C E + L O V E + B A K I N G

E