hey all! july is generally a pretty quiet month on the studio/show front as much of my time is consumed with vacation and birthday celebrations. two weeks ago, i enjoyed some time in ocean city, maryland with my best friend and her family. this is us celebrating her birthday at seacrets during the day in the bay:
i left them early in the week to go home and prep for another birthday party- my boyfriend’s surprise 30th birthday celebration! his mom and i had literally been planning it for months. i can’t believe the day finally arrived- i feel like i’ve spent so much time building a party planning pinboard, making lists, making more lists, sending out emails, etc. here’s some photos from the party, complete with links to my recipes & inspiration.
the party was held at the family’s beach house in LBI- it’s affectionately titled the happy clam. you may remember me mentioning it in a previous post when i helped his mother work on some interior redecorating, with much inspiration coming from pinterest. the outdoor deck space was a little bit tight for everyone that showed up, so we expanded to the driveway, as seen above. i crafted a homemade “happy birthday” strand by using sea colored cardstock, printing each letter out, then using the martha stewart circle cutter to cut out each letter and numeral.
my present to Nick was a specially crafted home brew. my friend and brewer Nate Panek crafted a double IPA with hints of summer fruit flavors, like pineapple, mango, lemon, and passion fruit. as promised, it was dangerously easy to drink, even at 8.4% abv. i designed custom labels for the bottles with labels from onlinelabels.com. it was an economical way to make them on my home printer and they were waterproof with inkjet ink. however, with the particular product i ordered, i wasn’t very happy with the quality. i also ordered matching customs from Grant at Product 80- he was such an easy vendor to work with. his coasters are also very economical for both large and small amounts as he uses a vinyl sticker process rather than a press. some other things on the menu included:
these were refreshing and delicious- inspired by this rainbow creation from pinterest.
one of Nick’s favorite summer eats is the blackberry, so i used it as an ingredient in a couple of items at the party. i modified this recipe for fruit infused vodka to make a blackberry vodka lemonade punch.
in keeping with the flavor themes, i enlisted my friend and (nearly) pro baker Karina to use blackberry in a cupcake- she came up with a delicious blackberry & champagne concoction. it’s the pink cupcake featured in the middle. she also crafted the vanilla/vanilla mini cupcakes that match the blue/green color scheme that are on the back cake stand. another flavor theme was whiskey, Nick’s liquor of choice. not pictured here are the decadent chocolate whiskey bonbons she created. many yums and thanks to her!
whiskey also made an appearance in these individual cakes i baked in Ball jars. i found this buttery recipe on Heather Baird’s sprinklebakes blog (where i also discovered that she has a book out! i may have to pick it up). i doubled the recipe to make enough jars for each guest to take home as a thank you. it got some positive reviews which made pouring the batter into each individual jar worth it i decorated each jar with cupcake liners.
using the same cupcake liners, i made these mini chocolate cookie cheesecakes. the recipe was modified from one that a friend gave me- check it out on my rarely updated food blog.
for decor, i used an abundance of tealights, handmade sea colored garland, balloons, and more handmade paper flowers. check out this tutorial to make your own paper flowers.
. . . after all of the baking, gluing, coordinating, taping, and collecting, Nick was truly surprised- here’s the birthday boy upon his arrival:
happy 30th birthday, Nick!