Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Cake from the Heart

I remember a time when there was no thought of a store bought cake. I will never forget the cake that my daddy(yes I'm an adult but a daddy's girl for life) made for my 11th birthday. It was a round strawberry layer cake with strawberry icing and sliced strawberries covering the whole thing.....mmmmm. Although I love to buy a beautifully flawless decorated cake to match any theme imaginable, there is nothing like a cake made from the heart. Believe it or not, it's the adults that seek the "perfect" cake, not the kids. I admit that I'm talking about myself when I say that I would rather have my cake made by a professional but there were certain instances that I've tried my hand in cake decorating. They may have been a bit lop-sided but the kids(and adults) still raved about them anyway. Thanks to the Internet, the "how-to" to any kind of cake decoration is a keystroke away. A few years ago I threw my daughter a Cinderella birthday party and refused to pay a hundred plus dollars for a castle cake that I wasn't that crazy about, so I went searching online. It's amazing what you can find online and how creative my fellow mothers are. This project became so much fun for me and my girls. Of course I had to have a trial run before the big day to make sure it would turn out okay and thank the Lord that I did. Hat's off to the professionals because even the easiest recipe took hours for me to complete...and I used boxed cake mix! I never knew how much went into making a cake since I've always loved a simple bunt cake for desert. But you can make a $100 cake for about $10 and your kids and friends will remember it forever. Here are some of the cakes I've made for different occasions. Warning....not perfect but appreciated and from the heart.
Trial run castle cake
Actual castle cake
(notice an extra layer)
Diva barbie cake for a Diva babyshower
Cinderella barbie cake
Cake that I made for my volleyball team the "Housewives of VA"
(made with store bought fondant)
Made with Christmas tree cake pan with rice krispie treat gifts

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

My first booking!!!!

Yeah!!! I'm so excited! I just got my first request to plan a birthday party thanks to this blog. Wow, who knew that blogging would work this fast....I guess everyone except me. ;0)
Her little boy's party isn't for a couple of months but that is actually perfect. It gives me enough time come up with some different ideas and search for all kinds of great stuff. I like for each party to be unique and memorable so I like to start early.
What really made me feel special is when she said that she wanted to hurry up and book me before I was booked up....that's got to mean something. I believe that God is working in my favor and this business venture is really going to pick up faster than I could've ever imagined. Thank you Aisha Jones....my very first customer!
To Nneka (nnekasaran.blogspot.com), thanks for giving me some guidance, sorry I didn't start when you told me to last year.
I can't wait to share my journey with all of you.

for all things creative!: SUPER CUTE Birthday Party Ideas for Girls

for all things creative!: SUPER CUTE Birthday Party Ideas for Girls: "One of the biggest challenges for moms is figuring out what theme to go with each year for birthday parties for the kiddies! My friend, Chri..."

Kennedy's 5th birthday party.........There is still a such thing as customer service

Well, it's a new day and I feel a little bad that I started off telling you all about a bad experience and not giving recognition to the great service that I received for Kennedy's party. First for all readers in the Richmond Tri-City area, Lois with 'Balloons and Thing' is awesome. Any type of balloon you need, be it a character or an arch, she has it....if she doesn't have it she will find it! I met Lois last year when I was in search of balloons for Kennedy's 4th birthday. We hit it off right away. I can be a bit over the top when it comes to parties but whatever idea I came up with she would just get excited opposed to frustrated. She even gave me some ideas. She is a very kind and down to earth person and her rates are reasonable. She delivers and is prepared for any mishaps that may occur. So if you ever need balloons for whatever type of event check her out at http://www.balloonsandthings.com/. Next, I have to shout out to Rollerdome Skating Rink(http://www.rollerdomeskating.com/)  on Williamsburg Rd. I really don't even like to have parties at venues like this. I love parties at homes or at empty locations because I love to create a certain atmosphere that matches whatever theme I'm working with, but Kennedy just had to have a skating party this year. Now you can book a private party but my 5 year old doesn't know enough people to have an exclusive party there. To my surprise they really exceeded my expectations. The cost was more than reasonable considering what was included. The had all the paper products, treat bags, glow sticks, free passes for all guests, a pass for a free lesson for each guest, two pizzas, four drink refills as well as a pair of skates. And these skates were not cheap....they ended up being the exact same as the pair that I own. And I can't leave out that they bring them to the middle of the skating rink, sing happy birthday and give them a gift. Kennedy got a $2 bill, which I loved since I collect them. And even though the price was reasonable they also had two other packages that were cheaper for those on a smaller budget. Now to the customer service portion. Because I still had to go with a theme(Hello Kitty) I told them I wanted to bring my own decorations. If you read my last blog you know that I was late to my own party, but as soon as I walked in a young lady took my bag and set up my table. She constantly came back to check on us to see if we needed anything, not to the point where she got annoying but just enough so that we didn't have to go looking for her. Another gentleman came to our table regarding the remainder of the bill but the way he went about it was so professional. He wouldn't say that we needed to pay he just said they needed us at the front making sure no one around us knew we hadn't paid yet(even though I wouldn't have cared). It was his way of saying, "it's no ones business what you're needed for" and I appreciated that. They made this party so much fun for me since I didn't have to worry about anything. I don't know if God allowed so much great customer service to me that day because of my cake incident but thank God! So to sum it all up....customer service still lives!

Hello Kitty balloons

My own favors to give out along with the skating rinks

My personal favors

Kennedy's new skates!

Hello Kitty tableware

More balloons

Monday, April 4, 2011

No more business for The Mixing Bowl

Hello fello bloggers. This is my first time writing a blog.... after a year of actually creating it. I couldn't figure out how to start off especially since I've never been much of a writer nor do I have an eloquent way with words, but I won't let that stop me. Hopefully as I grow so will my grammer and vocabulary. So on to the reason I finally got the nerve up to begin. Being a mother of three I love to celebrate life. Birthdays, babyshowers, graduations....you name it and I'll celebrate it. I am a very positive person and that's why I hate to start off complaining. When I do business with someone I expect to be treated with respect and professionalism. I just had a birthday party for my 5 year old daughter at the skating rink which should have been a breeze since I didn't have to find activities or entertainment for the kids. But of course nothing ever goes as planned. So I get up early, take my god daughter to dance class and I'm on my way to pick up the cake. While in route(10:45) the company that was making my cake, The Mixing Bowl, called to tell me that they need to push the pick up time back. I explained that I needed to be at the venue by 12:30 to set up because the party started at 1:00. The first thing they said to me was, "well, you weren't supposed to pick it up until 12:00 anyway." So I said ok it needs to be there by 12:00 then. She went on to say that it wasn't her fault and that they were behind and "it is what it is"....wow. I couldn't believe it. So I say to her, "please don't get frustrated, I just need my cake on time." She tried to say she wasn't getting frustrated she was just in the middle of a console. I responded by reminding her that she called me. So to make a long story short we went back and forth, which is a no-no for business etiquette, and finally said that she would call the owner and call me back. I was demanding either my cake be on time of they deliver the cake to my venue since it had to be delivered to that location anyway. They called back and said ok it'll be here by 12. I got there at 11:50 and no cake. 12:00...no cake. 12:02 no cake. So I ask how long will it take and the same lady that was so very kind to me when ordering was once again getting frustrated. She's telling me that they have 40 deliveries and that it was only 12:02. Of course I rebutted, I had just heard the other girls say they just left. She then went to the back and expressed her frustration loud enough for me to hear. The cake finally makes it there at 12:15 and by the time they brought it in, took pictures of it and put it in my car it was 12:25. I'm 20 minutes away from home, my daughters not ready and I'm already late for the set up. Needless to say, I was twenty minutes late for the party(not the setup, the party) and I was not happy. The cake was actually delicious but the decor did not wow me. It was a Hello Kitty 3D cake and when ordering it I was told it would be made with love since the person making it just loved HK. I also left a napkin with them so that she could blend the cake in with the party decor. I asked that the skates have pink wheels and she stopped me and said just let her make it that way she can just use her imagination and it would be wonderful. It was cute but wonderful it was not. Where were my pink wheels, my pink pom poms, where was the wow factor? I would never use The Mixing Bowl again. I order a lot of cakes and this was the worse experience I've ever had. Oh by the way, they did offer me $10 off(of a $115 cake) but by that time they had already insulted me and caused me to be late and frustrate me. What ever happened to keeping the customer happy or at least doing the right thing by the customer. You never debate with a customer especially when she/he is not being confrontational. I was the one inconvenienced and disappointed but they tried to act like because they were behind I should just understand and accept it. I know that I'm rambling on now but I needed to vent and who better to vent to than the world.
The cake was cute but does not match anything in the paperware as you can see in the first picture.