Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Summer Camp Themed Cookie Dessert Bar

August 31, 2010

We had the great privilege of being invited to be a vendor at a fabulous fundraiser for Camp Arroyo in Livermore, CA run by The Taylor Family Foundation.  Vendors throughout the Bay Area come together to form a tasty epicurean ensemble.  Donors have the opportunity to bid on auction items, purchase raffle tickets for superb prizes, and mingle all while enjoying great local food and wine.

When I heard about this event I couldn’t stop thinking about all the memories that Summer Camp brings.  The smell of the outdoors, the zip lines, the campfires, the bugs, and most of all laughing with friends hysterically.  We set out to create a “summer camp” themed cookie dessert bar.  Pardon the poor photography.  I had to use the camera phone because I forgot to charge the batteries in the real camera.

Custom Cookie Dessert Bar

Summer Camp Themed Cookie Dessert Bar

In order to give the cookie table a rustic feeling we used a burlap table covering, and created cookie platters using real tree stumps.

Custom Cookie Dessert Bar Teepe and Flower Details

Summer Camp Themed Cookie Dessert Bar Teepe and Flower Details

Custom Dessert Cookie Table Details

Summer Camp Themed Cookie Table Details

When I think of summer camp, I think of kids crafting all kinds of fun things with popsicle sticks, magic markers, twigs, pipe cleaners, and the likes.  So, we couldn’t stop ourselves when it came time to put together some fun kid’s crafts.  Those pipe cleaner bugs turned out to be harder then they look! I couldn’t stop laughing when I couldn’t figure out how to attach the wings.  I apparently don’t think like a 5 year old.

Custom Cookie Table Bugs and Birdhouses

Summer Camp Themed Cookie Table Bugs and Birdhouses

The twigs helped us to hold up the flavor indicators so that people could easily identify their favorite cookie.  We had chocolate chip, snickerdoodles, oatmeal raisin, and peanut butter pecan on hand for the day.  To my surprise, the snickerdoodle cookie was the hands down favorite of the day, flying off the stump at an alarming rate.

Custom Cookie Dessert Bar with Flowers Provided by Alamo Flower Company

Summer Camp Themed Cookie Dessert Bar Flowers in Mason Jars

The lovely floral arrangements used bright, casually arranged flowers, in mason jars to help give the table an added outdoor element.  Alamo Flower Company kindly donated all of the beautiful arrangements to help spruce up the dessert table.

We sure had a fun time out there feeding 1100 hungry souls from our cookie dessert table.  We certainly got a lot of nice comments and it sure is fun seeing how something so simple like a cookie can make people so darn happy.  🙂

What are your fondest memories of Summer Camp?

Vintage Americana Fourth of July

July 4, 2010

What better way to celebrate the Fourth of July, then with an All-American inspired backyard wedding inspiration photo shoot.  With plenty of red, white, blue, stars, and stripes that would make any president proud, you can’t help but to feel a little patriotic.

We were so excited to be able to create a Vintage Americana cookie bar for this occasion!  We got the chance to work with a top notch team of vendors who came together to make sure no detail was missed.  It was a great pleasure to be able to work with such a talented team.  Thanks to everyone’s hard work, our efforts were even celebrated on the Style Me Pretty blog so that we could share our work with all of their fabulous followers as well!  Thank you to:

Designer: Amber Novey of Platinum Planning
Floral Artistry: Audrey Gardemeyer of Botanica Floral Designs
Graphic Designer & Paper Goods: Herdah Sukandi Warner
Makeup & Hair: Rona Basa of Luxe Image
Dress: Wish Bridal
Hair Accesories: Pegasus Maiden
Jewelry: June Sablan at Stonewear Jewelry
Photographer: Caroline and Dan of Tinywater Photography
Venue: Xan Latta of Flyaway Farm
Golden Retriever: Callie Bearie!

What’s more American then Milk and Cookies?

A Cookies and Milk table, complete with fresh berries and whip cream!

It’s all in the details.  Patriotic flags in the berries, customized labels on the cookie jars, sodas, and milk, gorgeous floral arrangements, vintage suitcases.  It all adds to the warm fuzzy nostalgia.

Delicious create-your-own cookie sandwiches.  Thanks to Rona for the creative whip cream heart!

A festive kid’s table, including take-home cookies for the kids!  Although, we doubt they’d make it all the way home. 🙂

The gorgeous bride and handsome groom have some fun with cookie sandwiches… and a mustache…

Fresh berries and cookies filled with whip cream on a hand-made vintage plate. Yum!

A fantastic nostalgic vintage Americana table setting.

While I absolutely love the bride’s red birdcage veil, I can’t help but shamelessly plug Callie Bearie the All-American golden retriever… *my* All-American golden retriever. 😉

Patriotic is…

July 2, 2010

July 4 commemorates the signing of the Declaration of Independence.  Many of us think of BBQ, hot dogs, beer, and fireworks. But, it’s also a great time to reflect on what America is about.

Dictionary.com defines a Patriot as:  a person who loves, supports, and defends his or her country and its interests with devotion.

So, I’m sitting here wondering, what *are* America’s interests. Well, other then TV, celebrities, sports, fast food, and consumerism. 🙂  The second sentence in the Declaration of Independence is one of the most famous historical statements:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

When I read this statement, I can almost feel the sense of community that our forefathers wanted for this country.  All politics aside, it seems like in the last 200 plus years, we may have strayed from the ideals that created this country.  It seems like a lot of us have gotten so caught up in the hustle and bustle of life, we forget to look around us and think about our fellow Americans.  We worry about our own woes and we forget that there are others out there with problems much larger then our own.

For this Fourth of July holiday weekend, I encourage you to do something “patriotic”.  Volunteer.  Take some time out of your day to help become a part of your community.  Support the folks around you.  Get to know them.  Shake their hand.  Hear their stories.  You’ll be better connected to your community, and we may slowly get back to what our forefathers wanted.

What are some of your favorite organizations to volunteer for?

What Wearing Glasses Taught Me

June 24, 2010

We all know kids can be cruel.  Not cruel because they’re malicious, but because they’re straight up honest.  They have a thought, good or bad, and it comes straight out their mouth in some of the most shocking ways sometimes.

I got my first pair of glasses when I was in 3rd grade.  Glasses back then were the heavy plastic frames and thick coke bottle lenses.  And, for some reason, the kids glasses somehow managed to engulf your entire face even though they were supposedly designed for kids with smaller faces.

I sat in the back of Mrs. Deichman’s class unable to read the chalkboard.  I was so ashamed and embarrassed to have these giant purple face eaters covering my eyes that I kept them stored in my desk drawer.  Whenever I needed to read the chalkboard, I’d slump down close to my desk drawer, pull out my glasses, hold them up, read the board, then quickly throw them back into the drawer.  All because of the sing song taunting from the other kids that would devastate any 8 year old… “Four Eyes” “Coke Bottles” “Neener Neener”.

Thankfully for me.  I got contacts the next year and what seemed to be the endless taunting finally stopped.  I was cool again.

This is why we’ve chosen to donate the proceeds from our latest Ice Cream Sandwich Bar Extravaganza to The Taylor Family Foundation.  Because they are helping kids with real ailments, not just fixable cosmetic issues, like glasses.  They enable kids with special needs to go to camp with other kids just like them.  The kids don’t have to hear “normal” kids ask them “why do you look like that?” or “what’s that for?” and other questions that little inquiring minds need to  know.  The kids get to go to camp and “just be kids.”

What were you taunted for as a kid?

Lessons from Dad

June 20, 2010

My dad is a man that does not sit still and gets bored easily.  He is a man on a mission to solve all household problems. Anything that may require a tweak, a hammer, a screw, a saw, etc… he’s on it.  My dad was born an engineer, he was put on this planet to solve the worlds most quizzical toilet issues, to unstick the stickiest doorknobs, mend broken doors, sledgehammer failing concrete, and the list goes on. *My dad taught me how to fix things*

When I was a kid I used to love  tearing up the streets on my big wheel.  One day, I managed to catch my toe in the wheel and blood was everywhere.  At least, that’s the drama my 5 yr old mind remembers.  My dad picked me up and took me up to the bathroom, sat me on the counter, and mended me.  *My dad taught me to be strong, all things will heal*

One day my dad was backing up The Van out of the garage, and I decided to push the garage door remote at that exact same moment.  Sure enough, a loud crack, and we see my dad has driven through the garage door thanks to me.  I quickly chucked the remote and sat in fear of the beating I was about to receive.  But, I was shocked when my dad just simply said “Oh no!” and then proceeded to fix the door. *My dad taught me forgiveness*

When I was a kid my parents never wanted me to get a job.  They always told me “There’s plenty of time in life to work, enjoy not working.”  Even though I wasn’t able to earn any money, my dad always made sure I could do whatever I wanted to. He also took us on endless vacations that became nauseating as a kid, but as I reflect back, I’m thankful for. *My dad taught me to enjoy life*

My dad was just here for a visit.  He’s “retired.”  But I wanted to know when he’s planning on “really retiring”, meaning no more calls in the middle of the night, no more jetting off to take care of business, just sitting down and enjoying life.  He told me, “when you stop working and stop doing things, you do nothing and you’re just waiting to die.” *My dad taught me work ethics*

Thanks Dad, for all of the constant life lessons past, present, and future.

What lessons has your Dad taught you?

The Magic of the Market

June 8, 2010

There’s something about the Farmer’s Markets that I absolutely love.  If all I wanted was locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables, I would just order up a CSA box.  But the markets mark the start of summer for me.  They’re nostalgic of times where people stopped and talked to each other, even if they’re perfect strangers.

It’s unfortunate that a lot of markets have turned into big businesses that are more interested in the churn and burn of making big bucks.  But, it really does make me appreciate the small markets where I can freely walk around.  Take the time to talk to vendors.  And enjoy being outdoors in the sunshine with my husband.

This year is the first time I’ve ever been a vendor at a market, and I find myself eager to go back every week.  What I love is seeing familiar faces every week and learning who loves what.  Meeting the new folks who have just discovered the San Ramon Farmer’s Market.  And seeing the kids’ eyes light up as they walk by our booth.

The bottom line is, I love watching the people. It’s not like shopping at a box store, where a lot of families are stressed to find “something” and hurry out.   At the market, people are happy.  Families are enjoying each others company.  Everyone moves at a slower pace.  It’s refreshing.

What are some of your favorite local markets?

Value of Time

June 1, 2010

Time.  It’s a precious commodity that is too often undervalued.  One example is when I hear people grumbling about some DIY home improvement project.  I’ll ask, why don’t you just hire someone to do it.  The answer is usually because it costs too much.  But, isn’t your time worth something?  It seems like being able to go do something with your family is priceless compared to cursing in your bathroom because a tile won’t lay straight.

As a new business owner, I value time more now then I ever have.  I find myself counting the number of man-hours to produce just about everything I buy and when the engineer in me starts running numbers, I realize there really isn’t a whole lot of profits for most small businesses.  It’s given me a whole new perspective on my purchases and a greater appreciation for the local businesses that I support.

Last week I decided to order up a yard greeting from Greetings by the Yard for a friend. What is a yard greeting you ask? It’s where some person goes out in the middle of the night and clutters someone’s yard with flamingos, cows, bears, etc… and then adds a personal message. It’s like the adult version of TPing a house but with good intentions and none of the work. I called them up for pricing and was told that it would be $170 for the out of area delivery.  Most people hear this and they’re flabbergasted at the price, and even more stunned that the person doesn’t get to keep a flamingo.

In reality, $170 is cheap for what you get. Now watch my engineering mind in action. A business has overhead. They are paying for business licenses, insurance, storage facilities, etc… Let’s assume 2 individuals on the job at $10/hr.  They drive 60 miles one way in the middle of the night which makes a drive time of about 2 hrs round trip.  Right there you have a cost of $60 for miles, and $20 for labor. Now, don’t forget, they have to come back the next day and pick it all up, so there’s another $80. Now that’s just accounting costs, but the value I get from the whole thing is:

  1. My friend gets an awesome and unique surprise
  2. I get the laugh of a lifetime
  3. Hours of fun with 50 flamingos, wine, and a camera
  4. I don’t have to lift a finger to make it happen

It was well worth every penny…

Do you value your time?

Mega Dreams

May 10, 2010

In case you missed all the hoopla last week, the Mega Millions in California hit $266 million. That’s some serious cash that enticed many who don’t normally buy lottery tickets, including myself.

I got into a conversation the other day and we started talking about what we’d do if we won that much money. After a lot of thought, I honestly don’t think there’s a whole lot I’d change. I don’t need a bigger house, or fancier cars. Ever since I left the corporate world, I’m happy and content with what I have. I no longer have huge desires. Maybe I’d take a few more trips, but nothing too extravagant.

I realized, for the first time in my life, I’m at peace with where I’m at. Although it can get stressful at times, I love what I do and I do it because I want to. The moment it’s no longer fun, I’ll move on. Life is just way too short to always think the grass is greener on the other side. The grass over here is just fine.

What would you do with $266 million?

It’s All About Who You Know

April 30, 2010

Networking Business Cards

Cards, Cards, and More Cards

I’m cleaning up my desk, and I’ve neatly stacked all the business cards that I’ve collected since I started The Cookie Drop just a few short months ago.  The stack is 2 inches high.  108 cards, no repeats.

This is 108 unique individuals that I’ve personally shaken hands with and had at least a 3 second conversation with.  Don’t forget…  I used to be an engineer, so here I go with some fun facts for you!

  • 59 of the people I would recognize if I saw again
  • 53 created their own company
  • 15 are in the wedding industry, lets break it down for fun
    • 4 do flowers
    • 4 caterers
    • 1 cupcake girl
    • 1 photographer
    • 1 videographer
    • 3 miscelaneous
  • 10 are tech related, only 1 of which is a large corporation and 7 created their own company
  • 5 printers
  • 6 fitness related folks
  • 2 salons
  • 4 wineries
  • 2 in home non medical care
  • 7 are in the financial arena
  • 13 are selling MLM products

Phew.  That was a lot of cards to sort through.  Plus, I know I’ve lost some because there are people in my mind that I can’t find cards for.  That’s about 25 new people that I meet every month.  It’s amazing to think I used to spend my days behind the computer and interact with at most 5-7 people a day.  And then you see those same people every day.  Wow, that lacked excitement and variety!  Sure, some of these are just business connections, but there are some in here that I truly care about and that I would call my new found friends…

How many folks do you interact with in a day?  Would you prefer it to be more or less?

Make Everyday Earth Day

April 22, 2010

Today is the 40th anniversary of Earth Day. The green movement has come a long ways, but we still have a long ways to go. What’s really cool though is that there are a lot of companies out there trying to make themselves just a little bit greener.

Here are just a few of my personal favorite companies/products that are riding the green train:

As for us, we do what we can.  We compost egg shells, butter wrappers, etc.  We use natural bakery boxes that can be recycled, liners, cello bags, and cotton ribbon which can all be composted.  And of course, the cookies should be eaten leaving no trace behind…  🙂

What green products/companies do you support?