Diamond Craze

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Yes, I know, it’s been a long time right? But today I finally got some inspiration about one of the things I have been totally obsessed with this spring/summer… DIAMONDS (specifically diamond art)! This craze all started with Jessie’s birthday preparation. As I was searching for a theme for her party, I discovered a diamond themed party here, (at one of my favorite blogs). While searching the internet I realized just how many fun diamond/geometric art, DIY’s, and party themes there are out there, (like this, this, and this). And I guess that’s where my love for diamonds blossomed. I’ve been itching to have another diamond themed party, maybe to celebrate the end of school. For now I’ll just share with you guys some diamond art that I am crazy about and one or two pics of how Jessie’s birthday turned out.

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pPhoto Credit: one, two

Spontanious Garage Party

There is no such thing as too many “Connecting 4 Meetings” – or maybe its just our excuse to spend time together with some good food! Whichever it may be, Rachel and I planned a “spontaneous” Connecting 4 “barn party” (which actually was to be held in the garage because our grandma doesn’t have a barn). Food Network magazines provided the recipes for our two main dishes: roasted chicken salad and grilled zucchini and feta cheese salad.
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I was so proud of grilling my grandma’s fresh zucchinis and actually creating a delicious dish!
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In the end we actually ended up on my grandma’s front porch because the garage was so hot… hey – it was still fun!
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“A Few of my Favorite Things”

At our house, Birthdays are filled to the brim with special treats, family time, and unique celebrations. It is a day to stop and  enjoy everything and everyone that you love.

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The theme that Rachel and Maddie chose for my birthday this year was ‘Favorite Things’ (originally from the song “These are a Few of my Favorite Things” in Sound of Music). They set up such an elegant and whimsical day for me, I was quite overwhelmed by it all.

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I enjoyed biscuits & eggs for my birthday breakfast (the perfect way to start any day). Then, while Rachel began baking cake, I hurried on to a soccer tournament, where I lost my voice cheering for my friends.

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On returning home, my sisters surprised me by sweeping me away to the Astor, one of Tianjin’s most historic hotels, for high tea. A whole picnic of delicious snacks had been prepared to accompany our tea: cookie pops, cream-cheese tortilla roll-ups, decadent chocolate and nut mixes, meringue cookies, and maple blondies. They knew that one of my favorite things is tea time (and the snacks that accompany it)- so they were sure to provide me with plenty throughout the day.

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Rachel baked a chocolate layer cake filled with Biscoff buttercream for me ūüôā

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Reaching Out on Valentine’s Day

For¬†Valentine’s¬†Day this year, Jessie, Maddie, and I, invited some friends over for flower arranging and some much needed spring-time festivities. It took a full two days to prepare for this get-together. The first day was spent traveling around Ś§©śī• looking for materials, buying flowers, and finalizing snack menu ideas. We then spent the actual morning of the party; cleaning a very cluttered house, assembling a cake (most of the hard work was done the night before), and arranging table settings. Of course my favorite part of the preparations, was to bake the Valentine’s cake… ¬†second to that, I enjoyed setting out flowers (in preparation for the bouquets), as well as decorating the table with candy and anything rosie&pink.¬†¬†

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I loved watching the creativity flow throughout this flowery project. Watching the unique style of each individual was so enchanting- their personalities were expressed through such distinct and beautiful technique.

threecakeThe lesson I learned through this, was to host more than just one or two gatherings a year! Its not until I am in the midst of something like this, that I realize how much fun I am having. Spending time in fellowship with friends (outside of school and mandatory events) is more important than I often give credit.  Ask Jessie, Maddie, or Michael and you will know that I am terrible at hosting events and am often not willing to get out and socialize much. Seriously, I am such a home-body.

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and let me just say that Jessie and Maddie are such pleasant people to collaborate with on these type of things…

I so didn’t deserve to be blessed with such precious sisters. Jessie inspires me to forget myself and dive into adventures with hard work and lots of prayer! She is honestly the hardest working person I have ever met… she will be a treasure to her future boss ūüėČ Maddie is completely un-phased by life’s troubles, she lets go and enjoys life… free to be herself. I wish I had her confidence and spirit! Hosting this party with these two was delightful.

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Irresistibly adorable group photo, I know.

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Cheers to friendships and creeping out of that ever clinging comfort zone.

Cake Challenge: June

This is the first pound cake I’ve ever made and my first¬†“successful”¬†attempt at the bundt cake-shape. The dense texture of this cake was a much needed change from my usual 3-layer butter cakes. I think the best part of this baking experience was taking photos… finally, a cake that is both delicious and effortlessly beautiful. Bundt cakes are so pretty on their own without much fuss about icing colors, decoration ideas, or touch ups. I totally recommend this recipe if you’re looking for something quick and relatively simple.

<Cake Challenge Series: is a collection of posts which document the cakes I bake each month. More specifically, I have a goal this year to bake at least one (hopefully spectacular) layer cake each month, and photograph/post them here. I hope you enjoy this collection as much as I enjoy baking these delicious desserts!>

Other Cake Challenge Posts:
January 
February
March 
April
May