Due to all the discourse that is happening in the world today, I have been inspiration-challenged. Everything has seemed so depressing that it is hard to get excited about much.

It dawned on me a few weeks ago that part of my challenge is I’m not constantly surrounded by “pretty” things like I was when I was planning weddings. And I am also not creating as many “pretty” things these days. When I was talking to Suzette, who owns A Cupcake Social, about fondant decorations for an upcoming event, it dawned on me that I never learned how to work with fondant. So I asked her if she would be willing to do a cupcake decorating class for a couple of my friends and me. She graciously said yes, despite never having taught a class before.

Her bakery in South Minneapolis is cute and welcoming and also showcases her pretty blue A Cupcake Social food truck in front of the shop.

Of course, as we are looking at all the things in her shop, we just had to ask for samples of her made from scratch ice cream.


We started with naked cupcakes and decided to work with fondant first. She recommended to think back to the days of playing with Play-doh and treat the fondant the same way. She brought out a bunch of flower and alphabet cutters. I decided I wanted to try to make a person, so she added some powder to allow the fondant to “stiffen up” and hold its shape better.

The beauty of fondant is the ability to reuse your mistakes and start over again. My boy ended up looking like one of the Fisher-Price Little People toys.


I loved the different ways of decorating the cupcakes. We used fondant, buttercream frosting, cream cheese frosting and cookie crumbs. The variety of frosting tips and cutters, along with our imagination, really offered an unlimited number of designs.

The other girls showed a natural talent for cupcake decorating, as well as a natural talent for eating cupcakes!



At the end of the class, I realized that I am going to have to dedicate more time in my schedule to engage in creative activity, because I found the hour so therapeutic. Thanks Suzette for the therapy session and yumminess!



For the past several days, the people of Minnesota have been inconsolable. For almost 27 years, we have been praying for Jacob Wetterling to come home, which is just a handful of miles from where I grew up. After all these years, it became apparent that none of us were prepared for how that moment would feel when he finally did “come home”.

As I followed the court testimony and listened to the news conference following the detailed story of Jacob’s last hours, I sat in my office with tears streaming down my face, shaking my head. We had it all wrong. This will not bring the Wetterlings closure, comfort or peace. This can only bring them anguish.

Listening to Patty Wetterling speak, it struck me that even in her darkest moment of grief, she felt compelled to comfort us, the public, the investigators, the legal team and the media. She knew that all of us felt like Jacob was also our son, our brother, our nephew, our neighbor, our classmate. There was some comfort knowing that Jacob knew her strength and love and I would like to think he felt her with him in his last moments.

Many of us are at a loss for words and feel powerless to do anything, but then I remembered all Patty Wetterling asked of us is the following:

Patty Wetterling

I’ve decided to add one of these things to my commitments each day as a way to continue to leave the Light On for Jacob. And to get more involved with Jacob Wetterling Resource CenterNational Center for Missing & Exploited Children and International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children.

Rest in peace, dear Jacob.

Personality On a Plate

I know a lot of chefs who work for someone else and as much as I think I may “know” them, I am not sure you really get to know a chef until he or she is working for himself in complete control of the menu.

I was caught a bit off guard when I heard that Michael Agan was opening Xavi Restaurant. It never occurred to me that he wanted to own his own restaurant, as he’s worked for pretty “corporate” kitchens since I first met him when he was an executive sous chef at Chambers Kitchen.

Including not knowing how to pronounce “Xavi” (our server kindly told us “zsa-vee”, like Zsa Zsa Gabor, which was very helpful), I had no idea what to expect. Reading through the menu, I was thinking three different things: 1) not a single chicken item on the entire menu 2) the combinations of ingredients made me very curious 3) I don’t know if I would have matched up this menu with this chef.

We started our meal with Spring Carrot and Bibb Salad, Mushroom Broth, La Belle Duck Breast and Shrimp and Grits. I enjoyed all of the dishes, but special note of my favorite elements of the emulsified carrot dressing on the salad and the pork dumplings in the Mushroom Broth.

Xavi Carrot and Bibb Salad
Xavi Mushroom Dumpling Soup

For our main course, we had the Red Wine Braised Short Ribs, as well as the Lemongrass Marinated Pork Loin. In general, I’m a huge fan of short ribs, so expected that to be my favorite, but I have to say the pork loin was very delicious. Aside from pork products bacon or ham, I might have pork loin once every year or two, so Xavi may be my go to place for pork from now on.

Xavi Pork

I like that the restaurant is in a quieter neighborhood, as it resulted in a nice relaxing evening.

However, the best part of dinner was discovering the real Chef Michael Agan on a plate.

Xavi Restaurant
5607 Chicago Avenue South, Minneapolis

A Day of Beauty

Although I don’t do wedding planning anymore, I helped out a friend who was getting very stressed out with her wedding plans. She was at the point of just letting her vendors make the final decisions due to being overwhelmed.

Her day turned out beautifully, but I think the moment I loved the most was seeing how emotional her father was. And my favorite design feature was my suggestion to do a floral chandelier hanging above them as they exchanged vows, rather than ceremony floral arrangements.

The day was captured by Matt Lien Photography.

Bride and mother of the bride were equally stunning.

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The bride had a very specific idea of what the look of her wedding she wanted, but had a hard time designing it, so we were worked with Summer Harsh Botanical Artistry and Ultimate Events to give her the exact look she dreamed of.

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