Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The House That Built Me

Contrary to the song, if I could come in I might not leave. They say after the death of a loved one you should wait at least a year before making any other huge life changes. But my parents were already in the process of getting their house ready to put on the market when my father passed away. A process that I fought them on every step of the way. I wanted to be able to take my future kids home to MY house when we came to visit my parents. I wanted them to see what IS my room. I threatened them with my plans of starting rumors that the house had termites or was haunted by ghosts. The house that we built and had been the only occupants of. Ghosts. My parents laughed it off and insisted they wanted to downsize.

A few weeks later when my father died, my mom still planned on continuing down the path to put it on the market, despite recommendations from friends and family that she should wait it out for that obligatory year mark. I too recommended this, but was easily persuaded by her with one conversation. I had to put aside my admittedly childish distaste for the idea now. It was no longer a joke. When the head of a household dies, the remaining members usually worry about finances. And when that person had been recommending this sale, their reasoning for it resonates even more once they're gone. After all, it's what they thought was best. I didn't want my mom to have to worry. While the hassle and rush of moving it to market so fast would be stressful, I know her and I knew she would feel such a relief once it was sold.

I flew out several times in the following months to help her sift through a lifetime of stuff. Our mindset was sentimental, yet determined. We couldn't take our time, but we didn't want to toss anything of value, both in the monetary and sentimental sense. My mom, especially; she was a busy bee. Each time I returned I was both extremely impressed and overwhelmingly sad over how much she had accomplished. Sad that she had done it alone and that it had been done.

My room looks so bare and empty
When the house was put on the market it sold within a week! I wasn't surprised. It's an amazing house! But I wasn't too keen on the buyers. They weren't right for MY house. They had plans to renovate what we had already renovated. They had plans to change it from a natural, Colorado-looking vibe to shabby sheek. Don't get me wrong, I love shabby sheek, but not in Colorado. Not for my house. Plus, they had two rowdy sons and no daughters. They wouldn't take care of it. It would be trashed. But I kept my mouth shut, knowing I would always remember it as it should be. The 100+ pictures and video I took of it helped.

Why do I give you this background? In a few weeks I'm headed back to visit my mom for her birthday and Mother's Day. Something I've been looking forward to since i booked this trip in March. Yesterday, though, it dawned on me. For the past two months I've been picturing my return with that house as a part of it. Yes, I've been back home to Colorado since we sold it one year ago, but I still picture staying in MY house every time I go. I'm not looking forward to the day where my mind won't play tricks on me and I don't assume that house will be part of my Colorado vacation retreat. Just like in the days and weeks after my dad died and I would wake up forgetting what had happened, I treasure these oblivious moments too for the sense of nostalgia they provide, however fleeting.

I leave you with this amazing view!
For this IS MY house. The house that, while still in the construction phase, I was first to climb the ladder up to the second floor and, like a brat, claim the biggest room with the biggest closet. The house with my hand prints cemented in the redrock-tinted back patio. The house with the screws in the family room walls, left there and used as a way to secure our Christmas trees after my brother fell into it one year, knocking it over and shattering almost all of the ornaments on the opposite side of the tree. I'm the one who wore down the carpet in my bedroom through years of dancing alone in my room to N'Sync, Britney Spears, and the Spice Girls. (Bless my parents for never once coming into my room while I was dancing, even though the music was blaring, I was singing obnoxiously off key, and there was no lock on the door.) Only we can tell you why you'll find three metal holes in a triangular shape in the backyard (they're for the posts that hold our hammock - three so that you can change the angle with the suns movement of course). This is OUR house with the obligatory height wall carving out our measurements. Carved because we had to paint the wall at one point and we didn't want to lose the valuable info, so we made it even more permanent. (After it had been started, my dad realized this height wall should be done on a door, or a long piece of paper that can be brought with you to the next place.) These new people will struggle without our help as they try to use the remote control in the steam room of the basement. They may never know just how refreshing the attic fan can be on a mid-summers night. Instead, I'm sure they'll turn on the A/C like boring people used to modern amenities.

Clearly I don't have high expectations for them. But let them try and figure everything out. Maybe in 20 years they will. For now, it's just proof that I still OWN that house!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Fashion Week Cleveland Giveaway Results

The Fashion Week Cleveland giveaway has ended and two lucky winners have been chosen at random.

The winner of two tickets to GlamJam on Saturday, May 5 is blogger Life In The CLE, tweeting at the handle @CaCoughlin.

And the winner of two VIP tickets to the Black-Tie Gala & Runway Show on Saturday, May 12 is, drumroll please.............MarcyYoung1, tweeting at the handle @MEYCavs.

Congrats to these lucky ladies! Please email me as soon as you can at lifeloveandcake@gmail.com with an address you would like your tickets mailed to.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Fashion Week Cleveland Giveaway

It's finally here. My very first giveaway. And for all you fashionistas, this one is right up your ally. We've partnered with Fashion Week Cleveland to provide two lucky winners with coveted access to some of the regions most innovative design ideas.

Fashion Week Cleveland (FWC) is a week-long series of fashion shows, style events and educational programs held in Cleveland, Ohio. The event has become a highly-anticipated vehicle for introducing the work of American designers to a wider public.

Fashion Week Cleveland is known as the "educational fashion week" and has become the most significant industry event between New York and Los Angeles (Women's Wear Daily).

Up for grabs for Life, Love, and Cake readers are two tickets to the Fashion Week GlamJam ($20 value) at 8:00 p.m. on Saturday, May 5th and two VIP tickets to the Black-Tie Gala & Runway Show ($200 value!!!) at 8:00 p.m. on Saturday, May 12th. So there will be two lucky winners, one earning tickets to GlamJam and one earning tickets to the Runway Show. Each winner will be asked to write a quick recap of the event, accompanied by a few photos, which will be posted here on Life, Love, and Cake. Essentially you'll be taking over this blog for a guest post!

GlamJam - Fashion and Music in the Rock City will feature music, dancers, performance artists, a wearable art runway show and many more art and visual surprises.

Black-Tie Gala & Runway Show will feature designers in traditional, industry-style runway events.

Excited yet? Well there are several ways to enter, two of which can be done on a daily basis - earning you die-hard fashion fans additional entries.

Entry Rules:
  • In order to enter, you must first describe in the comments section of this post why you would love tickets to Fashion Week Cleveland AND post on twitter, "I just entered @LifeLoveCake's contest for a chance to win free tickets to @CLE_FashionWeek & you can too: bit.ly/IJNn6d" Contestants will earn one entry total for doing both tasks.
  • Once you've completed the initial entry tasks above you can earn one (1) additional entry by following @CLE_FashionWeek and @LifeLoveCake on Twitter. Don't worry, if you are already follow us you will automatically receive an additional entry.
  • Just cant get enough fashion and really want to win? Increase your chances by posting daily on twitter, "I'm a fashionista and I've entered to win tickets to @CLE_FashionWeek. Interested? Enter the @LifeLoveCake giveaway here: bit.ly/IJNn6d" Contestants will earn one entry for every time they post the above tweet, with a one entry per day maximum.
  • Lastly, contestants can post a pic of themselves on Twitter wearing their most fashionable outfit accompanied with the following message: "@CLE_FashionWeek and @LifeLoveCake, I love this outfit because...", giving a brief description of your style sense, for another chance to win. Contests will earn one entry for doing this, limit one entry per day maximum.
Entries will be accepted until 12:00 p.m. on Sunday, April 22, 2012. Winners will then be chosen at random. Good luck!


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Chocolate Transfer Sheets

I recently discovered the beauty, and ease, of transfer sheets at my local baking supply store. For $2.99 I purchased one 11 x 17 Happy Easter sheet, which I cut in half to allow for two flavors. Paired with a $3.99 bag of mint chocolate melting chips and a $3.99 bag of butterscotch melting chips, you've got yourself a fairly inexpensive, homemade Easter gift.

The instructions were easy enough. Melt the chips in a double boiler (I add in a little vegetable oil for smoothness and easier spreading).

Once melted, pour over the correct side of the transfer sheet (the writing should be backwards and the text should be raised off the sheet), and spread to desired thickness.

Allow to cool at room temperature for one hour or in the fridge for 30 minutes. Flip the chocolate over and peel off the transfer sheet. The images will remain on the chocolate.

Unlike me, be sure to go with the correct color chocolates based on the color of the text. My mint chocolate was a good choice, but the butterscotch wasn't. Not to mention, the butterscotch did not melt smoothly and came out all lumpy. Since it was just for my family, I still sent it, but if i was using it for more professional purposes, I probably would have trashed it. Or, let's be honest, eat it myself.

Once the chocolate has cooled you can break it into smaller squares for serving.

Transfer sheets are typically available, or can be ordered through, most local specialty baking supply stores, or online at www.globalsugarart.com, www.customchocolateshop.com or www.bakedeco.com.



Wednesday, April 4, 2012

St. Patrick's Day Droid Drop

Ahhhhhhh, I've been so bad at posting for a while, but I have a (lame) excuse. My iPad came in the mail and I've been so distracted, playing with it every night. Bad excuse, I know, but I'm back. With a little bit late, St. Patty's Day themed, Droid Drop.

My fashion for the day. A play on Kiss Me I'm Irish, since I'm not really an Ohioan (Colorado Wa-what!) This was a present from my hubby for St. Patty's Day last year. It's a product of the uber-popular Cleveland Clothing Company!
Breck's outfit for the day. A t-shirt my dad had made when we were younger (one of like 25 mind you) so that all of his friends and family could "advertise" his adamant belief that Notre Dame is French, therefore should not be called the fighting Irish. He FORCED us to wear this men's XL shirts to grade school every year for St. Patty's day. There's only a handful left and we treasure them dearly now. They've held up well for being 20 years old, but are clearly worn out.
Dyed green carnations from the hubby, a tradition three years in the making. Love it!
The crowded streets of East 4th. Downtown Cleveland had a record 500,000+ people, mostly thanks to the holiday falling on a Saturday. I get super-claustrophobic in large crowds so we quickly made our way up to the Foundation Room of the House of Blues. The perfect spot to watch the crowds and feel like you were a part of the day, while in the relaxed setting of a roomy, private bar and empty bathrooms. This was truly my saving grace for the day.
The biggest glass of beer we came across. Smart guy though, bagged ice to keep it cold without watering it down.
Yet another view of East 4th. Since the hubby started out the day at 7am with breakfast at Bar Louie (no thank you), he was done for by 5pm and we were in bed by 8pm. So old!