Life & A Portland Wedding

Since you last heard from me, I’ve celebrated Thanksgiving (complete with an epic family Black Friday shopping extravaganza), said a hard goodbye to the amazing man that was my husband’s grandfather, catered two parties in New York, celebrated Christmas with my in-laws at our timeshare in Birch Bay, spent a week in Mexico with my love celebrating our five years of marriage, made our fourth cross-country move back to the west coast to Portland, Oregon, and stood next to one of my best friends as she married the man of her dreams!

Wedding Girls

All of us met at the same camp I met my husband at so it was a great little reunion!

We’ve been here about four months now and I am finally starting to get my bearings. It’s been absolutely amazing being closer to family - we are still several hours away, but we can reach each other by car or train and that is closer than we’ve been in years!

One of the best things so far has been my involvement in another very special girl’s wedding. She is the daughter of my mom’s best friend and my sister and I used to babysit her and her little sister back in the day. She and her husband met at university here and decided this is where they would get married too. Their family is like an extension of ours and we wanted to help in any way we could! My mom took on the role of catering the rehearsal dinner and handling all of the desserts for the reception so we put our heads together to come up with a plan for the event, working with the bride’s vision. It was a whirlwind week (and day of - my sister did hair and I did makeup for all seven girls in the bridal party!!) but in the end we were able to accomplish everything, set a beautiful dessert table, and enjoy the wedding and reception.

Congrats to Emily and Oliver!

Full Dessert Table

Inspiration of vintage lace, greens, old silver, and antique wood. Photos by my talented brother James Taylor.

Almond Bars
Cream Wafers
Peanut Butter Balls
Dessert Table

She wanted a small cake for the ceremonial cutting (beautifully crafted by my mama!) but she also had her heart set on lots of little desserts and let us have free reign - other than the request of cheesecakes!


When all was said and done, we had 15 different types of desserts, and over 1000 pieces!! Plus the 200 heart-shaped favor cookies that we baked and I iced & wrapped. They are the family’s favorite cookie and we've been baking them my whole life, usually just for Valentine's day, but this was absolutely a reason to make an exception.

Heart Cookies

It was a crazy and wonderful week and I loved every minute!

With a full heart and an empty plate,


A Purple Picnic in the Park

Purple Picnic Treats

I had the pleasure of creating some delicious treats for the cutest little two-year old girl I know! Purple is her favorite color so that became the theme of this party in the park. A lot of love always goes into my treats, however, these were extra special because I nanny for her and her baby sister part time and their mom is a good friend, so they're very near and dear to my heart.

Birthday Cake
Mini Rose Cupcakes
Purple Sprinkle Cookies

My friend wanted mini cupcakes with minimal frosting for the kids, sparkly purple cookies and a small chocolate cake since that was the flavor she wanted for herself - my kind of woman! Normally this recipe would have a chocolate ganache cascading down the sides, but purple ombre was more on theme so I went with that, and topped it with a banner I made for the birthday girl. I rarely get to experiment with so much color and whimsy so this was definitely one of my favorite orders.

If you were to have a color-themed party for your next birthday, what color would it be?!


With a full heart and an empty plate,


Milk Chocolate Chunk Cookies w. Kettle Chips, Pecans & Toffee

Call them kitchen-sink cookies, garbage or trash cookies...I call them ‘oh yeah that sounds good, ooh! and that too, toss ‘em in!’ cookies. This whole experiment stemmed from an email from King Arthur Flour alerting me that it was National Chocolate Chip Cookie week. My husband loves my OG chocolate chip cookies, so I made those to appease him, but I wanted to try some variations too. The second one I made was actually an adaptation of my oatmeal raisin, but I subbed in dark chocolate for the raisins and it played nicely with the spicy and warm cinnamon. The third is the one I am sharing today - let’s nickname it the ‘Currently Craving’ cookie since you can pretty much change any of the add-ins to be what sounds good in the moment or what you have on hand!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Variety

Milk Chocolate Chunk Cookies w. Kettle Chips, Pecans, & Toffee // Makes 4 dozen

¾ c vegan shortening

¼ c unsalted butter, room temperature

¾ c brown sugar, lightly packed

¾ c sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

1 tsp baking soda

¾ tsp salt

2 ¼ c flour

6 oz milk chocolate, roughly chopped

½ c toffee bits

1 c plain, salted kettle chips, broken into bite-sized pieces

⅔ c pecan halves, toasted and chopped

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together shortening, butter, and sugars until light and fluffy; 2-3 minutes. Add eggs and beat thoroughly for 3-4 minutes. Add vanilla, soda, and salt; mix to completely combine. Measure in flour, pulse lightly to start the process, then mix on medium speed until just combined. Remove the bowl from the stand and add remaining ingredients. Mix in with a wooden spoon until just combined, being careful not to crush the chips.

Milk Chocolate and Chips

Using a small scoop (2-3 tablespoons), portion dough onto parchment lined sheet pans and bake 8-10 minutes. I check at 7 minutes, turn if needed, then add more time. Cool for 2 minutes on pan then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

I love the milk chocolate/toffee combo because it takes me back to the days of selling SEE’s chocolate bars to raise money for my 7th grade NASA science trip. Yes, I just said that. I’m also obsessed with salty-sweet and have always wanted to try chips in a cookie. Use whatever little bits and flavors you like, and switch up any of the ingredients after the flour to create your own unique cookie! 

Cookies and Coffee

Then have two with a cup of afternoon (or breakfast, I'm not judging) coffee. 

With a full heart and an empty plate,


1 Comment