Friday, April 29, 2011

Snapfish has Jewels?

cupcakeMAG has a love for jewelry and a love for customizing gifts. .
Thanks to Snapfish - you can have the best of both worlds!   

Here are a few things we are stocking up on for Mother's Day, Father's Day and let's not forget the those Grads!

- Leather Bracelet with Photo Charm: ($22.99) Why not put Mom's favorite picture on a bracelet so she can wear it every day? Or, maybe your favorite picture of you and Dad!


- Sterling Silver Swinging Locket: ($85) Looking for a gift she'll cherish forever? Snapfish's new sterling silver necklace allows you to display Mom's favorite photo in a locked. We love that is sealed in a waterproof  UV- resistant coating to protect the image. Take it to your local jeweler and get it engraved too! 


- Perfect to Dads & Grads is the Key Ring for only $21! Take your favorite photo everywhere you go!


And, why not store it all in the perfect Keepsake Box! Just the right place for keeping all her prized possessions in one place, this beautiful keepsake box is made of dark-stained wood and features one flossy photo tile, measing 5" X 2¼" deep. Simply beautiful! 

Whatever you are celebrating - celebrate with a little keepsake from Snapfish. 

LOVIN' THIS!


Thanks to Tip Junkie we came across this super-sweet Mini Paper Cupcake Stand! Guess what? It is printable! Head over to a super-sweet blog, Sweetly Sweet to get the printable now! Perfect for a Summer Party. Of course, we LOVE anything to do with cupcakes!


Happy Friday Cupcakes! 

Thursday, April 28, 2011

cupcakeMAG is LOCO for SUGAR LOCO!











Sugar Loco is our favorite site for all things sugar. And no, not just because we absolutely LOVE & ADORE the two FABulous ladies behind it but, because we are crazy for sweets! We are beyond thrilled to share with you our one-on-one chat with the {sweet} gals behind Sugar Logo. {Warning: You WILL crave something sugary & sweet when reading. Our advice? Grab a cupcake before you begin!}

{Two of the SWEETEST gals we know!}
Tracy + Jenny
{1} Tell us a little about yourself & what made you collaborate to create Sugar Loco. 

Tracy began her first business, Sweet Harper, on Etsy in 2008, along with a coinciding blog - which had an amazing following.  She  promoted the wonderful world of Etsy and it's impressive group of artisans.  She loves shopping handmade and really loved sharing her unique finds.  She's become quite the genius at social media.  Tracy recently jumped on board the women supporting site -LaunchHer.com.  Launching and supporting fabulous women owned brands.


Jenny began her first business, Monkey Toes (a line of hand painted children's shoes) almost 10 years ago.  She began hand painting every pair of shoes herself and finally grew to obtain a licensing deal with a major manufacturer.  Along with sweets she has a major love of business and even consults others on growing their business.

Our site came from a GIANT love of sugar, ice cream, chocolate, cake, cookies, whatev.   Seriously, we don't discriminate.  We met via Twitter, it was love at first sugary tweet.  Or were we frenemies?  Well, we became quite competitive (and good friends) with who had the better dessert, in fact we made up a hashtag - #sweettootholympics.  We decided to take our love of all things sweet to the internet by launching Sugar Loco and bringing our favorite finds to all the other sugar lovers out there.  Voila - Sugar Loco was born, January 15, 2011, weighing in at .2 of a milligram (surprisingly, the same weight as a grain of sugar!).

{Tracy + Jenny bring us FABulous interviews on Sugar Loco}
{2} What is your all time favorite sugar fix?

Tracy:  Ice cream is my weakness.  I have literally chased down the ice cream truck before...probably just more for the thrill of the hunt, but I digress.  My favorite place to get ice cream is Grand Ole Creamery in St. Paul, MN. I love to order Birthday Cake ice cream, and it's best in one of their fresh made waffle cones. YUM!  There's always a malted milk ball waiting at the bottom too - I love surprises! 



Jenny:  Oh the one thing I could never live without, which might seem really boring, is a giant slice of Birthday cake.  It's gotta be yellow cake, white (piled sky high) butter cream frosting - oh and can't forget a heaping scoop of vanilla bean ice cream to go with it.  I'm a sucker for this..  If I can't get my hands on a giant slice of cake, I will totally "settle" (HA, not settling at all) for a Nomelie Vanilla Love Cupcake. 


{3} What are you go-to places for all things sugar?

Tracy: Of course it depends on the type of sweets you're after.  I love to stop in at Sugar Sugar Candy in Minneapolis to get a sampling of a few treats.  The owner Joni, is always switching up the bulk candy, and it's interesting candy, not your typical stuff.  For beautiful inspiration, Bakerella is where it's at. OMG, she rocks!  For recipes, my standards are Vino Luci, The Pioneer Woman, and All Recipes. We can't give away all of our faves, you will have to stop by Sugar Loco in November when we announce who made the list of Loco Loves!  



Jenny:  How much time do you have?  I have found some awesome recipes in Sandra Lee's new Bake Sale Cookbook (heads up: one lucky reader will get to pry my personal signed copy from my hands - I won't be giving it up willingly).  So many fabulous and easy dessert recipes.  I'll be making the Dark Chocolate Caramel Slices for an upcoming Share our Strength Bake Sale in Denver (mark your calendar - May 14, in Highlands Ranch, CO).  Assuming I don't eat them all first.  If I want classic sweets, my go-to has to be Lola's Sugar Rush in Old Littleton, CO.  Mainly I love going in their because everyone is so lovely and they all feel like friends.  I stopped by last week for some good old fashioned Cherry Mash.


{4} You get to visit some great places to bring us all the details for Sugar Loco. What is the best part about this gig? 

The best part about this gig?  UH, the SWEETS! But more seriously, seeking out unique finds and meeting the passionate artisans and pastry chefs.  They've got such amazing energy - it's contagious (well, that and the sugar high).  Oh and tasting some marvelous desserts isn't too shabby either.  

Tracy:  Not only do I get to try all sorts of new desserts and sweets, but it is also truly amazing to work with Jenny.  As she said, we met on Twitter, and have become amazing friends and business partners.  I also love exploring Minneapolis to find the best in desserts in my own city, it's kind of like a scavenger hunt.  


Jenny: I love that I go beyond what I would normally order at a restaurant and try new things - and it's all in the name of "work" (I can hear my husband rolling his eyes).  I also love that people are coming to us for recommendations, sharing their favorite recipes or hot spots with us - I swear we receive a new recipe or a "lead" several times a week.  Who knew that we would be come the sweet experts??  Ok, one more thing I love about this gig?  Promoting these wonderful products.  It feels good to put a smile on the faces of the hardworking people behind them, spread the word and hopefully generate some sales for them too, they really appreciate it.

{We LOVE the ideas they share on Loco Kids!}
{What's new?}

Well, currently we're seeking the next city to expand to...Vote here. We've got some great features, local businesses and online, along with yummy recipes.  Let's just say, you're not gonna want to miss it.  

PS - we're ALWAYS on the hunt for new and unique confections, don't be afraid we won't bite (YOU), contact us!



{Don't miss a thing!}
Sugar Loco
Crazy for Confections!



Twitter: @Sugar_Loco

Ahh, don't you LOVE Sugar Loco? We do! 
Plus, your {sweet tooth} will thank you! 

Featured Etsy Designer -- Mandy of MandolinGoose PLUS a giveaway!

Mandolin Goose is one of our favorite shops for our home on Etsy. Filled with upcycled goods we just love - from mirrors to frames - the designer loves to re-vamp her vintage finds and we love her for doing it. 

Meet Mandy of Mandolin Goose & fall in love with her Etsy shop!

{Mandolin Goose on Etsy}


{We paired this blue mirror with our collection of milk glass vases}
{1} What made you begin your shop?

Initially, my Etsy shop was a way to whittle down some of the many, many vintage items I've collected over the last 20 years. Then I found myself collecting more (it's an addiction!), and would often spot an item that could use some sprucing up, with some paint, or another alteration, and ta-da! It was new all over again, but still with some of the original character. I certainly can't keep every item I work with, so I sell them, and it helps support my collecting habit.



{2} What is your favorite item to upcycle? 

The frames are probably my favorite, because there are so many different styles and shapes, and once they've been dressed up, or painted and distressed, they're so versatile. They look great in a grouping with similar items, or mismatched for a more eclectic feel. I like to place them on the mantle with an assortment of candles for a look that can easily be changed... seasonally or for a particular theme.


{English Tin, $10}
{3} What are some of your other favorite Etsy shops? 

Wow, there are so many! I really like waterpath, vintagespecial, yystudio, sushipot, WearableArtz, and poordogfarm... and 1000 more! I bought a great netbook case from freemoment. There are so many talented Etsians. Personally, I love textiles, knit items, original art, vintage anything, and so many sellers will do custom work, which makes the Etsy experience even more amazing.


{Vintage Faux Wicker Mirror in a super-FAB pink, $14}
{4} What inspires your work? 

My inspiration depends on what I'm working on, really. It may be the shape of the item, if it's to be upcycled, and pairing that with a modern color will really make it pop. I'm often inspired by textures, color, character, or the "personality" of the piece. When I work with paper, I tend to choose vintage illustrations, and unusual text, often in a foreign language. I love mathematical text, too, as I'm a bit of a math geek. I've been a casual artist all my life, and always have at least a few projects going on at once, and there's still so many crafts I want to try, and media I'd like to work with. I've also got The Sillymobile, my car, that's an ongoing project that I hope is never finished. In addition to my many hobbies/crafts, I'm fortunate to have a profession (chef) where I'm able to express my creativity.

{Mandy's car, otherwise known as Sillymobile}
{5} What is up next for you?

I've started making jewelry, and have an Etsy shop for that at SplendidLulu.Etsy.com. It's a small collection so far, but I'm having fun! I'm also getting into doing more work with vintage ephemera, another passion of mine... Etsy shop for that soon to follow. I have too many hobbies!


{We also added in a set of Mandolin Goose vintage scones for  a slash of color}


Lovin' Madolin Goose? Check out their shop on Etsy and make them a favorite. In the meantime, check out the FABulous giveaway below. We are giving one cupcakeMAG reader a chance to win our current favorite in the shop! 

{WIN THESE BELOW!} currently our fave in the shop!


{THIS GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED. CONGRATS TO KAITLYN M. FOR WINNING. 
YOU HAVE BEEN EMAILED!}

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Royal Wedding Countdown! Kate Middleton Hat Obsession

By Tiffany Olson

With the Royal Wedding a mere 3 days away, I have no choice but to document some of my favorite Kate Middleton hats and fascinators. The feathers, the flowers, the lace... chic, stylish, and sooo Royal!


(And it just so happens that the Kentucky Derby is also right around the corner. Double the dose of hat obsession!!!)

5. This big black saucer of a hat was worn to a 2010 wedding


 
4. Kate stepped out of her normal routine with this bright red fascinator, worn to a 2010 wedding.


 
3. This pastel hat went perfectly with her outfit at a 2009 wedding.


2. I absolutely adore this feather fascinator she wore at her first Royal duty in February of this year.

1. This is my all time favorite Kate fascinator!! Anyone who can wear this ridiculous feather piece and look good doing it deserves some recognition. She wore this all the way back in 2006 to a wedding.


 
I plan on wearing the biggest feather fascinator I can find on April 29. All day. While I'm in New York. (Those tweets will be fun. Make sure to follow me at @cupcakeMAG_Tiff while I frolick around the city trying to find the best Royal parties.)

Monday, April 25, 2011

Annette Tatum Giveaway for cupcakeMAG readers! Win a Queen Duvet and Pillowcases of choice!

As a follow up to our fantastic crib-set giveaway last week on cupcakeMAG for Littles - we didn't want our cupcakeMAG readers to feel left out.  So, BIG THANKS to Annette who has has kindly offered one more giveaway this Spring! Only this time it's just in time for Mother's Day! Win it for yourself or give it as a gift for Mother's Day!

We can't wait for one of our readers to win a Queen Duvet of choice plus a set of standard pillowcases.



{Please keep in mind delivery will take 4-6 weeks as duvets are made-to-order.}


Make sure you check out our chat with Annette here! {just in cased you missed it!}

Enter below.....you don't want to miss this giveaway!


{THIS GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED. THE WINNER was announced VIA Twitter} 


Editors' Pick: In Love with Clairebella plus a giveaway!

Thanks to Layla Grayce we were introduced to the lovely, Kathy Denness of Clairebella.  Kathy brings us "beautiful products for stylish living" and we just can't get enough of the collection of goodies. And, well - she is just the sweetest!

{Kathy of Clairebella}

Our favorite? We absolutely adore their super-stylish trays. Just in time for the entertaining season, they are beyond perfect to serve your guest or to keep on display. We love it on our desk too! It is the perfect place for papers.

{Super-Stylish Melamine Personalized Zebra Tray, $43}

We are thrilled to let you get to know her just a little bit more. Check out our chat with Kathy below and enter to win $100 to get your shop on!

{1} Tell us about Clairebella and what inspired you to begin the biz.



Initially, Clairebella started as a baby products business. I was a stay-at-home mom and always had an entrepreneurial bug. I was living in Australia and started with hand-painted kid's furniture. When I moved back to the US, I saw an opportunity to launch Clairebella. The company is named after my daughter, Claire. In 2009, we moved from moses baskets and soft goods to the personalized line we have now. We really found our niche and the line took over- to the point that it didn't make sense to try to continue with both. We now have a juvenile products license with David Textiles, who produces Clairebella fabric by the yard, burp cloth sets and blankets.

 {2} What is your all time favorite item?
{the cutest personalized cell phone cases from Clairebella on Layla Grayce, $52}


I would have to say our new product, the cell phone cases.


{Clairebella Cutting Boards - you may notice the one above from the April issue of Southern Living}


{3} What is your best seller?

Also the cell phone cases. Our glass cutting boards are close behind.


{4} When you aren't working on the latest and greatest things for Clairebella, what can we find you doing?

A morning run on a nice day is heaven to me.

{We LOVE this Place Setting for our Littles}


{5} What has been the biggest challenge having your own business?

Prioritizing your life can be a challenge. It is definitely a balancing act and when you are wearing so many hats, you have to be organized with your time. I am an artist, so organization is not my strongest point. I couldn't live without my iPhone calendar alerts!


{6} What tips do you have for other starting their biz?

Seek out someone in your industry, if possible, who can be a mentor. Always be open to learning new things. Just when you think you have all of the answers, something changes. Being open and flexible versus rigid in your business plan will help you to adjust quickly.


{7} What is up next for Clairebella?
 
We will have some exciting new product additions later this year, but that is hush-hush for now :). Suffice it to say, we would love to expand into broader product categories and see our patterns all over the house!
 

{Who doesn't love writing notes in style? Personalized Clipboards make perfect gifts too!}
Ready to browse around? Head over to Clairebella and shop the collection on Layla Gracye! Also, make sure you follow Clairebella on Twitter and Facebook!
 
Enter the Clairebella giveaway below! You can use the $100 Clairebella gift certificate on Layla Grayce!

{THE GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED AND THE WINNER HAS BEEN CONTACTED AND ANNOUNCED VIA TWITTER.}
 

Friday, April 22, 2011

Featured Etsy Designer -- Ashley, The Vntage Queen -- Plus a giveaway!

Coming across this Etsy shop changed our life. Okay, maybe it didn't really change our life but it certainly made it just a little bit more amazing! Ashley, the super-sweet Queen of Vintage is one of the nicest people we have ever worked with and we just can't stress that enough. She adores her customers and wants everyone to be happy when they shop at the Vntage Queen. We are so excited to share this shop with you and the beyond FABulous lady behind it! Read on to get all the details on the shop we have fallen in love with -- plus, win $50 to get your shop on! 








{1} Tell us a little about yourself, the true Vntage Queen. 

My name is Ashley!  I am a mother, full time college student, girlfriend and Etsian. I am a US Navy Veteran!  I served 4 years and was aboard two Destroyers, USS Stout and USS Gonzalez.  And yes did the whole 6-month out to sea bit! I am back in school for a second time!  It is quite a bit different being older (and yes wiser) and being a mother!  I originally planned to become an Earth Science teacher.  With all of the nation wide cuts lately, I have decided to follow my dream and become an Interior Designer.  Thanks to my Etsy shop, I now have the confidence to know I can do it and be great! 

I have always loved Interior Design.  I used to play Sims just so I could create and decorate the house!
I am a mother to Brianna (who I call Boopy), a cute and sassy little 4 year old!  She is amazing and a genius, literally.  My favorite part of the day is taking her with me on errands and she asks the most random person if they want to talk about dinosaurs.  She then will go on about every detail she knows (which is quite a bit).  She amazes me!

I am a girlfriend to my soul mate, Jeffrey.  He is so amazing!  He too is a veteran, Marine Corp.  Which I think helps us click better. We just get one another!  He is also a full-time college student and is Civil Service for the Air Force.

Jeffrey is super supportive and expects nothing from me.  He puts no pressure overhead just gives me room to grow.  I couldn’t ask for a better partner! 


{2} Where do you find the items in your shop? Flea markets, yard sales? We are dying to know where you score such awesome vintage treasures? 

I travel all over the state to find my goodies (as I call them).  I have three favorite places that I frequent each week.  Two are thrift stores and another is an antique shop.  The key to finding great vintage is staying away from big name and over browsed thrift stores.   It’s the hole in the wall, maybe in a not so great part of town places that have the treasures! 

I also love flea markets.  The flea markets in the country are the best!  You usually have the sweetest little lady that call you sugah, or honey! 

{Ashley's own wall of art collection}
{3} What made you decide to start a vintage shop on Etsy? 

I stumbled upon Etsy one day when I was researching an item I purchased.  Checked out a few stores and said, wow I can do this!  I have a collection of vintage items at home that all of friends have asked, “where in the world did you find this?” So I knew I could find great vintage pieces for a shop.  It was perfect timing too with being in school.  I didn’t want to work, but wanted a little extra spending money and voila, there you have Vntage Queen. 


{4} Do you have any personal faves in the shop currently? We do! All of them! 

Oh goodness, where do I begin?  Hold on, let me browse….

I absolutely love my goddess cocktail glasses.  I just think they are so different and amazing!  And my Moschino Cheap and Chic velvet skirt!  The pictures just do not do that piece justice.  It is amazing!
My two all time favorite pieces have sold though, the Lucite Pyramids and the Mid Century Horse lamp. Those are the two that I second-guess myself about selling. 

{cupcakeMAG fave: Fabulously Ornate Brass Candle Sticks, $38}
{5} What are your favorite Etsy shops?

I just recently ordered a bracelet from monpetitchouboutique.  It is super cute, nicely made and was packaged in the cutest box.  I also have a dinosaur necklace (thanks to my daughter and boyfriend) from ANORIGINALJEWELRY.  It is super cute!

My favorite vintage shops would be AMradiofabulousmessexperimentalvintageshavingkitsuppplies, and littlebyrdvintage.  And many more!  There are some really great Vintage shops on Etsy. 


{You may notice this Milk Glass Vase from our Birthday Feature on Pizzazzerie.com, $12}
{6} How would you describe your own personal decorating style at home? 

I like a neutral background with pops of uniqueness.  I want to be able to change with the seasons, with my mood or if I find a piece that is so amazing I need to redecorate to build around it. And I love pops of color!  I lean more towards Hollywood Regency and Oriental pieces for myself.



{All Things Vntage Queen}

Now, it is your lucky day! cupcakeMAG readers have a chance to win $50 to the Vntage Queen. Read on to enter and start marking your favorites now! 



Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Mother's Day with Snapfish!

Who doesn't love a custom card? Well, Snapfish makes it easy as 1-2-3. Literally! 
Pick a card, choose your paper, add a picture and ORDER! 
Snapfish Photo Cards complete Mother's Day!



{We LOVE the Stationery Cardstock!}

Add your photo and get your card! 

Oh Snapfish, how we love your photo cards. 
Why? Because they won't just treasure it for the day but forever! 
And the price is just right! Get yours now. Make your Mom, Grandmother, Aunt 
- whoever smile this holiday! 

{BIG THANKS TO SNAPFISH FOR SENDING US A CREDIT TO GET THE REAL EXPERIENCE OF CREATING CUSTOM GIFTS.}

cupcakeMAG LOVES Heather of Chickabug!

When we came across Heather of Chickabug's Party Idea Blog we immediately fell in love with amazing inspiration and beautiful work! Heather's blog is the perfect place for all things party & pretty. 

We are thrilled to share Chickabug with our readers! Enjoy the giveaway too! 


{Heather of Chickabug}
{1} The Chickabug blog is just FAB! You could browse it for hours. What got you into blogging such great things?


Thanks, Casi! That means so much coming from you! : ) I actually started blogging a few months into running my Etsy shop so that I could post pictures of the things I was making. Back then I was so naive that I had no idea that party blogs were such a big deal. I just posted whatever party photos customers sent me, along with random things that caught my eye on Etsy or in the blog world. That's still what I'm doing, actually -- just on a larger scale! I also make sure to include LOTS of party photos and LOTS of details about sources since I now know that's what readers are looking for.


{DIY Easter Candy Celebrations}
{2} When you aren't designing  your uber-cute personalized goods on Etsy, what can we find you doing?



It's so basic, but my favorite everyday activity is just walking my dog, Charlotte. Spoiling the heck out of her is one of the simplest joys in life! I also love to cook -- I make banana-chocolate chip muffins that would knock your socks off.



{cupcake water bottle labels, personalized from Chickabug's Etsy Shop}

{3} Do you have a favorite party you have custom designed for?



My all-time favorite party is the Sweet Shoppe party that I worked on with Shelley from How Does She. Not only was the party STUNNING thanks to Shelley's amazing eye for detail, but more important, we became friends through working together. She's been a really positive presence in my life ever since then, and has cheered me on every step of the way. So, the Sweet Shoppe party has to be tops, just because of her!



{Invitations by Chickabug for the Sweet Shoppe party}

{4} Do you have a favorite party you have featured on the blog?

My most recent favorite was the sock monkey party that was put together by Susan Gentile for her one-year-old son, Alexander. I've been lucky enough to work with her on a few parties now, and they always gain a lot of attention thanks to her gorgeous photos! It's really such a compliment to her that people write me and request items straight out of the pictures.


{the cutest sock monkey party!}

{5} What other blogs/sites do you often frequent or just have to read?



Oh, there are SO many good ones out there! For parties, I love Birthday Girl, Kara's Party Ideas, Pizzazzerie, and Kate Landers Events, LLC

I also never miss a post by How Does She, Glorious Treats, or Mini Eco. And for comic relief, you can't beat Cake Wrecks.

{TONS of FREE printables on Chickabug!}



{6} Where do you pull inspiration from?


My customers! I've been a designer for a very long time but had no idea how sophisticated today's party scene is when I started creating invitations. So I really mean it when I say that everything I've learned about children's parties comes straight from my clients! Every theme I've designed and every item I offer has been developed on request. There's a story behind just about everything, and some of my most popular themes were actually designed with one specific child in mind -- so for me, it brings back great memories to browse my shop.


{Custom stickers you can find in the Chickabug Etsy Shop}

{7} Do you have any party tips you can share for making it a super success?


Plan well in advance, and plan with your guests in mind. Coordinate a few fun games or activities, and set up little areas so that guests can move around the party and have plenty to do. Adding lots of personalized, special details to the day is important, but it's even more important to make sure that everybody has a fabulous time -- the hostess included! 

{Under the Sea birthday party}


{8} What is up next for Chickabug?


Hiring help, definitely! Right now I work alone, so the next step is going to be finding someone to help out -- even if it's just to to tape up packages for me a couple of nights a week!



All Things Chickabug!

READ ON TO ENTER OUR GIVEAWAY THANKS TO CHICKABUG! 

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