Archive for the ‘Having Fun’ Category

The Cats Meow! 9 Years, 9 Lives + Some Crazy Cat Ladies

Wednesday, March 30th, 2016

Sweet Cheeks’ Birthday parties are well known for FUN, YUM, and a little bit o’ CRAZY!  This year, as we celebrated 9 years in business, we chose the “9 Lives” theme of…yup, CATS.

About 350 people showed up – some in ears & tails, others with their own stuffed animals, most just to have a great time & taste AMAZING DESSERTS in cat-inspired style!  From kitty litter cakes to Grumpy Cat Cake, cakes to make the Cake Boss sigh… Gluten Free Desserts to funny edible cat hair balls (coconut, that is)…people were stealing the to-go boxes once again!!!

Sweet Cheeks Baking Co.'s "Team Cheeks!"

Sweet Cheeks Baking Co.’s “Team Cheeks!”

Black & White Beauties of Sweet Cheeks

Black & White Beauties of Sweet Cheeks

Delish sliders by Personal Touch Dining

Delish sliders by Personal Touch Dining

overflow party outside

The party continues outside every year…

mini cat ear cupcakes

mini cat ear cupcakes

Elvis & Mikey's favorite PB & G

Elvis & Mikey’s favorite PB & G

Elyse & Kelsey Rae

Elyse & Kelsey Rae

Family support!

Family support!

The men of JOTN

The men of JOTN

Dana never misses a party

Dana never misses a party

Fresh from the hood

Fresh from the hood

Team Kemal

Team Kemal

The Blonde Contingent

The Blonde Contingent

Gorgeous ladies

Gorgeous ladies



HUGE THANKS go out to friends who help with their talents, time, and donations:

:: CATERING: Personal Touch Dining     :: ESPRESSO CATERING: Joes on the Nose

:: PHOTOGRAPHY:  Emilio Azevedo Photography     :: DJ/MUSIC: ProMotion Entertainment

:: FLOWER CENTERPIECES:  Adorations Botanical Artistry

:: ENTRY BEVERAGES & FLORAL ARCH: Embellishmint Floral & Event Design Studio

:: INCREDIBLE DESSERT DISPLAY BY:  Sweet Cheeks Baking Co. team!

SUPERMOMS in the Wedding Biz

Thursday, January 28th, 2016

How do they do it?
Have you ever wondered how some people can multi-task and others can’t?
How do these women handle time consuming jobs, focus on emotionally charged clients, and do it MASTERFULLY, all while going through pregnancy, babies, & child rearing?

We call them SUPERMOMS! Here are five of our many amazing San Diego based industry professional friends who have proven it is not only possible but also desirable! These ladies pretty well cover the gamut of pregnancy thru youngins’…take a look…

I asked them each a few questions regarding pregnancy and/or raising kids while working full or part-tim, here’s the list of questions:
1. How long were you able to work while pregnant? If all the way thru term, was it difficult? If you had to or decided to stop early on in your pregnancy, why?
2. Do you feel your pregnancy helped get business or hurt it? Do you tell your clients or not? How do clients react to you when they hear you are pregnant and/or will be for their event?
3. What challenges did you face during the process of pregnancy or raising children while working?
4. Do you have suggestions for other people getting into this industry (particularly your end of it, whatever your job) who also want to start a family?
5. What is/was the most fun part of having babies in this industry?


Meet Heather Elise Aronan of Heather Elise Photography – I start with Heather, because…SERIOUSLY, her baby was due YESTERDAY!!! January 27, 2016!!! While we were all waiting for the big news, Heather alerted me that not only is her due date postponed to Feb. 3, but she still plans to work this weekend’s San Diego Bridal Bazaar like a true Rockstar!!! Heather is also my paddle boarding buddy even up until two weeks before her due date! I just LOVE this woman, so all digits are crossed for Baby Aronan!!

Heather responded:
1. I suppose you could say I worked up until 1/25, only 2 days before due date since I was editing my last wedding of 2016 until then. However, my last shoot was December 13th. I feel like my belly was getting pretty large at that point, so I decided to hold off on any other shoots until after baby is born. I was still doing client meetings.

2. Neither. I was definitely CONCERNED that clients might think it would be a liability…but that was me overthinking it. I didn’t tell people until I was notably prego as I preferred to stay in the excitement of their wedding day and their love and less on my excitement for my new addition. To my surprise, at 38 weeks prego I booked a wedding. Definitely clients reacted with excitement for me…although I definitely try to bring the excitement back to them.

3. Fear of the huge shift that I am not just responsible for myself but now responsible for another human being. Oh and fear of no sleep. I prefer 8 to 9 hours and THAT will no longer be… haha! I am definitely nervous about scheduling appointments/shoots around baby. Thank goodness we have both grandmothers close to home so we will have support.

4. While of course I have a few challenges ahead of me I am SO grateful that this job allows me to stay home with baby and work at the same time. I am grateful to have watched my sister-in-law (also talented Carrie McCluskey Photography) have 3 kids while photographing weddings over the past decade, and she gives me hope that this is totally doable. I would advise if it’s possible…..have babies in the off season! Of course babies come when babies come but wow, so happy to have been able to relax a bit and enjoy pregnancy while not in the height of
the year….and definitely DON’T overthink things. I have found that continuing to work has helped keep things in perspective and not overthinking too much.

5. I would say it has been super fun sharing the news that we were prego with industry friends in person. Our community is pretty awesome and it was fun to feel excitement from vendor friends!

Reality Check from the beautiful Sara France of Sara France Photography & France Photographers

1. I shot weddings all the way until 3 weeks before my due date which ended up being 2 weeks before she was born. I even shot a 14 hour wedding in New York only 6 weeks before she was born and yes you can fly that late in your term. I did not have a hard time shooting while I was pregnant. The hardest part was just not being able to lay on the floor to get a shot but that is why we have awesome second photographers.

2. It for sure hurt business for me but I have two other photographers so I think it helped get them business sometimes. I noticed that when clients were interviewing me, even if their wedding was going to be far after I gave birth they were still concerned. I could tell they were wondering how things would change for me with a new baby and how that would effect them. Of course I knew that would not effect them at all I only told the clients that I thought it would effect but most of them knew already via social media. They were all super excited and supportive. For the NY client I brought an extra photographer just in case and I told him before I announced it on Social Media.

3. My biggest challenge during pregnancy was convincing people that I was not disabled. I wanted them to treat me the same. I was still able to do all the things I could do when I was not pregnant. I just happened to be growing another human inside of me while I was doing all those things. My biggest challenge in raising Charlie has been in finding the right balance and the right boundaries. I have had to find a whole new workout, create a new schedule, and invite new people in my home to help.

4. Absolutely, I have been incredibly blessed to have my team around me. This would have been such a harder transition without them. I knew I wanted to start a family soon and I was able to expand my business to include 2 incredible photographers a couple years ago; without their support I do not know where I would be. Having a support team around you is keep to success in times like these.

5. Everyone tells you how much work it is to have a baby but no-one tells you how much fun it is. I have never enjoyed my life more than I do now that I have this ball of joy in my life. Yes she cries, yes she is needy at times but there is nothing like the feeling when she laughs and
hugs me. Sharing that with other people in the industry is the best. I feel like I have so many people supporting me and cheering me on. I love sharing this journey with everyone in the industry.

An amazing reality of female Wedding Coordinators seems to be that they all get pregnant! The large group of talented ladies from Bliss Events seem to have a new baby in the mix every season, and it’s just SO MUCH FUN! We love these ladies! Here are two mega-moms who gave us some amazing input & suggestions for women who want to have babies while working.

Rachel Welland, Owner of this fantastic Wedding & Event Coordinating & Design Company, has grown Bliss Events from a small event company to one of the finest & most respected in Southern California…all while raising two babies! Rachel is one of the strongest women I know, extremely detail-oriented, focused, and professional, so I was really interested in hearing her feedback.

1. I worked up until my due date! I had to slow down leading up to the due date, but I was sure to not schedule many meetings (or weddings) for a few weeks prior.

2. My clients were very supportive and excited for me! I was sure to reassure them that I would have extra assistance at their weddings and they were confident in me and my team.

3. While pregnant, I had to be sure to take some breaks when I was working at weddings (e.g. sitting down once in a while). While I was a new mom and was breastfeeding, I had to pump a few times during each wedding day (my shift is typically 10-to-12 hours!), which was a challenge to leave the event for about 20 minutes, but I would pick the best possible times when I would not be “missed”.

4. If possible, it would be best to work a few years and learn the job inside & out, as well as establishing routines and processes. Then it would be easier to be pregnant and have a child, if the business is already established and is in good order.

5. I have a flexible schedule with my career, which allows me time to spend with my child!

Paige Jensen, Coordinator & Designer at Bliss Events

With her two gorgeous munchables

With her two gorgeous munchables

1. I was able to work with the 1st baby up til the end, I had a wedding 2 weeks before she was due BUT actually she was early – probably due
to the fact that I was working and so active. With 2nd baby, I knew I wanted more time to myself and with my current li’l one so didn’t schedule much around the time of birth or directly after.

2. Physically & mentally, I had way more difficulty with the 2nd baby – everything just happened earlier and faster for me! Overall, from about 6 months on with both… I had to hire an extra assistant to come earlier and stay later just to be my “hands and legs” for the physical labor (moving belly bars, picking up boxes of personal items – all hard on the body). You don’t want to strain the belly area too much so having someone was really helpful.
Emotions, anxiety, mental focus are all a challenge; you are learning how to handle 2 full-time jobs.

3. If you had to or decided to stop early on in your pregnancy, why? I stopped early with my 2nd baby, to allow more time to focus on my older child a bit before the new baby came (and to prepare mentally!) Honestly, I had a wedding booked about 3 weeks before due date with clients who were BOTH DOCTORS; they weren’t comfortable knowing my 1st baby was early (as they were educated to ask me) and were afraid that they would be left without a Coordinator. They didn’t want that stress of not knowing, so we transferred them to my colleague. This worked out great – I am blessed to have our Bliss team for random situations like that.

4. I wouldn’t say it “hurt” my business. With my 1st child no-one had a problem; I had events leading right up to it and then 2 full service events 6 weeks after. With my 2nd, ONE couple was not comfortable having me due close to their wedding, so my colleague Staci took over. Always alerted clients in appropriate timing. ALL were elated, so excited for me. For the few who showed any concern for how that might affect their event, I was always able to walk them through my Plan B (extra assistants, a 2nd coordinator, mom bringing the baby for breastfeeding and myself arriving earlier to allow for that time, doing meetings and their timelines/stuff early and ahead of time, etc.)

5. During pregnancy, Baby Brain… (it’s so TRUE) Just use more post-its and reminders for the basics, haha. Physical hindrances just to do my job on auto-pilot require extra hands on deck. After the pregnancy: Oh man- I mean you are learning a whole new full time job- mother. And then still doing your passion and regular work and all from the same house/office/work zone so I would say it’s The balance (of all that). Every baby & mother/professional is different. For me, I realized instead of getting 10 things done in a day, I had to be stoked on getting only 1-2.

Prioritize my time with work, hubby, the baby, house work, ME time- all important.
::Great routines for the kids
::Naps to help my lack of sleep
The mental struggle is toughest: you’re playing with your new baby but in the back of your mind- you are thinking- “I can do this table like this for this bride” and “oh got to get back to this one on her schedule when she comes to visit,” and “oh yeah- need to answer that blog questionnaire from Elaine with Sweet Cheeks” (hehe). On the flip-side, you are working when your baby is napping, and you’re as efficient as possible, but it’s a race against the clock for when they get up and then BOOM your work stops– your work mind flow stops and you go attend to your baby and have to come back to it maybe 5 hours later or the next day. It’s just tougher than I thought it would be but then again- you just power through!

6. I wouldn’t try to start a business and have a baby at same time- start the job, then have babies OR vice versa. Both will be your “babies” and require your full attention to do them right and 100% successfully (notice I didn’t say perfectly because no one is and no one way to do all this is perfect). Other advice: DIVE IN! YOU WILL FIGURE IT OUT and YOU WILL DO A GREAT JOB and THE BEST JOB THAT YOU CAN DO at both!

Another thing: I think having a team to rely on (like when I had to drop a few weddings from my due date) and just for support because on our team we are all moms and planners- it’s wonderful and makes you feel like you are not alone doing either. And last: Once you are “in it”- working and pregnant or going to have a baby- check out nanny or daycare (doesn’t need to be full-time or it can be) but just prepare- BE A PLANNER for your life and your baby’s life so that you know she/he will be well taken care of when you do have a wedding or a meeting or need office time and on the other end you know that you can expect that time to focus fully 100% on your clients.

7. I am fortunate to maximize both of the greatest jobs at the same time! Coordinating requires LOTS of logistics constantly, but I am home with my babies WHEN I WANT TO BE and then working WHEN I WANT TO BE. Freedom & flexibility- not always easy to choose one over the other. I’d stop trying to do both, but then I wouldn’t be able to do the 2 best passions of my life: planning events & raising kiddos. Our industry is mostly about events centered around LOVE, so many of these couples I am marrying will have babies one day, and MANY people in our industry already have families around. So it’s a great industry with lots of LOVE for kids/babies and support, which is huge… they do say “It takes a village to raise kids” and our industry is an incredible “village”.

Breesa Everett of BLOOMS by Breesa Lee – An incredibly talented floral designer, we are blessed to work with her often these days! Not only do I appreciate Breesa’s realistic answers, I also respect her efforts to maintain family sanity via the signature in her emails…which reads: “Office hours are kept Monday – Wednesday and we leave the rest of the week for event production and family time. Please allow a few extra days for an email response – we want to make sure we answer all your questions.”

1) I worked as much as I could until the day before I went into labor, with some adjustments. I worked like normal until 4 weeks before my due date and then after that I did whatever work I could while sitting down. It was so hot around that time – my feet would get so swollen and I had to work with them up on a chair!

2) I met with clients while pregnant but only took on clients if their wedding was at least a month before I was due or 3 months after I was due. I didn’t want to take the chance of being unable to follow through with the flowers for their event. Everyone I met with was very understanding and pretty amazed!

3) I think the most difficult thing about the balance of having a family while owning a business is all the “extra” stuff. It’s not just finding time to answer emails and put together arrangements. It’s the social aspect of the industry as well. It’s so important to have great vendor relationships and the time required for that is something I didn’t anticipate. Luckily, as my daughter gets older I can find time for the get-togethers in the evenings or she can come along to coffee dates once in a while.

4) My suggestion for florists planning a family is: be easy on yourself. Be as sweet to yourself as you’re going to be to the new baby. Give yourself time and understanding. It’s probably not going to work out how you think it is but it will work out somehow. Your family will find its groove.

5) This industry is full of moms! It’s amazing – the support I’ve found was really a surprise. If you show up to a meeting totally frazzled from your day, you’ll get a look of complete understanding. It’s really wonderful.

THANK YOU to all of these beautiful ladies – all FRIENDS and RESPECTED PROFESSIONALS!!!

Italian Pastry Inspiration! Desserts & Wine of La Dolce Vita..

Wednesday, December 16th, 2015

“La Dolce Vita,” we all dream of the SWEET LIFE – here at Sweet Cheeks Baking Co., we LIVE IT daily!  Woo hoo!

Our Classic Sicilian Cannoli from Grandma Palminteri's recipe vault...

Our Classic Sicilian Cannoli from Grandma Palminteri’s recipe vault… photo by TRUE Photography

Fortunately, we have an incredible team who can cover each other’s positions when we need a break… so when 3 of us decided, all in 2015, that we were going to Italy, we had to figure it out. Donna’s 40th birthday, my 10 year wedding anniversary, and Krista’s HONEYMOON – what a whirlwind of shared Italian fun, romance, history, wine, & pastry!

So honestly… who WOULDN’T be inspired by this grandeur???

Cinque Terre Vetua Vineyard grapes(59)

Many people know that I teach wine classes – Donna & I have taught wine + dessert classes at Disneyland’s Food & Wine Festivals, here in San Diego at the San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival, at the Prado Food & Wine School, of course in our Sweet Cheeks Baking Co. kitchen, and for years I’ve taught to restaurants as well as private individuals.  So i would be remiss not to give you some tips and “How to Pair wine with Dessert” ideas from Italy…

An oldie of us after teaching our Disneyland class

An oldie of us after teaching our Disneyland class


:: Shortbread cookies – lemon shortbread with Silver Tequila; almond with Amaretto; Bergamot with St. Germain

:: Biscotti – classically with Vin Santo of Tuscany, they are also delizioso with Banfi’s “Florus” Moscadello di Montalcino!

:: Presidential Pecan Diamonds (from Sweet Cheeks) – insanely good with Bourbon or Rye drinks

:: Flourless Chocolate Cake or other dark chocolate treats with little to no icing – Ruby Port or Dessert Reds

:: Coconut Cake (unsweetened coconut is ideal) – Rum mixed with yummy coconut milk

OOOH, talking about all that was indeed something shiny!

Anyway, back to glorious Italia, my husband & I rented a cool little apartment in Cinque Terre, selected in part (via Trip Advisor) because the owner also owns a vineyard & winery, called Vetua and makes fantastic white Cinque Terre & Sciacchetra wines!  Incredibly, they dry grapes for the Sciacchetra dessert wines right in the MIDDLE OF THE LIVING ROOMS, closets, kitchens, wherever they can find space to let these grapes dry with the right climate…fantastic!!!

Beautiful grapes drying for $$$ Sciacchetra wine

Beautiful grapes drying for $$$ Sciacchetra wine


Grapes drying in the middle of the house

Grapes drying in the middle of the house

So speaking of DESSERT WINE, let’s discuss what we’d pair, along with cheese and cigars, with such luxurious delights:  traditional Italian biscotti, (or, as we call them, cookies) and my favorites, the “Brutti ma Buoni” (ugly but good – oh come on, names don’t get any better than that!) are some of the most PERFECT PAIRINGS with white dessert wines.

Brutti ma Buoni cookie photo courtesy of

Brutti ma Buoni cookie photo courtesy of

“Yes, please, I’ll take one of everything in this case!”

Classic & divine pastries at Linari Pasticceria in old Testaccio neighborhood, Roma

Classic & divine pastries at Linari Pasticceria in old Testaccio neighborhood, Roma

What fun Donna, Krista, & I had sharing our best Italian spots:

:: restaurants (Ristorante Sor’Eva in Trastevere — home to our wonderful new Italian friends Vincenzo & Paolo, and  Imago at the Hassler Roma Hotel, owned & operated by the dashing Dott. Roberto Wirth)

:: Vespa Tours (grazie to the amazing team, Michele & Valerio at Dearoma Tours)

:: delicious pastries (check out old Testaccio neighborhood in Roma for Linari Pasticceria!)

:: best Gelato combinations (Miele & Pistachio at Berlin Gelato in Vernazza; ahh, the famous Giolitti and crazy-enormous selection at MIRKO!)

:: glorious Italian beauty – Tuscan countrysides, Lake Garda mountains, Venice’s secret alleyways, and Rome’s art history

Flaming custard, Italian style for Donna

Flaming custard, Italian style for Donna

Ice-cream, Ice-cream, everywhere!!!  Italians are famous for their delicious GELATO, and nearly every street corner in the cities houses a “gelateria,” so you can’t miss ’em.

Giolitti Gelato, Rome pics (45)

Many hands scooping at the famous Giolitti


A toast to the Italian countryside!

Mirko, since 1988, serves nearly 100 flavors daily in Sirmione!

Mirko, since 1988, serves nearly 100 flavors daily in Sirmione!


silly honeymooners love gelato

silly honeymooners love gelato

Inspiration abounds in Europe, especially in Italianate design – ceilings, arches, paintings, statues, masks, and rolling olive groves, all give us grace and show us incredible opportunity for creating our own cake & pastry art…here’s the stunning carved ceiling in the Hotel Danieli’s lobby in Venice!

Inspiration for cake design!

Inspiration for cake design!

Even the Venetian animal masks are ready for a snack (see the hidden sign)

Even the Venetian animal masks are ready for a snack (see the hidden sign)

Venice is a treasure trove of cookies, gelato, pastries, coffee, and of course PROSECCO!!!  Cafes on Saint Mark’s Square offer free orchestras, jazz musicians, and performers to entice the tourists.

Cafes attract Prosecco + pastry-loving tourists

Cafes attract Prosecco + pastry-loving tourists

An after dinner drink, or “digestivo” (“to digest;” vs. the more common term “aperitivo” which “opens” the meal) are delicious with a classic treat of Tiramisu, especially when the amazing restaurant Sor’ Eva sends it out ON THE HOUSE – woo hoo!!! Grazie!

Tiramisu at Sor'Eva Restaurant, our favorite local spot in Rome.

Tiramisu at Sor’Eva Restaurant, our favorite local spot in Rome.

Honeymooners, birthday celebrants, and anniversary lovers alike will all love a dessert journey through Italy!  Thoughtful and romantic, those Italians sure know how to steal our hearts…

An anniversary pastry heart from the kitchen at Sor'Eva!

An anniversary pastry heart from the kitchen at Sor’Eva!

Make it happen, take the time, relish life:

Krista & Mike's morning caffe with heart-shaped donuts...are you kidding? Amazing Italians!

Krista & Mike’s morning caffe with heart-shaped donuts…are you kidding? Amazing Italians!

Our very own Sugar Shaker…Engaged!

Wednesday, May 6th, 2015

Our darling Krista is not only a beautiful, sexy woman but is also our Official Sugar Shaker, winner of Food Network “Cupcake Wars!” and the first person ever hired at Sweet Cheeks Baking Co. – the original TEAM CHEEKS member!   Krista LOVES games, is incredibly fit, and is the ultimate challenger… so it’s not surprising that when Mike got down on one knee in Jackson Hole, WY, it was during a ski vacation that Krista WON while competing on “WHEEL OF FORTUNE”…woo hoo!!!

Here they reveal an intimate look into their home life downtown with these incredibly special engagement photos by LOVERS OF LOVE

An intimate moment at home

An intimate moment at home

Perfectly styled by the talented & insanely lovely Carmin, their shoot captures moments most reminiscent of these two darlings – the perfect combination of FUN, warmth, talent, COMFORT, coyness, strength, and LOVE!

cookies & milk, yum!

cookies & milk, yum!

Sea Salted Chocolate Chip Cookies...delish

Sea Salted Chocolate Chip Cookies…delish

Let’s see Krista show Mike how to frost a cupcake, shall we??? (just check out the challenger…she still thinks she’s on Cupcake Wars!!!)

Oh, it's so easy, huh???

Oh, it’s so easy, huh???

Krista, just show him how it’s done

Wait! That’s almost perfect, Honey…!


TRUE LOVE means you each get one

TRUE LOVE means you each get one

Relaxing with your love is important after a big day of selling sweets

Relaxing with your love is important after a big day of selling sweets

Krista worked her way from being completely untrained and youthfully “green” at Sweet Cheeks thru the ranks of baking like a crazy person to learning how to frost perfectly to taking the reigns of selling wholesale.  She has since wowed us all with her sales ability and has thus made some close buddies with most of San Diego top chefs – from private clubs to hotels to coffee houses and the Del Mar Racetrack!  She’s learned some great tips in tossing pizzas…!

Rolling the dough, a la "Ghost"

Rolling the dough, a la “Ghost”

Learned that at the famous family Salzzone's...

Learned that at the famous family Salzzone’s…

Saucy Sweethearts

Saucy Sweethearts

In their spare time, Krista & Mike are dedicated to staying in shape and both show it!  They practice Pilates avidly and eat incredibly strict diets – you know, salads, quinoa, veggies, and lots of cake. 🙂

A little snacker of Coconut Cake filled with Fresh Guava Curd for the photographers...

A little snacker of Coconut Cake filled with Fresh Guava Curd for the photographers…



Cozying up with tea (never coffee!)

Cozying up with tea (never coffee!)

Genuine joy makes us all so excited for them!

Genuine joy makes us all so excited for them!

As we help Krista & Mike in any way we can to plan their upcoming wedding, we wish them all of the greatest love & treasures that life brings!  Thank you, Krista, for all that you have done and continue to do to help make Sweet Cheeks Baking Co. such a great place to be!!!Much love from Elaine & DonnaKrista’s hair, styled by Torri at DK Hair Salon , looked perfect (as always 😉  Photos by LOVERS OF LOVE , and the Sweets… by Sweet Cheeks, of course

Keep that man, he's a good one!

Keep that man, he’s a good one!


The Cheeks go FISHING!!!

Wednesday, May 6th, 2015
TEAM CHEEKS & Friends reeling 'em in!

TEAM CHEEKS & Friends reeling ’em in!

Fishing from the Sweetness of our Souls.  Thank you, Captain Morgan!!!…no, not THAT Captain Morgan, the OTHER one… Jodie Morgan, owner of sport fishing company Apollo Charters!

A sleepy morning crew preparing for the day

What a day! We fought & caught incredibly powerful fighting yellowtail (AKA “Hamachi” in the sushi bars…) and found ourselves fending off Sea Lions for our dinner (gosh, they’re so much cuter when they’re NOT stealing your hard-earned catch!).  Jodie kept the boat moving to keep it interesting for our novice fishermen, helping us catch more fish to cook for family dinner over the next few weeks.

Sweet Cheeks fishing trip on Apollo (12) Sweet Cheeks fishing trip on Apollo (14)

Kayla with Chandtelle + Will, all smiles

Kayla with Chandtelle + Will, all smiles

Thanks also to those little Bonine pills which saved most of us on this rather rolly-rocky day in the Pacific…whew!  Needed that.  Coronado Islands are majestic in their rough, rural nature – a preserve for a few species indigenous to this area only.   No one lives on the islands here in Mexican waters, just lots of happy gulls and endless sea lions happily gobbling up our bait…

No mega-resorts on the Coronado Islands for sure...

No mega-resorts on the Coronado Islands for sure…

Michael B teaching us his tricks to our #1 Challenger Laura

Michael B teaching us his tricks to our #1 Challenger Laura

Mike & Krista kicked some butt

Mike & Krista kicked some butt

Apollo's fish hold keeps your fish chilled all day

Apollo’s fish hold keeps your fish chilled all day

Sweet Cheeks fishing trip on Apollo (13)

On the bridge

On the bridge


We’d been planning this trip for nearly a year, a perfect way to share the lifestyle of one of our grooms.  Jodie has been a successful fishing captain for years – despite his youthful appearance.   His charters focus on Puerto Vallarta most of the year, then he settles back in San Diego for the yellowtail & tuna seasons of spring/summer.

Captain Jodie Morgan whisks away bride Kelly

Captain Jodie Morgan whisks away bride Kelly

Thanks to previous Cheeks Laurel & Bradley for making the effort to play with us today!  OHIO-born Laurel’s first time on a boat!!! (she’s made for it)

Two fabulous former Cheeks we love joined us today - Bradley & Laurelita!

Two fabulous former Cheeks we love joined us today – Bradley & Laurelita!

The BIG CATCH - Michael & Brenda won "Most Fish" prize!

The BIG CATCH – Michael & Brenda won “Most Fish” prize!

Some of our fantastic buddies to join us today:

Maryanne McGuire of  Maryanne McGuire Photography

Laura Christin of Laura Christin Photography

Jason Barnes, David Gomez, Brenda & Michael Kiely of the Little Italy Doma Family

Spouses and friends & former Cheeks: Laurelita, Will, John, Mike, Bradley & son


Outdoor Weddings: Tip #4

Sunday, November 30th, 2014

NO-NO’S in the summer heat:  *3-piece suits, *hot metal seats, and *(Yeeeouch!) short dresses!

Continued thoughts on a hot, sunny day… This is really a tip for both the hosts AND the guests.

We all have that infamous friend (or girlfriend of friend) who wears the inappropriately short dress (OK, guest, here is the tip I meant for you…don’t ever try to out-sexy the bride, even if the “bride” is a 185-lb male).

Hosts should plan to provide non-metal seats for an outdoor ceremony. They won’t burn people’s thighs if they choose to wear the dangerously short style dress or short pants… well, maybe this guest deserves a hot, metal seat for having worn this to your wedding…

Maybe something like this will protect both your legs and your relationship with other females there… still sexy and yet not asking for a fight. LOL!

Be considerate if suggesting the style of dress for your party – whether you’re requesting guests don the “all black clothing” for the Goth approach or even requiring “FORMAL ATTIRE” for men.

Just think about how hot a full suit and even a tie is on a hot day in August!

How gorgeous are THESE looks for men???  No one will complain that they didn’t wear a tux… Yeowzers!!

Shot at Catamaran Resort on Mission Bay

My own husband was adamant about wearing a tux, and he suffered briefly, but that’s just the stubborn, classic New Yorker in him.  xoxoxoxo


Outdoor Weddings: Tip #3 (and more!)

Monday, November 24th, 2014

Photo borrowed from blog

:: GOOD IDEA:  sunglasses for guests if the ceremony is in bright sun

Probably no couple prays for rain on their wedding day, but bright sun can create just as many issues… Thankfully there are lots of great, stylish ways to keep your guests comfortable and your photos fabulous.
:: sunscreen in baskets as guests enter the ceremony site or reception area (look for zinc oxide & titanium dioxide)

Your photographer will be happily editing a LOT of sunburn photos and costing you a lot more money later…

Sunglasses are critical, but the result without sunscreen can look awful…


CUTE IDEA!  Personalized Water Bottles upon entry to ceremony – so many online sites sell these.
:: chilled bottles of water or pour spouts with ice-cold fruited water or sangria and non-alcoholic refreshers.



First Triathlon by a Cheek! Lap ’em Left Cheek!

Sunday, October 5th, 2014
Team Cheeks supports The Left Cheek, Ms. Donna, as she beautifully finishes her very first TRIATHLON here in San Diego!!!

Team Cheeks supports The Left Cheek, Ms. Donna, as she beautifully finishes her very first TRIATHLON here in San Diego!!!

Cheeks at Donna's tri Cheeks Donna in run portion of race Mission Bay Coaster triathlon

In a show of tremendous effort, multiple Cheeks rose out of bed on an early Sunday morning to cheer on their fearless leader Donna as she finished her very first triathlon!  WOO HOO!!!  So much fun to show support, probably just as cool as it was for her to participate.

Nick (our “Jack of All Cheeks”) of course led the charge by driving Donna up despite his head cold,

Lauren joined graciously, bringing yummy Sweet Cheeks breakfast treats for the crew and our NEARLY-PROFESSIONAL posters 😉

Kayla, Laurel, & I met up to prove that early rising can be fun with our beach cruiser bike ride down the boardwalk to reach the race scene – thanks for the laughs, dolphin sightings, and rusty chain mechanics to Kayla & Laurel! Thanks to Uncle Alex for sharing his bikes with us!

Krista caught up with vigor & enthusiasm, always the awesome cheerleader.

For a review of this fun event, check out the real website:

Guest Chefs in the Kitchen!

Sunday, June 15th, 2014

What amazing friends we have in this industry! We do whatever we can for them, especially our chef buddies …and no better way for them to show their appreciation of SWEET CHEEKS than to cook for US! Woo hoo!!!!

One blessed morning, in came Chefs Mark & Justin from Loew’s Coronado Resort to create some outstanding morning fare for our team. We probably did not deserve this, but they even catered to EACH of our insane dietary restrictions – can you say “High Maintenance?”

Chef Mark Ching was recently hired as the new Executive Chef at the Loew’s Hollywood Hotel (go Markie!), so we miss him & our beloved Laurel (AKA “Red Velvet Baby”)terribly. Chef Justin still helps to man the fort here in San Diego at the beautiful Loew’s Coronado Bay Resort, one of our awesome clients who represent Sweet Cheeks Baking Co. desserts both on the ROOM SERVICE MENU and in the hotel Café!



Omelette breakfast, Loewe's chefs cook for us (24) (800x531)

Omelette breakfast, Loewe's chefs cook for us (26) (800x531)

Omelette breakfast, Loewe's chefs cook for us (27) (800x531)

Omelette breakfast, Loewe's chefs cook for us (28) (800x531)

Omelette breakfast, Loewe's chefs cook for us (29) (800x531)

Omelette breakfast, Loewe's chefs cook for us (32) (800x531)

Omelette breakfast, Loewe's chefs cook for us (33) (800x531)

Omelette breakfast, Loewe's chefs cook for us (10) (800x531)

Omelette breakfast, Loewe's chefs cook for us (11) (800x531)

Omelette breakfast, Loewe's chefs cook for us (13) (800x531)

Omelette breakfast, Loewe's chefs cook for us (17) (800x531)

Omelette breakfast, Loewe's chefs cook for us (18) (800x531)

Omelette breakfast, Loewe's chefs cook for us (19) (800x531)

Omelette breakfast, Loewe's chefs cook for us (20) (800x531)

Omelette breakfast, Loewe's chefs cook for us (2) (800x531)

Omelette breakfast, Loewe's chefs cook for us (3) (800x531)

Omelette breakfast, Loewe's chefs cook for us (5) (800x531)

Omelette breakfast, Loewe's chefs cook for us (6) (800x531)

Omelette breakfast, Loewe's chefs cook for us (8) (800x531)

Omelette breakfast, Loewe's chefs cook for us (9) (800x531)

Omelette breakfast, Loewe's chefs cook for us (7) (800x531)

Laurel & Mark, we miss you guys very much here. You will always be such inspiring friends; thank you so much again for all that you have done and all that you do for us!

SD Wine + Food Festival

Saturday, December 7th, 2013

We have been fortunate to be involved in the San Diego Bay Food + Wine Classic since its first year!  Originally, we started off helping some of the planners, and we also, as a Certified Sommeliers, taught wine classes.

In Sweet Cheeks’s first year of business, Donna & I won “Best Dessert,” entering their ‘Chef of the Fest’ contest, and as a result of the festival, the company was discovered by the FOOD NETWORK!  Since then, we won “Best Dessert Category” every year thru 2011.

Well, in 2013, we participated in the festival in a different way.  We joined in on the the classic’s startup event, the “Fit Foodie.”   As part of the event, we did a VEGAN CAKE demo on a stage at the Hilton Bayfront Hotel.  Then, we got to ENJOY the amazing Grand Tasting event in Embarcadero Park.  Holy cow. We may never work again.  It was just TOO MUCH FUN!!!

The weekend was absolutely incredible, filled with wine and food for all of the Sweet Cheeks gals.  The delicious dinner concluding the weekend (at the Marina Kitchen in the Marriott Marquis) was the perfect ending to a amazing few days.

Many Congratulations to Ken Loyst & Michelle Metter on so much success in their 10th year of one of the best Wine & Food Festivals in the US!