Hello! Thank you for visiting my blog! Here you will get to know me—the “sweet girl” behind the dessert tables. The girl who loves to create. The proud mama who loves her boys to no bounds and the wife that thanks her lucky stars every day to have her husband, her best friend & business partner, by her side. Whether you visiting our blog or the first time or have stopped by before, please know that I’m incredibly grateful that you are here and look forward to getting to know you. So sit back, grab a large cup of coffee (or cake pop) and enjoy!

Pink and Mint Dessert Table by Shay Cochrane Photography

Happy Day everyone! Interrupting my series on recapping 2012, with some goodness brought to you by one of my dearest friends, Shay Cochrane from Shay Cochrane Photography. I haven’t spoken a lot about this, but this year we are looking to branch out with the launch of our Chic Sweets shop. This has been long in my heart, but I wanted to take my time and really get a few pieces in place before sharing too many details. I’ve never been one to rush the process and so I can tell you it finally feels good to be ready for this next step. Where does Shay come in all of this? Well, she is giving me a hand with stunning images for my shop, close up of my products, personalized favors and why not include a dessert table in all of that?

I know Emerald green, is the “Pantone Color of the Year” and all, but I’m convinced it was all a big mistake. Mint!!! It should have been mint!!!!

Thanks again, Shay. LOVE YOU to the moon and back! Also to all my photographer friends: Shay is doing a business and branding workshop that is a “must” for everyone. Space is very limited so definitely sign up today. Hint…there may be a cake pop in it for you.

Also, huge, big, thanks to our photoshoot venue for the day–the Tampa Museum of Art in downtown Tampa. I love the Museum, mostly because it’s so unique, different, great open, modern space with so much natural light that comes through. We could not have done this without their help.

Have a wonderful day everyone! More news to come on the shop soon….












And Now….For What Did Not Work in 2013

Hello everyone! Still working on my Goal Setting series from my last post and now taking a look at what didn’t work in 2012. Again, if you haven’t visited my friend Lara Casey and her amazing exercises, you are missing out. Truly, it’s so very helpful.

Sticking to a schedule: This was a bit of a challenge for me, but I had trouble sticking to a consistent schedule all year long, and when something came up (child sickness, last minute event) I felt like it would derail me and then I would have trouble getting back on track.

Friendships: This is a huge BIGGIE for me. Friendships. I’m not one of those that has a million friends. Nope. I have a small circle of friends that I cherish but this year, I could not connect. Missed phone calls, voicemails, lunches and happy hours that never happened, the list goes on. The worse part? I needed my friends. I needed to hear their voices, their problems, their updates and get out of my world.

Networking Events: I’ll admit it. I’m lazy about attending Networking events for Chic Sweets. Sometimes it’s a mixture of the “oh, I’m tired” thing, but deep inside I think there is a part of me that is still deathly shy….like, it’s my first day of school type of shyness and the thought of walking in a room, with business cards on hand makes me want to run in a different direction and come up with every excuse I can. But I seriously need to get over it. Seriously.

My Phone: Raise your hand if you go on Facebook and Twitter too much. Crap. Like when did that happen? How am I holding Preston with one arm and glancing at my Facebook feed in the other??? What the heck is wrong me? I have to admit when I’m in “mommy world” I feel like it’s an outlet for me, but I still could cut down how attached I am to the thing. Sheesh.

Client Experience: Thank You notes, timely follow ups with potential clients via email, personal connections. I’m always looking to see how I can improve my client connections. Every day this year I told myself that I would set a “power day” aside to put postage on thank you envelopes, work on personalizing my paperwork a bit more, but it never happened.

Blogging: Writing is something I used to love but from two blog post a month, cut down to one, cut down to none is not working. Also before I used to just type whatever came to mind and not worry too much about making my voice sound “perfect.” Now I find myself rereading my posts, changing sentences that I don’t think readers would understand. I’m not perfect so why does it matter so much?

Finances: On the business end, SO need to work on this. I want to spend my day playing with pretty paper and making gorgeous layouts for my clients, but the reality is that as a business owner I need to have a handle on every aspect of my business. Steve has always handled the finance end of Chic Sweets, but I’m pretty he wants me more involved and more in tune with this area. And Steve–if you happen to read this, please stop laughing.

Finances (family): Honesty coming. Four boys, financially, is not easy. Lunch money, tuition, clothes, but I’m convinced instead of worrying about it (which is what I do 24-7) we need to think of better ways to manage finances on a monthly basis. And I feel like this sounds like such a cliché….New Year Resolutions—work on finances thing, but I’m convinced if we made some real lifestyle changes, that it wouldn’t be so hard.

Taking care of ME: Last time I went to the doctor for plain ole’ physical? Exercise? Diet? Dentist? Goodness, it was bad this year. And I know I should cut myself some slack…you have a houseful of boys…maybe it’s just not in the cards for you. But, whatever. I’ve got to make some changes. Same with Steve—I’m oh, so sure he wouldn’t mind some time for himself, to do whatever he wants. Yup, got to figure all of that out.

So that is where I’m at, my real list is a bit longer but this is just a snippet.

Next up-the hard work. Goals, action steps, all the good stuff. Yippee! Next week, I’ll likely interrupt these series of blog posts for a really wonderful (and colorful) shoot I did with my friend Shay Cochrane not too long ago BUT again, go to Lara Casey’s blog for all the goal setting, what fires-you-up goodness!

Have a great weekend everyone!


Happy New Year Y’all! What Worked in 2012…

Hello everyone! Happy 2013!!! As a family, we have been stuck in the never-ending cycle of colds but we are finally coming out of the woods and I’m starting to feel like I can breathe again here. One of my dearest friends, Lara Casey has posted her AMAZING goal setting exercises for 2013, so I, my friends have been working, working, working on this, getting myself ready for 2013. If you have time, PLEASE check it out. I have done this for a few years already, and it really does put you in a different mindset.

On that note, the first part of my exercise: What DID work in 2012. There is a whole lot more but I thought I would share a snippet of what worked for me (professionally and personally) this year.

Transitioning to my family, full time: At first I had written “Transitioning to Chic Sweets”, but in reality, looking back, I think the decision always came down to my family. For years, I had worked 50+ hours a week, and in 2008 accepted a position that had a hour (sometimes more) commute. The work was rewarding, pay, benefits all of that really wonderful stuff, but everything around me was suffering. My family, my marriage, me. It’s like you give a small piece of yourself to everything but nothing really ever gets the full 100 percent. So in the beginning of 2012, I took a big jump and resigned from my position, staying home full time with Baby Preston.



Chic Sweets rebrand: 2011 was all about working on a rebrand, and in 2012, was when I finally got to see my “virtual baby” born. It felt like such a breath of fresh air, and most of all, it felt like me. Simple, and chic. For years, I had collected so many gorgeous images of my work and now I had a platform to showcase all of it. We also updated all our collateral which was a biggie for me—I LOVE our business cards and collateral materials and they make me smile. Yes, I’m weird like that. We also increased our pricing in 2012, something I was somewhat nervous about but I knew it was time to really add my value to the work we provide. And you know what I found once we did the rebrand? That we were attracting the clients that valued our work, and what we could do for them. We were in synch with our clients and they, with us. There is still so much I could go on about this, but all I can say is that there is lot of work and areas that I still need work!



Confidence in my work: This year, I really felt my confidence in my work grow. Gone were the days I would sneak a peek at what my competitors were doing or looking at any newcomers with any apprehension and fear. Designing is what sets my heart on fire and once I accepted that the only thing I can control is my work and what I present to my clients, I let the rest go. And you know what? My work got better and I felt more at ease when working my clients.

 Black and Gold Table

Baby Preston: Just that. Everything with Baby P worked. I can’t lie. It’s can be beyond tough with the other boys, but I take deep breaths, and always remind myself how incredibly blessed we are. And we so are.



One Day a Month Commitment: In 2012, I decided that I would give Spencer and Carson (Kindergarten and Preschool) some time each month at their school where I volunteer. Sometimes it’s reading books or helping out the teacher. This has been a blessing in disguise for me. It can be something that may not always be the most convenient, but when I’m there, I’m happy and convinced that my boys appreciate seeing their mama helping out.

Steve: Yesterday I looked at my wedding photos and sometimes that is hard to believe that is “us.” We are so different than that carefree couple smiling back at me. No worries, no stresses, just a simple love. I was pregnant with Spencer soon after. Our relationship has changed so much since those days and I’m going to make an attempt to put that into words. My relationship with Steve is one that I completely cherish. He is and will always be the first person I listen to (and trust me, I can be insanely stubborn). He challenges me when I could do better and lifts me up when I need it. Even better, sometimes he gives me a hug and doesn’t say anything. Are there fights? Arguments? Times when “he’s not my favorite person?” Yes, yes, and yes. But we always come back to each other, deeper in love and deeper connected. Steve, if you ever read my blog (and I know sometimes you do)—I love you.



Relationship with God: I don’t read the Bible. There I said it. I don’t even remember the last time I opened one. Well…maybe at church…but I quickly closed it. But I can honestly say that not a day has gone by that I don’t think about God, talk to Him, pray to him. Even when I was little, I always remembered having conversations with God, usually in my head but that always made me feel good. It always felt right. Years later, I had children and that relationship has changed even more. Now, I look to God in smaller moments (like in my car on my way to get the kids or when I’m about to pass out on my bed), but He is always there, always in heart and it may not be the right way…I may not have Bible verses memorized or go to church as much as I would like, but I’m a firm believer that you have to do what works for you, inside, in your heart. In 2012, we talked about God a lot, to my husband, to my children. My parents never forced it on us, but it just always felt like a habit, like putting on a jacket, so I never gave it a second thought. God was part of my life and I’m constantly thinking about ways to inject that same feeling to my children, even if they are still really young.

Pediatric Cancer: Four years ago I stumbled upon a blog by Holly McKrae about her daughter Kate, undergoing chemotherapy for a very rare (but aggressive) brain tumor. She is in remission now, but her story and faith in God, always stuck with me and I told myself that I would help and not remain on the sidelines. In 2012, I told Steve that we were not going to donate to several charities with different causes, although all very important I wanted to center my focus helping families fighting these horrible (and the word “horrible” doesn’t seem strong enough) cancers. So besides donating financially (when we could), we had our children make cards during the Holidays, and we also participated in two great events—Fashion Funds for a Cure and Calendar for a Cause—both events left us profoundly affected and just wanting to do more.


Carmen: I don’t believe I’ve ever talked about Carmen on my blog, but she has been in my children’s life since they were all 8 weeks old. She is my caregiver, mommy number two and one of the best people I know. She is part of “Team Clamp” and without her, none of this works.

My Mom, Dad, Brother, (sister in law) Natasha: This may seem odd to many, but I talk to my mom every morning, my dad in the evenings, my brother every other day, and his wife, my sister-in-law at least once a week. Crazy, right? But they are my support system, my venting system and don’t get me wrong, we have moments of frustration with each other, but we never lose sight of what’s important.

Work Boundaries: In 2012, I decided to streamline my schedule and only work around a three day schedule, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. These are the days, I work, work, work. On Mondays and Fridays, I focus on Preston, but if I can, I will prep for clients or do small projects.Sometimes this fluctuates, but really, it’s been helpful most of all for me, and I get a lot more done when I know my time is limited for work productivity.

Dance Parties: In 2012, we started having random dance parties. Just turned off the lights, blare the music and we all start dancing. This should be mandatory in every household. Period.