• Family Matters,  my Persian emersion,  party party

    The Great 12th Birthday Bake Off


    It happened! Joon’s 12th Birthday Bake Off! It was just as crazy and fun as you can imagine.


    We had two teams of four girls each. Joon has been really into baking for a while and it turns out her friends are too. Who knew? I guess The Great British Baking Show has a big influence on a lot of us.  I had wanted to rent out a professional kitchen but that turned out to be very expensive (insurance was involved)  so we held the party at Payam’s mom’s house instead which worked out great because she has a large kitchen, two ovens and it was super fun for her to be right in the middle of all the activity.

    A lot of things could have gone wrong but… they didn’t!


    It was a flurry of activity. All the girls got along famously.  Of course there were a few tense moments but nothing like the messes I’ve gotten myself into while baking over the years. These girls are pros.


    The parents were the judges and occasional helpers but we pretty much stayed out of the fray and tried to be fair to both teams. That was a little tricker than you’d think. I had to stop myself multiple times from wanting to help clean-up or influence their decisions… “Are you sure you want to mix sweetened condensed milk with strawberries and water to create a glaze?…” I bit my tongue.


    It was a crazy mess, naturally. But soooo much fun!


    I am really thankful to Payam’s family and how willing they are host my crazy whims. So far, so good!


    The last part of the competition was clean-up. A very important part. The floors were a bit sticky but for the most part they did a great job.


    The red team made a vanilla sponge cake with lemon filling and lemon frosting. It was my personal favorite but then I love tart things.


    The black team made a strawberry vanilla sponge cake with strawberry filling and strawberry frosting. It was delicious!

    It was hard to pick a winner but in the end the black team scored just a smidge more points, which was awesome for the birthday girl. We gave them spray-painted golden spatula trophys as a prize. I think they could care less about the trophys it was very much more about the process than the end result. In fact, I think all the girls had tasted so much cake and frosting along the way they were sick of it by the end and didn’t even want to try a piece.


    We opened gifts and called it the best party ever!


    Happy Birthday Joon! You inspire the best kind of fun!

    Here’s an eleven minute video of the whole thing if you want to see more. :) I apologize in advance for my laugh.



  • Beach Bits,  Bug,  photography

    Golden Sunset Palooza


    A few weeks ago I took Bug to the beach to shoot photos of Love Your Baggage’s new big beach bag AND meet up with some friends. It was cold and gray. Not really anything spectacular but as a local, you always kinda love those days because they aren’t packed with tourists.


    Grays and blues, grays and blues….


    It’s hard to believe Bug learned to walk on this very same beach. It seems like yesterday.


    Thirteen, man. Thirteen!!!



    We do love this bag. It’s super roomy and lined with really bright and pretty purple floral fabric.


    As evening wore on I had to leave to take Bug to her Dad’s. Everything was getting really blue and pretty so it was hard to leave but the clock was ticking.



    Then I dropped Bug off at her Dads and continued home.


    And just as I was turning the corner to head back to my town I saw this view. In fact it was even more golden but by the time I u-turned the car around and parked this was the best I could get. Isn’t it amazing?


    I just stood there on the side of the road gawking and shooting as many shots as I could as the sun sunk. Lots of other people also pulled their cars over to take a photo too.


    And I vowed that someday I am going to live somewhere where I can see golden hour every day and it won’t be blocked by buildings and trees. Someday.


    Until then, I just need to get out more!

Secret Agent Josephine
Creative Agency
© Brenda Ponnay