‘Five Photos, Five Stories’ Challenge Day 1: Wedding Cake

Alex nominated me to participate in the ‘Five Photos, Five Stories’ Challenge. I like Alex’s blog, Only Bad Chi, because it’s awesomely funny. I probably also like it because I relate to almost everything she says, which I guess is a lot of what drives us to read blogs, right?! I’m hoping this shameless flattery will help her not be mad that I’m just cutting and pasting the next part from her blog 🙂

For the challenge, I have to post a different photo for five consecutive days, and include an accompanying story (fiction or non-fiction) along with each. I also have to nominate a new blogger each day to keep the challenge going! If I nominate you, it’s completely up to you whether you participate. The only other rules are to mention the person who nominated you in your first post, and keep nominating others.

delicious cheesecake

If there’s one thing I’ve learned at my job, it is that almost everything is negotiable. I’ve never, ever been the type of person to negotiate anything. I am uncomfortable with markets in foreign countries because I just want there to be a set price so that I can buy it and leave. However, I now have to negotiate everything, and I’ve learned from the best. After a year or so of expanding my horizons, I decided to try it out in my personal life. To my surprise, I was able to negotiate my way into a lower deductible and a free rental car when I needed my car fixed.

When we were planning our wedding, I was a little drunk with the power of negotiation. It was really important to J to have a caramel apple cheesecake. I wanted regular cake, but I wanted him to be excited about the dessert. I decided that was fine (and by that I mean, we ended up having two parties and two cakes… so, really… I just ate all the cake in the world).

If you’re saying to yourself, “hmm. That sounds good, but I’ve never seen a caramel apple cheesecake…” Guess what?! You’re not alone. You know who else doesn’t think it’s a thing? Every baker and caterer in the Portland metro area. I seriously can’t even tell you how many people I called and website stalked. There’s even a bakery here that specializes in cheesecake, particularly wedding cheesecake. They wouldn’t do it, wouldn’t even consider it. But, I asked them all. This is never anything I would have done before. I would have seen it wasn’t on the menu and moved on. Not anymore!

I finally found someone that didn’t make caramel apple cheesecake, but thought it sounded like a fun challenge. The Dessert Tray was so awesome and created one just for us for our tasting, along with several other things. It was amazing. I was actually almost ready to marry the chef just for making it happen, but instead I just gave her all of my money in exchange for cake. Come to think of it, that’s not really the first time that has happened to me…

Once we hashed out the details of the design (I wanted girly and stripes and dots and J wanted as plain as possible. Well, he let me win that one!), I thought everything was good to go. Nope. Cheesecake has to be refrigerated, and the reception was happening on the second floor of a bar. Do you have any idea how much begging has to be done to convince a bar to a) clear space out of the walk in for a wedding cake and b) force their staff to take the responsibility of carrying said wedding cake up a flight of stairs? I had already collected quotes from other bars and made the case for them to offer us unlimited drink wristbands (yup, wristbands. keeping it classy! notice them in the picture!) in our package for all of our guests, so they were pretty used to my absurd requests at that point. <side note- the wristbands for unlimited drinks were one of the best things I ever negotiated for. If you’re having a party, try to get this! best.party.ever>

In the end, it was the most delicious cheesecake in the world, and the bakery now sells it regularly. I tease J that his imagination is altering the offerings of bakeries now. He just thinks I’m nuts. How do all of you introverts out there feel about negotiation? Does it scare you as much as it scared me?

I want to nominate Karen at Fill Your Own Glass to do the challenge next (no pressure if you don’t want to!)!


Simplify Sunday- the Great Room

living room 1I was really nervous about starting with the kitchen minimalizing task, and honestly intended to put it off. I thought I would do the living room and dining room (including the bar cabinet), and call it good for the week. I am in love with all of my dishes! I started with the living room, and it was way too easy. I moved onto the bar cabinet pretty quickly. I recycled a magazine I had read and a ton of recipes that I had never used. Going through all of the recipes was awesome because it inspired me to try some that I had forgotten about!

living room 2All that I could find in there to donate was a water pitcher, but I did find things to relocate to places where they would be used- throw pillows and candles. Then I was motivated enough to do the kitchen! I was actually pleasantly surprised how much I use almost everything. I found some old food to throw away and a few duplicates to combine (chocolate chips and oats that I buy in bulk), but only a Cuisinart attachment, a serving spoon I’ve never used, and dog harness Riley has outgrown to donate.

Guess what this means?!?!?! The whole upstairs of my house has been minimalized! I am so happy about this. J think I’m nuts, but he was extremely pleased that I organized the kitchen cabinet full of food- so I guess we both win.

I just have one big bag to take to donate, and then I need to finish the downstairs (which includes the garage). I do tend to constantly go through things anyway, so it hasn’t been a huge task, but I still feel really great about it. I love knowing everything that I have and that it all is here for a reason.

What’s the thing you most dread going through? For me it was the papers- the recipes and the files. The dishes, though, were what I didn’t want to part with. Maybe next week I will show you pictures of my kitchen and cabinets. Everything is pretty good now, but I do need a better way to organize the “tupperware” cabinet (any tips for that?). It’s a hot mess.