31 Days of Game-Changing Party Planning!

Welcome! It's Day One of 31 days of awesome party talk, and I'm pumped that you're here. I promise that at the end of this month, you'll be ready to throw an awesomely epic party with ease. But since you might be new here, can we say hi first? Awesome thanks. I'm also awkward at the end, so that's always a good time. (For those getting this via email, there's a video. Click over to see.)

Interested in seeing the hundreds of other folks writing for 31 days? Head here to explore.

How to Put Ryan Gosling on Your Cake

This is what you've been wanting your entire life;
you just didn't know until now. 

This method of putting a photo on a cake can apply to non-Gosling cakes, too, but for now, Ryan is all we need. 

Step One: Choose Your Image

Ryan needs to fit on the cake, so decide what size cake you'll make (sheet cake, round layer, etc.), and choose an image accordingly. 

Logos and cartoons are easily adapted to cake designs since the outlines and colors are obvious; a person's human face is a little more tricky. Choose something with obvious contrast, not a lot of highlights and shadows, and not a lot of detail. Would it be an easy picture to draw? Then it will be an easy picture to put on a cake. 

Too much contrast, too many shadows, and it might not actually look like Ryan. 

This is a bad choice. There are too many shadows, a lot of contrast, and Ryan's face is too brooding and hidden by the darkness. I mean, great for regular life but not to put on a cake.

Obviously Ryan, no shadows, clear outlines.

Good choice. It's very obviously Ryan with good definition in his features but not crazy in terms of contrast and shadows. Plus he's smiling. Cakes deserve a smiling Ryan.

Step Two: Make It Traceable

If you have Photoshop, this is a cinch. If you don't, try websites like Really Color or Google "how to make a coloring page" or something similar. Because that's essentially what you're doing - getting the photo down to the bare bones to "color."

Open your image in Photoshop, and choose Filter > Sketch > Photocopy.

Then play around with the Detail and Darkness settings until you get something you can easily trace. P.S. You can totally print these as celebrity coloring pages like a boss. People on Etsy sell them for upwards of $12, and you just made your own for the cost of printer ink. You're welcome.

Save that sucker and print it. 

Step Three: Trace It

Place a piece of wax paper over your printed image, and trace. Keep it simple; detail doesn't translate in Icing World.

Now you're done. Does it look like Ryan? If you just use chocolate and vanilla icing to make a "black and white" photo, will people be confused? If they aren't, you're good. If they are, choose a new image.

That looks enough like Ryan, so let's keep going. 

Step Four: Draw with Icing

Make or buy both vanilla and chocolate frosting. You'll have the most control with a piping bag and small round tip, but you can also put the frosting in a ziploc bag and snip off a tiny corner. 

Tape the traced sheet INK SIDE DOWN on something flat - a small cookie sheet, a plastic cutting board, whatever. Here's what will happen - you'll pipe your design, freeze it, then FLIP IT on to the cake. THAT MEANS that whatever you pipe first will be the "top" of the design. Make sense? So all of your details (especially if you're doing a logo or cartoon with more detail and layers) need to go first. 

Here's an excellent example of that from Brass Tacks and Basics

The "back" of the design.

The "back" of the design.

The detailed "top" of the design once it's flipped.

The detailed "top" of the design once it's flipped.

So she piped the outline, the face, and the pink details of the dress before filling the dress in with yellow icing. But since Ryan is an outline and two colors, simply do the chocolate outline and then the rest as vanilla "skin." Because that's a perfectly normal sentence.


What you see above? I stopped there. I ran out of vanilla icing and thought, "This should work. After it's frozen, the paper will still peel off the design." Yeeeeah, no it won't. You MUST fill in the entire design with vanilla frosting, even over the chocolate. To make the peeling effortless, you need one thick frosting design. That's why my final Ryan looks high. More on that later. 

Pop the whole thing in the freezer for an hour and up to several days. If your design will be exposed to the freezer elements for longer than four hours or so, go back in and wrap it in plastic so it doesn't absorb freezer odors. Ryan should smell awesome always.

Step Five: Assemble the Cake

You have your cake baked and cooled, right? Cover it with icing of any color, and make the top as smooth as you can. 

Then place the frozen Ryan face on the cake and gently pull back the paper. If you have the one thick "piece" of frosting, it'll work like a charm. If you don't, half of the design will stick to the paper, forcing you to draw Ryan's right eye freehand and thereby making him look stoned. 


It's also perfectly normal to add hearts. It's actually kind of weird if you don't.

Now you look like an awesome cake decorator even though you're essentially coloring by numbers. Go forth and make fangirl cakes forever and ever amen.

Weekend Sugar #007

I'm sad when my life is too busy for me to waste time on the Internet like a normal person, and this month's Weekend Sugar posts have suffered mightily for it. 

But I had a recent unproductive streak that I'm proud to say surfaced some pretty great gems to share. Happy September Sugar, my sweet friends. 

1. The Sexy Downton Sisters

We know they're gorgeous, but it's oddly exciting to see period actors dress in normal (well, photo shoot normal) clothes. These ladies are on fiyah. Check out the entire gallery here.

2. 19 Very Hot Guys Spawned From Other Famous Hot Guys

Up there you see Gregory Peck's grandson and Clint Eastwood's son. We knew those guys were epic hot, but I'm happy with what they've given to the next generation of fangirls. Again, THERE ARE 19 OF THESE. LOOK AT THEM IMMEDIATELY. 

3. Morgan Freeman Sucks Helium

The world needs this on a sad day. Morgan is perfect for everything. 


4. If Disney Princes Were Real


5. 17 Hunger Games Jokes

Mockingjay is coming, y'all. FIFTY-SIX DAYS. Here's a list of funny mashup jokes to get you in the spirit. 


6. The Gone Girl Trailer

This book is crazy. If you like feel-good stuff, it might not be for you. Not a ton of redemption, but MAN is it a fun ride. And the movie? UMM, YES PLEASE.

Anyone else read Gillian Flynn's stuff? Dark Places and Sharp Objects are also awesome. If you're a crime drama, suspense kind of person, her books are a blast. 


7. James McAvoy Tells Stories Who Cares What They're About

To Oz? To Oz.

You might not get to see The Wizard, but you can take a little bit of Oz home.

Ruby slippers. The yellow-brick road. The Emerald City. Lions and tigers and bears...

Every single one of you knows what comes next. Because OH MY this movie is a capsule of magic. Iconic and perfect, it deserves to be celebrated by you and your people with a Sugar Box to share. 

October's Sugar Box is inspired by the most inspiring movie of all - The Wizard of Oz - and if you have even the a sliver of love for this movie, you'll be delighted with this box.

As the weather turns colder and we prepare for the crazy of the holiday gauntlet that's almost upon us, take some time to settle down on the couch with people you like, share some sugar, and be reminded that "there's no place like home... especially when you have a Sugar Box."

The Wizard of Oz Sugar Box

Why You Want It

Is there anything more great and powerful than the great and powerful Oz? Perhaps there is, and it comes in the form of a box filled with sharable desserts to enjoy as you share a movie that is beloved by so many. 

Have you seen it? Have your kids? Because there's no better way to share the movie than to share some sugar, too.

What You'll Get

A box full of Oz whimsy that will make you feel like a kid. It's enough food to feed 6-8 folks, and if you'd like to know what you're getting, head over to the spoiler alert page to see your goodies early.

*This box is completely nut-free, and one item is naturally gluten-free.

When You'll Get It

Sugar Box Day is Friday, October 17th. You can either pick it up from my home in the Starmount/Hamilton Lakes area of Greensboro from 4:30-6:30pm or you can have it delivered to your door for an additional fee. 

Check the map on The Sugar Shop page to see our delivery area.


Gimme Some Sugar

Last month, The Office Sugar Box sold out in less than 48 hours, so don't miss your chance with this bit of beloved movie magic! 

Who Crushed Better: You or Your Grandma?

Just because guys from decades ago didn't have stylists and manscaping and Annie Leibovitz doesn't mean they were mediocre in the looks department. 

Check out a young Theodore Roosevelt. Umm, YES, Mr. President.

Our moms and grandmas had it good, y'all. Let's dive into the pages of Tiger Beat from the good ol' days and see how our crushable dudes stack up over three "generations."


The Classy Heartthrobs:
Cary Grant, George Clooney, Ryan Gosling

The classic smoldering suave beasts of men. Cary was the original, George set the modern standard, and Ryan is waiting in the wings. 

Best Crushable Performances

Cary: The Philadelphia Story
Clooney: the Oceans movies, ER
Gosling: Crazy, Stupid, Love and The Notebook which I've never seen but based on the collective gasps from every woman ever, I'm guessing it's pretty legit. 

But Cary still wins. Point for grandma.


The Endearing Swagger:
Clark Gable, Hugh Grant, Jake Gyllenhaal

Playful smirks that they KNOW send the people into Swoon Zone, and they play that card with feigned surprise that we don't hate them for. It's remarkable really. One step, and these guys are insufferably annoying. Instead, they're sexy and adorable.

Best Crushable Performances

Clark: Gone with the Wind of course, but It Happened One Night is adorable.
Hugh: Love Actually, Two Weeks Notice, and every other rom-com ever
Jake: some surprising choices with Proof, Prince of Persia, and Brothers

Hugh is killer, but he doesn't have Clark's eyebrow situation. Clark wins. Grandma scores again.


The Men:
Clint Eastwood, Mel Gibson, Ben Affleck

All started as actors with hits and horrible misses, all turned into excellent directors, and all are MEN. Approachable and cool, but a little like Come on, dude, take it down a notch

Best Crushable Performances

Clint: A Fistful of Dollars
Mel: Braveheart, Forever Young
Ben: The Town fortheLOVE

Can The Town really and truly propel Ben over Clint? It's close, but nope. Grandma is on a roll.


The All-American Good Guys:
Gary Cooper, Morgan Freeman, Chiwetel Ejiofor

Quietly dominating performances, universal appeal, and classy all the way. Even though we don't know much about their personal lives, on screen, they seem trustworthy, like if you were stranded on the side of the road and they offered to give you a lift, you wouldn't automatically assume "killer." Chiwetel has a long way to go, but it's not hard to imagine him finding space among folks like these.

Best Crushable Performances

Gary: Mr. Deeds Goes to Town
Morgan: Shawshank Redemption, Driving Miss Daisy... you love him no matter what
Chiwetel: 12 Years a Slave

Morgan Freeman is everything. Point for the regulars. 


The Charisma: 
Gene Kelly, Tom Cruise, Joseph Gordon-Levitt

All three of these guys would totally jump on couches. Charismatic, big smilers, a bit comical in how "larger than life" they are (or want to be). All iconic in their own ways (athletic dancer, heartthrob hero, hipster extraordinaire), these guys ignite some rabid fangirl love. 

Best Crushable Performances

Gene: Singin' in the Rain
Tom: A Few Good Men, Top Gun, Jerry Maguire... feel free to stop me whenever
JGL: 500 Days of Summer, 50/50, 10 Things I Hate About You, and any other movie with a number in it.

Gene Kelly is a genius, but Tom Cruise is... Tom Cruise. Another point for the middle people.


The Atypical Heroes:
John Wayne, Denzel Washington, Tom Hardy

Each the hero of their generation. John Wayne is obvious. Denzel is even more obvious. Tom Hardy? I'm calling it. The guy is on his way. He's had a flood of great performances the last couple of years, and he's about to head up the Mad Max franchise reboot. He's got the chops. And the jawline ohmyword.

Best Crushable Performances

John Wayne: I've only seen The Searchers, and I wasn't disappointed.
Denzel: The Pelican Brief, Much Ado About Nothing, Remember the Titans
Hardylicious: Inception

HOW DOES A PERSON CHOOSE HERE. Easy. You choose Denzel. Watch out, grandma; we're tied.


The Troubled Genius:
Marlon Brando, Christian Bale, Robert Pattinson

Vampire Robert hasn't had as much time to prove his genius, but don't let the Twilight situation fool you. The guy is good. Brando and Bale both have reputations of being difficult and a little nuts, but they're also remarkable actors and super hot. In Hollywood, it seems that's all it takes to keep you working.

Best Crushable Performances

Brando: On the Waterfront, A Streetcar Named Desire 
Bale: Little Women, his Batman movies, Newsies
Patty: Water for Elephants

Christian Bale. In terms of the crushable, it's not even a contest. The regulars take the lead.


Svelte and Sexy:
Montgomery Clift, Jude Law, Jamie Dornan

Lots of baggage here, but we'll ignore that for now. Svelte and sexy. That's all a Monday's asking for. Aaaaand they're kind of creepily alike, right?  

Best Crushable Performances

Clift: Suddenly Last Summer, A Place in the Sun
Law: The Holiday, Cold Mountain, The Talented Mr. Ripley
Dornan: haven't seen him in anything but the 50 Shades trailer, but I'm trusting those who love him in Once Upon a Time and The Fall. Plus, I have EYES.

Jude and Jamie can't peg the same mystery that Montgomery could, so grandma takes the lead.


The Best:
Laurence Olivier, Daniel Day-Lewis, Benedict Cumberbatch

Say hello to the obscenely talented. Highly respected, a broad body of work, freakishly awesome, and uniquely sexy. 

Best Crushable Performances

Olivier: Wuthering Heights, Rebecca
Daniel: Last of the Mohicans
Benedream Cumberheart: EVERYTHING

Don't make me do this. I can't NOT do this. Based on work? Sure, Daniel Day Lewis. But crushability? NO CUMBERCONTEST. The younguns take one.


The Robert Redfords:
Robert Redford, Brad Pitt, Charlie Hunnam WEEEEEIRD


Best Crushable Performances

Redford: Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Out of Africa (even though it was as long as days)
Brad: Thelma & Louise, A River Runs Through It, Legends of the Fall, Oceans, Babel, World War Z, yeah he's got a lot of these
Charlie: Sons of Anarchy

Everybody wins. 


The Professionals:
Richard Burton, Jason Isaacs, James McAvoy

Distinguished, professional, versatile, and in the background of more popular leading men, but that doesn't mean they don't deserve their own spotlight. 

Best Crushable Performances

Burton: Cleopatra
Jason: Nine Lives
James: Atonement, Becoming Jane, and my dreams

Umm, James. Forever and always. That's two for the up-and-comers. 


The Devastatingly Cool:
Paul Newman, Harrison Ford, Michael Fassbender

Can we just have a moment of silence here? Or at least a moment for me to try and find my face? Get in a room with any of these guys and watch your cool points disappear into The Vortex. I can't wait for my sister to see these photos because I'm pretty sure she'll stop breathing long enough to need preventative measures. 

Best Crushable Performances

Paul: Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
Harrison: Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Witness
Fassy: Jane Eyre, X-Men

Sorry, Harry and Fassy. You both would destroy any competition ever... except against Paul Newman. It's the biggest no-brainer of all the no-brainers. Go, grandma, go.


The Ones Who Are Everything:
Gregory Peck, Tom Hanks, Matt Damon

First order of business: umm, CAN WE OGLE THAT PHOTO OF GREGORY PECK FOR A BIT? Gracious. 

These guys are just the best. Likable, talented, funny, humble... no one hates them. And if you do, you have no soul.

I'm not saying that Matt Damon is the next Tom Hanks. No one is. Just like no one was the next Gregory Peck. But it's a good slew of dudes. 

Best Crushable Performances

Gregory: To Kill a Mockingbird, Roman Holiday
Tom: Sleepless in Seattle, You've Got Mail
Matt: Bourne [Everything], The Adjustment Bureau, Good Will Hunting

Y'all, Matt Damon is my most marryable celebrity. I love the guy. But he's got nothing on Gregory Peck. 

Grandmas win at crushes. Also at pie. Well done, ladies. Well done.

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