Magic Mike Ladies’ Night Party

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Three years ago I won a giveaway from a local movie theater and the prize was a wall-sized vinyl poster from the first Magic Mike movie. It was huge and unwieldy, but it also had nearly life-sized, half naked actors on it, so I thought the best use for it would be to put it up temporarily for a Magic Mike themed party. That party always hung on the back of my mind, but I never went through with it. Then Magic Mike XXL (the sequel) came out, and I knew now was the chance to have that party. So for the release of MM XXL on dvd, I held a Magic Mike Ladies’ Night party, and it was fantastic. We watched both Magic Mike movies, had snacks, played games, and had tons of fun.

As I do for many of my theme parties, I scour the internet for fun ideas. There weren’t very many Magic Mike parties to look at, though, which might have been a good thing, because it forced me to be more creative. I did come across some fun sweets online that would be awesome for a Magic Mike party, so I stepped out of my comfort zone of cupcakes and tried some royal-icing-topped cookies and a cake that was decorated with more than just a little frosting.

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The first thing I wanted to make for the party were these awesome, funny Chippendales dancer-themed torso cookies from The Adventures of Sweet Sugarbelle. I’ve always wanted to learn how to make royal icing and the techniques for icing cookies, but it always looked like a lot of work. Turns out it is, but the results are pretty fun. I didn’t use Sweet Sugarbelle’s icing recipe though, because I forgot to get some of the ingredients, and just went with a simple recipe from Alton Brown instead. It uses raw egg whites though, so you will want to use pasteurized eggs.

magicmikecookiesMy cookies are far from perfect, but I think they looked pretty cute anyway. Not sure how soon I’ll try cookie icing again though. It was more work than I realized!

I couldn’t just have cookies at this party though. One bachelorette party idea I saw pop up in my search was a male stripper cake. That would be perfect at a Magic Mike party, I thought, so I collected some easy materials (Ken doll and a wooden dowel) and affixed them to the top of a three layered chocolate and pumpkin cake. I thought three layers was probably best to give the dowel enough of a foundation to support the doll. To decorate the doll, I made him a little thong, bow tie, and cuffs from some felt and ribbon and printed out some tiny dollar bills to stuff in his undies. I threw a few dollar bills on top of the cake too, but they ended up being camouflaged since I made the cake almost the same color as the money. Oops!

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The “stage” background wasn’t necessary, but the cake looked a bit boring without it. I covered a weighted box in a blue plastic tablecloth, tri-folded a large gold metallic piece of card stock, and decorated it with two fancy balloon weights, two flashlights, and a Magic Mike sign that I made. The tablecloth, card stock, balloon weights, and flashlights all came from a dollar store.

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The party wasn’t all sweets though. I had Pink Panty Dropper punch, (Magic) Mike’s Hard Lemonade, a popcorn bar, and pizza. What’s a movie night without popcorn and pizza?!

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Decorations included leopard print and black tablecloths, gold metallic fringe curtains, black fringe table skirt, the Magic Mike poster I showed you above, and a handmade garland of men’s thongs and bow ties! I made the garland myself. I found a package of thongs at Kmart and a few bow ties in the current Halloween costume section of a dollar store. I sewed them together, but you could hot glue as well if you don’t plan on using the bow ties or thongs again. Decorate it with some ribbon if you want to fancy it up a little. I used animal print ribbon.

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After each movie, we played some Magic Mike themed games. One game I came up with was called Strip Trivia. Usually when you play a game with stripping the players have to strip, but in my game, the players got to take off a paper doll’s clothes! Except for the male body image, I hand drew all of the clothing pieces for the game.  To play the game, I asked my guests trivia questions about the movie we just watched and who ever answered first correctly, got to remove an article of clothing. The first person to remove all clothing won a prize.

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The other game we played I have dubbed Place the Kiss on Mike’s Magic. It’s basically Pin the Tail on the Donkey for adults! I found the game in the bachelorette section of a party store and pasted a picture of Channing Tatum over the face to make it a little more Magic Mike themed. It was popular.

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The party was a total success and I got to introduce the awesomeness of Magic Mike to a handful of my friends! This type of party would be fun for any time of year whether you just want to get the girls together, have some drinks and (respectfully) ogle some grown men or if you are throwing a bachelorette party.

Have you ever seen the Magic Mike movies or had a girls’ night in or adult sleepover party before? I’d love to hear some of your experiences or ideas for this type of party.

 

***I was not asked or compensated to mention any brand names in this post. Any brands that I specified are only included to help you find certain materials I used to put on this party.*** 

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Mini Birthday in a Box

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Birthdays can feel a little stale as we get older. I know I don’t look forward to my birthday with the same excitement and wonder I had when I was a child. And birthdays are even less exciting when you don’t have the ones you love with you to celebrate them. That’s why I put together this mini birthday in a box for my boyfriend when his birthday rolled around earlier this month and I couldn’t join him for it.

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The BF had to relocate for work about 1250 miles from where I live and seeing him has gotten a little difficult. It didn’t help that his move also had to happen right before the holidays and we were apart for about 3 holidays and his birthday in the past 2 months. But to make him feel as much like he is at home (and to keep my mind off the fact that he’s MOVED 1250 MILES AWAY!), I’ve been sending him little care packages whenever I could. One of them was this mini party in a box for his birthday.

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The small 5in x 5in x 5in box includes:

  • Mini birthday banner
  • Birthday pirate badge
  • Tiny party hat
  • Balloon
  • Jar of candy
  • Confetti with instructions on how to distribute it
  • Candles (including ones that remind him of his “old age”)
  • Polymer clay cake and an itty bitty pastry box
  • Small wrapped birthday present
  • An “It’s Your Birthday!” sign that I repurposed from a bookmark

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The clay cake was a new area for me. I make real cakes all the time but making a miniature cake from clay was a totally different experience. I watched a few tutorials to get the hang of working with polymer clay for tiny food, but it was still much harder than I expected! I have new respect for the adorable clay food jewelry I see on Etsy and Tiny Hands Food Jewelry. The pastry box was much easier. I just found a cake box template online and then downsized it and cut it out of pink card stock. Even the glue marks that were left on the paper looked like authentic grease spots!

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For the mini party hat, I made a circle by tracing a bowl onto the patterned paper I wanted to use. I cut it out and then cut it in half. Next I wrapped the half circle into a cone and glued it together. When the glue was dry, I hot glued a sparkly pom onto the top. I attached the strings to the sides by tying them to small holes I punched on either side of the hat.

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Luckily, my boyfriend puts up with all my crafty projects and may even enjoy them.

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Do you do anything special for holidays or birthdays for friends and family who live far away? I’d love to hear some of your ideas for care packages!

****Disclosure: I am a Tiny Hands Ambassador.  I make a small commission from Tiny Hands sales made from my Facebook page.**** 
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Duff Goldman Holly Jolly Cake with Holiday Frosting {Review and Giveaway}

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I hope by now you’ve read and entered my other Duff Goldman review and giveaway for a box of Chocolate Snowball cookie mix (it ends today!), but I have another treat for you provided by Duff Goldman by Gartner Studios. I have the opportunity to review another product from the Duff Goldman holiday line and give away a package of the same products I’m reviewing!

Today’s product is the Duff Goldman by Gartner Studios Holly Jolly Cake Mix and Holiday Frosting. The first thing that caught my eye about this product was how vibrant the colors of the cake were. It’s very festive. I also liked that the frosting looked really white. I hoped that the product lived up to these expectations.

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The products are described by the company as “layers of holiday colors to dazzle the eye, and moist, delicious flavors to tempt the taste buds” with a “decadent” frosting. I hoped this description wouldn’t be setting me up for disappointment.

The first thing that was a plus is that the food coloring gels that come with the cake mix do actually get the batter pretty close to the red and green in the picture! So even if this cake wasn’t any good, I had a feeling it would still look pretty cool.

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I was a little bummed that I wouldn’t be able to do the 4 layer cake, because I didn’t have the right sized pans. The box suggests two 8in round cake pans so that each cake can be cut in half for the layers, and 9in pans (which is what I had) were not recommended. I could have said “screw you, cake box instructions, I’ll do what I want,” but since this was a review, I wanted to follow the directions correctly at least this first time. In the end, I opted for a two layer cake.

The batter tasted pretty great but was a tad sweet. The frosting was also very sweet.  I was afraid it might be too sweet when put together. Another drawback of the frosting was that it wasn’t as white as the frosting on the box of cake mix. It was closer to the cream color on the frosting label. It tasted a bit like a mix of regular vanilla frosting and cream cheese frosting.

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I cooked the cake according to the directions and ended up pulling it out of the oven a couple of minutes early because a toothpick already came out of the center clean. This was probably one of the moistest cakes I’ve ever baked. Even after cooling for a long time, the cake stayed sticky. Because of this stickiness, when you frost the cake, you’ll have to do a crumb coat. To do this, spread a thin layer of frosting all over the cake to glue all the crumbs together that mix into it after you’ve put in the frosting filling between the layers.  To set this quickly, I stuck the cake in the fridge for a few minutes so that the frosting wouldn’t be tacky to the touch. Then I frosted as usual, no crumbs this time! I found a great tutorial for crumb coating on Martha Stewart if you need a visual.

While putting cake in the fridge can dry it out, this cake needs a bit of chilling to firm it up for cutting slices. The cake was room temperature when I took the first slice out and it nearly crumbled all over the place, plus the slice fell over when I was trying to serve it on a plate for the photo shoot! It was not very easy to handle when it was warm and it was messy. There were cake crumbs all over.

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I don’t know how they got the frosting so clean in the cake box photo. Crumbs got all mixed up into mine when I cut the cake. I found out later that chilling the cake briefly does make the cake more firm for slicing, but it’s still a bit crumbly.

Now to the taste. As I expected, the cake was a little too sweet for my liking. If you like really sweet desserts, this might be the cake for you. A little goes a long way, because it’s so sweet and rich. Chilling the cake helped cut down on the sweetness too somehow. A small piece of this with some not-too-sweet coffee would be pretty good though!

Here’s that first slice I cut that fell all over the place. I was able to salvage it by putting the ugly side to the back. Oh the things I do for pretty photography.

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Overall, I did like this cake. It was bright and moist and looked very Christmassy. The only negative things I found were mostly with the frosting, because it wasn’t as white as I expected, and it was too sweet. The cake itself is so sweet, it could be a dessert on its own.

Want a chance to give it a try? Enter the giveaway below for a Holly Jolly Kit that includes one box of Holly Jolly Cake Mix and two tubs of Holiday Frosting.

BUY IT

If you would like to buy the Holly Jolly cake mix, it can be found at Target and Stop and Shop, and the Holiday Frosting can be found exclusively at Target until January 2015. Some of the holiday products can be found online at www.gartnerstudios.com.

CONNECT

Stay up-to-date on all things Duff Goldman by Gartner Studios! Follow on Facebook and Twitter.

WIN IT!

One lucky reader will win their own package of Duff Goldman by Gartner Studios Holly Jolly Cake Mix and two tubs of Holiday Frosting!

Open to U.S. residents 18 and older. Giveaway ends 12/24/14 at 11:59 pm EST.

Click HERE for complete giveaway rules.

To Enter, just fill in your name and email into the Rafflecopter widget below. For a better chance at winning, complete as many of the optional entries as you want. Come back daily for more entries!

If the Rafflecopter widget does not show up, just click the link that says “a Rafflecopter giveaway.” Then you can put your entries on that page.

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****I received these products free of charge for an honest review of the products. I was not compensated monetarily for this review and all opinions are my own.****

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Spooky Graveyard Cake

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It’s Halloween time! It’s my favorite time of year. This year I decided to do a graveyard cake. I’ve also been busy working on my Zoltar costume the past month. This cake has a bunch of candy melts for decoration and was made with my mom’s Triple Chocolate Cake and Sweet Savory Life’s Chocolate Buttercream Frosting.

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First try wasn’t cutting it

I did a graveyard cake in the past but was unhappy with how it turned out, so I felt like trying it again. The original one had cookies for tombstones and a real stick for a tree. It was cute, but I wanted something that was completely edible this time around and a little more extravagant.

Materials

  • Frosted 9in x 13in cake
  • Green frosting (for grass)
  • Candy melts in chocolate, black, and white.
  • Tombstones (made from cookies, fondant, candy molds, etc) I used Wilton’s Creepy Tombstone Candy Mold. This has been discontinued, but if you search around in stores and online, you might be able to find it. I found mine just last week at my local Michaels on clearance for $0.99!
  • Fence templates (Template 1, Template 2)
  • Tree template
  • Candy decor (candy corn pumpkins, Peep ghosts, bone candy, Wilton Skeleton Bones Candy Mold, bug candy, etc). You can decorate it with anything you like really. These were just the items I used for this cake.
  • Oreos or other chocolate cookie (for dirt)

I made the cake in a 9in x 13in cake pan but when turned out on the platter, was closer to 7in x 11in. The fence templates I’ve included are made for the 7in x 11in cake (although the fence doesn’t quite meet up everywhere.) If you make a larger (or smaller) cake resize the fences accordingly.

Once the cake has cooled and been frosted, place your tombstones. The ones I used were very big so that dictated the proportion of my cake. Then I made my skeleton with white candy melts in the Skeleton Bones Candy Mold and placed pieces of him in front of one of the tombstones. I also put the Peep ghost and other decor in the graveyard to my liking.

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Continue reading »

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Pineapple Upside Down Cake {Recipe}

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I went to a ’60s themed cocktail party last week and wanted to bring something of the era as a treat, so I scoured my mom’s recipe box and found my grandma’s recipe for a Pineapple Upside Down Cake that seemed perfect. I love how it turned out.

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Ingredients

    For the topping:
  • Large can of sliced pineapple (save the juice)
  • Maraschino cherries
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • For the cake:
  • 2 eggs (separate the yolk from the whites and put both aside)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup boiling pineapple juice
  • 3/4 cup cake flour (I used all-purpose flour and it worked just fine)
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325*F.
  2. In a small pan over medium heat, melt the butter and brown sugar until completely mixed together and caramelized. Don't let it burn.
  3. Pour into an 8" cake pan, making sure to coat the whole bottom.
  4. Arrange pineapple slices in the bottom of the cake pan on top of the caramel mixture. I put one in the middle and six around it.
  5. Place halved cherries inside and in between the pineapple slices.
  6. Beat egg yolks until very thick.
  7. Gradually add sugar to yolks and continue beating.
  8. Boil pineapple juice in a small sauce pan and add to egg/sugar mixture. Combine well.
  9. Then add the dry ingredients slowly to the wet mixture; mix until smooth.
  10. Beat the egg whites until stiff and fold into the batter.
  11. Bake for 50 minutes, checking it every so often.***
  12. It should be done once a toothpick comes out clean or almost clean.

Notes

***Notes on baking time

The recipe I used somehow forgot to put how long to cook the cake on it. At 325*F, mine took 50-55 minutes to completely cook. Since it was taking so long, I ended up changing the temperature to 350*F for the last few minutes. My experience may be different from yours, so check on the cake occasionally to make sure you don't over bake it.

http://shaneskillercupcakes.com/2013/07/pineapple-upside-down-cake-recipe/

Here’s some other great photos from the cocktail party:

 

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Hamburger Cupcakes with Pound Cake Fries

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IMG_3521Happy Independence Day everyone! Instead of a red, white, and blue dessert today, I decided to make burger cupcakes and cake fries because they are perfect for a summer BBQ.

I was inspired by several sources including Bakerella’s adorable Hamburger cupcakes and the pound cake french fries from the book What’s New Cupcake? by Karen Tack and Alan Richardson. I also used some of the book’s ideas from its submarine sandwich cupcakes. There are so many great ways to decorate hamburger cupcakes that the possibilities are almost endless.

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To get started here’s what you’re going to need for the cupcakes:

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  • Brownie mix or brownies from scratch (baked in a 13″ x 9″ pan)
  • Yellow cake mix or cake from scratch
  • Ingredients for mixes (oil, water, eggs, etc)*
  • Corn Flakes
  • Can of frosting or frosting from scratch
  • Red and yellow icing dye (gel coloring works best)
  • Sesame seeds
  • Green candy melts (maybe some yellow candy melts if you don’t like the shade of green)
  • Starbursts (we’ll need the orange ones)

*Note: I used Bakerella’s suggestion of substituting 1 cup buttermilk for the water in the cake mix. It made the cake very moist and almost sponge like. I’d recommend this substitution.

Bake the brownies first and let them cool. Once cool, use a 2″ circle cutter and cut out the patties.

While the brownies cool, make and bake the cupcakes in liners. If you cook them without liners the sides of the cupcakes will look too dark for the “buns.”

As the cupcakes are cooking as per the recipe or box mix’s instructions, start to make the ingredients for the burgers. Warm the orange Starbursts in the microwave for about 10-15 seconds and then, on a piece of wax paper,  smash two together and roll it out.

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Then cut it into a square:

IMG_3483Now you have your cheese slices!

For the lettuce, melt some green candy melts (adding some yellow candy melts if you want to soften the shade of green) and pour some corn flakes into the melted candy. If the candy isn’t thin enough, try thinning it with some oil. Stir the cereal around lightly, coating the them, and then pull out the individual pieces to set up. It’s good to put these on a piece of wax paper and then stick them in the fridge.

IMG_3484Once the cupcakes are done baking and cooling, cut the top and the bottoms off and set aside. The middle part will not be used for these. Save them for another dessert (mix any left over frosting into them for cake pops!) or throw them away.

IMG_3479Mix up your yellow (mustard) and red (ketchup) frostings and put them in piping bags or ziplock bags with the corner cut off.

IMG_3486Layer the hamburgers however you want. I layered in this order (from bottom-up): bun bottom, frosting, lettuce, frosting, brownie patty, frosting, cheese, frosting, bun top.

On the top of the bun brush a little water on top and then sprinkle some sesame seeds.

For the poundcake fries, I used a frozen Sara Lee poundcake. Not sure if this would work as well with a homemade loaf but you could try. Pull the cake out of the freezer and let defrost for a little bit. It’s best if it’s still a little cold or frozen when you cut it because the ridges from the crinkle cutter will be more pronounced.

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Using a crinkle cutter or knife (used to cut vegetables and potatoes), cut the cake into 1/2″ slices and cut off the brown edges. Then cut those slices into the fry sticks. Place them on a baking sheet and heat them in a preheated broiler on high for no longer than 30 seconds or until they are golden brown. Keep an eye on these as they will brown quickly and burn easily.

Put some left over frosting ketchup in a dish or condiment container and serve with the cake fries for dipping!

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That’s it! These are fairly labor intensive but so easy to put together. Have a fun and safe 4th of July!

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