Creative Ways to Deck out your Holiday Dessert Table

Deck out your Holiday Dessert Table

It’s already that time of year! Christmas Season! Ok, maybe for our friends in the US it happens on Friday, but we here in Canada are already in the spirit. Last year I showed you some pretty awesome dessert table set ups in different colours and textures.  You can find them here and here. This year, I’d like to share with you some creative ways to deck out your holiday dessert table.

This was a table I did a few years ago for the Magazine Vision Jeunesse located in Quebec. We went with the typical Christmas colours: red, green, brown and ivory. (Spoiler alert: I created 2 other tables this year with the same colour theme but completely different, yet repurposing some of the decorations. Will be up on the blog in a couple of weeks!)

Creative Ways

To be creative means using what you have on hand sometimes.  So I took out my Christmas decor a little early (as this is taking place a few months before Christmas is even on the radar) and went to work.

Its simple really! Some ornaments, gift boxes, any flashy decoration you have on hand like nutcrackers, gift boxes and glitter trees. I LOVE GLITTER TREES! Although you get glitter pretty much everywhere, it still so pretty on the dessert table.

I used some fake snow and added that to the bottom of some apothecary jars I had and haphazardly placed some ornaments in it. Also, I had some plastic juice/ milk bottles. I made them into little snowmen with a mini donut as a top hat. SOOOO CUTE!

Now comes Desserts!

For the desserts, I went pretty simple. Cupcakes, cake pops, sugar cookies decorated with Santa boots and verrines. Verrrines are single serve dessert cups. I’ve done mousses, trifles, fruit and English cream, tiramisu (my absolute favourite) and so many more. I would recommend getting a pasty shop to create your cake. You don’t want to have too much on your plate, setting up for the holidays.

Christmas ornaments, Christmas desserts, holiday dessert table

 

holiday dessert table, Christmas dessert table, Montreal dessert catering

 

Christmas Dessert Table, holiday dessert table, Montreal dessert catering

 

Christmas Dessert Table, holiday dessert table

Christmas Dessert Table, holiday dessert table

 

Christmas Dessert Table, holiday dessert table

 

Christmas Dessert Table, holiday dessert table

 

Holiday Christmas Dessert Table, Montreal dessert catering

 

Until the next table, stay sweet!

 

 

 

Credits:

Photography by Patrick Hébert Photographe
Sweet Table concept and design by Chocolata
For the Magazine Magazine Vision Jeunesse
Crochet Wear by Anzhelika Crochet

From Stale to Sweet – My Rise into the Baking World

My Rise into the Baking World

“May, how did you get started in the baking industry?”. This question, and ones like it, are ones that I get asked often. So today, I’m going to share it all with you. From my humble beginnings to where I am today.

The industry has changed. A LOT! The internet and its social media platforms are omnipresent in today’s world. Businesses simply can’t dream of achieving any level of success without them. The great virtual window that those (essential) tools have provided, however, could easily fool anyone into thinking that starting a new business is a piece of cake (pun intended). The reality is not so simple.

My journey…

I’ve always loved baking. It’s something I did for fun. And I was good at it, but making it my career was never even on my radar. After getting my degree in hotel and restaurant management, I worked in sales. Talk about left field! What I wanted at the time, like most of us do, was to have a decent job and settle down. Everything was going according to plan until after my third child was born.

In Canada, we’re pretty lucky, we get a cozy full year of maternity leave that allows us to stay at home and take care of our kids. Between the sleepless nights, managing 2 other toddlers and Pinterest rabbit holes, the then emerging cake pop craze snuck up on me and bit me. HARD! I still have the scar on my left butt cheek.

I was in love. This new innovating sweetness sparked my imagination like nothing else had ever done before. Cake on a stick? Pretty colors? Delicious, mess-free explosion of flavor in one bite? Where do I sign up?! Pairing this new found obsession with a relentless desire to find a way to stay home full time with my kids, left me looking for MY lifetime membership. This was it. I had found my golden ticket to the chocolate factory.

Soooo…

So, step 1 was clear: make cake pops and sell them. Easy enough. Surely, everybody would want some. Solid plan. So I got to work in the kitchen. To the delight of my 2 older girls and anyone else in arms reach, I experimented and found my stride. I was pretty darn good at this!

Now on to step 2: make millions of dollars so I can quit my day job. Right… With only getting about half of my regular salary on maternity leave, very little savings, and an eminent need to return on the hamster wheel of my sales career, I had to make a choice. I decided to work my butt off and figure out this entrepreneurship thing while working full time and taking care of 3 kids. Boy was I in for it. IT WAS HARD! Imagine a world without YouTube “How To’s”, Ted talks and Facebook lives. I was in a big lonely void of “figure shit out by myself”. No one to tell me how to do ANYTHING. No mentor. Nada. Just me, myself, books, what little I found on the internet and a bunch of (invaluable) mistakes.

What I did have was determination and the best of friends to share what knowledge and insight they did have with me. Funny how resources can often be found pretty much everywhere you don’t look. I had a friend show me how to write my business plan. My husband to tell me what not to do (don’t worry, I figured out later on that that’s a very good thing). Family volunteering their taste buds to find the best recipes. None of these people were in the baking world, but they did provide me with the vital information I needed to build mine.

So how did I figure it out, you ask. Well, let me tell you…

First thing’s first… Build your foundation. Figure out what you want to do/sell. Even if it’s only 1 thing, do that one thing and do it well! You can build on it later. I was all over the map. I wanted to sell cake pops, in addition to cupcakes. Then I started adding more desserts to my menu… It was never ending. You aim to please others and that shit gets old (and exhausting) fast.

Two years went by, I was getting contracts, but nothing that I felt was solid enough to QUIT MY DAMN JOB. So I decided to up the ante. In that second year of devellopement, I decided it was time to do what I really wanted, and that was sweet tables. The creativity of it, coming up with ways to show off my desserts and highlight my customers themes reveiled itself to be just the outlet I was longing for.

It was right when Amy Atlas came out with the trend and was taking off in the US. I jumped on it and became one of the first original businesses to offer sweet tables in my city. MTL’s Sweet table OG of sorts. Montreal didn’t know what hit it. It was a very exciting time for my company and I!

I had found my niche, my core business. One I knew I could grow into. My only challenge now, was to figure out how to sell it. That’s where the real hard work started. Pricing, target market/customers, establishing my business offering, taking market share, etc. Those were my pillars, and I had to figure them out.

What next?

I took my introvert self for a ride and went out there. I became familiar with other people in my industry and built relationships with different members. What grew of that was a tight knit community where we could be stronger together. Like most industries, there’s a lot of competition between bakers, so I wanted to help create a better space for all of us. Today, instead of the often cutthroat way of doing things, we refer potential business to each other when we’re too busy to take on clients. Collaborations and photoshoots happen regularly between us. United we stand, as the old saying goes.

“But May, why don’t you just keep all that goodness to yourself? Aren’t you just giving away business?” The simple answer is, you’re probably right. The reality is that everyone can thrive if everyone plays nice. Therein lies the catch. It’s all rainbows and lollipops until it’s not. Word to the wise: Don’t copy from each other! Don’t take from others thinking it’s ok. This is where the line gets blurred… Sure we can be friends, and we can collaborate. Sure we’ll throw each other bones once in a while and that’s all great… But I see way too many people starting out now and just copying those that have come before them.

Getting help or mentorship from someone does not imply permission to copy/paste that generous person’s ideas to your business brand. Part of being a business is to have your own flavor, your own take on things. Have fun with it, come up with your own words, your own menus, your own pictures. Too many people are becoming lazy and think it’s ok to take from others. It’s not! It never has been. Do the work! Otherwise, you’re just a hack. There! I said it. Sue me – But don’t. I’ll counter sue for copyright infringement and theft of intellectual property. Pheewwww… I feel better now.

Also, please stop asking “how much should I charge for this?” in the baking groups/forums. That just screams insecurity. If you haven’t done the work, like stated above, you’ll never be confident enough to sell your product for what it’s really worth. And by worth, I mean – you guessed it – doing the work. So don’t let your low confidence show, instead, DO THE WORK! Ok, NOW I feel better…

What then?

This will come as no surprise! There’s no magic formula, except maybe to DO MORE WORK! Level up! Your business is a reflection of you. If you stop working on yourself, it shows right away. The same goes for your business. When you evolve, so will your business. It’s the law! The best advice I can give you if you’re starting out is to do the research into owning a baking business. A great place to start is to take a course to really establish your knowledge base.

I highly recommend The biz of Baking, an online cake business course. She’s pure magic! She doesn’t tell you how to do things, instead she gives you a ton of information to help you figure out how to get to where YOU want to go. From pricing, to evaluating your business goals and marketing your brand, this is an investment in yourself and your business you won’t regret making.

In conclusion

I’m no Warren Buffet Martha Stewart Julia Childs, but I have been doing this for 7 years. My “full time” status as a business owner did not come until 3 years ago. It’d be awesome if it was ok to quit your day job the minute you found your passion. Truth is, there are no credits rolling at the end of this and this society we live in is no fairy tale movie.

I met so many people on the entrepreneurial journey that have the same back story… We all had a full time job with a side hustle. It’s ok. It’s actually more than ok. It builds you up to where you need to be. Grit. Hard work (there’s that word again). Determination. These are a few of my favorite things. Things I would not have had if I didn’t struggle to get where I am now. Don’t hate the side hustle, and don’t worry about your seemingly limited bandwidth during that stage. To this day I still strongly believe that it was the absolute best thing to happen to me. I am so much more aware of my “good thing”, knowing that the hard work I put into years ago, continues to pay me back in heaps today.

Everyone has their own journey to take. Make sure yours is a reflection of YOU and of your own very special, very unique, one of a kind heart!

Until the next table, stay sweet!

Welcoming baby party – A blue and white sweet table

A welcoming baby party is another type of baby shower. This blue and white sweet table was created for baby Alexander to be able to introduce him to family members that did not get the chance to meet him after his birth.

I love anything that has to do with celebrating kids. Since starting my business, I’ve held some of the greatest parties for my kids. They work so hard all year. Why not give them something to look forward to.

This sweet table set up was all envisioned by my client. She sent me exactly what she wanted and, well, I executed it. I was able to incorporate some of her desserts into the set up. Traditional arabic desserts for when baby is born like: meghli, a traditional spice pudding prepared for the family when baby is born. Here’s a recipe for you to try! Please let me know if you do make it. I’d love to hear how you liked it!

Also, the new trend coming out of Australia for the last couple of years is the use of balloon garlands. You probably saw in my last post the one that I had made for my birthday. It gives the table so much depth and grandeur. I highly recommend having them. They are super fun and creative. You can have them as big as this one (they actually can get bigger) or just a small one like the one I created for my nieces 1st birthday last year.

Although baby was a bit tired, the family had a wonderful time celebrating his new life. A welcoming baby party is another excuse to have all your family members in one place at the same time. Sometimes it’s just easier for both mom and baby to get as much as the rest they need.

How did you celebrate your baby coming home? Please let me know in the comments below 🙂

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baby shower montreal, sweet table montreal, desserts montreal

baby shower montreal, sweet table montreal, desserts montreal

baby shower montreal, sweet table montreal, desserts montreal

baby shower montreal, sweet table montreal, desserts montreal

baby shower montreal, sweet table montreal, desserts montreal

baby shower montreal, sweet table montreal, desserts montreal

baby shower montreal, sweet table montreal, desserts montreal

baby shower montreal, sweet table montreal, desserts montreal

 

 

Until the next table, stay sweet!

 

 

 

Vendor Credits:

Photography, Styling, Desserts by Chocolata

Balloon garland by Balloon Lounge

Rentals: tables and plinths from Event Boutique Mtl

Meghli and baklava provided by client

7 years of good luck

This month marks 7 years that I’ve been in business. 7 years of good luck is what I’m calling it. Where do I begin to tell you the knowledge and capabilities that I have acquired over these past 7 years.

As a lot of you may know, I began my journey while I was on maternity leave with my youngest, Mayson. My sister in law sent me a blog post about cake pops while I was pregnant and I found that this was the time to perfect them!

I soon found out that I wanted more out of my business. So here I am today, 7 years of good luck later, with a thriving company creating sweet moments!

It’s more than luck, really. I feel blessed and grateful for the opportunities that were presented to me, the people that I have met along the way and the growth that I attained personally.

It’s not easy running a business and raising kids. You’ve got to be on your game. Sometimes, you have your ego telling you one thing but your gut saying something different. What I’ve learned is to listen to my gut. Always!

My kids have been my biggest cheerleaders. Now they’re more involved with what I do. I’ve taught them to bake, how to plan and even how to set up a sweet table. I keep telling them that they’ve already got an extensive resume when they go out looking for a job lol.

But most importantly, what I’ve learned, is community over competition. The amount of friends I’ve made in the baking community is huge! It’s a group of friends that when we need something, we are there for each other. Dont’ get me wrong, competition is good for your business. But it has to be a healthy, goal oriented type of competition. Not the jealousy and resentment type. Believe me, I’ve been there and I can tell you it gets you no where real fast. As this blogger, Davey Jones from Rising Tide  puts it:

“One of the best ways to live out community over competition is to practice gratitude. When we’re thankful, we’re not fearful. And when we’re not fearful, we’re not insecure. When we’re thankful, we’re full, and we share that spirit of abundance with others (David Steindl-Rast says this more eloquently.)”

In conclusion, have no fear. Do the thing you’ve always wanted to do. Go for the goal. You’ll be happier that you did!

Here are some of my past and present sweet tables that I’ve done. Oh my, have I grown as a stylist and as a baker ☺️

a star is born sweet table, red black and gold baby shower, montreal sweet table
One of my very first sweet tables!

 

My sister’s baby shower so many moons ago 2013

 

wedding sweet table montreal
Then came my very first styled shoot: styled by me, cake by Roxy’s Design, Florals by Fleurs et Sense, Photography by Laurel Grace Photography

 

sweet table montreal, dessert buffet laval
And now they’re more like these! Styling and desserts by me, Cake by Petit Lapin, Florals by Alain Simon, Photography by Sarah Myriam

 

copper black sweet table
Photography by Grace De Castro

 

montreal weddings, montreal sweet table
Photography by Ramy Raphael

 

rustic sweet table, montreal dessert table, montreal desserts
Styling by me, Rentals from Les Causseuses, Cake topper by Creations by Jazzmine Rose, Photography by Lana Nimmons

 

I hope you enjoyed seeing some of my earlier work. Comment below and let me know any of your favorite sweet tables that I’ve done in the past!

Until the next table, stay sweet!

 

 

 

 

Black Red Purple sweet table

I’m finally, after almost a year, posting about the time I threw myself an epic birthday party! It was a black, red and purple sweet table celebration and I could not have planned it better! It was an epic celebration. The guest list was a plenty and the wine was a flowing! It was my 40th birthday party!

My birthday is on Christmas Day. Yes, the best day of the year… yet I get set aside when that day comes. So for my 40th last year, I decided to celebrate early. December 2nd (2017) early lol.

I had been planning this party for almost a year. No one else was going to plan this thing. My husband was all on it, but I had expectations. He got to DJ and introduce our sister company that night, Soundbox. The party was going to be rocking with good food, good music and a glammed up venue. Even more, I made sure that my guests came dressed to impress!

Because I had made so many contacts in the event industry over the years, I was able to hire on some great people. The only stress was to really make sure that my family and friends had a good time.

Obviously being in the event industry, I introduced some great trends that night: round and rectangle tables. I absolutely love the rectangle tables. It made it so much linear and chicer. An absolutely gorgeous balloon backdrop for the sweet table done by Sorayda from Creations by Jazzime Rose. A kids section fully equipped with big screen tv and xbox. Sequins table cloths with some tables in satin. Acrylic name tags in lieu of table name cards. And SO MUCH MORE!

As you’ll get to see with the pictures, it was a night to remember. How would you celebrate a milestone? Tell me in the comments below, I’d love to know!

black red purple sweet table, purple sweet table, montreal sweet table

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A Mint Green and White Baptism Sweet Table

It’s not always about weddings when it comes to having a sweet table. I created a mint green and white baptism sweet table this summer for the cutest little guy. The sweet table was placed as the centre of attention, before the small gathering of family and friends.

Dominic’s mom wanted to go with a rustic theme with added angel wings on desserts and rosaries on the chocolates. With all the rustic themes I’ve been doing these past few months,  I had all the necessary decor items to make this happen. The venue added the perfect backdrop as you’ll see in the pictures.

I think I’ve mastered the rustic, boho, chic feel for sweet tables.

For the sweet table I added cake pops with angel wings, mini cupcakes, macarons, sugar cookies decorated with crosses. I also added chocolates that were adorned with rosaries and wood crosses.

When you create a sweet table for a specific event, make sure that the elements added are in tune with what you’re celebrating. It makes for great pictures and memories.

Here are some great pictures from the event:

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Montreal dessert table, dessert catering, event planning

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montreal macarons, montreal chocolates, montreal cake pops

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And if you want to how the set up came together, you can watch the video on my youtube channel. Don’t forget to subscribe to keep up with my latests set ups and adventures in sweet table styling!

Until the next table, stay sweet!

 

 

 

Vendor Credit:

Sweet table styling, desserts and cake by Chocolata

Photography by Chocolata

Cake topper and wood sign by Creations by Jazzminerose

Large balloon from Balloon Lounge

Chocolates from Lelili Floral

Wood crosses from Cocco Designs

Venue Club de Golf Ste-Rose

Burgundy and Black Rustic Boho Chic Dessert Table

Fall is approaching and that means darker colours and cooler tones. This burgundy and black rustic boho chic dessert table will definitely be the talk of your event, wedding or baby shower.  Definitely my favourite colour scheme to be working with this year. I’ve done so much pink and gold, that this was a nice change.

I added some dusty rose, gold and greenery to make it all tie in together. My sweet table was design and styled for my booth at the 2018 Festival Coeur Boheme held at the Gare VIger in Montreal, QC.

I find that the rustic chic theme has taken on a whole new life, with more flowers, more greenery and most importantly imagination. So many new scenery is being used for the backdrop of peoples events like mountains, forests and back yards just to name a few.

My favourite part, besides the whole table, is the arch at the back with the hanging hexagon signs made by Jesk, a female run business just right outside of Montreal. As you can tell, I’m surrounded by a tribe full of amazing Women Entrepreneurs that are totally rocking it in the event industry!

Take a look at the beautiful pictures taken by another amazing lady boss, Lana Nimmons.

 

rustic sweet table, montreal dessert table, montreal desserts

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Baby Blue Rustic Baby Shower

When I first met Zeina, we hit it off right away. She’s sweet, calm, quiet and such a pleasure to work with. She commissioned me to plan the details for her first baby shower from start to finish. The parents to be had seen one of my instagram pictures, a styled shoot that I did a few months prior. She wanted a baby blue rustic baby shower. With elements of brown, Kraft and greenery.

The baby shower was held at Kaza Maza, a quaint middle eastern restaurant with a rustic feel. This was the perfect setting for the baby shower. The food is authentic and amazing. The chef studied in Lebanon and was able to bring that feel into his dishes.

I used greenery and baby shower elements to adorn the tables. Cute little soap favours were placed on the plates for each guest to take home. The floral centrepieces were so simple yet elegant, baby’s breath and blue hydrangeas, done up by Lelili Floral

The whole event was pure bliss and the mama-to-be was happy and looked beautiful in her flora dress. Take a peek at the beautiful pictures taken by Audrey Boivin Photography

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A Stylish Bar Cart for New year’s Eve

Another year has passed and as I reflect upon 2017, I’m going to sound like all the other blog posts out there – “I feel blessed and am truly thankful for what the year has brought!”. It really has been an amazing year. Finding my rhythm, my squad and creating lasting friendships and mentorships with fellow mom bosses and ladypreneurs! One way I’m celebrating this year is by setting up a stylish bar cart to toast me and my family into the new year. I’ve added all of our favorite drinks so that no one feels left out 🙂

Wine Essentials

My favorite drink would be wine. A really good red does the job. But a white can be just as tasty! For my birthday I received this beautiful rose gold bottle of Bottega.

bar cart montreal

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Romantic White and Gold Wedding Sweet Table

Romantic White and Gold

This summer has been filled with white and gold sweet tables! But the sweet table I styled a few weeks ago was actually one of my most popular to date! It’s a romantic white and gold wedding sweet table. Soft and pretty, delicate and gorgeous all at the same time. I was surrounded by so much white I thought I was in heaven! All vendors that took part in setting up for this wedding are pros in their own right in the Montreal wedding industry.

white, gold, sweet table, montreal

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