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Price vs. Value

Sunday was Julia’s birthday. I was on my way back in town from a nanny conference (and awesome dinner with APW twitter friend Sarah, yay!) in DC and stopped at our favorite grocery store on the way home so I could cook something nice for a celebratory dinner. I made this Salmon with Roasted Fennel and Lemon Vinaigrette, a perennial favorite of ours. Now, I could get into a lengthy discussion of the difference between a good price and a good value, but I think you’ll get my point when I say this:

GET THE WILD ALASKAN KING SALMON!

(Even though it is, yes, more than twice as expensive as the salmon we usually buy. And it totally caused us to screw our food budget for the month before it was even a week over. I spent $37 for 4 servings and I would do it again in a heartbeat.§*)

Image courtesy of Real Simple. Sadly, this is not a photo of the beautiful piece of salmon I purchased.

IT WAS SO WORTH IT.

And while we’re on the topic of salmon, I should really tell you about the dish I had at that dinner with Sarah – because it was also salmon. Yeah, I totally ate it two nights in a row and it was awesome. Because, what is not awesome about a glorious piece of buttery pink salmon, topped with crushed toasted pumpkin seeds, sitting on a perfectly-cooked pile of green beans, nestled in roasted pumpkin and squash, all enveloped in a pumpkin-butter sauce? That’s right, pretty much nothing is better than that. Thank you, Clyde’s of Columbia (Maryland), for an excellent gustatory experience.

§AKA next Tuesday, when I’m doing the weekly shopping, because salmon is ALWAYS on the menu.
*For the record, at $13.99/lb this is actually an excellent price for salmon in the midwest, period. and still better than the big chain stores. It’s just that we usually buy the other kind, which is only $7.99/lb.

A Busy Week

Well, this is a busy, busy week for us. We added a couple last-minute alterations to our schedule. We’re both knee-deep in silk, chiffon, and wool working on Sarah’s wedding dress and winter coat – post about our progress on that coming soon! Julia is training and covering for the stage manager for several performances of For the Boys, currently playing up at the Marriott. I am gearing up for a wedding on Saturday, in addition to my 45 hours of day job. To say we’re looking forward to Monday (which is our Saturday) is an understatement. In fact, I think we may both collapse in a giant heap by then.

But – things are happening! Julia will be the assistant stage manager on the next mainstage production at Marriott, which is a great step for her career; and we’re continuing to get inquiries and grow our business a little bit every day. We told you little while ago that we’d bought our first advertising over on A Practical Wedding and today out introduction post is up. Unlike many places on the internet, where advertising is just an image in a sidebar, Meg (the founder and editor) takes the time to get to know each vendor and then write a whole blog post about the business. In fact, it was her encouragement that led us to add wedding stage management to our fledgling business, in addition to the custom clothing work we began with. So, thanks Meg!

Here’s the post, if you’d like to go read it:

Crafty Broads on A Practical Wedding

And if you’re interested in custom clothing, have a garment that needs alteration, or you want a wedding stage manager, you can find all the details over on the Crafty Broads website.

We’ll see you back here, bleary-eyed, on Monday for one last catch-up post and then we will be back to our regular chatter, which means we better think of something amazing to cook pretty soon. Got any suggestions?

Advertising on A Practical Wedding

[Don’t forget to update your links/feed to our new blog address: www.craftybroads.com/blog]

It’s getting real over here. We spent some actual dollars to become official sponsors on A Practical Wedding. Let me tell you why this blog was our first (and is likely to be our only) choice for advertising our wedding-related services. It is as simple as the tagline in the blog header:

A Practical Wedding blog header

weddings. plus the marriage. minus the insanity.

This philosophy – that the marriage is what matters and the wedding, while important and wonderful, is just one day (or a few) of celebrating the promise of years to come – is something that speaks to us. As fairly reasonable people ourselves, and with a starving artist limited budget, we had to decide what was essential for our wedding, and ditch or make do for the rest. In addition to lots of practical advice for wedding planning, this site is a community of people actively discussing marriage, what it means to be a wife, marriage equality, an ongoing feminist-leaning book club, and all sorts of other things that go beyond the big day. It’s fantastic and full of awesome people, some of whom I am delighted to call my friends.

Beyond that, everyone who advertises on the website is required to take a Sanity Pledge! And you know what the wedding world needs? That’s right, a lot more sanity. So, with our sponsorship, we get to be surrounded by other like-minded vendors. Here’s the pledge we all agreed to:

… A wedding is an awesome party, but it’s the marriage that really matters.
… It takes two people to get married. It’s not all about the bride (and sometimes there isn’t a bride to begin with).
… We support LGBTQ couples right to marry, and we are delighted to work with them.
… We don’t charge a premium just because we heard the word “wedding.”
… We will be upfront and fair about our pricing. We won’t surprise you with a secret fee because you want frosting on the cake, not just the cake.
… You don’t have to have cake at your wedding.
… However you decide to tie the knot, we’re on your team.
… Weddings come in all different shapes/sizes/colors/budgets/etc., but as long as you two end up married to each other, it will have been a successful wedding.

Excellent, right? We’re hoping this will help the most awesome engaged couples find us for wedding planning and coordination. Or for wedding attire creation or alteration. Or both. (And we’re hoping, since they tend *not* to be reading this particular blog, that it will keep the bridezillas away. Because no.)

We’ve got a little ad with our logo that’s in the right sidebar throughout the site along with a listing in their brand-spankin’-new Vendor Directory, which looks like this:

Crafty Broads in the APW Vendor Directory

Sneak peek of our directory listing (click to view it on APW)

So that’s the update on that. We have already worked with a few APW readers, and we look forward to working with many, many more. All the details about what we do are over on our main website, www.craftybroads.com, if you want to check them out.

Cake, Cake, and More Cake

Boy do I feel sorry for people who don’t (or can’t) eat cake. Because I love it. And it’s come to pass that the tail end of summer and the better part of fall seems to be cake-making season for me. There are so many occasions to celebrate, and as I’m sure you know, I hardly need an excuse to bake. Let’s take a look back at last year’s sweets:

July
Our Wedding Cake
Vanilla-Almond with Berries & Pastry Cream; Devil’s Food with Mocha Whipped Cream; Pumpkin with Ginger Buttercream

August
Devil’s Food with Mocha Whipped Cream, for Julia’s brother Joel’s birthday

September
My birthday. Can’t remember exactly what I made, but I do remember it was the ugliest cake ever to emerge from my kitchen. Pretty sure chocolate and strawberries were involved, but it was a sloppy mess.

October
Ellen mentioned cake on facebook, so Julia told her she should come over and I’d make her one, and a few days later I did. Sadly, I no longer have any recollection of what kind of cake it was…
Green Tea Cake with Red Bean Paste filling for Alice’s birthday (which was light and delicious and really needs to be made again soon). And yes, I know her birthday is in July, but this is when we all had the same free spot in our schedules to actually get together and celebrate it.

November
Would ordinarily be a month for making Julia’s birthday cake, but last year I made pie. Apple pie with FRESH FIGS. It was the BEST. PIE. EVER. Almost made me convert to a pie-as-dessert-of-choice girl. Almost.

The cake schedule is a little lighter this year, thankfully. But Joel’s birthday came around again, as birthdays do, and so there was a Heavenly Chocolate Cake Roll (gluten-free!) with strawberries added to the whipped cream filling.

I should have probably made a cake to celebrate the arrival of our new niece, Sophia, on August 16th, but I don’t think she’s picked a favorite flavor yet…

And last night we threw a party to celebrate marriage equality in New York. [Yeah, I know we live in Chicago, but a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, or whatever, so eventually it’s gonna walk this way, right? Plus, we were raising money for LAMBDA LEGAL, and you can never go wrong with that. And, you know, we’re still not equal enough. And further more, we were celebrating in solidarity with a bunch of other people at other parties all around the country. So. A party was had. Cake was eaten. Champagne was consumed in copious amounts. Drunken neighbors crashed. But I digress, as always.] Ahem.

So. Naturally, I made some Marriage Equality Cake. The purple side is Devil’s Food with Mocha Whipped Cream (are you sensing a pattern here?) and the green side is Vanilla-Almond with Apricot-Almond filling. Both were quite tasty, and I’ll be eating the leftovers all week.

Which brings us back to my birthday. I’m just gonna let you drool over what I have planned:

Twelve Layer Mocha Cake

I’ll wait while you pencil in the date on your calendar. That’s September 18th, my place, 3ish. See you there.