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My Trip to Wilton Sweet Up

Disclosure: This was an all-expenses paid trip by Wilton, but this post is in no way sponsored. I simply wanted to share my trip with all of you because I had an amazing time!

Over the weekend, I had the amazing opportunity to attend the Wilton Sweet Up event in Illinois. I learned more about buttercream, fondant, and Candy Melts than I thought was possible! If you missed the event, you can watch it here.

Friday morning we attended a decorating class taught by Sandy Folsom at The Wilton School of Cake Decorating and Confectionary Art. This was my first time playing with fondant so I struggled with some of the techniques at first. However, the instructors were so wonderful and by the end of the class, I felt more confident and had a few techniques under my belt. I will happily take full credit for making the white fondant leaves that you see on the top tier!

During the morning session, we were put into teams and had 45 minutes to decorate a cake using the techniques we had learned. Our group was quickly inspired by a rose cake in the room and decided to create a cake with a rose dome on top! I think it turned out gorgeous and our group won the award for "Best Garden Design".

Awarded "Best Garden Design" at Wilton Sweet Up 2014

After the morning session, we were able to shop at the Wilton Store...or shall I say, pure heaven. The store was HUGE and had more tools, sprinkles, and cake pans than I could have ever imagined. I loved working with fondant so much that I stocked up on some new supplies. I also picked up a decorating tip organizer so that mine are no longer floating around in a ziploc bag!

Shopping at the Wilton Store in Darien, IL
Shoes: c/o Tieks

Items Purchased: Fondant Roller, Daisy Cut-Outs, Dust-N-Store Dusting Pouch, 10 Pc. Fondant and Gum Paste Tool Set, Sea Life Fondant and Gum Paste Mold, Flower and Leaf Mini Fondant Cut-Outs Set, Pearl Dust (in Gold and White), Fondant Trimmer, Sugar Pearls in White, Tip Organizer, and 6 Pc. Bake-Even Strip Set

After we shopped our hearts out, we headed over to Wilton HQ for the Sweet Up event. We walked into the building and were greeted with a gorgeous, purple carpet and speech bubbles to match our baking personalities!

Shannon and Me

After walking the carpet, we took our seats in the 2nd row of the showroom! Wilton's CMO, Eric Erwin, kicked off the Sweet Up event and then handed the microphone over to Beth Somers, Test Kitchen Manager, to talk about the 5 mega trends for 2014...

1. Buttercream
One of my favorites was this Spring Field Buttercream Cake, which features the "messy" icing technique and a cute DIY element. I can't wait to try the messy icing look on my next cake!

Spring Field Buttercream Cake
Photo Credit: Wilton

2. Less Is More
I absolutely love this trend because when I try to go "big", it never turns out the way I'd like it to. I love this Plush Orange Ribbon Cake because it looks gorgeous, but also looks like something I could manage to make without screwing up.

3. Tall Cakes
I have been a fan of tall cakes for awhile now, especially the "naked" cakes where you can see all the insides. There is just something so beautiful about this Naked Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cake. I can't wait to purchase the new Easy Layers Cake Pan Set so that I can bake a naked cake!

4. Small Treats
I developed a new love for Petite Fours and can't wait to try some of my own! The small treats category also included mini cakes, brownie bites, cookies, and bars.

5. Fondant
Also known as, my new best friend. I love how fondant allows your cake to be completely smooth. There are also many different designs you can create with fondant using cut-outs, plungers, etc. You can even paint fondant with icing color to create a watercolor effect!

At Friday's event they also unveiled the 2014 Cake of the Year. Each year, the decorators at Wilton compete to create the best cake using personal inspiration. This year's winning cake was designed by Valerie Pradhan and features mosaic tiles, roman architecture-inspired leaves, and a gorgeous watercolor effect. I am in love with the gold and turquoise color scheme!

Wilton 2014 Cake of the Year
Photo Credit: Wilton

After the cake was unveiled, we broke off into separate groups for the afternoon workshops! As I mentioned before, I attended a fondant workshop and a workshop using Wilton's Candy Melts. Unfortunately I didn't get any photos of my Candy Melts creations, but I did get a few photos from the fondant workshop. They gave us a piece of cake topped with the new fondant so that we could taste test it! Let me tell you, it tastes SO good!

I then started working on my cupcake using the cut-outs set shown below. I brushed the butterfly fondant with Gold Pearl Dust and topped it with two colors of Sugar Pearls. I think it turned out pretty cute!

Fondant Workshop at Wilton Sweet Up Event

After completing the workshops, we had a fabulous dinner with the entire Wilton team and spent the rest of the night sipping on wine and chatting it up. I met so many wonderful ladies and it was an experience that I'll never ever forget - thanks Wilton!

Wilton Sweet Up 2014

Have you worked with fondant before?
Did you watch the live streaming of Sweet Up?

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Join Me for the Wilton Sweet Up Event!

If you've been stalking me on Instagram, then you know that I arrived in Illinois last night for the 2014 Wilton Sweet Up event! I am attending their event today along with 14 other Sweet Team bloggers, local press, and community members. They will be showcasing new products, giving live demonstrations, unveiling the 2014 Cake of the Year, and so much more.

The Sweet Up event begins at 1pm CST and will be streamed live via this link so that everyone can take part! How awesome is that? You can also follow @WiltonCakes on Twitter and participate in the conversation by using the hashtag #WiltonSweetUp. One lucky person will win an Ultimate Decorating Set - retail value of $199.99!

The part of the event I'm most excited about is the hands-on workshops. Prior to the event, I took a personality quiz to determine my different areas of expertise and to choose which 2 workshops I wanted to partake in.

I was SO surprised to see that the personality quiz results were spot-on. I'm totally a perfectionist and it often prevents me from tackling large baking projects, like a beautiful 4-layer cake. That is one of my baking goals for 2014, along with learning how to make fondant decorations.

Here are the 2 workshops I enrolled in...

Fresh Ideas For Fondant - I will get to work with Wilton’s new Decorator Preferred Rolled Fondant. I'll also be using the new Cut and Texture Sets to create fondant cupcake toppers.

Dip, Drizzle, and Decorate - Although I've used candy melts here, here, and here, this workshop will be interesting because I'll get to use the new melting pot and tools. They're also be revealing new Limited Edition flavors!

What kind of baker are you?
Have you ever taken a Wilton decorating class?

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What to Pack in Your Carry On Bag

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

I will be traveling tomorrow morning for the Wilton Sweet Up event and I am so excited! This is my chance to finally meet some of the Sweet Treat bloggers in person, as well as discover new Wilton products, and test my skills during the hands-on workshops. The event will be streamed live - I'll share more details about this on Friday!

As I packed my suitcase last night, I thought it would be fun to share my travel essentials with all of you. Before I get started, you should know that everyone packs and travels differently so these tips might not work for you. I only travel 2-3 times per year but with a pilot as a dad, I have learned a few tips and tricks along the way to make for a less stressful trip!

My carry-on bag is from Vera Bradley and I have had it since high school. It's big enough to fit all of my essentials and also has a padded part for my laptop. It also has a back panel sleeve that allows me to place my bag over the luggage handle - super handy! I will be traveling a lot more next year and will probably invest in this Lo & Sons bag, but for now mine works great.

What to Pack in Your Carry On Bag via

In order to avoid baggage fees, I only travel with my carry-on suitcase and my carry-on bag. This is also the easiest way to travel because 9 times out of 10, your suitcase is placed in an overhead bin and you can grab it once you land. Sometimes the overhead bins are too small so they will stow your suitcase underneath the plane. In that case, you pick it up on the tarmac rather than baggage claim.

What to Pack in Your Carry On Bag via
What to Pack in Your Carry On Bag via

What to Pack in Your Carry On:

1. Sunglasses

2. Prescription Glasses - I wear glasses mostly for driving to read signs in the distance. I won't be doing any driving on this trip, but I packed them just in case.

3. Book To Read - I always pack a good book to read on the plane, usually something by Nicholas Sparks.

4. Extra Pair of Shoes - If you plan on walking around a lot, it's important to have a comfortable pair of shoes. I love my Tieks because they are comfortable and don't take up much room! It's also important to pack an extra pair of shoes in case your luggage is lost.

5. Headphones - These are an absolute-must for me. You never know when a child will start crying or when a grandma sitting next to you is going to tell her life story. I like to listen to music while reading my book.

6. Digital Camera (exact)

7. Make-up Bag (exact) - Lost luggage is something you hear about way too often so I always pack my make-up bag in my carry on. This way it's with me at all times and if I need to do a touch-up or grab an Advil, it's easily accessible during the flight.

8. MacBook Charger

9. Snacks - Although you can't take drinks, you can definitely pack some snacks in your carry-on bag! I usually travel with KIND bars, a bag of chips or pretzels, and chocolate for my sweet tooth. 

10. Battery Pack (exact) - Maybe it's because I'm a blogger, but my iPhone battery never seems to last very long. I invested in this chargeable battery last year and use it all the time. Also, not every airport has free Wi-Fi so it's nice to be able to use my iPhone as a wireless hotspot without draining my battery.

11. Wallet (similar)

12. Gum - If your ears tend to pop during takeoff and landing, chewing gum will really help with that.

13. Hand Lotion (exact)

14. Extra Top - This goes along with lost luggage from #4. I always pack an extra top in my carry on, like this v-neck from Pickwick & Weller. Embarrassingly enough, I have stained my shirt while eating at an airport and it was so nice to have something to change into.

How often do you travel?
What do you pack in your carry-on bag?

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