this takes the cake

i find any excuse to bake treats.
it could be for my lovie.
{never mind the fact that he never eats sweets}
it could be for a sweet friend.
it could be simply for the joy of making something pretty.
it could be for no real reason at all.

but today,
it is a very special day.
a very special birthday.

mr. wilkerson has been a long time family friend, 
and has become so very dear to my hubby-to-be and me.
not only is mr. wilkerson leading us through premarital counseling,
he is also officiating our wedding. 
what a blessing.

a little birdie told me that his all-time fave sweet treat is coconut cake.
fancy, i have just the little recipe for this sweet birthday boy.

i consider myself to be friends with ina garten.
yep. ina and i are friends. 
i mean, i see her almost everyday...
on my DVR.

i happen to love every single recipe the barefoot contessa has ever created.  
that being said, mr. wilkerson will get some ina garten coconut cuppiecakes for his birthday treat.

i am completely devoted to this recipe.
it is an all-time fave of mine.
the divine taste & texture proves flawless over and again.
this recipe surely
takes the cake.

a little mixing.

a little folding.

a little spooning. 
and voila! 
pop those babies in the oven.

a little frosting.

a little sprinkling.

a whole lotta birthday love.

this recipe truly is a keeper. 
i have turned many a coconut critics into believers.
the coconut is subtle, but oh-so-oh-so-oh-so-good.

and here's a little secret.
just keep it between you & me.
add an extra dash of almond extract.
it brings unreal flavor and depth to the cake.

check out the full recipe here

day two. coo coo cachoo.

i thought day one was great.
but day two was the best to date.

the second day of my bachelorette weekend was just plain ol' fun.

by the end of the night my cheeks hurt from laughing so much.
my feet hurt from dancing too much.
my little heart was overflowing with happiness.
{which one can never have too much of}

our lazy day on the beach was full of
laughter & chatter.
true girl style.

these were moments that i wouldn't ever trade back.
not for the world. 

saturday night on the town.
a fave of all my past memories.
and this was our chance to do it all over again.

getting ready together with my besties.
music playing way too loud. singing along. putting on makeup. changing outfits.

... getting ready to celebrate.

meet hill. my best friend. my maid of honor.

this is kelly. my little new yorker. she's got edge.

told you. 
who else can pull off a tuxedo jumpsuit?
my little groomie for the night.

i went in for the smooch.
she wouldn't have anything to do with it.

hill planned a great bachelorette night out.
but first, we played games.
way fun games.
my lovies answers made the girls laugh 
and cry 
tears of joy.
he couldn't be any sweeter.
i am the luckiest.

i just adore all of you girls.
i couldn't possibly love you any more than i already do.

you all bless my life.
thank you for making my weekend so special. 

day one. way fun.

i certainly am blessed beyond measure.
there is no denying it.
i truly have 
the worlds greatest girlfriends.

i just returned from my bachelorette weekend.
i was blown away at all the love & energy put into making 
my special getaway such a memorable one.

the time. the planning. the creativity.
the friends. the family. the mother-in-law-to-be.
the surprises. the silliness.
the tears. the giggles. the hugs.
it equates to nothing short of perfection. 
perfect company.
perfect events.
perfect everything.

my maid of honor, best-friend-since-brownies hilly, planned such a great weekend.
everything i love was incorporated into the trip.

it was only appropriate that stop number one was to french bakery
c'est la vie.

we enjoyed a long and delicious lunch sitting outside.
bacon wrapped goat cheese with toasted apples over mixed greens? 
yes, please!
c'est si bon, c'est si bon.

after lunch we skipped over to our resort.
the afternoon was spent relaxing pool-side.

it doesn't get much better than that.
sun. pool. friends. laughter. 

friday night may or may not have been my favorite part of the weekend.
we stayed in for the night. 
cooking. eating. toasting. laughing. cheers-ing. crying {tears of joy}. 

a lot of laughter. 

sweet words shared by sweet friends. 

tears of joy were shed by all. 

toasting to a blessed life.
rich with friendship. family. love.
and the start of a beautiful marriage.

everyone knows, a party just isn't a party without some dancin'.
and oh man! there was a whole lotta dancin'

our little russian dancers mastered the high kicks.

shake your groove thing. shake your groove thing. ya. ya. 

we danced until the wee hours of the morning...
boy was it fun(ny)!

... and this is only day one.


i am so excited i can hardly stand it.
tomorrow is the start of my bachelorette weekend.
yahoo. yippee. yahooie.

this is a weekend to celebrate not only my upcoming wedding,
but also the sweet, sweet blessing of girlfriends.

i may be bias, but i simply have the best girlfriends.
two best friend cousins.
a best friend since yellow dot.
a best friend since brownies.
a few best friends from high school.
and a few new best friends from recent years.

i am forever grateful for each one of them.

each one is different from the next, but each one is equally as precious to me. 

these friends bless me daily.
in them i have
a secret keeper. a truth teller. a risk-taker.
the one that makes me laugh & laughs with me.
the one that cries with me.
the one that celebrates with me.
the one that i trust with every ounce of me.
the one that is always loyal.
a role model. an encourager. 
a prayer warrior.
a dance partner. a shopping partner.
the one that has faith in me.
the one that is always honest with me.

here is to each of you, my friends. 
you make my life so special.

my maid of honor picks me up at 9:30 tomorrow morning.
i will be back on sunday.
i cannot wait to share all the fun with you.
in the meantime, 
enjoy some of my fave black&whites. 
they just exude friendship.

photos courtesy of
erineverafter. persia in pyjamas. feel all the shades. matchbookmag.
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