Archive for 'Featured'

April 10, 2012
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I eat, sleep and breathe The Food Network.   I love watching Ina Garten, Giada and Ree Drummond cook in the kitchen.   There something so graceful about it.   I have always dreamt about shooting a chef in action.  I was so lucky that I was able to do that a few times last month.  I did a spread for Edible Sarasota (out this month), with The Three Kitcheneers and recently with Leigh Growney owner of The Short Giraffe Mini Confections and Desserts.

I love kitchens,  I love food, baking and anything sweet.   If you know me, you know how much I have a sweet tooth and how much I worship desserts.  Especially when it is done right.  The first time I had Leigh’s mini creations was during our shoot for the The EveryGirl feature.   Drooling while shooting was an understatement.  I was hurting while I was shooting.  To make things worse I was shooting using my macro lens.  Her cake truffles, to die for cookies and mini cup cakes looked so delicious.   It was tough  not to steal one.  But we had just met so I had to be on my best behavior.  🙂

I had never had a cookie that good before.   It was a sugar cookie infused with lemon, sweetened just perfectly and dipped in white chocolate.   It was AMAZING.  Again the best I’ve ever had.   Then her truffles… seriously!  It was moist and so flavorful.   My husband Amir who is not at all interested in desserts took a bite of her creations and raved about them.   For me the best thing about them was that it was sweetened just right.  I’ve had countless desserts that are so beautiful but misleading at the same time because the sweetness is just way too overpowering.  The Short Giraffe’s were perfect and so pretty to look at too.

Leigh really has a natural gift when it comes to baking.  She’s so knowledgeable too.  I naturally asked her a ton of questions and she answered them like she’s been in the business for years.  I love her designs and you can really see her passion in her work.

You have to check out The Short Giraffe’s new website and her blog called Crumbs.  I love that name!

To learn more about Leigh and The Short Giraffe Mini Confections and Catering check out my interview with her below . . .

1:: What inspired you pursue turning your passion into a business?
My friends and my loved one’s are who have inspired me the most to turn my love for baking and decorating into a business. For year’s, I have heard “you should TOTALLY do this for a living!” but I never took anyone too seriously. How many fabulous bakers do you see (particularly here in Sarasota) who have amazing shops and  business’s? I questioned whether or not I could compete. But everyone kept pushing me, and I knew I had something unique to offer and a talent that continues to grow each day. My boyfriend has been my biggest cheerleader (and taste-tester). With every new recipe and experiment, he pushed me to pursue this and turn my passion into business. He has helped me every step of the way and been my biggest fan.

2:: Does the Short Giraffe only cater to the wedding industry?
The Short Giraffe absolutely cater’s to the wedding industry. As most people know, mini desserts are becoming more and more of a trend now at weddings- brides are choosing cupcake towers and dessert bars over the traditional wedding cake, because it offers a variety of flavor options and visual displays that you can’t get with just a cake. The Short Giraffe offers mini cupcakes, mini-tireed cakes, cake truffles and a variety of other mini desserts and petit fours that can be customized to fit any bride’s vision of her dream day. I also cater bridal showers, rehearsal dinners and bachelorette parties. Many brides, particularly those having destination weddings, are choosing to have “day-after” brunches or lunches for their guests, which the Short Giraffe is also readily available for to create an entire wedding confection package!

3:: What is your signature mini dessert?
Although ALL of our mini’s are delicious and unique, I would say that my most popular and requested mini would by my S’more Truffle Cups. This is a unique little mini that I came up with a few years ago- brown sugar graham crust, Hershey ganache filling and toasted marshmallow meringue all combine to form pure amazingness. Its a an artful and elegant spin on everyone’s favorite childhood treat, which is perfect for any event.

4:: What 3 words best describes the Short Giraffe Mini Confections Desserts?
I would say that The Short Giraffe is Flavorful, Artful and Inspired

5:: Where do you see the Short Giraffe Mini Confections in 5 years?
In 5 years, I picture the Short Giraffe to have a much larger, proper storefront fit to serve the everyday sweet tooth, and a full catering kitchen to handle our growing specialty event orders. I would love to be “that girl” who folks within the community know they can call and count on to provide them with the friendliest service, the loveliest deserts and the most creative flair to match their confectionary needs. I also would like to continue to actively donate my services to the local non-profit community. There are so many great varieties of organizations and charities here locally that I am proud to be a part of and help make just a little sweeter with my efforts, and of course some yummy treats.

 

Thank you so much Leigh for being a guest on my blog!!!   I know that you are already “that girl” who is friendly, trust worthy and full of integrity and talent…..that I can call on and recommend to anyone and everyone!

 

 

March 2, 2012
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Nicole Kaney, Melanie Kasper, Vitamins, NK Productions, Wedding PLanning, Wedding Coordinator, Sarasota wedding Photographer

One thing that I’m loving about being in the wedding and photography industry is meeting new and fascinating people.   Last year I introduced myself to Nicole Kaney and was just blown away by her kindness and willingness to help out a new wedding photographer like myself.   I’m fascinated by her work, her love for the wedding industry and her drive to succeed.   I’m personally drawn to people who have passion in what they do.  Nicole is the owner of NK Productions and is an International Wedding Planner based in Sarasota.  She recently introduced me to her new venture with her friend Melanie Kasper.   Both Nicole and Melanie just launched this past week Dream Day Essentials, supplements to help a Bride to “look and feel their best on their dream day,” or any day.  I love everything about it!  To me it makes perfect sense.  It’s true, I was a bride once and fully remember how stressful it was to plan my wedding.  I really wished I had this back then.  Heck as I’m writing this I’m thinking that I could really use this myself…. I can’t wait to get my hands on these.

Nicole and Melanie I wish you all the best and your product to continue its mission…. for Brides “to feel the best on their wedding day and everyday for the rest of their lives.”

Don’t leave yet!  Check out my interview with Nicole below . . . .

 

Nicole Kaney, Melanie Kasper, Vitamins, NK Productions, Wedding PLanning, Wedding Coordinator, Sarasota wedding Photographer

 

1::  How did you and Melanie meet?
We have been friends since my husband and I moved down the street from Mel and Tim 7 years ago. We even share a boat together!

 

Nicole Kaney, Melanie Kasper, Vitamins, NK Productions, Wedding PLanning, Wedding Coordinator, Sarasota wedding Photographer

2::  What inspired you both to create this product and do you feel there is a need in the market?
I had a lot of clients tell me they were really scared about getting sick on their wedding day because they were already so run down from the stress of planning, working and balancing life’s other obligations. I also had a lot of stories of brides going to these amazing honeymoon locations and sleeping the whole time because they were so tired. Mel is a an amazing natural products educator, yoga teacher and personal trainer and I value her opinion very much. I told Melanie about what I had been hearing and that started the path of Dream Day Essentials. We want brides to feel their best on their wedding day, and every day for the rest of their lives. making sure brides-to-be approach wedding preparation the right and healthy way.

3:: Is Dream Day Essentials just for brides?
OF COURSE NOT! Dream Day Essentials™ products are for everyone and are also unisex unless otherwise noted. Our goal is to provide products that can be used the rest of your life no matter who you are and when you start using them. Let Dream Day Essentials™ help you make EVERYDAY your dream day for the rest of your life!

4:: What 3 words best describes your product and why?
Safe, Effective, and Extremely Pure.

Our commitment to excellence starts with products sourced only from the best companies, confirmed through professional and clinical research, industry reviews, and personal scrutiny to guarantee integrity, safety, efficacy, and purity. We only sell products that we use ourselves—and we are extremely picky!

Safe – Dr. Formulated with clinically proven ingredients and potencies
Effective – lots of people are “running on empty” when given nutients to support your body’s systems so they fuction optimally, you can feel the differnce – more energy, and a higher tolerance for stress
Extemely Pure – no binders, fillers, excieients, solvents, no gluten or common allergens, every ingredient tested for purity (free of heavy metals, herbacides, pesticides, harmful bacteria etc)

Thank you so much Nicole for being a guest on my blog!!

Everyone….don’t forget to visit their website, FB, twitter & pinterest!

Nicole Kaney, Melanie Kasper, Vitamins, NK Productions, Wedding PLanning, Wedding Coordinator, Sarasota wedding Photographer

 

 

Nicole Kaney is the owner of NK Productions, a wedding planning company in Sarasota has over 8 years of experience in the events and wedding industry. Her professional career started after graduating from the University of Florida when she followed her passion for yoga instruction and opened the Silver Lotus Yoga Studio in Gainesville. That fledgling business quickly grew and the studio frequently held weekend workshops, art openings and lectures.  Nicole’s expertise in wedding planning has been refined through her careers as Marketing Director for Mattison’s Culinary Group and as the Marketing Director for Sarasota’s Whole Foods Market. Combining her love of event planning and the culinary arts Nicole launched NK Productions in May of 2007. Using fun, classic and elegant ideas, along with comprehensive industry knowledge, NK Productions tailors their professional expertise their clients’ wants and needs. Nicole’s mission is to direct every detail of a wedding with creative flair and unparalleled service. NK Productions is committed to understanding the client’s personal vision, and using it to create your dream event — whether intimate and elegant or lively and grand.

Nicole is member of the Association of Bridal Consultants, as a Professional Bridal Consultant. She can be seen planning weddings often at the Ritz-Carlton of Sarasota, The Crosley Estate and the Ringling Museum for brides and grooms locally and from all over the US and Europe.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Disclosure: I’m not in anyway shape or form being compensated for publishing this blog post.  I’m just a friend who is helping out a friend & fellow entrepreneur launch their new business and product.  I believe in it 100% and don’t mind helping them get additional exposure.