Delicious Reads

15 Ways to Celebrate Friendship

National Friendship Day is coming up on August 4th, 2019, so get ready to have some fun with your friends! We put together a list of ideas to get you started. You can do just one, all, or create your own list. How will you celebrate friendship?

 

  1. Host a Dinner Party

Everyone loves food, so invite all your friends over for a potluck dinner. Enjoy trying new foods and learning each other’s favorite dishes.

  1. Share a Sweet Dessert

No dinner would be complete without a delicious sweet treat. ADC has the perfect desserts to round out your meal. Check them out here!

  1. Host a Game Night

Board games can make you laugh, bring out your competitive side and give you an opportunity to bond. Get to know your friends in a casual environment where everyone can let loose and have fun.

  1. Write a Letter or Card

Can’t celebrate with your best friend in person? Write them a heartfelt letter or card just to let them know how much they mean to you!

  1. Take Some Photos

Commemorate this special day by taking some photos. Time spent with friends is special and photos will help you look back on the wonderful memories.

  1. Make a Bucket List

Create a list of fun activities that you and your friends want to do this year. Take time each month to get together and cross items off your list.

  1. Volunteer Together

Helping others is a really great way to provide a sense of purpose, feel connected and relieve stress. Whether your tasks are big or small, giving back can make a difference in your community.

  1. Learn a New Skill

Ever wanted to try something new, but didn’t want to do it alone? Grab a friend or two and step outside your comfort zone. Just be sure you stay safe and have a good time!

  1. Have a Movie Marathon

Sometimes great friendships don’t need a lot of bells and whistles. Grab some snacks, hang out on the couch, and enjoy the company while you watch a few of your favorite movies.

  1. Get Outside

Take advantage of the beautiful weather and go discover what the great outdoors has to offer. You can go on a hike, eat a picnic lunch, swim at the beach, walk your dogs, go fishing or even explore a local cave!

  1. DIY Craft

See how good you are with your hands and create a unique gift that you and your friends can exchange and keep forever. Here are some ideas to get you started:  friendship bracelets, picture frames, coasters, sugar scrubs, bath bombs, succulent gardens, keychains, stress balls, flower wreath, photo puzzles and much more.

  1. Share Your Dreams

If you can’t share your dreams with your BFF, who can you tell? Celebrate your successes and lift each other up when you are doubtful. Remind each other to always strive to do your best and never give up.

  1. Sing Karaoke

Karaoke is a great way to let loose and forget about life’s worries. Whether you go out to your favorite bar or hang back at home, hopefully you can work up the nerve to sing!

  1. Make a Phone Call

You don’t have to make a grand gesture to let your friend know you care. Give them a call just to say hi and catch up on what’s going on in their life. Communicating with each other, even if it is just over the phone, can strengthen your bond and emotional connections.

  1. Send a Box of Sunshine

Receiving a gift in the mail is always exciting, so send your friend a box of sunshine to brighten their day! Include several items that are yellow or have yellow packaging (candy, chapstick, chips and other snacks, herbal tea, soap, bath bomb, loofah, notepad, pen/pencils, back massager, gum, lotion, socks, stress ball, sunglasses, etc.)

4 Refreshing Summer Desserts

Nothing says summer quite like a good old-fashioned cookout. Whether you’re swimming with friends at the beach or catching up with family at your annual reunion, food brings people together. Occasions like this elicit happiness and create lasting memories. Spending time with the ones you love is all about having fun, making connections, and sharing with others. So let’s share dessert!

Let’s face it, we all look forward to the end of the meal. Quintessential grilled summer foods like hamburgers, corn on the cob, and potatoes are great…but the one thing that makes everyone’s mouth water the most is dessert. If you’re looking for that grand finale, that perfect sweet treat to finish your meal, we’ve got you covered!

After spending all day in the sun and eating a hot meal, you’re going to need something to bring those temps down. Here are some of our favorite in-season desserts to help keep everyone cool and refreshed.*

 

Our gourmet cupcakes come in dozens of flavors, but these three are sure to excite your taste buds. The Tropical Toasted Coconut, Strawberry Shortcake and Peach Cobbler cupcakes are so good, you might even eat two! Check out our other cupcake flavors here.

 

Our frozen cheesecake pops will keep you extra cool in the summer heat. A slice of classic creamy cheesecake with graham cracker crust is dipped in sweet chocolate to create the perfect chilled treat.

 

Our fresh fruit tarts (small and large*) are just as refreshing as they are stimulating to eat! Ripe berries are layered on top of a creamy custard and crumbly crust, creating the perfect blend of textures all in one bite.

 

Our NY style cheesecake* is a creamy, dreamy dessert that is sure to please a crowd. You can get them plain, or with your choice of toppings (such as strawberries and chocolate). Let your taste buds be your guide!

 

 

*This item is custom made, so please place your order 24-48 hours in advance to ensure your sweet treats are ready when you arrive!

Don’t Get Tied in Knots

5 Self-Care Tips to Survive the Stress of Wedding Planning

To hire a wedding planner or not to hire a wedding planner- that is the question.

From venue locations to cake flavors (and everything between), many decisions go into wedding plans. You may have questions like, “How can I NOT stress about wedding planning?” or “How can I actually enjoy my wedding planning experience?”.

Some brides tackle planning as DIY brides-to-be, which can generate more stress that anticipated.  Other brides hire a wedding planner to help reduce stress. They offer experience in planning and advice along the way. While a planner is helpful, you will still need to make many decisions.

Whether you go it solo or hire a professional for help, planning a wedding is stressful – completely worth it, but stressful.  Don’t be a burned-out bride!  Take care of yourself during the planning process.

Here are five self-care strategies to help minimize stress.

  1. Start with Self-Awareness & Couple Compatibility

Before you take on any other parts of wedding planning, sit down for an honest assessment. What types of decisions do you love making and which details are not as important to you? Involve your soon-to-be spouse! What decisions can you share? Are there some you will make on your own? Are some based on personal preference or following traditional beliefs?

Knowing yourself and your dynamics as a couple are both important. It will improve your planning experience as you move forward into life together. Consider valued areas that are priorities and identify those that aren’t as critical. Defining the most important elements and establishing clear roles for decision-making prevents conflict and stress. It also opens opportunity for delegation of non-critical items if planning gets overwhelming.

  1.  Ensure you have Time to Exercise.

You may already have a pre-wedding or regular lifestyle workout in place. It is important to keep exercise on the top of your priority list, even during the business of wedding plans and preparations. Here’s why…

Exercise has proven psychological and positive emotional effects for your body. It’s known to reduce stress and improve mental attitudes. You can double up on the good-feel effects by adding an outdoor walk. According to UNC Health Talk, “different parts of our brain activate in nature.”  Physical reactions such as lower heart rate and blood pressure. A simple 15-minute stroll around the block can help calm your body and refresh your mind.

Staying active helps combat the effects of a demanding schedule and decision-making stress.

  1. Creatively Express your Feelings.

This is a once-in-lifetime experience. Take time to express your feelings throughout the process. Enjoy writing or sketching? Keep a journal of important moments throughout your wedding planning process. According to Very Well Mind, journaling counteracts many negative effects of stress, improves cognitive functioning, and strengthens the immune system.

Make note of the key details for the day. Receive the best advice or hear a story that was unforgettable? Jot it down, include doodles, photos or stickers. Process and express your feelings about the journey you’re on.  Celebrate the positive and acknowledge and clear the negative in a creative way.

Added plus?  You’ll have a keepsake you can look back on later.

  1. Get Good at Delegating.

Remember rule number one?

If friends and family offer help, give them something to do!  Allow them to contribute to your wedding in a meaningful way and reduce your stress levels.

Individual tasks such as vendor pickups can allow a loved one to contribute and reduce your to-do lists. Creating DIY décor can offer a personal way other share in the wedding experience. If done as a group, DIY décor can become a beautiful in-tandem wedding memory with its own stories to tell.

  1. Wedding Insurance is Worth Considering – especially for destination weddings and military couples.

What is wedding insurance, and do I need it? We’re glad you asked.

Wedding insurance is event insurance. It protects you if unforeseen circumstances occur and cause damages or injuries. Some insurances even cover some circumstances that preventing you from having your wedding when or where planned.

There are two common types:

  • Cancellation
  • Liability Coverage

Ask your venue if they offer any amount of coverage. If so, ask specifically about body and property damage coverage limits.  Learn more about wedding insurance in our related article: Your Wedding Life Preserver.

Military couple? Most wedding event insurance carriers do not offer coverage for military deployments, USAA has it specifically cited. In some instances, this could the extra padding you need to take the stress off events you cannot control.

Have a “Plan A” and “Plan B”

Some details and plans will be set in stone – like venue, colors, and theme. Some parts of planning include backup plans. For example, an outdoor garden wedding venue will need an indoor space in the event of rain. If an outdoor event is a must for you, consider wedding insurance that would cover costs in the event of rain. Mishaps and circumstances come up. You can choose to make those details (in the event it happens) part of your unique wedding story. Either way, having backup or contingency plans will help make stress levels manageable, even if the “unexpected” happens.

No matter how important this day is, you will want to be happy and healthy when you get there and for many years afterward. Planning for self-care and stress-reduction will prove to be energy well-spent.  A beautiful bride is beaming, not burned-out. Love yourself and it will show.

Bride-to-be’s and newly Mrs., share your story with us!  Get social on Instagramor facebook and share your favorite self-care tipor a best advice you received during your wedding planning journey.

Personalized Romantic Gestures

Each couple will define romance in their own relationship. While traditionally it may be roses, wine, or gifts, there are some romantic gestures that take the everyday to extraordinary. Let’s look at some of these unique and meaningful romantic gestures.

Listen to your partner’s DIY Dream.

Surprise them with favorite coffee or morning drink.

After a long week, do their laundry.

Write your favorite memories on post-it notes and fill your loved one’s space with these reminders.

Fill a jar with messages full of love.

Surprise your partner with a clean house or do some of their most-dreaded chores.

Get ingredients to make a meal that supports their diet goals and decisions.

Schedule time for just you two.

Hold hands.

 

What’s Hopping This Easter?

Easter is a time to celebrate life. From Resurrection Sunday to bunnies, Easter eggs and spring flowers; bright spring colors abound.  However your family celebrates the season, American Dream Cakes has beautiful and tasty spring-inspired desserts for your parties and get-togethers.  Here’s what’s hoppin’ this Easter at ADC:

Easter Inspired Flavors

Carrot Cake Torte

4 layers of carrot cake with walnuts, raisins, and carrots complete with whipped homemade cream cheese frosting. It’s finished with a garnish of walnuts around the base and adorable buttercream carrots on top. 48 hour pre-order is recommended.
Smaller crowd?  Get all of the delicious taste in half the size when you order a carrot cake halvsie!

He Is Risen Cake

Celebrate Resurrection Sunday with your family or church family with a beautifully decorated “He is Risen” cake.

Easter Bunny Cake

This happy little bunny is ready to hop into your Easter weekend festivities.  Made from a half-round cake dusted with coconut flakes, it’s sure to be a family favorite.

Spring-Colored Cookies

Can you say sprinkles, sugar and colorful fun?  These brightly colored sugar cookies and tea cookies are sure to be crowd pleasers.

Ensure your Easter get-togethers end on a delicious note with sweet treats from American Dream Cakes. It’s all about #makinglifedelicious.

Easter Pre-Orders until April 12th! 

Spring Forward with These Gourmet Cupcakes

The first official day of spring is March 20th. That’s worth celebrating, and we recommend making the arrival of spring delicious with gourmet cupcakes featuring spring flavors.

A little bit about our gourmet cupcakes:

There are over 100 varieties available!  Each day we feature a selection of gourmet cupcake flavors in the bakery. Cake flavors range from traditional vanilla or chocolate to grape-infused and other exotic flavors. Each gourmet cupcake has it’s own deliciously complimentary fillings, frostings and toppings. There’s a unique combination for everyone! Single cupcakes are $3.99 each.

Oh Oh Pistachio!

A light sugar sponge cake filled with pistachio custard filling. Topped with pistachio cream icing and a pistachio shortbread cookie.

Did you know that pistachio is also known as the “green almond”?

Kiss me I’m Irish

How can you celebrate spring and St. Patty’s Day? With the “Kiss me, I’m Irish” gourmet cupcake that’s a nod to the ‘luck of the Irish.’ A sponge cake infused with Irish cream and vanilla Irish cream filling. Topped with Irish cream icing and shamrock sprinkles.

Lemon Cream

If you love lemon, this beautiful gourmet cupcake is for you. Lemon infused sponge cake folded with vanilla crème filling and light vanilla whipped icing. Welcoming spring with a bright sugar daisy garnish on top

Green Tea-rrfic

Ideal for any spring day – indoors or out!  The Green Tea-rrific brings sweet green tea flavor together with a Green-tea crème and a honey-butter cake.  Topped with infused Chantilly icing and a dreamy lemon-honey drizzle.

Carrot Cake

Carrot cake baked with walnuts and raisins topped with yummy cream cheese frosting.  Topped with an adorable buttercream carrot garnish.

Strawberry Cream

It just wouldn’t seem like spring if we didn’t include a fresh Strawberry Cream groumet cupcake!  Vanilla whipped icing tops a strawberry flavored sponge cake. Filled with whipped vanilla creme and topped with a pink sugar daisy.

SPECIAL ORDER ONLY

For your next special event, check out our special-order only gourmet cupcake flavors. Here’s one: The Grape Knee-High!

Grape-infused cake filled with grape-soda flavored cream filling. Topped with grape-infused meringue icing and a sugar grapevine garnish. This one is perfect for your favorite grape enthusiast.

With so many delicious flavors, you’ll be enjoying trying new flavors all spring!  Buy individually from the bakery rack, by the half-dozen assorted for $22.50 or a full dozen for $45. Special order flavors have a one dozen minimum per flavor.

Follow our Facebook page to see each day’s special gourmet cupcake feature. Comment and tell us your favorite spring flavors or what new flavors you want to see!

Shake Up St. Patty’s Day

Whether you are hosting a celebration, or spending a night out with friends, St. Patty’s Day is full of green, festive spirit. Combine healthier habits to your celebration with these three yummy, green smoothie recipes.

Celebrate St. Patty’s day (or nurse your St. Patty’s Day hangover) and celebrate your health!

GOOD LUCK GREEN SMOOTHIE

Start your lucky day with this nutrient packed smoothie. If you are looking for a starter smoothie, look no further. Mild tasting spinach combined with tropical fruit flavors is a win (even the kiddos will love).

Ingredients

2 Cups of Spinach

2 Cups water

1 Cup Mango

I cup Pineapple

2 Bananas (frozen will help chill smoothie)

Instructions

  1. Premeasure the 2 cups of leafy green spinach (tightly packed) then toss in blender.
  2. Blend together with 2 cups of water until all chunks of the leaves are gone.
  3. Add fruits (mango, pineapple, and bananas) and continue to blend until smooth.
  4. Pour into your cup and enjoy!

FUN FACT: The first St. Patrick’s Day celebration in America was held in 1737 in Boston, MA.

HONEY DEW MINT SMOOTHIE

Refresh with a light and fruity smoothie that tickles the sweet tooth.

Ingredients

½ honeydew melon, cut into chunks (about 4 cups)

½ cup light coconut milk

1 -2 leaves fresh min (set aside more for garnish)

½ – 1tsp. fresh lime juice (to taste)

1 cup of ice

Drizzle of honey or coconut nectar, to taste

Instructions

  1. Cut up the melon, remove seeds and outer rind. Slice into chunks.
  2. Add melon chunks, coconut milk, lime, and ice. Blend until smooth.
  3. Taste test, ad add sweetness with honey or your choice of sweetener.
  4. Garnish with mint or fresh melon slice and serve!

FUN FACT: Your odds of finding a four-leaf clover are 1 in 10,000.

SHAMROCK SHAKE

Ingredients

1 ½ oz curly kale – stemmed

1 apple – chopped

1 cup ice

1 banana – peeled

6 sprigs of mint – stemmed

1 cup water

Instructions

  1. Remove kale stems.
  2. Combine ingredients and blend until smooth.
  3. Garnish with mint leaf and serve!

FUN FACT: Shamrocks are the national flower of Ireland. Legend says that each leaf of the clover has a meaning: Hope, Faith, Love, and when there is a fourth leaf, Luck.

Pick a smoothie to try and share with your friends. Snap a photo and share on Instagram or Facebook.  Use hashtag #americandreamcakes so we can find your photos and reshare them on our accounts.

After all the yummy green smoothies, it is time to treat yourself with a yummy “Kiss me I’m Irish Cream” gourmet cupcake for your friends or office today.

Illusion Lace Feature

Lacy wedding gowns are not a new fashion trend, but it is one that’s taking the runway by storm. With an ultra-feminine appearance, illusion lace takes on new feels.

Tattoo Lace

The latest trend in lace is the illusion lace tattoo. Lace combined with sheer fabric give the appearance of a “lace tattoo.” Sleeves, a faux backless gown, or even a more risqué dress of the entire body can sport this unique wedding gown fashion. Sheer fabric and heavier lace give brides warmth for a cooler wedding season.  Wedding gown designers such as Ferretti, Dror, Lela Rose, and others feature the illusion lace trend. Lace patterns can range from flowers to vines.

A look for everyone

Illusion lace gives as much or as little coverage desired. Illusion lace is commonly seen in faux backless details.

Photo Credit: Martin Thornburg for Mon Cheri

 

This Martin Thornburg features illusion lace designs on the back and sleeves. A satin base with lace-appliqued tulle and illusion lace long sleeves completes an inspiring mermaid silhouette wedding gown.

Brides can also showcase this trend without exposing their back by choosing illusion lace sleeves.

Photo Credit: Stella York

This Stella York gown shows the beauty of laser cut lace combined with crepe to create a long-sleeved gown with tattoo lace sleeves.

Photo Credit: Martina Liana

This Martina Liana gown highlights similar long-sleeved lace details. This dress features a beautiful A-line tulle skirt and beaded floral lace appliques that further romanticize the gown.

Bridesmaids can wear it too

Illusion lace is not just for brides. Designers are creating more bridesmaid dresses with illusion lace too.

Image: morilee.com

Want more in boho styles?  Check out “Boho Themed Cake Trends” and “Favorite Boho Wedding Photos.”

Top 5 Filling Flavors to Love

A TASTEFUL WEDDING EXPERIENCE

Modern weddings focus on creating an experience for the entire guest list.

It’s important to remember the five senses when creating your wedding experience; sight, smell, touch, taste and sound. Your cake’s beautifiul design is a huge part of the visual experience.  The memorable flavors and decadent fillings you choose create a taste experience for your guests. Fillings help hold the tiers of your wedding cake together and add a range of flavors to your “tasteful” wedding experience!

WAYS TO CHOOSE YOUR FLAVOR

  • Choose cake flavors and fillings that you and your fiance both enjoy.
  • Consider the season of your wedding and the dinner menu. For example, a summer beach wedding may pair well with a citrus or tropical flavored wedding cake. Not only does it compliment the season, it unifies the wedding theme.
  • If you can’t decide on one, choose more! Each layer provides an opportunity to customize your wedding cake and express your love story.

ADC’S MOST POPULAR FILLINGS

We’ve been creating custom cakes for years and there are a few filling flavors that continue to be favorites. Here are some of our most popular filling choices:

  • Raspberry

Raspberries peak in June and are full of antioxidants and vitamin C. White almond or chocolate cake flavors are delicious pairing combonations.Try our Raspberry Dee-Light or Raspberry Chocolate-Fudge gourmet cupcakes for a taste of our rasberry filling.

  • Strawberry

Strawberries’ natural season is April though June. Antioxidants found in strawberries support heart health, and make an easy cake flavor duet. Yellow sponge, vanilla butter, strawberry sponge, and chocolate cake flavors pair well with a strawberry filling. Taste test our Strawberry Meringue, Strawberry on a Cloud, or Chocolate Covered Strawberry gourmet cupcakes to find your favorite.

  • Lemon

Lemon, full of cheer and Vitamin C, is a fitting citrus flavor for the summer wedding season. Pair it with cake flavors such as lemon chiffon, lemon sponge, or white sponge cake for a fresh, light flavor. Try our Fresh Coconut w/ Lemon, Limon, or Zesty Lemon Chiffon gourmet cupcakes.

  • Chocolate Fudge

Combine chocolate fudge filling and rich cake flavors to create a decadent dessert. Pair with cake flavors such as chocolate or strawberry for a romantic vibe.Try our Death by Chocolate, Cookies ‘n’ Cream, or Hurricane gourmet cupcakes.

  • Buttercream

Highlight your cake flavor and accent with buttercream filling. Take your flavors to the next level with the variety of infused buttercream filling options available.

Try our Butter Pecan (seasonal), Chocolate Twigg, or Island Rum gourmet cupcakes.

For more inspiration and ideas, view our gourmet cupcake combinations to explore the various filling combinations we offer.  You can also order a wedding cake and filling tasting kit to sample various combinations you favor.

Four Romantic Destination Ideas in Onslow County

Long-term love or just budding, a romantic destination without distractions is the cure for the cold weather blues. From an ocean front weekend getaway, delicious dinner, or an exploring adventure, Onslow County offers some unique romantic destinations.

Beachfront Getaway

Coastal areas tailored for tourists is an ideal area for a local getaway. During colder months, you can rent a beachfront room at reduced, off-season rates. Take advantage of cold weather discounts in sought after beach communities, such as Emerald Isle and Topsail Island. Pack your bags for an overnight or two-night stay.

Pack warm layers including headgear and gloves. This will keep you warm enough to enjoy an ocean front walk with your sweetheart.  Or you can stay indoors and snuggle.

Romantic Tip: Pack your favorite mugs and gourmet hot chocolate or your favorite adult beverage. Bundle up and get cozy while you sip on a toasty drink together.

Romantic Dinners

For your overnight stay or even just a night out, there are a few romantic dinner locations to visit within the area.

According to local Yelp reviews here are top-rated dinner locations in Jacksonville, NC :

  • Duck’s Grille and Bar
    Featuring traditional American and seafood selections along with a sports bar type environment, this restaurant may be ideal for a low-key romantic couple.
  • The Osprey Grill
    As one review describes, there is soft music with a clean, inviting atmosphere ideal for a date. Food selections include steak and seafood along with desserts.
  • Inlet 790
    Located inside the Villa Capriani, Inlet 790’s menu is full of North Carolina’s best seafood dishes. Indoor and outdoor dining options with views of the Atlantic Ocean.
  • Ocean’s Edge Restaurant and Event Center
    Year-round dinner service with panoramic ocean views. Four event spaces are available with a menu offering something for everyone. Special event planning is also available here.
  • White Oak River Bistro
    Located in Swansboro on the waterfront, this 144-seat restaurant t specializes in Italian cuisine.

For a romantic lunch date, try:

  • Barley Wine Café
    Featuring fresh dishes prepared and served with passion and care.  They’re open 8am-2pm M-F and for brunch on Sundays from 9am-2pm.

Things to Do Together

Not enough time for a weekend away, but you are seeking something outside of a romantic dinner date? Here are some creative suggestions for you.

  • Couple’s Massage
    There is very little else that says I love you like a relaxing hour spent getting massages together. Massages help you release past and future concerns. It connects you with the present moment. This allows you both to be in the present moment. Massages help release many feel-good hormones that build feelings of intimacy and affection for you and your significant other.
  • Visit Historic Sites
    Romance can be spending quality time with someone you care about and sharing an interest. Surrounded by rich military and cultural history, there are several historical sites and museums in this area to explore and learn. For example, Swansboro offers a Civil War History walking tour or walk through Lejeune Memorial Gardens.

In the end, romance is simply sharing the love you have for each other and spending quality time together.

Here’s an article about personalizing your romantic evening that can help you add a special touch to your plans.