Cupcakes Revival and Boob Exams – Cop A Feel!

cute cupcake face - coco cake land

Winkety wink! G’day mate! (with a paper watermelon mouth.)

dairy queen soft serve cone

Cheers, cheers and more cheers! It’s been a week and a half since my last chemo. That barfy nausea inducing all-over-body hell is over. I hope forever. In a way, it’s been so surreal, these past six months. A young woman with breast cancer – it still doesn’t feel like me. I have the physical scars, I have the taste memories, the fear… but my optimism shines on. Life! It feels at my fingertips again, to enjoy, create and explore.

pink rosette cupcakes - coco cake land

Kind of in love with cupcakes again. The sheer simplicity, cuteness and just plain yumminess of a bite of cake with a creamy sugar sweet frosting; the texture crunch of some sprinkles or burst of juice from a fresh vibrant berry. I was so sick of making cupcakes for so long … I think the world wanted to barf thinking about cupcakes too – so twee, so girly, so overexposed. But… I think just the simplest of cupcakes ever might be where it’s at – a perfect rosette and a colourful liner, or a modest swirl and minimal decoration.

pink furry cupcakes with raspberries - coco cake land

Sarah from Buddy and Bear sent me a bunch of the cutest kids plates and egg cups – look at that little smiling bear buddy above! I think Sarah and I share a love of the same aesthetic – I’ll call it “kawaii minimalist”… hehe! Teddy’s been enjoying his hard boiled eggs poking out of his bear egg cup. Um, we’ve also done “milk shots” using them… ^__^

super cute ice cream sundae - coco cake land

Sundae, bloody sundae! Everything tastes better in cute little containers – this I believe! I am going to be sad when my stockpile of Poppytalk for Target ice cream cups are finally gone. But, my new anti-hoarder mentality says – enjoy and use it up, or give it away!

bakedown cakery chocolate gems

More amazing mail – my new pal from Australia, Jen of Bakedown Cakery, sent me a big old box of treats in the mail! It turned up just as I was a few days post-chemo, lying in bed feeling super gross. I opened up the box to find a whole bunch of chocolate (I’ve never had Tim Tams before!! Life changer!) and these handmade chocolate gems she made from her chocolate shop. Cute enough for ya!??

oreo ice cream sandwich eyes!

I posted this photo on my Instagram the other day. Number one: I was craving an Oreo ice cream sandwich, haha. Number two: my 6 month cancer diagnosis “anniversary” was coming up and I felt the need to share the story of how I found my tumour. It was so innocuous and possibly-nothing that I could’ve left it unchecked. But I didn’t. And they found cancer. So as I noted on my post – COP A FEEL! Give yourself a breast exam and don’t ignore anything that feels a bit weird. The Oreo ice cream sammies kind of look like creepy Owl eyes or burnt boobs. Oops. But still, I hope I got my point across.

pink rosette cupcakes - coco cake land

Cupcake diamonds! I can’t get enough of cupcake diamonds! The pretty pink rosette cupcakes I made for my niece’s 6th birthday.

lighthouse park - west vancouver bc

My sweet boo. A sunny day at Lighthouse Park a few weeks ago.

lighthouse park - west vancouver bc

Turban in the wild! I must admit I am getting pretty tired of having no hair. My patience is wearing thin but there’s nothing I can do about it… except scrutinize my hair every day in the mirror to check on its growth! Right now I’m feeling a little like Ripley in Alien (although not even quite there yet!)… I keep looking back at older pictures of myself (like 5 months ago pictures!) and being jealous of my own long hair. Sad!! I have a wicked long break before my radiation starts closer to the end of August! So I am a happy chappy about this. I plan on maxing out summer, plus Teddy’s 3rd birthday is coming up in August so I may go loose cannon wild on it.

dinosaur video at science world

And Teddy getting up close and personal with a large scale video of dinosaurs – that T-rex burst into the frame. I would’ve crapped my pants but Teddy stood and stared… Feeling blessed and beyond happy I am finished with chemo. FOREVER FOREVER I hope! I feel like my life’s been handed back to me – I can plan trips and fun thing without worrying about feeling like a chemically poisoned dead fish… Hooray! Here’s to the rest of summer. Hoping you all are enjoying it so far! xo Lyndsay 

Seniors Are Cool: Shako Club + Mini Cupcakes Decorating Workshop

flower topper mini cupcakes - coco cake land

I had such a fun time a few weeks ago teaching my very first (!) mini cupcakes baking and decorating workshop ever as part of my incredible artist friend Cindy Mochizuki‘s “Shako Club” project. I’ve been asked several times over the years to do decorating workshops or classes but it never felt right. But I was honoured to be invited to teach some cool senior ladies in a relaxed setting. Luckily the delightful Japanese Canadian seniors I worked with didn’t give a damn that cupcakes are so 2002 – it tickled my heart to watch them get super excited about piping tips and edible flowers, proudly plating their mini sweets and posing for photos. These cool ladies are creating 60 custom bento boxes based on lucky participants’ answers to a questionnaire – each box personalized, an edible gift of community, tiny food art and collaboration. Pretty special.

japanese seniors making cupcakes

Shako Club has an amazing little blog that documents the weekly goings-on in their humble little kitchen. The Shako Club members are a mix of widows, ex-caterers, sweet and artful, kindly old women – each with so much food memory in their fingers. I love the idea of decades of food making and creating, that history and experience, going into the edibles of each bento. I can’t wait to get my bento box in a few weeks!

flower topper mini cupcakes - coco cake land

mini cupcake decorating workshop

Me, looking like a Charlie Chaplin eyebrowed proud overlord in tied scarf, with the lovely ladies and their sweets. Thank you Grunt Gallery, Cindy and Shako Club for hosting me – it made me feel creative, useful and like a funny little cake “expert” – a wonderful energy and spirit boost! xo Lyndsay

Cheery Cherry Rainbow Cake Dreams

cherry rainbow cake  - coco cake land

cherry topped pink buttercream cake - coco cake land

I made this sour cherry topped rainbow cake yesterday. Just for the hell of it. Just to bake, to make something pretty, to exercise my frosting arm. Our lovely neighbors’ tree was filled with these bright, sweetly sour cherry bombs – I love it when fruit just bursts from a tree all of a sudden, speckled like shimmery red polka dots. The last time I baked a whole cake was way back in January, for my mom’s 70th birthday high tea party. The day before my mom’s big party, my family doctor phoned me, her voice hushed and strained with concern. She had called to tell me the results of the biopsy on the “weird growth” that had shown up on an ultrasound of my right breast. My worst fears were confirmed: it was “C.” Cancer. Me!! Breast cancer. I tried to remain calm as she told me the specific type of cancer it was and how she had made me an appointment with a surgeon. I scribbled down what she was telling me, but my body was in shock. I could hear Teddy playing in the other room. As soon as I heard him, the tears welled up and gushed out. I had breast cancer. I might die. I might have to leave my child. Teddy could be motherless. I had no idea what was going on in my body.

bright red sour cherries - coco cake land

It’s been almost 6 months now and my body has been through so much. IVF to save my eggs for hopefully future babies. The passing of my beloved grandma, the coolest old lady in town, who I miss very much. Surgery to remove a portion of my right breast (I call it a mini boob now – a mini version of my left boob. The little sister.) The loss of my lovely black hair. Chemo, which I hate so much and gives me great anxiety. And on many days, the loss of my self esteem, my energy and my creativity.

cherry topped pink buttercream cake - coco cake land

The first half of 2015? It’s had some shitty times, let’s just say! I’ve had horrible days of deep depression, confusion and frustration with my body, my brain. But through all the yucky stuff, there’s been plenty of good stuff. It’s the stuff I look for daily, the stuff I treasure and keep in my heart. For instance: I am pretty good at tying a big old scarf on my head. I am medium-ok (not really) at drawing on Charlie Chaplin style cartoon eyebrows. I have experienced soooo much goodness and kindness and incredible gestures from so many people, whether it’s been meals made for my family, big and little cheer-me-up gifts in the mail, hats knit with love, thoughtful messages, letters and so many offers of help. Presents for Teddy, snacks left at the door. Even Miffy spam musubi! Such an enormous amount of love and dammnit, I feel blessed. I am sooo in a deep treasuring state for all of my friends and family. For the new friends I’ve made, people who have reached out. For my friends all over the world who I’ve met through this blog and my Instagram. Other good things: my husband graduating from medical school! And Teddy practicing all of his “bad words” is pretty amusing too. Penis, pennis, bagina, poo, pee, diarrhea – the songs and giggles are endless. What can I do? Some days he tells me to put on my hair (my wig). Other times he tells me to take my wig off so he can see my “egghead.” All I can do is laugh.

pink cherry cake cuteness - coco cake land

I have one more chemo to go, on June 30th. Just seeing the words chemo makes me sick to my stomach. I can’t wait until it’s over. I’m ready to freak out for when it’s all done. Then I have a long-ish break before radiation starts in late August – so this Chinese bald eagle is gonna FLY! Not really. I’m going to hang out in my backyard and eat homemade snowcones and tons of snacks and read magazines and watch Teddy frolic around his kiddie swimming pool. Heck, I might even dunk my bald head in there if he hasn’t peed in the pool.

slice of cherry rainbow cuteness - coco cake land

cherry rainbow cake overhead - coco cake land

perfectly pink slice of cherry topped cake - coco cake land

slices of rainbow cake - coco cake land

rainbow cake insides

half a rainbow cake - coco cake land

half of a rainbow cake - coco cake land

This cake! Baking this cake gave me hope. I saw my cakey future again. To have ideas, and energy, and excitement again to work and create, to work on my cake book… to take my son to preschool, to run around with him without getting so tired. To cook, to celebrate, to hang out with friends, to travel, to go on a nice mini trip with my husband who has been so incredible throughout this… to see my hair grow back and not feel so low self-esteemy. This happy chappy pink cherry topped rainbow cake is my little beacon of hope on the horizon, that my life will be coming back to me. I can’t wait. Hoping you all get to do something fun this weekend – here’s to the second half of 2015 tearing the first half a new one! And thank you as always for reading! xo Lyndsay 

Sweet + Easy: Strawberry Buttermilk Popsicles Recipe

strawberry buttermilk popsicles recipe - coco cake land

strawberry buttermilk popsicle recipe - coco cake land

How many photographs of pretty pink strawberry buttermilk popsicles does one post need? Heh heh. I feel proud of my photos in this post – because these light and bright babies are the first photos I’ve taken in months with my fancy camera. I’ve been lazy cancer iPhone-ing it and my poor camera has been sitting there, like baby in a corner. My hands were shaky for real (damn chemo!) and for styling, I pretty much just lightly sprinkled some things down on my white table, pretty summer morning light streaming in through my sheer white curtains and I snap snap snapped. These popsicles are so sweet alone from local strawberries and tangy from the buttermilk and yogurt – summer in a chilly bite!

easy strawberry popsicle recipe

The freezer is full of strawberries from local summer berry picking and the sun’s been beating down. I’ve been feeling like eating very cold things – crisp, sweet cubes of cold-from-the-fridge watermelon, mostly – so popsicles felt like the right thing to do! These are so painfully easy – making popsicles is like making smoothies – take what you want, blend the ingredients and pour into molds – then you’re done like frozen dinner.

strawberry buttermilk popsicle recipe - coco cake land

Strawberry Buttermilk Popsicles

10 popsicles

For The Popsicles

  • 1 pound of washed and hulled strawberries, preferably local summer fruit
  • 1 cup of buttermilk
  • ½ cup full fat Greek vanilla yogurt
  • ½ cup sweetened condensed milk
  • pinch of salt

Make It!

1. In a medium bowl, blend all of the ingredients together using an immersion blender. (Or, use a conventional blender!)

2. Pour mixture into a spouted liquid measuring cup.

3. Using the spouted measuring cup, carefully pour the popsicle mixture into your popsicle mold.

4. Freeze for a minimum of four hours or overnight until firm.

5. To remove pops from mold, run the popsicles under very warm water for 15-20 seconds to dislodge.

strawberry buttermilk popsicle recipe - coco cake land

strawberry buttermilk popsicle recipe - coco cake land

pink flower and popsicle stick!

PS – any berry is interchangeable in this recipe! Blackberries or raspberries would be perfect too!

Summer pops! More popsicles recipes on Coco Cake Land:

Milky Vietnamese Coffee Popsicles. These ones are ridicks delicious.

Farmer’s Market (aren’t I cool?) red currant tart and tangy popsicles! 

And if you’re feeling wacky tobacky - earl grey milky tea popsicles with grass jelly!

Also: this is not popsicle related but WATERMELON CARVINGS! Maybe I need to put “make a watermelon carving” on my summer bucket list.

Happy popsicle making, my friends! xo Lyndsay 

Sugar Crush: Molly Yeh!

citrus confetti cake molly yeh interview

When I think of Molly of My Name Is Yeh, I think of this song by Ex Hex, for its whimsy, guitar sounds, fun party lady times. Like a party with Molly would just turn out like this – chuckles galore, gorging on food, deviled eggs, cake, cocktails, sweet guitar vibes and crushing on life. Molly World!! As with many of us old timer bloggers, Molly has been around these interweb parts before, blogging since 2009 in fact…

courtesan au chocolat by molly yeh

But there is a reason Molly has stuck around, and become a huge part of the food blogosphere as we know it today –  Molly is HEE-larious, her personality is infectious, her photographs are bonkbonks and she is an all around treasure trove of coolness and cuteness. She is like a dreamcatcher, ladling up delightful snacks and new friendships and blasting out delicious, off-kilter recipes in her sweet sweet spell. As I wrote about her before, which I still profess to now: “Molly brightens the internet like a half Chinese half Jewish, percussion-playing gorgeous firecracker blasting through the milky way!” Truth.

mousse moose cake molly yeh

Molly’s marzipan moose mousse cake. Hehe!

molly-yeh-interview-11

Love this sparkly gal so much I even got to make a PIE for her wedding.

courtesan au chocolat by molly yeh

(Also, last year, Molly, Renee and I triple teamed up to make courtesan au chocolat, a la Grand Budapest Hotel … it was FUN!)

molly-yeh-interview-10

And here is Molly and Nick, cutting into the eggiest cake that could ever be at their wedding last year. So here you go: I’m sugar crushing on my buddy today – Molly Yeh! Go Yeh Go! (say that five times fast)… 

Molly! Using your favourite ingredients, walk us through making us a cake from start to finish! 

I have a very particular order to things when I make a cake. Very particular. Dry ingredients always come first, that way you can reuse the measuring cups without washing and drying them. And the retired mathlete in me always tries to find a common denominator in my measurements, like do I need 3/4 cup of sugar and 1 1/2 cups of flour? Great, I can get away with only dirtying up the 1/4 cup. Once I have my dry ingredients mixed together, then I mix the wet ingredients in this order: eggs, extracts, oil, other add-ins like nut butters or tahini, milk, and then if it’s a chocolate cake (hopefully it’s a chocolate cake), boiling water. Eggs come first because that way if something unexpected happens like there’s a double yolk or there’s some blood in it or if I get a shit ton of eggshell in the bowl, it’s easier to fix, whereas if I cracked an egg into a whole bowl of batter, it would be a great deal harder to fix. After eggs come extract, if I’m feeling nostalgic it’s clear imitation vanilla, and then hopefully a bit of almond as well. I love almond. Oil comes next, and I try to think ahead so that if I need to measure out peanut butter or some other sticky substance like molasses or honey, I can use the same measuring cup because whatever oil is left in the measuring cup will help the sticky stuff slide right out. And then dairy, usually buttermilk. Whisk up the wet ingredients, add it to the dry ingredients, whisk in the boiling water, pour it into cake pans, and bake! When those are done and cooled, I level them, freeze them, and then hopefully by then I have some sort of idea in mind for how I’ll decorate them. Marzipan shapes are my go-to. And sprinkles! Of course. Many many sprinkles.

sprinkles cake molly yeh

Using your least favourite ingredients, walk us through making us a cake from start to finish!

First I put a gas mask on so that I don’t have to smell any of this. I mash up bananas, add mushrooms, decorate it with olives and then ship it off to anyone that I have beef with at the moment. My second to last Uber driver! I’d send it to him.

molly yeh cake

You’re basically (and well-deservedly!!) the It Girl of the blog world – cute, stylish, aspirational, creative, hyper-talented and hilarious – What has been your greatest bloggy related accomplishment, small or big? 

If no one read my blog, and if I didn’t make one cent off of it, I would still do it. And being able to say that about my job is what I consider to be my greatest accomplishment.

strawberry hi hat cupcakes

You have a beautifully minimalist modern meets casual country vibe to your photos – what are some of your favourite photography, lighting or styling tips? 

Wait til a storm’s a comin, and then snap away. “Deliciously cloudy,” I call it.

snail cake molly yeh

What are your top three favourite songs or albums, and why? 

I wasn’t a complete person until I heard Sufjan’s latest album. I’m not a lyrics person, I just let his sounds wash over me like a hot sauna. Son Lux and Punch Brothers and Lorde’s music tend to get into my bones like that too.

painted striped cake molly yeh

Your favourite piece of music?

Mahler 2 and Philip Glass’ Satyagraha. Oh! And Schönberg’s Verklärte Nacht. And if you don’t know them, listen to them in that order. Get a little bit drunk for Satyagraha.

What are you favourite movies? 

The Back to the Future trilogy.

cute smile molly yeh interview

Do you ever wish you still lived in NYC? Do you see a greater movement of people returning to slower, rootsier lifestyles? 

NO. I wish I still had access to Breads Bakery and Hummus Place and all that pizza and my friends and the music scene. But no, day to day life, having to use that subway system, living in an apartment with a small kitchen, I do not miss that.

confetti cake molly yeh interview

How do you deal with blogger burn-out?  Sometimes it feels so rat-racey to me … like I can’t bear to look at another DIY or recipe and it’s rare to find a new blog (food or otherwise) that isn’t trying to be a template of one that already exists … food styling, recipes, everything’s repeating itself – who do you find to be innovative, or fresh, funny or interesting to read these days? 

There are two points where I get stuck most often in the blogging process: the photo styling and the writing. Styling is challenging for me because while I love looking at photos that use beautiful props and effortlessly scattered ingredients, every time I go to do it myself, the logical part of me (which is a big part of me) is like, no, none of this makes sense. So that really results in a minimalistic vibe, but that can feel too minimalistic to me at times, so when that happens I’ll just like stare at Cynthia and Linda Lomelino‘s photos and even try to replicate their styling as an exercise. Once Cynthia and I did a shoot together and I couldn’t believe the styling magic that she was doing before my very eyes. When I hit a writing rut, my first line of defense is usually to go read Nico Muhly’s blog. He doesn’t write often enough, I guess he’s busy writing operas, but his use of the English language makes things like the entryway in a Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse in Indiana sound fascinating. I want to make the entryway in a Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse in Indiana sound fascinating. Other people I love are Graham Blackall, Josh Scherer, and this new-to-me blogger called Beau (Probably Baking). They say it like it is and they’re not a-holes! It’s great.

marzipan cake molly yeh

What are some of your favourite cookbooks, and why?

Jerusalem and Janna Gur’s Book of New Israeli Cuisine because I could eat Israeli food every single day, three meals a day, if I had the produce for it. Rose Bakery’s Breakfast, Lunch, and Tea has the photography that got me into food photography. A stack of my mother in law’s church cookbooks has taught me so much about my new home. And then Food52 Genius Recipes is exactly genius. And Tara O’Brady’s book… heavens, her photography takes no prisoners. You’re gonna have to stop me because I could go on and on about this, I have a large stack of cookbooks that I sit with on the couch and cuddle with on a regular basis, I’m still working my way through.

strawberry hi hat cupcakes molly yeh

What would be your last meal on Earth? 

Mac and cheese.

Any last words of inspiration for the readers out there??

“When life gives you lemons, squeeze them on a schnitzel!”

Go Yeh Go! This should be a tshirt, I believe. Thanks so much Molly! Check out more of Molly’s wonderful insanity over at My Name Is Yeh, or glomp onto her Instagram feed, because everyone is possibly painfully addicted to Instagram!

Sungday Morning

ice cream sandwich ice cream cone party!

These sunshiney ice cream treats look like toys to me! Nope, they’re 100% real and I ate them all. Muffin top is like a voracious amoeba and must smorgasbord on treats when feeling like it. Because blogging on a Sunday is blogging on a Sunday. Because the blog rules don’t apply to me anymore because I am a bald eagled Vietnamese pot bellied pig head who finally air guitared to the Ramones with her son this morning. Saturday morning I woke up without the immediate barfs, the chemical metallic taste almost faded from my mouth. The sun streaked into our kitchen, a breeze blew through the room, the morning was lit with hope and Cheerios with almond milk and banana slices. Hey ho! Let’s go! We followed up our morning rocking out with a gentle walk around the neighborhood. We admired trees and flowers. We talked about gardening and fences in the sun. I was timid, I was scared. I didn’t want the chemo gods to think I was getting greedy with my day. But so far it’s worked out ok. I have one more chemo to go at the end of the month.

green manicure

On Monday I thought I was cool as all heck with my modern, muted green manicure colour – D’OH! Same colour as the chemo chairs. Just looking at this photo makes me feel ill. I think the word chemo will forever make me shudder.

chocolate donuts banquet atelier tea towel

I was so pleased with myself with these donuts. Because … I didn’t make them! I’ve been getting way more into styling for the fun of styling lately with my zero percent energy to do much in the way of baking. One of my favourite things is to style and photograph the baked goods after creating … so my new jam is BUYING stuff and making it look how I want it to! These glistening chocolate glazed donuts I bought from an uber popular chain store around the corner from my house. I think the donuts were 90 cents… I styled them with sprinkles and jibby jabby things around the house and they became MINE. Not the freshest donuts, I must add – but not horrible to eat for less than a buck… yes of course I ate them… I’m no fool…

mint green ice cream cone on pink wall

CONEHEAD! I am cheers-ing the world in this picture. Cheers, world!

pink malt ball topped vanilla cupcake

And then I did bake! (a few weeks ago, in between chemo rounds)… I made these furry buttercream vanilla cupcakes for a new friend. I feel like I want to bake a million cakes for all of the beautiful and kind people who have come out of the wordwork. It’s incredible the friendships that can form out of shitty times. Forever grateful for all of the kindness in my life.

pink sprinkled homer simpson style donut

Two takes on national donut day (those crafty donut purveyors, coming up with their own day and hashtag! National Beef Tendon Day is not quite so popular). Homer Simpson donut above, because don’t have a cow man. And Katherine Sabbath style drippy meringue donut below!

katherine sabbath style donut with meringues

Color blast! I love those crispy freeze dried raspberries. So textural and tangy and flavourful.

crushed colourful meringue kisses

A pretty mess of meringues! Learn how to make these swiss meringue kisses! They really are like eating wispy clouds of crispy marshmallows.

spam with cheese

I do, I do – I do love SPAM. My amazing friend Steph gifted me this can of Spam with CHEESE, no less! Oh fried Spam. I’m getting disturbingly good at caramelizing brown sugar/soy sauce with the fat of Spam into a crisp sugary crust of porky deliciousness… how are Spam slices, fried, so much like meat pillows? There is a lightness, almost like it’s whipped, in the fatness – it’s so confounding. Gad it’s gross when it slides out of its can though. It does resemble dog food. BUT… quickly scuttle past that realization and FRY IT UP and you won’t regret it. Better than bacon. Last year I wrote about how to make spam musubi – I know, I’m a weirdo. Fried Spam with rice and soft boiled egg was the first thing I felt like eating out of my latest chemo fog. Chemo screws up your tastebuds – every thing tastes SERIOUSLY GROSS and sweet and sickly… and all of a sudden you’re craving salty pork from a can … Hehe. Happy Sunday, my friends – hoping you are well! xo Lyndsay 

Berry Good Summer Times – Strawberry Picking Vancouver

strawberry ice cream cone

red strawberry upick

Growing up pretty urban-y in Vancouver, I don’t ever remember going to pick strawberries in the summer! (MOM!?? Wuh happened!?) It could have also been because my dad worked in the produce industry selling fruits and vegetables all day long – so our house was always a cornucopia of fresh fruit through the seasons and the last thing my dad probably felt like doing was adding MORE fruit to his days?? Rich and I finally added berry picking to our lives over the last few years, first when discovering hordes of blackberry bushes through the Vancouver Gulf Islands on past sailing trips, glistening berries like dark caviar which we’d pack carefully into tupperware and turn into blackberry pancakes or even blackberry pie, made in a tiny sailboat galley! I was so proud of my buttery crust made by (floury goop covered) hand, rolled out with a wine bottle and messily pressed into a aluminum pie pan I found at an island provision store. No temperature dials on the mini galley oven either – just a single flame and a slow watchful eye, bobbing at anchor.

basket of local strawberries upick vancouver

Just outside of Vancouver lies a heaven of strawberry patches for big and little hands to pluck away at! Sometimes it’s serious business, women in straw hats pulling wagons packed to the brim with bright, perfectly ripe berries – jars of winter jam await, and pies galore. We did a double whammy of strawberry picking Vancouver this past weekend – I was determined to powerblast summer while I could – what if I missed strawberry season because of stupid old chemo making me feel like a grey potato??? Never!!

two little boys picking strawberries

We first headed out to Langley to Krause Berry Farms, meeting up with my good pal Becky and her two freaking adorable kiddos. Teddy and Mo crouching low to pick berries… Krause Berry is super fun for “the whole family” as they say – a sandy play pit with toys and a giant play tractor with slides, plus they have a takeout stand featuring strawberry milkshakes, pie and baked goods, a huge market full of bakery items, ice cream buckets to go and anything strawberry you can think of. Wear sunscreen and a hat! It’s MEGA hot. We picked with the kids for about 20 minutes Then off to get milkshakes… Teddy kept picking the green ones or “tasting” them as he went … our basket was a scattering of half-bitten berries.. oops. Krause Berry Farms is about 45 minutes from Vancouver but it’s a fun destination for sure! It would be a cute place to go on a first date, hint hint, to anyone who’s looking to charm a future boyfriend or girlfriend! ^__^ Then you can bring the berries home and make a pie together! This would be a great test of compatibility, don’t you think?

emma lea farms strawberries upick

On Saturday we met up with another good friend Tara and her daughters and went to Emma Lea Farms- a lovely, more mellow joint out in the cutest town of Ladner, which doggoneit – was not very far from Vancouver – we zipped along the freeway and arrived in just over 20 minutes! So a closer strawberry picking drive if you happen to live in Vancouver. Emma Lea was so cute too, they have a mini playground and a sandpit for the kiddos, plus SOFT SERVE ICE CREAM which is a crucial purchase for a conehead like me. I topped mine with a mini strawberry… ha.

soft serve ice cream emma lea farms

emma lea farms

Here’s Teddy doing some “picking” of his own. Oops. I can’t get him to stop picking his nose for the life of me so I just let it be. Hopefully he’s not still picking his nose in college.

strawberry sundaes

Our freezer is loaded! I think I will make jam, scones, ice cream, popsicles … ! Strawberry picking Vancouver 2015! Inspiration Nook had a “summer food bucket list” idea which I thought was way more do-able than listing off a lifetime bucket list. Strawberry picking was on my summer bucket list. Still oodles of berries to be picked – do it! What is on your summer bucket list? xo Lyndsay 

Sungshine: It Was A Good Week

pretty pink donuts

How many puns can I make on my own name? If you have your own blog, I say why the hell not. But yes – it was a good week. It was my goal to feel healthy and energetic for this past week – a very special week because my husband graduated from medical school! Holy shnikey. It feels so surreal that he is a certified MD. Prescription pads flying, meds for everyone! Er… not quite. My poor husband has had a crash course in fertility preservation, breast cancer treatment and chemo these past four months… while still managing to power-study and pass his exams with flying colours (plus… taking care of me, and our son). I am so insanely proud of him. Here we are right after his graduation:

UBC med school graduation

My sweet friend Sunja Link, a fashion designer and cool mama, made me the black linen head scarf. I must admit I get a lot of looks wearing the head scarves because I like them piled high and dramatic – they feel less cancer-y to me this way. Sikh men double take with mild confusion, and others think: religious garb? Fashion turban? Rastafarian? Ballsy fashionista? Or… ohhhhh…. chemo! Look away! Look away!

mini doogie howser

COMEDY! Rich dressed Teddy up in his graduation cap and gown. The tiniest half Chinese Doogie Howser MD.

med ball UBC couple

On his graduation night, there was his med school ball – kind of like a teen prom. We were definitely the oldest people there. My sister helped me go shopping for my week of events, and I am super into this silk polka dot top/lacey skirt/black wedge look… plus… I wore my wig!! At the last minute I decided to throw ‘er on. I ripped open the wig box, flung it out of it’s netting and pulled it on my head. I figured, if drag queens can work a tight itchy wig, fancy dresses and high heels AND sing, dance and perform under hot lights, this lil breast cancer patient could give it a try too!! After a while I was used to wearing it, and I looked and felt so much like my old self – how I remember myself looking – that I felt great. Incognito, comfortable in myself, happy – pretty, even. Walking in to the med ball was like Andie and Duckie walking into the prom at the end of Pretty In Pink. Awkward as hell… late 30s oldies amongst the teen excitement vibe of young party animals … but we eased into it… and ended up having a great time!

sala thai restaurant vancouver

We also celebrated with a dinner party at our fave Thai restaurant in Vancouver! Gotta love it when your kid only eats a bowl of coconut rice and a tall cool glass of milky.

whistle and flute tshirt

Ice cream guy! This little trooper. My heart and soul. He loves ice cream as much as I do.

hand drawn cartoon menu

Teddy and I have really been getting into playing “restaurant!” I drew two menus and I am pretty stoked on them. Drawing was all I did when I was a kid… so it was fun to doodle and colour some menu snacks… and charge 1980s era prices… I’m thinking of drawing up some cute images and printing them on kiddo tshirts to sell in my online shop! Why the heck not.

angel dear owl blanket

Owlie in the wild … Teddy’s favourite security blanket thingie came with us on a nature walk in Lynn Valley…

dad and son lynn valley hike

Teddy’s pretty huge for the hiking backpack yet he’s too little to go on his own just yet … so we mix it up, carry him for a bit and let him run around too… burning off his seemingly endless energy. It felt SO nice to get out into nature. I breathed the air deep into my lungs and took in all of the beauty.

liberty bakery vancouver cookie

I even got to go for tea with two good pals. Couldn’t resist this giant teal blue iced sugar cookie in a big old circle! So cute, from Liberty Bakery – a lovely, artful cafe here in Vancouver. Tomorrow I start my “new” chemo – after my last round, my oncologist decided to take me off of one of the demonic chemo drugs and try me on a new “cocktail.” So I’m starting six rounds, once a week, of a lower dosage of a different drug – fingers, toes and butt cheeks crossed that I get through it without too much pain! Can’t believe it’s almost June. Hoping to do some light camping and mini getaways this summer with my little family once this is all over! Thank you as always for the sweet support. Hope all my cake pals, blog friends and readers out there are doing well! And a special shout out to my mother-in-law for staying with us for two weeks during a particularly rough time. xo Lyndsay