NYC Cherry Bombe Jubilee 2017 Diary!!!

cherry bombe cupcake break

K. Get ready for an NYC blaster of Cherry Bombe Jubilee madness and goodness. It was the weekend of my life. Surrounded by incredible, inspiring, powerful and bad-to-the-ass-bone women, (also, many gorgeous women – Jubilee style was INSANE) … so many women in food whom I’ve admired and/or adored for years – truly amazing. I also got to reconnect with old pals, connect IN REAL LIFE with internet pals… sheesh, NYC! It was fun. So now I’m about to blast ya with photos. BLAST!

Pie Counter Brooklyn

I red-eyed overnight into NYC from Vancouver, so I could get there on Thursday morning. My plan was to keep things chill and not have an insane “list” of hotspots to chase down but to instead FOCUS ON FRIENDSHIP.

Emily Elsen

Like catching up with this beauty/cutie Emily!! Emily and I met over ten years ago, when I used to play music in bands and tour all over – we would stay at her house, “the Mansion” – an amazing old mansion in Crown Heights with suites on each floor and plenty of room for sprawling bands and into-the-night rangers. We’ve kept in touch all these years and seen each other grow and expand into food life – Emily and her sis Melissa are the bad ass sister duo behind Four and Twenty Blackbirds! 

Four And Twenty Blackbirds

The exterior of their first shop in Gowanus.

Melissa and Emily Elsen

Melissa and Emily in their working kitchen in Brooklyn! Emily gave me the full tour of the bustling kitchen, employees making fillings, huge bags of King Arthur flour, buckets brimming with sloshing yolks, smiling staff baking off pies and packaging individual slices, and crimp-master Rica, who was slamming through stacks of pie doughs, crimping a mile-a-minute!

Turmeric Tonic Custard Pie

Turmeric tonic custard pie – so delicious, citrusy and creamy – I’d never tasted anything like it and I loved it. They have a whole range of custard flavours like their beloved matcha, but also hojicha (roasted green tea), black sesame and this turmeric beauty. I also love their overall brand design so much.

Lyndsay Sung

Ok. It looks like I’m not wearing pants in this. I guess technically I’m not wearing pants, I’m wearing DRESS SHORTS. Cherry Bombe and Amazon Kitchen were hosting a special dinner at Sunday Suppers that evening and I got home pretty late from my Pie Journey of Natty Gann with dear Emily – I was staying with my good friends Amy and Stephen, but Amy wasn’t home yet, so I slammed on this outfit that I had only mentally put together not actually tried on … and asked Stephen to take a picture of me in it so I could see, of course! (YOU’VE DONE IT)… I wanted to try other things on but it was getting late. In the end I kinda felt like I was wearing my dad’s old oversize baggy t-shirt but I had to roll with it and ACCEPT my choice, haha. Pants Free Canada.

Sunday Suppers

I was solo-jamming it to the Sunday Suppers space (incidentally, a 3 minute walk from where I was staying! Yay!) because my pal and main “I don’t know anyone else” support was Molly, but Molly’s flight was delayed yet again… so I was nervous. But of course as soon as I entered the (incidentally, BEE-YOOTIFUL!!) space, anxiety melted away as I met so many amazing (and friendly!) women, including Kerry, Claudia, Allie and Donna of Cherry Bombe!

Sunday Suppers

So so pretty. Loved the mix of vintage flatware and touches of pink in everything.

Sunday Suppers

The kitchen! I admit it got pretty hot in herre Nelly style from the heat of the cooking, the gorgeous hot breath of the babes in the room, and probably my armpits alone but it was pretty much perfect. I got to sit beside Donna who is my Anne of Green Gables kindred spirit because HER DOG’S NAME IS TEDDY. AND MY CHILD’S NAME IS TEDDY. Also, she is funny and sweet and totally put me at ease.

Sunday Suppers

Amazon Kitchen! Carmen and Antonia (and another woman, sorry I’ve forgotten her name) were awesome and friendly. Plus any company who supports Cherry Bombe – me = fan.

smitten kitchen baby cakes

Oh just a light rosé cheers with my new friends Deb and Erin! But seriously they were both smart, funny and nice and we got into talking about babies real quick. Deb has this adorable, sort of airy way of speaking then she just crushes life with hilarious witty little zingers. Erin is strikingly pretty and full of jokes too (and pregnant with her third!). I was an immediate fan of these two.

Amazon Kitchen Dinner

Turmeric followed me around NYC and I am not complaining about that. I think I had some every day in one form or another!? That only just occurred to me. High five, turmeric. The food was so delicious, delicate and artfully presented – I was too busy chatting away to snap proper pics.

Sunday Suppers dinner

So pretty, so artful! Hand by Donna.

Beet ice cream

K I looooved this impossibly subtle (I just reminded myself of Francine Pascal there, “impossibly blonde”) flavour of roasted beet ice cream with pistachio, sunflower seed crumble and pink sea salt – I couldn’t get a good photo of it without getting too Asian-taking-pictures-of-food so I snapped a few unsatisfactory iPhone blasts and accepted my situation, hehe.

Donna Diana Yen

Killer sister style – Donna and Diana (of The Jewels Of New York)! Pretty sure Diana was wearing a lightly crushed velvet emeraldy-green dress – I was really feeling my oversized T-shirt vibe next to these fashion beauties!

beet ice cream

Not too sweet, with crucial crunch and perfect amount of salt.

Lyndsay Sung Kerry Diamond

Wow wow I love Kerry Diamond! Cool AF and she has been so supportive of me these past few years. Kerry, you don’t even know, my adulation is strong. (ok I just googled “adulation” to make sure that wasn’t some weird perverted word I didn’t know the exact meaning of…all good.) Also I was pronouncing turmeric wrong all weekend. Crikey!! Blame Canada.

Hummingbird High

Friday morning I met up with Michelle from Hummingbird High! We went deep-blogger-gossip (all on lockdown, of course) while I enjoyed my very first fried chicken and waffles experience at Pies n Thighs! We didn’t know what the little party ball on top of the waffles was, Michelle thought it might be a sausage – so I volunteered as tribute to try the thing, and it was not a meat product but in fact a BIG OLD BALL A BROWN BUTTAH. Cinnamon maple-y butter? 500 calories later… oops.

Pies n Thighs chicken waffles

After I ate this rather filling breakfast, I was off to meet another pal – my friend Judy, who I had never met, and knew online back in 2007 or something, when she had a teeny cupcake business and I had my teeny cake business. We kinda found each other again on Instagram and I started following her and based on her captions and pics I was like, “ok, this lady and I would definitely be friends in real life.” And I was right!

Saltie NYC sandwich shop

We met at this adorable nautical themed sandwich shop called Saltie. I was getting a real lady-power vibe from the place which I was obviously a fan of. The sandwich I had was pretty bonkers, chicken liver paté, ham, pickled vegetables and jalapeños and a whole lotta mayonnaise on house-baked focaccia – “EFFING DELICOUS” is what I have to say about that. I also got a Saltie sunrise, which was in fact good old turmeric and hibiscus party combo in a cup. My only complaint was the stools are these tiny uncomfortable squares of wood and the corners jammed into my butt and thighs in a not-so-comfy way – I know that restaurants want you to eat and vacate, but dang those stools were sizeist!

Judy eating ice cream

Ok back to JUDY. She was just as cool and nice as I imagined, and we had a blast dinking around for a few hours. She still bakes a little but she is a full time NICU nurse which I RESPECT. Imagine working with and helping all those teeny little babies?

Judy Lyndsay Milk Bar

Milk Bar was next door to Saltie and yes, the dream of 2006 is alive in New York because I really wanted to try the cereal milk soft serve that I’d read about for so many years. I ordered it with the salty cornflake crunch and it was $7. It was good, but kinda pricey in my Canadian opinion, and since I’d made it at home before I kinda preferred my homemade cereal milk ice cream, hehe. But fun to finally check out Milk Bar (except the cookies looked very sad in their individual packaging, it had a real 7-11 preservatives feel to it, I thought…) but still, I love Christina Tosi and this wicked empire she’s bricklayed!

Milk Bar Soft Serve

Classique vibes!! Soft serve shot!

Four Horsemen Brooklyn

Do you love a horrifically lit iPhone photo of what looks like unappealing food? Sorry … but the food in the pic was actually DELICIOUS … Warm freshly baked bread and thick smears of tangy cultured butter … omg. And thin, rich salty slices of prosciutto, enjoyed along with many other dishes at The Four Horsemen in Brooklyn. I don’t know shit about wine but my good friend Amy does, and so do the servers – it was cool to listen in on wines being savoury and stuff. My favourite dish might’ve been the dessert, which looked like a bowl of chopped up salmon poke but was actually a delicious ginger sherbet topped with orange granita, the ice cream was spicy and not too sweet and the granita on top made it so refreshing – (I obviously need a restaurant column, amirite? REFRESHING)… it was like the classiest Screamer possible.

Four Horsemen Brooklyn

Amy, Middle Part Sung, Christy (also from Vancouver but now living in NYC!)

cherry bombe jubilee

Then Saturday arrived!!! I had a terrible sleep because I was so nervous. Why?? Because I was speaking on a food blogger panel with a superstar group of women who I gotta admit, I felt a bit out of my league. Joy The Baker, Deb from Smitten Kitchen, Molly Yeh and Jocelyn Delk Adams of Grandbaby Cakes – all these ladies have had a lot of experience now, book tours, TV segments, interviews ‘n stuff … I imagined what my worst case scenario was, which was literally shitting my pants on stage – and I was pretty sure that wouldn’t happen. FINGERS CROSSED! I was riding in a cab to the Highline Hotel that morning, doing some mindful meditation type stuff to calm my nerves – and all of a sudden, JOURNEY came on the radio – not just any Journey song, but one of my 4 year old son Teddy’s favourites – Faithfully! I basked in the glory of that hilariously delightful rock ballad and felt it was a special message from home to tell me to “CALM DOWN, CHINESE PUMPKIN.”

Food bloggers unite

Then a few minutes after I showed up at this beautiful venue, I met up with Michelle, and Molly, after years of being online blog buddies – finally real life buddies!! We also hung out with Yossy, who is like strikingly gorgeous, BTW. If you want to feel like a plump garbage bag, sit next to beautiful and stylish Yossi for a bit!! (She is also so talented and nice!)

Julia Turshen Lyndsay Sung

Ok. Do you know who this is?? JULIA. Julia Turshen!! I am mild-to-medium in love with Julia and Grace, my FAVOURITE lady POWER COUPLE. What’s not to love?? They’re both so talented and caring, both tireless champions of women, activists in their own right, and so inspiring. So when I saw Julia walking up to the venue, I kinda yelled out “JULIA!!” in a very excited and non-chill way, I tried to reign it in but it was too late. Anyhow, all’s well that ends well, because THIS TWEET.

cherry bombe jubilee

cherry bombe jubilee 2017

The awesome crowd at Jubilee! I stayed for every panel and talk but all of my pictures look like this one – so I don’t have good visuals but I was truly moved, either emotionally, or into action, by the women who presented. I loved the ease in which Barbara Lynch and Kristen Kish possessed, their deep kinship so evident by their conversation – loved Barbara’s liberal usage of swear words and her hoarse smokey voice. I’m excited about her new book Out Of Line. So right after the interview, I was in an elevator with Kristen – she definitely radiates celebrity, obviously because she is one, but she’s also supermodel gorgeous – tall, willowy and with a very streamlined killer style – I thought about asking for a picture but she was in what seemed like a very stressed rush to get somewhere and was madly pushing the close door buttons – a flight, I assumed – soooo, anyway I was scared in the way that a beautiful celebrity can make a regular person feel scared, soooo not the best time to ask for a selfie!

Jubilee neon sign

Shakirah of Nourish | Resist was on a really great panel – A Recipe For Tomorrow: Food, Social Justice, Action – introduced by Krystal of Karma Pop and Blk // Sugar, pictured in the middle. I loved what Margarette Purvis said about inviting a woman to your table that might not normally have a seat at that table. I was also inspired by Erin of Ovenly, I didn’t know Ovenly was a social enterprise, 40% of their staff are ex-inmates or refugees/recent immigrants. I love this from Ovenly: “We plan to grow nationally, and we will do it progressively.” Proving you can have a successful, aesthetically pleasing, strong female-fronted business while also having giving back to the community and world as part of your business model. I’m also inspired by their strength and ambition and I can’t wait to see what’s next from them!

high line hotel NYC

Christine Muhkle interviewed Elisabeth Prueitt - Christine referred to the room as giving her “lady power vertigo” which I loved. They spoke about some of the sexist bullshit that just floats around like a turd in the food scene, particularly Liz being referred to as “Chad’s wife” in one interview, and the hilarity and astonishment that a column called “Working Mom” can even exist. Elisabeth runs a baking empire at this point and raises her 9 year old daughter, who has significant health challenges – I admire her greatly! Jessica B. Harris in conversation with Julia Turshen was really moving. I am so looking forward to digging in to High On The Hog. Jessica talked about how she never eats with someone she doesn’t like – kind of brilliant advice – and the treasuring of friendships – how so many of her friends are no longer here (including Maya Angelou). I was sitting amongst a gaggle of amazing food bloggers/friends and I gulped and couldn’t help but think of how much I love my friends and that yes, one by one, everyone would be leaving this Earth at some point. Home in Vancouver, I promptly invited some gals over for dinner with Jessica’s words in mind.

Brutus Bakeshop Lani

Snack break!! I was looking forward to this the whole day, even though my stomach was not being my friend due to nerves – I could barely eat, but I was not going to miss out on Brutus Bakeshop x Jam Stand’s ADORABLE cupcakes – I’m kinda obsessed with the gorgeous and super cool Lani from Brutus Bakeshop now. Her cake style is insane and I loved how she shared her brilliant stencil technique, one I had never seen before! (Plus she’s a mama too!)

cherry bombe smoothies

DIANA!! Love her creativity and style, and these lil smoothies by Jewels of New York x Anita’s Yogurt (PLEASE BRING YOUR BONKBONKS COCONUT YOGURT TO CANADA!) were the dang cutest.

cherry bombe cupcake break

So cute. My biggest food sadness of the day was missing Angela of Mission Chinese’s incredible looking salty soy milk, yogurt, boiled peanut, cucumber and wheat germ creation for breakfast. Also, Angela is also my new hero for this.

Lyndsay Joy Jocelyn

Was this a mirage? I walked into the green room and Joy was typing away at her laptop and I asked her “Let it be Sunday?” … Jocelyn and I got straight into talking babies (A THEME OF THIS JUBILEE WEEKEND?) and both Joy and Jocelyn were so open, funny and chill (also possibly very tired.) They are popular for a reason, because you feel this urgent need to befriend them!

kitchen crush food bloggers

Then this happened … it was our time to speak at Jubilee! Since I arrived on Thursday I was making sure to take in little moments of this experience. To savour and appreciate all that was happening, and to remember that two years ago at this time I was lying in bed with debauched buttsanity™, nausea and my hair coming out from chemo. And now I’m being group-hugged for a picture with all these wonderful powerhouse famous bloggers and Daphne Oz???

cherry bombe jubilee

My goal was not to physically soil my pants on stage and I achieved that goal. My sisters and mom and friends and husband just told me to BE YOURSELF when I told them I was so nervous about this panel … and I thought, yeah. It’s really all I can be. And in the end, the panel was REALLY FUN. I surprised myself with thinking it was fun talking in front of hundreds of people! The panel will be broadcast in the future on Radio Cherry Bombe – so stay tuned!

cherry bombe jubilee crowd

pineapple DC babes

After the panel I met some real nice women! Like these awesome gals from Pineapple DC! Other awesome women I met but didn’t get a snap with: SUSAN SPUNGEN, who I fangirled, but loved her down to earth/friendliness. Also, Yana Gilbuena, Filipina chef extraordinaire who is spreading the deep gospel of Filipino food through her Salo Series pop up dinners across the USA and beyond – loved her energy, bright smile and commitment!

jubilee neon sign

Me and Amy posing in front of the Jubilee neon!

Lyndsay Donna

Me and Donna posing in front of a dolly. Behind the scenes, y’all!!

Sex And The City House

We walked around in the sun after Jubilee was over – and just happened upon Carrie Bradshaw’s apartment … hehe. I went back to Amy’s apartment, we marvelled at all the good stuff in the gift bag, I had an old-fashioned prepared by Stephen … and I conked out into dreamland, ready for the next day at the Jubilee Marketplace!

Butler Bakeshop Brooklyn

Cheers, Brooklyn! I love the font and colour scheme of Butler Bakeshop, I immediately thought of Flashdance. 

Lyndsay Amy

You totally want a Four and Twenty Blackbirds tote now, don’t you?? It was sooo fun getting to catch up with Amy. We have a long history of friendship, from being in an all-female fantasy new wave band together, to worshipping Siouxsie Sioux, to many art and film projects… and both being bridesmaids in each other’s weddings… I love you Burgertime!

Hot Bread Kitchen

Jubilee Marketplace! Hot Bread Kitchen‘s mega loaf tribute!

Jubilee Marketplace

Cutest little polka dot tea towels (I got one of each) at Dimes.

Bakers Gonna Bake sweatshirt

I met a new friend, Leanne, at the Miss Jones Bakes stand! I wasn’t sure if getting a sweatshirt that called myself a babe was lite-conceited. But it was so fluffy and comfy and I love the vintage-collegiate font. I idiotically already got gel food colouring on it when I got home though. Oh well.

Claudia Wu Lyndsay Sung

Claudia Wu, creative director and awesome person at Cherry Bombe!! Amazing T-shirt! Chinese Pumpkin!! All in one convenient photo.

basbaas sauce

Beautiful Hawa of Basbaas hot sauces – so good! I brought two jars home in my suitcase, all snuggled up in my socks and underwear, and I’m so excited to dig in to the spicy tangy goodness of these sauces!

Molly Yeh Side Pone

Molly! With the side pone to end all side pones, repping some delicious ingredients like Kerrygold butter (NOT AVAIL IN CANADA, SHEESH, Canada dairy laws!) If you want to see me being a creepy fan of my own friend, here ya go!

Cherry Bombe Jubilee Swag Bag

I red-eyed it home and watched three episodes of Atlanta and it is so hilarious and thoughtful. I fell in love with the entire cast and can’t wait to polish off the whole season! And THIS SWAG that I crammed almost entirely into my suitcase … so spoiled.

Four and Twenty Blackbirds pie slices

And we come FULL CIRCLE back to pie. I hand-carried these pie slices on the plane from NYC to Vancouver and fretted about everyone else’s moves around me, so worried someone was going to swing a stray arm and whack my bag of pie slices by accident … I was on EDGE about these pies. These pies went through the X-ray machine at JFK. But they made it home, as did I, with visions of Cherry Bombe Jubilee dancing along in my head, playing back scenarios to try and figure out if I had acted like a turd or not, but… oh well. Turd or no turd, I just gotta be me. The deepest namaste DEEP gratitude goes out to Cherry Bombe magazine for inviting me out to this year’s Jubilee… it was so immensely special for me and an experience I won’t soon forget. xo Lyndsay

Welcome to 2017, blog! With a mammogram

slice of pink cake - Coco Cake Land

And with that fantastic title, I welcome my blog to the year 2017, a futuristic hover board year of time travel and silver space suits. What better way to welcome the new year than with a post about my annual mammogram? January 2015 was the month where I was diagnosed with breast cancer, an experience that ripped me a new one, over the course of two years, and continues to flavour my daily life.

A quiet hallway in a medical office building, and inside, a bustling X-ray and mammogram clinic, and inside that, a secret door to another waiting room, this one piled with Vogue magazines of yesteryear. I’ve always loved fashion, and fashion magazines – even in my most hardcore feminist days, I was drawn to the glossy unattainable beauty, million dollar photo shoots, sheaths of draping fox fur and angular alien models. YES I love your giant boxy double breasted $7,400 blazer with gold buttons. YES I love your red tights with green strappy heels, fine leather goods and freshly snipped bobs. YES I love how you place both hands on your hips and jut your shoulders forward and your elbows back as if it wasn’t the most awkward position in the world. YES every facial expression drips with pre-coital lust, head cocked back, and just-wet hair strands stuck to candy-apple red lipsticked faces.

chocolate cupcakes table

Every day I reach for the exact outfit I wore yesterday – a denim shirt with holes in the armpits, high waisted jeans that cleverly cover my gunt. Maybe yesterday’s socks. I put on my red lipstick, comb my bangs and the day begins.

Over the Christmas holidays we went up to our family cabin in the mountains. I started a new drug up there, a fertility drug, which makes me feel like I’m face down in mud, dragging my body around in total exhaustion, foggy brained. I was feeling so sedentary, and so chubby from holiday gorging, and bloated and so fatigued from these drugs. I just looked in the mirror and thought, well this is it. I’ve officially let myself go. I’ve given up, on looks, on maintaining a semblance of a figure. Pass me another slice of mud pie. I’m 40, I’m tired, I’m old. GOODBYE LIFE. Time to quit my blog, social media, and disappear into a lifetime of hibernation and hiding my body in photos. This line of thinking was thankfully short lived but IT DOES EXIST IN THE MIND and it comes out in those dark moments. 

Back to the mammogram. The technician, what a cruel and unusual punisher of women. She disliked me immediately, and I am THE FRIENDLIEST. We head straight into the mammography room and no “hello, how are you today, this is what we are going to do today.” No, instead, a tired, annoyed and gruff “TAKE YOUR TOP OFF.” She points to the corner of the room where there is a chair to put my clothes on. Suddenly I feel like I’m at a Harvey Weinstein audition, it’s uncomfortable but I do as she says. So I’m standing in a room with a total stranger, topless in blue jeans and winter boots, she comes over and just man-handles my body parts and jams them into position on the ledge of the machine. There are two hard plastic sheets that compress your breasts flat as pancakes while the breasts are x-rayed and it is painfully comedic, or is it comically painful? I get it, lady – you handle boobs all day and all night. But a slight amount of friendliness and bedside manner would make it more comfortable for all… but I’m going to *zen cupcake* on this. Breasts compressed, hot halitosis breath in my face telling me “DON’T BREATHE. STOP BREATHING. OK, BREATHE.” Then it was all done.

unbirthday inspired drip cake with flowers - coco cake land

I got dressed, sat in the waiting room. Two years ago, they made me come back in and x-rayed my boob from a myriad of extremely painful angles. So I waited. Earlier that day, as I had a shower, my mind spiralled straight to this future recurrence, which they would find today, only this time it wouldn’t be small, but instead I’d have a double mastectomy, more aggressive chemo but it wouldn’t work, it would all be too late.  And instead of my life path veering in this bright direction of a new baby, and finishing my book, and working on new fun projects and cakes, my life path would take ten steps backward, right back into the world of medicine and doctors and uncertainty, but this time a certainty – incurable. And then I imagined the songs I would like played at my funeral, and what photos we might use for a slideshow, and what food might be served, and who might attend. I would want it to be truly sad, with a coffin covered in gorgeous flowers, because dying is sad, and a place for people to be allowed to grieve, because it’s tough when you go to a service and you want to bawl and be together and grieve but you’re not sure, because it’s deemed a celebration, yet you don’t feel like celebrating.

Another technician popped her head out – “Lyndsay?”

I was all ready to go back in there for more tests – they had found a lump, something in my other breast, the cancer had come back and spread not only to my other breast but throughout my body. This was it. My last year on Earth.

She smiled slightly at me, a friendly gesture (she probably knew what a jerk her colleague was, the one I had).

“You can go. We’ll send your results to your doctor.” I jumped out of my seat, green parka in hand.

“OK! THANK YOU!”

So there you have it, beginning of 2017! A possibly clear mammogram. Happy new year, everyone.  xo Lyndsay 

Sweet Child O Mine – Teddy’s 4th Birthday Party

ghost piñata - coco cake land

teddy-and-cake-1

Dear Teddy. It’s mama. Or mommy, or MA. You call for me in the mornings when you wake up to let me know you’re awake. Or you yell at me to come in to your room, and bleary eyed, I stumble out of bed. “Is it morning?” you ask. How did you get to be four years old? Just yesterday, you were the basketball bump in my tummy. The baby-to-be, forcing me to ingest whole ice cold watermelons and cut-up cantaloupes, and large cups filled to the brim with ice cubes, shimmering like a sculpture. Rolling around like an alien in my tummy, the strangest sensation. Now, here you are. Tall for your age, with soft lightly brown skin, cheeks of dough and eyelashes so thick and long they would make a drag queen jealous. You are growing your hair out like Joey Ramone’s. You don’t mind being called a girl at the park. You are fascinated by good and evil, good guys and bad guys. You say things like “mommy if a bad guy ever comes to take you I will PUNCH HIM and lock him up in jail!!”You really are a pretty little guy.

party garlands - coco cake land

sweet child o mine - coco cake land

Every day you are learning so much, questioning the world around you, asking what words mean, with a growing independence. I miss you so much when I am working and we are apart, yet you often make me lose my cool with your wildness. You shred on your guitar and sing all day long. You seem to love pop punk music, which is questionable. You love make-believe play and you are obsessed with cars. You ask about death and dying a lot. I try my best to answer your super-goth questions without freaking both of us out. I don’t have all the answers – sometimes mommy just does not know.

teddy birthday party - coco cake land

blue ghost piñata - coco cake land

ghost piñata - coco cake land

teddy in racing helmet - coco cake land

You are my whole heart. You are a huge nutbar. You are hilarious and fun and sweet and thoughtful but you can also sometimes be an asshole. You love jokes. I am trying my best to raise you as a cool guy, one who thinks of others, who loves freely, who shares (haha) and has gratitude. Lately we have been singing “A Whole New World” from Aladdin together and at the end I always say “nice singing, Teddy!” and you say “nice singing, mom!”

whacking the ghost piñata - coco cake land

dairy queen ice cream cake - coco cake land

turdwicks family pic - coco cake land

You are the one who makes me truly happy, Teddy! My heart and life is full because of you. You are so well loved by so many people. I am so glad I am here to be with you. Love, Mom

Fun and Easy Birthday Cakes: Playful Animals – Gettin’ Craftsy!

animal birthday cakes craftsy class

I’m very excited to announce that today my Craftsy class, Fun and Easy Birthday Cakes: Playful Animals, went LIVE! YIKES! I love my little animal cakes so much (honestly, I’d hug them and sleep on them like a pillow if I could) and I’m pretty stoked to share my techniques for these modern and whimsical cakes. The class was created with the beginner cake decorator in mind – I’ll show you how to level, crumb coat and frost your cakes, then turn them into INSANELY CUTE LITTLE PARTY ANIMAL BUDDIES LIKE THESE GUYS BELOW!

curly haired pup cake - coco cake land

buttercream rosettes - coco cake land

rainbow bunny cake - coco cake land

Filming a class with Craftsy ranks right up there as the most nerve-wracking, hilarious and exciting learning experiences I’ve had so far in the cake world. I was in Denver, Colorado for one week – where the Craftsy offices and studios are located – and each night I just collapsed onto the hotel room bed with barely enough energy to dial room service and flip on a movie. I couldn’t sleep very well due to anxiety (VIDEO CAMERA! PERFORMING! FEAR OF FORGETTING MY LINES!) but by the time it was over and I got to reflect on my experience – it was pretty amazing. I felt exhausted, excited, exhilarated… and just proud of myself. Mid-week I had a pretty big meltdown – lack of sleep, stress, homesickness and anxiety collided with me realizing that one year ago, I was lying in bed, weak with a kidney infection and sick post-chemo, no hair, unrecognizable covered in horrible hives and unable to move due to debilitating arm and chest pain from my medication. It was the lowest point in my cancer treatment. And then almost exactly a year later here I was, feeling healthy and fit, working on a pretty incredible project that I had worked hard on preparing for. All I could think was TAKE THAT, CANCER.

Craftsy class Lyndsay Sung

Just me and allll my buddies! My favourite pic from the Craftsy shoot! I gotta say, the Craftsy team are a super great bunch – professional, kind, hard working, funny and creative. Thank you to my new friends Azara, Kristin, Jared, Miwha, Rob, Gabe, Molly, Danica, Tommy, Hannah and all the other wonderful people I met! Click here for a 50% off link for my class Fun and Easy Birthday Cakes: Playful Animals (a special link which provides me with a lil extra cashish if you go ahead and buy the class) – 6 lessons and 5 different animal cake designs! I hope you’ll love it! xo Lyndsay 

Cake photos by Dylan Osborne. Cake group photo by Rob Whitfield 

To Touch A Dolphin

triple scoop ice cream cone in mexico

riu palace cabo san lucas mexico

I can’t remember where my fear of LARGE MARINE MAMMALS originated from but certainly reading an excerpt from the book JAWS found on a family friend’s bookshelf as a young child did not help. The cover of the book alone was enough to terrify – a lone woman swimming at the surface in grey green water, a gargantuan great white shark wildly blasting up through the water, teeth gleaming, ready to rip through flesh – ugh. I didn’t even see the movie until I was an adult, but throughout childhood a fear of sharks in swimming pools, pristine lakes, sandy beach shores, even a bathtub. From this fear, another fear emerged – that of an orca whale silently, massively, gliding like a silent predator underneath a boat. A weirdly specific fear.

arches of cabo san lucas

luxury sailing cabo adventures

We just came back from Cabo San Lucas, Mexico – a wonderful trip to celebrate my mother-in-law’s birthday. I’d only ever been to Cabo once before, as a 14 year old – my memories of this consisted of being bewildered by all the drunken, screaming adults in Corona bikinis, the overt stench of loose morals and the searing dry heat and going on my first and only horseback ride in jean shorts – my butt still remembers the continually galloping bouncy ass-pain. This time around we stayed at Riu Palace, a palatial all-inclusive resort that was essentially a dry-docked cruiseship – a very large and well kept resort right next to a beautiful beach, with two huge pools, a swim-up bar and an entertainment crew that worked from dawn til dawn.

riu palace cabo san lucas mexico

glass bottomed boat cabo san lucas

In Cabo, tourism rules – and they have a very well oiled machine that trots along, pulling up shuttles full of mostly white people with brutal sun burns to enjoy the many splendours of Cabo in the form of excursions – swimming with whale sharks, sunset sailboat cruising, glass bottomed boats, and swimming with dolphins. There was no way in hell I was going to swim with a whale shark, as I would’ve had a panic attack, shit myself then drowned, most likely. I did however, meet a dolphin. My new thing post-breast-cancer is to rise to new challenges. Even if that challenge is getting eaten alive by a captive, mentally insane dolphin. Her name was Belle. She was smiling, although I think her face just looks like that. I felt kind of terrible about supporting her captivity by paying to meet her. We were led out into the hot sun to a docked area, where each dolphin had their own giant ocean water pen. Into the water we went – led like life-jacketed prisoners about to be murdered by dolphins, down a set of stairs onto a slippery with sea-slime ledge, which we shimmied along, stomach-deep in water. We were told to keep our backs against the wall. A man in a wetsuit and wraparound sunglasses holding a plastic cooler tightly to his chest was the dolphin trainer, and with each command performed, Belle the dolphin would be rewarded by an icy fish down the gullet.

crazy kid in mexican wrestling mask

mexican coke bottle

Now it was time to touch the dolphin. We were told to place our hands flat against the surface of the water and Belle would glide along, allowing us to touch her belly, her back and fin. Her skin felt like a wet rubber boot – very durable, like I could wear dolphin skin boots and splash around in rain puddles. Then, we were given the option of touching her tongue. Her mouth gaped wide open, the trainer held his hands against her shining teeth – it was a panting pink muscle and felt like… a rubber boot. Sidenote: I just googled “do people eat dolphins.” I wasn’t sure. But yes, people eat dolphins. Dolphins vs pigs – both incredibly smart, incredibly cute – dolphin bacon?

riu palace cabo san lucas mexico

riu palace cabo san lucas mexico

Finally, it was time to shake the dolphin’s fin and get a kiss from the dolphin, or kiss the dolphin on its mouth. Belle came gliding up to me. I put my hand out and she stood balancing out of the water (her core must be INSANE) while I lightly touched her fin. Two friends holding hands for a moment in time. Then, with a hand gesture by me, Belle popped out of the water, facing me, ready for a kiss on the mouth. I stared at her, frozen in fear – for a split second imagining her mauling my face with her Joker-like smile. She didn’t maul my face. I didn’t kiss her on the mouth. She kissed my cheek and she was thrown a fish. Another side note: anchovies were aplenty at the all-inclusive resort buffets! I had deconstructed Caesar salad with almost every meal, romaine lettuce, layers of salty oily anchovy, parmesan, crunchy square croutons and dressing with a squeeze of lime. Admittedly, I wondered what Belle’s whole fish snacks tasted like. Cold cold sashimi to fill her blubbery rubber belly.

riu palace cabo san lucas mexico

We truly had a marvellous time in Mexico! And I touched a dolphin and I liked it. Happy birthday Cool Gamma T! Thank you for the fantastic trip! xo Lyndsay 

San Francisco Treat

Miette old fashioned cupcake

Last week my sisters, mom and I went on a GALS ONLY trip to SAN FRANCISCO to celebrate my mom’s birthday! Our family has such a fondness for the city – we grew up visiting there at least once a year, and we had a shared family apartment close to Chinatown. We power-ate and power-walked our way through the city, meeting up with friends along the way. Man it felt great to be alive. Breezy warm San Francisco sun, a trip loaded with such cute shops and snacks. (pictured above - Miette‘s old fashioned cupcake! I finally got to sink my teeth into one of these cartoon beauties! Soft tender chocolate cake with a marshmallow-y blobette of icing and little red candy peanut!)

humphry slocombe trio of ice cream

Man we went wild for the Ferry Building. So much goodness crammed into that beautiful space. SO much good food. At least one or all of us ate at Out The Door pretty much every day. I had the roast pork bahn mi which I scarfed down like a porky pig eating its own brethren. The salad rolls and house made peanut sauce… oh I want it again now! ^__^ Plus, this triple threat of super cute CONES from Humphry Slocombe! Blue bottle coffee, matcha with black and white cookies and “secret breakfast” – bourbon and cornflakes! All so good.

chantal guillon macarons - hayes valley SF

Cutie macarons from Chantal Guillon in Hayes Valley.

Bi Rite Creamery salted caramel cone

Our awesome friend Andrea drove us all around SF so we could stuff our faces! I honestly didn’t think I could ingest another thing but then this salted caramel kid’s cone from Bi-Rite Creamery appeared out of nowhere (ie, I ordered it like the ice cream pig I am) and it was so good. Such a deep, almost burnt caramel flavour!

Mr.Holmes Bakehouse cruffin

Why isn’t this bakeshop called Mister Cruff n Stuff? NAME CHANGE ALERT! Mr.Holmes Bakeshop‘s cruffins were wild and crazy and most importantly DELICIOUS. My excellent food-crazy sis Gyoza Girl Eats dragged my mom here and lined up for these babies at 7:45am – she brought home a box crammed with goodies! Eeks. So good. Honestly there’s something so smurfy cute about the above cruffin – white chocolate rapsberry, filled to the muffiny brim with raspberry cream and topped with that jaunty little marshmallow hat.

pistachio eclair - B Patisserie

We pretty much sprinted into B Patisserie on our last morning in San Francisco while Andrea waited in the car – kouign amann to go, and this heavenly pistachio eclair!

Liho Liho Yacht Club San Francisco

Y’all know how much I love Hawaii. We had such a fun meal at Liho Liho Yacht Club – pictured, tuna poke on nori cracker and beef tongue in poppyseed steam bun! Service was excellent (so friendly) and ambience was chill and energetic! (um, we lined up at 430pm to get in – so maybe that’s the early bird diner experience!)

Liho Liho Yacht Club San Francisco

This Baked Hawaii was the cutest little dessert ever – caramelized pineapple ice cream with torched meringue, reminded me of my mom’s “pineapple dessert” from the 1980s in the best way possible.

Family pic at Petit Crenn

We had the loveliest lunch at Petit Crenn! A minimalist room but brimming with warmth and style – I loved the mismatched silverware and the navy and white striped aprons of the kitchen staff. I’ve been crushing on Dominique Crenn ever since I heard her interviewed on Radio Cherry Bombe – so talented, articulate, calm, funny, meditative – and she loves kids – CUTE! She is also in the current issue of Cherry Bombe!

Smoked trout tartine at Petit Crenn

A perfectly tender omelette, briny from fish stock, and smoked trout tartine – we also had the mushroom tartine, the mussels, little gem salad and the softest pillows of gnocchi. Serious compliments to the kitchen.

Chef Edward Lee at Petit Crenn

FOOD NERD ALERT! Chef Edward Lee was sitting at the counter, enjoying a meal by himself until SOME PUMPKIN FACED EXCITED CHINESE LADY WITH SHORT HAIR interrupted him … Hehe. No, he was very friendly and maybe surprised to be recognized… he is very unassuming and nice.

blogger friends!

Blog pal meet-up! Finally got to meet cool online buddies Michelle and Nanette in real life, as well as reconnect with the wonderful Jenn who was visiting SF as well! We hit up Craftsman and Wolves. I am even more into this place now that I know they are into metal.

craftsman and wolves whipped coffee and yuzu, coconut puffy dessert

My favourite was this whipped coffee, yuzu and crunchy coconut crust PARTY PUFF from Craftsman and Wolves! I honestly can’t resist a puffy looking dessert.

mommy in SF

My wonderful mom, in the lobby of the Palace Hotel, a truly palatial experience indeed! Thank you LS for this wonderful trip!

Teddy and Easter egg

Of course I missed my little munchkin Chinese Gloworm! Here he is all dressed up for Easter. I know, I know. Dressed up for Teddy is a collared shirt and clean Vans. Dude’s a t-shirt guy!!

easter family pic

batter bakery bunny cookie - san francisco

I brought back home these cutie Easter cookies from Batter Bakery for RT and Teddy! Hours later when he was almost asleep in bed for the night, Teddy called for me in tears, told me that he was sad that he had eaten his bunny cookie… I asked if it was yummy and between tears he said “yes”… I explained it’s better to eat it when it’s fresh, and that it was a special treat to enjoy, but I could understand that he was sad that it was gone… Hehe. PARENTHOOD!

easter family pic

Home with my sweet guys, and feeling happy, with energy, and excited for fun projects, sunny picnics and good things in which the future holds. Spring weather, sunshine and flowery trees can do that to a person… Hope you are well, too, my friends! xo Lyndsay 

Pink + Blue Macarons + Je T’aime

pink and blue buttercream macarons - Coco Cake Land

whistle and flute tshirts - Coco Cake Land

My journey of macaron making started at pretty much the EXACT same time as my breast cancer journey. So weird. I only just realized this. Macarons kept me from going down a horrible, mental insanity-inducing mind spiral from hell – it was the day after I was told I had breast cancer. I was baking for my mom’s 70th birthday high tea party. I decided to try my DARNDEST to make macarons, and succeed. It took me four attempts, adjusting things each time, focusing, not giving up, and finally I made some pretty macs.

how to make french macarons - tips from coco cake land

pink and blue buttercream macarons - Coco Cake Land

Macarons, in my kitchen, are the most finicky bastards in town. I’ve followed my own advice since first having macaron success and I’ve bombed horribly. I’ve found that MACARONS WANT YOU TO BE SCARED OF THEM and then they will rise up in jubilance with their ruffly goddamn feet and go “fine, here you go. You worked hard, you were terrified. Here are my ruffly feet.”

whistle and flute tshirts - Coco Cake Land

Can I tell you about this magical picture above where Teddy and I are looking EXTREMELY HAPPY? Hehe. My sweet pal Miranda of the amazing Whistle + Flute asked me if I wouldn’t mind being interviewed for her blog – super exciting! Yes! She sent me a macaron cutie tee for Teddy and a Je T’aime tee for myself. The plan was to take a cute pic of Teddy and I to accompany the interview. Yes, I could do this! So on a sunny weekend day in February, I told Teddy we were going to get ICE CREAM at the giant pink ice cream factory here in Vancouver. (PS is there an unsaid rule for graffiti taggers that they don’t tag pink walls? There are two sets of pink walls in our neighbourhood and neither are tagged, although everywhere else is.) We jumped into the car and headed down to the ice cream factory – the sun was out – but it was DARN COLD being February … and it didn’t occur to me that Teddy might huff puff about not having a jacket on! Even the LURE AND BRIBE OF A GUMMY BEAR VANILLA ICE CREAM CONE could not put a smile on his little face … so I was getting irritated/grumpy and Teddy wouldn’t smile and… SNAP!! My husband took our pics quickly and I hoped for the best, hehe! In the end we got one for the Whistle + Flute interview … and the macaron tee is one of Teddy’s faves.

stack of pink vanilla macarons - Coco Cake Land

Thanks again Miranda, Ryan, Aki and Archer for the tees, and for your support of me during my treatments! For those macaron makers out there – here’s my original post with the tips I’ve found online for making macarons. I’m also loving my IG friend Indulge with Mimi’s macarons and tips and videos. SO HELPFUL AND SWEET to share all your knowledge, I think. Macarons seem to have a special place in my heart, and a part of my recent history – I’ll continue to wrangle them! xo Lyndsay 

Donuts Macarons + Drugs

raspberry donut - coco cake land

Best post title EVER, amiright? Donuts macarons and drugs. (These pretty and perfect macarons are from Soirette.) No, I’m not much of a drug user of that kind – well unless you count the “medical marijuana hazelnut chocolate coin” I took a bite out of during a particularly awful and nauseous post-chemotheraphy day. To say that I was blazing through the milky way was an understatement, and it took the nausea away, too. I have a doctor friend who was also going through breast cancer treatment, a friend I made at the cancer agency, and even she gave me a set of sticky weed lollipops. We live in Vancouver, after all.

donuts + macarons party - coco cake land

Anyway, the drugs I am talking about at the moment are the new drugs I started taking about a week ago, Tamoxifen. The name itself evokes a Mongolian-mist style creepy vapour fog that seeps into your pores and surrounds you, engulfing you in its side effects. The first night I had to take it, I just stared at the chalky looking round white pill for a good few minutes, glass of water on hand. I finally just threw it back into my throat and swallowed it with a glug of water. “Here’s to hot flashes, dry vagina and mood swings from hell!” I thought to myself.

flower donut - coco cake land

That night I had a restless sleep fuelled by chills, sudden blasts of hot sweatiness and general discomfort – I woke up feeling like my whole body had been beaten with a pain stick, and I had an awful headache. I was feeling very depressed about this, worried about the amount of time my body might take to adjust to the medication. Or would this be my new normal?? Still, I forced myself to go to the gym, laced up my hot pink sneakers, pulled my hoodie up over my head, Chinese Rocky with cancer style, and trodded out in the rain to the gym. I cried a little at the gym, arms pumping the elliptical trainer to the beat of Chaka Khan and Jay-Z. And of course I laughed at myself, which I often do.

flower donut - coco cake land

Now, about a week later, I’m feeling more adjusted, although my mood and emotions are like a roller coaster from hell. I really hate that a drug can mess with a person like this but I read another cancer patient’s quote online today and it said “quality of life vs life.” I’ll do my best to power through all the weirdness as usual. Half of the time I’m feeling strong and like I’ve “beaten” this. The other half of the time I’m imagining the doctor’s appointment where I’m told the cancer has come back and spread throughout my body.

donuts macarons - coco cake land

pretty macarons - coco cake land

But, I will continue to focus on the good things, and all that I have in my life. Especially my son Teddy, who held up a french fry the other day and said “Mom, it looks like a penis!” We speak freely of genitals at our house, giving organs their proper names – although “penis” has now made its way into Teddy’s knock knock non-sensical joke repertoire, much to the dismay of my mother, and yes, I explain to Teddy that it’s not a nice-guy-thing to really talk about too much in public, nor is it very polite – all while smirking through his penile-focused jokes. Ah, the fine balance of parenthood. Life goes on. xo Lyndsay