Practical Tactics | Semi-Homemade Sanity

When I was a kid, one of my favorite shows (that drove my mother insane) was Donna’s Day. Donna’s Day was a TV show on, I wanna say… PBS. It was the pre-HGTV era of “Do It Yourself” and I found her FASCINATING. I also demanded we do everything Donna did. Like, make homemade pretzels, or homemade ice cream using two old coffee cans. Donna also taught me how to drive my mother to the brink of insanity, one craft project at a time. As I got older, my attention turned to Semi Homemade with Sandra Lee. She was an even more fabulous Donna, with a kitchen that matched every episode’s theme and cocktail time to round out the program. Sandra was a pre-Pinterest Pioneer, and I was obsessed with her.

If two of my childhood idols being DIY/home heroes doesn’t tell you most of what you need to know about me, I don’t know what will.

What I loved most about these women, is that they took everyday events or items and turned them into tiny parties/celebrations. I absolutely love that. Just ask my cocktail napkin drawer. (Yes, I have a drawer, full of cocktail napkins – at the ready, and tbh, you should too). And what they really instilled in me was: every day can be a party, if you want it to be, it just needs to be easy.

Enter, one of my favorite “life hacks” of all time: Publix bakery. (Fear not, I’m sure other grocery stores have bakeries that would also be able to fulfill requests like I’m about to share with you) Publix is amazing because you can use them to do 75% of the work FOR YOU and still feel like a bo$$.

REAL LIFE EXAMPLES: When I was in high school, I was cheer captain and hosting a sleepover for the cheerleading squad. I thought it would be BRILLIANT to have our main activity be decorating cupcakes. My mother did not like the idea of baking enough cupcakes for a cheerleading squad, so I reached out to Publix and ordered 3 dozen un-frosted vanilla cupcakes. We picked up the cupcakes, a ton of blue and white icing and decorations and the cupcake decorating was a hit!

Last year I was planning a surprise for my friend’s birthday, who had hosted American Horror Story: Apocalypse screenings every Wednesday for a large group each week. After conspiring with several of the screening attendees, we decided we needed an Apocalypse themed birthday cake. I called Publix, ordered a perfectly square 2-tier cake, frosted but with no decoration – and we were able to make a very scary, AHS inspired birthday cake.

Recently, when preparing for my fiance’s birthday, I wanted to make him a LaCroix shaped cake. I went to Publix, asked for 4 sliced mini-cake rounds and a pound of white vanilla buttercream frosting. They charged me $11. I separated out the frosting, added food coloring and assembled my cake.

They will also slice bread to your liking from the bakery, sell you cakes in all shapes and sizes (frosted/unfrosted)… so really, at Publix, the world is your oyster… or your bakery!

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