Sunday, February 8, 2015

Cuz I Know How it is...Go and Handle Your Biz...

Ello Baykahs-
I've been BUSY...SHOCKER....but what that means is that when I'm busy we really aren't THAT busy with cakes. HENCE, there hasn't been much action on this blog...BECAUSE I DON'T MAKE THE CAKES...and this blog has kinda become the "LOOK AT THE CUTE CAKES I DIDN'T MAKE" blog.

No matter how many times I say it...people still think it is me making those beautiful cakes. And, while I would LOVE to take the credit (and I do design SOME) it is the artistry of Kim Chew and Brian (and sometimes Purple) that make the cakes happen. I just get to OOH and AHHH and say..."UH, is the SUPPOSED to be that shade of blue?" I'm really just a cake WATCHER. But, there is ONE cake I look forward to designing every year: RETRO'S BIRTHDAY CAKE.

IT'S THAT time of year again!!!! Retro Bakery is turning 7 years old on Tuesday, February 10. And this time...I really can't believe it.



I have been making cupcakes for seven years.

IT really is crazy when you think about it....One day I just DECIDED I wanted to open a bakery. I didn't know JACK SH*T about commercial baking or running a business. I just knew that I could do it. It really was the ONE THING I have ever decided that I never even hesitated. I never had ONE DOUBT about it. It was just "We are opening a bakery."

And then we did....

Retro was born in 2008. It's been a crazy, wild, exhausting ride that I cannot believe I am still on...but I'm not surprised. I knew Retro would succeed. I knew we would make it. I just didn't know the amount of WORK it would take to keep it all together. But here we years later.....with a crew of 9...and a couple extra pounds of cookie dough weight.

Our party is Tuesday...there WILL be free mini cupcakes...and stickers...and LOTS of fun...and a SUPER CUTE CAKE.

Speaking of super cute cakes...
HERE are the CAKES O' the WEEKS:

 Minnie Mouse inspired birthday cake:

Married in Las Vegas wedding cake:

 Wedding dress wedding cake:

Cheetah bling baby shower cake:

Comic Book birthday cake:

Punk Rock baby shower cake:

And the most adorable cake of the week: 
The baby giraffe birthday cake

Seven years, Baykahs...that's a LOT of buttercream....and a lot of tears...and a lot cookie dough....and a LOT of cake watching in between.

Hope to see you Tuesday if you're in VEGAS....


Monday, December 29, 2014

I Got These Troubles. I'm Makin' Plans...Know There's Really Nothing but You...

Ello Baykahs!
2014 has definitely been a transitional year for Retro. We're still workin' out the kinks with our crew. We're still trying to figure out how to KEEP IT FRESH after seven years. So, I plan on changing some things in 2015...I just haven't figured out quite what I want to change.
The one thing we AREN'T changing is the CAKES. As redundant as making the same cupcakes over and over and over is...the CAKES are the one thing that actually change. And though I don't MAKE the cakes, I do get to design quite a few of them...and I just love to see the ART that is created out of sugar, flour, and STRESS.

It's usually the simplest cakes that I end up loving the most...and here is my favorite baby shower cake of the year. It was designed by my friend, Charlie, (who also added the flowers on top). I just loved the idea of words in the alphabet and red and pink are always great together:

Speaking of simple...THIS cake is LITERALLY the cake I would want for my birthday cake year after year. I love sprinkles. I love rainbow colors....I love CRUNCH:

Now, we get QUITE a few requests for Disney cakes, and since we follow the trademark law we don't recreate EXACT characters, but give a representation. Here are my favorites we created ...

Alice in Wonderland:


The Little Mermaid:

And my FAVORITE of all the Disney cakes...Monster's Inc.:

 We do TONS of cupcake towers for weddings and celebrations, and out of ALL of them this simple black and white stripe was my absolute, hands-down, favorite...what can I say? I'm a simple girl:

 This black and white beauty was my favorite of all the Monogram cakes of the year. I adore the bright, orange flower on top of the black and white cake:

Black and white was NOT the most popular wedding theme this year. 2014 was all about METALLIC. My top three cakes using a little SPARKLE to celebrate starts with the cake I call the WEDDING DRESS CAKE:

My second favorite uses metallic mesh on the top tier and the bottom tier for EXTRA sparkle. But, I love how we used rose petals in the middle tier to soften the look. It's almost the perfect HIS AND HERS cake:

 My FAVORITE metallic wedding cake of the year is a LITTLE busier than I thought I would like...but when you put a silver MAP OF THE WORLD on a cake I am IN. I called this the WORLD IS OURS wedding cake:

Speaking of metallics, this is my favorite cake where we created a charm bracelet that looked SO real in person that many people believed that it WAS metal:

This year we actually HAD to use real metal to create what turned out to be my FAVORITE cake for one of my friend's NEW businesses!! My friend, Matt, opened his salon a couple of blocks up from Retro, and he asked ME to design a cake!! I decided to use real scissors stabbing silk flowers into the fondant. I wanted an elegant, Sweeney Todd-inspired design. Kim did an INCREDIBLE job piping his logo.

As far as REALITY goes, these hibiscus flowers are my FAVORITE flowers created in 2014. They were delicate, lifelike, and added the perfect accent to this Hawaiian birthday cake:

My last favorite cakes of the year don't even look like CAKE at all...

The first cake is a dish that I probably ATE more than any other thing in 2014 (well, maybe besides PIZZA), it's the NACHOS CAKE:

What goes perfect after a salty plate of nachos? A SWEET plate of WAFFLES
(note that this cake DOES come with a side of REAL syrup to pour on top when you're ready to serve...NO JOKE):

Now the CAKE OF THE YEAR that beats ALL CAKES is one that we were told "we just want a desert tortoise," AND THIS IS WHAT THEY GOT:

This cake turned more heads when I was taking pictures of it than ANY cake I have EVER taken pictures of at Retro. People REALLY thought it was a tortoise we had brought into the bakery.

Bakery life is tough. It is arduous. It is HARD WORK day in and day out, but when you get to see your work as the centerpiece of someone's celebration it DOES make it worth it. Although I didn't CREATE and of these incredible cakes...I sure did try to make sure they were PERFECT for the occasion.

I wonder what 2015 has in store....


Sunday, December 14, 2014

We Could...We Could Belong Together ARTPOP!

Ello Baykahs.
Christmas time is here...and what did Santa bring me a little early??? A BAKER. Cesar joined our crew after a week trial run on Tuesday. He's 20 years old and full of energy...exactly what I need because I am NEITHER OF THOSE THINGS LATELY....

But what DO I have time for??? Creating my favorite list of the year! The best gifts to GET OR GIVE for 2014!!! We still have time to online shop, so maybe this list will start or finish your Christmas shopping this year...

Let's start small...

Cotton Candy Christmas ornament from Sur la Table:

I love food Christmas ornaments, and this one is quite possibly the SWEETEST I have ever seen.

Booze Decanter from CB2:

Ya gotta love a good decanter! They change your cheap liquor into something a little more CLASSY.

Popcorn and snackware from Macys:

I am a SERIOUS snacker, and this collection is adorable and ON SALE...two of my favorite things.

WTF bag from
If there is one thing I'm good at it is COMPARTMENTALIZING, and nothing makes it cuter than little zipper bags to hold all my SH*T.

I've been a little obsessed with talking clothing, and these are just a few of my favorites.
Humbug sweatshirt from

I'm Not Sorry sweater from Macy's:

If You're Waiting for a Sign THIS IS IT from Old

Sometimes I just can't find the right words, so I have to let my clothes talk for me.

Initial ring from

I'm not a jewelry girl, but I ADORE letter jewelry. This is just too cute to pass up, and it's ONLY $12!?!

Tic Tac Socks from

Orange Tic Tacs and sprinkles for my feet???? LOVE.

And the FINALE gift of ALL gifts of 2014 is......the gift of POP ART.

Love Gun by Maxwell Dickson on

Pop art always makes me happy...and always offers great deals and usually free shipping.

That's it, Baykahs...I've shopped 'til I've DROPPED all for you. I know. I know. It's for me.


Thursday, November 20, 2014

It Won't Get Better Now. When Will This End?

Ello Baykahs-
Ya tell yourself that it's ok to take a break on blogging because you just CANNOT think of one more thing to write about that is DIFFERENT...and then you realize you haven't blogged since August...

A U G U S T?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

Truth be told, I have written a couple of posts that were just, I just never pushed PUBLISH. I pushed SAVE. I pushed DELETE. I pushed FORGET IT I QUIT.

The TRUTH truth is I have been going through some pretty tough times recently...and, I kinda hid in the kitchen baking the time away...hoping that if I just stay there then everything will be fine. But it isn't...

We lost our Head Baker, Chris Snazzy, exactly one week ago.


BUT, we did lose him to The Strip. And, quite frankly, once someone goes to work on The Strip they NEVER COME BACK. Mom and Pops can't compete with $16 an hour, 8-hour work days, and full benefits. SO....I can't blame him for going. It is a GREAT opportunity for him....


I have known Snazzy since he came to work for us as an intern five years ago. He quickly became our Head Baker and a LITERAL member of my family. I worked with him 10 hours a day...AT LEAST. He wasn't just our baker. He was the guy who made me forget the drudgery of baking the SAME THING EVERY DAY ALL DAY. He made me laugh. He told great stories. He was the KING OF BULLSHITTING. He made the entire crew smile. As Lucy put it, "Without Snazzy, Retro is DULL."

Lucy is right. Without Snazzy, Retro IS dull....but I know that will change. It's just a week into our "new normal" as I call it. We haven't found a baker yet (Brian and I have been taking on the duties), but when we do find THAT PERSON it will feel a little LESS stressful....and HOPEFULLY a little happier.

BUT DO NOT GET ME WRONG. It will NOT be the same. It is a true END OF AN ERA. Our CORE of FOUR (Kim Chew, Brian, Me, and Snazz) isn't there anymore. We are trying to find a our footing with two less feet.

TO SNAZZ- I am so proud of you for wanting more for your life and walking your own path to get there. You are such a beam of light in everyone's lives. And I know whatever you choose to do, you will be successful because you have a crowd of people who would never let you fall. Whatever you need we are here for you.

Full disclosure: I've been trying to write this post for TWO WEEKS. I have stopped and started about nine times....and I think this is the one I'm ACTUALLY going to publish...

So, RETRO BAKERY IS HIRING! HEAD BAKER WANTED. Must be willing to work hard, bake hard, and put up with my BULLSHIT ALL DAY. Email your resume

I guess this post means I'm back to bloggin' again. I don't know how often it will be, BUT I will do my best to bring you the cakes we've done....and keep you up to date on other stuff I want to bitch about.


Sunday, August 17, 2014

Vacation! All I Ever Wanted...

Ello Baykahs-
I'm writing you feeling totally RELAXED....really!! I'm fresh off one week in Oregon. We took our family vacation this week and drove to was only 17 hours of driving each way.

*FULL DISCLOSURE: I have an INTENSE fear of flying, and given the recent plane issues around the world I just couldn't do it...SO, we decided to drive.

I'm really glad we DID drive, because it made it feel like a REAL vacation. We stopped in Reno as our place to sleep each way. And the girls had a blast in the arcades the casinos they have there (Vegas doesn't really cater to families like Reno does). We also had a chance to eat at some cute places and visit a cupcake shop called BATCH that I have been following for quite awhile.

*FULL DISCLOSURE: Batch is a really cute place, and their cupcakes were quite delicious. However, it was a little weird to see one of their cupcakes DIPPED IN BUTTERSCOTCH....and that's all I'm gonna say about THAT (except it was delicious).

Our destination was Oregon because that is my home state, and we wanted to go and wish my Grammy a VERY HAPPY 90th birthday. She turns 90 on August 29.
We stayed in my old room in her basement where I lived while I went to my first year of college at Portland Community College (long story short I commuted two hours every day to go to school). It was so amazing to be in that room...20 years later...surrounded by a few of my high school memories. The girls had a blast looking at my prom picture and my high school graduation tassel. They also enjoyed playing outside unsupervised and not locking doors. They blew bubbles. They rolled around in GRASS.
They went to a REAL farmer's market.

My hometown of McMinnville, Oregon, has changed a LOT from when I was there 20 years ago.
It has turned into a wine mecca which has really invigorated the downtown. There are restaurants and little shops, and cool places to just stop and relax and eat on a rooftop. It has really become a place where time stands still for just a bit...I seriously watched a woman place her freshly baked bread from her bakery INTO A RED WAGON and roll it down the street to distribute to the restaurants to make their sandwiches with. SERIOUSLY...a RED WAGON.

McMinnville wasn't like that when I was growing up...or maybe it was, but I was just too young to see it. I remember just wanting to leave...all I wanted to do was go to California. It was ALL I thought about...bigger and better..and FASTER. And here I am sitting in Las Vegas...

I don't know if I miss the Northwest or I just miss my family. My grandmother is dad is aunts and uncles...most of my cousins....I really miss all of them. I was lucky enough to spend a day with my dad at the beach while we were there. He had a really tough year, and it was very hard being in Vegas while he was in a hospital bed. But, he pulled through...and I was SO happy to be with him even if it was just for a couple of hours.

The beach is where I feel most at home in Oregon. The girls?? Not so much. Abbi isn't a fan of the sand, so she spent a lot of time on the dock. BUT Lucy did have a blast making the sand castle that she has been talking about making for about a year...complete with feathers found on the sand (which I don't have a picture of simply because the ocean got to it first).

We spent three entire days in Oregon. It was relaxing. It was inspiring. It made me want to, I think I'm ready to go back to work...and maybe bake a few new things to feed to Las Vegas. I plan to test bake some new stuff over the next month to see if I can add to our menu for FALL and WINTER because THAT is prime EATING SEASON!!

I get back in my kitchen this afternoon...I'm actually excited to be back to work....which is pretty stupid considering I have been BITCHING about working for the past six months. But honestly? I'm at my BEST in the kitchen....

So...VACATION IS OVAH. I am rested. I am relaxed. I am READY to undo those two things.


Sunday, July 27, 2014

Sisters are Doin' it for THEMSELVES!

Ello Baykahs-
Here we are in another Sunday. Believe it or not THIS week was faster than ALL OF THEM. It was one of those weeks where it was Monday...then I was waking up on Saturday morning SURE it must be Sunday....which leads to the inevitable PANIC of "NO, KARI. IT IS SATURDAY, AND YOU NEED TO GET UP AND WORK YOUR A$$ OFF."

The bright side to all of this CRAZY BUSYNESS?? Summer break is almost over, and the kids get their LIVES back! Yeah...let's talk about my kids. The number ONE asked question of the month of May is "What are you doing with the kids all summer in the bakery?"


That's the answer when you run your own business. LUCKILY, Abbi is 15 (ALMOST 16), and can stay home with Lucy for most of the mornings...AND there is $1 movie day on Wednesdays that they've been enjoying...but they have been "trapped" at the bakery like most every summer. But...this summer has been slightly different. Our daughters have started their own businesses!!

Out of pure boredom and watching COUNTLESS YouTube tutorials STICKY FINGERS duct tape wallets and FUNGIRL ACCESSORIES (no website for Lucy's biz...a little too young for that) were born.

Abbi has created a pretty successful duct tape wallet business (sold exclusively at RETRO BAKERY) that has ignited the entrepreneurial spirit naturally in her BLOOD. She has inspired Lucy to create a loom key chain and accessories business...because the little sister MUST be exactly like the big sister...especially the Haskell sisters. They are two peas in a pod. They are the best of friends. They are ying and yang.

How did I get so lucky??? Even I don't know...they just love each other...barely fight...and spend EVERY MINUTE TOGETHER. My girls are so close that we spent all this money getting a new house, so they could have bigger bedrooms, and guess what happened? They share a bedroom....because they WANT to.


I know exactly how lucky I am...and I hope it keeps far so adorable.


Bow tie and Blocks cake:
with cute matching cupcakes:

The Lorax-inspired birthday cake:

Crazy for Daisies birthday cake:

Ready to Pop buttercream baby shower cake:

Edible golf balls cupcakes:

and the BIG DADDY OF THE WEEK! The dragon birthday cake!!!!!

The summer is almost, I'm gonna enjoy every second I can with my girls. Even though the bakery still rules our lives, it kinda makes the time we have together THAT much more important...and necessary.