Friday, July 25, 2008

Surf Fridays!

Hellcat and The Gent
photo by Adam A. Palmer

Hello and Happy Surf Fridays! Well, today is the one-year wedding anniversary for the Mister and I - and we're having a hard time believing it's already been one year. I won't say anything too mushy about that, but I will tell you that I learned that while Mr. Watson is terrific about helping to make dinner, he really doesn't like making salads. And that's OK with me, because he is so handsome. I love you Jay.

Today we are heading to the beautiful Lake Tahoe, the north shore to be exact. I am bringing a waterproof camera so I can get some shots from paddleboards and kayaks. I am nearly beside myself with excitement and must finish packing, so I'll leave something brief today if you don't mind...Something from a book about a very amazing person - Tom Blake.

- Surfrider & Swimmer -

The knowledge you get in schools and colleges is second-hand.
The wisdom and know-how you get from the sea and waves,
and water is virgen,
new and flitting.
By all means, get some of this kind of education.

T. E. Blake. July 13, '90

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Sent With Aloha

Pinniped Studios is one of my favorite blogs. It's run by Seamouse, who is a very talented artist and surfer living in the UK. When I saw that he was making customized one-of-a-kind, hand-drawn tote bags, I put an order in with the letter 'J' to be drawn on mine.

I came home from work yesterday to find a package in my mailbox and on the back of it was written Sent With Aloha. I got soooo excited. At first I thought, I don't know anyone in Hawaii...who would be sending me Aloha!? Then I opened the package and saw my beautiful bag. Seamouse, you are TOO cool. I love it and I cannot wait to use it.

Make sure you check out the delicious recipe he left in the comments from yesterday's post... and the awesome drawings on his blog, which sometimes find their way on his limited edition t-shirts. You will also learn how surfboards are really made. Aloha!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Recipe of the Month

I buy Israeli or Pearl couscous in bulk at my local Whole Foods. You can also find it at specialty and international stores. It's larger than regular couscous, about the size of a BB pellet. The first time I had it was at my cousin's wedding in Bolinas, and it was served up family style on a huge platter. I've been a fan ever since. This is how I make it:

Mediterranean Couscous

Makes 4 servings

2 cups couscous
3 cups water
1/2 c. sun-dried tomatoes
1/2 c. fresh apricots
1 c. broccolini
1 cooked chicken breast
1/2 c. olive oil
1/4. c. shredded parmesan cheese
sea salt & ground pepper to taste

- Boil 3 cups water
- Add couscous, cook for 5 minutes. Stir and watch closely so it doesn't boil over.
- Remove from heat, put lid on pot for another 5 minutes.
- Stir and transfer to a large bowl.
- Add olive oil, salt & pepper and parmesan cheese. Mix well.
- Add other ingredients.

You can make a combination of whatever sounds best to you. A lot of times we go vegetarian and just use sun-dried tomatoes and broccolini. Sometimes we add chicken. During summer we add the apricots. It's all delicious.

...And it's fast. Good to bring to BBQ's as a side dish. Goes well with red wine, white wine or Tecate.

Buon Appetito!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Cupcake Capers

Carrot with Cream Cheese Frosting

A tiny customer in cupcake heaven

Just a quick report today folks...our schedules forced us to eat cupcakes for breakfast again this week. My partner in cupcake crime and I chose the Carrot with Cream Cheese Frosting. Jess tasted hers first and said, "This frosting is Ridiculous". She was so right. It was so soft and creamy, with a touch of sprinkled nutmeg and the cake was soft with just the right amount of carrots, walnut pieces and a raisin or two. It was like eating the best carrot cake you've ever had, but it was a cupcake. I'm actually thinking about going and getting another one because you know, carrots are really good for you.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Joshua Tree

This is a mixed media monotype I did, using the process of chine-collé with an old map I bought at the Alameda Antique Fair. I did some overprinting and it was fun to make. I also bought some old wood type letters at that same fair and can't wait to use them at the next studio sesh.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Today's quotes

Warm is the new cool.
- Cyrus Sutton

I never saw a wild thing sorry for itself.
- D. H. Lawrence

We do what we have to do so that we can do what we want to do.
- Melvin Tolson

Friday, July 11, 2008

Surf Fridays!

"The Bert"

Is everybody ready for some live Jimi Hendrix, sick groundbreaking maneuvers and one awesome afro? From the archives...Larry Bertlemann, "The Rubberman" came across my radar from Surfsister. I didn't know anything about him but I really like what I've learned, especially his modern message to "be yourself".

Surfer's Journal said Bertlemann's low-rotation skateboard maneuvers seeded the new surfing school of the '70s, redefining surfing performance while inspiring the paradigm-busting pool riders of Southern California's Dogtown skate scene.

Dogtown skater Nathan Pratt told Jay Adams, "Everyone skated up at Stacy Peralta's house every night. We got a lot of practice riding those hills. We would pretend we were surfing, doing big bottom turns and cut backs. One night Stacy and I were skating in Bruno's parking lot on the corner of Venice and Centinela. We decided to go over to Mar Vista school and session.

At the time, Larry Bertlemann was our inspiration with his trademark cutback that was super low and tight. When we were leaving I did a cutback on the curb next to Stacy's car. Stacy said, 'That looks like a Bertlemann cutback'. We called that skate move a "Bert" ever since. It was also known as the Zephyr slide, but we always called it a Bert amongst ourselves."

Lawrence Mehau Bertlemann was born in 1955 in Hilo, on Hawaii's big island. His father was a former survival instructor in the U.S. Air Force and ran an auto shop. Larry's life started with adventures of hunting pigs and fishing with handlines without a thought of surfing, until he went to Waikiki with his mother at age 11.

"I still remember my first wave at Queens. I rented a board for an hour and stayed out all day. They had to chase me in. Rabbit Kekai was up there yelling at me, but then my mom told him who I was. Our family had a lot of pull at the time - on both sides of the law, so he left me alone".

Longboards were still all that was known, and Bertlemann borrowed anything he could get his hands on. He eventually found a 9'6" in the bushes and rode it for a month before snapping it. Rather than mend the hulking plank, he glassed a fin on the front half and set out for some serious fun. By this time, school had become a nuisance, so after eighth grade, he dropped out in favor of the beach. The only graduating he was interested in was going from the bunny slopes of Waikiki to the bowl at Ala Moana.

Without conforming to the restraints of competition, he experienced success by the early '70's. In the 1972 World Contest in San Diego, he finished third, followed by a victory in the 1973 U.S. Championships. Contrary to advice from his shaper, coach and mentor, Ben Aipa, Bertlemann turned pro.

At the time, Gerry Lopez' subtle, zen-like approach was considered the quintessential style, meshing with the wave being the ultimate goal. But Bertlemann, an avid skateboarder, envisioned translating his land-based repertoire of tricks to the water. Larry would say that visualization is what separated him from the pack. His buddy would take Super 8 movies of them surfing and when he watched them he'd think, "Wow, I could cut that line shorter. Anything is possible, I knew what I wanted to do, now I just had to get the boards to do it".

The forward-thinking Aipa was the perfect match, creating wide, short (less than 6-foot) swallowtail and stinger designs that offered Bertlemann total freedom of movement. Always running at top speed and on the verge of spinning out, Bertlemann's low gravity cutbacks, 360s and switchfoot antics were spontaneous, yet completely functional.

Photographer Warren Bolster met Larry in Leucadia, SoCal in 1973 and was blown away by what he saw. Bolster said, "Besides switch-footing with ease, Bertlemann boosted airs (and calling them 'Larrials'), carved 360s, threw tailslides - essentially he was Hawaii's first real shortboard 'hotdogger'. In terms of his presence in his era, he was more remarkable than Slater or Andy Irons. I can't think of anyone else in his time who was so far ahead of everybody."

In his experimentation, Larry was joined by fellow test pilots Buttons Kaluhiokalani, Mark Liddell and later his cousin Dane Kealoha. Ala Moana and the more rippable North Shore venues became ground zero for progressive surfing.

Bertlemann was also interested in shaping. He was a driving force in creating the swallowtail and helped in the revival of ultra-short twin-fins around 1980.

Despite his distaste for the conformity of competition, Bertlemann became one of the most popular and well-paid professionals of the early pro era. His focus always remained on progression and visibility. "I surfed for myself and the public, not for five judges".

Somewhere during the mid-'80s, Bertlemann vanished from the surfing radar, with rumors of his whereabouts fluctuating wildly. Bertlemann said, "I wanted to see how the world is without water. I went skysurfing in Arizona, lived in Palm Beach, Florida on the PGA National Course, but kept my deal with United and Southwest so I could go surf in Mexico, Puerto Rico or Rio on the weekends. I've surfed places nobody has ever seen".

Some fun tidbits from Juice Magazine...

Do you know how many titles and contests you've won?
I have no idea. In fact, I wouldn't even keep the trophies. The first one that I won was the only one that I kept, and I gave that to my dad. All of the rest of them, I gave away to girls.

You gave them to girls?
Yeah. I'd be like, "Here. You can have this." They only collect dust. I kept the check though.

Did you save any of your surfboards?
No. I never saved any of them. I'm kicking myself in the head now. They've all disappeared. The only one I have is the one that I won the Duke with.

After the contest days, you got into other hobbies?
I got into marital arts so that I could enjoy surfing more. Surfing had gotten kind of stale. I got tired of people chasing me all over the world. I had to have my own little privacy time. I started getting into martial arts. Then I started getting into motorcycle racing, cars, jumping out of airplanes… I did everything.

Well, all of the years of adventure did take a toll on Larry's body and in 1998 it resulted in two degenerating discs, leaving the right side of his body paralyzed. Thankfully he recovered with therapy and does get out in the water, but as he puts it, "Only cruising".

Make sure you check out this short interview from Larry in 2006 and we'll end with this famous quote: "The Rubberman opened the door. Arriving amid a period of flux, he demonstrated that no limits exist beyond our imagination. He didn't invent the shortboard; he just showed us how to ride it. No one had a greater influence on the way people surf - from the best in the world on down, than Larry Bertlemann".

A cut from the 1978 film "Standing Room Only", featuring Rabbit Bartholomew and Larry Bertleman. The track is Jimi Hendrix doing "Red House" at the New York Pop Festival in July of 1970.

Have a stoked weekend!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Interview Wednesdays: Jonathan Mattson - Part II

The Mattson 2 with Ray Barbee
photo by Embry Rucker

Last Wednesday you read about Jonathan Mattson and the band he shares with his twin brother Jared - The Mattson 2. I'm proud to bring you Part II of Jonathan Mattson's interview. Read on to discover how Jonathan is a bit of a renaissance man...

Where did you grow up and where is home now?

I was born in Encinitas, CA then moved to central California when I was 2, then back to Encinitas when I was 8. So I spent most of my childhood in Encinitas.

Please tell us how you both got started. Did you start as things are today, with you on the drums and Jared on guitar? Did you both ask your parents for instruments for your birthday or had you played in school...

Well we actually both started on guitar in junior high. There was a little guitar after school special - and we asked our mom if we could join, and she signed us up. We basically wanted to start playing guitar because our older brothers played also. But guitar wasn't right for me, so I switched to bass - then bass wasn't good for me - so I switched to drums.

Did you start out jamming together or learning separately?

Well once I took up the drums, we pretty much played all the time together and jamming would become our practice. And it was so nice to be together all the time because we really got to practice together and in a sense became one unit - which eventually created a tight, cohesive combined sound.

What was one of the first songs you learned how to play?

Well we pretty much started playing rock tunes like Led Zepplin. Probably the first jazz tunes we played (and we had no idea what we were doing) were Full House and Mr. P.C.

You mentioned your older brothers played guitar. So there are other musicians in your family?

Yeah actually our older brother Micah Mattson is a guitarist in a good punk/alternative rock band called Kut U Up.

Any other siblings?

Yes my twin brother Jared, older brother Micah, older sister Sarah and oldest brother Aaron.

Where did your appreciation for jazz stem from?

Well my dad listened to a lot of jazz, and he also listened to a lot of classical - I strongly credit him.

When you are not playing music, what do you most like to do?

I love reading books, and listening to music, doing my artwork, and largely association with my good friends. They are genuine supporters of our music.

Art by Jonathan Mattson
(Click on the photos to make them larger)

What is the last book you read?

Haruki Murakami: Hard Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World

What is the last CD or album that you played?

The Apex by Little Creatures.

Being from a coastal town, do you surf?


Do you play locally when you are home?

Yeah, we play shows around San Diego, Oceanside, Encinitas, but we also play a lot in L.A. and San Francisco and perhaps where we have the most recognition is Japan.

What is your favorite local place to play?

Hmmmm I like to play art shows at Thalia Surf Gallery in Laguna Beach - that's always a fun and very appreciative crowd.

What is your favorite place to eat at home?

I really like a taco shop right by my house called Rico's - they have the best burritos.

I believe I learned about Ray Barbee just after I learned about The Mattson 2, due to your collaboration together. I noticed that your CD with Ray Barbee is no longer available. Any word on whether that CD will become available again?

Well that CD is only out in Japan right we are waiting for it to be released in America. It will be out soon hopefully, I'm kind of not sure about all that stuff.

When can we look forward to the next CD from The Mattson 2?

We have an EP that is coming out on Galaxia - hopefully within the next couple of months at the latest. It features 2 songs with Ray Barbee as a special guest, also a performance by John McEntire from Tortoise and The Sea and Cake. It's recorded mostly all at SOMA music studios in Chicago by John McEntire. And the rest of the record is recorded and mixed in San Francisco at Function 8 Studios by Monte Vallier. So it's a good mix of two amazing recording engineers.

The last question is, what is the funniest thing you saw today?

A monkey...

Awesome. Thank you again, Jonathan. You can be sure I'll give a shout out on PineappleLuv when the new EP for The Mattson 2 becomes available.

Monkey business with The Mattson brothers
photo by Embry Rucker

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Full Custom Living: The reception

This car and other beauties like it, were parked in the Minna St. alley

Jay in front of his tintypes

James looking at Larry Mills' photo of Cole Foster

Late night and the party was still going strong

The guys of Garage
from l to r: Jay Watson, Dan Stoner, Brian Bounds

Ah yes, the reception for Full Custom Living: The Art of Garage Magazine. And what a night it was. Several hundred folks made their way to 111 Minna to revel in the photography, art and iron that so well represented this culture.

It was very special to see Jay so happy that night as he mingled effortlessly with the good and interesting people.

One of the best moments I had that evening was talking to a man named James (photo above) about this culture and what this show meant to him. With a serious tone James explained to me that it was a do it yourself culture, and that was why he and so many others love it so. He criticized just a little, the guys who spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on cars, and don't touch the cars themselves.

He echoed the sentiment of others in the room that night, how meaningful it was to have this subculture represented so well in one big space. It was a long time coming he felt, as he explained how hard some of these people work. I could see for myself how happy everyone looked, as they talked story and admired the bikes that Jason Jesse and Max Schaaf built and the dragster that Tim Conder created. The builders who posed next to the beautiful photographs that had been taken of them, still had a little grease under their nails from a hard day at the garage.

If you didn't get a chance to catch the reception, the show is up until Aug. 1st. And if you don't live in the area, the full gallery is up on 111 Minna's website.

Cupcake Capers

Key Lime Cupcake

Italian Coffee

Write-up in the San Mateo Times

Key Lime Sauce in the center

Cute bicycle owned by my partner in crime

Yesterday evening, Jess and I went to Vanilla Moon Bakery for our new joint project of taste-testing cupcakes once a week. To our dismay, it was closed! (Well they have to get rest sometime don't they). Our dismay was short-lived, as we quickly thought of a plan to go the next morning. Yes, they open bright and early and this would be perfect. Cupcakes for breakfast!

So there we are this morning at 8am, peering through the glass cases and wondering what would be appropriate for breakfast. Of course they have cinnamon buns and freshly baked scones, but we do need to taste cupcakes. The chocolate looked a little heavy, and I had the vanilla last week, so a Key Lime Cupcake it was ~ for both of us it turns out.

It smelled heavenly. I touched the meringue frosting to my lips and it was so soft. I took a bite. Oh did I pick a good one! The cupcake was similar to vanilla but had the essence of key lime zest throughout. The frosting was light and creamy. Then I hear an excited voice from my partner in crime. She has discovered gold in the center. I took one more bite to discover that it's key lime sauce, which has the feel of custard but a very distinct key lime flavor. As we ooh and ahh to the Perego family about this creation (I think they might like us), we hear about the story of their delicious coffee.

It's Doge Rosso coffee, imported directly from Italy. We learned there is a Caffé del Doge in Palo Alto, but it is very rare to find as the company is very strict about who sells their coffee. As Christie Perego is charming and speaks Italian, she was able to convince the company to let her sell their Doge Rosso coffee in her cupcakery. A representative came over to make sure she had the right equipment and spent hours teaching them all how to make it, so it was represented perfectly. Well they did a darned fine job because it is absolutely delicious.

Jess cheerfully rode off on her bicycle to write her review, and I went to work, happily knowing that I was probably the only person in my office who had cupcakes for breakfast. Until next week's capers...

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Friday, July 04, 2008

Surf Fridays!

The beach in Lahaina, Maui where I learned to stand-up paddlesurf
If you go, call the guys at Hi-Performance Surf and they'll hook you up

This was the most delicious lunch I've ever had
Paia Fish Market

In just 3 weeks Jay and I will have our one year wedding anniversary and I've been thinking back about our wedding and honeymoon. It was heavenly and one thing I got to do on our honeymoon in Maui was learn to stand up paddlesurf (SUP). I fell in love with it and of course, now I want my own paddleboard. It's an ancient sport and nice for summer when the conditions are smaller. I should mention that it was not as easy at it looked. It really engages your whole body and your core needs to be really stable.

I want to be in a race someday too, maybe on a paddleboard prone. There is a 9 mile race next Sunday in Maui. Doesn't that look like fun? Then there's the 32 mile race from Molokai to Oahu at the end of this month. That looks a little more daunting. Here's a video of a 7 mile race in Maui.

Gerry Lopez said, "Anyone who has surfed knows that surfing is about 90% paddling. The only good thing about it, other than getting you from here to there out in the surf, is being in shape for it. Whether you are an expert surfer or just beginning, mastering the paddleboard technique is the first step to improving your game. Paddleboard racing was one of the greatest sports in Hawaii when Captain Cook first came, yet its origins go back to the ancient times and old legends. It may be an old sport but its benefits and the enjoyment it gives make it a valuable part of the surfing lifestyle."

Our summer vacation is starting to become defined and we may end up paddleboarding in Lake Tahoe. I've been to Lake Tahoe many times but have never been in the lake and I think this would be an awesome way to explore it.

In the meantime, I'm going to watch videos of Laird Hamilton doing it, and others like this one below.

Alright, like everyone else in the U.S., time to get cookin' for a BBQ!

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Bob Welsh at the Montreal Jazz Festival

That's my little brother Bob Welsh, tearing it up at the Montreal Jazz Festival earlier this week. He's playing in the John Nemeth band and they are currently touring the U.S. for another month or so. More videos from the festival here and here.

My heart is bursting with pride. This is exactly how I feel.

Have a great holiday weekend to everyone in the U.S. of A and much love.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Mustache love

As promised, the mustache project has just hit the Interwebs. Check it out. That's my man!

Interview Wednesdays: Jonathan Mattson - Part I

The Mattson 2
photo by Embry Rucker

Recently I had the pleasure of seeing my new favorite band, The Mattson 2, play live in San Francisco. Twin brothers Jared and Jonathan Mattson are the players who make up this formidable duo, with Jared on guitar and Jonathan on drums. I should mention that Jonathan had a drum solo that evening that blew the room away.

Jonathan graciously took time out of his summer to grant an interview to PineappleLuv. Today please enjoy Part I and do come back next Wednesday for Part II, where you'll learn how these dynamic brothers started playing music and when you can get their new CD.

I am no music critic, so would you mind educating us on the style of music you play? I notice on the MySpace page for Mattson 2, that you have many diverse influences.

Well I would say our music is rooted in Jazz structure-but I would hardly call it straight ahead Jazz---it is basically our own kind of music---I've never heard much like it - but I guess you could say it’s a music that is inspired by traditional and modern Jazz, while also being very inspired by the 1990’s-modern day Chicago post rock scene. We aren’t trying to do what Chicago is doing though, it is just one of the many styles of music that we are inspired by and have a great appreciation for.

One thing I'd like to mention is that when I listen to your songs, there is some sort of driving force to them that is very engaging, and keeps me tapping my foot and wanting to pay attention and to not be distracted away from listening. That is unusual for me.

Thank you, that is a great compliment. That’s what we are trying to do - we want people to be attentive to our music and recognize subtle details and changes in the music.

You have such great fashion sense. You both look so nice in your suits! In fact I noticed at your show at the John Colins Lounge, that a lot of men came in suit pants or some variation of a suit. I am certain you have inspired them, which is a wonderful thing!

Yeah I think an image for a band is one of the most important things about the band---I mean you can be a super good musician, but you can be even better by the whole presentation of what you are making - a complete art form visually and musically.

Any recommendations for the men out there on a good fitting suit?

Well I'm a big thrift store shopper, so I find a suit that is my color…and that fits me pretty well. Then I take it to my tailor, and she doctors it up for me, makes it perfect.

What has been one of your favorite places to tour and where are you hoping to go that you've never been?

Well I have been super fortunate to tour in Japan 4 times! Its definitely one of my favorite crowds to play for; many have amazing ears that just pick up on all the subtle details, and changes in the music, and many also are super into the improvisation side to our music.

We are looking forward to traveling to Europe soon - we are going there this month, to Copenhagen and Finland - and we will hopefully play some shows and get some good exposure out there!

What is the most recent piece of music…or art…or slice of life that inspired you?

Probably Todd Rundgren’s music, and also the Cocteau Twins. Something that has also been a huge inspiration for me is working with Thomas Campbell - He is a famous artist/film maker/record producer, and he has been working with us on a lot of our music.

Also we have a project going on with two Japanese musicians, Chocolat & Akito, that have amazing voices and a unique and cohesive style of composing. Those have been some really positive inspirations for us.

When you played live, something that struck me was that you acknowledge your audience and show appreciation for them. You also both took the time to talk to people during your break. It made me think you must have grown up with wonderful parents.

Of course, my parents are amazing people, I don’t know who I would be without their help---I see so many kids with just no respect for anyone, so many people that put themselves above other people - but my parents helped to instill in me a good attitude, and I developed a good heart toward people. And I love a good audience because I like to hear their response to our music - and a good audience really inspires and effects the way I play.

Thank you, Jonathan.

At the John Colins Lounge on June 16

Jared Mattson

Jonathan Mattson

Boy, his last answer really meant something to me. Until the new CD is available, I encourage everyone to listen to the songs on their MySpace page. Ode to Lou and Erase Your Face happen to be my favorites. Lets give these gentlemen a little shout out here or on their blog as a send-off for their upcoming trip to Europe. Until next Wednesday...

Full Custom Living

Today, Jay is at 111 Minna with Garage Magazine's art director, Brian "Gringo" Bounds. (Brian is the artist who created the poster above, and my blog banner). Today they are putting the finishing touches on the painted mural that replicates that poster. Jay was telling me that Brian likes to paint from deep inside of the lines really fast and carefree, then gets skillful as he heads to the details around the edges, while Jay's method is to want to paint the edges very carefully first and then head towards the middle.

The reception is tomorrow and I am excited and so proud of Jay. I promise to take photos and post them over the weekend. It's going to be a great scene and what a great culture - all of the talented artists, illustrators, tattoo artists, photographers, car builders, bike builders, Garage gals, and the folks who live it. Full Custom Living at its finest. More information here, here and here.

p.s. I need to fix up my image a little for the reception. I happen to have a pack of Fruit Stripe gum, which comes with temporary tattoos...

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Cupcake Capers

This is the first edition of Cupcake Capers, where I dutifully explore the new cupcake shop in my town and eat the cupcakes, so that you can get some idea as to what they taste like. The irony is not lost on me that this cupcake posting comes directly after one entitled "Healthy".

I'm not alone in this new tasting venture. My dear friend and fellow San Carlosan, Jess Nichols, will be participating as well. We have a standing date to meet at Vanilla Moon Bakery once a week so that we can review a different cupcake each visit. You may remember that I love cupcakes a LOT, so this plan couldn't have been more ingenious (hands rubbing together).

Today's review starts by saying how incredibly nice Christie Perego and her family are. Jess and I met them last Thursday, the day after their official opening. They were so welcoming and genuinely warm to everyone. Next to a good product, that particular quality in a business is what keeps me coming back. The shop is clean and nicely designed with dark furniture, deep purple walls and fresh gerbera daisies on each table.

Vanilla Moon Bakery owner Christie Perego and her brother Aaron Perego

Vanilla with Vanilla Buttercream

Forward to 5:00pm sharp today. My pick was Vanilla with Vanilla Buttercream. The first thing I did was smell it. It smelled good! Next, I took a bite and said, "Mmmmmm". The people at the table next to me were also saying "Mmmmmm".

The vanilla flavor was just right and the cake was light and fluffy. The buttercream frosting was thick but had a lightness to it and just slightly rich. The periwinkle sprinkles added a nice touch.

The last photo in this slideshow - do you see the little boy expressing physical joy? He had just eaten (half of) a red velvet cupcake. His Mom's review is here.

If you're mad - mad because I've taunted you with photos of delicious cupcakes, well I truly understand. Just look away! And the rest of you, stay tuned until next week's Cupcake Capers!