I have had several nudging requests to share photos from my birthday party two weekends ago. Going through the photos I took from the event, however, I was disappointed by how grainy most of the images were given the low lighting. With a little editing I have managed to salvage a couple shots by switching to black and white. Above you can see some of the table set up: an orange and yellow daffodil centerpiece; a multi-tiered display of animal-cracker topped cupcakes; and another tray of cupcakes with flags that spelled out "happy birthday kaj".

At the last minute I also decided to make tiny little favors for two of my friends who were helping me with set up and clean up. Heading to the MUJI section at MoMA Store I picked up these small stackable storage pots for about $1 each (you can't beat a sale and employee discount!). At home I filled them with different candies---jelly beans and reese's pieces---to create a mini color spectrum. Finally, I topped them off with a small blue label and wrote "thank you!" in my patented block capital lettering. My friends were delighted to receive them and it made me realize that it is really fun to show people you care with a small, sweet, and unexpected gesture.

But I still haven't mentioned the star of the party: the cupcakes! I ended up making 60+ cupcakes despite the fact that there were only going to be 15 people at the party . . . oops! This meant that I acted as the 'cupcake fairy' for a week, giving out cupcakes at school and work. I used three recipes from Martha Stewart's Cupcakes all of which were absolutely delicious and relatively easy to make. After much deliberation I decided to make Devil's Food Chocolate, Chocolate Chip, and Apple Spice (only in the cookbook). Each was topped with either store bought dark chocolate frosting (a girl can only do so much!) or this amazing cream cheese frosting. If you make the cream cheese frosting I highly suggest halving the amount of confectioner's sugar; I used only 2 cups and they were the perfect level of sweetness. Finally, I topped the Devil's Food cupcakes off with non-pareils or dark chocolate shavings, the Chocolate Chip cupcakes with multi-colored sanding sugar, and the Apple Spice cupcakes with rainbow balls and animal crackers. I was pretty proud of the results!

Check out more shots of the cooking and the party on my Flickr photostream here.

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