Sunday, March 2, 2008

Darcy Miller at Macy's

Last week I read in one of the wedding blogs in my Google Reader, DIY Bride, that Darcy Miller and Wendy Kromer, both of the Martha Stewart Weddings empire/machine, would be at the Louisville Macy's today. I knew I was going to be post-call today, but I went ahead and RSVPed, figuring that if I was exhausted at the last minute I wouldn't go. I don't know how they advertised the event locally (I don't get the newspaper anymore), but there were probably 50-100 people there. I was, sadly, one of the only people there by myself, but such is life.

Now, I like flipping through MS Weddings magazine for the diy projects and clean photo layouts, but I find the MS empire a little disturbing with its emphasis on perfection. I also don't like famous people putting their names on subpar versions of otherwise-great product lines, a la Emeril and All-Clad. I think Martha Stewart at Kmart is a gimmick and why on earth would I buy Martha Stewart Wedgwood (or even Vera Wang Wedgwood) rather than "real" Wedgwood? Is that weird? I'm not sure, but I'm sticking to my guns. Anyway, I think Martha sets up unreasonable expectations for a lot of women, whether they be brides, homemakers, or craftspeople. No one can be that perfect! If you're aware of your lack of perfection, though, then her crafty projects can be great inspiration.

Anyway, back to the topic at hand. I wasn't going to go all ga-ga for Darcy Miller (MS Weddings editor) or Wendy Kromer (makes all the cakes for the MS wedding empire), but I had nothing better to do today (other than sleep) and I figured there would probably be free food of some sort (I was right). Plus, if hundreds of other brides would kill to be in my place, maybe I should see what all the fuss was about...

When I got to Macy's (they set up the event in the Home Store), they asked me to set up my registry (I declined) or sign up to be contacted later about setting up a registry (I complied). Then I entered a drawing for 4 settings of Martha's new Wedgwood setting of my choice (if I won, I probably would have sold it on eBay because I wouldn't want to get 8 more settings of any of them to fill out the set). I'll spoil the surprise: I didn't win, although my raffle number was only 7 digits after the winning one... if only I had gotten there 3 minutes earlier!

Then I found a seat kind of toward the front and off to one side, which had a gift bag full of free swag: a copy of the current MS Weddings magazine (sweet! I didn't buy it at the airport when I had that long layover last month!), a copy of the current Louisville Bride magazine (sweet! I didn't buy it at Borders last month because I convinced myself it wasn't worth it since I could read the whole thing online for free!), a $10 Macy's gift card (I was a bad girl and snuck the gift card out of the bag on the chair next to me also, since no one was sitting there. There was a Macy's nazi snatching up all the un-claimed bags as soon as the event was over, though, so no other thievery for me), and a couple of useless coupons, ads, and a perfume sample.

Darcy Miller was up first, and she gave some really general advice about wedding planning. She showed pictures from the current MS Weddings issue about the couple who won the Today Show wedding. Since it was televised live, the ceremony was at 8 am, and that meant the bride's call time was... wait for it... 3:30 a.m.! I can't imagine that. Not that I've never woken up that early, but the whole point of a wedding day being the couple's special day means, for us at least, that we get to sleep in; hence a late afternoon ceremony for us. She also talked about and showed pictures from her own wedding in 2001, which had lots of cute little details and was featured in the magazine back then.

Darcy does her bit.

Then Wendy Kromer talked about cakes and showed lots of cake pictures. Most of it was nothing I had never heard or seen before, either, but it's always fun to look at pretty cakes.

A traditional, white-on-white cake with intricate piping. Wendy referenced the book the Lambeth Method of Cake Decoration for this cake. Apparently it's a book that people who are "sick with love for cake decorating" own.

I harbor fantasies about cakes like this, especially strawberry shortcakes. I love fresh berries on cakes. [Sorry for the crappy cake pictures, btw; I was taking pictures of the screen that was projecting the slideshow.]

I LOVE the whimsical look of this cake. The borders of the tiers are ladyfingers dipped in something or other, and the tiers are covered in waxflower. I like dainty patterns like that a lot, like this cake from last month's cake episode of the MS show inspired by a calico print:

I'll probably have a plain-ish cake decorated with fresh flowers, myself, assuming that intricately decorated things like the calico cake above are unquestionably out of our budget. Strawberry shortcake is still a possibility, though!

Then they let us loose, and encouraged us to buy the MS wedding cake book for Wendy to sign ($60, no thank you!) and talk to Darcy and taste cake samples provided by a local baker. The cake samples included an espresso marble cake with mocha filling (too strong of a coffee taste for me, but still good) and a butter cake with bavarian cream filling (DELICIOUS! I may have to call them for a consultation).

Peach tea with remnants of the butter-and-bavarian-cream cake, perched delicately next to a display of Kate Spade china.

There were also some yummy hors d'oeuvres: sirloin cube and grape tomato on a skewer; grilled shiitake mushroom on a rosemary stem skewer (awesome idea I'd love to use!); shrimp with avocado and creme fraiche on a little pastry of some sort with caviar; and a cute take on potato skins: half of a small red potato with creme fraiche, a bit of bacon, and leek.

Sirloin and tomato skewer and shiitake mushroom skewer. The mushroom was grilled with rosemary, so the whole thing was delicious and woodsy.

The potato appetizer. I ate like 5 of these things. They were delicious. The leek bit was practically as large as the potato so it looked a little funny, but whatever.

While we were waiting around for them to draw the door prize, everyone was perusing the china and kitchen stuff. Although I wouldn't buy the Martha Stewart line just because it was Martha Stewart, and definitely wouldn't buy it if I had something with tried-and-true quality in mind instead, she does have pieces that are unique and adorable. Like wooden cutting boards in the shape of a mouse (to serve cheese and crackers on!) or rooster, or a wire cupcake stand. Anyway, I ended up getting these two teensy dishes, which I'm going to use as ring dishes in the bathroom and kitchen. And they were essentially free, thanks to my gift card!

The leaf for the kitchen and the flower for the bathroom. My ring will look adorable sitting in either of those, although not as adorable as it looks sitting on my finger, of course!

I'm not sure what these dishes are supposed to be... the letter abbreviations on the UPC sticker seem to reference "salt cellar" but these are definitely too small for a salt cellar. Is it possible one is supposed to have tiny individual salt serving dishes on a properly set table? I don't remember any such thing from Miss Manners (yes, I have read it), but you never know...

Overall, it was not a bad afternoon at Macy's!


Lauren said...

mmmm. CAKE!