Decadent bites / how to videos

Procastibaking

Procastibaking

Procastibaking:  When you have a laundry list of other tasks you are supposed to be doing instead, but SQUIRREL...BAM!  There you are in the kitchen happily buried in butter, sugar, lemon and lime zest. 

To say this week has been one for the record books, feels like another understatement of the century.  I don't take credit for any of my strength myself.  I always see it as God giving me the strength to get through what I need at any given moment.  My presentation this week in Hickory was one of those moments.

I was enjoying the drive during another picturesque North Carolina morning. I watched the sun dance with daybreak’s dewy mist as I was listened to my favorite Smokie Norful CD (Christian artist and also a pastor).  I wasn't torturing my own ears by singing along, but the music was soothing my soul and settling my spirit.  It was still relaxing although, I'm one of those odd birds who actually ENJOYS public speaking and knew my squad was praying for my trip and presentation!  So I was not nervous or anxious about taking the stage at all.  Siri was periodically chirping the directions as I navigated the back roads of Route # "out in the middle of nowhere".  Then a phone call broke through the music and chirp of Siri.  It was my Dad.  He was in a panic about something that in reality didn't amount to a hill of beans.  Normally, the call would have shaken me, but God prepared me in advance.  Instead, I calmly reassured him and resumed listening to my music and Siri.  I also made a mental note to put my phone in airplane mode before I went on stage.  

My 20 slide presentation on eCommerce for Small Business went better than I could have scripted myself.  60 seasoned professional acclaimed it was the best marketing presentation they'd ever heard AND the best presentation of the entire 2 day conference!  Wow, thank you God!  As a result, I have new business opportunities to collaborate, teach, and speaking engagements being presented to me! 

Actually, I've moved from procastibaking directly to going for a walk in Jetton park, petting cute puppies, swinging on the bench, helping a mom get her toddler’s attention during a phot shoot, to visiting with a dear friend as we absorbed the beauty of the day and watched people fish on Lake Norman.  Now I'm onto procastiblogging, as I am supposed to be working on 2 different proposals and another presentation right now. I wonder what’s next on my procastixxxxxx list?!  

One thing I've learned over this journey with my Dad is this -- God has DEFINITELY opened some sizable and unbelievable doors in my business lately!  However, they have occurred simultaneously as I manage various aspects of his care, calmly reassure him or answer his 5-10 emails a day.  His challenges haven't eased up one iotia and being an advocate from 5 states away has it's own frustrations/limitations.  So what do I do to stay "balanced"?  I use the DND (Do Not Disturb) feature on my phone, reconnect with friends/family who are dear to me, procastibake Lemon Lime Pound cake for my daughter's boyfriend's birthday, take time out to sit on a bench by the water, be transparent with my challenges, go to the gym, try to eat more healthy foods then chocolate, drink more water than yummy Moscato, rest when I’m running out of steam, pray a lot, and ask for forgiveness and grace when I get it all wrong. 

If you follow me on LinkedIn, you'll see I was just featured by Carolina Small Business Development Fund (CSBDF) "Women's History In the Making" series. Wow, just wow!  Stay tuned for what's next, whatever that may be!  Despite my best-laid plans, I surely don't even know what God has in store for me next!

Blessings!

Maria

 

 

 

Maria Kemp
Read more
A thief in the night

A thief in the night

When I told my daughter the title for this post, she chuckled and said "Well, okkkkkayyy!"  

As a small business owner, there's always a delicate balance of which personal details to share on your business page.  I've always felt when it came to the choice to prioritize my family, there's no solace keeping the entire journey secret.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I'm walking through "a journey in aging" with my father in New York.  As common as the word "COVID" is in our everyday language -- all the age-related labels are just as common.  One day your parents are the way they've always been, then just like a "thief in the night" pieces of them disappear without warning; leaving us all to learn to cope together.  I've talked to many friends and confirmed the changes our parents face are never anything they accept willingly.  But it's still surreal to accept, I've once again become the parent to my parent. 

When I paused the online store in February, I knew it was the right decision so I could focus on being with my dad.  I felt the pause was the only way to maintain my flawless order track record.  I knew with all the stress and juggling tasks from 5 states away, it was not the time to agonize over lemon bar, cookie or brownie orders. 

In the midst of all the heartache, God is faithful and surrounded me with the most amazing friends.  These cherished treasures truly prayed me through the most difficult days. 

During my last trip to New York, I overhauled my website.  The online store is hidden and everything is refocused to center on baking experiences, speaking engagements, and continuing education.  (All are predominantly virtual.)  

The American Tire Distributors (ATD) video/commercial is done and it is FABULOUS!  (I promised not to release it before they debut it later this month.)  They were also gracious and recorded a second video exclusively for my marketing purposes!  Private virtual baking experiences are booming, so this last morph (aka pivot) is working extremely well.  Later this week, I have one of my first large speaking engagements!

Thank you for your prayers and continued support!💜

Maria Kemp
Read more
A $5,000,000,000 BILLION dollar company...

A $5,000,000,000 BILLION dollar company...

I would say, "Somebody pinch me!" but I don't want to have any residual marks for the premier of my video with American Tire Distributors (ATD)!

I call my dad everyday to hear about his day, tell him about mine AND to covertly gauge how he's doing.  This weekend, I was telling him about my meeting with the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of American Tire Distributors (ATD) - Bill Williams.  I was sharing with him how nice Mr. Williams was and the details of our conversation.  I could hear my dad's smile through the phone as he was definitely having a proud papa moment!  

I was telling him the magnitude of what this relationship meant to my small business -- a GI-NORMOUS company with $5 billion dollars in annual sales truly saw me!  They saw in me what I and my parents have known all along and said, "Her!  We want her!  We want to invest in helping her business grow!"  

You have NO IDEA the amount or number of times I cried tears of joy!  The realization of every twist, turn, ebb and flow I've been through over the years has shaped, molded and refined me to be ready for this moment.  I don't know what the future holds or what new doors of opportunity will swing open, but I know at my core I will remain unchanged.  I will continue to honor God and my dad in his time of need, be kind, help others shine, prioritize my family, and make ATD proud they chose me!   

Ohhh and there's that handful of other "small" tasks -- multiple courses to finish writing, a million Zoom meetings, marketing collateral to review, recipes to test, video premier, and a huge speaking engagement to prepare for...you know...the usual. 🤣

Maria Kemp
Read more
Family First...always

Family First...always

SHORT VERSION

  1. Beyond Decadence is still in business.
  2. Desserts and baking experiences for the general public will be paused temporarily.
  3. Business will continue as normal for speaking engagements, baking experiences for corporate clients and private groups, and community college classes.

LONG VERSION

Let me state this first -- Beyond Decadence is still in business!

As many of you know from reading the About Chef Maria page, I opted to close my initial brick & mortar bakery after my mom's stroke. If it weren't for the virtual world we now live in, I would be contemplating the same thing now to support my aging dad.  

I chose not to make a public announcement at the time, but I spent most of January in New York helping my father.  I still donned my chef jacket to attend Zoom meetings, met with corporate clients, taught a three-part virtual class for South Piedmont Community College, planned a video shoot, and finalized details for a speaking engagement, all while completing ~47 individual tasks for my dad. I left NY's single-digit temperature behind yesterday and welcomed 54 degrees in Charlotte with a smile! Now it's Tuesday evening and finally time to gather my thoughts to share a snippet of this story.

I told my dad several times I inherited my fearlessness, strength, and fierce independence from him. However, I still repeated it one last time on our drive to the airport just in case he needed to hear it again. He's getting up there in age but as fiery and independent as ever! As he reminded me during week two, "I don't want you thinking I'm an invalid or something!" I chuckled and said, "Oh, I know THAT, but it can't be years again before you let me come visit!" By the end of our trip, when I told him when I'd be back again, he said, "That sounds great to me!"

I felt like my sleep was constantly interrupted trying to figure out how to juggle my dad in NY, my business, and the fact that I live in NC. FINALLY, the flow came together!  The only way I can be there for my dad AND still run my business is to make some temporary changes. 

I've always been a planner, but it will be paramount now. 

Business will continue as normal for speaking engagements, baking experiences for corporate clients and private groups, and community college classes. 

Desserts and baking experiences for the general public will be paused temporarily.  I’ll reopen my online store’s public offerings if and when things change with my dad.   

Again, Beyond Decadence is still in business – we’re just pausing some of our offerings.  Thank you for understanding my decision to adjust the business temporarily so I can be with my dad when I am needed. 

Maria Kemp
Read more
"Do you want to build a snowman?!"

"Do you want to build a snowman?!"

Oh, I know I should have used a picture of a luscious Christmasy-looking dessert, but the little snowman was too adorable to ignore!  And I'm channeling that song from Frozen!

First of all, I want to say a big "THANK YOU!!!" to all my fabulous clients who choose to have Beyond Decadence desserts grace their Thanksgiving tables AND Todd of Pita Pit for allowing me to load up his refrigerator for order pickups!  This was the first year (of 5 holiday seasons), I pushed the dessert pickup date a day earlier than normal.  Why?!  Because I wanted to "recover" and drive 4.5 hours to Atlanta to spend the holiday with my daughter and cousins.  I decided to take on less orders this year than normal, so I wouldn't be utterly exhausted and my body racked with pain to make the long journey down I-85. 

As I walked through my friend's heart attack, it brought a new "awareness" of the fragility of life and how things can change without warning, wake-up calls, or flashing red lights.  So when my daughter wasn't able to come to me for the holiday, my decision to go to her became a no-brainer.  

And I did the unthinkable....

I left my laptop at home!  I cleaned up all my email from my phone, but didn't even turn on my laptop until tonight for the first time since last Monday or Tuesday!  I sat on my daughter's balcony in the crisp Georgia air and felt the stress melt away with every stroke of petting my grand-fur baby, Fluffy.  I even completely forgot to schedule all my Christmas desserts to display on 11/26!  Oh well, I didn't have any Black Friday deals anyway, so in the big scheme of things fixing it all tonight was really fine. 

I have some exciting new and familiar desserts on the Christmas menu!  I also lifted the restriction on the states I will ship to since the weather is finally getting colder.  If I've missed one of your favorites on the menu, drop me an email and I'll see if I can make the magic happen for you.  However, please be aware there is a $30 order minimum (in general) and to checkout on the website.  

The ordering deadlines are on the Shipping/Pickup/Delivery page.  I have several corporate private virtual baking experiences on my calendar, so please heed the ordering deadlines.

Let it go, let it go....oh sorry, that's the other song from Frozen...

 

Maria Kemp
Read more
But wait!  There's more!

But wait! There's more!

Well it sure doesn't take long for the tide to change directions does it?  One day, I'm super excited about the possibility of becoming a TV star.  The next day I'm eating consolation chocolate frozen custard in my car, because the dream is put on pause for a while longer.  I won't recap the entire story in this post, but you can read my post on FB about what happened. 

As Taylor Swift would say it's time to "shake it off, shake it off!"

Instead let's focus on the truly amazing things God is doing in Beyond Decadence!  As if being approached by a very large company with a potential order that will be the single largest order I've EVER received isn't enough....but wait, there's more...

That individual had been rallying the troops to do business with me when I thought my email from early October was swirling around in a sea on nothingness.  She said she didn't want to reach out to me until she knew for certain and now we're there.  There are still details to finalize and let's pray this will fare better than the TV gig, but my faith is strong this will turn out the way it's supposed to.  She already referred me to another colleague who I'm working with for desserts to ship along with Champagne to her clients in February.  (I LOVE when clients plan ahead!)

And if that wasn't enough, I've already been approached by 2 different institutions of higher learning to put together proposals or curriculum to teach for them and an encore presentation at Johnson & Wales....but wait, there's more...

I booked my 2nd corporate holiday private virtual baking experience last week!  I'm excited to work with a California-based company to bring a lot of fun, festive cheer, and delicious desserts to this team of 28!  I've had what has felt like back-to-back Zoom meetings with a least 5 other companies that are now ready to book their virtual holiday baking experiences....but wait, there's more...

I've breached the hallowed gates of a WHALE (to use a Las Vegas term) company and may soon be able to them to my list of corporate clients!  I have a team within the company interested in my private virtual baking experiences!  We're still trying to re-connect.  But never the less, my internal contact said they will be featuring my business internally in the next couple of weeks!  I'm going to ask if I can get a copy of the communication!  Of course I'm praying I get business out of it, but it's still very exciting to make the cut to be shared internally as a supplier they want to do business with!

Thanksgiving orders have been trickling in the last couple of days.  I thought I was over-communicating/over-posting to "order now, order now", but I've had more than one person ask "Is your Thanksgiving menu out yet?"  My response has been "Ah, yeah, it's been posted since early October!  Thanksgiving order is closing on 11/16 or when I'm sold out!"  I kept the pie inventory manageable this year since I have just a few irons in the fires, so don't be a slow poke ordering or you will miss out.  And like the old SNL skit with the soup *azi -- "No pie for you!"

 

 

Maria Kemp
Read more
Thanksgiving Tik Tok, tick tock, Tik Tok

Thanksgiving Tik Tok, tick tock, Tik Tok

Well thank God this weekend (so far) is buzzing by with no emergency room visits! 

Are you in disbelief too that the calendar already says "November"?  AND now for 2 days in a row, ear muffs have been a required accessory!  I'm not sure what to say, but the harsh reality is fall is here and for us now thin-blooded Southerners...it's cold!  

That means Thanksgiving, holidays, and Christmas are merely around the corner.  I wish I could say I will send out countless reminders to place your orders, but I don't like flooding inboxes and trying to come up with 20 new ways to say "Order Now or you'll miss out!", I just don't have that level of creativity.  If you aren't ready to order now, I'd suggest putting a reminder on your calendar to do it before 11/16.  However, that deadline date comes with a warning so read on.  

Just as I predicted all the corporate clients I've been building a rapport with over the last 4-9 months are now ready to book their private virtual baking experiences for the holidays.  Can you blame them?!  What better way to end the year with a fun, interactive, immersive experience learning how to make a decadent dessert! To say my days have been filled with a lot of recipe testing, Zoom meetings, phone calls, and coordinating details would be an understatement.  I can't wait to share the name of some of the companies that are currently in my line-up -- household names is putting it mildly. 

A few other major things that have graced my to-do list is Tik Tok.  I was holding out and resisting the wave, but the platform holds some distinct advantages to sell to an even larger audience.  You can find me on Tik Tok under http://www.tiktok.com/@beyonddecadence .  I only have a few videos out there right now, but more are coming.  

The other MAJOR item I'm working on (in my imaginary free time) is testing a zero-sugar sweetener.  It doesn't effect the glycemic index which is a HUGE win for diabetics or anyone sensitive to sugar!  My first test was with my infamous Lemon Bars and to say that was an epic fail would be putting it mildly.  The normally gooey sticky filling became a bit rubbery and the bars lost a lot of the lemon zing.  My next test will be with mini cheesecakes.  I've heard from the supplier and other users of the product that cheesecake does extremely well, so I'll keep everyone posted.  I do NOT intend to develop an entire zero-sugar dessert line.  That would take ions of testing that I simply don't have time for.  However, I would like to develop at least 2 items that will allow those with sugar sensitivity to have a delicious option.

Oh wow, I almost forget -- there's a new calendar app on the website that will make it easier to pick the date for your baking experiences!  Also, I introduced baking experiences for adults and kids (tweens/teens).  

Please order your Thanksgiving desserts if you plan to now.  As my calendar fills up with baking experiences, the available quantity of desserts and/or the ordering window could definitely close before 11/16.

Happy fall y'all!🍂🍁❄️☃️🎄

Maria Kemp
Read more
A departure from the norm

A departure from the norm

Today I have something so heavy on my heart that I feel like I would be an injustice not to share it.  If you prefer to skip to the end and hear about the upcoming holidays and French macaron baking experience for kids, then go ahead and scroll to the last 2 paragraphs.

Yesterday the unthinkable happened.  My friend and I were preparing to go to the gym when she starting vomiting, pain in her chest and arm.  Long story short, we rushed to the emergency room and I waited in my car (COVID restrictions) to see what the diagnosis would be.  I was fully expecting them to say "it's xyz" and send her home with orders to rest.  Instead the security guard came rushing out at the same I was getting out of my car and said, "It's a good thing you got her here when you did, she's having a heart attack!"  The rest was a well-coordinated flurry of activity with a lot of information to retain. 

They had to transfer her to a hospital with cardiovascular care.  The most gut-wrenching moment was when her ambulance passed me with their lights and sirens on.  Just knowing that my friend was in the back and time was of the essence brought me to uncontrollable tears.  It made me wonder how often do ambulances pass us and we don't give thought to the person in the back or we bristle at the inconvenience of missing the light because they are trying weave their way through cars that don't grasp the concept to move off the road. 

It also made me thank God for the unusual string of events that caused me to be available for my friend in her time of dire need.  I had stopped by to visit her late in the week to share a test batch of cake pops.  I was already walking away thinking she wasn't home when she finally answered the door.  As she was enjoying the cake pops she asked if she could join me at the gym on Saturday.  I said "absolutely!"  I had been trying to get her to come with me for months.  So if this gym date wouldn't have been set, us being in the same place at the right time never would have happened.  What if she had her heart attack alone and unable to call for help or driving back home after she went to get her daily Starbuck's -- right before the symptoms started.  I contemplated calling an ambulance, but she said "no" and we were literally 5-6 minutes from the closest hospital.  I placed my hand on her back and prayed for her the entire ride.  

Today when I went to visit her, we talked about what happened on Saturday.  There were so many pieces that she didn't even remember.   We found laughter over the entire gym fiasco and I wrote on the board in her hospital room under the Things About Me Section; "I'll do anything to get out of going to the gym!"  Even though I knew she was going to be okay, I still cried a lot yesterday.  But at the same time, I was so deeply thankful God orchestrated the events in the manner that he did so I could be there for my friend.  She's getting the care she needs, a ton of people that have never even met her are praying for her, and her prognosis looks a lot brighter than it did yesterday.  

So what's the moral of my story?!  Tomorrow is not promised.  Your life can change in an instant with no signs, symptoms or warnings.  Make time for and peace with those you claim to love.  And the next time you see any ambulance barreling past you, stop and whisper a prayer for the person inside.  Because in many cases, they and their families have just entered into what could be the worst day of their lives.  

On the dessert side -- parents have spoken and expressed interest in a French macaron baking experiences for tweens/teens!  So I'll get something on the website this week.  I am open to suggestions on weekdays and weekend days and times that work best for that age group.   

Thanksgiving -- Tomorrow is November 1 is the "guaranteed" order by date.  November 16 is the "subject to availability" which simply means if you wait a week before to place your order we may already be booked up and close ordering earlier. 

I don't extend deadlines as it jeopardizes the production schedule for those that ordered on time.  Please place your Thanksgiving order sooner than later so you don't get left out.

Be sure to check out the pictures from the Halloween Spook-tecular Family Fun experience!

 

 

 

Maria Kemp
Read more
Dory the blue fish with yellow fins "I can't eat another bite....Oh look! Pie!"

What's your favorite Thanksgiving pie flavor?

Well I wish I could say my "baking hiatus" has been pure relaxation!  However, nothing could be further from reality and those who know me well know it's nearly impossible for me to sit entirely still.  There's plenty of backend work that requires zero time in the kitchen.  Although, I still average a minimum of 3-5 Zoom calls a week.  It's all just part of being an entrepreneur; constantly thinking, getting in front of the right people, and articulating why they shouldn't go another day without doing business with me.  Okay, maybe that was a tad dramatic, but you get the idea.  

After being in business over 4 years in North Carolina alone, I've learned a thing or two:

#1 - Stop wasting time creating an innovative Thanksgiving menu!  PIE is the only thing that matters at Thanksgiving.  Period.  I could count on one hand and have a lot of fingers left over of the other items that sell during Pie-mageddon. 

#2 - Everyone absolutely must place their order via the website.  Exceptions always lead to mayhem in the final count.

Now is the time to let you voice be heard for the flavor pies you would like to see on our Thanksgiving menu!  (The Thanksgiving menu will go live when the online store re-opens on October 1.) 

Please post a comment to this blog post with your favorite flavor!  It could end on this year’s Thanksgiving menu.  

Maria Kemp
Read more
It's FALL 🎃🍁🍂!

It's FALL 🎃🍁🍂!

The calendar officially says it's AUGUST, so now it's time for the humidity drenched days to end...right?!  Ah, who am I kidding?!  This is North Carolina!  We likely won't get a noticeable break until late September or October!  Well, either way I'm sure it's time for Starbuck's to start pushing everything pumpkin or caramel, so I'll jump on the bandwagon!  

The Pumpkin Mousse Cheesecake is the first autumnal flavor to welcome the season!  Perhaps your like me and not a lover of cheesecake.  Well then this is “the dessert” for you!  The magic of whipped cream elevates this from a cream cheese tasting dessert to a light airy mousse creation.  There is too much whipped cream gently folded into the batter for the texture to resonate as a traditional cheesecake. The addition of pumpkin’s favorite spicy friends will warm your palette in the most delightful way — fresh cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and a hint of clove.  And wait, there’s more!  All that lusciousness is hidden under a billowy blanket of even more whipped cream topping the mousse cheesecake!  There’s a total of nearly 2 cups of heavy cream (before it’s whipped and nearly doubles) between the mousse and the topping.  Take it to ANOTHER level by choosing optional Heath toffee or toasted coconut to grace the whipping cream topping.  No graham cracker crust in sight!  It’s gingersnap crust all the way for the perfect finish.

I had some of my friends very excited when they read one of my FB post and thought I was opening a retail storefront.  After reading a few comments, I realized the word "digital" was down at the very bottom of the post.  🤦🏾‍♀️  If you know any my story, you already know I've been down that path right of pastry school and have ZERO, zilch, zippo, nada desire to do so again.  

I feel like I have enough activities going on in a given week for enough material for a sitcom, so I'll share 2 key "festivities" with you. 

After an automatic iPhone update my (ancient) 6S Plus would no longer connect to WiFi and then needed to stay plugged in constantly or the battery drained at an accelerated rate.  I was leaving on my birthday weekend getaway to my friend's lakehouse in Tennessee, but when I fired up the phone's GPS it immediately flashed a "temperature too high" or "phone too hot" warning.  It promptly shut itself down never to come on again.  Thankfully, I had already received my replacement phone -- I'm up to an iPhone 7 Plus now!  So only 5 minutes away from home, I was forced to turn around and setup the new one in order to have a working phone for my trip.  The new one connected to WIFI like a champ and within an hour all my apps had downloaded.  I made note of my passwords for a few key apps then hopped in the car to start my mini vacation.  I didn't realize until I arrived in TN, I wasn't logged into 99% of my applications after the upgrade, didn't have any of those passwords with me, so I was cut off from email the entire trip.  Not the worst thing ever since it was supposed to be a mini vacation.  

As for my frost-free freezer fail...

I discovered ”the store” will close your service ticket if they don't have an ETA on the required part AND offer you a buy out BUT for the price you ORIGINALLY paid.  Don't take the buy-out until you check the NEW selling price for the appliance.  When you get the buy-out email you only have 1 BUSINESS DAY before they start issuing the payment and cancel the remainder of your protection plan, so you have to move quickly.  Thankfully I got on the phone first thing the next morning and found the service company had just received notification from their distributor that TWO of the parts I need just came in!  Thankfully again, I wrote done the reps name, the time, and exactly what she said.  This turned out to save me as this whole event unfolded as a 2nd rep (45 minutes later) at the service company was giving me the "we don't have that part" response.  I was on the phone for 1 hour getting everything straightened out, but it was worth it!  The part for my freezer is scheduled to be installed this week.  Thank you Jesus!  Now I don't have to spend many hundreds of dollars more on a new unit AND pay for the old one to be hauled away.  

I'll save the rest of my adventures for a subsequent post!

Be sure to check out my new article in LKNConnect!  It's scheduled to post on 8/3! Until then, order the Pumpkin Mousse Cheesecake -- it's truly love at first bite!

 

 

Maria Kemp
Read more
But I WANT it...NOW!

But I WANT it...NOW!

Over the last couple of weeks I've fielded more than my share of "I know it says "Local" only, but I want it!"  These "statements" usually are in reference to a client who lives beyond a realistic distance to make a free pickup day at Pita Pit.  However, their tastebuds are on fire and their drooling eyes are firmly fixed on Key Lime Pie, Cheesecake, Mini Strawberry Shortcakes, or something else on the menu that would NEVER survive 2-days in transit via UPS.  

At this point, I could easily take the same detailed text explanation and do a copy and paste into every subsequent request.  I've had people tell me how I could successful ship it to them.  I'm always willing to learn, but usually it ends up making me chuckle a bit instead.  Apparently not every client knows or recalls the sheer amount of research and testing I did last summer before I even shipped the first package.  To be exact, 1.5 months of testing/research of the shipping process.  My friends thought my research was a bit excessive, but they aren't responsible for food safety and getting the dessert(s) across country intact. 

Most dessert clients don't want to spend an extra $15+ for me ship everything using the gold standard -- dry ice.  (BTW, I did test dry ice.)  Most food companies shipping with dry ice are monthly subscription boxes or huge bakeries receiving massive shipping discounts.  So my research powered on!  I know which packaging to use, how to insulate it, how long the ice packs will last, what size ice packs, how many to use, what needs to be shipped frozen, which items can withstand regular UPS Ground service and which ones cannot, and I understand the UPS shipping nuances.  

Shopify offers deeply discounted UPS shipping which I pass along to my clients since I cannot compete with the free shipping most people are used to thanks to  Amazon.  I stopped shipping to states 3 days or more away unless upgraded shipping is purchased.  Why?!  The only service UPS will guarantee is air service.  Most clients don't want a dessert that is over 3 days old via ground service.  I learned about the "ouch" of the no ground service guarantee when a package took 6 days to arrive in Texas instead of 3!  

So I say all that to share these key points -- if you live in a state 3 days or more away (please consult the Shipping/Delivery page for the affected states), I can still ship to you, ONLY if you purchase 2-day air or overnight/next day air.  Regardless of your state, I can ship a (Local) only item to you ONLY if you purchase overnight/next day air.  You will need to contact me directly via email or phone.  The system will prevent you from completing the purchase online. 

Now you know the story behind "Local" only....😉 And I’m happy to give you an upgraded shipping quote if you decide you “want it…NOW!”🤣

Maria Kemp
Read more
The person behind the chef jacket or jazzy hat!

The person behind the chef jacket or jazzy hat!

Happy Sunday evening everyone!   I decided today I wanted to write a blog post that was less "buy now" and more of "here's a little more about me."  

  • I love bright colors - love purple and fuchsia!
  • I don't like getting dressed up and my first question will always be, "Can I wear my chef jacket?"
  • I'm an extreme extrovert.  A stranger is just someone I haven't met yet or gotten to say "howdy" to yet.  ("Howdy" is my favorite greeting for the last few months.)
  • I'm a life-long single parent, but officially an empty-nester since my daughter, Devin flew the coup over 16 years ago.  (If you are trying to do the math -- she's 34.)
  • I grew up in Illinois, Upstate NY (outside of Albany not NYC), Connecticut, and Massachusetts.
  • I still have a mild Northeastern accent.
  • I am the youngest of 2 children.  
  • I don't like to cook.  I have a mini George Foreman countertop grill, microwave, and a small frying pan I used to cook everything in.  The oven -- that's for baking only and far too much work for real food. 
  • I can hunker down and bake or get the most mundane tasks done without music or 97% of the time without anyone prodding me.
  • I call to chat (and check on) my "29 and holding" (his age disclaimer, not mine) dad at least once a week unless I get sucked into too many Zooms.
  • I don't like being hot although in 4 years, I have acclimated to NC summers fairly well.  You'll find me hibernating in AC on my MacBook Pro or watching Netflix, if there's not worth venturing out into the blistering sun to do.
  • I drive my mom's 2004 Honda CR-V, because it's reminds me of her and makes me feel like she is always with me, its great for hauling stuff AND it's paid for. 
  • I love watching action movies, romantic comedies, or sitcoms on Netflix.  I don't like scary/horror movies, supernatural/para-normal, sci-fi, super violent, or war movies.
  • I enjoy sitting in the car in a parking lot catching up on email, responding to social media and just soaking in some vitamin D.
  • My favorite candy is/are the mini unwrapped Reese's Peanut Butter Cups and unsalted waffle fries from Chick-fil-A with Chick-fil-A dipping sauce!
  • I used to weigh 70 pounds more, but the last 25-30 pounds are being very resistant (Hmmmm, might have to do with the previous bullet).
  • I rejoined the gym because I decided walking wasn't entertaining enough for me.  I love to people watch and exercise is a lot more palatable when there are other people around to see.
  • 6.5 months ago I had total knee replacement on my right knee.  It will still swell a bit and get sore when my Superwoman activities are on overload. However, with my new bionic knee -- I can conquer the Stairmaster for 45 minutes climbing a total of 82 floors!
  • I'm a Leo, detailed-oriented, a planner, and organized.  People either love or hate that about me...it just depends on whether it's working for or against them at that specific moment.
  • Favorite quote from 20 years ago - "Your lack of planning does not constitute an emergency on my behalf."
  • I will be writing a food article for a local digital magazine very soon!
Maria Kemp
Read more
17 results