Strike a Cupcake Pose – Spring Has Sprung! A Photo Spotlight on Prairie Girl Bakery Minis

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Prairie Girl Bakery mini cupcakes in bluberries & cream, toffee, and chocolate on golden buttermilk

Cupcake minis topped with creamy frosting surrounded by orange and yellow lilies on the brink of bursting open, and vibrant, fragrant hyacinths dripping in jewel tones.  Nope, these photos weren’t taken in a pretty park or in a magical floral oasis (but mind you, the flowers that did surround me were absolutely charming!).  These photos were taken in a little gem of a hideaway just steps away from Prairie Girl’s flagship store between King and Adelaide East, providing a respite from the noise of honking horns and the hustle and bustle of foot traffic.  Leave it to me to pose my cupcakes like mini models on a wooden runway.  THEY’RE TOO CUTE!

I may not have any photos just yet of Prairie Girl’s newest location in Yorkville by Bloor and Avenue, but I do have some of their Treats of the Week (minis priced at $1.75) to show off here: the sassy Blueberries & Cream on Golden Buttermilk with blueberry and cream cheese frosting and blueberry Jelly Belly, and the fudgy, decadent Toffee on Dark Cocoa with caramel-toffee frosting and sticky crumbled toffee bits.

Prairie Girl Bakery mini cupcakes in bluberries & cream and chocolate on golden buttermilk

Prairie Girl Bakery mini cupcakes in bluberries & cream, toffee, and chocolate on golden buttermilk

Prairie Girl Bakery mini cupcakes in bluberries & cream, toffee, and chocolate on golden buttermilk

The Blueberries & Cream was a fun, tart cupcake but if you can believe it, the Toffee was the nicest surprise for me!  I didn’t anticipate enjoying the Toffee as much as I did.  Toffee and caramel flavours have always been hit or miss for me.  Even though I don’t eat them much, I have a weakness for Caramilk chocolate bars but on the flip side, I had the worst experience with caramel corn when I was little (um, a lot of trips to the toilet vomiting) and even the sight and smell of it now makes me want to hurl.  And desserts like sticky toffee pudding and creme caramel are ones that still need a bit of exploration on my part.  Despite these reservations, I gave the Toffee a try and my was this little cupcake ever yummy!  I didn’t expect the flavour to be as rich and creamy as it was and it had this wonderful buttery warmth to it characteristic of great toffee and caramel things.

The adventures at Prairie Girl Bakery continue!

Prairie Girl Bakery mini cupcakes in bluberries & cream, toffee, and chocolate on golden buttermilk

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Prairie Girl Bakery’s flagship is located at Suite 106, 18 King St. East off King St. E and Victoria St.  The cupcake shop itself actually faces Victoria St., so it’s just a smidge north of King on Victoria St.  They are open 6 days a week from 10am-6pm from Monday-Saturday.  They are closed on Sundays and statutory holidays.  Their 2nd location is located in the underground PATH in First Canadian Place in the Marketplace food concourse.  The FCP location is open from 8am-6pm, Monday-Friday.  And their *NEW* Yorkville location is situated by Bloor St. West and Avenue Road at 150 Bloor Street West.  They are open 10am-6pm Monday – Saturday; they are closed on Sundays and stat holidays.

The Cupcake Connection, Vol.009 – New Places, Spaces & Faces Featuring Prairie Girl Bakery, Cupcakes Leaside & Le Dolci!

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Prairie Girl Bakery in Toronto on King Street East.

Welcome to Part II of this spring’s first Cupcake Connection where we’re talking new places, spaces, and faces!  *NEWS FLASH*: Prairie Girl Bakery is expanding – again!  That’s right folks, the cupcake queen of Toronto’s downtown core with its two existing locations, is opening its 3rd location further up north in YORKVILLE!  Set to open at the end of the month, Prairie Girl will be opening its doors and wafting out the sweet scents of golden buttermilk and dark cocoa cupcakes while rubbing elbows with Louis Vuitton, COACH, Burberry,  and others at BLOOR STREET WEST & AVENUE ROAD!  Can you tell I’m ecstatic?!  Prairie Girl Bakery.  With a 3rd location.  In Yorkville.  You guys know what this means.

I can stuff my face with cupcakes while shopping my heart out at MAC and Sephora and Williams Sonoma and Whole Foods and…and…*catches breath*

BREATHE, DEB.

Prairie Girl Bakery cupcakes, Black Forest and Cherry Cheesecake cupcakes and Treats of the Week

Black Forest on Dark Cocoa and Cherry Cheesecake on Golden Buttermilk. Both on Prairie Girl Bakery’s Treats of the Week menu!

Prairie Girl Bakery mini cupcakes in Chocolate Peppermint and Cookies and Cream

Prairie Girl Bakery mini cupcake heaven – Chocolate Peppermint and Cookies and Cream.

This is so exciting!!  I got the news from Amy at Prairie Girl (thank you, Amy!) and almost started doing the Elaine dance from Seinfeld.  It’s just so perfect.  It’s within the heart of Yorkville, one of the best places to window shop and stroll in the summer, it’s walking distance from Queen’s Park (hello, perfect cupcake picnic area!), and close to so many of my favourite shopping, strolling, and eating destinations (I’m looking at you Annex, Kensington Market, Fresh, and Mela!).  I can’t wait to visit their new location and of course, I’ll report back with photos of the shop and of whichever delightful frosted confection I decide to sink my sweet teeth into on that particular day.  Keep your eyes on the cupcake for more details to come!

While Prairie Girl is set to open their new, 3rd location in the city, one cupcake shop has set up shop for the very first time in Toronto, this time on the east end in Leaside at 85 Laird Drive.  If you haven’t already, give a warm welcome to Cupcakes by Heather & Lori!  Known as The Cupcake Girls on their W network television show, Heather and Lori hail from Vancouver with 6 cupcake shops under their belt in BC alone!  I haven’t paid a visit to the shop yet but I’ve definitely given their site (www.cupcakesonline.com) more than one look-see and there are so many flavours I want to try: Lava Flow (raspberry chocolate with cream cheese frosting and raspberry dollop); Blue Hawaii (blue vanilla frosting and coconut); Raspberry Beret (raspberry filled lemon cake with lemon frosting and raspberry dollop); and Pecan Brownie (pecan brownie cake with caramel and chocolate chips inside and dolloped with cream cheese frosting).

Cupcakes Online. Leaside. website

Cupcakes Leaside and their adorable website!

I’m really looking forward to paying them my first visit not just because it’s a cupcake shop that looks adorable and makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside but because Leaside is an area that I haven’t really explored yet.  With the exception of going to Rahier and Patisserie La Cigogne on Macaron Day, the area is practically unchartered territory for me so there will be so much to see and do when I do end up going.

And since we’re on the topic of brand spankin’ new, our dear Le Dolci has introduced a slew of new classes to their already fab selection!  New to their cupcake class line-up: Cupcake Bouquets!  This class is meant to unleash every ounce of creativity in you as you create edible works of art.  Completely floral-themed, the cupcake bouquet class with have you creating cupcake bouquets for centrepieces, sweet tables, gifts and more as you learn how to pipe floral patterns with buttercream.  If you were to take this class and Le Dolci’s Advanced Piping Techniques class where you practice piping roses, pansies, and daffodils, you’d be a whiz at piping flowers and basically creating cupcake floral arrangements!  The first Cupcake Bouquet Making and Arrangement class is set for May 12 from 12pm-2pm and is priced at $80 +HST/person. 

Flowers and cupcakes at Le Dolci on Dundas Street West in Toronto.

:Le Dolci cupcake studio storefront on Dundas Street West in downtown Toronto.

And so concludes the first Cupcake Connection of the spring and summer seasons.  I can’t wait to see what the next several months bring!

The Cupcake Connection, Vol. 008 – Scrumptious New Flavours, Giving Back to the Community & More! Part I

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spring cupcakes at Short & Sweet Cupcakes in Toronto

After a good month of macaron munching in March, we’re diving straight back into cupcake mode!  It’s been months since my last Cupcake Connection post and while I’ve continued eating cupcakes (c’mon, it’s ME we’re talking about here), I couldn’t take photos of a few of them (I know, foreshame.  It was late and dark when I was eating them and one of them even got squished!  Very delicious, but so not sexy) and I have a bit of backlog going on with the ones I did take photos of so bear with me while I sort everything out over the next month.

There’s a LOT to catch up on, so much so that it feels overwhelming at times.  So many cupcakes, so little time!  Luckily for me, I have the support of many of my favourite cupcake shops giving me the goods to pass along to all of you so we’ll never be at a loss for great cupcake news.  We have quite a bit to cover (this is Part I of II!) so let’s jump right in and get started!

You’ll Need a Wheelbarrow to Carry All of These – New Flavours and Flavours of the Month

mini cupcake box from Prairie Girl Bakery in Toronto

Just when I think I’ve made a little bit of headway in trying the many cupcakes and flavours in Toronto, I get whip-lashed with a whole truckload of new and exciting flavours!  Seriously, it’s 1 step forward, 5 steps back!  But tis the spice of life and I wouldn’t want it any other way because without new fun and creative flavour combinations, the cupcake scene would get boring real fast and that’s the last thing any of us want.  Let’s start with Prairie Girl Bakery.  Talk about busting out the sweet treats!  Prairie Girl has unleashed 7, count ‘em, SEVEN new Treats of the Week flavours ($2.95 for regular size, $1.75 for minis) to their rotating menu!  HOLY MOTHER OF PEARL.  These 7 flavours include:

  • Blueberries & Cream (Golden Buttermilk Cupcake with a swirl of Real Blueberry Icing and a swirl of Classic Cream Cheese Icing, topped with a Chocolate Blueberry)
  • Chocolate Coconut (Dark Cocoa Cupcake with Vanilla Bean Icing topped with Toasted Coconut)
  • Chocolate Flake (Red Velvet Cake with Vanilla Bean Icing topped with Chocolate Flakes)
  • Grasshopper Pie (Dark Cocoa Cupcake with Green Mint Icing topped with Cookie Crumble)
  • Malted Milk (Dark Cocoa Cupcake with Malted Milk Icing topped with a Maltesar)
  • Neapolitan (Dark Cocoa Cupcake with a swirl of Real Strawberry Icing and a swirl of Vanilla Bean Icing)
  • Tiramisu (Golden Buttermilk Cupcake with Tiramisu Icing, Marsala Wine Syrup topped with Chocolate Flakes)

Treats of the Week web page at Prairie Girl Bakery in Toronto

I would inhale all of these, but the ones I am most excited about are the Blueberries & Cream, Grasshopper Pie, and Malted Milk.  Prairie Girl has rolled a few of these out already this month so if you’ve missed them, don’t fret – their Treats of the Week operate on a rotating menu so they’ll always come back and you can know in advance now on their website where they list their upcoming Treats of the Week 4 weeks in advance which I ABSOLUTELY LOVE!

Next on the list?  Yummy Stuff on Queen Street West.  Their April Flavour of the Month ($2.75) is an ultra cool, psychedelic Cherry Almond Cake!  And I do mean psychedelic.  We’re talking bright turquoise vanilla frosting topped with juicy red maraschino cherries on cherry-studded almond cake.  I could float up to cupcake heaven right now.  I LOVE almond baked goods and this sounds and looks amazing (you can check out the photo Yummy Stuff posted on their blog HERE).

For the Love of Cake cupcakes in Toronto in Liberty Village

Lemon Meringue cupcakes from For the Love of Cake cupcake bakery in Liberty Village in Toronto

Taken in 2009, well before the birth of Ate by Ate! For the Love of Cake’s amazing Lemon Meringue cupcakes.

A little further south you’ll find For the Love of Cake, where they’ve brought back their classic S’mores and my beloved Lemon Meringue cupcakes ($2.65) for the month of April (and if demand is high, possibly for even longer!).  The Lemon Meringue was the very first flavour I tried at For the Love Cake back in 2009 (can you believe it’s been that long?!) and it remains, to this day, one of my favourite cupcakes.  Annnnd speaking of S’mores, my dear  Short & Sweet Cupcakes has added two mouthwatering flavours ($2.90) to their permanent menu on Fridays (Boston Cream!) and Sundays (S’mores!).  It pains me that I haven’t tried either of them yet so let’s hope that I can sink my sweet teeth into at least one of them in the coming months!

And then there’s Dessert Lady in the heart of Yorkville.  They’ve expanded their selection to include 3 NEW flavours ($3):

  • Double Chocolate Cupcake with Hazelnut Crunch Buttercream
  • Passionfruit Cupcake with Caramelized White Chocolate Buttercream
  • Sweet Corn Bacon Cupcake with Salted Caramel Popcorn Buttercream (SAY WHAT?!)

And here I am thinking maple bacon cupcakes were way out there – this 3rd flavour knocks it out of the park!  If you love wild and wacky flavours, especially sweet and savoury combinations, I think you’ve met your match and I dare you to try it and report back!

Community and Cupcake Shops – Giving Back

Second Harvest Logo

Cupcake shops are more than just lace and frills.  Many establishments are partnering with different organizations in and around the city to make a difference in their communities.  Prairie Girl Bakery and So Into Cupcakes in Scarborough have both formed relationships with charitable organizations and programs in an effort to help others and to further deepen their growing engagement within the food community.  Prairie Girl Bakery and Second Harvest are joined at the hip via ongoing donations, and are also affiliated with the following causes:

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And more recently, So Into Cupcakes has partnered with Toronto’s Fresh City Farms!  I found out about this through their Facebook page and it’s wonderful as more and more people are signing up to have fresh, local, organic produce delivered to their homes.  These memberships not only support our farmers, they provide ongoing support to local food co-ops and local food organizations.

Phew!  That was a lot to get through and we’re not even close to being finished.  Thankfully, there’s always room for Part II so stay tuned for more delicious cupcake news!

Deck the Hall with Boughs of Mini Cupcakes! Chocolate, Peppermint Frosting & More at Prairie Girl Bakery, Part II!

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Not the most flattering photo of me, but it’s with cupcakes so it’s all good!

Even the bitter cold won’t keep me away from cupcakes!  I’m no winter warrior (after living in my homeland of Canada for 27 years, I’ve come to the conclusion that each year does not get easier and that I am, in fact, a wuss during both summer and winter seasons), but if I’m armed with a hat and super thick mitts and a scarf, there’s not much that will drive me away from the cake and frosting.  I even poo-pooed the weather forecast back in February during one of the worst storms of the season and frolicked (well, more like stomped and sloshed) around town in the snow and slush making cake pops at Le Dolci, having lunch at Mela Cafe, and stuffing my face with a strawberry Valentine’s cupcake at Short & Sweet on the way home.  Us cupcake fans know: when you love cupcakes you LOVE cupcakes, icky weather and all.

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I know I say this every year, but I am truly so excited for Christmas and the month of December!  I have plans with friends and family and my boyfriend, I have my Christmas presents ready to go, I’ve been taking advantage of some ridiculously fabulous sales (I’m nothing if not a fantastic shopper!), some desperately-needed scrapbook downtime is just a few weeks away, and for the first time in months, I feel calm, cool, collected and very content with the blog content I have planned for the rest of the month.  Last year I was really disappointed in myself for not taking advantage of more holiday shenanigans and while, in hindsight, the circumstances I faced that prevented me from doing what I wanted to do for the blog were uncontrollable and unavoidable, I still feel like I could have done more to make Christmas and the holidays on Ate by Ate really great.  And the way to make anything extra great is with cupcakes!

Introducing the marvelous minis from Prairie Girl Bakery!  I’ve only ever posted about their full-size ones so this is special.  Prairie Girl’s mini cupcakes ($1.75 each, $9.95 for half a dozen, and $18.95 for one dozen) come in all their permanent menu flavours and the bakery’s two Treats of the Week flavours.  Honestly though, even though they’re mini in comparison to the full-size ones, they are by no means teeny-tiny.  When I think of mini cupcakes, I think of a 4:1 ratio, bite-size morsels, and morsels you could easily pop in your mouth in one swift motion.  Let me tell you, Prairie Girl’s minis will give you MULTIPLE heavenly bites and I’d say they’re comparable to half a cupcake.  Two will truly hit the spot.  Hell, I think even one could given how rich and creamy and thick the frosting is!

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What I am loving about Prairie Girl’s flavours these days (aside from the thick, creamy, scrumptious frosting) is how they’re wonderfully subtle in holiday spirit.  Aside from the dark cocoa chocolate cake with creamy vanilla peppermint frosting and crushed peppermint candies (pictured), the holiday flavours they’ve been doling out have come from their Treats of the Week line-up.  What you see here are mini golden buttermilk cupcakes with sweet, creamy cinnamon frosting topped with a hot cinnamon jelly bean!  Last week’s Treat of the Week?  Pumpkin on vanilla.  And this week?  Almond on chocolate and vanilla cranberry on golden buttermilk.

OH.MY.GOD.  I want everything!  And I only wish these flavours were around permanently and not only for a week!  What I love is that even though these flavours don’t necessarily scream “holiday” or “Christmas” necessarily, they touch on all the things we love about the festive season: the sights and smells of spices, nuts, and winter fruits.  I mean really, when was the last time you came across a CRANBERRY frosted cupcake?!  In my book?  NEVER.  Even though nothing beats lemon and coconut (and lemon and coconut meshed together!) in my heart, I love cranberry like you wouldn’t believe and I’ve always wished for a cranberry cupcake.  I really don’t think I’ll be able to get my sweet teeth on any before the week is over and while that makes me so sad, I’m so happy knowing this is a flavour on their rotating Treats of the Week menu.  If I’m patient enough, I’ll get to it the next time around!

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Prairie Girl Bakery also offers a number of adorable decorative cupcake toppers that you can purchase up by the cash and they have almost type of cupcake box known to foodies!  All of their fab boxes have inserts in them, keeping all your cupcakes neat and tidy and smush-free!  What’s great is that they have so many different combinations.  If you want a regular-sized cupcake plus two minis, there’s a box for that.  If you want 4 minis (pictured), 4 inserts are waiting for those little cakes to be plunked down.  And if you want 2 little ones, you’ll get the cutest cupcake purse box ever!  My boyfriend is currently gaga over Prairie Girl’s chocolate cream cheese icing on golden buttermilk (which I still haven’t tried – foreshame!) and I am loving the chocolate peppermint.  It’s like a chocolate peppermint patty with frosting!

I had myself a jolly good time taking these photos (hello mini cupcake models!) and I’m hoping this is just the beginning of the wonderful and delicious Christmas cupcake season!

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The Prairie Girl cupcake car!

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Prairie Girl Bakery is located at Suite 106, 18 King St. East off King St. E and Victoria St.  The cupcake shop itself actually faces Victoria St., so it’s just a smidge north of King on Victoria St.  They are open 6 days a week from 10am-6pm from Monday-Saturday.  They are closed on Sundays and statutory holidays.  Their new 2nd location is located in the underground PATH in First Canadian Place in the Marketplace food concourse.  The FCP location is open from 8am-6pm, Monday-Friday.

Cupcakes for the Holidays – A Photo Spotlight on Mini Cupcake Mania at Prairie Girl Bakery, Part I!

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If you think this is mouthwatering cupcake porn, wait till you see what I have in store for y’all tomorrow and for the rest of the month!  Cream cheese frosting, sprinkles, holiday decorations, crushed candy canes, gingerbread, marshmallows and plenty of decadent chocolate – THIS is what cupcakes are all about during the crazy, whirlwind month of December!  This is a photo spotlight sneak peek of the holiday cupcake blitz that’s about to unleash on Ate by Ate!  My goal this holiday season is to feature some shops I haven’t posted about, to showcase as many special holiday flavours as possible, and to finally get around to some of the seasonal ones that I’ve missed out on over the past few years.  With so many cupcake shops dishing out the limited time holiday menus and lineups, it’s hard to come keep up so I’ll be doing some new Cupcake Connections to keep everyone in the delicious loop and a special holiday Macaron Mania edition as well!  I have stumbled on some fantastic goodies so I’m so excited to show you all what the season has in store for us.  So, first up: mini cupcake mania at Prairie Girl Bakery, Part I!

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Prairie Girl Bakery is located at Suite 106, 18 King St. East off King St. E and Victoria St.  The cupcake shop itself actually faces Victoria St., so it’s just a smidge north of King on Victoria St.  They are open 6 days a week from 10am-6pm from Monday-Saturday.  They are closed on Sundays and statutory holidays.  Their new 2nd location is located in the underground PATH in First Canadian Place in the Marketplace food concourse.  The FCP location is open from 8am-6pm, Monday-Friday.

A Photo Spotlight on a Prairie Girl Bakery ‘Treat of the Week’ – Cherry Cheesecake on Golden Buttermilk

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*****

Prairie Girl Bakery is located at Suite 106, 18 King St. East off King St. E and Victoria St.  The cupcake shop itself actually faces Victoria St., so it’s just a smidge north of King on Victoria St.  They are open 6 days a week from 10am-6pm from Monday-Saturday.  They are closed on Sundays and statutory holidays.  Their new 2nd location is located in the underground PATH in First Canadian Place in the Marketplace food concourse.  The FCP location is open from 8am-6pm, Monday-Friday.

Underneath the Tiki Umbrella – Scrapbooking the Prairie Girl Bakery Pina Colada Cupcake

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I have always been fascinated with coconuts.  Let’s tick off all the reasons why I love this fuzzy ball of sweetness:

  1. I love watching people crack the fuzzy shells open!  Whether it’s whacking it with a butcher knife or a meat tenderizer (have you seen the episode of Iron Chef where Masaharu Morimoto breaks his meat tenderizer trying to crack his coconut open?!), it’s extremely satisfying seeing those shells crack in half! 
  2. I love the creamy white texture of coconut meat.  The white flesh is so bright, fresh, and clean and the exterior fuzziness of the shell is kind of cute!  Not to mention I’m a big fan of coconut water and juice and I’ve always wanted to drink coconut water straight out of the shell. 
  3. I’m crazy about coconut desserts and dishes!  Coconut is used in so many different types of cuisines and I marvel at its versatility in both sweet and savoury dishes.  One of my all-time favourite teas is the coconut almond tea from Steeped & Infused and just thinking about coconut cream cake, cupcakes, and coconut milk rice makes my taste buds all excited. 
  4. And finally, even though I’m somewhat of a wimp when it comes to hot weather, I can’t wait to take a beach or tropical vacation someday just so I can see a palm tree with coconuts clustered up top up close and in person.

As you can tell, I have a little big fruit crush on the coconut!  What better way to indulge my infatuation than with coconut themed scrapbook supplies!  I went batty when I found this giant tropical coconut drink scrapbook embellishment online on Ebay many moons ago.  I don’t remember exactly how long I’ve had it, but what I do remember is feeling giddy over the creamy looking coconut, pineapple wedge and cherry, and adorable pink tiki umbrella!  I’ve been waiting for the perfect opportunity to use it on a layout and I’m so excited to see it sitting pretty on my Prairie Girl Bakery Pina Colada cupcake page.  I went full out tropical on these pages using bright juicy pinks, yellows, and greens, tropical patterned paper (flip flops and palm trees!), and cute tropical drink stickers. 

I stuck to a two-page layout this time around because I figured a 4-page layout featuring the exact same cupcake would be overkill (cupcakes? overkill?  Why, never!) and I really like the way it turned out.  Prairie Girl Bakery’s regular cupcakes and Treats of the Week cupcakes have given me so much fun inspiration to work with in my scrapbooking and I’m looking forward to seeing what the next layout will bring!

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Scrapbooking materials used: watermelon pink, buttercup yellow, pale yellow, and grass green cardstock (Recollections); palm tree patterned paper; summer flip flops patterned paper; tropical striped patterned paper; coconut drink adhesive embellishment (Jolee’s by You - ek success);  tropical drink stickers (Sticko); gold metallic alphabet stickers (Sticko); multicolour alphabet stickers; yellow ribbon with neon green polka dots (Dashes, Dots, and Checks); lime green daisy vine felt border (Forever in Time Embellishments by Multicraft Imports); 5-petal flower paper punch (ek success); scalloped edge decorative scissors (Provo Craft).