Getting My (Cake) Groove Back

Last year was a crazy year. So much happened during those 365 days, yet one of the biggest things to happen was closing my little bakery. We did not have a store front, ( we baked out of a commissary kitchen) which made things easier to close down, but emotionally it was still hard. At the time, the decision was the right one. I was exhausted from being pregnant with Liam, had a hard time finding good help, and I still wasn’t taking a paycheck. I sometimes would work 36 or more hours straight. I was going in a million directions with events, restaurant orders, personal orders, etc. It was draining. After almost 5 years of pouring myself into this, I crashed and I crashed hard. I wanted it closed and to move to Illinois to be near Bill’s family, and I didn’t want to look back.

Even though our doors were technically closed, I continued making smash cakes for my photographer friend. Over the past few weeks we have had a LOT of cakes and it made me realize how much I love to bake.

IIWith the smash cakes, I’m usually given colors and a theme and can be free and creative. I love doing it and it made me realize I’m ready to get back to baking after the break I’ve had.

How talented is Selena? These pictures are amazing. You can check her work out at It’s pretty amazing. She did both newborn sessions for our kids. I’ll share those in another post.

When I look at the work Selena does, I just want my cakes to measure up. I also admire how hard she works to make her business a success. Basically, I’m really lucky to have a BFF I also look up to as a mom and businesswoman. (Selena is my “IDK WTF I’m doing as a parent and need help,” go to person……like when Talia stuck a popcorn kernel up her nose!)

Back to cake….

Of course for Talia’s cake smash, we went all out on the cake theme.

No, the cakes in the background are not real. They are dummy cakes. I use Styrofoam to decorate! Only the smash cake is real.

So as the life plan keeps evolving, I’ve decided to go back to baking. (I’m still going to write as well…)

When we get to Illinois, I can legally bake out of my house. I’m only going to make cakes, and I’m only selling directly to customers. I’m not going to work with restaurants or try and do events. The money, time, and energy needed for those things drive me to shut it all down before. I needed this time to step back and reevaluate what worked in my business and what didn’t. I think I can make it work again this time, and do it from the comfort of my own (new) home. I also think just doing cakes instead of over 75 pies, 50 flavors of cake, 40 cookie flavors, etc, etc, will help my success.

I’m really excited for this new beginning with cakes again. Follow me on Instagram @TinaRussoKinney to see more cake. I would also really love it if you liked my FB page!


What A Life!

It’s been a crazy few weeks (hence my lack of posting) but today I decided to ditch school and tie up some loose ends…including needing a blog post.

I went back to work about two weeks ago. I’ve been baking all along, but when I first became pregnant, we wanted to put some money aside for Talia, so  I got a job waiting tables. Owning your own business usually means no steady paycheck for awhile. The bakery was really doing well, but not enough where I could count on a steady paycheck. Waiting tables is easy enough, and it can be a good source of money.

When I returned to work, they were already short handed. Then in the past two weeks several other people left. I’m now also working in the kitchen! I love it, but I’m on day 8 with no day off, and I don’t think I’ll have a day off until the 11th when we are in Asheville, NC seeing my dad. It’s okay though, because we are trying hard to save money for the move and buying a house and restarting the bakery. I’m a bit tired, but Bill is amazing, and really pulls his weight with Talia and the house!

This said, I’ve also been up at 4 each morning to get to work, open the kitchen and then sometimes I then go out at wait tables if I’m not in the kitchen the whole time. It’s a lot of hours, so when I was faced with going to school, for a class I’m only taking because it’s required, I decided to take some time for myself.

I really wanted a shower. I get one every day. I know there are people in this world without clean, running water, but I really wanted a shower. So I skipped school, got in the shower, felt guilty for a moment, then enjoyed just standing there. I probably would have done better taking a nap, but who has that kind of time??? Besides, I need to get Talia soon anyway!

Speaking of Talia…WHAT A LIFE!!!!!!

At five weeks old she had her first kiss. It was from Scott Ford of the SC Stingray’s hockey team. Bill let is slide because he’s a professional hockey player! 🙂

At six weeks, Talia received a letter from a former president…


I know the tradition is to send the birth announcement to the White House, but Bill and I opted to not send it to the current administration, but the former. He wrote back, albeit a form letter, but a letter from the former POTUS non-the-less!

We then FINALLY took her to her first bookstore. We went to Mr. K’s Used Books.


She wasn’t too impressed, but we did get her a ton of books!!

At seven weeks, Talia will be going on her first undercover animal rescue assignment tonight. My friend Michelle, who is responsible for saving Buddy and Tremor (along with 43 other dogs) involved in the biggest animal abuse case in SC is now working on checking out the circus and being sure those animals are taken care of properly. Tonight we are going to visit the circus and on Talia’s baby carrier, we are using the GoPro to get footage of animal treatment. It’s nothing illegal…don’t worry. My baby is not in any danger! We are just using the baby carrier as a support device for the recording mechanism.

Any way you look at it, Talia is an important part of tonight’s mission! Maybe this will be the thing that stops the evil circus. Probably not, but you never know!!!

I’m pretty sure most babies don’t have anything this exciting going on at seven weeks old. What on earth will we do next week at eight weeks??!!!

Off to get ready! Ciao for now.