Art · food blog · Inspiration · jamaica · Life · Literature · Uncategorized

#GasThemUP – Cakes N’ Bakes By Mel

I’ve been sitting on this blog for quite a while, partially because I couldn’t quite figure out how to do this in an original, but still interesting enough way, in that it wasn’t like a typical interview. Then the idea came to me to merge my love of storytelling along with the captivating interview, so that’s what I did!


I interviewed my friend and amazing pastry chef Melissa Cunningham about her business “Cakes N’ Bakes by Melissa”. This is a part of an ongoing series called “Gas Them Up” where I interview my friends who are entrepreneurs. The answers to the questions are 100% theirs but the setting of the interview is completely from my imagination. Enjoy!

Please follow CakesNBakesByMelissa on Instagram!


The Life

Starting the weekend right is the perfect remedy for ensuring your Monday doesn’t suck. This was the thought that went through Ali’s mind on Friday evening as she sat and glanced around, completely surrounded by friends she considered family, with amazing food and wine at her fingertips. Ali, Rach, Ash, Mel and Yan all grew up in the same neighbourhood, and while life had been wonderful to them, they no longer lived in close proximity to each other. It had since become a tradition for these five ladies to meet and de-stress at least once a month, and she had to admit it was one of their best ideas yet.

She scanned the table filled with a pastry junkie’s dream – key lime pie, strawberry shortcake, Bailey’s cheesecake and a chocolate Ganache Drip Cake, and whispered to herself as she swirled her wine, “This is the life.”

“Right?” Her friend, Rach agreed. Ali nodded and smiled. She hadn’t realised anyone would have heard her.

“I’m going leave here fat but totally satisfied, so I don’t care.” Ash, chimed in.

Mel joined them on the deck, carrying a bottle of Moscato.

“Girl, I must ask what would you be wasting your amazing talent on if you weren’t a pastry chef?” Ali asked, as she bit into another slice her key lime pie. She closed her eyes savouring the incredible taste and the flavours that made her taste buds dance.

Mel unscrewed the bottle and poured herself a glass. “While I always loved being in the kitchen, I actually thought about dentistry then I got braces and considered becoming Orthodontist.” She laughed as the memory resurfaced. “Then I realized the sciences weren’t for me and focused on what I thought would just be a hobby: cooking. I began pursuing an Executive Chef future but along the way it still didn’t feel right. I guess it came to me one night that I was in the right place doing the wrong job. Then I went fully into baking after I graduated University.”

She took a small sip of the wine and reached for the strawberry shortcake. She took special care to ensure she caught a slice that was filled with actual strawberries in the middle.

“The world would seriously be missing out.” Yan agreed, while cutting into the cheesecake.

The ladies all nodded in agreement.

Ash sat back in her chair and pondered. “Was your family always supportive of your career choice?”

Mel licked strawberry frosting from her index finger before replying. “More or less. They encouraged me to do what I loved always, but also saw the downside: long hours, underpaid et cetera and so they encouraged me to keep my options open, in terms of maybe not working in the kitchen, but in the food & beverage department. I’d still be in the food service industry but not doing the physical work.”

“Oh, understandable,” Ash replied.

“What has been your proudest moment thus far?” Rach asked.

Mel smiled as she reached for her phone and pulled up her Instagram page to show her friends. “Having my work photographed by Dwayne Watkins and having a feature in Indulge magazine.”

“Oh my gosh, yaaaas girl!” Ali exclaimed.

Yan reached for her wine glass. “I think this is a perfect opportunity to toast.”

“You just want a reason to get more wine.” Ash rolled her eyes and laughed at her friend.

“I never need a reason.” Yan replied, topping up her glass.

They all laughed and clinked their glasses together. “To Mel.” They said in unison.

“Tell me something though, what’s your secret ingredient?” Rach inquired.

“If I tell you it won’t be a secret.” Mel swirled her wine and winked.

“True, true.” Rach agreed.

Ali leaned back in her chair and crossed her arms over her chest as she watched Ash pull a game of Taboo from her bag.

“The more things change, the more they stay the same.” She said.

They all laughed together. This was truly The Life.

Class Assignment · CS4 · film making · Literature · school · Videography

CS4 – Blog 5 – Sound Design: Wall-E

After that rant about the silent film “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari” I figure it only makes sense to balance it out with a rant over one of my favourite animated films by Disney Pixar – Wall-E. Not only was the storyline for this film so-totally-amazing, (yes, I just did that in my uptown Beverly hills voice) the sound design for this film was damn near flawless. Wall-E holds – in my opinion – one of the most powerful stories in Pixar history and makes me stop to consider so much about technology and the way we treat the environment.

The difference between the sound Wall-E made, to the sounds of the cockroach (gross) running around and the other ambient noise, the instrumentals, the sound of the voices and how they were manipulated to match each character… can you sense my excitement from reading this blog?

Because of the excellent sound work that was done, watching Wall-E became an experience, rather than just a film. I felt as if I was on that space ship being a lazy, fat ass as those people were. I felt like i somehow needed to throw away my cellphone and pawn my laptop so I would not end up like them. That, my friends, is not just the power of great storytelling, but also due to the power of excellent, meticulous sound design.

The attention to sound detail in this film has made me more conscious of sound when filming. Not just so I can have clean, crisp dialogue, but also that I can give my viewers the type of experience that can transform their living rooms into the scenes happening before their eyes.

Sound designers, pay attention to your environment in a way you never have before. Listen to the sound of the rain pitter pattering on the roof, the steam rising from the hot asphalt as the raindrops begin to cool the roads, the sound of the wet footsteps on the pavement walking quickly to escape being drenched, the sound of the car tires meeting the wet road, the sound of the umbrellas opening to shield their owners, the sound of coats billowing in the wind.  Pay attention to how the sounds we don’t normally give recognition to add to the realness of the experience.  Pay attention to EVERYTHING and how it affects your mood the mood of the people around you.

If you have never seen the film Wall-E (Finding Nemo is another excellent choice where sound design is concerned) go ahead and Netflix, buy the dvd (or blu-ray), stream or whatever other activities you must do to get this film in your possession. To my future filmmakers, you will not regret it.

Inspiration · Life · Literature · Music · school


Hello loves!

So I haven’t posted in a while, maybe two weeks (I’m not quite sure) because I’ve been working on final projects and presentations for the semester. I’m pretty much finished except for one final project I’m still working on for my radio course (Best course ever!) and I’m thoroughly enjoying this assignment. Can you believe it? I’m actually admitting to liking school work. That’s it, I’m declaring myself a changed woman.

But since second year is pretty much over I’m celebrating early by waking up at 12 in the afternoon and not having breakfast until 2. That’s the life right thuur maan.

What I’m most excited about though (apart from the immense amount of free time i now have on my hands) is the fact that no school = more time to write, read and watch tv shows! So yeah, pretty much all the things I’d much rather spend my time doing. So expect more blogs from me for the next 2 months (at least, I might be busier in July) and more updates.


xo Alee.

Currently Reading: Salvation in Death – JD Robb

Currently Obsessed with: nail hardener and mint flavoured lip gloss

Can’t hear enough of: Mirrors by Justin Timberlake and Heart Attack by Demi LovatoImage

Art · Inspiration · Life · Literature · Music

My Writing Playlist

Music plays a major role in how focused in am when i write and how certain scenes play out. Typically I’m Listening to Enya’s Greatest Hits album when I’m writing. She just calms my soul to the point where i can block everything and everybody else out and focus on the scene I’m writing.

When I need a little more inspiration, depending on the mood of the scene and what the characters are feeling at a certain point in time I always jump back to this playlist:

1. Bizness – tUnE yArDs

2. Breath of Life – Florence + the machine

3. Undisclosed Desires – Muse (+ pretty much anything Muse sings)

4. Cameo Lover – Kimbra

5. Talkin’ bout a Revolution – Tracy Chapman

6. Mountains of Things – Tracy Chapman

7. Aniron – Enya

8. Trains and Winter Rains – Enya

9. Mercy – One Republic

10. Say When – The Fray

11. Science and Faith – The Script

12. Hall of Fame – The Script

13. Walk Away – The Script

14. The Great Escape – Pink

15. Redemption Song – Bob Marley

16. No Woman No Cry – Bob Marley

The list is ultimately over 200 songs long but these are the songs that are the most played of the list. I hope by posting this I’ve introduced/reintroduced some inspirational music to someone out there. Even if you don’t listen to it for inspiration they’re all really great songs to have on your phone/ipod/listening device. 🙂

xo Alee.

Book Reviews · Literature

Preview of My “Book”

sooo as you guys know I’ve been writing again. I’ve been investing more time into just sitting by myself in the quiet or with the music on (Usually Enya) and giving life and substance to characters in my head. As a little “booster” for that I’m debuting a snippet of a chapter for something I’m working on here on wordpress FIRST! *yay* So take a look at what’s written down below and give me some feedback. I hope you enjoy what’s been written so far:

xo Alee.

Tajahnѐ glanced at her trainer, Susan Sector, standing on a pedestal overlooking the training field as she barked orders and insults at her.

“Push it lady! My great grandmother in her grave could whip your ass!”

Sector’s hands danced in front of her as if she was directing a symphony as she manipulated the elements to add more obstacles to the course. As top warrior and current leader of the Warrior Clan, manipulating the elements to suit herself was a piece of cake. She stood high off the ground and waved her hands around to create dust tornadoes and sent dozens of concrete saucers flying towards Tajahnѐ.

Taj cursed as she saw what Sector was doing and pushed all the harder to shoot down the saucers before they went slamming into her face. She smiled lightly as she saw the checkered flag signalling the finish line. She raced towards it, falling, rolling and sliding away from more targets as they came with full force towards her. She had almost reached the flag when out of nowhere came a piece of a tree trunk. It hit her right in the stomach and she skidded and smashed into a concrete wall she’d left behind.

She could almost see the smirk printed on Sector’s face through the stars swimming around her head.

“Always be prepared for the unexpected!” Sector shouted.

Taj growled at her, not caring if she would be punished for it afterward and walked back to where her sister and other training mates waited.

Life · Literature

My Writer’s Block is OVER!

My brain has come off of its writer’s strike! I feel like eating tons of unhealthy food and drinking red wine just to celebrate.

The story I’ve been trying to write for weeks now has finally kicked off to a start that I am comfortable and confident with. After weeks of being miserable and starting over like ten times (I’m not even kidding) I think i finally got it the way I want it.

At one point I even considered starting a different story altogether but the plot i had in mind was so fresh and different from anything I’d ever written and it really was a good plot so I didn’t want to abandon it just yet. And luckily i didn’t!

I may share a snippet of it in my next post (so be on the look out for it), just a tiny two paragraphs or something to give you guys an idea of what it’s about.

I’m excited!

Life · Literature

Favourite Quotes (Explanation)

As promised I’m doing a completely different post on the picture I blogged about a few weeks ago with my favourite quotes (if you haven’t seen it click here: )

“In you, through you, for you, there’s no limit to what God can do.” — Im not sure who this quote is by but it’s on a poster at my physio therapist’s office/gym. I love it because of the message it brings. It’s simple but very reassuring. Any time i have doubts about things i dream of doing i immediately remember this quote and I’m energized to just hit the ground running.

“Trust God in everything so you can trust him for everything.” –Anon. – This one i found one morning on Our Daily Bread’s website. Again another true and inspiring quote. When you trust God IN every situation whether it be good or bad you can trust Him that at the end of it you’ll be exactly where you need to be and that it will be for your good.

“I am careful not to confuse excellence with perfection. Excellence I can reach for, perfection is God’s business.” – Michael J. Fox. — This is definitely my favourite of them all. I first saw this quote on Myspace when I was about 14. I remember reading it like five times just to let it sink in. Sometimes we can get so caught up in what society expects of us that we try so hard to be “perfect.” It’s impossible. Nobody is perfect! NOBODY. And i had to let that sit with me for a while until it became my mantra “Only God is perfect, just do your best.” I recited that for years and still do when i start to get a little hard on myself or my self esteem gets down.

“Dum Spiro Spero.” – Marcus Tullius Cicero — While i breathe i hope is the English translation. Constant reminder when life gets tough and things seem to be going all the way wrong is that as long as I’m breathing i have the will to turn it around. (thinking of tattooing this one)

“Life isn’t about finding comfort(shelter) in the storm, it’s about learning to dance in the rain.” – Acheron (Sherrilyn Kenyon) — They’re many variations of this quote around but i first read it in a book called Seize The Night (or was it Acheron?) I don’t quite remember which book it was to be honest. (lol) But it’s definitely a quote i hold on to.

And lastly, “Some of God’s greatest gifts are surrounded by great challenges.” Another Daily Bread post; THIS is a reflection of my life. I know exactly what this quote means because it is my testimony! This is just a reminder that even though there might be pain in the night, joy comes in the morning. Another mantra of mine. 🙂

These are my favourite quotes and what they mean to me. Share yours with me in the comments or on your blog and send the link to my page!

xo Alee.