Dream Job Profile: Lara Stone of Babycakes Cupcakes, Etc.

image c/o: @babycakesak

image c/o: @babycakesak

Lara Stone

Owner and Baker of Babycakes Cupcakes, Etc. Anchorage, Alaska

You have always been one of the most creative people and talented artists I've known -  with an Art degree and an impressive experience list including graphic design and Makeup Artistry what inspired you to start baking?
First off thank you. You are an inspiration to me as well and were a huge influence and support to me when it came to turning this hobby into a business. I started baking in 2012 as a way to pass the time while waiting to give birth to my son (I happened to have a wicked sweet tooth;)). I was still working in makeup but found I could be just as creative with baking with half the stress and more fulfillment. I found baking for others to be community building. My love for it eventually inspired me to make it my full-time job. 

image c/o: @babycakesak

image c/o: @babycakesak

Describe a typical day when on a job:
Describing a typical day would probably bore you. It's a lot of routine (prep cupcake ingredients, get ovens ready, mix ingredients, bake, time, make frosting, decorate, post to social media). The fun in it comes with brainstorming new and unique flavors to experiment with and trying them out on customers to see what they think.

Any embarrassing instances on the job you want to admit?
No. Haha. I have definitely had my fair share of "baking fail" moments, but I tend to tuck those back into the far recesses of my mind and carry on as if I am the baking badass I pretend to be. 

image c/o: @babycakesak

image c/o: @babycakesak

What do you look forward to most when developing a menu?
Playing with new flavors and textures/inventing new dessert items. The artist background in me LOVES to experiment and create new things so my menu is constantly changing. I still keep the classics in heavy rotation though ;)

What is your favorite season to bake for?
FALL!!! Lol. I LOVE warm, spicy flavors and fall is the perfect time to tuck in and cozy up with some sweet homemade confections. 

image c/o: @babycakesak

image c/o: @babycakesak

You have such incredible style that really sets your brand apart and plays into your business - describe your style aesthetic:
Retro 50s/punk rock.  I like to think of it as a combo of sweet and edgy. 

How do you stay inspired?
By creating new flavors. I do a lot of research online or by reading cookbooks, finding out what other chefs and bakers are doing then brainstorming off that. I play a lot which makes it a lot of fun. I don't take myself too seriously when it comes to baking. If I had to make the same flavors over and over without anything new I'd probably go insane. The best part about this job is that I am constantly being creative and trying new ideas, and I can do that because I'm the boss! 

image c/o: @babycakesak

image c/o: @babycakesak

Do you think education is important in starting a business? 
Yes and no.  My education background is in Fine Arts, which has helped me in certain ways (with aesthetics, creating new and interesting desserts, branding, marketing etc), but not with the business side. I think that would definitely help, but there are resources out there to help small business owners succeed even if you don't have a formal education in business.

What are ways you have seen growth as a baker and business owner over the years?
Over the years I've figured out (to some extent) what works and doesn't work. Whether it be flavor combos and executing new ideas to what may or may not appeal to customers. I feel like over the years I've polished up my baking style (a little) and the way I market my business. I've also listened to a lot of feedback. It's funny to look back and see where I started. You might not think you're making progress, but little by little it adds up. 

image c/o: @babycakesak

image c/o: @babycakesak

What is some advice you would give to someone starting out that you wish someone gave to you?
Be flexible. Occasionally you will have to adjust your expectations and that's ok. You might get knocked down a few times, but you just need to roll with the punches, learn from your experiences, and get back up bigger and badder than ever. 

Who are some of your favorite foodie instagrams to follow? 
@passionforbaking and @katherine_sabbath are two major baking influences for me as far as baking style goes. I also can zen out on cookies decorating videos for like ever. @thehaleycakes is a good one. It doesn't stop at baking though, I love food in general. I follow restaurants all over the country and get inspiration from all kinds of different food. 

image c/o: @babycakesak

image c/o: @babycakesak

I know art and music have such an importance in your life-  who are some of your favorite artists and muses:
It's no secret that I love punk rock and rockabilly music and pinup culture. A lot of my cupcakes are named after rock songs or musicians or pin up/Hollywood stars. Some of My favorites would be: The Misfits, Danzig, David Bowie, Rancid, Stray Cats, Siouxie and the Banshees, Blondie, Beastie Boys, The Cure, Joy Division, NIN, Dita Von Teese...I could literally go on and on. 

image c/o: @babycakesak

image c/o: @babycakesak

Lara and I in the early days of Babycakes <3 Photo by: Brian Benavente

Lara and I in the early days of Babycakes <3 Photo by: Brian Benavente

Keep up with Lara and all Babycakes goodness via instagram: @babycakesak and online via: www.ilovebabycakes.com

Alaskana: My Favorite Alaskan Designers & Products

I love my home state and have so much pride being from Alaska.  Whenever I’m out of state, I adore boasting about the last frontier and everything my beautiful home state has to offer.  I also adore reppin’ Alaska made products as I love beautiful things and unique conversation pieces.  Alaska is filled with so many talented artists and product brands that each tell a story and are far from items found at the cliche tourist trap shops.  

Images and descriptions are rolling left to right, top to bottom.  Here we go!

The 49th Supply Co. Goods

The 49th Supply Co.  stands out in the realm of Alaska clothing brands.  Launched in fall 2013 The 49th Supply Co. is not your average screen printed t-shirt company.  Their mission is to offer simple and clean design with each piece specifically designed to ensure a custom quality feel. Each collection is directly inspired by Alaska’s outdoors.  They also have collections under their Artist Series Program, which uses photographs and designs from local artists.  The 49th Supply Co. stock lists include headwear, t-shirts, and outerwear available in limited stock quality (the hat pictured is from a previous collection, sorry!)  You can shop via their website, www.the49thsupplyco.com, or at local retailers such as AK Outerwear, and Zumiez in Anchorage; Borderline Legacy, and Sequence AK in Juneau.  Follow @the49thsupplyco on instagram for updates and to keep up with the sweet community surrounding the brand.

Jerrod Galanin Jewelry

Jerrod Galanin is a Tlingit Unangan artist hailing from Sitka, Alaska. His mediums include metal, paint, fish skin, animal hide and music.  Jerrod comes from a long line of Tlingit artists. His work is both contemporary and traditional and each of his pieces symbolize a story of great heritage.  I personally adore his heat treated copper bracelets as pictured above with hummingbird & salmonberry flower.  You can read about Jerrod’s artist mission and shop his collection at www.jerrodgalanin.com.

Earth Girls Love__ Products

It’s likely Earth Girls Love__is going to become your new favorite lip balm, but the brand is so much more than a luxury beauty product that melts into your lips because it’s formulated with more oils and less wax.  Cocoa Rose, Sweet Orange, Peppermint, and unflavored lip balms were the pioneer products of Earth Girls Love__ which has since grown it’s product line to include tote bags, organic cotton t-shirts, and new beauty products in development.  Earth Girls Love__ creators, Ambre and Leah are passionate about safe beauty alternatives and giving back to their community and mother earth (i.e. 5% of t-shirt sales go to earth loving charities.)  You can shop EGL products and read more about their mission on their website, www.earthgirlslove.com, and shop for them in Anchorage at the following retailers; Halo Salon, Modern Dwellers Chocolate Lounge, Midnight Sun Cafe, Dos Manos Gallery, Heritage Birth Centers, and Spirit Path Yoga.  Keep up with all things the Earth Girls Love via instagram @earthgirlslove___.

Arxotica Products

Arxotica Quyung-lii Anti-aging Skin Serum is one of the most unique skincare products on the market.  The Arxotica brand was started by Qissunamiut tribe triplets Cika, Michelle, and Amy Sparck, who harvest the hand picked botanical ingredients from Alaskan tundra once a year.  The tundra flowers, berries, greens, and herbs are exotic superfoods packed with micronutrient botanicals which offer supreme anti-aging results thanks to the lonalong with incredible moisture benefits and sun damage.  The company also offers botanical soaps and tundra potpourri. Shop and learn more at www.arxotica.com.

Claimjumper Goods

Claimjumper, designed by Joel Loosli, is one of the most clever ways to display your love for Alaska, thanks to their subtle and artistic prints.  With something for everyone including ties, cufflinks, hoodies, hats, t-shirts, leggings and gorgeous silk “Alaskarves” you are sure to make any Alaskan’s day by gifting them a Claimjumper piece.  Available online at www.claimjumperak.com.

Qiviut Knits

Qiviut knits are without a doubt the softest and coziest textile ever.  Made from the naturally shedding underwool from Arctic musk ox, Qiviut is ultra-lightweight, non-itchy and won’t shrink.  It is also warmer than wool (eight times warmer to be exact) and each piece whether it be a hat, headband, scarf, or smoke ring, displays a signature pattern from the knitter’s Alaskan Village.  Qiviut knits can be purchased at the co-op store in downtown Anchorage or online at www.qiviut.com.

Alaska Fur Moccasins and Slippers

I am typically not big on fur, but I have respect and admiration for traditional Alaska Native pieces such as slippers and mittens. Being Alaskan born and raised, I have developed great appreciation and interest in Alaska Native culture and tradition (beadwork, anyone?!)  The Gift Shop at the Alaska Native Medical Center has an impressive collection of slippers as well as other incredible Native Alaskan art pieces.

Alaska Glacial Mud Facial Products

You have not experienced a mud mask until you have experienced an Alaska Glacial Mud Facial!  Okay, I love me a charcoal mask but they honestly don’t compare to a Glacial Mud Facial.  Developer, Lauren Padawer, was ahead of her time with realizing the potential of a perfectly detoxifying, exfoliating, skin smoothing beauty revolution that was right under her feet all while being environmentally friendly and free of toxins and synthetics. On top of being a beauty treat, Alaska Glacial Mud Co. contributes 10% of all profits to local organizations that love, work and fight for wild salmon wilderness preservation, habitat restoration, watershed education and sustainable community development (via: www.alaskaglacialmud.com) and became a Certified B Corp in 2014.  Check out alaskaglacialmud.com to shop for face and body products, learn more about their giving back missions and get major Girl Boss inspiration from Lauren!

Blair Lauren Brown Jewelry

Blair Lauren Brown is a fourth generation Alaskan jeweler and honestly all her jewels are next level.  Every piece is hand finished and hosts a historical edge, at times combining raw uncut diamonds with 24k gold nuggets.  All stones used are conflict free and you can see Blair’s love for her Alaskan upbringing as well as rugged but beautiful preservation in each design.  Check out her look books, shop her collections and listen to her story at www.blairlaurenbrown.com.

Styling Session by BaiFray Dejong

Last fall I got to be styled and captured by the ultimate cool cat, @baifraydej (lurke her insta NOW for instant OMG! inspiration.)  We took to the streets of Anchorage  and were lucky enough to play dress up at one of my favorite boutiques, Circular, located at 320 W 6th Ave #132 in downtown Anchorage. 


One Item Three Costumes: White Faux Fur Vest #AKHALLOWEEN

I've partnered with two of the coolest ladies in Anchorage:  bloggers Natasha Price of Alaska Knit Nat and Leslie Boyd Shroyer of AK ShopGirl  for the month of October to bring you a different Halloween theme every week with an uber fabulous curated collection of costumes, décor, crafts, and last-minute ideas.  In addition, Anchorage traveling speakeasy, The Sawbuck, will contribute fancy cocktail recipes, and the dopest DJ Spencer Lee will contribute a playlist to complete the mix #PartyUp. 

This week’s theme is inspired by Maurice Sendak's “Where the Wild Things Are."  

I have been given the challenge of styling three different costumes surrounding a single item, this week's being the white faux fur vest Leslie used to create her Max costume in her post here.  Alright, time to put my styling skills to the test.

I coveted the oversized furry vest statement since Zoebots started wearing them back in ’05.  They all looked so layered and fabulous and it was just such a D.G.A.F. attitude, I had to get on the bandwagon myself.  The only difference was all the faux furry vests I bought were from F21 and got so matted I ended up looking helpless and in need of a comb to untangle the discounted piece.  I rocked a cotton candy pink colored one my first official day as a set costumer on the first major motion picture I worked on and boy did I make a statement.  I made a “this vest is so low-qual it’s shedding every step I take and I should probably just straight up retire it since we were working on a hot set statement.”  Not a powerful fashion force statement really, but a statement nonetheless.  Start and end of my fancy faux fur vest experience, right there.  I still swoon over them when fall collections roll around and mass retailers feature them looking photo-shopped perfect in ad campaigns.  Pretty much what I’m saying is since I can’t wear the item in everyday situations, I’m all about breaking them out for Halloween, a day where you can be anything and host any attitude you darn well please!

When asked to style three different costume ideas around the fur vest, my mind of course went Rachel Zoe, M.K. & A, and Real Housewives of New York.  Since, R.Zoe and M.K. & A can cross over pretty easily with the oversized bags and mega Starbs cups, I humbly swapped M.K. & A out for the woman I think sums up everything that is wrong with the world, Kim Kardashian.  I’m just giving you guys an excuse to over line your lips, stuff your backside with pillows, and act vain AF.  You’re welcome.  The point of these one item three different costumes posts are not only to show how my styling talent extends past outdoor Alaska clothing, but technically it’s a frugile and last minute way to shop your closet.  If you don’t want to be frugile, but instead frivolous, feel free to use these posts as an excuse to shop and add things you have always wanted to add to your closet, okay?! 

The lovely Leslie has a dream closet and she looks friggen stunning in every clothing item she threw on so shout out to her for being my model and making everything look so simple!

Costume Number 1:  Rachel Zoe

This past spring I said I wanted everyone in high waisted flares so if you haven’t listened yet, go buy some right now, partner them with a long flowy blouse, big ass wedges, an oversized bag and sunnies, and the biggest Starbs cup ever.  Make your hair wavy and beachy because it’s so easy to do (yeah right), maybe throw on a turban and absolutely throw on a long necklace, scarlett lipstick, enormous cocktail rings, and an even bigger “I’m flawless and fabulous deal with it right now” ego.  You can also go evening glam as R.Zoe by wearing a sequined dress under the vest and just screaming “BANANAS” at EVERYONE.  Totally up to you, it’s your Halloween, you make the decisions.

Costume Number 2: Kim Kardashian

I mean, you might as well.  Throw on anything black and tight fitting, slick back your hair into a low bun, grab whatever oversized hoops your wore when club life was mad real, contour the f outta yo face, throw on any heeled shoe, take a selfie every five seconds and tell people you will be selling copies for $25 at a TBD time but they can pre-order now, cash only.  If anyone gives you ANY attitude, just remind them you are better than them because of all your plastic surgery and the fact that you are rich.  Oh gosh, this sounds so awful, I already regret swapping her in when I could be talking about Olsen’s right now!!

Costume Number 3:  Real Housewife of New York

Ok, I’ve never even watched this show, but any excuse to attempt to look classy classy CLASSY and whine about being frail, gold digging and being exhausted from sassing around the nannies.  Pretty much any Banana Republic pencil skirt works for this especially when partnered with any Nine West pump and corresponding BR blouse from the same collection / season of the skirt.  Pearls are a bitter Manhattanites best friend and sense of security so throw those on and make sure your hair is perfectly blown out and set.  Now pour a cocktail glass with drink of choice, act like Andy Cohen is on speed dial and you are set, Park Ave Princess!

Thank you for checking out my posts- I hope you are inspired!  Be sure to pop over to Alaska Knit Nat for her smashing and delightful floral arrangement here and check back next Friday for my next post!