Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Just another regular weekend...

This past weekend was kind of a exciting weekend for me!  I've been training for the Disney World Half Marathon for a few months now, and that was this past Saturday, January 8th, 2011.  In Orlando, FL (obviously).  On top of the travel and training and race, we also decided to spend a little quality time at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter (I mean, why else go to Orlando?) AND I made a cake for Margret (Max's mom!) who is expecting again!  Just a little busy weekend here, nothing special, you know. 

I've had the privilege of baking a couple of times for Margret and her family, for Max's 1st and 2nd birthdays, and now they've got a little girl on the way!  The cake was for a baby shower for Margret and new baby, and they weren't going for a typical baby shower theme.  Instead, they wanted something with a garden scheme...ladybugs, bumble bees, and green!  This is what I came up with....

So cute, right?  I thought the little lady bugs were absolutely adorable!  I added a picket fence for a few 'happy' vines and flowers for the bugs, and there you have it...one garden themed baby shower cake! 

Since we couldn't decide whether or not to have chocolate or vanilla, the cake inside had a layer of each, although you obviously can't tell that now, haha. 

So I finished the cake super late Wednesday night, delivered the cake at work on Thursday morning, went to work until the early afternoon, and then jetted to Orlando Thursday night!  Whew!  Cake delivery, check.  Travel to Florida, check. 

Not only did we have the best weekend lined up, but I had the best people to share it with!  Katie Allen, Patty Carpenter, Danielle Seale, Susanna Hearn, and Nancy Hearn!  We all arrived from our prospective locations (Raleigh, Charleston, Anderson, Germany...) Thursday night to check in at the hotel, eat really late appetizers at TGI Fridays, and get groceries/food for the weekend.  We were really excited, because Friday morning...Wizarding World of Harry Potter!

Everyone in the car, ready to go!

We've been kind of waiting for this for a while.  Maybe ever since it opened, but who is counting!  We had such a great time soaking in the sights.  It was just like stepping onto the movie set!  All of the crooked chimneys and snow capped roofs of Hogsmeade were just as I imagined them, right down to the sweets in Honeydukes, the crying mandrakes in the Herbology shop, and winking Gilderoy Lockhart from copies of "Magical Me."  They did such a good job making this park!

Susie and I, with the Hogwarts Express!

Yumm.....the foam kept growing as you drank.  Magic?  I'd say so!

Can I go to school here please? 

We drank butterbeer, which tasted like a delicious mix of butterscotch, caramel, and cream soda, toured the Hogwarts Castle, bought wants at Olivander's, and ate chocolate frogs at Honeydukes.  It was kind of unbelievable!  Definitely worth a trip, if you've never gone!

SO excited.....


In front of the Three Broomsticks!

Chocolate frog, anyone? 

After the amazement of Harry Potter World, armed with our wands, we headed to the Expo at Disney's Wide World of Sports to pick up our registration information, bibs, and shirts.  That place was huge and full of runners who all looked ridiculously qualified to run....or more qualified than me, anyway!  We left soon after arriving and browsing the booths, because Harry just tired us out, and we wanted a nice rest before the big race!  After some delicious seafood at Landry's (thanks for the suggestion, Cate!) we all called it a night!

2:30am:  Wake up and eat breakfast
3:00am:  Get dressed with tons of clothes (so cold that early in the morning!)
3:30am:  Leave for Epcot center (10 miles away)
4:45am:  Arrive at Epcot with 28,000 other people to run the Disney World Half Marathon!
5:00-6:15am:  Wait for our corral to start!  With every corral, they shot of fireworks and flames as Mickey and Minne (in track suits, of course) waved us along our way! 
6:20am:  Corral G, go! 

Mickey and Minnie!  Snazzy track suits...

28,000 people running into and through Disney World was a sight to behold, especially from the back of the line, haha.  We realized very quickly that getting our 'best time' wasn't our goal for today, because just finishing at all would be a personal best for all of us!  We also didn't want to just let all of the sights we were passing pass us by without stopping to take a few (or 50) pictures! 

Officially no longer cold...

We also realized, very quickly, that it was no longer freezing.  In all of my underarmor, I got super hot super fast!  A quick pull over by a hot air balloon of Epcot and wardrobe change helped tremendously.  Patty and Katie were amazing, I got so hot so fast that I felt pretty rotten.  Really rotten, actually.  Patty and Katie wouldn't leave me behind, and before too long I was feeling much better! 

At the entrance of the park!

Patty, running down main street! 

Sweaty Beth in front of Cinderella's castle...I saw a T-shirt during the race that said "Princesses don't sweat, they sparkle!"  I'm sure this applied to Cinderella, but not me!

The first 5 miles passed so quickly!  Before I knew it, we were at the gate at Disney World!  Buzz Lightyear greeted us a little after mile 5...and by mile 6, we were running down main street Disney (still decorated for Christmas) and through Cinderella's castle!  We met several other characters along the way. 

Peter Pan and Wendy! 

Folks from the Princess and the Frog

Captain Jack Sparrow and the Black Pearl!  "Whew, you're soaked, has someone thrown you overboard?"  Very funny, Captain Jack. 

Mary Poppins, Burt, and Penguin!

The time in the park went by so fast...and we lost a lot of time stopping to take so many pictures, but it was worth it!  Its all in the journey, not the destination...

Slightly less excited and energetic at this point...

Almost there....

Finally, mile 13 was upon us!  We ran around the Epcot Ball (what IS that thing supposed to be?) and in a mere 10th of a mile were at the finish!  I still can't believe that we did this...it blows my mind.  Only a few months ago, I couldn't run a mile.  But look what we did! 

Look at us, ya'll!  Of course Susie and Danielle finished too, just a lot faster, haha. 

All along the race, we were surrounded by people running for a cause.  We were running for one too.  The race was sponsored by the Leukemia Lymphoma Society, and through the race over $4 million was raised to fund cancer research.  Everyone knows someone who has been affected with this caner.  Katie's sister is battling this cancer right now, my Aunt Laura has beat this cancer, and our dear sister and friend Elizabeth White lost her battle to cancer last November.  Susie and I were running for Elizabeth, and I thought of her every mile.  Even though it was tough, and every muscle screams, I was just so thankful for the ability and blessing of putting one foot in front of the other.  I know she would have loved to go to Hogwarts with us, and while she would have thought us crazy to run a half marathon for her, she would have loved running through Disney World.  This was for you, dear! 

So in summary....Garden themed cake, check.  Travel to Orlando, check.  Buy a wand at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, check.  Run a Half Marathon, check.  Make memories with some wonderful women that I'll never forget......check!

So ladies, which race is next?


Sunday, January 2, 2011

Whimsical Christmas

On December 11, 2010 (which is last year now, and weird!) Crystal and Yeeka got married!  Crystal is a dear friend of mine, and one of my best friends was her maid of honor.  We had a wonderful time planning for and designing her cake over Steak Escape at Crabtree Valley Mall, and I knew from the start that Crystal wouldn't want a traditional wedding cake. 

Crystal is ridiculously creative!  For example, instead of flowers, all of her bouquets were made of Christmas ornaments.  They were so neat and unique!  Her colors were neon green, hot pink, bright blue, and electric purple, and the reception hall was full of twinkle lights, bright Christmas ornaments, and decorated trees.  The effect was a magical, whimsical Christmas wedding. 

Obviously we needed a magical, whimsical Christmas cake to match that theme!  After several different ideas and cake tastings, we came up with a round, 4 tiered white buttercream cake with different sized polka dots in bright fondant.  Here is the cake prior to assembly, thank you Dave for helping me carry it down the stairs (the bottom tier weighed 40 lbs!)...

The cake flavors were red velvet, funfetti, and chocolate (funfetti is my favorite!).

Amazingly, the colors matched pretty well, I was SO worried they would be off by even a little bit.  For a topper, I made a curly-wire and fondant 'thing' that I'm not sure has a name, but I thought it turned out pretty cute!

Turned out ok, huh?

All in all, I was so pleased with how the cake turned out, and I think Crystal and Yeeka really liked it too!  I was so happy to do their cake!  Its a joy to do something for two people who are so obviously in love and excited to start their lives together.  Many best wishes and blessings to the happy couple!