Monday, April 5, 2010

postheadericon Bleeding Heart Blessings!

Okay, I'm going to try to get better at blogging than I have been.  I've been so busy, but some really fabulous things have been happening.

I would say that things really began to change for me personally in July 2009.  We had moved to Illinois from California in November 2004.  I left all my family (aside from my children and husband) and what few friends I had in California.  I have been working from home in the medical transcription field for more than a decade and a half.  In California, I made friends by socializing with women that were standing outside the elementary school waiting to pick up their children.  In Illinois, November is not the time of year that you stand outside waiting to pick up your children.  And in our community the children are bused anyway.  So I had no real opportunity to meet other women.

This began to cause a problem that I hadn't really noticed right off.  I honestly began to develop a phobia, not of going outside, but of socializing with strangers.  I also have a skin disorder, vitaligo that helped to feed my fear of meeting people.

In July 2009 I attended my first Iron Cupcake Chicago challenge.  I love baking and I really wanted to participate, but I didn't know anyone there and I was now aware of my phobia.  I had also decided that I was going to get out and meet people and get over this phobia.  So I contacted the woman in charge of IC:CHI, Irma, and threw myself into the challenge.

The day of the challenge my kids literally had to keep talking me into going.  I kept coming up with excuses not to go, some I thought were actually really good excuses, but the kids kept pointing out to me they were just excuses.  One of my daughters even had to go with me so I wouldn't chicken out.  Actually, standing at the door of the restaurant where the challenge was held, holding the door handle, I had a panic attack, but my daughter reassured me and I went in.

I managed to have a good time and made up my mind then that I would beat this phobia and socialize more.  I also began to use Twitter as a way to socialize and meet more people. 

Okay, fast foward to January 2010.  I have been to several Iron Cupcake Chicago challenges, and even a couple of Iron Cupcake Milwaukee challenges.  At IC:MKE I was fortunate to meet Michelle Garcia of Bleeding Heart Bakery.    

I guess I made an impression on Michelle Garcia the night I met her. I know she liked my cupcake, a Goose Island Oatmeal Stout cupcake.  And she visited my website too.  I found this out a few weeks later.  She liked the work I had done on my cookies enough that she asked me to start decorating cookies for her bakery.  I was thrilled to death!

My dream has been to grow my business to a point it could sustain me and my family.  I love baking and decorating cookies and participating in the IC challenges has made me realize that I love baking cupcakes too.  In February I had been looking around to find a retail space for Sugar Beez, but nothing was panning out even with the help of the Robin Schabes, the Director of Lakefront Development for the City of Waukegan.  She was so helpful and so motivated to help me get into a space in Downtown Waukegan, but it just did not work out.  I told my daughter, Gina, that when it was meant to happen it would happen and it would not be hard or challenging.

At the end of February, Michelle Garcia and I began talking about Smash Cake.  Michelle has been concentrating on her bakeries, and wasn't able to give the attention to Smash Cake that it needed in order to be successful.  SC is more of a space for hosting children's birthday parties than the type of bakery Michelle currently opperates. 

Michelle is such a great person.  Yes, Michelle is famous for having been on Food Network cake challenges 8 times.  Yes, she owns a kickin' bakery with her husband Vinny, but she has proven to be the kind of woman that I try to be, gives back because she has been blessed. 

So, on May 1st Sugar Beez moves into Smash Cake!  This has worked out so easily for us and has felt like it was meant for us.  I see nothing but a fun endeavor growing the business with my daughters and my husband.  We will start promoting here very soon and planning for our opening day.

My kids, my husband and I have already decided that opening day proceeds will go to Share Our Strength.  We will be hosting a Great American Bake Sale on our opening day, come out and help make it a success!