Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Totally Awesome 80s Cake!

It has been a slow couple of weeks in regards to baking and cake decorating, but I did have one big project in January that I wanted to share, my best friend's birthday cake. I don't think I am being braggy when I call this cake totally awesome, as it was 80s themed.

I found my inspiration in some of the amazing 80s cakes that I saw in my Internet search.  I pulled a couple of the design details that I liked (the pac-man layer and black and white checked cake board) and then combined them with details that were specific to the birthday girl, the mixed tapes, Tiger Beat, and Richard Marx album.  My goal was to make a cake that screamed 80's without throwing on every image, catch phrase, and trend reminiscent of the decade.

What screams the eighties more than homemade mix tapes? Do kids even know what cassettes are anymore? 

The Ms. Pac Man layer was time consuming, but well worth the effort.  Each piece was cut by hand and then mounted on the cake. Each side of the bottom layer had a different design.

I was so happy with the end result!  It turned out almost exactly how I pictured in my mind!

The details:
  • Everything with the exception of the black and white zebra ribbon around the cake board was edible. 
  • The Tiger Beat, Richard Marx album, and cassette tape labels are edible images mounted on gum paste.  I found the images on the Internet and printed them off on a printer that I only use with edible ink.  If you are interested, I purchased my printer from Icing Images.
  • The cassettes are made from black fondant that was mixed with tylose powder.  
  • The cake board was made by cutting out squares of black and white fondant that I lined up and pasted to the cake drum with piping gel.  It took forever, but the look was perfect!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Marathon Training: Week 2 Recap

Last week was a total bust on the training front.  It was combination of factors: poor time management, cold weather and snow finally hitting Chicago, and spending a lot of my time in the evenings working on a birthday cake for my best friend.  So let's look and see how much of an epic fail week 2 was.

Total Mileage: 7 sad little miles
Long Run/Average Pace: It was suppose to be a 9 mile run, but I totally skipped it.  
No excuses. I just did.
Cross training and Strength Training: Cross training??? Yeah, right.
Weight Change: -2 lbs (Lord only knows how that happened.)
Overall Thoughts:
It was not a good week for training, but I am not too worried.
It was only the second week, and it is all mileage that I am comfortable running.  
You can't beat yourself up of missed miles. 

Here is a little sneak peek at what I spent most of my free time on last week. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Marathon Training: Week 1 Recap

So last week was my first full week of training for my May 5th marathon in Wisconsin.  I am not training with a running group this time around, and in order to keep myself on track and accountable to my training schedule, I am going to post a short weekly recap here.  If you are interested, I am using Hal Higdon's Intermediate 1 Marathon Training Plan as a guide. This is the same plan I used for the Chicago Marathon in the fall. The only difference this time around is that I plan to run my long runs at a 9:00 per mile pace rather than a 9:30 pace.  I am also using the recap to help monitor my weight by weighing myself at the beginning and end of each week. Just google "marathon training" and "weight gain" and you will see that it is a rather common issue for runners.  I definitely rewarded my long runs with pizza a few too many times during my last training, so this time I hoping to maintain a healthier diet.

Week 1

Total Mileage: 25
Long Run/Average Pace: 8 miles/8:57
Cross training and Strength Training: 2 one hour yoga workouts, no strength training
Weight Change: n/a, didn't monitor it this week
Overall Thoughts: Not much to say since this just the first week. Even though I lost some of my endurance and speed from my lack of running in December, I am still faster than I was when I started marathon training last year thus my bump up to a 9:00 minute pace for my long runs. 

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

2011 in Review

Happy New Year! 2011 came and went in what seemed like a blink of an eye.  It was a busy, busy year, but probably the best year of my life so far.  So what went down in 2011?

After almost 5 1/2 years together, my husband and I tied the knot in May with a beautiful ceremony officiated by one of my oldest and dearest friends and with a rocking party surrounded by loved ones.

We followed it up a month later with a week-long honeymoon in Mexico at the gorgeous Excellence Resort Playa Mujeres.  Relaxing and beautiful.  I can't recommend this place enough.

2011 was also the year of running for me.  I ran nine races in 2011, including my first marathon.  I began my 18 weeks of training during our honeymoon.  And then ran. And ran. And ran.  Marathon training was physically and mentally exhausting at times, but so rewarding, as I pushed my body to new limits that I didn't think were possible.  I became a better, faster runner and set some new PRs along the way.

Along the way, my husband finally graduated with his MBA after 2 1/2 year of very challenging graduate school work, while also working full-time.  It meant a lot of time spent apart, and I think I was just as happy as he was when he finally got that diploma.

Sadly for most of 2011, I put baking and cake decorating on hiatus.  A full time job, wedding planning at the beginning of the year, and then 18 weeks of marathon training took over a lot of my free time.  A Pulled Sugar class at the Wilton School later in the year sparked my interest again, and I finally got my sugar art mojo back.

And finally, after a couple of false starts, I started blogging regularly.  I am still learning a lot, but I really have enjoyed having my own little place to dork out about my interests.

As for 2012, I don't set New Year's resolutions.  Instead, I write a list of goals I want to accomplish in the various parts of my life for the entire year.  It is still a work in progress, but I have set some ambitious goals for myself related to fitness and running, and I am working on my bucketlist of sugar art techniques and cakes I want to make for the new year.

And with that, I am ready! Bring it on 2012!