Hell-Bent on Cakes

Good Saturday Morning Everyone! I could hardly sleep last night, so I read and wrote. Now I have a five part novella that I will share with you over this weekend. The first section (parts 1 and 2) will be revealed here and section two (parts 3-5) will come sometime tomorrow (Sunday). I’m so excited because my brain was working on overtime and I feel like something really great came out of it all.

Part One – Hell-Bent
So, Thursday (our usual library day) I decided to try and find a new book for me. I knew I was going to start up with the Gates book on Monday, but still wanted to do a little more “free reading”.  HAHAHAHA! *sigh* Because I don’t have to pay for books when I get them from the library….okay, maybe not that funny, but it’s Saturday morning and I only slept 5 hours last night.

I just opened up the digital library catalog to see what was in and found this gem: Hell-Bent: Obsession, Pain, and The Search for Something Like Transcendence in Competitive Yoga.  Yeah, the name alone made me say, “I HAVE TO CHECK THIS BOOK OUT!” And so I did. The motivation behind diving into this book comes from a post I did earlier this week: Hobbling Like a Hobbit and finding the balance between a competitive nature and the teachings/practice of a yogi.

Yesterday I sat down to test out this book and wondered why it has taken me so long to find it. I only got 12 pages in before I had to set it down and get kids who were awakening from naps and eventually squeeze in a quick run that I’d put off earlier in the day. Yet, at 1230 at night I lay awake in bed. The kind of awake that can only be changed by a blow to the head, a stiff drink, some intense activity, or a good read. I chose the last option and snuck upstairs to rejoin Benjamin Lorr and his adventure into competitive backbending. I was hooked and finished the whole first section of the book….while practicing yoga asanas.

In his book he talks about and debunks a lot of the misconception around yoga. He’s done his research and made me feel a little misinformed despite my many reads and research into the practice and history of yoga. I always knew that no one historical account was true to the last drop, but his take on the whole thing opened my eyes further and almost blew my mind. His writing style is very blunt, humorous, inspirational, and easy to read all at once. I’m pretty sure that I will have this book completed in the next week if not sooner.

My take away from last night is that I want to delve deeper into this book and my thoughts on yoga and my practice (good thing I’m starting my 365 journey on Monday) and this take away from one of his gurus, Esak, “competition only reflects what is already part of us.” (p.60) If competitions are a reflection of something that is already a part of us and yoga teaches that we are all a part of one big whole, then I feel like there is room for me to be both competitive and a yogi.  More to come on Mr. Lorr.

Part Two – It’s a long story made short
Second story of this long weekend rant is that not only am I discovering a connection and a deeper nonjudgement in myself, I’m also being discovered! Thank you to the amazingly talented, insanely funny, real and down-to earth writer Stef S. who is currently my only “follower” for highlighting this blog in a beautiful light on her blog. I love reading Stef’s stuff about her life with her daughters, her many times she was almost famous, the adventures of her youth that shaped her into the woman she is today, and also about her CAKES!

I will be posting my answers to the four questions tomorrow in part 4 of this installment and giving you a preview of some other blogs I find amazing in parts 3 and 5. For now, I want to pay homage to Stef and say how humbled I am at her talent. Here are some photos of cakes I have made in the past which don’t hold a candle to hers. AHAHAHAHA! I crack myself up at 9am! But seriously, now I want cake.

My 27th birthday cake that I made myself because none of my friends new how to bake. It’s a dark chocolate cake with raspberry filling, chocolate ganache and real raspberries and hot pink buttercream frosting. It was a hilarious cake to make with all of the pink since I’m not much of a pink girl myself. I don’t even think I ate any of this cake, which was my practice back then. Bake and give it away. This is one of the few cakes I have digital photos of prior to 2009.
A birthday cake in the oven, but fully decorated. This was my first cake for my now niece. It was her 5th birthday and I slightly disappointed her because I guess Strawberry Shortcake looks different now than she did when I was 3 and my mom made this very same cake for me.
Shaped cake seem to be easy for me because you just follow a template and make a million stars. The only problem comes when you don’t have the right color for your frosting tint and Ariel the Little Mermaid comes out looking like she has a great tan despite living Under the Sea.  (I’m sure the song is now stuck in your head….you’re welcome.)
My son’s first cake! I had to improvise to make it a sock monkey and it came out alright if you ask me. He will never remember this or the little smash cake I made for him (applesauce, banana, chocolate chip with cream cheese frosting), but it means something to me to carry on this tradition. My mom made all of my cakes growing up and my graduation cakes etc.
Back to my niece. She was obsessed with Spongebob Squarepants, but I didn’t want to buy the pan for it. So, I freehand designed it on a 9×13 for her party. Not bad for never having watched the dude before. Although I wish I had cut the cake out and then decorated it.
I love this photo where Ike is in awe of his second birthday cake. Can you guess what he was into? This was another guess at how to make something. It’s two pound cakes made in loaf pans and turned onto each other. Oreos for accessories will be a repeating theme.

I made this same cake for both of the boys’ dedications. I can’t find the picture of Ike’s. Nothing fancy, but here I tried playing with smoothing the frosting with a paper towel to give it a little texture without being starred or “rustic”.
On to trains. This one took a lot of work with color flow to make animals, constructing things out of marshmallows, Oreos, ice cream cones, Fudge Stripe cookies, licorice, and graham crackers. It was delicious!

My niece now wants to help with baking and we made this cake for my mother in-law’s birthday this year. She came dressed to her party to match a cake she didn’t know she was getting. It was great! Syd says she wants to be a cake maker some day. I hope she’s far more talented than I. Her cake this year will be a real challenge and I’m sure I’ll post all about it. The girl is into Duck Dynasty of all things!

And finally to the little guy’s 1st cake. He is our little alligator and this was a creation from my mind as well. Unfortunately this 19×13 cake took us a week to finish. Both of the boys were sickish the day of the party which left many guests at home avoiding the illness possibility. Their loss.

Until tomorrow….I’m out the door to run and enjoy the fresh, humid air of a NC Saturday in July!

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2 thoughts on “Hell-Bent on Cakes

  1. AmberLynn! I LOVE that you put your cakes in there! And thank you for mentioning me…I'm looking forward to your next posts! 🙂 I haven't looked at my old cake pics in awhile. *sigh* sometimes I miss that bakery/wedding biz whirlwind, but *eh*, not today. Today, it's 82 out, the windows are open, and I'm going out to the GARDEN with some tea. On a Saturday, y'all.

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