Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Thank You Everyone!

Three days ago I completed my third BP MS150 bicycle ride from Houston to Austin, and I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for being a part of the ride and supporting such a wonderful cause.

The ride kicked off Saturday morning from Houston with beautiful weather and 13,000 riders headed towards LaGrange. My friends, Chris and Brent, rode with me this year, and we arrived at lunch around 9:40am, riding our fastest leg of the ride: 50 miles in only 2.5 hours. Of course at this point we still had 46 more miles to go that day, and another 76 miles the next day. So we kicked down the pace a little and headed from lunch into LaGrange. We were so happy that the rain held out until about 9pm that night. As we rolled into LaGrange around 1:45pm, we were greeted by our team, Saint Arnolds. What a great way to finish a long 96 mile journey than with some tasty beverages and 400 of your closest friends. Okay, well 395 random people and a few that you’ve gotten to know on the ride.

Day two started off around 5:30am with wakeup call, breakfast, and packing up all the camping gear. By 7am the massive group start began, and we managed to leave the fairgrounds around 8. Like the years before, I decided to ride the “challenge route” from LaGrange through Bastrop and Buescher State Park. The park section is by far the best part of the ride and the most beautiful. Once again we were fortunate that the rain had passed us by 6am and the rest of the day was bright and sunny. I also appreciated that the winds held themselves to about 10mph coming into the hills of Austin. This was a welcome difference compared to the past two years. Around 2pm we rolled through the finish line in Austin and were welcomed by the hundreds of people who came out to watch. We were also greeted by our team and Saint Arnold’s brew master, Brock.

Each year I think that it might be my last ride, but by the end of day two, I know that’s not the case. I’m already looking forward to next year and continuing to make a difference in the fight against Multiple Sclerosis. Thank you for helping to make this possible and to help me exceed my goal by raising $2600 this year, for a three year total of $8990!

To check out the rest of the pictures, see my flickr page HERE.


Thursday, April 15, 2010

Man of Mirrors

During some free time at work today, I was checking out (see list of links on the left). This site has some interesting stuff about 50% of the time. Well, today I ran across a post about a street performer dressed as a man of mirrors. I've seen quite a few street performers along my travels, but this is probably one of the coolest ones that I've (never) seen. I re-posted a few pictures below, but to check out Griffin's flickr site go HERE.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Cupcake Decorating Party

Last weekend I threw a cupcake decorating party for some of my friends in Houston. From the start, I knew this would be a lot of work, so I decided to limit the group to 11 plus me. This actually worked out very well, as I only had enough table space and chairs for that many, plus, as most of you baker types know, it's much easier to make 12 cupcakes than it is 13 or 14.

I started off making all the cupcakes. Since I go overboard on just about everything that I do, thanks mom, I picked out 8 different recipes that I'd been dying to try out. First the basics: vanilla buttercream, red velvet, devils food cake. Then the more unique: roasted banana (awesome), mint chocolate, zucchini spice, Guinness stout, white chocolate with raspberry filling. This took a while, but I really enjoyed making all the different types, and I'm glad that I did. The roasted banana turned out to be my most favorite. Then came time to making the icing. Fortunately, I have a very awesome boyfriend who was willing to help me out. Unfortunately for him, he did not realize at the beginning that he'd be making ALL the icing himself... yep, all 5 different kinds, totaling 8 batches. At this point I was running short on time, so while he was making the icings I was preparing the sample cupcakes for everyone to look at and copy. It was so great having his help, because I would have never finished on time. As it was, I was pushing it very close. But we did finish before all my guests arrived.

Below are some pictures of my sample cupcakes. The party was a huge success and everyone seemed to love it. I taught them all kinds of different techniques and even handed out packets with all the recipes and decorating instructions in them. You can see all the pictures from the party HERE.