Saturday, October 3, 2009

ICES 2009 Convention

Hi Sugar Friends!

I bet you thought I forgot about this post! Nah, just took a while to get the photos edited and find time to sit down and get it all entered. Busy time right now! Cakes, kids, house stuff, and getting ready for our next DVD shoot in 3 weeks! (Yay!)


Well, the ICES 2009 convention near Chicago was a huge success and a lot of fun for us. This was the first time I was a vendor at this show, and this was definitely the biggest one I have had a booth at. It was quite an undertaking to get all the inventory, office supplies, banners, and luggage up there.

Wendy, D (my son) and I drove up there. I had to rent a vehicle big enough to load all the bounty into:

Doesn't it just wreak glamour and class? Not. Hubby took all the bench seats out and we filled that thing to the brim. We had more of a Beverly Hillbillies meets cake decorating vibe going on.

My two sisters, Barb and Janice, decided to take another vehicle:

Twerps. The probably flew first class too.

Our long long journey:

When we were deciding how we were going to get there with all our stuff, we put the trip into Mapquest and it said it was a 14 hour drive. Ok, we can do that, not too too bad. Add another 60 minutes for fast food drive through and potty breaks. We can do that in one day, no problem. We can take turns driving, leave really early so as not to get to the hotel too late, and get a good night's rest. Yeah, no biggie. We can do that fine.

D and I got up at 4 AM, picked up Wendy on the way out , and off we went. Wendy took the first shift driving while we snoozed a little. Stopped for a quick breakfast and back on the road.

About noon I get a call from the sisters:

Sisters: Hey, where are you guys?
Me: Um, somewhere between LA and Chicago. Not sure exactly. Where are you?
Sisters; Oh, we just arrived at the airport. We are about to board. We slept late, our flight is only 2.5 hours.
Me: Nice (not), we have been on the road for 8 hours already and this is getting old.
Sisters: Yeah well, we have a non stop flight. We will be there in no time. Gotta go, we are boarding.
Me: Ok,bye.. (Thinking: I hope you have turbulence.)

About 3 hours later:

Sisters: Hey, we landed. Where are you?
Me: I think we are in Illinois now, going thru corn fields. Lots of corn fields here. Kinda neat to see.
Sisters: Cool. We had a perfect flight. Smooth, snacks, drinks. We are waiting for our limo now.
Me: Limo?
Sisters: Yeah, we got a limo for the ride to the hotel. It was cheaper than a cab or shuttle.
Me: Great. Here we are riding in Sanford and Son on wheels, and you got a limo. Must be nice.
Sisters: Gotta go, limo here.
Me: Ok, later. (Thinking: Hope you get a flat tire.)

A little while later:

Sisters: Hey, where are you?
Me: Still driving thru corn fields.
Sisters: We are having a nice ride in the limo. It's got a bar with cold drinks, stereo, TV.
Me: So happy for you. (Thinking: Not. Hope your soda is flat.)

5 minutes later we get this picture sent through the phone:


A couple of hours later:

Sisters: Hey, where are you guys?
Me: Still in the flippin cornfields. I mean, how much corn can one state grow? We have been driving thru corn for 6 hours now!
Sisters: That stinks.
Me: Yeah, we need a change of scenery. Where are you?
Sisters: Oh, we are about to have dinner. We checked into the hotel, worked out, showered, went for martinis, and now we are about to go have a nice dinner.
Me: Oh nice. We had cold burgers and soggy fries from the drive through. And my butt hurts.
Sisters: Gotta go. Our table is ready.
Me: Enjoy. (Thinking: I hope your waiter trips .)

About 20 minutes later we get this photo thru the phone:

Doody Heads.

So we keep driving, for hours and hours and hours. Cornfields , and more cornfields. D says Illinois must be the world's largest supplier of corn. I mean seriously, it was 8 hours or more of corn as far as the eye can see. We were seriously getting car sick, stir crazy, and delusional. This trip needed to end. We had been driving 14 hours already and the GPS said we had 4 more to go! What the heck? How did 14 turn into 18? We did not make that many pit stops!

A couple of torturous hours later:

Sisters: Hey, where are you guys?
Me: Still in friggin Illinois, in the friggin cornfields!
Sisters; How much longer?
Me: GPS says 2 hours.
Sisters: Well, we wanted to wait for you guys, but we are getting tired.
Me: Yeah, I bet you are tired. Sleeping late, 2 hour flight, showers, dinner and drinks can really wear you out.
Sisters: Well, we are not night owls like you. We need to get a good night's rest to work tomorrow.
Me: Ok, I will touch base in a little bit. (Thinking: I hope your sheets are scratchy.)

2 hours later:

Sisters: Where are you guys? It is 10 PM!
Me: Guess.
Sisters: Cornfields?
Me: You got it. And we are about to go postal on some poor unsuspecting corn farmer if this does not end soon.
Sisters: Why is it taking you so much longer than expected?
Me: I have no idea. I think we drove into some kind of time warp continuum. This has to end soon.
Sisters: We are so tired.
Me: Go to bed; we will see you in the morning.
Sisters: No, we will wait a little longer.
Me: Ok, that's nice of you. (Thinking: That really is pretty nice of you.)

About an hour later:

Me: Hey! We are off the interstate and out of the cornfields!
Sisters: Finally! How much longer?
Me: GPS says about 20 minutes. We are on some back winding roads right now. Kinda creepy. Hope the GPS is right.
Sisters: OK. (yawning). See you in a bit.
Wendy: Fireflies! Look at all the beautiful fireflies! Can we pull over and look at them?!?
Me and D: NO! Keep driving!

Finally, some time close to 11PM we pull into the hotel. I have never been so happy to see a building in all my life. Sisters come down in their comfy lounge wear to greet us. The other three of us look and feel like we were taken in the back alley and beat with a stick. We hug and kiss and chat for about 30 minutes. Too exhausted to unload, we get our luggage and head to our room. Showers and collapse into bed. Work tomorrow.


Next day was set up day in the vendor room.

We unloaded the boxes and got to work.

I had large posters of each DVD title made to hang on the wall behind us.

They looked very impressive I think.

My booth all set up.

A dummy cake showing use of some of our tools.

Janice taking notes on the bullet points to study about the products.

The SugarEd team.

I got all of us girls these matching T shirts. Aren't they cute??? I got them from Vista Print. (Note: I will not beheld responsible for the money you spend if go to that site.)

Opening day, and the staff is ready!

Our booth.

Barb and Janice

His dimples slay me.

Wendy doing a demo on the pearl makers.

D and his Aunt Janice

D and his Aunt Barbara

Wendy looking concerned as I have some sort of facial spasm.

My dear friends the Cake Connection gals. Their booth was right across from ours.

My other son J packed a little surprise for us three.

Cherry suckers! LOL
Read here for the cherry story.

And here is a just a little video clip of our booth:

You can also see the video HERE.

Dinner one night with a big crew of cake pals.

The whole gang.

So we had a wonderful 4 days, tons of fun and laughter. Can't wait to go back next year!


So the last morning there we load all the stuff back into the dreaded van, and get ready to hit the road. We decided to drive back home over two days. It was just too brutal to do in one day again.

As we walk out to the front of the hotel, what do we see:

You guessed it.

Barb and Janice's ride back to the airport.

We kiss and hug and say our goodbyes and we hit the road.

And about 20 minutes later we get this over the phone:

And this:

Right about the time we hit the cornfields, too.


Later on, I will post more fabulous cakes from the ICES display room. They were truly amazing!

Until later, Happy caking!


Janel Waters said...

I would have had to stop and pick 2 ears of corn to BEAT THEM WITH! but hey, thats just me! hehe!!

It sounds like you had so much fun!! I so wish I could have been there.. I'm kinda sad I wasn't.

Can't wait to see the pics of the cakes!!

Kristy said...


Can't wait to see your episode of Ultimate Cake Off!!

Julie Reid said...

Oh my gosh!! My stomach hurts sooo much from laughing!! I am so going to convention next year!! I signed up for your class in Sugarland next month. I can't wait!!! See ya soon!! Any hints as to the theme of the next DVD?? Please!!!

Aidan and Evan's mommy said...

sounds like my many trips back and forth from Oklahoma to NC. Driving through Tennessee seems endless! Absolutely hilarious! I'm with Janel, I would have stopped for a few ears or stalks of corn to beat my sisters with... :)

Martina said...

Thank you so much for this gourgeous report. Now my stomach hurts!;-))

The pictures are wonderful!

Nancy Smith said...

What a fun trip! Thanks for sharing!

svincen2 said...

Sharon, I JUST love to read your blog posts!! Your booth looked fabulous! Can't wait to watch your episode of the Ultimate Cake Off. Also can't wait for your new DVD to come out. Please hurry and post the pics opf the cakes!!

Gayla said...


Looks like ya'll had tons of fun at the ICES convention, hope it was a profitable trip as well. Love the van ride and cornfields, too funny! Thanks for sharing, can't wait to see pictures.

Showersfamily said...

Your booth looked incredible. And you should also be a comedian. I laughed at the dialogue.

Monika said...

Wow, what a funny report! In Germany will be on October 24/25 the first cake exhibition and all cake decorators here are so anxious :-)

Janice said...

Ahh! Yes, indeed, that was the trip of a lifetime! This is Janice, the adventure-loving sister. Yes, Barb and I had quite the time. Oh, by the way, did Sharon mention that that was Wolfgang Puck's restaurant we were eating at? And don't forget the caviar and champagne in the limo. My kind of town, Chicago is!

fiddlesticks said...

OMGOSH ! What a funny story !!!
I live in Indiana( close to Chicago) YES!! We really do have the much corn out here!! LOL!!Enjoy!!

Anonymous said...

Hi Sharon,

you are so funny it looks like you had so much fun. I hope to see you next year here in California (San Diego) thank you so much for sharing this with us.

Barbara said...

Yeah, not to mention that our first limo driver was cute and friendly. So, that part of the trip was all fine and dandy, but you should have seen the awful hotel room that we got stuck with. That's a whole other story!

WendyB, personal chauffeur to Sharon said...

Yep, those fireflies were AWESOME!!!!!!!

Sharon forgot to mention what happens when she drives...the more she talks the slower the van goes!!!

angelabarton said...

Wow, looks like you all had a GREAT time, despite the corn fields and the bad fast food. Your set up looks awesome, if I had gone, I would have spent a fortune! Can't wait for 2011, Charlotte! Hope to see you here! I'll be sure to be on of your customers, if I haven't already bought up all your DVD's and supplies yet! Take care!