As I write this piece, it’s June 23rd, one of my favorite days of the year. It is the day before my birthday. On this day, there are always those feelings of hope, eagerness, and preparation for that big day where I get to be totally self-centered without judgment from others. For me, once midnight comes around on my birthday, I start to feel like it’s almost over, and I have to wait another whole year.
Silly but true.
This year I’ve had to cover my ears and look away while living in these times is exhausting. No matter how hard I try to silence the crazy antics of life around us, they show up on my television, cell phone, and everywhere I go. I look for distractions like working, taking a trip, and having company. I guess holidays fit in this category too, so what better distraction than a great birthday.
I started several years ago, making it a tradition to visit Captiva and the Bubble Room restaurant, located on a small island not far from Cape Coral, on my birthday. It wasn’t for the love of the blue gulf waters, the beautiful, serene beaches, and breathtaking views along the way. No, No, No, it was all about their Orange Crunch Cake, a slice that can feed a family of four. But over the last few years, I found making the trip in June when it’s hot was a bit too much, so I started to think about alternative options, like where can I find that perfect slice of what’s all right with the world.
Today I’ll concentrate on what is truly important for my upcoming day of celebration. And it is all about cupcakes. So, let’s start with “Where can I get a good cupcake?”
Yes! What better treat for my narcissistic day of indulgence. A perfect choice since a cupcake screams, “This is for you only!!!--- No sharing is allowed.”
I immediately shut down any idea of doing my own baking or buying any at the local grocery store. These are not viable options. So I turned to google and searched, cupcakes near me, and discovered, LADYCAKES BAKERY, a few miles up the road.
Instantly I imagined biting into a delicious orange cupcake, excited to fill the void of once making those birthday trips to Sanibel/Captiva. I politely called and spoke with Bess Charles, the owner known as the Queen of Cakes. She couldn’t have been nicer.
Walking into LADYCAKES reminded me of how much my mother appreciated a good bakery. It could have easily been a bakery I visited in Paris. While there were decorated cakes in a separate case, I was on a mission,--- a cupcake mission. I noticed they were the perfect size, not the usual over-the-top creation. It's just enough to delight in the pleasure of eating a whole cupcake and not walking away feeling uncomfortable.
While I regret I didn’t ask the woman’s name waiting on me, she shared names of the creators at Lady Cakes. Aside from Bess, the owner, there’s Alisha the Lead Decorator, Deborah the Butter Cream Queen, and Bess’s husband, Jeff the Baker.--- It takes a talented team to keep a cupcake village happy.
So, I order six with one for me and each family member who will dine with me tomorrow. That leaves one extra. I felt I needed inspiration in writing about cupcakes, so I enjoyed the pineapple-upside-down one. After all, it’s research. My critique is simple, delightful, delicious, smooth, and enjoyable. My experience is if you can enjoy the cake and the frosting separately while equally satisfying, you’ve got a goooood cupcake.
So in wrapping this up since midnight is just a few hours away from officially kicking off my day of self-recognition, I want to mention four things I try to observe on my B-day.
- Gratitude for all the things that allow me to live a functional and appreciative life.
- I acknowledge my imperfections and will try to do better, considering I’m always a year older and, therefore, wiser.
- I wish for a better world with less noise and antics by those who need to become better at being human beings.
And lastly, I make no apologies for my love of cake. If a good cupcake can make this girl smile on her special day, then next year I’ll do pie!!!!
By Jill Modell-Dion the creator of Aging Creative and author of the recently published book The Laundromat General
I wish to thank Bess Charles and her whole team at Lady Cakes Bakery for being part my special day.
You can find more about them @ ILoveLadyCakes.com
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Since I am the first one to read this, while I wrote it, I wish myself and Bo- my birthday sister a happy B-day💕