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SoFlo Cake and Candy Expo 2019 and What I Learned

sugar dress


Soflo Cake and Candy expo 2019 and what I learned.

What a month April was! I can't believe it's over! So many amazing things happened. I turned 40! Gasp!!!
My birthday was during our trip to one of my most looked forward to moments of the year. I had special friends along the way who went above and beyond to celebrate with me the ENTIRE week! We are talking "team birthday girl" shirts, lights strung in the mini van, party paint all over the outside windows, streamers.... And so began our 14 hour drive from Virginia to Florida!

Last year we flew. Competition piece and installation price for ACD in tow. But after receiving that pretty sticker on my perfectly packaged materials, (you know the one that says TSA just destroyed your crap) at the pick up gate, we decided to drive my pieces. The sugar dress was to valuable to leave my site this time! So we placed her in her box lined with pink packing peanuts and off we went.

She survived the trip like a seasoned travel pro. Gia, as we affectionately named her as she was coming to life, had the best seat in the van. When we stopped to eat, we requested a seat at the window so we could watch after her and remote start the van and AC every 15 minutes.

My competition piece didn't travel as well as my bird took off from his perch after hitting a speed bump no one saw. But that is for another post.

Gia was unpackaged as soon as we arrived at the hotel in Miami. The few wrinkles she had in her sugar skirt soon faded away from the humid Florida weather. We placed her on her stand and finished a few little pieces of jewelry and paint spots.


Soflo Cake and Candy expo 2019 and what I learned.

She was going to be in the Installation booth for American Cake Decorating Magazine. A install with so many talented artist I never dreamed of working with. There were so many pieces. The whole process is truly a labor of love and a great bonding experience among cake friends. We had such a great time building the set and creating the scene. It was the perfect backdrop to all of our pieces. There were sugar shoes, hats, many purses, picture frames, hanging decorative cookies, mini desserts, tarts, a amazing food realism piece... I could go on and on. But instead I will such share a few pics.


While I won't write all about our process of setting up the install, (that will be in American Cake Decorating Magazines next issue-make sure you subscribe!) I do want to share my love for this piece and everyone who was involved. Mainly I want to share with you what happens when you STOP BEING AFRAID!!!


Last year was my first year at Soflo. It was my first entry to a real cake show. It was my first time traveling to a cake show and meeting new people. It was wayyyyyy out of my comfort zone. As someone who has a hard time talking to strangers and a lot of self confidence issues, the last two years have been filled with a lot of first for me.

I made a commitment two years ago to get out of my head and take on something completely unlike me. The first time I messaged Rebekah Wilbur at ACD two years ago to create sugar flowers for the install I could barely breathe after wondering what I had just done. It took every bit of my soul to hit that send button. No one was ever going to let me be part of this. I was new. I was no one. I was embarrassed for even messaging. To my complete and utter shock she said yes!

I ended up create a sugar wheel barrel filled with sugar flowers and a bunny with a watering dish. When I arrived at SoFlo to drop off my piece (after fixing what TSA had done) and saw all the other amazing designs it was going to be part of, I could barely keep it together. I dropped it off scared and emotionally broken. I went back to the car crying to my sister, friend and daughter.

My piece was not worthy to be there. The other artist were so amazing. They were never going to like this. It was going to ruin the whole display!!!! See... low confidence kicking in there. I was sure I would come down in the morning and it would be gone. Or hidden away behind another piece. My family told me to KNOCK IT OFF! My piece was great and all the things a good support team say.

(My competition piece I also entered that year)

Well, morning came and the doors to the show opened and I reluctantly went down. To me surprise and amazement there sat my piece. Sitting down in the front corner. With all the other amazing artist designs. I was ecstatic, emotional, still a little horrified.... but it was a turning moment. I had done something outside of myself. Something I never ever imagined.

I had only hoped to attend the show when we bought the tickets. Maybe I would meet some key people and maybe the following year I would reach out to them. Never in a million years did I expect to be part of it.

Not only was my piece sitting there I was also scheduled to demo in the ACD some of my work and the toppers I make. WHAT??? I was soooo scared. So excited. I couldn't believe it had happened. I dream I never thought I would be able to reach. Mainly because I couldn't GET OUT OF MY OWN HEAD!!! But it all came together. God had a perfectly placed plan for growing me and my life and helping me step out.

  Soflo Cake and Candy expo 2019 and what I learned.


So what is the point of all of this from a cake show post? Simple. Get out of YOUR head!!! You also can follow your dreams. You also can make them happen. It might be scary. You might have to go bury your face in a pillow after you send that first email. You may not get a response your first time. You may get told no. I did before. It knocked me down and stalled me. But it didn't have to! I didn't have to let my own thought control me. If you have a goal, GO DO IT! Make a plan. Work towards it everyday. And reach out to the people who will help make it happen!


When I was able to be part of the install this year it was huge. Last year I dropped off my piece and ran. This year I worked with amazing artists and friends to build and entire set. During that time I also built a whole new confidence level. I did demos each day in the ACD booth and this time I wasn't scared! It was so natural! It was me and were I was suppose to be! I hope to one day teach a class at SoFlo! A goal I never thought I would actually reach but now I see it sight!

What a learning experience 40 has already been! I can't wait to see where this year goes. I would also love to hear how your year goes when you get out of your head and start getting into your dreams!

Much Love, Jennifer

A huge thank you to Laurie Collins, Ana McNamara, Susan Collins Ward, Rebekah Wilber,  JoWeine Kake (who is a awesome friend and gifted me a sugar purse I will treasure) Evelyn Montero (Who always greets me with a kind hug!) Hemu Basu, Katy Moser_Brandel, Joyce Marcellus (I could right a whole post on this girl, Love you!) Beth Townsend, Joyce Call Greenlaw , (from Satin Ice who sponsored our fondant!) Michelle Boyde, Blaque Shelton, Debrah Coughlin from Icing Images as my girl Gia took lots of Sugar Flex Sheets. If I left you out, I didn't mean to! Message me and I will edit! Love you all! Thank you for making a dream a possibility and for your kind and welcoming hearts!

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Soflo Cake and Candy expo 2019 and what I learned.