How I Lost My CookieCon Virginity: Volume 2

Hey everybody, it's Kim again. Why has it taken me so long to write this blog post? I don't honestly know. It could have been spring break, the 2 week illness that followed, the fact that my computer died, or my inherent laziness. Any one is probably a valid choice. Anyway, where was I? Oh yes, losing my CookieCon virginity! (It really was everything they said it would be!)

So Thursday morning began VERY early with preparations for the McGoo U Sock Hop! We had a special pre-CookieCon social for all of the McGoo U subscribers, and it was a BLAST! Elvis (Mr. John in his sexy white jumpsuit) made a special appearance and serenaded the adoring crowd, we played a rousing game of "speed-friendshipping", had a decorator's challenge, and my son came and served as "bartender", mixing up our signature drinks! Everyone had a great time getting together and socializing before CookieCon officially began. I made a slide show so you can see how awesome it was!

 

After the party we took a few minutes to check out Cookie Town and the Sugar Show entries. Oh my gosh, it was AMAZING!  Cookie people are so clever and talented! Here's a little peek at Cookie Town: 

And here are just a few of the cookies that were entered into the Sugar Show! Aren't they so impressive? I couldn't get over it. I must have gone back into that room 10 times over the course of the weekend just to ooh and aah.

And then CookieCon OFFICIALLY began! People started arriving in droves, lined up to get their swag bags, traded pins & cookies, and the excitement level was through the roof! You know how people talk about "finding your tribe"? Well, that really happens at CookieCon. I don't know about you, but when I talk to my friends about royal icing consistency, where you can get Everclear, and the latest cookies I've seen on Instagram, their eyes glaze over. BUT NOT AT COOKIECON! At CookieCon, there are hundreds of other people who speak your language; and let's face it, it's nice to be understood.

Ooh, and then I got to go to First-timer orientation! That's where they divide all of the newbies into groups & give them the lay of the land. It was fun to meet a bunch of other CookieCon virgins, find out where they had traveled from, and have a someone with real experience tell you what to expect your first time!

Thursday night ended with an OUTSTANDING keynote speech by Katy Metoyer (Sugar Dayne). Her presentation was EVERYTHING: sweet, sassy, funny, touching, and incredibly open and honest. If you've seen the hashtag #mycookiefriendsarereal around the interwebs in the last few months, it's because of Katy's talk. Tears were shed, people were moved, and it ended in a standing ovation. Katy is a cookie goddess.

If that weren't enough, I then got to dine with some of my cookie idols. I was still wearing my sock hop outfit, so I got some pretty funny looks walking through Salt Lake City, but who cares when you're taking that walk with Arty McGoo, Lilaloa, Andy Kay, and the Hungry Hippopotamus? Not me!

 

My Mom, Arty McGoo.

By Bailey Adams:

I always hear teenagers my age saying, "OMG, my mom is soooooooo lame! She's so embarrassing, and she never does anything fun." Everytime I am faced with this obnoxious statement, I have no idea how to respond. I can't relate to the individual at all, because my mom is absolutely wonderful. Putting the word "lame" by "my mom" is something so unfathomable to me that when I was younger, I thought all moms where this cool. Being a bit older now, i realize that my mother, Elizabeth Kessinger Adams, is basically the raddest person on the face of our planet.  

I don't know if you guys have noticed, but my mom is flipping hilarious. I can't think of anyone else who makes me laugh harder than she does.  A few months ago, my siblings and I where on the couch with my mom. She decided she would see what this "Snapchat" thing was all about. she had downloaded it onto her phone around 7:30, and we were on the couch till 2:00am laughing hysterically at the ridiculous face swaps we made. We laughed till tears streamed down our faces and our stomachs hurt from laughing so much. Oh, and by the way, my mom's laugh is more contagious than a yawn. Once she gets going, there is no turning back. my mom and I are similar in many ways, and one of those similarities is that when we are tired, we get really hyper. When we go to Disneyland, we always try to stay till 12:00am. Nothing compares to that feeling at midnight as you stand there in the park, your tired sore feet are still damp from splash mountain 6 hours ago and your clothes smell like bubbles and churros, and you can't help but smile a delirious smile, and do some weird dance that has not yet been discovered in our universe. At least, thats what my mom and I do. We will do these weird dances and faces and it is hilarious. it could be 3:00am or 12:00pm and it will always be hysterical to me.

I always love to sit next to my mom, whether it be in the pews at church or strapped in by her side on a roller coaster, I always feel better sitting by my mom and having her by my side. Evidently, my siblings feel the same way. This has been a real conflict in our household recently. Back when Denver, my 11 year old brother, was a baby, my mom had three sides. Sage and I would sit next to her on either side, and Denver would be in her lap. well, Denver is now a growing young man of 90 pounds, and he can't quite sit on her lap like he used to. My siblings and I will often argue over who's "turn" it is to sit next to mom every Sunday. At Disneyland, we alternate the rides we go on so we can all sit next to her equally. Ridiculous? Sometimes it certainly is. My siblings and I, we are pretty good kids. I would say we are not too terrible a trio, but I know we are definitely a handful sometimes. My mom always shows an incredible amount of patience with us, whether we are pushing each other over to sit by her or arguing over trivial little things, she is always patient with us, not to mention her keeping a calm countenance as i learn how to operate our two-ton vehicle.

My mom is definitely a mom, but she's also my best friend. Sometimes I feel like a lot of people's relationships with their moms are either one or the other, a mom, or best friend. I think that's one of the reasons why my mom and i's relationship is so unique is because we have both. My mom is my confidant, and I tell her ligit everything. Everyday, since I was about 5, I come home from school and tell her everything that went on during the time I was out of her sight. I think it is both a blessing and a curse for my mom. A blessing because I am such a chatter box that I would never be able to hide anything from her, and a curse because I literally never shut up. Nevertheless, my mom always sits and attentively listens to every weird, pointless thing I have to say. Thats another one of my moms many talents: listening. She is an incredible listener. She also gives the best advice. Sometimes I have a hard time believing my mom has problems because she is so good at solving mine with me. :)   

Oh, did I ever mention that my mother, Elizabeth Adams, is a freakin superhero? Yeah, she has her alter ego, Arty McGoo, but she is also a Superhero. She possesses this special power known to man as Mothers Intuition. I don't know if I will ever be able to fully comprehend how she does it, but she can always tell when one of us kids is fibbing or hiding something. (of course, its never me...pfft. course not.) Not only is she able to tell when there is mischief about; she is also able to win every game we ever play as a family. I'm dead serious, I don know how she does it, but every time she beats us all by a mile. i know what your thinking, she cheated. Nope. I have already investigated the possibility numerous times and it is proven to be untrue. She does not cheat, but she always wins. We could be playing any game, and she will win, whether that game be Scrabble, Catan, Tetris, Blockus, it could be a flipping dice game; a game of chance, and she still wins. I'm telling you, its a special power she possesses. I hope it's hereditary...

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I will be 100% honest, it's sometimes hard to share her with her thousands of followers and Cookier pals when she leaves for cookie con, or to teach classes that are away from our home, or when she has to leave to film in Kansas City. It is definitely hard to share her with the world, but I wouldn't have it any other way. I know my mom has blessed so many lives by doing what she does, and I know that she definitely has a very special light about her. I remember one time while my mom was gone on one of her many cookie-ing adventures, I happened to have a particularly rough day. I remember wanting to have my mom back home so I could talk with her and feel her hugs and ask her for advice and just to have my mom at home with me. I remember these words entered my head: "Why the crap does everyone have to love her so much?" I laughed out loud at my own selfishness, because who could blame them?! My mom is such an amazing person, how could I expect other people to ignore such a radiant and beautiful person? My mom is not perfect, but she is the closest person to perfect that I have ever witnessed in this life. My mother is the perfect example of the mother I strive to be in my future. She is the perfect example of a friend, a teacher, a peacemaker, a chef, a follower of Jesus Christ, and she is the perfect example of the person I want to become. I am so grateful that I was blessed with such an amazing woman I get to call my mom. Happy Mother's Day, Mom. I will always love you. 

 

 

 

 

CookieCon Part 3: How I lost my CookieCon virginity! Vol. 1

Could you tell by the title of this post that Arty is not the author? What gave it away? Was it the sassiness or the fact that Arty has "been around the block"...if you know what I mean? Well, friends, until last month I was a CookieCon virgin, but guess what? I lost my virginity...and it was EVEN BETTER than I expected! (I'd make an inappropriate comment here, but I'll let you insert your own...'cause I'm a giver like that.) And since you only lose your CookieCon virginity once, I thought I should document it. You know, so I don't forget how magical it was...and so other people can learn from my experience.

I was thrilled when Arty & Mr. John said they were taking me along to Salt Lake. The last time CookieCon was held, I wanted to attend, but I was a brand new cookier and my husband thought that flying to Utah, staying in a hotel & going to a conference for my new HOBBY was a little much.  But this time, since I was going for work, my main squeeze didn't bat an eyelash! Yay for having a rad cookie job! It's true that CookieCon didn't officially start until Thursday, but Arty was teaching pre-CookieCon classes, and we had a 12 hour drive, so we left home on Monday. We dropped off our kids at their respective schools, BARELY crammed everything into the car, and hit the road. A 12 hour drive may sound boring, but for the 3 of us it really isn't. We find ourselves pretty entertaining. Plus, we're pretty much brilliant when we're on a road trip, so let's just say we have some great stuff coming up at McGoo U that is a direct result of those 12 hours.

A screenshot from the live video we did from the road. The car was PACKED!

A screenshot from the live video we did from the road. The car was PACKED!

On Tuesday we did CookieCon prep all day. I won't bore you with the details about shopping at Wal-Mart and the Deseret Industries thrift store and unloading the car. I'm pretty sure can imagine how that went. Let's skip to the good stuff...Tuesday night! There was a prep party for all of the pre-CC teachers. It was awesome. I FINALLY met Lilaloa...in person...in her house...and she fed me dinner! I also met Stephanie (The Hungry Hippopotamus), the very delightful Patrice from Springerle Joy, Monica (Cookie Cowgirl), Leslie (4 Peas and a Dog) and Anne (Flourbox Bakery). The other Pre-CC teachers were also there, but I didn't get a chance to chat with them. But let me just say this: You know how you sit at your house and watch McGoo U on your laptop/TV/iPad/phone? And you feel like you know those cookie people, and you're sure you'd like them if you met them in person? Well, IT'S TRUE! YOU WOULD! They are all "As seen on TV", and I liked every single one of them...for real. 

Wednesday was crazy fun. Arty had 2 pre-CookieCon classes, and the first (Steampunk) started at 8 AM. Even though CookieCon hadn't officially started, the energy level was through the roof! Everyone was so excited to be there, and to meet people. I was VERY much looking forward to meeting Chris Taylor (Flour Sugar Butter). I think he's a sugar genius, and I knew I liked him based on his online presence. But his appearance on McGoo U sealed the deal for me (you've seen him in the "Hungry Games" skit, right?), and I was dying to meet him in the flesh. Well, it happened, and I was pretty much giddy.

Steampunk (top) & Fabulous 50's (bottom). Do we look like we were having fun? WE WERE!

Steampunk (top) & Fabulous 50's (bottom). Do we look like we were having fun? WE WERE!

The afternoon class (Fabulous 50's) was also full of great cookiers, many of whom are McGoo U subscribers, I knew who Ann Murad (Suburban Madmom) was because we had had a few interactions online. Truth be told, if I saw Ann in Target, I'd be intimidated. She has tattoos and piercings, and blue hair! She also happens to be one of the nicest humans I've met. I don't even know how many times I hugged her during CookieCon, but it was a lot. 

With Chris Taylor (Flour Sugar Butter). I need to step up my selfie game!

With Chris Taylor (Flour Sugar Butter). I need to step up my selfie game!

With Ann Murad (Suburban Madmom)

With Ann Murad (Suburban Madmom)

That day was a dream come true. I met a lot of other "friends" that I had never seen in real life.  I want to talk about every single one of them, but there simply isn't room here. (They know who they are.  I'm pretty sure they are going to have to be the subject of another post.) Needless to say, I loved Wednesday, and CookieCon hadn't even started!

Coming soon: Vol 2 - CookieCon Begins!

 

 

CookieCon Part 2: The McGoo Challenge

Hello my lovely cookie friends, this is Kim (Arty's assistant). I'm writing today's post, so if you see swear words or any kind of inappropriateness, that's me, NOT Arty! She would never allow such behavior...which is probably why I shouldn't let her proofread this! :)

For the record, we have VERY good intentions when it comes to writing Cookie Con blog posts, it's just been pretty busy around here. So we're going to do it in installments. Today we bring you installment #2: The McGoo Challenge! We've talked about the McGoo Challenge in our weekly live videos on Facebook, but thought we should probably document in writing what it was, how it worked, who won, and how much fun it was!

The McGoo Challenge looked like this:

This is the sheet of paper we handed out to all of our participants!

This is the sheet of paper we handed out to all of our participants!

This list was available at the Arty McGoo vendor booth, and was free with a purchase. As you can see, we were asking people to post lots of pictures, make new friends, get out of their comfort zones, bring me diet Coke, visit sites, and even help clean up! But the grand prize was pretty amazing and we figured we'd get a few takers. So, we sent all of the willing souls out into the Cookie Con world (and downtown Salt Lake City) to accomplish the tasks at hand. We were thrilled with the response! Everyone seemed to be having fun, I was collecting more diet Coke than I could drink, we were given beautiful, delicious cookies, and the photos people posted were AWESOME! We've picked some of our favorites to show you:

How fun are those? Aren't our cookie friends cute?

We had asked a lot, and so we naively thought that very few people would be able (and/or willing) to complete the entire list. Boy, were we wrong! We had nine people complete EVERY SINGLE THING! That meant that while we wanted to let everyone win, we had to draw a random winner. And here (drumroll please) are the results:

In a 7-way tie for 3rd place we had: Lisel Powell, Karin Selinger, Jennifer Wallace, Rebekah Paredes, Cindi Turner, Laura Moffat, and Bekah Fairley

2nd place went to Joslin Humphrey, who is only 16! Look at how adorable she is! She was ON IT, and she was the very first to turn in her paper! What an impressive McGoo U student!

Arty, Joslin, and Mr. John

Arty, Joslin, and Mr. John

And finally, 1st place went to Sarah Hallford! We are over the moon that Sarah will be joining Arty & Mr. John in Kansas City next week for the taping of McGoo U. Watch for her in upcoming episodes!

A HUGE thank you to everyone who participated! We loved seeing all of your photos, visiting with you at the booth, receiving your cookies, watching you get to know each other, and witnessing the cookie love. And just to be clear, I did not drink all of the diet Coke myself. I shared with Sweet Sugarbelle AND The Cookie Architect, who were extremely grateful. To see ALL of the McGoo Challenge craziness, go to Instagram & search #McGooChallenge. You'll enjoy it; I promise.

All about CookieCon....psyche! It's all about Sonya!

I met Sonya last October at our North Carolina cookie class. She is tall and stunning with the sweetest southern drawl you ever heard. Sonya teaches school full time, is married, has 2 boys, and makes amazingly beautiful cookies. We asked her to tell us how she does it all. Here's what she had to say:

Teacher by Day – Cookier by Night and Weekends…and Holidays….and any break from school!

Hi Sweet Cookie Friends and fellow McGoobers!

I was beyond thrilled when I was asked to submit an article for Arty McGoo’s blog!  I was asked to describe how I am able to juggle being a teacher and running a successful part time cookie business.  I am currently a full time teacher at Palmetto High School in Williamston, SC, serving the special learning needs of students in grades 9-12.  These needs include learning and emotional disabilities, ADD, ADHD, autism and anxiety.  I am also our school’s ESL teacher, serving the needs of our English language learners.  I have been teaching for 18 years, and my passion is helping my students find success in school.  I am often referred to as Mama Pack!  

Sweet Treats by Sonya was created in March 2015 because of my love of baking and decorating!  I have always loved to bake for family and friends.  For years, I had always decorated sugar cookies with buttercream icing…until I stumbled across Sweet Sugarbelle’s blog and was introduced to the world of royal icing – game changer!  I spent many hours and late nights watching her video tutorials and reading all about the world of cookie decorating.    Callye Alvarado is officially my cookie mama – she taught me just about everything I know…and then I found Arty McGoo – through Sweet Sugarbelle’s blog- and here I am…constantly learning and loving every minute of it!

How do I juggle the world of teaching and the world of running a cookie business from my home?  I’m not sure – it is a miracle some weeks – and I am beyond blessed with an awesome family to help me.  Many afternoons include coming home from school, snacks and homework with my kids, and then I put on my apron and start rolling out cookie dough.  The decorating process lasts well into the night, so I have learned how to space out my orders throughout the week and weekend.  My oldest son Ethan is 12, and he is a great help with his younger brother Bryce, who is 4.  My husband, Andrew, has supported my vision of opening a small business from day one and he encourages me every step of the way.  He is also a master at cooking dinner, washing dishes, doing laundry and picking up items at the grocery store.  He practically has my recipes memorized and always knows what ingredients I need.  He supports my love of cookie toys and is not surprised when he sees purchases for cookie cutters, stencils and airbrush supplies.  He is also great at giving advice on cookie designs.  I value his input and opinion.

Andrew & Sonya

Andrew & Sonya

 

I had to miss a day of school to attend Arty’s Halloween Spooktacular workshop in October 2016, and it was well worth it!  Arty, please come back to the East Coast soon – I will be there!  Even my students support my love of all things cookie, and were thrilled to hear all about my trip when I returned.  In November 2016, we were able to enjoy some much-needed family time with a fabulous trip to Disney World.  I continue to have tremendous support from family, friends, co-workers and my fabulous customers!

In February, 2017 Sweet Treats by Sonya was renamed Sweet Sophia’s Custom Sugar Cookies in honor of our daughter, Sophia Grace.  Sophia was delivered into the hands of God in June 2011.  She was stillborn at birth.  I was 37 weeks pregnant.  Since her entire nursery was decorated in butterflies, we held a butterfly memorial service in her honor.  My new business name and logo are in honor of her, and she is able to be a special part of my cookie business.  I am thrilled for what the future has in store for Sweet Sophia’s and I am excited to continue learning all I can….and one day, I will make it to Cookie Con to meet all of you!  Thank you to all of the amazing cookie artists out there – you are such an inspiration to me!

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Here are a few of my favorite sets!  I love pretty fonts, wood planks, airbrushing and hand painting!

Be sure to visit my website www.sweetsophias.net to see all of my work.  You can also follow me on Instagram @sweetsophias or find me on Facebook at SweetSophiasCookies.  Thank you for the cookie love and for allowing me to share my story!

Sonya Pack
Sweet Sophia’s