20 November 2013

What the heck is a 'Sugar Push' anyway?

What's in a name? A lot of businesses choose their names on a whim. A lot of blogs too for that matter! Cake decorators in particular often have very cliche names - a typical "Jim's Cupcakes" or "Sweet Art", "Sweet Creations","Sweet Confessions", "Sweet Desires", Sweet anything really!

Sugar anything is also proving to be a common one. Sugar & Spice, Sugar Couture, Sugar Avenue, Sugar & Slice, even simply Sugar Sugar!

These are all great names for a cake business, and yet when I say my business is called "Sugar Push" I often get a raised eyebrow or a blank stare. The reason? They usually don't understand what I say!

The front of my business cards, designed by The Parchment Place

I was attending a cake class and was chatting to a fellow classmate about our businesses. She attempted to find me on Facebook after class and couldn't because she thought I'd said my business name was 'Sugar Bush'... SUGAR BUSH?! I think I need to work on my pronunciation! Yikes!

However, once we're both on the same understanding that my name doesn't relate to the Australian outback, a shrub, or something far worse... people often still have that puzzled look on their face! So, it's time for me to explain what the heck a sugar push is!

Prior to sharing my cake creations, I knew I wanted to work under an alias that I could turn into a business later on down the track. I didn't want to pick a typical name like 'Taryn's Cakes' because it's just not really me. No matter what I do with cakes, my business, my blog - I want them to express who I am! Is that a bit conceited? Probably!

I spent a good few months brainstorming ideas and nothing really grabbed me. I was just starting out with my cakes, but at the same time I was going to swing dancing classes twice a week. Cakes and swing dancing consumed my life both at the same time and both with an incredible intensity! It was at the end of a late night of brainstorming names that I got frustrated, gave up, and headed over to YouTube to watch swing dancing videos. Swing dancing tutorials. Lindy hop moves. The 'Sugar Push'.

A 'Sugar Push' is a very basic swing dancing move.

Thats me! And this headless guy! Thank you to a student from the University of Adelaide for this photograph.

So simple, and yet it was the name that grabbed me! There was no doubt in my mind that it was what I'd be sticking with from that point onwards.

Both cake decorating and swing dancing took hold of my life and turned it right upside down. They took me way out of my comfort zone and led me to experiences, people and achievements that would not have been possible otherwise. For me, they went hand in hand. One couldn't have existed without the other.

So that's what's in a name! Go forth and spread the word so I don't have to deal with confused faces and the 'Sugar Bush?' 'No - Sugar Pppppush!' conversations!

Do you have a business or blog? What is your name and why did you choose it?

14 November 2013

On top of the world.

This weeks blog post is a little late. This weeks blog post was meant to be about my love/hate relationship with red velvet. This weeks planned blog post has been postponed due to exciting events of this week.

Here's a brief recap of my week...

I finally received all the documents I needed to submit my application to Bonnie Gordon College of Confectionary Art to attend their Confectionary Arts Diploma Programme and so I eagerly sent off all my bits and bobs including an enrollment contract, application essay, resume, portfolio, references, and more!

Part 1 of my Portfolio submitted to Bonnie Gordon College of Confectionary Art


Tuesday I was more than surprised to hear back from the college so soon! The wonderful Registration Officer at Bonnie Gordon College, Mary Ann, confirmed they had received my application in full and would like to schedule a phone interview with me. SUCCESS! 


Wednesday my interview time was confirmed to be Thursday morning at 7.30am. This was actually Wednesday afternoon at 4pm in Toronto. This is when the butterflies took hold of my stomach and my brain became scrambled with overwhelming thoughts of cake and interview questions.

Part 2 of my Portfolio submitted to Bonnie Gordon College of Confectionary Art

My interview was this morning. By 7.30am I was sitting anxiously on my bed staring at my phone like it may grow teeth and launch itself at my throat! By 7.35am I was willing the phone to ring. At 7.40am when it did ring, my hands were shaking so much I almost dropped it!

My nerves were wasted though, as Mary Ann was so lovely and told me everything I needed to know about the programme, which made me even more excited about the prospect. She also asked a lot of questions and the interview went for approximately 25 minutes. Our conversation ended on a fantastic note.

I was accepted.

I was accepted.


This is the part where I flail a bit and then go skipping through fields of flowers, and running into the ocean, and dancing around fountains.

A huge thank you to the wonderful people who wrote references for me, to everyone who has ordered a cake from me (which is helping to fund this adventure), and to everyone else who has simply stood by me since my journey in cakes began, or encouraged me to strive for more.

Woohoo! Time to celebrate!

4 November 2013

"Cake Decorating? How did that happen?"

Recently I've been running into a lot of people from my past. Isn't it strange when that happens? Of course, it's inevitable when you live in a tiny city like Adelaide where everyone knows everyone!

Sometimes you just get the casual wave as you pass each other in the street, and others you stop and share the expected small talk. How have you been? What have you been up to lately? Wow - it's been such a long time!

The most common question for me - "Cake decorating? How did that happen???"

It's not a surprising response. After high school I studied Hospitality and Event Management and post study I worked in business administration - so how did I end up baking cakes every weekend?

Could you believe that it began back in high school? In my final year of school (2007), one of my major projects in 'Food & Hospitality' was an event cake! This was my first introduction to cake decorating and I learnt the very basics of decorating with chocolate.

First ever decorated cake - fantastic photography by my teacher - It did say 'Birthday', I swear!
(Seventeen years young and full of concentration!)

I loved it! My results weren't great (embarrassing to look back at now!) but the sense of accomplishment I felt when my cake was finished was something I'd never experienced before.

Cutting a long story short, I didn't touch another cake for four years until curiosity got the better of me and I signed up for a short cake decorating course at a local TAFE. A couple of hours each week I went to classes and well... I gave up! Cake decorating was not for me. No way. I didn't like it. I wasn't learning anything exciting. That was the end of that.

Until a year later when my job in administration became all too much. The corporate world was a political, bitchy minefield. After getting fed up with all the drama I impulsively booked flights to Sydney and a two week course at Planet Cake.

First day of the Foundations week at Planet Cake! (May 2012)

A full on two weeks full of illness (vomiting in the Planet Cake bathrooms on my second day is a good claim to fame, right? Real smooth Taryn...), stress, crazy emotions, and having to leave the course a day early to fly home for an emergency - it was hectic!

However, within 2 weeks I went from barely knowing how to cover a cake in fondant to knowing how to ganache, get sharp edges, stack two tiers, three tiers, and even a triple barrel cake! While these skills needed a lot more practice to get right, having stepped way out of my comfort zone and being drowned in this new knowledge was the best thing I could have done to kick start my new career.

The alias 'Sugar Push' was created shortly after and the cakes haven't stopped since!

Have you ever had a dramatic career change? Or have you found a passion that gives you this same sense of achievement? Leave a comment to share!

1 November 2013

Montage: October 2013

I'm not going to lie, I am friends with some pretty damn amazing, talented and creative people.

This is not an outrageous claim that my friends are the "BEST FRIENDS EVER" or anything like that. It just so happens that whether it be in cake decorating, photography, paper crafts, hair & makeup, fashion, etc... I know some incredible people!

One of these talented ladies, Natalia Chippillo Photographer, recently started filming snippets of her life and combining them into a sort of monthly montage of memories to look back on. They are amazing!

Feeling inspired, this guy and I decided to test it out during a day in Sydney and found that it could very easily be done all on our trusty iPhones. Now I am challenging myself to film as much as I can for these monthly recaps, which is no easy task.

Anyway, enough chatter. Here's my October...

All filmed, edited and published on the iPhone with the help of iMovie. I hope you enjoyed this quick look into my world! I highly recommend this for anyone who... well, just anyone in general! It's a lot of fun!

Looking back I'd say my main themes for this month were sunny weather and lots of buttercream!

If you did a recap of your past month, what would the main themes be? Leave a comment and let me know!

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