OMG, folks! It's almost that time again - the time for the cookie phenom of the year, CookieCon 2018, taking place in Indianapolis, Indiana, USA on September 12-15, 2018!
Unfortunately, I'm once again going to miss this convocation of crazy cookiers due to prior teaching commitments. (BTW, I mean "crazy" in the best of ways - like "crazy-passionate" or "crazy-talented" . . .) But, I'm not one to sit on the sidelines and cry about it. So I've orchestrated a way for me and all of you who can't make it to live vicariously! And that "way" is our awesome Press Team!
This group of generous volunteers will be reporting daily from the convention, across multiple platforms and through various media, all in an effort to keep those back at home looped in! What's more, our Press Team has doubled in number this year - which means double the content for everyone to enjoy, including some new-to-CookieCon perspectives.
Before I introduce these wonderful women and what they'll be reporting, I wanted to take a moment to thank them for taking time out of their valuable CookieCon experience to share with us. As a small token of my appreciation, I've sent each team member a "press kit" (pun intended), which should be arriving on their doorsteps any day now.
This kit includes some very practical things to help CookieCon-goers identify team members at the show, like this Cookie Connection t-shirt with "PRESS" emblazoned on the back and this personalized blinged-out "press pass" . . .
Now, without further ado, onto our first two correspondents, who you should fondly remember from last year . . .
Bev Parker, aka @Bev Made Cookies, is a cookier from Edmonton, Alberta Canada; a generational baker* and mom; and an educational assistant for special needs children. She is self-taught and enjoys the creative side of her baking as well as the joy it brings to those who experience it. Bev's cookie style has developed over the years through her involvement with various online communities and social media. For over ten years, she has raised funds for the Canadian Breast Cancer Society and, in more recent years, she has supported Ovarian Cancer Canada. Bev is a CookieCon veteran, a multi-year CookieCon correspondent for Cookie Connection, and an inaugural Cookie Connection member who's been with this site since 2013!
*And, if you were wondering about the term "generational baker," so was I! Bev described it as follows: "It means I love making all the recipes that were handed down from my grandmother to my mother to me. I hope to add my recipes to that list and pass them down as well. "
Bev's coverage: As in past years, Bev will be our dedicated photojournalist and social media spitfire during CookieCon! Her camera will be aimed at the most memorable parts and people of CookieCon, and she'll be posting those images (with proper permissions from the subjects, of course!) in a Cookie Connection clip set called "CookieCon Coverage") specifically set up to receive them. She'll also be spreading the word by sharing these images on social media, using the hashtags #CookieConnection, #CookieCon, #CookieCon2018, and #CookieConIndy. You can follow Bev's CookieCon coverage online in the following places:
Now, for our second veteran correspondent . . .
Kate Sullivan, aka @Econlady, is a retired economist who started cookie decorating over a decade ago when her seven-year-old daughter wanted to take a cookie decorating class. While her daughter lost interest, Kate continued to explore cookie decorating, always looking for new ideas and techniques. Kate’s cookies have been featured on a trading card at CookieCon 2015 (pictured left) and also in Cookie Connection’s Practice Bake Perfect Challenge #14. In 2016, Kate took over as Newsletter Editor of the National Cookie Cutter Collectors Club, where her decorated cookies were showcased on the cover of each newsletter. More recently, she was named the club's Treasurer. Kate is a long-time veteran of CookieCon, having attended since the very beginning, and also a past Cookie Connection correspondent. In short, she knows the ropes! (P.S. Kate declined to share a headshot for this post for the second year in a row, so I'm once again hoping she'll sneak a picture of herself into one of her upcoming CookieCon posts! )
Kate's coverage: Like last year, Kate will be writing daily blog posts (which will post under our "Event News and Recaps" collection), documenting the exciting people, cookies, and other discoveries she finds along the way.
Next up, our two new team members, who also happen to be experiencing CookieCon for the first time . . .
Aniseh Ebbini is a newbie to the cookie world. She spent the past eight years working as a TV news journalist in cities across the country. [EDITOR'S NOTE: Which means she's vastly overqualified for the Cookie Connection Press Team job! .] She decorated a cookie for the first time in December 2017 and hasn’t looked back. Since then, she’s left her full-time TV job to stay home with her one-year-old son and to build her new cookie business, Henhouse Bakery. To learn more about Aniseh and Henhouse Bakery, please visit her on Facebook and here on Instagram.
Aniseh’s coverage: Aniseh plans to document CookieCon by shooting short videos, which will post to our Clips section (under the "CookieCon Coverage" and video clip sets) as standalone videos, and possibly also into our blog as an end-of-CookieCon video collection or roundup.
Denise Maracich, aka @DeniseM, has been practicing her cookie skills since March with a goal of “going public” after attending her first CookieCon, and just in time for the holidays. She first became obsessed with decorated sugar cookies after hiring a local young lady to recreate her personalization business logo on sugar cookies. The cookies' flavor was to-die-for and addicting, and that led to Denise's Instagram-stalking of this cookier and others. The open support and uplifting spirit of the cookie community gave Denise the courage to open Creative Cookiery, LLC. Denise is the mother of four wonderful and handsome young men. Entering the empty nest stage of life has left her with time to experiment with recipes and to practice the art of decorated sugar cookies. Her husband of 32 years has joyfully assumed the role of cookie tester. Denise was not a baker prior to this new adventure, so he is truly enjoying her new venture! To learn more about Denise and her new business, check out her site and stalk her back on Instagram!
Denise’s coverage: Denise will be writing a series of daily blog posts, also posted to the "Event News and Recaps" collection, that takes a look at CookieCon through the eyes of a newbie. While she's at it, hopefully she'll share tips for successfully navigating one's first CookieCon! Such advice is always good to pass onto the next gen of conference-goers!
Last but not least, remember: even if you're not officially part of the Press Team, you can become an impromptu correspondent at any time. I'm sure I speak for everyone who's staying behind that we're yearning to live (and learn) through you. Please don't hesitate to post recaps of your experiences into our "2018 Events" forum, or standalone photos of your cookies or memorable moments into our "CookieCon Coverage" clip set. Please also caption those photos with "CookieCon 2018", so that anyone scanning the photo feeds is sure to spot them right away. Of course, please be sure you've received permission from anyone you photograph to post those photos here.
If you're sharing images on social media, please use the hashtags #CookieConnection, #CookieCon, #CookieCon2018, and #CookieConIndy so everyone can easily locate our Cookie Connection-specific CookieCon content.
While our Press Team gears up for the journey to Indianapolis in a couple of weeks, my personal CookieCon coverage will continue with live chats and Cookier Close-up interviews with all of the CookieCon instructors. Next on the schedule is a live chat with none other than CookieCon Mistress of Ceremonies @Anne Yorks (aka Flour Box Bakery) on August 25 at 10 am central. Please stay tuned for this chat and all of the upcoming CookieCon coverage! How very exciting!