Thursday, July 2, 2009

The Pittsburgh Cookover


Hey everyone! I'm back from Pittsburgh, actually I've been back since Sunday and I've really been avoiding this blog post. Why you ask? Well I just have sooo much to say that I don't even know where to begin. This trip was such a wonderful experience I can't even explain it but I'm going to try. This may take a few posts so hope you enjoy hearing about it!


As I explained in my last post I belong to Bakespace, a social networking site for people who like to cook and/or bake. I have been part of this community for about a year and a half now and during that time I have met some great people who I am so proud to call friends. We gather in a "room" in the forums which we have named "Happy Hour" and talk to each other every day. We talk about food, cooking and baking, dinner, restaurants and even talk about other things such as life and family. The people that belong to this group have become a part of my extended family and I talk to them every single day.

So on to the meetup. When Karen from Pittsburgh mentioned that she would like to host a weekend meetup I just knew that I had to be a part of it. I got in touch with my friend Carolyn and fellow bakespacer and asked her if she wanted to do the drive together, she immediately agreed. We decided that we were going to rent a car for the 6 1/2 hour drive and document it on film. We were psyched! PhotobucketEarly Friday afternoon we got into our rented Dodge Charger and were off to start our road trip adventure. We had so much fun talking, video taping, chatting with strangers while in traffic and anticipating what the weekend and our friends would be like in person. Photobucket
PhotobucketWhen we arrived at Karen's house Jen and Spryte (from Spryte's Place) were waiting for us outside. I'm a horrible parallel parker and having an audience was pretty funny. When we got into Karen's gorgeous house I was totally overwhelmed with excitement. I didn't know what to do first, who to say hello to, what to look at, etc. It was a great feeling though! There were 10 bakespacers and some of them even brought their husbands. DD of DDPie's Slice was there and she made a fabulous cake that was decorated with all of our avatars on it! Look at me in the purple shirt!Photobucket It was spectacular and you can read all about it on her blog right here.


Isn't that amazing? I'm telling you there are so many talented people on bakespace!

Since we got there late on Friday night Karen the hostess with the mostess was filling our glasses with wine, pouring us limoncello, cutting me pieces of cake and pointing out things that I had to try. She wasn't kidding! Those dishes were incredible and I'll talk about them in another post. It was just so cool that she (with Spryte's help) made dishes from bakespace members that couldn't be there with us. What a great way to represent the absentees! Well we stayed there talking, laughing and eating until about 2 am! We all just instantly clicked the way we knew we would. There was no awkwardness or silences at all. I felt like I was at a family reunion and was getting reaquainted with family that I haven't seen in years! I hope I'm getting across how awesome this really was! Now let me tell you this, we are a diverse group, all ages, backgrounds and walks of life. We have those that are single, married with little kids, married with big kids, etc. It was just so nice that despite all of that we all connected anyway. This is what friendship is all about!

So day two Carolyn and I did a little shopping at the Tanger Outlets and then headed over to Karen's house. Oops! I forgot to mention that our hotel was nasty and I was totally obsessing about it and Karen and her husband Dan were so sweet to let us stay there the second night. It reminded me of my own parents and what they would do in that situation. You see, it's like family! It was so kind of them to let us stay over so we could get some sleep before the drive back. I could not sleep at all in that stinky smoky hotel room and my body was running on empty. So, we headed over to Karen's after the outlets and helped her finish up the cooking. It was so much fun cooking in her fabulous kitchen and so much fun cooking with the bakespacers when they all arrived and dove in to help. After eating and drinking and talking (okay well, we never actually stopped doing any of those things) we had a web cam and chat room set up by Babette, the founder and owner of bakespace. Photobucket Our beeps, aka bakespace peeps (word coined by Shane of Culinary Alchemy)who couldn't be with us were able to participate and chat with us. I thought that was sooo cool! I bet they all had fun watching and laughing at our silliness. They even got to watch our basket exchange...I'll have to talk about that in another post. Oh wow! I also forgot to mention that Karen who is also an awesome seamstress made us each a cupcake apron and gave us all a cookbook! Is she not a fabulous hostess or what?!?! She hosts a get together like this and she's giving US gifts!!! It was just too nice of her but very much appreciated!

The weekend was the best I've had in a long time and I can't wait until next year so we can do it again. If you haven't joined bakespace or signed up for the forums you should do so and join in the fun. Maybe we'll meet at the next cookover!

Here are some more pics if you want to see!

Me and Karen our lovely hostess!

Me chopping

Me and DD



Spryte cooking!




Me and My Roommate Carolyn (aka Cara)

Kathy, Jen, Carolyn, AnnMarie and Me

Sheryle, DD and Martha


A toast to friends, to bakespace and to cookovers! Salute!


Bob said...

Glad you had a good time! I've been neglecting Bakespace wicked bad lately, I just haven't had time for lots of chatting. I need to get back into it.

DDpie said...

Hiya Chicky! I had a blast too! It was so great meeting everyone in person. You did an excellent job explaining it all...I'm having a hard time figuring out where to begin! Anywho, you're a cool chick, and I'm honored to call you my friend...a "real" friend (not just "online" friend LOL)I loved my Jersey Girls!!! Woooohooooo! Can't wait until next year!!!!

girlichef said...

How fun!! That looks like such a fun great that you were able to spend this time together and meet in person :) Thanks for sharing with us!

Carolyn said...

I can't express how much fun I had with you Michele!!!! I am so glad we got to spend some quality time together and wouldn't have done this trip without you!!!!!

Mary at My New 30 said...

What a fun weekend Michele! And a rented Charger too. You go girl!!

Michele said...

Bob - You need to get back to the forums!

DD- Your post inspired me to write about it because I was totally avoiding it! I still need to do a post on the food and a post on my basket and on the homemade goodies that I got from your basket!

girlichef- I'm glad you liked the post. I was worried that it would be too long or boring.

Carolyn - Ditto! We have to do it again!!!!

Michele said...

Don't forget to check out DD's blog for details about the cake!

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

This looks like such fun! I had a weekend similar to this a few years ago and it was so great to finally meet people in person.

BTW, Michele, I left you a little something on my blog on Monday.

Danielle said...

that is sooo cool! I totally had a blast talking to you all and watching it over the webcam! Since I couldn't be there in person, it was the next best thing :)

Dajana said...

I'm so happy for all of you, for being able to meet and spend time together, and envy you at the same time, living so far.
I hope one day some of you will be travelling to Italy so I can meet you, or once my kids are bigger to be able to come to the States.
Looking forward to your other posts.

Anonymous said...

Looks like you had a great time!

Bridgett said...

Oh my goodness, it looks like you all had a BLAST! You are such a lovely lady too! Thanks for sharing all your pics and the fun.

Barbara said...

What a fun culinary adventure, Michele. That's so neat you were able to do that and share your experiences. Great cake!

Stacey Snacks said...

How fabulous that you went to Pittsburgh and met all those great ladies.
and that cake is amazing!
I hope to go out west and meet some fellow bloggers in the fall.
I have met so many nice people via blogging and cooking.
Great photos!