Intuition: The Ultimate Time-Saver


I can be a terrible decision maker, taking forever and ever and then changing my mind at the very last minute. This tends to happen when I’m choosing ice cream flavors or nail polish colors, but most recently it happened with Baby Ivan’s first birthday cake.

We decided to have a small family party out at my parents’ house, which is an hour or so away. My first gut feeling was to order a Sweet Lady Jane cake for Ivan, because they’re the best cakes in the world, and I wanted Ivan’s first birthday cake to be special. But then my stepmom recommended a place near my parents’ house called Dolce, where they got my brother’s 30th birthday cake. I checked out the website and it looked really good, but I wasn’t 100% convinced. Then I started looking at their custom cake designs, and that’s when I got into trouble. If there is one thing I am excellent at, it’s procrastinating. I was supposed to be home writing that day, and my plan was to finish the cake thing (meaning pick the cake and/or cake design and order it for Ivan’s birthday) in 30 minutes. Then, I’d write.

I am embarrassed to say that about 3 hours passed by in the blink of an eye. I looked at all manner of first birthday cakes, all over the internet, from those shaped like the number 1 to those that were 3-tiered with garishly-colored dreamscapes of Winnie-the-Pooh, Finding Nemo, circus animals and frumpy looking frosting puppies. Just do a search under Google Images for baby boy 1st birthday cakes, and you can see how, if you’re a somewhat neurotic mom like me, the hours can fly by. I felt like I had to do the Dolce thing because it was close to my parents’ house. But then I thought maybe I should just get a Baskin Robbins cake, because Ivan’s dad loves them. However, I didn’t know what those cakes would look like and I’d have to order it at the one by my parents’ and god knows how they’d write “Happy 1st Birthday Ivan” and would it look lame and cheesy? I looked into Magnolia Bakery, Rosebud Cakes, and a couple of other places near me, but nothing seemed right. My analytical mind jumped all over this whole cake thing, looking at it from every different angle, while my intuition took the back seat, waiting patiently for me to tune in.

Finally, I found this cake I really liked. I mean it’s simple, delicate, and oh so sweet…change the frosting to baby blue and it would be perfect for Ivan’s first birthday. I ordered a gorgeous little giraffe toy from Amazon with overnight shipping to use as the cake topper, and then sent an email to Dolce with instructions (basically, duplicate this cake in baby blue). They said they’d call me later that day, but they never called.

The next day I was too busy to even go online, and the following day I realized that I didn’t even want to deal with the whole Dolce thing, since they still hadn’t called or emailed me back, and I wasn’t sure about them anyway. Still not trusting that my initial instinct to go with Sweet Lady Jane was the best idea, I went to a couple of high-end grocery stores to see what they had in the way of cake. Nothing seemed right, and Ivan’s Grandma Karen (who had flown in especially for the celebration) and I discussed making a cake, but since I have the cake frosting/decorating skills of a child, it would look like Ivan made it himself.

Finally, after realizing that my first instinct was the best one, I just drove over to Sweet Lady Jane. Sure enough, they had the perfect cake right there in the case. They could duplicate it for Ivan’s birthday. The giraffe topper I’d purchased would look amazing on it, and it was a triple berry cream cake with beautiful berries on top, which are Ivan’s favorite these days.

To top it all off, Sweet Lady Jane herself was there, and she came out from the back to greet me. I was in awe, and so delighted to get to talk to her and personally tell her how much I love her cakes. She’s the Cake Goddess!, and the fact that I got to meet her and talk to her was a very, very auspicious sign, in my estimation.

My whole point with all of this is that if I’d just trusted my intuition and gotten a cake from Sweet Lady Jane in the first place, I’d have saved tons of time and energy. Instead, I employed my analytical mind, which led me to feel like I HAD to spend hours of time and create a mini-crisis of sorts, when in reality, that was totally unnecessary. Ivan didn’t even care about the cake in the end. He stuck his hand in it and cried, then got down on the floor and chased the dog, which was decidedly more fun!