Hostess With The Mostest

The story begins in 1919, when the world was introduced to what is now known as the Hostess® Cup Cake, at the bargain price of two for 5 cents. It was the beginning of a revolution, right up there with the Toll House and Oreo cookie. No longer did anyone have to ferret out a bakery or crank up the oven for a snack attack. Six years later, the Continental Baking Company, who had struck gold with their packaged white Wonder® bread, named their new creations Hostess and they were a hit. In 1930 an employee named Jimmy Dewar came up with a sponge cake named Twinkies®. and they surpassed cupcakes by a mile. Twinkies are an American icon, with half a billion sold each year.But it wasn’t until 1947 when a machine was invented that injected creme filling into the cupcakes and Twinkies, captivating its customers by providing not only an individually wrapped confection, but one crammed with creamy filing. What an idea. As other products were added to their repertoire, including fried fruit pies, Ding Dongs and Ho Hos, the snack cake category was secured with no end in sight. Currently a staggering 11,000 cakes are produced every hour, so joke all you want, but Hostess is smiling from ear to ear.


Although the ownership has turned over several times in its history, and faced bankruptcy, those snack cakes keep coming and their popularity continues to this day, proving Americans with that artificial creme filling and the convenience of grabbing a snack cake. Deep-fried Twinkies are a popular item at many regional and state fairs each summer, as Americans line up for this high-fat treat, alongside booths selling deep-fried funnel cakes. Featured in numerous films and cookbooks, the Twinkie continues to reign despite comedian’s jokes and celebrity chefs’ sneers. (One has to wonder if there are secret fans who indulge privately.)Even though preservatives are used for prolonged shelf life, the company insists that Twinkies are scrapped from your local grocer after 10 days, making way for more “fresh” ones. Here is the current Hostess snack cakes hit parade:1) Ho Ho’s – top seller, basically a rolled version of Ding Dongs2) Twinkies – the butt of endless jokes, it still ranks high on the list3) Sno Balls – marshmallow coated chocolate cake rolled in flaked coconut4) Ding Dongs – shaped like hockey pucks and covered in chocolate5) Suzy Qs – unfrosted cake with creme filling6) Cherry Pies – fried and easy to eat by hand7) Vanilla Zingers – creme-filled oblong cakes, vanilla reigns8) Chocolate or Orange Cupcakes – the classic, complete with white squiggle on top9) Crunch Donettes – people of all ages begin their day with these mini-treats (easily eaten while driving)


10) Mini Muffins – not exactly bakery quality but still popularCurrently, top competitor Little Debbie brand, started by the McKee family during the 1930s and still a privately held corporation, occupies the lion’s share of space on the snack cake aisle, which once was dominated by Hostess. Their Oatmeal Creme Pie remains the flagship product, followed by Swiss Cake Rolls and Nutty Bars® Wafers. Dozens of additions have been added since 1960, when the company took off nationwide, racking up a staggering 157 billion snack cakes sold, which totals 1.4 billion dollars in annual sales, followed by Hostess at 670 million dollars.Perhaps actress Ann Blyth just did it for the money, or maybe she really did feed her own children snack cakes, but either way, those sweet packaged goodies are cranked out so fast they probably are pretty fresh. Any way you slice it, when it comes to our sweet tooth, we’re all still kids at heart.

Baby Steps To Begin Again

How do you make a new start? A new life for yourself? How do you pick yourself up again? How do you get yourself back after something’s happened? Or after something hasn’t happened for a while and you’re bored beyond belief with him/your job/your life/that way of being that hurts you?

Beginnings and endings. They have the power to make you twice the woman you are or leave you in a big bundled mess on the floor.

To weep or to whoop whoop? That is the question. That’s why it’s so important for you to be a big beautiful support to yourself, because you hold the power right now to completely and utterly inspire yourself with this new way of being.

Or not. You could fight it wishing it would all go back to the way it was. But it can’t. Dammit. New beginnings are here.

Have you ever wanted to feel absolutely amazing and powerful and strong when a new life is handed to you by the universe? But stress and doubt come creeping in? You’re worried about what will happen to you… Worried about how it will all be? You’ve likely come to the end of a life cycle. So to see you through so you feel good with glitter on top I’ve written this little guide for you:

7 Baby Steps to Begin Again so you move forward into your new life with ease, grace and fabulousness!

And what’s the first baby step?

1. Um… it’s exhaustion. First stage of newness. Might be speckled with euphoria in places. A new hair cut. A new juice you’ve just discovered for your mornings. And then, exhaustion. Feeling irritated. Unexplained bad mood. Your needs at this point are basic. Good food. Good sleep. Safety. Good people. Don’t try to reach for the stars right now. You’ll not be feeling it. If you skip this bit and lunge for No.2 and go all self-helpy you’ll slip back here to No.1, but then it will be No.1 + beating self up. So don’t bother. Give it a miss. Watch telly. Sleep. Cry. Just be.

2. Thinking time. Second stage of newness. You’re ready. Not for your new life yet. But you’re ready to think about it. Write it out. Say it to someone you trust. Dare to reach for the stars in your thoughts and on paper. You’ll feel better.

3. Energy time. Third stage of newness. Time to build your energy doing what you love. Start with your body. You won’t feel like it but do it anyway. Move it. In the only way that makes you happy. Dance to 3 tracks every morning before work. Sing your heart out in the shower. Hit the gym, yoga class, the whatever you fancy class. If you don’t energise your body you won’t have energy to create this new life you want. Skip this and you’ll falter start most days. Which will pull you back to No.1. No thank you.

4. Spirit time. Fourth stage of newness. Your spirit and soul are beginning to wake up. Listen to them. They’ll begin to send you the newness beginnings like little bird songs. Feed them what they need to lift you. What new delicious ritual would you look forward to every day? A meditation app to listen to on the way to work? Chakra dancing? Painting with your fingers? Tending to your flowers, drawing fragrant warm baths for yourself, you know what I’m saying here? This is where you tend to the gentler more sensitive part of your nature. Feed yourself your highest possibility here. Again, do it with a girlfriend if you keep messing this bit up. She’ll support you and you’ll not want to let her down. (Soul kismet.)

5. Why? Why do you want this? This is your fifth stage of newness. And it’s so, so needed. Write it on a piece of paper. There. That’s why. You need your why. It will pull you out of bed on a morning you’d really rather not. It will make you make that phone call to get help. It will make you take action when you’d rather slip into the old way of being. Your “why” is the reason why you’re doing this. Your “why” makes YOU more important than your excuses. Write it out and carry it with you. It’s your best friend for your new life. Look at it regularly. There, that’s why.

6. Pleasure time. Sixth stage of newness. Give yourself fun in abundance. You need fun and happiness and sparkles and gorgeous luscious pleasure dotted daintily throughout your day. A woman like you HAS to have something to look forward to, always. What turns you on?

7. Action time! Seventh stage of newness. Now you’ve got the energy to tackle that. Whatever that is. You’re ready to stop doing that thing, or to start doing that thing. You’re ready to begin your new life! This is outward action – calling up for a new job, putting your profile up on a dating website, asking for what you want, joining a course, calling someone to help you, making that move. Finally. Yes. You’re ready to put this new beginning into action! It will feel good. Frantic sometimes. Pace yourself. Do not give up energy time and spirit time.

There you have it. 7 baby steps to the new you, new life, new way of being. Here’s to new beginnings! YES! Let this time be a breath of fresh air for you – trust it – new beginnings suit you!

I’d love to hear in the comments below why you’re doing this for yourself – why you’re beginning your new life… do you deserve it? SHOUT IT TO ME!

The Benefits of Beginning in Creativity

Sometimes our dreams seem like a wound that we work to heal, but it remains open, festering, bothering us just enough that we keep picking at it. There are many people who believe they have a book inside them. 83% of Americans, in fact. Some of them dive into their project and string word after word together until it forms a kind of story. It might be complete, it might be harder than they thought it was going to be, so some finish later and others never get around to typing “The End” on the last page. Beginning anything can be hard, and something that requires pieces of us can keep us locked in fear and therefore not having the courage or trust to just start. How does one begin writing? There are more ways than there are books in a library. One just begins. An idea, a conversation, a picture, an event, a realization or epiphany, a dream or a job can all spark a person to just begin. Most people can begin anything, but it takes a lot to complete that same project.

Every artist creates differently. However, what many of them would agree on is that the creating needs to come first, then the editing. But what can happen, especially with someone just starting out, is that they begin to write, think about how their readers may interpret what they’ve written, then change their words, the direction of the story, make the characters less evil, less broken, less flawed. And that changes everything. Only with practice do we get to understand how the creative process works for us. What we need to begin, how to keep going when things begin to slow in the middle, and how and when to end our session comes with familiarity. We figure out what works for us, and we apply that time and again. And if we get stuck or blocked (for a number of reasons) then we change that familiarity.

Practicing for a sports team begets familiarity with the plays, the bat, the ball, the field, the equipment, teammates, and opponents. We begin to focus on the game, the fundamentals of the plays, the rules, the possible scenarios. Then we notice how we think, how we move in our body. With familiarity, comes understanding, and then trust. It’s helpful to create anything if we can understand the workings of it. And once we understand, we come to trust that it will operate in a particular way.

After the novice, or the tenured, begins once, we return to the starting point. For some, all they want to write is just one book, one poem, one song. That’s fine. For the rest of us, we begin again because we become addicted. Whether it’s the feeling when we’re entrenched in our project, the elation and exhaustion of completion, or the opening of the floodgates of ideas from our Muse, we begin again and again and again. Sometimes we discover something vital about ourselves. Other times the dream of being a professional artist, of challenging ourselves to overcome the critic or the fear that holds us back becomes the driving force to return to the beginning. The more times we begin again, the more practice we get, the more familiarity blossoms, laying the groundwork for understanding and trust.

New Beginnings

Over the past several weeks there has been so much news of endings. End of tournaments, end of life, end of businesses, and end of relationships. All of these endings could cast a pall of depression over us. We wonder why things have to end.

This column is going to focus on beginnings. It is like Spring which sends a natural message of new growth, after a season that has hardened seeds to be ready for their explosion into life. Spring has a sense of renewal and freshness.

Marsha Petrie Sue said, “Every day is a new beginning. Treat it that way. Stay away from what might have been, and look at what can be.”

In my own life experience, I have felt that there were those times I was facing an ending. It was so overwhelming I was not sure that tomorrow would ever feel the warmth and joy again. Miraculously, I discovered a newness of living that was not on my radar screen. I experienced living life as it opened up to new vistas.

Beginnings require that we let go of yesterday to live today. If we hang onto yesterday wishing we had lived it differently, we reach the sunset of today only to realize that we have compounded our regret for not having lived another day. We sit in despair not beginning because we could not let go of the ending of yesterday.

It is true that yesterday may have been a life altering event. There is a time to grieve for a loss, a missed opportunity, an error in judgment, or just making the mistake of not trying or engaging. Whatever it is, we cannot live the day over again. Nor can we make someone else do what we wished or change what happened.

Maria Shriver said life-altering experiences make us then live the altered life direction we are pointed toward and make it into something worthwhile. I’ve thought a lot about that fact of living. How different our lives have become because of what looked like the end, and it became the beginning of a whole new life experience.

Beginnings are not a once in a lifetime event. They begin every day. When there is an ending, is it not really just the beginning of something new? I came across this quote, attributed to Semisonic, “Every new beginning comes from some other beginnings end.”

The end of childhood begins adulthood. High school graduation begins a future holding a variety of options and challenges into a world of discovery what it means to be adult. The end of a career begins the discovery of retirement and new challenges yet to unfold.

Relationships end and new ones begin. Marriages may end in divorce or death. It is the beginning of a life not planned for when there were two and now there is one. Children leave home, the nest is empty, and time is open for something else to fill it. Explore a new career, an opportunity to serve the community, or rediscover the person who is full of gifts that could not emerge until this time of their life.

Jobs are lost to downsizing or relocation and now the door opening requires a new look at skills unused but valuable. Could it mean more schooling, creating a small business or something outside of the box only dreamt about?

Beginnings are often fearful, for we do not know what the ending looks like or how it will change or alter our lives. However, without them we have lost living to the fullest potential given to us.

Edith Lovejoy Pierce said, “We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year’s Day.”

It is Spring! It is New Year’s Day! Today is the beginning of another day of life. It is up to you to leave yesterdays pain and hurts behind which hinder your own ability to plant seeds of new growth and discovery.

Life is short, spring into action and live today’s beginning. Who knows what the next ending will mean for your next new beginning.

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©MCStrom 11/AP/05