Charleston Gazette-Mail

January 26, 2016

Dawn Nolan , Staff Writer

Photos courtesy of Teri Blevins

Teri Blevins, owner of Lil’ Bit of Heaven Cupcakes, is bringing mini versions of her signature strawberry champagne cupcakes to Greensboro, GA, on Friday for ‘A Party with Paula’ fundraiser featuring Paula Deen.

Blevins is also taking mini Almond Joy cupcakes to Greensboro for Deen’s fundraiser; she chose Almond Joy as one of the flavors because she said it is one of Deen’s favorite candies.

Teri Blevins (right), owner of Lil’ Bit of Heaven Cupcakes in St. Albans, treasures this photo of her and her mentor, Paula Deen, that was taken during the Christmas Cooking School at Deen’s home in Savannah, GA, in 2013. Blevins is traveling to Georgia this Friday to provide cupcakes for ‘A Party with Paula’ fundraiser.

Next week, Teri Blevins is fulfilling a dream that, a few years ago, she couldn’t have even imagined.

The Lil’ Bit of Heaven Cupcakes owner and St. Albans resident will travel to Greensboro, Georgia, on Friday with 300 of her cupcakes for her idol, food personality Paula Deen. She’s making three distinct flavors: mini strawberry champagne, Almond Joy (reportedly Deen’s favorite candy) and Oreo cheesecake cupcakes.

The sweets will be served as part of a “Party with Paula” charity event for Deen’s The Bag Lady Foundation, named after her first business venture, and The Circle of Love, a nonprofit organization that aids victims of domestic violence.

Blevins, who admitted that she’s still partially in shock, summed up her feelings about the opportunity in seven words: “honored, blessed, thankful, validated and blown away.”

A longtime Paula Deen fan, Blevins finally met Deen few years ago. The initial meeting took place when Blevins attended a Christmas Cooking School at Deen’s home in Savannah in 2013, about three years after starting Lil’ Bit of Heaven.

“The opportunity to meet my idol was one I couldn’t miss,” Blevins said.

The experience turned out to be even better than Blevins had hoped. Blevins said she initially related to the Food Network Star for a number of reasons: They were both divorced at the time, trying to raise sons and had lost their parents at a young age.

“My mom died when I was 14, and we spent alot of my childhood in the kitchen,” Blevins said. “Watching Paula’s show felt like spending time with my mom again.”

“She was everything I had ever believed,” Blevins said. “She was kind, she was gracious, she was an absolute hoot.”

Since the Christmas Cooking School, Blevins has met Deen on other occasions and kept in touch with acquaintainces she’s met along the way, leading to her invitation to be a part of Friday’s fundraiser.

“My jaw is probably still on the floor,” Blevins said.

Blevins also will open her new Lil’ Bit of Heaven Cupcakes storefront at 95 Olde Main Street in St. Albans next month, and last week she won the people’s choice award at the Sweet Charity dessert competition for the second time in a row.

“I am so excited that our hard work and determination to make Lil’ Bit of Heaven Cupcakes a success has brought us to this moment in life. We have been so blessed by family and friends that support us and our business, that have never given up on us, and continue to love our yummies,” Blevins said.

“I want to say don’t ever give up on your dreams. It’s never too late. One day you might be working several jobs in the same restaurant, just trying to see the light at the end of the tunnel, and in the blink of an eye, you’re asked to bring cupcakes to Paula Deen.”

Reach Dawn Nolan at dawn.nolan@wvgazettemail.com, 304-348-1230 or follow @DawnNolanWV on Twitter.

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