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January Update!!

It’s funny how much can change in a few weeks. We’re only two weeks into this new calendar year, and so much is going on, it’s nuts. There’s a lot going on personally, but even more so on the 9944 side. 

The biggest news? 
THE NEW STOVE HAS BEEN PURCHASED!

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This may be more exciting than getting the refrigerator because so many things are now even closer to being real. The stove my mom and I had been looking at was on an amazing sale, and we had discounts on top of that. I guess the time, and price, were right. I’m still shocked and slightly nervous about this whole thing not being real, but I know it is. I have the bills to remind me! 

There’s something else that’s been quietly in the works that is now coming to light, and with the new stove, can finally take shape. This little ol’ blog is going to pick up, move, rebrand and do a whole mess of cool things that I wasn’t ready to do before. I am seriously so beyond excited for this, I can’t gather the right words. The next couple of months are going to busy with writing, designing and photographing some amazing recipes that I already have up my sleeve. I’m aiming for a March launch so it’s now officially “Crunchtime” because I’m saying this out loud to the masses. 

Kayla and I are still working on the logo for 9944 Confectionery.. and finding the right font, layout and colors is turning out to be much more difficult than either of us anticipated. Luckily we have similar taste and are hoping to figure out the best solution soon. It’s still exciting, no matter the fustration level. I’m going to be contacting the proper city office this week so I can make sure that all my ducks are in a row for the bakery. The county stuff is easy, it’s the city stuff that’s a little confusing because there’s no information online. Well, fingers crossed it goes smoothly. 

This may have been a relatively short update, but there are HUGE things coming and I could not be more excited. There’s a lot of unknowns, things that I’m unsure about, but I know they are all going to work out because I have some amazing friends and family to support me. 

Til next time!

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Well, that was an interesting year.

So, I haven’t been posting because things have been a little crazy, and updating a blog wasn’t anywhere near the top of my priority list. Since my last update in October, I’ve had to put the bakery development on hold for a bit because managing my own life took precedent. Doing this was, and still is, hard. A lot of the difficulty comes from seeing the dream you’ve been working toward be tabled because you can’t afford to work on it, or you don’t have time to think about recipes, or or or. After buying the refrigerator, we had to work on our house a bit, clean some things out, try to replace a door threshold while it was raining on and off (it’s still not fixed, but I’m loving the rain) and deal with some family things.

In the midst of Thanksgiving and Christmas preparations, one of my uncles broke his hip and another had a pretty bad stroke. That’s been a weird thing for reasons I would rather not discuss because I don’t see the need to air all of my family’s dirty laundry. I’ve been struggling financially because I don’t make very much, and when you have credit card bills and student loans to pay, you thank your lucky stars that you live at home with a mom who is okay with you not paying rent until you’re back on your feet or find a different, higher paying job. My logo design has been put on hold because the designer has had a death in the family and still had to finish the semester at school… but, we did get the refrigerator delivered! It was delivered on December 22nd and it’s the most beautiful thing ever. Who knew you could be this excited about an appliance… who knows what’s going to happen once we purchase the stove!

...still the same.

…still the same.

Other than that, I almost completed a Bikram Yoga 30 day challenge (24 days before my body said NO MORE), I’ve written another post for my friend Caitlin over at …and Possibly Dinosaurs which you can read here. I’ve gone to a few Long Beach State Men’s Basketball games and Los Angeles Kings games, went out to dinner with my mom, one of my best friends and her boyfriend on Thanksgiving, I saw the non-profit that got me through college with a purpose close their doors because having a US office is no longer needed (this is a good thing, promise), and cooked 7 dozen (and counting) enchiladas for over a dozen people for Christmas dinner. I think that’s it?

I just read this article from The Kitchn about New Year’s Resolutions in the the kitchen and I think I’m going to work on those things as well.. except the cooking class and hosting dinners. I’ll save those for 2016. I plan on cooking a lot more, writing a lot more (I own Caitlin at least 3 or 4 posts about food), and I really look forward to getting control of my own space, helping my mom make our house ‘hers’ instead of my grandparents and getting 9944 off the ground. There’s still a lot of leg (and arm and whole body) work to do, but I know that it’ll pan out and 2015 will be the year that this little baker gets her dream off the ground. There’s a few other things I’ll be working on throughout the year, but those are far more personal. Maybe I’ll write about them sometime, who knows.

Have a safe and happy New Year’s celebration, we’re still going to need you in 2015.

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October update!

I promised updates, so here’s the first one! A lot has happened since I last posted and I figured that an update was due.

First off, for those of you who are new, or who just don’t know, 9944 is short for 9944 Confectionery, my soon to be baking business. There’s a long story as to why I chose that name, but I’m keeping that secret until the time is right.

update!

update!

I’ve been budgeting and figuring out all of the details that go into each step of the registration process, which is insanely difficult. This has been the most troubling part, mostly because it can be very defeating. I’ve battled against the self-doubt, and I have gotten the majority of it figured out. Thankfully, I’m in a great Facebook group that has been incredibly helpful and have clarified a lot of the questions I had so I’m relatively confident that the last thing I have to do is call the city’s Planning and Zoning Department to find out what information they will need to complete that part of the puzzle… now, to get the courage to do so.

In between all of these things, I have been researching and investigating different ovens and refrigerators because both will be needed in order to start this (not so little) endeavor. After going to a large retailer’s appliance showroom with my mom (it is her house after all) we determined what refrigerator we wanted to invest in, but were unsure about what oven and dishwasher we were interested in. A couple weeks later, the refrigerator we were interested in went on sale, and we took advantage of it. We’re hoping to have it delivered in about a week, but we might postpone it so we can make sure our kitchen is ready for it. I’m doing a 30 day Bikram yoga challenge, so that’s taking up a LOT of time and I haven’t been home as much as I would have liked. One more week and I’ll be done, so that’s good news. I can’t wait to have it delivered and to pick out the oven we’re going to get. There are going to be so many things made, it’ll be awesome.

I have my Tax ID number, which will help me open up my business bank account, which hopefully will happen in the next couple weeks! In case you were wondering, getting your Tax ID number is free, takes about a minute to get online and is incredibly painless. Also, Kayla the Great is still working on my logo, we’ve made headway on a couple things and are super close to finalizing the design and I’m SO excited! She’s an amazing friend and doing great things for me. I can’t wait to see the final product, and all of the branding that comes with it. Once that gets done, then comes the website, business cards, labels and stickers.

So there you have it! There’s a few more things in the works, guest blogging, a cooking bucket list, and some more food related posts, but those will come later. I’m very excited for what’s going to be happening over the next couple months, I have a HUGE secret that I’ve been keeping and can’t wait to announce it once I’m officially official!

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9944

I honestly don’t remember learning to cook, to bake or to feel comfortable in a kitchen. I remember spending time next to my mom, my grandma and my aunts following along while they were making dinner, standing around talking about my day at school while dinner was being made, the first batch of cookies I made and how I fell in love adventuring with food and recipes while in college. I vividly remember a conversation I had with my Mom and Grandma when I was younger, telling them that we should have a family restaurant because our family is full of good cooks… I put that idea on the back burner for a long time, until the kettle it was in whistled louder than any other idea I’d had.

I finally took the leap in July to start my business. I posted a picture of my filed Fictitious Business Name paperwork on my Instagram, but other than that, I didn’t make a big deal about it. I was afraid that I would want to back out and not go through with a dream I’d held onto for so long. When I decided to start this blog, it was going to mostly be about the trials and tribulations that occur when you’re starting a business, but somewhere along the line I got distracted and made the choice to start writing about more personal things. This wasn’t a bad thing at all, just not my original intention (don’t worry, I’m totally going to write random posts about things.. especially if Brittany Gibbons continues to come up with writing prompts!). Yesterday I skyped with my friend Caitlin and told her that somewhere along the line, I started evading the idea of posting progress made toward starting my bakery; mostly because it would mean that I have evidence of what I’ve done and I’m accountable for it. It’s quite a scary undertaking and I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to actually do it. We talked about it and I decided to throw caution to the wind and post about my progress.

IT'S HAPPENING

IT’S HAPPENING

In short, there it is. Each piece of that multi-colored pie is something that I still need to do to get this business off the ground. It doesn’t seem like a lot, but each step has a lot that goes into it. The diagram reminds me of a Trivial Pursuit game-piece, and I guess in a way that makes sense. It can be difficult to collect each little wedge to fill the pie, but those who do win, and I like winning. I’m nervous, and I’m scared, but I know I’ll be able to cross off a couple things in the next month or so, and I promise that when something gets crossed off, I’ll post about it.

On top of being nervous and scared, I’m also insanely excited. I have great friends who are more than willing to help me along the way. Kayla Ihrig is designing my logo, Caitlin is most likely going to help out with my website, people are signing up left and right to taste-test and I have support coming out of the woodwork. I think that’s part of the anxiety, I don’t want to risk letting these people down. I know, I know; if I don’t try, it’ll be a bigger let down than failing.

I’ve decided to start Autumn working towards the loudest whistling dream and taking a HUGE step forward in building the life I want because no one else besides me can do that. Here goes nothing.

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10 thousand years.. will give you such a crick in the neck.

One year, two months and three days ago. I know, it still hurts and it’s still hard to go home knowing that your grandma isn’t there. I’ll start by telling you this, it gets a little easier, but you’re still going to miss her a hell of a lot, even 11 years later. 
 
Today though, you need to understand what is about to happen. Right now, you’re heading to Knott’s Berry Farm for a fun day with a couple good friends. You’re going to ride a roller coaster with loops for the first time and your best friend is going to give you advice that help save your life later on. She’s going to look at you dead in the eye and say “When we go into the loop, close your eyes. You won’t freak out about being upside down, you’ll feel like you’re flying and it’ll be awesome.”
When you leave the park that night, you’ll be laughing and happy and you’ll have memories to last a lifetime. Brace yourself because the ride home is going to change your life. 
That Jeep Wrangler you saran wrapped a couple months earlier for your best friend’s birthday is about to look a lot different. You’re going to get into a horrific car accident. You’re going to get hit in the carpool lane, teeter for a while, spin a couple times and flip. You’re going to end up in the middle land of the 91, some strangers are going to cut you and the other two girls out of the car and make sure you’re okay. I promise you’ll walk away from it with only a few more stitches and some oil from the freeway in your wrist that the ER doctor couldn’t get out. 
I’ll show you pictures of the car after the fact, just so the nausea will subside:
This accident will change you. You’ll be fearful of cars and going too far from home. You’re going to pull away from everything you know and you’re going to quit the track team for a couple days. You’re going to develop insane anxiety that you don’t know if you’ll ever overcome and you’re going to hate, absolutely HATE being in the car for a very, very long time. Freeways will always be worse than they once were, and big intersections will terrify you in ways that are hard to comprehend. 
 
It’s okay to be scared, I promise. You’re going to make it and you’re going to do some really cool things in the next few years. 
 
You’re going to start college a week or so after the car accident. You’ll be walking with a crutch and your wrist will be all wrapped up, but you’ll manage to get around the campus just fine. You’ll join the track team and you’re going to have the hugest crush on one of your teammates… those feelings are going to linger for a long time, and you’re not going to act on it. You two are going to be good friends for a while though, and you’re going to transfer to your university at the same time too. You’re going to be amazing at shot put and discus, but guess what? Just like with basketball, you’re going to get hurt and you’re not going to be able to do all the things you want to do because your back is going to be shot. You’re going to transfer to the school that you’ve wanted to go to since junior year and love it. You’re going to become an RA and you’re going to make great friends. You’re going to call that same guy you had that crazy crush on when you find out that your old teammate passed away, and you’re going to go to the funeral together. 
 
You’re going to be insecure about a lot of things, and, as I write this, that one thing you hope will have changed by now will not have changed – I know, stupid right? You’re going to finally find a doctor who cares about your voice and who will listen to you when you tell her all the things that are “off” and she will help you find out what’s up with your body… your body will still frustrate you, but at least you’ll know why and how to combat it. 
 
You’re going to have some TERRIBLE bosses. You’re going to become so stressed out that you lose 15 pounds. You’re going to cry a hell of a lot because of all this, but it’ll get better. Because of that job, you’re going to cross a lot off your Bucket List, starting when you turn 27. You’re going to go to a lot of concerts, you’re going to travel, you’re going to get tattoos and laugh, loudly. You’re going to find confidence in the weirdest places, one of them being a Bikram yoga studio. You’re going to do incredible things that you never thought you’d be able to. 
 
Don’t tread too lightly, regardless of your fears. Stay true to what you know is right and you’ll get to where you want to be, just not on the schedule you want it to be on. People are going to badger you constantly about driving and you’re going to get very angry about it. Do the best you can, keep trying and the anxiety and fear will slowly subside. The part that is going to be hard to get a better grasp on is being in control, not being able to control the people around you is going to drive you crazy. Keep trying though, okay? Even when you think the mountain is insurmountable, keep pushing. Trust yourself because it’ll happen. You’ll still struggle with it at 28, but you’ll be a couple steps away from getting there, not miles away like you’ll feel like. Keep thinking that being in a car and driving is a normal thing, everyone isn’t trying to kill you, and you’ll make more progress than you realize. You’re also going to become a champ at navigating public transportation in just about every city – some people are going to think it’s weird, but you’re going to love it. Especially riding the subway in New York City and DC – yeah, you go to both of those places.
 
You’re going to become your own worst enemy for a long time. You’re going to be emotionally and verbally abusive to yourself and you’re going to suffer quietly but eventually you’re going to become better and be kinder to yourself. You’re going to refuse to be bitter about the cards you’ve been handed and start creating your own deck. Keep taking those baby steps forward, it’ll be so worth it. You’re going to gain and lose friends that you thought would be there forever, but you’re going to feel a great weight lifted when you move on. It sucks, you know this already, but it’ll feel so much better once you realize how much further you’ve gotten because you don’t have people constantly doubting you.
 
Keep going. Keep moving forward. Despite your doubts, you’re going to make it through the hard times and you’re going to have a blast.
 
Don’t give up on yourself, okay? You’re only 18, and it’s super cliche, but you’ve got the whole world ahead of you. Go adventure.
 
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Oakley.

I remember reading that thing about people coming into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime when I was in middle school. It made so much sense to me each time I saw my friendships change, grow or drift away.
Brittany’s prompt was specific for today’s date, and it was to write about your best friend. I’ve been excited to write this post since the prompts were posted because I was going to spotlight three of my best girlfriends because they’re all equally great.

The last 72 hours changed my mind. The best friend of a lifetime left me today. My heart is in a billion pieces and I don’t want to go home. I couldn’t have asked for a better friend, confidant or sidekick. 11 years of the best friendship anyone could ask for.

She gave my grandma everything she’d wanted in two short months, she was my mom’s companion while I was in school and she’s been my best friend all along.

I can’t thank this beautiful creature enough. She saved me time and time again, she licked years of tears away, she celebrated when we did and she always made sure we were safe at home. This beautiful dog had the best life and she got to do so many things. She got to be the Grand Marshall of a parade, swim, she won a costume contest, she was a two time cancer survivor, and she had the biggest heart ever.

Our season together may be over, but Oakley came into our life at the best possible time and for the absolute best reason. She’s imprinted on my heart for a lifetime and, no matter the pain, I can’t imagine having lived life without her. I sat with her the last couple days and thanked her for choosing us, thanked her for loving us and for being the best dog that we could have ever asked for.

Good night, my sweet girl. I love you. Say hi to Grandma for me.

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Who run the world?

The 5 women who have inspired me.. whoa. That’s a really long list to narrow down. Lately, there have been some heavy influences from some amazing women, luckily, I’m able to call the majority of them my friends. Oh, I didn’t put my Mom on this list, mostly because I would turn into a pile of tears and keel over sobbing. She’s pretty freaking great and I love her a whole bunch.

I’m going to start off by talking about two of these women because not only do they know each other, but they do incredible things for people.

alexis_meg

Meg Fagundes.

Meg, sassy as ever.

Meg, sassy as ever.

THIS WOMAN. Okay, so Meg’s been through it and back, and is one of the people that I’m so grateful to know. We met at the Fourth Estate Leadership Summit last summer when my friend and I introduced ourselves on the dance floor the last night of the conference. She’s an MFT who is working toward her doctorate and who works with inmates and juvenile sex offenders. I’ve never felt so welcome, so accepted and excited to know someone. We kept in touch afterward and lucky for me, she lives in San Diego which is only a couple of hours away. She has invited me into her house, trusted me to keep her kid and cat children safe for a couple weeks while she was out of the country and has allowed me to use her as my go-to yoga resource. She is incredibly open about her struggles and her life, and you’ll feel like a better person just because you know her. If it sounds like I’m gushing, it’s because I am.

Meg, I know you’re going to read this, and I can’t even put into words how happy I am to consider you family. You’ve made me laugh/cry, you’ve inspired the courage I needed to get back into the yoga studio time and time again, you’ve made me cry in public countless times and you excepted me for who I am from day one. haha, I’m crying in public as I type this, I shouldn’t even be surprised. You’ve inspire me so much, and you’ve supported me through so much this past year whether you knew it or not. Thank you for letting me be a part of your journey, just as much as you are a part of mine. You are one of the most honest, caring, open, accepting, loving, hilarious, generous, cultured, well-read, silly, dorky, appreciative, driven, diligent, and well-respected humans I know. I love you foreverrrrr, and I promise to bring cookies every time I come visit.

Meg’s TEDxWomen talk: http://youtu.be/81hy3AZjkr4

Alexis Jones.

alexis

Alexis, she really is that girl.

This fantastic woman created I AM THAT GIRL, which is pretty much the coolest non-profit geared to making sure that women and girls know their worth. She’s incredibly well spoken, caring and genuine. Her book, I AM THAT GIRL, is also part of the reason she’s on this list. If there is any book I recommend to women of all ages, it’s this one. It’s not a self-help book, it’s not an inspirational book, it’s a book that will knock you on your ass while firing up the drive to go out, kick ass at life and take names. She spoke on the same panel as Meg did at the summit I attended… along with Sophia Bush, Yael Cohen of FUCK CANCER. I sat near the front of the room, but off to the side, thankfully. I ended up quietly crying throughout the entire thing. These women who aren’t much older than me sat there and told me that no matter what, I am just fine the way I am and that I can do whatever the hell I wanted. It was the talk the best friends and sisters have when times are hard. Talk about an inspirational panel. When I found out that she was also writing book, I made sure to hunt it down within two days of it hitting shelves. I have her words tattooed on my arm because her words are powerful. They shocked and spoke to me as I read the very first sentence of her book. I am so grateful that I was able to cross paths with her, even if we didn’t actually get to meet each other at that event. It’s the little things you say and the small gestures that matter, and I hope she knows just how much she’s hit home with the girls and women who have read that book.

Oh, and that TEDx talk that Meg spoke at? Guess who hosted? Yeah, Alexis. I know, right? How cool are my friends.

IATG_shoutout

This happened too, I still can’t get over it.

Okay, now on the rest… let’s hope I can stop crying in this Starbucks. haha, who am I kidding.

Jaclyn Mullen.

jaclyn

Talk about a self-made powerhouse. I met J at a day long seminar called Women Empowered that Stephanie (read about her a little later) invited me to. She has become a one woman marketing machine and is really really good at what she does. Not only does she work with her own clients, but she’s a jet-setter who hosts small seminars all over LA and around the world. At the event, she retweeted something I posted and I introduced myself later that day. We exchanged information and made sure to stay in contact. She has become one of my biggest supports and cheerleaders as I work toward starting my own business and building the life I want doing what I love. To say that I’m excited to see her on Saturday is an understatement, and there aren’t enough good things I can say about her. I am so happy she’s in my corner and that I decided to say hi to her that day, she’s been a game changer.

Stephanie Rudat

I love women who laugh.

I love women who laugh.

I randomly started following her on Twitter after seeing her posts retweeted by another account… fast forward to a year-ish later when I got the meet her. I was on Twitter while at Fourth Estate and I saw that Stephanie posted that she was there as well – I knoooow, three of these women all came into my life the same weekend… I can’t deal with it either. We tweeted each other a couple times until we were able to figure out a good time to sneak out of the main hall and meet up. I remember standing there trying so hard not to fangirl all over the place. I love strong, outspoken women, especially when they use their voices for justice and to help others. Stephanie is key in that. She’s not afraid to speak about the causes and organizations she’s involved with. We talked for nearly a half hour and I realized that I had just met one of the coolest, most daring women ever. She’s been a catalyst for different organizations, she’s super supportive of those around her and she’s not afraid to speak out against injustice all over the world. She’s freaking great.

I’m running out of words to express how amazing all of these women are… I still have one more!

Brittany Gibbons.

fierceness, embodied.

fierceness, embodied.

I have always ALWAYS had issues when it comes to body image and how I view myself. It’s gotten a hell of a lot better the last couple years, but it’s still such a journey. I am so grateful to be a part of a HUGE community of women that have been brought together by this woman via Facebook. The amount of acceptance and similarities between all of us in that group is staggering and in our tiny little internet world, Brittany is our fearless leader. She’s been a source of inspiration for countless women (and I’m sure guys too) because she’s a bad ass. She’s not afraid to have fun, to talk about the weird stuff, to express how hard she loves and is a fantastic writer. In reading through her website I’ve taken a few steps forward on my rough journey of self-acceptance. I bought a bikini for the first time ever and wore it this summer. Twice. That’s the first time I’ve worn a bathing suit in a decade. I’ve learned that no matter what you look like, what size you wear, what color your hair is or where you work, you’re worthy of love, respect – from yourself and others, and you’re worthy of great things. I can’t thank her enough and I really hope that I’ll be able to go to the grown up summer camp that she hosts so I can hug her and say thank you.

Brittany’s TEDxBGSU talk: http://youtu.be/81hy3AZjkr4

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I could go on and on about these five courageous woman, but I can’t today. I’m out of words and I don’t want to ugly cry in public. I love you all so much, thank you a million for all the advice, support and comfort you’ve given me. I am forever indebted to you all.