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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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OMG We’re back again….

Yes, I really did just name this post after a Backstreet Boys song. Hate all you want.

Thanks to a lucky new friend who’s also a budding writer, I’m back in the writing groove. I’ve decided to start a bit of writing challenge, so you’ll see some clumps of posts go up over the next couple days, and then hopefully just daily after that.

This writing challenge is mostly about the body and body image and I couldn’t be more grateful that it came around now. Here’s the link if you want to join.. Brittany, herself: August Write Your Face Off

First few posts are going up tomorrow.. And they’ll most definitely be out of the order they’re listed in, so enjoy :)

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27.

There is less than three weeks until I turn 28.

I won’t lie and say that 27 was easy, it was anything but that. To put it lightly, 27 was:
– scary.
– an adventure.
– hilarious.
– terrifying.
– sleep deprived.
– the worst.
– not so bad.
– a learning experience.
– stupid.
– funny.
– stressful.
– enlightening.
– annoying.
– eye opening.
– frustrating.
Most of all, it was a year for me to grow. It has been my year to figure some shit out, to explore, to experience, to learn, to get rid of the things (and in some cases, people) that made me feel awful, and it’s been the year where I’ve really learned what I like about life, myself and those that I choose to spend time with.

It hasn’t been my favorite, but it’s been a hell of a roller coaster. My birthday is May 1, but the real roller coaster started in January of 2013. Here’s a quick run down of the last 15 months:

January 2013: got fired on my Tia’s birthday from the place I worked at for almost 3 years for reasons that baffle me still.
February/March (it all blends together): went to a lot of basketball games, had fun at the LBSU men’s basketball end of season banquet, and was removed from a bridal party for reasons that still don’t make sense.
April: finalized all my plans and bought all other necessary things for my NYC/Euro-adventure. Panicked about the trip. Went to Jewels of the Night and had an interesting time, but it was fun nonetheless. Switched from android to iPhone.
May: turned 27, had a nice dinner with family, prepped for the trip. Got scared about the trip, wondered if it was even a good idea anymore, worried about money, stressed so much I caused spasms in back that we’re so debilitating it hurt to breathe, and then I flew to New York City on the red eye out of Long Beach on my Mom’s birthday. Spent four amazing days with The City. Went to The Great Googa Mooga festival in Prospect Park in Brooklyn. Saw my friend Kristin and my old teammate Roy. Explored with my German housemates. Got blisters. Lots of them. Flew to Venice, Italy and arrived to a happy Jen and Scott who housed me for a week and showed me parts of the world that I continually long for. Saw and tasted Parma, Bassano del Grappa, Marostica, Vicenza, Verona and Venice before flying into Alicante, Spain on May 30. Surprised my friend Elissa for her hen night. Made amazing international friends, saw people I hadn’t seen in 15+ years, laughed, had awkward conversations, used more Spanish in two days than I had in 15+ years of bilingual-ness, ate, and drank amazing things.
June: saw Elissa marry the most excellent man, danced, ate, laughed, drank (a lot – hey, it was a wedding), fell in love with rosé, went shopping, hugged and loved the family I felt like I lost for what felt like forever. Panicked over inaccessible internet and train tickets, stopped sleeping well. Took a train up the coast of Spain from Alicante to Barcelona. Freaked out due to exhaustion, being alone in a new city, and a fiasco involving my phone not working, the keys to the place I was staying and communication that wasn’t working. Met my new hosts, talked about Vampire Weekend over dinner. Explored nearly all of Barcelona on foot, took a bunch of pictures, realized I was okay on my own, fell in love with speaking Spanish and in turn lost my thought that “I wasn’t good enough to use the language.” Bought a second suitcase, packed and flew back to NYC after 4 days in Barcelona. Ate/drank the most delicious burger and beer in T5 of JFK while waiting for my flight. Got home to Long Beach late and was hungry (I know, right?)… Went to IHOP and devoured an omelette. I missed American breakfast. Slept off my jet lag, came down with a serious case of wanderlust and discovered Bikram yoga and the amazing benefits of it.
July: relay for life. Andy and Tori got married!
August: went to Invisible Children’s Fourth Estate Summit, met amazing people, realized that I needed to work somewhere or do something I loved. Figured out what I’m scared of overnight. Reconnected with the best gal pal a girl could ask for in Andrea, net Thomas, (Andrea and my 18 year old boyfriend at 4E), met someone I looked up to and established a great friendship and semi-mentor. Got a job supporting video games via social media. Loved the social media side, hated the hours (graveyard), the dead-end-ness of the job and the content and attitude of the games and the customers.
September: renewed my season tickets for LBSU men’s basketball, worked, understood how offensive some people are in the gaming industry, started job hunting again, became better friends with an old coworker from the bookstore.
October: slept 10 hours over the course of week, had a migraine the majority of the month, went to Artisinal LA and had a blast, met The Fancy Boyz and made fast friends with them and other bakers. Realized that the money I had put away to help me start my baking project was still there and it was there for me to use to build my dream. Slept, worked. Realized that just because you’ve been friends with someone for a long time, you’re not exactly obligated to stay friends with them when your life goes different directions or your belief sets don’t really match up.
November: basketball season!, homecoming, spent more time with friends, went to San Diego and realized how awesome Meg and Jake are, slept, worked,
December: slept, worked, looked for jobs, did yoga in my backyard, went to basketball games, Christmas, realized that missed enjoyable holiday celebrations, my friend Scott passed away.
January 2014: worked, slept, went to basketball games, went to San Francisco for Scott’s funeral and was lackey enough to have one of my best friends go with me, had incredible amounts of fun on the first roadtrip I have taken since the car accident in 2004, sent a really dumb text message to the wrong person and inadvertently found out where I stood with them, was let go from work, job hunted full time.
February: more basketball, met one of the dad’s of a player when he was trying to upgrade his ticket and I had extra, had fun, did yoga, looked for jobs, didn’t get a job because they thought the reason I was fired a year ago was weird, was reaaaalllllyyy mad/pissed/frustrated/annoyed that place was still haunting me.
March: basketball! Went to the Veronica Mars PaleyFest panel and then went to opening day of the VM movie the next day with Latoya, laughed a lot, watched more basketball, left for two weeks in San Diego house sitting and hanging out with Sabrina, Meg’s daughter.
April: reconnected with basketball teammates from high school over great food in San Diego, came home from SD, saw my cousin, his wife and their daughter while they were in town for a Disneyland trip, had a promising interview and hung out with Latoya, all in a matter of a week.

In the next few weeks, I’m going to a graduation party, a bridal shower, Artisinal LA, applying for my DBA for my baking project and getting the ball rolling for the job I WANT while searching for one that I need to pay my bills. Then I turn 28 and open myself up for even more adventure, travel excursions, fun and whatever else might come my way. I’m looking forward to this year a whole bunch. I hope it’s as good to me as this last one has been.

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Ooooops

This week has been a bit stressful, and in order to do the things I needed to get done, I had to neglect my blog. I’ve missed the last couple prompts of “on my mind,” “something beginning with ‘i,'” and “chair.” Today’s prompt is “fly” and surprisingly, it seems like waiting to write these all at once makes a lot more sense.

This past week has been spent stressing over a cover letter for a job application. This isn’t just any job to me, it’s a start in a new direction, a way into a world that I have finally realized is the right one for me, and a chance to live a little out of the ordinary. I already have an insane hatred of cover letters, and in some cases I don’t really understand the point. In others, like this one, I get it, but I instantly become the most insecure, incapable person while trying to sell myself in a half page letter that is supposed to convince a stranger to take a chance, interview and possibly hire me. No pressure, right?

So that’s what has been on my mind the last week, from last Thursday til now. Why now? Because I just sent it in. I sent in my application, and the only thing that I can do is hope that this amazing website takes a chance on me. Hell, I probably should just send them this blog entry and be like, “see? I right good.”

Back to the point, cover letters have been “on my mind” because I was stressing over this application, my “i” words are insecure and incapable because no matter how good at something I know I am, that fear creeps when I have to explain why I think I’m going to be the person they want in said cover letters.

That leaves “chair” from yesterday, and “fly” for today’s post. Here’s my set up at a local Starbucks:

My laptop, water, a drink, crumpled napkins, snack bags, my phone, chargers, and most importantly, the chair that has been my home for the past couple hours while I tried to hammer this out. This chair has been my inspiration to get this done because it’s terrible for my back and incredibly uncomfortable. The sooner I got my stuff done, the sooner I don’t have to sit in it. Makes sense, right?

I’ll write my post for today a bit later, I need to take a break. I need to let my brain calm down and do some yoga to help recover from all this sitting. I’m also not going to post where I applied or anything about the job, because in case something comes of it, I know I’ll be incredibly superstitious about it. If the reviewing parties read this post, thanks for looking into what I’m all about. I hope you like me!

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I’m lumpy. Part 2

I wasn’t exactly “devastated” after getting the diagnosis, there was a sense of relief in finally knowing what was wrong, but also a quest to find a way to fix, or find ways to cope, with the side effects because there’s no real way to cure PCOS.

Here’s a list of the normal symptoms/side affects of PCOS (according to womenshealth.gov):

– Infertility (not able to get pregnant) because of not ovulating. In fact, PCOS is the most common cause of female infertility.
 – Infrequent, absent, and/or irregular menstrual periods
 – Hirsutism (HER-suh-tiz-um) — increased hair growth on the face, chest, stomach, back, thumbs, or toes
 – Cysts on the ovaries
 – Acne, oily skin, or dandruff
 – Weight gain or obesity, usually with extra weight around the waist
 – Male-pattern baldness or thinning hair
 – Patches of skin on the neck, arms, breasts, or thighs that are thick and dark brown or black
 – Skin tags — excess flaps of skin in the armpits or neck area
 – Pelvic pain
 – Anxiety or depression

The ones in bold are the ones that I have/had to deal with. Some are easier to control than others, but it’s still weird. Additionally, it’s now thought that the easy weight gain is caused by an insulin resistance, and have a hand in high blood pressure, high cholesterol and/or diabetes mellitus (high blood sugar).. two of which I have. The most common treatment is to start a birth control regimen, as that regulates your hormones and for a lot of people, to start taking Metformin, which is a diabetes drug that helps regulate your body’s insulin.

Here’s more good news:

 – More than 50 percent of women with PCOS will have diabetes or pre-diabetes (impaired glucose tolerance) before the age of 40.
 – The risk of heart attack is 4 to 7 times higher in women with PCOS than  – women of the same age without PCOS.
 – Women with PCOS are at greater risk of having high blood pressure.
 – Women with PCOS have high levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol and low levels of HDL (good) cholesterol.
 – Women with PCOS can develop sleep apnea. This is when breathing stops for short periods of time during sleep.

Insane right? This isn’t even all of it. There’s not enough research done, but I’ve found a few different sources that say that PCOS could be linked to regular ovarian cysts and in untreated cases, endometrial (uterine) cancer. Guess who has a history of both of these things in her family!? Yeah, this girl. My aunts and cousins have had cysts (all benign so far) and my grandma had endometrial cancer. (This is also why I have such an issue with the whole pink ribbon business.)

Insulin resistance is turds, let me tell you. For anyone who knows people who have taken Metformin, you know it does a number on your body. According to the Mayo Clinic, “if you have insulin resistance, your ability to use insulin effectively is impaired, and your pancreas has to secrete more insulin to make glucose available to cells. The excess insulin might boost androgen production by your ovaries.” Either way, your body isn’t doing what it’s supposed to, and a lot of times, you have INSANE cravings (cake, cookies, chili cheese fries and pizza for me). I take Metformin twice a day (if I remember), after I eat lunch and dinner. When you’re first getting used to taking it, for at least the first 2 weeks, don’t eat fibery veggies or a big salad after about 6pm because you’ll be up all night. You’ll be nauseous, you’re mouth will taste like metal, you’ll have hot flashes, you’ll have night sweats, you’ll smell weird, and you’ll just be uncomfortable… but after that, it evens out and you (usually, and not everyone) start feeling a little better.

It’s one of the least painful things that my body has gone through, but it’ll probably be the longest lasting one. I don’t really tell people I have it, and when they see me take the Metformin at a restaurant, I just say that “it’s because I don’t work right,” which is mostly true. I’ve forever been self-conscious and weird about my self-image, a lot of it coming from weight issues. I’ve never seen myself as “pretty” because no matter how hard I worked, it was never enough to garner results. Never. Imagine yourself at 19. You’re eating annoyingly healthy, you’re running about 20 miles a week, you don’t drink or smoke, you walk a ton (because you’re in college) and you’re an athlete who has 4-6 hour practices EVERY SINGLE DAY. But when you weigh yourself, you’ve maybe lost half a pound or maybe nothing at all. There’s never a significant change no matter what you do. You start to tell yourself that it’s “muscle mass” and that, in fact, it weights much more than fat does. Okay, but your body shape isn’t changing at all. Well, that’s because unknowingly, you’re prone to abdominal weight. Just fat, chillin all up in your midsection and thighs. I’ve never liked wearing shorts, you’ll rarely see me do it. I’m so good at layering that you’ll rarely know how self conscious I am about my torso. You find ways to hide it.

All in all, it comes down to one thing. Your body, is doing it wrong and there isn’t much you can do about it.

Being more prone to anxiety and depression makes a hell of a lot more sense now than ever before. I get down really easily, convincing myself that, yet again, whatever I do is never enough and I’m too good at convincing myself NOT to do something because it’s terrifying. I’ve just gotten to the point where I can drive down a street with one or two other cars on it nine years after I was in a car accident that flipped me across the 91 freeway. NINE YEARS. Every part of being in a car still bothers me. There’s about 100 other things I could list that give me anxiety for no reason, but that would take too long. In short, I’ve slowly decided to start dealing with some of these fears. I’ve come closer to being able to drive in the last year than I have at any point before then. I’ve traveled across one of the largest bodies of water and made it home in one piece. Most importantly, I’ve stopped trying to stay disconnected from people and I’ve started to be nicer to myself on a more consistent basis.

Slowly but surely, right?

——
Yoga update:
I haven’t gone yet, but it was mostly because I had to wait til payday. It worked out though, the studio posted a groupon in the mean time for an unlimited month. YES.

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Fearing Fear

I’ve always been a little timid, nervous and reluctant to take a chance on things. It’s only really been lately that I’ve realized how detrimental this is and how much I have come to resent that side of me.

I’m to scared to __________________.
Just fill in the blank with nearly anything and it’s quite possible it applies.

A recent blog post by a friend of mine, Meg, really got me thinking about how much fear plays a roll in my daily life. How scared am I to walk the talk that I talk? The more I thought about it, the more irritated I became. I’ve traveled to Europe by myself, navigated through countries where I didn’t speak the native tongue, yet somehow managed to find my way back home just fine… why was I still afraid? What was their to fear?

Failure
Embarrassment
Anxiety
Rejection

They actually spell out FEAR. How annoying, but really, how important are these things?

I’ve said that I’ve wanted to start a business for a couple years, but why haven’t I taken the leap?
Fear of failure.

I’ve said that I know how to drive, but it’s the anxiety that stops me.

I don’t put myself out there to find new friends or people to date… rejection, embarrassment, anxiety, you name it… but a lot of this comes with a skewed view of self, which I’ll get to in my next post.

I can go on and on about everything that I’m afraid of, but I’d rather not because that just seems awful. I’d rather go about explaining myself, and trying to sort out what’s going on in my head, and why.

Back to Meg. After reading her most recent post, I sat there crying. I realized that I fear so much for no real reason and that most people do the same thing. I’m scared to open myself for fear of being hurt.. so I did something I dreaded. I sent Meg a message on Facebook, telling her that I could relate to wanting to go about things on my own, that trusting other people was too difficult and how, like her, I needed to change this thought process.

First troublesome thing to overcome, I decided, was small to some, but meant a hell of a lot to me. I started going to Bikram Yoga in July and LOVED it. Loved is really an understatement as I hadn’t felt the adrenaline and endorphin rush that each class provided in nearly 7 years… since before I’d hurt my back. I realized that I became reluctant to go because I was enjoying it too much. I was scared. Scared that I would get too connected. Scared that I would lose this outlet just like I’d lost basketball and throwing. My pain tolerance is too high, my body too broken. I kept finding excuses… too tired, too crampy, too anything. After reading Meg’s post, I realized that I had to go back. Not only to overcome this ridiculous fear, but for my own sanity again. I included that in my message to her (she’s a hot yoga teacher) and she empathized with the feeling, telling me that surprisingly, it’s normal.

I’m going back in on Sunday morning. Back into the heat, to sweat out the toxins, the toxic thoughts and to find my way through the fear.
Here goes.