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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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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.

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fat.

Fat.

I don’t remember the first time the word was said to me. I don’t know if I overheard someone saying it, using it to describe me, or if it was a self-directed jab.

I wish I knew.
I wish I knew where that feeling came from.
I wish I knew so that I could make it stop.

With the exception of when I was born and the few months after, I was never a small person. I was taller, I was bigger, I was faster, I was stronger. When I was younger, and sometimes still, I just wanted to fit in, to swim with the rest of the fish and not stick out. I wanted to wear the same clothes, to not feel like a fish out of water constantly.. and to not be in the middle of every class or team picture because I was the tallest. I just wanted to be in the front row and play shortstop, not in the middle of the back row and stuck out in the outfield because no one could hit that far, you know?

I was made fun of a lot growing up, but I never considered myself bullied, and I think that’s partly because people were just talk, they never put their words into actions because I was a head taller. There were some mean kids, and they said mean things, and I’m extremely lucky that I don’t remember a lot of it. I don’t know if I just pushed it from accessible memory, or if it was more self-imposed than anything.

In our culture, the word “fat” carries so many things. It carries strife and anxiety. It carries fear and self-hatred. It carries a feeling of inadequacy and self-loathing. I really don’t like it. In Spanish, when you’re called “Gordit@” as a kid, it’s more of a factual statement. Sometimes its even a term of endearment from your grandma, but in English… nope, not so much.

Being called fat did a lot of subtle damage, I’m finding. I’m still trying to get over and through my own struggles with my body and how it does, or doesn’t, work, and it’s hard. Very hard, actually. The one thing I have learned is that no matter how hard it is, taking even a tiny step forward and out of the shadow of a word is breathtaking in all the right ways.

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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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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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Mellow Yellow

Well, I have succumbed to a challenge presented by my friend/writing-encourager Marlon. Last month he decided to take an Instagram photo-a-day challenge and use each photo prompt as a writing prompt. He suggested I do it, but I chickened out (I really need to stop doing that).

So here I am, March 1, writing about yellow. There’s so much I could write about. Yellow is my favorite color, I have so many items of yellow clothing, my high school colors were blue and gold and my college was black and gold, I have a lemon tree, a yellow ribbon (’round the ol’ oak tree).. Needless to say, I really enjoy yellow. I decided on something different, something not many people know about.
A yellow rose. 

Yellow roses are usually brought in sympathy, but there’s nothing sympathetic about this plant. In my eyes, roses will forever represent my family. My grandfather was a test gardener for Jackson & Perkins so we have a few unnamed roses in our yard. After he passed away in 1988, my mom continued to take care of them. We have about 15 planted around our front and backyards, beautifully fragrant and bold in color. This specific plant is one of the unnamed ones. It is tucked back behind our garage, roughly 40 years old and I think it holds a grudge against me. 

The size of this rose vise is deceiving. In the winter, it’s small, trimmed back to preserve it’s resources, in the late spring and summer, it grows to great heights. I have walked or backed myself into this behemoth countless times, each time ending in thorns stuck in my clothes and my skin. It spent the majority of my youth scarring/scaring me from going into that part of the yard.  

But now, we have seemed to come to terms with each other. I am much more mellow (and careful) and I’ve learned to love nature a lot more. I think the rose knows because it keeps giving me these:

Happy March! 
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4 months later.

Well, that was an unexpected break from this thing, but a lot can happen in 4 months.

I decided to give NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) a go… whoa. I wrote about 30,000 words in a month, while working graveyard and barely sleeping, so to say it was difficult is an understatement. I have a beautiful half written story that would be somewhat of my fairy tale life, but it doesn’t need my attention right now.

I went head first into college basketball season and loving it and my team is doing really well. Work was awful, and I barely slept most of the time, so November through January was kinda awful other than basketball. I did a lot of friend, and regular housecleaning, and since then I’ve felt a lot better about things. And as of the end of January, I’m no longer working…. again. So, 2014 is yet another adventure, but an adventure with lots of goals and a good outlook.

Here’s my list of goals for 2014:
– write more
– cook more
– write about cooking more
– go on adventures, near and far
– write more about cooking without an oven
– budget and use some of the money that I’ve saved for the baking adventure to get it off the ground
– get tattooed
– get a new oven
– bake and bake and bake some more
– secure a fantastic job that makes me happy and isn’t an awful environment
– do really fun things and write about them
– get a new computer and camera

I’m actually really excited about this year. It didn’t exactly start off the way I wanted to, but I truly believe that things happen for a reason and it’s never for the reason you believe or when you want them to happen. I have working and researching for the last 2 years what it will take to get this baking excursion off the ground, but it hasn’t happened yet, much to my dismay. However I know that it will this year. I’m hoping to have it going by the holidays so I can provide delicious things for lots of people.

Here’s to starting the year in March and not paying attention to the actual calendar when you’re pursuing dreams.