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January 2014

A pretty quick Friday Reads & Recommends

Life as a Nonviolent Psychopath from The Atlantic. Um, yikes? (SO. INTERESTING.)

Dan and Me: My Coming Out as a Friend of Dan Cathy and Chick-fil-A from the Huffington Post. I don't know much about the Chick-fil-A issue, but I was deeply encouraged by this piece written by an LGBT activist.

Long time blog reader Sarah (and sender of the Mary Consoling Eve cards!) sent me the link to this article: My wife and I are atheists, but our daughter wants to be baptised Catholic. My heart swelled 10 times.

This WSJ series called The Lobotomy Files: Forgotten Soldiers is heartbreaking. So awful. 

What do you think, fellow bloggers and Tweeters - do you know How To Spot A Narcissist Online? From the Atlantic.

Also from the Atlantic (like nearly everything good): The 2 Teenagers Who Run the Wildly Popular Twitter Feed @HistoryInPics. Why wasn't I this smart when I was seventeen?

I know she'd have a million unpleasant things to say about my parenting style (or lack thereof), but I kind of love Amy Chua. Confessions of a Tiger Couple, NYT Magazine.

And you probably already read this or saw it linked somewhere or read Heather Barmore's response, but still, this is ... well. Let's start with *headdesk*.


happy weekend!





If wishes were horses

It hasn't been a good day. It's actually been pretty rotten. I have had it with my job, my house, and everyone in my family. I am angry and tired and what I really really want to do is go away somewhere for a full 24 hours, where I can have a day off. No one to feed, nothing to clean, no paperwork, no diapers, no car seats, no drop offs and pick ups, no one talking to me, no one needing me, no one asking me for snacks, no one waiting for me to make a decision. A DAY. OFF. 

Saturdays are not days off. Trips to Disneyland or Victoria or Grandma's house are not days off. (Though they are miles above THIS kind of day, let me tell you.) 

An alone not-beholden-to-anyone day.

What would I even DO? 

In a few weeks I'm going to volunteer on one of those prayer teams again, a Friday night through Sunday morning deal, and I'll get to stay in a hotel room with good friends and no kids and do something completely out of the ordinary. That sounds so good to me right now. I cannot wait. 

I think I'd have to go somewhere, because if I stayed home I'd be too tempted to Get Stuff Done. So yes, I would definitely have to go away (even though I would love to have the house all to myself. Sigh.) I would bring my Kindle and some Ghirardelli bittersweet chips and my crossword puzzle app. I think I would see what's out at Nordstrom Rack. I think I'd go get a brow wax, maybe at the Benefit Brow place that I keep wanting to try, and then of course I'd definitely have to buy some makeup. Apparently I am into makeup now? I would treat myself to something dense and chocolatey. I would most definitely attempt to meet up with friends for Deep and Meaningful Conversations. Like, a whole day of meeting friends for coffee? With some nice introvert time in between, filled with murder mysteries and lattes? That sounds so NICE. A pedicure? I would require sunshine. A walk around the lake with worship music in my ears? 

And then coming home and not having to get anyone ready for bed? Or do the dishes? Or fix the pillows on the couch for the fortieth time that day? 

I need some Not-Mom time, I think. Maybe some Alone Independent Grown Up Person time. Is it bad to want that? I feel bad. But not that bad. 

What does your day off look like?


A freak out, a decision, and now I'm reeeeeally tired

In an effort to not wait until the ABSOLUTE last minute, I strove to complete the bakery's first quarterly tax return merely at the ALMOST last minute. I thought it would be confusing, annoying, and frustrating, like all the other legal paperworky things I've done for the bakery. But I also thought I could figure it out. 

I DID figure it out. (With the help of my CFO and personal business major, Phillip Cheung, of course.) But the process of figuring out, involving a crap ton of googling, turned me into a quivering panicky mess by the time I finally signed off on the return. It wasn't about the taxes so much as all the extra information I gathered while hunting for tax help. Some of it was new - I had NO IDEA I was also supposed to have a city of Seattle business license in addition to my Washington state license - and some of it I'd read before - good luck getting real buttercream approved by the WSDA (or pretty much anything else.) It all piled on top of my already shaky do-we-really-know-what-we're-doing position and GAK. 

Here I've been waiting for a response to our 70+ recipe cottage food permit application. I think I thought we'd wait and see what the damage was. How many recipes we'd have to fix or get rid of all together, what other things we'd need to correct or add before we could schedule a kitchen inspection. And go from there. Renting a couple hours a month in a commercial kitchen when we neededthem was still part of the plan. 

But last night I had to confront, for serious and real this time, we cannot do what we want to do with just a cottage food permit. There's just no way. AT ALL. I think I had it in my head that we could do MOST of what we wanted to do, and we'd just need a few hours in a commercial kitchen here and there. Nope. And then, even if we were allowed to bake whatever we wanted, just the fact that we can't SELL to whoever we want makes it too restrictive for what we want to do. It turns out I have ambition! And I felt like I was slamming face first into the regulatory wall. 

So Phillip and I had a sort of come to Jesus conversation, about what I really want to do, about what we think could happen, about how far we're willing to go. He whipped up a little spreadsheet that made things look promising. He was SO encouraging and supportive and I sloooooowly calmed down and realized that if we want to do what we want to do, there's no point in waiting around for this permit to get approved. I still have to do a little more research into the options, but we've basically decided that it's worth it to loan the baking business enough money for six months of minimal time at a commercial kitchen space. Then we'll be allowed to do EVERYTHING. Frost cupcakes with actual buttercream, see if local coffee shops want to sell our treats, SHIP TO MY FRIENDS IN THE COMPUTER AHEM.

There's a kitchen I need to investigate a little outside of Seattle. I have an event planner friend whose catering company has rented space out before in their kitchen. And Katie has a friend determined to launch her own catering company and we could possibly use her space in the future. Katie has a couple friends to ask too. 

This means some new things, like finding out if we need insurance and all the compliance issues for cooking in a commercial kitchen, but we'd no longer be BEHOLDEN to this restrictive straitjackety law. I mean, we're not making ten kinds of jam and selling them at farmer's markets, we want to make SPECIAL ORDER baked goods. I can't pay a fee and wait for the approval and inspection every single time we want to use a new recipe. 

You're all, "Um, haven't you written about this and decided this already?" HUSH, YOU. It takes me a while to absorb things. I basically had to ignore all things bakery today (until now!) because I was so anxous about the whole thing. NORMAL PERSON anxious, not crazy person anxious. (Isn't that great?!)

Those of you who are super tired of reading about the trials and tribulations of a small business startup - gosh, I'm sorry. I'm resolving not to write about weight/exercise anymore, at least not while I'm in this particular headspace. I have stuff to say about my kids, but I don't need to process those things as much as I need to process businessy stuff. Which is what I use this space for. ANYWAY. La la la! One day I'll send you all a box of cookies, how about that.

Baking, football, dance moms


I've been busy with this:

I had absolutely no intention of launching a website until we were LEGAL. And also had our official logo and pictures of everything I wanted pictures of and I had, you know, learned to build an ACTUAL website instead of merely taping together some chunks of code and crossing my fingers. However. I delivered our first big and not-for-friends-or-family order today, 30 tiny boxes filled with 3 pink macarons each (one vanilla buttercream, one raspberry buttercream, one passionfruit buttercream) for a baby shower. That means 30 people taking our label and therefore our website URL home with them. If, by any chance, they happened to VISIT the website I wanted something to be ON the website. It seemed to me that if they simply saw the lame-o We're Not Quite Done Page, they wouldn't go back and wouldn't remember us next time they needed their own order of baby pink macarons. So I put up the website. 

It KILLS me because there are at least a dozen things I want to fix and edit, but WHATEVER, I need to, you know, go on with my life. 

SO HELLO! How are you? Here's what I'm going to do this week. I'm going to start watching Veronica Mars on my treadmill again, that's for sure. Baking everything in the world to get ready for your bakery website photo shoot is not super conducive to one's barely-committed-to-in-the-first-place health kick. I'm going to my kids' school's weekly assembly tomorrow morning to see Molly's class sing 'Stayin' In Line' to the tune of 'Stayin' Alive'. I'm going to schedule a haircut now that I've completed the baby shower order for my stylist and can reasonably assume things went well and I can get my haircut without embarrassment. I'm going to open a business bank account GOSHDARNIT I am, I mean it, all I have to do is ask FIL to come up and sleep on my couch while Emma takes her nap. 

Oh, and I'm going to figure out what kind of food we're going to have on Sunday when hordes of friends who are suddenly interested in football descend on my house to watch the Super Bowl. I have what you might call a passing interest in football. By which I mean the only football-related thing I've ever cared about is Petyon Manning because he's SO NICE and he's SO FUNNY on SNL and he just seems like a GOOD GUY, you know? Love good guys. And way early on in this season I jokingly said to Phillip, "What if the Seahawks play Peyton Manning in the Super Bowl? WHATEVER SHALL I DO?"

(Unjokingly: I am still not sure what I am going to do.)

In the meantime I am THOROUGHLY ENTERTAINED by all the Seattle- and Seahawks-related commentary happening on my newsy websites. I am SO INTERESTED in all the psychological analyses! Have you seen that article or chart or whatever it is that shows that absolutely no one in the country is rooting for the Seahawks except that teeny tiny dot in the upper lefthand corner? And how everyone thinks the Seahawks are obnoxious thugs? This is fascinating to me because I am normally totally repulsed by unsportsmanlike behavior and have no patience for giant displays of I'M THE MAN!!!!! etc. But I keep finding myself defending Richard Sherman (IN MY HEAD, TO NO ONE, ONLY MYSELF) because it seems I am one of the suddenly interested in football people. And it's my team! "MY" team! HAAAAAA. I haven't had a team since high school. And even then I didn't have enough school spirit to care. 

Anyway, I read one article in particular (and of course I don't remember the link) about how this jerky badassery is GOOD for the Seattle Psyche. We've just never had anything to BE badass about before! THIS IS SO NEW AND EXCITING!

Oh, the other thing I have going on this week is something called "Watching Day"? I signed Molly up for ballet lessons at an actual dance studio. It's close to my house and didn't cost too much and it's at a time I can deal with. Those were my requirements. But there's this WATCHING DAY thing where you're supposed to go and get a little preview with the current students? And then fill out a "Performance Packet"? With a "Commitment Sheet"? WHAT THE HECK. Are they going to turn me into a Dance Mom? Can we just go and have fun? Does someone know what those things ARE?

(Stay tuned for the post wherein I ask you to convince me to sign both big kids up for piano and Tae Kwon Do IN ADDITION to the ballet class OMG IT'S STARTING.)

Reasons for the elevated blood alcohol levels

Here is where I tell you I've been VERY ANXIOUS the last week or so. (Of course, if you follow me on Twitter, and why wouldn't you, you would know this already, along with every other mundane yet absolutely critical piece of Mighty Maggie Trivia.)

And each day I do triage on myself. What time of the month is it? Did I drink coffee or eat a bunch of dark chocolate? I go through my old list of triggers. I think about what's happening with Phillip's job and what I have on the calendar. And the only thing that really makes sense to me, this time around, as an anxiety cause, is the very-important-to-us macaron tasting we did last night. 

Now, when I actually zeroed in on the tasting (and, in fact, everything else about the bakery business I have going on right now) I did not feel MORE anxious. I did not get a sense of "OH THAT'S IT." I did not get a twinge or a nervous tummy or tenser muscles or anything that would signal to me that yes, this is The Reason. 

But it's pretty much all I was thinking about the last few days. I was VERY EXCITED. I was very busy doing my end of the prep. And I have always been someone who Anticipates at the highest level. So. This only adds more evidence to My Body Responds to Stress (Even Happy Excited Motivated Purposeful Stress) With Anxiety theory. 

We did the tasting last night - five different flavors of macarons for two women who are throwing a big baby shower - and it couldn't have gone better. Seriously. I feel like I can brag about it because I am not the person who made the cookies. I AM SO PROUD OF MY SISTER. And our tasters were, like, the sort of people you want on your personal cheerleading team. Their mmms and ohhhs and "This one is SO GOOD" and "Wait, THIS ONE is SO GOOD" was the gold luster dust on my Cake of Affirmation. They loved everything while having definite opinions. We spent a full ten minutes discussing different shades of pink, you guys. Was I maybe BORN to help people decide if the rectangular or fancy cut tag is the best one? 

They put in an order, which I suspected they would, but it wasn't SURE or anything, AND it was for more than we expected AND they had a brilliant idea for how to showcase our name and I am just one big happy dancey DORK. 

And still anxious! OF COURSE. 

I am hopeful now that the tasting is over this will dissipate, as it usually does, and I can go back to my regular level of wackadoo. But two things:

1. I've been keeping an "anxiety journal" since November, mainly to help me see if my new med regimen is helping. I hadn't written in it for weeks. WEEKS. I was so hopeful that the supplements I'm taking to deal with the MTHFR thing were making a difference. But right now I basically feel like I'm taking nothing. 

2. Hopefully (certainly!) this is not the last tasting we will do. 

About the first thing... I don't know. If this is as bad as it gets I'll be fine. It's when I start to despair and worry and freak and do the circular thinking thing, that's when I need help. I don't LIKE this, but I can manage it. I do have one tiny hope in that the quality of the anxiety I feel and how long it lasts seems to be different since I started taking the methylfolate. Good, right? 

And I just refuse to have an issue with the second thing. There was a year where I COULDN'T move forward with my life because I was using every ounce of energy to battle anxiety. And there have been a few years where it's been better for me to make strategic decisions about what I can do and what I can't. 

This is not one of those times. This year feels so different. I feel like this year I say, "Screw you, brain chemistry, you are not getting a say on this one."

I guess I just drink more? (KIDDING!) 

The Return of Reads & Recommends

I HAD to bookmark the following book reviews: 

The Secret Rooms by Catherine Bailey. From the NYT Book Review: 

But it soon emerges that John’s son sealed these rooms after his father’s death. “He knew there was something bad in there,” a family member tells Bailey, “but he couldn’t bring himself to confront it.”

World War 1. Crazy upperclass English family. MYSTERY! I am so reading this. One day. 

And then then this one, about the orchestra during the siege of Leningrad, oh dear GOD. I think I want to read this one? I am still reading WWII books, though I have a staunch anti-Holocaust book policy. Those stories never leave my brain. But while I've read about the Holocaust since I was a kid (is this a disturbing fascination visited upon every even slightly Jewish child like myself?), the Siege of Leningrad is a relatively new event in my collection of historical horrors and thus I consider reading. There's a sentence in the review that gets at generally why I read these things: 

The battle descriptions are of course atrocious, but the street scenes perhaps horrify more, because soldiers expect to suffer and die, while people going about their daily chores are simply us in another time and another country.

"Simply us." I don't know if I'll actually read this, though I'd like to. Just like I'm interested in visiting St. Petersburg one day, just to stand there and remember what happened. 

I am half interested in a North Korea book. Do you have one? The one by the camp escapee is the only one I really know of, and I still haven't decided if I want to go there. (Because that one is happening NOW. And what in the WORLD can I do about it?)

Have you ever seen liberal commentator Kirsten Powers on Fox News? Are you going to turn up your nose and say you never watch Fox News? FINE. I'm outing myself. Here's her story about becoming a Christian. Love it. 

I am two episodes into the Veronica Mars rewatch project. Obvs you must join me. 

Oh, here we go. Welcome to another of my Lifelong Obsessions: Top 10 Bermuda Triangle Theories.

The new Charles Todd/Inspector Rutledge mystery comes out in DAYS, people. DAYS. I, of course, pre-ordered it in October. If Meredith Channing does not make an appearance I shall positively DIE. 

Maybe you read the Atlantic cover story on anxiety? It floored me. I deeply appreciate other people describing their demons in print. I had the same experience reading this story that I did reading Dooce back when she wrote about her postpartum madness - I may struggle, but my struggles are miniscule in comparison. It's not very nice of me, but it does make me feel better. Or at least help me to see how it could be much much worse. And Scott Stossel's experience is so much worse. It seems that no one experiences anxiety the same way, but we can still relate. The line I remember from this story is how he described the onslaught of anxiety as "existential dread". Thank God I haven't felt that way in years, but I remember it exactly. I will have to read his book when it comes out. 

Everyone likes cookies

When I warned you this might turn into a 24/7 bakery blog I apologized and I'M SORRY AGAIN it's just all I've got in my head right now. This weekend I researched small business bank accounts, picked a bank, and signed up for Square. I'm not exactly sure when I will, in fact, OPEN the bank account and begin to USE Square since the only times I'm available to go to a bank are times when I have a certain two-year-old with me. Perhaps the bank tellers will enjoy a nice rousing rendition of Let It Go while I discuss minimum balances?

(Note: my preferred minimum balance is $0.00. I will be visiting BECU.)

I am still a little confused as to why I am so INTO this. Not that I'm a neurotic, driven, single-minded goal-oriented person, WE KNOW THAT, just that selling cookies is the goal. I like cookies. I like my sister. I like little packages. I LOVE filing systems. But I don't know that I like any of those things well enough to do all the stuff I've been doing over the last few months. (Sorry Katie.) 

It's also funny to me that I am, more or less, the salesperson in our duo. At least the person who will be doing most of the marketing and business-getting. But I think when you are a total believer in your product, which I am, it doesn't feel like selling. It's more like, "Well, why WOULDN'T you want to buy a pretty box of delicious cookies? What's WRONG with you?"

I used to work for a very very VERY small publishing firm and we had a guy who sold ads in one of our magazines and I used to think HOW? HOW DOES HE DO THAT? 

(I don't have a good answer to that. I don't know anyone who is a total believer in $500 worth of advertising in local maritime print publications.)

ALSO. Where did I come up with all the ideas for what we need and what we're supposed to do? I DO have an answer for that and that is THE INTERNET. My dad has never liked my blog (if and when he ever read it) but he always thought it would take me somewhere. Or at least it was very much worthWHILE. He never thought it was a pointless thing to do. I think he thought more like I might make money from it, which was the goal several years ago in the blogging world. Or I might get some kind of writing gig. Or social media consultancy. Or something like that. Which would have been nice IF I were ever so inclined to go one of those routes. Those couple years I wrote for Parenting, I did NONE WORK to make that happen. And when it folded I did NONE WORK to find a similar situation. Eh! 

That said, everything I know about marketing, everything I know about writing, everything I know about photography, everything I know about making pretty packages, everything I know about events where people might order 100 pretty packages to give as favors, possibly everything I know about FOOD came from the internet. And knowing you people. And learning from you and working with you and my world expanded a billion percent when I started commenting on other people's websites. Another trillion percent when I started my Twitter account. How does anyone do anything without the assistance of an online community? I HONESTLY DO NOT KNOW.

I am an English major who went out of her way to avoid everything math or science or business related in college. My first real boss took phone call- and fundraising-related assignments away from me when he saw I wasn't just bad at it, I was doing damage. My second real boss asssured me, with a pained sigh, that I was not at ALL "profit-oriented". LOOK AT ME NOW!

(Ha. It's totally different. I absolutely ADORE hiding behind my laptop. (With my Veronica Mars kickstarter sticker on the front. Did you start the rewatch project? I DID!))

I don't know! Just stuff I think about! At night when the kids go to bed and I have to find something to do until at LEAST 9:30 when I can crawl into my bed without anyone laughing at me or calling me an old lady AHEM.

Now taking applications for my nanny/housekeeper/assistant/occasional therapist

Remember a while back when I told you that Phillip got a new job and it was... well it was just kinda WILD how it happened? I mean, maybe not to you, but to me it is WILD and I still haven't asked him if I can share that story! (Remember: only wild to ME. No need to be on tenterhooks here.) 

ANYWAY. Part of that story - a very early part - is the saga of The Camera. SIGH. Long story cut extremely short: we lost a fancy-camera-on-loan-from-Phillip's-parents in Cabo. By which I mean we left it in the back seat of our first shuttle when we had to get on a second shuttle when the first one broke down on the way to the airport. Wait, I said I would make this short. Okay! So! Months later, and after consulting with Lindsay, Phillip bought a new fancy camera with a Regular Lens and a Fancier Lens. I own a camera with different LENSES, people. When I can barely operate the iPhone camera. 

But Phillip's been playing around with a lot (and throwing out comments like, "you know, I think I'd really like to learn photography!") and I happen to be in need of Nice Pictures. For my bakery website. I KNOW. 

So this week, sort of spur of the moment-ish, Katie and I decided to bake everything in sight and take pictures. We'd been PLANNING to do this since Lindsay, forevermore known as Fabulous Lindsay, volunteered to take pictures FOR us. I KNOW. I KNOOOOOW. But Katie and I both have small children and strange schedules and transportation difficulties and it's hard to really plan that sort of thing. Or I should say, when the mood struck we just went with it, whether it was scheduled or not. Tuesday she came over and we made and decorated cakes, cupcakes, mini cupcakes, cookies, and brownies. 

And then I took pictures. I would like to state here for the record that taking pictures with a fancy camera results in VASTLY IMPROVED pictures. Even if you still have the photography skills of a two-year-old. I have maybe learned two or three things while in possession of this gadget, but mostly I just press the button down until it focuses and clicks. The end. I use the Fancy Lens, I set it on Food, and press a button. Then I click various mysterious options in iPhoto until it looks like something I would not be embarrassed to have on my website. I KNOOOOOW.

We're getting ready for Valentine's Day. We have some ideas for Valentiney things to sell and I am throwing all my eggs in the Being Legal By Valentine's Day basket. I am very very hopeful that I can show you this website in the next few weeks. I mean, I might just show you anyway. TAKE THAT, WASHINGTON STATE. 

(Seriously Washington State, I'm a very nice person and the most obnoxious rule follower you've ever met. Please don't hold my blog against me.) 

I'm feeling very PROUD of my unfinished website, even though I completely forgot to resize the photos and therefore my website takes forever to LOAD. Oops.

And in the meantime I think I'm beginning to feel a teeny tiny SMIDGEN of the working mom (from home) feeling. I feel dumb saying that, but I am actually having thoughts like, "I hate that they're watching TV again BUT I NEED TO FINISH THIS!" or "I should be getting dinner ready, but if I don't do this now I'll forget" or "Have I even talked to my kids this afternoon?" My thoughts are all about what supplies I need to buy, what's next on the timeline, what I need to tell Katie, when I should get this done or that done. It's not a job, but it's WORK? Yes. I'm hopeful it DOES turn into a job, you know, that we would have a stream of customers throughout the year, but at this point where it's not a job but you're MAKING it into a job? That's work.

It shows in my house, which isn't dirty so much as Covered In Crap. It shows in my usual diligence about decorations - half the Christmas stuff is still up and I have no idea when it's coming down. It shows in how much time I'm spending with friends. It shows in the fact that we haven't watched Downton Abbey yet - we're both trying to get something done after the kids go to bed. I do all this bakery stuff in the gaps. And then sometimes it bleeds over.

I LIKE THIS. But it's kind of new for me. All the things I "had" to do before were things like blogging or getting ready for a party or writing emails. Or paying bills or doing dishes or folding laundry. Now there's this big EXTRA thing. It's taking up all of my brainspace. I think that's okay?

We also have a potential order coming up that's pretty huge - not so much in quantity, but in the fact that it's for someone we don't really know and will get our name out to a bunch of new folks in our Target Demographic. Let's just say I'm pulling out all the OCD Perfectionistic stops for this one. (THEY WANT A TASTING OMG.)


All the bits of random bouncing around my head

I haven't seen Downton Abbey yet. Don't tell me about it. SHHHH! I was going to watch it tonight, but then Phillip decided to go to the APPLE STORE of all places, at 8:45 at night, with our friend who I will rename Apple Store Enabler. And Downton Abbey is a show we watch toGETHER so... harrumph. 

Friday night Phillip went to get a massage. (I got him a membership at Massage Envy for Christmas. Do you think that's weird? My family thought that was weird. Phillip was elated, which is what counts.) Saturday he hung out with friends and watched some dumb movie about robots and the world ending. SUNDAY he spent the whole afternoon watching the Hobbit and eating burgers with my brother-in-law. And now he's out again? Phillip has had entirely too much social interaction lately. Unfair. 

I am going out tomorrow night. I meant to cancel my hair appointment and then it got too late to cancel my hair appointment and now I am going to my hair appointment tomorrow night. To get it colored. Which I have never done before. I was definitely going to dye it blond until the girl at the salon was all, "Yeah, you'll spend $300 to have blond hair for a week." That just made a lot of SENSE, you know? But I'd already sold myself on having New Hair so I made an appointment to do SOMETHING and now I just feel SILLY. And self-indulgent and spoiled and NERVOUS. As soon as I publish this I'm going to spend the rest of the night on Pinterest pinning short-haired brunette celebrities.

Tomorrow Katie and I are going to make a bunch of Valentine baked goods and take pictures of them with Phillip's new camera that I have absolutely no idea how to use. Because we're going to be legal by Valentine's Day. RIGHT, WASHINGTON STATE?

I went to Whole Foods today to buy one of the hippie supplements my hippie doctor wants me on and a protein powder thingie, but then I ended up buying blueberries (Emma wanted blueberries!) and some fancy yogurt and cookies (obvs) and bacon from Applegate Farms. That took ALL of my money. Jeez, Whole Foods. And I am having a HECK of a time figuring out whether the meat I am purchasing was happy before it ended up in the store. Do you know what I mean? The "cage free" label was simple enough for eggs, but at my regular store there are no helpful labels on beef and pork and I've recently discovered that the humane raised label on the chicken I buy may or may not actually mean humane raised. I know for sure that Applegate Farms is a-ok when it comes to this stuff (as if I couldn't tell by the price) but I have seriously considered vegetarianism a time or two in the last couple months. It would be EASIER. Except for the part where my FAMILY likes to eat meat. I don't know. I'm doing my best. I've also decreed the bakery will be getting its ingredients from happy and preferably local animals. 

I went for half a walk around the lake today with Emma and my FitBit was all, "FINALLY."

I feel like I haven't seen my friends in eons. I'm turning into a huge grump with nothing to say on her website. THIS IS TERRIBLE.


Major major crucial item checked off the Bakery To Do List

The holidays put a pause on my baking business tunnel vision, but the to do list was always gnawing on my brain in the background. I'd make Phillip listen to run downs of all the things I wanted to accomplish in January, timelines, ideas. Because I was practically bursting with frustration over our lack of professional ANYTHING I picked a business card design off Tiny Prints and ordered it within a span of thirty minutes - this, after poring over every single possible design option on Etsy, discussing logos with friends, being told it's not possible to die of No Brand. 

And even though my contempt continues to grow for the cottage food regulation process, we decided it was best to follow through with the application. A few nights ago I developed a mysterious surge of Done Is Better Than Perfect and hammered out the rest. I stuffed it into a flat rate envelope and hauled it around with me all day Saturday, looking for an open post office or mail drop. I finally found a post office open after noon on Saturday and pushed it into the mail slot - even though it'd been sitting next to a rogue baby wipe in my bag and it got wet and the beginnings of a tear were starting in the envelope but I was just like NO I CAN'T KEEP FIXING THIS. 

Now I'm totally paranoid that the application is damaged, that it will fall out of the package, that they'll return it to me, that pages will get lost, that the whole THING will get lost...

I have every hope in the world that we will be approved before Valentine's Day. We HAVE to be approved before Valentine's Day, because I have nine million ideas of things to sell for Valentine's Day. 

We decided that it will be best to have a cottage food permit, but in the meantime I've discovered connections to several different commercial kitchen options. It happens that if you talk a blue streak about your new bakery business to anyone who will listen, half the time someone knows somebody or something and wants to help you out. It's kind of... amazing. 

But anyway, our ideal situation, at this point, is to have a permit to bake at home, but also have a commercial kitchen space on retainer, if you will. So if we have another large pastry order like we had in mid-December, we can schedule kitchen space and our lives will be that much easier. What I can't figure out is if/how I can reap the benefits of cooking in a commercial kitchen while also baking at home. As in, if I DO use a kitchen at a daily rate one or two days out of the month, can I ship things (that I make in that kitchen)? Can I proffer my wares (made in that kitchen) at local coffee shops and see if they want to put in orders? How would my regulators know where I'm baking each item? How do I prove that we're making cakes at home but croissants in the kitchen? Would anyone even KNOW? Katie and I, when we get irritated enough, throw out all the ways the regulators can't enforce any of their regulations. NOT THAT THAT'S THE PLAN. But you know, if we start paying for kitchen space I want the BENEFITS. 

Phillip says I just need to document everything. I am a good documenter. I can do that. 


I'm reworking our website, which I hope to launch the second we're legal. I need to set up a bank account and then I want to start using Square. I'm trying not to get too frustrated with myself for making mistakes or doing things the long or inefficient way - I don't know how to do this yet. I keep telling myself it's okay to be learning or it's okay that I don't know exactly how we should price certain things or what the process should be for this or that. I will LEARN those things. I already feel like I've learned a ton. 

Besides the check I sent off with the application and the money we've spent on ingredients and packaging, there is no overhead. There is negligible risk at this point. And we're having fun. I hate hate hate feeling like I don't have my act together, but then the second I realize how I can improve I get excited to try again. I guess I'm saying I feel pretty far off from second-guessing this little venture, no matter how frustrated or overwhelmed I've been.

Please think nice happy thoughts for our application, hopefully floating its way towards Olympia where the Red Tape works. I want it to GET there, first of all, I want to not have to redo the entire thing, and I want to be inspected and approved in time for Valentine's Day. IS THIS TOO MUCH TO ASK, WASHINGTON STATE?

Thank you, as always, for cheering through the internet. xoxo