Sunday, November 28, 2010

"Constant change is a way of life for a small business."

Dear fortune cookie,

This is only a little bit eerie.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Stranger than Fiction
"Dog Days are Over" by Florence and the Machine on repeat
Louisville-bound tomorrow!


Starry-eyed, wishful-thinking Erica. Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Bakery Inspiration: Baked NYC

Deb at Smitten Kitchen mentioned Baked NYC's cooking of delightful baked goods, and of course I had to check it out. Things I really like about Baked?
  • Branding. The owners both worked in advertising and graphic design, so naturally, the website is slick yet inviting, the photographs are artful, and the storefront itself is quite clean-lined and distinct.
  • Diversity of Products. This is one thing I certainly want to achieve in a future business--a flexibility in the goods I offer. I love that they offer elegant cakes alongside made-from-scratch marshmallows, whoopie pies, seasonal tarts, scones, monster cookies, lemon bars, and so on. It's exciting to me to be able to offer a variety of baked goods. The more, the merrier!
  • Unpretentious Products. One of the owners, Matt, "wanted to open a bakery that celebrated American desserts beyond the cupcake." I agree with this sentiment. I want to baked goods I offer to be a reflection of what people really eat and enjoy, comfort foods. This does not imply that I don't want to branch out on any limbs or try anything particularly sophisticated, but overall, I want the feel to be relaxed and homely.

Does anyone have particularly good bakery suggestions for me?

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Kind of an Important Update

Dear reader,

This weekend was astoundingly busy--after all, I drove to D.C. with 70 other members of my college to attend the Rally to Restore Sanity. But I sort of neglected to update you all on a kiiind of important even that happened this last Thursday:

I was let go from my job.

As you probably know, I work(ed) at a small cake shop here in central Kentucky, which only opened its doors this past January. The turnover for employees has been incredible, and I was a veteran, having worked nearly seven months (which, I realize, is not a very long period of time, but it is for a college student.)

The, erm, firing was actually fairly amiable. I did cry, but I felt sort of relieved. I can set myself in my boss' shoes and understand her thought process on this, even though I think she made a mistake--though I do not want to seem at all like I'm going to get all cocky about it.

Some her reasoning was quite faulty: for example, she held me responsible for tasks around the shop that I was not hired nor trained to do. I was the only jill-of-all-trades around the shop besides my boss, but I did not know the finer points of anything but my detailed fondant work. I guess I could be angry about this, but she didn't step on my toes too much.

Beyond that, she argued that I seemed spread too thin, and though I don't want to think she let me go out of the goodness of her heart, I appreciate this realization. She wants an employee who is more flexible. It's true--I've got classes and meetings to attend! But recall that I am otherwise nearly as flexible as I can be without totally snapping. I routinely stay until 3 am. In the summer, I regularly worked overtime. I can't get much more flexible, and if this is something to still call me out on, I laugh at its absurdity.

Since I am supposed to kind of keep track of my moods and thoughts with my depression, here are my thoughts regarding how the firing played out:

I'm a little proud of myself. I handled the situation with dignity, and was honest and assertive when I felt it appropriate. I cried, but nothing's wrong with crying. The work had been a huge part of my life, for better or worse, and I appreciate the paycheck. Mostly, though, I learned a lot. I learned I really, really, really like creating things, especially things that bring smiles, warm tummies, amaze the eyes, or all three. I learned distinct ways I would NOT want my business to progress, and ideas to inspire me. The firing was a slap in the face, certainly, but I managed to remain calm and reasonable. For that, I think I can be proud of myself.

P.S. I'm in the process of switching over from Celexa to Prozac, and so far I really, really like it. I am feeling glimpses of what I used to feel like fairly often, and it makes me very happy.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Potential Name: Brown Paper Bakery

Any feedback is welcome!

All in the details.

It's interesting. Although I am vague about my actual plans to start a bakery--in that, well, I'm in college, and I can't exactly start this very instant on painting the walls and working in quickbooks--I do get excited/obsessive about the details of the business. I need to name the place, first of all--I guess that's a bit of a big deal, right?! And in the meantime, I like to think about things as packaging design, and custom stamps, and making business cards.

It's all very fun, yet kind of tiresome. It's like... when I was imagining my future wedding in middle school. It was and exciting creative mental exercise for me, but as with anything I get too preoccupied with at an inappropriate period of my life, I start feeling weighed down by all that is in my head compared to so little that is concrete and before me. I feel an intense frustration when my mind is filled with so much passion and color as a Holi festival, and yet I feel powerless to create something with my own two hands. How can I channel this energy into something productive and creative?

I've thought about selling royal icing flowers on Etsy. I don't think it would exactly be wildly profitable, but it's a start. You know, I could even sell homemade marshmallow fondant! But, my mind remembers, I live in a dorm, and I certainly do not own a stand mixer. Yet!

Do you have any thoughts or suggestions? What are good ways to channel my creative energy?

How do you effectively plan for events in the far-ish future? That's really the question I'm interested in. I have a hard time planning anything at all. Advice?

Monday, October 25, 2010

Time out for me.

Though I am hot and cold about my current place of employment, I naturally always enjoy the pay off. This time I bought a passel of books, and I am so pumped about them. This is not about my future business or creative endeavors directly, but, uh, my own personal self-improvement can only help those things, right?! Right.
So, I bought:

As per Lauren's suggestion on her guest post on APracticalWedding, I'm hoping this book will inspire and empower me. In gender studies, I come across a lot of depressing literature, and this, I hope, will be refreshing.

I bought Bluets, by Maggie Nelson, The Ethics of Ambiguity and The Second Sex (in a beautiful hardcover of the most recent translation) by Simone de Beauvoir, and Giovanni's Room, by James Baldwin, for a class. I am very excited. If only I had time to read anything beyond assignments for class!