salted peanut butter BUCKEYES!

If you’re not from the midwest you may never have heard of the Buckeye. I have several native New Yorker friends who didn’t know what they were.

Well, I’m pleased to announce that the newest edition to the Fanny & Jane menu is our special version of this classic chocolate bon bon. Announcing the Salted Peanut Butter Buckeye! (Cheers erupt, the crowd goes wild!)

This, believe it or not, is the first new item we’ve had on the menu in quite some time!! Having been totally overwhelmed with and blessed by tons of holiday orders, we didn’t add anything new during November and December, so this is a very exciting day for me, personally. Mostly because I’m a Sweet Treat Geek.

When I was home for the holidays and stopped by my Aunt Lisa and Uncle Kel’s house (Hi, Aunt Lisa!!) for a visit one afternoon, my uncle offered me a Buckeye. They’d received an adorable box of them as a gift from a family they’re close to. I ate one and then drifted off to heaven to enjoy the peanut butter goodness. Then I ate another. Then I split another one with Kevin. Oof. They’re divine. Plus, I’m a huge peanut butter person, thanks to my grandmother, from whom I most certainly inherited my daily semi-medical need for the stuff.

And I got to thinking: We definitely need a peanut butter item on the F&J menu. I wonder if I could come up with my own recipe for these.

Then, I forgot about them. When I got back to New York a few weeks later, I was brainstorming one afternoon with my good friend, colleague, and a very knowledgeable pastry chef, James (Hi, James!!!) about what new item I should add to the menu next. And he, out of the blue, suggested the Buckeye! I couldn’t believe it. First of all, I was shocked he even knew what they were, since he’s from New Jersey. (But this guy really knows his stuff, so it wasn’t THAT shocking.) And secondly, I was so delighted that I’d had these little peanut butter wonders on the brain and he’d thought they’d make a great edition to the line too. So, of course, I’m not one to deny synchronicity. And I got to work coming up with the Fanny & Jane version.

Our Salted Peanut Butter Buckeyes are dipped in luscious milk chocolate. For a crunch, we’ve added graham cracker bits to the peanut buttery center. Also, since salty + sweet is a match made in heaven, we added a little Fleur de Sel to finish them off. They’re delicious and I’m crazy about them. I have to hide them from myself because I will literally consume dozens otherwise.

You can order some here.

day 11 – 30 day yoga challenge

I know I’ve been posting a lot of cat pictures lately, but how could I not? LOOK AT HER. They are the apples of our eye, these cats. We’re huge dorks about them. But that’s how it is with pets. You know it’s true.

Wednesday was Day 11 of the 30-Day Yoga Challenge! I’m writing this blog entry on Thursday night, after successfully completing Day 12. Very exciting. I’m really proud of myself.

Day 11, however, was an anomaly.

I woke up in the morning on Wednesday at an earlier hour than usual. Yes! The sleep schedule is improving. And I got to work on Fanny & Jane stuff right after breakfast/computer time. I ended up spending most of the entire morning and afternoon workworkworking and before I knew it, it was time to pack up and head to yoga. But first I had to ship some parcels, and I also had to organize the packages of sweets I was going to be dropping off to Simple Studios and The PIT. There was just a lot to be done! And so I got out the door a bit late and by the time I was on the subway, I’d come to accept that I wasn’t going to be able to make it to yoga class. I was going to be too late.

I felt mild panic. This is not what’s supposed to be happening, I thought. Panic over a yoga class. It’s supposed to be the opposite. “Supposed to.” Anyway, I calmed myself down and asked myself what my options were. After shipping packages I had to head off to The PIT for the first night of the new 2010 House Team sets. Definitely couldn’t miss that – big night for The PIT community! So I determined that  yoga class was not going to happen. Wow. What now? I thought. Well, I’ll just have to do some when I get home tonight. Whenever that might be.

I told myself this would be a 30-Day Yoga Challenge and I’d decided, for the most part, that I’d take hour-long yoga classes every day. But occasionally, I knew I’d have to do yoga podcasts at home OR, in the worst case scenario, only do a few minutes of yoga one day. I’m lucky to be able to fit in an hour-long class (plus the commute to and fro) every day – very lucky, but I knew there might come a strange day where I just couldn’t fit it in.

So I went to the PIT shows on Wednesday night (great shows, great time) and then I went out afterward with friends. This is something I rarely, if ever, do on Wednesday nights. I’m just not a big drinker so it’s not that fun for me to hang out at the bar for a long time. But every once in a while, I’ll go, and I’m always glad I do. Last night was a special night because we recently had auditions for House Teams (which we do every year) and lots of people were moved onto new teams, some people were cut entirely, new people were added and we we’ve all been grappling with the 2009 version of things coming to an end. These little teams are families, in many ways. We spend tons of time together and have lots of shared experiences, so it’s tough when things change. Last night was definitely a night to go out and honor that. So I was happy to be out chatting and reminiscing with my friends.

I had three or four beers! What! I felt pretty good when I got home since they were spaced out throughout the night, but that’s still a lot for me.

I arrived home around 2:30am.

And then…I did 13 minutes of yoga.

YUP!

I am SO proud of myself for this it’s ridiculous. I definitely did not want to do it and I definitely did want to go right to bed, but I knew I could just put on my pj’s, roll out my mat, and at least lay there for a few minutes and do some gentle stretching. So I did that and then some. It felt great, actually, to be stretching the day out and to just take that little time to check in with myself.

So, Day 11? Checkmark!

I went back to an hour-long class today, Thursday, and it was nice to be back. I’d missed it! But this challenge has been hard for me the past few days, physically speaking. My body is tired and some of the poses are even harder or just as hard as they always are. I might be due for a restorative class soon. (Did one last Saturday…)

I’m also struggling mentally on the mat sometimes. It’s hard to be open-hearted and not judge myself all the time. I’m working toward it, but sometimes I’m just grouchy. I felt like that all day today. Irritable, grouchy and fed up with the world. The yoga glow isn’t gonna happen 24/7, at least not after only 11 Days.

So it’s a process. As I practice not judging myself for my limitations and not expecting miracles, I’m still glad I’m doing this. I’m proud of myself.

Here’s a picture of Chawser and his dad. Kevin had just gotten home from a long weekend trip and Chawse was drunk with contentment over his return.

fanny & jane updates!

You guys! We’re doing some tweaks to our logo. This is the OLD logo (which I do love very much), and the new one won’t be too terribly different, it’ll just be updated. I’m psyched. I’ll debut it as soon as we get it from our talented and fabulous designer, Julien, who is also a good friend of Faryn’s from growin’ up.

There’s a lot going on with Fanny & Jane and it’s fun and scary and great! We’ve started selling sweets at The Peoples Improv Theater and Simple Studios concession stands, our Red Velvet Cake bites will be seen at two weddings in the coming months (Phil Wells! He’s gettin’ married!), and we’re working on a special Valentine’s Day package, which we’re going to unveil on February 1.

Oh yes – AND – we’re debuting a new menu item this week! I, for one, am most thrilled about that part.

on the yoga challenge

Today’s the first day I don’t want to go to yoga class.

I woke up late today – uuuggggh. I didn’t fall asleep until around 4am, after having watched TV, had a snack, done some computer stuff and read my book for a long time once I got home from the Harvard Sailing Team show. (Great show! Supah fun time.)

So when you don’t fall asleep until 4am, and when you usually don’t fall asleep until 4am, your body will sleep it’s full 7-8 hours.

Uuggggh. I’ve had to start letting go, finally, of being frustrated about when I wake up. I thought it would turn into this and it has. Acceptance. It’s time to accept it. But today I woke up late, even for me. And it left me feeling grumpy.

I googled “headache when you wake up,” because I had one. Seratonin levels, it said. Sure. Makes sense. I think I also grind my teeth.

I don’t wanna go to yoga class tonight. But I will. That’s the commitment I’ve made to myself, and to finding out what it will be like to push through it even on the days I don’t wanna go. I’m sure it will be good for me to get out of the house, cheer up, do something that always brings me joy, something I never regret once it’s over. Every other day before now, however, I’ve wanted to go, been excited to.

Eh, just talking about it now is making me look more forward to going, truthfully. I’m growing addicted.

I have completed seven days of the challenge and I can definitely tell a difference. My body feels thinner, leaner, and I feel strong. Also, as I’ve said, I’m sore. Not REALLY sore, but I’m sore, you know? My upper back hurts. And I am constantly cracking and creaking and popping and feeling joints realign themselves or something. I don’t know. I notice my body, that’s for sure.

I’m loving the act of coming to the mat every day. It’s certainly a spiritual experience and I love to practice being still. It’s HARD as hell, being still in mind and body, and frankly, I’m not great at it. I don’t say that as a judgment, just as an observation. But I’m working on it. And the effort is a valiant one.

Okay, I’m definitely looking forward to going now. đŸ™‚

a weekend bah mahself

My boyfriend has been out of town since Thursday night for a long weekend trip to Charleston, South Carolina. His improv group is performing in the January Comedy Festival this weekend. They’re having a blast, I’m sure. I’m so glad for him that he’s been able to escape town to a warmer climate, hang out with some great friends and spend three days straight partying and laughing.

And so, here I am. In our little apartment doing the alone thang for a few days. He encouraged (begged) me to reach out to some friends to have sleepovers or get-togethers this weekend and I love my friends and would certainly enjoy such activities. But I’m also enjoying the hell out of this total peace and quiet. I’ll see friends tonight at the Harvard Sailing Team show. Maybe I’ll even have a drink with them afterward, or maybe not. Regardless, the evening will be fun and great and we’ll laugh, like always. And then I’ll probably retreat back here to my little haven, where the cats are adorable and the TV’s always tuned to TLC.

This peace and quiet has been something I’ve needed for quite some time now. I’m incredibly content with my day to day life lately, don’t get me wrong. There’s precious little I could want or need beyond what I’ve been blessed with lately. Still, to have several days of uninterrupted personal time is always welcome in my world.

I was an only child, people. Not everyone knows what that’s like. And I’m sure it’s not the same for every only child. For me, I had a vibrant alone-life as a kid. I talked to myself and sang to myself and had a lot goin’ on in my brain all the time. I took good care of my toys and couldn’t believe my eyes when I’d go over to my cousins’ house (four sisters) and their Christmas gifts were all mixed together, strewn about the house and some already had limbs missing (the toys, not the sisters). Sure, my Christmas gifts got strewn about the house too, but I’d sooner have locked myself, the toys and a kitchen knife in the closet before I’d let someone else mess them up.

I’m still not AMAZING at sharing. Not out of selfishness – I love to share anything I have with anyone who wants it – but just due to a lack of awareness. I’ll put the milk away without offering Kevin some for his coffee. He can’t understand why I wouldn’t think of him. I DO think of him! I just forget! I grew up alone for 18 years! I’m still adjusting to there being someone else’s cup to pour milk into!

I spent plenty of time with friends, family and loved ones as a kid. I also spent plenty of time alone. Making up games, inventing rituals. I remember vividly asking my mom one afternoon what the heck I was supposed to do all day long by myself. And she said, “Use your imagination!” And I said, “My imagination’s all used up.” It wasn’t, of course. But it felt that way sometimes.

Still, don’t feel bad for the only child. They adjust – happily – to being solitary, independent individuals. I LOVE being alone now. I’ve said it a million times on this blog. I love to be around people. I’m also quite, quite content being by myself.

In December, out of necessity and thanks to the good will of my dear friends, this apartment was filled with people every day of the week. Amazingly generous people who helped me grow my small business out of the kindness of their hearts. And it was wonderful. It was also, at times, a little stressful to have the place filled with so many humans, to have to be social for so many hours each day. I loved it and I was grateful for it and I was tired from it. (Oh and also I was tired from baking a bazillion red velvet cakes. Oh yeah.)

When we went to the ‘burbs in Illinois for Christmas, I was thrilled to be around family and old friends. It was also a bit exhausting to be so social for so many days in a row. Kevin and I had several days at the end of the trip that we spent relatively alone, hanging out at my parents’ house, relaxing, eating, driving around. It was peaceful and quiet and we were lucky to have that time. (Thanks, Mom!) But I wasn’t quite alone. I haven’t gotten to the point in my relationship (in fact, I hope to never get to this point) where I consider Kev and I to be the same person. So as peaceful as it was, I still wasn’t totally by myself.

And now I finally have this solitary time, which my loving boyfriend indirectly gifts to me every once in a while when he takes road trips to different comedy festivals on the Eastern seaboard with his improv groups. If our relationship could work this way for the rest of time, I would be thrilled. Many days in a row of being together, and then, every once in a while, a few days of being apart. In these most recent instances, he gets to go off and eat, drink and be merry with a big group of hilarious friends. And I get to sit quietly on my couch sipping coffee and writing. AHHHHHHHHHHHH! What more could I ask for?!

Being in a full-time, live-in relationship is an adjustment for an only child. Sure, I’ve had roommates, but it’s not the same. Living with your significant other, and this last year and a half is the first time I’ve ever done so, implies a near-constant With-Other-ness. And that’s okay. I hope to have children and a family and I imagine much of my life going forward will be spent With Others. It’s probably better for the person who’s drawn to being by themselves a lot to have a big family, otherwise we might become hermits.

But for now, I’m still adjusting to living with another constantly. I love living with him and I love him. And Kevin and I tend to have a good deal of independence in our relationship. But I’m still adjusting to having to think about putting milk in someone else’s coffee, to letting go of control over the TV remote (something the Only Child Brain almost can’t even comprehend), to turning my radio down because someone else hates the show I’m listening to. I’m still adjusting to sharing the bed, coordinating shower time, accepting input on the decor and the grocery list. I’m still adjusting to the increase in conversation. More talking. There’s more talking now. “Honey. Please. Shush,” I say sometimes. The poor guy. He’s really good about understanding, though, when I just need to be left alone. Sometimes he will even say, without me prompting him, “You want me to shut up now.” I just smile and blow him a smooch.

Besides offering me some social rest, the alone time I’m getting this weekend also gives me the space to fully indulge in the stuff I love to do, without interruption. I’m on Day 7 of my 30-Day Yoga Challenge and it’s still really lovely. I’m sore and I can’t seem to get un-sore, but I’m learning a ton about myself and I feel physically and mentally quite strong and balanced. And I almost feel like I’m on a little Monk-like Yoga Retreat since so much of my experience for the last two days has been couched in silence and solitude. I might go crazy if this quietness were to last the full 30 days of the challenge (or would I?) but to have experienced this simplicity for even a portion of these 30 days has been really nice.

Of course, there are the cats. I come home to them each night and I chirp happily to them, while they mew back at me, about my day and what we will do with ourselves this evening. They “talk” to me and cuddle with me and sleep curled up next to me. So I’m not really, truly alone. I am so lucky to have them, these little beings. They are filled with such personality and expression and curiosity. They’re also incredibly independent creatures. Perhaps that is why I relate to them.

So, in conclusion, (Remember in 5th grade when every essay you wrote had to end with In Conclusion?) I’m having a lovely weekend. I’m enjoying my yoga (even though my thighs seem to have left my body and replaced themselves with two immovable steel beams), I’m enjoying my cats, I’m enjoying the simple meals-for-one I’m preparing for myself, I’m not making enough coffee every morning because I underestimate how much I can drink by myself, and I’m happy.

Oh, and did I mention (I didn’t) that I happen to be reading Eat Pray Love right now? This was not an intentional choice – that I would read this spiritual book at the same time I’d be embarking upon my Yoga Challenge and at the same time I’d be having a Me Weekend. I borrowed a copy from my good friend Rebecca (who just moved to LA! waaaah!!!) just before she left town last weekend. And after trying my darnedest to get through Julie & Julia (which, I’m sorry, I just can’t get through – I really disliked it…), I finally gave up one night and cracked open Eat Pray Love and, of course, haven’t put it down since. Reading that book while going on this little spiritual, independent journey of my own is almost like wearing the T-Shirt to the concert. That’s okay. I can be that guy.

day five (!) and a story

Today’s Day Five of my 30-day yoga challenge. I realized today that 30 days is a long time! Relatively speaking, of course. I’m still completely committed to doing this, I’m just coming to grips with exactly what I’ve committed to.

So far, it’s still great. I’m a little sore, but I still look forward to being on that mat every day and I’m grateful to have the time and space in my life to do this for 30 days straight. Just, uhhh, 25 more days to go! I’m not sure I’ve ever even done yoga for seven days in a row, so there will be lots of little milestones along the way here.

An interesting thing happened to me yesterday evening after I left my Gentle Flow class.

I was sitting upstairs at the Whole Foods in Union Square eating Indian Food and checking twitter on my blackberry. An older man who’d been sitting across from me a few seats down the table, who I’d happened to notice a couple times throughout my meal because he’d made a few business phone calls that I could overhear, said to me completely out of the blue, “How’s your writing?”

I laughed, almost out of surprise I guess, and then I said, “What?”

He said, “How’s your writing?”

“Why are you asking me that?” Instantly, I assumed he was trying to sell me something, or get me to do something for him. But I was also surprised to find myself intrigued. A lot of weirdo people ask you a lot of weirdo questions in New York City. It’s standard practice to ignore or diffuse immediately. But I sort of wanted this conversation to continue.

He said, “I can tell you’re a writer.”

“Why do you think that?” I asked. I guess I looked a little casual, my hair was pulled back in a loose pony tail and I was wearing a plain brown sweater, no jewelry, no make-up.

“I can just tell. It isn’t hard to tell. You’re creative. You have a creative energy about you. Someone who is, for example, in finance, has a different energy. Creative people are confident, at ease, peaceful. You seem to be open to the world around you. Someone who might work in a different sort of industry like finance or something, there’s a lot of pretense there, they sometimes seem like they’re trying to tell the world something. But artists aren’t like that. They’re open. Taking it all in.”

And so our conversation had begun.

It was hard for me to let go of the idea that he was trying to trick me. At one point, while immersed in our chat, I caught myself and reached back to check my bag which was hanging on my chair. Maybe this was all a distraction while his partner rifled through my stuff. Another long-since honed knee-jerk reaction for which I have the Big City to thank.

Nope. The bag was intact.

“That’s true about artists. I guess you’re right about that,” I told him cautiously. I was surprised by his insight. I knew what he was saying wasn’t rocket science, but I was moved that he felt compelled to share his thoughts with me.

“So are you a writer?”

“No,” I answered after thinking for a moment, knowing I was telling a bit of a lie.

“Well, then, what do you do?”

I was surprised again when, “I….I’m…well, I’m an actor, I guess. I perform comedy,” flew out of my mouth. “And I’ve opened…I have…I own a bakery,” I added, wondering how this all might be figuring together in his mind and noticing how still unfamiliar it was to hear myself say something other than, “I work at a law firm.”

“So you’re a performance artist?” he said. “Sure, I can see that. I knew you were creative. You can just tell. Where is your bakery?”

“We don’t have a storefront yet. We’re online and we have wholesale accounts,”

“Ohh, online, that’s excellent. You could make a killing doing that.”

“I hope so.”

And then he told me the story of Famous Amos, you know, from Famous Amos cookies. He said that Famous Amos didn’t even have an oven when he started out. He used his aunt’s oven. And he’d bake cookies for people in the neighborhood, in Harlem. One day he noticed that people asked him for his cookies before they even said hello to him. So he started charging people for them. Next thing anybody knew, his cookies were in Bloomingdales and on supermarket shelves.

“Plus, you live in New York City,” he said. “There are millions of people willing to spend money here.”

Again, “I hope so.”

“So you have something you love to do, something that brings you joy, and you also support yourself by being the captain of your own ship. There’s nothing better than that.”

“You’re right,” I said, nodding. “I’ve never been happier in my adult life.”

“You can succeed if you love it and you want it. You will be very successful.”

“I hope so.”

“The thing about artists is that we, the rest of the world, needs you. We go to see musicals, plays, concerts, because we have to get out of our daily routines, break out of our lives for a moment and escape. And you all provide us with that. If somebody spent an entire year never doing that stuff, never seeing music or art or experiencing the creative arts, they’d go nuts. You have to experience that raw joy.”

I just nodded and smiled and nodded. “Yes, absolutely. Yes. I guess you’re right.”

Sometimes, in a city full of so many artists, actors, musicians, writers, sculptors, painters, t-shirt screeners, mimes, clowns, singers, dancers, graffiti artists, and stand-up comedians, it’s easy to forget that there’s an entire population of people who don’t do that stuff for a living, or who don’t even do it on the side for fun.

“So you’re not a writer?”

“Well, I do write. I guess I do, yes. I don’t do it for a living. I probably will someday. I…I think I -”

“You’re probably very good at it,” he interrupted. I’d stammered through half of our conversation, something that rarely happens to me, so I’m not sure why he assumed so.

“I hope so… What’s your name?” I asked him.

“Ian,” he said. And we shook hands and I said my name.

“You take good care of yourself, too,” he said. “I can tell. You drink a lot of water. I can tell.”

“I just started a 30-day yoga challenge. Maybe that has something to do with it.”

Laughing, he said, “Maybe.”

And then it was time for me to leave. I had to get to my comedy show. I told him goodbye and that it was nice to meet him, that I hoped he had a nice evening. He told me to do the same.

I did not stop grinning for ten minutes.

Sometimes life gives you little signs and sometimes it gives you great big ones. Don’t be afraid to notice them. It doesn’t matter why they’ve occurred – divine intervention or just dumb coincidence. You’ll never know why. So it’s up to you if you choose believe they have meaning. It’s up to you to decide that they’re telling you you’re on the right path, and that they are meant to light the way in front of you.

my yoga challenge!

So, uhh, I think I’m gonna do a yoga challenge – 30 days of yoga in a row!!

I am a little scared to commit to this but we’ll just take it one day at a time and see how I feel.

I’m still riding high from finding such a great new-student deal for one month at Ishta Yoga. I’ve already been taking yoga class every other day, not at Ishta, but at other places around the city. And ever since I got the unlimited monthly membership three days ago, I’ve gone each day. So…why not give it a whirl! Seems like the perfect opportunity.

I’m loving it, by the way. I feel fantastic. But it’s only day three.

Now, I’m not going to go to a HARD class every day – some days I’ll just take a gentle flow or a restorative class. And some days I might do my yoga podcast in my living room instead. I downloaded some new ones so those will be options on days I don’t leave the house.

We’ll see what happens! I’m excited.

So far, by today, day three of my 30 days, I am noticeably feeling more relaxed and peaceful than usual and I’m also feeling stronger. I’m having fun too. It’s nice to have one scheduled activity every day. I have a few other scheduled things each week, but for the most part, my days are free to arrange as I chose. So it’s nice to put a little more structure into my life in this gentle way. Plus, I’m enjoying experiencing the different teachers, the different class styles. I honestly don’t have a bad thing to say about it.

Tomorrow I’m hoping to take a 4pm Gentle Flow class. Can’t wait!

some things i’ve learned about myself since quitting my desk job

You know how it is. Life changes, you change. You graduate high school, and then you’re suddenly several months into college, marveling at how different you’ve become in such a short period of time. I remember during my freshman year discovering a love for cheap Chinese food, tote bags, and the color yellow, none of which I liked that much before I started college.

And then you graduate college and a few months later, you realize you’ve been working in the Real World for a while now and you’re suddenly an adult! You pay bills and have an apartment and show up for work every day (most of the time). And you begin to reflect on how different your life is now, how you’ve changed. It happens over and over again. And it’s happening to me right now.

Two days ago marked exactly three months since my last day at my desk job. I’ve learned a lot about myself in these three months and, in some ways, I’m a different person than I was when I walked out of that office for the last time in October. I’m reflecting on that today. Please pardon the ego-centric nature of this post. It’s all about me and my life and what I feel and think about how things have changed in my life. A little self-centered perhaps. Then again, most posts on this blog are about me. You’ll skip it if you’re not interested, I trust.

Here are some things I’ve learned about myself, and some ways in which I’ve changed, since quitting my job.

There aren’t as many hours in the day as I thought there were. When I was working full-time at a desk job I would always complain to myself (and usually to anyone else who’d listen) about how much time I felt I was “wasting” by showing every day up to contribute to someone else’s company, someone else’s ambition. I couldn’t help but lament how much more I might be able to get done in the interest of my own goals and plans if I had those hours to myself.

And yes, I do indeed have much more time now than ever before to focus on getting work done for myself, for my goals and for my bakery. But oh boy does the time pass more quickly now. Before I know it, it’s 6pm and the sun’s gone down (damn you, Winter!) and it’s time to find some dinner. I guess time passes verrrry slowly when you’re working at a desk job you don’t like, and, conversely, time passes very quickly when you’re happily doing your own thang.

My true sleep rhythm doesn’t care what I want.
I’ve talked before about My Big Sleep Problem. If I let my body do exactly what it chooses to do, I will be awake until 4am each night and wake up at 11am each day. This is not a schedule that is conducive to Being a Productive Part of Our Society. Or maybe it is a perfectly fine schedule, maybe plenty of people get by on that schedule. But I’d personally prefer to sleep and wake at more common times. My body, however, has other plans. I didn’t fall asleep last night until FIVE O’CLOCK IN THE MORNING. AHHHGGRRHHHH. I’m bound and determined to change this issue, hopefully this week. But should my efforts fail, there may come a time when I just have to accept that this is my natural rhythm. On the flipside, my propensity to keeping these odd hours means I will be well-suited to being a new mom. Or a graveyard shift employee.

Taking regular daytime yoga classes is a wonderful luxury that I am lucky to be able to afford myself.
This is not something I did quite as much in late 2009 as I’d hoped I would. Mostly because I was working myself ragged baking yummy sweets for the masses and I barely ate or slept, let alone practiced yoga. But 2010 so far? Oh baby. I’m having a yoga revolution. I have, at minimum, taken a yoga class every other day since January 1. Sometimes more often. And I’m just loving it. I’m finding the cheapest classes in the city – the special deals, the “community” classes – and I’m enjoying the hell out them. It’s brought such a lovely sense of peace and strength into my life to be practicing regularly – I feel alive. And best of all! I went to a free open house class yesterday at Ishta Yoga in Manhattan and discovered at the end of the class that they were having a one day deal where I could buy an UNLIMITED MEMBERSHIP FOR ONE MONTH FOR $40. WHAT. That is the cheapest deal that’s ever crossed my path. Month-long memberships are usually hundreds of dollars here in NYC. $40 is an absolute steal. And this place is wonderful, the class I took was great, the energy and vibe of the studio are really nice, and I’m excited to try it out for a month. I *might* just go once each day. AAAHHH! AWESOME BUT CHEAP YOGA! My dream come true.

If I don’t give myself things to do, I will gladly lay around and watch TV.
Maybe you wouldn’t. Maybe you don’t like Oprah as much as I do. Maybe you wouldn’t buy stock in TLC if you had extra money to throw around. Maybe you don’t think “Little Miss Perfect” is the best scary show on television and maybe you don’t care what John Stewart has to say about the state of the world. Maybe you don’t want to see a group of obese people workout for 12 hours a day and drop hundreds of pounds before your very eyes. Maybe we are different.

Before I quit my job, I barely watched any TV. I was never home! And now that Kevin and I are both working from home we actually make it a rule to rarely have the TV on during the day. Even so, I’ve still got to keep full running lists of what needs to get done in my world. Because without that inspiration and direction, Oprah starts at 4pm every single day.

I feel happier and more sane when I’m not rushing around or cramming my days full of every possible activity and task. My new and welcome reality is that I generally feel much more peaceful now than I did before I quit my job. I’m just more relaxed, not as stressed out, not as anxious, more confident and content. It’s nice. I absolutely do not lead a perfect life. All my problems have not been solved. I still don’t always do the dishes when I should, I still have to fight myself to get more veggies into my diet. I still argue with my boyfriend and get annoyed with people and I still hate cleaning the apartment. But that stuff aside, I’m much more content now.

The pace of this town leads many of us, especially when we’re in our early twenties and have just graduated college and are shot as if out of a canon into the real world, to believe that we have to fill every hour of the day with something that’s going to advance our careers OR something that’s going to help us unwind because of how hard we’re trying to advance our careers. People in this town work hard and play hard. And it’s exhausting. Since quitting my job, I’ve given myself permission to live a more gently-paced life. It’s important to me. My internal clock has begun to slow down and I’m no longer exhilarated by the idea of leaving the house at 8am and go-go-going until 1am. I spent almost the entire decade of my twenties living with that pace as my norm. I have a new norm and I like it.

I like to spend time alone. I knew this before, I know it more now. There seems to be no such thing for me as too much alone time. Sure, I like to see my friends and interact with other humans. But hours and hours of quiet time to myself suits me just fine too.

I believe in high-quality self care.
I realize that sounds cheesy as hell, especially when I use the term “high-quality.” It’s like I’m talking about administering top-level treatment to myself at a hospital. I just mean that I believe in taking good care of myself. If I’m not going to do that for myself, who’s going to do it for me? Someday I’ll be a mom and have a family and many more priorities and To Do’s and it will be much harder for me to put myself first. So I’m taking advantage of the luxury of this time and space while I can.

I thrive off challenge.
The December madness of Fanny & Jane was surreal. It was not a humane time for me, nor for Kevin. There was no sleeping and no eating and the wearing of the same outfit a lot of the time. But it wasn’t horrific by any means. It was hard, but it wasn’t my worst nightmare. It was simply an incredible challenge. And although I will, next time, be better prepared for such a challenge and will not let things get that nutty, I learned, in retrospect, that I work well in those situations. I am good under pressure and my brain loves the difficulty. An interesting thing to learn about oneself, for sure.

When I put my mind to something it will get accomplished. See above.

I love to spend time with my family and hope that we all live closer together someday.
I knew this one too before I quit my job. But it was reaffirmed for me over the holidays. Plus, now that I’m living a life more in line with the one I want for myself, I know for sure that my family needs to be part of my day to day world. I’m not sure if that will ever happen in a physical way – that some of us will live in the same place – but I hope it will. My cousins, for instance, are some of my best friends. They are beautiful women and I like them too. Maybe they will move to New York. They protest when I bring it up, but maybe one day they will wake up and all their stuff will be moved to New York and they will have no choice but to come live here. I mean, who knows. Stranger things have happened.

I’m having a great time being a young adult. It’s really great! Sometimes it’s hard to grow up – stuff happens like people you love do hurtful things that make you go, “Huh?” or your dear friends move far away because this is the time of our lives when that stuff happens, or you’re broke or you don’t have health insurance. But for the most part, it’s really pretty great. You get to go to the weddings of your best friends, you get to meet the babies of your high school besties (Hi, Heather and Jeff!), you get to watch people you knew in middle school turn into grown-ups while you turn into one yourself, you get to experience young love and you get to make big life decisions, some of them for the first time ever, and you also get to stay out late and play with your friends and get over your hangovers relatively quickly. As I young adult, you get to have many of the perks of being a kid and many of the perks of being an adult and I am NOT taking it for granted, not for one second. I’m having a great time.

I no longer view my life in terms of “someday.” This is it. Here. Now. It’s surprisingly relaxing to realize that.

If I trust myself, stay hopeful and believe in what’s possible, good things really do come to me.
It happens time and again.

I may have a sugar addiction. I’m okay with that. I haven’t done a daily dessert blog in months. But that doesn’t change the fact that I’m still eating dessert every day. I had, for instance, one of the best cookies of my life last night. And some other cookies today. That’s how it is.

I can get by without spending much money at all. There’s not very much that I need or want besides yoga classes and Chipotle burritos.

I am blessed, beyond measure. I have had so many cool opportunities in my young life, and I’ve had so many second chances. I’ve met so many wonderful people, I’ve been blessed with so many smart, strong, hilarious friends. I am in a loving, supportive relationship with my best friend, I have two adorable cats who bring me joy literally every single day and I live in the greatest city in the world. Oh yeah and I’m living my dream. Nothing’s perfect, but everything is just right.

the perfect brownie

You guys! So we’re having a brownie sale over at Fanny & Jane dot com.

I told you I’d tell you about, so now I am.

It’s called The Perfect Brownie Sale and it lasts until Monday. Our amazing brownies are 50% OFF!

And! We’ve also added a new feature to our online shop – Flat Fee Shipping. Meaning you can order anything you want and you’ll only pay $6.95 for shipping. Never more, never less.

To place an order, go to fannyandjane.com and, at checkout, use the code: browniebliss.

So, why a brownie sale, you ask?

Well, our brownies are really the unsung heroes of our menu. They’re the very first recipe we ever created, in fact. When Faryn and I set out to start a baking business, we initially thought we might do just brownies. We both loved brownies, spent years of our lives honing our abilities to recognize what we considered to be the perfect brownie. So when we started to try out recipes and play with ingredients, we just focused on the brownie.

Our desire to bake sweets quickly expanded to other varieties, but not before we tried a handful of brownie recipes, taste-tested them on our friends, and selected the one that made us go, “Whoa.” That was something we’d agreed upon before we started baking. Which ever one we end up picking had to make us say Whoa. And the one we chose ended up becoming the cornerstone of our menu. Our classic fudge brownie.

Some of our wonderful customers who supported us during 2009 started coming out of the woodwork to sing the praises of these brownies. We were flattered! It’s easy for the brownies to be forgotten when there are Red Velvet Cake Bites to consider, but they remain one of my very favorite sweets on our menu.

I’m almost reverent about them, right?

Well, they make me say Whoa.

the coffee shop

Before I get down to a proper entry today, I have to wish a great, big Happy Birthday to the one and only Michelle Ward, the When I Grow Up Coach! Have a wonderful day today, Michelle! I have a feeling this next year is going to be huge for you.

………

So, my day to day schedule is a bit of a different animal right now than it was at the end of 2009. When I left my job in mid-October last year, I was able to spend a few weeks relaxing, enjoying my free time, and letting each day take me where it would. But my ambitions quickly got the best of me and I ended up diving headfirst into what would ultimately become the Fanny & Jane 2009 Holidaze Craze. During that period, I worked long hours, slept very little and always had a To Do list that was longer than there were minutes in the day for me to tackle it. If you were along for that ride, you know what a boot camp it was.

And now that December is well behind us, vacation has been enjoyed, and we find ourselves right in the thick of January, with its bitter winds and limited daylight, my days look very different than they did a month ago when I was constantly covered in chocolate, flour and anticipation. And figuring out what to do with all this unstructured time has been an interesting challenge. I’m met with a feeling like the one I had in the weeks just after I quit my job, before the bakery got really busy – What day is today? What am I doing with my time? How can I possibly be expected to wake up before 10am?

Of course there’s plenty to do, there always is. I could do laundry, I could clean, I could get a head start on my taxes. I could finally rearrange the light bulb/garbage bag/cleaning supplies cabinet under the sink.

But ugh! Who wants to do any of that!? Rearranging cabinets is the kind of thing I do when we’re already cleaning the house. Or when I can’t find something I need and I end up spilling everything out on the floor and throwing half of it in the trash in a furious fit of There’s Too Much Crap I Never Use In This House We’re Selling Everything And Moving To The Woods Are You Coming Or Not Pack Up The CAAAATS!

And why would I ever want to avoid that kind of frenzy? That stuff gets me up in the morning.

Kevin and I are both working from home now and as lovely as it can be, as happy as I personally am to be, say, sitting at my kitchen table sipping coffee at 11am on a random Thursday, rather than answering a constantly ringing switchboard, it’s a little harder to focus at home on days when there’s nothing urgent to be focusing upon.

I definitely have bakery stuff to work on – lots of it, in fact. I am committing in 2010 to growing and building Fanny & Jane to the best of my ability. I’m going to continue to be a full-time business owner this year and find out where that takes us. And that’s great. So some days I have to spend the entire day baking, which is a lovely way to spend an afternoon and certainly makes one feel productive. But other days, the bakery work is strictly computer work – bank accounts, customer service, invoicing – all the little administrative odds and ends that go into running this biz.

And when the sunlight’s pouring in the front windows and your boyfriend wants to chit chat and your favorite news anchor is just so delightfully dry and clever, it’s hard to sit down and focus on computer work.

So Kevin and I together decided yesterday that we had to get out of the house if we were going to get any work done. We got up, got showered and dressed (a bit later than we’d planned to, but nobody’s perfect) and finally made our way to a comfy coffee shop two subway stops from our apartment. It felt like a mini-commute, as I lugged my mom’s old laptop (thanks mom!) in my bag. We arrived at the coffee shop and instantly found two plush chairs and a table where we could nestle in.

I realize that the custom of someone without a regular 9-5 desk job spending some daylight hours at a coffee shop, borrowing WiFi and sipping something warm, isn’t a new one. But can you believe it’s the first time I personally have done it – perhaps ever? I never had my own laptop until my mom and step dad generously donated their old one to my cause. Plus, until recently, I’ve had a 9-5 desk job for as long as I can remember. So there just hasn’t been an occasion to do work at a coffee shop.

As you can imagine, I was smitten with the experience. It was a blast! And sort of a dream come true.

The sunlight was streaming into the window in my little nook, I enjoyed a bran muffin and a cup of coffee whose flavor I did not care for, but whose fancy mug, I delighted in. And I sat in that corner for several hours, accomplishing task after task. You really come up plenty to do on the ol’ computer when you’ve left yourself no other option. I banged out emails I’ve been meaning to send for weeks, I worked on spreadsheets, I brainstormed, I researched. It was a productive few hours. I’d like to think that I would have gotten that much done had I been at my desk at home, but we all know that’s not true. For one thing, Oprah comes on at 4pm and if I’m home for it, you can bet I’m watching it. (Unless it’s a rerun or one of her concert-shows, for which I do not tend to care.)

So all, in all, that coffee shop experience was a lovely time. And even though I am not able to pack up and head out again this morning, the excitement of getting so much done yesterday has inspired me to wake up early today, make some breakfast and coffee and sit down at my kitchen table, crack open the the laptop and officially get some more work done! I think I’m onto something here. Isn’t it nice when you find a way to trick yourself into being productive?

I wonder if I’m making it sound like I’m remedial when it comes to my time management skills. Let’s just say that I’m a recovering time-waster. As a kid, I could waste time like it was my career path. Now that I’m an adult, I try to keep a leash on that tendency, but my true nature is always there under the surface.

I have a feeling you’re going to be hearing a lot more about my trips to the coffee shop.

Oh, by the way! Stay tuned for a big Fanny & Jane sale this afternoon! If you miss it on Twitter or Facebook, I’ll post something this evening on follow my bliss.