i’m afraid of the dark

Kevin spent the night at his parents’ house last night. He went up to Rockland in the late afternoon on Sunday for Mother’s Day dinner and then stayed over night to attend his brand new nephew’s Bris this morning! Kevin’s sister Lisa gave birth to beautiful Baby Kyle early last week!

I didn’t go along for the big event because I wasn’t feeling 100% when I got home from Long Island on Saturday night, and woke up Sunday morning still under the weather. So I figured I should keep myself away from the newborn in the family.

I’m sad I didn’t get to go. But since Kevin and I both work from home right now, it’s rare that I get to have several hours in our house by myself and I’m always grateful when the opportunity presents itself.

On the flipside, I’m afraid of the dark.

It’s true. It’s pathetic and true. In fact, I’ve been afraid of the dark since I was a kid. I always slept with a nightlight when I was little, I could freak myself out with the best of them, and I even achieved my one and only trip to the emergency room for stitches when I was 10 years old because of my fear of the dark. (I was hurrying to get back into the house after running out to the garage to get something from the car. It was dark, I was panicked, I knew I’d heard a wolf growling at me, I was sure I was moments from death and in my frenzy I caught my hand on a piece of broken glass. Better that than being eaten alive by the Darkness Monster.)

So when the boyfriend, who is obviously a serial killer deterrent when he’s here, goes out of town, I go on high alert. I check inside all the closets and behind all the doors. I even check inside the cabinets and the fridge, just in case some ingenious murderer has figured out how to stash himself among our leftovers. You can never be too careful. I watch enough crazy killer shows to know that.

And, yes, that’s obviously a big part of the problem. I watch a lot of crazy killer shows. But I never watched that stuff when I was little and I’ve had this phobia since long before I was addicted to Forensic Files. So I’m going to propose that watching those shows doesn’t make me more afraid. It makes me more prepared.

So I slept on the couch for much of last night – with the TV and three lights on. Because I have a problem.

I’m gonna go check the bedroom closet now. It might be daytime, but murderers are unpredictable.

march

I watched the season finale of The Bachelor last night, after not having seen a moment of the show all season long. And while I watched, I uploaded some photos from our DC trip to this here blog so y’all could see what we did! Except then something went awry, the photos didn’t save, and those are two hours I can never get back. (Because of the photo debacle AND because of The Bachelor.)

We had a fantastic trip – it was ideal. Kevin and I met my mom, grandma and step dad at our hotel on Friday night. They’d flown in from Chicago for the weekend and we’d bus’d down from NYC, having just barely gotten out of the city in the midst of a crazy snowstorm. We had a blast traveling around the DC area together, seeing the sites, enjoying their bars and restaurants and stuffing ourselves into the back of cabs to get from place to place.

The Harvard Sailing Team show at The Kennedy Center was fantastic! There were over 500 people in our audience! I could not believe it – we’d certainly never performed for that large of a crowd before. It’s a whole different animal, doing a sketch comedy show for hundreds of people instead of the 60 that can fit into The PIT, the theater where we perform our weekly show in NYC. We had a great time and felt good about our performance.

It was the perfect little weekend trip and I was so glad to get to experience it with my family. It was a great way to spend time together – exploring another city in a whirlwind weekend.

But, of course, as soon as we sat down on the bus to head home, I started to feel like I was coming down with something. And now I have a full blown head and chest cold that has me feeling pretty miserable.

So I’m playing it safe and taking the week off from baking for Fanny & Jane. You can never be too careful or too clean when you work with food.

One of the best aspects of the DC trip was how I felt when I got back to New York, my ailment aside, of course. I was grateful to have had a weekend of drinking, eating and playing, but I also felt really ready to embrace Monday, March 1 with open arms.

I am not a winter person. I like the way the snow looks, I like the festive feeling of the holidays, but I really hate the cold and I really hate the often-dreariness and I really hate that it’s not spring or summer. Period. January and February are always difficult months for me. I don’t feel motivated, I sleep a lot, and I am drawn to heavy, fatty foods. I know I’m not the only person that experiences that and it’s no secret that the colder temps and the lack of sunshine does a real number on people every year. I’m definitely one of those people.

So March 1 is always a welcome date in my world. I know that I won’t wake up that morning to instantly warmer weather, chirping birds or blooming flowers, but it’s at least one step closer to those things.

I went to sleep early on Sunday night, exhausted from the busy weekend (during which I drank a lot of alcohol!), and feeling sickly, and so I decided to use that opportunity to get up early on Monday morning, something I’ve struggled with since I quit my job back in October. I set the alarm, made a list of the things I wanted to accomplish with my Monday, and made sure we had coffee to brew.

As much as I’m a natural night owl, I do find I get more accomplished and generally feel better about my productivity level when I get up earlier. So on Monday I woke up early, got my day underway and was able to get a lot of business stuff done. Plus, I even did my taxes! And went to the grocery store! Impressive, if I do say so myself. I also went for a jog in the balmy 47 degree weather and did a little yoga in the living room. It was a good day and I felt like it kicked my March off right.

This month also begins my three-month hiatus from Harvard Sailing Team, a decision I made a few weeks ago and blogged about here. As much as I’m going to miss the team and doing weekly shows with them, this was the right decision for my life right now.

Interestingly, I was looking at my planner on Sunday night, thinking about the week ahead, and I felt a bit of anxiety when I realized I didn’t have any obligations on Tuesday night OR on Saturday night, two nights during which I’ve historically been busy with HST. Having that time to myself (and to focus more on the business) during the upcoming three months is exactly why I decided to take this break, but when confronted with the reality of those extra hours, I felt a bit panicked. What am I going to do with that time? What if I’m lonely or bored or don’t have as much to get done as I thought I did? What if I feel isolated or like I don’t have any friends? You don’t have to come up with ways to spend your time when it’s already decided for you. This Tuesday/Saturday commitment has been a staple of my schedule for years and years. And I suddenly have that time back to myself for three months. WHO AM I NOW?!

And that, my friends, is exactly why I need this break. To find out what the hell I will do with that time when it’s totally up to me. It’s just two nights a week, but in many ways it’s much more than that for me. It takes up mental space and it gives me an excuse to put other things off. If there was something else in my life that I could have taken a hiatus from for three months in order to free up two nights a week without penalty, I would have. But there wasn’t anything else that would have allowed that right now. I’m lucky that this group of people is supportive and understanding enough to provide me this opportunity and that I’ll be able to go back  to it when the three months is over.

In the meantime, I’ve started to curb my anxiety about not having a standing Tuesday/Saturday evening activity. Maybe I’ll write more, maybe I’ll do nothing, maybe my business mindset with flourish and I’ll start coming up with brilliant ways to make millions. The possibilities are endless. My Aunt Lisa, a very wise lady, once told me, “Sometimes you have to leave a space in your life empty for a little while before you discover what will take its place.” Very true. She’s very smart. Then again, she also gets lost on her way home from Starbucks, so maybe I should take her advice with a grain of salt. 😉 (Love you, Lise.)

Speaking of my Aunt Lisa, she gifted me these gorgeous flowers last week with a card that told me to “Break a leg!” at The Kennedy Center. I love them!!

Happy March, everybody.

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. 🙂

back to work!

Being home for the holidays was really nice. I actually feel mentally prepared to return to a working lifestyle tomorrow morning. I wouldn’t turn down another week of vacation – I’m sure I could find some way to fill the time – but I’m looking forward to returning to a bit of structure too.

It’s currently Sunday night, and we’ve been home since New Year’s Eve. We’ve done next to nothing during this long weekend back in Brooklyn and I, for one, have enjoyed that very much. Kevin and I have watched movies, gone to the movies, gone out to dinner, met dear friends for brunch and laid around the house. SO. GREAT. And I have a loose plan for tomorrow, a to-do list in place, and a plan to hit up a middle of the day yoga class in the city. A wonderful way to ease out of vacation, if you ask me.

As I said, being home was lovely. It wasn’t perfect. There was some minor family drama, about which I’d never go into detail here because a.) who cares and b.) you don’t blog about family drama, minor or major. I love my family very much and sometimes it’s challenging to all be together in a big group for a bunch of days at once. That’s okay. That’s how families are. Beyond the expected stress that the holidays can bring, I had a carefree trip.

We ate a lot, for one thing. And in keeping with one of my new year’s resolutions, I am not going to get all over my own case about that, because that’s silly. I simply state it as a fact. I think I met my quota of red meat, fast food and lack of nutritional value for a while. And I did so pretty joyfully. This guy didn’t seem to mind either.

I introduced him to some essential midwest cuisine including Culvers, where the cheese curds are world-famous. He liked ’em.

We did a lot of driving too, which is something we never get to do in New York because we don’t own a car. We drove five hours down to my grandparents house in Quincy, we drove down to the city of Chicago a couple times, and we drove all around Crystal Lake, up and down the roads where I learned to drive, where I dropped high school friends off at their houses before curfew, where I became independent. It was a blast.

I read a lot, got to spend some time with my mom’s cats and my cousin Trisha’s dog, watched a lot of bad TV and basically left the crazy baking weeks that led up to this vacation behind me. There was even a point surprisingly early on in the trip when I actually felt like spending another day baking and packaging and being on my feet all day might not be so bad. Truth be told, there was never a time when I swore off the whole experience entirely. I learned a ton from all the work we did – what I want, what I don’t, when I need to ask for help, how to potentially grow this little business. It’s very exciting!

The lovely thing about making your own schedule is that when it’s not an overwhelmingly busy time you can give yourself a little leeway and take things as they come. Still, I am looking forward to waking up tomorrow morning and putting my vacation goggles away for a little while.

january 1, 2010

Happy New Year, all!

You may have noticed that I took a little vacation from the blog. Truth be told, I took a vacation from everything. And I’m still riding it out. I return to “work” on Monday, January 4, like much of the rest of the world will. The last two weeks have been many things, but they’ve mostly been blissful.

First, I have to mention that this blog turns 1 year old on Tuesday, January 5. That fact has been on my mind, along with the memory that this time last year found me finally making some concrete decisions about what the next 12 months would bring into my life, and deciding to write a blog about it. It’s amazing what can happen in a year.

That bit aside, there are so many things I want to tell you guys about my journeys over the last two weeks, but I’ll save them for upcoming posts. I got lotsa great pics I’m excited to share too.

I will tell you that Kevin and I left our apartment to head to the airport at 5am on Saturday 12/19. We hadn’t slept a wink when we got in the cab to make our 7am flight. A snowstorm was about to hit the East Coast and our Saturday afternoon flight had been canceled. So we spent all Friday night and early early Saturday morning cleaning the house and preparing to leave on an earlier flight that might beat the storm. It was a most appropriate end to the insane two weeks (er…two months?) that had just graced our lives. In retrospect, it was almost ridiculous to have assumed that anything other than a crazy late night of rushing around and never sleeping would have occurred.

Still, we arrived in Crystal Lake, Illinois, my hometown, around 9am Saturday morning and in one piece. I was so grateful for the huge, warm bed my mom made up for us, the delicious breakfast she prepared for us, and the amazing nap we took all afternoon. When we woke up we were finally – FINALLY – on vacation. And I didn’t look back.

Flash forward to last night, New Year’s Eve, when Kev and I arrived back in New York late at night and barely made it to our apartment in time to grab some late night take-out and catch the ball dropping on TV. I crashed into bed shortly after that, and woke up today eager to greet the new year, and excited to celebrate Kevin and my three-year anniversary.

Now that we’re home, I’m planning to ease back into my normal life. Although traveling isn’t always stress-free, I ate up every moment of this two week break. I haven’t been out of the city for that long in over seven years.

Today, January 1, 2010, was a wonderful day in my life. I told Kevin last night that I’d noticed a yoga place in Park Slope was holding a detox flow class at 12:30pm on New Year’s Day, and that I was going to go to it.  Luckily, he didn’t mind, which was very good of him considering it was our anniversary. After my yoga class we met up for a movie and a nice, long dinner. We saw Sherlock Holmes, which we both loved, and then went to dinner at a popular and critically acclaimed Brooklyn pizza place called Franny’s. We’d gotten a generous gift certificate for Franny’s, a place we’d been dying to try, from our landladies for Christmas and we figured this was the perfect night to use it. The food was incredible. We literally oohed and aahed over each dish. And I can’t wait to tell you about the whole experience. Soon!

We’re now tucked onto the couch watching Lord of the Rings and doing computer stuff. And I could not have asked for a more perfect day. Also, I love this guy. He’s my best friend.

The yoga class I took today was wonderful. It was exactly what I needed to mentally and physically feel like I’d made a good choice on this first day of the year. On my way there, I remembered the first ever yoga class I took at Bend & Bloom, the simple little studio a few subway stops from our apartment. It was almost a year ago that I timidly walked to their studio, unsure what to expect. I hadn’t been practicing yoga for very long and I certainly hadn’t been to many (if any) formal classes beyond the ones my gym offered. My friend Jen was going to be teaching the class and I was also eager to ask her some questions afterward about her experience as a yoga teacher. I had just begun my search for What Would Come Next in my life, and being a yoga teacher was near the top of the list of things I wanted to explore.

That day a year ago, I snapped a photo of the classic Brooklyn street I walked down on my way to the class and I wrote this short blog entry afterward. And today, almost a year later, I took a photo from a similar perspective.

I knew the streets themselves, just a year apart, probably wouldn’t look very different. But my perspective has changed. I remember walking to that class a year ago feeling a sense of sadness and uncertainty. I was sad to have returned to work after the holiday break, I was facing the gloom of January as best I could and failing, and I just felt like discovering a new direction was going to be tough.

Today when I took a photo of the street I walked down on my way to class, I felt peaceful and content. My life isn’t perfect, but as 2010 begins, as the first day of the year draws to a close, I’m happy, healthy and looking forward to what this year will bring. What more could I need?

I hope you all had a nice holiday season and are gearing back up to return to real life, if you haven’t had to already. Enjoy these last few days of relaxation, if you can. One of my resolutions for 2010 is to take loving care of myself and my body whenever possible (and it’s always possible). I hope you will spend some time doing the same. It’s important to make yourself your first priority.

the light!

It’s dim, but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, you guys!! Last night, after making major headway by putting some time consuming finishing touches on a huge order that’s going out this morning, I crashed into bed and slept like a rock. I woke up at 7am on the dot and although I hadn’t slept more than six hours or so, my body was ready to get this DONE. Today is the big day. One huge order will be picked up by a messenger this morning (we’re talking 30 large cake boxes that are currently stacked in my living room), and the other, even larger order will be packaged up all day today and shipped out tomorrow morning.

I. Cannot. Wait.

Today is going to be a long one. There’s a lot to get done. There’s some final baking to do. And then there’s just so much to package up. I have spent the last several days dreading this day because of how many little things have to finally come together. And I have spent the last several days embarrassingly begging friends and friends of friends to come over here and help Kevin and me today. I hate how much help I’ve had to ask for over the course of these last couple weeks, but I remind myself that my friends are probably happy to help. (They’ve all been so adorable about it. “It was fun!” Hmm..I wonder.)

Luckily, I think I have a small army of people coming over throughout the course of the day today. Kevin and I are both beyond grateful for that. We are both exhausted, achy and our minds are spinning. We will put the last of today’s huge order in boxes, slap shipping labels on them, and they will leave this house – hopefully via a pickup from the post office – tomorrow morning. And I might cry when that happens. Our workload won’t be over, but it will be significantly reduced. I might actually lay down on the couch and watch an Oprah tomorrow and stare off into space.

Oh my God, that will be heaven.

We’ve decided, this season, to package up our Red Velvet Cake Bites in these adorable little candy wrappers. I love them, they’re cute as can be. And I think they make the sweets that much more exciting to eat. The photo doesn’t really do them justice. (But I’m not at a stage to care right now.)

This has, without question, been one of the most challenging experiences of my life. I’ve never run a marathon, but this might just be my marathon. There are moments that occurred a few days ago, when we were just drowning in lists of things to bake, that I cannot believe we pushed through. And here we are and it’s almost over. I’ve learned a ton about myself in a very short time. Thank you for allowing me to go on and on about it.

an update, courtesy of insomnia

It’s freezing in this apartment right now.

Or, maybe it’s not that cold, maybe I’m just cold. I’m always cold. We’re talking always. It frustrates the hell out of me.

I have been, lately, taking two steaming hot showers a day. Not full soaping up every time, necessarily, but standing under the hot water so it will warm up my blood. I think I’d live in the bathtub if we had one. (Next apartment WILL HAVE A BATHTUB. Period.)

And when I’m not showering, I’m sitting two feet from the space heater. Wearing a sweater, socks and a blanket. I’m, like, cold from the inside. I guess I sound like I’m complaining. I guess I am. I apologize.

I’m cold.

I’m also awake. It’s 3:18am and I tried to sleep a little over an hour ago, and couldn’t. I’ll go back in soon and give it another whirl. I’m in the thick of it, you guys, with this bakery. The numbers are swirling around in my mind. Quantities of sweets so large they’re hard to commit to memory, frankly. So I rely on charts and my own page-long, handwritten descriptions of corporate orders and shopping lists and post it notes. Kevin’s running errands, friends are coming over to help me bake, I’m trying to make the very best use of all my time. I think I might have to close the holiday shop down a couple days early!

An interesting personal side affect of all this is that my hair has never consistently looked worse. There’s no time.

It’s also super rewarding, though! All this business! I can’t believe this has happened!! I have no idea what will happen after the holiday rush is over. I’m not worried that we’ll do no business at all, but I know things will slow down.

To be honest? I’m looking very much forward to that.

It will be a great chance to check in with where we are, to take a look back over this present chaos and learn more about how to make it easier, make it more efficient, and to continue to grow things – assuming that’s what we decide to do.

A year ago, I started a blog about quitting my job to go do who knows what. I had no idea at the time. A couple months later, I was playing around with the idea of selling sweets with Faryn. A few months after that, Faryn and I were meeting at the nearby Mexican restaurant to discuss our goals. We’d been plugging along with our little bakery biz for most of the spring and now it was May and we finally said – Okay. We’re in this. And I said I wanted to be trying to do it full time by December. (December seemed so far away, at the time.) I’m not entirely sure I believed I would actually achieve that goal. I think I was just hoping the goal would create momentum for us. But here we are. Here we are!

I’m going to wake up tomorrow and run through a list of computer to do’s. I’m going to fit in some exercise. And then I’m going to start baking. I have a holiday party to attend in the evening, to which I will also be delivering one of our Party Samplers. And then I’m going to come home and go to sleep early to do it all over again. And so on until I leave town on December 19.

Yikes!!!

Fun, scary, strange, frustrating, exciting, rewarding, interesting, exhausting and inspiring. All at once. This life right now.

Night.

daily dessert

Can you believe how long it’s been since I’ve done a daily dessert segment!? I can’t even remember the last time. It’s not that I haven’t been enjoying yummy desserts lately, but the truth is, some days I’ll only eat a little something sweet and it’s not blogworthy. And some days I’ll just eat a couple bites of Fanny & Jane leftovers. But the main reason, most likely, that I haven’t been writing daily dessert lately is because I’m so constantly surrounded by desserts that I haven’t been craving them as often as I used to. Smelling a fresh pan of brownies just out of the oven is enough for me to feel like I’ve satisfied my sweet tooth. Weird, right?

(Don’t worry. I’m making up for the loss of calorie consumption by eating more pizza.)

Last night, after a weekend filled with baking sweets, shipping sweets, a dinner party, a sketch comedy show performance, an all-girls sleepover with some of my Bests, a (terrible) movie-going experience, and lots of red wine, I headed home to Brooklyn to CRASH. I desperately needed to sleep off not only the very busy and very fun weekend, but also the entire last week.

I worked harder last week than I may have ever worked in my life. Naturally that’s meant to be an exaggeration, but then I think about my life and I think – Really, though, when have you ever worked this hard? It was just nonstop. And that’s not a bad thing. It is a challenge and an adjustment.

Last night when I got home I laid on the couch watching TV for the first time in forever and I marveled at how much I was able to accomplish over the last seven days – how many hours I spent each day moving, planning, organizing, arranging and troubleshooting. I ached from it all. I fell asleep at 11pm last night and slept FOR TWELVE HOURS. Yeah. Like I’m a 7-year-old kid with the flu. My body is so thankful today.

Before I landed on that couch last night, and after the horrible movie I saw (I won’t even tell you what it was for fear that you saw it, liked it, and we therefore cannot be friends anymore), I stopped at Trader Joe’s to pick up a few odds and ends. Poor Kevin has not had real food in this house in days. (He does the laundry around here. I do the grocery shopping.) I just haven’t had time to shop. So I grabbed some eggs, some fruits and veggies, and some cereal and bread at TJ’s – just stuff to tide us over until Thanksgiving. And then I saw these.

And I had to have them. They just looked so…delicious? Unique? Vintage? I don’t know. I was drawn in. When I got them home, Kevin’s interest was piqued as well and we immediately cracked open the box.

Oh my gosh they’re so yummy! I love them.

They’re salty, sweet and the maple cream filling is SO GOOD. They’ve inspired me to try to create a maple treat to add to the Fanny & Jane menu. (We’re also considering adding Snickerdoodles to the menu for December! I adore Snickerdoodles, especially when they’re the perfect combination of chewy and crispy. You know what I mean.)

I’m already enjoying this slower paced week. I have a few business-related odds and ends to finish up today and tomorrow. And I have to prepare two easy Thanksgiving side dishes. I’m also going to do a quick apartment clean and I want to get a couple good workouts in before the holiday. Beyond that stuff, I’m hoping these next two and a half days, and the long, fat, sleepy weekend that awaits us all, will be relaxing. I definitely need some time to recuperate and recalibrate before the December rush (Eeeeeeeek!!!!).

For Turkey Day, Kevin and I are heading upstate with some good friends. My best friend Adam and his parents have generously invited us to join them for their annual Thanksgiving weekend. I will miss my family for sure, but it wasn’t convenient to go home to Illinois for both Thanksgiving and Christmas this year. A few of our friends from college have been going up to Adam’s parents’ house for years and years to spend Thanksgiving together and this is the first year Kev and I will be tagging along. We can’t wait!

my birthday is tomorrow!!

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I turn 29 tomorrow. How exciting. I feel like a real adult.

I just tried to write a blog entry about my day yesterday – a trip to the grocery store, a new dinner making experience, and an awesome new gift from my honey! – but my computer effed everything up and I’m about to lose my cool.

So in the interest of maintaining my sanity, and so that I can go for a walk and get some baking done, instead of staring at this computer screen all afternoon, I’m going to post photos of yesterday and be done with it.

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I used this How To Cook Spaghetti Squash guide, and this brown sugar-glazed carrots recipe. Both dishes turned out pretty good – although I’m not sure I baked the squash for long enough. Still, a yummy, filling supper.

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Kev got home from his overnight business trip to Miami carrying this huge box!! I let myself pretend it was a puppy for a few minutes. Then I unwrapped the very next best thing: a new, fancy standing mixeraaaAAAAAAHHHH! YES. This is going to change my life.

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It’s a really nice one too. He did his research.

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I stayed up late making two red velvet cakes, which were much more enjoyable to make with my new mixer. And Kevin crashed into bed, exhausted from his whirlwind trip, and hoping to get some sleep in preparation for the TWENTY-FOUR HOURS OF IMPROV he’s about to do.

That’s right. He and his improv team, Tomahawk, are hosting a 24-hour improv festival that begins tonight and ends tomorrow at 8pm. I’m hoping to catch a show late tonight, and then maybe something tomorrow afternoon after they’ve all been awake for almost 36 hours and are probably going to be sub-humans. How could I miss out on that? As I said in an email to my good friend Keith, who is a member of Tomahawk, coming to see them in the last leg of this insanity will be Schadenfreude at its finest.

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I came to bed late last night, around 3am, which has become my usual bedtime recently. Who knows. Maybe it’s a phase, maybe I’m my grandmother’s granddaughter. But that’s where my body clock is resting right now. And who am I to argue.

When I tried to climb into bed, though, I discovered there was no room!

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The rest of the family had taken over.

Now if we could just add a dog to this bed.

after one work week

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Before I write this post, I wanted to mention that I’ve gotten a couple emails from readers recently who want to see more photos of me on the blog. Hm! This surprised me to hear, but I appreciate the feedback. I’m not sure I’m going to start adding a lot of photos of myself as a regular thing, but I’ve saturated this post with them, at least. If you don’t wanna see my face over and over, skip this entry.

Today marks the end of my first week working for myself.

My last day at the desk job was in mid October. And once I was finally free and clear, we had a big ol’ party, and then I took a vacation. It was blissful.

The vacation involved spending an entire week right here in New York doing next to nothing. Naturally, the days still got filled up – I cooked, baked, hung out with friends, saw shows, exercised, grocery shopped in the middle of the day – I didn’t end up doing much lolling around. But it was still time very well spent. I felt relaxed, in control, peaceful, content. And even though I had to constantly remind myself that this wasn’t just a vacation week from my desk job, but actually the beginning of an entire lifestyle change, I was thrilled and grateful every time I remembered.

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True to my word, I woke up on Monday morning of this week, the vacation week having ended, and got to work on my own stuff. No more laying around watching TV or drinking beer with friends at 4:30 in the afternoon. (Although if I had a strong urge to do that, I’d probably check with my boss to see if it was okay. And she (me) would probably say, HELL YES.)

This week it was finally time to focus on my own projects and to do what I set out to do when I told my old job that I was quitting: Pursue work I’m passionate about. So far, it’s been interesting. And awesome. And, at times, challenging. But I’m all in all, I’m loving it.

As I mentioned, I have decided, not surprisingly I suppose, that the bakery my girlfriend and I have been working to get off the ground since the spring, can now use some of my more focused attention. Faryn and I began building Fanny & Jane when we were both working full time, and it was hard to fit it all in. We spent lots of late nights and weekends and early mornings organizing our little business.

Before I left my desk job, I wasn’t sure if I’d want to focus some of my energy on the bakery or not.  But now that I’m here, it hasn’t taken long for it to dawn on me that the business we’ve been tirelessly setting up for ourselves would be the perfect way for me to spend my time and earn some extra money.  Besides, our recipes are burning holes in our desk drawers – why not really go for it and sell some sweets this holiday season!  So that’s exactly what we’re going to do.

And that’s precisely what most of my week this week has involved.

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(This is Faryn and me. Photo by the gifted photographer, Eric Michael.)

I spent a relatively leisurely day on Monday at the computer, emailing with Faryn, working to build our new website, complete with an online shop (which we hope to launch in the next few days!), and generally organizing myself around the idea of spending now until December 20th, more or less, baking and shipping and invoicing and baking. I took a long break in the middle of the day for a run, and I got a lot accomplished. All in all, it was a delightful day “at the office,” where my coworkers are two sleepy cats and the sunshine is right outside my front door.

Heaven. And exactly what I’d wanted and imagined when I daydreamed of quitting my job a year ago.

The rest of the week, however, wasn’t so luxuriously ideal.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not stuck in an office. And “anything but the office” has been my motto for quite some time.

But I don’t have it all quite figured out yet.

My sleep schedule has been screwy, finding me wide awake at 4am, and having to take a nap here or there in the middle of the day to catch up.

Harvard Sailing Team and Baldwins rehearsals and shows were added back into my life this week, where, miraculously, I didn’t have any rehearsals or shows during my vacation week. That’s something that happens maybe only twice a year – a week without any shows. So those things became part of my schedule again this week – not a big deal, but something to work with.

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(This is my good friend Meg and me during one of our Baldwins improv shows. Photo courtesy of the incredibly talented Keith Huang, who is also a good friend.)

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(This is me during the Harvard Sailing Team Holiday Special last December, doing a sketch with my friend Adam. This photo is also courtesy of Keith Huang, who has never taken a bad photograph.)

Not to mention, the large amount of baking I’ve gotten done this week – fulfilling several orders from Faryn’s coworkers and our friends and family. This has not been the first week that I’ve had to bake during every free moment this year, and it will not be the last. But it was the first time I was doing it instead of a full time job – baking when I would have otherwise been answering phones at reception or signing for fed ex packages.

Of course, I loved that. That, again, is why I quit. Because I imagined myself doing things like baking all day, instead of filing paperwork or sending faxes. But getting organized and staying within a baking schedule was something new and sometimes difficult.

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(That’s me standing in my mom’s kitchen in Illinois in the spring, in the middle of a long day baking sweets for my aunt’s surprise birthday party.)

A common struggle I’ve heard from people who’ve left their jobs for one reason or another is that you imagine you’ll have all this time. And then the days pass and they get filled right up and suddenly you’re busier than you’ve ever been, even though you’re no longer going to an office for 9 hours every day. I’ve had the exact same experience this week. Where did the time go!?

And I’m choosing to find a way to make peace with it all. Because I didn’t quit my job to be all stressed out and upset over how many fun, easy, cool things I now get to do all day long. Fitting them all in takes finesse, but the rewards are great and I will learn.

Forgive me if I’m repeating myself from earlier posts this week. I just needed to reiterate this for myself.

Financially, I’ve done pretty well for myself this week, which is excellent. It’s only week one, but it’s a good feeling to know that money is still coming into my life, even when I’m not a salaried employee.

I’ve learned that I need to be gentle with myself. Just because I have many more available hours in my day now doesn’t mean that I can and should pack them full and expect to accomplish everything under the sun. I cannot make promises to people that I can’t keep in terms of my time just because I’m no longer working a desk job. I cannot create a To Do list that is ten miles long and then feel disappointed, rushed, and stressed when it doesn’t get completed. I cannot be unrealistic with how much I can fit into a day. And I cannot start shoving aside the very things that I require to feel whole – like exercise, yoga, sleep, eating healthy food – in order to make everything fit into its place. I skipped a couple workouts this week and I don’t have the “I’m so busy with this stupid desk job!” excuse any more. The only excuse I have now is that I chose not to make the time for myself. It’s eye-opening to realize that the desk job wasn’t the only thing – and maybe not even the main thing – keeping me from spending my time how I wanted to.

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I’ve also been reminded this week that nothing is perfect – that even this time, which is, in theory, one of the most exciting times of my life, will still have unpleasant aspects. I will still be running late to things sometimes, and I will still have to break promises sometimes, and I will still oversleep and be upset with myself for half of the day over it sometimes, and I will still overeat sometimes, and I will still not do things perfectly sometimes. It’s life.

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(Me, just after waking up, in Charleston, SC on a trip last year with Harvard Sailing Team.)

Beyond those challenges though, this has also been an amazing week, and the net result of all this is that I’m happier than I’ve ever been in my adult life.

I realize that might sound like a grand statement, but it’s true. My life from ages 17-21 sucked, to be blunt. And then, as I improved things slowly but surely, I had to swallow the bitter pills of young adulthood that we’re all faced with: working jobs I hate, living in apartments that are crappy, living paycheck to paycheck. And as earnestly as I tried to find happiness within those unpleasant experiences, it’s not until now that I’ve finally found myself in a place where I can take matters into my own hands, where money doesn’t dictate what I do day in and day out, where I finally feel all the pieces falling into place in ways that I only dreamed of when I was 21 years old and despondent over the mess I’d made of my life.

Things are so good right now. This is all so good. I’m spending my days and nights baking sweets, taking photos, rehearsing comedy, exercising, cooking, and commuting around New York City. And I’m not broke and I’m not overweight and I’m not unhappy and I’m not uninspired and I am about to turn 29. And it’s just so incredibly good.

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(Kevin and me in Florida last year.)

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to clean up my apartment and start making a huge feast of veggie lasagna, chopped salad and garlic parmesan bread – some of my very best friends are coming over tonight for our first monthly Western Brooklyn Supper Club (which is basically just the members of Biggest Loser Club getting together to eat dinner, instead of getting together to watch Biggest Loser). I can’t wait to hang out with my friends on this HallowsEve!

Thank you again to everyone who has been so incredibly supportive and kind toward me throughout the experience of leaving my job and starting a new life. I cannot thank you all enough for your readership and for your cheerleading. I could not do this without you. And I would not be where I am right now without the experiences and friendships that writing this blog has brought into my life. So, thank you.