It’s so boring to keep talking about the weather, I know, but it’s 1 step forward, two steps back with this Spring. Didn’t I say that March could be cruel? But it’s also been the perfect analogy for the month I’ve been having (and maybe for some of you out there too, from what I read). Highs and lows, progress and setbacks. In the end though, things eventually normalize and settle. When you find that you’re still pointed in the same direction that you were headed before the most recent wave of events flung everything up in the air in a moment of confusion, then it should be confirmation enough that you’re headed in the right direction.
Self doubt and the fear of the unknown reveal the ugly side of self employment, at least for me. On the other side of the mirror, constant questioning and a future of possibilities puts a positive spin on those same states. Really just depends on which side you’re standing.
But there are signs of life and regrowth and spring if you look carefully. Never thought I would be so happy to spot the tips of bulbs pushing their way up from the ground, or the snowdrops that I would have missed if I was rushing around as usual. I don’t mean to sound like a self-help booklet, but sometimes it’s hard to keep pushing forward all the damn time, particularly when you’re not even certain where it is you’re suppose to go. But I tell you what…the grass is always greener – always – but it’s not all that it seems and often, it’s just a projection of what we want to see. I think it’s human nature to yearn for the things that we feel we are missing, whether it’s real, imagined or something that we just want. Sometimes you’re reminded of just how great your life is by other people who may yearn for something that is different in your life than what they have in theirs. By all accounts life is great, that much is true. But the constant quest to fill the holes that we perceive to be the keys to fulfillment and happiness is the fire that keeps us pushing forward. For some people, that fire burns too bright to ignore.
What I know for sure is that we all need people. We can’t do it alone. Even the zombie apocalypse tells me so (a Walking Dead reference, naturally).
Now, how’s that for vagueblogging?
Posted by Jenna | 8 Comments
Sometimes ideas incubate faster than the present technology allows. Videos and full page bleed images on the web come to mind. When I discovered the Steller App last week, I think I squealed. Now, you all know I am not the squealing type (usually), but I’ve been wracking my head trying to figure out the best format to use for a little side project that I’ve been wanting to explore. It involves video, so when I saw that Steller combines video, words and images together in a beautiful storytelling format I literally squealed, I’ll admit it.
So, I can’t help but question whether this is perhaps another nail on the coffin of blogging as we know it. I’m guessing blogging will be around for awhile, but there are so many other ways to share content now and interact with people (probably the biggest cause in the drop in comments on blogs). After a little cooling period, I’m back in love with instagram again. A few months ago I did pull back on all social media, particularly twitter and it felt good, but as a small business owner it’s near impossible to drop out completely. You have to play the game.
But this storytelling app? It seems made for the kind of stories I want to tell. I spent the weekend ignoring everything on my to-do list and made 2 stories instead. There was a bit of a learning curve, but it’s fairly simple to use. The only frustrating thing was that I couldn’t control the type as much as I wanted, but I understand why there are limitations and this is just the annoying designer in me talking. Some of the stories won’t be new if you’ve been reading here awhile as I plan on translating a few posts into storytelling format, but I have some new stories to tell as well. It’s amazing what a little app can do to reinvigorate things, isn’t it?
Story 1 and Story 2 can be seen here, but it’s best viewed on the iphone or ipad.
Posted by Jenna | 22 Comments
Owning a baking company requires consistency in product quality in every batch. Mark does admit to getting bored sometimes when he has to bake the same cookies day after day. There isn’t much time for experimentation when he’s busy fulfilling orders, but he likes to play around in the kitchen when he does find a little free time. Lately, he’s been making Rice Krispie treats. You’ve seen these if you follow me on Instagram and they’ve been selling out at the Brooklyn Flea every week. Last weekend he made S’more Krispie Treats, a variation on the open faced S’mores that he’s made for years, but we haven’t brought these to the Flea in 5 years. He was pretty excited to be torching up marshmallows again on Saturday.
My personal favorite, however, are the Brown Butter Toffee Rice Krispie Treats. Made with whisky marshmallows, they’re blended with pecans and house-made toffee. So good! He’s also been baking other large cookies that are exclusive to weekend markets – a Triple Chocolate Chip Cookie and an Oatmeal Date Pretzel Cookie. All have consistently sold out this month by the end of the weekend.
We get asked periodically why we still do the Brooklyn Flea after all these years. Sometimes we question it ourselves after a slow day. We aren’t one of those food stands that have crowds and lines of people all day, and it can sometimes be deflating when your booth is next to a vendor that does, but without a retail store (and with no plans to open one) the Flea continues to be a valuable opportunity to meet directly with customers and for Mark to get out there and represent his products. These past few weekends, however, have been golden and with the addition of these newer products, our booth has been getting steady crowds all day. It’s been a good feeling to be that booth for a change.
We have one more weekend to go for the weekend Flea in Williamsburg and then we’ll be off for a weekend until the Flea goes back outdoors on April 5th.
Oh, and press. A huge photo of our Massaman Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies in Food & Wine. April issue out in stands now.
Posted by Jenna | 10 Comments
I had lunch with a friend last week and it was one of those situations where you look around and see just how unbelievably crowded a place is midday on a Thursday and you think to yourself (or to each other with just a glance), who are all these people? Do these people have jobs? Or is this a leisurely lunch break? Of course the irony is that we were there too in the middle of the day, not working at office jobs, having a leisurely lunch, but we couldn’t help but feel like we were pretending to be someone other than ourselves and not the moms of 2 kids from a less hip Brooklyn neighborhood. So dumb, I know.
I nearly fell off my chair laughing at the reaction of my friend when I pointed out that someone else was wearing a matching fake furry vest similar to hers. To her dismay, it wasn’t on any of the numerous young fashionable people in the restaurant, but worn by the only other woman who was older than us in the room – and probably by a good 20 years. She didn’t find any consolation when I told her my 10 year old also owned a fake fur vest (sorry M, I had to tell the story. So funny).
But…the light. I do feel like I see it, finally. I think I’ve been buried under darkness for too long. Work has been a good distraction, but also part of the problem. One of the reasons why I’ve been saying yes to everything and working as many hours as I have the last 8 months is so I can build in a cushion to enable some positive changes in my life. You can’t sustain that level of crazy without going crazy yourself, but the process of digging yourself out of that dark hole is slow and the hurdles are entirely mental and emotional.
It’s like when I turned to Mark a few weeks ago and said, “money isn’t everything, you know” when he wanted to add 8 more weekend market dates to this month when in the past we took the month of March off from markets. I wanted to do more things as a family, go on day trips and such, but that was the right call as far as business is concerned; we’ve been killing it every weekend even though it’s meant that Mark hasn’t had a single day off in a month. You do have to seize the opportunities when you see them and he’s been bringing the girls with him on Sundays to spend more time with them, so it hasn’t been all that bad. But I’m very much looking forward to the days ahead. There’s a lightness to them that I haven’t felt in awhile.
Posted by Jenna | 7 Comments
So, here’s the thing: you can spend your time lamenting over how a certain thing in your life isn’t making you happy, or you can actually do something about it. I decided that Thursdays are my “recharge” days – a day to see things, go to places I haven’t been before, or work on projects that are only my own. I know that some days there will be deadlines that are too pressing to ignore and I’ll most likely be playing catch up in the evening hours, but I’m going to try and keep this commitment going. Ain’t nothing gonna change by simply sitting around wishing I had more free time.
Yesterday I went to the Noguchi Museum in Long Island City. It’s been on my list forever and it was a spontaneous, get in the car kind of outing with a friend. I’m glad that my first experience here was without the kids. There’s a tranquility to the space that is translated through the sculptures and the Japanese-influenced aesthetic of the museum design; it was so quiet. We had the whole museum to ourselves for awhile. It was nice to sit on a bench, watch the light filter and shift, and just talk for hours trading stories of travels and people that we used to know.
By 3pm, we were back in our neighborhood facing the frenzy of school pickup, surrounded by hundreds of other kids, parents and caregivers. By 3:30 I was back at home sorting through my inbox which was flooded with emails, but it had been a good day. I needed that reminder that these breaks are important.
Posted by Jenna | 4 Comments
Spring-like weather on the weekend had all New Yorkers out enjoying warmer temps. Mark had a killer day at the Flea Market, the best we’ve ever had, and I spent the day with the girls walking around Brooklyn, having brunch and stopping at various playgrounds. At this point, the girls often eat more than I do, but I still don’t understand how a little 50 pound kid can eat plate sized pancakes piled three high. Or maybe I just don’t have much of an appetite these days. Pancakes with maple syrup is oddly sounding really good to me right now at 10:30 at night though.
Felt like all of New York was shedding a piece of themselves from the winter. Ironically, sitting on a park bench allowed me to think a little more clearly than sitting at home by myself. Funny how a change of scenery will do that. Changes your perspective. So it was good to sit on that park bench watching the kids play, watching other families play, and see the city collectively let go of whatever needed to be let go, if only for those few hours in the sun.
It’s hard to see a loved one suffer. Even harder still to be 3000 miles away. I’m hearing myself say words that I struggle to believe myself some days, but there’s validation in knowing that you make a difference in someone else’s life. Shouldn’t everyone have people they can lean on? But sadly I know that’s not the case for some. No, we’re the lucky ones.
Posted by Jenna | 3 Comments