cold. slammed.

December 14, 2010 |  Category:   life the biz

Our (relatively) mild weather break just ended. It’s really cold out there and there’s even a dusting of snow on the ground right now. I walked the kids to school in the morning without a hat or gloves and by the time I went to pick them up, the temps had dropped. It was a reflection of how the day went. Monday. An unexpected crazy day of getting slammed and now we’re underwater.

I remember the first ever negative comment I received on the blog. It was right around this time of year and it was our first holiday season. Someone posted that they were tired of my “daily” complaining. The thing is, I don’t even think I was complaining (and believe me, I know how to complain), but that was a particularly hard year because we didn’t have things streamlined like we do today and we were dealing with these insane custom hotel gift orders for their corporate clients. Big names like Amazon, NBC, Gucci, Target and IKEA. We were only in business 7 months at that point and we decided to close our store to customers that holiday season. I was also working on 3 separate design projects and going on business trips in the middle of all this madness. We were both going out of our minds. Complain or not, I was writing exactly what I felt and there’s a reason for that. Every year I look back to see how our holiday season fared. It’s so hard to know exactly what you’re going to get slammed with, but it’s been really useful to go back and read what weeks and days were the worst, how much sleep we were getting, how we did at holiday markets and how we were dealing through all of it. We try to learn from this documentation and try to make things better for the next holiday season. It’s also a measure of how our business does from year to year.

From going back and reading last year’s posts, we already know that this year is much more crazy. We’re sort of going out of our minds like the first year. A lot more orders, a lot more stores ordering to stock up for the busy shopping days, a lot more markets and a lot less sleep. I’ll be manning the table at Gifted more days than originally planned and so I plan to bring my computer and work on client work that just came through in the last 2 days during down times at the market. Talk about multitasking. But for the first time in like, ever, we’ll have someone sit behind the table a few times during our 9 day stay. Be nice to her, ok?

There is one thing that we already know we’ll do differently for next year. We plan on cooking a lot of dinners during Thanksgiving break and freezing whole meals just like we did before Mia was born. Food and eating has sort of been an issue this time around. There’s just no time to cook or shop and we’ve been barely getting by with what we can scrape together. Most days Mark and I will just forget to eat until dinner. And sleep? Not much you can do about that unless more hours can be magically added to the day. But you know what sucks? When it’s 2:30am and you’re both so very tired and falling into bed and the warm blankets feel so nice and being able to close your eyes is the best feeling in the world. Just as you feel like you are drifting off you hear dry heaving and hacking and then….the gross sounds of the cat throwing up. UGH. And you get out of bed and it’s cold and the sudden bright lights that you have to turn on to find the location of the puke is really harsh and…yeah. Can’t even tell you how many times that’s happened.

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  • Liv December 14, 2010 at 4:09 am

    Hey Jenna,

    I know EXACTLY what you mean by the cat having a puke right at the moment when you’re just about to doze into sleep, at that point I’m too tired (read:lazy) to get out and do anything about it so I deal with it the next morning – yuck.

    I really enjoy reading the blog and am amazed that you do have negative comments about ‘complaining’, you’re opening yourself up to readers and I think that’s pretty commendable especially as you seem pretty honest with the highs and lows – if people don’t like it, they should just go read elsewhere!

    Good luck with all of your hard work, the rest period after will be well worth it!

    Thanks for your stories and recipes, its a great daily read!

    Liv

  • Helle (Helen) December 14, 2010 at 4:58 am

    I actually often think your blog is a breath of fresh air, because you seem to write what you think or about how you have experienced different situations – many blogs can be a bit saccharine, I like your’s with its sometimes grumbling, the odd swear word!! and life how you seem to live it.

  • Emma December 14, 2010 at 6:07 am

    aaww I hope you get everything done! At least you’re getting a lot of work, that’s the main thing.

    p.s. your blog always makes me feel like cookies or cake. If I ever get back to NY, I’m coming to your bakery to buy some goods, they look lovely!

  • Caddy December 14, 2010 at 6:56 am

    Hope the Holiday season is a great one for you guys! 😀 Your work ethic is inspiring.

  • may December 14, 2010 at 7:59 am

    yeah, doesn’t sound like complaining to me either. sometimes things are happening, and you write about what’s happening. i keep coming back to read your blog because, just like life, it shows the good and the bad.

  • siri December 14, 2010 at 9:24 am

    So maybe this is the most naive question for you out there, but I must ask. What makes it all worth it? I become Super Crabbypants just from lack of sleep one or two nights in a row- and that’s with an infant in the house. What makes you keep pushing on? Your descriptions of your work and juggling and stress are such a huge bulk of this blog (not to say I don’t enjoy reading it all), but it would be nice to find out exactly why you keep doing what you’re doing. I can’t imagine your exhaustion.

  • Anna @ D16 December 14, 2010 at 10:13 am

    I think the occasional negative comments about your “complaining” stem less from what you’re writing than from what other people with their own businesses (who also happen to have blogs) *aren’t* writing. We’ve become accustomed to a rose-colored cloud being applied to so many blogs, I think because people ARE afraid of coming across as “complainers”!

    You’re a realist, and you’re honest. You’re also figuring a lot of stuff out as you go, and the fact that you don’t give up (and become…uh…a paralegal) is so inspiring. You and Mark have an amazing work ethic that I really admire.

  • Lulu December 14, 2010 at 11:41 am

    Complain all you want, it is your blog and you are kind enough to share your thoughts with us.

  • Lisa December 14, 2010 at 12:35 pm

    I hear ya’, sister! We are in the midst of the madness too. Good luck through the rest of the season and enjoy your Christmas!

  • Hyun December 14, 2010 at 3:56 pm

    Such a painterly photo. It’s dream like. Thanks your lovely photos!

  • Josephine December 14, 2010 at 4:21 pm

    Jenna, I visit this blog almost everyday because of your fluent and honest writing, and never has it registered as ‘complaining’.
    Aside from that I just wanted to send you all good vibes through the universe that you make it through the busy times in one piece!

  • nicole December 14, 2010 at 4:52 pm

    I agree. Honestly, there are plenty of blogs out there that make everything look peachy keen and blissful and leave readers feeling unnecessarily envious and lacking. The reality for many of us, (and especially self employed parents), is that life rarely looks glamorous or “balanced”. I appreciate the honesty about running your own business and being a parent. What you describe is exactly what I feel almost every day of my life. A life I choose because I’m a control freak and loathed having a boss but a challenging life nonetheless.

  • k December 14, 2010 at 5:50 pm

    I think your blog is pretty rockin’, complainy or not………..Had a similiar episode with vomit recently however it was my eight year old barfing everywhere and surprisingly not the cat this time!

  • mau December 15, 2010 at 12:43 am

    there must be a reason why so many people follow your blog. just ignore the ones who leave negative comments. if they have a problem with your blog they are welcome not to read it. this is your space and you decide what goes on it!

  • Tara December 15, 2010 at 12:44 pm

    Write about whatever you want. I love your blog – the refreshing honesty is the best part. You ROCK! Good luck this busy holiday season – best wishes to the whole family.

  • Megan Champion December 15, 2010 at 12:59 pm

    I am always amazed at how people can complain about what one writes on their blog. It would be different if it was an article in the newspaper or mag – but your blog? Isnt that YOUR space to do with whatever you wish?
    I would like to say I hope you will not be this busy next year – but busy is good for business. And we all want that, as hard as it is to get through.

  • Sora December 15, 2010 at 2:27 pm

    Hang in there, Jenna! Really am glad you post both the good and bad experiences for us to read. Your business is a success and for that, you should be very proud and happy.

  • msim December 16, 2010 at 10:11 am

    don’t listen to the meanies. your honesty is refreshing. your family is beautiful. and your business is flourishing. those are the things that matter.

  • Jane December 16, 2010 at 1:24 pm

    Oh man, that little story about the cat made me laugh. My cat used to have a nasty little habit of sauntering in front of the tv while we were all watching, and puke on the carpet right in front of us….little attention-hog! 🙂

  • Alison C December 16, 2010 at 4:21 pm

    Like others said, I read your blog precisely because it doesn’t present a perfect front. It’s actually really encouraging knowing that people who are accomplished and successful feel overwhelmed or crabby too sometimes, and that it’s not just me! And it’s a great insight into the ups and downs of small business.

  • Cathie December 17, 2010 at 1:02 pm

    My cat particularly enjoys puking on our bed in the middle of the night-ugh! His favorite habit right now is to declare loudly and insistently that he needs to go outside about a half hour after I’ve gotten the baby back to sleep in the middle of the night.

  • rosa December 18, 2010 at 7:08 pm

    Well, Jenna, I’m a complainer, it’s not fun but at least I know it’s because I’m also a control freak dealing with several situations during my day… I don’t read many blogs, but yours makes me happy and keeps me interested in your vision of art and life. Wish you all the best for Xmas!

  • Jenna December 21, 2010 at 1:27 am

    siri, sorry for the late reply. Is it worth it? That’s such a big question that doesn’t have a simple answer. But in short, yes, most of it’s worth it, but there are some things that are not worth doing that you won’t find out until you try. These are the things we need to learn from and try to eliminate. And it’s not just us. Any small food company making perishable items is going through this. The good thing about the Brooklyn food community is that there is so many of us and we can all relate. Now the “why” of why we do all this is too long to answer here. Maybe in a post one day.

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