Thursday, April 29, 2010

postheadericon Procrastinating or Postponing?

We (Gina, more than and I) came to the realization that we were no where near ready to open this Saturday.  So the decision was made to postpone opening for 1 week to get better prepared.  This raised the question for me, am I again procrastinating?  Oh yeah, I definitely did way too much procrastination and a lot of overextending myself.  Took on way too many orders for the week before a grand opening, but I kept telling myself I need the customers, and I need the money.  Is taking the time to blog procrastinating?  Naw...right?

So, even though we are not opening this weekend I am still finding myself waking up at 3:30a to toss and turn, stressing over the massive responsibility of taking on a retail bakery.  What the heck was I thinking?!  Do I know what I'm doing?  Nope.  Will I learn?  Maybe.  In time to prevent from going down in a fiery mass?  Maybe not. 

Everyone keeps telling me to follow my dreams...what happnes when dreams turn into nightmares?  Ever have that happen? 

Okay, enough wallowing in stress...let's look at the bright side...this little shop is in a great location.  I have the great privilege of calling Michelle Garcia at Bleeding Heart Bakery my friend.  I try not to bug her with questions too often, but I do always have that well of knowledge to dip into when I really need to (and sometimes when I don't really need to, but just want to).  She sent me an email last night telling me it would all get easier, and I believe her...but WHEN! 
Tuesday, April 27, 2010

postheadericon And the panic sets in!

So here it is Tuesday evening and we are set to open the bakery on Saturday...I'm totally panicked!  Do I have the right license?  Is the phone going to work?  Will we have enough product?  Will we have too much?  What if no one shows up?  What if too many people show up?  What if they don't keep showing up and a week after we open we are sitting there twiddling our thumbs?! 

I want this to be successful enough to sustain me and my family, but what if it isn't!  Anyone else ever open a bakery?  Any tips to share? 
Wednesday, April 14, 2010

postheadericon Tail of the Tiger!

As we get closer to the opening of Sugar Beez/Smash Cake I have gotten so busy!  I keep telling everyone that I feel like I'm hanging tight to the tail of a tiger and I having the ride of my life!

We are booking up fast for parties in May.  That's exciting and a little bit daunting too!  Sunday 4/11/10 I worked at Smash Cake to help with 3 parties being held and to get my feet wet.  I got a taste of what I can expect when we are running Smash Cake...and how tired I can expect to be!

The parties were a lot of fun and I learned a lot, like some very creative ways to enterain a group of 21 six- and seven-year-old girls!  Freeze dance worked great! 

Bleeding Heart Bakery provided some delicious pizzas and some totally tasty baked goods!  I could have eaten their apricot bars all day long!  I think right now that is my favorite treat from BHB!  You can bet we will be carrying those at Smash Cake!

We will be hosting a Share Our Strength bake sale at Smash Cake this Saturday, 4/17/10, for the food bloggers and then again on May 1st for our own opening.  I hope you will stop by and say hello!
Wednesday, April 7, 2010

postheadericon What "giving" means to me.

I'm a nurturer.  That's why I have five children, 2 cats, a dog, 2 birds and a fish.  I think I was born with the drive to take care of anything needy.  My mom can tell you stories of hurt birdies in boxes, stray cats, raggedy dogs that I brought home.  I'm sure she thought I did it to drive her nuts!

When I was newly married my husband and I struggled to balance work, family and finances.  Sometimes having way too much month left at the end of the money.  Some really great friends and family members would help us with childcare or sometimes a gallon of milk.  Now that I'm a little older, a little wiser and a little better at managing my money I try to find ways to pay forward the generosity that was given to me.  My husband probably thinks I do this to drive HIM nuts!

I have let various displaced family members live with us, his brother, my sister, my sister-in-law and her 2-1/2 kids. No, never all at the same time, but it did sometimes cause some tension between me and my husband. 

I give of my time, sometimes my money and always of my compassion, it is my way of paying my rent in life for my time on this planet.  I strongly believe that everything we give will come back to us...that could be good or it could be bad, but it is what you make it. 
Monday, April 5, 2010

postheadericon Bleeding Heart Blessings!

Okay, I'm going to try to get better at blogging than I have been.  I've been so busy, but some really fabulous things have been happening.

I would say that things really began to change for me personally in July 2009.  We had moved to Illinois from California in November 2004.  I left all my family (aside from my children and husband) and what few friends I had in California.  I have been working from home in the medical transcription field for more than a decade and a half.  In California, I made friends by socializing with women that were standing outside the elementary school waiting to pick up their children.  In Illinois, November is not the time of year that you stand outside waiting to pick up your children.  And in our community the children are bused anyway.  So I had no real opportunity to meet other women.

This began to cause a problem that I hadn't really noticed right off.  I honestly began to develop a phobia, not of going outside, but of socializing with strangers.  I also have a skin disorder, vitaligo that helped to feed my fear of meeting people.

In July 2009 I attended my first Iron Cupcake Chicago challenge.  I love baking and I really wanted to participate, but I didn't know anyone there and I was now aware of my phobia.  I had also decided that I was going to get out and meet people and get over this phobia.  So I contacted the woman in charge of IC:CHI, Irma, and threw myself into the challenge.

The day of the challenge my kids literally had to keep talking me into going.  I kept coming up with excuses not to go, some I thought were actually really good excuses, but the kids kept pointing out to me they were just excuses.  One of my daughters even had to go with me so I wouldn't chicken out.  Actually, standing at the door of the restaurant where the challenge was held, holding the door handle, I had a panic attack, but my daughter reassured me and I went in.

I managed to have a good time and made up my mind then that I would beat this phobia and socialize more.  I also began to use Twitter as a way to socialize and meet more people. 

Okay, fast foward to January 2010.  I have been to several Iron Cupcake Chicago challenges, and even a couple of Iron Cupcake Milwaukee challenges.  At IC:MKE I was fortunate to meet Michelle Garcia of Bleeding Heart Bakery.    

I guess I made an impression on Michelle Garcia the night I met her. I know she liked my cupcake, a Goose Island Oatmeal Stout cupcake.  And she visited my website too.  I found this out a few weeks later.  She liked the work I had done on my cookies enough that she asked me to start decorating cookies for her bakery.  I was thrilled to death!

My dream has been to grow my business to a point it could sustain me and my family.  I love baking and decorating cookies and participating in the IC challenges has made me realize that I love baking cupcakes too.  In February I had been looking around to find a retail space for Sugar Beez, but nothing was panning out even with the help of the Robin Schabes, the Director of Lakefront Development for the City of Waukegan.  She was so helpful and so motivated to help me get into a space in Downtown Waukegan, but it just did not work out.  I told my daughter, Gina, that when it was meant to happen it would happen and it would not be hard or challenging.

At the end of February, Michelle Garcia and I began talking about Smash Cake.  Michelle has been concentrating on her bakeries, and wasn't able to give the attention to Smash Cake that it needed in order to be successful.  SC is more of a space for hosting children's birthday parties than the type of bakery Michelle currently opperates. 

Michelle is such a great person.  Yes, Michelle is famous for having been on Food Network cake challenges 8 times.  Yes, she owns a kickin' bakery with her husband Vinny, but she has proven to be the kind of woman that I try to be, gives back because she has been blessed. 

So, on May 1st Sugar Beez moves into Smash Cake!  This has worked out so easily for us and has felt like it was meant for us.  I see nothing but a fun endeavor growing the business with my daughters and my husband.  We will start promoting here very soon and planning for our opening day.

My kids, my husband and I have already decided that opening day proceeds will go to Share Our Strength.  We will be hosting a Great American Bake Sale on our opening day, come out and help make it a success!