Tuesday, December 31, 2013

postheadericon All Units Prepare to Copy a Broadcast...

Be On The Look Out for...

A female white, slim fit build, long brown hair, wearing fabulous clothes, and glowing personality.  This subject is to be considered armed (with wit) and dangerous (to low self esteem).  Subjected is known as Marie Forleo.

Have You Seen Marie?

If you do not know Marie Forleo, and you are a small business owner, you are missing out on some great vibes and views!  Marie knows her stuff and gives of her knowledge freely!  

I have been following Marie for about 2-1/2 years now.  The MOST important thing Marie has helped me learn is to be confident in myself and MY skills.  I stopped comparing myself to others and just enjoy what I do.  

Her motto is "Have a life & business you love" and I truly do now.  I have learned to set goals that are attainable, but not give up on those BIG dreams!  

Wanted For....

Marie is wanted for making my YEAR!  She gave me a shout on her weekly MarieTV episode today!  Nothing like having your idol say your name to 96,000 peeps!  Check out her video here...

Sugar Beez clear...

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Sunday, December 29, 2013

postheadericon Happiness Cannot Exist Without Possibility

Something to Do

Not much is going on at the moment, and that is a good thing after the frenetic cookie'ing (you have my permission to use my cool new word) that happened in December on top of trying to do the everyday things like work, take care of hearth, home and family, AND Christmas preparations!  PHEW! 

We are enjoying the quiet slipping away of the old year.  Which brings us to thoughts of all the glittery potential of the New Year. 

The focus for Sugar Beez in 2014 is to just keep doing.  We had a lot of growth in the last quarter of 2013 because we were out there moving, learning and socializing.  The goal is to keep it up.

Something to Love

I love decorating cookies.  And it loves me back.  Nothing is better than getting an e-mail from someone who has purchased cookies from me saying how much the loved the cookies! 









Something to Hope for

My hope for 2014 is to have enough sales to support adding at least one employee, at least part time.  Small steps forward so I don't trip and fall running!

Happiness

I wish all my followers, clients (past, present & future), my family, my friends and my coworkers (did I ever mention I work as a police dispatcher?) the Sweetest Happiness 2014 can afford!

Sweetly,
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Sunday, December 22, 2013

postheadericon The Story of Why We Leave Cookies for Santa

www.sugarbeez.com
www.sugarbeez.com

Milk & Cookies

How many of us grew up leaving a glass of milk and a plate of cookies for Santa, and carrots for the reindeer?  Then we of course passed the tradition on to our children. Obviously, Jolly Old Saint Nick enjoys the treats, but why do we do this? 

During medieval times in Western Germany what they called a Paradise Tree would be decorated with gifts of fruit and cookies.  The folks began to notice that the gifts would be snacked on, presumably by St. Nick, during the night (my guess is more likely mice).  Then with the introduction of Christianity to Europe, the Paradise Tree became the Christmas Tree but the tradition of decorating the tree continued. 

After many years (about the 1800s) German immigrants in American began to use ornaments to decorate their trees.  The Christmas tree began to catch on in America, decorated with lights, ornaments and strings of popcorn.  The cookies began to find their way to plates placed by the fire place, Santa's entrance to deliver gifts, by good children as a thank you to Santa for all his hard work on Christmas Eve.  And of course, what considerate family would not leave a glass of milk to wash down the cookies?  

It is said the tradition of leaving carrots for the reindeer began as a result of naughty children trying to bribe the reindeer to stop for a treat and Santa being so pleased with the child he would leave a gift. 

Most popular Cookie?

Did you know the most popular cookie to leave for Santa is the Oreo?  Mmmmm! 

Growing up, in my family we always left Santa cookies and milk on a paper plate and Santa always wrote us a note of thanks on the paper plate!  

What is your Christmas cookie tradition?  Do you have a special plate?  A certain cookie?  Or libation you leave for Santa? 











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Sunday, December 15, 2013

postheadericon How Sharing Increased My Productivity


www.sugarbeez.com

Colleen of Royal Icing Diaries contacted me recently to ask me questions about my photo cookies.  Colleen is new to cookie decorating and lays out all the ugly truth about starting out on the journey to become a great cookie artist on her blog...check it out!  She will show you that cookie decorating may not be for the faint of heart!  And she proves...she has HEART! 

There might be some people out there that would cringe at the idea of sharing information with other cookie decorators.  Not me.  I learned by others sharing with me when I asked questions.  There are decorators out there that do not sell cookies, and they are gracious enough to share with us what they know so that we can better ourselves.  Here are just a few of them show share whether they sell or not. 
I do sell cookies, but that does not stop me from sharing.  I make a pretty decent amount of dough, and money (ha ha ha, couldn't resist the pun) and I see no reason why I should try to keep all the business to myself.  I have seen proof time and again that sharing only brings you more success.  Callye is the perfect example of that.  A couple years ago (I have been following her a long time) she was selling cookies, and some grinch out there turned her in to the health department.  She had to shut down her cookie for profit production.  But she did not give up.  She began doing tutorials and now she is one of THE most well known and successful cookiers.  And I am pretty sure she still does not sell cookies! 

Sharing has increased my productivity because I have had more orders since I began sharing what I know.  Keeping the knowledge to myself would only make me feel anxious trying to protect by spot in the sandbox, when actually the playing field is way to huge for me to worry how many of us play on it...in fact, the more the merrier!  

The cookies above are photo cookies I created for Fado Irish Pub this week.  

Leave a comment below and weigh in on the topic of to share or not to share! 


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Thursday, August 29, 2013

postheadericon How To Bee The Center of Attention

Obvious - Bee A Cookie!

These are a 3.5 inch round cookie with a smaller 1 inch heart cookie on a pop stick.  The wedding had a black and white theme and if you look closely, the pint glasses have 2 hearts, which was the reason for the heart on the cookie pop.

To make these cookie pops I did not actually bake them on the stick.  I put them on the baking sheet and then using a pop stick made an impression where I wanted the stick to go, removing the stick after making the impression. 

Then I placed the cookies in the oven.  After they came out of the oven, and while they were still hot, I put the stick in the impression and used a fondant smoother to press the hot cookie to get a flat piping surface and deepen the impression for the stick.  I then removed the stick and let the cookies cool. 

When the cookies were cooled I used some fondant to glue the sticks into the impression and let this dry.  After drying I then flooded and decorated the cookies.  The stick was basically cemented in place with the flood icing.

If anyone is interested, the next time I do cookie pops I will gladly do a video to demonstrate my process for making cookie pops. 




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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

postheadericon When Dreams Send You Running For Cover

Why Do I Fear My Dreams?

My dream?  To have my cookie business be the source of my income = my dream job replacing my day job.  

My fear?  
►I'm not talented enough.
►Everyone is going to see I don't know what I'm doing. 
►I won't make enough money to support myself. 
►I'll go out of business.
►I'll embarrass myself and my family. 

I could go on, but then I'd sound crazy...what?  Too late?  

You're right, it is crazy...crazy to let my overinflated fears keep me from success when they are not even true!  Self doubt is just another word for fear.  Fear is not fact, but we listen to it like it is fact, confusing it with the supportive inner voice because it talks louder.  

Fear is all our past experiences, mostly the negative ones, that hurt us in some way.  Our mind, in all its glory, has devised a way to try to protect us from getting hurt or making mistakes again.  It tells us not to do things by saying "remember the last time you tried that?" 

You want to counteract fear.  When it says something negative just say "thank you for your opinion" and keep going.  When you realize fear is stepping in and voicing its opinion, ask yourself why.  Have you done this task before with a bad outcome?  Then stop and think what you can change to get a different outcome.  Use fear to your advantage and start to build your problem-solving skills. 

Remind Yourself

When fear does start whispering in your ear you aren't talented or good enough, prove it wrong.  I recently did cookies for a bride.  When she picked up her cookies she gushed about how happy she was with them.  And then later she text me again to say how happy she was with the cookies.  This helped me to fight my fear and motivated me to keep moving forward to my goal.  

Dream - 1 / Fear - 0 


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Friday, August 16, 2013

postheadericon Why Inspirations Are The Secret Ingredient

How to Stay Motivated

Most of us "cookiers" do what we do because it's what we love to do.  But there are those times when love is just not enough to keep the momentum going.  The path to success for most people is a long haul and hard work.  It is tough to stay enthusiastic during the time the work is being done but the fruits of the labor have yet to make an appearance. 

I have committed myself to a Year of Quitting with the end goal being a flourishing cookie business and little to no day job.  My day job currently is actually jobs, yep plural.  I work as a police dispatcher AND as a medical editor.  Takes a lot of dough (pun  intended) to run a household and feed the tribe (did I mention I have 5 daughters?).  I love my job as a dispatcher, so I imagine I will continue to do that part time for the experience of doing it.  Medical editing is just a job...I'm counting the days until I can be done with that! 

I had big ambitions of writing a blog post every day Monday through Friday...well, with 2 other jobs and cookie orders, it became obvious that was an unrealistic goal.  But I have found a way to keep motivated to get back to the keyboard at least once a week...and to stay motivated to keep cookies a top priority. 

Write it down

List your goals, then under the goal list small steps to get to that goal.  Do not focus on the end goal, focus on one small step at a time.  When you reach the small step celebrate it.  Enjoy the little things.

Inspire

I am a cookie artist, so I inspire myself by looking at other cookie artist's work.  Do not confuse this with comparing.  Never do I compare my ability to someone else's work, or I would be a sobbing depressed blob on the floor!  I look at their work and tell myself that I can do that...someday, and then I set it as a goal.  Find what I need to learn to reach that goal such as a technique, and that set about learning it. 

Here are some very good sources for inspiration - 

These are just a tiny fraction of the fabulous work that is out there, but are some of my favorites to go to.  For me it is like trolling through an art museum...hey, there's an idea...why don't we have any cookie museums yet?! 

Define Success Realisically

Big dreams are great to have, but when it feels like you are not making progress that can be frustrating and anything but motivating.  Set your sites on something quickly attainable to see immediate progress and gain your motivation back.  This is the idea behind creating small steps to a big goal.  

Power Through

Sometimes you just have to keep putting one foot in front of the other until you get through the Lack of Motivation forest to the sweet open fields of Inspiration/Motivation! 

Never accept Defeat

Do not give up!  Many very famous folks such as my all time favorite - Oprah Winfrey, and many just as fabulous folks such as Steve Jobs, Michael Jordan, Walt Disney, JK Rowling, and many more, the one thing in common, they did not give up!  

Share how you keep your motivation by leaving a comment below.  Share with your friends on Facebook and Twitter.  Leave a comment that you shared and be entered to win a dozen cookies! 

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Sunday, August 4, 2013

postheadericon 3 Ways Challenges are Cooler Than Justin Bieber

Seriously, Challenges ARE Cooler Than JB! 

Some challenges are thrown at us and we have no choice but to deal with them.  These are not the challenges I am talking about.  A few weeks ago someone asked me to make cookies for him, BUT with NO icing.  WTH?!

Me:  "Okay, I can do that.  What shape would you like."
Him:  "Oh, anything you'd like to do is fine with me."

So, for days (okay, it was actually weeks) I was constantly thinking about what to do for these cookies.  I'm a cookie decorator...this was like asking an artist to make you a plain canvas, and then charge you for it!  I would stare at my cookie cutters blankly, not even able to grasp the idea of not decorating the resultant cookie.

I procrastinated.  I know...gasp!  Did you know the #1 reason people procrastinate is because we think the task will be harder than it actually turns out to be?  Well, this was actually hard because I could not come up with an idea...I was drawing a blank.

Out of nowhere an idea hit me...color the cookie dough!  I started doing research (aka googling) for ideas for colored cookie dough and pinwheel cookies are what I decided on.  I really enjoyed making these cookies.  I got my 13-year-old daughter involved by having her weigh out the 5 colors of dough and rolling them into small balls.  I then put the 5 colored balls together and rolled them out into long ropes to make the pinwheels.  What a time-saver she turned out to be!  We whipped these cookies out in no time!


The recipient of the cookies loved them.  Everyone who saw them was impressed, which made me feel great.  Who does not love it when people ooohhh and ahhhh over your work?

What I learned from this experience  

Allow yourself to sit with a challenge and think.  Do not pressure yourself.  Sometimes procrastinating is actually part of the work-in-progress process!  Just do not give up on the challenge, keep working it.  Have confidence in yourself, you will conquer this challenge!  Do not doubt your ability to think outside the box.  It can be learned for those of us who do not naturally think that way.

What's The Biebs Got To Do With It?

Justin Bieber challenges me to be tolerant of celebrity antics that only confirm that fame is not for the immature.  Cookie challenges are much cooler, they 

  1. Exercises Your Problem-Solving Muscles,
  2. Build Confidence, And
  3. Grow Your Skills.


I'd love to hear how you have grown from a challenge...I know we all have experiences to share!  

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Thursday, August 1, 2013

postheadericon Quit Listening!

I can't Hear YOU!

Today's mission, should you chose to accept, is....

Stop listening to your inner critic.  I am my worst enemy.  I have come to learn that inner voice that I had been listening to and allowing to stop me from being productive and happy, is lying to me!  It is not "me" I hear in my head, but all those years of people who may have said, "oh, honey, that's not the right color for you weight" or "hmmm, that cookie is nice, but I don't know...it's just...nice."  You know what I mean.  All those little not so nice, but well intended (at least I like to believe they were well intended) comments you hear over the years of a lifetime that get stored in your psyche and added to that inner critic's stock pile.  

My inner critic has a lot of ammunition to use against my self esteem.  For the longest time I listened, and even believed those insecure thoughts.  One day I happened to read something about a book that sounded interesting, so I downloaded it to my Kindle.  Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It by Kamal Ravikant. 

This book has helped me to quiet my inner critic and love myself.  I know it's cliche, but you have to love yourself first before anything or anyone good can come into your life.  

This year my blog is about quitting...quitting my day job and living my dream job.  You can't have your dream job if you are letting your inner critic have free reign.  My inner critic was telling me I wasn't talented enough, creative enough or deserving enough.  I decided to quit listening...I am ENOUGH.  

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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

postheadericon Quitting...day 5

My goal is to quit!

That just sounds wrong, doesn't it?  Who in their right mind would make quitting their goal?  I've never been accused of being in my right mind anyway, so I guess it's no shock that I would set quitting as my goal. 

I am quitting one thing each day that stands between me and my goal of a full-time cookie business.  Today's focus was to quit being scared.  Lots of times in the past I have been too scared to see the reaction on someone's face to deliver cookies to them.  I have this crazy fear that someone is going to take a look at the cookies and call me a fraud...tell me my cookies are ugly, and they can't believe someone would pay me to make such ugly things.

I have always tried to talk my daughters into making deliveries for me, and then I sit on pins and needles until they tell me they were delivered and the person enjoyed them.

Today, I had a delivery to do.  I was determined to make the delivery myself and fight my irrational fear.  This was a special delivery from Lincolnshire Police Department to Lt Carney of the Lincolnshire Riverwoods Fire Protection District.  I knew I would catch him at home and with his kids.

My heart was pounding when I got out of the car to make the delivery, but Lt Carney was gracious and personable.  His kids were fun and excited to get cookies, and they loved the cookies.
Peyton, Lt. Carney, Brett
So, thanks to Lt Carney and his kids for helping me take my fear head-on today!  Lt Carney, I hope you continue on the road to health, you have a lot of people on your side!


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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

postheadericon What Mom Never Told You About Police Officers

They Love Cookies Too! 

My day job is a police dispatcher (using the term "day job" loosely since I rarely work a day shift, usually overnight shifts).  The officers have become a great fan club of my cookie business.  Despite what the media tries to lead us to believe, cops do not all sit in the donut shop nomming on sweet treats all day.  Most of the officers I know are lean and health conscious.  In fact, the first time I brought cookies in I had to really convince them to try them because sweets and carbs are not in their diets.  After their first taste they all glow about my cookies.  Great way to motivate me when I'm questioning my choice of "dream" jobs.

Yesterday one of them, TJ, even confided in me that when he first saw my cookie he thought to himself it was going to be hard and dry, he was so surprised that it was exactly the opposite.  The icing, because it is royal, was hard, but the cookie was so moist.  Thanks TJ for being so honest with me!




I did these cookies for free to share with the officers I work with.  I do a lot of free cookies.  Drives someone I know to frustration with me, not gonna mention any names, but she is the first child I gave birth to.

In Jon Acuff's book "Quitter" he really excited me with his thoughts on doing things for free.  He said something to the effect of do a project for free if it is something you have not done before.  It gives you the opportunity to practice.  And we all know practice is essential to becoming better at what we do.

Off to go practice some more!  More cookies and a story to share tomorrow! 


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Monday, July 29, 2013

postheadericon Want to know how to be Successful?

Do the HUSTLE!

Have you heard the saying "a body in motion stays in motion"?  I'm testing this idea for the sake of all those who want to be successful.  I have read if you want to be successful, at business, life, love, house cleaning (say WHAT?!), then hustle.  

I have begun planning my day the evening before.  I have found if I wake up knowing what I am doing first thing and throughout the day I am much more likely to be productive and constantly in motion towards the goal --- SUCCESS.  A great tip, is to start your day with your challenging tasks first, get them out of the way and you'll coast through the rest of your day! 

It has been working and I find myself being so much more productive than I ever had been in the past.  I got cookies done without stress, and they look great!  I was able to work on them leisurely, without stress because I did not procrastinate (did I mention that I have decided to quit procrastinating?).  I planned to work on them each morning after my coffee, and I did!

There was also time in my days for laundry, cleaning my room, work, social interaction with friends, time with my family and personal time.  Anytime I found myself wanting to procrastinate or take a nap (my favorite way to waste time) I reminded myself that I needed to keep going because being productive translate to money earned and that means I can support my family better.  That's my motivation, and it really works.

Summary:

  • Plan your day the night before.
  • Know what you are going to do when you get up in the morning. 
  • Start with biggest tasks first.
  • Find your motivator, and remind yourself of it whenever you feel like slowing down.
  • Be more productive.
  • Have more time!
  • Bee Happy! 


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Friday, July 26, 2013

postheadericon What Experts are Saying about Quitters

A Year of Quitting

What are experts saying about quitters?  Let's see what one has to say...

Jon Acuff, author of the book Quitter is an expert.  He quit 8 jobs in 8 years, which certainly qualifies him as an expert on quitting.  In his book he offers great advice on how to quit your day job for your dream job.  He is now working his dream job with the fabulous Dave Ramsey team, creators of the Total Money Makeover program; a great system on how to become debt free.  

You see, I am a cookie decorator, which is my dream job.  But, I am also a single mother with 5 daughters and so I work as a police dispatcher and a medical editor (day jobs) to pay my bills and feed my family.  Some days I feel I took the left when I should have taken the right fork in the road to my dream job, I'm in nightmare territory now!  Caught on a treadmill to make money, but never really getting any closer to my dream job.
Today is my birthday!  Happy birthday to me!  

For my birthday I have set a goal:  In a year I will be working my dream job to support myself and my family, and not my day job(s). 

Jon Acuff's advice in his book "Quitter", on how to move from your day job to your dream job makes great sense.  I love it when someone can make sense of something that I have heard over and over, but never could "hear" the intended message, very much like the first time I heard Dave Ramsey talk about how to become debt free...it was an ah-ha! moment.  I have decided today is the day to QUIT...
  • ...making excuses.
  • ...procrastinating.
  • ...stop planning and start doing.
  • ...stop telling myself I can't.
Today is the day I get off the treadmill to nowhere and back on the path to my dream job.  Follow me on my journey from day job to dream job as I document the adventure, musings, and discoveries along the way, by subscribing to my blog updates.  

And that, my friends, is what my Year of Quitting is all about.


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Sunday, May 19, 2013

postheadericon Serendipity

ser·en·dip·i·ty
/,serən'dipitē/
The occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way: "a fortunate stroke of serendipity".

Her name is Carolina.  She's 13, angry and scared.  The officer walks into the dispatch room where I am working my afternoon shift as a part-time 911 dispatcher.  He tells me that she has a bad attitude.  He caught her trespassing on city property with a group of teens.  The officer walks into lock up to talk with the other kids from the group.  Carolina is in our lunchroom alone.

I walk in and see her sitting at the table.  I can feel her fear and my mom instinct kicks into overdrive.  I engage her in conversation about art.  Then it occurred to me that I could offer a kid like this something...she has an interest in art, I have a business that engages a person's creative talent.  Then it hit me...so I handed her my business card and told her, if she would like to find a way to use her talent and needs something better to do than hanging out and getting into trouble, she could give me a call.

I really think I am on to something.  Mentoring at-risk teens and get them interested in art, pastry or both!  I'm excited about this idea...I've heard so many other cookie artists say the best way to succeed is by giving back...this makes lots of sense to me because I love to mother, obviously, I have 5 daughters!  It will make me feel good to help a young girl find an interest that can give her some direction in life, how exciting is that?! 

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