Year (?) in review

It's probably far too early to start reminiscing over the whole year, but I fear that in a blink of an eye I'm going to look up and it's going to be next Spring.
I opened the Bakery January 13, 2012. The end of this week will mark the first day of December. I still can't believe everything that has been accomplished in such a short amount of time.
And of course, I never thought it would be this hard.
Starting a business is tough. In so, so many ways. Building a brand and making the decisions is hard. Even though I used to be in advertising and know what to do, I found myself second guessing my instincts time and time again.
When I worked in retail, I had no problem telling people what size I believed they needed, but when it came to myself, I was blinded by the proximity. Same thing here. But rather than buying the wrong size T-shirt, I'm putting money where it might not need to go or saying the wrong thing.
I've managed to rack up some crazy accomplishments in less than a year. (pause while I brag on myself).
I've been featured in Weddings in Arkansas, twice. I was on TV as a 'featured chef', and I've managed to already have my work featured on the cover of a magazine.

I can not believe how insanely lucky I have been. I have worked beside some amazingly talented chefs

L-R: Me, Chef John Currece, Vincent McCrory, Donnie Ferneau,
Brian Deloney, Jeffery Owen, Marcel Vigneron.

(One who is currently competing on Iron Chef!) and thankfully was able to hold my own.

Ignore that I had to steal this photo from IG, via ArFoodie (thanks Christie!)

I have a drawer full of articles, blurbs, mentioned and such. And that's just the print exposure. I've been on Good Morning Arkansas creating toppings for Yarnell's ice cream, and I've been featured on a segment on Channel 7 highlighting local businesses.


I've been retweeted by Cake Wrecks (now to just be featured on the site!)  It's been a good year.

But, at the same time, it has been tough. Very tough. I seriously don't know how I have managed to survive. It has been physically taxing to the point that while gaining tons of muscle, I'm still down ten pounds and three jean sizes. It's really strange to look in the mirror and feel unfamiliar with the face and body staring back at me. Tiny lines around my eyes beg me to drink more water. Thin cheeks are a welcome respite from my once chipmunk-worthy facial features. At times I feel worn down and broken. Others I feel as if this is the best I have looked, quite possibly, ever, in my life. Which of course opens a whole pandoras box of ridiculous self-image issues that I just wont get into now.

And I'm not really sure I want to think about the emotional toll. The pain that comes when people are unhappy. While it hasn't happened in a while, the sting is still there. The beat down I give myself for letting others down is probably the worst aspect. I know I will carry that for too long. Then there's the toll it has taken on my marriage. Often times, the bakery feels like having a mistress. It pulls me away from Brad and prevents me from giving him the attention that he deserves. It's a daily walk across a long tight rope.

Or what it means to be contractually obligated to something for three years. At times I feel the success that I've longed for is within reach and other times the bakery feels like an anchor around my neck. I've made some amazing friends because of this journey and I've lost some along the way as well. If I could go back and tell myself one thing before I started, it would simply be "You have no idea."

Because really, I had no idea. The good. The bad. The up. The down. I could not have predicted one tenth of it. And while the road to get to this point has been bumpy and hard to traverse, it's been my journey. The scars I have- both literally and figuratively are mine and mine alone. I will carry them with me always as a reminder of where I have been, what I have learned and that I have touched some things I should not have.