An exercise in gratitude.

What will follow could easily feel like bragging. Like those obnoxious Christmas letters boasting little Timmy's superb soccer abilities, new vehicles and bling. Except there is no little Timmy here and, frankly while I think my dogs are totes adorb, I refuse to bother more that a few friends with my video of Presley dragging around a dancing Santa.
But I recently read an article around this video that said that true happiness comes from gratitude. And happiness is something that I have and continue to struggle with. And it's not that I don't appreciate what I have and what I've accomplished, it's just that I find myself so afraid of being arrogant that I have run screaming into the other direction toward modesty and writing off any successes or good fortune and pure luck.
When in fact, that's not true. I have worked my ass off [literally at times] for everything around me. So I'm taking a moment to document the successes of 2013. Because I have cursed it so much, I feel the need to point out that really, it wasn't that bad of a year.

January 13, 2013. My bakery turned 1. And I threw a party. And not just any party, a black tie, wear a fancy dress, drinking champagne, hanging out, supporting a non-profit kind of party. (and you thought your 1-year old's party was excessive.)
I made a lot of wedding cakes. I found out that 4 weddings in one day was simply too much for me. In total, I was part of 64 different weddings this year. 

I hired a lot of people. I lost a lot of people. It was sad to see some of them go. But they all want to chase their own dreams, so I surely can't fault them for it. 

In July, we went on vacation to Mexico. It was a disaster. Which might be one of the most entitled things I have ever said- I can't believe that going and sitting on a beach in another country with an endless supply of booze was difficult for me, but it was. And while I hated about 50% of the trip, the other half wasn't that bad. I would like to do it again this year. But maybe with more activities and other people. I just can't go from working 60 hours a week to LITERALLY DOING NOTHING BUT EATING, DRINKING AND SITTING. I couldn't handle it. I know, I know, I have problems. 
But I'm thankful that we can afford to go and do these things.

August was particularly exciting, in that I got both my first national print mention as well as my first international mention. There was a line in Southern Living about the bakery on a page focusing on Heights/Hillcrest neighborhoods of Little Rock and then my rainbow polo cake got a 2-page spread in a German food magazine. August also  marked my 33rd birthday. Wowsa. Where does the time go? I still feel in my 20s in my head. And luckily, I look that young on my face. Which I have a love/hate relationship with. 

September and October were a blur of weddings and then rolled right into the holidays. Halloween to Thanksgiving into Christmas and New Years. Somewhere in there, I secured a deal with the Arkansas Travelers to be their exclusive cake supplier for the 2014 season. 

December was particularly busy. I successfully defended my title as Sweet Potato Pie Professional Champion. 


I landed the cover of a weekly newspaper/magazine type publication with my sugar cookies.


I then subsequently went on to make about 700 of those bad boys the week leading up to Christmas. I was surprised by the popularity of our French Macarons- being featured in Arkansas Life, then those photos were used in Sync again for A 'Favorite Things' issue, and the 'Best Bites' in December and again in a wrap up of the year issue the following week! What can I say, they love my macarons!

Overall, it was a hard earned year, but it was earned, none the less. And I'm thankful for all that has happened to me and for me.
Here's hoping that 2014 is just as successful, but maybe a little bit easier!