Small Post/Update

Hi guys,

Sorry I’ve been so lame with the posts lately.  I got over my cold, (yay!) and have been dealing with some potentially really big changes.  Anyone out there own their own business?  We are about 4 years in now, and things just aren’t turning out like we’d hoped.  Any advice on how to weather these sorts of storms would be appreciated.

It is strange who encourages us to keep on going with the business.  No one who has actually owned their own business has–only people who haven’t.  I think there is some mystique about being a business owner–like it is the western frontier or something.  Let me tell you all, owning your own business is no dream and I’m not sure if this is a great frontier-style, coonskin hat type adventure, either!  Yes it is a wild ride, but often leaves me queasy and sick feeling.  It isn’t easy, even on a good day.  It is a lot of sweat, tears, and sleepless nights.  I keep thinking that is has to get easier!  It just has to….right?  Lord help me because it doesn’t seem to be getting any easier–in fact, it seems to have gotten a whole shit-ton harder lately and I’m seriously beginning to think that this isn’t the right path for me any longer.  

I’ll keep you all posted on how things turn out.  In the meantime, our schedule has totally changed (not for the better, might I add!  Anyone want to get up at 4:00 in the morning?  No?  Yeah, that’s what I thought!) and I’m seeing a lot less of Nick these days.  This weekend his parents came and stayed with us, which meant virtually no couple time and no time to talk about all this stuff.  I hope they had a good time.  I’m afraid my general stress over these things showed though a bit and I was bad company at times.  I tried to keep my snarky-stressy self at bay because I really wanted Nick to just enjoy having his folks around.  

It might be too soon to tell what will happen.  All I know is that something has to give.  Either this business needs to start taking better care of us, or we need to find good old fashioned job-y-jobs!  

Anyway, BLAH!  Yuck.  Um, I’ll post some good recipes again, soon.  I promise.  If you have a recipe you’d like me to review, let me know!  I’ll find my inspiration again, soon.  I always do!  I just had to post share what’s up with some of the sweet people who are kind enough to read my silly little blog.  🙂

Vegan Almond Joy Recipe Review + General Me Stuff

Hi guys!

Have you ever just had one of those moments where you are so grateful to just be alive?  Where the colors seem more vibrant, the sun feels like it’s hugging you, and you really feel connected to everything?  Sounds strange, but I had one of those moments today.  Everything was calm, beautiful, pure, and I was…present.  Not thinking about Kickstarter, or the business, or who I might need to get in touch with for a project; not thinking about my dog, or the piece of mail I forgot to send; no.  No thoughts. And no, I wasn’t on anything, either.  🙂

It was pretty awesome.  I’m honestly not even sure what triggered it–I guess I just got out of my car to have lunch with my dad today and was in that state of mind.  Anyway, lunch with dad was fun, and insightful, as per usual.  I was explaining to him that I struggle to be a hardass with our clients.  My preference is to be fair with everyone, and not see them from the place of, “What can I take you for?  What can I get out of you?” and rather, “What can I contribute here?  What can we create, together?”  I don’t like having to manipulate or play politics. I don’t like negotiations and I don’t like having to “sell” people on a design.  The longer I do this job, the more I realize everyone wants to play designer, but rarely anyone has taste, and because it’s all so subjective, people think their 2 cents matter when it really shouldn’t.  It just shouldn’t.  Trust the people you hire to deliver.  End rant.

My dad’s thoughts? “Well, that’s business.”

I’m seriously beginning to wonder if this business stuff is for me.  I feel I can’t trust anyone; that they are just working me (us) and I fall right into their trap. Every. Time.  Then I just get pissed off that we got taken advantage of, or could have negotiated a better price for our work.  I get anxious many times during the day when I have to “deal” with a client, over something simple.  I’m really beginning to think I really just suck at business and this has shaken my confidence to the core.  I can’t even make a simple email happen without considerable thought now.

Sorry to be such a Debbie Downer.  I just wish it were easier!  And that, to have the success I’d like to have, I don’t have to morph into a sneaky, raging a-hole.

Okay.  ….phew.  That’s a lot.  Let’s move on, shall we?

RECIPE TIME!  YES.  Best. Part. of. the. Day!

http://realfoodrealdeals.com/2013/09/21/almond-joy-truffles/

Found this totally yummy recipe for Vegan Almond Joy Truffles on a sweet little site called “Real Food.  Real Deals.” and I said, “Hell yeah, I wanna make THAT!”  So I did.  Photo!

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I give this recipe a solid 8.5 out of 10. (*note: reasons for point deductions have been clarified and the directions were not unclear.  I’m just an idiot, apparently. lol)

What I loved:

1.  5 ingredients.  (Winning!)

2.  Healthy ingredients.  (Woot.)

3.  Quick & Easy to make.  (Heck yeah.)

4.  Tasted great.  (Oh yeah, you know it!)

Why I deducted 1.5 points:

1.  Unclear directions.  Is the chocolate supposed to be melted?  The recipe doesn’t say.  I thought that for the sake of it be a truffle, the chocolate should be melted.  It’s only logical, right?  These kinds of things need to be clear for the idiots, like me.  I really dislike having to guess and potentially waste food.  If I had just added in the chocolate chips, not melted, it wouldn’t have turned out.  So, I’m sorry, but this whole chocolate issue cost ya one whole point, just for the stress on me and having to think.  I don’t want to have to think about a simple recipe.  No.  Do I LOOK like I want to think?  (If you could see my face, the clear answer would be, “No, you don’t want to think, Jessica.”)

*Update* So, you can just leave the chocolate unmelted.  The recipe is clear enough–I guess it just didn’t make sense in my little brain.  Hope you can forgive me, Real Deals Real Food!

2.  1/2 point was lost because these didn’t have the full, wow you in the mouth taste of a traditional, non-vegan almond joy.  They were good, don’t get me wrong!  And I fully suggest you all go out and make these!  Just be aware.  If you are thinking they are going to just like almond joys, don’t be fooled.  They are almond joy inspired.  But, that’s good enough for me!  I was just expecting it to be a little more similar to one of my favorite candies of all time.

3.  Last but not least, a little note.  I added just a touch of vanilla extract and a touch of almond extract.  It seemed like it was needed.  You don’t have to add it, and I don’t think it really made a difference in the price of rice in China, but it is something to consider if you agree with me on this point of view, which is: “If you are baking something, it should probably have vanilla in it, somehow.”

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These would make great little tea party treats or even dessert appetizers.  Um, I don’t know about this last photo.  Seemed like a good idea at the time!

Anyway, they are a nice little treat and I may have been to hard on ’em, so please know, I do give them a solid two thumbs up–make ’em.  They are pretty delightful–just make sure you melt your chocolate. 😉

Note:  Or don’t melt the chocolate.  🙂  As the original recipe intended.  But if you DO melt the chocolate, they come out dang tasty!

Well, dad-gum, I thought I was done for

Well, dad-gum, I thought I was done for the day.  Guess not!  So, this has absolutely nothing to do with my books, baking, fun, yadda-yadda.  Basically, I’m playing the waiting game.  You see, the consultancy, which is my full time job (though, now it’s going to look like I spend most of my time blogging, whatever) is starting to become, how should I put this, stressful!  I’ve written more dang proposals in the last month than I can keep track of!  Yet, only one, so far, has come through.  Common guys!  People of the world!  Accept the bids, yo!  They are good, and the work you will get is good, no great!  Exemplary!  So what is the hold up?  Universe, care to weigh in on this?  At the very least, can I get a “yes” or a “no”?  Or something?  Anything!  An email back would suffice–something that said, “Got the proposal, thanks.  Still mulling it over.  Will have answer in next few days.”  But all this pressure to get something out that is accurate, fair, blah-blah-blah, meets all needs, reverbs what the client said, adds something special to get them thinking…etc. etc. etc…and then to get no acknowledgement back, well, that just blows!

…end rant.  I was hoping that “getting it out there” would free up some mental space since I’ve just been spinning on this for the past few days.  My discontent for doing sales has been growing.  It. is. so. much. work.  With almost nothing to show for it.  I’m always so elated to draft up a proposal.  To me, it means money is on the way!  Yay for that!  And it means that my fiancee will get to work on some cool projects which feeds his soul and makes him happy.  Not to say we aren’t working on anything, quite the contrary actually.  I’d just like to hear back.  Ya know, and it isn’t even a Monday.  Usually these sorts of frustrations are best served on a cold, hard, Monday morning.  😉

Today was even a “light” day for me.  On Wednesdays I typically go to Santa Barbara (I live in Ventura, about 30 miles south) and meet my dad for lunch.  We started this tradition many years ago and it just stuck!  Even when I lived further south from him (almost a full hour) I’d still make the trek to SB to see him and have lunch.  Seeing him is one of the bright spots in my week.  Father’s day is rapidly approaching and I’m not sure what I’ll get him.  He loves to surf and sail among many other things, and is a consummate jokester.  If anyone has any suggestions (no, he doesn’t wear ties or need socks) I’d love to hear ’em.  That is, if anyone is reading this! lol

I’m making a point to be more productive.  Do you know about the three motivating factors?  Boy, I sure do.  I hear about them all the time growing up!  So here’s the long and short of it.  A person can be motivated by three things: power, affiliation, and accomplishment.  Most people are a mix but seem to have a greater concentration in a particular area.  I’m pretty sure I’m mostly accomplishment oriented, like my dad, but do like to know the right people, if ya catch my drift. 😉  I have almost no desire to have power over anyone.  I’d much rather they know what they know, and really be as great as they possibly can.  In my mind, to make anyone great than you is almost criminal.  Eh, we can discuss that one later.  Anyway, what is your break-down?  Are you more power-driven or affiliation oriented?

Back to being more productive!  Yes, so I’ve started making lists of all that I have to get done in a day.  Now, I’ve heard conflicting things about this.  Should you A. tackle the easiest things first to feel better or B. identify the bigger things and start on those first, saving the easy things for later? I like to do a mixed approach, but that’s just me.  I thought I’d given up this list making habit only to pick it up again as a way to make sure I tend to everything I need to in a day.

What is your policy on lists?  Friend or foe?