Post Valentine’s Day Blues

So as a single guy a day like yesterday kind of sucks.  Everywhere you turn love and happiness is being thrown in your face, to make matters worse I was also trying to capitalize on this day by pimping my sugar cookie business to anyone that was interested.  To spend the day before (all day) baking, icing and decorating, then packaging up all these tasty treats was a lot of fun but just drove the point home even more.

It was a perfect storm of life events as well, both little kids went back to their mom’s house as it was Wednesday.  The eldest two wanted to spend time with their friend and boyfriend so I had an empty house.

Honestly sitting home alone was not so much fun, and it allowed my mind to wander into some rather dark places.  I didn’t like where it was going, and I was questioning a lot of the decisions that I have made over the last few months.  I immediately recognized this as the beginning a what could have been a very nasty negative cycle.  These patterns of thinking have been very self destructive for me in the past, and it is so easy to fall back into them and let the nothing just carry you away.

Good thing for me I have learned a few things these last few months about myself and how to handle this negative energy.  As it was February 14th most of my support circle was busy last night having the most wonderful time (I hope), so I had to look at the man in the mirror for some guidance and help.  I fired up Titanic on the big screen, grabbed my trusty journal and wrote a bunch of pages to purge my mind of the evil thoughts stirring around in there.

Those thoughts are now out of my head and will be translated directly into actions today which is a great thing.  These intermittent thoughts that I would argue we all have from time to time  can be self destructive when allowed to take hold, its comforting knowing that I can now recognize the onset and not allow myself to get trapped, but even more so be a source of energy and inspiration to drive me forward.

Today we have 80 sugar cookies to bake this morning for a client tomorrow afternoon, and some for my daughter and her class tomorrow as she is star of the day, then it will be some quality kid time tonight with swim lessons and some family fun at the YMCA followed my Marvel movie night!

https://www.northwestbakery.com
North West Bakery is based in Barrie, Ontario serving Simcoe County and the Greater Toronto Area, all of our products are homemade with love.  We can hand deliver to your business, party or special event.  Visit https://www.NorthWestBakery.com for details!

 

Valentine’s Day Cookie Rush…

It was a baking kind of morning, as the bananas from Sunday’s grocery shop were finally ready to be turned into some delicious loaves of banana bread, my children like to gobble down.  They were bright green when I bought them and have patiently  waited for them to turn…

And while those bad boys were baking away in the oven it was time to decorate some cookies for the Valentine’s Day cookie rush of early next week…

I have learned that decorating a sugar cookie is definitely a learnt skill, and one that can be greatly improved upon with a whole lot of practice.  And that is what this morning was dedicated to with a fresh batch of icing, learning the correct consistency for both flooding and writing, drying times, etc…

I will also say that also with the strength training that I have been doing recently, it has increased my upper body strength and allowed me to hold that icing bag with a steady head.  Results posted below, my only issues is that I like to sample a lot and eating sugar cookies is not a great part of the triathlete’s diet!

https://www.northwestbakery.com
North West Bakery is based in Barrie, Ontario serving Simcoe County and the Greater Toronto Area, all of our products are homemade with love.  We can hand deliver to your business, party or special event.  Visit https://www.NorthWestBakery.com for details!

 

Why Do I Blog?

Interesting question?  And one I was forced myself to ask this past Sunday.  I woke up around 6am to get ready for work, and as usual I pick up my phone to see if there is anything important that may need my attention.  I see a message from FaceBook messenger from an old girlfriend from about 10 years ago, definitely not the normal notification I would get on my phone so I gave it a read.

72C32DD7-8E1D-4CB0-9BC3-38DD06E0DA66-3215-00000534C50B752A.jpg
The Ying and Yang of life… Star Wars style!

Not the way that anyone would want to start the day.  While I believe the underlying reason for sending this message was concern the wording and overall tone of the message was just plain wrong.  I don’t even care to cut and paste it here as it basically was calling me out, my actions, this blog in particular were all BAD THINGS for me.  That I was in serious denial about my anger, mental health issues and depression and if I continued down this path I would be broke, homeless and unemployable.

She of course then blocked me so I couldn’t send any sort of reply.  Since I know that she is stalking me online, and will eventually read this this reply will have to do.

I am living my own life, and the choices that I make (while you may not agree with) are mine to make.  Spending this time now with my son is my driving force in life, the day to day interaction that I get with him (and my other children), I wouldn’t trade for the world.  I was a miserable nasty who hated his job, and hated the person THAT I WAS.  I walked away from all that life to save the future of my children, had I continued on that path I would have been broke, homeless and unemployable.

I have spent considerable time resolving the issues that I had been dragging around with me, I have sought out help and found it in the most incredible and unexpected places.  The friends that I have met and made are of such quality they won’t let me fail, they hold me accountable and I have such a network now that I can lean into when times get tough, to bounce thoughts and ideas off of, to lift me up when I am feeling down.  The MasterMind course that I am doing had taught me how to be a better man, father and one day again husband.  The community of support in these “FaceBook groups”, which I understand are closed for a reason.

And lastly exercise and triathlon are a bad thing?  Seriously?  I have learned more from the sport of triathlon about myself, self confidence, a healthy lifestyle and showing my children a way of life that they will learn from watching their father participate in.  A lifestyle that will allow me to stay active and keep up with them as they grow into their own lives.

So thank you again for your concern, I’ve taken away the underlying message and adjusted my course with a few things, so thank you for that.  The rest I am going to leave in the past, with you and the memories of our relationship.  I will continue to focus on the positive things that are in my life and that I can control, you , your thoughts and feelings I cannot and I will not your fears and concerns become my own.

I have three coaching calls to look forward to today, each with a slight different area of focus, a bike/run brick workout to get in, a cookie order to bake decorate and ship, some website updates to do while the boy naps, and then an afternoon of fun and games with my children when they get home from school.

The only person I need concern myself with is the man that I see in the glass.  Have a great day everyone.

PS – this is why I blog, to clear my mind, to set my focus for the day and then crush it.

https://www.northwestbakery.com
North West Bakery is based in Barrie, Ontario serving Simcoe County and the Greater Toronto Area, all of our products are homemade with love.  We can hand deliver to your business, party or special event.  Visit https://www.NorthWestBakery.com for details!

 

Hustle, Hustle, and more Hustle

Time flies when you are busy running, baking and playing with kids.  That could best describe the month of January as I cannot believe is already over, I have noticed that life has both sped up and slowed down all at the same time.  Again, allow me to explain…

In an effort to be more productive I needed to go back and follow a schedule for the week with each day laid out, with tasks that I wanted to accomplish.  I found that during January I spent far too much time thinking about what I wanted to get done instead of actually doing things.  The biggest distraction?  Old movies that I have seen far too many times already, and quite frankly I didn’t need to see yet again.  There is something comfortable about an old favorite movie, it just makes you feel good.  We all like to be comfortable, but to live an extraordinary life you need to push beyond what is comfortable and really challenge yourself.

IMG_4297.pngI’ve done my best to place that mindset into my head for the month of February, as I have set for myself some Wildly Important Goals!  I created my own online baking company, as advertised below with a focus only on Valentine’s Day options, to be honest sales have been pretty much non existent to this point while I remain optimistic that as inch closer to February 14th sales will increase.  The website only featured options for the Holiday directly ahead, I have over 170 different Cookie Cutters (Thanks Amazon!) and wanted to offer options for the entire year.  I believe the biggest opportunity for sales growth will come from word of mouth, and one event will lead to three more, etc…

The biggest season in my old world, the restaurant business was Communion, Baptism season at the Keg (next to Christmas) all that is quickly approaching.  So I want to have pages dedicated to these cookies with wonderfully decorated cookies already laid out for potential customers to view, to plant the seed for future purchases.  I spent much of yesterday, and most of today dedicated to that task!  I have an old colleague that is having a baby shower this weekend and I am going to surprise her with some Baby Shower themed cookies, both for the website (pictures) and word of mouth advertising.

IMG_4303.jpgThe other half of the hustle, hustle, hustle equation is my triathlon training plan alongside the 100 Day running challenge.  So the month of January is in the rearview mirror and I successfully ran all 31 days, putting my total at over 200 kilometers for the month that comes with a great sense of accomplishment.  I have learned so much about myself, about how to be a more effective runner, how mental discipline plays into all this, and what drive and determination can accomplish.

The month of February comes with another 28 runs in which the run total will push past 50i n a row, it’s more base building where I am basically just running and increasing my cardiovascular base for the upcoming Ironman 70.3 race that I will be completing in this coming July.  In March we will start to transition into some specialty training as we get closer to race date and the weather warms up here in Canada.

I have also successfully incorporated strength training into my training plan and so far have really enjoyed the workouts and maybe a bit more so the results.  I can see the changes when I look into the mirror and I like what I see.  I was worried that this additional training would tire me out more so than the cardio workouts themselves, however so far that has not been the case.  My triathlon buddy is a big believer that strength training will help the overall swim, bike and run times out of the course this summer.  I cannot wait…

Well this post has been a bit of a ramble, kind of like where my head has been at recently.  Lot’s going on… and I didn’t even mention that I am going back to work part time starting this Saturday.  Hustle, hustle, and more hustle!

https://www.northwestbakery.com
North West Bakery is based in Barrie, Ontario serving Simcoe County and the Greater Toronto Area, all of our products are homemade with love.  We can hand deliver to your business, party or special event.  Visit https://www.NorthWestBakery.com for details!

 

Wildly Important Goals

How are you ever going to get somewhere if you don’t know where you are going?  ANother example, going for a drive without having a destination in mind.  Sure you might see some nice things along with way, and there is something to be said about going on instinct and feel and at times this can turn out to be the most awesome adventure.

My time away from a career and spending all this amazing time with my children has been like going on that long drive without a destination in mind, and yes I have seen and experienced some pretty amazing things over the past several months.  Time that I would not trade for anything, but now that we are a good month into 2018 I’ve started to feel the call back to work, being productive and being a little social as well.

IMG_4230.jpgMy exercise for the week in my men’s mental health group is creating a wildly important goal, and leads you through the process of getting it accomplished within a certain time frame.  We will be doing this exercise twice, the first time through as kind of a test run if you will to completely understand the process, and then again over a longer period of time.  I’ve decided to use the first run through for my side hustle as advertised below, my online bakery.

The past week I have been using Facebook and Instagram to advertise, and the business has gotten some great exposure.  One of the ads has more Instagram likes than I have ever gotten before, but this has not yet translated into any orders.  The site only has Valentine’s Day cookies for sale, as this is the next holiday I am looking to capitalize on but there are many other special days throughout the year, and countless baby and bridal showers, birthdays, special events, you name it…  I would very much like my website to reflect all the cookies (with photographic evidence) that I can make.  When I counted I actually have about 180 different shape cutters to use.

IMG_4223.jpgI honestly believe that some Valentine’s Day orders will be coming, and us men are notorious for waiting until the last minute to take care of things, I would like to be ready for repeat and referral business after Valentine’s Day has come and gone with products ready for the rest of the year.  I believe that one sale leads to two more, and then five and so on, I really do and I want to be ready for WHEN that happens.

I am sending out my first package through the mail today to see if the product survives, I have packed them safe and secure and now it’s on the post office shoulder not to destroy my work’s of art.  Years in the comic book business should help with this!  But over the next four weeks I will be baking and decorating a portfolio of cookies, and I really look forward to it!  A month from now I will have an awesome website, my decorating skills will have improved ten times over and I will be ready to turn my side hustle into a full blown business.  I cannot wait… well two more minutes anyways before the timer in the oven goes off.  Hmmmm, delicious!

https://www.northwestbakery.com
North West Bakery is based in Barrie, Ontario serving Simcoe County and the Greater Toronto Area, all of our products are homemade with love.  We can hand deliver to your business, party or special event.  Visit https://www.NorthWestBakery.com for details!

 

The Side Hustle

In the effort to stay at home with my now four year old son I have started to feel the need for some extra income. I recently applied for and got a job back in the culinary industry to bring in a few extra dollars on the weekend when I am kid free. Ideally not what I was looking for but it’s one of this foot in the door and a chance to prove yourself moving forward. A classic case of walking before you can run, and after thinking about it now for a few days it’s absolutely perfect.

However it will only slow the bleeding that has been my bank account the last few months, ideally I want to bring that down to a trickle and eventually start to fill up the federal reserves again. Man I am big on the metaphors today! In comes the Side Hustle! I originally heard this term thrown around in some of the men’s mental health groups I have joined, and more recently on commercials for Uber. #sidehustle

Some friends and I had talked about starting a baking company late last year and this January I finally decided to take the bull by the horn and go all in. It first started with the 6 quart MixMaster mixer I ordered for a screaming deal on Amazon. And then it was Wix.com to set up a website, and finally VistaPrint to get some business cards, car magnets, t-shirts and a large banner which I’ve yet to hang outside my house. Tomorrow’s project for sure.

The Facebook page is up, the Instagram account is active and I’ve even started to boost posts on Facebook which has actually helped bring some more visibility to the site. No orders yet, but as men aren’t we notorious for waiting until the last minute? I have received a few orders already and this morning I went about my normal routine of taking the kids to school, and then making an order for a friend that was willing to help me test out the ability to send these delicious cookies through the mail and see what the end result would be.

I was very happy with the results of my efforts as you can see here…

… however when I went to pack them up the icing had not quite hardened all the way and several of them were squished. I did manage to save four of them but will have to redo the other eight, several of which are sitting at the bottom of my stomach as part of afternoon snack.

There has been a learning curve involved with his business venture for sure and at this point I am just hoping to sell enough cookies to cover off my investment and then make a few dollars. If it can be turned into a profitable enough venture to allow me to stay at home full time then I will consider that a Hugh WIN, however there is a lot of work and a lot of cookies between now and then.

If you have a few moments I invite you to look at the site as advertised below. Not looking for orders but rather feedback, ease of navigation, products you would like to see kind of idea. Swim lessons are wrapping up and then it is off the the 25th run in a row. Now that’s Hustle!

https://www.northwestbakery.com North West Bakery is based in Barrie, Ontario serving Simcoe County and the Greater Toronto Area, all of our products are homemade with love.  We can hand deliver to your business, party or special event.  Visit https://www.NorthWestBakery.com for details!

Happy Birthday Austin

I have a confession to make, I forgot it was my son’s birthday today.  I knew it was coming up and for some reason my mind told me that it was Friday, when it fact it was today.  Mom had made a FaceTime call this morning, which she never does and soon as the words “Happy Birthday” came out of her mouth my heart sank.  Oops, I didn’t even realize what day it was.

It was rather sad and sobering fact to me to have forgotten, as we had an awesome cuddle session in the morning while lying on the couch and it would have been nice to sing him Happy Birthday while we cuddled… I suppose it’s a good thing that he is just turning four and it went over his head that I had forgotten.

And I must also confess I am totally unprepared for a birthday today, with it still being so close to Christmas perhaps in future years just grab him a couple of extra presents and leave them in my closet for today.  I will also be spending the afternoon making a SpiderMan birthday as I like to do every year for my kids when they make their request.  It’s a good thing that the Bulk Barn rents out shaped cake pans and I am hoping that a SpiderMan head is among their selections… if not I will have to get creative.

Jennifer requested a Princess Peach cake this past year, and well let’s just say that Mario Kart is a few years behind the times and finding anything Princess Peach was several missions.  I ended up having to get creative and make a Pink Castle cake along with a Princess Peach themed background on a large cake board.  Turned out pretty good in my humble opinion.

img_2770.jpg

So today we will head out shopping, and I will enjoy every second of my day with Austin as currently he is running around and having a great time with Kristi screaming giggling and tickling as they run around the house playing Monsters…  Argghhh I’m gonna get you…

I have this giant calendar on my fridge, and the lesson that I have learned today is to write it down, perhaps set a reminder on one number of the pieces of technology that I possess.  Or perhaps I need to slow things down in my life and make sure that I focus on the truly important things in my life, like my son’s birthday.  #fail 🙂