Oh Baby Baby It’s a Wild World

I always have to laugh a little. I don’t quite fit in. Not in a bad way, THIS blog by Cupcake Rehab got me thinking about it. I fall into the vortex in between the PTO and tatto’d Tardis loving baker bloggers. This has become most apparent with my wedding planning. Is there such thing as a shabby chic geek wedding with a ton of sparkle and crystals? I feel so bad for my wedding planner, I swear she will end up in therapy because of me.

So lets delve into the cupcake mistress and tear me apart and see what you think. Personally I don’t care where I “fit” I am who I am… and I am the happiest I have been in years.

As a mother I am very strict. Almost to the point where I feel bad for my kids, BUT because I am strict they are well behaved and are able to go places other kids their ages have never been. Last year I took Bear to the Superbowl XLVI. His first concert was the Dropkick Murphy’s with the Mighty Mighty Bosstones at Fenway Park, he also went to Cuts for a Cause and met all the Boston Bruins. Punk got to go see Miranda Cosgrove 2 summers ago in a very small venue and has been to Patriot Games. I also took them to Times Sq when they were 3 and 5 at 10pm with a lightning storm on the way. Thankfully it waited until we left at about midnight and were driving back to our hotel in Jersey and gave us an amazing show. They have learned not to whine when their feet are tired, not because I have yelled at them or because they get in trouble, but because they never know what adventure awaits them next and rest will come soon… but that adventure won’t be there later. I believe that life is a series of experiences. Take every chance you get, big or small. It could be a chance to walk a trail in the fall or a chance to go to London.

School always comes first. Grades have to be kept up. I don’t accept anything less than a B. Like I tell the kiddos, I don’t get mad, but you will spend more time doing homework and if you don’t have any, I’ll make some for you. So that those grades do come up. And that time could better be used out on adventures. But in the end, the things they learn in the world around them are just as important as those they learn from a book. I know many people in my life who are so “book smart” yet can’t cross a busy road without almost getting run over. 

So I may have tattoos, I can’t knit ( I have tried and tried ), I love BIG storms, I love glitter and tiffany blue boxes, I am a total geek who’s heart flutters at the sound of the Tardis, and I love to challenge my kids on Mario games, but in the end I am a Mom and I am me. If I ever needed a support group for people like me, I think I would be SOL. But I am lucky to have family and friends who are supportive to so I don’t need that group of crazies!!!

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Chicken Corn Chowdah!

I am a child of the ocean. I was born in PA (shhh don’t tell) and moved to Cape Cod before I could walk. I was raised in the bay and cranberry bogs. I lived there for 20+ years among fishermen and cranberry bogs. When I was 15 I went to work for WHOI/NOAA Aquarium in Woods Hole, MA. When I left the other intern and I started the “Free the Lobsters” campaign and released all the lobsters in the touch tank back into the ocean. I am sure they got new ones, but at least the ones that had been tortured by little kids all summer had a chance at a new life in the harbor. When I was 22, I volunteered at the New England Aquarium in the Seal/Sea Lion Dept. It isn’t as glamorous as it seems. Most of my days were spent prepping mackerel for the animals. But it was totally worth it. But one thing I realized while working for WHOI/NOAA was that for me, eating fish was not an option. It just didn’t feel right. I could not eat fish and then come work with them the next day.

 

Then I met the love of my life. His family was amazing. His father used to be an Alaskan fisherman and was now a boat captain. They had looked past all of the mistakes I had made in my past and how I was trying to get back on my feet. The thing I dreaded most was telling them, I did not eat fish. But they accepted that too for the most part. Sometimes they still try. But I just eat around it. It isn’t an allergy, it is a life choice. As Bruce in Finding Nemo said “Fish are friends, not food.” I don’t mind people eating fish in front of me. I don’t lecture them, I just chose not to eat it myself.

 

That being said, I did grow up on the Cape, and when I DID eat fish I loved Clam Chowder. The thick kind filled with clams and a white cream sauce was the best, if it had a little bacon in it, you hit the clam chowder jackpot. I do miss it. I have tried corn chowder in a few places, but it is never quite a good substitute. It is too thin or too watery, tasteless or just bland. Then I found this recipe for CORN CHOWDER. I fell in love. I have never made soup like this before. I wasn’t sure I could do it. But I did. No cans involved. And it was amazing. Even the kids asked for seconds. Not abnormal, except for the fact that I had forgotten to buy crackers!! They ate soup with no crackers! I will totally do this again. It is perfect for the weather coming up around here. A chill in the air… before we know it the snow will be here. I will have to keep everything on hand so when we are snowbound, I can make this tasty treat!

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Living Socially in a Small Bakery

One area in which I totally fail is advertising. I know next to nothing about it. Quite often I just go on gut feeling. In the past I worked twice with a company called Eversave. It got the VCVC Cupcake name out there and I made a little money too!!! So I was not not totally shocked when a girl contacted me from one of their rival companies called Living Social, saying they wanted to work with me. She had originally worked for Eversave and had moved to the larger company. She had remembered how successful my save had been and thought that I might be able to benefit from a wider reach. After about 4 emails back and forth discussing details, I was waiting for a contract. What I recieved instead was this statement : I just submitted the offer to my team and unfortunately we just put a rule into effect that any offer relating to food must have a store front location. This was a rule that just went into effect that I wasn’t even aware of so I do apologize. What I would like to do is keep your information if you do end up selling your cupcakes out of a specific location.

This bothered me on many levels:

1. She approached me because of my success in the past. So that has to run on the assumption that she knows SOMETHING about my business.

2. Even if she didn’t, it was discussed several times in going over the details of previous emails.

3. How is a brick and mortar store something less than a small home based custom cupcake business that has the same business license and food permits?

4. Who are they to decide that? It all sounds fishy to me.

5. I do sell my cupcakes from a specific location, my home.

It is true, I do not have a “store front”. I often get asked why. I live in a small town. At the current count this small town has  5 bakeries. In the past year 3 others have closed, one of which had been open for many years. I currently do not have the money to put into rent for a store front which does not go cheaply here. I also have a family, and it is important for me to be there for that family. Having my bakery at home allows for that. I can do both, I can help with homework and whip icing at the same time. I can work while the children sleep, and not have to pay a sitter. Above all that, having a store front would mean employing people. Promising them a job would be there tomorrow, next week and next year. I can’t promise myself that at this point, it is not fair to put someone other than myself in that position. I am able to control my overhead here, I am able to take care of my family and my business, I am proud of what I am doing, whether Living Social thinks it is good enough for them or not.

So whether or not you shop at Living Social any more is up to you, but I for one WAS an avid shopper there. I will not longer use any of their services because they are unsupportive of small businesses like mine. That is their choice, but I think it is a poor one.

For what it is worth, of all the current bakeries in my town, I currently have the highest rating on YELP. Not perfect, but I am working on it!!!

Girl Crush

I have a total girl crush… and this is why…Pumpkin Cheesecake Cupcakes. Anyone who knows me knows that I am not a fan of Pumpkin or Cheesecake. But I would scarf those down until I couldn’t fit thru the door!!! I can’t wait to make those tonight. Looks like my chocolate chip cranberry cookies will wait till tomorrow… maybe.

I have to say, I have an amazing man. I get claustrophobia. Not the kind where you feel scared in an elevator. The kind where I need to travel. Growing up I didn’t always have much money, but my Mom would throw me in the car, bleary eyed, at 4 am or earlier and off we would go. We went to Newport, Williamsburg, Florida, Kittyhawk, Niagra Falls, Mystic, Maine, so many amazing places. And I saw more because we drove. When I got into High School my Mom inherited some money and she used it to show me the world, Scotland, London, Paris, St. Maarten, Cruises, Tahiti. I have been so many places and I am so grateful. I think that traveling is just as educational as sitting in a classroom. But to this day a 8-10 hour drive is nothing to me. I am lucky because it is nothing to Goalie either. The downside to this is the claustrophobia. If I am home for too long, I get cranky, restless. I need to get out. It doesn’t have to be far, I just need to go. Goalie is always more than willing to oblige.

Goalie also has a streak of luck in him. He worked hard and won a trip from his old job to Costa Rica, where he proposed to me. Probably the most romantic night of my life. We had just landed and gotten to the resort with his other co-workers. It was a long trip. We had left at 2am, it was not close to 9pm Eastern time. But the sun was about to set on the beach, so he insisted we go walk, I couldn’t wait to see it. We walked along the beach until there wasn’t a soul near us…. just us, the sun setting and the ocean. That was where he proposed. It was magical, perfect and everything a girl could want or dream of. It was more. We returned to his co-workers there with open arms and cheers. They had all known and were waiting for us. Then last year he won a trip to Barbados on twitter from Hockey Legend Kevin Weekes. We will never be able to thank Mr. Weekes enough for that trip of a lifetime. We fell in love with that island.

We have not been away in about 6 months.. which for us, is AMAZING! So I am getting claustrophobic. I am cranky. We have been busy. Between work and family and back to school.. life is a whirlwind. I love that about life. But it is time for me to run away. And Goalie recognized that. So he is planning something. I can’t wait!! I think we are going somewhere close. But you have to love a man, who understands your manic-ness and rather than raging against it (a-la my ex-husband) gives in, joins your manic-ness and takes you on a run away weekend somewhere. So gas up the car baby… here we go!