Slow down July! We’re nearly through this month, and I’ve had very few moments to sit down and reflect on the last few weeks. We’ve had brushes with real summer weather and even made it up to the Russian River for a day to nap and swim and picnic in equal measure. We came back with pink thighs (both of us) but recharged after a short, but full day without cell phone service.
I’ve been almost entirely focused on growing my business and being a grown up this summer, doing things like: Getting insurance! Renting a production space! Hiring my first employee! All of these scary-exciting developments have been sped up by some new large wholesale orders that I’ll be sharing more about soon. Moving all the production from the sidewalk and garage to an actual production space was a long-needed move, one that I was afraid to make. Hiring a production assistant was something I’ve been wanting to do for a few months as well, so I could free up those long production and sanding hours, and reinvest that time and energy back into the business.
Long story short, it is really exciting, and also terrifying in a mostly wonderful/OK way. Although, for some realness on the internet, I’ll admit that I’ve had endless worries and anxiety about building up my wholesale orders AND keeping up with online sales and often wake up in the middle night worrying about it. I’m a micromanager and worrier and its been a continual challenge to let go of some details (like sanding and packaging) so I could tackle other bigger projects (like oversees distribution?!).
This week we’re flying to Seattle then Portland for a family trip + work trip combination, with a little air travel and train travel thrown in FOR FUN! We’re going to visit Intern’s family for a family reunion, plus I’m tacking on some Seattle retail shop visits to promote the wholesale collection. We’ll be stopping in to see my family then hopping on the train to spend a few days in Portland, visiting a few friends, a few more retail shop visits, and hopefully do a little fun-relaxing-exploring before we fly back to San Francisco and kick off another round of wholesale order production.
I used to feel guilty when I neglected this space, but now I think I am too busy to feel that guilt. I’m also aware that most of my posts in the past few months have been primarily about how busy I think I am. Even I’m tired of reading that. I’m really neglecting a much longer list of things, hobbies and interests and the blog happens to be one of them. I’ve started to find it harder and harder to write about anything personal beyond work and work-related worrying, but that could be an excuse I’ve invented to keep the blog on the back back unlit burner for now. Intern and I are both in a very work-y place personally, a phase that fits well with where we are right now in our lives. I know we both won’t always be working this hard, or feeling driven to work all the time, but we also know we may not have another phase of our lives where our attention isn’t split, so now might really be the best and only time to work this hard.
Last month I wrote a very brief post about two things I was currently infatuated with. I still feel the same way about those two things but this month, I’ve got two new things to feel strong feelings for. Item one: Kimchi! For the last two weeks the pantry tucked away at the back of our house has been giving off a sorta pungent (fermented) scent– especially on warm days. Home fermentation guys! After the big event in May, Austin of Fermenters Club sent us home with two pints of ready-to-ferment kimchi. All we had to to was cover them with cheese cloth, and keep an eye on the liquid level and prepare ourselves for a kinda kimchi-scented kitchen for 1-2 weeks. I tasted them raw, then one week into the fermentation process, then again this weekend, 15 days after we got them started. I like a forkful of kimchi anytime, but we also make kimchi fried rice for weeknight dinners pretty frequently with leftover rice and random vegetables we’ve got in the fridge. Throw an egg on that and dinner is delicious. We’ve tried a few variations of kimchi fried rice– this one from Serious Eats is pretty basic but good.
Item two: ROASTED CAULIFLOWER. My mom recently told me that I used to call cauliflower “fake broccoli” when I was little. I’ve always felt that way about cauliflower, because my love for broccoli has always been much, much stronger. Cauliflower was in my opinion, the bland boring sister to cauliflower, that is until 4 weeks ago when I fell for roasted, crispy, sweet and salty cauliflower. I am converted. We’ve had it at least once a week roasted with olive oil, sea salt and Aleppo pepper. I will eat it straight out of the oven, burning my mouth and fingers, or, the more adult way, tossed with roasted garlic, arugula, good olive oil and pasta with a little pecorino romano on top. Now I know that roasting is going to make almost any boring vegetable delicious (broccoli, cabbage, radishes, brussels sprouts) but roasted cauliflower is really really good.
The month of May has been a blur. I’ve been busy with the shop, packaging and fulfilling orders and sanding, always sanding. I also spent a few blurry and busy few weeks prepping for the big summer Skill Exchange event over at StoreFrontLab. It was my dream lineup of teachers and workshops, but it was as always, an intense experience to bring it all together. I somehow seem to forget that putting on events takes a lot out of me, physically and emotionally, even though I do enjoy most of the organizing, planning, and final results. The results, by the way, were wonderful. Joanna wrote a very lovely recap of her experience as a student at Skill Exchange over at Jojotastic.
All of our teachers were passionate and so generous with their time and skills– in the coming weeks I’ll share photos and a full recap of the whole event, captured by photographer Kimberley Hasselbrink of The Year in Food. I am very excited to see these photos! For much of the day I was so busy running around behind the scenes, I know I missed quite a few skills. I put together a short video of a few moments, but I’m already eager to see what else Kimberley captured of our day. I realize now that I’ve almost completely stopped toting my camera around, and most of the time have become too lazy/forgetful to take photos at home. I’d blame it on being busy, but being busy just seems like a dumb excuse. I forced Intern to take the above photo of me, and it may be the one and only photo of me there, and probably the only one of me looking way less stressed than I actually felt. The other photos were taken during a leisurely late lunch mid-week in mid-May, when Intern and I both snuck away from work to take care of a few errands in Hayes Valley, and have nothing to do with the contents of this blog post. Feels like an appropriate way to sum up the past few weeks– lots of unrelated everything-all-at-once.
Two of our favorite things right now- One: Prosecco and Aperol happy hour, because I can’t ever stop loving the bitter, floral and bubbly combination. On a warm evening, nothing is better.
Two: Barley risotto. We’re hooked after trying Bon Appetit’s recipe from the April issue. We started with the spinach and herb combination, and now have moved on to other variations– this week’s included freshly shelled fava beans and peas, with an arugula pesto mixed in at the end. We reheated leftovers the next day, and served it with a poached egg for a very, very late breakfast. The recipe seems like a lot of work, (but risotto is always a lot of work) but this is completely worth every extra step. The toasted barley has a really wonderful texture and flavor, but also very creamy like regular risotto.
We’re 6 days away from the Skill Exchange grilling workshop(s) on Saturday, with only a few tickets left. Last night, after a full day of pretending it was Friday, I got into bed and my brain went into list-making-worrying-not-sleeping mode. Paired with 4 abnormally wild hellion cats that staged an all out attack on human sleep last night, I’m feeling tired and also pretty wired today. Also, very excited.