Sunday, March 24, 2013

non-hostile takeover

i feel like an apology is at the same time necessary, long overdue, and implied in this post; i haven't established the best record as a steady-updater, but this last hiatus is by far my longest. what can i say? i moved and started a business. it isn't that i haven't had any free time, but that the precious little i've had is usually between the hours of nine and eleven pm, and i've been spending it watching friends re-runs and eating an entire bag of homestyle popcorn. i've been hiding from this blog, i suppose. i've excused myself because it's true that i am working pretty much all the time, and that the time i do spend at home on my computer is also time i'm exhausted. it's also partly, though, that starting a business is incredibly difficult, and draining, and i've been really pleased that it's brought out the best of me - my good work ethic, my skills as a baker, my patience as a teacher - but also the worst parts of myself, that were easier to hide and forget about working for someone else - stubbornness, crankiness, and a healthy dose of knowing-it-all (at least when it comes to pastries.)

so, i haven't written. i think it's a common problem for many bloggers, and certainly one for myself - i highlight the good and push the not-so-good stuff into the shadows. it's not that i'm being dishonest - putting something on the internet feels so public and permanent to me, and i don't want to use this space to complain, or document my shortcomings or arguments - this is a place where everything can be great. and while life is undoubtably great - i love what we're doing up here, i love where we're living and i love spending my days with my husband - not everything is sunshine and daisies. we're in a part of the country that is considered a "vacation destination" - that means winters are slooow. we moved up here, knowing no one - that means making friends has taken longer than i'm used to. and we are young and have limited funds - that means i can't have everything just the way i want it.

taking over an already-existing business is hard. i mean, i'm sure opening a brand-new business is just as hard, if not harder; it's part of the reason we bought one someone already did the hard work of, you know, making. but the other side of just-take-the-keys-it's-yours, start-making-money-the-first-day! is that you have a lot of customers who have expectations, and those expectations are what they've been getting for the last eight years - not what you want to do. We knew we wanted to change the name - something we're STILL in the process of - and I had lots of different pastries I wanted to try, and we wanted to change the look of the place to make it our own - but everything has to be gradual when people have an expectation, when they've been coming somewhere and getting something the same way for so long. We've finally made most of the changes we want, and I'm pretty proud of what the place has become.

i don't mean to say that before it was WRONG and now i'm doing it RIGHT. i have an immense amount of admiration and respect for the owners before us; what i've been fumbling through, trying to figure out for seven months, they ran smoothly for eight years. people loved the place before we ever showed up, and i owe them everything for that. but i had a very specific idea of what i wanted to do when we came here, and it's been a whole lot harder than i ever imagined it would, and it feels really, really good to start to get close.

we finally painted last week, and i've re-designed the pastry cases, re-written menus, and re-upholstered 40-something odd chairs with the help of my resourceful and determined friend ashlee. the menu is now written on a chalkboard wall; my collection of bundt pans graces another, and a friend built us a custom coffee nook to replace the giant plastic one that we inherited. to be honest, i didn't take many sweeping photos of the place before because i was a little embarrassed - it was just so far from what i wanted it to be. i regret that now, as i'm finally happy with the appearance and "after" photos are so much less dramatic without "before"s.
  UntitledUntitled Untitled Untitled Untitled Untitled Untitled Untitled Untitled Untitled photos were taken after close on a sunday (today, in fact,) so the case isn't as robust and full as usual (nor is the restaurant, for that matter) and i have a fixed lens on my camera right now, which is unfortunate for interior shots, and now that i think about it, i'm not much of an interiors photographer, so used to shooting close-ups of food (or look-aways of outfits. . .) but i told myself it's time to stop making excuses and just write something. anything. it will make continuing to do so that much easier. in that spirit, i hope (but make no promises) to keep posting, sporadically, but not as rarely as this. there is so much to say, and show - i'm learning so much and making so much every day. life is challenging, exciting, and great. it is full of things that i love. and i consider myself very, very lucky for that.

 xo audrey

19 comments:

  1. I think your bakery looks fantastic - I love the rolling-pins and bundt pans on the wall. Welcome back to the land of blogging.

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  2. I'm in the mood for some of that breakfast pizza. Do you deliver?! :P

    The Occasional Indulgence

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  3. Congratulations on realizing and making something happen! I think that what you are doing is so brave and exciting, and I think that your style of re-vamping the bakery makes it look like the sort of place I'd like to come and get a lovely pastry and some black coffee. (Also, my mum would die at your bundt pan collection- she collects pie plates, but bundt pans are glorious too.) I hope that the challenge is at least a rewarding one, because what you are doing is truly awesome.

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  4. Glad you're back :) So excited to read about your adventures! The place looks great, and your passion definitely comes through in the way you write about it. Super inspiring! High fives to you!!

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  5. The shop looks so cute! I love the collection of pans! I can't imagine how hard it is to renovate something while it's open!

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  6. Winter hibernation is definitely allowed. Great to read your updates whenever they happen. The bakery looks awesome!! Congrats!

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  7. Whenever you go on hiatus, I always hope you'll come back with some sort of update. It's totally understandable how busy you are, no one can blame you for that. I don't know you, but I've been reading your blog for years and I grew up with you at the same time - single girl blogging the style sharing stuff and going out with friends at random nights of the week and working unfullfilling 9-5 jobs and then on to meeting a guy different from them all, marrying him, and starting a completely new and exciting chapter. I'm excited for you and have fun reading about your life from across the country :) I wish you, your hubby, and your beautiful bakery/cafe the best!

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  8. I'm so happy you popped in to give an update! The space looks beautiful - congrats!

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  9. Nice to hear from you - your absence is very understandable. Learning to just put it out there even when it's not perfect is something I've been having to learn too, and it's difficult! But what you have created is so wonderful - I would eat there in a heartbeat :)

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  10. Your shop is lovely and I was salivating as I read what was in the Breakfast Pizza! xo

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  11. Love the cheerful look of your bakery! and those bundt pans. I saw a bunch of similar looking pans in a thrift shop a few weeks ago and thought of your blog. Glad to see this update!

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  12. you have all the reasons to be very proud of yourself! it looks great and im so happy to see this update and so nice to that you share whats happening

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  13. Welcome back! Can't wait to hear more about the bakery!

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  14. Looks beautiful Audrey!! It makes my day when I see a new post from you, be it on Instagram or what have you. I'll have you know I've been reading this blog since 2008, when little 14 year old me was just discovering my love of baking and pastry. And you remain my biggest inspiration, while I struggle through a Bachelors degree, because I have hope that my future in baking might be as fruitful as yours! Keep being wonderful and stylish!

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  15. I've been reading your blog for a long time now, and certainly don't mind the sporadic updates, if anything, I look forward to them! :) It looks like you've got a much-earned dream-come-true, and happiness in life is much more important than keeping a blog updated! Looking forward to future posts about your success! :D

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  16. Yes! I'm so happy to read your post! Your bakery looks lovely. So full of light and character. A good place to have a good cup of coffee and some good eats! Welcome back and I'm excited for what the future has in store for you and your bakery! Good luck and take care!

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  17. I am so glad I sporadically (great word!) check back on your blog for posts! I look forward to your future posts, and I love the bundt pan wall feature!

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