Monday, January 30

Loving the treats @SweetLoveBakes

A few weeks ago, my friend Kelli invited The Bees and me to meet her brand new baby, Sweet Love bakery.
Sweet Love logo from InArkansas Weddings article

As I tend to do with all brand new, sweet smelling babies, I fell in love instantly.
cookie dough truffles

Kelli has worked on Sweet Love for such a long time, and I am so happy that she has actually done it. She went from making treats in her kitchen, to taking orders, to thinking she wanted to do it full time, to being all "I want to open a bakery. There. I said it." to buying a much-storied megamixer... painting and sanding and mixing and baking and really working her butt off to make her dream a reality.

There were lots of friends and lots of true-to-the-name sweets and lots of happy things going on at the preview.

Audreya and Berit  Probably laughing at #DestructoTot. Or smiling with mouths full of deliciousness.

Kerri's Monkey Boy eyed the buttercream and ganache-y chocolate cupcakey things. 

Amy, who loves The Baby and loves bothering The Baby, was keeping her from pouring the entire contents of the coffee/pink lemonade table onto the floor. 

Kat and her also-sweet-smelling baby Nora Kate stood by and laughed at Amy's futile efforts.

That lump of brown in the left corner? Is the best pile of brownies I've ever eaten in my life ever. 

The Boy hides from anyone who might steal his coconut bar
The Girl agrees: best. brownies. ever. ever.

I have seen (and tasted!) some incredible creations Kelli has made over the past two years. She has a natural talent, and has honed her skill. The girl is awesome. I'm not even a little jealous that she literally whips up these amazing treats when I can't even do slice-and-bake cookies properly. Ok. I'm a little jealous.

But? Now that Sweet Love is open Tuesdays through Fridays 9:00am to 5:30pm and Saturdays from 9:00am to 1:00pm (see what I did there? pertinent information, yo), I can visit practically any time I'm in Little Rock near 8210 Cantrell Road (also pertinent information).
I love this picture of Audreya and Kelli (and I extra love Kelli's awesome bakery-owner jacket. I'm sure that's not the actual word for it, but whatever). So happy. 

You can see more of Kelli's super fantastic creations on Sweet Love's facebook page, and follow the fun on the twitters at @sweetlovebakes

Also? There have been a virtual TON of write-ups, all praising Kelli's bakery, I couldn't possibly link to all of them. Google it, though. Two of my favorites are Sarabeth's and Gina's. Go see. 

Go ahead. Now. Get yourself some Sweet Love. You won't regret it, I promise.
Possibly the coolest cake in the universe. 

Monday, January 23

Some Thoughts on Relationships... Well, Just One Thought, Really

I work with a bunch of kids. And when I say "a bunch of kids," I mean, "A bunch of 18-22-year-old college kids."
Now, there are intelligent, well-mannered, not-high college students (I even know some!), but they don't work at the Mom 'n' Pop Diner with me for four hours every Friday evening.
The kids I work with wear me out. But they also make me laugh. And there is so much they don't know. But they have time to learn.

One of the girls told me last weekend that she broke up with her boyfriend (again). When I asked her why, she answered simply, "I'm not happy." Although I could write a 5,000 word essay on those three words, I spared her.
"Is he mean?"
"Do you like him?"
"Yeah, I love him to death."
"That's not what I asked. I asked if you like him."
"Is that not the same thing?"

Oh, sister. No, it is not.

In the past, I dated several guys I liked (though never at once!), and a few who I loved. There were a few who I loved, but didn't like very much. 

It wasn't until I met Jeremy that I found a man I loved and liked in equal amounts. The amounts vary from day to day, and sometimes from hour to hour. There have been several occasions when I've yelled, "I DON'T LIKE YOU VERY MUCH RIGHT NOW. GO AWAY FROM ME." There are times I feel unloved, unlovable, and unloving. 

But it's the having balance that is key. If you love someone, but don't like who they are, there is practically no point in going on. If you like someone but feel no love, it may grow.... but it may not.

If you are single, hold out for someone whom you love, and whom you really really like, too.
If you are not-so-single, remind yourself why you love the one you do, and why you like that one the best

from my awesome friend Robin's etsy store

Friday, January 20

This is why I hate Pinterest, people.

Yes. There are cute pictures of dogs/babies/happy couples.
Yes. There are delicious-looking recipes that I would hardly dare try to replicate.
Yes. There are all manner of D-I-Y ideas to make me feel inadequate doing-it-myself.
Yes. There are lots of clever/sappy/geeky quotes.


There's a ton of stuff that just
a) irritates the fire out of me
b) is plain dumb
c) makes my eyes roll so much I get a headache.

Case in point:

This is a screen shot of three pins on my "This is Hipster Crap" board. Granted, some of the pins aren't hipster-ish, and most of it isn't crap. But it's all a little bit ridiculous.

The first black arrow points to my comment:
Dear Internet, Not everything has to be spray painted. xo, SB

Trash cans are for trash, not for cute.

The second black arrow points to my comment: opposed to walking into a classroom as the tooth fairy, I guess.

Because, really, the entire caption makes me cry. Obvs, whoever pinned this watched too many video cassette tapes and listened to too few lessons.

The yellow lightning bolt, I have to admit, points to:

The score so far....
Savannah: Eleventy-million
Pinterest: One

I still don't like your stupid face, Pinterest.

Tuesday, January 3

Finally telling the truth. Alternate title: Eventually, I'll have to buy some shades

I wanted my first post of 2012 to be an energetic, lighthearted missive, looking forward to the bright future and all that jazz. This isn't that post.

Or, maybe it is.

I don't usually scratch the surface on my blog/twitter feed/facebook updates/general web presence. I keep it light, yo. But after convergence of events over the last few months, and some blogs posts I've read over the last few days, and one that showed up in my reader this morning, I'm going heavy today. Bear with me.
Before I begin, if you have time, please read these posts. Or, if you don't have time right now, go back and read them later. They are more eloquent and more moving in their honesty and hope and beauty than I hope to be here.

For most of my adult life (and certainly most of my teen years), I have been dealing with depression and anxiety.
Marc Davis' concept art for Disney's Haunted Mansion

I say dealing with, instead of suffering or fighting, because that's exactly what I've been doing. Just dealing with them. Dog-paddling against them. Ignoring them. Making a strange bed-fellows out of them.

I have never been suicidal (except for maybe once in junior high, but who wasn't suicidal in junior high?), and I don't self-harm. I've never had an eating disorder accompany my depression, except maybe eating my feelings. If my feelings were covered in chocolate or cheese or ranch dressing.

For clinical purposes, I have mild depression and an anxiety disorder. But I've come to believe that depression is never mild. It affects each person, and the people who love them, differently, and it's rarely mild. Everyone has blue periods, everyone finds themselves in funks. Not everyone suffers from depression. My funks, for as long as I can remember, were cyclical. Every 6 or 8 weeks, I'd falter. I would hole up inside my head and think about how crappy my life was. Jenny Lawson, and countless others, have spoken out about how depression is a liar. An ugly, stinking, rotten liar. My life has rarely been actually crappy. But depression doesn't care about actuality.

My personality and temperament is such that I am most comfortable radiating a giggly, happy light. I tend to surround myself with smart, funny people. It irritates the fire out of me when people are constantly complaining about their luck/lack/life.
And yet.
I feel like a person split in half. The A side who really is truly happy and satisfied and who is pleasant and shiny and who dances a lot. And the B side who can't do anything right, who wants to run away for every else's benefit, who is a poor mother and a worse wife, a girl dark and twisty.

In the past, I have tried to fix myself half-assedly. I would casually mention to my doctor that I was feeling down. I would exercise with abandon... for a few days. I would eat healthy foods and root myself in routine... for a little while. I would immerse myself in reading/napping/mommying.

It wasn't until the summer of 2011 that my best friend of ten years, a brilliant and hilarious woman with a Master's degree in psychology, finally convinced me to purposefully say something to someone and find some way to get better. In August, with the cheerleading of my tireless husband, I worked up the courage (and oh, what courage it takes to admit you aren't a fully functional human person) to tell my ob/gyn, of all people, that I wanted help. Instead of the judgement, the wary-eyes, the heavy sigh, and the pen scratching notes on my record that I expected, he simply asked, "What's going on?" After we talked for a few minutes, he said the most blessed words I'd heard in a very long time.

"Let's fix you."

Through the miracle of modern medicine and with shoulders unburdened, I walked out of his office with a prescription for some anti-depressant/anti-anxiety drugs and a sleeping pill. Because on top of the evil twins of anxiety and depression, I'd been given the repeated face-punch of insomnia.

It took me well over a decade to understand that the pull to sleep for days at a time is not just fatigue. 
To realize that the apathy toward my appearance is not just because I'm not a girly-girl. 
That the funky times weren't just when I was about to get my period and was all moody and stuff. 
That my lack of energy and my aversion to keeping the house/laundry/dishes clean wasn't just laziness. 
That staying home and avoiding the public at large for days on end wasn't just a quirky eccentricity allowed me by my heritage as a quirky, eccentric Southern woman.

Oh, what a difference a few pills have made. I haven't had any funks worth mentioning since August. I have been a better, more attentive mother. I have been less gripey toward my patient, loving husband. I've worked harder at working harder.

I would be an idiot to think that medication has been my sole savior. My mother, who revealed to me that crazy does in fact run in our family, has been incredibly supportive. My best friend has talked me off more emotional ledges than I can count. My supportive circle of friends make me laugh and don't mind if I send them expletive-filled text messages. My husband has been nothing short of incredible- taking charge of the Bees when I need an hour or three alone, sending me off on faraway adventures, making me mashed potatoes when I don't feel like eating anything of real substance, shielding me against curious glances and cutting words from people in our lives who just. don't. get it. And mostly, he never left me when I was entrenched deep inside Crazytown.
But (wo)man doesn't live on people and heavily-buttered bread alone. Time and time again over the past six months I have gone back to Scripture, to prayer, to the Truth I've always known. You've heard that cute little maxim, "Let go and let God"? Well, what's too long to be considered a cute little maxim is that you have to let go and let God over and over and over and over and over and probably over again. Sometimes the only light I could see through the haze of worry and sadness was God. Even when I felt far away, and sinful and useless and broken, I knew I wouldn't be deserted. My faith kept me afloat more than any little white pills and bowls of popcorn ever could.

The thing about being broken is that there is hope for repair.
The very idea of brokenness springs from the notion that something once was whole. There have been bleak times where I've felt that there were vital pieces of me missing, shattered, irreparable. There is still a dark bit lurking for its opportunity to spring into fullness, to send me to bed, to break my heart.... but for now, and hopefully for a very long time to come- through prayer and patience and pills-  it has been relegated to a tiny hidden part of me. Like, my little toe or somewhere.

It just took a working-up of courage, one small request for help, and several pounds of comfort chocolate.

2012 is looking awfully bright right now.