Whew…well that was fun!

Gotta love the Charlie...

Today is 12-21-12 and I am thankful to be alive.  Not just because I woke up today…(Mayan Calendar and all) but because I have survived the past two weeks!  For those of you that don’t know, my “day job” finds me running, the White Bear Gift Basket Company.  As you can imagine, I’ve been busy with holiday basket orders.  And not just busy, but so busy I barely had time to eat, shower, breathe most days this past week.  I’m not complaining (very much) don’t get me wrong, I am THANKFUL for every single order I had this year!  I just got my butt kicked…in the nicest way possible 🙂  So this post isn’t really food-related, but more of a peek inside my world the past couple of weeks, with a sprinkling of food throughout!

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A little background on the past two months of my life; previous to November 28th, I was working a part time job at a hotel in St. Paul as a Sales Manager.  This part time job was to become full time in the New Year, which I wasn’t able to do, so I decided it was time to quit & plunge myself back into full time baskets.  I’ve been promoting my business quite a bit these past 6+ months so I think that helped with my holiday business levels.  At the time I left that job, I was preparing for holiday orders…ordering product, getting organized etc. I decided to set a sales goal for myself.  I set this goal pretty high, because what’s the point of setting a goal that’s easy to achieve, right?  So, needless to say, (secretly), even I didn’t believe it to be possible.

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Boy was I wrong!  In the past two and a half weeks, I have shipped out (at least 100+ gift packages this year!) and locally delivered 261 total baskets, of every shape, size & cost, to destinations like Canada, Germany, the Netherlands…and many states in the good ol’ USA.

A little taste of Minneasota(1)

Our most popular design this holiday, surprisingly, was our most popular gift year-round, the Little Taste of Minnesota.  Popular add-on’s to that gift were Minnesota themed playing cards, our Minnesota Passport & several “UFF DA” themed gift items!

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We had fun with lots of custom designs this holiday, including a few that ordered custom logo ribbon which always add a great look to any gift!

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And basket-making craziness aside, who can’t forget the snowstorm we got this month…15.5 inches of the gorgeous white stuff came to our house!  It definitely made getting product from my vendors a bit delayed, and getting to and from the Post Office & my courier’s warehouse a bit more tricky.  But we all wanted a white Christmas!  Enjoy it Minnesotans!  😉

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I did manage to continue to eat (and obviously drink) pretty well, although I admit I might have sampled a few too many Knudsen Caramels, Pearson’s Nut Goodies and other treats in a desperate attempt to stave off hunger for a couple hours.  Living for a couple weeks on mass quantities of sugar & caffeine is okay once in awhile, isn’t it?  Thank goodness I had stock-piled leftovers in the freezer for quick lunches and my darling husband made his way into the kitchen many nights to create nourishing & comforting food to keep me fueled.  And we treated ourselves to a Carpet Picnic night last weekend…Pate, SalamiCaramelized Onions, roasted Tomatoes, roasted Garlic etc….always a favorite night at our house!  I managed to relax a little while watching a movie (Elf of course!) with the family.  (not pictured-gobs of cheese, Brie & Camembert and a giant loaf of Ciabatta!)

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A couple other fun things that happened during the past couple of weeks…I got a new iPhone 4S…it was totally on sale and no, I didn’t think the iPhone 5 was worth the extra money and my hubby had just bought me a really cool Pad & Quill iPhone holder that I wanted to use for awhile.  Seriously though, what ever did I do without Siri & navigation!!!  Love that phone.

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And, I won CHEESE!!  Yea, perfect for us, right!?!  Sartori Cheese had a contest (during their 12 days of Christmas Facebook promo) one night and I won nine different cheeses!  My husband insisted I stop what I was doing and enter.  So, we can thank him for that!  I love Sartori Cheese and if you haven’t had it yet, GO!

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My favorite has always been the BellaVitano® Espresso, but I got a sample of the MontAmore when I was at Kowalski’s buying the BellaVitano® Cognac I’ve been dying to try, and I really like that!  Speaking of the BellaVitano® Cognac, it’s just a mear $75 a pound that cheese….and they only make a very limited amount each year.  It’s aged for at least 18 months and then soaked for 7-10 days in Rémy Martin Cognac.  Who would have thought…Cognac & Cheese…a decadent & delicious splurge indeed!

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And we won’t ever forget the horrible tragedy the families & our nation faced last week in Connecticut…

That day, I was so consumed with myself and getting my work done.  I had to cancel the kids piano lessons because I was stuck in Minneapolis at a client’s office helping get her holiday order shipped out.  I was annoyed about having to drive home, the third day in a row, in rush hour traffic.  And then, on my way home, my husband on the phone told me what had been unfolding that day…it was almost too terrible to believe.  I got home, turned on the TV and sat there, crying.  So sick & senseless.  I am sure I am not alone, when I say that I took a close look that weekend at my family & how I treat each day I have with them.  I have always tried to live each day to the fullest, letting everyone I care about know how much they mean to me.  Life is a gift.  But, as I settle down on Christmas Eve with my family, I will remember those who have presents under a tree that won’t be opened by their child this year, or any, ever again.  My heart goes out to them…may they be surrounded by friends, family, love & support and know as a nation, we mourn with them.

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Happiest of Holidays to all of you!  This weekend I will get my Christmas on, by baking….& wrapping…watching some White Christmas and listening to some Bing Crosby, Nat King Cole and maybe a little Jimmy Buffett’s Christmas Island.  I will be sleeping in, wearing my pj’s maybe all day if I want to…drinking egg nog…and even possibly enjoying a cocktail during the day…just straight up kickin’ it with my family is all I wish for this weekend!  I wish for you to have a delicious & wonderful Holiday as well!  I will check back in before the New Year….

Cheers,

Shawn

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