Where a kindred spirit can be found

Malika Favre

I placed my scarf along the back of the chair and sat down. My second cousin introduced me to her friend, who accompanied her to the funeral just an hour earlier. I looked over to see an older woman, with a friendly smile. A thick, Eastern European accent fluttered out with her greeting.

In those few minutes, I also learned that this woman with her many years of life, was a retired professor of Slavic Languages at a few universities. As a parishioner of the Greek Orthodox faith, she befriended my cousin, who is the church’s organist. We chatted at great length during our mercy meal of chicken and ziti while our bottomless coffees grew cold.  We didn’t mind, we became quick kindred spirits.

Born in the Soviet Union and educated in Kraków, my new friend found her way into the United States to finish her PhD and teach a variety of languages. She mentioned that she was blessed by Pope John Paul II and Pope Francis before they were popes. She lit up when I said I come from a Slovakian background and she asked if I knew any of the language, which I do not know a single lick of.

But, of course, the food! Food brings everyone together, even in conversation. We talked about the perfect mushrooms for Christmas Eve soup, pastries and cookie dough laden with sour cream and filled with fruit spreads. Potatoes, noodles and mushrooms—the staples to any Eastern European meal.

Then she asked the question, placing a hand on my arm, “What do you do?”

I placed my coffee cup back onto the saucer and without delay, told her my life story. It has been hard to figure my latest identity (am I an entrepreneur? a writer?), so I laid it all out. My education, the consideration of being an educator, to owning a bakery, to writing a book and now developing new entrepreneurial efforts.

She was interested in my writing. She was once asked to write a book about her life, but has since refused. “Why open old wounds?” she says. “I don’t want to do that to myself.”

We talked more about education, travel and my favorite topics as of late: faith and fate. She pulled me toward her and planted a kiss on my cheek, grabbing my cousin’s arm to get her attention. “I absolutely love this girl!” she exclaimed. “You speak with so much passion!”

My cousin nodded. “Your face lights up when you talk.”

I romanticize everything.

I want to do and experience things on level that pushes me to be this force that is something fierce. Quite appropriate after a funeral, yes?



“I’m so glad I met you today!” was said multiple times by both of us.

When it came time to leave, she gave me her email address to stay in touch. “I do keep up with technology,” she laughed. “I even use Skype!”

When I stepped away for a moment to get my jacket, out of the corner of my eye I saw her hand reach for my dad’s arm. “She’s definitely going places,” I heard her say to him.

“Yes, she is,” he replied.



Image by Malika Favre


a fresh start

Wood bunting from www.cubbylove.com.au

Wood bunting from http://www.cubbylove.com.au

Hello, August! When did you get here? The 31 days of July seemed to fly by so quickly, that I’ve realized one flaw in owning a business, at least in the early stages…

…you really miss out on summer.

Enjoying the blip of warm weather western New York is lucky enough to get has been completely out of reach. The ticking time also reminds me that I’ve been going at everything too hard and I’m in desperate need of time off, but that is also out of reach for a while longer. The shop has not reached the point where I feel comfortable leaving it for a few days, even if I am losing my mind.

Anyway, I have been a freshly-turned 30 year-old for over a week, and I’ve been pushing myself to go forward on many things. It sounds cliché to see those 30 before 30, or for now–gulp–40 before 40 bucket lists, but stepping into a new decades has brought a teeming overabundance of goals. So, to break cliché, I’m not creating a bucket list for the next decade. First off, it does sound overwhelming. I hope the decade does bring everything Crosby, Stills, Nash (and Young?) sang about. I want the house and the two friggin’ cats in the yard. Maybe the spouse and kids too. I don’t want to be the crazy cat lady with the swingin’ pad forever.

After a revitalizing surprise birthday get-together with my closest friends who I rarely see since our schedules are crazy. We laughed through crudités and cake over the stupid incidents and acts we did in our 20’s and how education, wedding vows, houses and finding our careers finally found us all in a new decade where the ghosts of drunken night’s passed are reminders that we never really forgot to let loose before responsibility.

The day after, the gears started turning. I have pads and list-creating app’s full of ideas and plans for the next year. I figure I’m going to work a year at a time, that way I have a system of benchmarks. Where will I be in 3 months? Half a year? 9 months? What will 31 have in store?

This is what I came up with:

Make profit by fall
Reorganize shop, adjust hours, more products
Continue to time manage (writing, business owning, etc.)
Attend SXSW next March, represent new business venture
Write another novel
Take time off, the body and mind need it

It is a short list, with very big goals. Check back in a year. 😉

Lyndsey Dee’s day off, initiating change

On Monday, the shop is closed, but what do I do when there is a day off from Cakes a Go-Go?

I’m still working. I may be home, but I do focus on the marketing, planning and brainstorming for the business. I also try to write an article or two for Examiner, work on one of my future books, do some laundry and make sure I catch my once-a-week viewing of The Chew. It is my most productive day in terms of executing the most work that ten people should be doing.

This time of year is expected to be crazy at the shop. We have acquired orders big and small to fulfill outside of the retail supply and demand that goes on everyday. There is a major issue when being self-employed and boss that you usually tend to overlook when business planning–and that is getting sick. I have had a pesky cough for the last few weeks and not until Saturday night, I wiggled under the covers only to feel a pop on the left side near my ribs after a large and powerful cough. Sunday morning, I woke up to pain and clutching my side after every cough. Spent the day wearing an elastic bandage around my ribcage and popping painkillers. So today as I plan and brainstorm, I’m “learning” to take it easy. This also prompted me to make a few personal changes, or goals to work on this week.`


Let’s face it, I can’t stay away from it. I’m working on blogging more, increasing my clips portfolio, the books, product copy, web copy, etc. etc. etc. It is my therapy and best form of brain medicine when you want to escape the stresses of the business.

Stress less, worry less

Easier said than done when it comes to business. Money is ALWAYS on the brain. There are methods to eliminate negative thinking, which I plan to look into. No one wants a negative boss. I do find meditation hard to get into, only because I consider sitting with my eyes closed and breathing a time occupier. I plan to find other methods and report later on those. This leads me to my other goal/area of improvement…

Time Management

If I could do this, maybe I could just implement a stress-free regimen. If anyone who knows me, when I have multiple projects I bring out the planners. I am re-initiating this method again. First, I have to see things from a month’s perspective. Deadlines, bills, important dates, etc. I have a small pocket monthly calendar to visualize how much the month is demanding from me. Next, I found myself a weekly planner. This way, I can work in smaller chunks and plan my week accordingly. Does this double calendar method work? It does for me, only because it takes the idea of writing things down often with the expectation of remembering. Repetition equals memorization.

Take Time for Self

I do not do this and I know I should. No time for myself creates burnout, which is something I’m already experiencing. It is scary so early on in the game to feel burned out. If I can get these goals to work, I can actually pencil in some time for myself. I have read in a few blogs that offered “self time” tips, including retail therapy. Hmmm, what if you’re absolutely skint while working a start-up? Can you get a professional haircut or manicure? A massage? A shopping spree at the mall? A new pair of shoes? (probably doable, but not if you’re budget conscious)

I’m going to find some free or extremely cheap methods to kick back…other than exercise, television and the usual suspects.

These are my goals this week. Do you have any of your own? What are your methods of kicking back?