Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Merry Christmas, from the Ericksons

Our nice, long Christmas weekend this year was warmed with a very fun family visit. We spent most of the day on Christmas Eve in the kitchen, nursing a delicious bolognese sauce for dinner. Homemade focaccia bread and my famous sour cream cookies rounded out the rest of the evening's food and the hubs made his now-famous egg nog drinks! 

Christmas Morning saw us up at 5:00am to start the fire on our Big Green Egg and we had our pork shoulder on the grates within the hour. Chicken wings followed soon after for lunch, and everything turned out better than ever. The hubby is seriously getting GOOD at cooking on that smoker!

We opened a few gifts Christmas Morning while sipping pumpkin spice lattes that the hubs also made for us. Movie marathons and festive drinks kept us cozy on the couch, waiting for delicious sandwiches and home made french fries.

After several days away from our work computers, enjoying the company of family at our home, we are getting back to emails, postings and chores today. With a container of cookies still half full and some egg nog still  left-over in the fridge, it looks like we'll extend our celebrations for one more week while it's slow and many of our co-workers take time off. I am very much looking forward to turning over an entirely new leaf for 2022 though and getting back into a groove.

Until then, Happy New Year and GO BEARCATS!!

Monday, December 20, 2021

Road Tripping

This past weekend, we took the opportunity to get out in the hubby's car for a long, gorgeous California drive. Heading up through San Jose for a couple of errands, then out to Half Moon Bay through Los Altos, we found ourselves at the San Benito Cantina for lunch. Fish Tacos and Chicken Chili Nachos ensued, along with a solid Mango Margarita (I wasn't driving!) ha!

Driving home along PCH with the sun shining and an amazing, clear sky allowed us to see all the way down to Monterey. The Ocean was beautiful with some big surf stirring below us. Every time we do this, we look at each other and wonder why we don't do it more often!! Here's to more road tripping and more ocean time and more fish tacos in 2022!

Monday, December 13, 2021

2021 Coming to an End

With only three weeks left in 2021, it feels like a good time to talk about what this year has meant to me. The next two Monday posts will be filled with Holiday Celebrations and happy photos with family, but this week is finding me quietly grateful for a momentous year passing. The support and love that I've received from my family, friends and colleagues to start my own company has been overwhelming. I feel a huge sense of responsibility to prove to you all that you put your faith in the right woman. Every day has given me something new to learn or try, and each mistake has helped me to understand how to be better the next time around.

In the Spring, I joined an amazing group of women entrepreneurs who have helped to guide me and teach me to follow in their successful footsteps. Without them, I don't know that I could have even guessed where to start on my own company. Even this morning, in our latest meeting, I continue to gain knowledge and confidence from their support. Thank you to all of you.

My heart swells every time I think about the time and effort that my gracious sister and brother-in-law put into my company's branding and marketing this year. I never would have anticipated having such talented and loyal people take my idea so seriously and put my success on their hearts and minds just as much as I have. I owe you a debt I'm not sure I can ever repay, but please know that I will try.

There are numerous people who sent contracts and potential clients my way these last several months, and some of them I'd never even met in person. It is the generosity and kindness of others that has helped me to feel successful so quickly, and I am beyond lucky to have that in my life.

More than all of that though, I have to thank and give immense credit to my amazing husband. He endures my insecurity and stress every day, while encouraging me to keep going. He reads and edits all of my blog posts and helps me to understand social media and cyber security. He has given me space and time to figure out how to make this work for us, monetarily, while cheering me on to be our family bread winner someday soon! After years of following me around this country for my career, he has once again been the beacon of light that I can see on the darkest of days, guiding me toward my goals and our goals as a couple. Love is not a word strong enough to describe what he means to me, what he has done for me throughout our entire marriage or what he has been open to supporting me with this year. I'm not always great about showing it, but my life would be so much worse without him in it and my adoration for him is never ending.

Thank you, thank you to all of you. If you are reading this, please know that you've also been a huge part of my journey that finally came to life this year. It means more than you could possibly know.


Monday, December 6, 2021

Holiday Decorations and Cookies

This year's Holiday decorations are similar to the last, including the cluster of "The Grinch" ornaments that my husband finds hilarious to  bunch together every year.

I tell people all the time that we chose not to have kiddos because I already had a big kid to keep me on my toes... I didn't need any more!  LOL  This is just proof of that theory.

What is different this year though is his sprinkles game for our Christmas cookies! What is usually an adventure with color turned into some pretty detailed designs this year. I'm seriously impressed.

As we wind down the year and get ready for another Holiday Season in California, we're excited to be spending the time with family and look forward to sending out letters and presents soon. 

Monday, November 29, 2021

Happy Thanksgiving 2021

Thanksgiving feast at our house turned out to be one of my best. The bird was juicy and tastier than usual. We used some "Ditmer's Dust" on the outside of the bird, stuck to the skin with lots of butter! It really added something great to the meat this year.

We of course also had mashed potatoes, stuffing and gravy to go along with the bird, as always!

One of our experiments this year was cooking up Martha Stewart's "Perfect Mac and Cheese" recipe, and it didn't disappoint. Super creamy and delicious, we're not too sad about the leftovers we had of this dish this year!!

And the fan favorite (as always) is Lauren's famous Pretzel Knots:

All together, it was another favorite day of the year due to the amazing cooking, fantastic smells in the kitchen and opportunity to use our wedding dishes. xx

Monday, November 22, 2021

A Few Life Lessons

This last week presented us with a few learning lessons. As I'm just getting started with my first contract job, it immediately became apparent that I quoted the project pretty poorly. I expected the job to take me somewhere between 4-5 hours to complete, and it is going to take me at least double that, if not more. So I now know better about under-quoting myself for jobs like this! Oof...

On the bright side, I'm REALLY enjoying the work. Creating a pattern from scratch and sewing mock-ups for this client might as well be "play time" for me. So even though I did myself a bit of a disservice this first time around, I'm making up for it by having so much fun. 

The hubby also had a bit of humble pie thrown at him this weekend when he had a quick crash on his bike. We thought this one was no big deal, and he even chuckled to himself after he slid out on some dusty gravel to find himself all of a sudden on the ground! But after an afternoon of watching football, it started to become apparent that he was in for another round of injury.

A trip to Urgent Care yesterday proved that he didn't officially crack any of his ribs, but they are severely bruised. He landed on his arm, which caused his bony elbow to protect and yet hurt his rib cage all at the same time. So now he is working on some deep breathing exercises and we've called the race season to be over. 

I think the biggest thing for us to remember is that we were both not planning for anything significant in these last months of 2021. I didn't even expect to have contracts coming in yet, and he didn't have any high hopes for racing this season (other than remembering how much he loves it!) So we have already started to look forward to 2022... Training plans, better diets and regular work schedules are in our very near future. So now it's time to enjoy the Holidays and ring in the New Year with joy and patience. 

Monday, November 15, 2021

Just a Bit Off-Camber

The hubby's race last weekend was up in Sacramento again, and this course was a fun one! Switchbacks on pavement, dirt, grass and mud made for a technical race and the best part was an off-camber stretch just before a sharp turn. For the most part, the spectators chose to park themselves here, watching their loved ones battle the tree roots and the angle of the earth, trying not to fall off their bikes. 

We watched plenty of people succeed with smiles on their faces, and we saw a few go over their handlebars. Luckily, it was all in good fun and everyone finished the race with their bones and bike frames intact.

While my husband continues to relish in his unflappable love for his bicycle, I have been trying to foster a new love of my own: my company. Today marked my first day of work as a contractor. Granted, I only sat in an hour long meeting to get us started today, but it was a momentous step for Unmarked Street. This first contract is closely followed by a prototyping project starting tomorrow, and there are an additional four more companies I'm talking to about the help they need with their apparel lines. 

Along-side all of the networking I've been doing, there has been a deep dive into the world of Social Media that I'm taking on. I've been immersing myself in webinars and free classes wherever I can find them to help me understand the best ways to use Instagram, Pinterest and LinkedIn to grow my business. It is unbelievably complex, and yet wonderfully simple all at the same time. There is much still to learn and execute against, but the learning is keeping me excited every day.

Next on my list is to build out a brand guide for myself (and hopefully any employees I may hire) to follow as I do postings and marketing. I am extremely lucky to have the best branding and logo advice coming directly from my sister and brother-in-law. They've been amazing with the amount of advice and work they've put into my brand already. I can't wait to put all of their notes into a single place and let it start guiding my image and making my job that much easier each week. More to come soon!

Monday, November 1, 2021

Racing in the Mud

For years now, my husband and I have looked forward to watching the Spring Cycling Classics Races and any Cyclocross Race we can find on our various TV apps. Watching these super heroes ride their beautiful bicycles through mud, rain, dirt and anything else the weather will throw at them is awe-inspiring and downright amazing to see.

It was inevitable that those kinds of gross, muddy races would someday be in our own futures. Cheering others on through the worst conditions can only be fully appreciated when you genuinely know what they're putting themselves through. So these last couple of weekends, the hubs has lived up to that promise by getting out in the rain and fog on his bike.

In Sacramento, it poured down rain on us during California's "Atmospheric River" in October, kicking up mud and sand and grass into his gears and all over his kit. Then, in Santa Cruz two weeks later, we saw the fog come out for a Halloween race like nothing else. The crowd and the atmosphere were perfect for the occasion.

There is another race coming up this weekend, and we're hoping for less mud in Sacramento, and maybe a bit of sunshine. There is more rain in the forecast, so we'll have to see what the racing plan is as we get closer... But it has been so much fun to see a side of this sport that has only ever been on our TV screen before now. Huge kudos to the hubby for having so much fun with it, and always having a smile on his face at the end of these hard days!