Friday, November 29, 2013

#57 Roast a heritage turkey (and brine it!)

The best turkey I ever had was at a friend's house in Vermont. I messaged him to ask how he made it and he sent me to the Alton Brown recipe here. We got our turkey from the Northern Lights Christmas Tree Farm where my brother got married. It was about a 12 pound bird.

I made the brine on Sunday, and put the turkey in the brine Wednesday night around 10 am. I didn't rotate because it was sitting vertically in a 5 gallon bucket! It turned out really well, there are a few things I'd do differently in the future.

Crossing things off my list left and right!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

#19 Rock Climbing Wall - or - I love my office

Hooray for my job helping me reach goals! Item number 19 on my list, to go to a rock climbing gym, was achieved during work on Friday 11/22/2013! We had our Fall Event day, where we closed the office and had a team building day up in Portland/Beaverton. It was awesome!

We started out the morning at Portland Rock Gym, I made it tot he top of the wall twice and part way up a few times. Right before our time there was up, I made a 3rd attempt at this part of the wall that I really wanted to get but halfway up all the holds seem to disappear and evade me. So on my 3rd try, I got 3/4 of the way up and slipped. The guy belaying me told me to take a second to rest (while hanging there) and then try again. So I did and I pumped myself up that I didn't have too much farther to go and I did it, legs and arms shaking, made it to the top! I was feeling good and he complimented me when I got down, "good job pushing yourself!" That was a great compliment :)

Met at the top! 3rd try after slipping, I made it!
That was invigorating and now I want to try to go more. There is a local gym, the Salvation Army Kroc Center (designed by my office) in NE Salem that has a rock wall and they have day passes (and gym memberships). So I can go during some of the open climb hours and check it out. I don't know if they have climbing shoes for rent though, I'll want to look into that. They do have the harnesses so if I go a couple times it would probably be worth picking up some climbing shoes.
I had a good time, it's really more about leg strength (unless you are pulling yourself up and around a cliff like wall) and your hands and forearms help keep you against the wall. I'm not nearly as sore as I thought I would be. Other than the spot on my knee where I banged into one of the holds and now have a bruise that my puppy seems to like to bump into :P I had to take my glasses off because the rope kept getting in the way, luckily I can see well enough right around me so for rock climbing it worked out :)

After rock climbing we went to Base Camp Brewing where they have, bump ba-da-DA! S'mores Stout! Omg it was sooo good. I loved the look of the brewery. There were carribeaners all over the place, table tops with topomaps under the glass and slabs of trees for tabletops (as seen in the photo below).

After lunch, where we were also joined by a past coworker we all miss who moved to a job in Portland a few months ago after having a new baby, we went out to Big Al's in Beaverton. It was surreal driving around the back road I used to take to go to high school and now there is this big mall/development that wasn't there before! To top it off, they were playing some 90's playlist with Collective Soul, Goo Goo Dolls and other music from high school! It was a good time, I'm terrible at bowling though. It was a good time!

I napped on the way home in the charter bus, then went home, dinnered and played with the puppy, then my friend Laura came over and we made rice crispy treats from scratch (as in, homemade marshmallows!). They turned out GIGANTIC and quite tasty! Might need to make/serve these for the farmer's market next summer :)

The photo is a little deceiving, they are almost 3 inches tall!

Kickstarter, Fiverr and updated Year of 30

With the success of a Kickstarter campaign behind me (and loads of work in front of me), I've had a few people ask for help with their Kickstarter campaigns. I decided to offer my services on Fiverr to review crowdsourcing campaigns. If you have one in the works, I'd be happy to review it and give you feedback, for $5 :)

Check it out

The calendar year is coming to an end soon, but I still have 10 months until the end of my year of 30! Revisiting my list though, I've decided there are a few things that just won't be in the budget, or I have changed my priorities on, so here is an updated Year of 30 list.

  1. Attend a UU service in Salem
  2. Go apple picking
  3. Volunteer with Habitat for Humanity
  4. Grind my own flour
  5. Make cheese (need to get the kit)
  6. Spend a weekend at the beach house alone
  7. Run a 10K, Goal time: 1:20 (train with Laura?)
  8. Camp at Silver Falls State Park
  9. Hike at Drift Creek Falls
  10. Go to Multnomah Falls, hike all the way to the top
  11. Kayak or Canoe on a lake (with Charlotte? Mom?)
  12. Do the Portland Bridge Pedal, August second weekend, with B&C and Judy & Bob (train longer bike rides!) Biking hurts my butt, and I think I'd rather focus on running. After my spill over the railroad tracks earlier this year, I haven't really wanted to bike much.
  13. Visit The Oregon Garden
  14. Draft Chocolates website, up and running and email address for people interested
  15. Write a letter to/from my future self. Imagine who I am 10 years from now, what my life is like. What I am like, mentally, physically, what do I enjoy, where am I living? This will be a good new years activity, especially since it's a weeknight and we'll probably just stay home cozying up with the puppy :)
  16. Get a voice lesson (8/17/2013 emailed a craigslist post)
  17. Make a homemade dinner for my mom
  18. Go to rock climbing gym in Portland (go with Kaley?) (got Bouldering coupon, expires in November) For our work Fall Event day we went rock climbing yesterday (11/22/2013) it was awesome and I would love to go again/more! Might be looking into local options like the Kroc center
  19. Sew a dress for myself, one I can wear to work (meetings) Just went through my fabric trying to downsize my collection, got me excited again about thinking about sewing something! Time to clear some table space!
  20. Finish (3) paintings (owl, ___, ___ )
  21. Peacock Lane or Zoolights 1/4/2014 Zoolights
  22. Go to Buffalo Wild Wings with Nitin and Tyler & Matt
  23. Go to Saturday Market in Portland
  24. Go strawberry picking and make freezer jam
  25. Send a letter to Grandpa, Mom, Dad, Kayanna, Erin, Marissa, Laura, Aimee, Dan & Deb, Mark & Ali
  26. Design a “dream” small (tiny) house and build a physical model of it A Sketchup or Revit model will do the trick for now.
  27. Visit Pringle Creek, potentially get involved
  28. Go to a Salem Food Swap
  29. Attend a Toastmasters meeting - possibly get involved Perhaps another time, I have too much on my plate to get involved in something new!
  30. Build a self watering container garden or plant things in a community garden I'm realizing plants just aren't a priority right now... when I have a house of my own then I'll get into gardening. Meanwhile, focusing on other things!
  31. Bake something fresh for breakfast and bring to work (bagels maybe?)
  32. Take an Archery Lesson (Keizer) Saturdays at 9 or 9:30am $25 for 30min
  33. Make and decorate sugar cookies (royal icing with patterns, details)
  34. Spend a weekend in Springfield helping out with B&C’s garden


  1. Go snowboarding on Mt. Hood or with B&C at Willamette Pass It's more about going with my brother and sister-in-law than where we go. Hopefully when we visit our mom in Bend we'll be able to go. Dang lift tickets are expensive!
  2. Paint a serving bowl at Create-a-Memory (can take my time with it) (Thinking about getting started on that soon, I'd like to be able to pop in over a period of time to create a masterpiece... or perhaps as a Christmas gift for a family member like I did the mug for the boyfriend last year)
  3. Go snowboarding at Mt. Bachelor (see #36 above, hopefully will get to go, but it's danged expensive to get there and get a lift ticket. At least I don't need to rent gear!)
  4. Camp at Champoeg State Park
  5. Do a Whole 30 (one month, whole food, no sugar, no booze) (planned for Sept 2013) Failed at doing a Whole30, looking at trying to just simplify my life/relationship with food. Starting with another "no soda" month in December, I've been going a little crazy at work the last 2 months.
  6. Go to Chocolate Fest in January! Bring cash, a good amount, so I can buy lots! (Planning to go with my friend to celebrate her birthday! Saving the boyfriend from having to tag along like he did last year, bless him :P)
  7. Host a holiday (Christmas or Thanksgiving or Easter just cause?) I hosted Christmas last year, this year with holidays falling on weekdays, and my boyfriend and I both working on the days before and after, it's not a good year to host.
  8. Go shooting with Matt
  9. Visit the Portland Zoo
  10. Attend a Beer festival in Portland
  11. Have a Lord of the Rings marathon party with LOTR inspired food! (do when it’s cold out)
  12. Get haircut from Heidi Get a hair cut, I usually wait way too long and as much as I'd love to get my hair cut by a friend, driving to Portland on a weekday is just not something I want to do. Besides, that's like a half a tank of gas!
  13. Get legs waxed for the first time ever (need to find a good local place and give it a go!)
  14. Send a care package to Kayanna (Done, she loved it!)
  15. Buy and try out food grade silicone mold making for chocolates
  16. Make chocolates and send to: Farm, Kayanna, Mark & Ali, Dan & Deb, Jeff & Dayna,
  17. Buy all new socks and underwear (got some from my mom for my birthday 8/16/2013, still need to throw out the old ones and take an inventory!)
  18. Get something lasercut at Ponoko (possibly cards?)


  1. Get $1000 in online savings account for emergency fund (no touching!)
  2. Take SPD & SD exams, (retake) PPP (Jan/Feb)
  3. Do chocolate making Kickstarter, develop a look, Kickstarter specials, early bird specials (Success as of 10/25/2913!)
  4. Road trip to Vancouver BC with Laura & Matt Passport will be expiring soon, will need to renew in the new year and Matt needs to get his.
  5. Roast a Heritage Turkey (brine it!) (This is the plan for Thanksgiving! Getting my brine prepared this weekend 11/23/2013) Great Success! 11/28/2013
  6. Go to Breitenbush Hot Springs ( monies)
  7. Treat myself to a spa day (Still really want to do this, but I don't know when I'll be able to afford it. I'll be keeping an eye on Groupons!)
  8. Hotel for a night or weekend in Portland with Matt, walking to restaurants and museums (be tourists!) Ace Hotel, or Jupiter Hotel (no monies, this could change though)
  9. Take a class (OCAC? Chemeketa? UO? Willamette? ADX?) Took a 2 day class, Entrepreneurship 101, really enjoyed it, don't have time to devote to a full on class but perhaps someday. Maybe something online so it can work with my work/chocolate schedule.
  10. Get “Happy Camper” tattoo still want, might need to save up until my 31st birthday though! Would rather spend that money on going to Hawaii!
  11. Buy a pair of quality running shoes PRIORITY!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

#55 Kickstarter Infographics and lists!

My Kickstarter was a success! It's super exciting! I've already spent all the money in my spreadsheet. There isn't any left over. I am buying extra packaging and sticker and things so that I will have some stuff to start with. Here's a list of purchases/actions thus far and then planned purchases/spending allocations.

  • Registered LLC
  • Got my food handlers card
  • Attended free class, Entrepreneurship 101, at the local community college's Small Business center
  • 250 thank you cards
  • 140 stamps
  • 2000 2"x2" stickers
  • 39 small hinged tins for 4 piece
  • 96 medium windowed tins for 12 piece
  • 96 large tins for 24 piece
  • 72 ceramic mugs (that's the minimum order!)
  • 7 Sweatshirts
  • 31 small tins for hot chocolate mix
  • 21 large tins for hot chocolate mix and caramels
  • 100 cellophane bags for marshmallows
  • samples of boxes for s'mores bars
  • 14 small tins for caramels
  • 4000 #3 brown paper cups
  • 2000 #4 brown paper cups
  • 4 colors foil wrappers for S'mores bars (flavors will be color coded)
  • 165' roll of bubble wrap
  • 3' wide wire shelf to store all this stuff on
  • A used chocolate tempering machine
  • Cocoa powder for hot chocolate mix
  • 45 pounds of chocolate for the early bird backers truffles and S'mores bars
  • 2 small scoops for scooping truffles
  • An Oregon shaped cookie cutter
  • (5) Geodesic Dome chocolate molds (I grew up in a dome, it was an obvious choice!)
  • (5) shallow dimpled cylinder molds
  • (2) breaker bar molds to experiment with

Not done/ordered, but allocated for in the budget:

  • 67 hours in commercial kitchen in Jan and Feb
  • Another 60 or so pounds of chocolate
  • Ingredients for S'mores Bars
  • Ingredients for caramels (thinking apple cider, plain, chocolate and perhaps pumpkin)
  • Flavorings for whatever flavors win the vote
  • Food Processor License
  • Insurance
  • Set up online shopping on website.
  • Apply for a Doing Business As, so I don't need to include "LLC" on all my labels 

I am planning to make the Early Bird chocolates mid-December so I can ship the week before Christmas. I should have my machine on Thursday and hope to play with it this weekend while I make some chocolates for Thanksgiving!

I made a map of the zipcodes that have backed me (not counting the one in Switzerland!)

I also made a pie chart of who my backer are, friends, family or strangers. Kind of amazing.

All the references highlighted in green below are on Kickstarter. Direct means they went straight to the project page (most likely from an emailed link).

It's pretty amazing that I reached my goal when I did (day 11 of 30). But I'm not really surprised that I did. I put a LOT of work into planning my project, planning out reward levels and making sure that I would be able to afford to do the project and not end up having to pay for a lot of things out of pocket. Here's the breakdown of the funds from one of my many Post-Success spreadsheets. I will do some comparisons once it's all over and done with. One of the biggest hits is always shipping, so I tried to budget enough for it.

Green = 49.20%= Rewards
Grey = 17.62% = fees/licenses
Blue = 33.18% = equipment/kitchen time

Kickstarter and Amazon Fees$694.348.19%
License and insurance$800.009.43%
Tempering machine$1,200.0014.15%
Chocolate molds$248.272.93%
Kitchen supplies$366.574.32%
Commercial Kitchen time$1,000.0011.79%
Packaging/ labels$1,469.3617.32%
Anticipated Shipping$1,301.3015.34%
Ingredients (remainder)$1403.1616.54%

I sure do love me some charts and graphs! I am also working on plotting my ability to participate in the farmer's market this upcoming summer (with pretty much no plans for a life outside of professional work and chocolate work!) I still want to make the breaker bar that was my second stretch goal but I'm hoping I have an affordable work around to test the concept with the breaker bar molds I purchased. Once I get them I'll be giving it a try. I'd love to be able to sell chocolates, S'mores bars, big chocolate chip cookies, hot chocolate mix and seasonal breaker bars at the farmer's market. I have a long ways to go including making labels and getting them approved, getting my food processor license (which I plan to do in January, unfortunately it is not pro-rated and goes from June-June rather than following the calendar year. So part way through the farmer's market season I will need another $325 to renew). I want to get a DBA so I do not need "LLC" on all my labels.

In my planning I realized too late that I didn't include the cost of commercial kitchen time in my goal. So it's a good thing that I exceeded my goal!


54.82% = Reward Fulfillment 
13.39% = Fees and licenses
31.79% = Equipment 

Projected at end of Kickstarter
49.20%= Reward Fulfillment
17.62% = fees/licenses
33.18% = equipment/kitchen time

I don't know how to rotate it in Google Docs. I will follow up with actual when the project is done, in February. 

And now that it's almost 3 hours after I said I would go to bed... off I go, to dream of chocolate making and spreadsheets.