The Best Summer Yet!

I am determined to fall in love with Fall. After having one of the most amazing Summers of my entire life, I definitely want to keep that inspirational party going. When I look back on my recent trips to California, Germany, and Holland—I just want a return ticket! I spent this entire Summer out of my comfort zone, by myself more than ever, and returned with an entirely new perspective. 

The adventure started in Northern California with family, a very close friend, and at the celebration of a very important person in my life who was getting married. For whatever reason, all the stars were aligned and the communication with my family was better than ever. It really showed me how far I've come and how supportive they are (perhaps I have a better relationship with those "stars" as well).

The wedding brought together guests from all over the world, with all of us bearing witnesses to love. Being in Napa Valley had made the occasion all the more visceral. I was honored to be there and was awestruck seeing my friend sharing in the ultimate gift.

Coming back to New York, I was lucky to find the bakery attracting new clients, new opportunities, and as a result, new interests from the press. My business was also bringing nothing but surprises. I love these exciting challenges. They inspire me to dream—what else can we do? 

Then I was outbound again, but in the other direction—I went to Berlin for two weeks. Many people have said it's like New York City in the late 90s and I can see why. The street fashion, the street art, and the music in the clubs were familiar, but so out of context (especially when I can capture it on my iPhone). Plus, the entire experience was being filtered through this European lens. It was another opportunity for me to experience something seemingly expected, but now with a whole new twist. I did everything—the museums, the public parks, and dancing all night! Interestingly, the rush to "get to the next thing" reminded me of how I was in the 90s. I met so many people, which I've always enjoyed. My own life gets put into sharper focus when I expand my social circle and my usual surroundings.  

I ended my trip biking through Amsterdam. One more city in which to enjoy the architecture, food, and meet more wonderful people. Speaking of biking, the most tremendous thing happened while I was away—I got over my fear of riding a bike! When I was in high school, I was hit by a bus. It totaled my bike and I was severely injured. I have not been on one since (weekly spinning classes don’t count)…until Berlin. Something about that city and encouragement from friends gave me the courage to finally test myself in this summer of change. It was instant love connection! I joined the New York City Citi Bike program the instant I got home. Every turn of the pedal reminded me that change is always possible. With all these experiences still fresh in my mind, I'm even more determined to push what's possible at the bakery.

Another bonus of meeting all those new people is I had the opportunity to talk about what I do for a living. Seeing people's reactions made me realize that I need to keep moving the bakery forward. Staying in my comfort zone is not nearly as exciting. new mission is to take my cookies, brownies, and blondies global. Imagine all the bike paths I can encounter! Thank you Summer of 2014. You were just what I didn't know I needed. It encourages me to want to optimize every season in the year, especially the upcoming Fall. And well, maybe I'll learn to like Winter too.

Stephen Charles Lincoln