Thursday, September 21, 2017

Thinking Out Loud....Literally.

Sexual Assault as defined by Wikipedia: Sexual assault is any type of sexual contact or behavior that occurs without the explicit consent of the recipient. Falling under the definition of sexual assault are sexual activities as forced sexual intercourse, forcible sodomy, child molestation, incest, fondling, and attempted rape.

We’ve seen movies about sexual assault. The girl (or boy) gets assaulted, he/she is beaten, bruised and bloody and left to die. We don’t see the movies where the girl/boy is lying in bed, sleeping next to a person they know and trust that takes advantage of their small frame and inability to push them off. We don’t see movies where it’s quiet and the girl says “no” over and over again. There’s no beating of any kind, no visible bruises or blood. Just a person left, laying there, left broken, confused and worthless. A person that will have nightmares almost every night afterwards and assumes that any man/woman that comes near them will do the same thing.

2 years ago, I was raped. And for the first time since it happened, I’m strong enough to say it out loud.

It took me 2 years to acknowledge that what happened was wrong and that I didn’t do anything to provoke it. I wasn’t wearing a short skirt, I wasn’t “asking for it” and I hadn’t been drinking. I was a girl, fully clothed, laying in a bed, just trying to sleep when a man twice my size used his weight to hold me down and force himself on me after I repeatedly said “no” and “please stop”. For 2 years it has controlled my life, it has controlled my ability to eat normally, have normal relationships and for that I am angry. I have been angry since the night my innocence was taken away.

I write this in hopes that it will help even just one person. Not for sympathy, not for attention, but because I don’t want any other girl or boy to feel like they don’t have a voice. I stayed silent for too long and because of it, my health deteriorated, my feeling of self-worth diminished and my ability to let people into my bubble became impossible.

Please tell someone, a doctor, a therapist, if you don’t feel comfortable telling your family (like me), tell your best friend, someone you trust. I’ve been in therapy for a little while now and the night I told my therapist what happened, I felt an immense weight come off my shoulders. I’m no longer hiding behind a smile, I don’t get as tense when someone touches me in the grocery store or a man looks at me for what I think is too long when I’m in a public setting.

Below is a list of services and hotlines for you or for anyone you know that needs help, the first step to getting better is admitting that it happened. Saying it out loud.

National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-4673 (24 hours a day)
National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-787-3224
Victim Connect: 1-855-484-2846

"In life, you realize there is a role for everyone you meet. Some will test you, some will use you, some will love you, and some will love you and some will teach you. But the ones who are truly important are the ones who out the best in you. They are rare and amazing people who remind you why it's worth it." -Unknown

Friday, January 27, 2017

Now, this is a story all about how my life got flipped-turned upside down...

For those of you who think it’s an easy thing to walk into an abortion clinic, those of you who think we walk in and leave an hour later like nothing happened, those of you who think women aren’t personally responsible enough to make decisions for our own bodies, here’s what a day at the clinic really feels like...

6:00am – We pull into the driveway; my boyfriend drops me off and tells me to call him when I’m done. (Um, yeah, thanks babe)

6:05am – I’m greeted by a wall of protestors, yelling at me, judging a situation they know nothing about, calling me names, shoving pictures in my face, making the whole experience much worse than expected.

6:10am – along with 10 other girls, ranging in age from 16-40, we check in and are told to wait until we hear our names called.

6:15am – as we sit in a cold waiting room, we’re reminded what we’re here for. Looking at each other, wondering when and where our life stories took a turn and how we got here, by ourselves.

6:45am – my name is called and I’m taken to a cold room, with lockers, hard tile floor and hanging sheets for us to change behind.

6:50am – I’m told to put on a gown and wait to hear my name called.

7:05am – I’m brought in for an ultra sound, I hear the heartbeat, I see the photos. My heart breaks all over again.

7:15am – I’m brought back into the cold room with lockers and tile floor, yet again, waiting to hear my name called.

8:05am – my name is called. I’m walked down a short hallway and taken into the procedure room.

8:10am – I’m asked to confirm my name and birthday. I’m then asked to lay down on the table, all the while, they are still in the process of wheeling out the girl before me. I lay down on my back and I’m asked to place my feet into stirrups. Not the kind we’re used to at the Gynecologist. These ones are higher, colder and would make any person feel horribly vulnerable.

8:15am – An IV is administered, a mask is put on my face to put me to sleep and a machine that sounds like a vacuum is turned on before I fall asleep. In that moment, tears run down the side of my face onto the pillow I’m lying on, in this moment I realize these are my final minutes with my unborn baby.

8:45am - I wake up. I’m in horrible pain, I’m bleeding, I’m disoriented, I’m sick, throwing up on myself from the anesthesia and I’m left there to wait because they only have 1 nurse to tend to 10 women.

9:15am – I’m cleared to leave, out the back door as to not be bombarded by protestors…again. Bent over, holding my stomach, I’m able to get in the car with the help of my cousin. I immediately start to sob.

1 month later – depressed, still recovering and in constant pain, crying all the time, feeling worthless, feeling alone, dirty and like I can never take enough showers to wash off the pain of that day.

2 months later – still depressed, crying in the shower everyday so no one will hear, having recurring nightmares of that day and the sound of the vacuum.

3 months later – even more depressed, questioning my decision, knowing that I made the right one, but still wondering if I could have made it, knowing I couldn’t.

6 months later – those damn nightmares still taking up space in my mind

1 year later – I still cry, every time I see a baby or one of my friends becomes pregnant I immediately go back to a depressed state. Why do they get the fairy tale? Why didn’t their boyfriends leave? Why, just why?

Almost 7 years later and I still remember every moment from that day. Every. Single. Moment. I can tell you what I was wearing, I can tell you how I felt, I can tell you how cold the metal was when I laid on the table.

But I can also tell you that it was one of the best decisions I ever made for myself. At 23 years old, I wasn’t strong enough mentally or physically to bring another life into this world. My life now is full, I accomplished things I never dreamed that I could do before, because I decided to be selfless instead of selfish.

Some of you may not agree with abortion and that’s fine. What’s not fine is judging someone, calling them names, making them feel like less of a person because they decided to put themselves first. Until you’ve felt that cold metal on your back, gone through the months of recovery and had to pick yourself up and hold your head high, you don’t get to judge me. You don’t get to say that what I did was wrong.

What is currently happening in our country is embarrassing. When did it become okay for a room full of men to tell me, my mom, my sister, my cousins, my aunts, my grandma, my friends or any other woman, what she can and cannot do with her body? One of the alternatives to abortions is death. Women all over the US and the world will be forced to carry babies to term, even if it endangers their lives. They’ll throw themselves down stairs, leave babies in trash cans, abandon them at fire stations or hospitals, and they’ll be forced to find health care that can and will endanger their lives. If we have enough money as a nation to pay for a “Wall”, then we have enough money to fund these treatment centers that offer a wide variety of treatments. Don’t forget, no government funds go towards abortion services, they do go towards birth control, STD and STI tests, pregnancy tests, mental health care, and here’s the one that might shock you, some people use Planned Parenthood as their main health care provider, not because of money, but because they offer amazing services and care.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, until these men grow a pair of ovaries, they most certainly are not going to tell me what I can do with mine.

Monday, November 7, 2016

And I'm back in the game...

In 2008, a movie was released about a girl who was a bridesmaid in 27 weddings. I was 22 at the time and when I watched the film I didn’t realize how similar my life would be 8 years later. For the last 4 years, I’ve watched my friends and clients get engaged, married and have babies; sometimes not in that exact order, but you get it. I’ve been apart of so many exciting days in their lives and it’s been an honor to be chosen to create desserts for such special events. I’ve spent thousands of hours hand making displays (if you were ever at Michael’s and couldn’t find glitter, it was because I bought it all), searching high and low for the perfect cupcake liners and cake toppers and buying butter in quantities that drew some interesting facial expressions from people at Costco.

About a month ago, I announced that I had made the incredibly difficult decision to close my baking business. A business that I single handedly took from 1 client to hundreds, a business that I poured my heart and soul into for 4 years. Spending nights baking until 4am, taking my lunch breaks from work to finish decorating cupcakes or deliver an order (yes, I work 40 hours a week, I’ve become very accustomed to eating regularly), spending countless dollars on cake stands or butter or sprinkles or candy molds so I could stay competitive with the other incredibly talented bakers that share this town we call home.

In the past year I had lost site of why I started all of this in the first place. I had a moment when I lost my drive, I was exhausted, I over worked myself and decided I just couldn’t do it anymore. I wanted my weekends to catch up on sleep, to spend time with my family or to just sit in one place for longer than 7 minutes. But it wasn’t just about being tired, I was sad. Sad that I haven’t found my fairytale, sad that I’m always making cakes for other people’s weddings and wondering if and when I’ll have my own.

This past weekend I made a cake for a bridal shower, gluten free donuts for a Pinterest party that my adorable friend Heather hosted and cupcakes for a baby shower. It reminded me how much I truly love to bake. I love seeing the designs I have in my head come to life, the reactions I get from my clients, but most importantly I just love to bake.

A few very important people in my life, my amazing family and my friends, Lind Allred, Lindsey Moll, Ashley Khawsy (Owner of SmashBakes), Cyndi Mitchell (Owner of SweetFest), Carrie Buchanan (Owner of Bombshell Cupcakes) and countless others helped remind me why I started all of this 4 years ago. When I was just a girl with one Kitchen Aid mixer that called to OC Fair to tell them they must have made a mistake when they emailed me that I had won the cake division in 2013 because there was no way an amateur baker could possibly have won. To those people, THANK YOU. Thank you for helping me remember what this was all about in the beginning, bringing smiles to peoples faces one cupcake at a time.

I am extremely happy to say that Maegs Bakes Cakes will be officially reopening at the beginning of the new year. Until then I will continue to take orders but come the new year, you’ll see new designs, new desserts and how to’s so we can all call bring smiles to peoples faces with a little something sweet.

I can’t wait to see what the new year brings and again, thank you for everything. It’s because of you that I get to continue to do what I love.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Shit just got real...

With the 2016 presidential election in full swing, there’s one topic of conversation that I can’t seem to get out of my head. As a woman I’m sure it’s no surprise that the topic I’m referring to is “Abortion”. It’s a very controversial topic and one that I believe some politicians use as a tool to earn votes. I’m not trying to start a conversation with people that is going to engage any arguing or verbal bullying. This isn’t a place for that; I simply want more people to understand why abortion clinics are a necessity. Of course this is my own personal opinion and I am in no way trying to persuade anyone to be for or against it, I just want to share my story.

Since you’re here, reading my blog, you already know a little bit about me. I’m an award-winning baker based in Orange County, CA, who has baked and delivered thousands of cupcakes, hundreds of cakes and multiple dessert bars. My business has given me a platform to be able to speak to hundreds of elementary school children on career day and I’ve been lucky enough to help teenage girls all of the country on their road to baking success. You also know that I have a sister who I absolutely adore, a mom who has given everything she has to make sure her daughters have the best lives possible, a father who decided to make me his when I was 6 years old and a family that is literally the definition of “Ride or Die”. I spend my weekdays working at a plastic surgeon’s office full time and my weekends dreaming up and creating cakes, cupcakes and dessert bars for my clients.

This all sounds pretty amazing if you’re on the outside looking in, right? Don't get me wrong, I feel truly blessed to wake up every day and live such a wonderful life. All that aside, there’s something you don’t know about me; I, the cupcake making, hardworking girl who never lets anyone see me without a smile, has had an abortion. Now, before you are quick to judge or click the little X on the right hand part of your screen, I beg you to read on and please do so with an open mind.

Years ago, on Mother’s Day morning, I had complications that forced me to terminate my pregnancy. Any woman that has gone through this knows that there really aren’t any words that can properly describe the feeling when you’re told your body isn’t doing what it was built to do, something that women everywhere do with no complications. I felt broken. It took a long time before I felt “normal” again.

Fast forward a few years and I was in what I thought was a healthy, stable relationship with a man 7 years older than me. I was taking my birth control as prescribed, but one day something just felt off so I decided to buy a pregnancy test. You should know that I have struggled with Endometriosis for years and when I had my miscarriage I was told it would be incredibly difficult to conceive again. I took the pregnancy test and to my utter shock, the little stick said I was pregnant. Like most other women I decided to take 4 more tests, you know, just in case. Each of them confirmed what I thought was never possible.

I was happy and scared to death all at the same time. How would my boyfriend react? How would my family react? Will this end the same way as my first pregnancy? I had no less than 8 million tabs open in my head at one time. The first person I called was my sister, who was amazing and talked me down and assured me that she would be there for me any way she could. Then the time came to tell my boyfriend and all I could think was “holy shit, what is he going to say?”. What started out as a heartwarming moment, thinking that I could actually conceive and that I would do everything to make sure this baby grew to term, was quickly destroyed by my boyfriend’s immediate reaction to the news. The man I fell in love with, who told me he would always be there for me, went from loving to mean and hateful in mere moments. I thought that after a few days he might change his attitude; since we’re both grown-ups, I felt like we got ourselves in to this situation and it only made sense to see it through and do what we could to make things right for this life we created together.

Boy was I wrong, a few days later he made it very clear that this was not something he wanted or needed in his life and if I were to continue on with the pregnancy I would be doing it on my own. To say I was “disappointed” would be an understatement. I’m the daughter of a woman who had to do it on her own for most of my life and I know how hard it was for her and how much she wishes she could have provided the “perfect” family for my sister and I. What she doesn’t realize is that she’s given us everything we’ve ever needed and more. Unfortunately, I’m not as strong as my mom and I knew if I had to do it on my own I would never be able to provide a life that I would have wanted for my child.

Walking into that clinic and choosing to end my pregnancy was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. It wasn’t the outcome I wanted. Do I regret my decision? Some days. Am I happy now? Yes, because I was able to turn my life and my career into one that gives me the ability to give back to young adults and children.

So I beg of you, before you decide that women who choose to get abortions should be “punished”, “bullied” or “judged”, remember that everyone is fighting their own battles. A woman having the right to choose what they want to do with their bodies is part of what makes this country so amazing. It doesn’t matter if you’re a man or woman, we should all have the right to choose what we do and don’t do with our bodies. I let a man tell me what to do once and I can assure you I will never make that mistake again.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Emotionally stable as an IKEA table.

Last weekend, me and my dad drove to Dana Point to pick up a bed for my new apartment. We were going over what was left to move and he was asking if there’s any furniture that I didn’t want to take with me. Let me try and paint you a mental picture…

Location: Cruisin down the street in our…1 ton moving van.
Annnnnd, ACTION….

Dad: “So Maegs, is there any furniture you don’t want to take with you? It’s better to decide now instead of moving it and then realizing you don’t want it”

Maegs: “I mean, I guess I don’t need multiple dressers and side tables…”

D: “What about that big gray dresser? Do you really want to move that thing again?”

M: <slowly turns head to the left, similar to the little girl in the exorcist> “Oh hell no, do you know where I bought that stupid dresser and what it took to put it together? Nope, it’s comin, it will literally be in every house I move into for the rest of my life”

D: “You seem pretty attached to this dresser Maegs…”

M: “Dad, have you ever bought and put together furniture from IKEA? HAVE YOU, HUH HUH?”

D: “No, I’m smart and don’t buy furniture from IKEA”

<This fucking guys got jokes now>

M: “Well let me tell you a little something…Don’t ever put IKEA furniture together with someone you love…your relationship will never be the same. For starters, there’s no less than 6,000 pieces to assemble this piece of shit, cardboard, real wood wannabe, dresser from hell.

As if the 6,000 pieces of plastic in 100 little bags wasn’t enough to send you over the edge, they include some bull shit, sorry excuse for a screwdriver, little metal stick thing that’s supposed to “help” put together this monstrosity.”

D: “From your mild sweating and amount of cursing in the last 2 minutes, I can only assume this dresser wasn’t a treat to put together”

M: “Look Dad, I’m not proud of what I’m about to tell you but it happened, I said it, hell I pretty much yelled it over a loud speaker…I was really pissed the hell off.  

We were about 2 hours into this shitty activity when I looked at my now Ex-Boyfriend square in the eyes and said “if you don’t shut the hell up right now, literally this second, I’m going to take this bull shit screw driver and stab you in the neck with it! I’ll do it, you think I’m joking but I’m not.”

Needless to say, we didn’t speak for the rest of the afternoon.

IKEA – 1
Maegan and Ex Boyfriend – 0

So here’s my advice, you can take it or leave it. Before picking up those stupidly heavy boxes full of small pieces to ruin your life one screw at a time; think about if it’s a good idea to purchase an item FROM IKEA, the land of words we can’t pronounce and meatballs we can’t eat enough of, that says BOX 1 0F 4 when you get the aisle/bin. 

And if it is over 3 boxes, just pay the guys in the bright yellow shirts to put it together for you.

Monday, August 24, 2015

babes & beer....lots and lots of beer.

A couple of weeks ago I donated a booth at a popular event called Incredible Edibles. Hosted by the Scheu Family YMCA, Incredible Edibles is an event to raise funds for YMCA programs and program scholarships.

Over 25 vendors donated all kinds of treats. I was lucky enough to end up next to brewery; I knew I would make fast friends with my booth mate. Another brewery down the way was, from Dale Bros Brewery in Upland and let me tell you something, whatever was in those kegs, was damn good. I decided to take a little field trip once I had a weekend free from baking...

Brewery entrance, take note of that little red tent, amazing nachos and ceviche to go with our beer tasters

When I asked Drew what I should order, he said “a flight”, I said “where am I going?”…that was when I learned that a “flight” was 4 mini beers to taste. True story.

I loved the outside patio seating but we ended up inside at the bar when a couple of seats opened up so we could get the full effect.

Just me and my Pomona Sour beer.

How fun are these “Grunts” of beer that Drew sent us home with? Can’t wait to open mine up and pour it into my Dale Bros pint glass.

We ended the night with a tour of the brewery…here’s a little footage I got of the keg room:

If you’re ever in Upland make sure to check out Dale Bros Brewery, you can even bring your furry friends!

(909) 579-0032
2120 Porterfield Way
Upland, California, 91786

Until next time...XO

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

The story of "the damn chair"

A couple of weekends ago, my girlfriend and I went to support our friend at her booth at the popular event in LA called Unique LA. When we arrived at her booth we both noticed this really awesome clear acrylic chair, you know, the ones that are on sale at Homegoods for $199. We all want one, but who in the world spends $199 on a chair you can’t even see?  ;-)

We spent like 5 hours cruising around the showroom, drooling over the Sriracha popcorn from SpoonMeSweetly, dying over the adorable notecards from SweetLittleNothingsXO and picking up a couple things from a booth having a $10 sample sale. I think our favorite booth, aside from the one we were apart of, was the NKLA booth. NKLA stands for ‘No-Kill Los Angeles’ and is “A Best Friends Animal Society Initiative”. Since they launched, NKLA has helped the number of pets being killed in LA decrease by 56%! I’ve already signed up to be a volunteer and you can sign up too by clicking HERE.

When the day came to an end, we packed up all of our goodies and before we started to walk away from the booth my girlfriend mentioned the “damn chair”, why doesn’t anyone else have one of these at their booth? Do you know where this chair came from? …Do you think anyone would notice if it weren’t here tomorrow? At that point we all just stared at each other for a second and the next thing I knew I was carrying the “damn chair” past a volunteer, while sweating, and hoping that either she would turn her head at the right time or that, since the chair is clear, she wouldn’t see it resting on my hip. WE MADE IT TO THE ELEVATOR! Next step, make it past the volunteers by the parking structure payment machine. WE MADE IT TO THE SECOND SET OF ELEVATORS! It was then that I said to my girlfriend “I’m really jealous that you’re getting this chair, I’ve wanted one for as long as I could remember”...her response…wait for it…“oh, you can have it, I just wanted to see if we could make it past the volunteers without getting caught”. So what you’re telling me is, if we did get caught, I would be the one holding the damn chair? I would be mad at you if I hadn’t just scored this DAMN CHAIR!

When I returned home, I was like "Hey Dad, so look at this really awesome chair I got today! forward to after I told him what had happened and how I acquired the "damn chair". I kid you not, his exact words were "Well, it's not like anyone saw you holding anything. I mean, it's a clear chair, no one can see that thing and it's not like anyone will miss it, they didn't even know it was there to begin with"

In the end, it was a hilarious story that we’ll remember for years to come and it’s a great addition to the office area in my room. Take a look for yourself below...