The anticipation grows as the year's quickly coming to an end, but I know better than to take anything for granted. But that doesn't stop me from hoping that it will happen again this year. When the doorbell rings and I see the delivery man holding a shopping bag from Sprinkles, I can't help but smile. In that moment, I'm so excited that once again I'll be able to indulge in amazing cupcakes, pushing the calories out of my mind, convincing myself that it's a sweet treat to celebrate not only a New Year, but a very special relationship.
You see, the giver of this wonderful New Year gift is Kris Kleis, the graphic artist that Black and I first started working with when she designed our bestselling book, which is now over a decade ago. But rather than focusing on how many years have passed and how quickly they have flown by, it reminds me of how lucky we are to have Kris in our lives.
Of course, Black receives her own delivery of cupcakes, and how she manages the temptation I'll never know, as her dedication to remaining a size 2 is almost incomprehensible. Although she did mention that one of the many reasons why cupcakes are so popular is because they're the epitome of portion control. But for me, cupcakes don't need to be analyzed – just enjoyed. And Kris's New Year cupcakes are even more special as they're a sweet reminder of another year of us working together … and one of the reasons I look forward to them every year. Plus, who doesn't love cupcakes?!
May not be "proper" words, but you understand the message … Woulda. Coulda. Shoulda.
Curious about the "Back Story" to our animation teasers? Red's daughter, Sawyer, told us we needed to do some very short animated "teasers" … so Black said, "Great.You want to work in video production. Take the final working versions of our animation and start creating them!" So, she did!
P.S. – For those of you who've met us or seen us at speaking engagements, we'd love to know if you think the animators have accurately captured us! (You can email us at Banter@RedandBlackBooks.com.)
If the photos are anything to go by … remember … these treats are for your dog, not you!
BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: When Black sent Red not one, but two, links about Ben and Jerry's new venture into dog treats, Red, who's used to being inundated with all the articles Black finds "interesting" (they definitely have different definitions of "interesting"), thought that was unusual. Rather than questioning, "Why two?," she decided it was quicker to just open them, but found she actually loved reading the business-oriented AP story about Ben and Jerry's new ice cream venture.
As a dog owner and lover, Red knows that ice cream's not good for dogs, so she was fascinated by how they worked with a veterinary nutritionist to make sure the treats are safe and easy to digest. But when she watched the Ben & Jerry's video, the packaging and flavors, in true Ben and Jerry's fashion, looked too good to pass up.
Plus, as someone that used to dream of living in Vermont, having gone there since she was a child, Red has a soft spot for most things from Vermont and even remembers going to the original Ben and Jerry's ice-cream shop in Burlington, Vermont. So, to think that years later (she doesn't want to admit it's actually decades), she could introduce her labradoodle to a beloved childhood favorite definitely made her smile. The challenge will be making sure her daughter realizes to keep her "human paws" off the ice cream!
When Black came up with the idea of daily Banter Bites, Red thought it was conceptually great, but a bit unrealistic. At first glance, having to come up with a short comment from Red (ok, keeping it short might be a challenge), followed by a quick response from Black (no problem there), seemed like an easy task. But Red was concerned about keeping it current and relevant to readers – whether something happening in our lives, current events, or something that Black found in her non-stop reading and research, and told Black:
I'm not sure we'll have enough material to be able to post every day.
Rather than argue or debate, Black humored her sister, and suggested they do it a few days a week instead of every day. Meanwhile, she found it ironic that Red, the self-proclaimed queen of blah-blah-blah, was concerned about not having enough topics to discuss. But as with most things, when given a little time, Red often crosses to the "Black" side of things. We soon were coming up with more potential material than there were days to post and expanded Banter Bites to six days of the week (we believe Sundays shouldn't be spent on gizmos, although that doesn't stop Black from working).
We had gotten into a rhythm of daily Banter Bites, and then it was suggested to expand the posts as readers wanted to know more about the topic including what inspired or prompted it. Black immediately came up with the idea of adding a "Banter Bite Backstory" to each post.
So, how did Red react this time? Instead of being reluctant, Red embraced the idea:
It's so much fun being able to share with our readers the backstory of each Banter Bite. It's funny, because most times we're just spinning on a dime and reacting to things that happen – whether current events or in our lives. But isn't that what we all do every day? Add to the mix that Black and I usually see things very differently, and you end up with no shortage of things for us to say.