Thursday, September 1, 2011

Change is in the Air

So today I started my first round of interviewing interns to assist me in this wedding planning thang. Unfortunately for me, I forgot that when you decide to start a detox a week before, when you get hot and start to sweat that you smell like "The Whole Earth Festival" in Davis. Ugh!!! Five interviews, three hours, and the whole time I'm thinking, "Damn I'm earthy?" If I was at Burning Man I would have got hella numbers. With my birthday looming 17 days away, I'm trying to bring balance to my life and that means asking for help and getting it; as well as eating healthier, exercising and getting some alone time to reflect on what is going on. I hope that I will find a great candidate to help me with the future of our growing company and I hope that tomorrow the 15 swipes of deodorant that I put on holds up to round two of interviews. For now, here is the recipe for the smoothie I have for lunch everyday that gives me that wonderful Height Ashbury aroma. I'd give it up, but I have lost 6 pounds in a week and my skin looks fuckin' awesome! So I'll keep drinkin'!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Drowning on Dry Land

I feel like a super scumbag that I have not given this blog more attention. Life has completely gotten out of control for me and finding the time to write a blog has, again, been shoved in the back of the closet to collect dust. I asked for this life, so I really can't complain. Our catering business has grown into an all inclusive wedding planning business that is booming, new business projects are coming together that will launch in the next two months and in late 2012. I am making efforts to honor the requests to spend more time with friends and family and also try squeeze in four gym sessions a week for my health that my mother nags me about. My calendar looks like class notes, with everyday filled with two to three meetings or projects or whatever! Then add the daily "shit-to-do" cook two meals, take care of the kids, grocery shop,'s exhausting...and I'm tired...
So all this ambition and what I am left with at the end of the day is an overweight, pissed off, slightly buzzed woman that just wants to be left alone. How do I find some peace and balance. I can't even take a yoga class without worrying how bad my daughter is crying at the daycare center. Real talk there are days that I just want to walk away...from it all. I see how weaker people do that. In the end I never would, but I need some help and I need help my way.
A friend of mine suggested hiring an intern, and you know what...that is a fucking great idea. I need someone who's not my friend, who wants to learn this industry and when I say "jump" his or her feet are in the air. I'm not the stereotypical "bitchy" boss. I have strong business standards and a stronger work ethic and I expect the same from those that work for me and with me. You don't own two businesses and about to start a third without having your shit together.
So I'll try this intern thang and see how it unfolds, maybe this is the catalyst that helps me find balance, or allows me to grow my business even more. I've said this for months,"I'm not trying to be Wonder Woman, I'd rather be part of the Justice League." I promise that the food based posts are on their way and will be more often. I just gotta play a little catch up. Thanks for hanging in there while I find my life preserver. image via "we heart it"

Friday, April 15, 2011

Ruling the World is Harder Than I Thought


The past couple of weeks have been a crash course in time management and multi tasking. Our catering business has picked up so much that we are going through the process of expanding the company and renaming and seperating the catering portion of the company from the part that will be the restaurant one day. Happily to say by the end of this month Eight American Bistro will branch off into Private Events by Eight. It will be a full service event and wedding planning company, that specializes in wedding cakes, florals, decor and vintage furniture rentals. It's a big jump, but it's what we have been pushed into by request of our clients. My motto has always been that we will "come from a place of yes" and by coming from a place of yes we have reaped the rewards of growth and recognition.
Now my husband can't stand that that has been our motto because there have been times that I have taken on crazy request, such as booking a catering on the same day that I was to give birth to our daughter. But I have a superwoman complex, what can I say! Inevitably I always pull it off, but I suffer when at the end of the day I am a wreck of exhaustion and stress. Juggling kids, husband, family, friends and business has left no room for me and last night I crashed.
The whole week I have been juggling meetings with brides, trips to the flower wholesaler with kid in tow and preparing for our photo shoot this weekend for our new website and advertisement with The and The Wedding and add into that planning a "Mother Daughter Day" with my family and Isabella's Welcome to World Party next month. So I cracked yesterday afternoon. Both kids were crying, screaming, refusing to do what I said. I was consuming sugar like it was water to stay awake. I called my mother and begged to come over to her house for some help.
Once she got home, I rolled over and she took the baby, gave her to my father, looked at my hair (which was in Celie from the Color Purple mode) and said, "You want me to braid your hair right quick?" With a deep exhale I said, "Yes, please."
Later that night on my way home, I had the car radio quietly playing jazz and was thinking to myself how wonderful it was to have my mother in my life. It brought me back to one my favorite memories of her. When I was kid on Sunday's she would clean our room, wash the bed sheets and braid our hair. So that night we would be snuggled up in clean, warm, fresh out of the dryer sheets and hair that was tight and smelled of Sulfur 8 hair moisturizer. She would kneel next to us and say our prayers with us. I just remember feeling amazingly safe and secure and that things were taken care of. Crazy that sometimes what you need to reboot isn't a trip to the spa, but maybe just to be taken care of by somebody that knows you best and has been doing it for years. When I got home, the house was clean (thank you Ian), Isaac was snuggled in our bed with my husband, and the world was alright again.

Monday, March 28, 2011

I ate frosting for breakfast...and lunch.

"I think my lungs are full of gold luster dust." That was my sister's only complaint Sunday morning after helping me pull a twelve hour wedding cake build off on Saturday. Some friends and ex co-workers are getting married today and they asked if this novice baker could make their wedding cake. I have to say I love the opportunity to make wedding cakes when I can, but they do scare the shit out me. I guess because it means so much to the people that I make them for and I want the couple to be truly happy with the cake that they receive. I hope that one day, maybe, I will stress less over people's cakes, but maybe it's good that I care too much because it keeps me on my game and striving to do more and better.

I have to give a big shout out to Kate Sullivan from "Spread the Love", she made the most amazing custom large gumpaste roses that we used on the cake along with some store bought flowers that we enhanced. When I opened the box to see two roses, when I only ordered one, (but she wanted to make sure the color was right) I swooned! I'm pretty sure my neighbor heard me screaming, "Hells yea!" Please go check out her Etsy shop, she makes custom flowers and other great sugary goodies! Thank you Kate the flowers were amazing!!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Where's the beef? It ain't here!

So two weeks ago my girl Kelly Ditto came over to make dinner for my husband and I. While I was full o' baby, she and my other friend Jennifer Ditheridge had been wonderful about stopping by and bringing some din din and some seriously good laughs. She and Jen are definitely on my short list of people that crack my ass up! It's funny because whenever we'd go out while I was pregnant, the three of us look like a Golden Chocolate Creme Oreo. Two Amazonian beautiful blonde's, with this short little round chocolate sister in the middle. (Side note: I am eating some right now...sorry I was pregnant and they were talkin' to me when I walked by them on the shelf at the grocery store and I can't just throw away half a bag of Oreo's just because I'm not pregnant anymore... that's wasteful!)

So on a healthier note, Kelly made these vegan empanadas that were off the hook. She got the original recipe from Veganomicon and tweeked it a little bit. They were ridiculously wonderful. Now originally I was going to retype the recipe and post it, but this recipe is so long that it makes Tolstoy's "Anna Karenina" look like lite reading for a Sunday afternoon. That coupled with my new job as hourly milkmaid, has me short on time for typing. I must also warn that it does take a long time to make these empanadas, about 2 hours and 30 minutes, but they are SO worth it if you have the time. Whether you are a vegan, vegetarian or a carnivore I highly recommend adding this cookbook to your library.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

En mis sueños soy Halle Berry...and then I wake up!

So as of late I have been doing alot of fantasizing. In my flights of the imagination I wake up naturally, in a large bed, the room smells of peonies. I've got a body like Halle Berry and my hair is already perfectly coiffed. Next to my bed there is wet cappuccino waiting and when I walk out to my connecting balcony overlooking the ocean, a spread of smoked salmon, fresh fruit and Mimosas await me.
Then reality (a.k.a Isaac's fist) smacks me back into the real world. I've got seven inches of bed on a California King, while my husband has the other sixty five and sharing that seven inches with me are a dog on top of my legs and a three year old, sleeping on my face. I lay there in agony feeling my body turn blue from human and animal tourniquets. My body looks more like giant kiwi and my hair...two words...Don King. Yea I went there.
I did unknowingly sign up for this nine years ago when Ian in his locs and cigarette hanging from his lips asked, "Yo baby, what's yo name?" and then asked if he could take me on a first date to Napa. He had his A-game on that day, so I should have known that it would end in marriage, two kids a dog and plan.
So since I can't throw the Calgone in the tub and whisk away to Big Sur on tough parenting days, I'll settle for some dreamy food that gives me the same feeling. My fav that I just fall in love with over and over again are Spanish Tapas. There are only two places in Sacramento to get them and one is overpriced and the other only hires women that are made out of piss and vinegar. Sorry I know that was mean, but these broads are the most angry, impatient, rude employees on the planet. I've never had good service there and niether have any of my friends, but we tolerate it because it's the only place that we know of. The places that I desire are Zuzu in Napa and Cha Cha Cha in San Fransisco. This recipe is for Cha Cha Cha's Cajun Shrimp via Epicurious. One of my favorite dishes that they have made over the years. I hope that you enjoy it too!

1 1/2 cup Cajun Spice Mix
12 oz dark beer
2 cups heavy cream
1 lb peeled shrimp, medium
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

1/2 cup sweet paprika
2 1/2 Tbs cayenne pepper
2 1/2 Tbs garlic powder
1 1/2 Tbs ground black pepper
1 1/2 Tbs ground white pepper
1 Tbs dried thyme
1 Tbs dried oregano
1 Tbs salt

Combine all ingredients and mix well. Store in an airtight container.

In a heavy saucepan, mix cajun spice mix and beer. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a whisk to make a thick paste. Don’t let it burn.
Gradually stir in cream to make a smooth sauce. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally for 8 to 10 minutes or until sauce becomes thick and turns a rich rusty color.
Add shrimp and red pepper flakes. Reduce heat and cook shrimp over low heat for 2-3 minutes or until shrimp are opaque. Serve with fresh baguettes.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

A Better Life through PBS?

So yesterday was the first day of the new year and the hippie, spiritual, Stevie Nicks side of me thought that the day would be filled with inspiration and relaxation. I was wrong. It was one of the most trying days that I have had in a while. The son was in "hella crazy" mode, the dog refused to go outside to the bathroom, except to jump in the damn compost bin and eat out of it like it was a Chinese buffet and the husband was gone rafting all day so I was on my own. Eight and a half months pregnant, short on patience and long on irritation.
I walked by the opened bottles of Napa Station Cabernet and Scaia Corvina on the kitchen counter like ten times. I felt like one of the crackheads on Celebrity Rehab jonesin' for a sip. After getting everyone that was irritating me down for a nap, I settled for a hot chocolate and some PBS; and sat there on the couch watching Wayne Dryer tell me how to materialize the life that I want through visualization. I have heard this about a gazillion times; I watched "The Secret" and read "The Answer" and even realized going through my library that I have a Wayne Dryer book. But something that he said stuck with me as I thought about the events of the past year.
2010 was a year of feeling that Ian and I were doing "big thangs" in terms of getting this restaurant off the ground. In six months, we secured two separate investors, found our dream property for the restaurant, had the greenlight from the city of Sacramento to create a super "green" establishment and in the matter of a week lost it all. Deposit gone, property gone, investors adios and just as we were dusting ourselves off and getting ready to start over again, two blue lines on a pregnancy test put the kibosh on all of that. I think I cried for about a week straight. Visualize your wants my ass.

Dryer talked about when things don't happen according to your visualization it's for a reason, and after the fact Ian and I realized that. This pregnancy has been wrought with complications and if we had tried to open our first restaurant during that time I can't say that me or this baby would be here today. But that's not the thing that stuck with me. It was about living in that life that you want and staying positive. On my Facebook profile I have a statement that says, "I only hangout with people that make me laugh". For some reason I didn't do that alot the later half of the year. Things got serious, friends lives around me got complicated and as a result I got mentally weaker which manifested itself into poor health. Now I'm not saying that I didn't want to be there for my friends that needed me, but like any athlete you can't overexert yourself and not refuel. I didn't make sure to continually refuel myself with the people in my life that make me laugh so hard that I make that wheezing sound and tear up.

So my New Year's resolution is that I will make an effort to surround myself with positivity this year. I will take inventory of how much sadness, pain and antagonism that I take in and make sure to combat that with equal if not greater amounts of their antonyms. I always say to my sister who LOVES horror movies, "I can't watch the "Grudge 3" without watching "The Carebear Movie" after it." Those are words to live by friend! So remember, negativity can come in many forms, people that you interact with, the evening news reporting about murders and a weak economy, commercials for antidepressants and even Facebook post from people that have nothing better to do than complain EVERYTIME they post. If all you read and listen to is how the world sucks, then guess what... your world will.