"Sammy G."

Women are Awesome!

I feel the need to begin here by expressing my deep gratitude for the response to my last blog, “Another Step Closer.”  I received tons of encouragement to the progress of The Brass Lamp!  So, from the bottom of my heart… thank you!

Last week I told you that I was writing a novel…Well, on Saturday, I submitted the first 50 pages of the manuscript.  Wow… what an engrossing experience on my creative neurons!  I will get notified in May if it gets to the next round of judging.  Although I highly doubt that my manuscript will make the top three, it was definitely a great experience to push my limits.  When I first took on this challenge, the idea of writing 50 pages in 10 days seemed inconceivable.  Turns out, it was just as rigorous as I thought it would be!  –But, lo and behold, I did it!!!!!!   Man, I’m good (casually buffing my nails on my chest)!!!

Speaking of good, I’d like to segue (that’s a funny spelling), to how great women are!  Not only do women do the obvious (bear children), but they do the grocery shopping to keep the fridge full and the toilet paper stocked; they raise their children while working full time jobs; but best of all, women always have a way of making everything better with their tenderness- no matter what the situation calls for.  To top it off, some are business owners!!  Tonight, I met with a wonderful group of women, who are Entrepreneurs, coming from different walks of life and having different destinations.  But one thing they all had in common, was their passion to WIN.  Some women are truly exceptional.  They dream big, they drive it hard, and they deliver! 62312b15e8a34e8a8e8a3774dfa93bb8 I got the pleasure of being around inspiring women who take the meaning of winning to a new level!  Thank you #womeninnetworkinglongbeach.  Ha, that’s the first time I used a hash tag!  Did I use it correctly??

Given that March is Women’s Appreciation Month,  I’d just like to say, women are awesome!!!  -To Helen Keller, your ability to push beyond your deafness and blindness, to become a writer and speaker was remarkable.  -To Rosa Parks, way to keep your hiney in the seat of that bus and stay firm for what you believed was right.   -To Oprah and Ellen DeGeneres, without you there would be more people without cars and without petty cash!  Thanks for the inspiration!!!

The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. –Amelia Earhart

Another Step Closer

For those of you who haven’t gotten wind yet, I bring good news!  The bank finally approved my business plan and we’re a step closer to our Book Bar!  I say “our” because it’s your book bar, I’m just doing the heavy lifting for you…for us… and all those who want to read-write-DRINK!

Yesterday, I looked at a few more spaces for our awesome bar, and I fell in love with one particular spot.  I won’t disclose info on this location yet, but just take a gander and this space!  Incredible, right?!  Man, look at those high ceilings and those grand windows.  Gorgeous!!  Do you likey??

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I can already see you there sipping on your wine and nibbling on dessert while sharing profound conversations about life and love with your bestie.  Or reading 50 Shades of Grey while enjoying your shrimp cocktail paired with a chilled, crisp, white zinfandel.  Or perhaps partaking in a cappuccino after a late night movie with your squeeze.  Either way, my book bar is your book bar, and as long you keep it classy, you can do whatever you want!

I’m obviously very excited to be one step closer to having the book bar become a real live place, instead of this phantom (yet fantastic) vision parked in my head.  But truth be told, I’m a little nervous!  This is actually coming into fruition.  Who’s the one who’s going to pay the bills on this place, issue paychecks, and do all the reprimanding??  Me!  YIKES!

The fruit of my labor is actually ripening.  I’m going to build a book bar!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Not to toot my own horn…  but I obviously think that combining a glorified coffee shop, bookstore, and wine bar is simply genius (toot-toot).  Can I get a “Mmmhmmm, Sistah!”  I mean, does it not seem like the next evolutionary step to social society?  How is it that someone in So Cal hasn’t already created this!?  Well, luckily for me they didn’t because its gives me the chance to be the first!

b4c82558ad42d27840f5aab61362fe51Thank you all for your moral support and for sticking with me on this journey.  Moving forward, the tasks at hand will become even more challenging, but much like everything in life, it’s a process…or, it’s a box of chocolates.  Growing is pushing far beyond what you think your limits are.   So push People…push yourself and you’ll be surprised at how much you grow.

As Mark Twain once said, “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.”

Cheers ya’ll!

Beyond the 40 Days

I closed out my Daniel Plan Diet by watching The Son of God, and following it up with a really savory, juicy, FIVE GUYS burger.  With all that I’ve learned from the Daniel Plan diet, I should have turned the cheek when I saw FIVE GUYS, but give me a break, seeing that from the distance was like seeing a lake after walking through the Sahara Desert!

0a7b23e73160becadc958df968490207My 40 day challenge to get healthy through my mind, body, and soul was a good one!  I didn’t think I could do it, but I succeeded most days.  95% of my meals were clean and high nutrition packed (I journalled all of my meals, so I’ve done the math), my work outs were strong and consistent, but admittedly I cut a few corners with my spiritual practices.  Every challenge is about set backs and come backs, as you know from my last blog.  So, if you’re intentional with your practice, routine, and diet every day, you’ll see your habits improve and start to notice real results.  I wish I took a before and after photo, because I look damn good!  -I’m kidding, I look the same to the human eye, but I have dropped a few pounds, I feel toner and I’m definitely healthier!  Try it!  Actually, for those of you who will be giving something up for Lent, I recommend you incorporate the diet.  It’ll be a fun challenge!!

For my next 40 day challenge, I will give up… -I can’t even bare to say it… -COFFEE (wince).  It’s a painful thing to think about, and it’ll be even more painful to forgo.  I just want to know, does decaf count?!  Speaking of new challenges, I’ve embarked on a really interesting one for myself.  I’m entering a writing contest to win $10,000, which would go to The Brass Lamp’s piggy bank, in the off chance that I actually beat out over 600 contestants!  I found this contest just this weekend, so I’m jumping in very late in the game as the deadline for the first 50 pages is in 10 days.  Oh, and did I mention, it’s a novel that must be written… not a short story… not a bio…not a poem…but a NOVEL!   20dbb5b45435c138dbb7440f6f86b3deTo all the novel writers out there, more power to you!  I’ve only been working on it for two days, but can already appreciate the depth, creativity and insane imagination that goes into this kind of writing.  It’s taken me to places in my psyche that is pretty dark and murky.  But I’ll pick out the dirt and see what kind of scandalous novella I can come up with.  This will be a very new and interesting challenge for me so I’m kind of excited to explore it.  Wish me luck and if there’s drama, suspense, or mystery you’d like to suggest to me, I welcome the ideas… and don’t worry, I won’t use your real name (wink).  All this writing will require lots of reading for inspiration and a fair share of wine drinking to create just the right working environment.  Boy, I wish there was a book bar I could go to!!

“An unexamined life is not worth living.”  -Socrates

Now, it’s time to plan my Grand Canyon hiking voyage!  -Til next week, Friends…!

Set Backs are Made for Come Backs

mjfoxAfter many months, many modifications to my business plan, and many days waiting by the phone, the bank has finaaaalllly gotten back to me.  But regretfully, it’s not with the news that I had hoped.  So I am taking my business plan somewhere else.  -Tears and disappointment?  Yes, of course.  -Anger?  Definitely!  -Defeated?  …No, not in the least!

I can’t begin to tell you how draining the last 6 months has been to work on building something from just a little dream.  Daunting.  Not to mention staying positive through it all.  I’m extremely disappointed in the outcome, but that won’t stop me.  I stand by my brilliant idea and will just keep swinging.

I have however received an unbelievable amount of support in the past few weeks about 697b2fff9e95ff81bc44b0b67e83a2b7the book bar, and because of that I’m even more energized to keep working and knocking on doors.  How does the saying go, “When one door closes another one opens.”  I certainly hope that will be true in my case.  Although this is a set back in my timeline, I’ve learned a tremendous amount about opening a business like this, and with the knowledge I’ve acquired, it gives me the power for a big come back…!

Sorry Guys, our most-anticipated book bar is going to take a little bit more time.  But I’ll get there!

DO NOT GIVE UP!

untitledTonight I had a conversation with someone who showed their doubt in my idea of a book bar.  But it actually wasn’t the doubt in my idea that upset me, as much as it was the doubt that this person had in me

When someone tells you that you can’t do something, let that fuel your fire!  There will always be people who will tell you that you’re not good enough, not smart enough, not beautiful enough, not big enough, not talented enough, not experienced enough, NOT CAPABLE ENOUGH; but those weapons and walls are all part of the journey of dreaming big!!!  If dreaming big was easy, we’d all be successful Steve Jobs-Bill Gates-and-Warren Buffets of the world!  Dreaming big comes with big obstacles, big disappointments, and big critics.  On the other hand, it also comes with big work ethics, enormous perseverance, and unbelievable reward!  Big dreamers are those who wake up every day DECIDING to create opportunities, DECIDING to raise their standards, and DECIDING who they’re going to be, and how they are going to be it!

So I use my blog site as my soapbox to say, that no matter what challenges you’re facing, be it physical, emotional, mental, or otherwise, I’m here to remind you DO NOT GIVE UP!!!  It will signify how badly you want something!  Live life on YOUR terms, the terms that YOU envision!  And the only one who can prove people wrong or right is YOU!

If you’re feeling really inspired now, go watch Rocky, Million Dollar Baby, or The Blind Side!  Or if you want a throw back, Karate Kid is another oldie but  goodie!!  “Wax on, wax off, Danielson…”

My book bar is going to happen regardless of what one person thinks!  It’s going to happen regardless of what 100 people think!  Fortunately for me, I know it’s a phenomenal idea, and I’m simply too stubborn to give up anyway, so either way you slice the pie, my book bar is going to happen!!!  …the question is only time, not lack of trying, nor lack of passion!

Only 1% of people are able to take entrepreneurial risks, while the rest of the 99% of the population work for a 9-5 business once it’s established. 

I think I’ll watch “Pursuit of Happyness” this week.  It’s a tear jerker, but what’s not to like about Will Smith!?  Have a strong week, my Readers!

I bet the harder you work, the luckier you get!  Now get to work!!!

Delayed Gratification

I have worked tirelessly for almost 6 months to get The Brass Lamp going.  Everything hangs on the approval of my SBA loan and I have yet to get a definite answer.  If you know me, I am  very impatient and am known to be impulsive!  If I find something I want… It’s an automatic swipe of the credit card!  So all of this waiting is quite the test for me.  My face is nearly turning blue!  In the past, I was never mentally mature enough to understand delayed gratification… but now as I wait for an answer, I don’t have much of a choice.

I recently finished a book called, “Keep your Eye on the Marshmallow!”  It’s about successful people, and this premise of an experiment of young children who were given a marshmallow and were asked not to eat it for 15 minutes, and if they refrained they would get another marshmallow.  But, if they ate it, that’s the only marshmallow they’d get.  Turns out, that the kids who refrained for 15 minutes, ended up doing better in life 15 years later!  True study!  These kids ended up getting better grades, went to college, earned more money, had better relationships, and had less of a divorce rate than the kids who ate their one marshmallow right away!  Who knew that there is magic in a squishy, bland, marshmallow!?  Well, there isn’t!  The magic is actually in the ability to understand delayed gratification!!  This is one of those times where I say to myself, “If only I knew then what I know now…”

IMG_20140206_191322The reality is, most great things are worth waiting for!  Don’t you agree??  That job, the house, the nice car, or even the love of your life!  I’m sure that we can all think of a time in our lives where we found the gold at the end of the rainbow!  I’m also sure that we can think of times where our need for immediate gratifications took us down the wrong path!  (Do’h, I just had a baaaad flashback!)  -Oh life!  Tisk-tisk!!  If someone told you that you get to have a mansion with acres of land (and ponies and unicorns) if you worked extremely hard for only 5 years, you’d be an idiot if you didn’t at least attempt it, right!?

Although waiting sucks, I am certain that the reward will be far worth the wait!  I have to remember that this waiting period is just a small piece of the bigger picture!  Patience has never been my virtue, but I most certainly make up for it with persistence, commitment, and an insanely positive attitude!!!

If you are waiting for your second marshmallow, remember that you can’t have a rainbow without rain, and you can’t have the gold without the rainbow!  And, don’t forget to share your marshmallow when you get it!!!

“I didn’t fail 1,000 times, the light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps!”  -Thomas Edison
CHEERS, Tom!!  Without you, we’d still be walking around our homes with lanterns, and the brass lamp wouldn’t have existed for me to name my bar after!  (CLINK!)

Pursuing Excellence

I LIED.  I told you that the first 3 days of the Daniel Plan are the hardest… I was wrong!  The 8th, 9th, and 10th are hard too!  I got pretty comfortable feeling good on my high horse, losing 1/2 off the waistline, thinking that I was Sam Almighty doing everything to a superior level.  Unfortunately, willpower weakens.  So, what spoke to me from the Daniel Plan book was the part that said “Daniel possessed strength that went well beyond the size of his muscles.  He had a strength of faith, courage, obedience, devotion, dedication, endurance, and discipline.  He demonstrated his pursuit of excellence in his faithfulness in doing the little things when no one was watching.  He had strength to do what was right, even in the face of danger.” 

PURSUING EXCELLENCE, what a great mission to live by!  When I read that, I wrote it on my arm to remind me that on that day, I was to pursue excellence in everything that I did.  That meant that every task whether big or small, good or indifferent, I was do it excellently!  20140203_223332There will be some days when you don’t feel like pursuing excellence or for that matter, pursuing getting out of bed, or pursuing the day, but overtime, pursuing excellence will lead to strength of character, confidence, and courage!  (For those of you who keep wondering who Daniel is, he’s a Prophet from Biblical times.  So now you know I’m not talking about some cute little personal trainer named Daniel who gave me a workout plan.)

It is now day 15 of my Daniel Plan diet, and I’ve lost 1/4 inch around my arms!  Woohoo!  What girl doesn’t want to trim down her wings for tricepts!  Those kick backs are paying off!  With this new way of eating, I really am sleeping better, feeling better, and I’m never craving flamin’ hot Cheetos anymore.  And here’s an added secret, getting rid of the bread, gets rid of the cellulite!  Fact!!!

I’ve been asked “What’s next after 40 days,” and my answer is, I am not sure yet… but one thing I do know is that I want to DREAM BIGGER than this 40 day challenge and extend what I’ve embarked on to another challenge. I want to hike through the GRAND CANYON!!!  That’s going to be fun!!

P.S.  Today I submitted the final revisions to my business plan per the banks request.  I hope that’s the last of their requests, because I can’t look at that business plan anymore!   And hopefully the next email back from them will be a step closer to getting my loan for the book bar!

Week 1 of my Daniel Plan Diet

1/2 an inch off my waistline in 7 days!  I’d say that’s progress!  My first week of my 40-day Daniel Plan has been 90% successful!  Every day this week, I’ve woken up at around 5:45-6:00 am; I do some work at my computer, take the dogs on a 30 min walk, come back home to make my morning coffee (Kirkland Coffee from Costco is seriously delicious!), read a chapter from the Daniel Plan book, and then get on with my day by about 8-8:30am!  By this time, I’ve now honed in on what my day will look like, what my diet will be, and the best part is kicking off the day in the right mental state!

Although losing inches is always welcomed, the real reason why I’m doing this is to test my own self-discipline, to elevate my mind and spirit, and to see if my body and mood will actually improve through this process.  So far, I can attest that my sleep has been better, I’ve woken up with a bit more steam, and I do feel lighter!!

PhotoGrid_1390799652359The book implants the idea that since our bodies are naturally deteriorating due to time, environmental impurities, and foods that causes sicknesses such as cancer, diabetes, and other ailments, we should view food as medicine and vitamins to fight off the bad stuff.  So every bite of food that we put in our mouths must be valuable, nutrient-packed agents that keep us young, healthy, and beautiful!

This week I’ve resisted all white temptations- sugar, bread, rice, tortillas, pasta, and anything else white.  I’ve nourished myself with high quality foods, kept up my exercising, and made time for my own meditation!  Here’s what I put in my grocery cart:  dark-berried fruits (anti-oxidant rich- anti-aging and anti-inflammatory agents), dark green veggies (to detox), black rice (also anti-oxidant), avocados (healthy fats which improve, memory, skin, nails, and hair), seaweed (who knew that seaweed is the most nutrient dense, mineral rich, anti-cancer foods on the planet- THE PLANET!!), green tea, orange veggies, and lots of shrimp, salmon, and chicken!

BTW, did you know that MSG causes headaches, makes you hungry, and triples your insulin production, leading to storage of belly fat!?  I really hate to break it to you, but if you’ve read this far, I must tell you that ceasar salads, KFC, cold cuts, ranch, gravy, sausage, and even parmesan cheese are all big MSG-offenders!!!  Just when you thought you can live the rest of your life justifying that parmesan cheese is a good source of protein.  Sorry my friends!

But there’s good news in store for you!  I promise you that it’s only the first 3 days that’s the hardest!  After that, you get use to controlling the quantity, you become mindful of the quality, and truthfully your cravings for sugar and junk go away!  However, I admit that eating only palm-sized meals does leave you with a… sliiiiiight discomfort in your tummy from not being full, but you seriously come to peace with it and associate that feeling with being healthy and satisfied!  Think about how proud you’d be of yourself for resisting the cupcakes at the Super Bowl Party, or saying “No thank you,” to that one pushy person who always insist, “C’mon, just one bite!”  So as they say, “No pain, no gain!”

So take the time to design your mind, your kitchen, and your habits!  It’s about progress, not perfection!!!!!

Here are 3 last tips:  (1)  Cut up cucumbers to eat with your guacamole instead of chips,  (2)  Try to create a peaceful environment while you eat, like soft light, maybe soft music, candles, and flowers, and notice how much slower you will eat!  And (3)  Don’t forget to count your blessings as you eat, it will seriously pace the fork-to-mouth motion!

WE CAN DO IT!!!

40 Days on The Daniel Plan I Go

20140119_18480840 days of doing ANYTHING regimented already sounds painful and nearly impossible!  But as part of my new year’s resolution, starting today, I’m on a mission to get really healthy!  I mean, reeeeaaallly healthy!  I’m not just talking about toned abs!  I’m talking mental clarity, exceptional focus, spiritual enhancement, and overall just a brighter mood!  And if my skin starts to glow and my hair gets fuller in this process, then hallelujah!!!

I’ve decided to challenge myself to a higher level.  While I continue to work on my book bar, I will test my endurance for running a business with practices of intense self control and discipline.  The Daniel Plan is a 40 day plan to get healthier through the foundation of: faith, food, fitness, focus, and friends.  The book is pretty thick, so I’ll do you all a favor and summarize it week after week with my process, my progress, and my painful setbacks!  If this sound interesting to you, and sounds like a challenge you want to take, I encourage you to try it!  Whether you believe in God or not, get healthy, get smart, get happy, and just get on it!  After all, your body is a temple.  Some might even say, your body is a wonderland! 

First thing’s first… accepting that I will have setbacks but I will get back on track!  In other words, when I fail the temptation test and delight myself with cookie dough ice cream, I’ll let the guilt set it, refocus, study my failure, and prevent it next time.  Don’t we all start with great enthusiasm for something, and then over time it fades.  Yes, of course.  We are humans who get distracted, tempted, and unmotivated.  But our minds can change by changing our habits.  Because habits are what we do, not who we are!  And as part of my other new years resolution (which I copied from a good friend), I have decided to be DECISIVE!  Is that redundant?  I mean, rather than being blasé about things that come and go, I’m going to be decisive!  Disciplined!  And Mindful!  So, if I say I’m going to eat vegetables for 40 days, then I’m not going to cheat by telling myself that chives on potato skins are veggies.  And if I say I’m going to exercise or do something active every day, I’m not going to cheat by telling myself that the walk from the fridge to my home office is exercise!  And if I say that every time I’m tempted to do something I shouldn’t and instead pray, then my golly, I’ll drop to my knees!

Putting this in a blog is my official stake at making me accountable that for the next 40 days, I will honor what is right for the greater good!  I will honor what is right for my mind, body, and soul!  -Cue the music.  Good-bye French fries- oh how I love you so!  Good-bye innocent peanut m&m’s, you didn’t do anything wrong, it’s just me.

“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it for the glory of God”  -Or for the glory of you! 

Read. Write. DRINK.

I’ve got potentially good news!!!  The bank has finally gotten back to me, and has given me a link to their portal for me to upload my financial information!  It’s highly probably that this means that they have reviewed my business plan and would like to move forward!  -If that’s not what that means, then it’s just a mean trick!!!  I’m waiting to hear back for a final answer on that any day now………{anxiously waiting…}

Part 9.19Meanwhile, I’ve been working on a marketing campaign -not for the book bar per se- but for my Kickstarter Video.  What is Kickstarter, you ask!  Good questions- it’s a way that business owners, inventors, and creative innovators get their projects independently funded!  Someone like me who has an idea will ask people for money.  If you like my project, you pledge money!  It works like this, I will be setting a goal to raise $XX,000 (tbd), which will pay for my Beer & Wine (Type 42) liquor license.  I create a video that explains my idea of a book bar, and if you like the idea, -or don’t like the idea but like me anyway, you’d pledge a gracious dollar amount of your choice toward my book bar!  If I raise the money within 30 days, it will give life to The Brass Lamp and you get a special gift from me.  If I don’t raise the money within 30 days, people will get their money back, and I hit the drawing board again for ideas {waah. waah.}  In a valiant plea, I say it this way… If you back my idea, you are supporting my dream of creating something that I truly believe in.  Something that I believe is an evolution to a new way of thinking, socializing, and drinking.  You’re helping me build a place for people to read, write, and drink!

PhotoGrid_1389714981244It’s a scary idea to put the time and effort into making this video and asking folks for money!  But if it works, it’s going to be amazing!  *THANK YOU to my brother Sonny, who is using his film skills to put my video together!!*

And thank you to my friends who have been a part of my Read. Write. DRINK. marketing campaign!  You’re all so photogenic…and so are your dogs :)!

Stay tuned for my Kickstarter video to come soon!

Definiteness of purpose is the starting point of all achievement. –W. Clement Stone

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