Just Blogging

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

11 Things NOT to Stress Over in 2014

The number one reason why we don’t carry out our new years resolutions throughout the entire year, and instead drop them like a hot potato before Valentines Day, is because once we fall short of those resolutions, we tend to give up completely.  What we should do is keep them in the realm of “doability.”  SO WHAT if you eat a cup cake when you were supposed to lose 5 lbs!!  Does that mean we you drop your resolution and eat a double-double-animal style right after??  -NO!  It means, get back on that horse and try again!

Along the lines of meeting expectations experts say that the way to happiness in 2014 is free yourself from stressors and guilt!  So, here are the top 11 things I have found people to stress over… and I’m here to tell you… Don’t sweat the small stuff!!!

1.  So you left your phone at home.  Stress level is pretty high here, right folks!  Admit it, on a scale of 1-10, this falls close to the 10!  -Don’t worry, you’ll get to work, have access to email and a land line, and it’s all good!  Your “check-in” status for lunch can wait!  Enjoy the day with no distractions.  And instead of stopping to take a selfie, stop to smell the roses!

2. You call in sick.  Don’t feel so bad, the work will still be there tomorrow, and that’s what sick days are for- to use!!!  Sleep in, give  yourself a rest from your horrid morning commute and enjoy your morning cup of joe in bed:)!!!

3. So you haven’t caught the craze of a Cross Fit Gym.  No biggie.  I haven’t either, and look at me!  I don’t look any worse for not jumping on the band wagon!

4. All your friends have engagement rings and/or babies.  Don’t worry, that means that you can still mingle and they can’t!  Besides, you get to have your beauty rest and still make time for yourself!  Everyone’s time and journey is different, so instead of comparing your blessings to someone else’s, start counting them!!  “The grass is always greener…”

5.  So you found a few more white hairs.  Don’t go jumping off a building!  Think of it as a badge of honor… you made it this far!!!  That’s what I tell myself before I go to Target for my Garnier Nutrisse-darkest brown.  Besides, that’s what hair dye is for… to cover our white streaks of wisdom!

6. You don’t have the newest iphone.  Eh!  There’s no way to keep up with technology!  Just get yourself a new case!  It’ll feel like new and you’d have just saved yourself $400!!!  Heck, spoil yourself with 2 new cases!

7. The smell of cigarettes from your neighbor’s balcony.  Unless you’re pregnant, don’t stress!!  I bet we inhale far worse just sitting in traffic during rush hour!  You never know what your neighbor is going through to need that smoke!  He might have just lost his savings on AAPL stock.  -You never know!!

8. Not getting enough “likes” on your posts.  Release yourself from that unnecessary need to be liked right this second!!  When you can’t afford those ridiculously delicious mystery-meat tacos from Jack in the Crack, then you can stress!  Studies have actually shown that social media creates a greater feeling of loneliness, and that selfies open up new doors to insecurities!  Don’t fall into the trap!  I happen to think you’re very cool!!!

9. Your ex is dating someone new.  Not much you can do here, except move on yourself!  You don’t live until you’ve experienced love and loss.  Chances are that you will be upgrading anyway.  Happiness is the best revenge!!!  Now comb your hair and go get ’em!

10. Your 13 year old daughter is wearing make-up.  That’s about that age!  Don’t stress.  These days, if that’s your daughter’s only pickle, you’re in great shape!!!  Stress when she hits 15!!!!  Stress a lot!

11. When you gain 5lbs.  No one will notice, trust me!!!  If you gained it quickly, you can probably lose it quickly if you just try!  I know most of my readers, and I think you look fantastic:)!!!

So, don’t sweat the small stuff… and don’t give up on your resolutions!  Have a great day!  And even if you didn’t leave your phone at home, don’t forget to smell the roses!!!

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Sickies on New Years Eve

No NYE party for me (cough-cough)!  My cold just got the best of me, so I couldn’t shake my money maker as I had planned :(.  But there’s nothing sweeter than my man taking good care of me.  He’s like honey in my hot tea.  Like the lotion in the Kleenex.  Like the tiny lil marshmallows in my hot chocolate.  Sweet, sweet, sweet!

As I sat surrounded by slimy tissues and cough drop wrappers, watching reruns of Sex and the City (the Writer is genius!), I was thinking about how I want to start the new year.  One thing I said I’d do more of in 2013 that I didn’t do enough of, was take more pictures!!  So, I’m going to carry that resolution over into 2014!  I don’t know what my 2014 is going to look like, but with a book bar to work on, family living back in Cali, a better outlook on life, and one year wiser than last, I’m very excited to see what kinds of opportunities I can take pictures of!

First thing’s first!  Go to the gym regularly!!  How original, right!  But this year, I’m going to make it stick beyond the first 2 weeks!  2nd priority, my relationships.  I have to admit, I’ve put my personal life on the backburner a bit, but this year, it’s so going on the front burner!!!  3rd priority, local traveling!  I’m lucky enough to have had a decent amount of international travelling under my belt, but this year I’d really like to take in the sights of our very own Golden State.  After all, there are few places better than California, right?!  (Especially when you live by the beach ::bragging::)  I might as well take advantage of this impeccable weather that I pay for!!!

Well, I hope you had a memorable new years eve celebration, but even if you stayed in like I did, I hope that new years eve marks a day to tie up any loose ends, and refresh yourself with new intentions!

To my readers:  I wish you all a strong start to the new year and a positive outlook!  2014: A time to right old wrongs, and write new chapters!!!!  HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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“Dare Greatly” says Brene Brown

In the past few months of working on creating this idea of a book bar, I’ve had to turn up the heat with my networking skills and get heavy on being a socialite.  That means that I’ve had to become chatty-cathy to pitch this idea, get back into Facebook, and I’ve had to turn “it” on to really sell myself.  Being a sales person, does NOT come easy, especially when you’re not selling Cutco knives (which are totally cool by the way), but you’re selling your kooky idea of creating a place where you can drink while you read!

In the last 13 years of selling myself, it was usually in the context of a job interview or dare I say it, the dating scene.  In both cases, I’d dress to impress and I’d talk about my current job, past history, strengths, dreams, goals, interests, fears, etc.  But now that I am selling myself for neither a job nor a second date, I’m finding that I’m getting the greatest outcome when I am not trying so hard.  I’m not trying so hard to win the approval of someone else, to spout out my resume, or to care how many Likes I have on my Facebook status.  Let me tell you, when you stop building a wall with a certain picture painted on it, there is so much peace on the other side.

baptism. may 2013Some of you know that I became Christian in the last year (baptized in Long Beach -literally in the Long  Beach ocean, okay, the Pacific Ocean if you want to get technical.)  I was someone who had no faith for many years and now am a woman of very strong faith.  And if you combine trusting in something greater than yourself and letting go of the perfect veneer that you’re fronting, it makes you very vulnerable, humble, but extremely authentic.  It’s very scary to step out from behind that wall, and be willing to be seen just as you are.  Remove the job, the money, the car, the Coach purses, the Prada sunglasses, and just be imperfect you!  -Even coming out to write about my new found faith is admittingly a bit awkward!  But so is opening up a book bar!!

I recently watched a Ted Talks video of Brene Brown, an expert researcher in sociology, where she talks about her studies of vulnerability, courage, and fear.  Rather than butchering her findings with my attempt at recapping it, I thought I’d let you get a little bit of inspiration from her.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iCvmsMzlF7o  This video, among other inspiring things and people in my life are what remind me to “dare greatly.”  She says that it’s not about winning or losing, but about showing up to fight!  And what I’ve found over these past few months is that the authentic-me is actually more likeable than my old Sales Rep-me!  If this idea is something you’ve already discovered, then bare with me, I’m slow!!  But if you’re like me, and just realizing the power in vulnerability, then cheers, I’ll have a cold glass of beer waiting for you at The Brass Lamp!  And if you haven’t come around to this yet and you want to keep your Pradas, it’s all good… I’ll have a beer waiting for you too!

For those of you who click on the link to actually get an update about The Brass Lamp’s progress, instead of the sappy thoughts in my head, I’m glad you did!  I’m still waiting to hear back from the bank with an answer on the loan.  I should be hearing back from them any day now.  In the meantime, I’m starting to work on my Kickstarter video… so please stay tuned for that!

On a different note, while doing Christmas shopping this weekend, I realized that Bath & Body Works repackages their bottles of lotion to make it seem like they are new scents, when really, they are the same overdone scents from the past 6 years!  I’m just over White Citrus and anything Amber.  But kudos to them for expanding on the men’s collection.  Men need lube too!  -Heehee, I made a funny!

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