Just Blogging

Living with Purpose

I’m sure that the recent shocking deaths of well-known people have made you stop and think about how short life can be.  I’m sure that watching clips of Paul Walker and Nelson Mandela’s past accomplishments gave you a good sense of the imprint they left on this earth!  Did it make you stop and wonder what your life span will be… or perhaps what your accomplishments were, are, and will be…

As I talk to more and more people about The Brass Lamp, I get a chance to also hear their story.  And with recent Artists that I’ve spoken to, they’ve all had a common purpose, and that is to make themselves known for their individual artistic talents.  For others, it’s to be a Mother or a Father, to be an Evangelist, an Actor, a Teacher, or a Community Leader -all very worthy purposes!  And I believe that each of these people will make their unique imprint on this earth.  I, no longer find it amusing or in the least bit interesting when people say, “I just want to be rich.”  But that’s just my opinion!  Someone once told me, that if money can solve your problems, then it wasn’t really a problem in the first place.  I agree!  The journey is about getting through the problem when money isn’t an option to solve it!  Let’s take my book bar for example; if I had $300,000 laying around, I wouldn’t of had to spend nearly four months on creating a 33 page business plan for the bank in order to ask for a loan.  Instead, I could have had The Brass Lamp already open and ready for you to enjoy by now!  If I had money, I would have bought a building to have my book bar.  Instead, I’m in search of space that has limitations and drawbacks.  But in all honesty, this journey so far, has already been incredibly rewarding and fulfilling, and I don’t even have an approval from the bank yet!

5e8a0917a18785d4f6b796a5bc2c2aa5[1]Building the plans, forming the ideas, meeting professionals to help me build this, talking to people about their excitement for my book bar, reading, researching, blogging, and simply putting one brick on top of the other has really been truly gratifying.  My proudest moment thus far, was when someone told me that they might be losing their job and have always wanted to start their own business, then asked me about my experience and how I got to making my decision to leave my job to start my own.  -You’re asking ME!?  …lil ole me!??  I certainly didn’t feel worthy to be asked!  But really, I do hope that I keep getting those questions, because the most valuable aspect about building a business from the ground up -not to mention, a business with a new and interesting concept :)- is that not only will I have given people a place to read, write, DRINK 🙂, but more importantly, I would have built a forum for myself to do much MORE!  And to me, “more” is helping people.  The learned characteristics of success and greed aside, don’t we all innately want to help others?!  You may think you don’t, but you do!  If there’s ever an imprint that I can leave behind, whether my book bar is a success or a failure, I hope that through this, it’s perseverance!

As 2013 comes to a close, you will start to think about your “new year’s resolutions,” and I encourage you to add another item on the list behind “losing weight or spending less,” that you make it your purpose to have a purpose!  Yes, it’s cliché, but try to live each day as if it was your last!!!

“Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.” -Nelson Mandela

Fall Back & Fall Beer

November 3rd, we fall back!  But now is the time for fall beer!!

6282002108_3216099288_z[1]Summer is gone, People!  Over in Huntington Beach, the morning dew is cool and crisp!  Sadly, I’m saying farewell to my tank tops, tongs, and tan lines!!!  It’s time to turn the season, kiss those summery martini’s good-bye and say helloooo hearty, festive, fall ales!!!

I can’t believe it’s almost November!!  Although time is slipping away faster than Two and a Half Men’s ratings, the good news is that there’s still time to squeeze in Oktoberfest!!!  I haven’t gone to Old World in Huntington Beach this year, so I can’t tell you if it’s worth a visit.  But a family member (nameless) was plastered from Oktoberfest at the LA Fairplex in Pomona, so it must have been a good time!!  But if you’re like me and won’t make it to Oktoberfest this year, I say, make your own Oktoberfest at home!!  It’s cheaper, it’s warmer, and more importantly, no check points!!

Having walked through the aisles of BevMo and Total Wine for beer research, a few bottles of pumpkin beers mysteriously appeared in my basket.  So, here are my recommendations:  Elysian Night Owl Pumpkin Ale: This one’s got a lot of pie spice flavors to it, and basically smells like warm pumpkin pie in the glass. It’s not as sweet as that aroma would lead you to believe, though, which is probably a good thing.  Oakshire Big Black Jack Imperial Pumpkin Porter: This beer is not nearly as heavy on the palate as the name would make you fear.  This beer is plenty rich without being overwhelmingly sweet.  Highly recommended.  A non-season beer that was just introduced to me is Gulden Draak!  I think of the word “Dracula” here because it’s got a perfect bite!  Not too bitter, not too light, not to heavy, just a perfect balance of flavorful beer!  So, CHEERS to your Oktoberfest, CHEERS to Halloween, and just CHEERS to life!!!!!

I’m down-shifting a bit with The Brass Lamp.  I was overly ambitious to think I can get doors open by February, but come to realize that just like most of the best things in life, they have to be handled with TLC… so I’m pacing myself to work diligently on what the bank is asking for.  This is my baby which I will handle with care!  Rather than seeing this as a race to be the mightiest little super Sam (where’s my cape!??), I’m going to relish in building every piece of this book bar with my own hands.  Besides, I thrive off of this stuff!!!  This book bar is my new hobby!!!  So I proudly raise my 20 oz. pilsner glass and will cheers to that!!!

There are few things that bring people closer together… Food, Holidays, and Beer!!

“The only way to do great work is to love what you do.” –Steve Jobs

My Featured Successful Person of the Week

The Average Woman who Invented Spanx: Sarah Blakely cut the feet out of her pantyhose in 2000!  Today, Spanks does more than $350 million in global retail sales annually.

She said that she kept her idea to herself for a year while she worked on it.  She said  that when she later came out with her idea to her family and girlfriends, they said, “Sweetie, if it’s such a good idea, why doesn’t it already exist?”  And, “Even if it is a good idea, those big guys are going to blow you out of the water in the first couple of months.”  She admits that if she had heard those things in the beginning stages of her idea, she’d still be the average woman at a very average job.

Sarah Blakely- 42 years old, Founder of Spanx

One of the best accidental fortunes in modern day history, if you ask me!!!

Sara Blakely

There are so many Entrepreneurs to admire: Sean Combs (AKA Puff Daddy, I mean, P-Diddy, I mean just Diddy), Bill Gates-Co founder of Microsoft, Steve Jobs-Co founder of Apple, Jeff Bezos- Founder of Amazon, Tony Hsieh- CEO of Zappos.com; Mark Zuckerberg- Founder of Facebook… and the list goes on.  To call them “influential” people, wouldn’t give them enough credit.  Similarly, they all said that they followed their heart and their dreams despite having to defend their idea to many, many, many people!

So, if you have an idea, that is “within reason,” pursue it until you turn blue in the face!!!  That’s certainly what I’m attempting to do!!!  I’ll let you know how that turns out for me!

But what do people do with themselves when they have so much money?  And when does money become a character changer???  Well, here’s what Sara Blakely says, “Money makes you more of who you already are.  If you are a jerk, it will make you a bigger jerk; if you are insecure, you become even more insecure; if you are generous, you become even more generous; if you are nice, you become even more nice.  Making money is like holding up a magnifying glass to who you are, personally and professionally.  It creates a lot of energy and power, and it’s up to you to use that in a really good way.”  -Sara, I agree with that statement!  I’d say that I’d be more generous, and obviously more funny (heehee)!  I mean, funnier!

What would you be with an obscene amount of money?!?!?!

Have a great week, and remember, life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get!

The Unexpected Hurdles on Your Journey

Layoff.  Fender Bender.  Divorce.  DUI.  Root canal.  -OUCH-  All ugly and painful unexpected hurdles on your journey.  But somehow, you get through it!

Today, the bank handed me a truck full of unexpected hurdles and painfully placed them between me and my beloved book bar.  Here’s just a snippet of what I’ve got ahead of me: …… actually, forget it, I’ll spare you the details… it’s too painful for even my little brown fingers to type out.  But take my word for it!  The good news, however is that the answer is not a “No.”  “So, you’re telling me I have a chance!???”  (A Brass Lamp book bag to anyone who can name the movie of that quote!)  What this means is that this delays me from opening my doors, unless of course I can raise about $15,000 to add to my $25,000 down payment.  -Any ideas???

I’ve got a lot of work ahead of me, so please send me encouraging emails, text, and wishes!  Although I was sulking for some time this evening, I’ve got to admit, that there are a plethora of things that I can think of to be grateful for despite these seemingly impossible hurdles.  Here are the top 3 that come to mind at the moment:

1. Thankful that I have parents… who will let me use their collateral as backing!  Thank you Mom and Dad!!!  2. Thankful for the mailman.  How else are we supposed to get those 20% Bed Bath & Beyond coupons.  3. And Thankful that Bruce and Kris Jenner finally split up.  How can one belittle the 1976 Decathlon Gold- medalist!!?  How!?

Invaluable wit and humor aside, I would like to take a moment to say THANK YOU, to my followers, friends, and family for your encouragement and kind words as I take on this beast.  Your support truly means a lot to me.  Thank you for believing in me!

The bank has pretty much put up an obstacle course that is nearly impossible to complete.  But nothing makes me want to do something more than telling me I “can’t.”

“Every strike brings me closer to the next home run.” –Babe Ruth

Sam’s Sunday Evening Wine Review

Relaxing on a Sunday evening to a bottle of Pinot Noir- Cloud Break 2012.


Before I give you my rating of this particular pinot, I admit that I’ve always been a Moscato kind of girl.  I like things sweet.  However, now that I am opening up a bar, I figure that the only right thing to do is expand my pallet!  Which in many respects, is a great lesson to live by anyway!

Here’s what I’ve learned about wine-tasting!  I hope you fellow wine-rookies can appreciate my simple tips below!

First off, the more knowledgeable you are, the greater the enjoyment.  For example, watching a football game is more fun when you understand the rules and strategies.  So the same is true for wine.

Before you pour yourself a glass of wine, let it sit exposed to the air for a few minutes.  Aerating the wine can help soften flavors and release aromas.  Young red wines (such as Cabernet Sauvignon, most Red Zins, and Bordeaux) tastes better when oxidizing because it will be less harsh. When you pour your first glass, look at the color to know the maturity.  The darker the color, the more mature, and therefore the better the quality.  (Fact for the day: A mature grape vine is at it’s prime from 12-40 years old.)

Next, smell it!  Much like food, the smell has a big role on the taste.  Hence the saying, “It smells so good, I can almost taste it!”  Does the scent remind you of a fruit, vegetable, or spice?  Overtime, you’ll be able to distinguish different smells (once you start smelling all of your wines).  Now, sip your wine… sip enough to coat your entire mouth, touching every party of your tongue.  Let it move around in there for about 5+ seconds.  When you swallow, you’ll taste the aftermath, which should be parallel to the smell.  (Taste at least twice before judging.)  Is the texture light or heavy?  Can you taste the fruit or woody oakiness?  Is it flat or acidic?  Sweet or dry?  A good wine will leave a pleasurable, lingering flavor in your mouth, called the “finish.”  High quality wines will have a finish that lingers for 20-40 seconds.

If you’ve ever heard the word “Tannin,” it is the acid found in the skin of red wines.  So, if the wine is more bitter, that is usually the cause of tannins, in which case, you will want to pair with fatty foods like steak, lamb, duck or heavy cheeses.  Moving down the spectrum of acidity, the softer the wine, the more you’ll pair with poultry, pasta, lighter cheeses.  Those that have little to no tannin level is best paired with salmon, Asian food, light poultries, and fruit platters.  Now take that info to your next dinner date, and you’ll give the impression that you’re very cultured!!  Big points, for sure!!  You can thank you me later!!!

I hope you found my introductory lesson helpful!  This California made Pinot Noir called Cloud Break 2012, smells sweet and floral.  It is a soft and elegant red wine.  For my personal taste buds, I’d rate this a 4.5 on a scale of 1-5 (1 being, YUCK; and 5 being BOTTOMS UP!).

Cloud Break 2012 Pinot Noir

Another tip to make you look super smart:  At the odd chance that someone ever asks you what is better between a grape vine that has a lot of clusters or a few clusters, you’ll be able to impress them with this answer:  A vine tries to ripen all of its berries, so if it is carrying many clusters, it has to work harder and longer to supply the nutrients to ripen all of the berries.  Therefore, if the vine is carrying too many grapes, often it will stop short of maturing, resulting in an unripe flavor.  And there you have it!  “I’ll take World History for $500, Alex!”

POST SCRIPT:  I’ve got to give a shout out to Halogen Church!  What a powerful service tonight!  Thank you for nourishing my spirit!!  Much like the grape vines, you’re much sweeter in fewer clusters. 


The Government Shutdown Affecting You, Me, and my Book Bar

7 Ways this political standoff is affecting you, me, and my book bar:

7. Forget about taking a vacation.  If you were thinking about camping this weekend or any time during this governmental shutdown, think again!  National parks along with zoos or museums might be closed down.  And that trip to Italy, I hope you have your passport, because applying now won’t do you any good!

6. Your organic food may not be organic.  No one will be overseeing the National Organic Standards Program, nor other programs that check your poultry, produce, shellfish, nuts, and other organic favorites!  Oh no, non-organic foods…what are we, cave people!?  How ever will we survive?

5. NASA is furloughed.  Naturally bringing risk to alien invasion.  I wonder if, like other countries, aliens watch the American news.  They probably do!  That is, if they aren’t already living among us!!  Watch out for alien abductions!

4. Towns impacted by the recent flooding in Colorado will be waiting longer for assistance. Really!?  Not cool!!!

3. The department of transportation will not drug test their employees.  (…um, add your own commentary here…)

2. Immigration paperwork will freeze…more.  Those hoping for citizenship will have to wait…longer.  Perhaps it’s a time to reconsider your idea of an American Dream and why you came here to begin with.  -I’m kidding.  There are many good things about this country.  My favorite… the First Amendment, Freedom of Speech!  Freedom of Religion!

1. Selfishly, the item that I personally am most concerned with is the fact that the SBA will freeze funds for loans.  Very sadly, this puts The Brass Lamp on a longer wait period for getting funding (booooo!!!!).  That bites!!  For those of you trying to get a loan for your home right now, this might affect you too!!!

So, what do we do!?  Not much.  The Republicans and Democrats will come to a compromise at some point.  Hopefully soon, because I really don’t want anyone to be abducted!  And, I really need the stock market to go back up!!  And, I want the option to go see monkeys at a zoo!

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