Phase II- Progress

Ending the Year Strong, Starting the Year Stronger!!

The Brass Lamp_banner

Two days before Thanksgiving, The Brass Lamp Kickstarter campaign FUNDED!!!  The idea of raising $25K in only 30 days for a local business was a huge task, but not one that couldn’t have been accomplished without the help of so many people!!! It is extremely exciting to see the enthusiasm amplify over The Brass Lamp, and even more exciting to finally get the physical construction started!!!

The Brass Lamp_before transformationOn January 3rd, I will be breaking ground and starting the demolition! Construction and transformation will take about 4-5 months, meanwhile I will be preparing this awesome book bar for you!!! I will be posting pictures and video of the progress, and I just ask that you stay eager and stay tuned with following me as I build!!!  

The bar, the books, the stage, the ambiance, the furniture, the art, the walls, the room, the food, the drinks, it’s all going to bring a very intellectually stimulating, yet sexy experience!  Yes, a place where smart and sexy exist together!!!  I am not an artist by your standard definition, but this book bar is my canvas, and I can’t wait to design this space and show you the final product at the Grand Opening!!! I hope to WOW you, and I hope you’ll be coming in for our Jazz nights, our wine flights, and our specialty coffees with a bite! -Cheers!

Start STRONG and FINISH strong; and COUNT your blessings in between!!

In the Beginning…

As the book bar is progressing while in its planning phases, I’m making decisions on the types of (private) rooms that I will have.  This building was built for office space in the 1950’s and has been used as such since then.  But in 2014, this mid-century brick office building will be transformed into the very first “book bar and lounge” in Southern California.  -True story!!!


The private rooms around the perimeter of the floor plan were once offices of Executives and Managers, but will soon be uniquely and carefully crafted purpose driven rooms, which I have yet to determine.  But in deciding the use for those rooms, I keep in mind the heart of The Brass Lamp, which is to build a community.   The primary vision of my business may have taken a backseat to the glam of this oh-so-cool-forward-thinking concept, but truly is the cornerstone of The Brass Lamp.

HemingwayBehind the obvious coolness and uniqueness of having a… uh, “coffee shop for adults,” if you will, the vision of this bar/coffee shop/bookstore was not only to provide a place for people to go to on their own to “read, write, and drink,” but it was also a place that would cultivate intriguing conversations, imaginative ideas and eventually geniusly creative results!  -Did you know that the iconic writer, Earnest Hemingway was notoriously fond of drinking?  Much like his counterparts like Scott Fitzgerald and William Styron, most creative artists get their best ideas when balancing drinking and working.  I know I do!  And I know you do too!

At The Brass Lamp, I will be featuring the work of local, upcoming Artists, which will cultivate more creativity, which will in turn develop compounding ideas of brilliance.  Giving my customers, not just something to look at, but something to talk about!!!  And that’s ultimately what I want… I want to give them something to talk about!  Thank you, Bonnie Raitt!

So as I head hunt for these creative artist’s work on my walls, performances on my stage, and books on my shelves, I ask that you envision The Brass Lamp as being a place where you can let down your hair, take off your tie, and relax your tension-filled shoulders and enjoy being inspired!!!

And they say you can’t never meet a decent person at a bar!  I beg to differ!  Cheers!

Oh, and if you have any ideas for some of those rooms, don’t be shy to share!

“Live the full life of the mind, exhilarated by new ideas, intoxicated by the romance of the unusual.”  -Ernest Hemingway

Beer Brings Bliss

IMG_20140923_211125Say that 5 times fast!  Beer Brings Bliss- beer bringz blizz- beer bwings blish- forget it!

In the last few weeks, I’ve immersed myself in the craft beer culture… I almost did an ice-bucket-beer-challenge to pour in my mouth, but didn’t want it to catch on, and have everyone and their mamas do it!  That would have been a lot of wasted beer- and we are in a draught crisis.  I just wonder whether all those people actually donated to ALS, or if it was just an excuse to be on video.  -I’m just saying!

Back to beer… here are the top 3 things that I learned during my craft beer fiascos:

1.  It’s the best time in history to be a beer drinker (also the most confusing)!!!

2.  When it comes to beer, looks are an important indicator- much like some things in life!

And 3.  When tasting, wine drinkers spit, but beer drinkers happily swallow!!!  {Pause for snicker}

Conclusion:  I don’t like the bitters, I don’t like the sours, I am officially a Belgium Ale kind of a gal!  This doesn’t mean that I won’t have other craft options at the book bar, it just means that after 12 years of legally drinking, I finally know what I like!

The one and only issue that I had on my missions was that some places had very long beer menus.  I’m talking like wizard and his scroll long.  Not to mention that I didn’t recognize any names!  I get having variety, but too many choices turned the experience from eagerly curious to crazy confusing!!  I like seeing some familiar names, and I’d like to choose from a selection that doesn’t make me feel like I am being punished with a reading assignment.  I just want my cold, aromatic, hint of citrusy goodness!

I’ve just finished the craft beer side of my menu, and I’m keeping it simple!!!  After much research of beer options, menu design, and overall customer satisfaction, I’ve decided to have only seven of your favorite and familiar craft beers on tap and seven of the most popular and trending bottled crafts.  Just like in craps, seven is the lucky number!!!

I’m very excited to be talking about part of the menu, because that means that all of the big stuff of building the bar are coming along!!!  Cheers ya’ll!

“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams.  Live the life you have imagined.”  -Henry David Thoreau

It’s Gettin Hot in Herre

Nelly said it best!  “It’s gettin hot in herre!”  -Oh Nelly, you’re so poetic!

Things are starting to get real up in herre!

To my Brass Lamp-believers: after monnnnths of waiting to hear back on the SBA loan, and monnnnths of looking for the right space, it is with great joy that I report that I have the loan!  I have the space!  I have the General Contractor, and I have a professional team behind me producing my Kickstarter campaign (Thank you Localism)!!!

But wait… before I break open the champagne, I still have piles of paperwork to sign to make it all official.  But I look back at where I was in this process exactly one year ago today, and I was just formulating the concept of the bar.  I posted a blog with survey questions that some of you were so kind to take the time to answer.  I remember where I was sitting in my home when I posted the blog.  If you walk down memory lane with me  you might remember where you were when you read this blog or replied to my survey questions.

Rereading that, feels like it was just yesterday!  What they say is true… the older you get, the faster time flies!

Moving forward, there is now another hill I have to climb to build The Brass Lamp.  The first order of business is raising funds.  With the bank loan, I only have 75% of the funds needed to do the build-out of this incredible 4,000 sq.ft. space, which I forgot to mention IS ON THE PROMENADE in downtown Long Beach -saywhaaaat!?.  So for these next 90 days, I will be getting crazy creative with raising the rest of the money.  In case you’re wondering, no it’s not selling narcotics or prostitution!  ANYWAYYYY- the money will go to the permit and license fees, equipment and furniture, and of course all the sweet finishing touches that will make this place so special!

So, save your pennies and nickles… I will need them soon!!!

Stay tuned, because I will be reporting all of my progress in these upcoming months aggressively!  I know what you’re next question is:  When will you open?!  Answer:  realistically February 2015.  Hey, no one said big dreams happen quickly!

BookBar_Ts8Check out the new t-shirts coming out soon!  Limited edition!

P.S. I love my dive bars… I love my sports bars… so take this image with light-hearted humor!

P.P.S.  The votes are in… We’re going with black!  Which is great, because summer’s coming to an end and black is slimming!

To all ma’single ladies, due to popular demand, these will come in tank tops!

In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure. –Bill Cosby 

The Unveiling of the Logo!!!

I’m so incredibly proud of my first born!

(drum roll please……..{prrthuthuthuthuthuthu……})

Finally, here it is… the Logo of The Brass Lamp!!!


 I love it, it’s classic, modern, charming, and just simply perfect!  I hope you agree!!!

To my Graphic Designer, Jessica Nordquist:  Thank you for working with me in creating this look.  I’m excited to develop the future branding of The Brass Lamp.  You’re amazing!

We worked weeks upon weeks to perfect the look and feel!  Well, by “we,” I mean Jess!  But I’ll take the credit for the vision!!  



A Long Period of Writer’s Block No More

This past week of “Brass Lamp-building” has been fun for me.  I looked at 3 different spaces, one in Huntington Beach and two in Long Beach.  Naturally, I started to really envision the elements of my book bar in the space.  -There is where I will I put the bar…  There is where I will put my stage…  And with my vivid imagination, I can see the furniture pieces and interior design start materializing on the walls and the floors.  It was hard to contain myself at times, but there are still several other spaces I’m scheduled to see this coming week.

I am now in the final stages of finishing up my business plan by finalizing the last few financial forecasting figures.  But in the midst of crunching numbers, I’ve been reading a lot of powerful resources to help me with my business.  And during that time, I’ve come to really hone in on what a big part of The Brass Lamp is about for me…. which I will get to in a few moments…

But first I want to pose this thought to you… Did it ever dawn on you that in our 12…16+ years of schooling, we were never really encouraged to let creativity be a dominant characteristic… or for that matter, any worthwhile characteristic.  Schools didn’t offer very many artistic electives.  In fact, teachers gave us A’s for coloring within the lines so that it looked as clean and proper as the image that you are copying!  (Where’s the creativity there??!)  Isn’t it funny how creative people and artists across all genres have this reputation for being manic depressive and mentally unstable?  But aren’t we all kind of depressive and unstable to some degree regardless of our occupation!  (I AM!)  We’ve collectively accepted this notion that creativity and suffering are somehow inherently linked.  So, we grow up repressing our creative curiosities so that we can be “successful at a good-paying job.”  Well, now that most of us are “successful,” by having experienced a 4-year education (and then some), you’ve worked at different jobs and industries, and have finally settled on a job that you’re comfortable with and have invested a good part of your 401k in.  Good job, mission accomplished!  So now, do you ever think about doing things just for fun?  …tapping into your creative side.  I think they call that a “hobby.”  Yes, that was a word commonly used before Apple created iphones which further led to many addictive pleasures such as Bejeweled, Temple Run, Plants vs. Zombies, and the list goes on.  (Side note: I am one of the last people on the planet to still have a blackberry, so I am free of those addictions!  Embarrassingly enough, my 60-something-year-old parents both have Androids… they may not know how to use it, but at least they are way ahead of me on the tech trends!)  Anyway, my point is…Do you want to go back and entertain your creative side and write, do photography, paint, or create something that has your personality?

Over the past week, I’ve come to learn that I have several friends who are very artistic (I don’t know why I just learned it this week, but regardless…).  Specifically, artistic in the sense of writing!  Their ability to paint an immensely vivid picture with words is uncanny.  Their ability to have you feel their emotions through their words is remarkable.  Yet these friends of mine live a very proper and “square” (I say that with affection), professional career life.  I wouldn’t peg these people to have such creative energy in them.  -Never judge a book by it’s cover!  So, I’ve asked a few of them to share their writings on my blog… and although they have very busy schedules, I’m forcing them to walk back into their creative closet, jump and dance around in there,  and produce something creative, clever, funny, or just simply good writing!

When The Brass Lamp opens, it will be a place where you can release your artistic outlet!!! A casual-sophisticated place to accommodate the late night creative thinkers and the intellectual wine drinkers.  (That right there is my Mission Statement in my business plan.)  I’d love to see what books, drawings, songs, movie scripts come out of the Brass Lamp!  So, when life gets tough, and you want to take some alone time, possibly take a break form your spouse, children, boss, roommate, hide from the paparazzi, or just get away from the hustle and bustle of life, you’ll have The Brass Lamp to go to!

As for the those who are perfectly content enjoying other people’s art, I’ll have a delicious pairing of pinot noir and red velvet cake waiting for you with an ipad of the 25 most addicting games!!!  I’ll play “Words with Friends” with you!

By the way, People, your art and photography will be on my walls.  I hope you don’t mind me using the Brass Lamp to expose your work and make money for you!  Let me know if you’re not interested in making money!

As the writer of Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert says, “Why should we be afraid of the work that we were created to do…?!” 

I look forward to sharing with you blogs written by the most creative people in my circle of trust!


“Hard Work Beats Talent, When Talent Doesn’t Work Hard”

They say that there are 20 personality traits of successful entrepreneurs.  Do you want to know what they are?  Do you think you have what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur??  -That is the question they posed to me in my workshop.

Here they are: Persistence, Self-discipline, Independent, Inquisitive, Strong drive to achieve, Multi-tasker, Creative, Ability to negotiate, Demanding, High energy level, Goal-oriented, Flexible, Confident, Has a sense of realism, Detail oriented, Resourceful, Competitive, Persuasive, Accepts change and ambiguity, Desire to work hard, Calculated risk taker, Innovative vision, and Commitment.

Is that you???  They say that most people don’t have all 20!  MOST!  I don’t know if I have all 20, but one thing that I am absolutely certain I am blessed with, is an incredible internal drive.  An insatiable drive!

People have alluded that I may not fully understand how difficult this process will be.  Please don’t mistake my enthusiasm as blissful ignorance (I’m smarter than I look).  Instead, my enthusiasm is my drive to overcome the challenges and move forward to see this journey to my “success” through.  I hope that through my blog, a few people can feel a twinge of inspiration and think of themselves as also being able to pursue their “impossible.”

There are a good handful of people who are reading this blog right now, who I know without a shadow of a doubt have these qualities.  Some of you have already started your business and do very well -you’re a great inspiration to me!  And others have these traits but either don’t know it, or are just standing at the edge looking over .  I say… take that leap of faith!!  It will be the most exciting, nerve racking, and infinitely gratifying feeling!!  -Especially when your advisor tells you that if you continue to work as hard as you have in the last 3 weeks, you could realistically open up Brass Lamp in 3-6 months.  (Absolutely Overjoyed!!!)  -That’s my good news for the week!!!!!!

Have a successful week, my future Brass Lamp Customers!  Move with purpose!

P.S.  I’m looking at my first commercial space for the Brass Lamp next week (SQEEEAAL!!  {douggie dance…douggie dance…})

P.P.S.  THANK YOU for your feedback on my last blog!!!  Yes, your opinion matters!!!

“Hard work beats talent, when talent doesn’t work hard.”  -Will Smith

P.P.P.S  I just got back from one of my best friend’s wedding…so I gotta give a shout out!!!  Congratulations Sarah and Gordon!  Simplicity is so beautiful (awesome ceremony)!8-8-2013 Sarah and Gordon Wed Today