Nothing Is Impossible…

“Nothing is impossible; the word itself says, I’m possible.'”

I’ve had a lot of new followers subscribe to the blog, and the number one question they ask me is… “How do you know when you should quit your job for your dream?”

I have an answer…

“When God puts a dream in your heart, you know you’re going to succeed.  Every ‘no’ means you’re one step closer to ‘yes.'”  -Joel Osteen

There Is No Elevator to Success; You Have to Take the Stairs

There is no elevator to success unless you come from money.  But the greatest success stories come from those whose upbringing started with odds stacked against them, and many challenges in the way.

Kevin Durant’s MVP speech was touching and inspiring, to say the least. If you haven’t seen it, please do.  I gurantee it will be 5 minutes well spent!!!

What an amazing story; and what a way to honor your mother and acknowledge the closest people in your life who have unknowingly helped you up the stairs.

In life, in love, or in dreams, wonderful things are worth fighting for, and sharing that with others makes it all worth it!

“There Is No Elevator to Success; You Have to Take the Stairs.” -Unknown

Employee Handbook. Weed. Legal or Illegal?

As I wait (and wait, and wait, and wait) to hear back from Commercial Property Owners on my offer for The Brass Lamp, I’m working on preparing the structure of my business… things like legal paperwork, licenses, permits, payroll, HR, and of course, the employee handbook.

With an employee handbook, there’s just so many things that an Owner has to think about… many details that we all take for granted, which we think is common sense, but actually needs to be s.p.e.l.l.e.d. out.  Things like, instructing an employee to refrain from giving away free drinks to friends (I know, I’m such a ball buster!), not drinking on the job (it’s like a Nazi concentration camp!), and specifying which drugs they can use, or not use!  If you’re a square-pants like me, you’d think that all drugs shouldn’t be consumed on the job.  But if you’re “that guy,” then you’ll smoke your blunt behind the trash bins outside, and think of clever ways to get around the loopholes!

Check out this article:  “I recently fired a cook for actively smoking marijuana on the job. He went outside loaded up a bowl, and smoked it up.  He was witnessed by a neighboring business, and two of my staff. When I asked him if he did it, he acknowledged he did. I asked if he remembered signing an employee handbook that advised him that any use of illegal drugs or alcohol on the job would (not may) result in termination. He did. Cut and dry right?

He, of course, filed for unemployment.  The reason he stated he was fired was for violation of company policy. I filled out the form and sent it back with a detailed rationale and documentation.

Last week I got a call from the Employment Department asking for a copy of my handbook. They were concerned because I hadn’t specifically stated WHICH illegal drugs were grounds for termination. I countered with ALL ILLEGAL DRUGS because they are ILLEGAL.

She explained that I needed to define which specific drugs were illegal because it’s possible that because we neighbor a state in which marijuana IS legal, the employee didn’t realize it wasn’t okay.  I explained that EVERYONE knows marijuana is not legal. That is why you cannot purchase it at places like Safeway.

I was advised that as an employer, I “cannot assume that the employee has culpability if they are ignorant of the law“.  Now, I get to spend another hour or so on a phone hearing disputing his unemployment – which he was AWARDED – so that my unemployment rates
won’t go up even more. To be clear, I don’t care what my employees do on their
off time – but this guy didn’t even bother to clock out for his high.

**Advice to all business owners – adjust your employee handbooks NOW! 

**Advise to all “culprits,” don’t reference this blog as your legal back up!

“There is a time and a place for everything.  Live like your life is being shown on a jumbo-tron.”           -Anonymous Argosino

Who Remembers The Blue Cafe in Downtown Long Beach?

…I remember The Blue Café in Downtown Long Beach!  Live bands, great dance floor, cool blue neon light that lit the patio, pool tables upstairs, and just a really cool vibe!!!

I was 18 when I moved to Long Beach, and 19 when my roommates and I first experienced the hipness of The Blue Café.  -Wait, how did I get in without an ID??!.  Hmmm, I honestly don’t remember!

I don’t know what happened to The Blue Café, but this old hot spot is now a vacant “not spot.”  It’s been abandoned for several years now just waiting for the right business!  Since they built the Promenade, it’s the last piece of property that has yet to be upgraded and leased.  Guess who put in an offer to take the 2nd floor of The Blue Café…!??!  -I DID!!  I mean, The Brass Lamp did!

7a0ba9abfa6b0ae789110cc5d94ef6ffOther offers that I’ve made didn’t pan out, but this one… this one here… is the one I really want to place all my bets on!  This is actually the very first spot I looked at when I first started dreaming about a book bar!  It wasn’t available for me back then, but enough time has gone by, the owner has softened, and now it’s just ripe for a bar like mine to come along!!  TIMING IS EVERYTHING!

I would love for The Brass Lamp to make new memories here!  Keep your fingers crossed for me!!!!!

“Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck.” –Dalai Lama

From a C Student to a Chic Student

I grew up being a pretty cool kid… no surprise, right- I mean, c’mon!  I was boisterous, friendly, and more importantly to Asian parents, I was an honor roll student!  (Does a GPA carry any weight in elementary school?)

My very dark and grody student ID's.

My very dark and grody student ID’s.

But unavoidably, middle school came, so from then on my grades suffered from the distractions of a teen life.  Boys, pagers, and looking fashionable -well, attempting to look fashionable (the 90’s was a tough fashion decade!)  And yes, I did say pagers (“143″…LOL!)  Needless to say that all those complications dropped me to about a B to C level student.  (Sorry Mom and Dad!)  I became weak in academics, hardly did my homework, needed an algebra tutor, and of course spent all my time talking on the phone.  No wonder I only went to a State school!

I like to think of myself as a late bloomer.  I’m not just talking about cup size, I’m talking about growing out of my blasé- “I’m too cool for school” attitude.  Something clicked for me after high school and I put my butt in gear.  Somehow, I grew out of my laziness and into a hard-working machine!  I think I was money driven…!  Whatever it was that drove me, I was madly motivated and surrounded myself with the best of the best… learned everything I could about business, organizations, and corporations.  I was like a parasite to my bosses and their boss’ bosses.  I wanted to talk like the best, and walk like the best…because I wanted to be the best!  I may not have done well in high school, but I always said that I will be a student for life!

In my adult life, I’ve taken a thousand seminars, workshops, classes, and gone back to school for all sorts of random things.  At the moment I’m in school to refresh myself on my day-trading skills.  For the first time in my life, I’m THE A-student!  I am not talking about the quiet, unassuming, A-student.  I’m talking about the obnoxious, hand-raising, always answering questions, A student!  How did I become so annoying??!!!  I literally have to bite my tongue to keep myself from exposing more nerdiness!  So now, everyone in class wants to be my friend.  I use to be the one copying someone else’s homework, and now everyone is copying off of my homework!  Never did I think the day would come!

To my surprise, but probably more to my parent’s surprise, I went from a C student to a Chic Student.  -Just go with it!

The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be. –Ralph Waldo Emerson

Be Bold, be Brave, and be Bad Ass!

When has being bold, brave, courageous, and fearless ever given you bad results?  I’d guess that the win-ratio is pretty good -when you’re actually willing to try!

Being bold breaks the ice when meeting new people; It gets you the job offer after an interview; it opens many new opportunities; it gets you “the girl” (Wesley didn’t get Princess Buttercup with timidity; nor did Spiderman with MJ, or any hero for that matter) and yes, boldness builds strong character!

These past couple of weeks, I have been waiting to sign documents with the bank; waiting to get responses on my offers for spaces for the bar; and simply waiting for the big, unequivocal, “Yes!”  In a perfect world, I’d be handed the keys to my bar followed by, “Congratulations, Ms. Argosino!  Here is your money and here are the keys to The Brass Lamp.  We wish you the best of luck with your business!”

3625387d29ded5c21a8acffeb9191fe0-But that is yet to be the case.  It is now going on eight months since I started working on The Brass Lamp, and I am so darn close!  It has been a relentless journey thus far.  It’s been a lot of “no’s,” a lot of challenges, and a lot of push back.  I think that I’ve become an expert at being hardheaded, because “no” is simply not acceptable (chuckle).  The bank actually said that most people in my position would have given up by now, and called me their most “tenacious client.”  Great, thank you, now give me the money!  I actually scoff at that… because aren’t I supposed to be tenacious!?  Hello…!

I’ve been ridiculously obsessed and engrossed in making this happen, that I have connected with all the right people, and am confident that I have gathered all the ammunition I need for the next steps.  But at this point, there are things I can’t control, and all I can do is continue preparing while I wait.

I’ve got my biggest supporters tapping at the window, saying “Open… Open… Open…” and I thank them for their amazing enthusiasm and for coming alongside me during this ride.  For those of you who have followed my blogs every week, I hope that my process has sparked something inside of you to help you be bold in your personal or professional endeavors.  Someone once said to me, “I see something in you, that you don’t see…” and just that comment alone woke up the giant inside of me!

BE BOLD, BE BRAVE, AND BE BAD ASS!!!

“You can never cross the ocean until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore.” –Christopher Columbus

Bad Hair Day- Bad Day

It’s a first for me to blog about something less than inspirational… but I must get it off my chest…!

Have you ever had a bad hair day that starts your day off with a ten-part series of more bad?  I think all of us that have hair would say, Yes.  For the other part of the population, who are bald and beautiful… Lucky!

Your morning starts off with your hair bending and turning in ways that it shouldn’t, putting you 20 minutes behind schedule and now you have layers of overdone product matting your hair.  You make your morning coffee (or in my case, tea, because I’ve sacrificed coffee for Lent… 18 more days until your mine!), and since you’re now rushing, the hot coffee spills on your shirt because that darn lid wasn’t snapped on right!  So naturally, your mood for the rest of the morning is shot.  And the only thing that could turn your frown upside down is a winning lottery ticket.

bad dayWhen this happened to me last week, I noticed that people I encountered were not their usual friendly selves towards me.  I thought, is it my hair?!  No, it was my sour-puss face that was tattooed on me all day because of my hair!

Since I knew I wasn’t going to win the lotto that day, I just had to let the day play itself out and chalk it up to another bad hair day.  (Having two cow licks and a dented skull in the back of the head does not help with good hair days.  It’s an uphill battle trying comb those bumps down, while still trying to maintain volume.)

But, if you are having a good hair day today, capitalize on your day!  Look good, smell good, feel good, talk good, walk good, and DO good!!!  (I realize that it’s “talk well and walk well” but that doesn’t sound as good here.)  Because you never know, tomorrow might be THE bad hair day!

Have a good hair day :)!

5 Things I Don’t Miss About the 9 to 5…

No disrespect to anyone… -Now how do I start a sentence like that without disrespecting… ?  Um…I respect everyone, job or no job, but I must say that there are a ton of things I don’t miss about working for someone else.  Today, I’ll just share 5!

intheendBut first, I’ve got to take a moment to thank the pyramid-schemed-snakes who got me to pay them $600 with my Discover Rewards cards to start “my own biz” during the beginning of the “dot-com” era.  I was a very hungry 19 year old who was brainwashed to think that I can get rich quick!  Silly, naiveté, me!  The only upside to being brainwashed by these Versace-wearing-vermin was that I became inspired to be my own boss, to live outside of the rat race, and to push beyond boundaries.  I never got my money back when blank-blank company went down, but I got a handful of really great books written by John Maxwell, which I lived my twenties reading.  For those of you who don’t know John Maxwell and you need a big shot of leadership potion, pick up any one of his books.  Literally, any one!  You will be fueled with power!  If you read it and don’t like it, I’ll buy it from you!  Then nobody loses.  But for those of you who are familiar with the great John Maxwell, I’m not only certain that his books are still sitting on your bookshelf never having made it to the goodwill bag, but that his words have changed your life.  They changed mine!

Now in my 30’s, having worked for multi-million dollar corporate companies, having had a corner office in a high-rise on MacArthur and Von Karman, and having the responsibility of reporting to Board of Directors, I can say with pleasure, that there are so many things that I do not miss about working for someone else!!!

1.  No commute!  -Need I say more.  I will anyway… There’s nothing worse than rush hour traffic with the sun beating in your eyes and tanning only your left arm!!!  I hated that!  It put me in a bad mood when I got to work, and a worse mood when I got home!  Nowadays, I enjoy my walk from my bedroom to my other bedroom that holds my home office.  Ahhh, no angry sun and no hateful drivers :).

2.  I don’t miss wearing super sexy pointy high heels!  Yes, they were super sexy, but now my knees are paying the price!  Again, socks from bedroom-one to bedroom-two… a really beautiful thing!

3.  I definitely don’t miss the office politics!  Life is not fair, but office politics is just ridiculous.  There’s always that one female manager that no one will ever cross, and her favorite pet who’s nose can’t get any browner!

4.  I don’t miss the long, counter-productive meetings that just took up time in the day, and made people feel important because they had to go to a meeting.  In 2009, I was at a job where the IT meetings ran so long that when I came out, someone said that Michael Jackson passed away, and I thought it was a joke to say that I had been gone for so long.  -It wasn’t a joke.  But the meeting was excessively long!

5.  Lastly, I definitely don’t miss being confined by conventional parameters, where my creativity and boundless potential is never nourished.  Those glass ceilings do exist!  I thrive best when I am not constrained by corporate culture!

-But that’s just me :)!  Have a great rest of the week!

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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!

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