Archive | December, 2012

Restaurant Review: Stacked (Cerritos, CA)

31 Dec

My company humored me with a pitstop at Stacked. (We just ate elsewhere but since we’re never in this side of town, why not?)

Amused by the ginormous, purple-orange-yellow facade (think Bauhaus-inspired stained glass) and tall tables and high chairs so my feet dangled.

Fiddling with the iPad when you order? Fascinating. Nothing like this in the IE! We ordered fries and homemade crisscut potato chips with chipotle mayo, garlic aioli, and curry ketchup. It’s all about the sauces, folks.

The founders of BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse are onto something here…

29 Dec

The Better Man Project is Evan Sander’s passionate journey to becoming a better man, a better human being. In this entry, Evan reflects about his path to producing his first book. Totally dig his recitation of Mandy Pantinkin’s awe-inspiring words.

 

The Better Man Project ™

 

“I believe there’s a common ground in what all gifted writers write. It has to do with their wish to turn darkness into light.”

~ Mandy Patinkin – Entertainer

 

I am glad I picked I picked up the most recent issue of Esquire today…one of the magazines I eventually want to write for. I came across a fantastic section of interviews…and was fortunate enough to find the quote above. I don’t think there has ever been a quote by someone else that has most accurately described what I have been going through the past three or so years. What many people do not know is that there is a significant story that will be told in the launch of the book that hasn’t been seen here. Back then, it was the farthest thing from what is being viewed by many during these present days. Very very dark days…

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Repost: The Tutu Project

28 Dec

Oh. My. Gawd. I LOVE this story:

The Tutu Project: Photographer’s Self-Portraits in Ballet Skirt Are Weapons in His Wife’s Breast Cancer Battle

Perusing the pictures alone will make your day. I promise.

Wise Words of the Day

28 Dec

“I realize that I want (even more) fun; I want (even more) joy.” –Kate Courageous, life coach, speaker & writer

(Amen to that, sistah.)

28 Dec

A different way to set and achieve goals. Acronyms definitely help me.

Old-school connectivity: Hello, are you listening?

26 Dec

I talked to my dad on Monday, Christmas Eve. He mentioned something that made me sit up straight and take notice. He said, “Looking at your phone affects your connectivity.” Think about it.

No, seriously. Think about it.

We are in a day and age when NOT looking at your phone is a skill. And a problem. I lost my cell last Wednesday. For 5 days, I didn’t have one.

And honestly? It felt pretty good.

Don’t get me wrong. In the beginning, I freaked out! Retraced my steps countless times. Called my husband, asking if he found it at home. For a couple days, we frantically searched the car, the parking lot, the 2-minute path from where my vanpool drops me off  and up the elevator and to my cubicle, the house, our driveway — everywhere!

Nada.

So for 120 hours, what did I do?

Told people to use Facebook, my work line, or email to reach me until I received a replacement. Kept my cell service on, so I could check voicemail messages (just in case).

Put all my energy into our first annual ugly sweater contest at the office. (A smashing success!)

Only surfed the Net at work or at home. NOT while in transit or during face-to-face conversations.

Enjoyed the longest conversations with my vanpool buddies. (During the 2.5-to-3-hour-long roundtrip commute, I usually scanned the top news stories of the day online. Or napped.)

Used an eraser board for my to-do list.

Wrote more in an old-half-filled-almost-forgotten-handmade journal a friend gave me several Christmases a go.

Posted on Facebook and talked with family and friends to research opinions on what new phone to buy.

Used my old point-and-shoot camera to capture holiday photos. Didn’t post them on FB.

Instead of texting confabs with friends who lived nearby, we met up.

Listen to favorite CDs while wrapping gifts and writing cards with zeal.

Mindfully pushed “Play” button daily so my toy musical snowmen sang their silly tune. (I squealed with laughter each time.)

Baked cornbread. Twice.

Caught up on “Color Splash”, “Person of Interest” and “The Voice”  episodes.

Perused a few magazines I had stacked high.

Snuggled more with my husband on the couch.

Looked at people more in the eye.

Somehow this “OMG-am-horribly-lost-don’t-know-what-I’d-do-because-I’d-die-if-I-lost-my-cell-phone!” mindset snuck up on me. For many months, I felt off. Perhaps I was affected by a number of things — work stress, long commute, financial/health concerns, etc. But I sensed an ever-present tension that I just couldn’t put a finger on, yet felt in my gut. It haunted me.

But this experience helped.

Being disconnected reconnected me. I became more present during conversations, my writing more genuine, my actions more sincere. It felt familiar: This is how I used to connect to others; and this is how I used to write as a teenager when it was just me, lined notebook paper, and a pen. I’m harkening back to the ’80s — a simpler time with far less distractions.

Am on the grid again with a new smartphone  (the same old model, btw). Am surfing and texting again — but less often. (Remember: That takes skill.) I can go back to my jump-at-every-alert-pre-cell-loss ways.

But why?

My brief interlude of no-cell-codependency shifted my focus from an expensive, handheld device tethered to my hip back to the way I used to do things. Nothing compares to scribbling in a journal, crossing out items on the eraser board, and taking my time to read a paper magazine in between my hands. I missed the tactile and visual sensations of doing different things with different tools. Until now.

Yes, it’s old school. But it’s me.

Repost: Doing what you love (but maybe you can’t get paid for it)

26 Dec

By Seth Godin

[I wrote this five years ago. As you plan the magical things you will do next year, I thought it was worth reconsidering:]

The thing is, it’s far easier than ever before to surface your ideas. Far easier to have someone notice your art or your writing or your photography. Which means that people who might have hidden their talents are now finding them noticed…

That blog you’ve built, the one with a lot of traffic… perhaps it can’t be monetized.

That non-profit you work with, the one where you are able to change lives… perhaps turning it into a career will ruin it.

That passion you have for graphic art… perhaps making your painting commercial enough to sell will squeeze the joy out of it.

When what you do is what you love, you’re able to invest more effort and care and time. That means you’re more likely to win, to gain share, to profit. On the other hand, poets don’t get paid. Even worse, poets that try to get paid end up writing jingles and failing and hating it at the same time.

Today, there are more ways than ever to share your talents and hobbies in public. And if you’re driven, talented and focused, you may discover that the market loves what you do. That people read your blog or click on your cartoons or listen to your mp3s. But, alas, that doesn’t mean you can monetize it, quit your day job and spend all day writing songs.

The pitfalls:
1. In order to monetize your work, you’ll probably corrupt it, taking out the magic in search of dollars

and

2. Attention doesn’t always equal significant cash flow.

I think it makes sense to make your art your art, to give yourself over to it without regard for commerce.

Doing what you love is as important as ever, but if you’re going to make a living at it, it helps to find a niche where money flows as a regular consequence of the success of your idea. Loving what you do is almost as important as doing what you love, especially if you need to make a living at it. Go find a job you can commit to, a career or a business you can fall in love with.

A friend who loved music, who wanted to spend his life doing it, got a job doing PR for a record label. He hated doing PR, realized that just because he was in the record business didn’t mean he had anything at all to do with music. Instead of finding a job he could love, he ended up being in proximity to, but nowhere involved with, something he cared about. I wish he had become a committed school teacher instead, spending every minute of his spare time making music and sharing it online for free. Instead, he’s a frazzled publicity hound working twice as many hours for less money and doing no music at all.

Maybe you can’t make money doing what you love (at least what you love right now). But I bet you can figure out how to love what you do to make money (if you choose wisely).

Do your art. But don’t wreck your art if it doesn’t lend itself to paying the bills. That would be a tragedy.

(And the twist, because there is always a twist, is that as soon as you focus on your art and leave the money behind, you may just discover that this focus turns out to be the secret of actually breaking through and making money.)

And from a recent interview:

I wonder why anyone would hesitate to be generous with their writing.

I mean, if you really want to make a living, go to Wall Street and trade oil futures … We’re writers. We’re doing something that is inherently a generous act. We’re exposing ourselves to the muse and to the things that frighten us. Why do that if you’re not willing to be generous? And paradoxically, almost ironically, it turns out that the more generous you are, the more money you make. But that’s secondary. For me, the privilege of being generous is why I get to do this.