In Defense of Restaurant Servers. PART ONE.

(photo cred)
I've been waiting tables for over six years now. If there's anything I could change in my life, I promise you that being a waitress is not one of them. The hospitality industry has taught me a lot. More than one post can begin to explain, which is why this very well may turn into a two or three part post. Come what may.

I am a proud working restaurant server. I am. So naturally, when stories like this one start circling among the social networks, I find myself upset and irritated with how ignorant and just down right rude some people can be. Turns out, this particular story turned out be a hoax, the receipt was photoshopped. And still, if you scroll down to the end of the article and read over some of the comments, you'll see that there's still some pretty baffling opinions towards individuals who work as servers and towards the traditional practice of tipping your server. 

Fact of the matter is, I can't explain entirely what working in a full-service restaurant is like. My opinion: everyone should work in the hospitality industry at one point or another. I've worked in quite a few different restaurants, in a quite a few different locations. From sushi to Italian to mom and pop to fine dining. From small privately owned joints to large corporations. From humble little Ventura County to the high and mighty Orange County and Beverly Hills. Whether I'm toping off iced teas or bordeaux glasses of wine, I assure you, there's a hell of lot more to the job than just keeping your drinks refilled and taking your order. Doesn't matter what kind of establishment it is either. Any serving job, plain and simple, is challenging. 

In defense of those, myself included, who choose this line of occupation, I would like to elaborate on why it is exactly we choose it. And why exactly there should be no shame in saying, "I'm a restaurant server. And no, this isn't just a job. It's my career."

I don't know why, but for some reason, the title "server" has developed this weird negative connotation to it. As if it can't be taken seriously as a "real job". I used to work with this woman Kristy. She had to be in her mid thirties. Married with kids. Had worked at this particular establishment since it opened and loved her job. I remember talking to her one night about being a server. She admitted to still feeling embarrassed at times to tell others that she "waits tables." She talked about wishing she could just confidently state, "I'm a server." But she could never stop at just that, "I'm a server." She always felt obligated to follow up that statement with some sort of reasoning or explanation as to why. Which is silly. Sure, there's a lot of people who take waiting jobs as a means of survival while they work towards other things. College students, actors, artists, musicians, individuals who are in between career changes. It's a great way to get the bills paid with flexible schedules and free gourmet cooked meals. But just as much as it is a great gig for said individuals, it's an even greater gig for those who love serving. Those who love being around people. Those who are passionate about food and wine. Those who are good at selling. Those who work extremely well under pressure, constantly. Those who can multi-task. Those who can multi-task quickly. Those who can entertain. Those who want to move up into restaurant management. Those who eventually want to open up their own restaurant someday. Those who want to invest in other restaurant concepts. Those who want to build restaurant corporations. Those who want to show Darden who's boss. Ok, now I'm just getting carried away climbing my own personal ladders. Let's go back. Serving can be a great gig for those who love to serve. Those who consider waiting tables an art. Which I do believe it is.

Like I said, it's hard to explain everything a serving job truly entails, but I assure you, not everyone can do it well. Understand that, as a server, our employers are only paying us minimum wage. It's up to us, to not only maintain good standing with the establishments we're working for, to please our employers and carry out our numerous duties, but to carry it out exceptionally well so that the guest is happy and will tip us. Obviously, the tipping is where all the money is made, and that's a whole separate can of worms to unlock in part two of this post, (since there seems to be some pretty harsh opinions against the concept of tipping). But what I'm trying to say is that, as servers, we have to go into work everyday and truly earn our pay. There's a responsibility to not just our employers to do good, but to our own wallets as well. If I'm having a bad day, which I certainly have them (not too many bad ones, mostly moody. Ha, I can be very moody somedays), I can't just go hide behind a desk or go to the back and wash dishes or take inventory. No. I have to go to my tables, ready to interact and serve, with a huge smile on my face. Which can be quite exhausting for even just your average easy-going table. Now throw a couple of miserable a-holes into the mix who seem more interested in putting you down as a human being rather than enjoying a pleasant dining experience/life, and now I'm just as moody as moody can be. And still, I have to wear that smile on my face, make apologies to the moon and back for whatever it is they're miserable about, with or without the hope that still they'll leave me a small ten percent tip in the end. With serving, comes a heavy practice of patience. Constantly. 

And so does owning up to your mistakes on a regular basis. The restaurant business is very fast-paced. Unpredictable and often chaotic. Which means tons of room for mistakes to be made. One of the greatest things I've ever been taught by my fellow serving companions is this, "Be quick, but don't hurry." With that piece of advice in mind, I have managed to eliminate many mistakes made on my own part. But I still make them. Furthermore, I can't control other mistakes made by my staff. They happen. And constantly, I have to own up to them. I have to go to my tables and tell them, "I'm sorry, but I forgot to ring in your drink order." "I'm sorry, but I forgot to ask you how you would like your meat prepared." "Unfortunately, your dish was delivered to the wrong table, it's going to be another ten minutes as the kitchen is firing a new dish for you. I'm so sorry." "I'm sorry, but I ran the wrong credit card on your bill." etc, etc, etc. There's just so many things that can wrong, and I assure you they all do at one point or another go wrong. And there's no covering any of it up. I am constantly having to be open and honest and communicating with my tables. And swallowing my pride. Admitting that I messed up and doing whatever I can to remedy the situation. Taking the blame myself for things that sometimes I didn't do, instead of blaming it on the kitchen, or the busboy. Because we're a team, and it doesn't matter who's fault it was, all that matters is that the guest is informed, and ultimately satisfied. 

There's an exceptional amount of yelling that goes on in the restaurant as well. Though, I am still at times sensitive to yelling guests, I have grown used to yelling employers. You just eventually learn not to take things personal when your chef or your manager is yelling at you. As long as they aren't personal attacks on you as a person, it's simply just raised voices under pressure. Which they can get away with fine, but as a server, all we can do is nod our heads and get going. You really have to go into every shift ready take fire in any which way. Whether it's necessary or not. And we do. 

And in the process of staying upbeat while working under pressure, dealing with disgruntled guests, owning up to our mistakes, getting yelled at by the chef, practically losing our minds at the server stations because we only have 8283 things to do all at once, doing a lofty amount of sidework (which most people don't even realize... um yeah, we polish all your silverware, all your glassware, sometimes bus all your tables, fold all your napkins, make sure all your condiments are filled to the brim every time you come in, your tables are wiped down and swept underneath, the entire restaurant is broken down, spotless and clean, only after a long night of running around), in the process of all these things, we also sell expensive bottles of wine, make recommendations that prove to be great, magically manage to have everything hit the table in the most perfect timing, against all odds, and in the end, provide a memorable dining experience. And if we are truly blessed, we get to do more than just that. We get to laugh with our tables, sometimes cry with our tables, experience all kinds of interesting people, people who aren't just interesting, but interested. People who want to know more about you then just the name that reads on your server name tag. This is truly the best. I mean, yeah, obviously I like to talk about myself. Not a problem. But really, there's nothing greater than the unexpected connections you make with your guets. It's just nice sometimes to have conversations with my tables, even if it's just a small debate over who's a better trainer: Bob or Jillian. 

And when I'm not interacting with my tables, I'm interacting with my co-workers who are always the most exciting and eclectic group of people the world has to offer. All in one space. Who naturally become my very best friends, my family. Who I work with, in a huge collaborative process to execute an exceptional dining experience, from the steward who washes your dishes, to the hostess who greets you at the door and takes you to your table, to me (Hi!) the server who guides you through the menu and see's to your every need, to the cooks who cook your food, to the chef who expedites your food, to the runner who runs the food to your table, to the busboy who cleans off your table, to the manager who oversees the whole circus of events that you often don't grasp much thanks to that glass of chardonnay and your chatty friend Kathy.

The restaurant business is a beautiful thing. Like many others, I love my job as a server. Sure, it has it's rough points. I've enjoyed working in some restaurants much more than others, but when you find the right place, the right concept, the right standards, the right group of people, it's really a pretty grand line of work. And I've been doing it long enough now, that I can confidently say, I'm good at it. 

If you're good at something, and you love doing it, and you make great money from it, why shouldn't it be considered a real job? Why should you feel ashamed to call it your career? Remember, I believe success is doing what you love. Don't let any ignorant fool trick you into believing that what you love to do is a joke. It's not.

Here's a great article I came across that I think ties in well with my little (huge) piece here.

Stayed tuned as I assemble a part two to this post on why it's nice to tip your server. Always.

Until then, what are your thoughts about serving as a career? The restaurant business? The comments on the first article? I would love to hear!


A Little Oscars Recap.

Here is Sister Michelle. Posing for the camera pre Oscar party. She decided to go Tyra Banks with this bright and spectacular one-sie. I liked it! 

One-sie: Rachel Roy. Shoes: Report

Me and Shanny. Keeping it real on the 101, on our way to the LA party. 

Show highlights:

- Meryl's acceptance speech. It was perfect. 
- George Clooney. Always. Anywhere. Everywhere. I love him. No, not love. LOVE.
- The ladies of Bridesmaids-hilarious.
- The ladies of The Help-non-stop inspiring. 
- Robert Downing Jr.
- And of course, Angelina's twig like arms, and HEY LOOK AT ME! thigh. As if it wasn't enough to be sitting front row center at the Academy Awards with Brad Pitt. She just had to show off some thigh too. Hey Angie, how about YOU GO EAT SOME CHICKEN THIGHS. A whole box of them!
Some things are a little strange to me. And by things I mean people. And by people I mean Angelina Jolie. BUT, all attention slash meat-seeking thighs aside, that was a pretty sick dress she was rocking. And by sick, I do mean amazing. I really don't mean to bash the woman entirely, I just wish she would eat something. Really. 

Also, I do have to say that Michelle Williams is absolutely darling. I'll always remember her as the pretty new girl in town in Dawson's Creek who went by Jen instead of Jennifer. And how this inspired me with great excitement, as a twelve year old, to do the same. True Story. Ha. I have gone by mostly only Jen ever since! And yes, as a tween I did obsess over shows like Dawson's Creek and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I was definitely your standard boy-crazy, make-up wearing, "MOM PLEASE LET ME SHAVE MY LEGS", sassy, gum-smacking, popularity-seeking tween. Um yeah, it was fucking obnoxious. But I digress. MICHELLE WILLIAMS. Look at the woman now! She is just stunning. But in a very serene and gentle sort of way. Like a bouquet of daisies. Love her.

All in all, it was a good show this year. Sigh. I do love the Oscars. So very much so. Maybe one day I can be a seat filler. Wouldn't that be something!

Happy Monday to you.



Lovecats! Welcome to WEEKLY GOODS.

What is weekly goods? Well, I think it's pretty self-explanatory. But, just in case, it's my own weekly collection of favored findings via the CYBERSPACE.

Here's what I have bookmarked this past week....

A couple of really awesome inspiring vids. My friend Ryan sent these to me several weeks ago actually, and I have been obsessed with forcing every person in the same perimeter as me and a computer to watch them. More so the first one, than the second one. The first one, titled "Oh, the Places You'll Go" is incredible. One of the most beautiful things I've ever seen. See for yourself! I must have watched it more than a dozen times by now. Oddly enough, I know a handful of people in it as well...including one of the dudes that produced the whole thing. Small world. (Thanks Ryan, for sharing.)

Also this week, THIS POST. I connected with the author and her blog this week via the Facebook Blogstar Group. And wow, she has such a great voice. This post really touched me. Some words that especially stood out:

"We as adults don’t get to choose which impressions impact a child the most. If we did, they’d remember the blow-out trip to Disney more readily than they do being yelled at in the morning because they didn’t brush their teeth. I’m no psychologist, but I believe that it’s the ‘little’ things that create the soundtrack of a child’s life. How we interact with them in the everyday, rather than the special occasion, that shows how we love."

It reads better in context, but that specific collection of words really had me snapping my fingers when I came to it. However heartbreaking this post is, Miss Allen shares some very raw and vulnerable feelings about the importance of father-daughter relationships. And parenting in general. Strong stuff. Please do click onto the link and read the whole post! (Lisa, I'm so glad we exchanged comments today!)

Sister and I are about to turn on The Artist. Yeah, it's 1 a.m., I'm aware of it, but it's called CRAMMING for the Oscars last minute. With that being said, Bye. More Weekly Goods to come next week. ex oh!


Ventures in Venice.

What a happy Thursday it was. 

The seesters and I took a little field trip to LA today with Papa Sobel to meet with our step brother Mitch, his wife Melissa and their darling little Lucy for some lunch. We met at some hole in the wall Korean restaurant where we got to cook our own shrimp and octopus right at the table. All you can eat for only fifteen buckaroos a head. Papa bear never fails to offer up a nice buffet of culture at a bargained price. And oh, how cultural it was. I stopped asking what it was exactly I was eating at a certain point. Just made sure whatever it all was, it was cooked to a temperature that seemed safe and then drenched in whatever fancy pools of sodium were available before I took to consuming. The shrimp was very good. That much I could identify and can state with certainty.

Aside from probable cow tongues, it was a fabulous little reunion with the bro and his crew. They live in a far away land called Canada where daughter Lucy is in kindergarten, soon to enter GRADE 1. Sisters and I had not met her prior to today's meeting, since the last time we saw Mitch (circa '09), he was visiting solo. She was quite the doll. Freckly face just like her mama. And super excited to have three (super awesome cool hip) aunties greeting her. I remember being that age and just being in awe of my older cousins/young aunties. I just wanted to follow them around and paint my nails the same color as theirs and be like their mini sidekick. It's really a shame that we have so many neat relatives that live so far away. My dad's side is literally sprawled all over the continent. And my mom's entire side is a whole continent away. It makes for some great destination opportunities, sure, but there's so many years of potential growing alongside and really getting to know in between that don't get cashed in. And it's kind of a bummer. 

Luckily, in my quest to become a New Yorker, I'm also giving myself the opportunity to spend more time and get to know my cousin Marni and her adorable twins Jaden and Mateo better. In fact, I will be living with them the first month of my arrival. I can't wait to make like a mommy blogger and take 28347 pictures of their precious faces and post them all over this blog as if they were my own offspring. It's definitely happening. You can count on it. Not just because my face is going to need a sub eventually (real soon), but they are some cute kids. You'll see.

So lunch came to a closing. We gave big hugs goodbye to Mitch and co. and then sisters and I decided that since we all had the day off... why not stroll on over to Venice Beach for the afternoon? 

And so we did! And it was a marvelous time. And I'm proud to say I didn't spend any money. No incense or super awesome eclectic jewelry today. It was a close call, but I stuck to my save-my-money-for-new-york mantras, and to the Instagram. The Instagram never fails to keep me supremely occupied and/or distracted from any lesser or greater evils. Here's some winners for the scrap books. 

Group shot with Mitch, Melissa, and Lucy. Are we cool or are we cool.

Evening ended with a final stop at the cinema for a showing of Hugo. I cried. A lot. The cinematography alone, not just in this movie, but so many movies lately is just becoming more and more overwhelming. Like in a very stunning and awe-inspiring way. My little artistic soul can't help but to be moved in ways that show shamelessly thru heavy tears and loud sniffles.

It's going to be quite the Oscar party on Sunday. 

I can't wait. Can you?


Happy Monday/President's Day.

Hola hola. I'm on my way to work, but I just wanted to pop in real quickly and make a small blessing upon the new week.

I went to church yesterday morning and it felt kinda good. I used to go to the church a lot when I was in junior high/high school. But then I stopped going...for various reasons. Anyway, good thing I went, or else I would have forgotten that this Wednesday is Ash Wednesday/beginning of Lent. Anyone participating in the "lenting" this season? What are you giving up? I'm still deciding. I mean I've already pretty much thrown gluten out the window. And actually, I haven't had a single sip of alcohol since the new year. Eh, maybe one glass of wine. But no whiskey or any hard liquor. This hasn't been intentional...liquor just hasn't been my choice of beverage. In fact, I've never been much of a drinker. Just a hardcore sugar addict.

Hmm.. maybe I'll give up jelly beans? (It's actually the only exception I've made for the no gluten campaign. Oh yeah and those two slices of pie. Whoops.)

I don't know. I don't usually participate in Lent, so I kind of don't even know why I'm talking about it/planning for it. I don't even know what LENT is. Do you? I'm kind of embarrassed to admit it. I never paid very much attention in bible school or during sermons. I just played footsies with all the boys sitting near me and drew doodles on the service programs.


In other news, I may be a bit MIA on the posting this week. I'm getting my ass a Twitter account, doing some more blog networking, and hopefully giving myself some time to catch up on my reading. Oh, and OSCARS are this Sunday. I love the Oscars. Still got quite a few films to get to.

My step brother Mitch is in town from Canada as well, which is super exciting. He's a pretty cool dude. Lookin' forward to spending time with him.

All that plus work work work. Everyday I'm hustlin'.

Well, Happy The Banks Are Closed Today/ Monday. I wish you all a wonderful, happy, and productive week.



Productivity at its FINEST.

Well, I don't know about you, but I'm feeling like a real CHAMP today.

Yes, I washed the dishes. 

I also filed my taxes. 

I don't think I need to emphasize what level of tedious/ambitious that one falls under, but I did it. All on my ownsies. I mean, yeah Turbo Tax makes it pretty easy to do, but trying to track down some of my W-2 forms from last year along with school documents, previous tax info, etc... another story. Anyway, it's done. Sent. And the best part? 

I'm getting THREE GRAND BACK. 

Oh yeah, hi. That's why I wait tables. Tips and PHAT TAX RETURNS.

(& free pie.)

(I went with blackberry the other night, as opposed to rhubarb by the way.)

( P.S. not only did I not know that rhubarb was a vegetable, I didn't know how to spell it. Thanks for the proper spelling, Meg)

(P.S.S. Here's a picture of said pie. As you can see the photo was taken mid-gorge.)

(It was ridiculous.)


My mind is already running miles and miles away with lists of stupid purchases I'd like to make.


I may not. make. stupid. purchases. with. huge. tax. return.

None what so ever.

Only because it's been brought to my attention, that some fabulous people I know, aka my family, don't really think I'm financially responsibly/saavy enough to pull off moving to New York. 

Lets do some math, shall we.

 Is it a practical move? No. 

Am I really all that financially responsible? No.

 Are they right for being at all craaaaazy skeptical? Yes. Ha, they so are! 

Truthfully, I have a savings account, but it's never had any savings in it. EVER. At the moment, I currently owe all kinds of stellar amounts of money to my credit cards/the government for school loans. And I'm only about three months behind on my car payments (no big deal). Financially, I'm not that impressive, ok, I admit it. But I've always been this way, and I've always managed to get by just fine. 

It's only now, this fantastic new year, that I'm attempting to do something out of the ordinary. I'm proposing that I finally pay my dues here and there and actually save a large sum of money in order to move cross country. For me, this a pretty tall order. And it is kind of funny. I'm not good or wise with money. I'm not.

But HEY. Correct me if I'm wrong.....I'm pretty sure there's a little saying that goes, "Where there's a will, there's a way." Similarily, Where's there's a Punky, there's Power. Power to MAKE DREAMS HAPPEN. So, for like the 100th (or maybe only like the 10th time on this blog), I'm doing it!!!! I'm paying off my debt, I'm saving five grand, and I'm moving to New York. (In that exact order.)


I made a New York folder!


And a Finance tracking sheet!

Yup, I'm turning this whole moving to New York thing like my very own big DIY Life 

And it's going to be one hell of a finished product. 

You'll see.

The big fat zero dollars saved so far on the tracking sheet, is a bit discouraging, Yes. BUT, I'm on my way. I'm just gunna focus on paying off my credit cards first, paying my mom back for all her generous help, and paying off some other stupid things I neglected to make payments on, i.e. a pap smear from last year and my Disneyland pass. I'm really funny, I know. And by funny, I mean dumb. But here's to changing that.

This time, next year, I'll be posting from a little cafe in Soho. Or from my little home in Brooklyn. Wearing a Yankees hat, and a big comfy scarf. And it's going to be EPICALLY GREAT to link back to this post.


Happy Saturday to you. I'm going to enjoy the rest of my evening with some sorbet and some Bubba


Photos used for collage on my folder: Various sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6



So yesterday my baby sis and her boyf went to the zoo. Here's some cute photos she brought home to me.  Elephants+giraffes+instagram, um yeah. How could I not wanna share.

Today was my first day at the steakhouse. It went fine, but my gluten-free/dairy-free diet is fucked. Let me show you how I mean.

See, when you start a new restaurant job, there is no arguing with statements such as, "Well you gatta try everything on the menu.. how else are you going to know what it tastes like? Here. JUST TRY EVERYTHING. FOR FREE."

So there's the piece of walnut chocolate chip pie I took home. And scarfed down.

I'm thinking tomorrow I'll go with the rubarb. Did you know that rubarb is a vegetable? I did not know this.

My room is a mess again.

And I'm sleepies. Just wanted to stop in for a quick HEY HOW YA DOIN.

I'm officially a full-time workin' lady again. And by full-time, I mean full-time. Seven days a week.

GAME ON, five grand. I'm coming for you.


V-day. Me-day.

I’m one of those silly hopeless romantics. I am. It’s kinda always been that way. 

It can be exhausting. Especially when you can’t count how many times you’ve had your heart broken on one hand, and not from just one person, but several stupid faces individuals who you’ve gracioiusly let in, each time with a new gleaming and desperate hope that this one will be kinder than the last one. 

And still, as fate likes to keep it twisted, I’ve only managed to get shit on harder each time. But boy oh boy, do I carry on inevitably, with my heart open wide and forever willing to let that next person in.

In launching this blog, I think I deliver the message pretty clearly. One of my greatest dreams is to move to New York. 

Parallel to that dream, stands my longing to find love. To find that one very special human being who I can brush my teeth with every morning and quote Wes Anderson films with for the rest of my life. 

Several months ago, I found someone who I thought maybe might have been that person. Maybe. It feels foolish and embarrassing to even admit to the possibility of that now, since that person is no longer in my corner, but given the unique circumstances in which we connected with one another and the undeniable attraction/compatability we shared, our desires for the same things, and the natural comfort I felt in just being around him, it did, to me, feel very close to right. 

The trouble was, trying to remain patient and secure in a new relationship, when I was at the time, making some major rearrangements in my life that were both mentally challenging and emotionally draining. The even bigger trouble was, realizing that amongst all of it, this person I was falling for, was beginning to emotionally shut off. Feeling like he wasn’t going to reopen his heart and eventually take that magical leap with me, I called quits on the whole thing. Not an easy decision, and lots of bothersome “what ifs” floating around, often. Still. But, everything happens for a reason.

The beauty in this little chapter of epic transitions and unrequited love, is that I am now given the opportunity to chase a different dream. Life is all about choosing your paths, and as difficult as it's been to figure out which path to choose, I think it's been made pretty clear to me which one to follow. Inevitably, there was going to be a bridge that I needed to cross somewhere soon to get closer to where I need to be for me. When I met this person, I didn’t see myself crossing any bridges just yet, but life sure does chuck out those curve balls at you when you least expect it. My great and promising situation with the job and housing at the time, quickly turned out to be not so great, and so I had to do what I had to do to get myself in a better place. And unfortunately, it didn’t agree with the relationship I had going at the time. If it had agreed, if this person had felt as strongly for me as I thought (or maybe just hoped) he did, if he had tried to make more of an effort to at least explore the possibilities, this definitely wouldn’t be a blog about working towards New York. It would be a blog about continuing my life in California and working towards a loving, passionate, and healthy relationship. Which brings me just as much joy to imagine as living in New York does. Truly. Even if the relationship didn't work out in the long run. I was just so excited to spend more time with person, to take that leap of faith and just see what was in store for us. 

But alas, it's not what the cosmos had planned for me. Not now, not here, and sadly, not with him. But it's ok! 

New York it is! And no, it’s not a decision made as a direct response to this last heartbreak. But this last heartbreak does serve as a significant sign that there’s greater things waiting for me elsewhere. And it does serve as a sign, along with many other factors, that now is the time to go. This is the dream I'm meant to follow here and now. Not that one.

Love (or in other terms, marriage and children) and living in the city are my two true wishes in life. Perhaps if I’m super duper lucky, I can have both. Chances are... I will. Because I’m a believer. (and also a Belieber, just in case you were wondering.)

Everyday I’m feeling more and more at peace. I like being on my own. I am happy on my own. And I’m happy to be doing exactly what it is I want to be doing. I can’t control how someone else feels about me, or what they want to do, where they want to go, or how they view me. But I can control how I feel, what I want to do, where I want to go, how I view myself. And I’m certain that somewhere along the path, my very own Edward Appleby is going to stop and say, “Hey! I like where you’re going. And I like you too. Why don’t we do this thing together.” He’ll say it with all the confidence in the world.

And away we’ll go. Off into the abyss of love and all the dirty and difficult, but joyful things that come with it. 

♥       ♥       ♥       ♥       ♥

The 2012 “challenge” is alive! And a challenge, it has not been. Not really at all! I mean, I’m still my natural boy crazy self. Last night for example, I had TWO missed connections. Oh yeah. I don’t leave my house with my eyes closed. And those darn boys in beards and flannels just get me everytime. There’s still gunna be some exchanging of the smiles, and there probably will be some flirting here and there, but there’s no desire to be chasing after any kind of romance. Not even a short field trip of any kind. Really, none. On my own, and totally content. Full of hope. And full of love.

If you're single like me, and feeling down for any reason on this super overhyped commercial holiday, don't. That's just whack. Stop and look at the people you do have around you. Hug them. Eat a cupcake. Buy yourself some flowers. Curl your fucking hair. Read this blog. Be still & smile. Today is just another day. Another opportunity to show yourself some love. So do itttt. Realize your greatness and live for this moment, yes, but hold out for everything wonderful that awaits you as well. The best is yet to come. Not just for me, but for you too, people. BELIEVE IT.

Happy Valentine’s Day.


****Special thanks to Piper for permissions to use her special photo at the top of this post. Check out some more her lovely photos here. 


Update in Five Minutes or Less.

photo credit
Hi. I could just eat tangerines all day long, how about you?


Another week passed in this glorious new year of challenge, transition, and conquering the world. 

I've got literally five minutes before I gotta hop in the shower and meet my pops and sis at the local cinema. 

But before I wipe off all the blood sweat and tears gathered from this weekend's marathon of pinning & blog surfing/educating/designing, I did wanna hand out a few updates. 

It's really no big deal or anything, but..... I GOT A JOB.


Well, I mean a second one. A second one that is much better than the first one. A serving one to be exact. In a popular, cute little Mom and Pop Steakhouse in Santa Barbara. They just recently lost one of their long-time servers and I swooped in and took the position like it was made for me to take. I start Wednesday (hallelujah!)

Let the official saving for NYC begin.


I am so happs! 

Also, whoah. I fail, I know. I was suppose to do my divorce post yesterday morning, but in the end it wasn't my Mother that got to me, it was Pinterest. Pinterest, you are naughty invention, yes you are. (But I love you.)

 I might be able to crank out the post tonight, I don't know we'll see. I def have some good stuff planned for the coming weeks. Excited to share!

Hope the day is being good to you.


- Punx


Here's the Thing.

It's not that I'm messy. My room is just really g damn small.

Three things fall out of place, and suddenly there's no where to step. Now let three things a day accumulate. Come Friday and I don't even wanna talk about it.

There's really no space for anything. And to think... I got rid of about 1/2 my belongings/furniture before I moved back into my family home space. 

It's really rather frustrating to have no room for any clutter or misplacing. I mean I have bigger things keeping me up at night, and a roof, American citizenship, incredible cholestral, and a package of smart water in my possesion to shut up my bitching and complaining.... on pretty much all accounts. But, I'm just sayin'. I'm not messy. I'm not. The perimeters of my room just SUCK.

Ok. Now that that's been said. Hiiii.

Hope it's been a productive week thus far. It has for me. Today, I've been especially busy, but rather cranky as well. (Have you caught that?) Yes, it is FACT that I can be a cranky little fish from time to time, especially if I haven't had enough sleep. And if I have a headache. And if.... I'm on day five of no gluten, no dairy. Um, yeah. What the fuck, is right. I'm doing it mostly for legit reasons, but also for a couple of dumb reasons. More on this later.

As for right now, I do feel slightly more prone to a secret shade of peachiness due to the facts that a. my room is completely clean. (Yep! I CRAMMED everything back into place...weeee) and b. my newest guilty pleasure is arriving to my television screen this evening. Some of you people out there may have heard of the show The Bachelor/Bachelorette. Yes, I'm obsessed with it too. Since Deanna. But what about SWEET HOME ALABAMA???? I am totally hooked. And in a way, I almost dare say, I enjoy it more than the Bachelor/ette. Yeah, it's kinda corney. And they're running on a much smaller budget...

"Tonight on our date we're gunna go to the local pub and shoot darts, and then we're gunna spend some time starring at the stars in the back of my pick up truck..." 

"Really? But, but, but Ben takes his girls on helicopters and to Panama!" 

-This would probably be my response. 

Actually no, it wouldn't. At all. But just to give you an idea of the two shows in comparison. 

I LIKE that Sweet Home Alabama actually sends their bachelors and bachelorettes on simple and practical dates.. because that's what dating is in real life....dinner and a movie. Not a private yacht and fireworks for dessert. Shit, I'd fall in love on date 2 too, if that were the standard.

Having seen, both the last season of SHA (Tribble's Season... dear people of the world, don't name your child "Tribble," by the way, thanks) and now Paige Duke's season (the current one), I'm both surprised and impressed with how much more real and down to earth the group of people they have on the show are. Certainly much more humility being shown than all the crazy crying bitches and boring yet pompous dudes on the Bach.  I mean there's still some real knuckleheads here and there on SHA (mostly the singles from the city... shame on them! They're makin' us look bad!), but I have a new respect for the Southern folk... they're sweet as pie, really.

And Bubba is HOT. Wow, maybe in 2013, when I'm taking romance applications from the male species again, I'll specify, "Cowboys: Strongly Encouraged to Apply!"

Until then, I shall live vicariously through Ms. Paige Duke. (Who is also very hot, my goodness. What a woman!)

(For the record, I do not take romance applications from the female species. But I do often comment on hot women and celebrate their hotness).

Anywhos. Oh, how I babble! Tomorrow morning I'm going to wake up bright and early and compose a post about my experience and opinions on DIVORCE. That is, unless, my mother catches me on my computer being super self-involved and demands that I help her with house cleaning. In which case, she wins, since she is currently helping me out with my car payments each month. Actually, in all cases, she wins. It's been that way since 1962 I think. When she was born. 

Alright, time for Bubba.

May you spend your Friday evening delighting in things as foolish as reality TV dating shows and...pinning. Yup, I'm signing up for Pinterest tonight! Let the new addiction begin. 


P.S. A warm, happy thanks to Ann Burr for highlighting my blog this week. Check out her awesomeness over at Alphabet Concepts.

Post Edit: I like Jeremiah from Minnesota as well. Mmm boys and bandanas.


One for the Money... Two for the Show.

Photo by Nicole Nodland
Lana Del Rey. 

I'm a fan.

It's funny because a few weeks ago I was driving around LA looking for jobs. And by looking, I mean, sitting in traffic. And in those riveting hours of being deposited between intersections, I found myself looking out my window and seeing just lines of the above poster plastered on walls and along fences in the city. I thought to myself... "Who is that? ........And why is she so pretty?" I quickly settled for being envious of her face and as a result of that, skeptical of her talents. 

Then a week ago, my grand pal Christina sent me the following text: Hi. Will you come to a Lana Del Rey show with me at amoeba in la on tues?

To which I responded: Yes! I'm in!

Because all judgements based on envy put aside, I was secretly intrigued. And so I did a little homework before the show....looked up some facts, downloaded some of her tunes, you know. And even though I thought it was kinda of sills that Lana Del Rey isn't even her real name (in fact, Lizzy Grant), I was feelin' her sound and looking forward to what a live performance would look like. 

So Christina and I got our free Amoeba show on (the best kind of shows... I have a very romantic relationship with said record store. And a very romantic relationship for free things.. for that matter.) And. Well, to put it plainly, homegirl is SPECIAL. I absolutely adored her/her cute and humble set/her voice/her simple jeans and white button down attire/her little jive and two finger wave/her pretty much everything. I don't even care that her cool name was made up anymore, I forgive her. Pretty sure every boy in the room was seduced into a man, and every man in the room melted down to a giddy boy. With every other girl nodding the word, "Respect".

She is beautiful. Talented and unique. And I am kinda obsessed with her song "Born to Die." Not because I can relate to it or anything.... (I certainly have no experience with doomed relationships that are highly dysfunctional.. nope, not at all.), but it's just got an addictive beat to it. Definitely one of those songs you can leave on repeat for several hours/weeks.

Anyway, if you're still bumpin' Adele in your car late at night, feeling emotional and nostalgic, I definitely recommend inviting Lana to the club. 

You can check out her music vids to "Born to Die" and "Blue Jeans" here and here. Those are my fav songs by far, but the entire album is pretty stellar. "Million Dollar Man" is another fav too. 

And yeah, that's all. With that.

Well, actually, here's some cool shots of Amoeba before I close this post. (+two super cool bitches who attended the show.... I didn't get their names, but they were COOL.)

Post Edit: Check out a live recording of "Born to Die" at this show here

Come take a walk on the wild side
Let me fuck you hard in the pouring rain
You like your girls insane


Good Morning Jelly Beans!

Good Morning, Good morning!

I have to say, waking up at the butt crack of dawn is no piece of pie for me, but man is it rewarding. I just feel like the day is my oyster when things have already been accomplished and it's not even 8 a.m. yet, don't you?

Waking up at 5:30 and actually getting out of bed this morning, was actually fairly easy. You see, last night right before my head hit the pillow, I experienced what I call "my weekly frantic breakdown." I've been pretty SUPER GREAT at maintaining positivity and placing all my trust into the universe for all that lies ahead of me, but I still have those natural moments of "What if I am just a huge, stupid, silly complete waste?"

 I was doing the usual job hunting via the Craigslist/Monster/AppleOne, with the usual "ugh, not qualified enough", "ugh, too far away", "ugh, scam", "ugh, minimum wage", "ugh, long-term", "ugh, not dreamy or ideal in anyway shape or form, but OK, here goes more resumes I'm sending out, with desperate hope for a response" "ugh, that's all the job postings for today??", ugh, ugh, ugh. I have literally been going in circles in my attempt to find ANYTHING that will give me a light at the end of my savings tunnel, and it's been more of a struggle than I'd like it to be.

In an attempt to feel less defeated and lonely in my job hunting battles, I literally typed the following into my google search:

"I have a bachelor's degree and I can't find a job."

Ha. I was amused to find a handful of fellow frustrated young minds, including one gal in particular who was actively trying to sue her college for putting her in serious debt and not providing the proper assistance needed to find a decent job post graduating. I immediately thought, "I feel you, girlfriend". And then I thought, "Maybe I should sue too." Then I thought, "No, my decision to major in Theater would probably provide jack squat for my case." Finally, "Oh well, I'll just go cry it out for now.... and maybe tomorrow morning, blog it out". So that's what I did. I cried a little bit. And that's what I'm doing now. Blogging a little bit.

But before the tears, and after the job searching, I started thinking about this whole blogging obsession I have created for myself. And I started feeling defeated in that too. Because once you start feeling shitty about one thing, it's too easy to start feeling shitty about everything else. So you do. And I did. I started feeling like maybe I was putting too much time into all of this, and maybe revealing more about myself then I'd like others to know. I started feeling like maybe I was putting all these thoughts and feelings out there, and instead of being felt, understood and appreciated, I was being laughed at or made a fool, spillin' all my personal jelly beans. And then I started thinking, what if I fail at even keeping up with all of this, what if I don't make it to New York, then how stupid will I look? It was only moments after I had these unwholesome thoughts that my phone lit up with notification that I had been accepted to the private Blogstar group on Facebook. Immediately, I felt a small sense of glee, but it was quickly shot down with the heavier pre-existing vexation of unemployment that I proceeded straight to the tears. And so I had tears. And then I had some sleep.

And then I awoke. And no matter how early it is, or what's going on, or what happened the night before, there's nothing more amazing than the natural peace that a new day brings.

"Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning." -Pslam 40:5

Indeed, it was the hope of a new day that opened my eyes earlier than usual, but it was also the collection of notifications that sent my phone a-buzzin', that not just woke me up, but prompted me to leap out of bed with smiles from ear to ear. I received a handful of warm welcomes/comments via The Blogstar Group and it made my heart beam with happiness and excitement. I thought, "Yay, there is new blogs to be explored, new friends to be made, and feedback to embrace!" So much positivity and determination restored. So thank you, thank you (seriously, THANK YOU) to Blogstar, and thank you to all my personal friends who have taken the time here to read my words. Some of you have been so kind to share your thoughts with me already, and I hope the rest of you (everyone) will continue to stop by and drop a line or two. It really means more to me than you know.

With all of the being said, I'm off to seize the day! I have plans later this afternoon to catch a free show of Lana Del Rey at Amoeba in LA. I will be accompanied by some of my most favorite people ever. Stay tuned for photos/recap.

Until then, Happy Tuesday to you. And please, don't follow my poor example of jelly beans for breakfast. Surely, this isn't the kind of "fruit medley" my diet has in mind for me...


Super Bowl/Super Indifferent

More confessions: I don't know how the game of football works. I mean, I have some basic ideas, but I don't really know all the rules of the game or why I don't care to know. But I just don't.

Given that on-going fact, Super Bowl is not something I find myself getting super amped up about. I mean sure, I like too many doritos, sangrias, and a buffet of cookies. The commercials are fun. The over the top, often laughable half-time performances are fun. And given the right crowd, the company could be pleasant. But, I just didn't wake up this morning with goosebumps for any other reason than the fact that it's just plain wonderful Sunday.

Do you love Sundays as much as I do? For most of my post high school life I have been scheduled to work Sundays which hasn't really lent opportunity to "a day of resting", but Sundays, still, have always remained a day of reflection, rejuvenation, and relaxation to me. Even on the job, there's a different vibe on Sundays. I feel more calm. It's a day to reflect on the week that has passed and a day to prepare for the week ahead. And if I am fortunate to have the day completely free and off the clock, it's usually a day well spent with either fabulous people or in fabulous solitude... doing absolutely nothing. And boy I sure do love the activity of "doing nothing". Sundays are great.

For many, today is a big-deal-kinda Sunday on the yearly calendar. For me, it's just a regular Sunday. And I'm not working! (for I don't know what day in a row now.... ha. There's the part of me that continues to freak out about this, but another part that is really enjoying the time off.) If I was in Orange County right now, I'd probably be at some sort of Superbowl celebration with many of my lovely friends, but I'm here in my parent's home in Ventura, where my mom currently has not football, but futbol playing on the tellie (as a Brazilian mama would). Stepdad and the healed brother (we all survived the potential contagion that greeted our household a couple days ago) are sitting in the living room watching some non-sport programming. Sisters are out and about. And I am here, sitting at my mama's kitchen table, feeling calm and content. Not like I'm missing out on this Super Bowl holiday or like I want a part of it in anyway. I'm content to just be here, chilling in sweats, eating granola and enjoying the day for non-commercial purposes.

And yeah, I'm reflectin' and plannin'.

The last couple weeks have certainly had their bang ups.

List of Bang ups:

- Cupcakes, lemon bars, muffins, and bagels. Welcome to my very part-time job as a barista, where I get paid a whopping eight dollars an hour and all the free baked goods my ass has never needed.

- Inconsistencies in my work-out regimen. Yeah, I was doing pretty good, and then I took a day off, and then another one, and then another one, and then I just said, you know what, "A week off is fine. If I get mad at myself for this later, I'll just blame it on my menstrual cycle. Spin class isn't going to help these cramps... but a free apple turnover might."

- Getting overly confident about landing certain jobs (that at this point in time I have not landed) and in that arrogant state, trading in my on-going job hunt for hours of blogging  research/designing/reading/excitement, which has been exhilerating, but not helpful in my quest to stronger finances.

- Staying up wayyyy too late and then as a result of it, waking up past noon. What am I? A high school sophomore on summer break? Disgusting.

and finally,

- Contacting Mr. WSC via e-mail. An idea that initially seemed harmonious and nourishing to the soul, but turned out to be anything, but. As if crying the entire time I was writing it and feeling more and more emotionally disturbed with every word I continued to write wasn't enough, I proceeded to hit SEND, only to guarantee my wave of emotions would quickly upgrade to a monstrous tsunami crashing into a sleepless night. And boy, did it ever.

 Lesson acquired with this one: The desire to stay connected to this man (even if it's only over e-mail), is not in my best interests, it's just not. The thoughts of him are still there, and try as I might, I cannot cut them completely from my mind. I can't. But, I can cut my attempts to continue chasing something that's not there. Even if it's only just a friendship at this point, a friendship is not something I can be true to and feel any sense of fulfillment from. Not with all these lingering feelings. Sooo I wrote him back one last time, really one last time, and bid him a final adieu. And then I threw every lasting reminder of him up high in box that I can't reach, and I threw away my step ladder. And then I prayed to God for some quick, fast healing.

Lesson acquired with all of the above: I'm not as focused and routine as I'd like to be with things right now. There's still sharp moments of heartache and pangs of helplessness here and there. But, for the most part, I'm doing pretty ok. And it's ok that I'm having bang-ups, there's no smooth sailing through times as awkward as these, I'm cutting myself some slack. For sure. I just gatta keep taking things one day at the time and keep my eye on the prize. I am so certain that New York is where I wanna be, and every day I am given constant reminders of this whether it's the unusual frequency of images popping out at me in stores, or people I run into that are either from New York or just came back from there. My favorite is when I tell people of my plans, and they're immediate response is, "You would do great in New York!" or "Good for you Jen, you've always talked about wanting to live in New York!"

It feels good to be chasing my dreams.

I'm ready to have a good, productive week. Job hunting, blog posting, gym sweating, early morning rising, soul feeding (not to be confused with love handle feeding) and all.

Happy Super Bowl/Happy Good Beautiful Sunday :)


Confessions of a Wannabe Blogger.

Taken yesterday in Santa Barbara. Shannon and I had a lovely time strolling the charming streets & doing all of the following:

1.  Taking samples from every food joint that offered, including the ones that didn't (we asked).
2. Spending the standard unnecessary amount of time (but luckily, not the standard unecessary amounts of dollars) at Urban. 
3.  Searching high and low for any misplaced Black Sabbath vinyls to return to Shanny's beaufriend's home collection.
3. Eating way too many carbs for lunch. 
4. Scoping out deli/bakeries ISO some delicious pastries for dessert (to keep consistent with the massive intake of carbs), only to settle on a box of ginger chews from Cost Plus World Market (because we decided consistency is not friends with our thighs in this case).
5. Debating over face masks creams at some fancy soap store where I was involuntarily called out for abusing my skin and adding thirty days of age to every day in which I continue to not give two, three or four shits about applying expensive moisturizers to my face. (Uh, duly noted, SALESlady...I'm still not buying your overpriced product. But thanks for your free educating. And all the free samples.) We decided on a single container of reasonably priced face masking cream and went on our merrily way.
5. And, of course, getting way out of control with the iphone instagram, as any vain set of sisters should. (Scroll to the end of the post for some more winning shots starring yours truly. And her fabulous sister.)

[End ridiculously long photo caption]

Essha Maria. Heyyy. 

I'm feeling lame. And overwhelmed. Not in my life (at the moment), but in my blogging endeavors, oh yes.

Boy oh boy. 

It goes without saying, I'm falling short of sticking to my posting schedule, I knows. BUT. In my defense, I have been doing some heavy field research into this whole foreign world of blogging and it is absolutely mind-boggling. I don't think I've ever wanted to know more about something I know so very little about. I actually thought I knew a great deal about blogging, but man was I wrong. And it's both exciting and overwhelming. I have become so engrossed in reading and tapping into a resevoir of so many outstanding blogs (mostly all written by outstanding women) and I am so impressed and also intimidated with what I've found. It's the kind of intimidation that makes me feel remarkably less capable of baking so many sweet pies of quick wit and vivid content, but also inspired and determined to give it all I've got. 

This whole blogging movement is pure and utter madness. And I want in! I wanna be a blogger! 

And I wanna go to this Alt Summit extravaganza. I managed to learn of this event and other events of the like and I just thought, are you kidding me???

I feel like I've just stumbled upon the greatest calling of my lifetime. (Yahtzee!) Finally, something more concrete to do with my creative mind, my pen abilities (however great or small), and my love for networking, self-expression, and design. 

It would be presumptuous of me, of course, to think that any of this is going to be easy or that I will successfully be able to gather the same kind of following that so many of these other bloggers have. Or that I could even make a real living off being just that: a blogger. 

But man does my heart skip beats at the thought of it.

I have so many questions though.

How do these women find the time to post such thoughtful, entertaining and poised information on a daily basis? Are they all best friends with photographers? Or were they photographers themselves already? Or did they become photographers for the sake of their blogs (the route I'm most likely going to have to take). And for the photos that aren't their own, do they know most of the artists they are crediting, or do they have pending requests constantly to showcase work in their posts? Again, how do they have the time? Most of these women are mommy bloggers which only baffles me further. HOW DO YOU HAVE THE TIME?!? I'm sitting here, no kiddies of my own what so ever, mostly unemployed and I feel so crammed for time to sit and make sense of all my thoughts, to come up with a clear and precise purpose for each individual post, with the balanced amount of humor and offerings of wisdom & truth, with the perfect follow through in the form of a artsy, captivating image that isn't copyrighted, or just my face every time. (I do love my vanity, but it's probably not for everyone.)

Realistically speaking, I don't think it's my time here that's the enemy, so much as my discipline is. Discipline or no discipline, I'd be lying still if I didn't say this whole world of blogging is scary intimidating.

 But all the same time brilliantly inspiring. 

I do have much to learn. And much to type!

And my vow is to stay diligent. And stay true to me. Jen. Punky. Miss twenty-something with big dreams and determined spirit.

I do hope I can acquire an audience, and eventually a profession perhaps outta something like this, AND I do hope I can be at Alt Summit next year...holy canolies, that would be super duper neat.

But for now I shall carry on in my amateur blogging ways, and pray to God for the discipline to stay super close. 

All the while, I must be careful not to get too consumed in all of this just right away as I do have other priorities at the moment. I.e. getting my finances in order and getting to New York. These are still at the top of my list right now and still remains my main purpose here-to track most specifically that journey, but I'm sure getting quickly preoccupied and entranced in all this blogging business. I've been especially busy (and overly obsessive) putting my very humble html skills to work here. I think I'm content with the present look. Thoughts? (If you're reading this, tell me it looks GREAT. Quick, before I start feeling otherwise and spend more minutes [aka hours] changing it all up again.) (Thanks.) 

Of course there is still the restaurants I want to open, the books and plays I want to write, the husband I so truly want to locate someday, the kids I wanna produce, that cover of Maxim I wanna land (probably before the kids) and the whole world I wanna travel slash take over. But I'd like to officially invite "become a professional blogger" to the list. I think it is my right as a 21st century American woman to be ambitious as fuck, and so. There you have it. 

Yes I can. And I will ! :) 

Cute sister pants. I really love her.