Friday, January 29, 2010


Oh! I forgot to mention something else I am doing too! I found this program called Designing the Best 10 Years of Your Life: Your Personal Strategic Plan for Achieving Lifelong Goals by Darren Hardy of Success Magazine on another post on a blog I read called I'm an Organizing Junkie.

What is it, you may ask? It really is what the title eludes to, a personal strategic plan. The program lasts 8 weeks and you recieve new emails and worksheets twice a week in order for you to work along with the program. It's been a TON of work, but I am really enjoying finding out more about myself than I thought I knew. The best part is that one of my good friends is participating along with me and we keep each other "in check".

So, if you want to know what I've been up to lately, that's it in an nutshell!!

Maybe next I'll get to those Tunisia pictures I promised......

Culinary School!!

I started my classes the 2nd week in January, and let me tell you how excited I am! I am taking 2 classes this semester, Hospitality Today and Menu Planning. I am not taking lab classs this semester because they were already full, but it is actually turning out better for me. First of all, I think I would have been too overwhelmed - both my classes have HUGE semester projects in them! Secondly, my instructor for the Menu Planning class is Chef Lucy and she is one of the Chefs that teaches the professional cooking class. I liked her style from Day 1 and was immediately thankful that I know who I am going to pick for my instructor. YAY!

I love school. I love learning. I especially love culinary school and learning about an industry that I know nothing about. I love being able to apply what I learned earning my BBA and the school of life to my culinary classes. I am SO happy that I made the decision to do this!!

In my Hospitality class, our project is to perform a detailed evaluation a resort property. I have chosen Biltmore Estates for my resort because a) I've been there b) It has MANY amenities and offerings and c) who knows, maybe I will do my internship there! In case you didn't know, The Biltmore is America's largest privately owned home, and is still owned by the original family that built it in 1895. Did you know that Biltmore offers business courses, many of them tailored around customer service? Biltmore also has a winery, horse stables, the mansion, The Inn at Biltmore, weddings, bike trails, at least 3 restaurants, I could go on! I seriously could spend DAYS there!

The best part of this semester is my Menu Planning class. I am learning so much about the industry AND our semester project is to plan and design a restaurant! We are working with a partner on this one, which has it's good points and bad, and it is VERY detailed. We plan everything from the menu to the kitchen design to the decor to staffing. Thankfully, we only have to cost out the menu so the sky's the limit for equipment and decor! This is the best way for me to learn about the ENTIRE restaurant biz, and my little experience where I work has actually helped me tremendously.

Anyhow, school is cool and it keeps me busy. Work at the restaurant is few and far between due to the off-season, but I am going to really start focusing on my PC biz for income. There are a lot of things I want to do in my lifetime, and I know I can do it if I jump in with both feet!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


"What the caterpillar calls the end of the world the master calls a butterfly."
~Richard Bach
I want to tell you how I feel about butterflies. Butterflies symbolize the beauty and freedom of life, they are beautiful to look at and they are free to go where ever they choose. The price paid for beauty and freedom is a life that is short and outlived by many, as butterflies don't live but a day.
Once upon a time, I had some extremely hard choices to make in my life and realized that I was truly like a butterfly. I loved soaking in every moment that life has to offer, knowing that someday it would all come to an end. At that time, I made the choice to keep flying and find that adventure instead of allowing myself to be trapped in the net of a pedestrian life.
Since then, my life has changed even more. I still live the butterfly mantra, as I try to incorporate adventure into my new roles in life. Each day, I have to remind myself that there is beauty in life and it is way too short for me to waste on anything negative. You too, have the freedom to choose. You too, can see the beauty in life.
Have a wonderful day.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Inspirational Quotes

I subscribe to a few "inspirational" daily emails and I love to share some of the more meaningful quotes that I find with my friends. I used to have an email distribution list called Inspiration and I would send quotes out with a little write up on my thoughts about the quote. I've decided to do a little of both, and share my quotes and thoughts with you on this blog, by the suggestion of a great friend of mine. I think this fits perfectly in with the theme of my blog, as these quotes have been and continue to be an integral part of my adventure in finding my passion. I hope you enjoy them!

"If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with success unexpected in common hours."

--Henry David Thoreau

I have always had a vivid imagination, especially as a kid. I used to have several (about 10 of them) imaginary friends that would come play with me, and my Mom even invited one over for dinner. Well, he couldn't make it because his mom said no, but how nice of my Mom to include him! Looking back at that conversation, I realize that maybe my Mom was onto something. I think that was the first time someone encouraged me to use my imagination, and maybe that is why it's always been an active part of my brain.

Imagining and dreaming are wonderful ways we can escape our realities of today, but who says we cannot get there? Try taking a few steps toward that life you want to lead and see what happens. I took a bold step when quitting my job almost a year and a half ago, and look at me now, I have a part time job that I LOVE working in one of the best restaurants in the area and I am starting culinary school tomorrow! Of course I don't expect everyone to be so drastic about it, but then again........why not?

Friday, January 8, 2010

Tunisia Part 2

You've probably been wondering where the rest of my trip report and pictures are, unless of course you are one of the few luckies that I have bored with my 750 picture slide show. Well, folks, here we go....

Tuesday, Nov 17th

While BF was hobnobbing with the French and Japanese at breakfast, I took the opportunity to sleep in. Yay! We got ready for lunch and decided to check out the La Shirazad to make sure it was open, and it was! The restaurant also doubles as a dinner theatre at night, so it was really quite cool inside. They had tables all setup for us along with a buffet, and the food was excellent!

Inside the La Shirazad

My lunch...pasta, bread with Harissa, lentils, beets, and olives, of course!

I tried several first course dishes including lentils, which are commonly used in Tunisia. I found some of the pasta dishes bland, so I did what anyone would do - added Harissa! We met some JC's from California at lunch that were brand new to their chapter. Can you imagine, you join this organization, then 3 mos later you are eating lunch in Tunisia with people all over the world? Amazing! We also met a gentleman, Hans-Peter, from the Netherlands who told us about a really cool art project his chapter ran to raise money for Unicef. They found 30 artists who donated a piece of art for the project to be auctioned and raised over 30 thousand Euro! Now THAT is impressive!

After lunch, we decided to grab a cab to head into Hammamet and see if we could find the George Sebastian Villa I had found on the Tunisia travel site: Since our French is limited, and our Tunisian Arabic even more so, it was hard for us to communicate to the taxi drivers where we wanted to go. We ended up taking the cab to Hammamet and figured we might see it on the way, since it was supposed to be on the main road. We didn't see it, and the taxi driver had no idea who George Sebastian was, so we ended up dropped off by the Medina. No problem for us, we found a little side adventure!

Ah...the Mediterranean!

While we were taking pictures of each other by the Mediterranean Sea, a young man approached us and asked if we remembered him from the hotel. Mind you, we'd been here 3 days and have already met dozens of people, and maybe we did meet him... Well, as it turns out, we didn't, he was just a pawn to get us into the rug shop "one day only" open house. lol. It was actually pretty entertaining and we got to see some beautiful rugs! Apparently the rug shops are government run and they are priced out by how long they take. Needless to say, I liked the expensive ones! VERY beautiful, and when we are in a better financial position - we are definitely buying one!

Me in the rug store....

The Medina in Hammamet

At the rug store, they served us some traditional mint tea after showing us dozens of rugs. We grabbed some contact information, tipped the carpet "rollers" and went on our way! Next stop was the souk, where we did a little shopping. We ended up with some spices to take back to my boss at the restaurant, a silver necklace with a hand of fatima charm on it for yours truly, a dress for BF's daughter, and some scarves for various relatives.
We then decided to start walking back to Yasmine Hammamet to see if we could find the George Sebastian house ourselves. We stopped to buy a small bag of popcorn from a street vendor (we both LOVE popcorn, it's known as "PC" in our household!) and took a leisurely walk. We then decided we better grab a cab before it started to get dark, so we flagged one down and had him take us to the "theatre" which was one of the landmarks we were told to look for. Well, he drops us off and we don't see any theatre, but see this big white walled in area and signs for a cultural center. We find the entrance to the cultural center and decide to just go in...lo and behold, this is where the George Sebastian house is! And the AMPHITHEATRE!!
Up next! Pictures from the George Sebastian house! Stay tuned!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Starting the New Year right!

There was a time in my life where I was extremely organized. I like to consider myself organized now, but it's more of an organized chaos type of thing. Last night I was talking to BF, and was explaining to him how good it felt to know where everything was, be on point, and how great it felt to be in that position.

To be specific, it was my job to be organized and people counted on me because they knew I could help them. I knew the answers, and if I didn't, I would find it. I was at the top of my game.

I started wondering what happened to that part of me. The part that put me in the next three jobs afterward earning more titles and money that I ever thought I could at such a young age. The part of me that made me feel like I have accomplished something great at the end of the day. The part of me that truly looked forward to the future and what it has to offer.

Does more responsiblity = less organization? Does aging make you forget how important it is to stay organized? Do I care less about it today then I did 10 years ago? Am I searching for something that does not even exist?

No. No. No. And definitely NO.

I've decided that I want to be on top of my game now more than ever. It's time to stop whining about the could have's, should have's, and would have's and just get on with it. I want that feeling of desire that made me work toward the goals I had and accomplish them.

That part of me still exists, you know. It just comes in a different form and I didn't even recognize it until my epiphany last night. It's just a matter of folding it into my current life and making it work.

This year, I am starting the New Year right. Positive attitude, positive results. No resolutions, because there is nothing to resolve. My life is just where it needs to be.

Happy New Year!