Where a kindred spirit can be found

Malika Favre

I placed my scarf along the back of the chair and sat down. My second cousin introduced me to her friend, who accompanied her to the funeral just an hour earlier. I looked over to see an older woman, with a friendly smile. A thick, Eastern European accent fluttered out with her greeting.

In those few minutes, I also learned that this woman with her many years of life, was a retired professor of Slavic Languages at a few universities. As a parishioner of the Greek Orthodox faith, she befriended my cousin, who is the church’s organist. We chatted at great length during our mercy meal of chicken and ziti while our bottomless coffees grew cold.  We didn’t mind, we became quick kindred spirits.

Born in the Soviet Union and educated in Kraków, my new friend found her way into the United States to finish her PhD and teach a variety of languages. She mentioned that she was blessed by Pope John Paul II and Pope Francis before they were popes. She lit up when I said I come from a Slovakian background and she asked if I knew any of the language, which I do not know a single lick of.

But, of course, the food! Food brings everyone together, even in conversation. We talked about the perfect mushrooms for Christmas Eve soup, pastries and cookie dough laden with sour cream and filled with fruit spreads. Potatoes, noodles and mushrooms—the staples to any Eastern European meal.

Then she asked the question, placing a hand on my arm, “What do you do?”

I placed my coffee cup back onto the saucer and without delay, told her my life story. It has been hard to figure my latest identity (am I an entrepreneur? a writer?), so I laid it all out. My education, the consideration of being an educator, to owning a bakery, to writing a book and now developing new entrepreneurial efforts.

She was interested in my writing. She was once asked to write a book about her life, but has since refused. “Why open old wounds?” she says. “I don’t want to do that to myself.”

We talked more about education, travel and my favorite topics as of late: faith and fate. She pulled me toward her and planted a kiss on my cheek, grabbing my cousin’s arm to get her attention. “I absolutely love this girl!” she exclaimed. “You speak with so much passion!”

My cousin nodded. “Your face lights up when you talk.”

I romanticize everything.

I want to do and experience things on level that pushes me to be this force that is something fierce. Quite appropriate after a funeral, yes?

 

 

“I’m so glad I met you today!” was said multiple times by both of us.

When it came time to leave, she gave me her email address to stay in touch. “I do keep up with technology,” she laughed. “I even use Skype!”

When I stepped away for a moment to get my jacket, out of the corner of my eye I saw her hand reach for my dad’s arm. “She’s definitely going places,” I heard her say to him.

“Yes, she is,” he replied.

 

 

Image by Malika Favre

 

New office inspiration

In a few days I’m moving and with the move I’m getting a new office! For the last few weeks, I have been using Pinterest like crazy to find inspiration for the new spot where all my writing will happen.

colors

 

My current office is grey, which I did not think I would grow to like, but I did. I am going to be leaving my grey walls behind for washed out grey walls and will accent with the other colors. I love the combination of red and teal and will accent with a cheery light yellow. I want colors that will create a great space to get work done.

patterns

 

Patterns! I love the look of geometric patterns. I will be hitting up Joann Fabric for something bright for a new set of curtains. What do you think? Teal? Grey? Yellow?

More inspiration:

 

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Looking forward to showing the progress after I unpack!

 

 

Images from Pinterest/Pantone

The one where I talk about The Empty Hearts

The coolest thing about the location of my old shop was that I was close enough to stop by Andy Babiuk’s Fab Gear. To the locals, the shop may have served as a convenience for musicians to pick up a pack of strings and ogle the Rickenbackers or Fenders adorning the walls. Not to mention the memorabilia. Records signed from Beatles members and other faces from the yesteryears of garage rock grace the walls. Atop a glass coffee table, are stacks of Babiuk’s published works: The Story Of Paul A. Bigsby: The Father Of The Modern Electric Solidbody Guitar, Beatles Gear and the latest Rolling Stones Gear. From the days of The Chesterfield Kings to being a published author and a consultant for the film Not Fade Away (it’s because of him, all the instruments in the film were sourced to show time period authenticity!), Babiuk is a good friend of Steven Van Zandt, so it only came natural that he’d offer what would be the band name for Babiuk’s next venture.

My brother would frequent Fab Gear more than I was able to—but either way—we would be regaled with tour stories, anecdotes about The Ramones and the writing process of his books. We heard about this new band he was putting together, but he was mum on the members. Of course, with the contacts Andy knew, it had to be good. At a later point, we did learn who was in the band and that they were in town recording the album nearby.

My brother and I flipped. Elliot Easton (The Cars), Clem Burke (Blondie) and Wally Palmar (The Romantics) are in town working on this album. Oh, and Ed Stasium (producer for The Ramones and many, many others) is producing.
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It was not long after, I walked into Fab Gear, while my brother was already there. As I opened the door to the tiny space, I was blasted with music. When the song stopped, Andy replied, with a slightly annoyed face. “That was a rough cut,” he sighed and started making note of what needed to be changed.

I was shocked that THAT was a rough cut.

Andy was in and out of the shop after that, flying out to LA for promo photos and promoting Stones Gear throughout the country. The same day The Connection came to visit both of our shops in May, was the day the news was released about the band name and the who’s who in the band.

The Empty Hearts. From the sacred offering of Little Steven Van Zandt’s collection of unused band names.

Fast forward to last night. The band has been in town for about a week and rehearsing heavily before they hit a few eastern-US dates and Japan. A special show at Sticky Lips Juke Joint was promoted all over local radio and news outlets (and even front page news on Monday’s Democrat and Chronicle). A packed beer and barbecue crowd waited for a new rock ‘n’ roll Fab Four to come up on stage. When they did, an hour and a half of heavy, solid and tight rock ‘n’ roll hit us in the face. Opening with the first cut on the album “Driving 90 Miles an Hour Down a One-Way Street,” the crowd ate it up like the pulled pork they must have consumed earlier. Then, we were treated to the Car’s favorite, “Just What I Needed.” Tossing a couple Cars and Romantics tunes, including “What I Like About You” into the set was the perfect end to a Tuesday night.

The Empty Hearts hit the first date of their tour tomorrow night.

 

 

 

Photo from The Empty Hearts website

Waiting in purgatory, searching for serendipity and why Saturn should go eat a bag of dicks

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Transition. I guess you can call it a transitional stage. Myself? I call it purgatory. It’s that cloudy, grey area that I’m existing smack dab in the middle of between one move to the next.

My new astrologer friend told me I’m meant to be a leader, that there are traits and skills I have not been able to tap into yet. Besides someone analyzing the influence of the planets with my star and moon signs, I’ve been hearing that for years from numerous faces. What untapped potential am I keeping under lock and key? I’m wrestling with myself to figure it out.

Last weekend, I ran into an old acquaintance. She is a lovely older woman, single and believes that things happen because of fate. Her singledom? Fate. Maybe she’ll meet someone in her 60’s, 70’s or 80’s, but she’s not worried. She is in great health after early detection cancer and gives herself the opportunity to travel without having to worry about strings at home. “Maybe this period is your time to really figure out what you want to do!” She exclaimed. When she’s on, she’s really on. I love talking to someone who gets excited for others and she offered some great encouragement. “In my honest opinion, I see you as a writer. That’s your strength and I see you going far with that.” She had no idea how much she made me made my day.

serendipity

The shock of not going to my shop everyday has waned and I’m ready to move on. There is a path and journey to every destination—it takes work to get there. I’ve put a plan in place to get me there and have realized every step in the past was taken for a reason, so I can’t live with any regrets or bang my head wondering why I should have done something different (because I have done that many times). I guess you can say I’ve experienced some serendipitous moments, which are finally making the next steps clearer.

The change of seasons has brought a sense of hustle into my life. Like, I am busting my ass at building my writing portfolio and putting together the plans for new ventures. I think the “back-to-school” vibe of getting a fresh start has influenced my actions. Clean slates and a fresh batch of plans. Back to astrology, it was pointed out to me that I’ve been under Saturn’s influence, including the infamous Saturn return, since 2012. So after my 29th birthday, I entered what has been the most strength-testing time. Looking back, I feel as if it may have some validity. Between business, family, relationships and personal sacrifices, I can definitely vouch that the last couple of years have pulled me through the wringer. Saturn leaves my sign for a while at the end of the month—at a time when I feel I picking up emotional pieces and finally getting that clearer idea of what to do next.

So, here we are two years later, and that big asshole of a ringed planet will be moving on to another sign in a couple weeks. I don’t know if it is the power of persuasion or not, but I do feel a sudden mental lift. It is a fabulous feeling.

Right now, it’s all about the hustle. If I don’t create the life I want, I must be slowing down. And there’s no time for that.

 

 

 

Photos: Death to the Stock Photo and We Heart It

On purpose, passion and feeling uneasy while watching all the food porn in ‘The One-Hundred Foot Journey’

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Everything we do is caused by our need or desire to feel a certain way. Constantly, we yearn for the things that make us feel good—whether it is something we buy, create or give in a material or spiritual sense.

Anyway, have you ever asked yourself “What is my purpose?” or “What is my passion?”

I’ve been thinking about both. A lot.

In the last month, I’ve been decompressing, trying to figure out this thing called “relaxing” and planning the next move for my business. Mentally, I’m a mess. I’ve realized the hard work I’ve endured in the past and my body is trying to croak out a “Slow down there, partner where’s the fire?” I’m doing my best to listen to it, but I find it hard to follow through.

There is a destination and state of mind I’d like to be at, but I’m not quite there yet. I’m fighting very hard for it. Bare-knuckle fightin’. It has made me think long and hard about purpose and passion, defining and differentiating the two.

Passion—that drive, that spark, that feeling I get where I can’t put my finger on it but it makes me utter a growl when I describe it to others.

Purpose—the reason why something exists. That’s pretty much all I got. So can’t that go back to living out your passion? Is your passion your purpose—or your purpose your passion?

Maybe I’m just over-thinking it?

I decided to give the day a hall pass and went to see The One-Hundred Foot Journey to clear my mind. First off, I was a bit uneasy with the all food porn. Lemme just say this, the tomatoes—all bright, red and plump were damn sexy. Kudos to the food stylists for the film. I could describe those aforementioned tomatoes much better, but we’d be stepping into erotic territory. Not to mention, an irrelevant tangent.

Passion and purpose go along simultaneously throughout the film:

  • That desire to create something beautiful with two hands that evoke all of the senses.
  • To provide your craft to a community, to introduce a new experience.

 

So how do you figure out all this passion/purpose mumbo jumbo? Consider these thoughts:

What do you enjoy doing? Consider your talents.

Take a good hard look at what you enjoy doing and some of your talents. Is there is common ground with any of them? You may notice a trend in your own interests and skills!

Who do you admire?

Look at your family, anyone you look up to? Is there a reason why you’re following a ton of celebrity chefs on Twitter? Think about who you admire and see if you notice any similar patterns, especially if they are anything close to your talents and skills.

Go back in time.

Conjuring up childhood memories may be another indicator. What did a younger version of you want to be when you grew up? Or, what did you do when you were younger? Some of these ideas may spark new insight.

Does it feel right?

So if you act on your passion, does it come easy for you or are you struggling with ways to get it off the ground? If you feel the slightest resistance, it may not be the best idea. A passion should not have any roadblocks, no matter the steps you have to take. Can you see yourself pursuing your actions for a long time? Then, you may have found the one.

 

 

 Photo via Flickr

When you’re a walking mess, it may not matter what you’re wearing

jodie blytheYesterday I was walking around Target and noticed a woman click-clacking her way down an aisle dressed in perfectly tanned pumps, neatly pressed skirt and crisp blouse. Honestly, the fashion lover in me wanted to chase her down and compliment her use of bright colors and toning things down with nude-colored heels. After checking my phone for the time, I mentally confirmed that she had to be on her lunch hour, which involved her to arrive at Target with a shopping basket hanging on the crook of her elbow for a few much-needed items. She walked with great purpose and confidence, click-clacking toward the registers.

Then there was moi, hiding behind the rack of 70% off clothing, most of which were the ugliest articles of mismatched two-piece swim suits. My once-black New Balance sneakers now a faded dark grey, one of my holey black tee shirts (hence, the need to buy new clothing) and face sporting no makeup and hair that probably deserved to have a brush run through it a few times.

I could not help but wonder if that woman had “it all together.” She sure as hell looked as if she did, at lease on the outside. On the inside, she might be battling some serious mental shit. Maybe after she makes her purchase, she reenters the parking lot of her office, turns off the engine and breaks down in tears because something is on her mind. Maybe after ten minutes, she wipes her face clean with her finger tips, looks into the rearview mirror to touch up her mascara. After a deep breath and a self-assuring “You can do this,” she goes back to work to finish off the afternoon.

On my outside, I look as if I am the poster girl of giving up. I also feel as if I’ve given up. I ended up at Target only because my brain processed this as the best place to go to for a change of scenery. I have been feeling very lost and confused, curious if my present efforts will prove to be fruitful.

There are places I want to be at, milestones I’m striving to reach—and I’m questioning each and every move I make—while gingerly grinning through each day as a ploy to hold back any sort of tear-filled meltdown.

Depression or just in a funk? I don’t quite know.

So back to the woman at Target: Maybe she’s good at hiding what’s bothering her, and maybe my unkempt look screams something different. Either way you slice it, everyone is goes through tough times in their lives.

*Note: Since the passing of Robin Williams, there has been an increase of suicide awareness and depression essays cropping up around the web. This blog’s stats have also showed an increase of readership scouring some of my posts of about entrepreneurs and depression, so with that, I will be adding more posts about depression and being in a funk. If I could lend a voice to anyone of perspective out there, I would be happy to help. 

Image source: Check out Jodie Dee McGuire’s brilliant Blythe photos here, via Flickr

The beautiful complexity of self

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I was once told I was a complicated gal for enjoying both coffee and tea. Of course, I’m not a random nutter who enjoys them together (does anyone do that?), but they are two beverage choices that I tend to switch off on. Coffee—specifically, espresso keeps me centered and focused, and tea makes me all warm and snuggly in the evening. That’s how I roll.

So if that was criteria for considering me a complicated person, I take it with great acceptance. I like to think that my identity and my being is made up of little intricate parts that someone has to piece together to understand me. A mystery. A riddle. It makes a person clamor for more information. This is how I like to be known.

A high-demand mystery. Beautifully complex.

I began to think this since I’m transitioning from bakery owner to ___________. We live in a culture where you can be defined by what you do as an occupation. It is one of the first introductory questions we ask when meeting someone new:  “So, what do you do?”  I’m probably not alone when thinking that this is a piece of knowledge of a person we must know about, something we are inclined to ask and formulate some sort of opinion on the person. It is a shocking revelation to realize you are lacking a sense of identity when it comes to this particular mode of thinking. 

Right now, I don’t have a firm answer or title to call someone who slouches on the couch and watches the many hours both ABCFamily and MTV2 air of Boy Meets World. (#harleykeinerforthewin)

BUT, my couch slumming activity is juxtaposed against the action I am taking for the next phase in my entrepreneurial efforts. I trade in business suits for black holey shirts and Facebook chat business meetings.

Bonjour, uniqueness. There are no black or white set-in-stone traits and roles for anyone. The realization that we can carry around many facets of ourselves through our lifetimes is what makes us our true, authentic selves. We can be strong and weak, lazy and motivated, scared and brave. Accepting those binaries offers dimension to our personality and character.

Eventually, the mystery starts to ooze out a bit, like a thick translucent glaze of adjectives that define who you are to others.

You are you, darling.

 

 

Image source: MorgueFile