Why I Decided to Go Vegan

After taking care of my mom during her health issues in 2016, I was a broken human being. It had nothing to do with my mom so much as it had to do with my own issues. I gave my all to be a caregiver for my mom and it impacted my financially, physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. I forgot to take care of myself while I cared for another human being. I would never, ever replace or regret the time I had with my mom. It was so good for us. It brought us closer and I am happy that today she’s still around and I get to give her shit.
While my mom got back to work and her life, it was time for me to do the same with mine. I hired a coach and proceeded to pull my head out of my ass. During this time I was getting my business back on track, clearing old stories and paradigms and getting my mind right.
Starting from ground zero and clearing a whole bunch of old shit is not the easiest thing in the world, but man was it the best thing I could have done for myself.
While I was working through everything I spent most of 2017 traveling the globe and connecting with old friends and making new ones. I’ll share more of my travel stories soon. When I got home though, I was thrilled to find I hadn’t gained any weight (thank the heavens!), but I also knew I was going to be home for 3 months during the holidays and home is not the healthiest place for me.
Let me take it back a bit though….
In 2001, I stopped drinking the ridiculous amount of soda I was consuming. Between 2002-2005 I worked with trainers and attempted to eat healthier, but with lots of yo-yo dieting because I could never maintain the stringent diets these trainers put me on. I also didn’t know enough and didn’t do my research for myself.
Fast forward to 2008 and I started working with a chiropractor on my health and 3 years later started actually running events for the Wellness Group. Between 2008-2013, I cut sugar, dairy and gluten. I essentially was 90% paleo with exceptions like quinoa and the like. I was in the best shape of my life (since high school), eating clean, working with a PT, taking long walks on the beach with my dog and doing Crossfit a couple of times a week. I felt good. That was about the only thing going right in my life by the end of 2013. For the next 3 years I was in and out my hometown helping with family health issues and where did my health go?
You guessed it.
Right down the toilet.
I gained back the weight that I had lost: started eating crap again and not working out.
…..So back to current day. I get home from traveling the globe and know that if I am going to be home through the holidays then I need to get this last piece of my life in order. I needed to get my health and fitness back on track. I met a woman when I was traveling in Italy that inspired me. She is a spiritual fitness coach and that was attractive to me because I didn’t just want to have another trainer. I wanted to work with someone who spiritually and consciously was in alignment with the direction I am going in my life.
After Thanksgiving weekend (my brother got married, so there was no starting before then), I cut all dairy again and reduced my gluten intake. I also cut back my sugar, but didn’t cut it out yet. Then I started researching. Back in 2008-2013 I had watched a bunch of documentaries about our food as a planet and I had made very conscious choices then, but I needed to go deeper this time.
I watched 20 documentaries on food, agriculture, mindfulness and spirituality, but mostly on food and agriculture. I already eat organic. I don’t eat soy. So, I thought this time around I really need to feel into what is best for my body and my soul. I also went to the library and picked up 6 books about whole food, plant based lifestyles; which is essentially vegan without the processed substitutes.
I did my homework and New Years weekend (NO, I did not make a resolution) I decided to eat whole food, plant based or what many just call Vegan. I cut out the bulk of my meats immediately. Dairy has continued to stay cut out. I’m about 6 weeks in and still navigating the process and the transition. I’ve had very minimal meat, no dairy and lots of veggies, beans, quinoa and all the good, healthy food that you eat in a whole food, plant based lifestyle.
It’s far from perfect still, but I am determined to see it through. I feel good about it. My body feels good and I’m even down 10lbs without even trying. Cutting the meat was actually really easy. I already ate lots of veggies, so all I’ve really had to do is add more protein in with beans and higher protein veggies.
Speaking of protein, it’s funny, every single person who I have told that I am doing this has forewarned me about getting enough protein or freaked out and asked how I was going to get my protein. Well, duh….animals get their protein from plants, so we as humans can get protein from plants too.
With all that said, I am making choices that are good for me, my body and my soul. I am not changing my life because it’s a fad or something I want to try. I am doing this because at this point in my life this is the absolute best decision I can make.
I did fully cut out all processed sugar as well which was REALLY hard, but honey is my weakness. Still working on that one. I am taking it one day at a time and one meal at a time. Learning as I go. I love it and have amazing support from certain friends that have walked the same path.
I’m looking forward to what this will do for my body, my mind, my soul and our planet.
Don’t judge. Do your own research.

Events Health

Live Event Experience: Restaurant Grand Opening

Originally seen on LinkedIn

In September 2017, I had the honor to work with a client on the Grand Opening of her restaurant. Let me be honest. This was the first restaurant opening I have ever been involved in. I knew nothing about the restaurant business at this point.
Now, hold up. Before you walk away, let me share some thoughts and insights. This goes back about 15 years, maybe further, but we’ll start there before I age myself.
I worked as a Branch Manager for a global financial institution for 5 years in my 20’s. I was the manager that upper management brought in as the fixer. If you’re a Blacklist fan, I was the Mr. Kaplan of the Region. 😉 If they brought me into an office, you knew it was a disaster.
I have this innate ability to walk into a business office, event and now restaurant and see all of the gaping holes. The gaping holes don’t always correlate with being “wrong” or “bad”, sometimes the holes just show the glaring inefficiencies.
I can see those.
For 9 years, I was the clean up and mentoring manager. I cleaned up the messes and then trained new managers on how to efficiently manage their offices, financials and staff. In the end if was a thankless job, but the skills I walked away with were irreplaceable.
I moved from the financial industry into event management. I was able to craft and hone these same skills to work for me in the event space. They translated easily. I was still dealing with messes and financials with a twist of creativity.
Today, I can walk into an event strategy session or a live event and help my clients prevent the issues or fix the issues (if they are fixable). So, when I showed up to help my client with her restaurant opening I did the same thing.
Now an event activation or a restaurant opening is really just a project. An event planner is a project manager who facilitates all the activities, supplies, vendors, staff and guest through to the deadline which is the event activation, launch or grand opening.
While I wasn’t necessarily planning an event, I was definitely in heavy project management mode. With this grand opening, I was 4-6 days away from a soft opening and then the grand opening. I found that there was no organization around what needed to be completed. The first thing I did was sit down with the owners and draft a punch list and identify who was responsible for each item on the list. We ended up with 40 items on the punch list that needed to be completed in a very short amount of time.
Now before you go off all shocked at the size of the list, let me say that list is not bad. I’ve seen worse and I’ve dealt with worse. Every week or two before you launch an event or restaurant, you will have a list a mile long of last minute details. I prefer to be brought in sooner to minimize these issues and to create more efficiency in a launch or opening, but that isn’t always an option.
Here’s where I get to have fun. The deadline looms on a punch list for a project manager. I love the thrill of getting it done before we launch or open. It’s a challenge that most would shy away from, but I dig in and go for it. See, the thing is you can’t really scare me with a deadline. I worked with some of the biggest brands known
to the world and I learned quickly to deliver under high, high, HIGH stress situations. Which is probably why I started to go gray in my late 20’s. Ssshhhh…. Yes, that is hair dye.
The magic happens when you can bring in a project manager that isn’t afraid of strong personalities, high stress, emotions that run amuck and that ever looming deadline. I was describing what a project manager does and is. Visualize this. A project manager is in the eye of the storm. While all the chaos, stress and emotion are circling like crazy a project manager can be surrounded by all of this and keep moving the project forward to meet said deadlines WITHOUT being distracted.
My team has worked with restaurants for years and this was the first time they had boots on the ground and it was a perfect collaboration. The client was able to focus on the food, FOH and BOH while leaving all the nitty gritty administrative stuff to me.
I worked with the web designer, graphic designer, social media team, the reprographics (large digital format printer), the local printer, the sign company, the city and the local media. Being able to handle all the incoming inquiries for print, media, marketing, design, etc reduced the burden of the client. The only thing they had to do was make a decision once I brought them their options. It’s a more efficient process and lets the client focus on their area of genius while I focus on mine.
Due to the depth of my experience in contract negotiation, digital printing, marketing, social media, design and more, I was able to clearly communicate and identify my client’s needs. I was able to negotiate contracts on their behalf, negotiate pricing, manage suppliers, installations, pushback on deadlines as needed, train staff, communicate with all vendors and suppliers and establish relationships with local vendors and media that will only enhance and help my client.
One thing that you will learn about me if you don’t know it already, is that I profusely encourage people to stay in their lanes, their zone of genius. It’s more effective for the long and short term. It saves both time and money.
If you are looking for long or short term project management, look for someone who has a variety of skills that will best suit your needs and purpose of your project.
Are you ready to hire a project manager for your next launch or opening? Contact me at