Someone recently gave me a swift punch in the face instead of a nicer, more eloquent, ease-me-into-it nudge.

Figuratively, of course. But damn, it hurt.

Turns out we all have a lot of shit going on in our lives. We all freak out from time to time. And the ones who you want to reach out a hand and pull you out of the muck aren’t always capable of it for whatever reason. Sometimes, no matter how much you just want someone to fix you, you simply have to figure it out on your own. 

You’ve gotta pull yourself out of the damn muck.

It took me a swift punch in the face to wake up to the reality that I have to be prepared – and satisfied! – if my whole world turns upside down one day. That all the parts I thought would be there forever just might not. And maybe I should take inventory from time to time. Maybe I should make sure I’ve got a good grip on me… Just in case. Like an earthquake kit.

(I should definitely invest in an earthquake kit.)

I originally stopped writing because I seriously didn’t have the time. I was starting a business. I was working a job on top of it. I was exhausted. I had no creativity left in me after the day was done.

Then things got tough, and I didn’t write because I was trying to keep it all together. No one wants to talk about trying to keep it all together. I couldn’t even imagine the things I’d have to say. No one would want to read them.

When I admitted that I needed to take a different path, I still didn’t come back to writing. My ego was horribly bruised. All I could think of was that I had “failed”. In my business. In keeping up my side of the finances. In breaking out on my own and starting something cool and fun. I went back to work with my tail between my legs.

And lately, when my next path pulled me out of the darkness, when I got back my footing… I didn’t start writing again because I wasn’t sure what it was all about anymore. I just wanted to write happy things like I used to, and I couldn’t find that part of me that was really excited about anything. I wanted my reemergence into this blog that I love to be shiny and void of all of the guilt and frustration I felt. I struggled to find a clean, fresh start.

Recently, I’ve had some great people in my life ask me some even greater questions. And those questions have stirred something in me. They’ve forced me to face what I was trying to hide or pretend never happened. They forced me to look at myself and figure out what I love and what I don’t. Why I’ve done the things I did and what I gained from it all. They’ve offered me the opportunity to be introspective and think about what is best for me. Where I want to be heading. Peace of mind that I can survive any storm, any ride – and that I’m happy. What does my earthquake kit consist of?

Someone told me today, “Stop waiting for the rollercoaster to stop. Declare that something has to change.”

So here I am. Fresh start.

There are still going to be ups and downs and back wards and forwards and upside down loop-de-loops. I have decisions to make and plans to define, but I need to stop delaying and declare that I must start again. I’ve got to run alongside the car and jump in while it’s still rolling on the tracks. Because it’s never going to stop. Life isn’t going to slow down and stop happening so I can think about things or feel better about what path I’m on. Punches are going to keep getting thrown. I don’t want to wake up in six months and still be stuck where I am. I want to keep moving forward.

You’ll be seeing a lot more of me around here.

Step one. Complete.



Peace for Paris

paris peace

Just the other day, I turned to Brad and said, “Why are some people so bad?”

He obviously didn’t have an answer. I think I was talking about someone’s bike getting stolen or someone robbing a store in town.

I was exhausted with all of the hurt in my world. I was weary with finding forgiveness and searching for the good behind the ugly in people. Why couldn’t people just think of how their actions effect others? Why couldn’t they take a moment to consider the trials they’d never faced in their lives that someone else is struggling through? Or imagine that the way they live their life is unique to them and their happiness, but that it doesn’t necessarily suit every other person out there? Lend a hand to make things a little less turbulent rather than throwing another bump in the path. Life is hard enough on its own without people hurting each other.

Writing it out, it feels like a question a child would ask. I know hurt. I know people who are hurting. Terrible things happen to people, and they don’t always choose to react in positive ways. I suppose that a negative reaction might come with some kind of rush that blocks out all the terrible that is happening in their lives – if only for a moment. It happens on all scales. From tiny to massive. The stolen bike or the store held at gunpoint fell somewhere in between.

I’m not naive. Human beings don’t always make great choices.

But I am a person who loves people. I stand for love. I stand for acceptance. I stand for everyone being able to have their own opinion and make their own choices. I stand for people reaching for their goals and dreams. I stand for everyone’s story being different, and there being a place for everyone to live out their stories in peace.

No matter how hard I try to understand what horrible things must have happened to the people who committed these heinous crimes in Paris yesterday, no matter how dark the spaces my heart searches to in order to feel some compassion, I cannot come up with one logical reason for a human being to point their weapon at a crowd full of innocent human beings enjoying something I love – music – and murder them. I cannot come up with one reason why their lives showed them this particular path and they chose to follow it and act in that way. I cannot imagine anything so black and terrible that it could justify this. Nothing justifies this. Nothing.

My heart is broken. For Paris, for the world. And while I leave the larger fight up to the people in charge, I will push through the darkness by continuing to open my heart to people in need. I will live and love without fear. I will go to concerts and dance to the music to remember those who lost their lives. I will keep doing good to try and balance out those people who choose the bad.

Peace for Paris. Peace for the World.


Feeling Loved


I actually felt the need to text my mom yesterday to tell her I was ok.

I figured she already knew, since we had just gotten off FaceTime hours before I posted Wander. None of what I wrote on Thursday was a surprise to her. She’s been along every step of the way, hearing my disappointments and coaching me on how to approach helping all of the many others in need in my life without losing my mind. But I got a response from my post that made me realize what I was talking about was much more serious than I intended it to be.

I had just sat down to write because I felt I needed to write. Because this blog is something I am proud of and something I love to do, and I just freaking missed doing it. And I thought I’d get the biggest story off my chest first. I thought I’d address the monkey in the room before moving on to anything else. This year has been a struggle for myself and for so many other people I know. But I thought I’d written about it in a way that everyone understood that I am ok and I am healing and I am still heading in the right direction.

I was completely floored by the outpouring of love and support I woke up to Friday morning. Even some of those people who I talked about respecting and not feeling up to their standards – even some of those people reached out to me yesterday. I heard from old friends, people I haven’t seen since middle school, high school mentors, people I didn’t even know. It was overwhelming in the warmest way possible.

Everyone’s message was clear. Everybody goes through hard times. Everybody wonders if what they are doing is enough. If what they’re making is enough. If they’re living up to the expectations of the people who they admire and respect and want to make proud. If they’re living up to what they’re worth. If they’re proud themselves, of where they are and of where they are going.

I heard support from all angles for talking about mental health. Even more of my friends came out and told me they had suffered from anxiety, and assured me that I would find my own way to deal with and conquer it. I was once again reassured that I was not crazy, I was not alone, and I have met some of the greatest people the planet has to offer.

All the love, concern, and support made me feel like I needed to show the other side of my story. The awesome things I have done in 2015. Because there has been a lot of that, too. A hell of a lot of that. Through tears and anxiety and breathing into dirty paper pastry bags, there has been a lot of gold.

For instance – I celebrated my 31st birthday with a Brad & Kels staycation at the Ace Hotel in downtown LA. We felt very fancy. We had a terrace and I drank room service champagne. It was a grand, grand time.


I got a tomato tattoo!! It still catches me off guard from time to time and I am still so in love with it. (even though everyone thinks it’s a pumpkin)


Of course, I made lots and lots of blueberry muffins. Because blueberries going bad make me sad and muffins make me happy.


I guested on my girl Sydney’s podcast – and subsequently got hooked on podcasts of all kinds. I’m actually thinking of starting one… Any suggestions? Would you listen?


I attempted to curl my hair a few times. These baby curls were gone before my selfie photoshoot was over. Ugh.


I made a couple of amazing Key Lime Pies for a dear friend’s wedding. And I have to say, I’m pretty damn proud of THAT little curl. (it lasted much longer than it’s photoshoot. apparently I’m better at meringue than hair.)


I suppose I’m on to the sweets in my life… I participated in farmers’ markets all over Los Angeles with Pop Up Pastries. I checked that off the list of goals for the year in a huge way! Currently, you will find me with pop tarts and pies every Saturday at the Marina Del Rey Market, and some Sundays at Mar Vista.


I was invited to judge a pie contest in August. Just a FYI, I am free for pie contest-judging every Sunday if anyone ever needs a last minute pie-judge. There’s another life goal to check off the list. This is the best job ever.


Speaking of pie – I felt creative and made a sweet corn pie with salted whip. It was divine. I bought corn to make another one… Maybe this weekend?


I helped open a new wine bar and shop, Esters, here in Santa Monica. It is amazing and fun and I am so proud to be part of this wonderful family of restaurants! Come in to see me and drink lots of vino!!


And of course, we had friends over for dinner every chance we got. Brad is learning how to make arepas. I am learning all the different ways I like to eat arepas. We have a new patio with a new patio table that we sometimes have to use when we have invited over too many people for our tiny kitchen table. It’s pretty much the best back up plan ever.


So there. Things aren’t that bad. I just remember to breathe. I remember that a year from now, a month from now, maybe just a week from now, I’m going to look back and think – hell yea. I made it through all of that. But the photos I take, the memories I’ll keep, those are from the times where I was smiling.

Those other, harder, stress-ball times? I’ll be happy to kiss those times goodbye.




image courtesy of shadetreephotography

It’s been a hell of a year so far.

Lots of… well, heartbreak. I can’t find a better word to describe it. So many people I know and love have been dealing with heartbreak of some kind. Dealing with the end of plans, of ideas, of relationships, of jobs and of career paths. For a year that on January 1st held so many adventures and so much promise, all I can say is that 2015 is really throwing us for a curveball. I know we are all going to make it out alive – and it’s even looking like pretty much everyone will be on more solid ground than they ever were before – but DAMN.

That’s all. Just damn.

As I’m trying to be a great cheerleader and motivator for the people I love who are hurting, I try to absorb a little bit of that spirit for myself. And here, in the 9th month of all this insanity, I think I’ve found a space to just laugh. Just breathe. Just calmly admit that hey – we are stuck with this reality, and then simply take the next step forward to see where it’s going to lead.

Because, really. What else are you going to do?

I spent a few early months of 2015 having crippling panic attacks. You may have been able to guess that from my previous post and how I kind of dropped off the blogosphere. The attacks were brought on for a really stupid reason, but I’m pretty sure they would have found me either way.

During one of these attacks, I sat in a Target parking lot for over an hour until I felt like I could breathe and concentrate enough to get myself home. Another time, I found an old paper bag from a coffee shop with pastry crumbs still in it under my seat. I tossed the crumbs out the window and breathed into the dirty bag until I calmed myself the hell down. I just remember that the bag still smelled like butter and sugar as I was taking in deep breath after deep breath.

I thought I was completely mental. I thought that no normal person had panic attacks. I thought that all these people who I respect and who inspire me? They can control their stress better than this. I thought, I am not good enough. I am not strong enough. I need to be better than this.

And then I learned that, no. I was absolutely wrong.

Family. Friends. Friends of friends. Entrepreneurs. People I had known for years and years. People I just happened to meet at a coffee shop.

Facebook friends were posting about it. Instagrammers were posting about it. It was like a spotlight had been turned on to this thing that I’d never seen before. That I never even knew existed.

Everyone was already talking about it.

And people were talking about it like I had mentioned just hitting my funny bone. My favorite bloggers were writing about their attacks, their doubts, their anxiety. They were telling me that yea, it is fucking hard to set out on your own path and figure things out as you go. Yea, sometimes it feels like you just took this giant leap off of a cliff and all of a sudden you realized “oh shit, I’m heading toward the ground – FAST.”

Sometimes you feel like you have a million things to do. A million people to please. A million bills to pay. You look at your bank account (god help you) and you feel like you are a million dollars short.

But the thing I keep telling myself – the thing that keeps me going – is that I am living this awesome, crazy life. I am figuring it out, day by day. I am going on adventures. I used to say this as a joke, but no, they are bonafide adventures. And I am living in one of the greatest cities in the world. I am working every day to make my life more fufilled, more interesting, more creative, more welcoming, and more kind. I never once wanted that easier path. I knew from day one I would be bored senseless by that. I would never forgive myself if I didn’t wander.

I am lucky that I have found a partner who loves me and wants to wander and learn with me. I am lucky that I have friends who answer the phone when I feel like I cannot breathe. I am lucky that I have a family who steadies me and loves me. I am lucky that I have been given the chance to start over again on a great passion of mine, and help others become successful at it.

2015 may not have turned out to be at all the year I expected it to be. I may not be as succesful as I hoped I would be right now. I may have talents that I haven’t used in months. I may not have the savings account that I wish I did. But I am still standing. I am still smiling. I am still talented and I am still strong. None of that is lost.

Not all those who wander are lost.




IMG_8813“Sometimes, you think you have everything all under control.

Sure, there’s a lot to juggle. There are a lot of things to get done. There are to-do lists a mile long. But you’ve got it. You’re not worried.

And then, sometimes, everything goes wrong.

I’m sure you consider yourself an extremely calm person. You’ve worked in the restaurant industry for over a decade – nothing phases you anymore. No problem anyone could throw at you in a typical dinner service is enough of a big deal to get you all worked up. You deal with it. You take one step at a time. Things could be a lot worse. You’ve been through a lot worse.

But some things even trigger the calm ones. Sometimes when you’re doing big, scary, new things -you get overwhelmed. Sometimes you realize you can’t be there for everyone anymore and not be there for yourself. It’s hard for you, but you have to focus on you at these times. You have to  not be there for people you love. And maybe the ways you choose to deal with it aren’t always the best ways.

But, you’re learning. You’ll definitely know better next time.

Until then, just breathe. Just put your head down and do what you have to do to get through until you can simply rest. Lean on the people who love you. Lean on the people who are there to support you. You’ll get them back. You’re good for it. And then when you have the opportunity to, just rest. And rest until you are ok again. Do whatever it takes to get ok again.

No one ever thought starting this journey would be easy. No one ever thought you could just take over the world without a hiccup every now and then. So take this bump in the road. Figure out what it means and what you’ve learned from it. And then get back up, recover, and start driving forward again.

And when your pup crawls up next to you in the morning and pushes you over to be her big spoon, just move over and scratch her behind her ears until you both fall back asleep. Because she doesn’t have the words to tell you how much love she has for you, but she is confident in what you’re starting to know again.

You are great. You are going to be just fine. Plus, you will probably take her on a really great walk once you decide it’s finally time to get out of bed.”

– inner monologue



Let Your Heart Soar

I don’t know what is compelling me to write tonight after being away from this blog for months and months.

I don’t even know where to begin. There have been so many changes, so many obstacles, so many alarms going off being the sun came up and so many new things to learn. There have been huge set backs and golden successes… and there are nights like tonight where I sit back over a bowl of hummus and a glass of wine and I just want to write again.

I started my own pastry business in 2014. I suppose enough people had eaten a crostata or a cake or a whatever-I-was-baking-that-day, and told me that THIS is what I should be doing. I guess I started to realize that baking was something I enjoyed and am good at. Maybe I thought that starting a small business from the ground up with no savings would be fun, and that’d I’d be just fine. I suppose I thought it’d be the next page in my story.

I can’t even begin to sum up what’s ended up happening since I got back from that East Coast trip in June. It’s been amazing. It’s been challenging and eye opening and thrilling and scary and exhausting, but it’s been utterly amazing. I’ve proven to myself that I am brave, I am strong, I am curious, I am smart… and I can operate on a lot less sleep than I ever thought I could.

I recently saw a woman from my restaurant with her daughter who had just completed grad school. I asked the typical question, “What were you studying?” And she gave back an answer I have used so many times.

“Oh, you know. Nothing that will actually get me a job that makes money.” She had just gotten her masters in fashion design.

I found myself reassuring her of all of the things people said to me when I told them I was a music major. What really matters is who you know, how hard you work, and how much you want it.

But I also told her this. Creative people will always be creative people. If the fashion industry wasn’t the thing that worked out for her, she would find a career and a way to live her life that suited her need to create and design. Creative people can’t be boxed into monotony. She was going to find something in some part of her world to work on that would make her heart soar. Fashion industry or not. First job out of school or not. 24 years old or not. No matter where she ended up, she would keep redefining herself and what it is that makes her come alive until the day she dies, so enjoy every second and every chapter of the ride.

I left that table feeling like maybe I was just giving myself the advice. That maybe I had just reassured myself that I am still a musician, but my pastry business is the next phase of how I express myself creatively. Or maybe this is the creativity I’ve been searching for all along. Maybe this is what I was really meant to be in this world. It seems like this chapter of me coming alive just makes sense in so many ways…

It was kind of like I had let the musician me off the hook for a little while – letting her free to simply sing in the car or in the shower. I let her know that I love that part of my soul, but it’s not the thing that makes me soar right now.

2015 has so many exciting things in store. Just in these first few weeks I’ve made huge strides toward expanding my business to the next level. But it’s always nice to take a step back and look at all that you’ve done. It’s nice to revisit old friends and neglected blogs. It’s nice to just sit down and write a little something that maybe a year from now I’ll read and think, “Oh you have NO idea what you’re in for.”

So thank you for having me back. I’ll try not to be a stranger.