March Plan with Me

I tried so hard to be ready for 2018. I wanted to be organized, I was setting goals, I was getting everything in order.

Wellllll, it didn’t happen the way I planned.

All of my time, literally, all of my time revolved around Ninong’s since November. I was working an average of 14 hours a day, sometimes 18 hours a day. I barely had time to eat, let alone drink water! So bad, not something I’m proud of. I’m sharing to show how bad my work-a-holic “ism” was. I know for a fact that if I made time to prioritize and organize my days things would have gone a lot better. But I didn’t. I couldn’t get myself to look at work when I got home. I was already thinking about it so why apply myself to write things down? Stupid me.

So November passed, December did too, there went January, finally here comes February and I was able to get myself together. I’m able to walk away from this month with my feet planted on the ground. I’m finally starting to feel like my old self again!

This upcoming month is exciting for me! With all the ch-ch-ch-changes I’ve been going through personally and professionally I’ve learned so much about myself, what I can endure, and what I can become if I apply myself. So March’s theme is “Restart.” If I want my 2018 Word of the Year is “build” then I have to get back to the point where I feel like I have something to build upon.

That being said, March is when I’m going to start fresh! I may be late to start my goals by 2 months but at least I’m starting. Like Lara Casey (author, successful business woman, mom, and beautiful soul) says, “There’s nothing special about January.” 

Original Artwork by Lara Casey

And for me, this couldn’t be more true. I’m not going to beat myself up about what I haven’t done. I’m going to celebrate what I have done and try to grow from here.

First thing is get organized. I need to get myself to where I was at the end of 2017 with my productivity. The best way to do that is to just jump back into my productivity tools – Todoist, Evernote, and my planner. I want to start the small little habits that made a big difference with my organization.

  1. Open Todoist, Evernote, and my planner 1st thing in the morning.
  2. Have a notepad or my cell phone nearby so I can jot down random thoughts.
  3. Update Todoist, Evernote during in the middle of the day and at the end of the day.

You won’t believe the difference these 3 steps have made in my productivity.

Next on the list is to prioritize. When you have a long list of things to do it’s easy to get cross eyed or stressed about it. When this happens to me personally I don’t get motivated to work because I’m overwhelmed before I even began! What I do to help with prioritizing different aspects of my life is to set things for certain days. For example, when it comes to cleaning I prefer to do it on my day off since it takes a good amount of time. That means priority for Mondays is cleaning. Another example is weekends are very busy for Ninong’s so my priority, naturally, is the restaurant on Saturdays and Sundays. This means, I’m going to schedule most of my cleaning tasks on Mondays as well as the bulk of my Ninong’s tasks only when I’m there.

Last thing for this month is to find balance. If you know me you know I’m everywhere. I guess it’s because I have so much going on that I become really scatterbrained. If you also know me then you know not only am I scatterbrained but I also am a major work-a-holic. I live and breathe business, I love everything about it so I have a habit of taking my work home. But this has to stop! When I say I’m done for the day then I really want to be done. That way I have time to give to my husband, family, friends, and to myself without feeling guilty.

Cheers to a productive, blessed, and successful month!


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Travel Series – To Do List

T Minus 2 days until we leave for Hawaii!

The Breathtaking Sunset View from the Hale Koa Hotel Pool

That means I have a lot to do before we leave for our trip. As an entrepreneur, preparing for a trip (business or pleasure) takes a lot of preparation. Not only do you have to think about the things you need to do that are pertaining to your trip, but you also have to think about the processes that are laid in place so that your business doesn’t fall apart while you’re gone. Granted, we’re only going to be gone for 4 days – and you know what they say, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.”

Either way, I have a lot of prep to do before we leave!

Vacation related:

  • Look through updated packing list and start putting things aside
  • Take fur baby to the groomer
  • Do laundry
  • Clean up the house
  • Run the dishwasher
  • Wash sheets

Business related:

  • Create daily agendas for my team
  • Create opening, midday, and closing checklists for my team
  • Send out all online orders
  • Prepare timesheet for payroll
  • Write blog posts
  • Schedule social media content
  • Pay bills
  • Make sure kitchen is fully stocked for the weekend
  • Fill the managers in for what to expect this week

It’s a lot, I know. I’m getting overwhelmed just thinking about it. If you could only see my Todoist app now, it’s all of this in more detail. GAH! But it’s ok, all I can do is chip away at the list – 1 thing at a time.



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Restaurant Series – What to Expect

When I was brainstorming my angle for this post I was originally thinking about people that have never opened a restaurant before. But as a person that  has been working full time in the restaurant business for almost 5 years and seeing my family run the restaurant for an additional 5 years there’s still SO much that I didn’t know about. Because of this I decided that I needed to dedicate one post in this series to what to expect when opening a restaurant and/or moving an existing one.

  1. First thing’s first. Nothing is going to go to plan. You’re going to run into road blocks, things won’t go as planned, and things are going to take longer than you thought.
  2. You need to hire professionals. I can’t stress this enough. My contractor, Matt of Hunt Construction, and my architect, Robert of E2 Design, were a God send! I can’t sing their praises enough. Hire people that you trust and understand your expectations. Because I hired people I trust and understood very well what I was hoping to accomplish it was easy to lean on them when I had questions. When it comes to restaurant build outs or remodels you want someone that does it right the first time and is familiar with what the City requires. That leads me to my next point.
  3. Know the City requirements. This is why hiring experienced professionals is so key. You’re not going to know what the City requires if you’ve never done this before. Even the professionals that have experience run into new requirements all the time. Our restaurant didn’t open when we hoped because we ran into unexpected requirements and small road blocks. The building and health code books for LA County is so overwhelming so the best thing to do is rely on your trusted professionals to help guide your way.
  4. Permits are not cheap. Building permits, health permits…and stupid me, I forgot to budget for those. For the City of LA I believe overall building permits are a percentage of the overall cost of your build out (I know, sucky right?!) and then there are the plumbing permits, mechanical permits, electrical permits, etc. The health permit for the City of LA was over $1000 for our restaurant. 
  5. Whatever you think it’s going to cost, multiply that by at least 3. We had a budget in mind, but we went over. It was unavoidable though. We needed to pump grease traps, hydro-jet the lines, put in a new fire system, clean the hood…it was an endless list. I felt like all I was doing was writing checks.
  6. You’re going to live in your restaurant for a while. People think that restaurants could be an easy way to make money and that it would be low maintenance if they just hired a manager to manage it for them. NOPE. Get that out of your mind right now. No matter what, for your restaurant to have success you need to invest time. At least in the beginning. You need to establish the expectation, train, teach, iron out operations.
  7. You won’t know what you’re doing for a little while. No matter how long you’ve been cooking your food or serving your customers a new space will throw anyone off. It’s going to take a little while to get acquainted to where everything is, where you put everything, and how you’ll set everything up. Once you “nest” a little bit it’ll get better.
  8. It’s going to come down to the wire. That day before you officially open you’re going to have a laundry list of things to do. Even if you didn’t procrastinate, you’re going to remember things at the last second. Before we opened we were working from 6 am until almost 3 am and there still wasn’t enough hours in the day.
  9. Expect the unexpected. You’ll definitely learn a great deal, get really stressed, have a few mental break downs, and lose sleep. But honestly, this experience has been so rewarding to see people walking into our place and enjoying themselves. All we can do is approach these unexpected hurdles with grace, trust in the process, and know it’ll all work out.




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