Friday, August 31, 2012

Coffee Date 6 - Leon Khameson

Coffee Date 6

Leon Khameson

This was a turn in coffee dates, so far I have only met with small business owners.  Leon doesn't own a small business, but after meeting him, I definitely consider him a creative.  Also, he was/is the first person I've met for these coffee dates that I knew ZERO about before meeting (I like to do my research).  He was recommended to me by Silvia of Carpe Diem and well, that was good enough for me!

Leon is a sushi chef at a Tsunami.  I only start with that because it's food.  Leon's passion is food, and it's obvious.  (I love foodies).  Leon and I see eye-to-eye on what it means to have a good time.  Food, friends and family.  I like to add wine and board games in that mix.

I've never tasted any of his food creations, but it would seem he has some talent.  Later that evening, he was praised because there is a Leon Roll on the sushi menu, and this girl loves it.  Literally, she said so at least 5 times.

We ended up talking for 3+ hours, I lost track.   He told me his life story being originally from Laos and how he ended up in Lafayette, LA.  If you meet him and he's up for telling the story, I'd encourage it.  He spoke of food recipes and restaurants he enjoys.  Life abroad and other travels.  A possible food blog he may start, which I definitely encourage.  Leon recommended I watch "Jiro Dreams of Sushi" - which is now on my to-do list.  It was wonderful to have great, interesting conversation with someone my age.

After talking about food most of the coffee date, we went to Jefferson Street Pub.  Apparently they added gastropub, which is like really good food made for the bar.  I didn't even know it existed till Leon recommended it.  Come to find out, I knew the chefs, C.J. Pothier and Robert Sandberg.  Last year I went to a dinner hosted by The Underground Supper Club.  They were two of the four chefs that cooked for us.  That was an amazing dinner, these guys know what they are doing.  So when I found out that they were the cooks, I knew no matter what I go, it would be delicious.  I ordered the fried pickles, which were actually speared and breaded differently than any I had ever tasted.  Leon had the deep fried pimiento cheese balls.  For the main dish I had the special of the day, which was a black eyed pea soup with some french bread.  Leon ordered the shepherd's pie, which was tasted like home.  I plan to go back to try more!

After supper we parted ways, but I have a feeling it will not be the last time I hang out with Leon. ;)

Friday, August 10, 2012

Coffee Date 5 - Thomas Peters

Coffee Date 5


    Thomas Peters - The Lab

I find that one of the most difficult aspects of owning your own business is picking out the name.  How do I encompass everything about this business in just a few words!  Well Thomas and Pam Peters hit the nail on the head.

The Lab
Handcrafted Coffee & Comforts
Taste and Engage.  

It matches their place perfectly.  The Lab - Thomas says he is constantly experimenting.  How fun is that?  When you go, you can always expect new flavors of the Cold Sweet Cream.  For those that have never been, Cold Sweet Cream is it kind of a blend of gelato/ice cream and it is amazing.  They have a wonderful atmosphere.  I love the open windows constantly letting in daylight and the assortment of different seating options.  It's a beautiful open space, that is very inviting and comfortable.

For this meeting I went there and had a Green Tea and a croissant.  Both were delightful.  I made a point to tell Thomas that I had been to Paris for a Study Abroad program and I had croissants there everyday.  These taste identical to those, I literally felt like I was back in Paris for a moment.  Now my mouth is watering and I'm hungry for one.  

One aspect of this business that I found interesting is that it's a Husband & Wife company.  I've always love hearing about couple-owned businesses.  Really, I'd love to be a fly on the wall for a while and see how couples manage a business and personal life.  Thomas says they have a great relationship and are able to use each other strengths to work as a unit.  He said you also need to remember when you walk in the door (of your home), that you need to drop what's happening at work.

I questioned his response towards naysayers.  Instead of ignoring them, he always wants to hear them out.  If they think his place won't succeed, then he wants to know why not.  I think that's awesome.  Though for myself, if it's not constructive, I have a hard time listening.  Although I mentioned doing my art full-time and someone said "oh, so you can be poor the rest of your life."  A stigma that really erks me.  The comment annoyed me, but at the same time I wanted to question why.   At that moment, I was too busy to get into it, but I will find out later.

I asked if he keeps a positive group of people surrounding him.  Instead of saying positive people, he said he likes to have well-balanced people in his life.  Since no one is truly positive 24-7.  We are all human, and all have stuff going on in our lives.  I was kind of blown away by this comment.  So simple, but yet it did.  I realized this much more realistic and more of what I want in my life.  So instead of me saying I want positive people in my life, I want well-balanced people.

So happy I had the pleasure of sitting down with Thomas.  He is a cool, laid-back guy, that is really easy to hang out and chat with.  He's always at the coffee shop so stop by and get something tasty and say hello.

Also mentioned them a while back in Shopping Local

Check them out on Facebook or follow them on Twitter.
They are always posting photos that make me want to go!

The Lab
  • 1042 Camellia Blvd No. 6
  • Lafayette, Louisiana 70508  
  • 1 (337) 889-5782

Mon - Thu:7:00 am-9:00 pm
Fri:7:00 am-10:00 pm
Sat:9:00 am-9:00 pm

Friday, August 3, 2012

Coffee Date 4 - Silvia Bertolazzi

Coffee Date 4
 for the 30 Coffee Dates with 30 People Project


    Silvia Bertolazzi - Carpe Diem Gelato

Carpe Diem - Gelato & Expresso Bar is amazing.  Locals, if you haven't tried it, you are truly missing out on something fantastic.  Leave your house or work and go get some gelato, STAT!

For this meeting, I was enjoying the Blueberry Tea.   Deeeeeelicious!  Not only is the product wonderful, but it's the atmosphere.  Silvia has put together a team of fun, hip, super nice workers, which she calls her family.   They create a pleasant environment that makes you want to go back again and again.   A simple Italian-infused, cozy place that after a while, feels like a home away from home.

I wonder how many more adjectives I can include in this one writing to express how much I love this place?

Seriously, amazing team, amazing product, amazing atmosphere!  Now, I can officially say that Silvia is just as amazing.  Silvia radiates life and positivity.  She believes in the words Carpe Diem! - "Seize the Day."  She lives for her passion and you can tell she loves what she is doing.   She is one of those people who "fill your bucket."  (Reference to How Full is your Bucket by Tom Rath - great book.)  By that I mean, she leaves you feeling wonderful, rejuvenated, and inspired.  I try and make a point to surround myself with these types of people, they are positive, uplifting, and usually overall great people.

I asked if she had any advice to give to me about pursuing my business adventures.  She encouraged me to follow my heart and my passion.  Ignore nay-sayers and pursue your dreams. Your heart will lead you on the right track.  Jump and take risks, if your passionate about what your going after, it will work out.  Silvia mentioned that it was also a mindset.  Instead of saying "I hope this happens," say "this will happen."  I agree, I've started to really push myself towards the positive mindset, but I still think there is room for improvement.  She also recommended the book "The Secret," which I instantly added to my must-read list.  Sooner than later. (I literally stopped writing to add it to my Amazon cart and ordered it.)

Something I learned while meeting with Silvia is that she actually has a business partner, Erik Graveson.  I have been hanging out with a friend lately, who is all for collaboration.  The more I think about it, and learn about it, the more I think I would really enjoy collaborating with someone.  I reminisce on college days, we all had our studio desks and could easily walk to each other, share our ideas, and get feedback (something I miss terribly).  Someone to have bounce ideas off of, helping out, and the support of not being in it alone.  I can see a partner being extremely beneficial.  She said you must trust that person, because making a business together is like a baby.  It needs a lot of attention and commitment from both parties.

Overall fantastic meeting!  She's given me more motivation, a brighter outlook, and inspired me to continue to pursue my passion.  She's a wonderful person, and I'm so happy I had the pleasure of meeting with her.  Now go get some gelato!

To learn more about Silvia, check out this amazing video of The Passion Series. It's truly beautiful.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Artwork of Brienna McLaughlin Pruce

Do you like cute animals? 

Do you like gun and weapons?  

The Artwork of Brienna Pruce may be for you!  Her work totally makes me giggle.  I've been following her for almost a year now.  I love keeping up with what she's working on.  I've commented on a few of her things and she always responds.  She is super sweet!   


So exciting.  I ordered this piece from her and I can not wait to get it.  Will be framed and hung immediately!  Will post more when I receive.

Interesting in seeing more of her work?  Check out the links below!

My Blog:

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Craig Tracy Gallery

Okay first off, if you live in or around New Orleans and have never been to The Craig Tracy Gallery, SHAME ON YOU!  Seriously, get in your car, on the trolley, on your bike, and go to the French Quarter on Royal St. to check out this gallery.  Even if you don't even you don't ever go to galleries or aren't interested in galleries, do yourself a favor and GO!
The Craig Tracy Gallery is a gallery of Bodypainting, and is the only one in the U.S. This is one of the most unique, amazing galleries I have ever been to.  I make it a point to go anytime I am in downtown New Orleans.  Some days you'll even catch Tracy in the studio, he is a very cool, down-to-earth guy.  If he's not there, his brother probably will be, he is super helpful, informative, and funny.

I actually even own two of his pieces.  They are fantastic conversation starters and most people are surprised they are painted on actual bodies.  I love them, and hope to own more in the future.

 So even if your not in New Orleans, you should make a trip out there just to see this gallery.  I promise, you won't be disappointed!

The Craig Tracy Gallery
827 Royal St. New Orleans, Louisiana 70116 - (504) 592-9886

If you want to see more of his amazing work check out the links below!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012



Everyone has them, and I want to know them.

This is partly why I started the coffee dates.   How did this person get where they are at, and make the decision to own/run the business they have?  All of it fascinates me.

With that said, I have been a vacuum of information late.

When I read an article online that I enjoy, the very next thing I do is search for the bio.  Who is this person?  Where are they from?  How much of their story will they share in their bio?   I wonder if they have any interviews? Give me your life story and give it to me now!

I've heard stories where they just fell into this and that and it lead to this and that.  How they lost their job and they really wanted to do something they love, so they made it happen.  How specific events created these new trails for these people to go down.  Just thinking of this makes me so excited at all the other coffee meetings I will have.

Want to tell me your story?  I will listen.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Funky Flower Painting

Recently, I have been sketching mandalas.  I decided to experiment and use that kind of style and draw a flower to paint.  

The canvas is stretched in an embroidery hoop.  I painted the background first, then I freehand drew on top of the canvas.  Now that I've done it, I think I rather sketch on drawing paper better than on the painted canvas.  The painted canvas is not as as smooth as I'd like it to be.  I then went with permanent markers to add some color and then on top of that with more acrylic paint.  It was a fun experiment and I think it came out cute! 

Feel free to email me and let me know what you think!

See more of my art for sale on Etsy - click here.

Exercise Equals Accomplishment

I was listening to a BlogcastFM this evening, Confessions of a Media Manipulator with Ryan Holiday, by .  While this was not the main topic, it was something I agreed with.  Ryan said while he was writing his book (for a constant 3 month period), he made sure to exercise 1-2 hrs a day.  Which in just saying that, it's like oh well yeah of course that's awesome.  Though this mindset that he approached it with was different (or at least different to me).  I am paraphrasing, but he said it was important to exercise everyday because that meant that no matter what else happened in that day, he ALWAYS accomplished something.  By going to the gym, he could do one more set of reps or bench a little more weight every time he went.  So no matter if you had a bad day and couldn't write anything, you still accomplished something everyday.  I never really thought of it that way, but I completely agree with the logic.  

So this weekend I decided that I am going to meditate for 20 minutes everyday.  I've set it in motion, it's happening now!  While awesome, or at least I think so, it's tough.  It's a challenge, which is part of what I love about it.  Though on some day's focus won't come as easily as other day's.  It still is an accomplishment to actually do that, I am debating on whether it is going to leave me feeling accomplished everyday.  I honestly don't think it will.  Sad, but true.

On the other hand, I have also been telling myself I need set a daily work out routine.  While of course it would be more beneficial to exercise everyday, what he said makes me think that I really need to do this.  To not only exercise and meditate everyday, but to also have that mindset.  That I accomplished those things everyday, even if I have a non-inspiring or unproductive day.

Now the hard part, implementing it.  

Time to step up my game.  

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Meditation - The Beginning

Wow.  Meditation is difficult.  The mind, mine specifically, never seems to slow down or be quiet.  So conquering that is a feat in itself.  But add two puppies who bark and scratch, neighbors with kids, other neighbors knocking on doors, car horns, etc and it's like "MAN how am I going to master this thing called meditation?"

I literally just finished my first meditation session.  Although I have done a little in the past, and yoga helps as well.  I followed the guidelines of the book I am currently reading.

Meditate for no more than 20 minutes
Pick a spot and don't move once you've started
   -Not sure if swallowing counts as moving?
Keep focused on breath
  -If your mind wonders, anchor it back and focus on breath again.

Okay seriously, you don't realize how many tiny itches you may have within 20 minutes until you make the rule that you can not move.  My hair was tickling my face so bad!  Tiny discomforts you want to make comfortable by just a tiny little scratch.  I managed to resist and stayed still for the entire time.  Woo Woo!

My mind kept going all over the place,  "hey I can write a blog on this (then all the things I'd write),"  "I wish the neighbors kids would shut up,"  "has it been 20 minutes yet," "what am I doing tonight," and so on and so forth.  I kept bringing the focus back to my breath, but it kept leaving just as quickly.  I did manage a certain amount of time (could have been 5 seconds or 5 minutes), where it was complete silence and complete focus.  It was pretty awesome.  I definitely think that if I was surrounded by silence that it would be easier to meditate, but that's not life.  So I figure that's just one of the obstacles I will have to overcome, and I'm okay with that.

Before I started this current book, which focus' on meditation.  I read the "Eight Mindful Steps to Happiness."  A friend offered to let me borrow it, and I had always been interested in Buddhism.  Plus, who doesn't want to be happy?  So I was all about it.  I want to say this book has changed my life, but I honestly can't say that, because I just don't know.  I can say, that it has had a major impact on my mindset.  It taught me that Buddhism is less of a religion and more of a philosophy on how to live your life.  It's all about being mindful.  I repeat these words in my head constantly now.  Asking myself if what I'm saying and doing is mindful.  In my opinion, it's really just about being a good person.

So now I've set the base starter of meditating.  I want and plan for this to become a daily habit.  Maybe it will change me or maybe it won't?  Though I know it won't hurt me in any way, so it's worth trying.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Coffee Date 3 - Chris Culotta

Coffee Date 3
 for the 30 Coffee Dates with 30 People Project


    Chris 'Bird' Culotta - HeartThrob Skateboards


Originally, I met Chris Bird at a roller derby bout.  (Yes, I played roller derby).   He was the announcer and in my opinion an awesome fun one!  So I went find out who this cat was with the intent to request his announcing skills for our local derby bouts.  Fast forward a couple years later and we meet again.

Chris owns a skateboard company, HeartThrob Skateboards, in Baton Rouge, LA, as of the last 4 years with plans to slowly take over the world.  I approve.  You can also catch him DJin as well! 

A reoccurring statement I get from small business owners is how you have to work your butt off.  How even though they may work harder, but they are enjoying life way more than they ever did at their typical 8-5 job.  How in the beginning there may (will) be need for lots of sacrifice, but the gratification from creating a business that your passionate about is completely worth it. 

Another thing I admire is local businesses who keep it local.  His boards are made in the USA, and he has a local graphic designer to help make his designs/ideas become reality.  You can't compete with the quality and service you get from local businesses.  As well as the satisfaction that you are helping your community grow and become richer.

We also discussed the type of people we choose to surround ourselves with.  He makes it a point to keep a positive circle of friends around him.  I totally agree with this way of living and apply it to my life as well.  No drama, amen!

 Oh yes, AND bonus!  I had the chance to meet this cute furry guy, also known as Gagutsa. 

Check out his boards, (Chris' not Gagutsa's - though really, he's probably the master mind behind it all)  and tell him Hi!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Dreamcatcher of the Sun

Just finished my first dream catcher.   I also like the idea of it being called a sun catcher or light catcher.  

This embroidery hoop was intended to be used like the last few paintings I've done.  Unfortunately (or fortunately) the outter hoop broke.  I didn't want to throw the inner hoop, it was in good shape and to do so seemed like a waste.  So I randomly decided to make a dream catcher of the sorts!  Maybe it wasn't so random, I did just paint a dream catcher on a pair of TOMS.  

So I took a scrap piece of canvas I had lying around and painted that. I wanted something bright and happy.  Then took thread to string it all the way around to keep it stretched.  Threading the canvas to keep it stretched was the most difficult part, my hands were cramping from trying to keep it tight.  I embellished it with thread for the rays of the sun.  Hung the feathers, then wrapped the hoop with ribbon.  I originally wrapped the hoop first, but I changed my mind on the color last minute.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Sunrise Garden

More experimenting with linocuts.  I wanted to add a little color to the linocuts I've been printing.  Instead of using color ink for the print, I decided to switch it up.  This is my first attempt of painting on acrylic paper then using the black ink for the print. 

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Sunflower Hoop Painting

Another hoop painting, that I just finished.  Here is the process I went with.  I don't always sketch what I'm going to paint first.  Sometimes or most times, I sketch directly on to the canvas.  Since I wasn't sure exactly how I wanted it to lay out, the sketch worked out best.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Wrapped Hoop Flower

I thought of this idea yesterday, because my mother didn't like the look of just the hoop.  It made me question what could to done to dress it up.  Here's one of my solutions.  I'm happy with how it turned out but it took 3+ hrs to just do the hoop sewing.  What do you think about it?


Wednesday, July 4, 2012