I've been working since I was 13. Since my parents are also entrepreneurs, they put me to work on the first day of summer vacation after I finished 7th grade. I still remember where I was when my mom picked me up from school. drove me to 12 Oaks Mall, and told me in the parking lot that I would start working in their office as an administrative assistant (she said, 'secretary') the next day. I was completely appalled. Summer was OVER and it hadn't even started yet.
I started working, and though it wasn't my dream job, it was an important starting point for me. Because I didn't like the work I was doing, I applied for other jobs and learned from those. I worked those jobs, went to school, and still worked for my parents. When I graduated from high school, I notified my parents that I was quitting, wrote my letter of resignation, and went off to culinary school.
I started working in the industry, and going to school full-time. A morbid combination of ambitious and conscientious, I never took time off, never went on a vacation, and plowed through, thinking, "I'll take a trip when I'm done with school...." I graduated from culinary school - and postponed my vacation again, "I'll take a vacation when I finish under-grad...".
I finished under-grad in the spring of 2002. 2 more years went by before I hit the wall and, on a whim, planned a trip to Vancouver and Alaska. I have very fond memories of that trip, even though I traveled with nearly a perfect stranger - someone I knew very casually, and then never kept in touch with after we came home.
Back to work, nose to the grindstone. I began the next phase of my career and never looked up. 7 years later, I quit my job to start my companies, and have a wonderful man to share everything with. He's all about working hard, but he understands that fun, relaxation, enjoying life, are important compliments to hard work.
Tomorrow, we are going on a mini-vacation, and I can't believe how much I am looking forward to it. It's not a major trip like Alaska, but it's major to me right now - since it's been almost a decade since I've taken the time to relax and enjoy my life, instead of obsessing about my career, and worried that there will be a punishing workload and email inbox awaiting me when I return.
All of that being said, this recovering workaholic will be taking my laptop with me, checking email, responding to clients and writing blogs, BUT, it sure beats the type of work that kept me tied to a building with clients coming in and out of its doors, and employees who needed a lot of direction.
For those of you who shop the Plymouth Farmers' Market for your weekly granola fix - I'm sorry to inform you that you'll have to jones for another week, as I do not have someone to work the market for me on Saturday. I will miss seeing all of my regulars, but promise to return fresh-faced, relaxed and excited to see you next week.
Take some time for yourself, wherever you can find it. Vacation, stay-cation, or some other type of adventure...don't wait! The summer, and more importantly, life, is too short!
I met my best friend in culinary school at Schoolcraft College, over 12 years ago. Reva Bell was one of the friendliest, funniest, coolest and calmest students in our program. We were almost always in opposite rotations, and the only time we ever had a class together was in our early morning lecture, to which I would wear an obnoxiously bright hot pink goose down coat, which was about 4 sizes too big for my small, short little body.
Reva used to complain that the color of my coat was too bright, since lecture started very early, and we were all walking in, half asleep, some of us without even a cup of coffee to wake us up. I sat infront of her, blinding her even during the class, as I would often wear the coat inside.
Reva and I graduated and started working in the industry. We never worked in the same kitchen until I started making pastries at Gravity Bar & Grill, where she was the executive chef. Mostly, I would work mornings, alone in the kitchen, making pastries and listening to the radio. I'm not one for sharing a kitchen with others unless I absolutely have to, so this arrangement worked out nicely.
When we would see each other in passing, we'd talk about the various trials and tribulations that came along with being women in an almost completely male-dominated industry, the challenges that accompanied a single woman, looking for a suitable date, the frustration of how easily we could gain and lose significant amounts of weight, but could never maintain, and other very important matters.
There was one day, when I was in a particularly bad mood. My boyfriend, who was also a chef in the industry (who had disapproved of my willingness to work at this particular restaurant), had gone off the deep end and very abruptly ended a ver important phone conversation by saying (verbatim) that "he had to go get an ice cream cone".
Furious that a grown man had resorted to the problem solving skills of a 7 year old, I complained to Reva that I had reached my limit - I'd had enough! I was tired of working for people I didn't like, I was tired of dating people who couldn't communicate, and I was tired of yo-yo weight gain. "No more!", I declared with a resolute voice - "we are strong women who can make our lives whatever we want them to be!"
Ice cream boy and I broke up, I changed jobs. Reva also ended up switching jobs, meeting someone who became her husband and father to her 2 gorgeous children, and we went about reinventing our lives. That conversation happened about 6 years ago, and both of us refer to the conversation frequently. Over the last 6 years or so, we have set about the serious business of making our lives into exactly what we were looking for. I started Three Little Birds and 235 Consulting, and Reva just became a business owner, herself.
One of the things you need to know about Reva is that she's gorgeous. Reva is naturally very good looking, but she also has the amazing ability to play up her beauty with cosmetics. Every time I see her, she. looks. AWESOME. Cosmetics are something she is really passionate about, as well as quality, it was no surprise that she would start providing natural cosmetics and skin care products.
On Sunday night, my (new, fabulous) boyfriend and I went to a party to celebrate Reva's exciting venture and the launch of her business. I am so proud of the beautiful life my friend is creating for herself and her family, and so proud that I have such a beautiful woman to call my friend. Reva has always been a beautiful person, inside and out, and I know her beautiful spirit will attract endless success in her business.
Stay tuned for details about how you can benefit from the natural, vegan skincare and cosmetics that Reva has to offer.
Stacy Sloan; Chef & Founder of Three Little Birds