The “I want to buy everything” Crate.

The Apple Crate Natural Market is like every food I have ever dreamed of in one cozy brick & mortar.Seriously, a family owned business that stocks everything from paleo bread and local eggs to sage for smudging and amber teething necklaces. This store is my jam.

Some of my fave coffee mix-ins from The Apple Crate & Cinnamon from Leclair’s

I’m talking every herb/supplement I can think of, Vital Proteins, Siete chips, Kite-hill almond milk cream cheese. Yas.

I instantly fell in love with with this market when I walked through the doors with my then 2 and 3 year old and we were greeted by a warm smile, organic lollipops-

…and that nod of “you got this mama” that we all need when we enter a grocery store with children.

The smell of essential oils and all things good hit me and I knew I found my little corner of Fayetteville.

The variety is impressive but the friendly vibe keeps me coming back. Honestly, I would drop in on a Saturday just to chat with everyone (and probably leave with a basket full because who can resist!!)

Some of my fave products:

  • Epic Provisions Bone Broth
  • Vital Proteins Collagen
  • Kite Hill Chive Almond Milk Cream Cheese
  • Tribucha Kombucha
  • Siete Chips
  • Simple Mills Crackers
  • The fact that they have every herb and supplement you could need
  • Sage for smudging
  • Justin’s dark chocolate peanut butter cups (yassss)
  • Hail Merry anything
  • So much-I don’t know where to draw the line.

Art & Music

Art and music

The first day of high school art class my teacher told us to bring CDs. (I know, CDs… iPhones were definitely not a thing yet guys)

“Art and music go together!” Those words stuck in my head.

It’s about the process.

That concept of “the process” came up again in college when I was a fine arts major in a drawing class.

I was made to appreciate the work the artist put in-not just the finished product.

How the artist struggled with form and you could see it on the page…that hadn’t occurred to me. Once it did though, I looked at art in a new light.

That process of how a piece is created directly impacts the outcome.

A simple pencil drawing shows lines, even erased lines, and you can almost imagine what was going through their head when they drew them.

There are some paintings that have layers upon layers of paint. They’re almost 3D. You can see that struggle the artist had finding the form and bringing out the colors. It intrigues me.

Sometimes when I see a piece of art that looks like the artist really struggled, I wonder if they were going through something in their life. Often times you can see that artists take out their emotions in their work and it tells a story on its own, separate from the content of the piece.

The pressure they used, the speed at which they laid the lines down, is it a mess? Was the form carefully constructed? It really makes a difference.

Music flows much like art. It facilitates that process. Once I find that place where I’m inspired and have a direction-it just flows.

Whenever I get done with a drawing my mind feels clear-like I emptied it right on the page. I definitely put my emotions into my art. And when you consider how music expresses emotion-it just all kinda ties together, doesn’t it?

I often listen to mellow music when I create to remind myself to slow down and pause before making decisions on the paper. I need that reminder because I get excited and just go! I’ve learned that just throwing lines carelessly on paper does not work for me. I always hate the outcome.

So in order to love my work, I have to force myself to entertain a process that doesn’t come naturally to me. That process being patience. Ha.

Patient mood, calm music drawing: (attention to detail, thoughtfully placed lines)

Fun, faster music with less care to detail:(Less care with lines, a little more hectic looking, can you see the difference in style?)

While patience takes practice, I do enjoy building values in a drawing. Often times there’s this struggle of:

    Will this work?
    It might, I’ll draw it.
    It’s not working
    I hate it
    Maybe I can fix it
    It’s working now
    Okay, I dig it
    I gotta start dinner-I’ll finish this next year. (Real talk)

Pushing myself to get through those beginning unsure steps can be a challenge. I always try to decide if I’m wasting my time on an idea or if I just need to work out the details.

Listening to music helps my momentum. I’ll often just sing and jam and draw and let the hours go by and then I have an almost finished drawing in front of me.

I’ll be honest I have a TON of drawings that I’ve started and haven’t finished. I have ideas I want to get on paper but don’t typically have time to complete them.

Lately I’ve been making time though and you can read about that journey here.

So that’s my long, drawn out way of telling you that I think art is persuaded by music and that music is like a train that takes my mind from idea to creation. I dig that. Plus who doesn’t want to sing at the top of their lungs while drawing like a weirdo?

Hurricane Prep

With the hurricane closing in-

Let’s focus on what we can do.

Try to get your hands on these items:

  1. Water
  2. Flashlights
  3. Batteries
  4. Candles & matches in a waterproof container
  5. Food you don’t have to cook
  6. TP & Personal hygiene items
  7. Ice (or freeze Ziplocs of water)
  8. Towels
  9. Plastic bags
  10. Bug spray (mosquitoes are a thing when there’s standing water)
  11. First aid kit
  12. Battery operated radio

If you’re having trouble finding these items locally, you can order online (try Sam’s club or Amazon)

Ideas for food/snacks in case the power goes out:

Crackers and tuna
Bread and peanut butter
Fruit & veggies
Trail mix
Energy bars

Parents don’t forget:

  • formula
  • baby food
  • diapers
  • wipes
  • medications
  • board games/coloring books/entertainment in case power goes out and you need a sanity break 😉

Also don’t forget to:

  • Fill up your gas tank
  • Fill up your bathtub
  • Pull cash out of the ATM
  • Charge your phone
  • Do your laundry & clean your home. You may be without electricity for a bit.
  • Make sure you have some way of hearing updates if the power goes out (radio, phone, etc)
  • Gather your important documents and put them in a safe, easily accessible place in a waterproof bag.
  • Look up a map of the area for local shelters in case they are needed after the storm hits
  • Refill any prescriptions you may need prior to the storm
  • Make a list of important phone numbers
  • If I left anything out please add it to the comments section. Stay safe everyone!

It turns out starting a business is hard.

Entrepreneur to Avocado. What gives? Let me explain.

So, a few years back I came up with a design for a hands-free dog walking belt because at the time my daughters were 1 and 2 years old and I never had a free hand.

I saw that other mothers were struggling to push a stroller and walk their dog. I wanted to create a product that contributed to a better quality of life so that people could step back and enjoy what they were doing rather than have their hands full.

There were similar products on the market but I chose to differentiate mine by adding certain features. It was cool. It worked.

I’ve always had a fascination with bringing the ideas in my head into fruition. Whether it be a product, a photo, a drawing-I love seeing things come to life. It’s my passion.

Is that still one of my businesses?

While it was super cool to do, it is no longer my business. I handed the business over to the manufacturer when I realized it had played itself out and it was time to move on to something new.

One of the hard parts about being an entrepreneur is that you have to know when the life cycle of your product is coming to an end. It may be time to close shop or just time to evolve.

It takes grit to start a business but it takes a certain amount of humility to know when to walk away.

So what is Guac & Soul? What’s the deal with the avocado? What’s happening?

Guac & Soul was created by me. I started my Instagram, @guac_n_soul by posting about mom life and my art mostly as a hobby. When I decided to focus on social media marketing, I began growing the platform and focusing on collaborating with businesses in the community.

On that note, I love music. Like, LOVE. Who doesn’t? So I wanted something like “rock n’ roll” but I also really love food. Mostly healthy food with a side of nachos. So “Guac & Soul” was born. Sometimes, you just gotta roll with it!

Anywho, the decision to focus my platform on small businesses had a domino effect and lead to my full time position at The Center for Economic Empowerment and Development where I have resources to help small businesses and entrepreneurs right here in the city I live in! I love my job. Love.

I mean, the idea of collaborating with and supporting small businesses became a tangible job. Grateful is an understatement.

So basically, I got tired of trying to find a marketing job after interviewing for a year so I decided to create my own job which lead to my actual dream job. I don’t sit still very well so thank goodness.

Recently my co-workers and friends inspired me to start blogging in addition to my Instagram and that has been a fun outlet for me. I mean, here I am! So I guess I’m digging it.

I’ve also recently begun to monetize my social media platforms so I suppose I’m still in the entrepreneur game in that respect. I’ll probably always have some type of side hustle. I can’t resist the challenge of building something and social media has definitely been an interesting challenge.

My entrepreneurial motivations have definitely changed since I first started all of this. My goal went from having my own venture to using my knowledge to help other entrepreneurs succeed in theirs.

Again, I now work in the Women’s Business Center at CEED where we empower women to succeed. In fact, we have a huge fundraiser coming up in October called Over the Edge where people in the community have a chance to rappel off of a building here in Fayetteville to celebrate a milestone such as opening a business or a personal accomplishment.

I love to celebrate the success of others and I’m so proud of the entrepreneurs in this community.

If I could tell you anything it would be: Your business will be your baby. Working for yourself is much harder than working for anyone else. You will have to be very disciplined to make it flourish and get it to a self-sustaining point. It’s entirely doable, but you have to know going into it that

The moments of accomplishment will keep you going.

The absolute most exciting moment was getting that shelf-ready, packaged product on my doorstep. I literally cried tears of joy. It was such a journey to get to that point and took a great level of determination. It was very gratifying to have something I dreamed up become a tangible product.

So, is entrepreneurship innate or what?

For me personally, I have an innate need to create. Before I had a paint set I would paint on printer paper with nail polish. When I was in elementary school I spent a summer saving up for a Minolta camera. I wanted to take pictures and I remember being so curious about that art form. I’m stubborn about my curiosity. I’ll make it happen. I suppose that’s another innate quality, curiosity. I’m ridiculously curious.

Creativity and curiosity are a strong mixture for an entrepreneur to have.

When I’m not working I am playing with my daughters, cooking, creating art, dancing to Billy Joel in my kitchen, or working out. I also really like to clean. Like, a lot. Probably more than necessary.

Honestly though, I work alot. When I go home I like to read marketing books. I’m always thinking of the next project. Some may call me a workaholic but I just really love what I do and it doesn’t feel like work to me. Maybe that’s another quality of an entrepreneur, we don’t really separate work from play-it’s all play for us and we’re happy to do it even when times are tough. It’s kind of a way of life.

Someone once told me business is the greatest game in the world if you know how to play it. That really resonates with me. Now, as someone who thrives on creating, I have learned the hard way over time that without discipline, I can create all day and it will go nowhere. I could decide to paint masterpieces but if I don’t have the discipline to finish them or market them, it won’t make a difference and will remain an unfinished hobby in my closet. I can’t think of anything sadder than potential collecting dust. I’m guilty of it though.While discipline and creativity are two sides of the same coin, it is very difficult to have both of those elements and personally, I must remind myself everyday to keep a balance between the two in order to be productive. I have many ideas and I can easily get carried away with starting a million projects but I have to have the discipline to focus my energy.

I constantly fail at things. I’m always learning. I could always do better, do more. It’s learning to do things better and integrating that into your work that makes the failures stepping stones and not setbacks.

My advice to fellow entrepreneurs:

Figure out your “why” and write it big and bold where you can see it every day. That’s what’s going to get you through those days, weeks, and even months in the trenches of the start-up days. Remember why you did this and keep your eye on the bigger picture.I’m often asked if I could start another business, would it be the same? Definitely not the same. I don’t like to look backwards. The world is constantly evolving and what was needed yesterday is no longer relevant today. I don’t have any plans to start another business-I really enjoying helping others start their own. You’ll often see me around town helping photograph products and setting up collaborations. That’s my jam and I can see myself in this for the long haul.

Can I borrow your crayons? Moms-listen up!

Yeah, moms an artist.

…and the apple didn’t fall far.

Creativity is time consuming though and it turns out, so is being a mom of two

So naturally, I haven’t focused on really creating much since my kidos were born.

5 years ago.

#oops

About a week ago I picked my pencils back up and now I can’t stop. It doesn’t make sense why I haven’t been making time for it.

I mean, I’ve been just a little busy raising two kids. Just a little.

But now those little girls are getting older and I’m starting to come out of that up-all-night, diapers and sippy cups phase. I’m entering the school-age phase (which is surprisingly still full of tantrums…darn.)

Anywho-

One of my daughters loves to draw too. It’s really all she does.Last week we sat and created and talked and it was one of those unforgettable moments where I wasn’t vacuuming goldfish crumbs or playing referee between my kids.

I pulled out one of my “serious” drawings (which I never do for fear of juice spills or something crazy) but I gave it a shot and it worked. I was simply just sitting and creating with one of my favorite human beings on the planet.

I remember drawing at the coffee table when I was her age. As I got a little older I would use nail polish as paints and hairspray as fixative. I was always making something-usually a huge mess. I always felt the innate need to make something and my parents let me.

I could never leave a blank surface alone. Imagine being the parent of that. Just imagine. #sorrymom *insert magic eraser advertisement here*

I’m the same way though. I’ve always encouraged my girls to make something-even if it’s a mess.

The first time Noelle drew on the wall I was so proud of her drawing that I took a photo of it.

You guys, I took a photo. Who does that? 🤣

I was sad when it came time to move and we had to paint over it. I cherished her creativity and I wanted it to flow freely.

Like that time she was 1 and I gave her paints and a pumpkin. She painted it and then rolled it across the kitchen floor. I call it the great pumpkin paint disaster of 2014. She loved it.

I loved that she loved it.

I fully regretted that enthusiasm when Orchid was born and markers+our white walls became her daily favorite thing. 🤦🏻‍♀️ but hey, we got through it 👍🏻

So, art has impacted all aspects of my life without really realizing it – including how I raise my children.

I won’t give you some cliche about how you should make time to do what you love cause you know what?

Parenting is flippin’ exhausting and we ‘re all just doing the best we can.

I mean, somedays I’m just proud of the fact my girls have on matching socks 🤷🏻‍♀️ #win

In a perfect world would we stay up after they go to sleep and do what we love? Would we set time aside in the day? Would I sit down and color Paw Patrol coloring book pages with my kids every morning?

Sure.

But sometimes we’re just tired. Sometimes we need to get things done. Sometimes we don’t make time for ourselves. And sometimes hobbies are shoved in a closet for years on end because play dates and blanket forts are more important and that’s perfectly okay.

My advice: don’t forget who you are mamas. It might take 5 years but, someday you’ll be able to incorporate that part of you into parenting and it’ll be one of those moments that trumps many others.

Someday instead of crayons and coloring book pages it’ll be sketchbooks and pencils and you’ll realize how fast it really does go and how epic it is to show them what you love.

If your passion is skydiving though, I would recommend just doing that by yourself. Not all hobbies are meant to be shared 💁🏻‍♀️ #justsayin

Over the Edge

“I wish you would step back from that ledge my friend…la dee daaa”

That song is stuck in my head for the remainder of this day.So who wants to rappel off the Executive building for a great cause?You can rappel to celebrate a milestone.

Rappel to check it off your bucket list.

Rappel cause all the cool kids are doin’ it.

Whatever your reason, it’s going to be one of the grooviest things to hit downtown!

Register Here!

You will have your own page within the campaign to tell your story of why you’re going over and to fund-raise! You can invite friends, family, followers, your dog’s groomer, hair stylist, the lady at the grocery store you almost ran into with your cart,  whoever! Supporters can donate $2, $5, $48.65…whatever they want to put towards seeing you scale down a building like a boss.Your goal is to raise $1,000 in order to rappel. All proceeds go to poverty prevention programs at CEED. You are putting money back into the city we live in by doing something epic. How cool is this?

You even have the option to form a team to raise the money and pick one person on your team to rappel. This is a good option if you want to get involved and see someone specific go Over the Edge. This is also a great option because having multiple people raise the funds will be much easier to do!

Or

You can “Toss Your Boss” over the edge-employees can raise funds and if you meet the goal your fearless leader has to go over the edge…unless of course, they match what you raised in which case they can turn around a pick an employee!Overall, this fundraiser is meant to be celebratory. We want you to have fun, collaborate with others, and bring the community together.

The event is October 27th…Halloween weekend. (I’m thinking costumes!) (Okay I’m not just thinking it, I already bought mine)

If you want to support a great cause but don’t really want to do another 5k, shake things up and join in on the fun! This is a unique opportunity and no experience is needed!The event will take place on the Executive Tower in downtown Fayetteville. It is simple, just register, meet your fundraising goal, and rappel on October 27th!CEED is able to lead the way in economic development and poverty prevention in our area because of our community. For 10 years we have brought you an out of the ordinary fundraising event to support our poverty prevention programs and now we have the opportunity to celebrate the successes of all of our programs through our Over the Edge event.

For more information call: (910)-323-3377
E-mail: edgers@ncceed.org
Visit: http://www.ncceed.org/OTE

Tacos & Tribe Goals

Tacos & guac and a friend who doesn’t mind me stuffing my face and ranting with my mouth full 🤷🏻‍♀️

Count me in. When Chronic Tacos invited me up to Raleigh to check them out-I didn’t bat an eye.

I mean come on, it’s tacos.

And guac. 🥑

@dezi_gonz

Now first off-when you ask a friend to drive an hour and a half for tacos and she says yes-you know you’ve found your tribe.

I mean, priorities, am I right?

So we booked it up to Raleigh on a Friday in rush hour traffic (#fail)

But we made it!

We ordered a variety of food. We taste tested tacos and of course we had to try the Guac. And I mean, at this point margaritas just seemed like a necessity. We came all this way!

I seriously dig the variety of options-and that you can choose how you want to jazz it up (street style, baja, spicy, mild, etc) It was the bomb-dot-com.

This place definitely has a unique vibe-a dark dia de los muertos skull mural is contrasted with a light casual atmosphere. I like chill places that offer cool art to look at and things that spark conversation 👌🏻 With an order up front and take a seat situation, we felt welcome to hang and chat.

Overall, I would put it in the win column. They give tacos this out-of-the-box “cool” and I dig it 😎

If you’re in Raleigh, go check them out! They have a kids menu too 👌🏻

Oh and after we basically fell into food comas-we made the epic drive home. This meant taking it back to the early 90’s with some jams and talking about our glory days with some “I miss my kids nowsprinkled in 🤣 #momlife #amiright #mykindoffriday

Check them out