Thursday, November 17, 2011

found post from sunday feb 21, 2010

over two and a half years living in new york city, more specifically brooklyn and it's finally starting to become home. i'm not sure when this happened but all of a sudden i wake up and realize how much brooklyn feels like home. i can't begin to describe all the scary exciting fantastical events that have happened since i moved to new york on july 17, 2007 (yes, i remember the exact date!). it's been a roller-coaster ride that could have ended tragically but luckily took a turn for the better and here i am to write about all of it. maybe, eventually, i can say it's the start of a book. maybe, more realistically, just the start of a blog to add to the gadzillions of blogs already floating around in cyberspace.

this past friday, february 19th was our health inspection with the nyc department of health and mental hygiene. sounds very official doesn't it? well, it was and finally we get the official stamp of approval to open our doors to real live (hopefully paying) customers. little skips, the physical location, has been a long time in the making. blood, sweat and tears are just a little of what went into getting this place ready to open. it's like a huge boulder has been lifted off my shoulders. friday was surreal. i massed texted everyone after the inspectors left, shook my hand and said in reply to my 'when can i open?", "you can open right now." henry jumps for joy and half jokingly runs in circles to find something to sell. maria-diana ends up being the almost first customer by buying a nasty cup of maxwell house home styled brewed coffee. she said she wanted to be officially the first paying customer. that she gets the title. those maxwell house coffee from family dollar days are gone now. our shiny La Marzocco espresso machine gets installed monday by the technically talented tommy gallagher at counter culture coffee who so happens to live in the neighborhood. i talked to the guy from launch stalker today and we are posted on his blog site.

friday ended up as a nice celebration day. it started by being taken to lunch. i ate at life cafe with maria-diana, chris and josh mccutchen. i treated myself to the life burger, medium with lots of katsup. mitch and mollie stoped by after and brought me flowers and frambois. ohhow they sound perfectly matched like you should always have flowers with frambois. dalton was next to stop by to help with designing our logo. i got faith in this one. the logo feels close. now we just sit tight and wait for the first binary encrypted draft of our logo. i guess my doodling and hand drawn creatures weren't making the cut according to henry. he's right. this is not my forte.

later, henry's friends came by, both named adrian, which i dont' know if i'm spelling it right because i think it's one of those names that can have at least 8 or 9 spellings. one adrian is going to do an art piece on a couple walls in little skips. we discussed. adrain got on a ladder and commenced doodling with a mechanical pencil he just got from family dollar after he refused henry's more official fancy drawing pencils he probably got from the craftsupply store.

finally, the little skips family showed up for the grande finale. i had a lot of fun just 'staying in' on a friday night at little skips.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

happy anniversary lone wolf

tonight i attended the one year anniversary of our beloved neighbor new business, lone wolf. it's a bar. it's cozy and dim like a bar in the middle of nowhere should be. the best part of the decor is an old from-who-knows-when heavy metal refrigerator that i wish was mine. i was very happy for them.

sitting at the bar, i looked around and felt a warmth in my heart as i scanned the busy bar and thought about our own one year anniversary and how that was only 9 months ago and yet it feels like ages. getting to the one year mark was an uphill battle. in my personal census of the bar, i noticed so many faces i've never seen, it really hit me how much and how fast the neighborhood is changing. i guess gentrifying is the word people are using. the word gets a bad rap but it's a word that fits perfectly in a socio-economic phenomenon that's been occurring for decades in all major developing cities. and now here, it's happening right before my eyes. i feel like i'm watching a movie sometimes. i am now a historian of bushwick, or can be if i put in more time living here. what will it be like when the hood is no longer hood? what will bushwick be like a year from now, 5 years from now?

to me it's a little bitter sweet. before it was like a small town in a big city with quirky characters intersperced with rough hood folks and old local inhabitants that are the real historians of this small town i have grown to love. now, very rapidly, the influx of the gentrifying population pour in and we realize that this is only the beginning.

for business it is good. for all things, except for the people who have lived here before and who will be displaced due to raising rents. everyday at little skips, i notice more and more new faces. the new building across the street from the cafe seemed to go up in the blink of an eye. now i hear just yesterday that there are only two units left. there is another building a few doors down on willoughby that i hear use to be a mental hospital or nursing home (probably a little bit of both) that got shut down by the city for malpractice and abuse. it's big and scary and i feel bad vibes from it but i know this place, once it's converted in to apartments for the gentrifiers will fill up quickly as well. megan, one of our original customers who i believe also does real estate for the area says, "then you will be busy all day, everyday." oh boy....

Monday, October 24, 2011

excerpt from 'the speed of time' by myself

again i contemplate time. how strange and magnificent it is. it means nothing really but so much. time is how we all relate to life. like, when i was 5. or when i was in elementary school; high school. when i was in college, i was forced to behave like i was an adult but i wasn't. i had to do things at certain times, which meant i had to set an alarm for myself and wake up at unnatural hours in the morning. i had a job and made my own money (though i still got money from my parents for most of the big stuff like rent and car insurance). i received bills in the mail and had to mail them back in the enclosed envelope with stamps i got from my mom. i had relationships with boys and they slept over and we made dinner and drank wine and beers (before it was legal too). though all along, i was not an adult. society was just training me to be.

that was a long time ago. and now i still feel like i'm playing adult. but in this new game, i own a cafe in a big city.

to be continued...

Thursday, October 28, 2010

double rainbow

photo by Katarína Hybenová
he said "thank you for sharing the rainbow with time it will be a spaceship." this made me smile for so long. we saw a double rainbow today. double rainbow all the way...

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

8 months

eight months open. seems like much longer. it's still a roller coaster ride. still a baby. but now the baby is walking. or at least stumbling, fumbling. i'm beat. i fall asleep when i get home without even realizing how tired i am. i wake up in the morning or middle of the night in the same clothes i came home in. days mean nothing. time blurs so much hours and minutes make no sense. sometimes the two block walk home can seem like miles. i can imagine it's the same for henry, but he's younger, stronger or so we hope, because i'm getting old, quick. they say you are still a child until you have one of your own. i understand this now. i still feel like a child but like half grown. i guess give me another year and maybe i'll be a full grown adult. (not if i can help it).

little skips! oh how i love thee. it's coming into it's own. we have haters now so we must be making a mark. a yelp review i read today says "i don't like this place...i miss archive." well, get over it. love us or leave. or do yourself a favor and just love us. we love you still and mean you no harm my dear negative yelper. if you got to know little skips you'd realize it's magical here. it's beautiful no matter all the kinks that need to be worked out. but then again, it is my child so i'd love it no matter what.

i must thank all the beautiful people that come into skips. i am so lucky to have made so many wonderful loyal customers and great new friends. they make me feel normal. like i don't own a cafe. like i am just a regular little girl trying to make sense of this madness we call life. my heart explodes when i think about the wonderful people that come into the cafe. the meetings. the trysts. the lovers. the friendships made. the make-out sessions in front of the cafe. the dates gone wrong. the conversations our eyes have. the boy.

i love you charlotte, ray, frank, maggie, lena, shan, ty, autumn and eric, chloe, naia, joe, nicole, jenn, maria, emma, nicolas, rj, lee, james, gabe, gat, kat, andrew, mark, gordon and sauman, greg and colleen, archer, sean m, chris and rachel, who left today for the west coast to open up a super eco-friendly ice cream truck and who i'll never forget. they came in for the last time this morning to say good-bye and i seriously wanted to cry and truly realized i'd miss them. they are living the dream though. so in love, making their third cross-country road trip together. vermont, Connecticut, down the east coast and straight shot it to the grand canyon, because they've both never been. then finally settling in their new home, san diego. enjoy the sunshine. i promise to come visit one day, even if it's 5 years from now. just don't change your number chris.

greg, colleen and archer moving to east williamsburg. you will be missed as well.

luke had his 50's swing dance wedding reception party at little skips. frank, his album release party for photon dynamo and the shiny pieces. a fashion shoot. a commercial for mtv. a movie scene to be filmed here this friday. a short film scene for my girl erika, and liam.

harold. i still remember you. thank you harold. your mom is sweet. hope you are well.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

and the train keeps moving

it's been about 6 months now since i started the 'business' of little skips. before that, it was merely an idea floating around in my head, swirling around my life and my friends, who have become dear family. if fate exists, then maybe you can call it that. i never expected to be opening my own place this soon in my life. i say soon because it was only this past birthday that i woke up and realized i was 29 years old. i swore that just the other day i was 25! i think i was 25 for the last 4 years and no one bothered to tell me and i so conveniently forgot to add a year each birthday.

the last couple weeks we’ve shifted into high gear and are speeding towards the goal (at least the first one). each shift, at first, slows you down because you have to take those moments to decide, prepare, and finally perform the shifting. for a little while until the next shift, it’s smooth sailing. so now, finally, high gear. i really have henry to thank for the turbo boost. he’s brought to the table almost everything i was missing and essentially needed in order to succeed. this is what makes a good partnership in any situation in life. that and having aligned goals where both work together to achieve.

last week plumbing began and is suppose to finish this week. all of our coffee equipment has arrived and is now waiting patiently in their intricately packed boxes. I’m not afraid to go in our basement anymore. we have rooms built for storage and space to put our office. there’s been talk of a ‘speakeasy’ retail shoppe downstairs in order to fulfill our promise and share with everyone all the cool stuff we’ve found and love. but, let's not get ahead of ourselves.

today, henry and I went to our first auction at a restaurant going out of business. we got approached by our first scumbag auction hound that prays on newbies like us. I guess the deal is he uses his weight (literally, he was a big big guy) and experience in the auction biz to bid on stuff on our behalf. of course (joking) he always gets a better price with his skills and only charges us a 15% buyers fee and tax on each item we win, or better yet, he wins for us. it was a learning experience well worth the dollar I spent on parking for a half hour.

we also made out like bandits today at the salvation army which has been a gold mine for us. my idea originally was to make as minimal impact as I can with opening this business. I tried my best not to buy anything new if I didn’t absolutely have to. this made it a little more interesting since I had to find alternative ways get what we needed by reusing and recycling what we had and buying things ‘second hand’. this was hard with wood since most distributors I’ve found charge ridiculous prices for reclaimed or distressed wood. I basically bought some new and hit up a local woodshop in bushwick for their scraps as well and found scraps to pick up on craigslist. looking, back I realized after the fact that an alternative to buying new and that with the knowledge and resources I have now I could have made much less an impact. though I cannot go back and change what’s already happened and decisions already made, I can only move forward keeping the goal in mind. I feel like businesses cause the most detrimental waste impact on our planet. therefore, it is so important and necessary that business owners become aware of this and do their part to reduce waste and positively impact the community and ultimately the world around us. what makes it more tough is that if you are a small struggling business you really can’t afford to ‘go green’. this is where the decision has to start with the individual. this individual then carries it down to the business. not an easy task when you have to deal with government regulations while trying to stick to budget and producing minimal waste.

it was our second raid today and we got dishes, coffee mugs, sake cups (that henry had to have) colorful espresso cups, picture frames, pastry displays; basically, anything I could grab for a nominal fee. I love thrift stores so I was in heaven and having fun with it the whole time. I think I can call the nice lady that works there my friend now. she smiles at me real nice each time I’ve been in there. I think I’ll send her a ‘thank you’ card.

tomorrow. more plumbing work. the bar gets lifted up to prepare for the ‘taps’ that will flow golden goodness. we also need to find a single stainless steel sink which we’ve been trying so hard not to buy a new one but to no avail. this gets in the way of permits and signoffs and such. so again, there lies the dilemma in starting a business and trying to be ‘green’ when in business the unfortunate formula where time equals money, leaves us little room to play the game on our terms.

lastly, we still need a logo. I don’t want to settle for anything. I want it to be the right image to portray the idea of little skips. I’m thinking little monsters but I haven’t seen the right monster yet. so the search continues but I’d really like it to end soon where I’m smiling everytime I look at the logo, the little monster, the little skips monster.

Monday, December 7, 2009

enter henry.

it's been a while and i've been feeling the need to post an update on the progress of little skips but found myself too bogged down by all the nuances of the business. sometimes i forget that i am running a business, not just trying to bring to life my funhouse and food joint (aka cafe), but the past few weeks have driven that fact home.

going into this venture, i knew it would be hard and there would be many obstacles along the way but i never expected it to be this hard. i've lost count of the breakdowns i've had since i started. one time, i remember walking with rosie to little skips and just wanting to stop in my tracks, fall into a ball and scream 'make it go away!' then, i felt rosie grabbing my arm to hold me up screaming some form of encouragement.

so i kept going.

recently, i came to the realization that i could no longer make it on my own and the possibility of pulling out of the game and calling quits was all too real. enter henry. unofficially, my new partner. together, for about a month now, we're pushing forward. soon the major part of the build out, which is creating a functioning kitchen and installing the coffee equipment will begin. basically, once this is done and we get inspected by the health department, little skips should be ready to open, in a perfect world.

tonight i'm working on a response to an email from BushwickBK. i thought i'd share and use it as a chance to catch everyone else up as well.

1) Tell me a bit about yourself, where you're from, school, age, whatever you think is relevant or interesting. And how long you've lived in the neighborhood (if you do live here).
2) What made you decide to open a cafe, and why in Bushwick?

i'm a whopping 29 years old and hopefully a full 5 feet tall. i transplanted myself to east williamsburg from st. petersburg, florida in july 2007. i first lived along the L train and loved it. i moved to bushwick off the JMZ for cheaper rent early this year in february. bushwick has a strange charm and a dangerously romantic appeal, something completely different from the areas along the L train. soon after moving here i fell in love with the place. but after many days of wandering the new hood looking for a place to grab good food and a decent cup of coffee after one of those long nights (or if i was feeling fancy, a foamy cappuccino), i realized around where i live in bushwick was the perfect place to bring a cafe. i still think it was fate. random events occurring together at the same time to make something happen. there is change happening that is good for the neighborhood for sure. this is great for me since i plan to stay in the area for a while and want to be a part of helping to develop a sense of community. little skips is an idea more than anything. i want it to be where everyone is welcome and different people can share in common interests, spreading the love, creating the bonds. i know this sounds a little cheesedick but it's completely true and i'm working on toning the cheese-factor down ;)

i went to business school at usf in tampa and had random 'real' jobs but moved to brooklyn to be more creative (whatever that means; it just sounded nice at the time). i came for probably the same reasons as most other transplants. i wanted to take classes and work in film production, maybe do some acting, some writing. maybe in this dream world where i could sing or play an instrument, i would become a local rock star!

what i do know is that i love entertaining and being the 'little' hostess as my friends can attest to. we called our house the little skips party house and even got to host dave bazan on his house show tour. amazing! cooking was done multiple times a day, everyday. i still experiment with new recipes and am learning to eat healthier, cutting down a lot of processed foods and animal products. this is what i want to bring to little skips; the sense of community and learning to care and love each other and the earth. bla bla cheesedick ;) and so we move on...

3) Tell me about what you'll be selling there and how the interiors will be. And if you know what the storefront was before, that's fun info.
4) When will you be open for business and what do you expect your hours to be, etc.?

we will have coffee, hand blended tea by me, small plates, light dishes, salads, soups and sandwiches (including the overly famous banh mi which i grew up making and eating) as well as baked goods that we plan to get from local bakeries. i plan to have lots of vegan and vegetarian menu options but am not limiting the menu to just non-animal dishes. we will have wi-fi, fun and live music. we plan to open from 7am to 8pm and later once we've got our beer and wine license, realizing we might have to adjust hours according to customer needs.

we plan to open shortly after the new year *fingers crossed*