Archive for the 'Philosophical Musings' Category

End of An Era


May 5th, 2015

chef bio
Hello out there! It’s been way too long. I’m wondering if anyone even still reads this thing. Well, I’m still here. Though not online as much as I’ve been at other points of my life. A lot has CHANGED. It’s kind of cool for me to come back to this now. Who knew this blog was going to lead me on such an incredible journey. I mean, I was just trying to get healthier. And boy did I.

fuzzy guitar
When I started this blog, I was just your average girl. I had developed a lot of HEALTH PROBLEMS from a toxic exposure. It’s kind of a LONG STORY. I had worked in restaurants forever. I was in a band. I wasn’t feeling well. I just wanted to feel better. So I started a blog of figuring out how to eat so I could feel better. Little did I know that this was the beginning of a crazy adventure.


I started feeling better. And changing my diet was a really key component of that. I was inspired to learn more. I wanted to get better at it. I wanted to be proficient. I was spending all my free time making food. And I wanted time for other things in my life again. So I went to CULINARY SCHOOL (YOU CAN FOLLOW MY JOURNEY). It wasn’t so much a career move. I was just thinking I could maybe do some freelance catering gigs afterwards. And keep my day job. But the universe had another plan for me.


Shortly after I returned, I was in a serious CAR CRASH. I was in physical therapy for about eighteen months. A while anyway. I was pretty knocked out. It took a while for me to get it together. I wasn’t moving very fast. During that time, I started making products. It was mostly a physical therapy project at first. Something to work on while I was getting it together. I started making kale chips first. And those went well. But it was painful for me to make them. Because I had nerve damage in my shoulder. So I started making these cheeses. Dairy free cashew and macadamia cheeses. Cheeses that I could eat. For me. At the time, there weren’t really a lot of options out there. There was one company making them. DR. COW. And that was it.

cheeses
These little guys CHANGED MY LIFE. I am not kidding. It was like a movie. The cheeses took off. They started selling all over the country. I did a launch on KICKSTARTER when I finished physical therapy. And donations poured in from all over the world. I was in over my head pretty quickly.

julie and me
That’s when my partner JULIE came on the scene. She had been right under my nose the whole time. She had just sold her record store and had some free time. She can’t eat dairy either. So she was passionate about the cheeses and had been helping me make them. It was clear that things had evolved beyond me. I needed help. And the universe had put the perfect person in front of me. We found some investors, and BUILT OUT OUR OWN SHOP just for the cheeses in 2012. It’s been a whirlwind ever since. We’ve just been trying to keep up.

Julie and Sonny
Then, Julie became a mom. To the fabulous Sonny! We definitely had our hands full. But the cheeses never slowed down. They just kept growing. And we had to keep up.

heidi and me
That’s when HEIDI came into the picture. Heidi is a nutritionist/registered dietitian based in Seattle. We used to be roomates. Back in the day. She also happens to be the one who helped me get my diet on track. When I first got sick. She led the way for me. So the two ladies who helped me get back on my feet when I was down and out became my business partners. I can’t really think of a better foundation for greatness. Things have evolved a lot. In a very grass roots way. It’s funny. People often have the impression that we are a big business. And are surprised when I tell them how big our space is. And how much cheese we pump out. It’s been a labor of love. To be sure. My health has evolved a lot too. I’ve definitely had some ROUGH PATCHES.


Adjusting to the stress of running a business was a difficult puzzle to figure out. Luckily, I had some little CRITTERS TO SHOW ME THE WAY. It seemed like the more I adapted my lifestyle to work for me, the better I got. Despite all the stress and trauma. The way revealed itself to me.

cheese
Meanwhile, the cheeses just kept growing and growing. They did so well that since we started, a bunch of other companies with a lot more money have jumped in the scene. Now there are tons of products out there like us. We have been like the little engine that could. Just chugging along. While bigger companies have flooded the marketplace. A whole new CATEGORY OF PRODUCTS has emerged. There have even been articles in the press claiming that we have been following their footsteps. You can rewrite history in the press. And people will believe it. But I’m here to tell you that we are the REAL DEAL over here. We are the ones that sprang from a truly divine inspiration. We did the work ourselves. From the ground up. We’ve been here from the beginning. We may not be the biggest. But we have heart and soul. It’s frustrating sometimes. That not everyone sees that. But honestly, I’m just happy to have graduated to normal people problems. I am happy to be functioning in society again. Actually, I’ve gone way beyond that. I’m thriving now!

karyn's
Here I am now. I was getting ready to do a cooking demo at one of my very favorite restaurants. KARYN’S in Chicago. KARYN CALABRESE is an inspiration and an icon. And I was honored to do a demo at her holiday event last year.

So anyway, I’ve been thinking…That since this blog was about my journey back to wellness…And since I feel like I can say now that I’ve arrived…It might be time for a new era. So I’ve started a new blog. With my business partners, HEIDI and JULIE. A PUNK RAWK LABS blog. I’ve been posting over there lately. I might show up here again. Sometime down the road. But I think this is gonna turn into my personal blog now. And since I’ve become part of something larger than me, I’m embracing a NEW ERA to reflect that. Come by sometime and check it out!

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New Year, New Attitude


January 30th, 2014

pettles
Hello out there! It’s been so long since I posted. Does anyone even read this thing anymore? I mean…it’s kinda fun for me to look back sometimes and see what I was thinking way back when. So that’s mostly what it is for me. I feel like my attitude about things has shifted so much since I started this blog. Your inner life changes. And then your outer life changes too. It’s pretty fun to watch how things unfold. Well, it’s a lot more fun looking back. When you see the accomplishment. Instead of the obstacles. But I’m feeling pretty optimistic about 2014.

seward demo
Business has been nothing short of crazy this year. I mean really. Who woulda thought that dairy free cheese would take off so well. It’s really hard to believe most of the time. I keep thinking I’m gonna wake up and it’s all gonna disappear. But it doesn’t. It just keeps getting crazier. I’ve been managing to keep up. But there have DEFINITELY BEEN MOMENTS when I’ve wondered to myself WHAT THE HELL WAS I THINKING?

karyns
But mostly, I’ve been too busy to really spend very much time second guessing myself.

cheese
These little cheeses keep me in line. They have really made me stay focused. Just because I know that this is my destiny on this little planet. I know that this is what I’m supposed to put back. People have always thought I was a bit of an aimless soul. I’m not gonna lie. But I’ve always felt like I stayed true to my path. Not one that was already out there. Not the one I was supposed to stay on. But my path. And this is it.

ms market
So when I feel like giving up. These little tins of goodness make me remember what it’s all about. I mean after all, we are all just visitors here. Passing through. No matter how burned out I get. Or how discouraged. Or how inadequate I feel. Or how overwhelmed by my health. Or whatever obstacle is in my way. I have learned. Stay focused. Breathe. Keep pushing ahead. Stay positive. This is what change looks like. Don’t give up!

valley
I have been meeting so many amazing people on this journey. Like Katy here. Find her at MN VEG. Passionate folks. Who want to make a difference in the world. It is so inspiring to be around that. It can change your world. A little attitude adjustment can change everything.

mike demark
So many magical things have been happening. This is a little pic I snapped when THE CURRENT (our local radio station) came to the shop and FILMED THIS AWESOME VIDEO featuring CAROLINE SMITH.

oyasumi
I just want to say, it’s always hardest right before something magical happens. When you feel like giving up. When you can’t see a path forward. When you are completely anxietal because you can’t understand how in the hell you are gonna get to the other side of whatever is in your way. That’s when it’s really important to keep the faith. It’s always darkest before the dawn. I’ve been working through a bunch of darkness lately. Which is hard to see past. But I feel like I’m on the verge of something. Not sure what yet. But something big is shifting. I can’t wait to see how it manifests…

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Veganmania Aftermath


September 27th, 2013

packedup
We did it! Last weekend, KATY and I packed up a whole lotta cheese in the back of my car and took off down the road to Chicago for our first expo! It was exciting! It was high drama! It was a whole lotta folks! Good times!

earlybirds
We got there early and were all jacked up on juice. My boyfriend and I made 5 quarts of juice the night before for the trip. Here I am guzzling juice while setting up our booth.

buttonsOur NEW PARTNER, HEIDI, made these awesome buttons for our table. Pretty punk rock, right? I thought so anyway.
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level apparelOur booth was situated right next to LEVEL APPAREL, a Chicago based company that makes vegan apparel. I got a really cute onesie for Sonny. And Katy got a cool shirt. Here’s a pic of her HANGING OUT WITH UPTON IN IT. The crowd got pretty crazy pretty much right away. You could barely walk through the room at times. It was so busy! I kinda looked over at my neighbor from Level Apparel with a look of desperation around noon. He said, ‘Don’t worry. It’ll die down by 2. At least it did last year.’ Well, I’m here to tell you, it didn’t die down ever. It was a total mob scene. The whole time. In a good way. But I was wiped afterwards.

north coast organics
Across the way from us was NORTH COAST ORGANICS. They make the best body care products! I got the most amazing deodorant and chapstick. Just in time for the cold weather. It’s funny. They were right across the aisle from us. But I didn’t really see them until the crowd dispersed at the end.

beanfields
There were so many people, in fact, that we ran out of crackers toward the end. We must have given out around 3000 samples. I’m not even kidding. Lucky for us, the good folks at BEANFIELD’S gave us some chips to sample on when we ran out. You should try these. They are yum, for sure.

samples
We did samples of cheese on crackers. And we also made some fancy caprese salads (which I am hooked on right now). My boyfriend just filmed a video of this recipe yesterday which I hope to have up by next week. It’s a good one!

caprese cup
The mini caprese cups were a huge hit. Guaranteed mob scene while we were sampling those. It was pretty hard to keep up even.

sample table
It was so lovely to meet so many people and hear so much positive feedback. It really was a great day. We even got a shout out on NATIVE FOODS CAFE’S BLOG! How cool is that? They’re pretty big time!

booth
My one fatal error was that we didn’t bring any way to accept credit card payments! Doh! Not sure why I didn’t think of that. But if definitely came up A LOT! I was a little bummed with myself over that at the end. Lesson learned, I suppose. All in all, it was a super fun day. Met lots of people. Learned lots of lessons. Met lots of cool vegan vendors. And I am still in recovery mode. Looking forward to the next one!

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Greetings From the Cheese Cave


August 18th, 2013

cheese
Hello out there! How are you? It’s been so long since I’ve seen you.

I’ve actually been having this conversation a lot lately. Just where exactly have I been? Unless you’ve been at the lab, you probably haven’t seen me lately. Not many people have. I’ve been in a cave. I’m not even lying when I tell you that I’ve gotten letters in the mail from two of my doctors wondering where I’ve been. I haven’t had time to keep appointments, be social, fix my hair, do my taxes, or even go to the doctor. This last year has been FULL ON CRAZY.

shopThings have been going well at the shop. It’s running pretty smooth. But I have to say…It’s taken it’s toll. I’m pretty wiped out right now. A week ago, I took a week off from running cheeses because I was so exhausted. I pretty much slept for three days. It was kind of a sign, I think. I’ve been SUBLIMATING a lot of my personal needs to keep this thing going. And I feel like I’ve been doing a good job. But I’ve been going above and beyond for a while now. It’s really starting to make me feel taken for granted. My boyfriend keeps telling me I need to make a change. That this has been eating away at me for months and months. But change is always a tricky proposition.

hrae at shop
The truth is that this is real life. Sure. There are challenges. But there’s a lot more right than wrong. We have such a beautiful collective consciousness brewing at the shop. Everyone who works there is so cool. I just love being there. I love what I am doing. I love the people I am doing it with. And I’m really proud of what we’ve been putting out. But I will admit, it’s a lot. Starting a business is hard, hard work. I’m not gonna lie. And you know what else is really hard work?

sonny and mama
Motherhood! My partner, Julie, just gave birth about five months ago to the apple of everyone’s eye, Sonny. He is quite the thinker. He spends a lot of time deep in thought. And he has a lot to say. Plus, he’s pretty cute.

As you might imagine, we’re a little overwhelmed at the moment. A good problem to have. Business is booming. And although theoretically we’d like to be growing faster. The reality is that we’re going about as fast as we can go.

Some people might call this a difficult situation. And to be sure, it is. But this company was born out of DIFFICULT SITUATIONS. That’s kind of what we’re GOOD AT. The one thing I’ve figured out from all of this is that difficult situations are blessings in disguise. They are spiritual journeys to a better you. We just have to honor them for the lessons they are bestowing on us. And move through them. We have to be honest with ourselves about where we are falling short. And we have to be open to possibilities. When you hit the wall and think you can go no further, remember to stay open! That’s where all the magic is.

Right now, I am learning a couple things. Most importantly, I’m learning that despite the amazing miracle that I’ve been experiencing for the last year, I am only human. I have limits. And I reached mine a ways back. And number two, I am learning to be humble and ask for help when I need it. Ask and you shall receive. A creative solution to my current conundrum coming up! Stay tuned…

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No Wrong Answers


June 5th, 2013

aiko and meHello out there! It’s been a while since I posted. I kinda had to take a step back for a moment and recalibrate things. But I’m doing a lot better these days. Thanks in a large part to what my friend, Janice, calls pet therapy. These little critters have taught me a lot about balance and where to find it.

crybabyWhen I start going off the rails, they sure let me know! This is Aiko. And she sure has opinions about things. But I swear that her sweet little purrs are healing me. The last time I checked in, I was not in the best place. But things have come a long way since then. My business partner is back from maternity leave. And I’ve kind of got things functioning a little smoother at the shop. But beyond that, I think there’s been a big internal change. An attitude shift…towards something more empowered.

Admittedly, when scary symptoms start coming up, I think a person is naturally inclined to run to the doctor.  To try to find an answer. And that has pretty much been my approach for the last seven years. But truth be told, that approach has been FRUSTRATING ME. I mean, let’s face it. Our healthcare system is DYSFUNCTIONAL. Everybody knows that. And it’s getting more expensive by the hour. Nobody knows how much anything costs. And there’s not a lot of internal incentive to be efficient. So a person with a mysterious chronic health problem that nobody understands can easily rack up some big bills and not have a lot to show for it. And I’m not gonna lie, I’m not independently wealthy. I mean, who is? And if I keep going the way I have the last seven years, I’m gonna end up broke and probably, if I were to be completely honest about my experience, not any healthier. So I’m thinking it’s time to shift gears. Change the way I’m looking at this problem.

gymnastCute little Aiko is quite the gymnast. She can get herself into some pretty odd defying places. And she has been inspiring me to look for solutions in places where they might not be obvious on first glance. Fresh eyes.

bookHere she is with my dad (who btw, is reading my friend, Janice’s book FREEDOM TO THRIVE: RECLAIMING OUR POWER TO HEAL). Don’t get me wrong, my doctor has helped me in a lot of ways. But I think the big shift for me is that the things that are happening in my body are scary. Unsettling at times. And I think when these things happen, a person wants to hear something definitive. They want to understand. They want to know what to expect. They want it to be well, less scary. But here’s the truth. The doctor can’t do that. Make it less scary. The only person who can do that is me. I feel like I’ve been hung up that there’s a right way to deal with a health problem. The ‘accepted way’. But there isn’t really one. We are all different. Different people will react to the same situation in different ways. Depending on all kinds of factors. Personality, will to live, support systems, luck, the position of the sun on the day you were born…whatever!

eco-liciousAs my friend, Joshua, would say…’This is my movie!’ I get to decide how it ends. Hell. I get to decide the whole damn plot. And this movie is not about a sick girl who gets beaten down by the world. Hells no! I mean, let’s be real. I don’t have time for that. I’ve got a business to run. (Cheeses at ECO-LICIOUS in Charlotte).

perelandraAnd in cased you missed the MEMOS, things have been BLOWING UP! I mean, things have gotten SERIOUS! (One of my yoga teachers sent me this pic yesterday from downtown Brooklyn – at PERELANDRA!)

noochIf this kinda situation even happens to a person, it only comes around once in a lifetime. You have to seize the day! (NOOCH in Denver).

harley raeThis is Harley Rae. She’s been teaching me a lot too. Especially about seizing the day. This girl has no fear! (Just like YOKO SHOWED ME).

harley raeI’ve definitely been pushing my body to it’s limits lately. But the thing I have to remember. My new mantra is, ‘I’ve got this!’ This situation was tailor made for me. By me. I just need to hang on to the reins. And not be in such a hurry to give them up when I get overwhelmed by some moment that will pass. I need to just chill out and get things back into balance.

lovey catSo that’s pretty much what I’ve been up to. Getting back into balance. And it seems to be working so far. At least, the HIVES have been getting better. So yeah. Bring it, world! I’ve got this..

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No Sleep ‘Til Brooklyn


March 28th, 2013

nooch
Woah nelly! Things have been crazy around here. So crazy that I haven’t had much time for posting lately. I have really been keeping my head down and my nose to the grindstone. In a way, I think being sick is really good preparation for starting a business. Looking forward, it looks kind of hopeless most days. Making the impossible happen. Looking back, it looks like a miracle. The hard part is keeping focused when you’re the only one who can see it. I think that learning to be zen in situations that are well, unpleasant, is what being sick is all about. Same with starting a business. You just have to keep busting through barriers despite how it looks on the outside. Keep pushing. No matter what. Until one day you look up. And you realize that you’re whole environment has changed. So anyway, our environment has sure changed alright. We are really starting to carve some marks out on the map of the US of A. We’ve been consistently selling out at NOOCH (an awesome vegan boutique in Denver).

park and vineI am continually amazed that the cheese has developed a following in places where I didn’t even know there was an audience for vegan products. PARK AND VINE is another new store in Cincinnati that has started carrying us. Who knew that Cincinnati was such a hotspot for vegans! I admit that in the beginning, I thought nut cheeses would be too weird to fly in the midwest. Man, was I ever wrong. (My boyfriend who incidentally is from the Midwest is quick to remind me of this).

brainer
The cheeses are even selling in Brainerd, MN at the CROW WING FOOD CO-OP! Brainerd is a fairly small town in central MN. Not exactly where I’d expect to find a hotspot for vegan fare. But that just goes to show how much I know. Thanks for schooling me, Brainerd!

wheatsville
WHEATSVILLE in Austin, TX is another store that has been selling a ton of cheese. I actually went to college in Austin. So it feels pretty satisfying to reconnect with the city.

vegan haven
I used to live in Seattle too. Home of VEGAN HAVEN. Another hotspot for our cheese.

mckinleyville
We even made it out to Humboldt County, CA! We’re at McKinleyville Central Market there.

malt and mold
And of course, New York City! That’s where it all started for us. And it’s kind of an epicentre for us. We have several new stores there. MALT AND MOLD is an amazing beer and cheese store on the Lower East Side.

high vibe
HIGH VIBE is an amazing raw and vegan boutique in the East Village. I think it’s in the East Village anyway. I’ve been corrected on my NYC geography a few times.

perelandra
Last but not least is our newest store. PERELANDRA in Brooklyn. This is a really new development. Like, today new. We’re really excited about this. In fact, if you go there now, they should have some free samples of the cheese to try. I think they might also have the best deal in town on the cheeses. Definitely check it out.

Needless to say, we have been really really busy. I have pushed my body to it’s limits. And beyond. I’m hoping this new development is a sign. No Sleep ‘Til Brooklyn! But now we’ve arrived. Brooklyn! We are in your hood! What happens once you get to Brooklyn? Two days of sleep? That sounds good. Maybe this is the start of a kindler, gentler era of growth. Because I am having a monster flare-up right now. But I digress. There will be a whole other post about this tomorrow. Wanna know how to start a business with no money and chronic health problems? Well, I’m still figuring that one out myself. But I’ll tell you’ve what I’ve learned tomorrow…

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California Dreaming


August 19th, 2012

chinatown
Just got back from the most amazing trip to California. It’s funny. For years, things were so UNDER THE WEATHER, that I was mostly just TREADING WATER…just kinda hanging on and waiting for things to get better. But lately, things have been CHANGING DRAMATICALLY. It’s pretty wild. It’s so surreal that I keep thinking I’m going to wake up. But I have pictures. So it must have really happened.

rainbowI actually hadn’t intended for this to be a business trip. I just went out because my boyfriend was doing sound at OUTSIDELANDS FESTIVAL which was pretty amazing in itself. But since I was in town, I figured I’d stop by RAINBOW GROCERY, the store that’s been carrying our cheese. Can I just say how much I love Rainbow? Here I am at the entrance. Rainbow is an amazing worker owned cooperative there, and this is the original collective that started it in the 70’s.

gordon edgarThis is Gordon Edgar. He’s the cheese buyer there. But he’s also a celebrity. I didn’t realize this at first.

cheesemongerI wasn’t aware of this until my neighbor, Erik, pointed it out. He was asking me if I was catching a lot of resistance and flak from dairy folks about my cheese. And I was like, ‘Actually, not so far. There’s this guy in San Francisco who’s a dairy cheese guy who’s been super supportive. And since he’s not really a vegan, people seem to be listening to him.’ And he was like, ‘Oh yeah? Who is it?’ And I said, ‘This guy, Gordon Edgar. He wrote this book called Cheesemonger.’ And Erik was like, ‘GORDON EDGAR?! That guy is famous. He’s like the Anthony Bourdain of cheese.’ One thing you should know about Erik, he’s not vegan and definitely not of the audience that my food would attract. But he’s a great drummer. Coming from Erik, this seemed pretty significant.

cheese section
And it was. Rainbow sells an amazing amount of cheese. I mean, I’ll literally ship them an order, and they’ll run out in a few days. Gordon even showed me that we have our own clipboard. Because they’ve been keeping a waiting list between orders. It’s crazy! Here I am in front of our cheese display.

veg news hqAfter we stopped at Rainbow, we decided to drop by the VEG NEWS MAGAZINE HEADQUARTERS which is actually really closeby.  I wasn’t actually thinking of stopping by.  But the night before, we were having dinner with our friend, Joslyn.  And I was talking about how great Veg News was.  And she said,’You should stop by and say hello.’  And I thought, ‘You know.  That’s actually a great idea.  I hadn’t even thought of that.’  But it’s not something I would normally do.  Being a little nervous about things like that.  Well, when we got home from dinner there was an email from Veg News.  Saying there was a new issue coming out next week that I might want to take a look at.  So that seemed like a sign.

editor's pickThe next day, we stopped by. And what an amazing moment that was. They had the new issue, and it was hot of the presses. Not even on newsstands yet. It should be coming out this week actually. There’s a taste test in there. Comparing our brand with Dr. Cow’s and Daiya cheese. These are two much bigger and more established companies. Our brand got the editor’s pick! I couldn’t believe it! What an amazing day. I’ve been on cloud nine ever since. I even came home to a letter that I was being audited. And that didn’t even bother me. It apparently looks fishy that I didn’t make any money last year. I wonder if anybody at the tax office has ever had a health crisis? Because I think it’s pretty par for the course for it to eat up one’s income. Especially when you lose your job as a result. The numbers just don’t add up. I mean, everybody seems to know that except the IRS and the insurance companies. Right? You’d think they wouldn’t add more trauma to a bad situation. But anyway, I digress. Because even the IRS can’t stop me now! They might be able to bring down the mob. But they can’t bring down a girl on fire!

null
On a side note, there’s still a couple weeks left to vote for the VEGGIE AWARDS. We’ve been nominated in the ‘Best Vegan Cheese’ category. We are up against some pretty big guns that are literally available in every store. So, it’s a little like David vs. Goliath. But you never know. Stranger things have happened lately. So, please vote for us!

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Punk Rawk Labs, Inc.


July 19th, 2012

new shop
Well, in case you haven’t gotten the memo, Punk Rawk Labs is undergoing some big changes at the moment. Things just kind of BLEW UP RATHER SUDDENLY after our OFFICIAL LAUNCH. I’m in awe of the craziness that can ensue in this beautiful world if you remain open to change. I’m talkin’ straight out of the movies! I mean, a few months ago, I was literally destitute. My health problems had wiped out everything. I literally had no money, and I had lost my job due to my injuries. A lot of people had given up on me. Even members of my own family. But I’m happy to say that times have changed…
My cheeses started selling like crazy. All over the country. There were so many orders that it was way way beyond what my limited capacity body could handle. It was clear that something needed to change and fast. An unsettling moment to be sure. But a few good friends encouraged me to stick it out, hold on tight, and ride the wave. And now, just a few months later, I’m happy to announce that some very exciting developments have taken place!

julie
Punk Rawk Labs has now become Punk Rawk Labs, Inc. In order to meet the demand, it became necessary to expand production of our product line. Enter, my new partner, Julie. Here she is in front of our new shop. Julie is the perfect person to help take PRL to the next level. She’s an entrepreneur. In fact, she’s the former owner of HYMIE’S VINTAGE RECORD STORE on Lake St. here in Minneapolis (which incidentally was dubbed one of the 30 BEST RECORD STORES IN THE US by Rolling Stone magazine). Currently, she works in the food business.

seward
In fact, she just yesterday gave her notice at the SEWARD COOP where you might remember that I taught a CLASS WHEN I FIRST RETURNED FROM CULINARY SCHOOL. Julie actually helped me with that class as it was just a few months after my ACCIDENT, and I was still on crutches. In fact, I was actually on my way to a BBQ at Julie’s house with a bin full of kale chips when I got in the accident. Seems like the universe was trying to tell me something. But the universe didn’t stop there! At the beginning of this process, you could say I was pretty riddled with anxiety. I had to raise a lot of money to make this happen. And at that point, I really didn’t have any idea how I was going to do that. My friend Janice, who incidentally is a very talented healer (and creator of the FOUNDATIONS HEALING SYSTEM), told me to start taking a walk every day. That there was some place nearby where I would find the answers. And I would know it when I found it.

hanjin
Well, before long, I found myself walking every day to the train tracks near my house. There’s a big switchyard nearby. It’s kind of famous among those who like to jump trains. But I kept going to that spot. I think because it felt like I was connecting to something larger than myself. I was fascinated by the idea that there was a time when the trains were bringing all the information from the outside world. One thing I kept noticing there were these ‘Hanjin’ cars. And they really stuck out to me. As when I worked in Seattle, I worked at a seafood restaurant right on the pier of the Puget Sound. And these huge boats with these ‘Hanjin’ cars were always floating by.

penta

Well, interestingly, there was another party that was interested in helping with PRL’s expansion. A tech company from Korea called Penta Systems Technology based in Seoul. I got connected with them through a friend from childhood. We played violin in the orchestra together. Went to junior high, high school, and college together. And in fact, she lived across the street from me in college. And now, she is the Vice President of Penta. Small world, right? It gets smaller. A few weeks ago, I went to ship a package of kale chips to her to try. And she said, why don’t you ship them to me at work? I said, ‘Sounds good. What’s the address?’ It turns out that her office is located in the Hanjin Shipping Building in Seoul. Can you believe that?! The universe had spoken again! From the other side of the globe!

new windows
I am very happy to announce that Punk Rawk Labs has formed what might be described as a multinational corporation. And I am now the CEO of that corporation! Talk about a dramatic turnaround! I have to say, I can hardly believe it myself. It hasn’t really sunk in yet. I am so very honored to have joined forces with Julie and Penta Systems Technology to form a new improved Punk Rawk Labs!

wet tile
Our new shop is still under construction. But the buildout is coming along. In fact, it might be done as early as this week.

tile
The tile has been laid. Some beautiful grey quarry tile in accordance with state and local codes for commercial kitchens.

rubic
The walls have been painted. Well, at least some of them anyway. We still have a few to go.

amber
We’ve even had at least one celebrity visit so far! Here I am with AMBER SHEA CRAWLEY (fellow MATTHEW KENNEY ACADEMY alum) and author of best selling vegan uncookbook, PRACTICALLY RAW.

practicallyI am feeling so happy about the next phase of our development. It really feels like the right people in the right place at the right time! There are so many amazing coincidences bringing this thing together at the moment that I am just soaking up every moment. Karma really does happen! And it is so freaking beautiful, that it might just burn my eyes. I am so looking forward to having some free time so I can try out some of Amber’s recipes! Free time!  It seems like such a far away concept.  :)  But it is coming soon to a theatre near me!  I’ll keep you posted on what develops…

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Vote for Punk Rawk Labs!


June 24th, 2012

kickstarter
Hello out there! It’s been a while since I posted. Things are in flux here. Big time! It all started innocently enough with my OFFICIAL LAUNCH CAMPAIGN on kickstarter. I was just trying to raise enough money to buy equipment to make enough cheese to pay my bills. But somehow that’s NOT WHAT HAPPENED. Not exactly anyway. I mean…don’t get me wrong. I did raise the money to buy the equipment to make small batches of cheese. But then, it just kept going…and going…and it’s still going!

I started selling cheeses ALL OVER THE COUNTRY. Not just selling them…

selling out
…selling out of them! And fast. I can’t keep them in stock. I can’t make them fast enough. And the orders just keep coming. And coming. Success is a beautiful thing! It’s hard to believe at times that this is happening. Though it does bring on it’s own unique issues.

kale 2As many of you are aware, this business was born out of a recovery from some serious health issues. And as many with health issues can attest, it’s a very financially draining situation to recover from. Not exactly the ideal situation for starting a business (which generally requires a lot more financial stability than a medical drama is really conducive to). At the same time, there’s never really an ideal time to start a business. And at the end of the day, you just have to decide. Am I going to make this happen? Or aren’t I?

new shop
So I’m going out on a limb. The next step is to get caught up on orders. And in order to do this, I need a space which can facilitate the production. So that’s what we’re working on now. It’s requiring some creative financing. And it’s also requiring me to step way outside of my comfort zone. A personal growth situation, for sure.

stamp

I will keep you posted on my progress. But in the meantime, I’m one of many businesses that have applied for a $250,000 grant to expand. We could definitely use it! If you have a moment, would you mind going to THIS WEBSITE and searching for ‘Punk Rawk Labs’ and voting for us? We need 250 votes in order to be considered for the grant. Right now, we have about 30. So we could use some help! Thanks for your support!

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Food Fight! Grocery


May 20th, 2012

food fight!

Portland Peoples!! Good news! Our cheeses just got picked up by FOOD FIGHT! GROCERY in beautiful Portland, OR. We sent them four cases of our best flavors (unfortunately, only three of them got there. Thank you, post office!) plus free samples! Go on down and check it out!

nut cheeses
Mmm…Nut Milk Cheese! Check out the latest REVIEW OF OUR CHEESES HERE!

every dayAnd the good news is that if you can’t make it today, you can go down tomorrow. Because apparently, Food Fight! is open every F^&*ing day. So there you have it! In other news, progress on opening our NEW SHOP has slowed. Mostly due to the fact that I am having to continually relearn the lesson that I have LUPUS (OR SOMETHING LIKE IT). Ugh! I was really riding a wave, wasn’t I? Not sure what this means yet other than that train was moving too fast for me. And I might have to get off and wait for a slower one. Don’t know yet. I’ll keep you posted…

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