Archive for the 'Signs From the Universe' Category

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!

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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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Veggie Awards 2012


August 3rd, 2012

veggie awards
Hello out there! We’ve been pretty busy over here working on our new SHOP. But I got the most amazing news the other day. Apparently, we’ve been nominated for a Veggie Award! Can you believe it? I was kind of shocked. And I have to admit, the news came at the most amazing time (as we were hitting some big snags with the buildout…UGH! I will elaborate more on this later).

nut cheese
The skinny is that Punk Rawk Labs Nut Milk Cheeses have been nominated in the ‘Best Vegan Cheese’ category. VOTE FOR US HERE!

food fightThere are some other nominees that you’ve seen on this blog. FOOD FIGHT! GROCERY which carries our cheese in Portland, OR. They got nominated in the ‘Best Vegan Storefront’ or some closely related category (I already voted so I can’t go back and look at the categories, but you get the idea). NOOCH | VEGAN MARKET (from Denver, CO) was also nominated in this category. They don’t carry our cheese yet. But they will be carrying it very soon…like maybe once we get our new shop open. So keep your eyes peeled.

veganessentialsVEGAN ESSENTIALS also got nominated for ‘Best Online Retailer’. They took over our online orders once we started getting too many to handle. And they are actually the only online retailer to carry our cheese at the moment. So check them out!

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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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Critical Max and the Radio


May 10th, 2012

ampersThings are reaching a critical mass this week. In fact, it is so damn exciting that I am having a lupus flare-up. Spent most of today asleep. Just taking it all in. This has been the most incredible ride of my life. It’s very up and down right now. The big work/shifts are happening now! I vacillate between being overwhelmed by the impossible and being inspired by the impossible. It feels like I’m pushing a giant boulder up a mountain. But I am continually lifted up by all the beautiful people out there. THANK YOU!! I just got an email from another store. There are some people out there that are trying to help me! It’s crazy. I just keep hearing from stores saying that their customers are demanding my product! I can’t express to you how grateful I am for your help. It really keeps me going. I was so ready to give up today. On a lot of days. But that really keeps me going. Much gratitude!!!  You are making a difference to me.  And I am so thankful.

This picture is from a radio profile they did on me for 10,000 Fresh Voices (a program on KFAI).  Check it out HERE.

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I’m Bad, I’m Nationwide


May 9th, 2012

live live
Woah, Nelly! Things are blowing up these days. And it’s not just me. My boyfriend, Tom, sent me back this picture from LIVE LIVE AND ORGANIC. He was in town twice a couple weeks ago. Once to do sound for TBT at Webster Hall. And once for their surprise appearance on LETTERMAN! They did so awesome! So anyway, Tom checked on my stores while he was there. Things are going really well at Live Live and at One Lucky Duck! Cheeses have been selling so well at the One Lucky Duck Chelsea Market location that they are going to start stocking them at Gramercy Park too! And that’s not all!

rainbow
In my last post, I wrote about MY FIRST ORDER FOR RAINBOW GROCERY in San Francisco. This is a picture that was posted by ECOVEGANGAL (who just unveiled her new, improved site today!). OMG…Did those go over well! They got a nod in the SF WEEKLY and in VEGANSAURUS! Apparently, renowned author and cheese expert (not vegan!), GORDON EDGAR, was singing their praises. And since he’s not exactly vegan, people perked up!

sold out
I mean really perked up! They sold out in a few days. This picture was sent to me by my friend Jonathan. Crazy, right?

waiting
It gets crazier! I sent them another order last week. And apparently, 80% of that order (50% larger than the first order) was pre-sold via a waiting list! And the rest of it sold out in a couple days. So now they’re still on a waiting list! (Thanks to Gordon for snapping this pic for me. He likes to be called Gordon Zola…pretty funny for a cheese guy).

vegan essentials
The same thing has been happening over at VEGAN ESSENTIALS. They can’t keep stuff in stock either. And I’ve been adding new stores! Next order is going out to FOOD FIGHT! in Portland!

Needless to say, things are a little crazy! I’m feeling pretty overwhelmed. And I’m plotting my next moves….

new shop
…which speaking of, did I mention that we got our own shop?!! I just got the keys two days ago. Definitely overwhelmed!! But check out the video I made for PRL TV! It’s a TOUR of our new space! Crazy, huh?

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Rainbows and Crop Circles


April 13th, 2012

rainbow car
Well, things are moving along at a pretty good clips these days. It seems like magical moments are all around. Starting a business is fraught with impossible challenges. But lately, it feels a little like I have a rainbow beam following me around. I’ve just been tuning out the impossible. I just don’t pay it any mind. And I just keep moving forward.

mural
This week my rainbow beam is coming to me from the RAINBOW GROCERY in San Francisco, CA!!!! I have heard so many good things about this coop! From everyone I know in town.

kickstarter av
So I’m very pleased to announce that they are the latest retailer to start carrying my cheese!! The first order is arriving today. And there will be FREE SAMPLES while supplies last! Go on down and check it out.

crop circles
People keep asking me about my health. How am I holding up? Am I keeping it together? Things are going well. Aside from the usual funky displays of immune system dysfunction, I’m doing great! My energy is great. And I feel like I’ve finally rebuilt my blood enough that I’m not catching every bug that comes around.

dew drops
I attribute both of these outcomes to the high volume of WHEATGRASS I’ve been consuming very regularly. I think it’s also responsible for finally getting ahead of that dreaded CANDIDA infection that I struggled with forever.

octagon
These little crop circles on my arm perplex me. They are the oddest little octagonal shape. Perfectly reproduced. So intriguing. Not sure what that’s about. But don’t really have time to ponder it now. So I’ll just put that in a pot and throw it on the back burner. And I’ll keep you posted on how things develop…

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Akin’s and Chamberlin’s


April 8th, 2012

akin's logo
I am on a roll! It’s so funny. You struggle and struggle for so long. Feeling like nothing is happening. And then one day, there’s a drop that makes the bucket overflow. I don’t feel like things have changed that much. Day to day, it’s the same old slog. But all of a sudden, the impact of everything starts to change. What a beautiful thing!

This week’s new development…I got an email from Akin’s! AKIN’S is a natural food store that I shopped at when I was in Oklahoma. In fact, it’s where I did most of my shopping when I was in CULINARY SCHOOL. I got an email from someone on the new products committee! They want to review my product for consideration!

chamberlin's
This is really exciting! Not only is Akin’s a store that I shop at. It’s a chain of 14 stores. There are 8 stores in Oklahoma, Nebraska, Missouri, and Kansas. And they have a sister chain, Chamberlin’s, which is located throughout Florida. How cool is that?

store5
Looks like they’ve been around a while too. So this seems like a pretty promising development.

store 6
So…if you shop at any of these stores and are interested in getting your hands on some NUT MILK CHEESES, make a request!

http://blog.punkrawklabs.net/pics/2012/apr/akins/store10.gif
It very likely will have a big impact right about now!

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Good News…I’m FIRED!


March 27th, 2012

cheeses
More exciting developments! The other day I was doing an interview with a local radio station (coming very soon!!), and the question arose. What would you call yourself? Chef/Owner/Cheesemaker?

donaldI don’t remember exactly what I said. Something like Chef/Cheesemaker/Record Flipper/Former Shipping Specialist. I used to be a shipping specialist, but I fired myself. She thought that was so funny!  I guess it was kind of funny.  But I wasn’t kidding!  I really did fire myself.  Long story short…I ran a limited offer of my cheeses on my website.  And things quickly got out of control!  There were so many orders!  And shipping refrigerated items is well, kinda complicated.  I decided that I am ultimately better at making cheese than I am at shipping cheese.  So I got the axe.

vegan essentials
The good news is that VEGAN ESSENTIALS PICKED THEM UP! What’s more? They are great at shipping! So if you were mad at me for firing myself, mosey on over and say hello! I’m sure they’ll be glad to see you. 🙂

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