so this one time i went on a first date.
(you’re thinking this is going somewhere juicy and it kind of sort of is, but not really, regardless, keep reading, i promise it’s a good story and if you get all the way through and determine that it was actually not a good story, well i’m sorry. i wish i could give you back those ten-ish minutes, so instead send me your address, i’ll send you your refund).
ANYWAY. that date. a first of many. at this place –serenity. i know, i thought we were going to a spa, too. just kidding, i knew it was dinner but hello, the name totally implies that we could be going to do some yoga and drink green tea and talk about our auras, right? (truth be told the name of the entire restaurant is serenity restaurant and lounge. so you know, my whole spa cover is blown anyway).
well after our fabulous evening, i wrote about our dining experience for Ask Miss A.com (also, remember how i write for that site? just making sure. i don’t talk about it a lot, more so just shamelessly post the links from my articles on my facebook profile. but if you need me to be better about letting y’all know, well, i can certainly take my shame to another level and post the links on here as well. whatever is most helpful…) here’s a link to said article.
ok, still with me? i know, i get lost trying to follow me, too, sometimes. anyway, aside from the fact that the article was a nice way to recap our date, it was also the start to something that has all but snowballed into the most magical of life chapters now almost two months later.
so the article about serenity restaurant & lounge was published on AskMissA.com on a tuesday. april 10th to be exact. that friday, april 13th i boarded a plane to tennessee (i know, WHO chooses to get on a plane on friday the 13th? not that i’m superstituous or anything). and as i landed in nashville to visit my sweet b (remember when that happened?), upon switching off my phone from its airplane-mode state, i found nestled in my inbox, an email whose contents have since kind of changed my life.
(that sounds so much more ominous-slash-lofty than it really is. but i assure you, the contents of said electronic correspondence have certainly enhanced my life as of late).
the email was from a gal who worked for alternative strategies, a marketing communications firm which represents a myriad of clients -one of them being (drum roll please), serenity restaurant and lounge.
see where i’m going with this?
her google alert had gone off with the mention of her client on Miss A’s site and upon reading my article, she just knew she had to contact me for a meeting (her words, not mine). i called her a mere hours later and we set up a time and place for said meeting. and from that day, until our eventual exchange exactly one week later, i was equal parts nervous and excited about the possibility of where this introduction over appetizers might lead. and then i proceeded to tell every single person i knew. obviously because a) i couldn’t contain my excitement, and b) i could really use as many people as possible praying for whatever was about to go down in seven days time.[side note: if i didn’t tell you personally, i probably meant to and never got around to it; as in, i probably got distracted by watching an episode of real housewives of orange county/atlanta/new jersey. but really that’s no excuse. my deepest apologies.]
and just like that it was friday of the next week and i found myself seated at a table at 2good2b bakery cafe patiently awaiting my professional “date’s” arrival. and two hours of chatting, praising, story-telling and gluten-free food sampling later and i had solidified what would become a blossomed business-type symbiotic relationship. the parameters? essentially i would be treated to complimentary meals at any of alternative strategies’ restaurant clients in exchange for a written review of my experience and a posting of the article on Ask Miss A.com; guaranteeing exposure for their clients and solidifying gratis grub for me (and for a plus one, too) almost any time my schedule allowed.
i know, my head was spinning, too. free meals ANYTIME i wanted?
and from that initial meeting, i received two more emails from colleagues of the first gal to contact me. these individuals had also read my review of serenity and were vying for the chance to meet me in person as well. and so, a coffee date here and a happy hour meeting there and i had soon forged relationships with three of the company’s marketing managers. and the even more awesome thing was, they were not only pretty fabulous people to know for my writing’s sake and most definitely for my stomach’s sake, they were (and still ARE) also pretty fabulous in their own right, too. as in, i genuinely enjoyed getting to know them on a personal level as well.
because at the end of the day, aren’t relationships -whether they be platonic, professional, or romantic -all that really matters? build a bond with someone and you never know where it will lead. and if i’ve learned anything in my almost 27 years, it’s that it’s seriously all about WHO you know and less about what is up in that noggin of yours. although, it is helpful to be able to spew out random celebrity facts-slash-popular movie quotes every now and again, even if only for the entertainment value.
but back to those comp’ed meals.
in a little less than a month, i have been fortunate enough to be the honorary guest at five local restaurants –2good2b, local habit, prosect bar & grill, sabuku sushi, and most recently, the new carlsbad location of miguel’s carlsbad, and was also recently treated to a complimenary spa treatment (and one for my momma, too!) at the bellus academy spa & salon. to say that this whole dining like a queen and having people fawn over your every request is surreal and completely crazy to comprehend would be an understatement. but that doesn’t mean that i haven’t tried to soak up every minute of it. and i think the fine gent that has accompanied me on two of the five dinner ventures has also enjoyed himself, too.
i tried to take it all in, the first time i ventured out to take these new gastronomical super powers for a spin. the location? local habit in the hillcrest neighborhood of san diego. from the asterisk by my name in the reservations book to the “reserved” sign on the table and the immediate change in mood in the room when my backside found its temporary residence in that wooden chair, i logged each detail in my memory banks. it was happening. this dream of mine was beginning to gain momentum in the most unexpected of ways. sure, i had never sought to become a restaurant critic; heck, before i started dating again, i hardly ever ventured outside of the pre-made food section of jimbo’s, but suddenly fostering a love affair for unique cuisine and well, the concept of dressing up and having a fancy dinner out, began to gain appeal. plus who was i to look a gift horse in the mouth? even despite my dislike for the equine. and duh, the food at local habit was like really really good.
but obviously it’s not really about the free meals, is it? i mean, it kind of is, obviously, that is one SWEET perk, but in all seriousness, what i’ve gleaned thus far from this whole experience is that jeremiah 29:11 is truer now than it has ever been. i never imagined how a simple dinner at an asian-fusion restaurant with a boy whose acquaintance i had made at an 80’s party back in the fall would somehow turn into all of this. that instead of pursuing my dreams, they would almost pursue me.
“zenbu,” of japanese origin, can be loosely translated to mean “everything all at once.” if ever there was a word that could correctly encompass my life at this present moment, it would be this five-letter noun. all of a sudden my dreams of becoming a freelance writer have received a steroid shot. that whole “woe is me” single plight seems to have been quieted for the time being, and well, things have actually picked up at work work, too. then there’s the whole showering, managing to make it to the grocery store every once in a while, keeping up with friends (i have been the WORST at this and i sincerely apologize), and don’t even get my started on that whole DVR issue (i don’t want to talk about it, i’m failing as a pop culture princess in a major way).
life is so overwhelmingly full right now that i literally have to schedule laundry, but you know what? i couldn’t be happier. and i know that all of it, every single last minute (pronounced “my-noot” instead of “min-it” like the measure of time, silly homophones) blessing has been so graciously bestowed upon me by my incredible Savior.
jeremiah was a bullfrog (was a good friend of mine… i’m sorry but i had to), but he also was a prophet in the old testament. and within his namesake’s chapter in the Bible lies a verse that, though seemingly cliche, has always been a huge comfort for me and my family.
“for i know the plans i have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
and i can’t help but think it all circles back to the same sentiment i captured in a post and published the other day. that for so long i was determined to pen my own life’s book; to the be author of this really really good screenplay of which i’m the lead role. and how that really got me no further than well, 27 chapters (or pages?) of a really really good screenplay of which i’m the lead role. except the fact that no director or production company has yet to offer to pick it up for further execution (wah wah).
and before i get into this weird script/movie metaphor and confuse y’all and even myself, i’ll end with this:
i contemplated on whether or not to even reveal this story, this obvious tooting of my own horn (i mean, i kind of do that a lot, don’t i? so it’s really nothing new), to my flock of loyal followers (and some who may just be stopping by today, and to y’all, i say, “hello! welcome!” come on in and make yourself comfortable!”). but then i realized that when there are exciting things unfolding in the life of my nearest and dearest, and even some not as near and dear, i want to know about it. it brings me great joy to share in the triumphs of others; to offer high fives, fist pumps, and happy dances in celebration of another manifested blessing. so with that said, i thought maybe you’d like to join me on this happy train to “how is this my life?”-ville. because i’d love to have the company and well, if you play your cards right, perhaps you, too, could be my plus one to some of the city’s most fabulous restaurants. i am not above bribery, apparently.
so dream big. and pray hard. and God is going to fulfill those dreams and answer those prayers, or He may just blow them both right out of the water with something new entirely. either way, take a cue from jeremiah and be affirmed in the fact that the Lord has a plan and a purpose for your life; it is bigger and better and more awesome than anything you could have originally thought and simply knowing this alone will give you the hope, strength, and patience to leave the future-writing to Him from now on.
besides, His handwriting probably looks WAY better than yours (i imagine it to be calligraphy-esque). just saying.
p.s. like the entrees at local habit, the food was indeed documented at sabuku sushi night and at miguel’s cocina as well, and it would be a travesty not to expose you to these culinary mugshots…
p.s.s. this whole writing recaps of my culinary adventures has also played an integral part in the reason for my semi-blogging hiatus. i feel much better now that y’all know the reason for my neglect. it really isn’t you, it’s me. hopefully i’ll hire a clown who can teach me how to juggle all of these balls i currently have flying around in the air above me (there are so many jokes, but i will refrain). but until then, i’ll keep posting what i’m wearing (whoops, not today!) and i’ll check back in when i have a really funny story to tell. or a story about how i ugly cried because that seems to hold some entertainment value, too. love y’all. mean it.