Wow – 3 Years Since My Last Blog Post

It’s been about 3 years since my last blog post. Wow! So much has happened. Covid and all of that craziness, opening our 3rd store in Santa Monica 1 year ago, and all the crazy ups and downs that honestly are pretty unbelievable.

I stopped writing my blog because as Yoga-urt got more popular, I would second guess everything I was writing. For example, if I share the true story of how one of my landlords doubled my rent during Covid after ignoring me for several months, would that get me into trouble. If I told you crazy employee stories, would that get me into trouble.

I was second guessing everything, even with my family and personal life as some of them read my blog. So I stopped. It seems too hard to know what is ok to share publicly and what isn’t.

I’ve been thinking for a few years that I eventually should write a book as this journey has been unbelievable in so many good and so many bad ways. And maybe I will some day.

The truth is, as much as I love Yoga-urt, I definitely have burnout too. Burnout from working a full-time job the first 3.5-4 years of Yoga-urt. Then opening a 2nd store. Then the Covid years. And now with a 3rd store too.

It’s a lot. I haven’t been on a vacation in like 6/7 years. We pushed through Covid and never shut down (and also never had a breakout thankfully). So the burnout is real but so is my love for Yoga-urt. I’ve just still not been able to find the balance I need in my life, but I keep trying.

I still want to grow Yoga-urt, and I’m taking some big steps now to see if I can do just that in 2023. In a way where it’s not all on me. Where I can hopefully grow my team too. The potential is exciting. It’s also scary but less scary than everything I’ve done before. So that’s kind of the latest.

As always, I’m so grateful for the love and support that Yoga-urt and I receive. We need it! It’s what keeps us going. I know Yoga-urt is a magical place. I wouldn’t have given so much of my life to it if it wasn’t. And it makes me so happy that it makes so many of you so happy. It’s such a beautiful thing. Thank you!!!

That’s me at our Echo Park Store 2022
Our Branded Bowls which we introduced 1 year ago
Yoga-urt Santa monica
Yoga-urt Santa Monica

My Epiphany

Another month has gone by as I still haven’t shared my epiphany.

So here it is. The last few years have been tough with opening the first store, working a full-time job at the same time, opening the 2nd store, tons of shit in between no one knows about, and dealing with a mother with 17 years parkinson’s disease and all the horrible effects of that which are ongoing.

But now, the 2nd store is open, both are finally fully staffed, I am now just focusing on Yoga-urt and I’m sick and tired of being rundown. I sound like a broken record. Yes it’s been tough and yes things are still tough – mostly with my family right now. But enough is enough.

It’s time I take control of it all. It’s time for some sleep. It’s time for some self care. It’s time for some fun! It’s time for some dating. And Goddess willing, it’s time for a vacation sometime soon. I deserve all of this and it’s up to me to make it happen.

This was my epiphany a month or so ago and so how have I been doing?

I’ve been doing okay, it’s a work-in-progress, but things are getting better.

I am getting more sleep. I’ve gone to a few movies, a few dinners with friends, a comedy show, even a Dodger game and a date.

To some this might not sound like a big deal but for me, it is.

This is just the beginning and I truly hope to continue to start having a life again. To balance a life with Yoga-urt.

I have to make it happen because no one else will. I have to set boundaries where needed and take chances where needed.

My family is a mess and it makes me very sad but I can’t let it destroy me as it has so much of the last few years.

So as I do what I can to promote Yoga-urt, continue to make it a special and unique place, and continue to grow it, I need to add in self care and fun wherever I can!

The In Between

My last post was about my mom’s scary hospital stay right after the opening.

Those few weeks were super intense.

And the month that followed was too. I’m trying to remember as it’s a bit of a blur. One horrible thing that happened is a few weeks after the opening, someone broke into my car by throwing a rock through the window and stole my backpack with my laptop. Yep, my computer was stolen. It felt like the universe was laughing at me. I never had anything like this happen before.

It was after a very long day of working at Yoga-urt, rushing to drop off pints at fedex, rushing to therapy, and rushing back to Yoga-urt to taste progress on our newest flavors.

I was computerless for like 2 weeks because i didn’t have time to get a new one. Thank god I had my iphone and ipad.

And then I had half my Glendale store take the week or two off over the 4th of July. That was fun. And then people called in sick that week at both stores too. It was pretty crazy and i obviously worked a lot at the stores that week, even on 4th of July. It was so stressful with everyone out and calling in sick.

And these last few weeks, I’ve been scheduling myself less in the stores as we’re finally staffed up…finally!

What I do now is basically – I’m the schlepper. If it’s not everyday then it’s every other day. Bringing things from one store to the other. Back and forth. Sometimes stopping at the market, or lowe’s, or picking up something somewhere and then back to the stores. It never ends. Thank god for instacart too!

That’s in addition to all the other things to keep Yoga-urt going.

But I had an epiphany during the last few weeks and I’ll share that in my next post. All I can say is it’s about time!

Two Days Later

My mom had a prescheduled minor surgery set for 6/11, 2 days after my grand opening.

It was already very stressful knowing this as my mom’s health is not very good due to 17 years of Parkinson’s Disease (PD) and she is on a ton of medicine. I was worried since we first found out she needed this surgery months before.

I wanted it no where no the opening for obvious reasons, but my opening was pushed out longer than I thought it would and the two collided.

My mom’s surgery was to remove a kidney stone. It was supposed to be an outpatient procedure, with her home that day.

I met up with my dad, her caregiver and case manager at the hospital in the waiting room while my mom was in surgery. The doctor had apparently already come out and said surgery went well as I got a text saying that. Some relief.

Then we were told we could go see her in recovery.

That is when everything turned and it was one of the most traumatic moments I have experienced.

I will spare all of the details because my family reads my blog, but from the moment we saw my mom, things weren’t right. Her whole body was shaking and everyone (nurses, case manager, me) were trying to give her the PD meds hoping that would help, but she couldn’t swallow. The fear on her face this whole time was intense. She was still groggy from the anesthesia too. Then she had a temperature. Then apparently someone yelled Sepsis (i didn’t hear but my dad did), and a team of nurses rushed to her.

All of this happened within like 30 minutes. Since we were in recovery, I was trying to comfort her, make sure nurses were helping, trying to figure out what was happening, and running in and out of the room to catch my breathe. I couldn’t watch. She was struggling and I felt helpless. My dad was doing the same. We didn’t know what was happening.

We kept saying she needs her Parkinson’s meds, and now they were telling us that’s the least of their concerns. Holy f*ck! What does that mean???

I stepped out of the recovery room when the team of nurses/doctors rushed to her. I could barely breathe. I was freaking out. I called my sister to tell her and she thought everything was fine because of the text we got just an hour before saying the surgery went fine.

I told her it changed. Things went bad in recovery.

I honestly didn’t know what sepsis was or how serious it can be or I probably would’ve completely lost it.

The doctor that performed the surgery came down and said she will likely be ok. Surgery still went well but this is just a rare thing that can sometimes happen. Somewhat comforting but not really.

We were told they were moving her to ICU. So we all went to ICU.

Sepsis is a full body infection that kills many people as organs shut down, but they caught it so early in her case, that they were able to give her strong antibiotics right away which is probably what saved her – the speed of the diagnosis and response.

She was in ICU for 3 days and completely out of it for most of that time. Doctors said that is normal with this infection and would likely go away once the antibiotics kicked in, in 48 hours. It was so scary to see.

And there are so many layers to this. No one in ICU knew my mom or her medicine routine for PD and more. They change 12 hours. But they learned as best they could.

The next big issue became her blood pressure as it was very low, almost dangerously low. On the 2nd day, they had to insert a line in her neck to give the medicine, but it worked.

The saving grace is my Aunt Sue was actually just a few hours away and she came and stayed for 4 days as we figured this out, which helped give my dad breaks from the hospital.

My mom was in ICU for 3 days and the hospital for 10 nights total. This was supposed to be an outpatient surgery. Craziness.

Remember, Yoga-urt opened 3 days before this happened and I was so exhausted from the opening push. Echo Park needed so much attention from me, but my mom needed it more. I drove an hour to see my mom almost every other day while she was in the hospital. I felt pulled in both directions.

Echo Park was understaffed from the beginning because 2 people quit – 1 found another job before we opened and the other found it too hard with her other job. Plus people were calling in sick a lot. And i didn’t have time to interview with all the running around.

It was a very difficult and emotional few weeks. I didn’t get a chance to enjoy the opening weeks because I almost lost my mom.

The good news is my mom has regained most of her strength back, but she wasn’t in great shape to start with due to 17 years PD and horrible and frequent off-times.

But she made it through this ordeal and we are figuring it out as we go.

Echo Park Grand Opening

We had our Grand Opening the following weekend but lots in between too.

I took the first part of that Monday easy trying to recoup from the big push. But there was still lots of media/PR stuff to deal with and prepping for all of our events before the opening.

We were closed on Monday and Tuesday, and then we opened for half a day on Wednesday.

Then on Thursday, we had our influencer/media night. Lots of prepping for that all day. It was another big opportunity to show Yoga-urt off. It went well overall.

And on Friday, I had invited all of our neighboring business owners and their employees in the area to come to Yoga-urt for a free mini. I did this at the Glendale location too. It’s a great way to introduce everyone to it.

All of this kept me busy all week. My dad asked why we weren’t open more days and the l answer really was that it was just too much for me. The new team members were still learning what to do so I would have to be there, and I had so much to do to prep for these events and the grand opening, I thought best to focus on that. Making money or my sanity? I chose my sanity that week.

And then it was our Grand Opening! It’s all a bit of a blur but it went well. A lot of people came but it was manageable. It was nice to see lots of familiar faces and so friends and family that stopped by.

The days were long but very rewarding. I could see that this is going to work. The store needed some tweaks and adjustments, but it works. We have the space, the equipment, the people to make this the functional store it needed to be 🙂

That doesn’t mean there weren’t issues. Two people called in sick…yes on opening weekend. Super stressful but we managed.

But oh my god was I exhausted after that weekend. It was 12 days of nonstop crazy to get to this point and now we did it. The store was officially open but that’s not the end of my struggle. More to come…

Echo Park Soft Opening

Throwing it back to our opening in Echo Park!

Last I wrote about it was how devastated I was by not passing health inspection in time to open for Memorial Day Weekend. I was so upset. My goal after the holiday was to sit at the health department until I got them to agree to come back out. And they did that Wednesday and we passed.

There was much relief but also anger that it took so long. And then thinking about all I had to do was overwhelming – so it was time to get to work.

Not only were we doing our soft opening starting on Saturday, June 1st, but the day before, Mercy for Animals was filming a video at the Echo Park store and there was also an event that I had agreed to be a part of on that Saturday! Who does an event the same day as their day 1 soft opening? Just me. I’m the crazy one!

On Thursday, we brought half the Glendale store to echo park. It was ridiculous but we did it. Had to get Echo Park looking like a functional place right away for the video. And then on Friday, we filmed the video. Thankfully I’m friends with the lead video person so it wasn’t completely intimidating but still had to make sure I spoke clearly and intelligently and everything looked good.

After the video, I had to prep for both our opening and the event. I had our soft opening start at 3pm so that I could get back from the event on time.

Was racing over there around 2:30pm and it was pretty emotional. I was excited, exhausted, and nervous.

And then we opened. So different than Glendale. I actually knew what I was doing. There were some issues with where to have the line and things like that, but overall things went well that weekend. Lots of regulars. Lots of new people.

It was a very exhausting weekend of barely any sleep, but it felt good and was such a relief to finally be open. To finally be making money. And to finally getting the chance to introduce Yoga-urt to new people!

Quick Summary For Now

There’s been no time to catch my breathe. I have so much to write about and so little time.

Here is the quick summary and hopefully over the next few weeks I can dive into each one.

Grand Opening was crazy but good. Exhausted from big 2 week push for opening. Two days later, my mom had a minor pre-scheduled surgery, almost died from sepsis, (was in ICU for 3 days and hospital for 10 days), My laptop was stolen out of my car so I was computer-less for about 2 weeks, we’ve been understaffed in Echo Park from the beginning with people calling in sick right and left, my family is a bit of a mess with my mom’s medical situation, 5 out of 8 of my cashiers/servers asked for the same week off in Glendale during 4th of July (with people calling in sick at both stores), popping lots of popcorn for our Blue Warrior/Cracker Jacks flavor, and all the regular business owner juggling. Plus one really AWESOME special order of pints that I can’t talk about.

I feel like I haven’t slept in 6 weeks.

Now we gear up for Yoga-urt’s 4th Anniversary on July 20/21.

And then, hopefully some normalcy and some sleep!

More to come!

So Much

So much to write about and so little time.

It’s been a whirlwind since we passed the health inspection. Hopefully next week, I’ll have a moment to catch my breathe, but for now, my mix of exhaustion and excitement has taken over.

Grand opening weekend starts tomorrow. Here we go!

Defeated, Deflated, & Destroyed

I should start by saying that I know these feelings are only temporary and in a few weeks these feelings will likely be nothing but an unpleasant memory.

But that’s how I felt this past week. On Wednesday, when we had the health inspection and didn’t pass because of one thing that should not have been an issue and should’ve worked properly, I felt defeated. Just completely defeated. I had done everything I could think of to pass health, and it didn’t happen. And not for any reason I would’ve thought. For something so simple and beyond my control. I had this defeated feeling many times during construction, but we managed to overcome. But once again I felt defeated.

I begged the health inspector to come back on Thursday (the next day) as he doesn’t work on Fridays and Monday was a holiday, and he said not likely but to call in the morning. I called. I went to the store and waited all Thursday afternoon and nothing.

Then I felt deflated. I was hopeful all day as he knew how badly I wanted to be open for Memorial Day Weekend, and nothing. All hope was gone. We weren’t going to be able to open for the holiday weekend and there was nothing I could do until Tuesday.

I felt stuck and destroyed. I was so angry on Thursday. I did a small Yoga-urt catering event on Thursday night so it was a good distraction, but I was so angry.

And on Friday, it turned to sadness and tears. I had to meet someone at the echo park store at 9:30am to put up some graphics, but when I left, I just cried and cried. I couldn’t stop crying. I cried on and off all day. To have the store so beautiful and ready and just sitting there, just killed me.

And what was I going to do all weekend? I had nothing planned as I was supposed to be opening echo park. I didn’t want to be anywhere near the store as it just made me sad. And I didn’t want to be alone with my thoughts either. I needed a distraction because otherwise I would be sad and crying all weekend.

I decided to try to go out of town, so I contacted my friend and although he couldn’t go out of town, he said he would do fun activities with me all weekend locally. So we did. Biking at the beach. Walking Hollywood Blvd. Saw The Avengers. Went to Barcade to play video games. Saw my family. I am so grateful to him for keeping me company and letting me cry on his shoulder.

I’m scared about this week as I don’t have an appointment locked in yet with the health inspector. I feel very vulnerable. But I am going to go there tomorrow morning and see how quickly I can get him there. And I will go back everyday this week until it happens as it’s my top priority.

It’s so hard being so very close and not having this step within my control. I’m going to try to stay optimistic and do everything I can. What other choice do I have?

Inspections, Inspections, Inspections

Like everything on this journey, inspections have been difficult and are taking much longer than I hoped.

The ones that were pretty easy: mechanical, plumbing, & final city.

The one causing the most problems: electrical. Not only has he had to come back 4 times as of next week, but he keeps postponing the day he will come, sometimes by 2 days. This has been going on for over 2 weeks and is so frustrating and stressful. It doesn’t seem right to postpone a scheduled appt, and yet he does. He really doesn’t care about the consequences for me and how much money I’m losing. He’s supposed to come back on Tuesday and I hope he doesn’t postpone again and that it’s for the last time – OMG.

And although I was told the health inspector could come within 1-2 days of calling, I am now waiting a week. It’s so infuriating to be ready to go and just waiting on inspectors. All I can do at this time is hope we pass on Wednesday when he comes. Fingers crossed.

Because we have to wait, I’m trying to rest a bit this weekend because once we pass health, it’s game on. There will be so much to do as we can’t stock the store with food until we pass. We can’t make product. Nothing with food.

The store is looking really good. Some designs were added this week. We are basically ready to go besides some small tweaks.

Most of the team has been hired but I’m sure I’ll have to hire a few more people once we get going.

As for when we open, it’s the million dollar question. If we pass health on Wednesday, current thinking is soft open Memorial day weekend through May 31. And then grand opening on June 1 & 2 with media/influencers in between.

I really need to get this place open to start making money as the bills are coming fast and furious.

And really hoping the weather warms up soon. This has been a much colder Spring than we are used to in Los Angeles. The Glendale store is doing ok, but I think we would be doing so much better if the weather was hotter.

As for my mom, she scheduled her surgery for June 11th. That brought me much relief, but the more my opening slips, the closer it gets to her surgery. It’s time to get this baby open!