Thankful, Tequila and Two Shoes

Returning to a situation is often challenging… even if the place and people are familiar, chances are things have changed while you were gone. Ever the optimist, I believe that what you do with what you have often determines what happens next.

Experience is not what happens to you; it’s what you do with what happens to you. – Aldous Huxley


Lorrain, Amy, Lauren and Me: Rarely a dull moment with such creative friends

Last weekend I attended a blissful, handmade wedding at High Hill Ranch, and was thrilled by the beautiful decorations and happiness of the day. Reuniting with creative friends from the original Sacramento Craft Mafia was fantastic. Watching everyone and their kids giggle in the photo booth, wear felt mustaches and dance the Mexican Cab Refusal to Pitbull reminded me of how fortunate I am to have such talented, unique people in my life.


Afuera de mi santuario favorito

Sunday I attended mass at Santuario Nacional de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe, my favorite Spanish-speaking iglesia in Sacramento, where I haven’t visited since moving to México last year. El Santuario is a medium-sized church with a beautiful altar, high ceilings and traditional wooden pews. When I began studying Spanish, I would sit and listen to the entire service in awe. 

aprendiendo español

Spanish 101: ¿hablos español?

Some days I feel 85% fluent, and others (like during a half-hour sermon), I feel only 50%. Regardless of my fluency level, listening to the Padre’s flowing, melodic voice speaking Spanish is mesmerizing to me. Some people enjoy the sounds of Gregorian Chants or find their own meditation by chanting “OM. For me, it’s the accent, diction and flow of Spanish; for reasons I can’t explain, nothing ‘speaks’ to me like it.


On Tuesday I attended a spectacular event at one of my favorite Sacramento restaurants, Zocalo, featuring Julio Bermejo from the famed Tommy’s Mexican Restaurant in San Francisco. The event, which kicked off Midtown Cocktail Week, featured a 2-hour lecture and presentation from Julio and Daniel Deoliveira, official ambassador for Olmeca Altos tequila.

Daniel and Julio

Daniel and Julio “warming up” with the history of Tequila

The presentation from Julio and Daniel was informative and fun, and included a slide show with the history of tequila, sipping samples of Olmeca Altos silver, and edible samples of cooked agave plant (dark and chewy, with the consistency of marzipan and a flavor similar to raw maple). 

Julio Tequila

Julio inhales the tequila’s aroma. “Did someone say they smelled Ethanol?”

During the event, I sat next to Mike Macaluso, Account Executive for API Global Transportation, who agreed with me that tequila is to México what wine is to California. As a limousine driver and account executive , Mike knows the meaning of “all good things in moderation,” and even tipped me off to an area that may just be California’s next hot wine country. (Interested? Contact Mike and arrange a tour).

Kate Dana and Julio

Meeting Señor Bermejo: “El Gusto es Mio!” This man is sweet as agave. ¡Gracias, Julio!

After a brief Q and A Session, the event crowd swiftly moved into Zocalo’s main dining room to mingle and enjoy Happy Hour specials on delicious drinks and appetizers. The next time you are hungry for a great event, check the Zocalo website first! There’s often something to do or see at one of their two locations, Midtown at 17th and L Streets (my old neighborhood) and the Fountains at Roseville (ask for Felix, my favorite waiter).

The happiness of Spanish, culture and tequila did not go by without giving thanks for mi vida and gratitude for mis amigos. As I continue to search for creative opportunities, I am reaching out to friends and colleagues, who believe, like me, in “paying it forward.”

Crafters' Parking

Lauren in the middle, trying to spell “Pros”

Extra gratitude goes out this week to Lauren Brandy of Two Shoes Studio. While I’m not going into detail about her awesome display of generosity and faith in me as a Teacher, Artist and Travel Writer, I will say her efforts truly touched me and made my heart swell.


Two Shoes Studio, with Slipper the dog

A visit to the adorable Studio 21 in Davis revealed beautiful paintings in a sunlit room complete with a cute dog and inspiring books. Gracias, Lauren, you are a class act! No wonder you’re getting art deals and more in life…and the prosperity will continue to roll in.

Casita Secreto

Sneak Peek! Wish you were here?

Finally, I can’t write about gratitude without saying how fortunate I am to be in my current location. A chaotic blend of tranquilo y loco, this artists’ retreat (among other things) is by far my greatest gift in Sacramento, but I’m leaving it to its own blog entry. For now, I’ll just say, next to Spanish and friends, it is numero uno on the gratitude list…