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Finding the Strength to do it All

The last six months of life have been a whirlwind.

So much has happened. I've realized how hard it is to manage every aspect of your business. But when I say hard I don't mean impossible... I just mean it's not enough hours in the day for your brain to be able to work a 20 hour day and then remember or better yet have the energy to update your beautiful website which is why I have seemingly been M.I.A. (both here and on Instagram). But I promise things have been magically working in my favor. 

On Thanksgiving I signed the lease for my RESTAURANT! Super excited about that. That has been the most exciting thing that has happened for sure! I will have more information on that fact after the NEW YEAR. Figured I would start 2017 off with a big bang!

The month of November was insane. It felt like I had an event everyday. We worked so hard but it all paid off. This past Saturday I had the pleasure of catering a 50th birthday party. My client was truly a dream to work with. She was so appreciative and loved everything which made those 16 hour days totally worth it. The pics below by photographer J'Nae Antoinette show a couple hors d'oeuvres I created for the evening. 

Chicken Salad Crostini topped with Mango and Blackberry

Creole Shrimp Bruschetta with Feta and Basil

Capturing the Food

Something that I definitely need to improve on is taking pictures at events. I must be the WORST at creating a digital portfolio of my work. I think I may need to outsource for this mission. Any takers lol? Ciley lives in LA so I am kind of screwed on this for a day-to-day deal.

I've created so many different dishes that I didn't even know I could do as well as I did them but only I, the client, and the guests who were there would know that. This is something I must improve on. People like to see the food, salivate over pictures, then book you. Luckily... because I am lacking in the picture department... the WORD of MOUTH has been my saving grace LOL. 

Capturing the Food... duly noted.

Accepting the NO SLEEP, NO MAKEUP CHEF

So... if you know me, you know I love a good beat. I have actually become pretty good at doing my own makeup and hair for that matter. I use to have to have my makeup done and hair laid for event day. I would wake up an hour early just to make sure this was done. But the summer of 2016 through November of 2016 showed me this whole HAVING TO WEAR makeup for event day went right out the window. I mean I was rocking bare face and high buns... hair that is. Of course my eyebrows were always presentable. I am pretty talented at hiding those extra hairs when I haven't had time to get the The Threading Salon. This is will definitely be a hard one to accept. But when you are working off two, three hours of sleep... HD Makeup Forever and Nars Concealer stay in the second drawer in the vanity. So long my good friends lol. 

Bare Face and High Bun while showing my client Ms. Turner the FAB Fruit Tray. She was super sweet.

 

 

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My First Group of Interns

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My First Group of Interns

In the midst of trying to keep business in order and run like somewhat of a well-oiled machine, Leisa and I realized we need HELP! 

Before Leisa joined me, I was doing everything by myself. And when I say everything I mean everything: from creating menus to customer service to grocery shopping and loading the truck while trying to remember how I was going to set the table with all these chic decor items I picked up from various stores but keeping a huge smile on my face because when a client would answer the door they looked passed me expecting a team to follow. And me knowing this would happen, I would stand there with this huge grin on me face... which really wasn't hard seeing that my nickname was Smiley... trying to distract them with my pearly whites with nine hundred bags hanging from my shoulders :-) You get the picture. 

Then God Himself sent me Leisa. I couldn't have been happier. Then God Himself sent me more business and now WE were back at square one. 

Flashback to November of 2015, the meeting with a charter school I will hopefully be doing business with soon, after talking about the main points we discussed a possible internship program where senior students would work with my company for service learning hours. Both parties loved the idea and decided we would start the program soon. Now flash forward/back to the beginning of April when I received an email stating the three potential students passed their ServSafe course and were ready to work! Our prayers we yet again answered.

That next week, Leisa and I met with our new interns: Kila Hill, Deonte Alexander, and Eric Crockrell; all of which want to one day do some of the same things I am doing now. I think Leisa and I were more excited to have them then they were. It was like a pressure being released. Now we have interns to do all the prep work and having three extra pair of hands in the kitchen would only make us better as a team. I am so happy to have them and I look forward to providing them with the best culinary experience I can.

Giving back to those who are aspiring is a greater gift than receiving. That's my state of mind. 

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Hiring my first full-time employee

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Hiring my first full-time employee

Last month was a very exciting month for me. Besides the normal hustle and bustle, I hired my first full-time employee. Meet Leisa Brown!
Leisa and I actually attended Grambling State University together and were teammates for three years. She is originally from Little Rock, AK. The way this all came together is truly divine intervention. Here is the story...

So, I planned on traveling back to Grambling (after not having visited since February 2012) for my teammate's baby shower back in October 2015. During my college years, I would typically go through Little Rock and ride with Leisa and my other teammate Whitney (Leisa's sister) back to Grambling for the short three hour ride. This time would be no different of course. I called Leisa a few days prior to my arrival, letting her know I was coming down for the baby shower and that I wanted her to come too seeing that the three of us use to have so much fun together. She agreed and we were all set. Now I will say Leisa and I weren't necessarily best friends in college but we definitely were best teammates. We had this understanding in practice that if one of us for some reason were not feeling it that day, we would work together to make it seem like we were working hard. To do this we always guarded each other and actually pulled it off all three years. The coaches never caught on or at least they didn't let us know hehe.
Any-who back to the story. 
The day before I was set to arrive in Little Rock, Whitney called me saying Leisa didn't really want to go anymore and she decided she was just going to sit this one out. Once I heard that I immediately told Whitney I would called her back and called Leisa right away. And after brief convincing, Leisa decided she would go... again.
The next day Whitney picked me up from the airport and we went over to her mom's house (Momma Brown) so we could chat and catch up on old times. While we were all there, I began telling them about my new business and how well everything had been going. I also shared that I was in desperate need of a kind of "right hand woman" to be there with in my day-to-day operations. And then the epiphany happened. They both said why don't you talk to Leisa. She is ready for a change and would probably be open to moving up there with you. My eyes lit up like a five year old old on Christmas morning. I was so excited and I couldn't wait for Leisa to get to the house to ask her. 
About an hour or so later, Leisa arrived and I was sitting in the kitchen with a huge smile on my face which quite frankly isn't out of the norm. I gave her a big hug and told her I had to run something by her. We sat down, I told her all the particulars, asked if she would be interested in being my managerial assistant and she after a brief marinating moment she AGREED! I told her I had an event in November and would fly her up for a kind of trial run to make sure she would want to really be doing the kind of work I needed her to do. I told her cooking is hard work and is much more than the pretty plates you see at the end. But my words didn't seem to slow her down at all.
Once we finished talking, the three of us got on the road. We had a great time seeing all of our old teammates and hanging out like we were back in college. And of course while I was there, everyone wanted me to cook which I did with no hesitation. And this in fact was a great time to see if Leisa could handle the work load. We worked so well in the kitchen, it was like we were back on the court together. That night just solidified in my mind that this was the right decision. 
Fast forward to the present and now I have my "right hand." The person I was asking God to bring to me for the past year and a half. I am so truly grateful. Words really can't express how happy I am now that Leisa is here. And to think, her joining my company happened because of three things:
1. My teammate got pregnant and decided to have a baby shower in Grambling for us instead of Houston, where she is originally from. 
2. I didn't have an event booked that weekend which was weird seeing that fall is very busy for me.
3. Having that conversation with Momma Brown and Whitney and hour before Leisa showed up at the house. 
When people say everything happens in God's appointed time, I promise you that is really the truth. Now that I have Leisa here, I couldn't imagine anyone else doing this with me. Her moving to Chicago was a real milestone event for me. It showed me that my business is really growing. It also made me sit back and say how in the world was I doing everything by myself before? But I am so happy those days are over. So thank you Momma Brown and Whitney! And thank you Leisa for taking a chance on your old teammate :-)
 

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Launching My New Website

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Launching My New Website

After a year and a half of prosperous business ventures and three days shy of my grandmother Cleo's birthday, I undertook the task of designing a new website that reflects the growth of my business. Taking into account my B.A. in Computer Information Systems this was actually an easier task and probably one of the least expensive things I have had to do in this short timeframe. But it made such a huge difference to both my clients and prospective clients. Tailoring the website to be more straightforward, to the point and lovingly "in your face" with the photography was definitely a part of the brainstorming process. I believe an awesome and intriguing website is the starting point for new clients. That followed by excellent customer service makes for the perfect business. 

XO Krissy

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