The Last breeze of Summer

It’s finally raining in Austin. After an entire dry month of August, in triple digits and the heat index frying my outside, like I was walking in the desert, the temperatures are lowering down to a normal weather. Summer is coming to an end, at least at the calendar, and it was possibly the worst one yet, for everyone. On the planet. So much for a year that it looked so promising, so many plans were made, goals to be reached, life accomplishments, so everything could change in March. Just like when you just put shampoo in your hair and someone cut off the water. Now what?  From March on, we were all left with shampoo sticking in our head, not know when the water would come back if it ever would, I will dare to say. 

In January, we took a short trip to LA, it was my longest dream to visit the city be able to see the Hollywood sign, and walk around as I belong there. It was great and I’m thankful I took this trip when we did because if we had tried to book to March or April that trip would have never happened. At least I made some memories for this horrible year. From January to March, the Corona Virus was still a novelty, a mystery. One case in China, then Italy and Spain, and them boom, America. We rushed to close everything down, the borders, the businesses, all the entertainment industry got cut off, students were sent back home, visas cancelled and we were led to believe that if we stayed home for a month, we would be able to get out of it sooner. We are in September already and we don’t see the end near. 

This year I had some important goals I’d liked to achieve, I had in mind to go back to LA to get screenwriting classes, meet people from the film industry, and network. I wanted to take film classes here in Austin, to learn how to make movies. I planned to take improv classes. I planned to see my friend at DisneyWorld. 

“Be thankful you are healthy, you didn’t get the virus” 

Yes, I’m thankful, but that doesn’t diminishes the fact that I’m an active person, who likes to have dreams and work for it. Instead of that, I spent a lot of time at home, in my own head, hoping and praying that my family in Brazil will be safe and that I eventually would be able to go see them. I also filled my days with self with little projects, such as improve the traffic on my blog, learn how to market it, I finally made an Instagram account for it. I soak up the sun. 

I went to the apartment complex pool a couple of times and I also got the chance to visit a swimming hole in Wimberley, Texas. It is a beautiful place, but because of the Corona, we had a time frame we could stay, so we booked, went in the morning, and stay for a couple of hours.

Blue Hole- Wimberley, Texas.

During quarantine, I also managed to work with my friend. 

My friend is a Chef and she is the owner of a catering company, Starving Gypsy. She knows how much I love photography and invited me to take some photos of her dinner parties, I got super hyped, forgot we were in the middle of the Corona Crisis, mask up, and went to work.   Working on those parties kept me sane. I’m used to dealing with different kinds of people and clientele because of my years in the service industry, so I didn’t even blink, I’m used to be thrown at the lions, and only get out with psychological scratches. 

During the past 3 months, we had all kinds of clientele to serve and all surreal stories to tell. We had a couple of bachelorette parties, The One with the White Claws, filthy AirBnB pool, and starving ladies. When Chef Demeatrie started cooking one of them came to the kitchen, excited “It smells great!”. Chef looks at her “We haven’t started cooking yet”, we looked at each other like what food is she smelling?  The number of White Claws in the garbage could answer the question. We had to cook and serve dinner in the dark. Definitely, the most stressful one. 

On our way to the client’s house, Chef received a text, saying the client’s house ran out of power. She stops to read and replied to the text, that it’s followed by another one, saying the power was back. As we got there, unload the car, started to get everything ready, the lights start to flick. Not surprising, the stove was electric too. Chef rushed to get whatever was possible ready and the lights went off. And this time, it didn’t come back. The only source of light was my Rory Lights, a mega-powerful flashlight, that can illuminate a stadium, at least for a couple of hours. We could barely see what was the outcome. They sat down to eat, in the dark, the dim lights were coming from the window. There was no air circulation and to add, the house smelled like weed. Not a big deal to get hot and high by contact while working. When we were ready to serve dessert, the power came back. Just like magic.

It all worked in the end, but the stress caused by all the circumstances will be the one for the books. It was all good, except that there were a weird vibe in the air. Probably the cloud of weed. 

Everyone got a little break in the quarantine to rebuild or work from home, we worked outside. Hard. Like I wrote in the previous post, if you work with food, you will have a job, either cooking or serving the food. We prayed to be protected against the virus, got all the required safety gear, and kept moving. All my memories from the 2020 summer will be the ones laughing on the way back from the dinner parties the beautiful houses, the unleashed dogs, and cooking in the dark. 

For all the people that are used to have a summer filled with adventures, this one seems useless. It was the worst for all of us because what they call the “New Normal” is not normal, trying to convince me to accept a horrible situation by giving a different name, won’t erase the fact that someone is to blame for this chaos. I wanted my summer to be patio season, barbecue eating, travel, music festivals, food trucks, and all the great things life has to offer. 

Life is still great and we are going to get over this. Hopefully soon. Let me know your plans for fall and if you are thinking about Halloween costumes!

Be safe out there! Enjoy the Labor day weekend with care!

J.G.Snelly

What’s food got to do with it.

I love talking about food and creations, this is probably my favorite subject because I grew up surrounded by my parents’ hope of succeeding in the food industry and my mom working alone to raise me, while working with food, to feed us.

I remember the day when she was at the kitchen cooking her lunch boxes and she told me something would stick with me forever: “If you work with food, you will never be out of a job. People stop buying shoes, clothes, and earrings, but they will never stop eating.”


From that point on, it was ingrained in my brain, that I would never be jobless or broke, as long as I knew how to either cook or work in a restaurant. That’s exactly what I did for many years.

At Two Birds Taphouse in Marietta- 2016
Brie on the menu for New Years Eve- at Two Birds Taphouse- 2016

In 2009 when I was working in a ski resort in Colorado, I realized that people working in a higher position at the restaurant were loading in money. Not only the managers and Food and Beverage director, but the servers were making good money too.

Where it all began.

Spago was my first restaurant job, as a hostess, and I had no idea what I got myself into until I start my training. The Ritz Carlton has very specific training, from your voice tone to the way you address the VIP guests. At that time, I was trained to not talk with my hands.

I’m from Brazil, and if we don’t express ourselves with gestures, might as well mute us, instead of try engaging in a conversation. Anyway, I was heavily trained to work with wealthy people, even though it was 2009 and the financial crisis were booming, I don’t think it affected the riches. It never does, as they keep living like their fortunes are save, meanwhile, the peasants, are scrapping to get by and will always be there to serve them.

Waitressing in wonderland

Every day at the restaurant we had a pre-shift meeting, to talk about the specials and how the servers would pair the wines with the dishes. My favorite part of it all was the tasting of the food, the humiliation of the servers by the chef and managers came as side dish. One of my main duties was switching the menu for the day, I remember talking with one of my co-workers about the price of the salad, at that time, 23.00.

I started calculating how much would it be for a dinner of 1, then I multiplied by a family of four, adding wine and drinks, coming to the conclusion that the server was making a minimum of 50 dollars after tipping the other working peasants, like the hostess, busboy and food runner. On a Tuesday night. I can’t fathom about a fully booked Saturday night.

After those months working at the Ski resort, I figured out that I wanted to work with restaurants. Young and naive 23 years old me, thought about that daily aggression they call job, as a career. I started planning what would be my next move, think about it for months, and while in Australia, I decided I should go to Culinary School back in my country. I’m moved by plans and that would be my next step, as my internship there was coming to an end. Back in Brazil, I applied for Culinary School.

I love cooking, but I’m not about the pressure.

Culinary School was amazing and painful, as I cut myself multiple times. I enjoyed the classes, but something was off. Probably the fact that, as in restaurants, you have to deal with a lot of ego and people who know a little bit more than you, or a bit less, trying to make you look stupid.

Heck, I was there to learn and the feeling that I had was that I was paying for the school brand and not the learning itself. Friendships were flouring, people being part of groups and cookouts, and I was left out. Over and over.

I wanted to learn how to cook, simple cooking and go from there. How can you know all the types of french cutting names, like battonet, julienne, measurements and all, when they tell you not to season the chicken, to not lose it the original taste. Yes, sir, I want my chicken tasting like a dead animal, at this point, I should leave the feathers for garnishing?

Nothing it was being taught made sense. At the same level of insanity, I learned how to deboned a quail. The stress of removing the bones of a tiny little bird is real. I got to taste it, which I didn’t want to, but I guess once again, degrading yourself is part of working in a kitchen according to them.

So when I moved to Chicago, I upgraded myself to be part of Front of the House, aka Server. I would talk about food, sell it, without having to be in the kitchen, tasting little birds.

Restaurants always have the same troupes.

I worked in many restaurants and they all have one thing in common, not the food, the people. Here is how I separate the crew: A dumb boss, who listens to people he is not supposed to, like the senior server. An assistant manager that does all the job, the boss is getting paid to do.

The food runner, delivering food to the wrong places and wrecking the entire restaurant system, the busboy who takes his time to do whatever he is asked because according to him, he is not getting paid enough to do this job and the server could perfectly do it. The rude bartender.

The magic behind the bar is real, when I had to make a couple of drinks one time, it was like some powerful awakening took over my body, for no reason I yelled, “Get your lemons somewhere else or cut your own.”Bartending power trip is real. Last and most important of the food chain, the Server, that deserves their own paragraph.

You can do it all!

If you ever work as a server, you are capable to work in any field. Servers are sales associate, marketing, food connoisseurs, team leaders, stress jugglers, working under a high level of stress, skilled improv masters, especially on Valentine’s day, Restaurant Week. Mother’s Day will deserve an entire post alone.

On a busy Saturday night, servers dance like the ballet of serving food, drinking coffee and RedBull to be awake, and downing some heavy alcohol to be able to sleep. Besides it all, serving food has some perks.

While working in a restaurant, I learned and tried wines I would never be able to afford and ate all kinds of different food. From sushi to wood oven pizza, to steak salad and Italian hand made gnocchi. Learned about different cultures through food and learned other people culturally eating habits. I learned fast what countries don’t tip and their peculiar way of ordering.

Above it all, my love for food was what kept me finding jobs at restaurants. After a few years in the industry, I call it quits to write.

Today marks a year I left the restaurant industry. Am I making money with writing? Not yet, but I’m once again working with food, this time my dear friend and chef created a position for me at her uprising company, where I can take photos of her private dinners and plates, also doing some admin stuff. We talk about food all day. We talk about clientele and how clueless the requests are.

We didn’t stop working on quarantine, we masked up, kept a distance, and did the work. Like my mom said, people will stop buying random stuff, but they will always buy food.

Chef Demeatrie its the creator and owner of Starving Gypsy here in South Austin,Texas. She can be found in all social media’s handles @starvinggypsy and on her website https://thestarvinggypsy.net/ where you find some great pictures ☺️

Be safe, Stay healthy !

J.G Snelly.

Why I respect bad days

*I have no medical background and this post is about my experiences dealing with my own emotions. If you are feeling under the weather for too long, you should definitely look for help.

In the past years, I learned how to respect my bad days. A long time ago, I used to keep the bad feeling moving for days, even weeks, the sensation of not being good enough or not being capable to start what I had a plan, lingering in my brain. I ended up in a rut many times, only to turn on the tv and call it a day, as I felt guilty and unaccomplished . I still do that, but instead of making it last for a week, now I learn how to live the bad day to the fullest. Instead of fighting it, I embrace it.

I don’t have money for therapy, which in my opinion should be free. We all are in a serious need of healthy state of mind, like someone told me once, its like yoga for the brain, and we need the wires connected to the right colors, otherwise, some of us can live in an edge of power bust anytime. I feel like that sometimes. To be honest, I feel like that at least once a week, and that how I learned how to manage the fire cracks in my brain.

During the months of lockdown, many of us were left to our loneliness, glued to our phones, watching TikTok on an endless loop, binge drinking, feeling hopeless. In quarantine, I followed some travel pages. It was easy to picture myself in Greece or Norway, where they were coming out of quarantine slowly, well managed and were able to enjoy some of their summers and the beautiful outdoors, without being harassed because of masks. Swimming and eating at nice restaurants. On my bad days, I let it sink that none of that might be possible for us in America anytime soon. Politics got heavily in the way, like quicksand, we can’t get out. All we have left is a dream for better days.

When I’m having a bad day, I go for long walks.

I walk around my apartment complex like I’m on a mission. I play with dogs, I sit around and stare at nothing. I let the brain wander, I manage to think the worst possible case scenarios for my future, being ridiculously overdramatic to the point I can even handle myself. When my husband is at home, I drive him crazy. He also learned how to deal with my bad days. He knows that on a bad day I can be super rude, and it’s not intentional, I love him on his bad days too.

I listen to melodramatic music.

I have a questionable taste in music, for what I know, I’m stuck in the early 2000’s pop. No, I don’t like country. My gem is the pop songs, like Britney Spears and the rest of the pop entourage. When I’m sad, I know exactly what kind of songs I look for, Kelly Clarkson for example. I swear if I’m at a store and “Because of you” starts playing I will breakdown crying. That song destroys me, I’m not going to even say anything about the music video. Same happens with Lucky, by Britney Spears. Poor girl is so lucky, she is a star, but she cry cry cry in the lonely nights. The dad took all her rights to her own money! I would be sad too.

Also #FreeBritney

Don’t try to cover it, live it up.

What most people will tell you is “Don’t be sad, look what you have, you are so lucky and blessed.” Yes, I know all that, still, I have the right to have emotions that are not connected to my blessings. I can still be healthy and feel rejected, out of place, mistreated, and yet live in a palace. It’s not about what you have on the outside, its how you feel right now. During my teenage years, I used to live with my mom and my aunt, her sister. My dad was living his best life somewhere else. My mom and aunt are opposites. So I learned how to manage emotions in a very scrambled way. My mom is very focused, dry ice, straight to the point almost, almost military. My aunt is emotional, dramatic, intense, and soft. How were they raised by the same exact person, I will never know. During my teenage years, I heard my mom saying “Though it up, look forward, don’t be dramatic” on the other side, I had my aunt, falling in and out of love, crying and respecting her sadness. True to be told, I don’t think my mom had time to let emotions take over, as she was too busy, juggling all her responsibilities. I had to find a middle ground and it took me years to mature the idea that it’s ok not to be ok all the time.

Image by Peggy und Marco Lachmann-Anke from Pixabay

When my emotions are all over the place, I give myself the right not to write. For the blog or any other outlet, I mean. The blog it’s not a diary. Its a tool that I have to share my opinions and find people who would like to read about different subjects like the journey of pursuing different creative outlets. While it is about starting over, its also about how to live in America and enjoy to the fullest, while not being born and raised in America.

The bad days are here to show us that we are alive and we have bad feelings too. Life its not a Greek Instagram account, with beautiful sceneries, train rides, and people smiling and eating delicious food all the time. Don’t be fooled by this happiness, as most of it is fabricated for sale. It’s ok to be sad today, learn about yourself, and seek help if you feel like it’s not going away. CBD oil is working for me, as I have been noticing it aligns my anxiety. Seek for what could help you. It’s important to know yourself and what is causing the sadness.

Be safe and Stay healthy !

J.G.Snelly

I’m a Libra, my friend.

Last week’s post was a bit sadder than I would like it to be. In all honesty, I live with all that I wrote and I manage my life well. I would not live anywhere else, or change anything except the President and his circus.

On the first of August, I sat down and brainstorm a few possible blog posts for this month. I wrote it on a post-it and stick on my planner. That was the easiest way for me to be organized with my blog posts and not having to come up with something different every week out of my imagination like I have been doing. I wrote four different subjects, one for each week, my only problem so far is that I keep moving the Taylor’s Swift new album post for another week, as I came up with something less neurotic to write. I want to write about Folklore, because the album is dark and intense, not very much Swifty. I pushed again for another week, and me being a Libra, that’s normal. I can’t make up my mind.

I understand if you don’t believe in astrological sign, its fine, but join me while I unveiled all the characteristics I’ve seen in people with the same birth month as me.

1- We are loyal

I’m loyal. If a person does me wrong, they have to make it bad for me to keep them away from me. I’m also a softy and not confrontational, I listen and try to understand. The only problem is when the moon shines on my neck and I become feisty. I don’t accept people mistreating others. Once Libras become a friend, we are friends for life. Unless you did me wrong or tried to be funny when I was suffering. I also have a very good what I call affection memory, I remember things you told me 20 years ago. So, if I’m weird with you, it’s probably because I’m ramming over something you said at some point. I’m loyal to my feelings too.

2 – Libras don’t let things go easily.

We are not revengeful, but we hold our poison on the corner of our mouth, for when the time is right. We accumulate experiences and pile up feelings, to one day become part of our very own show and let it all out at once. I’ve done it many times, especially with my family members, my husband too. He is also a Libra, but he tends to hold things better than I do. I feel like that man will implode any day of so much he holds on.

3- We are very dramatic people.

Exaggeration is the key. Leading everything in life with intensity, either good or bad, we learn a good drama from an early age. When things go bad, we make it sound really bad, we make it sound like there is no way out and we spin out of control for a few hours, until we calm down and find a solution. We are very theatrical. and dramatic.

4- We struggle to make decisions.

Remember what I said about the post-it with the blog arrangements and I’m constantly moving the Taylor Swift post for the next week? That’s what I meant. We can’t make a firm decision at first, Libras will always come up with second or 3rd options, a good example is the Canvas Graphic design website. There are so many options for designing blog posts, cards, Instagram ads, that all I do is to keep choosing new fonts, new colors and it takes me 3 hours to decide. We like this, but we also like that, and that one too, that one would work fine as it is and so on. It’s a constant nightmare. If you ask us a simple question like Muffins or Pancakes for breakfast we bug out like an old computer.

5 – Expectations.

We daydream about a lot of things. Some of us are called planners, some of us are called unstable, I call myself a free spirit. Since my dad was diagnosed with cancer in 2008 and we didn’t know what was going to happen, I decided I was only planning my life up to 6 months at a time. Explains a lot why I can never get a house or plan a trip to Japan, that would consume a lot of time. I also hold high expectations for simple things. For example, a few weeks in the quarantine, I got so excited to go to the grocery store, I almost couldn’t sleep. It looked like I was going to Disney. Walmart is the Disney of the White Trash Society Members. I checked my fridge, I made a list, I made space on the fridge. I made going to the grocery store a huge deal. Maybe because I was bored, or maybe because finally being outside of the house was the most positive thing on my day.

6- We are voyagers!

Yes, I’m quoting Moana. All the Libras I know like to take a chance in a different place, outside their comfort zone. We just pack our bags, throw a dart on the map and leave. No hard feelings. See you on the other side. Besides being attached to our families, we are focus enough to take chances and not always be in the same realm our entire lives.

7- Good listeners.

Everyone I know that it was born at the end of September to end of October is a hell of a good listener. We understand people and we sympathized with other people’s struggles. I care a lot about my friends and on the internet days, it’s hard to read between the lines, because people are easily faking a smile, a new outfit, or bragging about some accomplishment. Check on your friend to make sure it’s all real.

8- Great conversationalists.

I have always been the chatterbox of all the groups I’ve been in. From school, to work, to group projects, to family gatherings, I always have something to say. I also unroll the story I’m telling into 3 or 4 sub different stories, so you better keep up. That’s why I become a writer, it is hard for people to listen to me endlessly, so I share all my thoughts on a paper.

9 – A dark sense of humor.

Libras are creative creatures and we lighten up the room most of the time (when we are not in our dark place of drama). Other times we spill our acid sense of humor and a few times we are misinterpreted and get called out, sometimes we hurt people to their core. Because we love to talk most of our conversations end up in some sort of humongous crazy situation that happened to us at some point and we use that to enhance the story. We are always the Ugly Duckling. The misfit. Most of us also carry a burden inside who are never explained to anyone or talked loudly.

10- We are the creatives!

We sing we dance, we write and we are imaginative people. As a child, I loved telling all kinds of stories, playing endless hours with my Barbie, and creating fun plots. I had about 16 different dolls, meaning I had an entire cast to work with. On a psychology class I had during my writing for the entertainment business, the teacher stated that what you enjoyed playing most in your life could have possibly become your career. Kids who played a lot with Legos, grew up to be architect or engineers, kids who liked to play doctors, grew up to be in something the area of taking care of people. It makes all sense that playing with barbies led me to be passionate about writing scripts.

If you know someone that its a Libra and you recognize any of this traits please let me in the comments! All that I wrote is based on people I know, mostly for entertainment, and of course it varies depending on different aspects.

See you in a couple of days!

J.G.Snelly

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