I wanted to take a minute and use this space to share some of what has been going on in my life over the past few months. Now that I’ve graduated I’ve been blogging more, and I’m so happy to be back! But taking such a long hiatus, well, a lot of stuff has changed in my life during that time
We Shuttered Still
A little over two years ago, I joyfully announced that Jeremy (and I, sort of) had opened a business. Still – Elevate Your Ethanol was a retail space in downtown Santa Barbara, devoted to the art of cocktail craftsmanship. We sold “everything for your bar but the booze”, including tools and accessories, barware, vintage glassware, mixer, syrups, shrubs, and the largest bitters tasting bar in the county.
And it was really fun and really, really hard. Still was a labor of love, and we loved it, but it was a lot of labor! It’s a pretty niche market and unfortunately came at a time when cocktails were going mainstream, so we had a lot of competition from places like C&B and Sur La Table, etc, siphoning off our customers and undercutting our prices. Which is fine, that’s business. I’m not making excuses. It’s just the reality of the situation and what we were facing at this particular moment in cocktail culture.
So anyway, there are a lot of reasons why Still didn’t make it, and I’m not going to get into all of them here. Suffice it to say, we tried, but ultimately we couldn’t sustain the business financially. So Still closed its doors . . . for now. We do hope to launch Still 2.0 sometime in the future, following a different business model and finally selling artisan/small batch and high-end spirits. But that’s another story.
We closed Still right around the exact same time that I graduated, so my life and Jeremy’s life have both shifted in major ways, at the same time. Jeremy has been battling pretty serious depression and anxiety for the past few years (much of that is related to running a struggling/failing business, obviously), so although closing up shop has been sad, it has also meant an incredible weight was lifted. For the most part, January has been the most relaxing month either of us has had in literally years.
We are both regrouping and trying to figure out what will come next. We are both optimistic! Still was an amazing opportunity to connect with all the movers and shakers of the Santa Barbara bar and restaurant industry, and Jeremy has developed so many important professional relationships. And that’s how we’re viewing it: Still was just the first step of many. Not an ending, but a transition. And now we’re both excited to see what happen next!
I Got This Whole Other New Job
It’s true! Actually, this happened way back in August, way before I finished school, which is part of the reason my blogging really dropped off. Jeremy and I were co-running the wine bar, plus I was in graduate school, plus I was (always, obviously) momming, and then I got this whole other part time job, and there went my life! But when a job this perfect comes along, you do whatever it takes to make it work.
So yes, I am now officially a Garden Educator. I get paid to play in the garden, my very happiest of places, and I can’t even tell you how grateful I feel. I work for Explore Ecology, a local Santa Barbara non-profit organization that runs the school gardens (among other environmental programs) for the entire county. Because of their work, there is now a garden in every single elementary school in Santa Barbara. They employ a team of educators, and we maintain the gardens and most importantly, work with the children.
Now I spend my days digging in the dirt and nibbling kale with my kindergarteners. Turning the compost and sowing cover crops with my 8 year olds. Talking photosynthesis and sautéing up turnips with my 12 year olds. It’s so much fun; it’s challenging and creative and physically demanding and more than anything, it feels like some of the most meaningful work I’ve ever done.
And now that I’ve graduated, I’m expanding my hours. I had been doing 2 schools and I’ve recently bumped up to three. Plus, I’ve taken over the social media for Explore Ecology! So, if you want to see adorable pictures of happy healthy kiddos digging in mud and munching on homegrown vegetables, follow us on Instagram! And if you want to learn about natural, organic gardening techniques, as well as upcycling/recycling/conservation projects and other green living tips, please follow us on Facebook! These two social media channels are very different without a lot of crossover (something new I’m trying), so you might want to follow both. I’d so appreciate it! It really is an amazing organization and I couldn’t be more proud to promote the work we do there.
So, those are the two major updates in my life! Now, when I refer to my job or “my kids” or “today in the school garden”, you’ll know what I’m talking about. And when I mention Jeremy’s new work projects, you’ll know that Still is closed (for now). And we’ll all be on the same page.
Okay, now that that’s done, I feel like I can really move forward and start blogging like a pro again. I’m so excited to share recipes and DIYs and tutorials and information, just like the old days. Speaking of which – would you mind telling me what you want to read about? If I’m going to start this blog back up, what are you hoping to find here?
Thanks guys, and I’ll see you ‘round the Internets!