What Do The Bloggers Call It? A “Life Update”?

January 31st, 2017 - filed under: The Farm » Family

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Hey All!

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

So, in the interest of honest blogging, and just of being on the same page, let’s play a bit of catch up. Yes?


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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!


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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.


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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!

~Sayward

  • Sarah C.

    Whoa! Sorry you lost Still (for now) – but glad to hear that it’s making some space for Jeremy to regroup, emotionally and mentally. The wine bar still going, though? Good luck to him as he figures out his path – glad he’s got you by his side!

    I’m glad to think you’ll be back round these parts more often, and I personally love content related to gardening and preserving the bounty, so if you wanted to integrate the new job (yay!) and this blog more I wouldn’t mind in the least. I’m really getting my own gardening mojo on, so it’s where I’m at right now.

  • Heidi Ferriman

    Bring back the Monday Monthly Challenge :) I loved that and it encouraged me to try new things or think about something in a different light. Maybe with a few threads in the direction of resistance? Like challenging us to call our senator 3x/week? I dunno, but that would be cool! Congrats on your new path on this road of life ;) Thanks for all you do!

  • KK PhD

    Glad to read the update. the Explore Ecology job sounds right up your alley! Congrats on the Masters and best of luck on your new adventures. Miss you :)

  • Jayne

    Wow! The new job sounds fantastic and and although I’m sorry about Still it is so good to hear that you’re finding positives in the experience. On to the next adventure!

  • Rebecca Carnes

    I’m so sorry to hear about Still! I do love how you turned something sad into something positive though….when one door closes, right? …. ;) I love seeing your posts about the children’s gardens, it looks so fulfilling and rewarding. I wish there was something like that in our neighborhood for Phoenyx to take part in!
    All your posts are great BUT I really miss the WIAW! And kiddos lunch ideas…I get into ruts serving the same foods so it’s nice to see your easy, simple posts of Wait’s lunches:):)

  • CrystalB

    I’d love more info on how you set up your gardens! I don’t have a lot of space, and I have a super hot backyard. I also have two dogs, who I am not sure will leave everything alone :) Any tips for first time gardeners? I’m in Utah, so I can’t plant anything anytime soon (we have to wait until May), but I definitely want to get something in the ground this year. My kid grew a cucumber in a pot last year and was so proud of himself!

  • vicgarcia4

    I’d love some recipes, but also really enjoy the weekly pictures of enjoyed things and diy and tutorials and information… I know I’m not being very helpful haha

  • n

    gernal life updates and musings, gardening, recipes, and just hmm how to find purpose. I would LOVE a job like yours but don’t see a lot of opportunities like that and unsure how to start it myself, running businesses and following your bliss – plus your dad’s tips for peace you mentioned a while back when you needed clarity :)

  • Katie

    So sorry to hear about Still. It was a freaking cute shop and obviously made with love. Hope the new version finds a way to be financially viable. Congratulations on your new job! Personally, I would love to hear any musings about activism, happiness, podcasts you’re enjoying, epiphanies you’re having, the le love lists, rationales for tough parenting decisions you have to make, best practices for loving someone experiencing depression and anxiety, whatever you want to share…I just think you’re a beacon of courage and rebelliousness and I’ve loved following you for, geez, 6 years now?! Wishing you lots of joy with the new gig.. How exciting!
    -kati

  • Sonja

    So sorry to hear about still but it’s great that you’re focusing on the positive things. I would love to see the wiaw back on the blog and diy ideas, ideas for sustainable day-to-day living, monthly Mission would also be great and the thing your dad told You a while ago :)
    Your new job sounds amazing and I’m sending positive thoughts to jeremy and hope he’ll be better soon!

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    Thanks Sonja! It’s sad but really, it’s good. And thanks for the feedback about the blog — I have been thinking about bringing back the MMM, so it’s awesome you brought that up! Love the idea.

    Thanks!

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    Thanks for the condolences, Katie. And thanks for weighing in on the blog stuff! Six years, wow! That’s rad, it means so much to me that there are readers out there who have been coming here for so long. Makes my day hearing that! So thank you. ♥

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    Definitely still going to do a post about my dad’s wisdom! That’s on the list for sure, I haven’t forgot. And thanks for the other ideas as well. I wish I had a magic nugget of wisdom I could share re: following your bliss, but I don’t think there’s a formula for it. I do think that I’m someone who is determined to never lead an ordinary life, and that keeps me in constant pursuit of interesting adventures. But other than that, I don’t know! I’ll think about it . . .

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    It’s helpful! Definitely, so thanks!

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    You can do a lot in containers, and it’s easier to keep them away from pets. Big bots, wine barrels, wooden boxes, etc. You can grow a full garden in containers. If you want to do beds though, I would do raised beds instead of “in ground” if you’re wanting to maximize space. Check out my old blog posts about gardening way back when I was in Portland. I wrote a lot of instructional type stuff back in the early days. =)

    http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/?cat=10 — down at the bottom of the “Flora” column.

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    Thanks! And thanks for the WIAW reminder! I’ll definitely do one of those soon.

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    Thanks Jayne!

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    Thanks lady, miss you too! I’ll be in Portland in March and we must hang!

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    I’m thinking of doing that! I’ve wanted to bring the MMM and build up the community here again, so I’m thinking I’ll start that up soon. Not sure if I’ll do eco-challenges like before, or if I’ll do more activism-inspired ones this time. Not sure. But yes — thanks for the reminder and I’m hoping to do it soon!

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    Thanks Sarah, it’s sad but mostly it just makes space and opportunity to grow into something better. So it’s definitely a good thing!

    And I think there will be lots of gardening content here, so no worries on that! ♥

  • Ann

    Could you share your own supplement routine? I know you’ve shared what you give to your son, but it would be great to know what you, as an adult vegan woman, have chosen to take.

    Also, I’d love to hear about your skin-care routine, and how you protect your skin from the sun.

    Thanks,
    Ann

  • http://angieeatspeace.com/ Angie

    Congrats on your new job! That is literally perfect for you, thank you for this important work you are doing.