I’ve got a busy mind.

Well, that’s putting it mildly.

I’ve been told I’m really what’s known as a ‘scanner’: one who sees a thing, becomes intrigued by it, then zeroes in with tactical precision. I believe scanners have an appreciation for learning, no matter how mundane or random the subject may seem. Whether it takes days or years, we want to cram it all, pass/fail, with extra credit!

Even a high-functioning scanner knows she’s got issues. Nothing crushes her spirit faster than a hectic work schedule and no time to explore. How many dreams are born, thrive…and vanish, all in the course of one weekend? The constant nuisance of time was beginning to leave me feeling tense and anxious, even when I actually had time to step away. That was, until we collectively stumbled into this never-ending river of hot mess: the year of our Lord, 2020.

I don't think I’ll ever know for sure whether my motivation was divine intervention or sci-fi conspiracy, but every facet of my life was up for reconsideration. During the shutdown, I began to scan more intentionally. I needed to reevaluate my interests and re-establish my place in this world. I’m excited to expand on the things that bring me joy, and I look forward to making space by parting with habits and beliefs which don’t serve me any longer.

Food is everything to me, and it's where I began my efforts to reboot my place in this contact-free reality. In addition to Crumbsy Cookie, I provide cooking demonstrations, cocktail classes, and private chef services to clients in-person and online. Thanks to a blossoming online community of healers, growers, and creatives, I also completed a specialized certificate in culinary cannabis and edibles. As a way to create a deeper connection within and with others, I acquired my yoga teacher certification. Who knew 200 hours would be a breeze when you give yourself permission to pace accordingly? Plus, I host a podcast along with my dear friends because laughter is still my antidote to worry and stress. Finally, I’m honored to collaborate with Ghanaian artists to curate a collection of art and jewelry focused on African heritage and womanhood.

Sounds divine, right? Truthfully, these are the tools I used…to constructively dread the impending doom of the industry I served for twenty years. I suppose you could say I’m living some of my dreams, but that would be putting it mildly, too.

The thing is, whether I’m a general manager or washing dishes, I will always be a bartender. Bar and restaurant people are my people. We make friends with strangers. We have a different language. We’re emotionally intelligent enough to claim emotional ignorance. And, for the exceptional ones, we’ve made smiling through tough times more than a way of life. We can make it a form of art. This is why we must acknowledge the people that happily frothing, tossing, muddling, and suffering in bars and restaurants across the country at this very moment.

Every week, my brothers and sisters in the hospitality industry scrape by on a tightrope. We’re on your sidewalks. We’re in your basements. We’re suffering from illness, and bringing new life…sometimes at the same time. Often times, without proper medical coverage to heal. In some places, with little or no resources for the jobless. And for an overwhelming majority of us, at no fault of our own.

When called, some of us returned to work in service to you, only to receive even less than the little we had before. For many, but especially for the millions of workers in the restaurant industry, this holiday season will be the loneliness and most difficult we’ve ever faced.

I invite you to join me over the holidays and assist our brothers and sisters who deserve our recognition and support. In an effort to send out a sprinkle of good cheer, my friends and I will be hosting 100% donation-based virtual and hybrid events throughout the holiday season every Sunday beginning November 29 through January 3. Please sign up, join us, and donate what you can, if you can. We’ll be in the kitchen or on the mat, wherever you are.

And with this post, another notch on my lofty expanding belt…and back to my treasure chest. Just in time for phase 2!

Please complete this form* or follow @natashanight or @crumbsycookie to receive additional info and updates.*Due to the use of alcohol during selected virtual demonstrations, we kindly ask for age verification upon sign-up.