neil blaisdell center

you were right.

its officially been a bit over 2 months since making my journey to this island floating in the pacific. before I left, I told you that I was coming out here for ~3 months to push the reset button so I had a more clear cut idea of what I wanted to do when I got back to jersey. 99% of you told me that I probably wouldn’t  come home. the other 1% was myself telling you all that I PROMISE ill be coming home and that this was just some crazy thing I decided to do.

well, you all were right . . .

now that im here and opened so many doors, met great people and had some incredible experiences, I really don’t see the point in shutting everything out in order to go back home where life has a cozy, comfortable safeness halo around it . . . or so I would think.

in all honesty, back home I would be dealing with much of the same struggles than I am dealing with here. its not like I have a gold paved path layed out for me with a perfect life. id still have to work really hard to make it.

aaaaand id rather do that here . . .

can you blame me?

taken at work during the concert

even though I am deciding to stay, I don’t know how long that means for me. there are a lot of financial issues I need to take care of as well as some things back home which will definitely require a visit  this summer (hopefully). I do know that beginning in april, I will be signing a lease to my new cozy little studio rental I found for 4 months at the very least and I must work my ass off for it.

I admit, as confident as ive become out here . . . im scared shitless of the future. ive never lived completely by myself before and to do that and get my bearings all over again in the most popular city in all of hawaii (honolulu) is going to be incredibly challenging and pretty lonely!

but, such is the life of a trapeze artist . . .

I do promise to blog more and also to really take charge in turning myself into a brand like I planned to with private chef jobs, my t-shirt line, my blogs/website and eventually I would love to own a healthy food truck!

ready.set.go!

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and here is the boring part of the post where I let you know how I did on last months goals!

MONTHLY

Finish Pineapple Shirt DesignI havent even clicked open illustrator to play around with this design. luckily, this can be done on my own time and damnit that time is now!!  I WILL finish this design by April 1st so that its ready for screen printing. I think it would be awesome to use this venue as a way to make extra $, especially with all the farmers markets out here! I think this business has much more potential here than home . . . wtf am I waiting for?!?!

Explore More Of The IslandI havent as much as I would like to still but I did get to visit a few beaches, the aloha tower and obviously the concert venue where I will be doing most of my catering work. im getting all the major touristy things finished but would love to see the off the grid local spots. there is still SO much to see and I cant wait to tear it all up!

Have My First Surfing LessonDONE! Marc was kind enough to give Nicole and I our first surfing lesson while we were out here. I thought it was going to take lots and lots of practice to stand on the board but by the end we both rode at least one wave in one form or another. such an awesome feeling too. im excited to dive deeper into this hobby and will start looking for the perfect longboard real soon.

Launch New Blog Designnever happened, but I have a good amount of the groundwork finished.

Find Another Part-Time Gigits hard to find something when I don’t exactly know where ill be living. my goal is to move into honolulu where all the work is. once I know where I am and what will be in walking/biking distance, im sure I can find something that will bring in money, be flexible around shows and also up my cooking experience. I also would like it to be more full time than part time.

Drop Some Weight By Eating Intuitively & Increasing ActivityHA! this pretty much went out the window during the Neil Diamond show. its always a sick joke working around food all day and not getting the chance to really eat it. with all of the amazing things we had it was hard for me to stay healthy and intuitive and fueled for the long days. that plus no sleep and living on coffee and energy drinks really knocked me down. my fault, though.

Go On A Datethrough all the craziness, I did manage to go on an awesome date (or 3) with someone who can handle my twisted sense of humor . .. you all know that says a lot *smile*

WEEKLY

Strength Training 3x Per Week –  NOOOOPE! unless you count lifting heavy coolers and carrying bags of ice?

Cardio 4x Per WeekNOOOOOPE X2 I was very active but I also ate up any calorie deficit I may have had. lesson learned

1-2 Meals OutI’ve definitely made this goal. for the show week ate all my (free) meals there. I also brought home leftovers mostly every night which I lived off of the next week. other than that, ive been cooking at the house and eating what I buy. food really is expensive here and once I move out on my own, im excited to come up with a plan to eat at home and yet still enjoy the hawaii hole in the wall food places.

Participate In Blog-land honestly, this was the furthest from my mind. I came back to over 360+ posts in my reader and I could only stomach reading a small percentage of them. I get that you have big things going on in your life but I am just not interested in your wedding or your pregnancy . . . like, at all. *snore*

DAILY

3 Bottles Of Water ive been so dehydrated this month and once again, its totally my fault. I always drink one cup of coffee in the morning but now ive adopted the hawaiian obsession with energy drinks. I know, its terrible but I really like the taste.

Only Eat When Seated*laughs*

Journalno journaling this month

Quality Mealscant say ive done good here either but for every time I don’t, I realize how important it is . . . especially when your busting your ass!

much love and mahalo!

best. february. ever.

leave it to me to have what has been the most amazing february of my life without an update. after about a week of recovery and straight up being harrassed for one . . . its time.

my month started out with a visit from my bestest friend.

nicole came out for a week for her vacation and I couldn’t be more happy to see her. we took the island by storm and hit up the tourist circuit and did many things ive been dying to do.

we spent a night in a fancy hotel where we relaxed and partied

visited pearl harbor & the arizona memorial

checked out the waves at the north shore

and hit up the cultural center where we enjoyed an amazing luau and show

there was also our first ever surf lesson with marc, karaoke and lots of exploring. not to mention all of the craziness in between that we seem to get ourselves into.

seeing her was bittersweet.  it was amazing to have her here, but it also reminded me so much of home. at one point I was really sad and actually thinking of flying back with her!

luckily for me, there was no time to even contemplate this seriously as I started my new job on the day she left.

as you may remember, I landed the most amazing gig working for caterer to the stars. I am contracted with the team that caters the major concerts in town which includes feeding the crews, bands and major stars that play at the event centers around here.

my first show was Neil Diamond who played for 2 nights here. because he hasn’t played here in 25 years there was a LOT of work to be done. I worked for 8 days straight, an average of 16 hours per day with barely any sleep.

cooking, prepping, learning, cleaning, moving, serving, bussing . . . you name it.

ive never worked so fucking hard in my life . . .

ive also never been more happy to gain respect from my new boss and the team that works for him. I was given creative control to come up with a lot of the soups and vegetarian/vegan dishes without much help which as a chef is all you can ever ask for.

the first show night came upon us and I remember us all mustering up our last ounces of strength and smiles to serve dinner that night to everyone. in the midst of all the craziness, Neil’s plate went to the dressing room with MY vegan broccoli & potato soup on it. caroline caught my attention through the madness and said . . .

“hey Val, Neil Diamond is eating your soup . . . put that on your resume!”

sounds silly, but I don’t think ill ever forget that moment. everything kind of stopped and my life just felt so surreal. 4 months ago I was a recent graduate of an amazing culinary school who had lost just about everything in her life that made her feel safe and secure. and now, here I was LIVING in hawaii, feeding a major music icon. the pride that came through me from taking a chance and doing this all on my own was a feeling that I cant even describe.

life is pretty awesome.

by the end of show night, my boss was very impressed how well I did being literally thrown into all this madness. he said I am a hard worker and very versatile and . . . part of the family.

though I did take a hit physically, I am beaming mentally and am so estatic to see where all of this leads me.

my next show is Jimmy Buffet later this March. although it seems like a nice long break, I have so much to do in the next couple weeks, like getting a bank account set up, finding a flexible part time job, taking care of some things back home, and finding a place to live closer to the action near the city so i can continue to make strides.

once again, im overwhelmed by all the support from everyone from beginning to end. without it, I don’t think I would have come this far.

much love to you all, and I promise ill try not to go this long again without an update!