Dana lives in Seattle, and Tracie lives in Germany. We are businesswomen, writers and humorists. We write about life, dating, and today's modern women.
My father instilled in my sisters and me that when you see people get busy, it is contagious. We were also drilled with his constant refrain that if you don’t do nothin’ only one thing is for sure, and that’s not a G*damn thing gonna happen. Daddy knew how to hustle. In the 1960’s he and our mother opened a night club called The Pink Pussycat in popular Pioneer Square in Seattle. He thought outside the box and brought in strobe lighting, dancers, and his house band was featured nightly along with emerging artists like Ike and Tina Turner, Little Richard and James Brown. When I look back on photos of this era , I can’t help but think of the present and the growth and legacy we are creating today.
I am no stranger to the restaurant industry and I know the sweat and labor one must put in to be successful. I was with my life-long best friends, Leslie and Laurie Coaston on the night they opened a Seattle favorite, The Kingfish Cafe on Capital Hill. Many nights, I volunteered serving tables, and hanging out at the bar meeting friends and engaging with patrons. For twenty years, this was my hangout and ask anyone who ever dined there and they will share of their epic feasts- from the fried chicken, red beans to red velvet cake. Chef Kristi Brown of famed restaurant Communion as head chef back at The Kingfish created some of the delicious cuisine there. Kristi’s restaurant, Communion was recently named by Conde Naste one of the 12 best new restaurants in the world! So, if you haven’t been there- get your resy and get ready to feast!
Busy…Contagious. Ms. Helen’s Diner is scheduled to open directly across the street from Communion where we will celebrate a community of goodness- food, art, wine, workout, and more.
Take a look at this clip my son Brett and I taped last week at Midtown Center and I hope it will inspire you, as it has for us to be a part of Seattle’s history. When you experience the vibrancy, you will see, we need your help and every dollar and share is greatly appreciated!
With Jesdarnel Henton and Martique Henton – Ms. Helen’s Soul Bistro Proprietors
Flashback to Little Richard and our Mom- Peace!
When I talk about Generational Wealth, I must express that it is not only a monetary growth and transfer of assets, but a way of life. The wealth of love I feel with each turn around the sun by the love, friendship, family connections, and my community is truly one of my greatest wealth assets.
Yesterday morning, I was playing tennis with a friend who asked how my birthday weekend went. Truly, I was simultaneously exhausted and elated. There has been a Mariner’s Game, hosted by my husband’s company, dinner at the Fairmont, 2 lunches at Carmines, dinner at Overlake, dinner at The Met, art walk shopping through Pioneer Square @John Braseth, we need to talk!), a matinee seeing Top Gun, supporting the opening of Midtown’s Public Square, visits, phone calls, and quality time with those I cherish. My tennis friend shared that she turned 50 six months ago, and had spent the day in bed crying because that milestone was a birthday that her mother never reached. I couldn’t shake our conversation all day, so I went by and surprised her at her home with flowers and a gift last night. She was flabbergasted. I felt good. I recognized how blessed I am by all the love I receive on not only my birthday but everyday. Sometimes even the smallest gestures are the greatest gifts to let others know they matter. The pouring of texts, calls, Social media posts, gifts, flowers, visits, cakes, lunches, dinners, drinks, donations to support Ms. Helen’s Diner www.gofundme/f/helens-soul-food all have been overwhelming, humbling and making me recognize how blessed I am to share this journey with each and everyone of you.
I slept last night…real good! My sister arrives from Germany today and the good times continue!!
The phone was muted, but I was awake as I saw the call coming in at 6:20 AM from one of my besties, Michelle Peacock. She was calling to sing happy birthday as she does every year. I told her as usual; she was a day early and not to rush my years (lol). Our conversation morphed as it generally does into life as Menopausebarbees and getting older, regrets, and what ” if’s” I could turn back time.
No time for regrets…I shared with Michelle a story that really shaped my being. 22 years ago, my family unexpectedly loss my uncle, my mother’s eldest brother, we affectionately called Uncle Boo. He got that nickname from my sister Tracie, because when she was born, he always looked and her and said BOO! I always thought it was because he scared the sh*t out of us. Uncle Boo kept us in line. He was our very own black- Jack LaLanne, America’s fitness nutrition guru. He believed in training and had the strongest work ethic of anyone in our family. He was the healthiest also as he wasn’t a drinker and had no vices. Growing up, if there was an emergency, we literally called Uncle Boo before we called the police in our household. So, when he died suddenly at age 70, we were all grief stricken.
I was pregnant with my daughter, Taryn, hormones raged, and I was distraught over how I could console my mother. My mother and her brother’s bond was one of the most treasured relationships I to this day have witnessed with siblings. Uncle Boo would stop by daily for his half a cup of coffee and his absence was unbearable. I took mom to St. Joseph’s Church, where my son attended school and we joined a grief group. There were approximately a dozen of us commiserating. A women lost her mother, a women found her husband cheating, a gay man lost his lover, and the deceased man’s family kicked him out. The stories were more painful, one after the other. The final contributor was an elderly man whose wrinkled face was a testimony to his weathered life. “I’ve just lost my wife of 72 years,” he said solemnly. We all gasped. “And I’m so glad the G’damn bitch is dead,” he continued. Let that sink in.
Now, I have and always have had a wicked sense of humor. Unfortunately, I could not contain myself as the others sat quietly, and through my laughter I asked, well, then why are you here? The old man shared that he was mourning all the years of his life that he gave her.
That story affects me to this day. It’s been over twenty years, and I’m sure the old man is long gone, but his message remains- don’t sacrifice your precious years or happiness. We all know tragedy, as that is a part of life. Each day, each year is a blessing.
Last night, I watched the Netflix documentary, Not Just a Girl, on Shania Twain whom I along with my sisters were fortunate to spend an evening with during a trip to Montreux, Switzerland. Shania is the ultimate example of perseverance to happiness. She has known loss- her parents died in a car crash, and she was left without resources to provide for her young siblings. Her husband left her and her young son for her best friend. She had health issues and even lost her ability to sing for a time. But she was resilient. She has sold over 100 million records, making her the best-selling female artist in country history and one of the best-selling music artists of all time, crossing over into all music genres.
Like me, Shania celebrates a birthday this week. Man! I Feel Like a Woman is one of my favorite songs and all of Shania’s music makes me feel empowered. Every birthday is a blessing, so, today’s gift, I don’t care Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under, get up and say Life’s About to Get Good! – Go get it…
I had the greatest time yesterday speaking on the Matching Talents Podcast. Mari, again thank you for the invite. For all my German-speaking friends, you can listen to it wherever you listen to your podcasts.
But before we started, I must be honest, I did have hesitation as I wasn’t sure if I was the right one to speak to their audience. MT interviews decision makers in companies, tells the listeners about what jobs are available and what to expect, and if the job that is available would be right for them-ergo the name Matching Talents. Clever!
Mari, the lovely lady who did the interview with me asked if I could speak about diversity. I told her not as far as the workplace is concerned because the only boss I’ve ever had was Daddy and he was not really too interested in organizational diversity in our workplace. With him, it was “You got to get up and get on it and it ain’t no givin up and no givin’ out.” That was the extent of diversity at Frank Enterprises.
Then she asked if I could speak about being a working mother. Well, in a sense I very well could, but not in the way I think she expected. I worked alright, but it was certainly not your typical 9-5. She then went to www.traciemayer.com, found out what I was all about, and then said let’s do this.
Mari introduced me as a speaker, author, and rebel.
We spoke for nearly 45 minutes, so for the sake of brevity, I’ll share here her first and last questions.
The first: “After you received your college degree and worked in the family business, you met and fell in a love with a German man and though you didn’t speak the language you accepted the challenge and didn’t hesitate to make the move to his country. Where did you find the courage?
My answer: It was love. That’s pretty much it. But I was extremely brave to entrust my life into his hands.
We closed our conversation having a great talk about diversity; me working in an unfamiliar workplace-namely a hospital where I was not understood–working 20-hour days and nights to ensure my son had the best care and treatment from the staff and ensuring him daily that life was wonderful and that it would be for him too, and diversity within my family and all of our member’s racial makeup. For example, one of my aunts, whom I miss dearly was of Korean descent, she made the best fresh salads that influence me to this day. Another was a top Swedish model, I thought she was the most beautiful woman I’d ever seen–it was she who showed me how to apply eye makeup. Diversity makes the world go round.
Then we spoke about my book, Incompatible with Nature (Einen Herzschlag entfernt), and how I raised my son–for example, to understand how boring life would be if all the flowers looked the same. This I explained on the eve of his starting kindergarten because I was concerned that he would be left out because he wasn’t so rough and tumble at the time, and that shouldn’t bother him because he would, after all, be meeting kids who wore glasses, or were chubby, or were shy–everyone is different.
Her last question: What would you advise someone who is considering a move to a foreign country for employment or a new life about to face culture shock, not knowing the language, and the insecurity of it all. My answer: believe in yourself, acknowledge your inner strength, a lack of courage won’t get you anywhere, NEVER GIVE UP, have no fear, and look forward to all there is to learn. Get all you can that this world has to offer.
We’re only here once!
Last week, my 21-year-old daughter, Taryn and I visited my adopted city, Nashville, Tennessee. We hit Broadway where we enjoyed live music. Many of you saw our dance moves filmed at the African American Music Museum (yes, we have no shame). We dined at our usual favorite restaurants, and shopped our favorite boutiques. As Taryn prepares to enter her senior year of college, these excursions nourish my soul as much as the great southern cuisine we indulged in nourished our bodies.
We shared in depth conversations about what her dreams and aspirations are as she prepares for her final year of education. I want my children to follow their passions, as well as understand and respect and preserve the foundation which was born before them. As novelist Chuck Palahniuk said, “The goal isn’t to live forever, the goal is to create something that will.” So, I told my daughter, be prepared to leave her mark in this world. And most of all, when the opportunity presents itself to help someone else leave their mark, jump in!
On Saturday, my husband and I had a neighborhood party at our home and I ordered from Nashville’s famous Hattie B’s known for it’s signature fried chicken. Hattie B’s is a generational family run business with long lines at every location. I couldn’t help but research how this father/son team had a vision in 2012 that is now a must stop Southern eatery. When asked what is their main ingredient that makes their chicken so special, the owner said LOVE.
Love- that resonates. When people ask why I’m supporting Ms. Helen’s restaurant, it’s simply what I have laid out here. My friend, Jesdarnel “Squirt”, works tirelessly to preserve a business her mother started in 1970 with little funds, a lot of faith and most of all love. It is said that Generational Wealth starts with one risk taker. Ms. Helen’s took that risk and created a treasure. Let’s be a part of continuing the legacy.
Now that’s some food for thought! www.gofundme.com/f/helens-soul-food
This week, I was in a Zoom session with my business coach, the amazing and humorous Christopher Flett. Our session ran over as we often do, because we spend so much time sharing life stories and laughing at our wicked sense of humor. Chris’s company is the Ghost CEO which is brilliant because he gives you the tools like a ghost whose spirit appears inside of you, even though they are not present.
I was sharing with Chris the vulnerability I feel coming from behind the desk typewriting (my comfort zone) and now doing Tik Tocs, Instragram videos etc. (not my comfort zone) Chris breaks it down real simple and says STOP WORRYING ABOUT HOW YOU WILL BE RECEIVED.
With that in mind, I’m asking YOU to join me on my upcoming podcast and my weekly Tik Toc
We all have stories to share. So, let me know if you are interested in talking.
In the meantime…A Man is not the plan and I’m still working on my videos.
Generational Wealth is obtainable and if you start today with the right information, you can make it happen!
Thanks for this one Chris Flett- I’m still laughing!
Yesterday, my sister and co-blogger wrote one word on our post -BELIEVE. I love this word because I am a BELIEVER. I’ve been posting about creating generational wealth, and I’m a tremendous believer in legacy.
With that in mind, today, I’m sharing a Gofundme which for several months, my son Brett Frank Looney, and his partner, Tracy Cornell as leasing agents, Patrick Foley of Lake Union Partners – Developer and I as a lifelong resident of the CD and community advocate have been investing our time, resources, and capital in. We BELIEVE the community needs this treasured restaurant back on the block. If you take a moment and read the ask below, the compelling words of Ms. Helen’s daughter, my friend, Jesdarnel Henton aka Squirt reflect why I am so committed to seeing this reopening…
“My reasons for reopening Ms. Helen’s are 1) We would appreciate the opportunity to train and bring jobs to the Central Area, 2) to provide memorable soul food and great music, a fun adult gathering place we established in 1970, and 3) to build generational wealth and secure the future of the black-owned business in the Central Area of Seattle.” Jesdarnel Henton (Squirt)
Patrick Foley and team have reserved and committed to the buildout of the most desirable space in the newly constructed Midtown Square at 23rd and Union. This space is directly across the street from the original Ms. Helen’s.
As the saying in the movie from Field of Dreams goes, “If you build it, they will come.”
They will come for some of the best comfort food, community connection, to make memories, and build legacy because in 1970 Ms. Helen believed… See below and PLEASE DONATE and SHARE!
I thought you might be interested in supporting this GoFundMe:
Even a small donation could help Jesdarnel Henton reach their fundraising goal. And if you can’t make a donation, it would be great if you could share the fundraiser to help spread the word.
Thanks for taking a look!
Washingtonians we can all agree that home is the place to be in the summer. We have waited 9 months through the inclement weather and for many been confined inside by the Pandemic, so when the sun makes her glorious appearance, why would one leave the region?
A week ago Sunday, I joined my tribe at the invitation of dear friends, Stacy and Greg Lill at their newly renovated Chateau Lill. (Happy Birthday Greg!). As I sat perched at the picnic table chatting with Nina and Bri, Becky Gray and her family appeared and sat at an adjacent table. I made my way to meet Becky’s sister visiting from out of state. What a perfect time for a trip to the Pacific Northwest I thought as I looked at the vast beauty in our midst. How indeed fortunate we all were, overlooking the rolling lawns, a pond, and entertaining wild life, while we all enjoyed some of the best vino our locality offers. While the talented Robbie Christmas softly performed one of my favorite tunes on his guitar, I then made my way to the fenced cashmere goats and fed them grape vines as the alpaca roamed nearby. It was truly a moment of pure bliss as I looked around me, it felt like I was in the south of France. The reality is, I was only a twenty minute Lyft ride from my Seattle home.
The Chateau Lill is more than just a beautiful venue for weddings, birthdays, and celebrations, it’s a staycation- just because. JUST BECAUSE great friends gathering, luscious landscapes, live music, vineyard ambiance, amusing alpacas, and some of the very best wines dating back to the mid 12th Century France are something we can all toast just because.
Make your reservations chateaulill.com. 14208 Redmond WoodinvilleRd NE 425 466-0213
THIS is Svitlana.
I had the good fortune of attending her Vernissage last week. Within the first five minutes of meeting her, we both knew that we want to get to know each other better and hopefully become friends. I am certain that we will.
I stepped inside the exhibition’s main room and was immediately greeted by Peter, her sponsor. He offered me a glass of champagne and after a bit of small talk, I stepped away and wove in and out of the rooms displaying her artwork, eventually settling back in the main room where Peter shortly thereafter, introduced her. He finished his introduction and I observed her speaking with some people, trying her best in English. Svitlana doesn’t speak German–not yet anyway. But, she will.
I eased into the group and was able, fortunately, to begin communicating with her, soon, the others mingled on. Svitlana and I hit it off and spoke in the language of what I call ‘Engomime’, understanding each other with English words, and pantomime–aided by our hands and feet. And our eyes. When I first met my son’s father, we spoke this language so I’m very familiar with it. Some things die hard, especially when living in a foreign country. I knew a bit about Svitlana, but there was so much I wanted to know about her.
Within the first five minutes, I learned the following:
She fled Ukraine five months ago where she has worked as a public prosecuting attorney for over 20 years. Her world and that of so many other unfortunate souls turned upside down on February 24 of this year when the war broke out. On that same day, an evacuation was announced in the prosecutor’s office, sirens rang, and the last bus out of her town was leaving in 25 minutes. She literally had to make a split-second decision. Svitlana stuffed one suitcase and made it to the bus with not one minute to spare. She showed me pictures on her cell phone of the beautiful home she left behind. Members of the Russian army now occupy it.
It took her a little over two days to arrive in Germany.
Along with her home, friends, and life, as she had known it, Svitlana also had to leave behind her cat, Parmesan, and her Yorkshire Terrier, Lexa. They have thankfully been reunited, for the time being staying with her sponsor. She also has been, as you can see by the paintings in the picture, reunited with some of her artwork. She had to pay a driver in Poland a substantial sum of money to transport the pictures to Germany in the hush of night. Her ex-husband, who has chosen to remain in Ukraine, helped organize the operation. There are still over 300 paintings in her atelier in her homeland.
Svitlana’s daughter is 17 years old, she fled to Germany several months before Svitlana and is studying here. Svitlana says that she speaks German and English well. She would like to model.
The Vernissage displayed well over one hundred beautiful, I would even dare to say cheery, pieces of her work. I asked Svitlana how she could possibly find the time to work full time and be so accomplished with her craft. She told me that painting has been her passion since childhood and served as an escape from the corruption, and negativity she witnessed in her line of work.
And so now, here in Cologne, she will make a new life for herself and her daughter. There is no woe is me about her–none at all–despite all that she has endured and lost. She knows that there “ain’t no givin’ up and no givin’ out”. She is remarkable and someone to be admired.
She and her sponsor will be hosting another exhibition on September 11, 2022, here in Cologne in Lindenthal, patronage by MdBa.D. Wolfgang Bosbach.I’ll share more info as I get it.
Please come out and support Svitlana. You can purchase her pictures wherever you are in the world. I would appreciate it and she would be most grateful.
The German philosopher Friederich Nietzsche said it best:
“The essence of all beautiful art, all great art, is gratitude.”
Happy weekend everybody.