Six Things We’ve Learned By Taking A Chance On US

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Six Things We’ve Learned By Taking A Chance On US

Six years, where do we begin?

To say we are proud, grateful, motivated, inspired, fortunate, and so much more would be an understatement—we’re all those things and so much more. When we think back to the girls who came home from Hawaii 8 years ago with this idea—this vision, to where we are now, we are constantly reminded of how humbled and grateful we are. Growth and change—they go hand in hand — and while at times they can be both welcome and unwelcome, they’re all inevitable aspects of life. For us, when we think back to 6 years ago, to the scared girls who had no idea how opening a business in a city they had just moved to would go, to a community they didn’t know, we again, are truly flooded with perspective and admiration for growth and change. If we could tell our younger selves one thing right now it would be trust in your passion, trust in your belief. If you’re passionate, and if you believe, and you’re consistent, great things can and will happen. We’d tell those girls that taking a chance on yourself is going to be the scariest thing you’ll ever do, but you’re going to look back one day and be so grateful that you did.

In the last six years we’ve met some of the most wonderful people, people who have shaped us, changed us, and helped us grow into where we are today- customers who have become friends, children who we’ve watched grow up, some of whom we saw go from belly to bicycle– business partners, other business owners, like minded females, and so many others who have left a profound impact on us. Thank you for crossing paths with us, you’ve all inspired us in one way or another.

Growth is not necessarily age, it’s more reflection and understanding that things will change- they won’t be in your control, for one instance out of a hundred, a pandemic that lasted two years and counting; there are so many things that will be out of your control but as you grow you learn to adapt and change—you control how you’ll react and reflect.

When we think back to those girls from nearly 8 years ago, we’re reminded of how much we’ve grown. How we’ve gone from owning and operating a simple concept inspired by our time living in Hawaii, to a full-blown restaurant inspired by not only Hawaii, but our life, our travels, people, things, and how we’ve evolved as individuals all together. We’re not the same girls who stepped off that plane 8 years ago and, in this case, thank goodness. We don’t want to be those girls. We want to be the girls who have learned, grown, adapted, changed, took chances, failed, got back up, failed again, but kept on getting up. We wanted to reflect on 6 major things we’ve learned over the last six years.

1. You will fail.

It’s inevitable. You will try things, fail, try them again, fail again, give up briefly, and then you’ll try once more, and you’ll succeed. You’ll laugh so hard that you cannot believe you didn’t think of a solution sooner but there it was and you’re going to be so proud and so glad that you didn’t give up on you. As a business owner you’re going to constantly change ways of operating, make a lot of knee jerk reactions, and sometimes, they’ll flat out fail. If you do not fail, you do not change, you do not grow. Failure is a must.

2. Nobody is going to show up if you don’t show up.

Not your team members, not your customers, nobody. You’re going to need to wear every hat. You’re going to need to lead by example. You need to show up for you, or nobody else will. Growing a team to trust you, to be consistent for you, to believe in you will take a lot of time. Be patient, learn from your team, learn from your mistakes. Keep showing up even when it gets tough because nobody will show up if you do not show up for you.

3. You cannot rely on anyone else to teach you things.

You can get advice, ask all the questions in the world but they will not do it for you. You will need to learn how to do everything yourself first. It will not happen overnight, you again, will fail but you will learn. Things will break, technology will fail you, and there won’t always be time to wait for someone else to do it. You need to show up every day and be ready to wear every hat.

4. Intuition will guide you.

If something doesn’t feel right, look right—it’s probably not right. If your team isn’t acting right, if the work isn’t being done right, something is probably not right. And there’s always a chance it could be you, and there’s always a chance it could be something else. But you’ll need to fix it, and you’ll need to trust your gut- your instincts — anytime you feel something is wrong in order to make things right. There’s a time and a place to put your pride aside and make matters right, admit when things aren’t working, and make them right.

5. Your customers are your greatest market-research

You are not always right, and sometimes nor is the customer, but every single customer will have something to share and it’s worth listening to. You’re never above criticism. It’s your most valuable tool— without it there would seldom be growth.

6. Your community will be your greatest supporters.

You’ll always have your family and your close friends, but those who cheer you on from afar are not the ones who show up for you day in and day out. Your community are the ones who support you literally and figuratively- they buy a coffee from your store, they share word-of-mouth, they believe in your brand. You see most of your community more than you’ll see your closest friends. Never doubt the power of a killer community. Hoboken is our community; we truly do not know where we’d be if we did not start, set our roots, in a community like Hoboken first.

Why It’s A Great Time to Buy a Fast Casual Franchise

Why it’s a great time to buy a fast casual franchise

We touched upon the numbers recently in our blog – owners and prospective owners have never been more interested in owning and operating franchises. And to be candid, now is a great time to buy a fast casual franchise in particular.

1. Interest in fast casual franchises is through the roof

Fast casual franchises have shown strong performance despite the pandemic. And they’re poised for continued growth in the coming years. Why exactly? Let’s break down just a few of the reasons why it’s a great time to buy a fast casual franchise:

2. Fast casual is filling a massive hole in food offerings right now.

Today’s customers want healthy, fresh food, and they want it quickly. And with COVID-19 still on top of many people’s minds, healthy food has never been more important. Typical fast food fare isn’t the first preference for today’s health conscious individuals and families. Particularly here at Shaka Kitchen, we are proud to boast a healthy menu of Aloha-inspired dishes. Chef and Founder Kiersten Gormeley has designed – and continues to innovate – exciting, vibrant dishes that are healthy and delicious. Our success throughout the pandemic is a testament in large part to our incredible menu and quality of dishes.

3. Particularly since the pandemic started, people are often looking to get fresh food, fast.

Healthy is important, but you can technically get “healthy” (or at least less-unhealthy!) food out of a vending machine (technically!). More customers today want healthy food that’s fast and fresh. That’s an area where only fast casual really excels. With fresh ingredients that are typically right in front of the consumer, they know that it’s fresh, and they’re watching it be made before their eyes. That’s an experience that has transformed quick eating (think of the subpar experiences many people have when they painfully watch their fast food being made 🤦‍♀️

4. Consumers (especially millennials and gen z) want the customization and personalization that comes with fast casual.

Millennial and Gen Z spending power comes out at over $165 billion in the U.S. And that doesn’t factor in their influence on their Gen X parents. And while there is conflicting data, studies suggest that both millennials and generation Z show a strong preference toward personalization in their consumer experiences (in addition to studies showing that both are especially biased toward healthy eating options).

In other words, fast casual franchises are MADE for millennials and gen z, and they are providing the experiences that these individuals want…oh, and where they have money to spend!

5. Fast casual often provides chef-level food options at lower price points and quicker service.

Everyone loves a gourmet dining experience. But not everyone loves the price tag. Or the hours-long meals. After all, we’ve got places to be, diapers to change, and more. Fast casual fills a void in dining options by providing chef-designed meals that could very well be found in a higher end restaurant. But, at lower price points and with significantly quicker service. We mentioned earlier how our menu is carefully crafted by Chef and Co-Founder Kiersten Gormeley. You may have even seen Kiersten on Food Network! While we don’t necessarily want to toot our own horn, as they say, we kind of feel like we should here. After all, we are extremely proud to have Kiersten at the helm! And the results in our restaurants are a fabulous testament to the power of chef-designed meals with the fast casual model.

We are thriving here at Shaka Kitchen, and our new franchise owners will be poised for significant success and growth as well. Our franchise program has been carefully designed by our leadership team and a range of franchising experts to be sure Shaka owners have everything they need to be successful. To learn more about franchising opportunities, contact us today. A member of our franchising team will follow up with you soon.

How To Determine The Best-Fit Franchise Before Taking the Leap

Find Your Best-Fit Franchise - Expert Tips Before You Leap

How to determine the best-fit franchise before taking the leap

There are nearly 754,000 franchise owners in the United States, and interest in owning a franchise has never been higher. The advantages of owning a franchise as a path to entrepreneurship are compelling. And the freedom you can gain through franchise ownership is often life changing. But, choosing the right franchise makes a huge difference on your happiness and ultimately, your success as an owner.

Consider these factors to determine the best-fit franchise for you.
Whether you’re just beginning your research into potential franchisors, or you’re getting ready to make a final decision, be sure that you’re factoring in this advice when making a decision:

1. Consider what you want/need (or don’t) from a prospective franchisor

It can actually be beneficial to sit down and create a list of “must-haves” and “wants” when it comes to the support, resources, etcetera you’ll receive from a prospective franchisor. For example, if you’re looking for a completely turn-key solution with heavy franchisor involvement, there are certain companies that may be a better fit for you.

If you’d prefer a franchisor who is more hands off, giving you more flexibility in key areas of importance to you, then that’s something to ask about to shorten your prospective list right off the bat.

And that’s just one factor to consider on your list. Write down every possible thing you may want to ask about, get help with, or consider when talking to potential franchisors. You can always narrow down the list later. It’s better to get all your ideas down as early as possible.

2. Talk to current owners at your narrowed-down list of potential franchises

Don’t underestimate the power of talking to current (or past) franchise owners. If you want to get a real idea what it’s like to own a franchise, talking to owners themselves is an excellent way to get candid feedback and observations.

Just as when you’re getting recommendations from family or friends, or especially online reviews, you may want to take some things with a grain of salt. Some owners or previous owners may have an ax to grind (although our human instincts can often kick in and let us know that something may be a bit too extreme or emotional).

Hearing negative or critical feedback may not necessarily be an instant disqualification, particularly if they’ve met some of the other criteria you’ve set. But, if you hear something that gives you pause, be sure to ask about it when talking to the franchisor. There may be some additional information that can help illuminate that criticism.

If you’re not sure where to find current owners, you can ask the franchisor. Or, you can search LinkedIn for “owner [FRANCHISOR]” and reach out to someone who you find in the search results.

3. Think about whether or not you would want to buy something from that business.

Owning a business can be a lifetime decision, and at the very least it’s a major investment of time, money, and heart. When considering potential franchisors, ask yourself if you would buy from that company. Whether it’s the product or service, the quality of the items or service, or the customer service itself, a positive experience for you as a CONSUMER can more often than not tie into a positive experience as an owner.

4. Review metrics and data

Potential franchisors should have excellent data and metrics in core areas to help you determine viability and potential for success in your market. Some metrics and data to pay especially close attention to include:

> Brand growth year over year : Especially since the COVID-19 pandemic began – showing growth (or even stagnation) over these last few years can be a compelling case for long-term success, as so many other businesses have struggled.
> Initial and ongoing investment: Of course, this one is always going to be at or near the top for prospective owners like yourself. You want and need to know how much your initial investment will cost, and how much you’ll be investing moving forward.
> Potential for repeat business: Repeat business is the lifeblood of any franchise, and the more repeat customers you can earn (and keep), the higher the likelihood of your success. This is an area where well-run restaurants really shine (yes, like Shaka Kitchen!).
> Competition in your market: There are a few angles to consider here. One is the proximity of the nearest from within your same franchisor (some franchises sell locations within a fairly close distance, while others provide larger service areas – get clear answers on where your closest fellow-owner will be). The other angle is, of course, direct competitors in your area. If you’re looking at fast-casual restaurants, for example, you may want to look at how many similar restaurants are in their market, how successful they’ve been (with your best data available) and how close they’ll be to your prospective location. You’ll also want to compare what you learn against the marketing and advertising support you’ll be getting from a prospective franchisor to help you stand out from the competition.

And these are just to start! Want to learn more about owning a Shaka Kitchen franchise? We’d love to talk to you! Contact us through this form and a member of our franchising team will reach out.

Five Key Healthy Lifestyle Tips

Five KEY Healthy Lifestyle Tips

1. Wake Up Early & Plan Your Day

Time management is one of the hardest things in life to master. Many people wander through life blindly, everyday praying they make their train, praying they have time to make it to the gym, and hoping they aren’t late for work or their boss will kill them. But that’s stressful, and stress is detrimental to our health. We could go on forever as to why stress is bad for your health but we’ll keep it simple: Emotional stressthat stays around for weeks or months can weaken the immune system and cause high blood pressure, fatigue, depression, anxiety and even heart disease. In particular, too much epinephrine (adrenalin/anxiety) can be harmful to your heart, which then becomes physical stress & that is a WHOLE other boat of problems for your body. Most people go about their day never knowing when they’ll get just where they are planning to go. Most people hate getting out of bed (when we say most, we mean everyone), but the most important moment of your day, is when instead of pressing snooze and striping yourself of the key moments in the morning to plan your day, you pop out of bed and ask yourself, “OK, what do I need to get done today?” By asking yourself that one simple question, you can alleviate yourself from all of the stress that comes from the term “rush”. No body likes to be rushed, and when we rush, we feel stressed. Again, no good! So pop out of bed, set your ONE alarm for five minutes earlier everyday, and give yourself a mental map of an allotted amount of time to transition from work, to the gym, to any other prior engagements you’ve made for that day. If you make this a habit over time, you’ll begin to notice the normalcy that comes with just taking the extra moment to plan your day and lifting that stressful weight of rushing off of your back. (P.S. It only takes 7 days to create a habit, of say, waking up early—So…what are you waiting for!?!?)

2.Eat Nutritious Breakfast

Nothing sets us out on the right track for the day like nourishing our bodies with the proper foods for the day. Consider every morning a fresh start to becoming a better version of yourself. Mornings are the greatest gift we were given. For those of you stuck in some sick cycle of life, or someone who has had more bad days than good: consider life beautiful because it has given you mornings. Mornings give us the time to erase the day before, to say, “This is behind me, I have survived, and now it’s time to kick today’s a**!” That is why the morning is SO crucial to our vitality. Did you have a serious snack binger the night before? Did you drink way more than you planned too and over slept just slightly? THAT’S OK— as long as you pick yourself up the next morning, eat a nourishing breakfast, and go tackle the day stronger and better than the day before. The best part is, every morning we are one day older than we were—yes, wiser as well. So learn from the day before, learn from the month prior, you’re already a better person than you were. So make the right choices when you wake up, load your breakfast up with healthy fats (avocados, coconut oil, whole eggs, chia seeds, nuts, and yes… lots and lots of acai…), and load up on healthy proteins and go kick today’s booty!!

3. Get Out

Whether it is to the gym or to the park: get outside. Living in Hoboken often becomes a difficult struggle especially when it’s cold and wet outside but the truth is, nature will always be nature and you need to make a decision if you always want to be someone who uses the weather as an excuse to determine the destiny of your day or not. Our advice is set a goal of at least a half hour of physical activity. Walk to the grocery store instead of driving, walk up by the river, or, walk to the gym. Walking releases stress, it gives us a critical time to ourselves to think and reflect. When we do not give ourselves a time of the day solely dedicated to the release of stress (exercising), we begin to go a little stir crazy living under the pressure we put on ourselves each and everyday. Stress, again, is very detrimental to our health in a plethora of ways. Therefor, anything we do to skip out on alleviating stress, only comes back to haunt us at the most unwanted times. Set a goal of 30 minutes and we can almost guarantee that due to the abundance of healthy endorphins that you release during an exercise, you’ll boost that exercise up to 45 minutes or sometimes an hour. (**Intense exercising for longer than an hour is no suggested; consult a physician if you intend on exceeding 1 hour of maximum strength exercising**). We here at Shaka believe that allotting AT LEAST a half hour of the day fully to YOURSELF, is one of the most imperative healthy lifestyle tips you will take into consideration.

4. Eat this, NOT that

While exercising is one of the most imperative things you can do for both your mental and physical health: You have no idea what eating the right foods for you can do for both mental and physical health. While we would never ever tell you that you CANNOT eat something, because as we said in our previous blog cutting any one food group from your diet can be just as detrimental as it can be to eat it in excess, we can tell you that you do have choices to make. You have choices when you choose to eat out, you have choices when you open your fridge, or your cabinet late at night. You always have a choice, and that is the first rule of thumb when choosing what to eat and what not to eat. Everyone is different; we can’t make you eat anything and we can’t make you not. What we can do id just promise you that anything you WANT TO EAT, there is 100% a healthy alternative that is just as tasty, but 10x healthier for you. So we’ll keep it short and say: do your research. Learn about yourself. Know yourself most importantly. What do you like? What do you not like? Determine and decide, what’s a hard yes, and a hard no for your dietary restrictions. Food is one of the greatest parts about life and it shouldn’t be a job. So look for the healthy alternatives, read up about it on the internet, talk to your friends, your coworkers and your peers, and see what you can do to make the right choices for you. The best part about this vital role that eating healthy food plays in our life— most people are on board with this whole new “eat healthy” thing, I know we here at Shaka are. We promise the benefits ARE as good as the people say they are. Food is a gift from the earth itself, of course we should treat it as so by only consuming the best!

5. Count Your Blessings

Lastly, we’re going to leave you with this: Nothing will make us appreciate the beauty that exists in life all around us like appreciating what is right in front of us. Tell someone you’re thankful for them today. Compliment somebody who rubs you the wrong way. Do not spend one extra second of your day dwelling on something you cannot change. Because we here at Shaka understand that life is precious, that life is a gift. And a healthy lifestyle does not only begin with how early you wake up, how often you exercise, how well you eat, but rather it begins with how well you treat your mind, and the minds of those around you. It begins with a positive perspective, if you can master seeing the good, you’re already well on your way to living a healthy lifestyle—No tips, or hacks involved. Just pure bliss—because it exists everyday, all around you, and we promise, the sooner you begin to thank life for 5 things you’re blessed to have, and be apart of, you’re already 1/5 of the way to being the best you, that you possibly can be. Thanks for reading guys. We hope you choose. Choose to live a better life. We’re all only given one chance at this thing we call life. And sometimes it’s pretty tough. Heck, most of the time it’s kicking us down more than it’s picking us up. Most of the times you have no control, the only thing you can control are your choices & your perspective. We hope you choose right. We hope you choose positivity. And overall, we hope you choose to live a healthy and happy lifestyle, because there is only ONE you, and we’re positive you’re pretty rad. So keep on keeping on, and we’ll be back with more for you next week.

Giving Back

Giving Back

We’re almost into February of 2019, and although all of our New Years goals are still fully intact, I personally am a firm believer in always setting new goals for ourselves. To push that further, I believe we need to always be setting new goals for ourselves in order to be giving ourselves a new way to grow. Goals are OF COURSE important, but there’s really nothing quite like GROWTH.

Don’t be alarmed- growth comes from many different places. It can surely come from learning new hobbies, setting new lifestyle goals, taking a trip somewhere unknown, diving into a new relationship and of course, so many other ways. Growth even comes from doing something selfless, random acts of kindness that makes us learn something about ourselves. These acts of kindness make us feel good, and growth goes hand-in-hand with feeling good, it makes us reach for more because that’s what serotonin does. It releases into our brain and makes us realize one thing: those happy good feelings are the good kind and we want more of them; we crave them.

I feel confident that the world is good. It’s in my bones and I refuse to be told otherwise. But I also know the struggle of balancing life, and then finding time to help others balance theirs- it’s a very conflicting feeling to want to be good to the world, but also to ourselves. DISCLAIMER: it doesn’t need to be this huge sacrifice to give back.

So what really gets me in the New Year mood is setting a simple goal for myself: how can I not only be better to myself this year, but how can I be a better person all around; how can I squeeze in giving back to the world?

I’m going to tell you 3 Simple Ways you can give back in the New Year without exhausting too much energy or time, and without getting distracted from your own wants and needs. Just to spare the unwanted thoughts: not wanting to exhaust too much energy, or time, but still wanting to help, doesn’t make you any less selfless, It just means you’re human. . Life is hard enough worrying about ourselves, it becomes a whole other ball park when we throw the rest of the world into the equation. So let’s keep it simple:

1. Buy Reusable Bags

This might seem silly, but what many people want to turn their heads on is the daunting reality about our planet and in case you didn’t know: It’s in danger. And while I don’t expect you to quit your job and head out on a six month sea excursion to clean garbage out of the ocean- I do think a quite easy fix is to A) Reuse your own bags every single time. Did I mention that reusable bags won’t break on you the way the plastic bags will? Bonus! They also allow you to put a lot more groceries in one bag, another bonus! B) Say no to the plastic bag at the store when you have a carrying amount of things [meaning something you CAN easily carry but the bag is just convenient] And lastly, C. save yourself money. Many of these big companies, and even states are creating laws FORCING you to pay +.10 cents per bag. Yup that’s you Hoboken. They’re on board, you should be too. Plus you look super hip when you really care and when you have 10 hundred reusable bags falling out of your trunk like me(LOL, kidding but not really). It really is simple, and if you, and myself, and maybe 10 of your friends stop using plastic bags- well darn that’s a lot of people cutting back on unnecessary plastic. {JANUARY 22 HOBOKEN HAS BANNED ALL SINGLE USE PLASTIC BAGS; unfortunately this is a town mandated rule, we hope soon all of New Jersey will follow in its footsteps—RIGHT ON FOR HOBOKEN!}

2. Try One Day A Week Without Eating Meat

But what will I do? You will survive, and so will one more innocent animal. Over 56 billion animals are killed each year. There are over 80,000 types of edible plants and we continue to eat the same 4-5 dead animals. Plants are alive. They make us feel alive more over. And I’m no vegan, and I’m just about completely rid of meat, but those numbers are shocking, and they’re real. They’re more real than the dead chicken, cow, lamb, and pig we eat regularly. OH and don’t worry, just about every single plant contains protein. Animals consume MORE of our natural resources than humans do, and that’s just to raise them to kill them for food. Now how ass backwards is that one? Read all of that again and simply try this: one day a week can be meatless, you will be doing yourself and our planet a HUGE favor! GO!


What the Health
Animal Equality

3. Donate What No Longer Serves You

I’ve written about this before, and I’ll sum it up again quite quickly: people need those things you are unsure if you’ll ever need again. Let them go. Old blankets, old hats, gloves, mittens, shoes. People desperately need them. They don’t have 1,2,3, maybe 4 pairs of jeans. They have 0. They need my size 26 jeans more than the body I’ll never have again does. See what I mean? Holding onto old clothing is like holding onto our past: we’re not going that way! You will be simply clearing your living space, which is a whole other topic of feel good vibes, and you’ll be helping out those desperately in need. This also goes for old furniture. DO NOT just leave old furniture on the curb! Places like Big Brothers & Sisters will come pick up the furniture free of charge and donate it to those in need! If you need numbers of places to donate,


1. Hoboken Family Alliance
2. Red Cross
3. Big Brothers & Sisters
4. Pick up Purple – picks up donations right from your door!
It might seem small, or it might seem big, but I promise you small steps in the right direction will bring us back to the simple joys life has. It feels GOOD to hold the door for a line of 10 people. It feels GREAT to help someone who didn’t ask for it. Over the years, we’ve lost touch with this simple idea of living. Eating clean, simple foods has become a chore; getting outside is another job most people don’t have time for. Live simply. Say Thank You. Invest in some groovy reusable bags. Donate your clothes that don’t fit, it clears your space and your head. Save the pigs!!! If you like the lady in the coffee shops sweater, let her know! Life’s way too short to not be living this way. Love you, mean it.

3 Ways to Welcome The Fall

3 Ways to Welcome Fall

3 Ways to Welcome The Fall

Hello Fall! How in the heck did we get here? While I’m sad that summer has come to a close, during the month of September I always find myself somewhere stuck in between living in a permanent summer state of a mind and on the other hand day-dreaming about drinking a cold hard cider at Penning’s Orchard after a long day apple picking and everything else FUN that Warwick, NY has to offer. Anyways while we close up the sunshine season and open our doors to the crisp air of a New Jersey fall, we all find ourselves at this door of beginnings. While the New Year technically is January 1st, I feel as though September is where our real new year calendar clock begins. Further, it’s a new school year for most, the start of no more summer-Friday’s for others, a new football season, and many more new beginnings; maybe it’s a new relationship, a new season of your favorite show- it’s all about beginnings. We set our clocks back and jump forward arms open into the Pumpkin Spice Season. With this sense of new beginnings, I always feel I need to shed some weight (while usually this means hit the gym after a summer of indulging and drinking), I mean mentally. I need to de-clutter and get back on track, tidy up my life for a lack of a better term. This month I’m going to tell you a few ways to literally shed some weight (without hitting the gym)- take out the trash- get back in the groove of things after three months of craziness & almost 0 structure. Here are 3 things I do every fall that are almost NECESSARY to get back after it!

1. Clean out your closet & donate whatever you haven’t worn in recent history

So this one is always so tough for me—I’m a clothing hoarder. Holding onto jeans that probably don’t fit—and realistically won’t ever fit again. Sweaters that hoard certain memories, crop tops that are SO out of season (and style if I might add). Tee-shirts with unwelcome stains and remnants of memories- sneakers that hurt our feet but were our staple running shoe once upon a moon. Honestly? GET RID OF THEM. How else will we make room for some groovy new fashion attire? I have this thing where I’m like “well what if I have an 80’s themed party I’m going to want to wear that”… Like Lol no Krista, you won’t. You’re going to go to the local Forever 21 and pick up one of their out of left field fashion garments and wear that- so honestly- ditch it. I live by the out of sight out of mind- I do not even remember I have half of these clothes until I assess the situation this time of year, so truth be told, if I never see it again, it’s likely I’ll never miss it. Plus there are So many awesome ways to donate your clothes to make you feel even better about it. Whether it’s a hurricane relief, the Salvation Army, a Red Cross—you will be so happy you did. And so will the recipients of your old belongings. And how much better will you be when you’re not fighting to close your old tee-shirt drawer knowing someone else is reaping the same benefits and happiness that once brought you? Decluttering our personal space is KEY to feeling mentally lighter!

2 .Make a new bucket list & organize your time

Once the fall hits, if you’re anything like me, you mentally begin to rush through in your head all of the things and expectations you have for the fall season on top of having this needed desire to get back into structure {coffee in the morning, put on a cute outfit and begin the commute}, so basic yet we’re all so guilty of it. Do I want to go pumpkin picking? Do I want to go apple picking? Ooow what about a winery? Maybe the drive-in theatre? Realistically- how many of us make these lists, mental or physical, of things we want to accomplish this fall? The boots and hats that we want and need to wear on these outings or on these chilly morning commutes. We all do it—I’m so guilty I made one last night. The truth is, when we feel like we’re missing out on these obligations we begin to feel, well, sort of let down by these unrealistic expectations we set and begin to feel stressed if we’re not so keen on keeping structure as well. My sister, Kiersten, and I visit the Essex county sunflower maze every August / Early September, and when we went to go the other day, we learned they closed early due to poor weather conditions. I felt totally let down, but since it was on my bucket list, and since I at least tried, and was able to cross it off of my list technically- I didn’t feel so bad even though I’m going to MAKE SURE I make it there for their 2019 season {obvi}. Really, whether it’s a bucket list, or your totally booked, make sure you delegate & organize your time properly in order to lift this heaviness off your mind. Make sure you integrate a routine as well as “me-time” into your schedule, bucket list, whichever– so you do not miss out on all the important fun things you want to accomplish!

3. Lastly, start a new morning routine & actually stick to it

As I mentioned, the fall is usually a time we feel pretty mentally, and perhaps physically heavy. Maybe you’re having a hard time finding the energy to go the gym, waking up gets tough when the mornings get darker & colder. SO what you seem to be lacking is a new morning routine. It takes 7 days for your body to get into a habit. Maybe it’s going to be setting your alarm earlier, or brewing a pot of coffee, hoping up & turning on the kettle or maybe it actually does involve going to the gym. Whatever it is- find a new morning structure to get back into. The whole way our day will unfold begins in those few waking moments in the morning. You set the tone & decide just how this day is going to be. Will you be sluggish and tired? Will you be excited and joyful? Energic & positive? People do not realize that simply pressing snooze on their alarm they’re throwing off their internal clock by getting up at 7:00 one day and 7:30 the next. And if you’re not waking up at the same time every day, your body doesn’t know when to start feeling sleepy, hungry (think metabolism!), either, making you more likely to push your bedtime later and further deprive yourself of rest and a valuable body clock.
If we make these lists, organize our time, clean out our closets, lighten the load, wake up early and start our days, we may actually be able to stay in order with our new routines, feel a little lighter, and embrace this new year (season) with some fun new memories along the way. People don’t realize how heavy mental stress can make us feel. If we feel so much change going on all at once, we begin to mess with all sorts of internal emotions and clocks that make us feel happy, healthy, and confident. I encourage you to make gradual changes and incorporate new routines and to value your time—keep your time organized. Give back to those who have less, and declutter your life. Do not hold onto things that no longer serve you. Start fresh.

Happy Fall,
I love you!

4 Ways To Get Out Of Your Comfort Zone


4 Ways To Get Out Of Your Comfort Zone

Hey guys! Happy… Sunday of the Summer… August! Can you believe that one? Craziness. It’s been a minute since I’ve written anything for you and I can contribute that entirely to the opening of our second location that opened up just over a month ago at 110 Washington Street, Hoboken, NJ. If you haven’t stopped by- be sure to check it out- we have an entirely new scene for you with a ton more of the food you know and love (tacos, avocado eggrolls, pulled pork, galore!) Anyways, lately I notice myself and some of my peers entering this sort of ‘blah phase’ of the year. The ‘blah phase’ is when we feel sort of out of motion, sort of stuck, in this period of no change, or in other words, stuck in our comfort zones. There are different types of comfort zones; some more permanent than others, some we carry our whole lives, and some are just temporary. I find myself in these periods as well- I think it’s only natural that we do. Whenever I feel this way, I know it’s time to shake myself up and try something new. So I’m going to tell you ways to identity these lulls, and 4 ways (though there are SO many more) but we’ll keep it simple, as to how we can hop out of our comfort zone and help ourselves change.

People do not realize that change is the essence of life-if we never change, we never exercise these different versions of ourselves that we’re so capable of being- and it’s so freaking cool that we are capable of being so many different people, with so many different talents, and so many different versions of being one person. If we don’t jump out of our comfort zone– we never see parts of ourselves that shine in different environments, we become comfortable-stagnant. It’s so imperative to teach yourself something new, to go out to eat by yourself, to explore the world as a single individual, and to truly be comfortable in our own skin, but not comfortable with life.

1. Be awkward. Feel Awkward.

Go to the coffee shop, order your coffee, and look around. Take in the people around you. Make it a bet with yourself, how long can I not look at my phone for? See how uncomfortable you feel. It’s the ultimate test. Why do you feel uncomfortable? It’s truly awakening– Many people rely on their cellphones now- they go to the coffee shops, place their order and look at their phone for comfort. GO to a restaurant- look around at the people eating alone, are they alone? Or are they with the comfort of their cellphones. Ditch the cellphone. Admire the world around you. It’s moving so quick. You will be amazed at what you see. Seldom do people enjoy the presence of just themselves—maybe this is because they’re uncomfortable in the setting, or even with themselves. Test yourself. Be the person who is truly just there, sipping their coffee, maybe reading a book, or simply watching the swirls the milk makes in your coffee. You may feel uncomfortable- but the end result is a beautiful awakening within ourselves. I recently took a trip to Chicago and had the days to completely explore a city I’ve never been to by myself. I went to breakfast by myself and didn’t pick up my phone once. I had people staring at me & you know what? That was ok, I simply offered them a smile and drank my coffee. I took in the environment around me and learned about the people of Chicago- bustling by on their ways to work, and meetings, and yoga classes. I had never been to Chicago, and I’m not quite sure when I’ll be back, so I figured I may as well fully be there, present, uncomfortable finding comfort, in a place I did not know. It felt great. I felt like I was growing, because years ago, I would’ve confined myself to the hotel probably laying by the pool just minding my own business–But I will tell you now-life is just too too short to do the things we’ve always done- step out of your comfort zone!

2. Change up your daily dose of serotonin!

Tired? Bored at the gym? Can’t seem to get yourself to the gym on a regular basis? It’s likely you’re complacent with your exercise regime and in result pretty tired of it. Change it up, girlfriendddd. Hop in a gym class you’ve never done- shake it up! With the world of dancing exercises, hot yoga, cycle bars, and barre classes—we have so many ways to see what works for us. Our bodies know when we’re bored- they know when our spirit is drained. It is so so imperative and crucial to our weightless journeys & lifestyle changes to incorporate different forms of exercise into our regimens. For years I was doing cardio, lifting, jumping, this, that, the other thing, and man, let me tell you- I was beat. I would dread going to the gym, and for whatever reason, my body knew. I was gaining weight! I wasn’t smiling during my workouts, my mind wasn’t exploring endless possibilities, it wasn’t amp-ing itself up like it used to. It was simply comfortable. It was a nightmare. So I turned my entire attention back to yoga- I challenged myself daily. I fell—A lot. I over shot so many positions I almost broke my nose. But you know what? I was happy. I was in awe of what my body was capable of and guess what? I STILL AM! Everyday I’m pushing myself to new limits & I haven’t ran a mile in 3 months ( ha ha jokes on you treadmill..see you..never!) Just kidding. But really—all it took was stepping out of what always worked for me, stepping away from what I was SO comfortable doing, and changing it up to find joy again in something that always made me so happy- exercise.

3. Say YES! Get. Your. Experience. On.

Living on budget? The internet rocks! Say Yes!!! If someone asks you to do something – say Yes! Whilst I was in Chicago, I went to this place called Navy Pier. I rode the Ferris Wheel completely alone- I went on an architecture tour on a boat alone. I made the tour guide take a photo of just me. How crazy? How sad? No! Don’t feel sad. I was so happy. I felt so damn free. I felt like a grown a** woman who was seeing the world on her own. I told people I was “Krista Columbus the solo explorer” they thought I was funny & somewhat insane… I did too once I heard it out loud. The point is- It was so freeing to do. I felt like this empowered person that- if I could feel comfortable being the ONLY single on all of these touristy attractions, I could be comfortable in almost every other situation. I did this thing for a month. I said YES to everything someone asked me to, and of course if I absolutely could not, I didn’t! It’s cool to be flexible like that. Did I want to stay in, order sushi and drink a bottle of wine while watching Shameless most times? Yes. Sad but yes. But I didn’t, and you know what? I made a lot of people happy by joining them on their adventures, and I made my soul happy too. I was uncomfortable, comfortable, and made some new friends, and got closer with my old friends

4. Talk to a stranger.

Yes- talk to the man you see every day on the corner. Ask the lady at the supermarket where she got her dress. Ask the lady who is looking at the same yogurt you’re interested in if she’s ever tried it, and if she hates it… maybe get a different one. Get opinions. Hear people and their thoughts. We’re so stuck in our own heads, we get agitated by the opinions of others. But guess what? They’re real! They’re human. They have stories, thoughts, points of views your little comfort zone might’ve never allowed you to see and they might teach you something. You can see the people as an inconvenience, or a little experience. We all carry so many stories, so much love, happiness, and even the bad stuff too, we carry that as well, but if we can learn, learn from other people about their bliss, or their mistakes, maybe it’ll help us when stepping out of these comfort zones to not make the same mistakes. Since I’ve went down this path of being uncomfortable, I’ve met so many incredible people. I’ve become this person, since my head is always up, that people always and I mean always talk to! It’s so comforting in an uncomfortable way. And for whatever reason, my life is so much more fun & laughable. I run into the most ridiculous things every day, and guess what? They make me laugh. And of course I say, “What is going on here?” most of the time, but I’m usually happy I witnessed whatever it was. I’m happy I was there, and not on my phone, obsessing over things that truly are NOT HAPPENING.
Whatever it is- whether this comfort zone is lifelong, if you order the same coffee every morning, and take the same path to work- or maybe you’ve been running 4 miles a day for 8 years and you stick to it because, hey I’m still in shape—change it up. I beg of you to change it up. I encourage everyone to get boogie with it, and change it up. Because one day you might wake up and realize you spent 6 years of your life doing the exact same thing every single day, and you may look back and see how much of your life could’ve been different. Life is funny man. It’s crazy, and hectic, agitating and beautiful all at the same time. We have to be able to feel awkward, goofy, & uncomfortable, because nothing worth pumping your blood about is found in your comfort zone. We have to be able to dance it off, laugh it off, and yes, sometimes ask “What is going on?”, because crazy, hilarious things are taking place around us each and every day. Because life is so unpredictable & it has 0 room for mediocracy. It has no room to be ordinary. Exercise your discomfort, it’s the only way you’re going to change, it’s the only way anything is ever going to change. I really hope you do. Go be a weirdo, everyone else already is!


3 Steps to Sustaining Weight Loss

how to start my weightloss journey -Shaka Kitchen

3 Steps to Sustaining Weight Loss

I think it was around the end of February maybe even the first day of this month (March) when I came into the restaurant and two of my wonderful sweet employees were discussing meal prepping and how they not necessarily wanted to lose weight, but they wanted to be healthy. For one, that made me so super happy because how awesome it is to acknowledge the difference. For two, how flattered I was that they looked to me for advice in some way. I told them I could help them, but that they needed to keep in mind that what works for me may not work for them; and what works for their friends, may not work for them. See everyone has different goals when it comes to being healthy, exercising, and losing weight. What defines healthy? What defines thin? Fit? Ultimately, I believe being healthy is finding a regime that makes YOU happy. That makes YOU feel confident, fun, flirty, sexy, and truly like you. A regime that you do not dread maintaining, one that comes easily, and one that suites you and your lifestyle.

People say they want to lose weight every day, all around me—My first question is, is this weight loss permanent? We all want it to be permanent I would imagine. I suppose that’s a realistic want for most, so we’ll stick with that. I’ve been on my fitness journey since just before I left for Hawaii. At this point of my journey I can easily say, I never ever would say “I eat healthy”, more so, “It’s just the way I am”, but I’d be lying if I said this was always the case. I used to not know what to wake up and eat, I’ve gained and lost weight more times then I care to admit in the last 4.5 years. It wasn’t until in the last year that I’ve hit a weight that I think is here to stay. I should say I’ve hit a point in my journey that I’m comfortable with, leanness, muscle mass wise, and diet wise. To me that is crucial to the way we maintain our various different journeys, levels of education, and our various levels of complacency on this topic. So today I’ll tell you 3 things we need to do in order to sustainably lose weight.

1. Educate

I honestly do not think I could un-teach myself all of the things I’ve learned about losing & maintaining weight loss. It keeps me that much more on track. Once you hit this pattern, and not that this is necessarily a good thing, but once you know how bad something is for you, you subconsciously shy away from eating it, or from doing it. Once you know what is good for you, on every level, (mentally, physically, emotionally), you will subconsciously make the right decisions for your body. Which maybe that does not comply with the whole “if you want it, you should eat it”, but realistically, that term only applies when you haven’t had that certain thing in months, it doesn’t mean every other day, it means moderation. From the amount of things, I’ve read to the amount of things I’ve experienced, I believe it’s impossible to turn back. One of the best parts? I still have SO much more to learn. Everyday I’m learning, I’m reading articles everywhere, comparing + contrasting to keep me educated and focused. Educating yourself is a key aspect to maintaining healthy physical + mental wellness because it makes undoing the process so much harder.

2. Motivate

I’d be lying if I said motivation was an everyday thing for someone who goes to the gym 6-7 days a week. Realistically some days my heads not focused, and I’m aggravated that I’m even doing the workouts. But the truth? You will not change if you do not challenge yourself. Find something: experiment, grab a friend, compete, educate yourself on a type of exercising that keeps you engaged, and doesn’t have you dreading the next day. Don’t beat yourself up. Read, write, research different ways to make your exercises more enjoyable. Change it up every day. I remember when I first started working out aside from playing sports my whole life, when it became something I consciously had to do- I walked on the treadmill every day for 45 minutes at a fast pace. I dropped so much weight over a short period of time, but A) was running out of head fuel to drive these 45-minute lulls, and B) had absolutely 0 muscle mass. No fun. All around, terrible, and not a sustainable way to keep weight off. Now, my adult self-incorporates MANY different ways of exercising every week à all on schedule of course. But still- seldom do I find myself dreading the gym and you can too!

3. Partner Up

Finally- find a friend, find a co-worker, and talk about it! Tell each other things you’ve learned, get a Fitbit if you’re able, or even better use your smart phone (mostly all of them have the track step feature on them now). Compete with each other –who can get the most steps? It’ll be a fun little challenge. If you’re able, grab your partner, your sibling, or again, your co-worker. Go on a walk. Cold weather is no excuse! Jackets, hats, gloves, get that fresh air! Bonus? You won’t be bored & another bonus? It goes by much faster with a friend and makes it more likely that you’ll do it if you have someone else pushing you or waiting on you!
I hope this helps you, truly. Like I told my sweet girls, just because this works for me does not mean these things will work for you, but that’s the beauty in this whole process. Find what works for you & go after it! We have one life, one body, and that is so so important to remember every day! Live by this rule. We want to live life the fullest and it begins within ourselves, and our various journeys to greatness. Make it one that lasts. I really hope you do.