Author Archives: jjbegonia

Leading with Your Gut, with Tropicana Probiotics

Thank You so much to Tropicana for sponsoring this post!  As always, all opinions are my own.


“If we listened to our intellect, we’d never have a love affair.  We’d never have a friendship.  We’d never go into business, because we’d be too cynical.  Well, that’s nonsense.  You’ve got to jump off cliffs all the time and build your wings on the way down.” ~ Annie Dillard

Once upon a time, I was a girl who strongly disliked (“Hate” is probably a better word here, but I try not to use that in any capacity, because it just promotes bad vibes, all around, you know?) her job.  I’ve talked about this before and I probably will again.

When I graduated from college and moved to New York City immediately thereafter, I wanted to become a magazine editor.  I wasn’t entirely sure what that would entail, but I was certain that I loved to create and write, and that thinking about things like branding, packaging, colors, and layouts very much excited me; they still do.

To get my foot in the door so to speak, I began temping at magazines like GQ and Lucky.  I would work at each for 2-3 days at a time doing very glamorous things such as organizing fashion closets and stuffing PR mailers.  I really enjoyed those tasks though, in part because I always felt that in doing them I was getting one step closer to my dream of becoming an editor.  We all have to pay our dues.

Eventually, I landed a full-time position at another magazine…in sales.  I had never considered working in sales before, but I was young and naive and above all, reasoned with myself that I would do this particular job for a year or two at most, and ultimately cross over into editorial as planned.  Right.

You might guess by now where this is going.

Without me even realizing it, one year turned into almost ten.  Time is good like that; it flies.  I did a lot of things in that period of my life, of course.  I moved back to Boston and got my MBA.  I traveled as much and as often as I possibly could.  When I graduated from Boston College once again (I also did my undergrad program there.), I moved to Los Angeles.

In all that time, I continued to work in sales in spite of the fact that my heart was never in it.  What I know now is that I was never cut out for sales, and if I am being honest, I was never very good at it either.  Yet in every new position that I accepted, I continued to reason and make concessions with myself as to why I kept on keeping on.  I suppose I had decided that I would make a change “someday”.

Before I go any further, I want to say that in the handful of jobs that I had in that decade, I met some incredible people and made some of my very best friends.  While I was not once particularly thrilled about the work in front of me, I was learning; a whole bunch.  I will forever be grateful for those two things if nothing else.

The truth is, however, I knew deep down that for as long as I continued to work in sales, I would never be genuinely happy.

That realization practically smacked me in the face by the point at which I landed in L.A.  The company that I was with at the time had numerous internal problems.  Those problems definitely made me feel worse off, but – that aside – what the situation boiled down to is that I was utterly unfulfilled.  Not even a new job with the coolest company, or the kindest people, or the best perks, (insert superlative here) etc., etc., etc., would change that.

What I still wanted to do was to create.  I spent my free time taking photos of random objects and scenery.  Where I could, I planned adventures and road trips.   I invited my friends over for dinner parties.  On the weekends, I wandered from farmers’ market to farmers’ market obsessing over the pretty produce California had to offer and dreaming up new recipes.

I also found that age old thought running on repeat in my mind “There has to be more to life than this“.



Blueberry Chai Cream Cocktail

Thank You so much to the US Highbush Blueberry Council for sponsoring this post!  As always, all opinions are my own.



Thanksgiving could not have come around at a more perfect time.  The earlier portion of this week required an extreme amount of grace.

Grace and cocktails.

There were little annoyances that led to bigger frustrations.  Two feet of snow, a power outage, a memory card erased with one fell swoop, and a complete and total computer crash, to mention a few.  Technology has not been my friend.

I witnessed a fight over the last bag of pre-cut green beans in the grocery store (true story), and waited in more lines than I can count.  Local shelves were largely empty by Tuesday afternoon and some of the ingredients I thought I “needed” for our feast were not available.  No big deal.

These are just small pieces of “life happening”, as my Mom would tell me.  I recognize that when it all comes down to it, none of this matters much, but of the hundreds of things that I felt deeply grateful for yesterday (and always), one of them was a cause to pause and slow down.  I want to remember to do that more of that this season.




Creamy Sunchoke Soup


Just as summer turned to a fall, a few of my ladies and I got together for a girls’ night in.

Originally it was intended to be a last hurrah at the lake; a final chance to sit outside and watch the sunset.  We would have a bite to eat here and there, likely with a cocktail in hand.  Over time that plan evolved, and eventually it was decided that each of us would bring an appetizer and a drink to our little soiree.  It would be a potluck sampling of sorts.  At one point, there was talk of a possible contest and judging and a winner for the best pairing – and the accompanying bragging rights of course.  So naturally we all took this very seriously.

What actually ended up happening is that the night we chose to meet was cold and rainy and our beloved sun was nowhere to be found.  So much for that part.  Undeterred we all still showed and passed our contributions around in the coziness of the kitchen, which everyone knows is the best place to end up at a party anyway.

We realized rather quickly that we should have agreed on a theme – for the drinks at least – because our “cocktails” ran the gamut from Jello shots to ginormous Moscow Mules to homemade Irish Cream.  Basically, we created a recipe for a hangover.  If you want to try this at home (…and I definitely think you should; it was a super fun time!), have everyone bring a drink using the same kind of alcohol, and dole the drinks out in small-ish standard cups.

Lesson learned.

We had a lot of variety in the food department too.  I must say, it was pretty neat to see how creative everyone got.  For my part, I brought a batch of Stormy Mornings and shooters of this creamy sunchoke soup.  If you’ve never tried a sunchoke (also known as a Jerusalem artichoke) before, it tastes like a cross between an artichoke and an especially rich potato.  In this soup, the flavor takes on a mushroom-like quality; very earthy.  To balance that earthiness, I added a secret ingredient.  Spoiler alert: it’s Prosecco!  I liked the way that it paired with my cocktail, which also included some bubbles.

If you are looking for an excuse to pop a bottle this weekend, or are in need of a little something extra for your Thanksgiving table, either (or both!) of these recipes would be excellent choices!