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this life

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US State of California
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I am making this blog with three rules in mind–be honest, be raw, and be mature. No ​passage will be more than 100 words. The only don'ts are no drama and no cute stuff.

Ok, now that the rules have been outlined for me and there is some clarity of how these ​go as a reader, I will start.

The title of the blog is pretty literal and sums up the vision of this ongoing tale. I am a ​DIY Taco guy, I have a team, and this is the story of the adventure. I hope you enjoy the ​story.


The “DIY way” sounds kind of corny to me in most way, yet it's the best descriptor of the ​adventure that found its way upon me. Before I was “DIY”, I honestly felt like I was dying. ​Maybe a cleaner descriptor is that I felt like my life was not mine and it was without ​aliveness.

I grew up pretty safe–my father always had solid executive jobs, I had an older sister ​who guided the way in all things, and a passionate mom, who equally challenged me, ​while scaring me straight. It was the perfect upbringing for safe carriage.


The taco part happened by accident and it was really sort of after the DIY had already ​been half forged. The taco’s were an experiment and necessity–and I started with no ​intention of doing it on my own. As a matter of fact, I desperately wanted someone…​anyone…everyone to have a fingerprint on it, because I was terrified to fail. Beyond all, I ​was terrified to fail alone. How lonely and sad that would be.

I leaned into loads of people as the idea came together, Carlos, Omar, and a few others, ​yet above it all was my amiga, Ingrid.


(DIY day one: Part 1 of 5)

In hindsight, the beginning of the awakening and the imminent fall which would force ​the “DIY ”was when I walked across the two row parking lot of 26 corporate plaza ​in Newport Beach to its matching sister executive plaza suite at 28 corporate plaza. ​ironically, it was to go meet up with my sister–the CEO of our family business. The ​year was 2016 in the spring and a sunny southern California day in an idyllic corporate ​environment. The exact details beyond that were lost on me, because each day had ​become a groundhogs day.


(DIY day one: Part 2 of 5)

As I headed across the lot, I knew the conversation ahead was an important one, yet like ​all things in my life till this point, it still felt safe. No matter how scared I ever was in ​life or insecure, I always felt guarded and also naive. I always assumed that perhaps that ​safe feeling was because of my parents and their upper-class life, an older responsible ​sister or private school education. It was some sort of outside force that made me feel ​protected–and today I assumed it would be the same when I shared my update.


When i started this blog, on day one i wrote five posts, then took the week off and was ​going to do five again today. Randomly tonight before writing the new batch, i watched ​an APPLE TV interview with musical producer , Benny blanco. if you don’t know him--​google him--he is the new hitmaker --the Quincy jones, babyface, or barry gordy of this ​era.

in the interview he references patience and not allowing time to be a driver--rather ​doing things on “right” time. he says he has some hits he has sat on for 8 years. I needed ​to hear that.


I do prayer walks each day. I also pray probably 75 times a day. It's the same prayer and ​acknowledgment of gratitude. I pray for the same three things. I ask for the simplest. ​Best. I ask for heaven on earth. And I ask for something called the “Boom essence”–its a ​connection from God to Christ consciousness to essence to my element with my form ​following. All in flow. I share this because it's probably the most important thing I do–​it’s altered my life quality positively more then anything I have ever done– “ask and you ​shall receive.” amen.

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(DIY day one: Part 3 of 5)

When i made it into my sisters office, she seemed genuinely happy to see me. I rarely made the ​trek over though her office was close. It was always nice to know she cared for me and loved ​me. Yet the job and our roles and life had strained our relationship. I was the cmo and her ​younger brother, she was the ceo and my older sister. We had ingrained life roles and a business ​didn’t clean much of that up. When i sat down i was relieved, it was time to grow up and be ​accountable to my life.


As our business grows, my wife Justine and I are always trying to determine where it is ​going, its potential path and our place within it. We got married in November of 2023 at ​Walden Pond, in an elopement style ceremony. Second marriages for us both–and our final ​ones as we have married as best friends first. We work together too. Once a week we do a ​team meeting for thirty minutes to discuss duties and tangibles for the week and we also ​walk together daily in nature for an hour. That's when we discuss values, dreams, and ​prayers.


(DIY day one: Part 4 of 5)

I sat down in her chair, it was nice and elegant like her office. On the wall I saw a ​picture or statue of the Buddha, it calmed me down. Though I was going to tell LIndsey ​that my marriage was falling apart–she already knew–and that I needed change in my ​life and was starting with leaving the business–that she didn’t know, I felt calm and ​safe. I still don't know if that calm and safety feeling was because my family always ​dealt with my quirks and took care of me, or something much deeper within. I finally ​know which…


Today I put up a visual advert for this blog on our in-store TV monitor. It felt ​really silly to put images of me up there—one as old corporate CA me and the taco ​version now.. It’s meant to show the juxtaposition from that old shiny life to today. ​I struggled with the idea of my photo being right there in front of people looking ​like I was hawking a ware–I realized there truly is a valuable story to share. Like ​all positive changes recently in my life, I recalled, the uncomfortable first step was ​the key…leap, jump, and go!


100 words—it’s one of three rules for the blog, 100 words or less. It has been a ​blessing, it forces clean succinct thoughts. It shows respect to one full thought, ​perhaps two, at most. It shows respect to a reader, by assuming they can follow ​along with less.

“Simplest best” is a mantra we repeated when starting Yo!Boca!Tacos! The other ​mantra was “imperfectly perfect.” They got us from overthinking and into doing and ​kept us positive and proactive. As long as we started and were getting better we ​were doing ok, and that was a forward step.

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When we started the business, I knew the spots I loved and admired– In-n-Out ​(quality and simplicity), Del Taco, El Pollo Loco (affordable, quick, delicious), and ​Baja Tacos, the restaurant, and the actual style of cooking (freshness, authenticity, ​and hot sauces), yet we were far from experts. The people around us supporting us in ​going live were experts–one was a Culinary Institute of America alumnus (Carlos), ​one was a soon to be anointed Yelp Top 100 restaurateur (Omar), and my cousin ​(Joel) was a large chain restaurant manager. Ingrid was a good cook–born and ​bred–yet neither of us were “experts.”



The weeks before we went live I felt sick with fear. What if no one comes? What ​will I do with all this chicken and beef when no one comes? Am I a reckless ​gambler stealing my kids' college funds? Am I my only audience? Do people even like ​tacos here? I was a new boss to Ingrid, yet I cried with her multiple times. Usually ​it was her observing my overwhelmed glazen stare when new pallets of supplies, ​equipment and products arrived. “Como estas?”--that was all it took–tears. My self ​trust was lower then I knew.


(DIY day one: Part 5 of 5)

When I told Lindsey I was intending to leave the company within the year, I said the ​words, with a trace of retractability. They felt flexible, a statement of tantrum irk ​over my marital and work woe. I cried wolf to my sister many times in life and I ​thought this visit was going to be met with some padding or a plea to reconsider. ​She always protected me. It was obvious this was the next phase. Her face turned ​quickly from anger to sadness to frustration to completion. She was done with me. ​Time to deal with the wolf.

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Goodbye personality–time to change or be still. Growing up I leaned heavily into my ​personality for confidence. I was a reserved kid and spent my early life observing ​situations and studying people until I felt I could use my personality to stabilize me. ​Most of the personality was using observations to make aggressive jokes or charged ​comments, so I would be left alone or seen as smart and acceptable. With all parts ​of life, family, and business it's clear now–it's time to let go of aggressive ​judgemental thoughts...change or be still. The rest is just extra, zero value added.


Process and consistency are important. My patience has been really poor at times. If ​I am not seeing an outcome right away I can get proactive and try to force a result. ​It's an aggressive chaotic path that wastes energy and creates double work. It's ​also disrespectful to others, showing limited faith in their work process. I behave ​this way to remedy the pain of failure. If it fails, it will be quick and painless, and I ​can move on quickly–yet the pain is there. Instead, I am robbed of building something ​real, durable and thoughtful.


We have lots of books at our house and lots of highlighters. Justine and I decided to ​grow our library a few months back. Amazon came to our house daily for a period. ​We just kept finding topics that seemed to demand comprehension. The highlighters ​ensured we were really paying attention and made it easier to pick up a book later and ​recall what was valuable. The books are diverse: zen, philosophy, business, ​biographies, sports, history, science, survival, art–all highly rated, with 500+ reviews, ​and high peer praise. The greatest minds living in our house daily to inspire.


Zen re-emerged into my universe recently. The good news is that once it’s discovered, it ​cannot be lost. It quietly does work on your essence in the background even in ​dormancy. Zen is confounding because it makes perfectly clear sense while adhering to ​no logic . It’s the energy you always want right next to you; safe in its skin, firm in ​character–casually, gently omnipotent. Zen and Tao are both like this, epic energies; ​all pervading, all knowing, while at the same time behaving as nothing and no thing. A ​relationship with zen is like a relationship to our universe.


We have Alexas all throughout our house. I realize she creates some unease in terms ​of AI proliferation and possible data security challenges yet to me it’s worth a little ​risk. We use her to fact check questions and opinions that create dissent in the ​household. We use her to translate items in the station. We use her for music, weather, ​sports scores, and even to communicate. I make household announcements with her ​which are both effective and funny. When I don't have a good gift idea for someone, ​they get an Alexa. Clearly, I am in the pro-alexa camp