Short stack pancakes eaten one morning by the kiddos, one of many. Made by Danny Dannels.
Every morning is a brand new opportunity to start over, or pick up where you left off. Either way, you're awake. Go do something extraordinary, even if that's just surviving.
Your mentality sets the standard for the way you address your day. There are beautiful moments everywhere. It takes but a moment to appreciate those fleeting instances. Just stop, close your eyes if you can, or just smile to yourself. A meal, a touch, a laugh, a smile, these are the things that you have to stop and remember.
Hand kneaded and rolled baking powder biscuits, served with butter and jelly not pictured. Made by Danny Dannels.
So, where did you go?
A lot of the way we spend our time as a family is with food. It is the communal gathering of bowls that defines culture, creates roots, family. We eat as a family. We don't go out, ever. So, pretty much everything the kiddos have ever had is scratch cooking, because I love to cook. It satisfies a base need to nurture and provide. "You kiddos do not understand how well you eat." "I know you make yummy tacos", has been conversation with the littles here.
So, that's something else we've been doing, we cooked and cooked. And we ate with our family, and shared meals, and watched movies, and read books, and made every moment of being able to work from home with home schooled children. I could go on and on about the tragedy of what we went through, when in all actuality, we spent more time with our children and each other.
Pan scrambled eggs and breakfast sausage on croissants. Made by Danny Dannels.
And so, what were we to do with Mentality?
We decided there was a message in Mentality that was bigger than our own personal desires to be just go lead quiet little lives, grow old and fat and just generally be super happy until the end of time. It is because of them, the little people that we have chosen to bring into the world. They're watching us, demanding that we stand in the roles that we are trying to teach them. Mentality thus becomes an expression of who we are as people. Be smart. Learn things. Be vigilant and strong. Be notorious when you have to. Never quit. And love. You cannot do it without love. It is mandatory that heart and love be in everything you do.
But, you cannot quit. Never, ever. You have to get back up. If falling down hurts too much, go do something else, but you have to get back up. It separates out survivors. And leaders are survivors who just aren't afraid of falling down again. All of your coaches and leaders in life will tell you with great enthusiasm how to take a hit and keep going, because they know that lesson for themselves. You have to overcome. The least credible person in the room is the person who didn't struggle for anything.
Cast iron pan of drop biscuits. Favorite method for biscuits and gravy. Ain't no one got time to roll out a bunch of little circles when they're just gonna be broken up and smothered in country gravy. Made by Danny Dannels.
People also need to know to be stronger than they ever thought they could be. We forget how great we are, how resilient we are. Sometimes, it's easier to be sad. Plus, lots of nice people give you hugs when you're sad, and honestly that's pretty awesome if you like hugs. But, you can't lead a life like that, especially when little people are involved. So, you do what any parent or leader does, or should do, and you get up and go do every damn thing necessary to ensure that your pack doesn't falter. The kiddos simplify things to a great extent.
Drop biscuits broken up and smothered in gravy. Made by Danny Dannels
That line of thinking about the kiddos and what they require of us, cemented where Mentality was in our lives and how we would approach further investment of time on our ends into the business and what that time would look like. Because for us, it became very personal. At one point, we were within 72 hours of foreclosing on our house because of how much time and money going through the Arminex recall demanded of our resources. But, we still had each other. It was that support structure that helped us be strong and stay with the fight until we had prepared enough information to request the government step in.
When all is said and done, the nail polish business is still there. It begs of us as business owners to engage it. All of our recipes are legit and the FDA has a copy of them. California thinks we're legit and that passes muster for me and every other business out there. And I tell you, it also would be so completely simple to walk away and never pick up that mantle again, but, there's a message there buried that needs to be told. We know how to survive through the end of the world. We know how you need to prepare as a small business, and why you have to start now. Because you want the government, of any country, to listen to your complaints, to act promptly, to take your side in anything terrible, and to be there to help you find justice, but you damn sure better have your ducks in a row to begin with. It saved us and gave us all the credibility we needed to go toe to toe with giants.
White chrysanthemum. Surround yourself with beautiful moments. Photo by Hillary Dannels.
So, Mentality is, and will continue to be, because of the message. I still have little desire to make polish for the masses again, but I do intend to remake my wife's personal collection. Quite literally the most exclusive nail polish in the world. They are not for sale. Don't even ask. These are the, I made some soap and gave some to my mom variety. A couple of close friends and family will get the extras, but I can guarantee they aren't going to be giving them away or selling them. They are handmade expressions of art. It is at the heart, of what the indie scene was, crafts people, artists, people who could plan color, and people willing to make something special just for you, something unique. In this case, something you can't even buy. Specifically in this case, I am recreating my wife's nail polish set for her. You are cordially invited to watch.
Photo of Danny Dannels wearing Mentality Resolve topped with Mentality Carousel, by Hillary Dannels. Yes, I play Spanish Classical and read music. Also, I'm wearing swim trunks under the tuxedo jacket.