We had the good fortune of connecting with Janette Almazan and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Janette, can you tell us more about your background and the role it’s played in shaping who you are today?
I was born and raised in San Diego, California. In my early years, I lived abroad in the Philippines and Japan, since my dad was in the Navy. After his tours were over and was ready to retire, we came back to San Diego. He retired as a Lieutenant Commander and was a Lead Configuration Manager, before his passing. My background and upbringing has shaped me into the woman I am today. I come from a Filipino family. My dad was the bread winner of the family. My mom graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing in the Philippines, but wasn’t a nurse for too long. Before moving to California, my dad promised my mom’s parents he would take care of her. My mom wasn’t a nurse for too long because my dad didn’t want her to work. There was a time where my dad worked up in Concord, California for a couple of years and eventually moved back to San Diego for a better opportunity. The years he was away was really hard, but it really opened my eyes of how much he loved us. It was difficult for me because him and I were very, very close. I just remember waiting for him to come home late at night and being on the phone with him until he got home. Him and I just had a special bond. Everyone knew it and it was quite evident that I was a daddy’s girl. He always reminded me that what he was doing was for us. My dad was not a man of many words, but he was the type to lead by example. From him, I have learned to make short-term sacrifices for a long-term gain, to be practical, to be independent, to never rely on anyone else, and to work hard. The only time I didn’t listen to him was working when I was full-time college student. I’m glad I didn’t listen because it really taught me how to budget and to save. I was fortunate and blessed to have lived the life my parents provided me, and I don’t take it for granted. Yes, there were times when I knew if I wanted something, all I had to do was ask or they would offer to help. I didn’t want to do that. I didn’t want to be THAT girl or be seen as someone that was given things on a silver platter. I wanted to earn things on my own — that was another thing I learned from my dad. To earn and achieve something on your own is way more rewarding and gratifying than having things handed to you. Again, my dad was just everything to me, and I hope to someday raise my future children with the same upbringing.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I love DIY creations and am obsessed with Pinterest. I was starting to help out with signage and favors for special occasions, but that was put on hold after we were faced with the pandemic in 2020. Those events started to either get canceled, put on hold to a later date or still had mini ceremonies where my DIY creations were no longer needed. I was in a stump. I didn’t know what else to do. The pandemic hit us all hard, especially for the individuals who owned their own businesses. I wanted to show support to local businesses. I would be that person that comes in first and speak with the staff and some owners with how they’re doing, what their COVID protocols were and how it has affected their businesses. I didn’t come in expecting free gifts or food. I’ve heard stories from owners and workers that people would ask for free things and in return be featured in their social media platform — To me, that it crazy. We are in the middle of a pandemic, no one should be asking anything for free. So, I can see that being a turn off for some business owners. Yes, it’s free marketing, but to be asked for free stuff in return during the middle of a pandemic? That’s just uncalled for. There’s a difference between genuinely coming in and supporting a local business and asking for free stuff. This past year has definitely taught me to take a step back and to truly find out what it is that I want to do in life, to be more compassionate, to have an open mind about things, and to cook more at home. I used to work for a well-known corporation. I had planned several big trips in 2020, but was only able to go to one out of the three trips that I already planned. If you know me, I’m a practical person. I don’t like to spend money, unless it’s an essential or necessity. Other than putting aside money into my savings for rainy days, I saved for my travels. Traveling is something I love to do and it really does help with your sanity and mental health. It’s your chance to take a break from what you’re used to and see the world from a different point of view and embrace a different culture. Once the pandemic hit, I was still hopeful we were able to go on the trips, but once the time got closer and things got more serious, everything got canceled and was able to get refunded. To me, those cancellations were a blessing in disguise. During the pandemic, everyone was getting told to work remote for a few weeks and then we’ll be back. Those weeks turned into a few months and now here we are a year later. Majority of people are still working from home. Working from home has its perks, but it can do a number on your mental and emotional health. For me, it affected me both mentally and emotionally. I started to realize I was becoming even more stressed out, overwhelmed and people just wanting more from you just because you were a click away from helping them, since we obviously had no excuse to be anywhere else. While working at this corporation, I slowly realized this was something that wasn’t fulfilling for me and I wasn’t passionate about it. Trust me when I say this was not an overnight decision. I thought long and hard about it. How was I going to survive? Is me staying worth my emotional and mental health? Did I want to end up where I was a few years ago? The answer is no. Jobs are replaceable, but taking care of myself is way more important. I am someone who has a big heart. I love to take care of people and help them get to where they want to be in life. I know that is what I’m meant to do. If I could impact at least someone in a small or big way, that would make my heart full.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
One of the perks of living in San Diego is the food! I’m not trying to be biased, but we live in one of the best cities in the world that provides the best variety of food. Due to the pandemic, majority of restaurants are doing to-go orders or outdoor dining. For Mexican food, I would recommend Lolitas and Tacos El Gordo. For Taco Tuesday, I would recommend going to Old Town and going to Fred’s or Miguel’s. Old Town has a lot of historic sites, as well. So probably walk around there. For dessert, I would recommend Extraordinary Desserts for slices of cakes and taking a walk over to Balboa Park and walk around there or have a mini picnic. If you’re craving gelato, Bobboi’s is a good place to go to. Parking is tough, but it is a street away with views of La Jolla Shores. It’s a nice stroll to take to burn off the gelato calories. If you’re into all you can eat places, GEN BBQ is delicious for Korean BBQ; Little Sakana is pretty good for sushi and for an additional price, you can add unlimited sake and Japanese beer. Other tourist locations would be Belmont Park, San Diego Zoo, Sea World, Hotel Del, Legoland. It’s just cool to live in a city where you can get some food to go, and can literally bring it and sit down at a place and you would have some view of amazing landmarks.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
With my dad’s sudden passing, it was rough. I am a very independent person and like to hide my feelings and emotions. He was honestly my guiding light in life. It was hard for me, even to this very day, to depend on someone emotionally and mentally. I used to sing at weddings and I would step outside during the father and daughter dance because I didn’t want anyone to see me cry. When he was still alive, it was him and I that would do events together as a father daughter duo. Just the fact that I won’t be able to have that moment with my dad breaks me, but I know he’s in heaven guiding me and is always with me. I hate crying in front of my mom, so I always have to keep a strong front that everything is okay. I don’t like stressing her out. She lost the love of her life that took care of not only her, but all of us that lived under the same roof. The only person who has seen me behind closed doors is my love. He truly is the only one that knows how I am day in and day out. Him and I have gone through many highs and a lot of lows. I think it’s important that we find that someone that just gets you and accepts all your moods through the good and the bad. I deeply cherish our love and we always remind ourselves that we will conquer it all together. I am grateful and blessed to have him in my life and forever in debt to him in ways he will never know.

Instagram: sdfoodista

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutSocal is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.