DEAR HARRIETTE: I've always harbored a secret dream of opening a restaurant. I always told myself that it is improbable, and there's no money in the business unless you make it big. I know it's a cutthroat industry, but I think I could make it work with the right guidance. Would restaurateurs even be willing to spill some of their secrets to me? I don't have any mentors, and I want to do this the smart way. -- Restaurant Dreamin’, Milwaukee
DEAR RESTAURANT DREAMIN’: Congratulations on preparing to make your dream come true. This is fantastic. You should know that it is rare for people to take action to make their dreams come true. Good for you.
Now, how to do it? Yes, you should reach out to restaurateurs in your neighborhood to ask for an information interview. Some owners will be open to your questions. But don’t stop there. Look for a class in restaurant management so that you can learn the nuts and bolts of starting and growing a restaurant. There are so many details that need to be in place -- from location to cuisine to chef to wait staff to decor to insurance, you name it. Do the research on the front end so that you are as prepared as possible.
DEAR HARRIETTE: My friends and I have committed to camping at a country music festival in a few weeks. I camped as a child and teen, so I know that it won't be glamorous, but we will create some great memories. Right after we purchased the camping passes, our friend "Angelica" told us that she would actually rather book a private hotel room and would just have us contact her and meet her at the gates every morning. I don't roll like that. I think if she is going to exclude herself, she should be finding us. What do I say to Angelica so she doesn't get her way? -- Not Waiting Around, Winston-Salem, North Carolina
DEAR NOT WAITING AROUND: You absolutely can turn this around to be more of a responsibility for Angelica. Have her come with you when you set up camp so she knows exactly where it is. Agree to a time for her to meet you at your campsite in the morning. Make it clear that if she is not there at that time, she will have to call or text you to find out where you are. Do not agree to meet her at the gate. If she needs a pass to enter the campgrounds, let her know she has to purchase one so that she can move independently.
The point here is that Angelica’s desire for creature comforts in a hotel room is perfectly fine, but it should not require you or members of your group to coddle her in any way. If you establish ground rules for everyone, she will have to accept them.
(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)