So, How Was Your Day?

Breakfast:
Eggs, black beans, and roasted tomatillo salsa on a corn tortilla. Chai tea with honey. Black-eyed peas.
Lunch:
Banana-chia-almond butter smoothie. Arugula with roasted beets and pumpkin seeds.
Dinner:
Roasted cauliflower and chickpeas with greens. Dark chocolate. Bourbon on the rocks.


Morning ➛
Wake up at 6:30am, shower, and read a few books to our 14-month-old son. Make breakfast, feed the baby, and watch as part of it ends up on the wall and floor (though he’s getting better at it all, as they do). Clean up the fray, get dressed, help get my husband and the baby ready for the day, water the ferns, and head over to Berkeley for my early-morning volunteering shift at the Edible Schoolyard. Being in the kitchen classroom with middle schoolers is one of the highlights of my week. During today’s lesson in the kitchen classroom at ESY Berkeley, my class of English-language-learning students is learning to make a recipe for Ghanaian black-eyed peas. My group has students from Spain, Norway, Mexico, and Brazil, and I spend a little extra time with the newest student in the class, who seems overwhelmed. He does a great job with measuring the spices, however, and bonds with two other students who are stirring the pot on the stove. After we set the table and enjoy the meal together, I help with cleanup and talk with one of the kitchen teachers about a few ideas. Since deciding to leave my full-time job a few months ago working with large companies and brands on the for-profit side of things, I have a bit more flexibility for volunteering and for starting to connect more, as I’m looking for a position that will merge my work experience with causes I’m passionate about. I’m connecting with people at nonprofits and not-just-for-profits to hear about their experiences and thoughts about the space. My goal is to help shift consciousness through strategic problem-solving and using technology for social good, all of which makes for some thought-provoking days right now.
Noon ➛
Meetings with a connection who’s working to bring healthy food to schools and with another contact who’s driving strategy at a nonprofit. Conference call with a contact in the environmental space. Respond to emails from more fantastic friends and contacts who are graciously offering to connect me with people they know doing this kind of work. Research a few organizations in food justice, environmental advocacy, and women’s rights. Make progress editing a guide for developing business plans that’s part of a consulting project for social entrepreneurs. Pick up the baby late in the afternoon, and since it’s 74 degrees and sunny, we head to Golden Gate Park to run around and burn off energy. During this transition period, I’m taking him on little adventures late in the afternoons and savoring that time with him. The sunshine reminds me that we’re so lucky to live in a place where we can enjoy the outdoors in the middle of winter. We take a spin on the carousel - he’s a little hesitant since it’s his first time, but he soon warms up to it, and then we run around picking up every stick and leaf in sight, which is his current favorite game.
Night ➛
Head home to have a few good rounds of playing with blocks, banging on mixing bowls with a spatula, and tickle fights. Chop vegetables and roast them for dinner. Prep the baby’s dinner: sweet potatoes, green beans, and broccoli are the favorites this week. My husband and I take turns feeding him while we eat and catch up on each other’s days. Give him a bath and read a few bedtime stories all together in our bed. A few more snuggles, then lights out for the baby. Spend a couple of hours relaxing with my husband, listening to records and looking at some options for hikes this weekend. Wrap up in blankets and relax with a bit of bourbon, which is our ritual at least a few nights each week. We used to make more cocktails, but that’s become more simplified since having a baby and expending energy chasing him around. Sipping a bit on the rocks seems to be both easier and gets right to the point – and taste – of the bourbon. Why muddle it up at home? I’ll save that for a proper drink out… Which reminds me that we need to book the sitter for next weekend. Bedtime!


Three Last Things…
1. What’s up with your time machine? Your photo looks like it was pulled straight from the ’70s! Is that your favorite era?
Ha! Well, it’s impossible to not live in the moment (literally!) with a toddler, but as far as style, music, and fashion goes, I’m definitely a bit steeped in that era. There’s always a bit of nostalgia for the music you heard at a young age, and I remember my parents putting a lot of CSNY and Fleetwood Mac on the turntable. The vibe in our house is, hopefully, a bit more relaxed-canyon than lava lamps or disco, though. It’s funny - a friend of mine visiting our house for the first time said, “So I get it - you tried to re-create the forest in your bedroom.” And I’d never actually thought about that before, but I suppose the plants and wood and fern-printed duvet do point to that. Until I live in my dream ’70s cabin in the redwoods, this’ll do!
2. When you wrote this post, you were looking for a job….and then you got one. And pretty much the exact job you wanted! Are you a believer in the idea of “putting it out in the universe” or can you share your secrets for landing a dream job?
I very much believe that the right things happen at the right time, whether they’re good, bad, or somewhere in between (and with time, those perceptions often change). It’s the whole Rilke notion of living the questions, because it’s not for you to know the all of the answers right away. But as far as looking for a job in a different sector, I’ve absolutely been trying to “put it out” in the universe, and after making the decision to leave my last job a few months ago and find a way to transfer my experience to something I was passionate about, I’ve been connecting in every way possible. Not so much in a traditional networking sense, but more to learn about the interesting work others are doing, hear about their ideas and experiences, and understand the different ways that I might be able to bring value and create impact. What’s worked well for me isn’t any secret, but just a blend of tons of hard work, openness to what might be ahead, and keeping positivity and gratitude at the forefront of the whole experience. I try to always remember the idea that Conan O’Brien simplified so well: “If you work really hard and you’re kind, amazing things will happen.”
3. So, how do you make Ghanaian black-eyed peas?
Oh wow, it’s sooo delicious! I’ve made this at home, too - the spices make it smell incredible, and it’s awesome to have a pot of it simmering on the stove. Plus coconut milk just makes any dish so wonderful. The Edible Schoolyard actually adapted the recipe from a Marcus Samuelsson cookbook and incorporated it into a lesson on the journey of the black-eyed pea during the Columbian Exchange. The recipe and lesson are all available via this link - I always add sweet potatoes and kale, too!


Kristen lives in San Francisco with her husband and son. She is a marketing consultant for the Social Good Guides. And since writing this post, she’s accepted a position as Director of Business Partnerships at the Sierra Club, working to further its mission of “exploring, enjoying, and protecting the planet” sierraclub.org edibleschoolyard.org socialgoodguides.com photo credit: Rachel Keenan 
So, How Was Your Day?

Breakfast:

Eggs, black beans, and roasted tomatillo salsa on a corn tortilla. Chai tea with honey. Black-eyed peas.


Lunch:

Banana-chia-almond butter smoothie. Arugula with roasted beets and pumpkin seeds.


Dinner:

Roasted cauliflower and chickpeas with greens. Dark chocolate. Bourbon on the rocks.

Morning ➛

Wake up at 6:30am, shower, and read a few books to our 14-month-old son. Make breakfast, feed the baby, and watch as part of it ends up on the wall and floor (though he’s getting better at it all, as they do). Clean up the fray, get dressed, help get my husband and the baby ready for the day, water the ferns, and head over to Berkeley for my early-morning volunteering shift at the Edible Schoolyard. Being in the kitchen classroom with middle schoolers is one of the highlights of my week. During today’s lesson in the kitchen classroom at ESY Berkeley, my class of English-language-learning students is learning to make a recipe for Ghanaian black-eyed peas. My group has students from Spain, Norway, Mexico, and Brazil, and I spend a little extra time with the newest student in the class, who seems overwhelmed. He does a great job with measuring the spices, however, and bonds with two other students who are stirring the pot on the stove. After we set the table and enjoy the meal together, I help with cleanup and talk with one of the kitchen teachers about a few ideas. Since deciding to leave my full-time job a few months ago working with large companies and brands on the for-profit side of things, I have a bit more flexibility for volunteering and for starting to connect more, as I’m looking for a position that will merge my work experience with causes I’m passionate about. I’m connecting with people at nonprofits and not-just-for-profits to hear about their experiences and thoughts about the space. My goal is to help shift consciousness through strategic problem-solving and using technology for social good, all of which makes for some thought-provoking days right now.



Noon ➛

Meetings with a connection who’s working to bring healthy food to schools and with another contact who’s driving strategy at a nonprofit. Conference call with a contact in the environmental space. Respond to emails from more fantastic friends and contacts who are graciously offering to connect me with people they know doing this kind of work. Research a few organizations in food justice, environmental advocacy, and women’s rights. Make progress editing a guide for developing business plans that’s part of a consulting project for social entrepreneurs. Pick up the baby late in the afternoon, and since it’s 74 degrees and sunny, we head to Golden Gate Park to run around and burn off energy. During this transition period, I’m taking him on little adventures late in the afternoons and savoring that time with him. The sunshine reminds me that we’re so lucky to live in a place where we can enjoy the outdoors in the middle of winter. We take a spin on the carousel - he’s a little hesitant since it’s his first time, but he soon warms up to it, and then we run around picking up every stick and leaf in sight, which is his current favorite game.



Night ➛

Head home to have a few good rounds of playing with blocks, banging on mixing bowls with a spatula, and tickle fights. Chop vegetables and roast them for dinner. Prep the baby’s dinner: sweet potatoes, green beans, and broccoli are the favorites this week. My husband and I take turns feeding him while we eat and catch up on each other’s days. Give him a bath and read a few bedtime stories all together in our bed. A few more snuggles, then lights out for the baby. Spend a couple of hours relaxing with my husband, listening to records and looking at some options for hikes this weekend. Wrap up in blankets and relax with a bit of bourbon, which is our ritual at least a few nights each week. We used to make more cocktails, but that’s become more simplified since having a baby and expending energy chasing him around. Sipping a bit on the rocks seems to be both easier and gets right to the point – and taste – of the bourbon. Why muddle it up at home? I’ll save that for a proper drink out… Which reminds me that we need to book the sitter for next weekend. Bedtime!

Three Last Things… 1. What’s up with your time machine? Your photo looks like it was pulled straight from the ’70s! Is that your favorite era?

Ha! Well, it’s impossible to not live in the moment (literally!) with a toddler, but as far as style, music, and fashion goes, I’m definitely a bit steeped in that era. There’s always a bit of nostalgia for the music you heard at a young age, and I remember my parents putting a lot of CSNY and Fleetwood Mac on the turntable. The vibe in our house is, hopefully, a bit more relaxed-canyon than lava lamps or disco, though. It’s funny - a friend of mine visiting our house for the first time said, “So I get it - you tried to re-create the forest in your bedroom.” And I’d never actually thought about that before, but I suppose the plants and wood and fern-printed duvet do point to that. Until I live in my dream ’70s cabin in the redwoods, this’ll do!

2. When you wrote this post, you were looking for a job….and then you got one. And pretty much the exact job you wanted! Are you a believer in the idea of “putting it out in the universe” or can you share your secrets for landing a dream job?

I very much believe that the right things happen at the right time, whether they’re good, bad, or somewhere in between (and with time, those perceptions often change). It’s the whole Rilke notion of living the questions, because it’s not for you to know the all of the answers right away. But as far as looking for a job in a different sector, I’ve absolutely been trying to “put it out” in the universe, and after making the decision to leave my last job a few months ago and find a way to transfer my experience to something I was passionate about, I’ve been connecting in every way possible. Not so much in a traditional networking sense, but more to learn about the interesting work others are doing, hear about their ideas and experiences, and understand the different ways that I might be able to bring value and create impact. What’s worked well for me isn’t any secret, but just a blend of tons of hard work, openness to what might be ahead, and keeping positivity and gratitude at the forefront of the whole experience. I try to always remember the idea that Conan O’Brien simplified so well: “If you work really hard and you’re kind, amazing things will happen.”

3. So, how do you make Ghanaian black-eyed peas?

Oh wow, it’s sooo delicious! I’ve made this at home, too - the spices make it smell incredible, and it’s awesome to have a pot of it simmering on the stove. Plus coconut milk just makes any dish so wonderful. The Edible Schoolyard actually adapted the recipe from a Marcus Samuelsson cookbook and incorporated it into a lesson on the journey of the black-eyed pea during the Columbian Exchange. The recipe and lesson are all available via this link - I always add sweet potatoes and kale, too!

Kristen lives in San Francisco with her husband and son. She is a marketing consultant for the Social Good Guides. And since writing this post, she’s accepted a position as Director of Business Partnerships at the Sierra Club, working to further its mission of “exploring, enjoying, and protecting the planet” sierraclub.org edibleschoolyard.org socialgoodguides.com photo credit: Rachel Keenan 

So, How Was Your Day?

Breakfast:
Egg and chard scramble. Roasted potatoes. Wild sage tea with sage bitters. Glass of Vitamineral Green.
Lunch:
Chickpea and peanut Salad. Half an avocado. Glass of Vitamineral Green. Kava Kava Tea.
Dinner:
Pizza. Milk Stout. Whiskey. Fernet.


Morning ➛
I wake up at 7am to my dogs sitting at the side of the bed staring at me, as usual. Once they see my eyes are open Butler begins his usual slow, low barking that gets louder and louder until it’s a shrill demand to be walked. I didn’t sleep well, so I give them both a bone which buys me another hour or so of sleep. I’m up for real at 8:30am, slightly agitated at my boyfriend Brady because I just dreamt he decided our 1880’s bar should be “India” themed and replaced all the saloon tables with colorful pillows and ottomans. In my dream I rip them from the inside of the bar and throw them into mainstreet. I shake it off, make some tea and pretend it’s coffee (I gave it up this year because it was stressing me out beyond control) and I get to the computer. This morning we’re working on a newsletter announcing our 2 new products to our wholesale and retail customers-Black Bitters and Colorado Pine Syrup. I make breakfast for the two of us and we go over last minute edits to the newsletter and things we need to get done today. We clean up our living space a bit because my little brother is coming to stay the night, he’s baby and wifeless for the weekend and I can tell he’s really excited. Brady heads to the bar/workshop to get the wood fire started. It’s the only heat source in the ancient building so starting it first thing is a must.
Noon ➛
We take our daily hike and head up the highway to a pullout where we see cars parked in the trees all the time. We find a new series of trails which is really exciting because we feel like we’ve hiked the whole county already. Hiking is part of my work, and probably my favorite part. In the summer they are forage hikes. It’s important for me to get out there and search out new forage locations so we never over harvest a wild stand of plants. Winter has set in up here, so all I find on the trail are some very tasty juniper berries and shriveled rose hips. I make a note this area is plentiful in these two plants for next season. I’m currently working on a Juniper Rose Syrup so it feels like a good omen. Today is a busy day so we head back to Silver Plume to conquer other tasks. We have a light lunch and then I head over to our bar/workshop. I make 2 batches of Black Bitters, a batch of Honey Chamomile bitters and I strain and bottle some Wild Sage Bitters. The holidays are around the corner and our gift sets are extremely popular this year so I put together a bunch in anticipation of the weekend.
Night ➛
The bar opens at 5pm and we have a few locals drinking whiskey and beer while a new man in town named Jerry plays some tunes on his harmonica. This has become a regular Friday night event as we are the only business in our tiny “living ghost town.” My brother shows up around 6 and wants pizza for dinner since he’s a bachelor for the night. We order some and pick it up in the next town over while Brady mans the bar. We have a few drinks together, gossip about our family and then play 3 rounds of pick up sticks. My brother loves games because he always wins, always. He helps me bottle another batch of bitters before we close up shop for the night around 9. We take the dogs on a brisk walk around town and it’s beginning to snow. Silver Plume is unbelievably gorgeous and ghostly when it snows. We drop the dogs at home and then head downstairs where our landlord has a secret BYOB bar and a substantial collection of strange antiques. We play a few games of pinball and shuffleboard and chat a bit with the locals and then head upstairs to tuck in for the night. I crawl into bed, fall asleep and wake up at 3:30am to the sound of a single chord being struck on Brady’s mandolin….our building was once the headquarters for the Knights of Pythias Secret Society in the 1800’s and needless to say we have frequent visitors from a time now passed. The ghost music doesn’t wake Brady or Derek but the dogs hear it and jump up which makes it even worse. The rest of the night is a long one, spent with the covers pulled up over my head.


Three Last Things…
1. What’s up with the Vitamineral Green stuff? What is it?
Vitamineral Green is basically whole greens, veggies, herbs and pro-biotics in loose powder form. It’s very hippy dippy stuff produced by folks who care intensely about what they put in their bodies. For me it’s great because with such a busy schedule, my diet is usually the first thing to suffer. This stuff keeps me going and feeling like I did at least one thing to care for myself during the day. I just mix a bit in with some grapefruit juice and gulp it down.
2. An herbal alchemist is such an old school yet new school career. What led you to it? And can you explain what bitters exactly are too.
I’m not sure exactly where my career began, that’s just how life works, I believe what you are meant to do will find you eventually. In college I studied Food Science and Ecological Agriculture and I would take crash courses in Herbalism over the summer. I was really interested in plant medicine and folklore but being a clinical herbalist just seemed awful, much like a therapist or nutritionist, I didn’t want to sit in a room all day listening to people’s problems. I was a bartender in the evening all through school, and after I’d made my millionth Manhattan for a customer I decided to read the ingredients on the bitters label. I was shocked to see the popular Angostura bitters were synthetically dyed and flavored and I guess in that moment a little light went on in my head. From there I fused my knowledge of bartending with herbalism and eventually DRAM was born. At DRAM we make bitters the old fashioned way- using wild and organic dried herbs steeped in pure alcohol. Bitters were historically a way to preserve the summer harvest of medicinal plants and worked their way into cocktails during the temperance movement and prohibition. Although the purchase of alcohol was illegal, you could still go to the local Doc or apothecary and procure a bottle of Bitters-pure alcohol with herbs. It’s believed people began mixing these aromatic bitters with the basement hooch folks were cooking up to take the edge off. And poof, the birth of cocktails.
3. Your night sounds terrifying! What if the Knights are just poking around because they’re looking for you to make them a drink? What do you think you’d serve them back in the 1800s?
At our bar we try to keep the focus as historical as possible-so being the 1800’s we have a large selection of whiskey. Right now our Rock and Rye Toddy is very popular. It’s a take on the “cough medicine” you could purchase from a local apothecary at the time which was a blend of rye whiskey with rock candy dissolved in it, with a touch of citrus. We serve it hot with Chai Tea.


Shae splits her time between Denver and Silver Plume, where she owns DRAM Apothecary. DRAM produces craft bitters, syrups, and tea using Colorado plants and opens as a bar/tasting room every weekend for a few hours. dramapothecary.com
So, How Was Your Day?

Breakfast:

Egg and chard scramble. Roasted potatoes. Wild sage tea with sage bitters. Glass of Vitamineral Green.


Lunch:

Chickpea and peanut Salad. Half an avocado. Glass of Vitamineral Green. Kava Kava Tea.


Dinner:

Pizza. Milk Stout. Whiskey. Fernet.

Morning ➛

I wake up at 7am to my dogs sitting at the side of the bed staring at me, as usual. Once they see my eyes are open Butler begins his usual slow, low barking that gets louder and louder until it’s a shrill demand to be walked. I didn’t sleep well, so I give them both a bone which buys me another hour or so of sleep. I’m up for real at 8:30am, slightly agitated at my boyfriend Brady because I just dreamt he decided our 1880’s bar should be “India” themed and replaced all the saloon tables with colorful pillows and ottomans. In my dream I rip them from the inside of the bar and throw them into mainstreet. I shake it off, make some tea and pretend it’s coffee (I gave it up this year because it was stressing me out beyond control) and I get to the computer. This morning we’re working on a newsletter announcing our 2 new products to our wholesale and retail customers-Black Bitters and Colorado Pine Syrup. I make breakfast for the two of us and we go over last minute edits to the newsletter and things we need to get done today. We clean up our living space a bit because my little brother is coming to stay the night, he’s baby and wifeless for the weekend and I can tell he’s really excited. Brady heads to the bar/workshop to get the wood fire started. It’s the only heat source in the ancient building so starting it first thing is a must.



Noon ➛

We take our daily hike and head up the highway to a pullout where we see cars parked in the trees all the time. We find a new series of trails which is really exciting because we feel like we’ve hiked the whole county already. Hiking is part of my work, and probably my favorite part. In the summer they are forage hikes. It’s important for me to get out there and search out new forage locations so we never over harvest a wild stand of plants. Winter has set in up here, so all I find on the trail are some very tasty juniper berries and shriveled rose hips. I make a note this area is plentiful in these two plants for next season. I’m currently working on a Juniper Rose Syrup so it feels like a good omen. Today is a busy day so we head back to Silver Plume to conquer other tasks. We have a light lunch and then I head over to our bar/workshop. I make 2 batches of Black Bitters, a batch of Honey Chamomile bitters and I strain and bottle some Wild Sage Bitters. The holidays are around the corner and our gift sets are extremely popular this year so I put together a bunch in anticipation of the weekend.



Night ➛

The bar opens at 5pm and we have a few locals drinking whiskey and beer while a new man in town named Jerry plays some tunes on his harmonica. This has become a regular Friday night event as we are the only business in our tiny “living ghost town.” My brother shows up around 6 and wants pizza for dinner since he’s a bachelor for the night. We order some and pick it up in the next town over while Brady mans the bar. We have a few drinks together, gossip about our family and then play 3 rounds of pick up sticks. My brother loves games because he always wins, always. He helps me bottle another batch of bitters before we close up shop for the night around 9. We take the dogs on a brisk walk around town and it’s beginning to snow. Silver Plume is unbelievably gorgeous and ghostly when it snows. We drop the dogs at home and then head downstairs where our landlord has a secret BYOB bar and a substantial collection of strange antiques. We play a few games of pinball and shuffleboard and chat a bit with the locals and then head upstairs to tuck in for the night. I crawl into bed, fall asleep and wake up at 3:30am to the sound of a single chord being struck on Brady’s mandolin….our building was once the headquarters for the Knights of Pythias Secret Society in the 1800’s and needless to say we have frequent visitors from a time now passed. The ghost music doesn’t wake Brady or Derek but the dogs hear it and jump up which makes it even worse. The rest of the night is a long one, spent with the covers pulled up over my head.

Three Last Things… 1. What’s up with the Vitamineral Green stuff? What is it?

Vitamineral Green is basically whole greens, veggies, herbs and pro-biotics in loose powder form. It’s very hippy dippy stuff produced by folks who care intensely about what they put in their bodies. For me it’s great because with such a busy schedule, my diet is usually the first thing to suffer. This stuff keeps me going and feeling like I did at least one thing to care for myself during the day. I just mix a bit in with some grapefruit juice and gulp it down.

2. An herbal alchemist is such an old school yet new school career. What led you to it? And can you explain what bitters exactly are too.

I’m not sure exactly where my career began, that’s just how life works, I believe what you are meant to do will find you eventually. In college I studied Food Science and Ecological Agriculture and I would take crash courses in Herbalism over the summer. I was really interested in plant medicine and folklore but being a clinical herbalist just seemed awful, much like a therapist or nutritionist, I didn’t want to sit in a room all day listening to people’s problems. I was a bartender in the evening all through school, and after I’d made my millionth Manhattan for a customer I decided to read the ingredients on the bitters label. I was shocked to see the popular Angostura bitters were synthetically dyed and flavored and I guess in that moment a little light went on in my head. From there I fused my knowledge of bartending with herbalism and eventually DRAM was born. At DRAM we make bitters the old fashioned way- using wild and organic dried herbs steeped in pure alcohol. Bitters were historically a way to preserve the summer harvest of medicinal plants and worked their way into cocktails during the temperance movement and prohibition. Although the purchase of alcohol was illegal, you could still go to the local Doc or apothecary and procure a bottle of Bitters-pure alcohol with herbs. It’s believed people began mixing these aromatic bitters with the basement hooch folks were cooking up to take the edge off. And poof, the birth of cocktails.

3. Your night sounds terrifying! What if the Knights are just poking around because they’re looking for you to make them a drink? What do you think you’d serve them back in the 1800s?

At our bar we try to keep the focus as historical as possible-so being the 1800’s we have a large selection of whiskey. Right now our Rock and Rye Toddy is very popular. It’s a take on the “cough medicine” you could purchase from a local apothecary at the time which was a blend of rye whiskey with rock candy dissolved in it, with a touch of citrus. We serve it hot with Chai Tea.

Shae splits her time between Denver and Silver Plume, where she owns DRAM Apothecary. DRAM produces craft bitters, syrups, and tea using Colorado plants and opens as a bar/tasting room every weekend for a few hours. dramapothecary.com

So, How Was Your Day?

Breakfast:
Coffee. Plain yogurt. Figs. Flaxseed. Granola.
Lunch:
Quinoa salad with spinach leaves, almonds, and dried blueberries.
Dinner:
The chef’s choice at Kai Zan (sushi).


Morning ➛
My whole family knows that I’m a night owl, which means I am NOT a morning person. I wake up pretty groggy with my eyeballs still stuck to my eyelids, so my hubby brings me my coffee cause he knows that will lure me out of bed. He’s successful, and I have time to do a few minutes of yoga. I walk my son to school by 8:30am and then dash back home, eat breakfast, and jump on the computer. I work from home on the 4th floor in a sun-filled office with a view of my rooftop garden; it’s a great place to start the day. I’ve been really excited about my new project “Get Fueled”, so I usually get the latest feature up on the site in the morning. As Creative Director at Large for Vosges Haut-Chocolat, I meet with the creative team once a week to review all the current projects and provide mentoring to the Sr Designer, Wesley Webb. Today we are meeting to review the catalog campaign and imagery for a new line of super dark chocolate bars. My next meeting is a brainstorm with the owner, Katrina Markoff, about a new chocolate sensory experience that will be part of their new manufacturing facility.
Noon ➛
This week is Chicago Ideas Week so today I packed my lunch cause I’m spending my lunch hour at a lecture about food and how it brings people together and transforms experiences. It’s a little research for an upcoming project I’ve got brewing. Afternoon is my own design time. After a busy morning, I’m energized and excited to have some time to myself to be creative. I’m currently working on the branding of a new restaurant (A10) for chef Matthias Merges (yusho) and his wife, architect, Rachel Crowl (fcstudio). I’m also helping to produce a luxury line of candles for Linnea Lights, and a book about an outsider art/guitar maker. I have to work efficiently because my workday ends at 3:30 when I pick up my son from school.
Night ➛
On most evenings, I simultaneously answer email while I make dinner and he does homework or builds wondrous Lego structures. But this evening I have a date with my husband and some friends to go to our favorite sushi place, Kai Zan. Before we leave for dinner though, we have a little family time along with a cocktail. We love fancy cocktails but I don’t want to get all fussy tonight, so I’m making a quick and easy Gin & Tonic. I used to think G & T’s sucked, but then my husband made me one using Old Ransom Gin & Jack Rudy Small Batch Tonic, and now I love them. I have to admit, this whole trend has really turned me into a cocktail snob. I’m not a snob about anything else, so I guess it’s ok. The babysitter arrives, we hug goodnight, and off we go. My best brainstorming happens late at night, like I said; I’m a night owl. My husband and I are watching Boardwalk Empire; we fall into that category that watches an entire series all at once. I’d watch 3 or 4 episodes til 2 am but my hubby always turns the TV off after one. I usually whine a little bit and try to convince him to watch more, but he’s smarter than me in that way. One episode, lights out. I usually have the laptop on my lap in bed while we’re watching, but I’m trying to break that habit. I also keep a notebook by the side of the bed and it includes a ridiculous number of lists. I find that list making allows me to let the thoughts flow, and late night thinking is when I’m the least judgmental but the most analytical.


Three Last Things…
1. What’s up with that headboard? Where are you?
I’m in our bedroom and the back wall/headboard is my husband’s doing. He designed and built it. He covered the entire wall with wood a built a recessed shelf just above the bed. He also wired lights (on dimmers) directly into the shelf and into the wall so that everything is seamless. It adds a wonderful sense of warmth to our bedroom.
2. Creative directing at Vosges, working with Linnea Lights, AND branding projects for Matthias Merges…not everyone has this special gift to connect with such cool brands and people? What’s your secret?
I love hearing other people’s perspectives because I never thought of myself as having this gift. In fact, selling myself has always been the part I don’t think I’m good at. It’s the basis for my fears of owning my own business. I’m not a good salesperson because it’s hard for me to toot my own horn. It feels funny to say ‘hey, I’m a really good Creative Director, you should hire me’. I have to work hard to over-come that funny feeling. I think part of the trick though, to get clients I want, is to be specific when people ask what I do. I don’t just say that I’m a designer, I tell people that I love to create for music, fashion, food, etc. Maybe I’ll even tell them that I dream of designing for Henry Beguilin or the Joffrey Ballet or being part of the Kinfolk Team, cause you never know who someone’s best friend or aunt might happen to be.
3. The guy behind Jack Rudy Small Batch Tonic (Brooks Reitz) was actually a guest on SHWYD. Crazy, you mentioned his line! Seeing that you’re a “cocktail snob”…if you and Brooks were to battle head to head in a cocktail competition…what would be your winning cocktail and how would you serve it?
Oh my, really? This is intimidating. I’m not really a mixologist, I just play one on TV. Ok, here goes. I’m thinking that Brooks probably believes in simple ingredients that are high quality. So, I could do a thing with egg whites, chartreuse, and light it on fire. But if I’m going head to head with Brooks (what? Seriously?!!!), then I’m gonna go the simple route here, which might be a bigger challenge cause there’s no ‘wow’ factor. I’d make a Mezcal Mule, using a small batch Mezcal like Del Maguey, Q ginger beer, fresh squeezed lime juice and maybe a dash of grapefruit bitters. I’d serve it with a big hug, and maybe with my favorite ­goat cheese fundido recipe from Elote Café.


Brenda Bergen lives in Bucktown neighborhood of Chicago with her husband and son. She’s a creative director, brand strategist, and passionate about creating sensory experiences. Her latest project, Get Fueled, explores the creative process. get fueled.com  winkdesign.com
So, How Was Your Day?

Breakfast:

Coffee. Plain yogurt. Figs. Flaxseed. Granola.


Lunch:

Quinoa salad with spinach leaves, almonds, and dried blueberries.


Dinner:

The chef’s choice at Kai Zan (sushi).

Morning ➛

My whole family knows that I’m a night owl, which means I am NOT a morning person. I wake up pretty groggy with my eyeballs still stuck to my eyelids, so my hubby brings me my coffee cause he knows that will lure me out of bed. He’s successful, and I have time to do a few minutes of yoga. I walk my son to school by 8:30am and then dash back home, eat breakfast, and jump on the computer. I work from home on the 4th floor in a sun-filled office with a view of my rooftop garden; it’s a great place to start the day. I’ve been really excited about my new project “Get Fueled”, so I usually get the latest feature up on the site in the morning. As Creative Director at Large for Vosges Haut-Chocolat, I meet with the creative team once a week to review all the current projects and provide mentoring to the Sr Designer, Wesley Webb. Today we are meeting to review the catalog campaign and imagery for a new line of super dark chocolate bars. My next meeting is a brainstorm with the owner, Katrina Markoff, about a new chocolate sensory experience that will be part of their new manufacturing facility.



Noon ➛

This week is Chicago Ideas Week so today I packed my lunch cause I’m spending my lunch hour at a lecture about food and how it brings people together and transforms experiences. It’s a little research for an upcoming project I’ve got brewing. Afternoon is my own design time. After a busy morning, I’m energized and excited to have some time to myself to be creative. I’m currently working on the branding of a new restaurant (A10) for chef Matthias Merges (yusho) and his wife, architect, Rachel Crowl (fcstudio). I’m also helping to produce a luxury line of candles for Linnea Lights, and a book about an outsider art/guitar maker. I have to work efficiently because my workday ends at 3:30 when I pick up my son from school.



Night ➛

On most evenings, I simultaneously answer email while I make dinner and he does homework or builds wondrous Lego structures. But this evening I have a date with my husband and some friends to go to our favorite sushi place, Kai Zan. Before we leave for dinner though, we have a little family time along with a cocktail. We love fancy cocktails but I don’t want to get all fussy tonight, so I’m making a quick and easy Gin & Tonic. I used to think G & T’s sucked, but then my husband made me one using Old Ransom Gin & Jack Rudy Small Batch Tonic, and now I love them. I have to admit, this whole trend has really turned me into a cocktail snob. I’m not a snob about anything else, so I guess it’s ok. The babysitter arrives, we hug goodnight, and off we go. My best brainstorming happens late at night, like I said; I’m a night owl. My husband and I are watching Boardwalk Empire; we fall into that category that watches an entire series all at once. I’d watch 3 or 4 episodes til 2 am but my hubby always turns the TV off after one. I usually whine a little bit and try to convince him to watch more, but he’s smarter than me in that way. One episode, lights out. I usually have the laptop on my lap in bed while we’re watching, but I’m trying to break that habit. I also keep a notebook by the side of the bed and it includes a ridiculous number of lists. I find that list making allows me to let the thoughts flow, and late night thinking is when I’m the least judgmental but the most analytical.

Three Last Things… 1. What’s up with that headboard? Where are you?

I’m in our bedroom and the back wall/headboard is my husband’s doing. He designed and built it. He covered the entire wall with wood a built a recessed shelf just above the bed. He also wired lights (on dimmers) directly into the shelf and into the wall so that everything is seamless. It adds a wonderful sense of warmth to our bedroom.

2. Creative directing at Vosges, working with Linnea Lights, AND branding projects for Matthias Merges…not everyone has this special gift to connect with such cool brands and people? What’s your secret?

I love hearing other people’s perspectives because I never thought of myself as having this gift. In fact, selling myself has always been the part I don’t think I’m good at. It’s the basis for my fears of owning my own business. I’m not a good salesperson because it’s hard for me to toot my own horn. It feels funny to say ‘hey, I’m a really good Creative Director, you should hire me’. I have to work hard to over-come that funny feeling. I think part of the trick though, to get clients I want, is to be specific when people ask what I do. I don’t just say that I’m a designer, I tell people that I love to create for music, fashion, food, etc. Maybe I’ll even tell them that I dream of designing for Henry Beguilin or the Joffrey Ballet or being part of the Kinfolk Team, cause you never know who someone’s best friend or aunt might happen to be.

3. The guy behind Jack Rudy Small Batch Tonic (Brooks Reitz) was actually a guest on SHWYD. Crazy, you mentioned his line! Seeing that you’re a “cocktail snob”…if you and Brooks were to battle head to head in a cocktail competition…what would be your winning cocktail and how would you serve it?

Oh my, really? This is intimidating. I’m not really a mixologist, I just play one on TV. Ok, here goes. I’m thinking that Brooks probably believes in simple ingredients that are high quality. So, I could do a thing with egg whites, chartreuse, and light it on fire. But if I’m going head to head with Brooks (what? Seriously?!!!), then I’m gonna go the simple route here, which might be a bigger challenge cause there’s no ‘wow’ factor. I’d make a Mezcal Mule, using a small batch Mezcal like Del Maguey, Q ginger beer, fresh squeezed lime juice and maybe a dash of grapefruit bitters. I’d serve it with a big hug, and maybe with my favorite ­goat cheese fundido recipe from Elote Café.

Brenda Bergen lives in Bucktown neighborhood of Chicago with her husband and son. She’s a creative director, brand strategist, and passionate about creating sensory experiences. Her latest project, Get Fueled, explores the creative process. get fueled.com  winkdesign.com

So, How Was Your Day?

Breakfast:
Coffee shop confections.
Lunch:
Club sandwich.
Dinner:
Burrito.


Morning ➛
I’m up at 7am, out the door at 7:30am. Praying that the traffic gods will be merciful and allow me to make it to set by my 8:30am call time (which in LA is code for 8 o’clock). Today I’m shooting an episode of a web series I host, The Science of Happiness. I usually don’t have time to grab breakfast before I leave, but there’s always some coffee shop confections on set. As I devour the pastries, my director Mike Bernstein (with his first of many coffees in hand) goes over the game plan with me. Once I have a fuzzy idea of what we’re doing, Taylor from makeup makes me look presentable. Our participants are volunteers and in the interest of science, we keep them as uninformed as possible. In LA people are skeptical of everything, so telling them they can’t know what we’re doing doesn’t exactly help. I combat this with the tried-and-true technique of awkward smalltalk while our cinematographer Yuki adjusts lights and frames us up. I run each participant through a psychology experiment that we’ve pulled from a peer-reviewed study. Usually we see some pretty amazing reactions and I do my best to control my own emotions. Outside I’m cool as the Fonz, internally I’m crying like a 5-year-old girl with soap in her eyes. Once they finish, we thank them for their time and it’s on to the next. We’ll have between 3 and 6 volunteers before we break for lunch. By this point, everyone’s been on set 6 hours.
Noon ➛
We take a half hour to unwind and everyone swaps stories from hilarious or bizarre experiences when they worked on other sets. I gorge myself on my club sandwich while I listen in. After a half hour, we’re back in. 3 to 6 volunteers later, we’re out of guests but still not done. We compile the results and try to make some sense of it. Now the pressure’s on - we’ve been on set 11 hours and only have an hour left in the space we’ve rented. Mike, myself, and producer Matt Pittman scramble to write a conclusion. Our brains churning against the thick sludge of exhaustion that even Mike’s 8th coffee is useless against. We get the conclusion in the can and we finally shoot the intro. The intro is much longer and I’ve spent every free second that day trying to memorize it. I’m now the only one keeping us here. If I get it right, we’re done. I do it over and over until Mike says the magic words, “Cut! That’s a wrap.”
Night ➛
I thank the crew while they pack up, grab something quick and dirty on the way home (a fast food burrito, and I’m not ashamed of that) and I walk through my door at 9:30pm. I’m emotionally and physically exhausted, but I cannot explain how content I feel. Tomorrow I’ll be looking for another job. I apply to hundreds of projects a month, audition for dozens, and get cast in maybe one or two. While I have fun and make a little money on the others, none of them are as fulfilling to make as The Science of Happiness. Our 7 episode run may be over, but we’ll be back in January shooting our new series, The Science of Romance.


Three Last Things…
1. What’s up with the jammer bottoms? Do you have a thing for Lincoln?
The PJ’s come from a student film I did right at the end of college. I had never acted for film and was actually studying to be a hockey broadcaster then. But a friend of mine was casting the film and they needed someone who looked 16 and home schooled and… well just look at me. My character wore a shirt bragging that he and Lincoln attended the same school and we started joking that it would be hilarious if he were obsessed with our 16th president. So the costumer made me those pants for another scene and I loved them so much I sort of emancipated them without permission.
2. Your show The Science Of Happiness is truly one of the greatest things on the internet. How did this project start?
Science of Happiness is the brainchild of the aforementioned Matt and Mike. They pitched the idea to Soul Pancake and were given the funding to make our pilot episode. Matt and Mike found me in an audition and Soul Pancake loved the pilot so much they agreed to make 6 more and another 6 on another topic. I give as much credit as I can to Soul Pancake; everything they make is equally amazing and they do it altruistically. Their only goal is to make people’s lives richer and because of that they’ve created a culture on their corner of the internet where shows like Science of Happiness can exist and thrive.
3. Your most popular episode (over 2 million views!) was “An Experiment In Gratitude”. You made your subjects think of someone that was inspirational in their life and write down why. Then you surprised them and made them tell that person why they were so grateful for them. So time to turn the tables, Julian. Who has been most inspiring in your life. Tell them why, right here.
I’m afraid I’ve beaten you to it! You see, as I said I was planning on being a sports broadcaster right up until the end of college. But I ended up having to give a speech at graduation and suffice it to say it went well. I got a date out of it. Because I asked a girl out in the front row. It’s *here* if you really want to see it. My parents were there (they flew over from Europe just to see it) and afterward they encouraged me to try making a living as a performer. It had always been something I wanted to do but I was so scared. What if I fail? What if I’m not good enough? My dad (who I am convinced is the basis for The Most Interesting Man in the World, accent and all) told me, “Julian, do you know how many times I changed-not jobs-careers? You’ll figure something out, you always do.” That’s what inspired me: they didn’t tell me to try because they thought I would succeed. They told me to try because it’s OK to fail. So I moved to LA and 6 months later was cast by Matt and Mike. After we shot our pilot about showing gratitude, I went home and tried the experiment myself. I stayed strong for about 30 seconds before I broke down and told them how grateful I am for them and how much I love them. Now I try and do it as often as I can, and I’m honestly happier for it. So Jordi and Roxanne, I love you both endlessly and want to thank you again for everything you’ve given me. Have a happy anniversary today!


Julian is an actor living in Los Angeles. He is the the host of Soul Pancake’s The Science Of Happiness and soon to be released The Science Of Romance. the science of happiness  soulpancake.com
So, How Was Your Day?

Breakfast:

Coffee shop confections.


Lunch:

Club sandwich.


Dinner:

Burrito.

Morning ➛

I’m up at 7am, out the door at 7:30am. Praying that the traffic gods will be merciful and allow me to make it to set by my 8:30am call time (which in LA is code for 8 o’clock). Today I’m shooting an episode of a web series I host, The Science of Happiness. I usually don’t have time to grab breakfast before I leave, but there’s always some coffee shop confections on set. As I devour the pastries, my director Mike Bernstein (with his first of many coffees in hand) goes over the game plan with me. Once I have a fuzzy idea of what we’re doing, Taylor from makeup makes me look presentable. Our participants are volunteers and in the interest of science, we keep them as uninformed as possible. In LA people are skeptical of everything, so telling them they can’t know what we’re doing doesn’t exactly help. I combat this with the tried-and-true technique of awkward smalltalk while our cinematographer Yuki adjusts lights and frames us up. I run each participant through a psychology experiment that we’ve pulled from a peer-reviewed study. Usually we see some pretty amazing reactions and I do my best to control my own emotions. Outside I’m cool as the Fonz, internally I’m crying like a 5-year-old girl with soap in her eyes. Once they finish, we thank them for their time and it’s on to the next. We’ll have between 3 and 6 volunteers before we break for lunch. By this point, everyone’s been on set 6 hours.



Noon ➛

We take a half hour to unwind and everyone swaps stories from hilarious or bizarre experiences when they worked on other sets. I gorge myself on my club sandwich while I listen in. After a half hour, we’re back in. 3 to 6 volunteers later, we’re out of guests but still not done. We compile the results and try to make some sense of it. Now the pressure’s on - we’ve been on set 11 hours and only have an hour left in the space we’ve rented. Mike, myself, and producer Matt Pittman scramble to write a conclusion. Our brains churning against the thick sludge of exhaustion that even Mike’s 8th coffee is useless against. We get the conclusion in the can and we finally shoot the intro. The intro is much longer and I’ve spent every free second that day trying to memorize it. I’m now the only one keeping us here. If I get it right, we’re done. I do it over and over until Mike says the magic words, “Cut! That’s a wrap.”



Night ➛

I thank the crew while they pack up, grab something quick and dirty on the way home (a fast food burrito, and I’m not ashamed of that) and I walk through my door at 9:30pm. I’m emotionally and physically exhausted, but I cannot explain how content I feel. Tomorrow I’ll be looking for another job. I apply to hundreds of projects a month, audition for dozens, and get cast in maybe one or two. While I have fun and make a little money on the others, none of them are as fulfilling to make as The Science of Happiness. Our 7 episode run may be over, but we’ll be back in January shooting our new series, The Science of Romance.

Three Last Things… 1. What’s up with the jammer bottoms? Do you have a thing for Lincoln?

The PJ’s come from a student film I did right at the end of college. I had never acted for film and was actually studying to be a hockey broadcaster then. But a friend of mine was casting the film and they needed someone who looked 16 and home schooled and… well just look at me. My character wore a shirt bragging that he and Lincoln attended the same school and we started joking that it would be hilarious if he were obsessed with our 16th president. So the costumer made me those pants for another scene and I loved them so much I sort of emancipated them without permission.

2. Your show The Science Of Happiness is truly one of the greatest things on the internet. How did this project start?

Science of Happiness is the brainchild of the aforementioned Matt and Mike. They pitched the idea to Soul Pancake and were given the funding to make our pilot episode. Matt and Mike found me in an audition and Soul Pancake loved the pilot so much they agreed to make 6 more and another 6 on another topic. I give as much credit as I can to Soul Pancake; everything they make is equally amazing and they do it altruistically. Their only goal is to make people’s lives richer and because of that they’ve created a culture on their corner of the internet where shows like Science of Happiness can exist and thrive.

3. Your most popular episode (over 2 million views!) was “An Experiment In Gratitude”. You made your subjects think of someone that was inspirational in their life and write down why. Then you surprised them and made them tell that person why they were so grateful for them. So time to turn the tables, Julian. Who has been most inspiring in your life. Tell them why, right here.

I’m afraid I’ve beaten you to it! You see, as I said I was planning on being a sports broadcaster right up until the end of college. But I ended up having to give a speech at graduation and suffice it to say it went well. I got a date out of it. Because I asked a girl out in the front row. It’s *here* if you really want to see it. My parents were there (they flew over from Europe just to see it) and afterward they encouraged me to try making a living as a performer. It had always been something I wanted to do but I was so scared. What if I fail? What if I’m not good enough? My dad (who I am convinced is the basis for The Most Interesting Man in the World, accent and all) told me, “Julian, do you know how many times I changed-not jobs-careers? You’ll figure something out, you always do.” That’s what inspired me: they didn’t tell me to try because they thought I would succeed. They told me to try because it’s OK to fail. So I moved to LA and 6 months later was cast by Matt and Mike. After we shot our pilot about showing gratitude, I went home and tried the experiment myself. I stayed strong for about 30 seconds before I broke down and told them how grateful I am for them and how much I love them. Now I try and do it as often as I can, and I’m honestly happier for it. So Jordi and Roxanne, I love you both endlessly and want to thank you again for everything you’ve given me. Have a happy anniversary today!

Julian is an actor living in Los Angeles. He is the the host of Soul Pancake’s The Science Of Happiness and soon to be released The Science Of Romance. the science of happiness  soulpancake.com

So, How Was Your Day?

Breakfast:
Carrots and peanut butter.
Lunch:
Veggie burger.
Dinner:
Melon & tomatoes. Roasted yellow corn. Roasted carrots. Flatbread.


Morning ➛
Ya…I’m one of those - I set my alarm for 7am (it’s set to this WONDERFUL song by The Barr Brothers, “Beggar In The Morning”) and hit snooze a few times until I’m finally working by 8/8:30am. I work from home, so I simply walk to my table and begin emails and phone calls. I’m not in my PJs like a lot of people might think. I have to be completely showered, clothed and ready before I start my day - even if it’s just me and my computer at my kitchen table. We’re putting on a massive benefit show, so my day consists of emails, phone calls and asking incredible artists to perform. People are really sweet at telling me “no”,  while still making me feel good. I’ve requested that they teach my future ex-girlfriends how to break up with me. Generally I always get the best side of people. 
Noon ➛
You have to stay creative on the food/budget front working for a non-profit. Luckily I have a simple palate so eating the same thing everyday is fine with me. Normally at lunchtime I’d eat what’s become known as “The Kenny Medley”: a smashed up veggie burger, quinoa, frozen veggies, all smothered in Srirachca, and mashed up together. On this special day, however, three very dear friends of mine were in town from NYC…the dynamic and brilliant female DJ duo THE JANE DOZE, and the soon to be dance-pop-princess of the world BETTY WHO. We walked down the street to Hugo’s and had a great lunch, chatting about life, love, music, and ending wars. Then I head back to emailing and phone calling. I love my job because I get to work with talented artists who I respect on a creative level. Through our communal efforts to stop suffering in Central and East Africa, we’ve bonded in an entirely unique way. It’s pretty magical and I don’t take it for granted.
Night ➛
I’ll usually stay at my computer working through the night or until something else starts happening, but this night was special. I went to grab dinner with one of my best friends, Lauren Paul. Lauren has an incredible organization called Kind Campaign that empowers girls throughout the US to stop bullying each other. We decided to splurge this night and went to a great restaurant called Goldie’s (I dodged the Kenny Medley twice in 1 day)! After dinner we headed to a friends house for “Thtory Thurthday” which is an extremely dorky night where I’ll chose an episode of This American Life or Radiolab to play for everyone. We’ll all lie around drinking wine and listening to the story as if we were listening to the radio in the 1930s. The stories are always so incredibly engaging that they inspire a few hours of dialogue afterwards. It’s always SO much fun. My buddy Timmy, part of the Invisible Children family, had just arrived from New Zealand. So we went back to my place and I made him a little bed on the couch and called it a night.


Three Last Things…
1. So, what’s up with this photo? You didn’t exactly follow the instructions to take your photo in bed. Gonna let it pass because it’s so damn cool.
Hahah YES! This photo was actually taken right next to my bed. Thanks for letting me. I shot a film in Uganda with an extremely creative guy named Sean Stout from TerrorEyes.tv. He is always doing cool stuff and is the mastermind behind the photo.
2. You seem to surround yourself with some pretty incredible and positive people. Has this always been the case? Do you find that because of your work you are magnet for other doers like you?
I feel really, really lucky and am constantly humbled by how amazing the people are around me. Sometimes it actually becomes intimidating and paralyzing artistically, because I feel like can never live up to these creative, incredible people. Everybody has a talent to share with this world and you should be the person pulling it out or lifting them up for it. Vulnerability breeds vulnerability and the more open, honest and supportive you are with the people around you, the more they’ll be the same. And if they’re bringing you down, get out of there! There’s some super nice person waiting around the corner for you.
3. Thtory Thurthdays sound pretty cool. Living or dead, choose your dream guest list for one of these nights and what would you listen to.
I LOVE this question. I’m assuming since they can be dead/undead they can also be fictional, so I’m going to run with that. *Sam Hamilton and Lee from the book East Of Eden. Sam is a jolly genius of an old man whom everyone loves and is captivated by, but he can never catch a break financially and struggles his whole life. Lee is a brilliant Chinese man, seemingly limited by the circumstances of his time but who reacts to his surroundings with a very distinct and accurate moral compass. READ THE BOOK and you’ll see why I wish I can meet these dudes. *Then there’d be Doc Holiday. I feel like he’d have some incredible stories and be a humorous guy. * Then I’d pull in Amy Poehler and Tina Fey. When have they ever been in a room together and not been absolutely hilarious?? We’d listen to the This American Life episode of “The Ghost Of Bobby Dunbar”, because it’s the best one ever.


Kenny lives in the West Hollywood neighborhood of Los Angeles. He is the Director of Artist Relations for Invisible Children, a non-profit organization focused on ending Africa’s longest running war. He uses the arts as a platform to raise awareness to stop children being abducted and forced to fight as child soldiers. In addition to his work at IC, he makes films with friends, including Short Term 12 and Beside Still Waters. invisiblechildren.com  Kenny’s personal IC donation page  @kennyjamez
So, How Was Your Day?

Breakfast:

Carrots and peanut butter.


Lunch:

Veggie burger.


Dinner:

Melon & tomatoes. Roasted yellow corn. Roasted carrots. Flatbread.

Morning ➛

Ya…I’m one of those - I set my alarm for 7am (it’s set to this WONDERFUL song by The Barr Brothers, “Beggar In The Morning”) and hit snooze a few times until I’m finally working by 8/8:30am. I work from home, so I simply walk to my table and begin emails and phone calls. I’m not in my PJs like a lot of people might think. I have to be completely showered, clothed and ready before I start my day - even if it’s just me and my computer at my kitchen table. We’re putting on a massive benefit show, so my day consists of emails, phone calls and asking incredible artists to perform. People are really sweet at telling me “no”,  while still making me feel good. I’ve requested that they teach my future ex-girlfriends how to break up with me. Generally I always get the best side of people. 



Noon ➛

You have to stay creative on the food/budget front working for a non-profit. Luckily I have a simple palate so eating the same thing everyday is fine with me. Normally at lunchtime I’d eat what’s become known as “The Kenny Medley”: a smashed up veggie burger, quinoa, frozen veggies, all smothered in Srirachca, and mashed up together. On this special day, however, three very dear friends of mine were in town from NYC…the dynamic and brilliant female DJ duo THE JANE DOZE, and the soon to be dance-pop-princess of the world BETTY WHO. We walked down the street to Hugo’s and had a great lunch, chatting about life, love, music, and ending wars. Then I head back to emailing and phone calling. I love my job because I get to work with talented artists who I respect on a creative level. Through our communal efforts to stop suffering in Central and East Africa, we’ve bonded in an entirely unique way. It’s pretty magical and I don’t take it for granted.



Night ➛

I’ll usually stay at my computer working through the night or until something else starts happening, but this night was special. I went to grab dinner with one of my best friends, Lauren Paul. Lauren has an incredible organization called Kind Campaign that empowers girls throughout the US to stop bullying each other. We decided to splurge this night and went to a great restaurant called Goldie’s (I dodged the Kenny Medley twice in 1 day)! After dinner we headed to a friends house for “Thtory Thurthday” which is an extremely dorky night where I’ll chose an episode of This American Life or Radiolab to play for everyone. We’ll all lie around drinking wine and listening to the story as if we were listening to the radio in the 1930s. The stories are always so incredibly engaging that they inspire a few hours of dialogue afterwards. It’s always SO much fun. My buddy Timmy, part of the Invisible Children family, had just arrived from New Zealand. So we went back to my place and I made him a little bed on the couch and called it a night.

Three Last Things… 1. So, what’s up with this photo? You didn’t exactly follow the instructions to take your photo in bed. Gonna let it pass because it’s so damn cool.

Hahah YES! This photo was actually taken right next to my bed. Thanks for letting me. I shot a film in Uganda with an extremely creative guy named Sean Stout from TerrorEyes.tv. He is always doing cool stuff and is the mastermind behind the photo.

2. You seem to surround yourself with some pretty incredible and positive people. Has this always been the case? Do you find that because of your work you are magnet for other doers like you?

I feel really, really lucky and am constantly humbled by how amazing the people are around me. Sometimes it actually becomes intimidating and paralyzing artistically, because I feel like can never live up to these creative, incredible people. Everybody has a talent to share with this world and you should be the person pulling it out or lifting them up for it. Vulnerability breeds vulnerability and the more open, honest and supportive you are with the people around you, the more they’ll be the same. And if they’re bringing you down, get out of there! There’s some super nice person waiting around the corner for you.

3. Thtory Thurthdays sound pretty cool. Living or dead, choose your dream guest list for one of these nights and what would you listen to.

I LOVE this question. I’m assuming since they can be dead/undead they can also be fictional, so I’m going to run with that. *Sam Hamilton and Lee from the book East Of Eden. Sam is a jolly genius of an old man whom everyone loves and is captivated by, but he can never catch a break financially and struggles his whole life. Lee is a brilliant Chinese man, seemingly limited by the circumstances of his time but who reacts to his surroundings with a very distinct and accurate moral compass. READ THE BOOK and you’ll see why I wish I can meet these dudes. *Then there’d be Doc Holiday. I feel like he’d have some incredible stories and be a humorous guy. * Then I’d pull in Amy Poehler and Tina Fey. When have they ever been in a room together and not been absolutely hilarious?? We’d listen to the This American Life episode of “The Ghost Of Bobby Dunbar”, because it’s the best one ever.

Kenny lives in the West Hollywood neighborhood of Los Angeles. He is the Director of Artist Relations for Invisible Children, a non-profit organization focused on ending Africa’s longest running war. He uses the arts as a platform to raise awareness to stop children being abducted and forced to fight as child soldiers. In addition to his work at IC, he makes films with friends, including Short Term 12 and Beside Still Waters. invisiblechildren.com  Kenny’s personal IC donation page  @kennyjamez