redefining wanderlust

a life blog by Bekka

Posts for INTERVIEWS Category

Artist Johnny KMNDZ Rodriguez Honey Baked Ham Adventure & Interview

Artist Johnny KMNDZ Rodriguez went to Honey Baked Ham this morning and managed to hold on to his sanity by posting live updates. Johnny is a talented artist and extremely friendly person, but holiday lines are a whole other beast and Mr. Rodriguez is not to be messed with. I found his updates amusing, so I reached out to see if I could share them here and send a few follow-up questions.  Please excuse any typo’s in the Facebook posts, we’ve all been there.

Artist Johnny KMNDZ Rodriguez Honey Baked Ham

Here is my follow-up interview with Johnny ‘KMNDZ’ Rodriguez to find out what happened next!

Q) How long was the official wait time?
A) Not proud to say but I believe I was in line for three hours. Gross right?

Q) How many hams did you order?
A) As I finally made it into the store I picked up a big bag of Hawaiian rolls. Got to the register and the lady asked how she can help me. I replied “Just the bag of rolls please”, she looked shocked. Thought about it and let out a big laugh. I ended up with a single ham that fed seven people. Love left overs!

Q) Where are you spending Thanksgiving and with you, where is this ham going?
A) Well, the hams going into my belly! I’ll be staying home this year, breaking bread with my lady and my kiddo.

Q) What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving?
A) I’m thankful I can stand in a three hour line and afford to buy… No finance a seven pound ham. We got it good here in the states and I’m thankful for that.

Q) Will you be practicing your resting bitch face more?
A) Hell Yes! I found a resting bitch face workshop. Heard the line was around the block to get in.

Resting Bitch Face Academy

Doodle by artist, Johnny KMNDZ Rodriguez, post Honey Baked Ham experience.

Thank you to Johnny for this fun quick interview and I hope everyone has an amazing Thanksgiving!

Lastly, my holiday PSA. As we are now officially in the crazy holiday season, I encourage everyone to all keep your head on straight and some humor in your hearts. Also, be kind to sales people, working in customer service sucks, but someone has to do it.

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5 Fab Questions with Craig “Skibs” Barker

Craig ‘Skibs’ Barker creates colorful retro pieces that encapsulate the charm of postwar era style and signs in his paintings and installations. I’ve seen three different art installations filled with whim and wonderment by Skibs, and I love how he plays with lights and tv screens to manipulate an environment. A  fantastic new art installation is now on view at the Long Beach Museum of Art for “Vitality & Verve: In The Third Dimension” and should be seen by all fans of vintage & art.

Here are 5 Fab questions with Craig ‘Skibs’ Barker!

Q: Where do you think everyone should visit once in their life? What’s currently at the top of your travel bucket list?

A: I think everyone should visit Fiji once in their life. The people are some of the most happy, kind, generous, amazing humans I have had the pleasure to spend time with. The islands are some of the most scenic, and stunningly beautiful places I have been. And, if you surf it is some of the best surfing in the world.

The top of my travel bucket list right now is Western Australia…I hear it’s rugged, open spaces are amazing.

Q:  Best “hole in the wall____” you’ve discovered? (it can be bar, restaurant, store, club etc…)

A:  Best hole in the wall for me, is Factory Records on 17th St. in Costa Mesa, CA….The place is literally a tiny “hole in the wall” space packed with records old and new…stacked in bins, on the floor, everywhere…there’s barely room to move if there’s more than 5 people in there. Dave the owner knows his shit and can help you find it if he doesn’t have it in stock.

Craig Skibs Barker - Bowl

Q: Favorite comfort food, is it homemade or at a certain place?

A: My wife Kristen makes homemade vegetable soups that are by far my favorite comfort food….homemade soup and a grilled cheese….mmmmmm!!!!

Q: Do you have an awesome book or documentary recommendation to share?

A: I’ve been on a Steinbeck kick for the past year or so…I’m reading Travels with Charley right now…highly recommended!

I also highly recommend Filmage the documentary on the LA punk band The Descendents…you’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll pass gas…watch it!

Q: Pass on the love and give a fab shout-out to someone we should know about?

A: I have 2 shout outs…artist/graphic designer/doodle hero Nick Simich…check him out! And….Ross Morgan at Morgans Woodshop….custom furniture and design guru…find him if you can!!!

Craig Skibs Barker Dear To Me

 

Funny Story:  I had met Craig ‘Skibs’ Barker through the art world, and it wasn’t until a few years after having become familiar with his art that I found out his used to be a part of a punk band called The Stitches.  About ten years ago, when I was 18, my friends and I drove up to Hollywood to see The Stitches play. Unfortunately by the time we got up there, the band had canceled and we didn’t want to drive back home. So my friend and I decided to get tattoos! Yes, my first tattoo, which is a darling four leaf clover on my hiney,  was all because Craig ‘Skibs’ Barker’s band decided to cancel their show. It’s funny how our lives are connected, paths will cross, and the memories we create along the way.

Craig Skibs Barker

Scope out more of Craig “Skibs” Barker’s work here!

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Flashback Friday | Interview with Kevin Peterson “Artful Chunky Monkey”

Kevin Peterson’s “The Thaw” from 2015

In 2010 I interviewed artist Kevin Peterson for my blog, My Favorite MAOI (music art or inspiration). I had seen his work on an art site I would frequent to view the artists of the day. This was a few years before he was picked up by my art family at Thinkspace Gallery. Now his work is selling out at every show and his work is gracing the cover of the Red Hot Chili Peppers latest album, “The Getaway”. Peterson’s grown tremendously as an artist over the last six years and I’ll be interviewing him later this year for his exhibition this August with Thinkspace. In a toot my own horn fashion and hipster inclinations of “I heard about it first” here is my interview with Kevin Peterson from 2010.

Originally Published on www.myfavoritemaoi.com August 23, 2010

circa 2010

Name: Kevin Peterson
Nickname: K. Peterman, Kelvin, Uptown, K. Pumpernickle, Roger Pudactor, Kpeezy
Sign: Taurus

Favorite:
Breakfast food– Donuts!
Scent– Donuts!
Flower– Donuts! I mean Lilies.

Q1. How many times have you been pulled over? And why?
A1.Like ever?? I dont know -several. Expired registration, inspection, driving without headlights, tail light out. Littering (i know thats bad but i was just a stupid kid). Curfew violation (also a stupid kid). Im not a speeder though!

Q2. What animal is your spirit guide?
A2.Liger

Q3. What’s your vice?
A3.Peanut butter cups. Donuts! Oh and nicorette.

Q4.If you could live in a movie for a day, which movie would it be? Would you be yourself or another character?
A4.The Departed. I’d be Marky- Mark, I think hes the only one who makes it out alive.

Q5.If your art was an ice cream flavor which one would it be?
A5.Chunky Monkey – cuz I like things that rhyme.

Q6.Did you have an imaginary friend as a child?
A6.I dont think so.

Q7. Personal Quote?
A7.”Be the change you want to see in the world” I dont usually get the credit for it – but yeah- that was all me.

Q8.Do you believe in horoscopes and zodiac signs?
A8.Maybe- but I dont pay much attention. I had to look up how to spell Taurus.

Q9.Do you drink coffee? If so how many cups a day?
A9.For sure- 3 or 4

Q10. Best show you have ever been too?
A10.I really loved Will Cotton’s show at Mary Boone last year with the big gingerbread houses.

I fell in love with Kevin Peterson’s work the moment I saw the juxtaposition of innocent children in a graffiti filled playground. They are as at home as they would be running across lush green fields. He captures their expressions with his talent for realism. From the texture of the walls that colorful writing is drawn to the strands of hair that fall down the child’s face; Kevin draws you in and dares you to see if it’s a painting or photograph.

check out his website

To view additional pieces from Kevin Peterson visit the Thinkspace Gallery website.

2014

Kevin Peterson 2014

2015

Kevin Peterson 2015

Kevin Peterson 2015

Kevin Peterson 2015

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Interview with Little Mousie Creations : Bohemian Minimalism

The last 83 days I’ve been Periscoping almost every night for a “100 days of focus” challenge, I decided to start 83 days ago. One of the awesome people to join me on my self-reflective scopes, who helps to keep the conversation going, is a talented print and jewelry maker Erika of Little Mousie Creations. I was drawn to her work because of the details she puts into her pattern making and jewelry, everything seems deliberate. It’s minimalism’s older more bohemian sister. As I love to celebrate the creative spirit and put a spotlight on how other’s are traveling through life, I interviewed Erika to find out how she stays creatively inspired and stories that have shaped her adventure.

Little Mouseie Creations - Handmade Jewelry 1

When did you get into print and jewelry making?

Well, designing and creating jewelry has long been a passion of mine. I remember making some pretty cool friendship bracelets out of embroidery thread in third grade and attempting to sell them door-to-door to my neighbors. Entrepreneur from the start!

Flash forward 10+ years to 2011, I opened an Etsy shop as Little Mousie, selling hand-folded origami crane necklaces. I didn’t know much about what I was doing, but it was a start. Myself and my jewelry have come a long way in the past five years. I have moved from self-taught, costume jeweler to taking several classes in Metal Clay, which I now absolutely love working with. (You can find a brief description of what Metal Clay is on my website here: www.littlemousie.com/jewelry-information)

As for print making, the medium and method are quite new to me. I took some short lessons on it in my high school years, but have really just picked it up again in the past 6-8 months. I have plans to get more involved and intricate as I play with carving.

Ultimately, that is what captivates me in my work—meticulousness, intricacy, and detail. Creating jewelry with metal clay involves a lot of steps and is a delicate medium. Hand-carving into lino blocks is also incredibly intricate work. I love working on small details, getting up close to the piece I am working on.

What inspires you?

Simply put—Life. I look to music, my faith, nature, friends… I sit or lay in nature with music playing and enjoy the whole process of peacefully being inspired. This year I have pushed myself to remain simplistic, even in detailed work.

Little Mouseie Creations - Handmade Jewelry 2

What would be a dream project or collaboration?

I have dreams of connecting creativity with community. Short-term, this dream looks like hosting encouraging events for women and teens, while a more long-term dream has been to own a storefront/studio where I have designated spaces to sell curated hand-crafted items, as well as host workshops and events.

Best hole in the wall (can be restaurant, store, café etc) you’ve discovered?

So, I didn’t actually discover this place, but was introduced by my husband and father-in-law. Hands down best hole in the wall: El Michoacano on the corner of Lankershim and Sherman Way in North Hollywood. It is a midnight, authentic taco fav. Order at the window and eat in your car or sit and enjoy at one of two tables outside. Thank me later.

Little Mouseie Creations - Handmade Jewelry 3

At times being a creative person can feel like a curse, but what are a few of the blessings it’s brought to your life?

For me, creativity has allowed for a release. I am a total feelings person. I feel emotions much stronger than many people I know and creating has allowed me to express emotions in a healthy way.

Do you have an awesome book or documentary recommendation?

I wish I could say I read often or watch documentaries often, but…Life. I definitely enjoy each when I have been able to prioritize time for them. Since I was recently sick, I did relax and watch The Champions on Netflix. This is a documentary about the rescued Michael Vick dogs and even though I for sure bawled my eyes out, I loved it. Now, all I can think about is how much I want a Pitbull.

Little Mouseie Creations - Handmade Jewelry 4

Spontaneity is the spice of life, do you have a great story that was born from a spontaneous moment?

I am the worst spontaneous person ever. I am horrible at surprises. Even attempting to surprise someone else, I often accidentally tell them. However, my husband has enough spontaneity-spice for the both of us. After deciding to propose, he bought my ring with every intention of waiting a month until our dating anniversary to do so.

Yet after only a day of having the ring he couldn’t wait. We were going to be having a best friend over for dinner and got into the car to go get groceries. There was a gorgeous sunset with beautiful pastels and fluffy clouds. He began going a different direction, looking for a hill to see it better. I was annoyed. Yes…I was yelling that we needed to hurry up and didn’t have time to stop! He ignored my frustrations and stopped somewhere where I refused to even get out of the car. After much convincing he just held me, telling me all these sweet things…then I knew what was about to happen. And of course, immediately felt bad for being a brat. Don’t ask me what my response was, *face-palm*.

Little Mouseie Creations - Handmade Jewelry 6

Who are five fab people we should know about?

1. If you don’t already, get to know Bekka! Her Periscope (@basicallybekka) is where I started following and it’s been real ever since.

2. Definitely, Cara. Instagram: @molluskgrl. She’s a writer and artist who constantly reminds me to take the first step and Show-Up.

3. My girl, Kristen. Instagram: @kindredcinema. Making all my video dreams come true. This lady is incredibly giving of her knowledge regarding utilizing video for your business.

4. For sure, Amanda Christine. Instagram: @amandachristinestudio. Encouraging, talented, and honest. I just love Amanda and her photography + art.

5. Absolutely, Meredith. Instagram: @wildflowerroots. Another inspiring jewelry designer who creates the best pieces for everyday wear.

Honestly, I have found such an amazing support group on Instagram, this list could go on forever.

Little Mouseie Creations - Handmade Jewelry 7

Blanket Fort Adventures is on a mission to redefine wanderlust as a way of traveling through life, how do you want to travel?

Road trips. I have only done extended drives across multiple states with my parents as a kid, but I would love to do this with my husband. There is something so freeing about spending time talking deeply, singing loudly, and playing car games with loved ones as you explore together!

What do you think we need to travel through life and have the best adventure?

Loving on people. I absolutely feel that being real and authentic, while cultivating a network of genuine relationships is where you will find the greatest adventure. This is where my life is becoming more meaningful.

View Erika’s creations in person at the Patchwork Show in Long Beach, Sunday, June 12th from 11am – 5pm. It’s free to attend and one of my favorite creative markets to go to! Also, follow Erika on Instagram @littlemousiecreations for all her creative updates and your can peruse her online shop at www.littlemousie.com/jewelry.

Long Beach Patchwork Show

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Flashback Friday : Interview with Jacob Duzsik of HEALTH

I just saw HEALTH at Coachella and thought it would be appropriate to pull this interview out of the archives.

Originally published on myfavoritemaoi.com on October 15, 2010

Name: Jacob Duzsik
Nickname: Handsome Jake
Sign: Cancer

Favorite
Food: Burritos
Book: The Plague: Albert Camus.
Season: Summer

Q1. What is the best show (music) you have ever been too?
A1. Pearl Jam in 1991. I don’t even like them but it was one of the first shows I ever went to. My dad took me.

Q2. If you could live in any time period or be anyone dead or alive?
A2. who would you be or where would you go? The Idea of being someone else is pretty terrifying philosophically speaking.

Q3. What is something you hate doing, but must do anyways?
A3. Getting gas. Fucking hate it.

Q4. If you had to give up one of your 5 senses, which one would you abandon?
A4. Taste.

Q5. Most rewarding moment of your life thus far?
A5. The birth of my first daughter…hypothetically

Q6. If you owned a parrot, what would you teach it to say?
A6. I would not own a parrot.

Q7. How old were you the first time you got drunk? How was the experience?
A7. !2 years old, new years eve. I puked all over the ground outside my house and tried to clean it with the hose, but it just froze into pools, like giant puke ice cubes. My mom found them in the morning and was furious. It was awesome

Q8. Biggest Pet Peeve?
A8. I have too many to pick a favorite but for right now I’ll go with people who walk around whistling. Can’t fucking stand it.

Q9. What was your childhood ambition?
A9.To be a movie cop. Not to be a real peace officer or an actor, but just a fictional badass.

Q10. Is there any toy you really wanted as a kid but was never given? Did you ever buy it for yourself when you got older?
A10. Remember those footballs or soccer balls that had monster faces on them? Well I really wanted one, and for some reason my mom flatly refused. Never did figure out why.

Those nights out that feel like a dream, where the people are beautiful and life seems surreal. Everything was intangibly exciting. In the moment you wonder if your awake or asleep, closing your eyes to open them up and see that this place, this wonderland, is real. When I listen to HEALTH this is the feeling I am filled with. Their music would be the soundtrack to that night’s movie. It’s haunting, and yet so present. I’ve yet to have the delight of seeing HEALTH live but I could only imagine how hypnotizing the performance would become.

please listen to more HEALTH. They are currently touring with Crystal Castles in the UK and other various parts of Europe! Jealous.

HEALTH “DIE SLOW” from Lovepump United on Vimeo.

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FAB 5 FRIDAY : II

Happy Friday! 

The happiest day of the week, full of potential for a relaxing and fun weekend or just a little extra time to work on your own side hustle. I’m excited to be continuing my Fab 5 Friday series today; introducing five fab creative, brilliant, and bright people who are willing to share a few of their secrets to the freshest, coolest, most awesome things that light up their world. I hope these mico-interviews inspire your next adventure or a chill night in, and most of all – encourage you to look at your world little differently.

Today’s interviews are from a collection of artists from traditional oil painting to more tactile art forms, and one bad-ass ice cream cookie maker, co-founder of Coolhaus Natasha Case.

Natasha Case co-founder of Coolhaus/ Los Angeles, CA | I’ve been a long time fan of Coolhaus and its sweet architecture inspired ice cream sandwiches. I love celebrating people’s success, so it’s been awesome to watch them grow over the years and make a name for themselves in the dessert world. The sammies creative and delicious flavors are fun and well, cool.

Where do you think everyone should visit once in their life? What’s currently at the top of your travel bucket list?
We just came back from the North side of Kauai – it was incredible… already itching to go back! Also, on the top of my list is Aquinnah in Martha’s Vineyard and Zion National Park. All these places have in common that they are serene, undeveloped, and amazing places to disconnect and rejuvenate. On my bucket list: Hong Kong!! (Funny enough, kind of the opposite travel experience—but I’m dying to go there and eat everything.)

Favorite comfort food, is it homemade or at a certain place?
The breakfasts that Freya cooks me every morning—usually an egg dish with vegetables like green onions, collard greens, kale and turnips from our garden. She’s amazing at one pot meals as well, and I create the drinks to match.

Do you have an awesome book or documentary recommendation to share?
The Official Preppy Handbook, 1Q84, and The New Yorker’s long form pieces.

Pass on the love and give a fab shout-out to someone we should know about?
So many! Freya Estreller of Ludlows Cocktail Co, Jennifer Puno of ILOVECREATIVES, Courtney McBroom of Large Marge Cooks, Jill of Domaine LA, Amy Atwood of Amy Atwood Selections.

ice cream paint job

A photo posted by Dustin Barzell (@ceramicism) on

Dustin Barzell of CeramicisimXoXo / Brooklyn, NY | Dustin is a talented ceramic artist who creates functional cups, plates, vases, and pottery at a really reasonable price. I’m personally obsessed with the above ice cream series, as I love its play on color and texture.

Where do you think everyone should visit once in their life?
A visit to the burning ghats in Varanasi, where Indians make long pilgrimages to carry and cremate their deceased loved ones and spread the ashes in the Ganges. We tend to hide death in the west and do what we can to pretend it doesn’t exist, but death is precisely what makes life so precious and worth savoring.
Either that or Disney World!

What’s currently at the top of your travel bucket list?
Japanese countryside. I especially want to visit some ceramic centers and see the Japanese pottery masters at work.

Best “hole in the wall____” you’ve discovered? (it can be bar, restaurant, store, club etc…)
Lorimer Market in Williamsburg. It’s the best Italian deli there is and it’s near my studio! Get yourself a chicken meatloaf.

Favorite comfort food, is it homemade or at a certain place?
Cheese fondue. Classic Gruyere/Kirsh or tangy Gouda/Stout.

Do you have an awesome book or documentary recommendation to share?
Wherever You Go, There You Are” by Kabat-Zinn. Wonderful intro to vipassana (mindfulness meditation).

Pass on the love and give a fab shout-out to someone we should know about?
Cody Lane (@codymlane). Normcore photography that satisfies.

Arabella Proffer / Cleveland, OH | Arabella is an artist who translates her own experiences of the world into her work, by analyzing the past and contemplating the future. Using oil paint she creates strong ethereal women that possess a soft glow, I love how she isn’t afraid to play with color or symbolism in her work. She’s shown in exhibitions around the world and has an adventurous spirit exploring the world with her writer husband.

Where do you think everyone should visit once in their life? What’s currently at the top of your travel bucket list?
New Orleans is a city everyone should visit. It really is unlike any city in the US because you have such a cultural mix and the traditions there are taken pretty seriously. I always tell people if you can’t afford to go abroad, just go to New Orleans. That said, on my travel bucket list for the longest time has been Giraffe Manor in Kenya.

Best “hole in the wall____” you’ve discovered? (it can be bar, restaurant, store, club etc…)
I can’t say I discovered it really, but there’s a really bizarre karaoke bar here in Cleveland called Tina’s Nite Club. It’s a cinder block surrounded by a chain link fence and there are no windows and it smells like a swimming pool sometimes. It’s not a faux dive, it’s a true dive. And the crowd is a really interesting mix. They make Jell-o shots by the pan and you can buy a whole one for stupid cheap – but craft beers are cheap too. I usually take visitors from out-of-town there as our last stop and they love it. They don’t love the hangover, though!

Favorite comfort food, is it homemade or at a certain place?
I make just about everything, but the one thing I don’t make are pierogies. You can’t escape them in Cleveland, our grocery stores have whole sections dedicated to them. I gained 15 pounds after moving here because of them! A lot of restaurants do their own versions, including very expensive ones at any Chef Michael Symon place, but the best ones are made by the women at the Ukrainian church.

Do you have an awesome book or documentary recommendation to share?
“Bad Boy” by Eric Fishl is the autobiography I’m reading right now. It’s about his rise to fame in the ‘80s New York scene after attending CalArts, right when the art world was getting super greedy and all of the coked up egos came into play. But, I love what he has to say about the act of painting itself.

Pass on the love and give a fab shout-out to someone we should know about?
Dr. Brandy Schillace who is an author and curator. Her book “Death’s Summer Coat” came out not long ago and I highly recommend it; especially for those that are afraid to talk about death. You might see her soon on an episode of “Mysteries at the Museum” as well!

mini weaving for the new year #instaweave #weaving #tapestry #weaveweird #woven #fiberart #textiles

A photo posted by kla textiles (@kla_textiles) on

Kayta of KLA Textiles / Los Angeles, CA | When I first saw Kayta’s textile art, it was in her own apartment so I assumed she had purchased it as some hip store off York in Highland Park. But I was later informed that she was the artist behind the hanging tapestries,  I was floored. I loved her use of color, pattern, and texture. Kayta just launched KLA Textiles and is letting the world in on her immense talent.

Where do you think everyone should visit once in their life? What’s currently at the top of your travel bucket list?
Tucson, Arizona. It often gets a second seat to much larger Phoenix, and people sometimes forget it exists, but I had the pleasure of spending a year there a while back, and the sunsets and starlit skies nestled between giant mountains and Saguaro cacti are amazing. The city has a “Dark Sky Ordinance” that limits what businesses signs, street lamps, etc., can emit (lighting wise), keeping Tucson the best place for urban (or remote, depending on where you are), sky gazing in the United States. Nights there just taking my dog on a walk around the block were some of the most magical times of my life.Take a drive up to Kitt Peak, Mt. Lemmon, or Gates Pass, bring a blanket, and prepare to feel incredibly small, but surrounded by beauty!

Yosemite is at the top of my travel bucket list for the near future. I have never been there, but this summer I’m hoping to spend some time in a quiet cabin beside a lake or stream with my dog and boyfriend, and do some outdoor weaving without the sound of helicopters, sirens, or traffic nearby!

Best “hole in the wall____” you’ve discovered? (it can be bar, restaurant, store, club etc…)
The Old Pink” in Buffalo, NY. I grew up in Buffalo and spent my life there until I was 28, and I would be lying if I said I’ve found a similar bar/experience since leaving. I spent probably (OK, definitely) way too much time in my 20’s here. It’s a small bar in the Allentown area of Buffalo, serves famous “steak sandwiches” (I’m a vegetarian, but my friends would be amiss if I didn’t mention the steak sandwiches), it smells terrible, the floors are slanted and not very safe for legions of intoxicated people dancing to whatever obscure 70’s kraut-rock band they’re currently blasting, and the drinks are cheap. The outside is currently painted with a terrible purple-and-green flame motif, which replaced years of graffiti and “I LOVE ____” written on the outside in sharpie. On weekends, it’s elbow to elbow, with every different type of person you could imagine, from college freshman to 65-year olds who have been going there for decades. The bar is open until 4, but you’ll find that if you stay until last call, you’ll end up outside of the bar for another half hour, finishing your drink with a slew of people who just don’t want to go home yet. It’s a definite experience, especially for those who aren’t from the area and want a feel for what the city and its people are really about.

Favorite comfort food, is it homemade or at a certain place?
PASTA! I am stubborn, and an incredibly picky eater. Pasta was one of the only things my parents could get me to eat growing up, so I am a bit of a non-fancy pasta aficionado. I love medium shell pasta with tomato basil sauce, and meatless meatballs (the Whole Foods 365 brand are the best). My lovely boyfriend makes us a kale pasta dish often, which is sautéed kale, pasta, toasted pine nuts, and lemon juice, and I could live the rest of my life eating only that!

Do you have an awesome book or documentary recommendation to share?
“A Manual for Cleaning Women” by Lucia Berlin. I read this collection of short stories last summer, and it’s really stuck with me. I sometimes come back to them when I’m in a foul mood or need to take myself out of myself for a bit. Each of these stories are sometimes unbearably raw, but very courageous, and written from various perspectives, about various issues, in various places in which the author herself had lived during her lifetime. She writes in a very funny way, where even when her characters are doing or experiencing terrible things, you find a way to relate to them through their humor. Lucia herself had a very interesting life, and the foreword in this is written by Lydia Davis, who seems to pass on her excitement about the stories.

Pass on the love and give a fab shout-out to someone we should know about?
Passing the love to my incredibly talented friend Jasmin Garcia-Verdin, who is an unreal illustrator with a brilliant & limitless imagination. We worked together briefly, and I’d catch her doodling on post-it notes during her lunch breaks, and have been blown away by her talent ever since. You can see her work at http://www.jgvillustrations.com/ or on Instagram, @jgv

Ken Flewellyn/ Los Angeles, CA | Ken merges his love for Japanese culture and the Hip-Hop world in his detailed oil paintings. Playing with the intersection of the traditional aspects of Japanese culture and the evolving Hip-Hop world, pulling from his website – “the versatility of urban identity through contrasting subjects“.

Where would you recommend everyone visit at least once in their life?
You have to do Miami during Basel. It’s an entire week dedicated to art. With fairs and murals going up on every block, food trucks, street-beer venders, and castle parties; what else do you want?

Best “hole in the wall____” you’ve discovered? (it can be bar, restaurant, store, club etc…)
SUSHI HOUSE! It’s a really small reggae themed sushi restaurant. Paint is peeling from the walls but Bob Marley wails and the fish is fresh. Get the salmon salmon salmon roll, trust me.

Favorite comfort food, is it homemade or at a certain place?
French Fries Carbonade and a Vieux Carre at Corner Door in Mar Vista. Check it out, the vieux carre is a cognac and rye based cocktail, it’s strong but sweet and delicious. As for the fries, think chili fries if you replaced the chili with beer braised beef and cheese. MMMMMM…

Do you have an awesome book or documentary recommendation to share?
You have to check out Fresh Dressed. I just watched it on Netflix. It’s a doc that chronicles the history of hip-hop culture and fashion from its roots in NYC to how it influenced corporate America. It’s definitely worth a watch.

Pass on the love and give a fab shout-out to someone we should know about?
Hit up Matthew Grabelsky. He’s a seriously talented oil painter showing at Thinkspace in April.

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FAB 5 FRIDAY : I

One Thursday a few weeks ago as I was getting ready for work and was butchering the song “Rapture” by Blondie in my head and thought of the lyric, “Fab Five Freddy.” Now as I was butchering the song, the lyrics that followed (in my head) were fresh is fresh, fab and cool. Then it hit me, I should mico-interview five fab people and post it on Fridays! And this is where the idea for Fab 5 Friday was born.

Introducing five fab creative, brilliant, and bright people who are willing to share a few of their secrets to the freshest, coolest, most awesome things that light up their world. I hope these mico-interviews inspire your next adventure or a chill night in, and most of all – encourage you to look at your world little differently.

cheers to a fab friday!

JACUB GAGNON / Toronto, Canada | Jacub’s a wicked talented artist who paints with whimsy, creating compositions centered around animals and everyday objects to create a unique artistic fantasy.
Where would you recommend everyone visit at least once in their life?
Your local animal shelter. If you’re considering adding a new furry member to your family there are an abundance of lovable animals out there that could use your support, compassion, and a loving home.

Best “hole in the wall _______” you’ve discovered? (it can be bar, restaurant, store, club etc…)
Pizzeria O’ Scugnizzo is a tiny, off-the-beaten-path pizzeria in Florence Italy and it is amazing. A local favorite run by two brothers from Naples with a passion for great zza – it will blow your socks off (poof!).

Favorite comfort food, is it homemade or at a certain place?
Poutine, hands down! Cheese curd is abundant in Ontario, so it’s definitely a comfort of home. When my wife and I make it ourselves, all the more special.

Do you have an awesome book or documentary recommendation to share?
I’m a bit of a fantasy book nerd myself. There seem to be more and more of them these days with Marvel topping the box office and Game of Thrones transitioning from paperback to HBO. A couple series I’m in the midst of are The King Killer Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss (which is apparently also making it’s way to the big screen) and The Stormlight Archive by Brandon Sanderson. Definitely worth checking out if you haven’t and are a fan of the genre.

Pass on the love and give a fab shout-out to someone we should know about?
Shout out to Megan MacDonald from Toronto, Ontario. We have a big painting of hers in our living room. If you like cats or dreamy unicorns, definitely check out her work!

 

When I was a kid I collected rocks. Now I collect pins. I guess not much has changed 😹💥💋💗

A photo posted by Heather >> How To Be Fancy 💌 (@howtobefancy) on

HEATHER W. of  HOW TO BE FANCY / Oklahoma | Heather shares her creative and positive voice on YouTube discussing ways to embrace your style, fab product reviews so you’re not duped, and her expert makeup artist advice. A southern belle with unicorn hair, Heather advocates for confidence and fun.

Where would you recommend everyone visit at least once in their life?
No other place I’ve visited is quite like New York City. It’s weird and dirty and magical. Even if you’re not a “city person”, I think NYC is a place everyone should experience at least once.

Best “hole in the wall____” you’ve discovered? (it can be bar, restaurant, store, club etc…)
There’s a little German/Euro diner close to me called Ingrid’s that makes THE BEST pastries and cookies. On Saturday mornings’ they sometimes have a group of older jazz musicians and the sweetest couples go there to dance. It’s amazing and pretty much makes me cry every time, haha!

Favorite comfort food, is it homemade or at a certain place?
If I’m not feeling well, mashed potatoes (from anywhere, really) will usually do the trick. If that doesn’t work, a bowl of pho or ramen is the next best thing!

Do you have an awesome book or documentary recommendation to share?
I am totally addicted to watching documentaries! A few favorites are Iris, Girl Rising, and Design is One.

Pass on the love and give a fab shout-out to someone we should know about?
If you’re into quirky little adventures, I recently discovered a newer YouTube channel by Kat Marie (https://www.youtube.com/user/makesyoupretty). She’s gorgeous and loves to visit and film interesting places.

 

LAUREN ELIZABETH WALSH  / Austin, TX | Lauren is on a mission to help women turn their wounds into wisdom; helping to guide them through spiritual strengthening and healing. Currently, she is working with Unify.org to organize a global sisterhood for International Woman’s Day.  The voiceover for the above video was written and spoken by Lauren.

Where would you recommend everyone visit at least once in their life?
I recommend going to the rain forest of brazil… deep diving inwardly and seeing what they discover about themselves surrounded by trees and indigenous culture.

Best “hole in the wall____” you’ve discovered? (it can be bar, restaurant, store, club etc…)
Hmmm… it’s not exactly a hole in the wall, it’s a trailer in Austin, Tx called Picnik – they serve awesome paleo coffee, bone broth, and treats!  I’m addicted.

Favorite comfort food, is it homemade or at a certain place?
always chocolate. just good old 80% cacao!

Do you have an awesome book or documentary recommendation to share?
YES!  The surrender experiment by Micheal A. Singer. Totally changed my life by teaching me to trust in the miraculous flow of life’s events. I stopped trying to control everything because I was scared. Life’s river is flowing, and these days I’m trusting it to lead me to an even better place than I could have imagined.

Pass on the love and give a fab shout-out to someone we should know about?
Giving a shout to Emma Claire Juniper. My partner for Unify Global Sisterhood, and an Emotional Mastery and Authentic Confidence Coach & Transformational Retreat Facilitator

 

JAMIE B of JAMIE B INTERIORS / Los Angeles, CA | Jamie is a talented designer, she has the Midas touch for creating mid-century modern inspired decor without turning a room into the set of Mad Men. She’s recently expanded her titles to include floral designer too. No longer keeping her talent for arrangements all to herself! You can view it all on her website.

Where would you recommend everyone visit at least once in their life?
I feel like I should say something like The Nile or Tuscany but I whole heartedly believe everyone should visit Joshua Tree National Park. It’s like a real life Dr. Seuss acid trip. The desert nights are magic, like none other. I may be a little bias because it’s the perfect two hour escape from LA, and if you live in LA an escape is exactly what you need from time to time.

Best “hole in the wall____” you’ve discovered? (it can be bar, restaurant, store, club etc…)
Its not exactly a “hole in the wall” it is however a restaurant AND a store. It’s called The Little Jewel of New Orleans, very fitting because it is; a jewel, in China Town. This cat named Marcus, a native of the true LA (Louisiana) ships in bread from Nola and creates the best Poboy sandwiches around. The store offers everything Louisiana you can imagine from soda, candy, hot sauce, to cans of Cafe Du Monde’ coffee. The onion rings are bomb too.

Favorite comfort food, is it homemade or at a certain place?
My husband is an extraordinary cook and makes this Mac-n-cheese that will make you weep with joy and total regret at the same time. And I hate to give up this particular secret, but it’s really not fair to keep… There’s this pizza joint in Brentwood called Lamonica’s, it’s not on the menu but you can go in and ask to purchase their dough. It’s like 3 bucks or something crazy cheap. It comes in a rock hard frozen ball, transported from The Big Apple (I think only people NOT from NY actually say Big Apple) where it’s made with New York City’s finest tap water. Amazing. So you let it sit out for at least 8 hours before cooking it. Basically, any kind of pizza you make on this dough will be incredible but my #1 hit is wild mushroom, caramelized onions with gruyere and manchego, fresh thyme and black truffle salt. YUMMMMAY! Those are my two favorite comfort foods.

Do you have an awesome book or documentary recommendation to share?
Have you ever read a book so good that you go into a depression and take a sabbatical from reading altogether because you don’t think anything can top it? Well, that happened to me when I read The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. I’m still recovering. I’m a documentary-aholic so there are so many that have made such an impact on me but the first that came to mind was Muscle Shoals. It’s about a recording studio in Alabama run by the brilliant Rick Hall, some of the greatest musicians and records of all time emerged from that place. It’s a must see.

Pass on the love and give a fab shout-out to someone we should know about?
My friend Jessica Kelley is a rad jewelry designer. You can find her work at castandcombed.com.

 

ARIEL MARTE of LARK & LAVENDER PHOTOGRAPHY  / Long Beach, CA | Ariel is breaking the mold and expectations of wedding photography. Capturing the excitement and bliss that is wrapped up in one’s wedding day, she steals moments with her camera like Oliver Twist or better yet a secret agent, call her the James Bond of photography.

Where would you recommend everyone visit at least once in their life?
The island of Santorini, Greece- it’s a crescent shape island with a smaller volcano across the water from it, you can take a boat to the volcano and jump out into the ocean to swim to the volcano island, from there, you can hike a bit to the top and then go back to swim in the volcano hot spring where the ocean meets the shore – the water there is red and sulfuric but it’s quite an exhilarating. The rest of the main island has amazing white, black and red sand beaches, great snorkeling, flaming cheese, history around every corner, views from any part of the island.

Best “hole in the wall____” you’ve discovered? (it can be bar, restaurant, store, club etc…)
Every Friday night at a jazz club in Chinatown (Los Angeles), there’s Club Underground… Maybe a little more known that I realize, but it always feels like it’s the most “underground” thing, with punk music, obscure 80s rock and not the typical dance music. The underlit dancefloor is intimate but can feel like it’s there just for me.

Favorite comfort food, is it homemade or at a certain place?
Taco Salad is my favorite to make at home, especially on a hot night, when cooking makes the house too hot. As a vegetarian, I use faux ground meat crumbles (Morningstar is the best!) with taco seasoning and it makes it just like when I was a kid. Sour cream the perfect dressing but in a pinch mayo will do. I love that every salad could be a little different but still amazing.

Do you have an awesome book or documentary recommendation to share?
I’ve been obsessed with the “Welcome to Nightvale” podcast which tells the news about the strange Southwest town hosted by Cecil Baldwin. Recently the “Welcome to Nightvale” book came out, it delves deeper into the town where a dog park is haunted, cats float in bathrooms and the glow cloud that looms over the town needs your praise.

Pass on the love and give a fab shout-out to someone we should know about?
One of my upcoming brides, Jeaneen Carlino! She paints strong women who are bold, graphic and daring – she paints the kind of woman I aim to be.

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Throwback Interview : Fang Island

The best way for me to be truly focused on work is if I’m listening to music. The music helps me to get in the zone and my Monday playlists have been helping me stay accountable for staying in the zone. If I’m listening to music, then I can just add a favorite track to the playlist and use it here (the blog)  later. I want to compare it to some recycling productivity sustainability effort, but maybe that is because I’ve been doing a lot of work on eco brands. Anyways, today while I was in the final stretch of a batch of content for a client; I went from listening to Battles to Pelican to Marnie Stern to Fang Island. FANG ISLAND! I click the related artists to Marnie Stern on Spotify and Fang Island appeared, this small little band I interviewed back in 2010 and saw open for Matt and Kim. It was a total throwback moment and why I’ve decided to share my old interview with them, with you, right now.

Fang Island
Posted on October 3, 2010 – My Favorite MAOI

fang island throwback

FANG ISLAND:
chris georges– guitar.
jason bartell– guitar.
michael jacober– bass.
nicholas andrew sadler– guitar.

Name: chris georges
Nickname: crust crustopherson
Sign: Aries

Favorite:
Color. Seafoam green
Food. Tacos y burritos
Magazine. Mojo, 60s-70s rollingstone, creem

Q1.What have you said you would never do, but have ended up doing?
A1.I was straight edge in highschool

Q2. What animal is your spirit guide?
A2. Chester Cheetah

Q3. What’s your vice?
A3. Windmill strums

Q4. If you could live in a movie for a day, which movie would it be? Would you be yourself or another character?
A4. “The Kids Are Alright. ” I would be myself in the crowd at every show.

Q5. If your art was an ice cream flavor which one would it be?
A5. It would be every flavor on a sugar cone. It would taste like sweet, sweet infinity

Q6. Did you have an imaginary friend as a child?
A6. The Ultimate Warrior

Q7. Personal Quote?
A7. “Mein fraulein likes to party all the time”

Q8. Do you believe in horoscopes and zodiac signs?
A8. No way

Q9. Do you drink coffee? If so how many cups a day?
A9. Yes way. As much as it takes.

Q10. Best show you have ever been too?
Q10. Black dice and sonic youth opening up for lightning bolt. That or Meatloaf at Mohegan sun.

Name: Jason Bartell (guitarist/singer)
Nickname: Bread
Sign: Me Up

Favorite:
Color: Aqua red
Food: Mom’s white chili
Magazine: That one Spin where Radiohead had their faces photoshopped

Q1. What have you said you would never do, but have ended up doing?
A1. Be mistaken for Nic Cage

Q2. What animal is your spirit guide?
A2. KFC Double Down Sandwich

Q3. What’s your vice?
A3. (See spirit animal)

Q4. If you could live in a movie for a day, which movie would it be? Would you be yourself or another character?
A4. I’d be the cameraman on the set of Holy Mountain

Q5. If your art was an ice cream flavor which one would it be?
A5. Extra Spicy

Q6. Did you have an imaginary friend as a child?
A6. Yes, all the future members of Fang Island

Q7. Personal Quote?
A7. “Does people still say ‘stoked?’”

Q8. Do you believe in horoscopes and zodiac signs?
A8. Sometimes?

Q9. Do you drink coffee? If so how many cups a day?
A9. I eat 5 bowls of coffee ice cream a day. It equals about one cup.

Q10. Best show you have ever been too?
A10. Rhys Chatham’s 10 guitar orchestra, performed in an abandoned silo.

Name: Mike
Nickname: Jonathan Davis
Sign: scorpion man

Favorite:
Color: Money Green
Food: Candied Quarter
Magazine: Fortune

Q1. What have you said you would never do, but have ended up doing?
A1. Said, “I love you.”

Q2. What animal is your spirit guide?
A2. Falcor de Never Ending Story

Q3. What’s your vice?
A3. Homework

Q 4. If you could live in a movie for a day, which movie would it be? Would you be yourself or another character?
A4. The maestro of The Pied Piper

Q5. If your art was an ice cream flavor which one would it be?
A5. Rum Craison

Q6. Did you have an imaginary friend as a child?
A6. Oh, thats what those were….

Q7. Personal Quote?
A7. “the soup is gentle”

Q8. Do you believe in horoscopes and zodiac signs?
A8. Oui

Q9. Do you drink coffee? If so how many cups a day?
A9. Never.

Q10. Best show you have ever been too?
A10. American Gladiators (’92)

Name: nick andrew sadler
Nickname: nickiiii
Sign: libra

Favorite:
Color. chrome (is that a color?),
Food. eggs
Magazine. popular science magazine.

Q1. What have you said you would never do, but have ended up doing?
A1. cry

Q2. What animal is your spirit guide?
A2. cat

Q3. What’s your vice?
A3. coffee

Q4. If you could live in a movie for a day, which movie would it be? Would you be yourself or another character?
A4. pennies from heaven, myself.

Q5. If your art was an ice cream flavor which one would it be?
A5. brie.

Q6. Did you have an imaginary friend as a child?
A6. no, but I honestly believed at one point that other people were not real and i couldn’t decide whether or not what i was experiencing around me was some pre-programmed act, like a play.

Q7. Personal Quote?
A7. “sorry, my phone got turned off”

Q8. Do you believe in horoscopes and zodiac signs?
A8. yeah.

Q9. Do you drink coffee? If so how many cups a day?
A9. my french press is blown out and my teeth aren’t as white. my best ideas seem to happen when my cheeks are buzzing and my eyes are burning.

Q10. Best show you have ever been too?
A10. oops tour, philli. with lightning bolt, arab on radar, the locust, pink n brown, orthrelm, etc etc etc.

If Explosions in the Sky had a fun unjaded totally upbeat and excited for life younger sibling, it would be Fang Island. Fang Island, mostly instrumental but instead of being melodic, is more a series of intense guitar riffs and epic rock progressions. And the vocals, instead of haunting and lingering behind the music, it’s more like the almost audible bar chant of a local pub rocking out to the jukebox. On their website they say that their intention “was to make music for people that like music”. Well boys, mission accomplished. Every song dripping in joy and pure love for the music they are creating, how can a person that loves music not love Fang Island.

please visit Fang Island’s myspace page to hear more music…
(currently on tour with Matt & Kim and then off to another tour with Coheed & Cambria…isn’t this band just awesome!!)

Wow – see I even mention a Myspace page, I think it’s better to find them on bandcamp at this point.  I wonder what these boys are up to now.  Also now that I’ve watch Freak and Geeks, I would like to say that I believe Fang Island could have written the soundtrack to the entire show. They are the band Jason Segels character wishes he would have been a part of.

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I Love the United States : Kris Nations Interview

krisnation_interview

Aside from blogging my own stories; I really love to interview small business, designers, people pursuing and sharing their passion. For my birthday 2 years ago Bowerbird gave me “The United States” necklace by Kris Nations, it was supposed to help keep me focused on my dream. And look now, I’ve made/making that dream a reality. The chain on the necklace broke about a year ago, and a month before the trip I sent it back to Kris Nations to be fixed. They were great about the repair, and even answered the list of question I sent along with the request. I’ve worn my United States necklace every day with out fail, I’m not a huge selfie person, but if you see a glint of gold on my neck on Instagram that’s the necklace.

Interview with Kim of Kris Nations

Kris Nations is run and created by two sisters, Kim and Kris. With my own sister, my strengths are her weaknesses and vice-versa. Do you find that in your own partnership? Is Kim stronger at one aspect of the business, and Kris stronger at another?

KIM: Kris started the business on the side while we were both living and working in SF. Kris was the real risk-taker, giving up her “real job” first. I’m more conservative so our personalities balance each other out in a lot of aspects of our business.

What was the first piece of jewelry you ever made? Was it for yourself, or did you give it to someone else?

KIM: Kris is the jewelry maker. She used to make jewelry for herself and then make some for friends once they saw what she was wearing.

I found my Kris Nation piece at Letters From LA located in Eagle Rock, CA. Did Kris Nation start as an etsy or online store first, and then grow to retailers? Or was it a simultaneous effort?

KIM: We had our website first and then grew the wholesale side of the business. My background is in web design so I designed and programmed our first website.

Running your own business has ups and down, plus there is more emotional investment. For other small business owners, what advice can you give for pushing through the self doubt?

KIM: As long as you remain passionate about your work, the highs outweigh the lows. But the lows can be low. It’s usually about money, and lack of it! Just hang in there, work smarter, stay focused on your long-term goals.

Your jewelry is well made, stylish, adorable! It’s no surprise it’s received great press. Does Kris Nation work with a PR group or has it all been in house hustle and flow?

KIM: We have a PR firm based out of SF. We also work closely with the firm. When we have ideas, we share and ask them to follow up on our ideas. You need to work closely with a PR firm, the more effort you can put in, the better. It’s hard when you are always putting out fires, but it’s important.

My dream is to have an epic road trip across the country. It’s why I was given the United States necklace as a gift. Do you have a great sisterly road trip or vacation memory you can share with us?

KIM: OMG! Yes! Kris and I used to travel from San Francisco to Las Vegas for our very first few trade shows. I’m not sure why we didn’t fly? Probably because we had a quite elaborate booth setup that needed to be hauled there. On one trip, we ran out of gas (duh?!) and spent a few hours waiting for AAA to save us. It was dark and we passed the time guessing flavors of Jelly Belly’s. I’m remarkably horrible at guessing flavors. We have fond memories of visiting our Aunt and Uncle about half way to Vegas. They are the sweetest couple ever. Our uncle passed away over a year ago and we have very fond memories of our visits and their encouragement during this very early stage of our business.

KrisNaions_selfie

Our country is really beautiful, and filled with good hearts and talented people. Thankfully I had the opportunity to experience a sliver of the it this month. If it wasn’t for my lack of clothing options and unpredictable sleeping accommodations, I might stay on the road forever. Make meeting new people and visiting new places a regular routine.

I’ll be going home with a confident direction, new ideas, an outline of a plan, and a need to write a lot of emails. People like the woman of Kris Nations inspire me to commit to myself, take a gamble on myself. I hope these interviews encourage others to trust in themselves to be able to achieve anything they desire.

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SPOTLIGHT ON T-WE TEA : Interview with owner Chris Coccagna


T We Tea Interview

T-We Tea is a fun tea company based out of San Francisco, they’ve set up booths at Renegade Craft Fair, Patchwork, and even have a store font in the bay area. This is not your grandmother’s afternoon tea, and their loose leaf teas have whimsical and sometimes cheeky names like Grumpy Dinosaur a spearmint, peppermint vanilla bean tea or Scandalous Man Friend a Darjeeling tea with spearmint, clove and peppercorn. I reached out to the founder and owner of T-We Tea, Christopher Coccagna to find out more about this highly creative and delicious tea maker. My favorite is Chai Hard, it’s a blend of two black teas, spices, crushed coffee bean, and chili; it’s my late night kick in the pants.

Do you remember your first cup of tea?

Chris C: My first cups of tea in life started with my mother.  We had a peppermint patch in the backyard and part of our nightly ritual before bed was for me to pick peppermint leaves while she heated water and together we shared tea.  From those moments, tea has always held a really special place in my heart for community and warmth.

You hear of wine specialist, and Starbucks baristas are trained to be coffee specialist, but when did you decide to be a certified tea specialist and what is that like?

Chris C: I always knew that my life needed to be in the culinary arts and always loved cooking, eating, drinking, and creating unique experiences around food.  After college I did some soul searching while living in New Zealand and fell in love with the culture surrounding tea, and thought to myself “We need this back home.”  From then I pursued tea professionally and sought out the Specialty Tea Institute’s Certified Tea Specialist program.  I’m a regular old business administration bachelor’s degree from college, but to then focus my studies on something I am so passionate about was life changing.  I took what I learned about tea and reapplied it in the world of natural tea blending.  Most tea blends use flavoring additives, and I took a unique stance of zero flavorings in our teas but using real ingredients.

T We Tea and Whiskey

How long did the process of opening T-We Tea take? Do you remember where you were when you made the commitment to see your tea dream through?

Chris C: T-WE TEA started as a little doodle 2006 in a journal titled Renaissance man (my personal journal focused on career, art, and culinary pursuits).  Surrounding the words T-WE was written “Community” and “With no tea in him, a man is incapable of understanding truth and beauty.”  Those were my three guiding principles in setting everything up:  Truth, Beauty, and Community.  It took some time and preparation of everything but T-WE launched in Dec 2010 after an amazing sleepless month fueled by creative tea caffeine.

Was T-We Tea an online store, before an actual brick and motor location?

Chris C: Before even online and brick & mortar, T-WE began as a mobile traveling setup at artisan handmade markets.  We found our inspiration in artists and makers (since they create beauty in this world), so the fit was natural to be together in a selling event setting.  We started small then grew to markets outside of San Francisco, and you will now find us at bi-annual shows in SFO, LA, Long Beach, Santa Ana, Austin, Chicago, and Brooklyn.  So our company was completely mobile until we opened a more permanent store in San Francisco in Feb 2013.  We expanded that location in Feb 2014 to include a tea store with tea bar and in-store tea blending where we now manufacture everything by hand for our community to witness.

There is an obvious LGBT friendly spin on your teas. Has anyone ever loved an Earl Cray Cray and then condemned Bicurious George? I imagine your response is as silly as the tea names?

Chris C: T-WE is proudly gay owned and operated and we love to celebrate and support the community.  Being from San Francisco, I love how our company fits so easily into what is culturally San Franciscan (creative and sarcastic).   I love how our product can create a special moment between friends (Imagine giving your bestie Lesbi Friends or Scandalous ManFriend).  In the tea world, I have encountered a lot of tea smug when it comes to knowledge about tea and a lot of “I only drink …(insert fanciest tea name here)…. syndrome”.  I wanted to cut through the smug with some genuine sarcasm and whimsy to brighten this world and make tea a special moment in one’s day.

We have our subtle ways of handling a customer who doesn’t want to say SEXPOT tea, but the only formal complaint came from someone from Dallas (a member of the LGBT community, too!).  We actually created a tea blend for them in response called Precious Angel Kitten to subtly be more PG and say “Bless Your Heart.”  It has become one of our top sellers too.

T We Tea San Francisco

Speaking of tea names, have you taken a name suggestion yet? Your website encourages people to submit their idea. 

Chris C: Lesbi Friends (Apple jasmine oolong), Bad Bromance (hangover herbal tisane), Ghetto Fab (roasted green tea with cacao), and a couple others have come from our customers.  We have accumulated quite the list and pair the name with the best flavor profile in a tea.  Most of the other tea names come from common conversation that you will hear between team T-WE.  You would be amazed how many things we say daily that would make an excellent tea name.  The key is not to think too hard and maybe add bourbon.

Personally I’m a lazy brewer, I don’t time my steep or check the temperature. Are there cardinal tea rules one should never break?

Chris C: Water temperature is pretty crucial in a good cup of tea.  Too hot (like for green tea) or too cool (like for black tea) will definitely affect your end cup.  My tricks are sight and smell.  I always follow the color of the brew and I kind of know when my cup is done because it hits my favorite color for that tea.  I also use my nose and follow the scent, you can kind of tell if it is ready by the fragrance (too soft or too strong).

In October you’re hosting a DIY Tea Blending Class at Workshop in San Francisco. What will that be like? Are people going to learn how to break open their existing tea bags and mix different flavors, or save dried rose petals to kick up their afternoon cup?

Chris C: DIY Tea Blending Class happens monthly in the T-WE TEA store and it is one of my favorite creative classes I teach.  In the class we learn all about tea (tea types, how it’s made, etc), then I teach attendees how to properly cup and taste teas and how subtle nuances will affect a tea blend, then I let them go nuts with all the T-WE ingredients to try their hand at their very own tea blend.

Lastly, what tea ritual do you like better, Japanese Tea House or English Afternoon Tea? 

Chris C: I prefer to be a part of the sacred ritual in an Asian inspired tea ceremony, but who doesn’t love to gorge themselves on scones and sweet treats?  I am morally opposed to loud hats though (but that is just for myself as I would never impose a hat restriction on others).

Even if you are not a tea drinker you should still visit T-We Tea website just to see all the fun names and blends. Pass it along to your favorite tea drinking friend or buy a box of loose leaf tea for yourself and begin your tea journey. Teas range from $10- $15 dollars but are extremely delicious. Tell me your favorite type of tea and if you try and T-We teas.

Basically until next time…. Blow the tea before sipping, burned tongues blow.

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