The Non-Definitive Guide To Life

If you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with rain" - Dolly Parton

Posts for INTERVIEWS Category

Interview with Ashley Hosmer, Romanticizer of Life

HOME + LIFESTYLE, INTERVIEWS - September 19, 2021

Before there was a trend on TikTok to romanticize your life, Ashley Hosmer was already in the act of curating beautiful spaces within her home, relishing in the refined scents of luxury candles, and enjoying a decadent pastry at her favorite local bakery. The warmth she creates within her physical and digital space, with just enough spice that neither environment feels overly curated or cloyingly sweet, makes her one of my favorite people to follow on the internet. Known for her detailed candle reviews complete with a Google Spreadsheet and 5 point grading system, she is unabashedly bougie when it comes to her candle selection and does not hold back her opinion. If the Bath & Bodyworks YouTube candle hauls from 10 years ago scarred you, her candle chats are the healing balm.

I was drawn to her account through a giveaway she was hosting. She was transparent that she desired follower growth but was firm in the type of follower she wanted to attract. Being forthright about who she is so no one would get short-changed in the social media transaction. It’s her vulnerability with a dash of sass, along with her honest reviews and earnest support of companies and products she loves, that makes her one of my go-tos when on the fence about a purchase. I consider if Ashley has tried it? What’s her hot-take? Can she help me not waste my money? I’m a maximalist loves to romanticize my life, appreciating the little things and know the power of drinking from a beautiful glass or snuggling in a soft blanket. Ashley is extra, and her extraness makes her uniquely qualified to be an expert in luxuriating in life.

*Ashley sent this interview back to me in May, shortly after she started her journey as a full-time influencer. I am 5 months behind on publishing this interview in a timely manner for reasons that would bore you, so let’s just jump into her thoughtful responses.

Name: Ashley Hosmer

Sun/Rising/Moon Placement: Sun in Sagittarius, Moon in Leo, Ascent in Aquarius

Favorite Color: This is so hard! Lately cobalt blue but mustard always.

Childhood Hero: Lucille Ball. I grew up watching I Love Lucy with my grandma and Lucille Ball was what I aspired to be, kind and funny.

You’re incredibly honest and transparent with your reviews and seem to be pretty discerning around anything from homewares to bakery spots. It’s why I know people can trust your taste and voice. Who are voices that you completely trust?

@marielle.elizabeth is my personal style icon, following her has done wonders for my own self-esteem, and chatting with her has been a huge comfort. She is so honest and true to herself. 

@thecasaverde has the most vibrant energy, she is so kind and has this ability to make you smile even when that’s the last thing you want to do.

@dommdotcom, @wanderingmyhome and @midmodathome are so honest and authentically themselves.

I follow so many amazing people and feel so lucky to have built connections with them.

What are three trends that you love, and three trends that you hate? 

I feel like I am in such a bubble, I only see the things that really resonate with me and enforce what I like/believe so I actually feel like I am out of the trend loop. I’m seeing a lot of grid patterns which I love, a lot of vibrant colors and more maximalism styles. I love things, I love color, I love filling my home with things that make me happy. I don’t think those are trends really but I see a lot of it on social and love it. The things I don’t love are the constant DIYing, it seems exhausting and I am not handy like that so that just isn’t my thing and I don’t really want to upcycle everything I see. But more power to you if that’s your thing. I find when I attempt a DIY, I usually spend more money on the materials and am less happy with the results haha.

How long have you been raising plant babies? How many plant babies do you have? And do you have a favorite? 

My love of plants really started in our last apartment about four or so years ago. Once I started, there was no stopping me. Right now I am loving my hoyas, my tricolor is flowering for the second time and it is so rewarding. Last time I counted it was over 70.

If you could download any skill into your brain, what would it be?

The ability to let things go. I would love to care less about certain things and be able to move on from hurtful messages instead of playing them over and over in my mind.

Have you picked up any hobbies during the pandemic that you will continue into your post-vaccinated life? Are there any pre-pandemic habits or hobbies that no longer interest you? 

I got into puzzles and that won’t go away. I find it so rewarding. Pre-pandemic I had a lot of road rage, I live in LA so it kind of comes with the territory but I have mellowed out so much not having to commute and I am really hoping that zen stays with me.

What is a quality in Matty that you wish came more naturally to you? (Would be cool if Matty answered this but for you) 

His kitchen skills. He can watch a single YouTube video and make that dish but he will modify it to our taste preferences and then be able to replicate it on his own after. It’s amazing. Cooking does not come naturally to me at all and that innate ability to make a dish your own just baffles me. 

Matty said, “being able to see the messes you see”. I can see the hairs in the sink after he’d trimmed his beard and the coffee grounds on the counter, he somehow can’t see these things. I too wish he had this ability haha.

Recently, you shared how your opinion on Influencers is beginning to shift. Having worked with influencers and now being in a space where you’ve grown your own visibility, can you share what the evolution has been like and what new ideas you have around the space? 

I used to get really annoyed by influencers, thinking they were fake and constantly pushing products, and sure this may be true for some but what I have realized from my own audience growing, is just how taxing this is. You are opening up your life to thousands of people and they all have access to you –  to your comments and private messages, and they don’t hold back. I have made so many amazing connections but I have also been on the receiving end of so many hurtful messages. 

I was trying so hard to be the kind of influencer I didn’t see much of on Instagram. To share the real moments and reply to every single message I received, to really build connections with people. I didn’t understand why an influencer would go on stories and ask a question and then NOT reply to the message. Now I realize, it’s because it’s overwhelming and mentally taxing. I receive hundreds of messages daily, depending on the topic I post about. I, in passing, mentioned natural deodorant one day and received over 200 suggestions on brands to try. It’s a lot. A lot to take in. And once you build a connection, you have so many more touch points with a person, which I truly love, but multiply that by a hundred and it’s overwhelming. Then you grow your audience and it just keeps going. 

And I don’t want that to change, I don’t want to not connect with people. I just need to be ok with taking longer to reply and setting boundaries. I share a lot of my personal life which opens up a lot of criticism, I do not need to reply to those messages. I have in the past and nothing good has come from it. So setting boundaries is important and now I understand why those large influencers sometimes don’t reply. It’s honestly just not possible or healthy to reply to every single message. 

Have you always been savvy in interior styling, or have you picked up tips and tricks along the way? Any design decisions that you immediately regretted or have since learned from? 

I think my love of interiors and styling came from my step mom. Any time I went on vacation with my dad, I would come home to our home completely rearranged. It became a joke like how will the rooms be different when we get home? It was thrilling and somehow always looked better. I think that’s where it started. Then after moving in with Matty, my husband, and creating spaces that serve us and reflect us, it has been something I’ve really grown to love and it comes naturally to me. 

The only regrets I’ve had have come from rushing to design a space to finish. You’re never really finished and when you do that, you end up owning items that you like but don’t love. I want our home to be filled with things we love. So in our current home, I have really taken my time decorating.

What does the perfect day in Los Angeles look like for you, and please include some songs on the soundtrack? 

For me, a perfect anywhere involves great food, great company, and my ideal weather – sweater weather. Cool enough for a light sweater but not too cold and definitely not hot haha. Mid 60s is heaven to me. 

So a perfect LA day would be waking up early, heading to my favorite bakery, Just What I Kneaded, grabbing a mix of sweet and savory items and splitting them in the park with my husband. Then heading to some cute boutiques like Prelude & Dawn and Individual Medley, maybe finding a new candle or ceramic. Picking up sandwiches from Wax Paper for lunch. Hitting up a local market like Wine & Egg shop. Going home and watching a movie together or having friends over for dinner. 

We actually have a lot of days like that but they’re my favorite. Supporting small businesses, shopping local, and eating amazing food. That’s my perfect day in any city.

And food songs, anything upbeat. I love Haim, Borns, Bleachers, any song that’s fun to belt out.

Almost four years ago this month* you published Goals, Motivation & Manifesting My Future on your blog, and now 2021 – it looks like a few things are being crossed off the list (even if unintentional like being laid off) but as you and I have talked about in the DM – this moment feels like the universe is pushing you into new territory. What are some things you’re looking to manifest and work towards next? 

Wow, I had no recollection of writing that blog post and had to take a minute to go read it. It really shows how fast time goes by. I wrote about being unhappy at work almost four years ago and here I was thinking this feeling developed in 2020. 

Ok, shock aside haha, I am really looking forward to seeing how things evolve for me. Will I settle into life as an influencer? Will I be able to pay my bills doing this? Or will I look for part time work in a shop or go back to a ful- time corporate job?

In my ideal scenario, I will continue to grow my following, continue to make meaningful connections with people, learn to handle the criticism, and find revenue streams that make this a possible career for me. I would love to be hired for lifestyle photography by brands, be paid for partnerships, and continue to share things I love with my community.

*this month = MAY ( I was really slow to get this live)

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Interview with Maria Filar: Staying True to Herself

ART, INTERVIEWS - August 31, 2020

I came across the work of Maria Filar in June after seeing someone repost her work on Instagram. Since then, I’ve fallen in love with her bold use of color and fun illustrative style. She uses her talents for activism and to generally lift the vibration of this world to a more positive place.  I’m all about supporting a light warrior like that! I’m so excited to bring this interview with Maria Filar to this corner of the internet and hope you enjoying finding out more about this talented creative voice.

 p.s. Her Threadless shop is filled with adorable graphic tees and more! The shirts with slogans like Welcome to the Apocalypse, Here for the Snacks, and Progress Over Perfection are all “add to cart” favorites. Think I’ll make them a reward if I hit my September goals.

Name &/or Nickname: Maria

Zodiac Sign (bonus points if you know your moon and rising sign):

Sun: Gemini

Moon: Leo

Rising: Scorpio

Favorite Color: Bright Coral, Yellow, Pink – can’t choose one!

Childhood Hero: A little later (like early high school) I discovered Amelie and she’s been my top inspiration/hero ever since. 

How did you get your start in illustration? And what is your creative process like?

I was an “art kid” in high school and always knew I wanted to do something in art. I went to an art school in Detroit (College for Creative Studies) and studied fine arts for one semester before realizing I am NOT a fine artist. I switched to illustration and it was much more suited to my talents and interests.  In school they really pushed the freelancer/editorial illustration career path and I didn’t even know much about commercial art and product design, which is where my career took me in the 11 years since graduating. I love making art that speaks to a lot of people and can be made accessible to a wide audience. My creative process is kind of all over the place. I take inspiration from a lot of different sources and it has slowly grown into my current style, but as far as process goes I’m not much of a planner. I just mess around with imagery and colors until I’m happy with the final piece.

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Interview with Lauren Rose : The Mind Behind Vagina Slims


I wrote the following before I ever reached out to Lauren Rose; I was listening to one of her Vagina Slims episodes while crafting the questions I would later email her:

For lack of a better word, I will be referring to Vagina Slims as a podcast. But it exists in a world apart from the idea that comes to mind when you think of a podcast. Vagina Slims gives me old school radio DJ vibes. That one hour hosted by your favorite radio DJ, sharing their thoughts while playing some favorite tunes.

I still stand by this sentiment, but as you get deeper into the interview, you might find it amusing how I was instinctually was picking up on the intent behind Lauren’s refreshing form of expression.

When I was crafting the interview, I was trying to figure out a category to put Lauren and Vagina Slims into, find a way to T-up, or justify my outreach to her. However, the truth is simply that she doesn’t fit into some “creative box”. I just enjoy seeing the world through her eyes, and she mostly shares that viewpoint via her Instagram or Vagina Slims, which up until recently (aka pandemic free-time) was more sporadic. Years and years ago, I stumbled on her YouTube, maybe a month or two before she shut it down, which then led me to follow her Tumblr to than listening to Vagina Slims after she started that project. I’ve always been drawn to her taste, and in my eyes, I believe she moves through the world with an artist’s spirit.

Yes, you could say this interview is designed to support the effort of Vagina Slims, but really I just wanted to know more about a person that I found interesting.

(internal dialogue: do we always need some profound justification or reason for simply finding out more about the people we find intriguing?) 

I digress – Please do not go and listen to Vagina Slims with the expectations associated with the structure of a podcast as it is in 2020. If anything, pretend you’re on a long road trip flipping through the radio stations and somehow landed on the frequency that is picking up her radio waves. She answers questions from listeners, plays fantastic music, sometimes shares her thoughts on recent movies she watched or sources of inspiration, and always confesses her musing on life in general.

My favorite part of road trips is flipping through radio stations. I’ve found a Majauna themed station in Northern California, a preacher comparing a woman’s sex life to KFC chicken in Lousiana, and a weird Christian storytime in the plains of Kansas. Vagina Slims is how I enjoy the magic of a happenstance radio program from the comfort of my home. Plus, I’m aesthetically amused by her dreamy walks and wherever she roams via her IG Story.

Without further ado – I hope you enjoy meeting Lauren Rose as much as I have over the years via the internet.

Name &/or Nickname:
Lauren Rose

Zodiac Sign (bonus points if you know your moon and rising sign):
Sun: Aries
Moon: Scorpio
Rising: Aries (I swear I’m not crazy!!)

Favorite Color:
Sunbleached peach

Childhood Hero:
Helen Hunt in the movie “Twister” 

(fun fact: i went to high school with the bleach striped hair guy)

What inspired you to create Vagina Slims? Do you remember how you were feeling 5 years ago when you started this project? 

I initially had the idea for Vagina Slims after watching a 1990s film called “Pump Up The Volume” starring Christian Slater. In the film, his character runs this underground pirate radio station that is more or less stream of consciousness talk and his related music picks. He actually pitches his voice while on air so no one can recognize who he is and it suddenly becomes super popular at his high school and starts this revolution of sorts.

In a sense I wanted to create something similar, an open diary “My So-Called Life” format that allows for change, growth, and dissection of topics that I’m into. I’ve always been an internet kid in some way or another growing up so this was a great medium for me to talk about music/movies/life without exposing myself too much. I felt very charged when I first started it like I was finally getting closer to the truths that I’ve wanted to speak about for so long.  Years later I still upload in varying degrees, I haven’t tried to capitalize on it and that’s what I cherish the most. It is just for me and the listeners and no one else.

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Interview with Draag – A trustworthy group filled with Virgo placements

INTERVIEWS, LISTEN - June 26, 2020

Best listened to in the early morning, a cold morning, when the dew has frozen on the leaves.

I’m VERY excited to share this great interview with Draag. I’m not sure how I came across them, but their track Trauma Kit was added to my February playlist, and I’ve been getting into their dreamy escapism sound ever since. I don’t know what you call the wee hours of the morning, but if there is an A.M golden hour – that is the time in which I’d want Draag to be my soundtrack.

original photo

Name &/or Nickname:

Zodiac Sign (bonus points if you know your moon and rising sign):
Adrian: Cancer Sun, Cancer Moon, Virgo Rising
Nick: Taurus Sun, Aries Moon, Virgo Rising
Shane: Pisces Sun, Virgo Moon, Aries Rising
Ray: Pisces Sun, Virgo Moon, Taurus Rising
Jessica: Leo Sun, Pisces Moon, Aquarius Rising

Favorite Color:

Childhood Hero:
Marilyn Manson

Home Base:
Sylmar, California

When was Draag born into this world? What is the origin story?

Adrian revived some songs he wrote when he was 9 years old on his karaoke tape deck in September 2013. He wanted to condense everything he loved about music into this project, so he recruited a bunch of audiophile toneheads, female vox, and a lot of synths and guitars. Our first EP Nontoxic Process was released in 2018, but we buried our first two mixtapes, made during a time that felt like a completely different band. 

Photography by Elijah Reynozo

Who are some of your creative influences? They do not have to be music related, just creative people who have developed work and put themselves out into the world in a way you admire and perhaps subtly influences your own creative choices?
Kobe Bryant, Ed Templeton, Anna May Wong, Alexandro Jodorowsky, John Carpenter

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Interview with Camari Carter

INTERVIEWS - May 23, 2020

I met Camari Carter on Periscope about four years ago. We were both following this motivational business coach, whose name I can’t remember, but they were at a seminar streaming a talk with Gary Vaynerchuk. We liked each other’s comments and started following each other on the platform. A few weeks later I decided to go live on Periscope for 100 days to practice consistency ( a value that isn’t my strength) and Camari along with another Periscoper, Little Mousie Creations regularly checked in with me on my consistency journey.

Camari and I then began to follow each other on Instagram and eventually we connected offline over a warm bowl of udon in Little Tokyo. I feel so lucky that the universe pulled Camari into my orbit, or I was pulled into hers because she is one of the most inspiring people I know. She is a talented writer and artist, who pours so much heart and soul into everything she touches. She is a light warrior lifting up the people and community around her, even at her own expense sometimes, like all nurtures.

She refers to herself as a book doula, which is a fitting title as she helps bring the writing and passion of others to life with her knowledge, talent, and expertise.

Discover more about this amazing creative, the radiant Camari Carter in my interview with her below.

Fast Facts

Name &/or Nickname: Camari Carter Hawkins, Favorite Nicknames: Meesh and Mari 

Zodiac Sign (bonus points if you know your moon and rising sign):

Sun: Capricorn
Moon: Aquarius
Rising: Gemini

Favorite Color: Olive Green, Mustard Yellow 

Home Base: South Central, Los Angeles

Childhood Hero: Moesha 

What is the multi-hyphenate you are most comfortable identifying with?

Author, Book Doula, Poet

I know it’s likely hard to choose, but for this time in your life right now, what poem from your book ‘Death By Comb‘ is a stand out right now and why?

Good question. The poem that stands out to me at this current place and time is called “Untreated.” Untreated is about my health journey with my thyroid. Back in 2015, I was told by a doctor that if I left my thyroid untreated I would die. After following a natural protocol for 4 years, I was practically normal up until two weeks ago. I had a flare and was hospitalized for 2 days. I was afraid for my life and the poem immediately came to mind. It is not a happy poem unfortunately, but it is relevant at this current time. The flare was caused by anxiety and stress, hello COVID-19, but I have faith and a plan to get myself back to where I need to be. 

You created a wonderful self-guided journal, what inspired you to create this book and what was the process like for developing it?

The Write Back to You Journal was initially created for me. I found myself in a very, unhappy place in my life where I didn’t know who I was – the real me, the me that surfaces when no one is around to distract me. I remember venting to a mentor friend about my life and she said that I’ve “edited” myself out of my life.  I initially looked online for a self-discovery style journal for adults or anything that would help me edit myself back into my life.. After being unable to find one, I decided to create one for myself. At this point, I’ve worked with a local small press and was very familiar with how to create my own book. So, I jotted down a bunch of questions that I wanted to explore with myself and created the journal. After the journal was created, I proceeded to fill it in and realized that others might enjoy it as well. From there, I hosted a women’s retreat in Joshua Tree and several local journaling workshops. I can say that this journal was a true aid in this continuous process of learning myself. 

Do you have any rituals that help you tap into a creative flow? 

Tea is a great companion. I can’t say that I have a specific ritual. It all depends on what I am working on. To get into the mood for novel writing, I like to make some tea and listen to some music that my main character would like or would be background music in a novel. For my serious workflow, coffee helps (although I have to cut back). I also live for a good to-do list! Before I get to work, I take a look at the list to assess what is a priority or identify what will move me forward, then I get to work! 

To me, you’re a person who is not afraid to put themselves out there. When you have an idea you execute on it, and find your own way to get it out into the universe – whether it’s your poet chats or your writing retreats.

To the person who has that inner critic that tells them their ideas aren’t worth producing, what advice would you give them to push pass that fear?

Oh dear, we all have that inner critic, don’t we? I hate her! My inner critic is VICIOUS and ruthless!

One of my mottos is “jump first, parachute second!” Realistically, that is how you skydive, right? However, before you get to the jump, you need to do a lot of preparation and self-motivating talks. I like to think about what is on the other side of the jump. I know I would be more upset and resentful if I didn’t try. So why not try? If it is not harmful to others and won’t put you in serious debt *lol* why not?!

My love language is affirmations. It is important that I affirm myself and hype myself up to do something. Prepare, love yourself, then jump! In the end, it will always make for a good story or good experience. Also, it helps to get really excited about the project. I allow my excitement to outweigh my fears. Half of the time, my excitement is so tangible that I don’t even contemplate the fears until after I’ve completed it lol. That’s when I say “What did I just do?!”  I’m kinda backward that way, but it works. 

Who are some of your creative influences or inspiration? 

I don’t have one specific person who inspires me – I look to the poetry community a lot. I try to add to what is going on or make it better somehow. I try not to look at too many celebrities or people with money and influence. It will only discourage me because they can move much faster than me. I try to focus on what I can do and the person who is depending on me.

My husband influences me a lot. He has been a great cheerleader for my ideas. He is also the hardest working singer-songwriter I know. 

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

Tacos. Tacos. Tacos. I love me some tacos. I love them with salsa, chopped white onions, tomatoes, lettuce, cheese, sour cream, cilantro, with radishes on the side! Load me up! I can eat them at any time. I prefer whole-in-the-wall spots. My mother makes amazing tacos as well. 

What does the perfect Camari self-care day look like?

The perfect self-care day(s) would be driving up to a cute town by myself, staying in a hotel that provides free breakfast (very important! who wants to cook on vacay?!), taking several baths a day, eating warm hotel cookies (because yum!), and watching old school movies and shows while drinking wine until I pass out. Wake up. Rinse. Repeat. Throw in occasional thrift shopping, sightseeing, and swimming. 

What is a quality you admire in other people?

Truthsayers. I’ve always admired people who just didn’t give a damn and spoke their mind. I admire bold people who speak their truth and stick up for themselves. That is a quality that I want more of so I try to surround myself with people who are good at speaking up for themselves and putting themselves first. 

If you had the opportunity to Matrix download one subject (this includes the entire scope of said subject) into your brain – what would it be and why? 

I would love to download a skill. I would download everything there is to know about interior design. That is a weakness of mine. I can make pretty graphics, words, and social media postings – but interior design? I am at a loss. Now that we are quarantined, I have a strong desire to make my space beautiful but I don’t know where to begin and it gets overwhelming for me. If I could click a button to download all there is to know on interior design, I would be unstoppable. 

Who are some of your favorite writers, creatives, makers, or artists to follow on Instagram? 

I love love love Mindy Kaling. If I could be friends with any creative celeb, it would be her. She’s just so fun. 

I enjoy Alessandra Olanow @aolanow – she creates these illustrations that really speak to me. 

Tony Baker is just for feel good laughter. 

Little Golden Black Out Poems crafts the best blackout/erasure poems and I’m a huge fan of her poetry. 

Brandie Freely drops gems daily and I love her InstaStories. 

WilderBagCo sells awesome vintage wear and shares a lot of her writing.  

Blanket Fort Adventures keeps it positive, quirky, and very fun. Plus, I enjoy her vlogs! — hey, that’s me!

I could go on but these are my top faves. 

What are you working on right now that you are most excited about? 

 I am working on a novel called Brock and Chio. I am really excited about that. I also started an anthology press called Mama’s Kitchen Press. I’m currently taking submissions now through June 30th for poems and stories by black women who’ve suffered infertility, pregnancy loss, and miscarriage. Since black women rank the highest to either die from pregnancy, get improper care, or carry a child full term, I find it imperative to share these voices and offer community to these women. I am incredibly excited about this.

Follow Mama’s Kitchen Press on Instagram for updates on projects.

The event below has already passed but Camari facilitates beautiful experiences so please follow her on Instagram for updates.

About this Event

Sorority of Bereaved Mothers is an anthology and panel discussion on Black Women’s Womb Health created by Mama’s Kitchen Press and hosted by author and poet, October BLU.

We want to invite you to discuss this very important topic and join our community.

Black women have twice the risk of miscarriage compared with other racial groups. Black mothers in the U.S. die at three to four times the rate of white mothers, one of the widest of all racial disparities in women’s health. Put another way, a black woman is 22 percent more likely to die from heart disease than a white woman, 71 percent more likely to perish from cervical cancer, but 243 percent more likely to die from pregnancy- or childbirth-related causes. (NPR, 2017)


Kat Branchen, Speaker and Entrepreneur

V. Kali, Author and Doula

Camari Carter-Hawkins, Author and Founder of Mama’s Kitchen Press

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Interview with Elizabeth Wakefield of silky garage rock band Gesserit

INTERVIEWS, LISTEN - March 15, 2020

Before shows were being canceled left and right in the name of public safety, I saw Gesserit at Zebulon in Los Angeles. My husband and I had gone to go check out New York gritty post-punk group Gustaf, and Gesserit was the openers. I fell hard for the stormy daydream meets bluesy funk sound. They had an earnest yet soulful energy to their performance that is refreshing in today’s performers.

Below is my interview with the lead singer and creative siren behind Gesserit – Elizabeth.

Fast Facts: 

Name: Elizabeth Wakefield

Favorite Color: I suppose it depends on the context of the color. It changes for me. I really love a celadon green wall or the purple, blue, yellow and electric red hues of a sunset on the beach.

Zodiac Sign ( If you know your moon and rising sign please indulge us ): Virgo sun, Scorpio rising, Capricorn moon

Childhood Hero: It is also difficult to choose just one hero. I really admired Cher and Elvis as a kid. When I first heard them sing I knew what it was that I wanted out of life: Music.

Home Base: Amarillo, Texas

Photo by Dutch Doscher

When was Gesserit born into this world? What is the origin story? 

The project officially began under that moniker in 2016. I was living in Brownsville, Brooklyn at the time with my friend Adrienne. The living situation was pretty rough. I was heavily into reading Dune and I was inspired by the Bene Gesserit. Reading helped me transcend the harsh reality surrounding me. The original idea behind the project was to create simple ambient soundscapes to reflect that transcendence. Years later in 2018 a full band was formed. I introduced the songs I had been writing over the years to my bandmates and together we created this current iteration.

Loved the set and seeing the incorporation of a saxophone player, how did you guys connect? 

Sarah Sax! 

I do door at a venue in Brooklyn and one night this experimental noise jazz band called Wave Table began to play and I was totally in awe. They were running the sound through an analog synth and someone was manipulating the music Brian Eno style. There was a crazed man screaming improvised poetry and a woman playing Baritone Sax. I emailed them shortly after that night asking to play a show together. They didn’t see the email for almost a year, but it was Sarah who responded. We ended up connecting and playing a show together and I had an opening in my project, so I asked her to join. She’s become one of my best friends and a super important component and collaborator in the project!

When I heard you at Zebulon, I heard The The influences and a dash of Fiona Apple. I felt like the music could easily be place on the soundtrack of Empire Records or Foxfire – that is all my interpretation. Who are your musical influences and/ or creative influences? 

Oh wow, those are interesting comparisons. I really love The The and Fiona. My musical influences are pretty vast. I take inspiration from many corners of music, not really specific genres or artists. As a child, I was obsessed with country music and the Grand Ole Opry. Lately, I’ve been listening to a ton of Beastie Boys, Marvin Gaye, Bob Dylan, Talking Heads, and Leonard Cohen. I’d like to try to deliberately combine these influences for the next record, haha. I imagine that would sound interesting.

Photo by Dutch Doscher

I hate 5-year plans. What is your 5-day plan? 

My 5-day plan is to enjoy the remainder of my time in Los Angeles before I head back to New York City. I want to take long walks, sunbathe, and see the sunset on the beach one last time.

How do you take your coffee (or tea)?

 I like my coffee strong and black. I like my tea soothing and sweet. 

Do you have any creative rituals that help you tap into flow? 

When I am in New York I spend a lot of my time sitting at my piano bench, playing and writing until I feel satisfied with an idea. In L.A. I’ve been spending a lot of my time sitting in the sun at the park reading books, also with pen and paper at hand, ready to catch ideas as they come.

What are your three favorite spots in NY ( eat, shop, hang out) ? 

There is a little cinema called Syndicated directly next door to my apartment in Brooklyn. I haunt that place multiple times a week! Central Park is obviously wonderful. So much of it I have yet to explore. I also really enjoy staying home, honestly. That is probably my favorite place to be above all.

If you have LA favorite spots, would love to know those too… 

Going to the beach in Santa Monica is hands down my favorite place to watch the sunset. 1642 in Echo Park is a super cozy bar to catch a vibe and great live bands. My favorite venue we played and visited was Zebulon! Definitely broken in my dancing shoes on that floor.  

How much of the set at Zebulon is not recorded and available to stream? When can one expect a release of music? 

We played one new song that is not yet recorded, but the other material is from a record we recently finished. I am looking to release the LP this year! Super excited to share it with the world. We currently have one single from the record online called Silence. We are planning to release another single and video very soon!

Photo by Meriel O’Connell

My husband is a musician and I’m a writer. If we have kids, we’re bound to have a creative child or a rebellious athlete. As a person who is exploring their creative voice, do you have a piece of advice for us that we can keep in mind for our future hypothetical child? 

I’m no authority on this! But I would say leaving tons of room for growth and creative freedom is so powerful. There are no rules. Using encouraging language and exposure to culture is so important. 

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Interview with Dev Ray – A Genuinely Disarming Gemini

INTERVIEWS, LISTEN - August 8, 2018

Interview with musician Dev Ray, a genuinely disarming gemini.

“It changes all the time. Lately, it’s been humming into a voice recorder while driving, not very safe but sometimes necessary.” 

Dev Ray is a genuinely disarming Gemini. Not that I find most Gemini’s terribly intimidating. But I like how that sounded, and Dev really is a refreshingly genuine person. To me, there is no pretense to him as a person or his music. He possesses a quality that is similar to the dreamscapes of Michel Gondry’s Science of Sleep and creates a sense of familiarity like you could have gone to elementary school together. His new tune, “Can’t Hide” out on Dangerbird Records reflects the ray of morning sunshine that Dev Ray embodies. The songs upbeat melody would soundtrack the speed up footage of a night with friends which is carried out until the sun rises over the horizon, feet in the sand and holding hands.

Find out more about this awesome person’s musical ambitions and adventuresome discoveries in my interview with Dev Ray below.


Zodiac Sign: Gemini

Favorite Color: Oh, this is a hard one. I feel like people judge you the most off this. If I say blue I’m boring, if I say green people will think all I care about is money and if I say purple they just won’t believe anything I say! Seriously though, I feel like it changes all the time. As you get older you discover new colors like chartreuse or azure. This is my very frustrating way of answering this question!

Childhood Hero: Oh, another tough one. I guess I would say, Pee-Wee Herman. I was obsessed with The Movie and his playhouse show. I think his zany humor made it into my personality somehow. Him or Mr. Rogers. I always liked how he changed his sweater and shoes when he got home, I do the same thing.


Super bummed to have missed the show at Dangerbird. How did it go? What do you feel like before a show – do you have any rituals.

The show was great! I was really nervous and overwhelmed at first! A lot of people showed up! The Dangerbird backyard was packed. When I made it on stage though I felt alright. I guess I like being on stage, ha! I was actually influenced by a post that Cecilia from the band Gothic Tropic made where she did a pre-show dance ritual when she was touring for Beck, I assume she does it for her shows too. I was inspired and love dancing anyway so I danced around a little bit before the show in front of the audience and it alleviated a lot of my nerves.

Loving the material available on Spotify, the single “Can’t Hide” and your super silky rendition of “So Excited.” What is your approach to developing songs and melodies – do you hum a tune into a voice reminder and build it out or just start strumming out notes. For those with no musical talent (ie: me) what’s the breakdown in approaching an original song and/vs a redux?

It changes all the time. Lately, it’s been humming into a voice recorder while driving, not very safe but sometimes necessary. I think I wrote “Can’t Hide” a few years ago on my old Yamaha keyboard. It was originally a slow disco song with slide guitar and a weird key change. I changed it up and was gonna use it for another band I was in called Dr. Fadeaway. The drummer Sal suggested a more upbeat drumbeat he borrowed from The Cure. I took the song back and used it for Dev Ray! “I’m So Excited” started when I jokingly sang it out loud at work in a very monotone, blasé way. I later realized after playing the chords on the organ that it actually would work slow and the chord progression is just so beautiful.

Is there a full EP or album on the horizon?

I hope so! I definitely have enough songs for an album. If Dangerbird likes me enough and these singles do okay then hopefully they will let me do a full album and release it for me!

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

Best hole in the wall restaurant is Thai Pepper in Hollywood. I lived in Franklin Village for a while and was always on a budget. This place just west of Franklin Village by the 101 is so affordable and this little old lady with a hunchback runs the whole damn place herself.

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

hmmmmm…waffles, cereal, mashed potatoes.

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

I honestly don’t read as much as I would like to/used to but...Incognito: The Secret Lives Of The Brain by David Eagleman is the most fascinating book I have read in a while. It has to be the easiest read dealing with neuroscience out there. I also just watched a documentary on The Flaming Lips Soft Bulletin album on youtube and that was so fun.

What is a quality you admire in other people?

Humor, lots of it.

What’s currently at the top of your travel bucket list?

Detroit. I am going there at the end of August! After that, I need to visit my friends in Washington.

Who is a person you would fan-boy over if you turned the corner and ran into them right now, and why?

Cecilia from Gothic Tropic. I would want to ask her how touring with Beck was and how she got that gig.

You’ve done a tour or two in your lifetime – what is an “on the road” story that comes to mind and makes you laugh or smile?

Touring with Nima from So Many Wizards is always a riot! I was especially making him crack up a lot during our last little desert tour. We were sitting in the back of the van together most of the time. On my first ever tour with So Many Wizards, we played SXSW 2013 alongside the band Social Studies. I made out with the lead singer/keyboard player Natalia and that always brings a smile to my face.

If you had the opportunity to Matrix download one subject (this includes the entire scope of said subject) into your brain – what would it be and why?

Tap dancing or ballroom dancing. I eventually want to learn every social dance there is.

Last three artists played on your preferred form of music consumption. (Spotify, iTunes, soundcloud, record player etc… )

Phoenix – Ti Amo, Deerhunter – Fading Frontier, Peter Gabriel – So, all CD’s in my car!

Wise parting words

You can put sunflower seeds in your yogurt, cereal, and sandwiches.

Those in the LA area can enjoy the musical stylings of Dev Ray in person at Taix French Restuarant during Echo Park Rising next Thursday, August 16th at 7 pm; and follow him on Instagram for more updates on upcoming shows and such.

*pictures of Dev Ray by photographer / artists – @lellopepper

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Artist Johnny KMNDZ Rodriguez Honey Baked Ham Adventure & Interview

ART, INTERVIEWS - November 24, 2016

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

ART, INTERVIEWS - July 18, 2016

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”

ART, INTERVIEWS - June 17, 2016

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 August 23, 2010

circa 2010

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

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?

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.


Kevin Peterson 2014


Kevin Peterson 2015

Kevin Peterson 2015

Kevin Peterson 2015

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