meet anne: juicing for wellness in chicago

Anne Owen, Owen + Alchemy, People with Panache

“Being the person I want to be and being surrounded by people I find inspiring and creative fulfills me,” Anne says.

For the past three years, I’ve been on a health journey to try to figure out why the foods I love so much suddenly stopped loving me back. It’s like a classic text message break up: quick, painful, out of nowhere.

This March I finally did an elimination diet and discovered my biggest problem is gluten—luckily for me, it’s the trendiest of food intolerances. I also discovered I just don’t eat enough vegetables every day. I had no idea (a) how many veggies you’re supposed to eat, and (b) how few I was actually consuming. So my favorite way to get all those good for you greens became through homemade green smoothies. You can consume a couple servings of greens in one sitting, and with just a little apple or lemon, it tastes great, too. My latest favorite combo: spinach, kale, pineapple and cilantro.

I also discovered a new juice brand popping up around Chicago: Owen + Alchemy. Coincidentally, I learned that Owen is Anne Owen, a woman I quasi worked with at Modern Luxury media, my first job out of college. Naturally I had to track her down and find out how she went from being the publisher of Miami magazine to owner of a juice bar.

What I love about walking into Owen + Alchemy is the ambiance. It’s the complete opposite of your typical, super bright, sterile, all-white juice bar. Like Anne is daring you to make the healthy choice, the aesthetic is sexy and sophisticated—the walls are solid black and white, and the only pops of color come from the juices and live plants. In addition to juice, Anne offers smoothies, nut milks, bowls, salads, snacks such as coconut jerky, custom herbal teas and, of course, cleanses that can be customized to fit your needs (a.k.a. you don’t have to give up chewing to do a juice cleanse). What more could you want?

People with Panache: Speaking of journeys, how did you go from magazine publishing to juice?

Anne Owen: I definitely took a roundabout way, starting with magazine publishing right after college. I knew I wanted to be in New York, and I started at Cosmopolitan magazine as assistant to the publisher. What I thought was my dream job ended up being the worst two years of my life—the Devil Wears Prada story. At one point, which I guess is bound to happen, I got burned out, so my best friend and I put all of our stuff in storage in the Bronx and booked a ticket around the world. It was supposed to be a 3-month trip and ended up being 9. We roughed it completely; we backpacked. I’ve had bed bugs, leeches on my feet, amoebic dysentery. We almost died a couple times. We weren’t prepared for what we were doing, but it was definitely life-changing.

Anne Owen, peoplewithpanache.com

“The food and juice cleanse is juice, salads and a bowl. It’s all raw and plant-based, and it’s good for people who’ve maybe never done a juice cleanse before or don’t have a particularly healthy diet, so it’s a nice transition. It’s a completely clean diet. You can either pick it up or we deliver throughout the city of Chicago.”

I ended up back in Chicago and needed a job—then I found Modern Luxury. Everything I hated about national publishing I liked about regional. You get to talk to movers and shakers in the city, from artists to people in hospitality to people in the government. I loved it. Then, the company said they wanted to launch in Miami. At first they didn’t want me to do it, but I was persistent enough that they eventually sent me down there, and I launched Miami magazine and a couple other titles. I ran it for almost 7 years. It was awesome—and exhausting.

I always knew publishing wasn’t my dream, but I happened to be good at it. I love a new challenge, and I fell into this trap where I kept getting paid more, kept facing new opportunities and challenges.

At one point I started getting very into plant-based eating, which I think kept me sane. I was known for carrying juice around with me always. My assistant was going to dress as me for Halloween once, with a black wig, a magazine and a bottle of green juice. I started doing a lot of research on the effects of plant-based food and what the food industry is doing to the environment. But working at a magazine, I was promoting something I didn’t really believe in—killing trees and this luxury lifestyle that’s so wasteful. There was this huge dichotomy between what I really believed and what I was doing—and not just 9 to 5. Entertaining six nights a week, it becomes your identity, too.

I went to New York on a business trip, and I went to Juice Press, which is kind of the original. I walked in—I was so excited—I got a bottle of green juice and it had about 20 ingredients. I had an a-ha moment like, oh my god, this is the way to make plant-based food accessible, convenient and delicious. I always wanted to have my own thing or my own brand.

At the time, the big salary was hard to leave, so I got cold feet. It took another year until I was really miserable; I was hosting a dinner for mortgage brokers. I had to wrangle all these real estate people, and I know nothing about mortgage brokering. I thought, ‘This is not what I want to be doing with the rest of my life.’ At that point, I was working with an intuit/therapist, and after one visit to her, I left ready to quit. So I called my boss and resigned. I knew I wanted to start my own thing; I knew I wanted to do something plant-based, eco-friendly.

Owen + Alchemy, People with Panache

“We just started shipping the juice cleanses and some of the snacks nationally. That’s a big deal for us because we’re still getting our feet under us with that. What’s awesome is that there are people who want it around the country. It’s a fun way to get our brand out there to people who don’t live in Chicago.”

I was coming back and forth to Chicago to help my mom with marketing her math tutoring center. I’d been gone for 7 years, but I was really pleasantly surprised with Chicago. It had this allure, this grittiness, that I had never realized. It felt like a real city. People had intelligent conversations—not that you couldn’t find that in Miami, but it was different. People value different things here. Could I do this in Chicago? After coming back and forth for years to see my family, I was always frustrated by the lack of healthy plant-based options.

PWP: It has gotten so much better, even over the last 5 years.

AO: I think 100 percent better. It’s really exciting that it’s fully happening here, and I don’t think there’s any turning back. People are embracing it. We were really nervous, because knowing Chicago, it’s meat and potatoes. There was an education process that happened when we first opened.

PWP: How would you describe Owen + Alchemy?

AO: We wanted to do something different and unexpected. We use the term plant-based because I think there’s a stigma associated with vegan or vegetarian. We wanted to make it more approachable, organic, with a little intrigue. We liked the quote by Hippocrates: “Food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food,” so we went with this idea of a riff on an apothecary—a modern take on the Old World. I partnered with a classically trained chef, but then I wanted to incorporate Eastern medicine and mentality—a lot of that is using food as medicine—so I also partnered with a woman who practices Chinese medicine to provide access that people wouldn’t otherwise have.

PWP: I really do get that Old World apothecary vibe! How do you balance the research on the benefits of a plant-based diet with research on how juicing can involve too much sugar?

AO: My original partner, Jared Van Camp, is type 1 diabetic, so obviously he has to watch his sugar intake. I also traditionally drink mostly green juices and vegetable juices, so our menu skews very green and savory. And I think we do the fruit juice responsibly, so if we’re going to have a fruit juice, there are legitimate health benefits.

Anne Owen, Owen + Alchemy, PWP

Anne sells coconut jerky at Owen + Alchemy, which is marinated, dehydrated coconut meat. She says it tastes legitimately like jerky. “It satisfies you if you’re looking for a protein savory meat chewy thing,” she says.

We do have a juice cleanse, and we have a juice and food cleanse. With the juice cleanse, we partnered with the Raby Institute for Integrative Medicine at Northwestern; their naturopath helped us create our cleanses. I’d get really angry when a lot of these juice bars would offer an ‘easy juice cleanse’—all fruit juice. That’s not healthy. You shouldn’t have that much sugar in a day. We’ve got more nut milks on the menu, too. We try to guide people, recommending juices if they try to make their own cleanses. It was also important to me to have food and smoothies on the menu, things with fiber. You can’t exist on just juice.

PWP: It’s true! I appreciate that balance. What do you hope to accomplish going forward?

AO: For me, it’s important to educate people on the benefits of plant-based eating. If everyone ate a little bit more plant-based and substituted one meal or one snack, if we could just shift the amount of animal-based foods that we eat, it would do a lot for not only our health but the environment.

PWP: I’ve actually started doing that recently—eating plant-based for at least one or two meals a day. I feel so much better when I do! Besides unlimited juice, what do you love about owning Owen + Alchemy?

AO: I really love the people I met here in the plant-based community. It’s such a sweet, progressively minded group of people. Honestly between that and the other small business owners here, I feel super supported. People actually want to support you, and there doesn’t necessarily have to be anything in it for them. Health and wellness have become a bigger part of my life, which feels good; that’s a byproduct and the challenge of having the business. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done.

PWP: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever gotten?

AO: Life exists outside of your comfort zone. And I constantly need to be reminded of that.

[Photos by Kate.]

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meet emily: radio producer sharing milwaukee’s stories

Emily Forman's producer-phones, People with Panache

What does Emily’s job entail? Producing a radio story each week. That means she pitches ideas, does interviews, writes a script, collects the tape, mixes it together in audio software and delivers the complete radio package to the radio station.

I’m still waiting for Orlando being the “largest mass shooting in American history” to sink in. Filling my mind instead are images of the individual people: mothers texting their children to no replies, police officers listening to the haunting rings of owner-less cellphones, survivors wondering why they were spared.

This week, we’re featuring Emily Forman, producer of Precious Lives, a two-year, 100-part radio series about young people and gun violence in Milwaukee. Each week, Emily and her team weave together living snapshots of survivors, neighborhoods, families—of resilience. They’re 73 episodes in. With many episodes about healing and peace—rather than shootings and funerals—they frequently focus on the helpers, the people working to create positive change.

Milwaukee, Orlando, and so many cities in between remind us constantly that life can change in an instant. So with each story Emily brings to light, we share the same hope that listeners grow in compassion, acknowledge the very different lives of others in their own city, and recognize just how precious every life is. Continue reading

meet kristen: lawyer changing chicago workplaces

Kristen Prinz, People with Panache

On challenges in her career: “One challenge I’ve had is just starting my own firm and becoming a boss. I thought I would be a really good boss when I quit my job and started my own firm, and then after a couple years I realized, I’m probably doing a lot of things wrong.”

“We had a week-and-a-half-long jury trial. The other side had been overly cocky the entire time. I had a dream two weeks before the trial that we were going to get a $10 million jury verdict. So, because of my dream, we changed the entire strategy of what we were presenting to the jury. And then we got the $10 million jury verdict! How funny is that? It wasn’t really a dream—it was a vision.”

They say if you verbalize what you really want, it’s more likely that you’ll take the necessary steps to make it happen. Apparently dreaming works, too!

I met Kristen Prinz at Money Smart Week 2016. She was a panelist for “It’s the Money, Honey!” the equal pay event, and her passion couldn’t be more obvious. Already, I knew she had to be on the blog.

Kristen started her own law firm, The Prinz Law Group, in 2009 to specialize in employment law. Her firm works with both employees and employers—with, not against, one another. For companies, they will prepare handbooks or represent them if an employee is suing them. They only represent individuals if they haven’t also represented their company. Through improving workplaces, Kristen affects people’s day-to-day lives, and she loves it. Continue reading

meet carrie: supporting sick kids in chicago through art

Carrie Spitler, Snow City Arts, People with Panache

Carrie with movie posters made for some of the kids’ films. In addition to executive director of Snow City Arts, Carrie is a community gardener, a beekeeper and a baker!

“Doctors find the illness, we find the artist.”

I’ve watched enough medical shows to feel those pangs in my heart, imagining just how strenuous and sad it must be to have a child—or be a child—experiencing an illness, especially a serious one. Snow City Arts takes an approach that I wouldn’t have expected to help sick kids stay on track with school while getting better: This nonprofit deploys a team of artists at hospitals in Chicago to work with kids on artistic, educational projects while they stay for extended treatment.

I first heard about this beautiful endeavor because of my boyfriend, Jim. Bringing his passion for music to a whole new dimension, he has served on the auxiliary board of Snow City Arts for about a year now. In support, we attended their annual Gallery Night last fall. Originally I partially agreed so I had an excuse to wear a fabulous dress, but once we got there, I was awestruck. Gallery Night showcased all of the artwork that the kids in the hospitals produce, from visual art including painting to 3D art to creative writing, video and music. All by artists under 18 years of age, the work was not only professional, it was impressive and smart, beautiful and funny and creative. I was completely blown away by the level of talent these kids have. We both were. These weren’t just kid “art projects.” Continue reading

meet carolyn: trailblazer in chicago’s financial industry

“Some of the guys thought that because I’m blonde, I was dumb. So they would talk about their trading strategy in front of me. And I would just listen and absorb everything they were saying.”

Carolyn Leonard, DyMynd, People with Panache

Carolyn’s philosophy on investing: “Diversity does go to the bottom line: all diversity – racial, gender, sexuality. If you’re looking to invest in companies that will outperform their peers, look for diversity and depth of experience in the C-suite and the board of directors.”

Way to turn lemons into lemonade and jerks into teachers, Carolyn!

In some ways, Carolyn Leonard’s story isn’t uncommon. She entered a “man’s world” and was treated brazenly unequally—but that’s where any notion of Carolyn being average ends.

Carolyn, 73-year-old entrepreneur and founder of DyMynd, says in America there are 9.2 million women-led companies with an economic impact of $3 trillion. While discrimination like she experienced keeps lingering longer than seems acceptable or necessary, we women can change it—together. And we are.

As one of the oldest entrepreneurs in the country, Carolyn is a real-life testament to facing your fears, taking risks on yourself, and never giving up. From being one of the first women to trade on the Chicago Board of Options Exchange to starting her own business four years ago at age 69, Carolyn’s story tells itself. Continue reading

alysse’s trip to africa

When I think of the best trips of my life, moments from each come to my mind in specific snapshots. I do this on purpose; in special moments, I’ll do a little sensory check-in, feeling what my feet are touching, how my skin feels, what I taste, little details of what I see, what sounds are passing by my ears. That’s how I can still vividly recall lazily floating in the ocean, the warm sea holding me as I tasted the last drops of fresh coconut water on my yoga retreat in Costa Rica. I can smell the pine needles under our tent in central Wisconsin on my first camping trip with my boyfriend. I can still see a hummingbird breathing at the speed of a fast-beating heart in its cocoon-like nest in the Amazon.

Especially since it was just two weeks ago, I can also still hear the trumpet of a teenage male elephant as he ran toward my family in a “mock charge.” My parents and I were on a safari—definitely among the very coolest weeks-and-a-half of my life—and “mock peed our pants.”

Check out a few of my favorite snapshots from my family’s trip to southern Zimbabwe and northern Botswana. Which are your favorites? Please share in the comments—I might even enter some of these into a photo contest to win my way back to Botswana! (I thought that trip would be once-in-a-lifetime, but I really, really hope I’m wrong.)

PS: If you’d like any of my photos for your own use—hello desktop backgrounds—please ask first. Include your email, and I’ll do my best to send photos promptly.

Alysse in Africa 01[ellie on the move] Continue reading

money smart week 2016 and chicago’s first feminist film festival recaps

One of my favorite things to talk about is also one of life’s most taboo topics:

Money.

Sometimes, I just want to straight-up ask people: “Hey, how much money do you make, and how did you get to that point? Is it a competitive salary in your field?” or “How do you invest your money?” or “Is 1% too high of a fee to pay for a mutual fund? How do you know that your financial advisor is legit?” I don’t want to do this because I’m nosy—it’s because, currently, everything I know about money is based solely on my own LIMITED experience.

It's the Money, Honey! panel: Terry, Kristen, Joanne and Ginny

It’s the Money, Honey! panel: Terry, Kristen, Joanne and Ginny

Although society dictates that it’s not polite to ask people such questions, money is one of life’s necessary evils. And I feel like I can never learn enough about how to earn it, grow it, save it, invest it, give it or spend it. Someday I hope to buy a condo or go to grad school or save for a future child’s college fund or help my parents in their retirement—but I can’t do any of those things if I don’t HAVE money first. That is why I was so pumped that last week was Money Smart Week 2016 in Chicago—a whole week of events put on by our good friends at the YWCA Chicago and DyMynd for the sole purpose of talking about earning, investing, spending and giving money! Continue reading

meet sarah: using nutrition to change lives in milwaukee

Abundance is such an important theme for Sarah—she wanted it to be a constant reminder for her. So it became part of her business’ name!

Abundance is such an important theme for Sarah—she wanted it to be a constant reminder for her. So it became part of her business’ name!

A few weekends ago, one of my closest friends came up from Chicago for the day to share that she had broken up with her boyfriend. She was still settling into singleness (with the happiest smile, I must say) and evaluating her next steps while deciding to stay put for a bit—with her job, her apartment, herself. Time for a little bit of dedicated solo time. And friend time. And really simple, solid advice: “I realized that I was blaming my job for unhappiness and stress—but a lot of it had to do with my attitude.”

While I know I have a lot of blessings in my life—my faith, family and friends—she helped me remember that day-to-day happiness is a choice. It’s a choice to adjust my attitude to point toward the positive. It’s a choice to take a deep breath when I feel overwhelmed, make myself a piña colada, and just keep moving forward. (Real life. Last Monday.) And it’s a choice to stay out late singing Space Oddity on the karaoke stage rather than sleeping. (I’m in no way saying I always make good choices.)

Sarah Philipp, 32, was born with an entrepreneurial gene—check out her cousin!—and also reminds me how empowered I am to take charge of my own life and body. She is a Milwaukee nutritionist who created a beautiful little business, Abundelicious, where she uses food as a tool for wellness. She specializes in anxiety and digestive disorders, teaching her clients (and hopefully you now, too!) the power of nutrition as fuel for our lives, our minds and our happiness. Continue reading

meet sarah: using hip-hop to empower youth in milwaukee

TRUE Skool purchased all the pieces produced through the Art of Coping program.

TRUE Skool purchased all the pieces produced through the Art of Coping program. This piece is by Lasha Bradley.

“Your life becomes so enriched by being around differences,” says Sarah Dollhausen. “It doesn’t take anything away from you.”

Sarah, director, founder and trailblazer at TRUE Skool, is just the kind of woman you wish you had in your life when you were younger. She created TRUE Skool, a Milwaukee nonprofit and after-school program that uses hip-hop’s core elements—DJing, breakdance, emceeing, graffiti and knowledge—to empower youth, teach about social justice, encourage community service, and create a pipeline of opportunity for Milwaukee’s young people. Now 11 years old, much of TRUE Skool’s work comes to life via after-school programming including classes such as the Art of Emceeing, DJing, Video Production, Band (not the kind that was in my high school…) and more. (Seriously, how freaking cool is that?)

Besides the fact that she has shepherded the growth of this organization whose programs will now hopefully expand nation-wide, Sarah has one particularly beautiful gift that stood out to me: She has a clear, deep passion for bringing people together to work on co-creating the future. Competition doesn’t have much of a place. Jealousy? Nope. These students, the team of working artists, and every person involved has a safe space to share, learn, grow and collaborate to create the community they want to live within.
Continue reading

happy 10th anniversary, motion pr!

Things were a little different 10 years ago.

It was 2006, and…

George W. Bush was president.

The RAZR was still the world’s best-selling phone, and the iPhone was just a twinkle in Apple’s eye.

Pluto ruined childhood mnemonic devices everywhere and lost its status as a planet.

Twitter came chirping into our lives—and we had only just been invited to Facebook!

Crash won best motion picture—and if you haven’t seen it, Netflix has it on DVD.

Steve Irwin, the “Crocodile Hunter,” sadly died on the job from being stung in the chest by a stingray.

The Blackhawks drafted Jonathan Toews—a major win for Chicago.

The TSA banned liquids and gels from air travel—a major loss for just about everyone who flies. Not that we don’t appreciate the extra safety I suppose.

Alysse and I started our senior year in high school—a year before we met at Drake. We still loved Seventeen magazine, not even imagining that we’d someday have friends who worked there.

And Kimberly Eberl started her PR company, Motion PR, 10 years ago to this day. As one of the first to join our Panache family back in 2013, at the time I interviewed her, she had 6 employees; now, she has 19! And of course, a brand new office to accommodate everyone. In honor of her 10th year in business, we asked for Kimberly’s top 10 lessons learned.

People with Panache: Kimberly, what is your secret sauce for success? How did you make it 10 years and going strong? Continue reading