meet erin: healing community through yoga in detroit

One Sweet Erin

I love this picture of Erin at Iyengar Yoga Detroit. “My goal is to live in intentional community settings,” Erin says. Since she left college, she has lived in intentional community settings, focusing on connection and creating family space with non-blood family. It’s like her yoga practice brought out in how she wants to live. “My home community is a microcosm of how I want to live in greater community, with conflict resolution, vulnerability, and more.”

“Aren’t I radiant?” my grandma asked me last night.

She just had her final radiation treatment last week in a grueling series of surgeries and therapies over the last year and a half. Hallelujah—she is completely back to the spitfire of a woman that I know and love very, very much. Her puns prove it.

My grandma is a beautiful example of healing and resilience—of knowing who you are and not letting anything stop you from being you. Ever her teacher self, she brought apples to the hospital staff on her last day of treatment.

Just last summer, we were preparing our hearts for a very different outcome, but against challenging odds, with a team of family, friends, and hard-working doctors, she beat cancer, tumors, and more. With her inspiration and support, I’m thrilled to be following her path to teacherhood—and hopefully, strength like hers.

Stories like this are all around us. This week, we share how my friend Erin Shawgo helps empower women with modalities and tools to move through trauma and gain resilience. Erin and I reconnected last fall after being long-lost friends from middle school on up—and guess what? She used to work at Sister Pie!

From the Milwaukee area, Erin now lives in Detroit, using yoga, community organizing and her pursuit of a Master’s of Social Work degree to work toward healing. Erin currently teaches at Iyengar Yoga Detroit, runs anti-oppression and -racism trainings, and works on projects centered around topics such as exploring the effects of community programming on childhood obesity and health.

People with Panache: Can you remind me how your work comes together to support you now?

Erin Shawgo: I’m trying to stick to yoga and community organizing, to keep it in those realms and keep it all connected—but also baking! My friend Erin and I will get hired to bake, like for Meiko sometimes. We call ourselves the Sweet Erins.

PWP: I appreciate that you pursue things that will help you and your community grow.

ES: These are all things I enjoy. I’m also a grad student working on a thesis project to test a yoga treatment, trying to create a standardized intervention.

Erin Shawgo Iyengar Yoga

Here, Erin and I are at her beloved yoga studio. Outside all her other passions, Erin is also in a group call the Flowtown Revue, a singing collective who takes Motown songs and rewrites them about water. They perform at events to draw attention to Flint and water issues. At a Christmasy event this winter, they were singing—and it didn’t seem like the organizers knew what they got themselves into when the group sang a song like “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” replacing the main character with “Snyder the red-nosed tyrant,” referring to Michigan’s governor.

At my last placement, a substance abuse treatment center for women, I worked with them to connect the 12 Steps to the 8 limbs of yoga (Editor’s note: Some of the limbs include Asanas, or body postures; Pranayama, or breathing exercises; and Dhyana, or devotion, meditation on the divine.) We did discussions before and after poses about self-disciplines, including ahimsa, meaning non-violence, and connected this to the 12 Steps.

They got so into it! It was so different than classes at the studio. We went over the niyama, or discipline, for the day and had them discuss how it connected to the recovery process. They would talk with a partner, take a really long shivasana, and do a lot of breath work—what they found to be the most useful things—and they loved conversation about these values.

I remember doing an evaluation discussion one time, and this woman who refused to participate in anything—she would sit with her head on the table—talked about a woman who had had a seizure, and how that brought on a panic attack for her because her brother had seizures. She told me she used breathing techniques we learned. She had never said a word, but she used something from that group to curb a panic attack that might’ve given her the urge to use.

PWP: Wow! That is quite an impact—and imagine how much the women you teach are able to carry these skills with them. I know how much the pursuit of balance and serenity through yoga has helped me—but what an important application of the practice.

ES: With substance abuse, I learned a lot this year through their stories that many of them hate their bodies; they feel like their bodies are out to get them—a source of chaos, pain, where their urges come from. A lot of coping was distracting the self, avoiding places and people. Instead, how do we do inner transformational work to change how we think about our body, not as a source of danger but that can do this transformational thing? Everyone was in so much pain. It was cool to see people commit to more than a class or two to source their own relief.

PWP: How did you realize you could use yoga to help others?

ES: I thought, if I took my self care practice into my career, I would have to do it. A lot of the reasons I first started teaching was to fully integrate it into my life. Now it’s turned into this huge gift, and I don’t have a choice but to share it with other people.

PWP: What do you see for the future of what you’re doing?

ES: I moved to Detroit to practice recognizing what my gifts are and what the community wants from me. Moving forward, I try not to set any super exact plans.

Erin Shawgo

“Body-based practices give you a solid connection with yourself,” Erin says. “I always think: How can I connect to this person and hold space for them to connect to themselves?”

After I get my Master’s of Social Work (MSW), I still need to get state licensed, requiring 4,000 hours under a licensed MSW. So that might mean working full-time in community health for a few years. Ultimately, I’d want to be running therapeutic yoga groups, and I’m thinking something like what I’m working on now, combining Iyengar knowledge with cognitive behavioral psychodynamic therapy (CBT)—like talk therapy, combining modalities of yoga and more traditional psychotherapy.

I want to keep doing research around it to prove its validity. There’s already a lot more research on yoga helping the physiological body.

Also, the typical community is white, educated, upper class. How do we make it accessible to other communities?

Anti-oppression work and community organizing connects really closely for me. Part of my rhetoric is how do we use our bodies for tools of not only understanding but proprioception: how we understand how one part of our body relates to another part, or the space we’re in.

PWP: That’s a really cool word—proprioception—and I think I need some work on that myself.

ES: When people first start yoga, or even me now, we have so little concept of proprioception. We don’t fully understand our physical being and how it is in space. How many people struggle with understanding how their beliefs and identity fit into the larger context of things? Now in yoga, we’re working toward understanding how identity fits into community and society—identifying that “I have control and power over that” to some extent. Those things connect to me with my facilitation.

PWP: Along this path, what do you struggle with?

Why Detroit? “I moved here to create a new space that felt like I was not going to get stuck, where I could test out radical values I wanted to live under,” Erin says.

Why Detroit? “I moved here to create a new space that felt like I was not going to get stuck, where I could test out radical values I wanted to live under,” Erin says.

ES: The thing I struggle with most is wanting someone to just say: Here’s what you do. Here’s how you do it. Here’s the direction you should go in. I’m piecing things together, really trying to be intuitive about it, and it’s scary sometimes. My family is amazing and so supportive and lovely; now I’m living in Detroit making less than minimum wage half the time. My goal in life isn’t a career, it’s feeling fulfilled and like I’m contributing! Structurally it’s not supported, and socially it’s not understood completely.

I’m really trying to emphasize trusting myself and my intuition. It doesn’t have to be all planned out all the time or make complete sense. I suppose yoga helps with that.

I’m entering into a community I don’t always share an identity with; I’m always thinking about if I should do this work. There are challenges that poverty brings up, that working with people of color brings up. I could go to a suburb of Detroit and teach a class full of students, but that doesn’t fit into the values of what I’m trying to do.

PWP: What makes you feel most fulfilled?

ES: A feeling of connection. In Sanskrit it would be a connection to purusha prakriti—purusha is eternal energy, in everything; it’s a connection point. I feel connected to myself and that connection allows me to connect to everything else.

PWP: What’s something you wish everyone knew or understood to get through the world with more connection and compassion?

ES: What I really hope and hold space for is this: If we’re willing to be humble and vulnerable with each other, that opens up a way for us to be vulnerable with ourselves—there’s so much more to learn about ourselves—and within that process is so much room for healing. We can offer that space to others, too.

Now that is radiant. Thank you, Erin.

How do you radiate love, healing and support for others in your life? We challenge you to consider this as you move through your next week, noticing what others may need and meeting that with a smile, hug or simple gesture.

[Photos by Alysse.]

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meet nicole: leading ms. tech to support women startups

Nicole Yeary, Ms. Tech, People with Panache

“But I think there’s a real critical piece to all of this,” Nicole says. “It’s not just me—there’s a team of people who help to make all this happen. That’s why I think Chicago has the largest number of female founders—because we’re so willing to help each other.”

“I didn’t know what I wanted to be; I always knew the woman I wanted to become.”

Diane Von Furstenberg’s words perfectly illustrate Nicole Yeary’s career path—and this quote happens to be one of her favorites.

Nicole, founder of Ms. Tech, lives by the philosophy: ‘Do today with what you have.’ I so appreciate Nicole challenging us to remember to use the resources we have access to right now and do the best we can do. One day at a time, it adds up.

Ms. Tech ties together women, business and technology from within 1871 in Chicago, the largest tech innovation hub in the country. Chicago is the world’s capital of female founders—30 percent of Chicago’s startups are founded by women, compared to the 18 percent national average—and Nicole has now entered those ranks.

People with Panache: What is your mission with Ms. Tech?

Nicole Yeary: We help business women with tech and tech women with business, and we focus on helping women start and scale technology companies. We’re a membership-based organization, which drives a lot of our mission to really address capital resources and other needs for women trying to build high-growth tech startups. We also serve entrepreneurial women, technologists and people like that. There’s a real disconnect when it comes to the education and the availability of that education—and that’s even just aside from the network you have to have to raise a lot of capital.

PWP: It sounds like you’ve created a really integral resource for women starting entrepreneurial tech ventures. How did you see this need and decide to start Ms. Tech?

NY: My mom is actually a system’s engineer or architect for progressive.com. So I grew up going into server rooms and watching her change tapes. I remember being with her and thinking that I wanted a cubicle of my own—when you’re a kid, you just want a copy machine and a cubicle.

Eventually, I got that at United Healthcare, where I was developing an online application. I had gone to school for architectural engineering, and I’ve always been a tinkerer—always liked to take things apart.

Then I got laid off in March 2009. I had learned all of this information about people and buying health insurance online—I really wanted to develop some sort of website to solve a problem no one was doing anything about. I learned how to code through iTunes University, and I was going to build my own website, but I realized I would need venture capital. That was out of the question.

PWP: Then what happened?

Nicole Yeary, Wistem, 1871, peoplewithpanache.com

“The reason I’m here at 1871 is we provide curriculum and programming for 1871’s Wistem initiative,” Nicole says. “Wistem has 3 pillars: connecting women to capital, community and technology, so very similar to Ms. Tech. We’ve already been working on a curriculum of 12 modules and then a pitch training camp.”

NY: I got an invite to work for a startup in the 900 W. Chicago office. I was basically their first hire. I was from this world of pantsuits, and everyone was wearing flip flops. I remember being so out of my element; they didn’t even have a business model or a plan. As time went on, I realized that’s the way you have to be to build a startup. You can’t go into it taking yourself too seriously. That’s what I was doing before. You have to go into it without a plan, listen to what customers want and really develop a narrative around their needs and your mission. I worked there for a little while and then thought if you can get $3 million for your startup, I can, too.

I went on this journey to raise money and figure stuff out, but what I ended up doing was losing everything. My money and my plans were spent—and that’s when I really started to grow.

After I left that startup, around October 2010, Facebook had come out with these new groups, and I thought it would be amazing to have a group with these women I go out to brunch with on the weekends, because I learn so much from them. What if we could have that ongoing—why don’t we hire each other? I started with eight women who I felt were the smartest women I knew, and this group caught on fire. So, Ms. Tech kept growing while I was trying to figure out how to build this healthcare startup.

I went back to Ohio, where I’m from, essentially living on my dad’s couch. Google reached out to us and said, ‘Ms. Tech has such a presence in this community, we really want to partner with you. We have this new thing called Google Plus.’ We threw a huge event at the Google office for around 200 people—a kickoff to what became a monthly recurring event that I would host in spaces across Chicago. I brought in different women to be on panels and really kept a presence here in Chicago while I tried to figure out what was next.

PWP: Who helped inspire you along the way?

NY: There was an author who I read a lot when I was in sales, because I never had any official training: Jeffrey Gitomer. I connected with him on LinkedIn and said, ‘You taught me everything I know, I’d love to connect with you.’ I thought he probably wouldn’t accept me, but he did—just never said anything back. Then, when I was in Ohio and feeling really down, I get this random text message: ‘Nicole, it’s Gitomer. Can you talk on Tuesday?’ I remember thinking, ‘I don’t even know what to say to this guy because I have nothing going on for me right now.’ But of course I wanted to talk to him. I read every book he wrote. On the phone he said, ‘What do you do? You do all these things—build websites, SEO, photography, Ms. Tech—but what do you want to be known for? People don’t even know what kind of business to send you if you don’t pick one thing.’ I’m like, ‘I thought juggling was the way to do it!’ He said, ‘Pick the one thing you see making the biggest impact in your life and do that. You know what it is.’ I said, ‘I know I want to do Ms. Tech, but I won’t make any money.’ He said, ‘That’s not true. Don’t you know the 80/20 rule in business? 20 percent of those people will provide 80 percent of your revenue, and screw the rest of them. If they don’t like what you’re doing, who cares?’ After that, I was all excited for life. Then he said, ‘Hold on. For the next six months, if you do focus 100 percent on one thing, just know that they will be the most miserable six months, because you haven’t yet ever given one thing 100 percent of yourself. Imagine what you can accomplish if you did that.’

Nicole Yeary, Ms. Tech, PWP

Nicole on a panel for Google. On what Nicole thinks about the future: “Should I have my own venture capital fund? Right now, I’m collecting data and information about every company that we meet and work with to identify and pare down the curriculum we offer to what is making them successful—really thinking about the psychology of it.”

My a-ha moment was me recognizing: I have this problem and this Facebook group—all of these women need help. Okay, that’s my calling, that’s what I’m going to do!

I had a friend who let me stay with her for a month or so. My dad gave me $40 and some camping food, so I could live off of that, and I came back to Chicago with one suitcase. No matter what, I had to make it downtown every day, but I couldn’t use the CTA because that’s $5 a day and I had $40, so I walked downtown every day and set up shop in the McDonald’s on Clark and Lake with a 45 cent ice cream cone and free Wi-Fi. Then I met this really awesome guy, Benjamin, the founder of Grind, and they had just opened up. He saw some photos I took at our very first event and asked if I would take photos of their space for their website in exchange for 5 free days of co-working. On the 5th day, I was like how am I going to leave? As I was walking away, I get a text saying they’d like to offer me free membership as a collaborator to bring diversity into the space. I was there for about 2 years. I’ve never been so happy that I got that message and had that opportunity. That started real traction for us.

PWP: After you officially incorporated in January 2014, and you finally got your very own apartment again just over a year later, how has Ms. Tech continued to grow? What are the benefits of being a First Class member?

NY: We have discounts for very commonly used products or tools—from Hootsuite to dry cleaning. We pick the things that we love, have tried and know are going to make you more efficient and effective.

We also have our community and our Facebook group, which is a free group, but the women love it so much they want to pay for First Class membership because they value it and it provides them a lot of business. They get referrals, leads and trusted answers and advice from that group.

Lastly, we do office hours, but it’s really tough because I’m one of the few who is set up to do that. There are not a lot of women who are experienced technology startup founders, let alone have the time to mentor someone as they’re hustling to keep their startup alive and going.

PWP: That really sounds impactful—and like you have lots more room to keep growing, as well. What do you love about what you’re doing now?

NY: Giving the Jeffrey Gitomer moment to other people—that’s what I live for now. Moments like when one of our members and her cofounder sat me down and said, ‘Because you’ve been a mentor to us and we just found this out, we wanted you to be the first person to know that we got accepted into Y Combinator.’ It’s an accelerator program that is extremely hard to get into, and the fact that they got in is just amazing.

Ms. Tech, Nicole Yeary, People with Panache

On why people love Ms. Tech: “Networking is probably the No. 1 reason why people join. The No. 1 reason why people pay for membership, believe it or not, is the volunteer opportunities. We select three organizations and work with them directly to provide a special type of volunteer/mentorship opportunity.”

Also figuring out how we can continue to change the landscape for women. Everybody is scaling their business, but when you scale social change or social impact, you have to think about the best way to use your time.

PWP: And as you mentioned your members really love the networking side of Ms. Tech, what’s your best networking tip?

NY: Being vulnerable. One thing we strive for at Ms. Tech is creating environments and moments of vulnerability that in turn create a bond and trust among a group of people.

PWP: What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?

NY: Get closer to fear and jump into something you’ve been thinking about doing. You’re never going to be fearless, but go and be all in. If you really want it to happen, you will make it happen. You just have to trust yourself.

PWP: So right. Nicole, among all of this work and community building and mentorship, what fulfills you?

NY: Being in tune with my reason for being. I don’t even have to set an alarm to wake up in the morning. I get up at 4:30 or 5 a.m. because I’m excited for life, and I love to see the sunrise. Life is so different—when I worked in corporate America, you couldn’t get me in there before 10 a.m. It’s so hard to go to work when you don’t like what you’re doing. I feel honored and privileged to be able to do what I love.

Ms. Tech has their next event—Mastermind: Design—on August 10!

[Photos provided by Nicole.]

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meet melissa: milwaukee compost entrepreneur

Melissa Tashjian - Compost Crusader

One of Melissa’s proudest moments was taking the kids from McKinley Elementary School on a field trip to Blue Ribbon Organics, where her food scraps and compostable materials turn into rich compost. The kids saw the mountains of compost in various stages, felt its warmth, got to touch it and play. ”They were so into it!” Melissa says.

“I’m not here to point the finger and tell people they have to change,” says Melissa Tashjian. “It has to be something they really desire.”

I appreciate Melissa’s perspective, as she scales up Milwaukee’s composting capabilities. Certainly I’d be fast to admit I wish there was a way to more quickly help people care. Composting, growing food, remaining on the cutting edge of true sustainability—and regenerativity—of our food system are several of the big things that drive my life and career, so I am especially grateful to get to share this week’s wisdom, Melissa Tashjian style.

Melissa, 35, launched Compost Crusader in April 2014 to give food waste and other residuals a higher purpose: creating compost that helps grow more food. She’s trying to close the loop!

Starting with five customers, Compost Crusader had 15 by end of its first year and 40 by the end of 2015. Now, Melissa helps more than 60 current customers—from local restaurants to national corporations including Harley Davidson, Kohl’s and Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin—turn “trash” into earthly treasure, keeping it out of our increasingly overstuffed landfills. Continue reading

lean in milwaukee: sharing stories and support

What would you do if you weren’t afraid?

The Empowerment Project asked us in their documentary, Sheryl Sandberg asked us in Lean In, and now we’re asking you.

Lean In Milwaukee

Kate R., on the left, started Milwaukee’s Lean In Chapter after reading Sheryl Sandberg’s book. Way to Lean In, Kate! In this picture, I am holding the group’s namesake book, and everyone else has a “You Inspire Me” PWP postcard.

But first let’s rewind a little to 3 years, 6 months, and six days ago: January 20, 2013, the day before Kate and I launched our favorite little corner of the Internet—People with Panache!

Back then, Kate and I found reasons and ways to see each other in Milwaukee, Chicago, and the best rest stops in between just about every other week. In our professional lives, we were securely situated in jobs that fit well with our paths so far, but we weren’t quite satisfied. Sound familiar? Continue reading

meet marta: using art to save chicago’s strays

Marta Kenar, MCP Rescue and Outreach, People with Panache

Marta’s best advice: “Just keep going forward, and work hard for what you believe in. It seems so cliché, but I’ve been doing it, and it’s working, and it feels amazing.”

The summer before 6th grade, I got bit by a cocker spaniel. I saw him wandering around our cul de sac and thought he must be lost. I remembered that when you meet a dog for the first time, you’re supposed to build trust by letting it sniff your hand. At 11 years old, I was feeling brave and worried for the curly haired pup, so I knelt down and extended my right hand. It turns out that dog wasn’t interested in sniffing and took a big ol’ bite instead. I had to have surgery, wore a sling for the first few weeks of junior high, and still have a huge scar on my hand to this day.

My relationship to animals definitely changed after that. Instead of the curious innocence and blind infatuation of a child every time they see a cute, furry being, I became more cautious; I needed to trust the animal before I could fully love it.

It’s not that I stopped loving animals—there are some I love very much, including childhood pets—it’s just that now the danger of a strange beast that communicates purely in loud noise and quick movement is always in my subconscious. And the proof of the danger is permanently on my right hand.

On the other hand, I do believe that some people truly have a gift for understanding another species. Marta Kenar is one of those people. From my stepmom Karen who is obsessed with animals and has allowed every kind of pet you can imagine into our home (dogs, cats, rabbits, fish, turtle, snake, various rodents) to my best friend and PWP co-founder Alysse who truly cares about the wellbeing of every living thing on earth from butterflies to exotic wild animals to her very own new brood of chickens, you’d think I wouldn’t know anyone who could love animals more than them. But Marta may be the exception. As founder of MCP Rescue and Outreach, Marta hopes to instill compassion for animals, involve as many people as possible in rescuing dogs, and use art and music to bring youth into her mission. Continue reading

meet jamie: chicago entrepreneur taking the pet world online

Jamie Migdal, FetchFind, People with Panache

“I never thought of myself as an entrepreneur until FetchFind,” Jamie says. “I was a business owner, but I never had business plans, financial modeling or a marketing strategy. For me, I was like let’s just do this because it feels right—and it is right.” Now Jamie has more in place, but she’s still led by her love of people and animals.

For as long as I can remember, my dad’s house has been a revolving door of pets. My stepmom loves rescuing, and my brothers love encouraging her. Throughout my lifetime, we’ve had 4 dogs, 9 cats, 1 snake, 2 rabbits, 1 turtle and a bunch of fish in the backyard pond. The best one is obviously our orange tabby, Lucy, who I picked out when I was 14. And it’s well known to all of her furry (and scaly) companions that she’s the queen bee!

So when someone says they love animals, I know exactly what they mean. Jamie Migdal, lover of animals and founder of FetchFind, came up with a way to take working with animals to the digital space.

Instead of the typical route—vet or animal shelter—Jamie was looking for more connection between people and their pets. And boy did she create it. Continue reading

alysse is going to be a teacher!

“I don’t have a passion!” I remember whining to my mom from the kitchen table.

I was 17 years old, applying for colleges and attempting to pick a path for essentially the rest of my life. (LOL about the passion thing; I may have overcompensated since then.) Knowing how much I love people and enjoy writing, 17-year-old Alysse did a very nice service to 27-year-old Alysse and picked journalism. In journalism school, I met Kate, honed very handy researching and reporting skills, and gained experience with big assignments and tight deadlines—I really couldn’t ask for more. 

We both worked in magazines for several years during and after college, grew professionally, moved into our first adult apartments, and quickly wanted more from our jobs—in different directions. In the years I spent at Reader’s Digest, my first post-college gig, I found the time and freedom to figure out where all my passions—education, environment, social justice, people, animals, and more—intersected.

Getting to work on behalf of a movement I love with PEOPLE I love (like my dad here!) has been such a gift.

Getting to work on behalf of a movement I love with PEOPLE I love (like my dad here!) has been such a gift.

Lightbulb moment: The food system! Since that epiphany, I’ve hustled non-stop to help build a community-based, socially just, ecologically sustainable, nutritious food system for all—starting in my beloved Milwaukee, at Victory Garden Initiative.

But a simmering energy has been the undercurrent of nearly every job I’ve had, and over time it started to come to my attention with more and more clarity. I thought frequently of something I learned from Lisa at Sister Pie: Figure out the basic action that makes you happy, and build your career around that. All along, the thing I have been seeking is spending my days teaching kids. Challenging kids, sweet kids, struggling kids, goofy kids, all the kids. And what better way to influence the future than care for, educate and empower the pint-size people who are going to create it? There are nearly 80,000 children in Milwaukee Public Schools—80,000!!!—so why not pour as much positivity, resources and love as we can into a massive institution that will actually, literally, create our future?

I am extremely excited to share that I will be starting a certificate-to-Master’s teaching program at Cardinal Stritch University in Milwaukee this August. I’ll be a teacher in a year in a half, then I can take a few final credits to earn my Master’s. From then on, you may call me Master Alysse. But just Alysse is okay right now. Continue reading

meet sarah: making milwaukee sweeter—and nuttier

Sarah’s favorite way to toast nuts: “I prefer the oven, but still watch it: They’re good, almost there, almost there—burned.”

Sarah’s favorite way to toast nuts: “I prefer the oven, but still watch it: They’re good, almost there, almost there—burned.”

My boyfriend gently suggested on Sunday that maybe—even just for a day—I take a Facebook break. (One more poorly fact-checked meme and I’m going over the edge, people!)

But for real. There is so much anger, divisiveness and aggressive misinformation batting back and forth across the intellectual wasteland that is Facebook—from all sides of any issue, mind you. If we’re playing pickle in the middle, I am feeling sort of like the pickle, and sort of overwhelmed, and more than sort of mad. I need a break.

So this week, can we all agree on something?

Gun laws? Women’s rights? Nah. We’re talking self care and treatin’ yo-self in the most deliciously scented way imaginable: SPICED NUTS.

Meet Sarah Marx Feldner of Treat Bake Shop, and then take a break from that smartphone bossing you around and visit her Milwaukee shop—or any of these (very astute) retailers across the country. Continue reading

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. Continue reading

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