Monthly Archives: August 2012

interview series: chanelle!

I first knew of Chanelle through twitter. She was doing what she does-taking photos, talking about food, having a good time…to be honest I was jealous. She then showed up at a the first Ignite Phoenix I went to, and she presented on The Art of Enjoying Food (I just watched the video again.) We began following each other on twitter, talking back and forth, and we first met at her house! She invited me and Rachel (also who I had never yet met), over for chocolate, knitting, and pajamas! Some time after that, I asked her to be part of my group reading through The Artist’s Way. Along the way, we became friends in real life. 



Jamie: Tell us a little about yourself.


i am a mother to two super rad spawn, caleb and arie, who will undoubtedly change the world…. and wife to one wonderful husband, gabe, who has changed my life and the world already.  we all love anthony bourdain, macaroni and cheese, pina coladas and getting caught in the rain.

i love food. and drink. reading about it, photographing it, writing about it, preparing it and also eating it. especially the eating part. i have worked in and around kitchens my whole life, i collect cookbooks, and usually think about what i want for dinner before i’ve even had my first bite of breakfast.

i am also a musician.  music is life to me…i can find harmony in everything.  i’ve been told it’s like a superpower.  🙂
we have a music room in our home with everything from a rhodes to a vintage drum kit to an accordion to a kazoo. i have even used a lemon-pepper mill as a shaker while jamming with friends.  it sounded really good but tasted better.
i create and perform music with my husband gabe as “the bear and the bird” and nothing makes me happier.   we have performed in a singer-songwriter showcase and at a couple local venues, and we are currently writing new music to share soon.

aaaand i am a photographer.  mostly food [surprise!], but i venture out into portraits, music photography and powerlines too.  i see and hear the world a little differently, and i like to share that with anyone who cares to see the world through my heart.  once upon a time, i was in the top five best flickr photographer finalists in mashable’s open web awards.  and i have had my photos displayed in a children’s art museum too. that felt pretty good.

i don’t like: capitalization, mushrooms or pants.


Jamie: I’m trying to imagine your expression if you had to compose an instagram with proper capitalization of yourself eating mushrooms while wearing pants. Does that make me a bad person? But I suppose my real question is what has your journey as a musician looked like?



first of all, jamie – i love you.  second, i will never properly capitalize an instagram of myself eating mushrooms while wearing pants with anything but the most ridiculous expression on my face.  imagine bitter beer face combined with the wicked witch of the west and add some indigestion.  whatever visual that gives you is probably pretty accurate.

as for my journey into music, i feel like i have just begun, honestly.  i am finding my voice, my sound, myself….more and more every day.  i always sing, always play, always listen…and always learn something new about music, myself, others through every note.
i grew up listening to my dad play the most beautiful renditions of classic 70’s rock songs [cream, yes, led zeppelin, ah yeah!!] on his acoustic guitar, and i finally found the self-discipline to teach myself guitar when i was 15.  i mostly softly played songs to myself in the quiet of my own room through my teens and early twenties.  [side note: i am old.]  i am horribly self-conscious, and being on stage or recording in the studio [or just being around people ever, haha!] – well, it’s frightening.  i was not ready for that for a long, long time.  i still don’t feel ready. 😉
a couple years ago i started reading this wonderful book called The Artist’s Way [you may recall, since you invited me to be a part of a book club for that very purpose] [have i told you how grateful i am for you lately?] ANYWAY, i was so encouraged and inspired to break out of my crippling internal fears and finally express the art inside me, so i decided to get crazy and go perform at a local open mic night. *gasp* i was nervous as hell, had only my two spawn there to root me on and you know what?  i was terrified.  AND I LOVED IT. in an ALL CAPS KIND OF LOVE.  i began practicing every day, sometimes several times a day, recording rough covers on my laptop and with fear and courage, posted those recordings online.  i cannot say that a major record company discovered me and offered me a gazillion dollar record deal, i have never been asked to play live on conan, nor has jack white phoned me to jam [my ultimate dream of dreams] BUT, it gave me the strength to do many, many other things i needed to do to be true to my heart of hearts and i cannot even think about all i have been through since without many grateful tears.  i started and performed in a band with a dear friend of mine, bryan mok, for about a year, moved forward from an oppressive marriage and then unexpectedly found the love of my life, recorded an album with another dear friend Kymberlee, and have now started a musical project with my husband that has good, good things in store.  just to name a very few.


i have finally learned to follow my heart with my voice, and it has only become stronger, better, happier every day, thanks to the lovely supportive souls i have encountered along the way.  freedom is a beautiful anthem, and i am grateful to sing it.



Jamie: You and I are very much into The Enneagram. What has learning about your number done for you in your life?


the enneagram is an incredibly enlightening personality guide… it has educated me on the healthy and not-so-healthy aspects of the way i view myself, others, and the world around me.   when i first learned about the enneagram, and more importantly, that i am a four [introspective, sensitive, brooding], i felt as though a great weight had been lifted from my soul.  i no longer felt crazy for processing life in the unique way that i do…and i felt like i could finally begin to understand and appreciate myself and others just as we all are, and learn to be the best version of myself moving forward every day.  i truly encourage everyone to use the enneagram to learn more about themselves, to become better, more enlightened.  socrates once said: “know thyself”… and therein lies the first and most important lesson.  only after you learn who you truly are can you begin to know others, and how to truly love them.


Jamie: I think I experienced that same lightening of the soul when I discovered all that entailed being a one [principled, purposeful, perfectionistic], and that I could could let myself and others grow. The thing I like best about the Enneagram is that it gives a direction for healthy integration of self. For example, for someone like me, I’m supposed to try to relax! Hahaha! What?! So, uh, what are you supposed to do?

well, fours are naturally creative and intuitive and feeling…but that can go dark very quickly. i experience such a depth of emotion over *everything*, and i have to be careful to remember that my feelings are not always a reality, and therefore do not need to define my total experience.  i am supposed to be confident in who i am, purposefully creative, and not jealous of my perception of the peace and calm and self confidence EVERYONE else seems to have.  a healthy me means a joyful, creative, inspired and inspiring heart…. using my intuition to love and learn and move forward and enrich the lives of others.  also, i am supposed to be more like ones, haha!  so let’s just trade.


(photo credit: chanelle sinclair)


Jamie: Are you more auditory or visual?



(photo credit: chanelle sinclair)

Jamie: Would you like to share some internet links?


daily dose of inspiration and love:

my two favouritest food blogs in all the land:

know thyself:

for your ears:


 Jamie: I just want to thank Chanelle for participating in my series! As always, your questions are always welcome in the comments of this post.


interview series! stephanie simmons

Stephanie and I met on twitter, and to be honest (because my memory is terrible), I am not sure if we’ve met in real life. Stephanie, do you recall? She now lives in Oklahoma, but we followed each other when she still lived in Phoenix. The Phoenix twitter community is pretty well connected supportive of each other, so it’s no surprise that she answered the call for interviewee volunteers!


Jamie: Tell us a little about yourself.

Stephanie: Things I love: winter, the smell of rain in Oklahoma, music, okra developing from beautiful blooms to edible perfection, fresh garden dirt, baseball at every level, patriots & soldiers, and pie.

Things I don’t: people that do the wave when the home team is up to bat, early leavers, bigots, inconsiderate drivers, money, liars and arguments.

I’m a country girl at heart and a city girl at heart. Seems contradictory, but my two favorite places in the world are rural  Green Country (Tulsa) and New York City. I love the quiet kindness and generosity that comes born in Okies, and I love everything about NYC.

I really mean it when I say I want the world to be a better place. I am a socially liberal Republican mostly because I can’t fathom that anyone can actually believe that every human being doesn’t deserve the same rights as everyone else.

Jamie: I know the rain here in Phoenix smells like an interesting mix between asphalt and mesquite. What does the rain smell like there? I’ve never been.

Stephanie: You’re right. I’ve always described the Phoenix rain smell as rust. It’s unpleasant. Here rain smells like spring, like things fresh and new. It smells slightly like the cold water out of the garden hose on a hot summer day.

Jamie: Tell me more about this love of NYC. I’ve only been there once as a girl; it was so brief. But I am fascinated by it. I love television and films set in the city. I have a friend living there now, and his instagram feed is so beautiful.

Stephanie: It’s hard to sum up what New York City feels like. It’s something different to everyone. The first time I went it was in the heat and humidity of summer, garbage bags on sidewalks everywhere, but beautiful tall buildings.  You’re surrounded by history and culture… There’s a little different something to be found every few city blocks. I’ve only been twice (once for NYE on Times Square, I highly recommend the experience) but after the second time I went, I came home and felt lost in the city I grew up in. But, I could have told you where to find anything in NYC. It’s just that comfortable to me.

Jamie: Explain “sports” to me. I’m afraid I lost my interest in playing them in sixth grade, and as an adult, I haven’t enjoyed going to professional games. What am I doing wrong?

Stephanie: For me I have the feeling that it makes you feel like the world is smaller, like there aren’t so many strangers in the world. There are these people, that you really don’t know anything about, that are similar to you in some way. They get excited about the same things you do.

While so many think baseball is the most boring of sports to watch, I find it to be fast paced and interesting. I like to keep score (on a scorecard I design, print and bind every year) so it keeps me constantly interacting with what’s happening on the field and helps remind me what’s happened earlier.

Jamie: Ahhh…that makes some sense to me. I think I have felt that in different ways through theatre and also as an entertainer at the Renaissance Festival. I used to work in the joust arena, and it was the heyday of rennie-led crowd cheering. I don’t think I have ever felt anything quite like it since. And confession, I do find baseball the least interesting to watch, although I will admit I have enjoyed a live hockey game or two!

Would you like to share an internet link? (or two?)

Stephanie: The only site I read daily, and the one that will give the most insight into my missing blog posts is I Wrote This For You. He published something I wrote on there once. I was honored.

Best writing by a dad / rockstar / tormented husband on the Internet

Funny correspondence from this guy to random people / companies / coworkers. This is one of our favorite sites to read at work.

And of course, I’m on twitter and flickr

I actually have been blogging since 2002, but semi-recently I had to begin to rebuild a corrupt database so almost all of my almost a thousand posts are in a text file that I lost when my OS crashed earlier this year.
Jamie: So are you a writer?

Stephanie: Actual writers might take offense to me saying I’m a writer, but I feel like I really could be. I’m pretty good at putting my thoughts in words, and I edit and re-edit constantly. My hurdle to jump is that I’ve always been hesitant to let people read what I write for fear of letting people in too close or being judged. I’m most passionate writing about relationships, but doing that (like giving advice to other people) is so much easier than putting my own issues out there. I think i have a lot to say and it might help me if it were heard. It’s therapeutic to write, just scary. Also, sometimes I’m too wordy (for example: now).