51: How Your Health Can Impact Your Creativity with David Cornish

Are you bursting with creativity or are you perhaps feeling a little under the weather right now? Have you noticed how much your state of health impacts on your levels of creativity? Today, we're starting season three of the podcast with an interview with Dr. David Cornish. David is Karen's friend and he's the author of two terrific novels, 1918: The Great Pandemic, and 1980: The Emergence of HIV. With the current escalation of viral illnesses in the world, this is a really good time for reading these topical novels, so tune in, to learn more about David Cornish and his books.       
David practiced gastro-neurology for thirty-three years before retiring last year. He still works part-time, though, to keep his hand in the craft. He has always loved writing and even took some writing courses while studying Medicine at the University of California. About ten years ago, David wrote two non-fiction books about service in medicine. (Evidence In-Service and The Essential 20.) Then, about three years later, he decided to try his hand at writing a novel, and this was followed by a sequel a few years later. In today's episode, David talks about his two novels. He discusses his process of writing and he explores the reasons for reading and writing stories. He also reflects on the seriousness of viral illness, and the emotion behind human stories that are associated with diseases like influenza and HIV. Listen in today, to hear about David's creative approach to writing.
Show highlights:
  • David explains how he got into writing books and why he chose these specific topics to write about.
  • The influenza pandemic in 1918 was the worst natural disaster in human history.
  • The main characters in David's books are fictional, but the events are all accurate.
  • David talks about some of the projects he's taken on since retiring.
  • David explains why he likes writing historical fiction.
  • The difference between writing fiction, and writing about something technical, related to medicine.
  • David found fiction a lot harder to write than non-fiction.
  • David's approach to writing historical fiction.
  • David talks about why people read novels rather than non-fiction.
  • The influence that David's mother had on his creativity and his writing.
  • Writing from what you like, and about what you know.
  • David talks about the teachers who inspired him to write.
  • Why you need to keep re-reading and revising what you have written.
  • David explains why you need to have someone edit your work.
  • David shares some observations about the difficulties associated with publishing a book, currently.
  • Why ebooks are here to stay.
  • David shares his thoughts about creativity, and about where his writing comes from.
Karen's website: A Creative Approach Podcast
David's website: David Cornish Books. This is where you will find his bio and information about his books. All David's books, including the non-fiction ones, have links to Amazon and Barnes and Noble.
David's Facebook Page
The link to Ursula Le Guin: Wikipedia: Ursula K. Le Guin

Check out this episode!

50: Creating Art with Deep and Meaningful Connections with Catherine Rains

Would you like to know what inspires an artist to create a meaningful piece of work? Today's guest is Catherine Rains. Catherine is an artist and she is an excellent example of how evolution works in collage, her chosen medium of art. Catherine has had a really intriguing art career. In today's episode, she talks to us about her skills, and about her certification in evaluating personalities. She also explains how she lets her art speak to her over time a period of time as she creates it, and how she brings a deep and meaningful spiritual connection to her pieces. Listen in today, to learn more about Catherine and her work.
Until age 33, Catherine often said that she didn't have an artistic bone in her body. Catherine discovered her life calling in the middle of an overwhelming day job, where she created her first collage just to relieve stress.  This simple beginning eventually led to quitting her day gig to manage a thriving art business. Then her journey took an unexpected turn when she was diagnosed with breast cancer.  This led her back to a day job for the next 10 years, traveling across the US, creating almost no art. Three years ago she decided to integrate the day job she loved with the art she could not live without, by setting up an art studio in every hotel she visited and following a structured schedule to fit art back into her life. As a result of this self-commitment, she returned to her greatest passion – art – on January 1, 2018. Tune in, to find out about Catherine's creative approach to her life and her work.
Show Highlights:
  • Catherine talks about what she does as a collage painter.
  • Catherine's art is mixed media collage infused with spirituality, meaning, and inspiration.
  • Finding relief from a job she did not enjoy with collage.
  • Figuring out how to make a living from art.
  • Quitting her job and focusing on expanding her skills.
  • Coming to realizing that she really loved doing collage and that it gives her incredible joy.
  • What Catherine has discovered about making money from art.
  • What the business of art looks like for Catherine.
  • How posting on Instagram teaches her to be real and authentic.
  • Inspiring people with her art.
  • Speaking to people on a deeper level with her art.
  • The spiritual aspect of Catherine's art.
  • Communicating with her art piece as if it is a living being.
  • Looking for a title that will draw people in.
  • The unique way that Catherine blesses her art.
  • Catherine believes that there is an art to marketing art.
  • Asking for guidance as she creates a piece. in order to allow the magic to happen.
  • Certifying people with Myers-Briggs for the moment, in order to take the pressure off having to make money from art.
  • How Catherine's creative process is set in motion.
  • Catherine really loves teaching. She would like to teach Soul Collage in the next year or two.
  • Catherine has been a breast cancer survivor since 2004. It has transformed her life and only produced good things for her and caused her to grow.
Catherine Rains
Instagram: Catrains Artist
Wikipedia: Myers Briggs Type Indicator
The Myers Briggs
Emily Jeffords
Kelly Raero Berts
Beth Kirby
Soul Collage
Art Of Karen Poirier Brode

Check out this episode!

49: Creating Visual Art in Your Local Community with April Bey

Are you dedicated to creating wonderful art? If so you are really in for a treat! Today's guest is April Bey, an exciting visual artist, and teacher. April teaches art at a community college in California. She loves drawing and using her art to explore contemporary themes about current events. In today's episode, April talks to us about her life, her studies, her art, and her career. Tune in now to find out more.
April grew up in the Bahamas, and for all her life she's been passionately creating. Art is a very prominent subject in schools in the Bahamas, yet April realized during high school that there were no careers in art to be had there. So she moved to the United States. She did her undergrad in the Midwest, obtaining a BFA in drawing from Ball State University. She then went to LA, to do her master's in interdisciplinary painting at California State University in Northridge, Los Angeles. Listen in today, to find out about April's creative approach to her art and teaching.
Show highlights:
  • At the moment, April is doing a lot of sewing that's acting as drawing.
  • April explains how she got to where she is right now with her art.
  • She is currently making art about West Africa and textiles, how women run the trade there, and how their labor is often exploited.
  • The materials and techniques that she uses.
  • Why April loved the freedom of teaching at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena so much.
  • Having overbearing foreign parents is something that April has in common with many of the students at the community colleges.
  • What led April to explore the textiles of Africa.
  • A lot of the fabric in Ghana is imported.
  • All the places in Africa that April went to on her research trip.
  • April's textile works also act as portraits.
  • You can go to April's website to take a look at her awesome art. Go to April Bey.
  • What you can expect to find on April's website.
  • She does a lot of work with feminist themes.
  • Some of the advice that April gives to her art students.
  • April had some really wonderful mentors.
  • Some of the shows that are coming up for April.
April's website:  April Bey.

Check out this episode!

48: Approaching Art Mindfully for Greater Inspiration with Mou Saha

Are you looking for some inspiration? If so, you will really enjoy listening to the interview with our guest for today, the very creative and naturally talented artist, Mou Saha. Mou was born and raised in India. She is an unassuming teacher with a bold spirit of exploration and she uses her mindful approach art to really inspire people to experiment with art media and color. Listen in today, to find out about what Mou, what she does, and how she got to do what she's doing.  
Mou, a mixed-media artist, and a storyteller is an intelligent and very courageous woman. Her passionate and straightforward manner is reflected in the easy and pleasurable expression of her work. Despite the number of setbacks and complications she's experienced in her life, she has produced some really meaningful work. Listen in to find out more about Mou's really creative approach to life.
Show Highlights:
  • The way that Mou's art classes have evolved over time.
  • Mou's work has been published in a number of different publications.
  • What inspired Mou to start teaching.
  • Faber Castell launched a new brand for the crafting community and they reached out to Mou to do some projects for their launch. After seeing her work, they asked her to join the design team they were putting together.
  • Mou, as a child, really loved to draw- and she would draw everything!
  • Mou was an only child and her really artful family treated as a small adult. This really inspired her!
  • Although Mou was not very good at drawing accurately as a child, she used her drawing to express herself. She won a competition due to this.
  • In sixth grade, Mou was awarded a national scholarship for drawing. And after receiving the scholarship, she began to take her art more seriously.
  • Mou was already interested in doing counseling and psychology in the eighth grade, so she found out what she needed to do in order to do that.
  • How Mou discovered that she could move beyond what her parents had taught her about what was safe, and about what she could and could not do.
  • Everything came full circle for Mou when she moved to Tampa, Florida, after getting married.
  • Mou almost lost everything about herself in the process of coming to America, and she felt really lost.
  • How taking a course really helped her to gain a real perspective.
  • How Mou discovered scrapbooking.
  • How Mou coped with the devastating discovery of a lump in her breast.
  • How winning the grand prize for a scrapbooking competition really helped Mou.
  • Teaching people about what really matters with art.
  • You will receive a free gift from Mou for signing up for her newsletter.
  • Creating the time to do something for yourself that you really love to do.

Mou's website: Mou Saha
Mou's Youtube
Mou on Facebook
Mou's gift for signing up to her newsletter


Check out this episode!

Ep 47: A Creative Approach to Solving Environmental Issues With Molly Morse

She is one of the bright and innovative people who is bringing new technologies to work for a sustainable planet, and I am intrigued to learn more. Join me now in my conversation with Molly Morse, to learn more about her passion for positive-impact plastics, the health of the environment and her creative approach.
Dr. Molly Morse is the CEO and co-founder of Mango Materials, a San Francisco Bay Area-based startup company, that uses wastewater treatment plant methane gas to manufacture biodegradable materials. Her vision of the future involves the proliferation of anaerobic digestion so that methane can be used to make electricity, fuels, and materials – creating local regions of economic resiliency.
Molly received her Ph.D. from Stanford University and her B.S. from Cornell University. Dr. Morse has contributed to multiple patents, publications, and presentations. Along with other Mango Materials team members, she is currently working to upscale the biomanufacturing technology of using methane gas to produce biodegradable materials. Their current focus is on the production of waste-derived biopolymers that can be used as fibers for the textile and fashion industry.
More in this episode
    Dr. Molly Morse discusses what Mango Materials does to create a new product that is a substitute for conventional plastics that can go into fibers to be made into clothing and other uses.
    The material that is produced can be used for cosmetic packaging, plastic bags, fibers for clothing and more, that can break down rather than remain in the environment.
    In the conversation, we discuss the various applications that the product can be used for and how the product could break down after use.
    We learn more about how Dr. Morse shares her passion for a better environment and bio-composites that would be able to be used within environmentally friendly construction applications through her processes.
    Dr. Morse shared her journey to becoming a business owner and how her educational path leads her to the present.
    She discussed how the company is transitioning out of R & D and into application development.
    Molly shares how she came up with the company name and creativity was significant in that process.
Molly Morse says, “How we encourage our children to solve problems, it isn’t something that can’t be undervalued. Those key moments can stick with kids for a really long time. Challenges can lead to lots of solutions. Fostering creativity from a very young age and encouraging it is important.”
Molly identifies with this quote, "The creative adult is the child who has survived."– Julian F. Fleron
One of the quotes to add to that is Einstein when he said, "Do not grow old, no matter how long you live. Never cease to stand like curious children before the Great Mystery into which we were born.”
The Green Biz Conference: https://www.Greenbiz.com
The Red Cross:
Other ways to help victims of Camp Fire:
Articles about forest fire management:
Subscribe to Our Mailing List: www.acreativeapproachpodcast.com

Check out this episode!

Karen's Fruit and Croissant French Toast

The other day I gave a talk to the Sacramento Bloggers group. I brought goodies which included wonderful buttery croissants from Estelle's Bakery and a couple were left over. Two-day-old croissants are not the best things to eat, but I did not want to waste these expensive treats. I also drink my coffee black, so the leftover cream from the Starbuck's coffee order was just sitting in the fridge. 
I am a good Canadian and always keep maple syrup in my fridge, I'd been to the market yesterday and had bought my usual fresh market berries and while the oranges on our tree are not quite ripe the zest is orange, fresh and tangy. A few pantry basics and a tasty dish emerged.
Cal liked his Veteran's Day treat and wanted to be sure I wrote the recipe down.
I thought a blog post could do that and I could share this with everyone.

Karen’s Baked Fruit Croissant French Toast Casserole

2 servings

  •       2 large (Jumbo) one- to two-day-old croissant
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 - 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 - 3/4 teaspoon orange zest
  • 2 teaspoons maple syrup
  •        dash Kosher salt
  •        1/3 cup each of fresh washed blueberries and raspberries
  •        Optional - substitute/add strawberries
  • Toppings, if you wish - confectioners’ sugar, or maple syrup


Heat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit, place rack in the middle of the oven.
Grease a 3-4 cup casserole dish with 1/2 Tablespoon butter.
Slice croissants and arrange to fill the bottom of casserole.
Mix beaten eggs, cream, vanilla, cinnamon, orange zest and maple syrup in a bowl. Pour just over half over croissant layer. Arrange remaining slices and pour remainder of mixture over slices. Add fruit over the top.
Place in pre-heated oven and bake for 25 minutes. Enjoy!

525 per serving

Estimated Nutritional values: 
carbs 58g, fat 27g, protein 4g, fiber 5g, K 81mg, Na 500mg, Cholesterol 245mg, folate 4% daily value, iron 6% daily value, vit C 25% daily value, Mg 4% daily value, Ca 8% daily value

The East River District of NYC and recent BlogHer meeting

This story starts in August 2018 with me in NYC relaxing after a very full day at BlogHer18. I’m enjoying the luxury of the three-week-old Mr. C Seaport Hotel near the Brooklyn Bridge and Pier 17. This is a comfy contemporary hotel in a neighborhood that is undergoing revitalization. Trendy, touristy and gentrified but historic and exciting. I love the old cobblestone streets and the old buildings.

It’s a long journey across the country to New York from California. Even though a short trip in duration, it’s been so worth it. There’s been fantastic energy here with a lot of first time #BlogHer attendees.

I was so happy to get out of California, where I would in most summers love to be. The smoke in the air and my asthma have kept me mostly housebound. Nonetheless, this trip pushed my exhausted self to its limits. I was not yet recovered from surgery and with my neck problems never easy. Sure, I use a wheelchair at the airport to avoid a lot of standing and walking. Even with minimal carry-on items, it can be a bit much. I bring a neck pillow and blanket, and while I balk at the expense of first class or business class, I do sometimes opt for extra room. Still, I was already tired and was adding insult to injury.
Despite the physical challenges, my spirit was energized by attending a meeting with inspiring speakers and enthusiastic and friendly attendees. 

I did mention it was a trip to New York City? I love New York. I'd not stayed in the East River District before. I found out this area of town is one that my friend Lena, a shipping industry podcaster from Sweden, had recently visited and raved about. It was just chance that I headed there, too. I have to echo her raves.

I include some photos of the neighborhood. It's on the East River edge of the financial district just next to Two Bridges and Chinatown. My hotel was two blocks from the venue, well within easy walking distance for me. The Mr. C Seaport had a few growing pains with my shower not draining well the first day and the room thermostat not able to regulate the temperature well. The staff seemed concerned and attentive to repairs. From the workmen in the halls and elevators, it was apparent that while the hotel was open, it was not yet completed. It is very attractively appointed and the bed very comfortable. The bathroom sported two sinks and a separate generous sized shower and a separate toilet. The robes were delightful. I'm thinking of ordering one from them. The logo is cute, and they do sell a T-shirt and ball cap. There are a generous bar and an assortment of snacks. However, I think a hotel room should have a Keurig coffee maker and complimentary tea and coffee, which this did not. I also love hotels that provide a small fridge and even better a microwave, too. Unfortunately, none of these amenities were provided. However, the Bellini restaurant that is attached to the hotel and offers the room service was delightful. I know I'd have used it even if the room had the amenities I listed. My eggs Benedict Florentine breakfast was perfect with fresh squeezed orange juice and delicious and plentiful coffee, a great start to my last day. The evening before I had tea and dessert in my room. The water was not quite as hot as I'd have liked by the time it got to me and while the berry sorbet was delicious the lemon pie that actually was a lemon tart, was not quite perfect. The short pastry was a little overly firm and thick.
I do not hesitate in recommending this delightful hotel. If you are flush enough to spring for a suite with a view, I would think it would be near perfection for your stay in New York. I was indeed pleased with my stay overall. 

The neighborhood sports a small grassy park with a geodesic metal structure adding charm and whimsy to the area. I love how an artist created a trompe l'oeil painting on a broad blank wall. The art features a building of similar architecture to the surrounding structures. An archway in the painted building offers a scene of the Brooklyn Bridge just beyond.

The lavender color of the metal work under the FDR freeway made me smile as I made my way to Pier 17. There is a museum ship at the pier, and I noted a South Street Seaport Museum and a New York City Police Museum in the neighborhood, though I did not have time to visit. A water taxi service is busy there, as is a water tour service.

The meeting venue was in a new 4- story building with good elevator service; however, I recommend the escalator. A continually changing lighted-advertising display in an atrium well adds a bit of entertainment to the ride. I noted the construction of several restaurants in this structure.

The conference was located on the fourth floor. Registration was a bit of a crush, but the wait not prolonged. From there swag bags, then on to the central meeting area. Large windows that looked out on the East River, the Brooklyn Bridge and the Financial District made the environment inviting. In the main conference room, circular cloth covered tables were surrounded by chairs. Small banks of extra chairs provided ample seating. Several large monitors around the room allowed for excellent views of what was happening onstage.

Once seated we attendees explored our goodies. I particularly liked the Moroccan Magic lip balm. The flight had made me dehydrated despite my best efforts, and it was a godsend for my dry lips. I did not use the John Frieda John Frieda Secret Weapon Touch Up Creme until I got home, but I love it. I have straight hair, but it often sticks out at an angle after washing, and the ends get brittle. I use a small dab of this product, and it works wonders.

Croissants and cold brew coffee were available from Pret A Manger. Delicious. They provided snacks and lunch, too. A vendor, FreshDirect had coldbrew and flavored water, fresh fruits and vegetables, and iced doughnuts to supplement the primary offerings. It's too bad that the company is only based on the East Coast; their offerings are terrific. I recommend them to any reader in their delivery area.

Memorable moments from the speakers include an opening guided meditation with Agapi Stassinopoulos author of Wake Up to the Joy of YouGabrielle Union talked about her new book, We're Going to Need More Wine: Stories That Are Funny, Complicated and True. Amy Schumer introduced the Voices of the Year Awards and spoke about the importance of the #MeToo movement.  Maria Menounos discussed her mother's brain cancer and her own brain tumor diagnosis and stressed the importance of being your own and your family's health advocate. I enjoyed the live Betch Slapped podcast with Jordana Abraham and Aleen Kuperman, of Betches, especially learning both of their mothers were OBGYN doctors! Kristen Meinzer of WNYC, who I'd just heard at Podcast Movement, joined them to discuss starting a podcast. A candid and lively discussion with New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Christy Turlington Burns about women's reproductive health, maternal policies, and the state of women's health care found a very receptive audience.

Breaks allowed us to visit vendor booths. The LG booth was even more cramped than the last time I visited blogger, and while I wanted to post their Twitter challenge video about the feature fridge, it was just too difficult to accomplish with so little space and instructions that did not work well with my iPad. I did take a video, and I must say that the fridge is incredible. My phone might have been useful in that booth. However, at that moment the battery was low, and it was getting recharged. BlogHer is very aware of our phone dependence, and a sponsored phone charging station was available. It seems BlogHer attendees are partial to I-phones. Connections spots were at times challenging to locate for Apple devices while Android users could always find a connection.

The health-related booths got a quick visit from me. I loved the Susan Komen t-shirts. I do like that organization's mission, which is not just researching for a cure as some social media posts insist it ought to be. The Susan B. Komen Foundation has a balanced approach to attacking breast cancer with a focus on services for patients as well as clinical research support. The Crisis Text Line was another health-related booth. Crisis Text Line provides a needed service, I encourage folk to volunteer. Vagisil and Dr. Ladydoc provided female health information. 

Humanscale promoted the ergonomic office, and their swag of a portable metal straw with carrying bag and brush has been handy. (It also is increasing my environmental concern street cred.)

I liked the Worth booth for a line of professional clothing. Much of the fall collection was more suited to a New York-Northern East Coast climate, but, some outfits could work in California.

Surprise treats were in store for us during the conference. Tiny cupcakes with decorative frosting spelled out Blogher 18 and were not only lovely but a sweet tasty treat. The party Wednesday had delicious hors-d'oeuvres, and the environment provided a great opportunity to network.

This was my third BlogHer event, two general audience BlogHer meetings and one BlogHer Health. It would be hardpressed to find much difference between the two types of meetings and I will consider attending BlogHer in the future. The exposure to new products is an integral part of the business design. It is an excellent opportunity for influencers to discover new goods and services and for some to form business partnerships such as affiliate programs. Who could resist the powerful women Barbie dolls swag? (Some readers are familiar with my Barbie collection and share the interest, I know.)

I'd recommend a BlogHer conference for influencers who are interested in brands and for those who want to hear fascinating discussions on topics of significant interest to women. 

For me, the best part of attending BlogHer is the networking I mentioned above. I've learned so much from my fellow attendees. BlogHer has always been inspiring and energizing.

51: How Your Health Can Impact Your Creativity with David Cornish

Are you bursting with creativity or are you perhaps feeling a little under the weather right now? Have you noticed how much your state...