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

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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.

Ep 46: When the Love of Literature and Scotland Turns into a Podcast with Ginger Wiseman

Ginger Wiseman is one of the co-hosts (with her sister) Summer Reynolds, of The Outlander Podcast. She has a great story of how her love of the books and then the series, and a passion for Scotland, led them to create a podcast for fans. I always have a great deal of fun learning about how my guests found their creative niche. Today is no exception.
More in this episode
● We learn about Ginger's story and what got her and her sister, Summer into hosting two podcasts.
● How the two sisters connected over literature through the years and how that strengthened their love of the written word in multiple languages.
● She discusses her love of the Outlander series and the events that led to the creation of their fandom podcast.
● Ginger shared what led her and her sister to create The All Souls Podcast and how that helped them broaden their horizons with fans, friends, and travel.
● She shares how she was able to get involved with ComicCon working in press and the benefits that have helped her grow her shows and gain more visibility.
● Ginger shared more about The All Souls Con event and that she follows the book releases and shows coming out with the international networks.
● The sisters planned for the long haul as the main character had not yet been cast.
● Ginger shares how she was able to plan out the podcast episodes in alignment with the books and episodes for content.
● She noticed early on that there was a random invitation to join for an after-show. She felt that guests found more value when they did a live video in their private FB group after-show right after the episode ends.
● Having a sponsor never changed their content, schedule or format.
● She felt empowered to have a podcast through her exploration of what other podcast hosts were offering and her love of the dramatic arts growing up.
● She shares her journey with her sister to Scotland and how they created a group experience trip they do yearly.
Ginger says, "While everyone has their own talents or abilities that they've honed, whatever it is that you feel, even if you're not doing it professionally, whatever it is that you feel is a great outlet for you creatively.[SIC] Being creative must be intentional. It's important if you are creative that you have to make time for those things. It is needed and a very important part of life."

Check out this episode!

Ep 45: A Gifted Geyser of Artistic Expression A Conversation with Jonathan Fong

Today’s podcast has a fascinating guest, Jonathan Fong. From plans for kid’s projects to ideas for sophisticated weddings, Jonathan just shines! Home decorating, crafting, and entertainment are not the only things he knows about, but he also has a unique gift to teach us how to master his creative visions. I love that Jonathan always dresses impeccably and adds unique touches to his ensemble. His approach proves that men’s fashions can be both original and very dapper.
In this conversation, you’ll learn more about the innovative Jonathan Fong and his "creative approach."
More in this episode

  • What Jonathan is doing on a daily basis and how he inspires others.
    ● Jonathan didn’t really become a designer until later on in life and shares where he started out before he got to this point in his journey.
    ● He discusses his career beginnings and the struggles he had when he experienced “left brain, right brain conflict” where he was trying to be creative in a non-creative field.
    ● Jonathan was encouraged that if he “had huge creative tendencies to explore them!”
    ● How his creative exploration led him to greater opportunities such as being on HGTV, writing books, creating a business and his own show on YouTube
    ● The value of creating your own content on YouTube and what that can lead to.
  • How working with Disney and teaching on kid’s crafts helped him gain a wider audience to infuse creativity in the lives of millions.
    ● We discussed his exploration of infusing his creativity into his cooking as well.
  • Who influenced Jonathan to embrace his creativity throughout his life.
  • How his fun and playful attitude has helped people make their art more personal.
  • Craft books on the horizon may include more Jewish Crafts and Dog and Cat Crafts.
  • Jonathan feels that creativity is one of the most important things in this world. He says, “that for us creative folks, or for people that want to be creative, it’s our duty to create because creativity is the opposite of destruction. There is so much destruction in the world and so much of the world is geared towards destruction, both physical and spiritual. However you create, whether it’s through crafting or cooking or building or painting or singing - however you express yourself to create or make something - that counteracts the destruction. We can change the world by creating.”
Jonathan on Facebook
Youtube: Style with A Smile
Books on Amazon: Walls That Wow, Flowers That Wow, Parties That Wow
CHA (The Craft & Hobby Association, now known as The Association For Creative Industries)
 E-how for more on creating a fun party, cooking, crafts, and more.
 Jewish Film Festival in Sacramento

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Ep 44: Finding Beauty in the Imperfections with Linda Gelfman

Joining me on the show today is a professor of ceramics at American River College in Sacramento, a founding member of The E Street Gallery and Studios, and one of my favorite art teachers, Linda Gelfman.

She has recently been exploring soft-sculpture as well as her ceramic work. She used her textile pieces in a recent show at The Kaneko Gallery at American River College, titled “Cognitive Dissonance.” The show examined the multilayers of life. “Linda’s Lollies¨ the name she’s given her anthropomorphic soft sculptures, have a mixture of cuteness and the bizarre. Her work has focused on finding beauty in the imperfections that working with clay can provide.

Some of her earliest art-related memories include playing in her friend’s wet sandbox. Her love of creativity led her through college, where she was surprised and elated she was able to major in art and could share that love with others. She continued to build an incredible career teaching, installing her work in galleries and continued her education at Sacramento State in graduate school.

I’m so grateful for the opportunity to chat with Linda. Our conversation is full of passion for the creative process and the love she has for teaching others. If you need the inspiration to get back into the flow of creativity, listen to this episode, and make sure to check out the ways to connect further with Linda.

More in this episode:
● Linda believes everyone has creativity within themselves.
● Linda found working with clay using the Wabi Sabi method in her early 20s Which helped her gain a deeper appreciation of finding beauty in the imperfect.
● She shares how students can feel empowered in their creativity and sense of expression.
● Linda shares her methods for creating dynamic pieces that go against the traditional “rules.”
● She enjoys using upcycled materials to integrate new textures and elements into her work and recent gallery installations.
● Linda believes that following your passion is the best way to help and serve humanity.
● She was able to make art and make a living for years.
● Linda believes it’s vital for artists to get back to the fluidity of their process to ignite their creative spark and to go “outside the lines of perfectionism.”
● She feels art is important and encourages everyone to take an art class “because it will change your life.”
● It’s OK to be different because that makes us unique and marvelous.
● She shares her thought on what to do if you’re feeling disconnected from life.
Find Linda at The E Street Gallery
Linda Gelfman on Facebook: Gelfman Art
Become one of her students at American River College
Snow After Fire Art Piece
Meow Wolf
Article on Fire Retardant planes from McClelland
Link to map of fire situation in California this year
Fort McMurray, Alberta fire

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New Mural at American River College, Creative Solution, being a part of public art

It initially started as four murals in ceramics to illustrate the fine and applied arts departments at American River College. Fine Arts, Culinary, Design and Film/Photography, and Theater and Music had murals depicting a story of each. An unfortunate kiln accident destroyed over half of that entire body of work. The pieces that remained were glazed then stored away for two years.

This summer Linda Gelfman and some help put together this mural. It's loosely based on a Hamsa which is symbolic of a hand of blessing in many religions. There are seven fingers, but Linda smiles and says we all need extra good fortune and good will. 

Some parts from every original mural survive, and I like the idea of unity out of diversity that arises from this piece. Like the Phoenix, this art has emerged powerful and beautiful.


I did not glaze all the pieces I crafted, and no one of us was solely responsible for the tiles, but I did put a lot of work into some parts like the Tower Bridge, the student dining, the chefs at work and a portrait of Linda Gelfman.

Glazed ceramics last forever (well maybe some in fragments), but a long time as anyone who has ever walked through an ancient Greek ruin can attest.

There is something about that permanence that has me near tears when I think of how many people will pass by, going to classes or visiting the Kaneko Gallery and will see our art.  

American River College has several student murals on campus from years past. I encourage you to visit the school and see this new work and those of past years. Each narrative is unique and beautiful. 

A Student Of Printmaking

A summer printmaking class. It seemed like a good idea, and in retrospect, it was for the most part. However, if you’ve ever taken a 3-unit summer course in any subject, you know how intense that class can be. I produced four works of art that I’ve documented here and got an A in the class; so, it would be churlish of me to say anything negative about the course. I really did enjoy learning the process. Emily Wilson teaches the very meticulous process-driven art forms like printmaking and bookmaking at Sacramento City College. She is a truly excellent teacher. I love these art forms and hope to take more classes in the future.
I, also, have lots of ideas for relief prints that I want to explore,
I hope a print club gets formed as I think it would be a great way to explore this art medium without the intense pressure of class.
Are there art classes you enjoy? Have you ever tried relief printmaking? Do you have a favorite printmaker?
I’d love to hear your thoughts. Critiques of my art are welcome; I do beg you to be kind. Some prints are available for sale. Please contact me if you are interested.

42: Feeding Your Creativity with Food and Flavor with Lina Fat

Lina Fat is VP of Culinary Research and Development for Fat Family Restaurant Group, based in Sacramento, CA. Her first dream was to be a pharmacist, which she fulfilled when she earned a Doctor of Pharmacy degree from the University of California-San Francisco in 1964, where she met and married her husband, Kenneth.

Her father-in-law, the late Frank Fat, founded the landmark Sacramento restaurant, Frank Fat’s in 1939, where many of the state’s most influential figures have dined for more than 70 years. Lina joined the restaurant business when the second restaurant, China Camp, opened in 1974. In 1976, Fat City Bar & Grill was opened, and since 2000, the Fat family has opened Fat’s Asia Bistro in Roseville and in Folsom.

Lina traveled the world to train under master chefs in Switzerland, France, and Italy, and at the Cordon Bleu in San Francisco and the Culinary Institute of America in New York. She has spent a lifetime discovering new culinary secrets for what is now her specialty---combining flavors from around the globe!

She is a favorite featured guest on local Sacramento TV as well as authoring The Lina Fat Cookbook: Recipes from the Fat Family Restaurants. Lina and the Fat restaurants have received numerous awards over the years, and she has been actively involved in many community boards and organizations. Proving that her creative interests extend far beyond the kitchen, in 2007 she launched the Sacramento World Music and Dance Festival, which showcases the cultural diversity of the region through presentation of ethnic dance from around the world by local talent. Lina is a true pioneer who has never been afraid to take on one more challenge in her creative and inspiring life.

Show Highlights:
  • Lina’s semi-retired life now after over 40 years in the restaurant business, helping run 4 restaurants and a catering business
  • The four Fat restaurants serving American Chinese food and receiving the James Beard Award a few years ago for Frank Fat’s Restaurant started in 1939 by her father-in-law
  • The funny story of how the famous Banana Cream Pie came to the menu in the early days
  • Lina’s beginning as a pharmacist and then a stay-at-home mom who started cooking and exploring her creativity
  • How she advised her father-in-law about opening a restaurant commemorating Chinese immigrants and then started writing and testing recipes
  • How Lina took on the new job of running the kitchen and managing the staff, bringing in new and innovative ideas and techniques
  • Similarities between work as a pharmacist and a chef and how LIna applied some of the same principles to her new career
  • The story of the historic bar and their branching into “bar food” at Fat City Bar & Grill
  • How Lina took on the new challenge as restaurant manager
  • Why a restaurant turns out to be a good training ground for learning life skills
  • Why she made her children and other young people start out as dishwashers in the restaurant
  • How she branched out into writing a cookbook
  • How Lina became a local TV chef---way before TV chefs were “a thing”
  • When Emeril Lagasse used one of her recipes on his famous show
  • Creativity in translating the Spanish tapas concept into dim sum
  • Only one of her children has followed her into the restaurant business and two have followed their father into dentistry
  • Lina’s advice to those who want to be chefs---Develop your palate!
  • Trends that Lina sees in the modern restaurant business
  • Lina’s love for small farmers’ markets and local CA resources
  • Lina’s story of her flourless chocolate cake mishap early in her marriage and how she took the failure as a challenge
  • Lina’s thoughts on creativity: “Don’t create just to create. Like food, creativity should have a purpose and a balance. Start with the basics first.”
The Lina Fat Cookbook: Recipes from the Fat Family Restaurants, by Lina Fat

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41: Using Creativity to Help Patients and Students as a Psychiatrist with Caroline Giroux

Have recent celebrity suicides left you with a deep sadness and wonderment at what it takes to go that far into depression? Those are common thoughts when we hear the news that someone was so overwhelmed by life’s difficulties that suicide seemed the only answer. The good news is that hope is available for anyone who needs it, and life is full of possibilities for connection and support---and yes, creativity that brings joy, mindfulness, satisfaction, and peace.

Dr. Caroline Giroux is a psychiatrist who migrated from Canada and is now Associate Professor at UC Davis. Through narrative approaches, she has the privilege to witness her patients’ growth and be inspired by their resilience. Apart from addressing the impact of traumatic experiences throughout the lifespan, she is an educator, an academic writer, an essayist, and a poet. She channels her creativity by designing teaching tools such as courses on mood disorders for medical students and a monthly newsletter for residents She is the mother of three spirited sons and has no shortage of opportunities to express her creativity through kids’ stories and various family projects.

Caroline is a creative physician who writes professionally and personally. She shares some of her poetry and essays in Sierra Sacramento Valley Medicine, the official journal of the medical society by the same name. This lifestyle journal promotes the history, art, and science of medicine, the protection of public health, and the well-being of patients and their caregivers. I have the privilege of serving on the editorial committee of the journal with Caroline and am happy to share this conversation with you.

Show HIghlights:
  • How Caroline came to psychiatry, knowing even in high school that she wanted a medical field that allowed her to use her creativity and writing
  • How she wanted to give hope to people through their deep sorrows
  • How her parents inspired her to want to work in helping others and find gratification in service
  • The difference in the college education systems in Canada and the US
  • Why she pursued a physical therapy degree first and then went on to medical school, not knowing the reintegration of body and mind in medicine would make her PT “detour” worthwhile and very helpful
  • The creatives in her family: a great uncle who was a priest, poet, and writer; and her aunt who is a painter and poet
  • How depression and suicide rates have risen over 30% in the past 20 years and how creative people are keenly affected
  • The struggle to reconcile our image of ourselves with what others think of us
  • How some celebrities are disconnected from their families and struggle with addiction and substance abuse
  • Alienation from others and self is a common theme and an inability to transform from a difficult circumstance
  • Healing and empowerment come when people are willing to transform from fear, shame, and hopelessness
  • How even Robin Williams, “the king of laughter,” had problems and a severe mental illness that people weren’t aware of
  • What we can learn about attempted suicide to affect policies about gun violence
  • When people reach a high stress situation and are overwhelmed, if they don’t have a coping mechanism, but have alcoholism and available guns---a ticking time bomb is the result
  • Why we need to talk about suicide and deepen our understanding
  • 12-25% of people experience depression, with men expressing it more openly but women being more willing to seek help
  • The need is to expand coping skills to deal with stressors more effectively now and later in life
  • The need for a “sabbatical of the soul” and respite to fight against overwhelming feelings
  • There are many resources available to treat substance abuse and depression
  • How religious affiliations can help because of the sense of community and the ritual practices that induce mindfulness
  • How the celebrity lifestyle can take away the joy and mindfulness we gain from simple, daily, repetitive activities
  • Why self-care is extremely vital for doctors and healthcare workers, in the form of exercise, mindfulness, yoga, and socialization activities
  • Caroline’s thoughts on creativity: “We all have an innate potential for creativity, even those who might not think they are creative. We access this creativity for problem-solving, clarity, and mindfulness. Find your creative path.”
National Suicide Prevention Line  1-800-273-8255

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40: Using Photography to Support a Cause with Alison Brown

Our guest today is the photographer, Alison Brown. I learned of Alison through the Women’s Environmental  Network of the San Francisco Bay area. I saw her work online, and I knew I had to have her on the show. Alison is an international photographer that discovered her passion for photography nearly ten years ago after embarking on her first backpacking trip through Southeast Asia in 2008. She's been blessed to visit the countries of Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, Myanmar (Burma), Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Italy, Turkey, France, Israel, Spain, Portugal, United States, Canada, and Mexico. In addition to her photography, she is also a Communications Consultant and Sustainability Specialist. Her intention is to use her photographs to inspire people to care more deeply about the natural environment and conservation. Alison views photography as much more than a profession and shares her creative approach to photography in this episode.
More creativity in this episode:
  • Learn how photography inspires Alison.
  • Why did Alison choose to travel Southeast Asia after graduating college?
  • Alison shares her passion for her sustainability work.
  • Discover how Alison bridges her sustainability work with her photography.
  • Alison describes her experiences while living in Australia.
  • Alison shares tidbits from her younger years, and how her focused shifted to what it is today.
  • Inspiration for creativity may come in different forms. Alison shares when she does her best work.
  • Encouragement for using your personal creativity.
  • Encouragement to be conservative with natural resources.
Alison Brown Photography
E-mail: alison@alisonbrownphotography.com
Alison’s blog is Alison Brown Photography
You can discover more about Alison on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Facebook.

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Ep 39: Doctors Who Create with Vidya Viswanathan

It is always a joy to see creativity bloom where you least expect it. I am speaking with student physician Vidya Viswanathan today, the founder of Doctors Who Create. Vidya and her team are on a mission to change the culture of medicine by fostering creativity. It is such a delight to see colleagues in medicine with an interest in creativity.
Vidya had the chance not just to explore how creativity plays an important role in medicine but also how her experiences of travel and foreign language have shaped her career as well. There is so much beauty in hearing a story shared well, and that is what is in store for you with Vidya today! Her perspectives are very unlike any we have had on the show so far, but her stories still have a little something for everyone. I am excited for you to join us as we explore Vidya’s journey to creativity and culture.
More Creativity in this Episode:
  • Vidya shares her roundabout path to medicine and her biggest cultural influences.
  • Medicine needs the influence of creativity too!
  • Vidya wants to highlight the profiles of medical professionals who use creativity.
  • Vidya shares what gave her blog some focus.
  • The broader appeal of Doctors Who Create.
  • Vidya’s parents encouraged her to read and write and express herself through words.
  • Taking Chinese played an important role in Vidya’s creativity.
  • Dive into some of Vidya’s best experiences while traveling in China.
  • Focus on the process, not the result.
Doctors Who Create

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A new experience: Press-On Nails

I posted the following on Patreon on my podcast website and thought I'd tell the story here for those who follow this blog.

Today I’m writing a bit about some practical or frivolous knowledge. Which one of these descriptions best fits may depend on your views about personal adornment. 
I experimented with nail art. 

I grew up a poor kid; you’d now say “economically disadvantaged,” and was a pretty serious young woman so never was much into cosmetics. I now have the time and enough money to indulge. 

While I do get manicures and pedicures, I’ve never been a great fan of the manicures. Manicures never look as good as I’d like and perhaps because of my neck health problems are not super comfortable. 

Today I experimented with some over-the-counter products. I did some cuticle care with Sally Hansen items that seemed to work well. I have no financial disclosures here; I just bought stuff that looked like it would work from my local CVS. I found some imPRESS press-on nails which were fun, quick and cute. Even if they do not last more than a day, I like them. It’s an inexpensive amusement. 

The thumbnail was challenging as my nail seemed a bit flat for the product and the press-on slightly cracked at the base when I attached it. I found some nail decals and clear nail varnish and fixed that up. I’m sitting here admiring my creativity. The other advantage of this creative approach was to have something to do with my hands as I watched an online educational video. 

I had no idea it would be so easy to do the process, nor that the results would look so good. I’ve learned that they may last two weeks and that cuticle oil will help remove them. I also found some info on the internet that suggested using body adhesive, the product used by models and celebrities to keep garments in place, is a good option for less long-lasting adhesion. That sounds perfect for a party when you might want your nails to coordinate with an outfit.

It’s never too late to learn something fun!


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,...