My friend Joe Conforti is a New York City artist and he created an inspiring project called #BEsomething that is represented through street sticker art and stencils to raise social awareness. He plasters stickers up for a passerby to write something in the blank white space. Then other people can walk by and be affected by it. It’s collaborative art! He also paints stencils all over the sidewalks which are an extra treat to stumble upon. I was given one of his stickers at the beginning of the year and I had every intention of leaving it in India on my travels or somewhere in my neighborhood to spread Joe's message and creativity. I couldn't figure out what I wanted to say. Then I thought I was going to bring it home to an artist friend in Missouri and let him do something fun with it. Instead, it has been tucked into my journal and I look at it and think about #BEsomething almost daily. I think I was secretly waiting for a chance to write about #BEsomething and share it with all of you. Today’s the day!
I’m slightly obsessed with other people’s jobs, probably because mine are so untraditional. If you first meet me, I’ll probably ask what you wanted to be when you grew up. I feel that those answers give me more insight to a person than what is actually paying their bills. For most of us, bills being paid does not equate living the dream. I passed an ad in the subway positing the question, “Is this your job or your purpose?” Ooooh, subway advertisers are getting deep…
I was in Central Park awhile ago and I saw this guy. We all grew up with Big Bird on television and this day it was someone’s job to bring that character to life outside the tv set - probably at a kid’s Birthday party. This bird looks a bit sad, but maybe he was just hot and tired. Then one night I was coming home from seeing a Broadway show and happened upon 'Spiderman' taking a break from his job. This guy seemed pretty chill, like he was happy with his nightly task of making children smile or pulling in a big wad of cash. I doubt either of these guys are living out their intended purpose, these costumed characters are part of their job, hopefully allowing them to pursue something that they really want to do. But then again, they could be exactly where they want to be doing exactly what they are meant to be doing.
Lastly, I was flying on British Airways this winter and as I was getting off the plane I saw this gaggle of flight attendants looking so perfectly poised and uniformed, almost Stepford-like in appearance, but they all seemed genuinely excited to board their plane and greet the new passengers. I secretly fancy myself a photo journalist in my ability to witness, capture, and share moments, so these ladies have been living in my phone for months reminding me what it looks like to be excited to go to work. Perhaps they can inspire you too as you greet your day!
I’ve been reading about all of the American elite athletes gearing up for the Olympics. Their childhood dreams were put into action at incredibly young ages to get them where they are now. Training and discipline came early. The celebrated lady swimmer Natalie Coughlin says, “The difference between gold and silver is hundredths of a second.” Thankfully, the success of most of our jobs isn’t hinged on such a small window of time. She went on to say that her swimming success is attributed to the concept of being present and practicing mindfulness. When she swims, she only swims. When she’s at lunch, she’s at lunch. She said that yes, she trains for physical strength, but being present makes her mentally strong. I am smart as a whip, but I can say right now that I am not mentally strong. I could win contests in daydreams and distraction, focus is one of my mind muscles that needs strength training.
At 44 years old, I love my life and all aspects of my jobs, that don’t seem like work at all, but I think about my state of BE-ing. Am I being kind, fair, truthful, loving towards myself and others? I don’t often come up with a resounding YES to those questions. I think the greatest thing about life is that we get the chance to keep becoming. We can continue to learn, grow, discover, evolve. We get to make new mistakes, accomplish new triumphs, form new relationships. Life is made up of second chances and even third and fourth chances to get jobs and to find our purpose. To… #BEsomething! I think the important thing is to keep going! Oh and I finally figured out what I wanted to say on my sticker and if you're in NYC it's on the corner of 2nd Avenue and East 4th Street!
When we were little, my sister and I lived for making Monkey Bread. You know, the pull apart sweet treat made in a bundt pan, supposedly named because it’s so easy even a monkey could make it. Well, Little Girl Lisa never dreamed that one day Adult Lisa would have an actual job of making Monkey Bread. I develop recipes for the dried fruit company Stoneridge Orchards and I was given dried blueberries to work with. I couldn’t wait to come up with a dried blueberry studded Monkey Bread recipe to share with their customers and all of you!
Dried Blueberry Pull Apart (Monkey) Bread
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 4 tins canned biscuits, cut into quarters
- 1.5 sticks butter
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup dried blueberries
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a bundt pan with non stick spray. Mix cinnamon and sugar in a large ziplock bag. Add biscuit pieces in batches to the bag, sealing it. Vigorously shake the bag to coat the biscuits. Repeat with the rest of the pieces. Layer coated biscuits and dried blueberries until the pan is 3/4 full. Melt butter and brown sugar in a saucepan over low heat, stirring until incorporated. Drizzle caramel sauce over the filled bundt pan. Place in oven and bake 25 minutes or until golden brown and no longer doughy in center. Cool in pan 10 minutes. Turn upside down onto serving plate; pull apart to serve. Serve warm.
The stunning images of the food are by Cheryl Stockton of Stockshot Studio!