creativity

JoyProject podcast: The Joy of Baking Challah with Vicki Eastus

The Joy of Baking Challah with Vicki Eastus

What could be better than freshly baked challah? Talking about baking challah with one of my nearest and dearest friends! In this episode of the JoyProject podcast, Vicki tells us how she got started baking challah with her daughter during the COVID-19 lockdown. She shares her baking process, the traditions of challah, and the joy and memories that food provides for all of us. We also talk about the storytelling community that brought us together and the stories that connect us to our past, to history, and to one another.

About Vicki:
Vicki Eastus is a lawyer, teacher, improviser and storyteller. A native Texan, Vicki declared herself a feminist at age 10 and started her long career as an advocate for women. She has been a campus advocate on sexual harassment issues, a lawyer for the largest group of women to ever successfully sue the government for sex discrimination, and a Title IX Coordinator. Vicki earned her B.A. in Russian literature, focusing on Russian formalist criticism and the distinction between plot and story. She carried those concepts into her legal career, bending traditional legal writing rules to make her clients’ stories more compelling. Now a professor at New York Law School, she integrates storytelling and improvisational techniques into her classes on legal analysis and advocacy. She has given presentations at national and international legal conferences on using storytelling and improvisation to teach legal analysis and to help law students find their legal voices.

Topics discussed in this episode:

  • How Vicki bucked her fear and started baking her own challah with her daughter
  • Some of the traditions and history around challah baking
  • The memories and joy we can all find in homemade and home baked food
  • The inspiring work of Jose Andres and his organization, World Central Kitchen
  • The Instagram account @challahbakeoff

Links to resources:

creativity

JoyProject Podcast: The Joy of Fostering Animals with Mary Talalay

The Joy of Fostering Animals with Mary Talalay

What could instantly elicit more joy than a puppy or kitten? This week we talk to Mary Talalay, an expert in fostering animals to get them ready to find their forever homes. She also mentors new fosters, especially first-timers. Mary offers advice to those new to fostering and potential fosters who are curious about what’s involved in the process. She shares stories of fosters that hold a special place in her heart and how she and her daughter initially got involved in their foster community in Maryland.

At the end of the episode I share two resources created by Best Friends Animal Society. They put together a foster program training playbook with an e-learning module, care manuals for dogs, cats, and kittens, and other helpful links. They also have free online recordings of webinars, town halls, online courses, and helpful tips on fostering.

This is a heart-warming episode for all the animal lovers out there and those who want to play a part in animals rescue and adoption.

Topics discussed in this episode:

  • What it’s like to be a foster as well as the commitment needed (it can be as a big or as small a commitment as you have time for!)
  • The community of fosters that Mary and her teenage daughter discovered and are now a part of
  • Memorable fosters that found shelter and safety in Mary’s home
  • Ways to get involved in the foster community even if you can’t take an animal into your home

Links to resources:


About Mary:
Mary Talalay has a BS in Journalism from Temple University, an MS in Organizational Dynamics from University of Pennsylvania, and an MPH from Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. She played goalie for Temple University’s Division 1 Final Four Women’s Lacrosse team and was a member of Phi Sigma Sigma.

She also studied Epidemiology in Krakow, Poland with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. She has certifications from Quality Matters, Sloane Consortium, (Online Learning Consortium) and is a Blackboard Exemplary Course reviewer.

Prior to joining Johns Hopkins, Mary worked as a technical and medical writer for companies such as Baxter BioScience, AstraZeneca, Pfizer, and many local biotechnology companies.

She worked as a project manager for the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine’s MD-PhD program, creating a comprehensive database of the program alumni and assisting with grants and admissions.

She was a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Slovak Republic, working as a project manager for the Slovak Ministry of Health, helping the government achieve compliance in the area of Public Health for accession into the EU. She continues to assist her Slovak colleagues with manuscript preparation pro bono.

She enjoys photography (her work has appeared in the Baltimore Sun, Maryland Zoo Annual Report, and KIWI Magazine), writing children’s books, travel, and kayaking.

One of her favorite overseas trips was spending Halloween in Transylvania.  Her family fosters animals for the Maryland SPCA and they lost count after the 100th kitten.

creativity

JoyProject podcast: The Joy of Photography with Amy Selwyn

The Joy of Photography with Amy Selwyn

Smartphones have turned all of us into photographers. We take pictures of our friends and family, our food, pets, art, selfies, sunsets, gorgeous vistas. If we can see it, we’re taking photos of it. Smartphones changed the way we see and capture our world and experiences. 

Less than a year before the pandemic started, photographer Amy Selwyn gave herself a gift that completely and unexpectedly changed nearly every aspect of her life. A trip to Cuba not only transformed her career, but it gave her a totally new way of seeing the world and her place in it.

At the end of the podcast, I share something that brought me joy this week related to the episode. As she adjusts her life to make room for making more art, she’s downsizing her home. That inspired me to re-arrange my own home and declutter my life. Apartment Therapy is an Instagram account and website that offers fantastic ideas on how to organize and decorate a small space for it’s beautiful and functional.

Topics discussed in this episode:
– How Amy got interested in photography
– Traveling to Cuba and falling in love with street photography
– The joy of being a beginner
– Discovering and living out your passions at any age
– Mental health and the artist mindset

Links to resources:
– Amy on Instagram – @amyselwynphotographer
– Amy on Twitter – @amyselwyn
– Amy’s website – amyselwyn.photography
– Christa on Twitter – @christanyc
– Christa on Instagram – @christarosenyc
– Christa on Facebook – @AuthorChrista 
– Christa on Medium – @christaavampato
– Christa on TikTok – @christanyc
– Christa’s website – ChristaAvampato.com
– Apartment Therapy – www.apartmenttherapy.com

About Amy:
Amy Selwyn is a writer and fine arts photographer, and an utterly devoted dog mom to a sassy and adorable French Bulldog. 

Amy spent over 35 years working for and with news organizations around the world, including the BBC, The New York Times, the European Broadcasting Union,  and The Associated Press. Stories and storytelling are a lifelong passion. 

Amy is currently in a 3-year MFA program at Maine Media in Rockport, Maine, studying photography. This month, Amy will have one of her works in a juried show at the South East Center For Photography in Greenville, South Carolina. 

Originally from Hartford, CT, Amy and her beloved pup are currently based in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. 

creativity

JoyProject Podcast: The Joy of Water Skiing with Kate McGormley

Let Kate McGormley describe the rush and unbridled joy she experiences every time she goes water skiing, a sport she’s done every year since she was 6 years old. An advocate for mental health and the power of kindness, she takes us through how she got into the sport, the mechanics of getting up on skis, and how being outside on the water helps her appreciate her body, her health, and the goodness that always exists in the world. Her infectious laugh is something that will brighten your day and may just convince you to give water skiing a try!

At the end of the podcast, I share something that brought me joy this week related to the episode. Given Kate’s focus on the joy of the outdoors, please check out the latest Fix Solutions Lab publication—The Joy Issue. Fix is a storytelling team at Grist, a nonprofit, independent media organization dedicated to telling stories of climate solutions and a just future. Fix was founded on a simple premise: promising solutions to the climate crisis exist — they just haven’t yet gained sufficient momentum to tip the scales.

The Joy Issue has stories about using joy as a tool for climate change activism. It’s the perfect blend of so many things I love that create the foundation for my life and career—top-notching writing and storytelling, joy, curiosity, and protecting our beautiful planet.

Topics discussed in this episode:
– When Kate started water skiing
– How she got started water skiing
– The mechanics of water skiing
– How water skiing make her grateful for so many things

Links to resources:
– Kate on Instagram – @kathryn.mcgormley
– Kate on Facebook – @Kate McGormley
– Kate’s blog – KindnessMatters365
– The Joy Issue by Fix at Grist – The Joy Issue
– Christa on Twitter – @christanyc
– Christa on Instagram – @christarosenyc
– Christa on Facebook – @AuthorChrista 
– Christa on Medium – @christaavampato
– Christa on TikTok – @christanyc
– Christa’s website – ChristaAvampato.com

About Kate:
Kate McGormley is a higher education professional living in Indianapolis with her husband and two sons.  Kate is a champion for mental health advocacy and kindness. She spent 2013 doing a kindness act each day with her young sons and blogging about it at KindnessMatters365. She spends most of her time with family and friends, but also loves serving on the board of her local Habitat for Humanity and occasionally pounding some nails.  Her greatest obsession in life is her English Bulldog, Mack!

creativity

The start of summer has me thinking about travel and writing

This week was the official start of summer, and that has me thinking about travel and writing. It also has me thinking about all of the wisdom around joy and travel that writer Felicia Sabartinelli packed into The Joy of Airports episode on the JoyProject podcast. Here are some of my favorite quotes. Listen to our conversation at https://christaavampato.com/the-joy-of-airports-with-felicia-sabartinelli-june-14-2022/ and wherever you get your podcasts.

creativity

JoyProject podcast: Joyful News 6.14.22—the dinosaur edition

Joyful News 6.14.22 – the dinosaur edition

Joyful News is a set of stories I’ve gathered from around the world that spark joy. This week’s stories are all about dinosaurs:

Available everywhere you get your podcasts and at this link where you can also read a transcript.

creativity

JoyProject podcast: The Joy of Airports with Felicia Sabartinelli

Felicia Sabartinelli

The latest episode of the JoyProject podcast is live—The Joy of Airports with Felicia Sabartinelli!

Think you can’t find joy in an airport? Think again! Felicia Sabartinelli is a seasoned world traveler and once you hear her wax poetic about airports, you’ll see them and experience them differently. She explains that airports are the rarest of gems that help us to discover “a state of childlike wonderment.”

At the end of the podcast, I share something that brought me joy this week. It was a stressful and frightening one for me, and I say a heartfelt and grateful thank you to the Animal Medical Center of New York doctors and staff who saved my dog’s life when I was afraid I may have to say goodbye to him too soon.

The Joy of Airports with Felicia Sabartinelli

Topics discussed in this episode:
– Felicia’s definition of joy
– The importance of finding joy during the most challenging times
– All the places to find and experience joy in an airport
– How airports are becoming a destination
– Felicia’s travels to Spain, Turkey, Iceland, Sweden, China, Alaska, Finland, Mexico, Jamaica, and Austria
– Her upcoming book, Good Girl
– Writing while traveling
– The Denver airport and the mysteries it holds
– The art of the Seattle airport
– Her upcoming Masters program in the UK
– How the joy of musicals found their footing in society after WWII

Links to resources:
– Felicia’s website – https://www.feliciasabartinelli.com
– Felicia on Instagram – @Sabartinelli
– Felicia on TikTok – @Sabartinelli
– Christa on Twitter – @christanyc
– Christa on Instagram – @christarosenyc
– Christa’s website – ChristaAvampato.com
– The Animal Medical Center of NY

A little bit about Felicia:
Felicia Sabartinelli is a fifth-generation Coloradoan whose poetry and personal essays have been published in major magazines, newspapers, and anthologies. Many of her personal essays are still in wide circulation today like, My Miscarriages Ruined My MarriageThe Invisible Hierarchy of Grief which recently won a Writer’s Digest award, and I’m So Allergic, Event Fruits and Veggies Can Kill Me.  When she is not writing, you can find her acting, painting, traveling the world, binge-watching her favorite TV shows, or speaking on the topics of creativity and self-realization.

creativity

JoyProject podcast episode: Joyful News 5.31.22

Joyful News 5.31.22

Put some joyful news in your day!

Joyful News is a set of stories I’ve gathered from around the world that spark joy. In this episode I share these joyful news stories about books, exercise, meditation, food, and travel:

Listen here https://christaavampato.com/joyful-news-5-31-22/ and wherever you get your podcasts.

creativity

JoyProject podcast: The Joy of Travel Planning with Edith Gonzalez

The Joy of Travel Planning with Dr. Edith Gonzalez

Are you eager to get back out there on the open road and travel? Memorial Day marks the start of the summer travel season. Now with prices and demand high and the COVID-19 virus still circulating with shifting travel rules, travel requires more planning than ever before. This week on the JoyProject podcast, Dr. Edith Gonzalez, an anthropologist, professor, and expert travel planner is here to help us with tips, ideas, and experiences to make our travel easier and more joyful. Listen here and wherever you get your podcasts. The website for the episode also has a transcript of the episode and photos from Edith.

At the end of the podcast, I share something that brought me joy this week related to the episode. This week, I tell you about the Netflix food travel series Somebody Feed Phil and the free app, Word of Mouth, an independent restaurant guide powered by a global community of culinary experts.

Topics discussed in this episode:
– Our mutual love of spreadsheets and maps
– How to optimize your packing
– Trip planning research
– Traveling with kids
– Traveling as a food lover and taste testing food specialties wherever we travel
– Bullet journals
– The wonder of Google maps and guide books
– Having a schedule versus winging it versus the happy medium
– Edith’s travels to the U.K., Venice, New Orleans, and Cuba
– A special shout-out to Phil Rosenthal, Somebody Feed Phil, and the Word of Mouth restaurant guide app

Links to resources:
Edith’s website – https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Edith-Gonzalez-3
Edith on Instagram – @egon.the.great
Christa on Twitter – @christanyc
Christa on Instagram – @christarosenyc
Christa’s website – ChristaAvampato.com
Somebody Feed Phil on Netflix
Word of Mouth app

creativity

Joyful News 5.17.22

Joyful News 5.17.22

Put some joyful news in your day!

Joyful News is a set of stories I’ve gathered from around the world that spark joy. In this episode I share these joyful news stories:

  • The Manuscript Writing café in Tokyo just for writers who have a deadline to meet (h/t to The Drew Barrymore Show where I learned about this story
  • The app Too Good to Go that helps reduce food waste, protects the planet, and gives us tasty treats at a deep discount
  • How to get a free year of AppleTV+ from Sprint and T-Mobile
  • What we can learn about kindness and rest from hummingbirds thanks to Willow Defebaugh, Co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of Atmos Magazine

Listen here https://christaavampato.com/joyful-news-5-17-22/ and wherever you get your podcasts.