creativity

The Joy of Making Shoes with Kaylee Scoggins Herring

When it comes to picking up new hobbies, Kaylee isn’t shy about trying something completely new and outside her comfort zone. She took her two hobbies of swing dancing and leather working and combined them by learning to create 100% handmade swing dancing shoes. Now she’s expanded to make shoes and boots of all kinds, along the way discovering a community of cordwainers, artisans, historic supply businesses, and classes all over the country. Her enthusiasm is highly contagious and before you know it, you’ll be dreaming up shoes designs and dancing!

Topics discussed in this episode:

  • How Kaylee got started making shoes
  • The highly technical process and the artistry that goes into making shoes
  • Resources to get you started making your own shoes
  • Upcycling materials in shoemaking
  • Hidden message in the soles of the shoes

Links to resources:

About Kaylee:
Kaylee was born and raised on an alpaca ranch on the coast of California, where she spent most of her days learning how to knit, sew, paint, hand spin, and teach herself all types of random crafts.  She used the excuse of a degree to briefly run away to university in Australia, and after securing a degree in archives and records management and becoming a certified archivist, she used the lockdowns as an ideal time to teach herself how to make shoes.  After two workshops and a year and a half of projects, Kaylee has made over a dozen pairs of unique shoes!

creativity

The Joy of Pizza with Rachel Josar

The Joy of Pizza with Rachel Josar

Pizza. The word alone brings an immediate smile to our faces. We can’t contain the joy it sparks, and nowhere is the joy of pizza more prevalent than in New York City. Rachel Josar, the creator and host of the They Had Fun podcast, joins the JoyProject podcast to talk about all things pizza, her weekly tradition with her husband, her passion for this incredible city, and the history and culture that is entwined with food. After 250 weeks of Friday night pizza, Rachel gives her expert opinion on where to get the best pizza in New York.

About Rachel
Rachel is the host of the podcast, They Had Fun, where she talks to real New Yorkers about the most fun they’ve ever had in the city. She’s lived in NYC for 16 years and enjoys fries at the bar, gallery walks, talking to anyone who will listen about why New York is still great, and of course, negronis and pizza on Fridays.

Topics discussed in this episode:

  • The best places in New York to get pizza
  • Rachel’s weekly pizza tradition with her husband
  • The history of pizza and it’s place in New York city culture
  • The quote about pizza in the New York Times that helped Rachel and Christa connect and become friends
  • Rachel’s amazing podcast, The Had Fun
  • Why New York City is the greatest city
  • New York’s restaurant scene and supporting restaurants through the pandemic
  • Christa’s favorite childhood memory about pizza

Links to resources:

creativity

JoyProject podcast: The Joy of Baking Birthday Cakes with Dana Phillips

The Joy of Baking Birthday Cakes with Dana Phillips

Cake sculpting is an art form, and gifting a personalized cake to someone is as much a source of joy for the giver as the receiver. Dana Phillips shares how she got started baking and decorating elaborate cakes as a promise to her children, and how it grew into a way to spread joy to so many others in her life. As a Certified Wilton-method cake decorating instructor, Dana takes us on her sweet journey through the wonderland of cake and gives us tips to help us bake and decorate with joy and confidence.

Topics discussed in this episode:
– How Dana’s children lead her to pursue cake baking and decorating
– Her favorite cake flavor profiles and designs
– Cake baking tips and ingredient substitutions to make delicious gluten-free and dairy-free cake
– Product brands for gluten-free flour and flavor extracts

Links to resources:

– Dana on Instagram — @pixiestavern
– 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
Wilton cake classes
King Arthur gluten-free flours and mixes
Earth Balance vegan butter
Thrive extracts
– Michael’s cake baking and decorating tools

About Dana: 
 “City girl who moved into the woods with a knack for making edible art.” As a young mom the one thing Dana thought would be the most memorable tradition she could create for her kids was customized homemade cakes for their birthdays. She’s 53 cakes in and her three kids who are almost all adults can’t imagine life without a cake from her. When she’s not baking she’s fighting for a better South for future generations, getting the dinner party and game nights planned now that everyone is vaxxed (nothing beats making good food for good people), disappearing into the woods to see the stars, and going on countless motorcycle adventures with her partner, Adam.

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 Winnie-the-Pooh with Christine Caccipuoti

The Joy of Winnie-the-Pooh with Christine Caccipuoti

A new episode of the JoyProject podcast dropped today—The Joy of Winnie-the-Pooh with Christine Caccipuoti. It’s available at this link and everywhere you get your podcasts. You can also hear it by clicking the YouTube link above.

Childhood joys never leave us. This week, we delve into all things Winnie-the-Pooh and the Hundred Acre Wood with podcaster and historian Christine Caccipuoti as our guide. Christine’s loved all things Pooh for her entire life. With a mother and grandmother who loved Winnie-the-Pooh, these stories and characters were her destiny.

As the Co-producer and Co-Host of the incredible Footnoting History podcast, Christine not only delves into why she loves Pooh but also the history of the Milne family, the importance of maintaining the magic we find in childhood wonder as we age, and what may be ahead for Pooh as he and his friends begin to enter the public domain.

At the end of the podcast, I share the final passage of The House at Pooh Corner and how you can see the original Pooh stuff animals on display at the New York Public Library (and online) as part of a fantastic free exhibition going on right now.

Topics discussed in this episode:
– Christine’s podcast, Footnoting History
– Christine’s Winnie-the-Pooh episode on Footnoting History
– How Christine got interested in Winnie-the-Pooh
– How her views on the different characters in the Hundred Acre Wood have changed over the years
– The importance of maintaining childhood wonder as an adult and why having things that bring you joy in your life are so important
– The differences and similarities between the A.A. Milne stories and the Disney Pooh stories
– How and why we gravitate to certain stories and certain characters within stories
– Why so many people relate to Eeyore and how compassion is a major theme in the Hundred Acre Wood
– The history of the Milne family and how Winnie-the-Pooh and his friends came to be
– How the Pooh stories are similar to other childhood favorites such as Sesame Street, the Muppet Show, and Charlie Brown
– The messages that Milne communicated to all of us about life and friendship through Winnie-the-Pooh
– What it means for Pooh to now (sort of) be in the public domain
– What might be next for Pooh and Friends in the years ahead
– How to see the original Pooh stuffed animals in New York City

Links to resources:
– Christine’s personal website / blog – http://www.ChristineCaccipuoti.com
– Christine on Twitter – @mynameispurpose
– Christine on Instagram – @mynameispurpose
– Footnoting History (FH) Website ­ http://www.FootnotingHistory.com
– Christine’s FH episode about Pooh – https://www.footnotinghistory.com/home/winnie-the-pooh
– FH YouTube Channel –­ http://www.YouTube.com/FootnotingHistory
– FH Twitter – @historyfootnote­
– 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
– Polonsky Exhibition of the New York Public Library’s Treasures – https://www.nypl.org/events/exhibitions/treasures
– Winnie-the-Pooh and Friends stuffed animals at the New York Public Library – https://www.nypl.org/events/exhibitions/galleries/childhood/item/4108
– The last passage of The House at Pooh Corner by A.A. Milne – https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/808360-then-suddenly-again-christopher-robin-who-was-still-looking-at
– The Winnie-the-Pooh Show Christine saw in New York is on tour throughout the U.S. – https://winniethepoohshow.com/

About Christine:
Christine Caccipuoti is a historian, writer, and co-producer of the long-running podcast Footnoting History, where she regularly shares her love of biography.

Christine proudly co-edited Independent Scholars Meet the World: Expanding Academia beyond the Academy (University Press of Kansas, 2020) and has published / is soon publishing pieces about Blanche Barrow, Jane Manning James, and Elton John.

In addition to dealing with all things historical, Christine likes to spend her time rewatching her favorite television shows and films, learning about elephants, tweeting about musical theater, and planning vacations she may or may not eventually take.

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

How writing my Emerson Page novel trilogy saved my life—my conversation with Dr. Ed Freeman on The Stakeholder Podcast

In June 2022, I had the great good fortune to speak to my professor, mentor, and dear friend, Dr. Ed Freeman from the Darden School, on The Stakeholder Podcast.  

Link to the podcast episode: https://stakeholdermedia.libsyn.com/christa-avampato

Ed and I chat about:

  • how writing my Emerson Page novel trilogy saved my life
  • my live storytelling shows, screenwriting, and passion projects
  • my love for history, being a NYC tour guide, and how I got a tattoo live on stage
  • how product development helps me as a writer, and how being a writer helped me as a product developer 
  • living through difficult times and mental health challenges through creative work
  • my multi-faceted and varied career
  • making a living through a creative life
  • business and product development
  • building a better, more sustainable world

Ed is a treasure. He’s been one of the greatest influences on my work and life. He recently won University of Virginia’s highest honor: The Thomas Jefferson Award. Ed’s pioneering work on stakeholder theory changed the way we think about business and how businesses all over the world make decisions to create value. 

If you’ve ever used the word “stakeholder,” you can tip your cap to Ed. His writing about sustainability and stakeholder theory is what put UVA’s Darden School on the map for me, why I applied, and why I was honored to attend and graduate from the school with my MBA. He changed my life in incredible ways and I’m forever grateful for him. Thanks to Ed and producer, Ben Freeman, for having me on the podcast as a guest. 

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.