I was scrolling through my feed on Google+ last night and spot­ted an inter­est­ing graphic on writ­ing by Grant Snider.


Ini­tially, I was sim­ply going to share the graphic and pro­vide the source. How­ever, as I looked more into Grant’s work, I felt com­pelled to share more, and give proper credit to a very tal­ented and cre­ative artist.

Grants’s Bio

Grant started out draw­ing a daily car­toon for the Uni­ver­sity of Kansas stu­dent news­pa­per, which led to a weekly strip called “Delayed Karma” for the Kansas City Star. His comics and illus­tra­tions now appear in news­pa­pers, mag­a­zines, and across the inter­net. He is cur­rently study­ing ortho­don­tics at the Uni­ver­sity of Colorado-Denver and hop­ing that read­ers of Inci­den­tal Comics are eas­ier to enter­tain than teenagers with braces.

I think what struck me about Grant’s bio is that he is cur­rently study ortho­don­tics. It goes to show that you don’t need to be or do just one thing. A lot of peo­ple (read: ME) strug­gle with the desire to do some­thing cre­ative. There are times when all we want to do is jump, feet first, into the deep end to pur­sue what­ever cre­ative endeavor is call­ing us. At the same time, though, most of us are held back by the real­ity of day-to-day “stuff.” Unfor­tu­nately, because of oblig­a­tions, there’s the strug­gle with the “all or noth­ing” men­tal­ity. If we can’t spend all of our time doing that cre­ative thing, we don’t actively pur­sue the pas­sion with the time that is avail­able. Stum­bling upon Grant’s work, and read­ing his bio is a good reminder that you will, and must, make time for what matters.

Some of Grant’s Work

Dear Diary






Genius Is



All I Need To Write



New Crayons



Cre­ative Blocks



An Alfred Hitch­cock Christmas


Be sure to check out Grant’s site, Inci­den­tal Comics. He has a lot of great mate­r­ial. Just keep click­ing “Older Posts.” You can even pur­chase a num­ber of the draw­ings as posters.


grant snider — incidental comics

health, lifestyle

my blueprint cleanse experience


I made a con­certed effort last year to take bet­ter care of myself. I decided to stop strug­gling to be, and stay, on a diet. Instead, I com­pletely over­hauled my diet (what and how much I eat) and com­mit­ted to reg­u­lar exer­cise. I lost over 60 pounds (287 lbs –> 225 lbs), and about eight inches off of my waist­line (46″ –> 38″. I had surgery on my foot in August, and I could not exer­cise for two months. In that time, I pretty much kept my weight in check. How­ever, I kind of approached the remain­der of the year with less com­mit­ment to both diet and exer­cise — admit­tedly using my foot recov­ery as an excuse to half-ass the lat­ter. As I head into the New Year, I had put about 20–25 pounds back on from my low. I decided to recom­mit to por­tion con­trol and exer­cise. I signed up with a trainer at the gym about six weeks ago, mainly I had never really focused on ton­ing and build­ing core strength. I signed up for a Biggest Loser Chal­lenge in my office, hop­ing to use the con­test as fur­ther moti­va­tion to get my act together.

Right around the same time as enter­ing the Chal­lenge at work, I posted a pic­ture of some juice, by Blue­print, on dis­play at Whole Foods, ask­ing why it was so expen­sive. A num­ber of friends replied that the juice was part of a cleanse pro­gram. A num­ber of friends com­mented that they tried the cleanse and had a good expe­ri­ence. I am usu­ally game to try things, but I didn’t want another “diet.” My friends assured me that this was not a diet, but a means to clean out our sys­tem. That appealed to me, and I decided to give juice cleans­ing a try. I read a num­ber of reviews online by blog­gers. I also came across Chef Amber Shea’s web­site, where she reviewed juice cleanses by 18 dif­fer­ent com­pa­nies. The cost for the cleanses were about the same. Since I heard so much about the Blue­print Cleanse, I chose to go with their cleanse.

It’s worth not­ing that pre­pared juice cleanses are not cheap. Most cost some­where between $175 and $250 for a three-day cleanse.

A lot of peo­ple view, or call, cleanses “juice diets.” That my be how some peo­ple approach a juice cleanse, but my goal was not to do the cleanse to lose weight. I decided to try the cleanse because I wanted a reset, of sorts. I wanted to clear my body of a bunch of sugar-laden foods (damn you Ben & Jerry Phish Food!). I also felt like I has expe­ri­enc­ing some mild aller­gic reac­tions to var­i­ous foods, but I couldn’t put my fin­ger on what the culprit(s). I fig­ured that elim­i­nat­ing prac­ti­cally every­thing from my daily intake, I could bet­ter iden­tify prob­lem­atic foods as I rein­tro­duced them after the cleanse.

The Cleanse


The Blue­print Cleanse has three dif­fer­ent lev­els, or offer­ings — Ren­o­va­tion, Foun­da­tion, and Exca­va­tion. Though I have never juiced before, I opted for the Exca­va­tion Cleanse, which is the “green­est” of all of the cleanses. I decided on the Exca­va­tion Cleanse because I wanted the cleanse with least amount of fruit in the juices.

I decided to start the cleanse on a Thurs­day. Most peo­ple I know did their cleanses over the week­end. I decided to start on Thurs­day because I work with a trainer on Mon­days and Wednes­days, and I didn’t want to do strength train­ing while on the cleanse. Sev­eral peo­ple men­tioned hav­ing to use the bath­room fre­quently, but I drink so much water, as it is, that mak­ing fre­quent treks to the bath­room wasn’t that unusual or net­tle­some. Blue­print rec­om­mends adjust­ing your diet three days prior to start­ing the cleanse. Basi­cally, you need to elim­i­nate most foods, par­tic­u­larly meet, grains, and dairy. I tend to be a pretty strict tex­tu­al­ist, so I fol­lowed the instruc­tions almost the let­ter, if not a bit more. Here is an exam­ple of what I ate for three days prior to start­ing the cleanse.


  • Water — 1 liter
  • Lemon Juice — 1/2, squeezed
  • Break­fast

  • Water­melon — 2–3 cups, cubed
  • Lunch

  • Eng­lish Cucum­ber — 1/2, large dice
  • Grape Toma­toes — 10–12, large dice
  • Avo­cado — 1/2, sliced
  • Extra Vir­gin Olive Oil — 1 Tbsp
  • Din­ner

  • Kale — Chopped
  • Cel­ery — 1 stalk, diced
  • Extra Vir­gin Olive Oil — 1 — 1 1/2 Tbsp(s)
  • Lemon Juice — 1/2, squeezed

I felt good after three days of prep, and was excited to get thing started. I was a tad ambiva­lent about the green juices. I love sal­ads and green veg­gies, but the thought of them pressed into juice wasn’t mak­ing my mouth water. You’re sup­posed to put at least an hour between fin­ish­ing one juice and start­ing the next, and at least two-three hours before going to be. Accord­ingly, I timed out my juices for 9am, 11am, 1:30 pm, 4pm, 6pm and 8pm.

The Juices

    Green Juice #1 — This made from the juice of romaine let­tuce, cel­ery, cucum­ber, apple, spinach, kale, pars­ley, lemon. Sur­pris­ingly, it wasn’t that bad. The apple adds just enough sweet­ness to counter any bit­ter­ness from the greens. The lemon also adds a nice amount of acid­ity. Thank good­ness that I like pars­ley, because the taste is quite pronounced.

    Green Juice #2 — This juice is pretty the same as num­ber one, but with the addi­tion of ginger.

    Green Juice #3 — This is the same juice as #1.

    Spicy Lemon­ade #4 — This juice is made with water, lemon, agave nec­tar, and cayenne. The drink is pretty sweet, almost cloy­ingly sweet, but it is a wel­come, and refresh­ing, change of pace from the green juice.

    Green Juice #4 — This is the same juice as #1.

    Cashew Milk #6 — As the name sug­ges­tions, this “juice” is made with water, unstrained cashew agave nec­tar, vanilla, and cin­na­mon. The drink is a lit­tle gritty, but it didn’t bother me. I appre­ci­ated the fatty feel of the cashew milk. It was kind of like hav­ing dessert. Unlike the spicy lemon­ade, the agave nec­tar didn’t make this drink too sweet. My only com­plaint about the cashew milk was that there were clumps of cashew meal in the bot­tom of the bot­tle. No mat­ter how vig­or­ously I shook the bot­tle, you would get a clump of cashew paste in your mouth. I sup­pose that if you had a prob­lem with the grit­ti­ness, or the cashew meal clumps, you could empty the bot­tle into a mixer to smooth it further.

My Expe­ri­ence

As I men­tioned, the juices were not that bad. In fact, other than #2 with the gin­ger, they were pretty good. I nor­mally love gin­ger, but I didn’t care for it in this mix­ture. By the third day, I just gulped #2 to get through it.

Through­out the cleanse, even pre and post, I never felt hun­gry. I drank plenty of water between each bot­tle of juice. I had a mild headache on the first day, but I don’t know if it had to do with some effects of sugar with­drawals. I can’t imag­ine that I was dehy­drated. [shrug] Most peo­ple told me that day two was the tough­est, but I felt fine. I con­tin­ued to do an hour of car­dio each day dur­ing the cleanse, though I inten­tion­ally dialed back the inten­sity of my work­outs. Dur­ing the post-cleanse period, five days, I repeated the menu of food that I listed for the prep. The only dif­fer­ence was that I only ate water­melon on the first day of the post-cleanse.

After the cleanse, I kept think­ing about, and was fre­quently asked, how I felt. I couldn’t, and can’t, say that I felt notice­ably dif­fer­ent or bet­ter. I felt good, but couldn’t nec­es­sar­ily attribute it to the cleanse. I think the how I felt about the cleanse became clearer after I started to intro­duce var­i­ous foods back into my diet. I had a big salad with some wal­nuts. Not long after eat­ing the salad, I felt itchy and hot. I chalked it up to the wal­nuts, which I don’t recall hav­ing a prob­lem with before. I think that the biggest ben­e­fit of the cleanse is that I am pay­ing much closer atten­tion to what I eat and how I feel after eat­ing. I may not repeat the Blue­print Cleanse, but I can see myself doing some sort of juice cleanse every so often; par­tic­u­larly when I feel like my eat­ing habits have turned down the wrong road, and I need a reset.

My Blue­print Gallery

jazz, music

who i’m groovin’ to

2012 Spoleto Festival USA. Cecile McLorin Salvant.

Cécile McLorin Salvant

Track List
01 — Exactly like you 00:00:00
02 — Moody’s mood for love 00:05:13
03 — I’ve got my love to keep me warm 00:08:38
04 — I got it bad (And that ain’t good) 00:11:56
05 — Social call 00:16:31
06 — Detour ahead 00:19:56
07 — No regrets 00:22:23
08 — Frosty morn­ing blues 00:26:30
09 — Easy to love 00:31:13
10 — I won­der where our love has gone 00:34:40
11 — Any­thing goes 00:39:16
12 — After you’ve gone 00:44:04



Fol­low Cécile on Social Media

facebook twitter soundcloud (1) Instagram

bookmarks, culture, reading

bookmarks — volume. 3, issue 1


After a year, or so, of run­ning book­marks on Tum­blr, I decided to bring the series back to my blog. It is a lit­tle more labor inten­sive to run the series here, but I like the look and feel more. I think that I will keep my Tum­blr, and use it for shar­ing more ran­dom or spur-of-the-moment things. If you like this series com­ing back to my blog, I’d appre­ci­ate hear­ing from you.

This post will be longer than usual, because I have a lot of book­marked arti­cles and videos.





Jazz Spot­light


A cou­ple of years ago, I posted a piece about on shoes. I used to a bit of a clothes and shoe per­son when I worked on Capi­tol Hill and down­town as a lob­by­ist. Today, I dress much more casu­ally at work, but I still like a good suit and shoes. Here is pretty cool info­graphic on pairing/matching shoes with suits of vary­ing col­ors that I spot­ted on Busi­ness Insider.

Click on the info­graphic to enlarge


clothing, culture, shoes

a visual guide to suits & shoes


examine that negative thought

I was head­ing into the shower at the gym today, and I noticed a slen­der guy jump onto the scale. I freely admit that an exas­per­at­ingly wry voice in my head said, “Huh! Like you need to get on a scale. [eyes rolling]”

I walked along into the shower and stood there with my neg­a­tive thought. My mind ran back to some pre-marital coun­sel­ing ses­sions. The coun­selor would chal­lenge me, when I was hav­ing a bout of jeal­ousy or a neg­a­tive thought, to stop and exam­ine that neg­a­tive thought. Think about where that feel­ing was really com­ing from. Most of the time, the prob­lem be dis­cov­ered in my reac­tion, not the action itself. With that in mind, I had an “Aha!” moment.

I recalled a recent con­ver­sa­tion with my good friend Elliott about get­ting in shape and hav­ing a poor body image. I occa­sion­ally, and sadly passive-aggressively, zing him about his toned physique, and he jabs me right back. He reminded me that there are a good num­ber of peo­ple that strug­gle to put, or keep, weight on. Con­sid­er­ing that I have always strug­gled with tak­ing, or keep­ing, weight off, I never even thought of the flip side of the coin. I really appre­ci­ate hav­ing friends who not only get me, but are also will­ing to chal­lenge me to see things differently.


I usu­ally take pretty quick show­ers, but lin­gered today because I needed to let these thought play out. What if that guy was star­ing down at the scale and excited because he gained two pounds? What if he, unbe­knownst to me, looked at the scale with despair because his weight was the same, or pos­si­bly less than the last time? Con­versely, what if that guy has been work­ing on weight loss for years and I was see­ing the result of his hard work and com­mit­ment to fit­ness? What­ever the rea­son, the prob­lem was not his. It was, and is, mine.

The issue is not about what back story, if any, the guy on the scale has. No. The real issue here is why I cared about that slen­der guy get­ting on the scale. My neg­a­tive thought was less about him, than it was one of com­par­i­son and self-loathing. I have been work­ing hard on exer­cis­ing reg­u­larly and eat­ing well. (Keep an eye out for a blog post about that, soon.) Since going to the gym reg­u­larly, and work­ing with a per­sonal trainer, I have started to look at some peo­ple as inspi­ra­tion. A body goal. Even with that, though, I occa­sion­ally find myself look­ing at very fit or slen­der peo­ple with a small dose of visual venom. I, often unwit­tingly, am cast­ing mental/emotional shade on some toned indi­vid­ual because I don’t have the same build. What kind of sense does that make? Now that I am work­ing with a trainer, the thought makes even less sense. I know how much work it takes to get, let alone be, tone. Why hate on some­one who has worked hard to have a nice body?

I finally turned off the water in the shower, and stood for another minute or two to fin­ish this rumi­na­tion. I walked away feel­ing lighter. I am glad that I had that neg­a­tive thought, because it forced me to con­front the gen­e­sis of the real issue. I plan to use this moment as a reminder to stop at the very moment that a neg­a­tive thought comes into my mind. I won’t beat myself up for hav­ing thought. Instead, I will try to be hon­est about where those feel­ings are com­ing from. Is it really the other per­son? Most often, the answer is no. I am slowly learn­ing to stay in my lane, and stop com­par­ing myself, or my progress, to oth­ers. It’s a struggle.