Unlikely Story

In the middle of January, we were shooting photos for my column in Lehigh Valley Style in a bookstore in Easton. I changed outfits next to the history books and me and Colin wandered into the alley. “Stand there, look happy”, he said when I crunched my way into a pile of ice-snow almost up to my knees and he took a few quick shots before the bitter biting winter air hurt too much to pretend it was Spring.

Unknown to either of us, one of those photos became the May 2015 cover of Style. It is Colin’s first cover (something he has wanted for two years), and mine too (something I didn’t think was possible?). Surprise!

lvstylemay2015 cover In a year of so much loss, of leaving behind or moving on from so many of the things that were a part of me for so long, I have spent the last six months remembering how to be alone; how to find community when you leave the town where you lived for a decade; how to take a break from creative projects and hold on to the truth that it doesn’t mean they will crumble or you will be forgotten; how to focus on love for those who mean the most to me – to allow love to change when the time for change has come, to find it in my friends and my family and my friends who have become my family, to be surprised back into passion; to remember that things change but our value doesn’t increase or lessen because of it.

It has not been easy. Important things never are.

But I have found, over and over, that just when we are about to give up on ourselves something happens that reminds us that we are enough. That we will be OK, and we are already OK.

lvstylemay2015

On Tuesday, May 12th, the magazine is having it’s monthly Insider Happy Hour, which is a FREE event and open to EVERYONE. You can wear a fancy outfit and bring a few dollars for drinks, and we can hug each other and get our pictures taken for the magazine. I hope to see you there!

You can get more information here: LV Style Insider Happy Hour

And find out more about Colin’s work: Colin Coleman Photography

FRESH PERSPECTIVES with Jaime K: Lehigh Valley Style November 2014 Issue

Snag your print copy of Lehigh Valley Style magazine for my latest column with some unique gift ideas and back stories on three of the most creative locals I know:

LVSTYLEnov14

Wendy Landiak of Shankara Vegan Restaurant, patron saint of LV vegan food since as long as I can remember! Learn about how she got started in cooking (she catered for Deepak Chopra!), the many incarnations of her eateries, and how to get hands-down the best brunch on earth right here in South Bethlehem;

Andy V. of Andy Vasquez Furniture, local skater/nice guy who makes the most jaw-dropping gorgeous handcrafted furniture and home accessories from wood. If you like midcentury modern, rustic chic, or kitchen cutting boards shaped like the state of Pennsylvania, he’s your guy;

Marissa Wetzel of Everlasting Image, miracle worker who uses photoshop to create beautiful portraits of babies who passed away before photos of them without medical tubes and wires were ever taken. I was in awe the first time I saw her work

PLUS! A vegan recipe created just for LV Style readers.

My column “Fresh Perspectives with Jaime K” is a bi-monthly column where I get to personally choose to shine the spotlight on creatives, small business owners, unique shops, community builders, and the best vegan eats in the Lehigh Valley, PA. If you know someone who would make a great fit, I’d love to hear about them.

 

 

TALKING TO PHOEBE: Podcasts and TV Shows and Vegan Body Image and Bravery

What an honor to have been interviewed by the kind and creative Phoebe of Phoebe’s Pure Food blog, print magazine, and host of a podcast and web TV show! She’s one of those people who are so genuine and good, and somehow have more time than the rest of us to tackle a ton of create projects and do all of them alarmingly well.

As I said, she has a lot going on, so below you’ll find a two-part Youtube interview (which can also be consumed in audio form), and a podcast interview with Phoebe and guest host Nan from Chubby Pickle Farm.

The People Chronicles TV Show

Part One – We discuss: Starting before you’re ready. My transition to vegan eating. Another transition to HEALTHFUL vegan eating. Choosing a blog/business name. Being vegan + body image expectations.

Part Two – We discuss: In-fighting in the vegan community. Finding lessons when people get critical (and letting go of the jerky stuff). Worrying about projecting a false image of perfection. Vulnerability and Authenticity. Making food and information accessible. Healthy bodies AND minds.

“No one ever says, ‘You’re too fat to care about marriage equality!’, but for some reason people say ‘How can you be vegan and be fat?'”

 You can listen to the 22-minute interview in audio RIGHT HERE.

2 Weird Hungry Girls Podcast 2 weird hungry girls

Oh, this was fun. Just a few ladies chattin’ about food and small business, body image and bravery. Also, summer recipes, wiener dogs and must-have kitchen tools. (I get such good energy from talking to creative, positive people and this made me want to get a jumpstart on my own podcast!) Listen HERE or download in iTunes.

2 weird hungry girls with jaime k

Technically, THREE weird hungry girls. Nan of Chubby Pickle Farm, Phoebe of Phoebe’s Pure Food, and me!

 Check out Phoebe’s website | facebook |instagram | twitter

Visit Nan’s Facebook page

 It’s so wonderful when we can support, encourage and uplift each other! I hope you’ll follow their journeys and maybe be inspired to take a leap of your own. Sincerest of thanks to Nan, and especially Phoebe. (Phoebe also gave me a gift of vegan cheesecake, and homemade lilac syrup and blackberry jam, so… Have I mentioned how much I love her?)

LINKS to LOVE: Also, Lehigh Valley Yoga Festival with NEW T-SHIRTS!

This week I saw Neutral Milk Hotel live with some of those dearest to me and it was a magical extended moment. Last weekend, I went to a lake with chickpea salad sandwiches and champagne and a stack of books. The water was so welcoming and warm. I bobbed around and noticed the odd sensation of being eye level with a moving canoe. I’ve met with friends and visionaries about collaborations, crafting a career from many small parts, and how darn good it feels to have someone to talk to about it.

summer collage

Saturday is a big day for the health + wellness community as Lehigh Valley Yoga Festival is finally here! Save the Kales! is a partner along with Natural Awakenings Magazine. It’ll be a full day of many forms of yoga, live music, vendors, and more yoga. Chef Wendy of Shankara will be there selling organic vegan food, and proceeds from the event to our pals at Pratyush Sinha Foundation, which you can learn more about by watching this.

And I’ll be there selling NEW SAVE THE KALES! T-SHIRTS, design unveiled at the festival! Follow along on social media to get a first look at the new shirt, then come here next week to order one.

instagram | twitter | facebook 

LINKS to LOVE savethekales

Artist recreates his childhood drawings 20 years later. The snail!

There is nothing pretentious about being a vegan. from Vice (*sarcasm and real talk!) “I’m not sure why my nutrition is such a big concern for people I don’t know. With the exception of vegans, Live Aid, or those people who eat couches on My Strange Addiction, I don’t remember ever seeing someone show concern for another person’s nourishment.”

Having one’s corn ground in the 1800’s was probably more fun than you think.

Ashlee being a babe and talking ethical FALL FASHION, GLORY BE!, come on September!

What are you reading? Subway Book Review is a blog based on stopping to ask strangers on the subway to review, on the spot, whatever book they are reading in that moment. This speaks to the book-snoop portion of my soul.

Thank you for being a friend. A breakdown of Blanche Devereaux’s best outfits.

Trans, but not like you think.  “Gender is part of everyone’s life, we’re all negotiating the line between what we’re expected to be and who we are.”

Who wants to take a day trip to Storybook Forest?

Bethlehem Vegfest 2014, Aug 23rd

… And Bethlehem Vegfest 2014 is less than a month away! We’ve got some great speakers, retail booths, and the food this year? Oh, you guys. Let me just say there MAY OR MAY NOT *ahem* be a vegan ice cream truck. Save the Kales! TV will also be there taping a live cooking show and chatting with Fest-goers, so come say hello! Final schedule updates will be on the website very soon.

Happy weekend! xo

LINKS to LOVE: 4 July 2014

You may notice things are lookin’ a little different around here. I’ve wanted a redesign forever and in the name of DIY, personal empowerment, and a teeny tiny budget (and, um, all my designer friends are very busy) I am slowly redesigning things myself. It’s pretty liberating!

I’m also ready to bring back the ol’ Links to Love series, because one of my great joys in life is finding a blog from a writer who just “gets it”, and then being able to plop down on a Sunday morning with a coffee and click on every link they share because holy wow, they have impeccable taste in internet reads, you know? There are SO MANY talented, thought-provoking voices online and we’re better off for spending some time with them. And I believe in cooperation over competition, so I hope you’ll stay on some of these sites and look around.

LINKS to LOVE savethekales

Melanie so sincerely describes the feelings of being a silly, optimistic, girly + feminine woman who is growing older. “Will my loud outfits and glittery makeup seem desperate, pathetic even, as I age? Will be my light-hearded child-like enthusiasm be read as unintelligent and sad as I advance? “

The always-eloquent and achingly brilliant Lacy shares how learning to love her body changed her relationship. “The relationship I wanted to have with my partner gave me the courage to grab the relationship I wanted to have with my body. Deciding to have a better relationship with my body gave me the relationship I got with my partner.”

Art is so weird and wonderful. A Man Takes His Cabbage for a Walk  (video)

walking a cabbage

 

The most adorable weather forecast

Finally, a film about a young woman who has an abortion and she’s portrayed as a normal person.  Get to a theater and see Obvious Child (and if you’re in the Lehigh Valley, it’s playing at Steelstacks)

Buzzfeed nails it with this one, and shines some light on the exceptionality that sometimes comes from a community that touts the idea that everyone should be free to love whoever they want: 30 Bisexual Women Discuss Their Long-Term Relationships With Men

YES, THIS: Why You Shouldn’t Take People’s Facebook Lives Seriously (video)

Here is What You Do When You Are Grieving. “You remind yourself how breathing works, how sleeping works, how going to work works. You teach yourself basic lessons as if you were a child: It is time to clean up after yourself, time to take a shower, time to behave, time to leave the house today. ” (thanks Meridith)

… And to end on a positive note, next week starts Lehigh Valley Girls Rock! Camp which is going to empower young women to feel supported, creative and make music! I’ll be teaching a class on Positive Body Image and all week the girls will learn about healthy minds, bodies and self-expression. The week ends with a live rock show called Shine Like Diamonds and you can buy tickets for $10!  They are also selling the cutest merch, including these tote bags for $10. You can order online:

lvgirlsrocktotebag

 

I hope your weekend is beautiful! America!

xo Jaime K

 

 

“WE DON’T NEED TO ASK PERMISSION”: Jaime K on the Tranquility du Jour Podcast

“Anybody who’s doing any sort of work they’re passionate about can relate to this – when you start something, you really have no idea where it can go or what it can be, but something in you just feels compelled to do it.” – Jaime K

Click HERE to listen to the podcast

It was a joy and an honor to have been interviewed for Kimberly Wilson’s Tranquility du Jour podcast, a podcast I discovered two years ago and have enjoyed as a listener. I met Kimberly unexpectedly (hear the story!) last year, and was enchanted with her. She exudes a compassionate confidence while looking like an eccentrically feminine yogini meets a vintage french film star.

She's just yarn-bombing, as one does.

She’s just yarn-bombing, as one does.

Her work includes a weekly podcast, an adorable and always-updated blog, several books and journals, a line of feminine eco-friendly clothing, and hosting retreats across the world. She is livin’ the dream. And she has a pug who is, thankfully, photographed often.

Le Pug. Look at that face. Can you even? No. You can't.

Le Pug. Look at that face. Can you even? No. You can’t.

Some things I talked about in the podcast:

You can also subscribe to Tranquility du Jour on iTunes. I’m on episode #316, which means there are 315 other wonderfully inspiring interviews to catch up on. Get started.

Hugs + lipsticked kisses to Kimberly for the lovely chat.

xo, Jaime K

 

 

 

 

FELL DOWN + BROKE HER CROWN: Living with a Concussion

One month ago (wow, it’s been that long), I went to the doctor to discuss sciatica pain and some annoying neck/shoulder tension in the hopes of getting a referral for some physical therapy. I was given four shots in my back + shoulder to relieve some of the pain immediately.  I was asked to sit on a stool with wheels, no back and no arms, and after the shots the doctors left the room and – woopsies!- I had a reaction, passed out, and hit my head on the floor. I was told they only knew I passed out because they heard the sound it made when I fell. Cringe-worthy, right?

All this to say, I’ve been living with a concussion for the last four weeks and have spent as little time on the internet as I’ve probably ever spent since since my Mom first got AOL dial-up when I was thirteen. (Backlit screens and florescent lights are still the worst symptom offenders.)

Screen Shot 2014-06-02 at 10.02.14 AM

Concussion Chic. Thankfully I got this summer hat and a bunch of sunglasses a week before this happened. Now I can grocery shop with protection + unwashed hair, but give the illusion of being pulled together. Smoke and mirrors!

The doctor said: “Don’t use the computer. Don’t text or be on the phone very much. Don’t watch TV or movies. And don’t read. (!!!) They cause eye strain.” I’m not an overly-gadgety person, but it was a wake-up call to see how much I rely on each of these activities throughout the course of a day.

Ya’ll know I love my books… So, no reading? NO READING! I became this guy from the most heart-wrenching of all Twilight Zone episodes, Time Enough At Last:

twilight zone time enough at last

 

The first week was a doozy, physically and, eventually, emotionally and mentally. All that time to myself without aid of my usual distractions was enlightening and terrifying. I felt free. I felt trapped. I felt unconstrained of obligations and sank into relaxation. I felt agitated that I had to cancel my work and responsibilities and worried everything would fall apart and everyone would resent me. I questioned the meaning of life a hundred times a day. Occasionally I found it while watching the rain from my front porch.

You worry that people are going to be angry because you have to miss deadlines, postpone interviews, not show up. You worry your absence will make everything else come to a screeching halt and the guilt of that is oppressive and lodges heavy in your guts. Then, when life goes on and the rest of the world continues to work and exist without you, you are left with the feeling that you don’t actually matter that much. A relief, a poison, in equal doses.

I’ve been dealing with the guilt of canceling appointments and having to bail out of obligations, projects and work. Getting rest is the only thing that will help, and while that’s how I’ve been spending most of my time, I’ve been able to take advantage of a few social events that have maintained my sanity. When you get most energized by spending time connecting to people in person, isolation is loneliness emphasized.

Fatigue sets in after only two or three hours, but I have been trying to find the silver lining, tarnished as it has been some days, and am grateful for:

Stumbling across one of my favorite book sales and getting 30+ titles (for about $10 bucks and all money went to charity!), including some truly exceptional gems that still make me feel smugly proud of myself, like: titles by Sylvia Plath, Richard Brautigan and Lorrie Moore I didn’t previously own; a first edition of Nicole Krauss’ The History of Love, one of my favorite books ever ever ever;  an extravaganza of queer authors like Jeanette Winterson, Sarah Waters and Oscar Wilde; an astrology book from the 1960’s with dreamy illustrations.  I was able to read again after the first week, thank goodness.

Get lost in the stars.

Get lost in the stars.

 

Mornings spent on my cozy front porch, working through The Artists Way, getting uncomfortable and vulnerable and angry and then inspired, focused, driven. Salads for breakfast. Tiny pieces of paper tucked into my Chinese takeout that make me feel hopeful.

Avocados on everything, morning pages, sunshine.

Avocados on everything, morning pages, sunshine.

A Mother’s Day surprise from Chubby and Pierogi (my dog and cat) left on the kitchen table, discovered when I woke up to make coffee. I’ve been told they must have stolen the car with Pierogi at the wheel, Chubby at the gas + brakes (his arms are too short to operate the wheel) and took themselves shopping. What sweet angels.

Typewriter necklace and a handwritten (paw-written) card from the cat and dog. They are so talented!

Typewriter necklace and a handwritten (paw-written) card from the cat and dog. They are so talented!

I went to the Spiritual + Holistic Expo which was like a warehouse full of healers, luscious self-help books, massive jewelry pieces, and hundreds of things I’ve never seen and still don’t entirely understand. I ran into friends, the kinds of friends who give meaningful hugs and words of support and encouragement. There’s another expo in September and I’m already excited.

Healing energy in crystals, or at the very least, beautiful things for your eyes to see and hands to touch.

One of the most meaningful bands of my life, Modest Mouse, played a mile from my home in front of the iconic Bethlehem steel mills and I felt every feeling from the tenth grade to present day in one hour and forty minutes. They played Trailer Trash three songs in, and my soul hovered out of my body and into the crowd. It reminded me of my past and how far I have come. In those minutes I intensely missed everyone I have ever loved. I wondered what they are doing now, and felt such peace that I have moved passed the point of hurt and anger to sincerely wishing them well. I wonder if they felt it, wherever they are.

"Eating snowflakes with plastic forks And a paper plate, of course You think of everything"

“Eating snowflakes with plastic forks
And a paper plate, of course
You think of everything”

 

I traveled to upstate New York to see my beautiful cousin get married in front of a magnificent waterfall, followed by a reception at summer camp site (!!!) where I get to reconnect with my family and celebrate a beautiful day. It was one of the cutest weddings I have ever seen, and I’m so proud of her.

The beautiful Ellwoods, such a great rock'n'roll last name.

The beautiful Ellwoods, such a great rock’n’roll last name.

My Mom has come to visit, and seeing her always makes me feel better, too. After the deaths of my Gram and my Stepdad just four months apart, I feel a new sort of connection to my Mother. And this is my Babchi (“Bob-she”), my Dad’s mother, who is over 80 years old. She has survived seven children, a seemingly infinite number of grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and cancer. Even after her cancer treatments when she lost all her hair, it grew back thick and full. She doesn’t color it. Now you know where I get it from.

Babchi is Polish for "Grandmother".

Babchi is Polish for “Grandmother”.

I went to an art show in Easton that was so spectacular, so well-attended, I felt like I was in a big city. Everyone there was uniquely beautiful and friendly, the quality of the art was of such a high caliber, my heart swelled with pride for the Lehigh Valley. There is something to be said for sticking around to see your community step into it’s fabulous self. Even better if you can participate in some way, even if that way is to stand with your mouth agape looking at a painting that makes you feel something deeply, and telling people about it, especially the artist. Thank you.

 

BOOM art show in Easton, PA. This quiet cityscape is by Bill Hudders.

BOOM art show in Easton, PA. This quiet cityscape is by Bill Hudders.

 

… Each day I’m working on finding the balance between doing my best to be productive without pushing myself to the point of physical pain. Healing is immensely important as it is already taking longer than expected. When I think about the concussion, this stupid and preventable accident, I get so angry, but anger has never helped anyone to feel better. So while I figure out how to go about my days until I can be normal Jaime K again, I have my books, some really wonderful friends, couch naps while the sun streams in, lavender tea and guacamole, podcasts and shoulder-warming walks in the sun.

And along with a mental and physical overhaul, Save the Kales! is getting one as well, from the inside and eventually out. This hasn’t been simply a “food blog” since the beginning, but going forward I will write about non-food issues with even more intent. It is our stories that connect us.

xo Jaime K