Dreamcatcher Special Edition: Meet boxcar+muse

Every now and then, someone comes into your life and you're instantly inspired by their kindness and generosity, their positive spirit and beautiful soul. It's magnetic and you immediately want to be around this person. Emily Kate Warren was this person for me.

We met while I was working on P&G Beauty and always in need of a makeup artist or hair stylist for events. Emily or EKW as we called her, had a reputation for wrangling the best of the best in beauty. She, herself, was a talented makeup artist, but it was her ability to connect the beauty PR world with other amazing women that made her special. 

This ability to be a connector and a positive force to uplift women has manifested over the years and I'm excited to share more about her start-up, boxcar+muse

This video below really says it all, but keep reading to find out how you can help boxcar+muse win a $100K grant to shape their future and vision - "a culture where flexing our creative muscles, innovating, and engaging in self-discovery is as accepted, vital, and popular a practice as going to a gym."

CMJ: So tell us about boxcar+muse. How did it all start?

EKW: boxcar+muse was a pipe dream I've been musing over since about 2007. I wanted to start an artist co-op that would include seven or so amazing hair and makeup artists who I am still close with. I wanted to have an agency without an agent.

CMJ: That sounds amazing!

EKW: It does, but the more I thought about it and built it out in my head, the more I was building more of a community, and my group was all women. When I moved to San Francisco suddenly, I was very depressed about leaving my solid career, friends and clients back in NYC. I found it hard to make new friends at my age even though I'm very outgoing. I didn't have kids, a dog or any classes that I was taking or even a regular 9 to 5 where I would have the opportunity to make new connections. I started fantasizing about my idea again and realized it was more about the cooperative vibe being therapeutic than wanting to actually do any agency tasks. I found the support of my group of artists in NYC to be fulfilling, therapeutic and inspiring. So, I started to hash out a plan. I started thinking about how that would translate into everyday life, not just being about a specific career.

CMJ: I'm literally at this place in my life right now. Tell me more!

EKW: Well, when I moved from SF to LA, I had a baby and my life turned upside down again --in the best most wonderful way! I realized that my career wasn't everything -- and couldn't be or I wouldn't be a good mom, friend, spouse, daughter. I started to host regular women's dinner parties, gatherings, events and happenings. I started mapping out my plans; started bouncing ideas off friends. And then I got wind of a grant opportunity last year by la2050.org and went into overdrive. I spoke to a startup attorney friend who got me on track with an old plan and here we go!

During that time I also reconnected with my now business partner Ariel Nazryan who, all the while, had a very similar idea to build a creative gym and self-discovery center inspired by visiting a loved one in an upscale rehab.

CMJ: In one sentence, how would you describe boxcar+muse?

EKW: boxcar+muse is an indulgent and imaginative play and work space, a connector of diverse women, and a platform for fun and meaningful experiences.

CMJ: If you win the grant, what could this mean for boxcar+muse? 

EKW: Our permanent space will have a library, a meditation and inspiration room, a community kitchen and garden...actual tools that you can use to work on any project you wish (kiln! letterpress! tortilla press! roller skates?!) because we want to inspire your next idea! We want to support you in any way you need! Along with our one-of-a-kind creative journeys, we will have weekly volunteering efforts and activism clubs. We will have dedicated and shared working space for women. We will collaborate with many local organizations to nurture plans for a better and brighter future for all women. 

CMJ: Can you just open in Pittsburgh already?

EKW: YES! That is our hope. We plan to expand in at least six cities in the future but for now, we begin in LA.

CMJ: So, how do we VOTE?

EKW: Click here: http://bit.ly/2e06GNi  
Scroll down to the GREEN VOTE NOW button and BAM! It will take you less than seven seconds if you log in using Facebook or another social platform. Help us win $100K for boxcar+muse and watch women take the world by storm! 

CMJ: Done and Done!

Nobu Made Me Do It

Ten years ago, I walked into a Japanese restaurant. I had less than a year of Open Table experience and a referral from someone I never met. I learned quickly that if you want a job at Nobu, the phrase "fake it till you make it" are words to live by. I walked out with an audition on the books - a weeklong stint as a reservationist. I made it out alive and soon, I became a hostess.

A hostess gig meant more human interaction and the chance that someone might ask me about the yellowtail sashimi or the difference between wagyu or washu beef. This terrified me. I was the girl who pounded a bag of Cheetos and a Pepsi on my 10-minute break. I was not a foodie by any means. But in true New York City fashion, I was peer pressured into changing my eating habits. After all, who in their right mind eats Cheetos while walking the streets of Tribeca...besides me. So there I was, giving sushi a try, consuming sashimi with the tiniest jalapeño slice I've ever seen. My ten-minute break now consisted of string cheese, a Naked juice and some tic-tacs. My appreciation for food (when I wasn't forced to eat like a model) and the people who are skilled enough to prepare food grew tenfold. 

Today, I'm dairy-free and gluten-free - a decision I made only one month ago, but one I would have never even considered if it weren't for five years at Nobu. I'm now open to trying all sorts of foods, understanding how they break down in my body and respecting the origin of ingredients. 

Sushi is something I've always wanted to learn how to prepare since my Nobu days, and recently I made baby steps in this department. Like any gluten-free newbie, I was fooled by white rice and started to experiment with cauliflower rice. Avocado, cucumber and carrots made this roll vegan - even cooler.

Keep scrolling for the recipe!

  • 1 half head of cauliflower
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 3-4 sheets nori
  • assorted veggies  (carrots, cucumbers avocado)
  • bamboo sushi rolling mat

Start by preparing the cauliflower rice. Cut the cauliflower in half and remove the thick center stem. Cut or break each half into smaller pieces and throw in the food processor. A few pulses is all you need.

Transfer the cauliflower rice to a microwave-safe bowl, add olive oil and cover with plastic wrap. Cook on high for three minutes. Remove from microwave, uncover and set aside.

Slide veggies into thin strips and it's time to make some sushI!

Lay a sheet of nori on the sushi rolling mat and spread the cauliflower rice onto the nori. You want to cover the nori from edge to edge, but leave a one-inch space at one end of the nori without rice. Add your filling, placing them close to the end of the nori where the rice comes all the way to the edge. 

Time to roll, but make sure to have a small bowl or glass of water on hand. Place the sushi mat so that the side of the nori with the filling is facing you. Start to roll by pulling up the mat slightly and tucking the row of filling into the first complete roll. Press down with the mat around this to help make a nice tight roll. Continue rolling with the help of the mat and pressing/tucking as you go to keep the roll tight until you get to the end of the nori sheet with the one-inch section without rice. Dab a bit of water on the end of the nori to help it stick to itself and then complete your final roll.

Using a sharp knife, cut the sushi into pieces and serve with tamari!

Enjoy, my friends!


Standing Room Only

I never know what to say when writing style posts and to be honest, this look is all Topshop from mid-shoulder to mid-calf. If you read my last post about traveling, this is the number one outfit NOT to wear to the airport. First of all, the jeans are high-waisted and sitting is a pain. This is also my first time in a bodysuit since third grade and I can't even imagine what it would be like in an airplane bathroom in this thing. So, basically...if you want a cute look to stand around in at a hightop while you drink your last rosé of the season or you want to do a quick drive-by to check out the scene at the San Gennaro Feast, this ensemble has your name written all over it.

The shoes though! They were a steal at DSW and I can't even find them online anymore. I specifically bought them so that I didn't look like a teenage boy from the 90s rocking some extra long Southpole jean shorts, if you know what I mean. Who knows, maybe I'm still giving off that vibe, but I hope not.

Happy FriYAY!

Tips from a Very Experienced Business Traveler

Last week I was put on a plane for my very last business trip as a full-time employee. Yesterday, I started my career as a freelancer. In a couple of weeks, I'll be back in the air on my way to NYC and over time, you learn a thing or two about life in the air when your world involves clients. You learn how to live out of suitcases, make the most of your days and get through security in record time. Lately, I've been packing much lighter and only carrying the essentials. Here's a few tips that are long overdue:

1. Don't forget your earphones! It's always the last thing I think about when packing, which is why I now keep a pair in my suitcase. Eyes closed, a little Carole King and we're smooth sailing off the ground. 

2. Pashminas are your best friend. On my last flight, I spent 53 minutes with water dripping on my head. It was condensation from the cool air. I was not pleased. Luckily, I kept myself warm and dry with my trusty Zara scarf

3. Pouches are a traveler's best friend. Pouches for toiletries. Pouches to keep your receipts organized. Pouches to fake as clutches for a nightcap at the hotel bar. I never go anywhere without my metallic Mae pouch from Annie Bukhman.

4. And speaking of Annie Bukhman, this card holder is ESSENTIAL. Pack your work AMEX, license and a few business cards and you're ready to go. 

5. Despite my chamomile tea and deep breaths, I still get a bit of travel anxiety every now and then. To combat, I rely on essential oils. My 'no worries' roller from Soul Sunday combines bergamot, lemon, clary-sage and melissa leaf to keep me sane.

6. Podcasts are my favorite thing ever about traveling! No seriously, I love a good podcast. My obsession is Invisibila. It's all about the invisible forces that control human behavior - ideas, believes, assumptions and emotions. It's because of this podcast that I learned that I'm pretty sure I have OCD. My favorite episodes include the one about Thoughts, Categories and Entanglement. If you don't know what entanglement is, I highly suggest you google it. 

7. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Drink plenty of water before, during and after a trip to the airport. I also carry a face mist to spray when I land to re-hydrate my skin and give me a little boost. I'm currently testing out one from Grown Alchemist with Hyaluronic acid. It's also packed with botanicals.

8. I'm not much of a reader on the plane. Instead, I log into my gogoair account and organize my inbox. But I do like to bring a book to read before bed. In my old age, there is nothing I love more than a California King, room service and a good book. I picked up The Girls by Emma Cline from a used book store and so far, so good. I'll report back when I finish.

9.  A hair tie! Pull your hair back on the plane, pull you hair back to wash your face at night, pull your hair back so you don't get your hair in the food at a fancy restaurant. A hair tie.

10. Last but not least, POINTS! Become a SPG member, a Delta Skymiles Member, a Southwest something or other (Southwest is weird). If you don't receive a work AMEX, open a credit card like a Marriott Rewards Credit Card and be prompt about those expense reports! If you're gonna get thrown on a plane every other week, you might as well reap the benefits. 

Oh! Make use of wakeup calls too. Two different calls, 15 minutes apart. Nothing is worse than being the last one downstairs.

Ugh - one more thing - Boingo SUCKS! Don't even bother.