Identity

Tools in Your Pockets

Tools in Your Pockets

Pockets. They’re designed to keep useful tools close by. Against the body. Like an appendage. So that when you need to jot something down. Remember a task. Fix something. Hold something for later. You don’t have to scramble around like a basket case trying to find it. 

Or rely on someone else for help. 

In short: they help you be better at being you.

Up until the French revolution women had large pockets tucked under their voluminous skirts that were large enough to hold books, mending materials, writing devices, and even lunch. 

But as fashion became more streamlined, women’s pockets moved off the body and into handbags. 

More distant. Easier to misplace. Or have stolen. Making essential tools harder to find and more difficult to access in need. 

Pockets speak to this question of preparedness, and your ability to move in public and to be confident. It’s really difficult to get around if you don’t have what you need, and it’s about, I think it’s about mobility and movement in public,” says Hannah Carlson, a lecturer at the Rhode Island School of Design who was interviewed about the politics of pockets in the awesome podcast, Articles of Interest.

So what do pockets have do you with you?

Introducing the wonderful world of Chez Cameil and the woman who built it

Introducing the wonderful world of Chez Cameil and the woman who built it

Following your gut. Listening to your dreams. Building your fantasy business. It’s wayyyy easier said than done.


You could be the most creative and focused person on the planet but when self-doubt, fear and insecurity pop up those dreams will scatter away to some safe little corner of your mind, or deep down on a to-do list that you’re sure to forget. 

That’s why I’m totally fascinated by people who find the clarity and confidence to follow through with their dreams, even when it scares the hell out of them…

Which is why I’d love to introduce to my friend Cameil Kaundart.

I met Cameil years ago while I was working for Yelp. She was running around the kitchen with a floral headscarf and a couple of trays of American cookies, testing recipes weeks before the launch of my friend Marc’s cafe, Bob’s Bake Shop. She greeted me with such an insanely warm vibe that I loved her immediately. 

Fast forward to today.

I’m officially the luckiest coach in Paris because I get to see Cameil (and her cookies) three days a week at the cozy new space she launched this Fall. Located in central Paris, Chez Cameil is a cheerful, colorful loft where people come for healthy food, yoga classes, lectures, events and other well-being services, like coaching and hypnosis. It’s where I see my clients three days a week and I absolutely love it!

But Chez Cameil was lodged in Cameil’s head for years as a “maybe-one-day-I’ll-finally-get-it-together-to-make-this-happen” kind of dream. 

I had Cameil on the phone this summer the day she had to tell the landlord whether she was going to take the space. It was not a light decision to make for loads of reasons that I’m sure you can relate to (self doubt, money, and the huge responsibility that come with following through) but on top of that she was also just separating from her French husband and reconstructing her identity as a single American on French soil. 

I so, so admire her for finding the clarity and courage to just go for it! So I’d thought I’d share her story with a little Q&A with her below about how she made it all happened. Hope you find Cameil as inspiring and fascinating as I do!

Creepy Stroller Stage Prop

Creepy Stroller Stage Prop

The red-headed drag queen with the never-ending legs, gold glitter eyeshadow and pointy stilettos kept appearing on stage with a khaki-colored baby stroller from the 50s. 


Just like that creepy Rosemary’s Baby stroller with the devil’s baby inside. 


What the hell was that stroller doing there all of the time? 


Were the songs all about babies? Collateral from previous relationships? Reflections on responsibility and independence? The pursuit of liberty? Growth and transformation?


I had no idea. 


All of the songs performed that night were by an old-school French composer named Jean-Jacques Goldman that none of us American expats in my entourage had ever heard of. (side note: a friend chose the campy drag show as a fun offbeat activity for a birthday celebration, and it was a BLAST!). 


When the stroller appeared on stage for the third time, my friend Ajiri leaned over and whispered the exact question that was running through my mind for the last 45 minutes: “What’s the deal with the stroller?”

Using Your Full Frame

Using Your Full Frame

Adults are amazing at respecting limits that don’t really exist. 

 

And kids are amazing at disrespecting limits that do really exist. 

 

Cries, tantrums, arguments, flattery, debate, negotiation. There’s no shame to their game. 

 

They’ll use whatever they’ve got to see how a limit can be toppled, overturned and redesigned. 

 

As we get older, though, and move along in life we adapt to the limits that the world throws back at us. 

 

Conditioning, rules, beliefs — all of these boundaries become a part of the way we perceive the world and operate within it. 

 

But as our habits and expectations become more and more entrenched, we start seeing limits where they don’t exist, eventually boxing ourselves into tighter and tighter spaces. 

 

The truth, though, is that what’s not explicitly forbidden, is technically allowed. 

When Ideas Get Under Your Skin

When Ideas Get Under Your Skin

I had a very intimidating social studies teacher in High School named Mr Savage. 


He would walk into the classroom, silently go up to the blackboard, scribble a provocative open question, like “What is democracy?” in his chicken-scratch handwriting and then stare back at the class with his beady little eyes. (can you tell how much of a fan I was??)


He’d smile slyly with pinched lips revealing a little scar alongside his mouth. Then he’d gesture to the class to let the debate begin. 


I dreaded that moment. I was a shy and insecure adolescent and that kind of intellectual dogfighting made me shrink even further into my shell. 


Mr Savage didn’t give homework, but he did assign two big writing projects per year that were famously tough. For one project we had to propose our ideal presidential candidate and then argue and defend why we thought he or she should win.


Wonder Women: Lean In, Lean Out, Toughen Up, Soften Up, Be Your Best or Just Be?

Wonder Women: Lean In, Lean Out, Toughen Up, Soften Up, Be Your Best or Just Be?

My coaching is focused predominantly on women. I coach high-potential, creative women in multicultural environments that have a special spark in them that hasn’t been fully nurtured yet. Maybe they know their spark well, maybe they don’t, but they feel it bubbling under their skin like spaghetti sauce at a slow simmer. They feel its presence, can smell its aroma, but they haven’t plated it, tasted it and shared it with the world yet. And they know that if they don’t start facing, listening, and stoking that spark with the nourishment that it longs for they will regret it forever. And who wants to die with those kinds of regrets?

How Losing Control Can Make Your Fierce

How Losing Control Can Make Your Fierce

Have you ever wondered what might possess a woman to voluntarily sign-up for the most painful experience of her life? To choose extreme, hell on earth discomfort when its opposite (or a relative cousin of its opposite) is a socially, medically, and financially-viable option?

If you have, you’re in the right place. In the second installment of my two-part series on the most frightening things I’ve ever done in my life (and what I learned in the aftermath), I’ll delve into my unexpected, voluntary experience giving birth without any meds.