October 24, 2016

An Interview with Coworking Concierge Michaela Powell

I'm excited to introduce today's bitch because a lot of you know her, and she has a fascinating job that you probably don't know exists. I met Michaela around this time last year when we were invited to a bachelorette bike crawl. Most bike crawls ride to bars, but ours rode to coffee shops. The other ladies were worried about calories and gluten and Michaela was like, "I'm getting a donut at every single one of these places".

I've gotten to know Michaela over bike rides and visits to The Skillery and/or Steadfast Coffee and I enjoy her presence immensely. Michaela is a woman after my own heart, a woman who left a toxic work environment and found a way to be happy and work at the same time. When you meet Michaela, this comes across - her confidence and genuineness - and I respect the work that goes into choosing to live this way. Meet donut connoisseur and part-time T-Rex, Michaela Powell!

 What is your job title and where do you work?

I am the (Coworking) Concierge at The Skillery.

How did you know it was what you wanted to do?

I am not sure I knew this was what I wanted to do, but I knew it was something I could do. I was unemployed when I applied for this position and honestly, I was tired of applying for jobs that sounded plain and boring. I had stopped looking for a job in the administrative world and this job opportunity with The Skillery came across my path. The job description lined up with my personal values and for the first time, I felt fully equipped to come in and start implementing a welcoming environment and add more value to The Skillery.

What was your path that lead you to the job you have now?

All of the jobs I have had in the past six years have led to the next, typically from a previous connection I made with a person. I went from being a full-time graphic designer in Texas to loading my car and moving to Nashville to attend a show at the Ryman (The Civil Wars). I actually ended up working for a doggie bakery (See Spot Eat) and ice cream shop (Pied Piper Creamery) for about six months while pursuing Photography Assisting. During that time I accepted a job offer with Hatch Show Print. After I left Hatch I worked for another company and they fired me, that was something I didn’t see coming. However, being let go from such a toxic job allowed me to really consider what I wanted to offer a company and what type of work I wanted to be doing. I decided to label myself a Creative Liaison, because I enjoy working with creatives and making sure they have all they need to stay focused on the work they are creating. Shortly after I did this, my super amazing friend, Nieves (below) with Sawtooth Print Shop, reached out to me and told me about this job posting from The Skillery. Not sure of her exact quote, but it was along the lines of “this would be a perfect fit for you and them.”  

Favorite piece of advice, business or otherwise? 

I have two.

One thing we openly remind each other of at work is the Hell Yeah! motto… If your initial response to something isn't a “Hell Yeah!” then the answer is ‘No’. You shouldn't have to convince yourself to say yes to something if you aren't fully feeling it.

One of my favorite quotes, which came at a turning point for my life / career … 

“There is a deep well of just wanting to be alive. I get super pumped to go to bed at night and excited to wake up the next day. And I love being alive. That is not a negligible part. That’s not a part of me that’s like silly, I’m putting that forward, that’s the first thing.” – Jenny Slate, interview with Marc Maron, WTF podcast.

After listening and taking many notes from this podcast, I decided the next job I accepted needed to give me life, every day. I was basically saying good-bye to jobs that take away and make aspects of life difficult.  

Failure you learned from or that helped you improve the way you work?

Not asking good questions in an interview. Do your research on a company and be prepared to ask them questions. You are interviewing the company just as much as they are interviewing you. Leading the interview may just get you the job. 

What would you do with 2 more hours a day? 

Spend more time in nature, away from the city.

What is your greatest success (or something you’re most proud of) in your professional life? 

Showing up, each day, ready for anything — with a smile. I don't think enough people get to say that about the work they are doing. 

What’s the first app or website you open when you wake up in the morning? 

Not first thing, but typically Instagram or Utmost for His Highest.

How do you decompress at the end of the work day? 

Strength class at HotBox Fitness, a bike ride or just sitting outside on my porch, waving at neighbors walking by.

What’s the hardest thing about your job that isn’t obvious?

Getting to know our members. Let me explain…  

When a person becomes a member, they are - most of the time - the only person from their team (remote) or working solo (freelance / entrepreneur). It would be easy for a person to sneak in, not make eye contact and just get work done.  

I know names and faces, that should be the obvious part. However, I cannot stop with only names. I want to know people, therefore I must be present in every conversation. I want to know how people take their coffee, name of their spouse, pets they have (and names), where they just moved from, what type of bicycle they ride, what they enjoy doing in their free time, side projects they are working on. That is a standard I have set for myself. I want to know our members.

What is one thing everyone gets wrong about what you do?

Ha! Don’t let the title fool you…

Concierge is only part of what I do. Some days I am coordinator of meeting rooms and the studio, other days I am handling facility issues, and many days I am manager and connector of people. While being available to members is a large part, I still turn on lights, set the space, make coffee, do dishes, take out trash, give tours, answer emails, manage studio requests and make sure the building is working.  

Lastly, and most important, what is your favorite TV show and what is your favorite snack?

I love college basketball season, so naturally March Madness is when I am glued to the television.

Snacks?! I have so many, it really depends on the time of day...

• 10:00am, avocado with sea salt
• 2:00pm, apple with almond butter
• pre-workout, banana 
• post-workout, refuel drink of some sort or go macro protein bar
• post dinner snack, if I am still hungry, I will make some stove pop popcorn. After all, I am from Nebraska.

All photos courtesy of Michaela Powell

P.S. Meet last week's bitch:  National Race Director, Sarah Shearer!

P.P.S. Full list of My Bitches here.

October 21, 2016

Friday Links


If you haven't already, read these thank you letters to First Lady, Michelle Obama.

"Busy is a decision... You don't find the time to do things - you make the time to do things." What It Takes to Design a Good Life via Brain Pickings

Amy Schumer's "apology" to the 200 Trump supporters who walked out of her Tampa, Florida show.

Shero, Mary-Louise Parker on Lenny Letter. If you haven't read her book Dear Mr. You, I highly recommend doing so.

Stevie Nicks on Tavi Gevinson

I'm a ride or die for Hillary, but I know a lot of you aren't. For you, I give you this interesting perspective from Stacy London, who won't vote for Trump, but doesn't love Hillary.


Cameron Esposito
Rhea Butcher
Maria Bamford


A video posted by Scott Lenhardt (@twentyfourhourwoman) on


I watched the first season of Take My Wife (via Seeso on Amazon Prime) and freaking loved it! If you don't have Seeso or Amazon Prime, you can watch the first episode on YouTube. Also, if you don't know who Cameron Esposito and Rhea Butcher are, get your life. Staying with prominent gays, I listened to an episode of The New York Public Library podcast with Alan Cumming. He tells all these hilarious stories about meeting celebrities. I highly recommend it. Speaking of podcasts, if you're behind on Call Your Girlfriend, make sure and listen to episode 65:  Fifty Shades of Crazy.


Okay, technically I saw this at a craft fair, but it's too good not to share. It's funnier if you know my personal belief that my dog Linda is a wolf.


October 17, 2016

An Interview with National Race Director Sarah Shearer

So many of my friendships are a result of local running group, East Nasty. I met today's bitch back in 2010 when we were both training for the Country Music Half Marathon. I immediately got hurt and had to take time off from running, but Sarah and I have remained friends all these years.

Sarah is a blast! As a glass half full person, she finds the positive (and funny) in almost every situation. In fact, she's the one who encouraged me to try B.Fab.Fitness, which as you know, is the great joy of my life. What I love about Sarah is her openness - openness about her struggles, and openness to let joy into her life. She's the friend who will listen when you're hurting and introduce you to twerking when you declare a cease-fire on all exercise. Meet today's bitch, Sarah Shearer!

What is your job title and where do you work?

I am the National Race Director for the Heroes in Recovery 6K race series. The Heroes 6K was started and is owned by behavioral healthcare provider, Foundations Recovery Network. 

When did you first learn about this field of work?

As I grew to love racing (thanks to East Nasty’s free half marathon training), I began volunteering at races. Through volunteering I realized how much planning and work goes into putting on a race. I began working as contract, part-time race staff for a couple of awesome local event management companies, What Do You Run For and Team Magic, and realized I LOVED IT. 

How did you know it was what you wanted to do?

The energy, the fast pace, the environment - I’d found a good fit for my work style and experience. I got to facilitate the type of things that I already loved doing for fun. I already had programming and event planning experience from work with arts organizations (my background is in fine arts); those skills shifted very naturally into the race management arena.

What was your path that lead you to the job you have now?

After working as a contractor for race management companies and loving it, I began searching for full time opportunities in the field. It’s definitely a niche job market. One of my close friends had gotten on the year before with the company (Foundations Recovery Network) that owns the Heroes in Recovery 6K race series. She was directing it and had grown it to the point that a second person was needed. I went for it and am happy to say, landed the position.

Favorite piece of advice, business or otherwise?

Always be kind.

Failure you learned from or that helped you improve the way you work?

This would probably be when I’ve avoided dealing with an aspect of work that especially intimidated me and then when I finally got around to dealing with it, it was too late to do a good job. So, I work on not letting intimidation hold me back. I once read an Athena Singh quote, “Never trust your fears, they don’t know your strength.” Like a mantra, I remind myself of that when I recognize I am avoiding a situation.

What would you do with 2 more hours a day?

I would very much like those two hours to be full of daylight. And during those extra hours of daylight I would frolic outdoors in the surrounding rivers, parks and trails. I also am an artist, and this year have focused most of my creative time on a travel-sized sketch book I am filling with ink drawings and watercolor paintings of my favorite outdoor spots. It’s not meant to show anyone, nothing I put in it is for sale. It’s about the process of creating and appreciating my surroundings. There is never enough time for that.

What is your greatest success (or something you’re most proud of) in your professional life?

This year, I’ve been especially proud of two events I’ve directed: the Memphis Heroes in Recovery 6K and the Leiper’s Fork Heroes in Recovery 6K. I poured my energy into them, enjoyed strengthening relationships in the respective communities, and was blown away by above average increases in participant numbers at both. And both went smoothly, logistically - with feedback indicating that participants had a positive experience.

Each event benefits a local recovery non-profit. Being able to experience the positive impact for them is one of the most rewarding parts of my work. Recently after our hometown 6K in Leiper’s Fork, staff from the local charity beneficiary shared this about the event’s impact on their clients:

We can’t put into words how much FUN this race is! Many of our clients had NEVER taken part in anything like this before and to have a t-shirt…makes them feel really special and like they matter! In fact, as the van pulled up to the race, one client remarked, “Oh my gosh…are all these people here for US?” We told her ABSOLUTELY!” She was so moved, that she had big tears in her eyes! I’m sure this weekend’s race will leave a lasting impression on her and many of the other clients. You guys go out of your way to make this race so special and we are incredibly blessed to partner with you again this year.

What’s the first app or website you open when you wake up in the morning?

Instagram and email.

How do you decompress at the end of the work day?

Time outdoors. This could be my husband and I taking our pup to the dog park, or meeting friends for a trail run at Percy Warner, or during the summer, a sunset paddle on whatever river/lake I can get to quickly. Or dancing. Or happy hour. Any combo of people/dogs I love + outdoors is ideal, basically.

What’s the hardest thing about your job that isn’t obvious? 

DETAILS. So many. Our race series has ten events (this year) across the country. Each involves at least one local healthcare facility, a charity beneficiary, and sponsors. And of course each location has a slightly different audience that takes research and time to learn how best to connect with. It’s lots of conversations, developing multiple events at the same time (with all being at various stages of their timeline) and the challenge is often not just in keeping up with all those details as they happen, but staying ahead enough to be thinking of and implementing improvements in the meantime.

What is one thing everyone gets wrong about what you do?

The majority of my days are spent at a desk, planning and keeping up with paperwork and emails. Time out “in the field” is my favorite. People often think the bulk of my job is traveling or working outside, but that really only happens for a small slice of my time.

Lastly, and most important, what is your favorite TV show and what is your favorite snack?

I don’t mean to sound like one of THOSE PEOPLE, but I don’t really watch enough TV to claim a favorite show. I have other favorite ways to spend my free time though, such as taking pictures of my dog, playing with my dog, snuggling with my dog, etc…. So if we could change that question to, “What is your favorite thing to do with your dog?” I would have a quick answer. The answer would be “Everything.”

My favorite snack is sugar. Preferably in the form of a Peep-classic, not any of these weird new flavors like candy corn or pumpkin spice.

All photos courtesy of Sarah Shearer

P.S. Meet last week's bitch:  SCORE Project Coordinator, Sarah Brown!

P.P.S. Full list of My Bitches here.

October 14, 2016

Friday Links


Ugh, I'm so over news. I have information fatigue. With that in my mind, here's some light, non-political reading.

One of my fave bloggers looks back at a time in her life when she was skinnier and says, not for me; I'm happy as I am. Little Old Me:  Why I'll Never Go Back

This post on yoga 100% applies to all aspects of life.  Keep Your Eyes On Your Own Mat

National Coming Out Day was this week. I definitely understand that sexuality is a spectrum, not black-and-white, but this article from #shero Ashley C. Ford explains how you can be queer and have a boyfriend at the same time. See also:  The Invisibles.

PBS is airing a documentary about the story of Hamilton with Lin-Manuel Miranda on Friday, October 21. Mark your calendars.

Christian Siriano on how no size is out of style.

I'm on the library waitlist for You Can't Touch My Hair and I can't wait to read it. I looooove Phoebe Robinson.


Michelle Obama
Michelle Obama
Michelle Obama



Michelle Obama gave me my life yesterday in this speech. I'm about halfway through WTF with Marc Maron and Margo Price and it's so, so great (P.S. John mastered Midwest Farmer's Daughter). I'm a big Cameron Esposito fan and really enjoyed this interview with her. I'm still watching old seasons of RuPaul's Drag Race and getting all kinds of not-possible Halloween costume ideas. Oh! I finally bought the new Solange album, A Seat At The Table, and it's so what I'm in the mood for right now.



These my Kanye nails

October 12, 2016

Men, Be Better

I've been working since I was fifteen, that's twenty-five years. Guess how many times I've been sexually harassed in the workplace? That number is incalculable because at some point in my twenties, I quit counting. In fact, just this summer I was at a work function with a (female) client who introduced me as their "pretty [job title]". I've been in politics for ten years, own a business, and have a masters degree in public policy, but yes, by all means introduce me as "pretty".

The downside to being pretty is that no one expects you to be smart. The upside to being pretty is that no one expects you to be smart. You get underestimated, which you learn to use to your advantage. It's easy to convince someone of something when they don't think you're smart enough to take seriously.

In the decade I've worked in politics, here is the highlight reel of my sexual harassment:

  • A man touched my knee under a table, tried to get me to share his milkshake, and his straw, then attempted to drive me to his house.
  • A man embraced me and licked the side of my face.
  • A man pinched my clavicle and told me to not lose anymore weight.
  • A man looked at my breasts the entire time he was talking to me (x 1,000 + one of them was Jeremy Durham).
  • A man looked me up and down and asked how much weight I had lost.
  • A man told me my predecessor used to let him kiss her.
  • A man messaged me on Facebook and invited me to his house.

All of these men only knew me in a professional capacity. I had no personal relationship or friendship with any of them. Did my face look like my face when all of these things happened? Was I wearing skirts, dresses and heeled boots when all of these things happened? Am I culpable because I'm pretty and dress in Ann Taylor Loft?

I've had it. And I'd had it long before "Grab them by the pussy" made national news. I am a human being. Aren't humans supposed to be equal? Or are some humans just decoration? Do I not deserve autonomy over my body because my anatomy is different than yours?

You do not have permission to touch my body. Period. There are no qualifiers or physical characteristics that change this. My body is not here for you, furthermore, included in my body is my brain, where I have feelings just like you do, albeit probably more resilience because I've been putting up with this bullshit my whole life.

Men, be better.

Earlier this summer, in a week of three police shootings of unarmed black men, an important woman of color in my life challenged me to not stay silent - that this doesn't get better by everyone ignoring their racist friends and family online. Basically, if you see something, say something.

Men, friends of women - if you see something, say something. If you're in a conversation and hear something that goes against your beliefs, say so. Tell the offending person how their view affects you and the people you love. You can say, "Hey, my friend Kim (female human) has been licked on the face and just barely not kidnapped. I like Kim, she's smart and cool, and she didn't deserve that. We need to do better."

I am lucky to have caring, compassionate men in my life, especially my husband. But I want deserve to feel safe around all men. I can't fix this. I need you, men, as a group, to make yourselves safer. You do that by speaking up and checking your friends who are out of line. And you do that by not voting for a man to be President who believes women are property.

Further Reading:

How To Treat A Lady On The Internet

Think It's #NotAllMen? These 4 Facts Prove You're Just Plain Wrong

The Worst Part Of The Trump Tapes

October 7, 2016

Friday Links


Virgie Tovar on being addicted to dieting:
I thought I was addicted to food, but I was actually addicted to dieting and the drama it ensured. 
With dieting, each calorie had the power to make or break my day.  
With dieting, each bite I took or didn’t take felt like the difference between me being good or bad.  

Marley Dias, the 11 year old who started #1000BlackGirlBooks, interviewed Hillary Clinton.

Doreen St. Felix on the power of Solange and her new album, A Seat at the Table.


Freddy Krueger
Jason Voorhees
Michael Myers


My friend Sean shared this and I can't stop laughing.


A friend told me to listen to this back episode of Death, Sex & Money with Ellen Burstyn - omg, you guys, listen to this podcast. She talks about "should-less days" and then reads this poem on dying - !! It's so good. There's a new episode where Ellen Burstyn is interviewing Gloria Steinem and it's amazing, too! I didn't watch a lot of TV this week because I didn't want my eyes to forget the image of Beyonce, but I did start watching older seasons of RuPaul's Drag Race because in these troubling political times, I've found that RuPaul is a source of sheer, unadulterated joy.


Found this black, California sweatshirt at Goodwill last week. I didn't buy it because I knew I wouldn't wear it, but it's so great.


October 5, 2016

2016 Reading Round Up, Part Three

As a reminder, these are off-the-cuff reviews that I peck into my phone as soon as I finish the book. A literary critic, I am not.

Here's what I've been reading!

Mankiller:  A Chief and Her People by Wilma Mankiller

I first learned about Wilma Mankiller in Gloria Steinhem's book, My Life on the Road, and made a note to learn more about both Wilma Mankiller and the role of women in Native American culture. This book is long and filled with facts, history, quotes, stories of origin - but it's worth the read. My favorite part of the book is the second to last chapter, Dancing Along the Edge of the Roof, where Wilma describes her campaign and election to Deputy Chief in the Cherokee Nation, and later to Principal Chief. This was 1983-1985, but it could be today's election between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Chief Mankiller experienced the same sexism that we are seeing play out today. It's frustrating, but at the same time, a reminder that what's going on in American politics today has been going on for a long time. Women in power are as threatening to some men in 2016 as they were in 1983. And the same sexist tactics are being used to try to tear them down and make them appear weak and small. Chief Mankiller went on to serve two terms (ten years) as Principal Chief and won the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Commonwealth by Ann Patchett

Commonwealth just topped Bel Canto as my favorite Ann Patchett book. The storyline is great, the characters are endearing and familiar - and hard to let go once the book is over. I LOVED this book.

The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer

I really loved this book. It's hilarious and way more emotional and personal than I expected. If you like Amy Schumer, you'll love this book. I highly recommend it. 

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

Weird little book. I liked it okay. Quick read. I wouldn't recommend it to people who don't like mildly scary stories. Also, dogs die in this book and it's described in a longer way than I was comfortable reading. It's a dark book, but YA, so fairly tame. 

This is the Story of a Happy Marriage by Ann Patchett

I loved every single story in this book. I want all of my friends to read this. Highly, highly recommend. I would take this to a desert island.

Chez Panisse Cafe Cookbook by Alice Waters

This book is a little too precious for me. I will never, ever cook like this. It also reads a little preachy. Meh.

Shrill:  Notes from a Loud Woman by Lindy West

Possibly best book I've ever read. Should be required reading. 

LaRose by Louise Erdrich

I loved this book. It's my second Louise Erdrich book. She is such a beautiful writer. This story is sad, which made it hard to binge-read. It took me a long time to read, but I loved it and cried at the end. Definitely recommend. (See also:  The Round House)

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - Parts One and Two (Harry Potter, #8) by J.K. Rowling

I always get a hankering for Harry Potter around this time of year, probably because it's back to school season. I'm glad I read this book, but it's more of an appetizer than an entree. It's okay, but you're still hungry. 

End of Watch (Bill Hodges Trilogy, #3) by Stephen King

This is a really great ending to the trilogy. I've loved following all these characters. Great book, great trilogy. 

Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

I bought this to read on my Kindle during a flight to/fro Boston. I wanted something quick and easy to read, and I've enjoyed Rainbow Rowell's other books. This book is great! Unlike the other Rainbow Rowell YA books I've read, this one is about two women in their twenties, as opposed to teenagers. The two women are friends and co-workers at a newspaper. The story of their friendship is told through their daily work emails to each other. It's a surprisingly touching book, and a super quick read.

Bird by Bird:  Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott

I loved this book!! I just finished it and want to hug it. As someone who toys with the idea of writing something longer than blog posts, this book is a great motivator. The general life advice is great, and something I didn't expect to get out of this book, and the instructions and insight on writing are so simple and helpful. Very motivating book. Highly recommend. 

P.S. Forgot what else I've read this year? Here you go!

P.P.S. Are we friends on Goodreads?


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