About a year ago I hear about a woman in Utah who suffered burns on more than 80% of her body after a plane crash. She and her husband survived, but were left to navigate their new life. ‘Nie Nie’s Dialogues’ is a raw, touching and inspiring blog written by Nie Nie as she continues her life as a wife and mom. Only now she views life through the eyes of a woman whose outer appearance is radically different.

I began seeing people for who they really are.
I began seeing their soul.  The greatest thing that we can do as
a human race is to see each other the way God sees us: beautiful.
No matter if people have a disease, a handicap, or a burned face, their eyes
say something and most of the time they are saying:
“Look at me, not my trial.”
Pretty amazing, right? Click here to visit Nie Nie’s site. I dare you to try to be untouched by her strength, love, determination, resilience and beauty. 

Oh, and remember my lovely readers… shine brightly, every day, no matter how you look on the outside. This one lovely day, this extraordinary moment, is all yours to do with as you choose.

xo, Jen

TBWA quote

Sometimes I write about things that have nothing to do with food, but are equally as important to me. This is one of those times.

Food is my passion. Advertising is my career. Both are great loves that I’ve dedicated my life to, and help keep me balanced through all the ups and downs I’ve endured. One thing that both food and advertising have in common is creativity. In fact, creativity is something of an obsession in both the advertising and culinary businesses. I enjoy following chefs on Instagram and seeing them prepare food in a way I could never imagine about as much as I love siting down with a client who needs a new marketing plan for their brand.

So here are some of my favorite quotes that I find enlightening, and think you’ll find useful regardless of whether you work in advertising or not. Advertising pioneer Bill Bernbach has said “Creativity is the most practical thing a businessman can employ”, but I think creativity is the most liberating thing any person can employ. It opens minds, which always opens new doors.

I’ve adopted #1 as my personal motto.

1. “Just because you can do something, it doesn’t mean you need to — restraint is something I admire. At the end of the day, it is still a battle between good vs. crap.”  Dave Droga, founder of Droga5

And this is my second favorite.

2. “When you accept that you may fail, you can accomplish anything. Fear can be so debilitating. Every day I’m faced with difficult decisions, but losing the fear helps me make the right choices.”  Linda Kaplan Thaler, chair of Publicis Kaplan Thaler

Here are some other great ones…

3. “Creativity is like washing a pig. It’s messy. It has no rules. No clear beginning, middle or end. It’s kind of a pain in the arse, and when you’re done, you’re not sure if the pig is really clean or even why you were washing a pig in the first place.” — Luke Sullivan, author of “Hey, Whipple, Squeeze This”

George Lois got Roger Clemens to appear in this ad for free.

4. “Nothing comes from nothing. You must continuously feed the inner beast that sparks and inspires.” — George Lois, co-founder of Lois, Holland, Callaway

5. “Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while.”  Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple

6. “An idea can turn to dust or magic, depending on the talent that rubs against it.” Bill Bernbach, co-founder of Doyle Dane Bernbach

7. “Too many people, including the ad industry, believe the future is something that happens and just rolls them over in it’s wake.” Cindy Gallop, former chair of Bartle Bogle Hegarty

8. “Creative ideas flourish best in a shop which preserves some spirit of fun. Nobody is in business for fun, but that does not mean there cannot be fun in business.” — Leo Burnett, the Leo Burnett Company

9. Lee Clow of TBWA/Chiat/Day:

Lee Clow with quotes

10. “If you have anything really valuable to contribute to the world, it will come through the expression of your own personality, that single spark of divinity that sets you off and makes you different from every other living creature.” — Bruce Fairchild Barton, co-founder of Batten, Barton, Durstine & Osborn

11. Dan Weiden of Weiden + Kennedy:

Dan Wieden with quote


12. “You can’t just be you. You have to double yourself. You have to read books on subjects you know nothing about. You have to travel to places you never thought of travelling. You have to meet every kind of person and endlessly stretch what you know.”  Mary Wells Lawrence, co-founder and former president of Wells Rich Greene

Braniff air strip ad
One of Mary Wells Lawrence’s most famous ads.


13. “Creativity and innovation are about finding unexpected solutions to obvious problems, or finding obvious solutions to unexpected problems. We should use our creativity to provide better businesses and solutions rather than constantly trying to disrupt what people are doing.”  Rei Inamoto, chief creative officer at AKQA

14. “Advertising is not that original. For me, it’s,’ How can I put all the things together, combine and mix it into something that’s unique?”  Elvis Chau, executive creative director and partner, Anomaly Shanghai

Chau won a Cannes Lion award for this Samsonite ad in 2011.

15. “The best ideas come as jokes. Make your thinking as funny as possible.”  David Ogilvy, founder of Ogilvy & Mather

We all know we’re supposed to be grateful for what we have, right? That there are those less fortunate than us, those who suffer in ways we have never had to imagine and yet somehow continue to thrive. The father who picks his kids up from school every day in his electric wheelchair, and smiles brightly as he sees his kids run to him. The athlete who suffered a career changing injury and now coaches future hopefuls instead. The mom who lost her children in a terrible accident yet finds a way to continue to live.

We are often reminded of how our lives could be different.  Today I ran across a video that is SO powerful. In a world that caters to perfection, this touching short film reminds us that beauty comes in many forms. And if you haven’t reflected recently on how lucky you are to have your perfectly beautiful body, this is the time to do so.

Disabled mannequins will surely illicit astonished looks from passers-by on Zurich’s Bahnhofstrasse. In between the perfect mannequins, there will be those with scoliosis or brittle bone disease modelling the latest fashions. One will have shortened limbs while another a malformed spine. These mannequins are modeled after people who live with these disfigured bodies everyday. As one model says, it’s strange to see a mannequin shaped like her when she can barely stand to look in the mirror. How sad. And yet we are so consumed with creating a ‘perfect’ figure that most of us don’t stop to realize just how perfect our bodies are.

This powerful campaign has been devised for the International Day of Persons with Disabilities by Pro Infirmis, an organisation for the disabled. Entitled “Because who is perfect? Get closer.”, it’s designed to provoke reflection on the acceptance of people with disabilities. Director Alain Gsponer has captured the campaign as a short film.

Makes me wonder if those last 10 pounds I’m so focused on losing should occupy even a fraction of the space in my mind that they do.

Please SHARE with friends and family. This is such a great message.

Here’s a great image I found on Facebook that pretty much sums up how we feel! I always tell our son to remember what I was taught in science class so many years ago: GIGO.

Garbage in = Garbage out.

Treat your body with love and fuel it with food that serves both your body and soul.

Share this image if you agree!


I have to admit, I love being caught off guard; to be surprised by a genuinely honest action, a compassionate gesture, or the beauty of a pure soul. So it was with complete pleasure that I learned about Talia Leman today, a 17 year old high school senior, who at the young age of 10 decided she had to help the victims of one of the most devastating hurricanes in America’s history.

Hurricane Katrina left millions in New Orleans devastated, and Talia felt compelled to do something to help. So she rallied thousands of students in the U.S. to raise over $10 million to contribute to the survivors and victims of Hurricane Katrina. And she did this at the age of 10.

Watch her on the Today Show below:

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There are so many platforms to create change these days, yet I can’t  help but be amazed by her compassion, drive and dedication and admire her desire to lead that movement of change. And while her feet of raising more than $10 million for Katrina victims goes far beyond what most of us would ever dream of accomplishing in a lifetime, she wasn’t content to stop there. Now the high school student and founder of RandomKid has written a moving memoir titled “A Random Book about the Power of ANYone.” And she aims to help spread the word about how everyone of us can help touch the lives of those in need.

Here’s an excerpt from her book: 

Trust me when I say I never meant for this to happen. At the time, I was only trying to get through the fifth grade.

But it did.

This is a story about the power of ANYone.

It’s about a random kid who believes we can do anything we want in life, like not eat cottage cheese. A kid who loves science, but goes into a fog over the details of history. A kid who is a clumsy, offbeat dancer and a clumsy, offbeat speller, but who believes that clumsy is no reason not to dance and write anyway. A kid who got other kids to band together for a single cause and rivaled our giving power with top U.S. corporations. A kid who constantly gets in trouble for talking at school, but now gets asked to talk — all over the world.

And that kid is me. My name is Talia. I’m a random kid and this isn’t just my story.

It’s our story.


Impressed yet?

And as for randomkid.org, this is a site I’ll be reviewing with our son this weekend. Here’s a snippet from their mission:

On this site you will find everything you need to be successful for anything that inspires you in your efforts to help others–  from collecting funds, to collecting stuff, to collecting signatures from needing a 501C3 umbrella, to seed funds, to a private or public web page, to rallying others around your cause.


Seriously – she’s 17 folks! I’m inspired by her, and her drive to help others, and I can’t wait to explore randomkids more. As you probably know, I am all about living Inspired, and I think Talia Leman is the sheer definition of what it is to live your life Inspired.

Read more about Talia and Randomkids here – you’ll be glad you did!




Because this site is about overcoming health adversities that often leave us sad, tired, afraid and unsure about our future, I like to post fun and inspiring pictures, videos, stories, etc to help remind me (and you!) of what it’s all about. Growing up I remember being told to ‘stop and smell the flowers’ and most times  I ran right past them without noticing. It took some pretty heavy duty health issues to force me to stop and realize I was surrounded by flowers.

Today I do a much better job of noticing the lovely little things that life brings me. Flowers, children, animals, friends, family… I get it now.

And so today I’m sharing a video that no matter how many times I watch it, makes me smile every time 🙂 If you haven’t seen this yet, it’s a video of 1 year old twin girls who rock out to their dad’s guitar playing. What I love most about this video is how the girls look at each other when the music starts and smile the biggest smiles before they start dancing in their seats. Kinda makes you wonder – they clearly have a strong connection and feed off each other’s love of the music, that seems to transcend their little lives. 

I don’t know about you, but that inspires me. Life is full of little moments that often take my breath away, inspire, amaze or just make me happy, and this is definitely one of those. Enjoy!