All posts by Jackie Abrams

Madeline Puckette

Madeline Puckette

Interview: How to Develop your Wine Palate with Madeline Puckette 

Madeline Puckette is the founder of Wine Folly, a blog where wine is simplified. She’s been developing her palate and becoming an expert on educating people on wine.

Below is a summary of our interview:

Quote

“The more you know, the more you know you don’t know.”

As you become an expert in your field, you start to understand there’s so much more to know.

Her Journey

As a little girl, Madeline wasn’t really drinking that much wine, so it did not seem like an obvious choice back then. Madeline was really passionate about music, and she was a singer and music producer. When audio production was new, she got into audio production and went to school for music technology; singing and producing in Los Angeles trying to work with producers. She had all this half-way momentum, but it didn’t pan out. She just thought she wasn’t putting her full soul in her music.  Then she ended up moved out of LA and went to Reno, Nevada to step out of her situation and ended up in this dead-end job as a graphic designer.  And around 2008, she got laid off like everyone else in that market crisis era. Since she didn’t know what to do, she just went to a wine bar. Throughout the days at work one of the things she looked forward to afterward was drinking wine. At the wine bar, the bar owner noticed this passion in her, as she was trying to describe the flavors, so he gave her this book and told her if she read it, he’d let her work there part time. And Madeline, having just been laid off, was thinking, “I get to work at a wine bar? Cool!” Her boss had so much knowledge though, was always excited about inspiring her. She became a certified sommelier.  Madeline started interviewing for jobs in New York City, which didn’t go well.  But when she went back to Reno, she told her boyfriend it was beautiful in Seattle, so they moved to Seattle, WA. Madeline really loved the internet and wanted to talk about wine, so she combined the two passions.

Low Point

Saying goodbye to music was a big deal. It was a turning point. When she started Wine Folly in 2010, she had done it for two months, but then closed it. Finally, she opened it full-time December 2011.  Blogging is more than a full-time job. Every day there’s a new challenge to it.

Aha Moment

The time she created an Infographic called, “how to choose wine” and threw it up on Facebook, which got 1,000 shares in the first day. So that Infographic turned into several Infographics and wine maps, turning that into a way to make money. That was her aha moment.

Madeline’s work now 

Wine Folly is a free online resource to learn about wine. Wine is a little more interesting when you don’t just drink it and get drunk, you learn about culture and agriculture and understand how different people solve problems. The more you explore, the more developed you become more understanding about the world through the lens of wine. At the end of the day, you can enjoy the tastes of wine. What you like about wine is different than what someone else likes.  Even if you’re a moderate drinker, there are a lot of different healthy benefits for people.

You can learn more about oak-aging and how that makes wine taste like vanilla and butter, and that’s how to develop your palate.  Much more can be found over at Wine Folly. Did you know Sauvignon Blanc often tastes like gooseberries or that an Albarino has a lemon-y quality to it?  Her signature post on Wine Folly is an Infographic on wine and food pairing that is very clear and understandable, easy advice to follow.

 

What’s exciting Madeline now

In terms of Wine Folly, she’s creating educational content and make it much easier to find when people come to the site. She has new posters coming out, and other behind-the-scenes projects but she can’t talk about. However, she’s adding more wine experts that can provide more value.

Tired of waking up, going to work, and sleeping with no sense of progress? I am offering a free 30 minute one on one career coaching session just for you. In the session, I will help you create a career plan to make more progress in the next 3 months than this past year. Click here to schedule your session

Lightning Round

Book Madeline Recommends

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Helpful Habit:

She changes the music she listens to. It gets her to see things differently.

Helpful Person:

Her business partner, Justin, who is the CEO of the business. While she’s the wine expert, he’s the one who puts the tools in place to make Wine Folly work. He’s awesome, and he’s also her boyfriend. Business advice: If you don’t work out and you’re running a business together, then you were never meant to work out.

Internet Resource

EverNote – an app

What’s Your Purpose

To inspire people. That’s her job.

Where to follow Madeline

On Twitter, and on Instagram. Winefolly.com also has her information there. The best thing to do is to subscribe to their site to get e-mails. She can be found there, too.

One More Thing

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Virginia Kuhn

Virginia Kuhn

Interview: How to be Literate in Media with Virginia Kuhn

Virginia Kuhn is an associate professor  in the School of Cinematic Arts at University of Southern California. It’s the place to be if you’re interested in filmmaking.

Below is a summary of our interview:

Quote

“My strength is the strength of ten, because my heart is pure.” – Alfred Tennyson

Her Journey

Virginia’s undergraduate degree was in art history. But she was always torn between technology and the arts. When she graduated in the 80’s she was mostly interested in the careers that are not available to women.  She  thought art, land and gems were key. So, she managed jewelry; she got a real estate license and throughout this she had two daughters. She was a reluctant mother, but then she felt that was the best thing that ever happened to her and she couldn’t sustain the working life.  When her daughters were about 8 and 10, she just quit her job and enrolled in graduate school. She wound up doing her Masters and Doctorate in New Media and Digital Rhetoric. She wrote one of the first digital dissertations while she was at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee. Virginia found out University of Southern California had the longest running New Media program in the country which started in 1998. The notion was that students today have to write with the language of images. So the director there made a job for Virginia, and started her job at USC on August 5, 2005. It was an amazing path for her.

Low Point

When her marriage ended and Virginia became a single mother of two girls; her mother had died a way. She was taking the preliminary exams which you prepare for in a year and she needed to read 100 books and justify why they give you expertise in certain fields. Virginia did her exams over a weekend; in 48 hours, she wrote 45 pages that cited those 100 books. She thought the work that she was doing so desperately needed to be done.

Aha Moment

The way a fish takes to a water is the way she took to her graduate school work. Listening to Laura Ettinger’s podcast and her talking about teaching is the way Virginia feels about her classroom.  Her students are incredible. Her students have integrity. Many of them are first generation college students.

Virginia’s work now 

Her area of focus is on the media saturation today. We are always inundated with images and yet we need to be literate. We need to be able to decode these images and one of the ways we do that is by being able to write with images. The long term impact of images on our notions of identity are unknown, but Virginia wants every human to be literate with media. Her division isn’t really creating the next set of filmmakers, but many of her students end up being the media makers for entertainment. Virginia believes that part of being deeply digital means being discriminating about what goes in our eyes. Science suggests that we are impacted with pictures and it seeps into our consciousness. Staring up at the blue sky is a good way to get away from media.

What’s exciting Virginia now

She is going to take a sabbatical in order to do work on a project called Large Scale Video Analytics. Virginia is attempting to put massive video archives but no way to index them and understand their impact. Human reading is too time intensive and machine reading hasn’t progressed. So her team is applying several algorithms for computer vision and pairing it with human source tagging in order to do research. But it’s both challenging and exciting.

Tired of waking up, going to work, and sleeping with no sense of progress? I am offering a free 30 minute one on one career coaching session just for you. In the session, I will help you create a career plan to make more progress in the next 3 months than this past year. Click here to schedule your session

Lightning Round

Book Virginia Recommends

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Helpful Habit:

The “media blackout” but she likes keeping the Little Zen companion book next to her bed.

Helpful Person:

Her two daughters, Katie and Carly, who have actually been mentoring Virginia.

Internet Resource

The Internet Archive, which is a database of thousand of films in the public domain. There’s millions of books and soundtracks.

Codecademy

What’s Your Purpose

To be a marshal for those who don’t have what she has, that’s the social responsibility.

Where to follow Virginia

virginiakuhn.net

Parting Words

Don’t allow yourself to be pigeon-holed. Use the power of righteous indignation rather than righteousness.

One More Thing

If you enjoy this interview, please take some time to rate and review us on iTunes or Stitcher.

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Claire Cook

Claire Cook

Interview: How to Love Books with Claire Cook

Claire Cook is an inspirational author of Must Love Dogs, and other bestsellers. She did this at the prime age of 45. We talk about her journey and her new upcoming book. She felt it was worthwhile to follow her passions.

Below is a summary of our interview:

Quote

“It is never too late to be what you might have been.” — George Eliot

Her Journey

Claire is one of eight kids. She grabbed “writer” right away when she was a little girl. Her first story was published when she was 6. She was the one in high school writing poems. When she went to college, she majored in film and creative writing. Then she graduated and thought she could go write a book with her degree. However, she choked and didn’t do it.

So for decades, she hid from that lifelong goal. But she did a lot of other awesome things like open ocean rowing with middle schoolers, doing multicultural games and dancing. Fast forward decades and suddenly she’s at her daughter’s swim practice at 5:30 in the morning.

That whole long New England winter she wrote the draft of her first novel. After her second novel, which was Must Love Dogs, she was walking at the premiere of the movie which started. She was only 50 years old.

Low Point

Before she did it, the anxiety of making the decision, she was afraid to take the leap. It’s the perfectionism in all of us that can get to all of us. Just get your work out there.

Aha Moment

She had almost lived her whole life and never once go for it. Her first book was not a hit. It was published with a tiny publishing house, but she was still a success. Because the first one was well reviewed, agents started approaching her. Her second book had overnight offers.  Claire was just a teacher, but suddenly she can afford to do this for a living. To make a living at your art – it doesn’t get any better than that.

Claire’s work now 

She has been making a living as a writer since 2000. Her books are fun. Claire has read widely and voraciously. As a writer, she likes making people laugh and recognize things in their lives in her books. She writes about our lives outside the “formal front door.” Beach reads – you can call them.  There are also moments of heart. She’s best known for Must Love Dogs, but she has many more including Life’s a Beach, Seven Year Switch and Best Staged Plans. Her favorite book has always been the next one she will write. She can’t pick a favorite, but the next one is going to be better.

Claire is also really active on social networking.  She brings her readers into her books. In return, her readers give her a gift of this midlife career of hers.

What’s exciting Claire now

She’s looking forward to doing more speaking and writing the next book.

[easyazon_image add_to_cart=”default” align=”left” asin=”0989921085″ cloaking=”default” height=”160″ localization=”default” locale=”US” nofollow=”default” new_window=”default” src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51fG2X6nXML._SL160_.jpg” tag=”purposerockst-20″ width=”104″] Subscriber Bonus: Claire’s workbook and companion to Never Too Late

Lightning Round

Books Claire Recommends

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Helpful Habit:

Writing a little every day. 2 pages a day, 7 days a week.

Helpful Person:

Her mother who died when Claire was 10, but she knew Claire was a writer and she believed in Claire.

Internet Resource

JaneFriedman.com

What’s Your Purpose

To share and to allow her readers to feel a little bit better about their lives.

Where to follow Claire

Visit Clairecook.com and you can find her on Twitter.

Parting Words

Rise above the negativity. Every day somebody is gonna tell you why you can’t do what you want to do, but rise above it.

Tired of waking up, going to work, and sleeping with no sense of progress? I am offering a free 30 minute one on one career coaching session just for you. In the session, I will help you create a career plan to make more progress in the next 3 months than this past year. Click here to schedule your session

One More Thing

If you enjoy this interview, please take some time to rate and review us on iTunes or Stitcher.

Follow @PurposeRockstar

Alex Weaver

Interview: How to Be “In the Know” with Alex Weaver

Alex Weaver is the Managing Editor at BostInno, a blog and go to site for tech and news, for people who want to be “In the Know.” We talk about how he’s the modern day version of “Don Draper” making things happen.

Below is a summary of our interview:

Quote

“Keep your eye on the ball.”

His Journey

Alex was born and raised in southern Maine.  Growing up through high school, he was a big scholar athlete. Ended up going to Bowdoin College, still in Maine.  He wanted a small liberal arts college and stayed coastal. Then, like a lot of Mainers, he wanted to get out of the boondocks. He transitioned to San Francisco with his now wife did a lot of marketing and copywriting for a big fitness company. He loved that city and loved the job doing copywriting and marketing. After that, he decided the written word was what he wanted to do with his life. He got a Masters in Journalism at Northwestern. He wrote for a site in college called The Campus Word, with Chase the current founder of BostInno.  He figured at the end of grad school, he should check in with that colleague as whatever he’s doing i’s probably cool and media related and in Boston; it had all three. Alex has been at BostInno for 2 years, started as a business writer, moved over to lifestyle writer, and became Managing Editor for a year.

Low Point

His low point was monumental and pivotal – coming right out of copywriting and advertising firm was what he was put on this earth to do. Alex thought as an entry-level guy he could work his way up the ladder. What he found was the opposite. He had a hard time even getting in the door to talk to somebody. He was more than willing to start at the ground and it forced him to reevaluate some things and go a different direction. In Mad Men, Don Draper takes a mighty fall and that’s why he’s sort of referenced to Don Draper.

Aha Moment

The first one was senior year in college as a beer columnist for Bowdoin College where he reviewed beers. His first one was in print the following day. The second event was getting into Northwestern. He was not expecting to get in there. And the third moment was being tapped as the managing editor at BostInno before he was even 30. Recently, he did turn 30.

Alex’s work now  

BostInno is a technical innovative, digital news and event site, founded in Boston, also in Chicago (ChicagoInno) and D.C.(InTheCaptal). They push and focus on innovation. It has expanded to include education, city news, business, sports, health and fitness. It’s a full service site, but innovation is the backbone of their site. One way to differentiate themselves has been throwing a series of events of networking throughout the year.  As a managing editor, he oversees the content on the site and deadlines.

He is the 5th guest in “Jackie’s Fave 5”. Jackie needed to get Alex on the show. Despite hating Boston, she loves the daily e-mails. What distinguishes BostInno from the rest is that it’s a young group of smart individuals writing for a city full of young, smart people.

The Boston Marathon coverage really changed the way people saw BostInno. Tech innovation was always their core, but you have to write about the things that people are talking about.  Something on the horizon to check out is called 50 on Fire – the top 50 people in Boston who are “on fire.”

Lightning Round

Book Alex Recommends

Black Mass

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Helpful Habit:

Forcing himself to unplug from the world throughout the day. His life revolves around a laptop, a tablet, a phone and a TV. But you can learn a lot from just taking a stroll around downtown Boston.

Helpful Person:

His dad, who has been the best inspiration. Marcel Packet who’s a Chicago guy, where they met in Northwestern. He’s the most gifted editor. And last one is his wife. She’s a very refreshing soundboard for him at the end of the day.

Internet Resource

Twitter is the #1 way to pick up information from targeted demographics and targeted interests.

Atavist – a website and an app.

What’s Your Purpose

To not only tell the best stories in an interesting way, but to insight the reader to do something, to go try some fitness club, or trying a different suit, something that expands their minds and gets them out of their comfort zone.

Where to follow Alex

BostInno.com or Twitter

Top 3 Beer Recommendations

  • The Substance – Portland, ME’s answer to Vermont’s Heady Topper. “Get it.”
  • Lagunitas DayTime IPA – “Drinkable, experimental, tough to find. Nothing to not like there.”
  • Peeper Ale – Another from Maine – Alex’s review: “One of the best labels going, too.”

Parting Words

If there’s some company or job you want, a passion you want to pursue, don’t wait for the opening, go and make it happen for yourself. Push open the doors.

Tired of waking up, going to work, and sleeping with no sense of progress? I am offering a free 30 minute one on one career coaching session just for you. In the session, I will help you create a career plan to make more progress in the next 3 months than this past year. Click here to schedule your session

One More Thing

If you enjoy this interview, please take some time to rate and review us on iTunes or Stitcher.

Cheryl McNeil

Cheryl McNeil

Interview: How to Harmonize with Cheryl McNeil

Cheryl McNeil is a teacher of music at Boston Public Schools whose students come from all over the world. Being so dedicated as she is, she decided she would then visit other countries besides her own to learn from her students’ perspective.

Below is a summary of our interview:

Quote

“Every job is a self-portrait of yourself. The person who did autographed your work with excellence.”

The Journey

Since Cheryl was young, she’s always loved music and she always loved singing. In third grade, Cheryl was harmonizing with her mother at church. Harmonizing at church, she felt safe because everyone just smiled along.  Years later she searched for music jobs and found Music Therapy. Cheryl went on to pursue music therapy at Berklee College of Music.

After college, it was difficult to find a job. So Cheryl took one working with special needs students. It was one of the hardest and humbling jobs. She had to teach the same thing over and over. After that job, she found she could apply music therapy to any population and ended up working with older people.

Preparing lesson plans for the elderly led Cheryl to go down the road to try teaching in the classroom. She heard of an opening at a school in Boston that might be coming up. She ended up applying for the position and got it. She is now a teacher at Boston Public Schools.

When Cheryl needed to get a Masters, she signed up for grad school in Switzerland. Next summer, she’s going to Ecuador to brush up on her Spanish.

Low Point

Her first year of teaching, in the first day, a kid picked up his shoe and threw it at someone else and she had to figure out what she was going to do about it. And it was hard to figure out how she was going to be her best self in the next 6 months.

Aha Moment

She started keeping a journal where anything positive happened during the day, she’d remember it when she had a difficult moment. Little tiny victories, like getting a student to perform in front of his peers, for Cheryl make her believe she was in the right spot.

Cheryl’s work now 

She runs a music program (as a volunteer) for Zumix, a nonprofit in East Boston. Sheryl and her co-teacher teach kindergarten through 8th grade, including students with special needs. Her students come from 46 different countries.

Cheryl hopes to create a program for pop music song writing ensemble alongside music that honors the cultures and identities of her students. Her biggest challenge now is that she needs to better include students who are just learning English for the first time. To differentiate her teaching is her biggest struggle, but also something she’s excited about.

Tired of waking up, going to work, and sleeping with no sense of progress? I am offering a free 30 minute one on one career coaching session just for you. In the session, I will help you create a career plan to make more progress in the next 3 months than this past year. Click here to schedule your session

Lightning Round

Book Cheryl Recommends

Phillipa Gregory is Cheryl’s favorite author

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Helpful Habit:

Balancing her work and family and sports life.

Helpful Person:

Vice principal Mr. Johnson. She really appreciates him.

Internet Resource

Facebook page, Humans of New York.

What’s Your Purpose

To help others and to help spread knowledge. She wants to be a sponge and to change as a reflection of the individuals she comes into contact with.

Where to follow Cheryl

Her email: Cherylmcneil22@gmail.com

Parting Words

Something she learned was every single human being comes from a different place and experience. Nothing makes anyone better than other people so it’s important to be a sponge and learn from everyone and don’t take things personally.

One More Thing

If you enjoy this interview, please take some time to rate and review us on iTunes or Stitcher.

Follow @PurposeRockstar