KITCHEN CAM FOR A CAUSE

An intimate look at the culinary creativity of the world’s most famous chefs. 

This week the FOND Group unveiled the JBF Kitchen Cam, a real-time video feed streaming the fast-paced culinary action from the James Beard House in New York City’s Greenwich Village. The project aims to capture creative cuisine in progress, introducing an intimate, unscripted look at gastronomic excellence.

Stepping into this historic culinary enclave means entering the home of the man who can be regarded as the original Celebrity Chef. James Beard may be the original Celebrity Chef, paving the confit-laden path to cooking-show stardom for accomplished cooks whose careers may have stagnated in restaurant kitchens without his trailblazing appetite. Whether you’re a food freak or just someone who likes to eat well, it’s easy to appreciate the amount of edible history steeped into the walls of the Beard House.

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The menu for the evening.

Until now, an inside look at this illustrious kitchen was reserved for James Beard Foundation members or those lucky enough to grab a sought-after seat at a special dinner. With the launch of the JBF Kitchen Cam, the entire world can view the preparation of over 200 dinners a year, crafted by a rotating cast of innovative chefs.

On Monday night, I attended a cocktail party to celebrate the unveiling of the JBF Kitchen Cam. Daniel Boulud helmed the kitchen as the Cam streamed the sights and sounds across the Internet.

Walking into the House, I was hit with an immediate wave of enticing lemony herb-infused aroma and the clamor of the kitchen clanging through the small lobby area. Conducting his focused team like a maestro, the cool and collected Boulud talked to observers while laying down greens that would nest a Citrus-Cured Fluke with Shiso Bavarois and Ponzu Gelée. Pots of thick stock simmered like liquid gold and uniformly chopped herbs and vegetables stood neatly piled, waiting for plates.

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Boulud at work.

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Boulud shows the Kitchen Cam a recipe from his new book.

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The team poses for a celebratory selfie.

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It was truly impressive to see such controlled chaos in the cramped confines of the historically seasoned kitchen. A dozen of Boulud’s sous chefs toiled feverishly – press and general food fanatics filled the tight space while diners ambled through on their way to the cocktail area to enjoy appetizers and sip champagne.

Servers made rounds with trays of Duck Pâté en Croûte, Wild Mushroom Tarte Flambée and Watercress Velouté with Louisiana Crayfish, all drawn from Boulud’s new book DANIEL: My French Cuisine. The dishes both sparked appetites and fueled conversation about the inaugural night of the JBF Kitchen Cam; Boulud perfectly curated the start of this innovative culinary experience.

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As the cocktail hour wound down and guests were seated, Boulud took the floor. He spoke about the inspiration for his latest book and his deep appreciation for the James Beard Foundation. Then he noticed a diner watching the first-course plating via the JBF Kitchen Cam on her phone; he chuckled with delight. The evening lives on, online.  

 

The Modern Kale Debacle: Bo’s Fight

The man behind the t-shirts that started a war with fast food giant Chick-Fil-A

Bo Muller-Moore is attempting to trademark “Eat More Kale,” a slogan that he has been printing one-at-a-time on t-shirts for over a decade. Chick-Fil-A, a fast-food company that sells over 800 chicken sandwiches a minute, has sent Bo a cease and desist letter and is also attempting to block Bo’s application for a trademark, claiming he is harming their Eat Mor Chikin campaign.
Steven Roux is an organic farmer/writer who works by day for acclaimed Microgreens grower Good Water Farms.

Steven: You’ve described yourself as a “Neolithic stencil artist.” Since I first ordered a shirt from you and received a signed photo along with it, I’ve thought of you as a chill dude living in Vermont who designed an Eat More Kale t-shirt that evolved from a comical decree to eat more nutritious super foods into a mantra for conscious living.  The signed photo of you, Bo, genuinely beaming with a hand written thank-you, was great personal touch that resonated with me—I was living in Brooklyn at the time and everywhere I wore the shirt, complete strangers complimented or made funny remarks to me, in which I would retort with a question: “Have you heard of these shirts before? And the debacle the designer is having with Chick-Fil-A?” For every time this happened, for every time I explained the Cease and Desist letter and Chick-Fil-A’s claim that your harming the intellectual property of their Eat Mor Chikin campaign, I not only made whomever stranger I was talking interested in your case, I made them visibly upset by the ordeal.

Bo: It’s a universal thing. I’m grinning because I’m lucky to hear stories like yours all the time. Last week it was my friend telling me how he was down in Miami where everyone was more beautiful than the next person, and he was walking along the boardwalk, getting more looks than he’s ever had, and he starts wondering—“Wow is it my hair? Is it my tan?” Then he realized—“Oh it’s my goddamn shirt!”

Steven: The Kickstarter campaign for Jim Lance’s film about your case,  “A Defiant Dude,” raised almost $15,000 more than its goal of $75,000 back in March. How has production been? Are we basically waiting for the outcome of the case?

Bo: Yes. Some might think he could have the film three quarters of the way finished, but the filmmaker—Jim, it’s his film—assures me that he needs to have an ending before he can craft the rest of the film. He does have over 300 hours worth of footage, he literally crossed the United States twice last summer with a film crew interviewing everyone from lawyers and intellectual property specialists to moms and pops, real people in various businesses being affected by corporate bullies. I haven’t seen too much of the footage, but it’s real American heartland stuff, you know, not left wing rebellious hippie stuff. The trademark office is supposed to come up with a ruling this month. They’ve had six months to respond to our final argument that we submitted on September 26th.

Bo hard at work screening in his Vermont shop.
Bo hard at work screening in his Vermont shop.

Steven: And you’ll receive the trademark?

Bo: I’m not fighting at this point to win a trademark. For the last two and a half years I’ve simply been fighting to get my application in the game, to be considered for a trademark. In this case, before I even make it to the public arena for debate, Chick-Fil-A sent a letter of protest saying, ‘Hey trademark office, this trademark is so egregious he doesn’t deserve the due process.’ They don’t want a public debate; they’re trying to stop me at the starting line.

Steven: And they’ve stopped others before.

Bo: They sent me a list of 40 businesses that they’ve shut down.

Steven: Eat more goat, eat more broccoli…

Bo: One was a race car team call Eat More Gas… When you get that cease and desist letter, it looks so official most people’s first thought is either to shut it down or go talk to a lawyer for $400 an hour. If it wasn’t for our local lawyer agreeing to do it for free and immediately soliciting the help of the University of New Hampshire’s law school, I wouldn’t have been able to do this for a minute.

Visiting the Good Water Farms Team (FOND Client and Day Job of the Writer, Steven Roux)
Visiting the Good Water Farms Team | From Left: Isaac Algarin (Good Water Farms Grower), Brendan Davison (Good Water Farms Founder), Nicole Delma (FOND Founder), Steven Roux (Writer and Good Water Farms Grower)

Steven: In the trailer for the film you acknowledge your awareness of Chick-Fil-A’s aggressive and victorious history with like-minded trademark seekers in the past, but you clearly remain undaunted toward their corporate advantage. Perhaps it’s because you have an enormous amount of support by Team Kale devotees from State Governors to Anderson Cooper that believe this is corporate bullying and that Chick-Fil-A should try eating more kale-slaw.

Bo: I was kind of in the perfect storm; I think I’m the perfect character to fight back. I grew up on the south, the way the Chick-Fil-A family did… I don’t know them personally but I’m from the same cut of fabric as them. On the face of this, everyone sees a chubby hippie from Vermont fighting God-fearing southern folks but in reality we know the same language, we wrestled at the same schools, water skied in the same lakes… I’m not that different from them, we grew up within miles of each other.

Steven: The first t-shirt you ever designed was your classic “Cheese” print you made on a silk screen you received from your wife as a gift….

Bo: Yup, it was Valentines Day, 1999.

Steven: How did you first become interested in printing shirts?

Bo: I was working at a high school in Montpelier, I had just moved to Vermont and was working in the Learning Services Department, the Special Education Department, and this was when Gap and Old Navy were huge, and all the kids had shirts with brands across the front, and the individual in me started to go crazy…. it was also the time we started to learn about sweat shops and conscientious shopping. That and I used to doodle in my notebook during meetings and my wife saw them and said that’d be cool tattoos or shirts.

The screen that started it all. Shop Eatmorekale.com for these and other styles, stickers and to donate to Bo's legal fund.
The screen that started it all. Shop Eatmorekale.com for these and other styles, stickers and to donate to Bo’s legal fund.

Steven: Along with working on the film, you’ve just launched a new website with sweet new merch like aprons, beanies, even Eat More Kale yoga mats. Also new to Eatmorekale.com is a wholesale section, where you can order larger quantities of shirts or hoodies for entire families of veg-heads or even to sell at a local farmers markets. There’s also a “Design of the Week” now, will these designs be exclusively by you, Bo, or will other local artists be involved?

Bo: My family will make them, the one that’s up this week my 8-year-old daughter made, and the one I’m posting next week my wife made. In the past ten years I’ve cut 450 stencils and people used to really respond to them at my booth, but when I made the site it wasn’t practical to have so many in addition to the popular EMK shirt. So I whittled it down to some best sellers, but it dawned on me to have a design of the week for some deeper cuts. Variation is fun.

Steven: You’ve also described yourself as a folk artist. Have these last two and a half years of legal distress tarnished the lyrics from Willie Dixon’s’ ‘Back Door Man’ for you? The song later covered by The Doors…  In both songs the lyrics: “I eat more chicken, Than any man ever seen” are bellowed.

Bo: I hasn’t ruined the song, but you know what is has kind of ruined? I used to like a good fried chicken sandwich, at a nice southern diner. Maybe a local chicken breast fried up would be okay… But the EMK guy doesn’t eat chicken sandwiches anymore.

Steven: Has your struggle been worth it so far? Would make that first Eat More Kale shirt all over again if you had the chance?

Bo: A typical thing I hear from people—and it really hits the spot—is, and I’m paraphrasing: “It must feel all encompassing sometimes, and we’re here to remind you that this is a fight that’s really worth fighting.” So on the days when I wish I’d never heard of Eat More Kale, and that doesn’t happen very often, but just when you start thinking that, that’s when you get an 80-year-old in a nursing home in Kentucky sending you a check for your legal fund…. I’d for sure make that first shirt over again.  When we were at Bush gardens last week, I had 5-10 people approach me while I was wearing the shirt, and most knew of the shirt but didn’t recognize me as the maker, but 2-3 people knew who I was and my 8 year old was thrilled. To be a rock star in the eyes of your daughter is worth it right there… I’ll be a real zero to her in a few years when she’s a teenager, but that night I tucked her in she was still talking about the people who knew me.

 

A special thanks to both Bo and Steven who put a substantial amount of time and heart into bringing us inside this perplexing story. Your hard work is appreciated.   –Nicole Delma, FOND Founder
 
Support Bo’s Cause and SHOP or DONATE NOW: 
Kale Sale
SHOP OR DONATE AT EATMOREKALE.COM
 
 

The James Beard House Kitchen Cam Live with Daniel Boulud

By John Figlesthaler

Since 1986, the James Beard Foundation (JBF) in New York City has been the premier institution at the peak of the gourmet high ground. A culinary sanctuary for chefs pushing gastronomic boundaries, reinterpreting tradition and simply cooking the best food out there, there is no place like the James Beard House.

Starting Monday, March 31, 2014, the FOND Group is bringing the world a candid look into this eater’s paradise through the JBF Kitchen Cam. Live streaming from three intimate camera angles, the JBF Kitchen Cam will share true culinary artistry, in real time, capturing the painstaking preparation, calculated intensity and the ensuing splendor.

We invite you behind the closed doors of one of the most celebrated kitchens in the world with the launch of the JBF Kitchen Cam. Offering a rare look into this culinary epicenter, we are honored to be joined by none other than Daniel Boulud for the unveiling of the JBF Kitchen Cam with the sold-out “Dinner with Daniel.”  Boulud will draw inspiration from his latest cookbook and memoir, DANIEL: My French Cuisine.

Photo by Daniel Krieger
Photo by Daniel Krieger

Whether an aspiring chef, die-hard gourmand, or someone who simply enjoys fine food, the JBF Kitchen Cam offers an inspiring glimpse into the world of James Beard. On over 200 nights a year, the world will now be able follow the feed to watch celebrated chefs from far and wide as they create unforgettable meals in this illustrious kitchen.

The JBF Kitchen Cam is the brainchild of the FOND Group’s own Josh Elkes and his father, Steven Elkes, who have also created The Elkes Family Culinary Scholarship, supporting aspiring chefs who are pioneering the future of the way we eat.

Get to know past scholarship winners here.

In addition, chef Boulud will be participating on a live Twitter chat on Thursday, March 27th at 11:00 a.m. EST. If you’d like to join in the conversation, use the hashtag #ChefChat and follow @BeardFoundation  @DanielBoulud @fondgroup

See Full Press Release on the JBF Kitchen Cam Launch .

Getting a Pure Fix

If you know a biking barista or watched Joseph Gordon-Levitt dodge bad guys while racing through the streets of New York in Premium Rush, you probably have a vague sense of urban cycling style. The fixed-gear bikes are sleek, efficient, and often glamorously brakeless. These are no lazy cruisers or thick-tired mountain bikes. They’re lightweight and versatile. If you’re buying a Pure Fix bike, it might also be charitable or glow-in-the-dark.

Zach Schau started Pure Fix with his little brother Jordan and two friends, Michael Fishman and Austin Stoffers, after they found “nothing cool for under a thousand bucks” on the fixie bike market. Over winter break, Schau’s crew brought in 165 bikes, “made a shitty website,” and sold stylish, quality-built rides at $325.00 apiece. By the time they went back to school, they’d sold out.

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Nicole, Jordan, and Zach in the Pure Fix Warehouse. (Photo by Jesse Anthony Spooner)

“We sold out in two weeks and we thought it would take like six months,” Schau says. “So we knew we were on to something. We quadrupled our order and invested more. Then that cycle kept happening.” Fast forward a couple years, and Pure Fix now employs 18 people in an expansive office in Burbank, California. Their 30,000 square foot US distribution center is nearby.

Schau is especially stoked that more of Pure Fix’s business comes directly from web sales, thanks in part to social media and content-centric campaigns. The company produces Pure Fix TV, an encyclopedic video series with topics ranging from “How to stop” to “How to ride backwards.” Pure Fix Features hosts more atmospheric compilations of fixie riders pedaling around LA and New York backed by rap or Florence + the Machine.

The combination of FAQ-focused content and nonchalant kids out on the town strikes a winning balance between cool and approachable, Schau hopes. “Cool in the sense that we like to be those cool kids with the new product that the New York Times is featuring, with the cool site and the shit that glows in the dark. But also we’re not so intimidating, we’re not like the badass company that some other companies try to be. We try to be as approachable as possible.”

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Nicole chatting with Zach at Pure Fix HQ (Photo by Jesse Anthony Spooner)

Pure Fix culture also grows through collaborations with non-profits. They donate bikes to help raise money for local charities like HOLA and LGLA, most recently working with charity:water to create a custom line of bicycles, launched in October. For each bike sold, Pure Fix donates $100.00 to charity:water. So far they’ve given $20,000.

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Through charitable work and multi-layered content, Pure Fix has avoided the exclusive feel that often comes with a niche lifestyle brand. Schau wants everyone to have a place at Pure Fix and, in a short period of time, he’s shown that fixies go far beyond badass bike messengers and hipster baristas.

Disposable straws are for suckers

Every time I head out the door with my Simply Straws mason jar and reusable glass straw, I can count on at least a few people stopping me to ask where I got it. Like environmentally conscious bees to organic honey, people flock to ask about this simple but totally practical drink carrier…

“Wow, is that a GLASS straw?”
“Oh my gosh, is that a mason jar?”
“So, COOL! Where can I get one?”

More than once, I’ve actually had people try to buy the very jar and straw I am drinking from (full of my half drank smoothie) right out from under me. Hands off people!

Get Yours! While I’m not so quick to part with mine, I am really excited to team up with the awesome folks at Simply Straws to offer this colorful Glass Straw Trio and Carrying Sleeve (valued at $50) for one of our awesome readers this month.

The giveaway, pictured below includes:
1 – Simply Straws 3 Straw Sleeve in Denim
1 – Simply Skinny 6 inch straw in Clear
1 – 
Simply Classic 8 inch straw in Teal (with straw cleaner)
1 – Simply Wide 10 inch straw in Vibrant Blue (with straw cleaner).    
Enter at the Bottom of the Page. You are welcome.

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The Simple Skinny.

Why Simply Straws are so amazing: 
A family owned business, Simply Straws was founded 2011 with the goal of offering a superior product that would solve a need in the dental space while addressing associated issues such as a reduction in toxic chemicals (like BPA) and elimination of environmental waste.  Comprised of some truly impressive individuals including a Pro-Snowboarder and Environmental Activist (Chanelle Sladics), a Dental Hygienist of 31 years (Cyndi Sladics), a lifelong skilled Craftsman (Steve Sladics) and an EMT and glassworker (Trent Sladics), the Sladics family operates the company in accordance with core values such as honesty in marketing and environmental activism. In short, you can trust that you are getting a quality product that is good for you, good for the environment, ethically produced and sourced and that the money you spend goes right back towards supporting more good stuff. Read more on the Sladics here.

Why you should care:
An estimated 500 million plastic straws are used and disposed of daily in the US alone. Individually, plastic straws seem pretty harmless but collectively Americans throw out enough straws each day to fill 147 40-foot long school buses. That is 46, 400 school buses full of nasty plastic straws every year! Unacceptable.

Schoolbuses

The Benefits of Glass Straws:
Too many to list but here are a few…

  • Non Toxic – regular straws are laden with carcinogens such as BPA 
  • Dentist and Hygienist Recommended to reduce staining and sensitivity
  • No more plastic waste
  • Kid friendly
  • Customizable for special occasions, awesome branding opp!
  • Dozens of cool colors, shapes, sizes to choose from
  • Family-owned business where you know your $ are going back to support good things

In love with Simply Straws but can’t wait to win?
Email us at info@fondgroup.com and we are happy to answer any questions you have on commercial or bulk orders including custom engraving and to put you in touch with the right folks at Simply Straws. You can also go direct to the SimplyStraws.com Website to browse and place individual order. So many awesome products and colors to choose from, here are a few:

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And finally, ENTER TO WIN!
Sorry, this contest has ended. Please check back for future giveaways and follow FOND Group on Instagram to stay in the know!

 

Animoto’s Stevie Clifton on Success & The Art of Giving Back

FOND Group catches up with an old by friend by way of a new one. 

People of Purpose | Stevie Clifton

By Hillary Kaylor

What do we talk about when we talk about social media in 2013? With teens fleeing Facebook, heated Twitter stock debates, and marketers looking at monetizing every possible digital moment, it’s no wonder that most people are fatigued on the topic. But when really investigating social media’s landscape and some of the recent backlash behind it, we’ve found it’s because the connectivity and community that makes virtual sharing so important has increased while the thoughtfulness behind that community has decreased. Certainly selfies have a time and a place; so long as they’re countered with an output of real purpose, expression, and art.

Enter Animoto: a bicoastal-based video creation service where users can upload their pictures and video clips, and, with the help of some very high-level production technology, turn those clips into a gorgeous, cinematic work of sharable art. A natural fit for consumers who want to share their thoughts in a more compelling way, but as co-creator Stevie Clifton found, Animoto is also making a difference by bringing literally millions of unlikely artists, photographers, schools, humanitarians, and non-profits together.

How was Animoto founded? Did you see a need not being filled in the community?

My good friend Jason (Hsiao) and I both moved to NYC to work in the film and television industry over 10 years ago.  After working for a few years (he in production and me in motion graphics work), we started to get a bit antsy, and began meeting weekly to brainstorm fun ways to bring production-quality video to “normal” people. We both had backgrounds in computer science, and we knew there had to be way to make beautiful video creation accessible to more people.  After hitting on the idea of Animoto, we looped in my brother Tom (Clifton) and our friend Brad (Jefferson), worked on prototyping the concept for awhile, and had our first working version of the site in early 2007.

Can you walk us through the process of a project like this from inception to delivery?

After coming up with the initial idea, Jason and I created a founding team with a diverse set of strengths.  In addition to complementing each others’ skill sets, we also trusted each other. This allowed each of us to focus on the things we were good at and get a lot done quickly.

Once we all had conviction about the idea, we committed.  At the beginning, most of us were working part-time on the project, but if you stay in that mode too long, you’ll never make the progress you need to make.  Once we realized this, we quit our jobs and dove in.

We then focused on getting a working concept as quickly as possible so that we could get feedback from real people.  Without that, I think we could have made a lot of missteps along the way, or spent a lot of time working on things of little value to our users.

How did you realize that Animoto could serve the philanthropic community as a whole? Once you did, how did you change your product?

When we first launched Animoto, we thought that it was going to be a great fit for consumers who wanted to share their memories. But we noticed that photographers, businesses, nonprofits, and schools were pretty active too. It makes a lot of sense. Video is a powerful medium for communicating a message, so when you make it easy for people to create video to share their message, you open up the doors to a lot of different people.

When we noticed that a lot of nonprofits were using Animoto to try to spread the message about their cause, we decided to give them free access to our Pro features with our Animoto for a Cause initiative, which we launched in 2009.

Over the years I’ve spoken at various nonprofit and humanitarian organizations to help them understand how to share their message more effectively using video and Animoto (e.g. at the UN and Rising Tide Capital), and it’s been really fun to see the ways in which people are using it.

 “…With Animoto for a Cause we have the potential to help real causes and real people, which is satisfying.  I was tempted to give you guys major props based on the famous partners we’re working with, or the amount of press/exposure we’ll get through this, but even more important is the fact that we’ve found a way to use our product, a fun video creation platform, for real humanitarian work.” 

 –Tom Clifton, Co-Founder, Animoto

What advice would you give to someone who doesn’t know where to start in terms of becoming mindful and starting consistent charitable work?

There are three things that helped me get involved and stay consistent.

1) Just start.

I think the most important thing is just show up. There are a ton of opportunities, and many are probably closer than people think. Don’t try to find the best opportunity; just find one that’s close and start showing up.

Nine years ago I started volunteering at the breakfast program my church puts on for the local hungry and homeless, and I’ve been doing it ever since.  At the time, all I knew is that I wanted to find a local volunteering opportunity because if it was far away, I’d be too lazy to stick with it.  Finding something local is great because it helps open your eyes to some of the pain that’s right in front of you, but invisible until you know where to look.  I bump into people who come to get breakfast at our church frequently in our neighborhood, and being confronted with need keeps me from getting too comfortable.

2) Commit to something

I think the longer you wait to commit to doing charitable work, the less likely you’ll ever do it.  You only get busier and take on more responsibilities as you get older, so it’s not going to get any easier.

My wife and I have committed to giving away a minimum of 10% of our income to charitable causes, and we’ve been doing it since we got married nine years ago.  We didn’t make much money back then, but we both had a strong conviction that it was the right thing to do.  Since then we now have a lot more financial commitments–we have two kids, more bills, a mortgage, school tuition to pay, etc.  If we hadn’t committed to doing this together, we wouldn’t still be doing it.

3) Know your reason

Knowing why you want to be charitable is an important part of continuing to do it long term.  There’s no right answer here, but I think without feeling a sense of purpose behind what you’re doing, it’s going to be really hard to give money away when you have a big credit card bill one month, or to show up at 6am on a Sunday morning to serve people breakfast when your kids kept you up the night before.

Were you involved in philanthropy as a kid? Family? Religion? Community?

I wasn’t involved in philanthropy in the typical sense growing up, but I was exposed to it in its more traditional sense of “hospitality” throughout my childhood.  I was brought up with my five siblings in a pretty devout Christian family, with parents who demonstrated a sacrificial hospitality to anyone who came across our doorstep.  They are rare people who care more about relationship than dogma and are some of the most generous and empathetic people I know.  Even though it must have been crazy raising six kids, they always had an open door policy for anyone that needed help.  We constantly had people from all walks of life living with us when they needed a safe place to stay.

As an aside, I think it’s sometimes easier to be “philanthropic” these days than hospitable, especially with how much more isolated we are. To a lot of people, philanthropy is giving money away to organizations that need it, or going out and volunteering at an event.  This is important stuff, but I think true philanthropy is welcoming people into your life, especially people that are different from you.  It’s easier to sacrifice money or a little time than to sacrifice comfort by really engaging with people.

What’s the most rewarding thing about running your business today?

The people. It sounds clichéd, but it’s true. I look forward to going to work every day because I like the people I work with and respect them.

How would you like your legacy on this earth to be defined?

One of my favorite quotes is from Peter Maurin, a founder of the Catholic Worker movement.  His goal was “to make that kind of society where it is easier for men to be good.”  That’s such a wonderfully practical formulation. I’d be pretty happy if I felt I had somehow made the world a place where it’s easier for people to be good. I think it’s getting awfully hard to be good in the world.

Why does doing good feel good for the world and for you? 

I think it’s because it reminds me that the boundaries between me and other people are porous. We’re actually all connected in really tangible ways, if we let ourselves see it. It’s both extremely comforting for me, but also a call to action.

If there is just one thing readers of this should take away from your project and your personal mission statement—what is it?

Don’t wait until you have it all figured out. The most important thing is to recognize your desire to be philanthropic and then just start somewhere!

About Animoto

Animoto

In the works since 2005, Animoto was founded with the vision of inspiring people to share their lives through the magic and power of video. Animoto’s founders include veterans of the entertainment industry and have produced shows for MTV, Comedy Central, & ABC, studied music in London, and played in indie rock bands in Seattle.

Today, Animoto is a video creation service (online and mobile) that makes it easy and fun for anyone to create and share extraordinary videos using their own pictures, video clips, words and music.

Simply upload your pictures and video clips, choose your style, add words and music, and click the “produce video” button. Then, Animoto’s cinematic technology does its magic and in minutes brings it all to life with a beautifully orchestrated production you can share with family and friends.

Millions of people actively use Animoto for everything from special occasions like birthdays, weddings and trips, to sending a quick special greeting, or just to share everyday moments.

Based in New York City with an office in San Francisco, The entire Animoto team is a passionate and innovative group devoted to helping more people experience the power of video for sharing their lives.

Is Altruism the Real Key to Success?

Peer to Peer Tutoring: What’s In It For You When You’re Not In It For You

By Michael Tringe, Co-Founder of CreatorUp!

Let’s take a look back at our learning experiences – who did you really learn the most from?  Was it your professors, or your classmates?

Professors and teachers are important.  They hold the knowledge.  And often times, they know it all to well.  Sometimes the lectures are insightful, boring, brilliant, or inspiring.  But when it gets down to the nitty gritty of learning the stuff – how does it really actually happen?

Often times – we work together to help each other learn, without even knowing that we do.  Do we charge each other?  Of course not.  That would ruin the whole concept of I’ll help you if you help me.  Peer to peer tutoring is a clunky way of saying, let’s help each other learn.

While there are a slew of sites that focus on peer to peer tutoring and more are being added each day (see below for a list), it’s a concept that happens naturally all the time.  While alumni groups, networking functions and conferences all aim to serve this purpose, there is a contrived element to each of these formal groups that immediately puts people on guard and can inhibit true sharing.  On the other hand, if you observe the way people interact when they are not seeking to gain but are genuinely interested in helping each other without all of the formality, you will see that it is  arguably quite a bit more effective at inspiring sharing and growth.

“I’ve noticed that those who embrace the concept of making the time to help others without asking or expecting anything in return tend to be better off themselves. I believe this is because intention is everything and people genuinely want to help those who want to help them. It’s amazing how often those who are always focused on their own needs are also those who struggle finding the right job, right apartment, right resources,” said Nicole Delma, Founder of FOND and The Usual Crew, a NY-based ‘Non-Networking’ Group.

For the altruistic few who help others regularly without a formal negotiation as to what they expect to receive in return, there is a broad net of peers surrounding them and ready to pitch in when the need arises.  This net of supporters is effortless and constant and is at the core of the advantage an altruistic person has over a counterpart who has led a life/career of constantly putting his or her own needs first. You can be selfish short term but long term, it only pays off for a very select few.

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Michael Tringe works with attendees interested in learning about content production and strategy at CreatorUp!

While the notion of helping others, especially our peers (potential competition)  is somewhat counter-intuitive for those of us who were raised in a culture of competition, I’ve also seen it work time and time again in some of the most cutthroat environments where not collaborating means not succeeding. When I was undergrad and pre-med – there was a whole lot of study grouping going on after dinner in the cafeteria.  It was a ritual.  If I hadn’t had my classmates there to help me out – I wouldn’t have made it through the class.  Harvard pre-meds weren’t all as cutthroat as they were made out to be – there was a group of us that were, well – down right collaborative.

In the world of arts education too – filmmaking almost never happens entirely with one person.  There’s lots of feedback from classmates about what’s working in a story, and what’s not.  Of course – in an arts setting where everything is relative – we tend to take some classmates’ feedback more seriously than others, but there’s a general rule that the consensus is usually helpful around helping to clarify story, plot, emotion, and character.

Online education gets a bad wrap for sometimes not being collaborative at all.  Isolating.  Unmotivating.  Or even downright depressing.  But the solution to all of this is each other.  We can become invested in one another’s education by sharing our educational experience – learning from each other’s questions – and getting deep into the problems that are stumping us and the solutions that are really working.

One of the reasons I love education is because it is so much about sharing and communication of ideas.  Debate.  Analysis.  All of these things can happen online at no cost once we create the community and the ecosystem to have these interactions.  So my challenge to you is to create a small community for some good old peer to peer tutoring (or whatever you want to call it) around a topic you care about – teach each other, share your knowledge, and not just good – but great things will happen.

Here are few of our favorite Peer to Peer learning sites to help get you started:
Here is to successful learning!
Michael Tringe
Click to View CreatorUp Video Tutorials
Click to View CreatorUp Video Tutorials

Michael Tringe

Mike Tringe is the co-founder of CreatorUp, the e-learning platform to make and market video content.  He is passionate about making an excellent arts education accessible to everyone. You can reach Mike at Mike@creatorup.com to learn more about courses or inquire about teaching one yourself.

The Healing Initiative|Travel + Leisure’s Jimmy Farren Hickey

“So much of the news media today is fear based. When I watch it I find myself saddened at the condition of our planet. It all starts to look so hopeless.”

So starts the unlikely but entirely salient mission statement of The Healing Initiative, an online project from Jimmy Farren Hickey, the Digital Creative Services Director at Travel + Leisure. After many years of doing both design and wholeness work, Jimmy found that there wasn’t an outlet within our 24-hour news cycle that spoke to him in an engaging and positive way. News coverage, as we all know, tends to focus on only the bad, pushing human-interest stories to the backburner, often turning them into silly puff pieces. With Jimmy at the helm, The Healing Initiative flips the script. As he states, “I wanted to celebrate the goodness and divinity in people.” And he does.

TheHealingInitiative
The Healing Initiative is a visual catalog showcasing the works of healers, literary and anti-bullying activists, teachers, mediums, and more. Updated bi-monthly, The Healing Initiative is a digital domain of actionable optimism. The well-designed site reads less like a feed and more like a coffee table book. Visit.

Hillary Kaylor: What was your a-ha moment to start your project?

Jimmy Farren Hickey: Sometimes it seems as though the world is full of fear and hatred. When I watch the news I find myself saddened at the condition of our planet. It all starts to look so bleak. But I’ve met some amazing people in this lifetime, people who are making a difference in my life and the lives of countless others. I am so grateful to be in the world with these men and woman, and grateful for the impact they have in healing the planet.

At the beginning of this year I felt a calling to do something. I too wanted to be a part of this healing movement. So I went to the dictionary and looked up the word “heal” and found this definition: “to restore to wholeness”, which somehow seemed like an easier job than mending bones or curing cancer. When using this definition I immediately understood that inside of me I had the potential to heal. Then this summer while traveling through Ireland I discovered that my last name means “one who heals”. So this just had to happen.
Can you explain the mission statement of your project and how you go about finding subjects for it?

The mission of The Healing Initiative is to highlight the faces and stories of compassionate individuals who have made it their life’s work to restore the Earth and all its inhabitants to wholeness. I find subjects by looking through my own friends and by word of mouth. There’s nothing I love more than having someone tell me about someone doing amazing work. Those are the stories I long to hear. I am so grateful to have found a project that’s all about meeting and photographing amazing people.

HK: Have you been involved in philanthropic efforts before and why? Family, friends, church?

JFH: I grew up doing volunteer work in the church and in the community with my mother. There were times we had nothing, but we still helped others. It was a given. It might be something as simple as making a plate of cookies or it might mean devoting several hours or a weekend of our time, but my mother understood the importance of compassionate acts.

HK: Why do you think most people are not involved in philanthropic efforts on a regular basis?

JFH: I would guess that most people aren’t involved in philanthropic efforts because they don’t know how it good it makes you feel to help others. The feeling you get when helping others is unbeatable. I think people probably also have this idea that they have to do something really big in order to change the world, but the truth is that the smallest acts can add up to a world of difference.

HK: Do you think that spirituality and the so-called meaning of life can be achieved through helping others?

JFH: Absolutely. I would go as far to say that helping others is a spiritual act. It might be nice to live alone in a cave in India and meditate toward enlightenment, but I think the biggest spiritual growth happens as a result of our interactions with others on this planet. It’s through walking into difficult and challenging situations that we grow the most. When we look deep we often discover that the challenging situation is our own fear, our own ego. Helping others is a way of doing battle with our fears. When you’re feeling alone, in need of help or just stuck in fear… that’s the best time to help someone else.

HK: What would you like your legacy in this world to be?

JFH: I would hope that I could live every day on this planet with love and integrity and that I always remember to express gratitude for the blessing and tremendous challenges of being human. If other people learned this from watching me, then that would be a life well lived.

HK: How can someone who is just starting out pick and join a cause?

JFH: I highly recommend sites like nycares.com, where you can search through hundreds of volunteer opportunities and find one that you have an affinity with. I would also say that we can do service every day through acts of compassion, love and kindness with the people who are in our lives every day. Do something good for your friends and family today. Send love to the people who challenge you most. All of these acts add up quickly and can change the world. And if you don’t see the impact these acts have on the world, I promise you that you will feel the impact they have on you.

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Jimmy Farren Hickey

Raised in rural Nebraska, Jimmy grew up dividing his time between working cattle with his father and doing craft projects with his mother. At age 4 he announced to the world that he would one day move to New York City, which he did at age 26.

Jimmy has enjoyed a diverse work history that includes time spent as: a cowboy, a waiter, a cook, an art consultant, a web designer, an illustrator, a creative consultant for reality TV, an editor, an editorial director, and a creative director. He is currently the digital creative services director for Travel + Leisure, Food & Wine and Departures at American Express Publishing (the views expressed on this website are his own). Prior to that he served as the digital creative director for Hachette Filipacchi Media U.S., working on the websites of ELLE, ELLE DECOR, Metropolitan Home, Car and Driver, Woman’s Day, and many others.

Jimmy is a long-time yogi, a reiki practitioner, a world traveler, and a pretty decent ukulele player.

Jimmy is available for photo shoots and design projects, so feel free to drop him a line at info@thehealinginitiative.com.

HIllary

Hillary Kaylor

A regular FOND Group contributor, Hillary Kaylor is a writer living in Brooklyn. Her work has appeared in New York Magazine, The FADER, Food & Wine, Travel + Leisure, Vice, and Gawker. She once drove a tractor on an Australian banana farm where they paid her in bananas. Kaylor is currently working on a non-fiction book based on the three months she spent volunteering in the slums of Cambodia earlier this year.

Immunity is Yours this Fall – FOND’s Fire Cider Giveaway

Last spring, I discovered what I now refer to as ‘My Secret Weapon’.
This fall, I’m giving it to you.

“Here’s to feeling good, All the time.” — Fire Cider

While in Africa this past March, I exposed my body to a slew of immunity threats by visiting the slums of Johannesburg, working with kids at orphanages in Alex, going on a down-and-dirty safari in Zimbabwe and running a 35 mile Ultramarathon through harsh wind and rain in Capetown. Though I managed to stay healthy the entire trip, all of that adventure combined with the 19 hour flight home left me feeling pretty ragged and beginning to succumb to the grips of a nasty head cold.

Within 24 hours of my return home, that cold was full-on but I had a ton of work to do and could not afford to be laid up. Out on Long Island for a client meeting, I decided to stop by Naturally Good, a favorite health foods and juice shop in Montauk to see what kind of magic I could find to get my body back on track.

Determined to get back in the swing of things without taking any gross over the counter cold meds, I commiserated with Emma, the adorable girl who works the counter and asked her what juice was best for immunity. She offered a green juice but also insisted that I had to try Fire Cider , THE cure-all that all of the local surfers and fisherman used fight off colds and flues throughout the exceptionally harsh winter season. (Hurricane Sandy, remember?) I took her word for it and downed the $4 a shot concoction.

BAM! One potent mouthful of tangy, vinegary goodness later and I knew I’d just done something very good for my body. Immunity was mine!

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As shocking as the taste was, it went down smooth with a sweet honey aftertaste that made my entire body just say, ‘ahhhh’. Our bodies know what is good for us and a shot of this rare brew seemed to alert all those feel-good senses — waking up my immune system and instantly jolting me from suffering mode to battle mode. I could feel a difference in my head right away – eyes opened up, my throat was clear and smooth and my sinuses dilated allowing me to breathe normally again. It’s hard to explain but the best analogy I can think of is that it’s literally like punching a cold in the face. TKO.

The flavor filled Fire Cider elixir is based in apple cider vinegar and jam packed with powerful natural immunity boosting agents including  garlic, honey, citrus fruits, ginger, hot peppers, turmeric and onions. Many of these ingredients are not-so-surprisingly also found in the age old remedy of homemade chicken soup though Fire Cider is a whole lot faster, more potent and doesn’t involve the use of animal products for those who are averse. What’s more, you don’t have to shoot it straight, it works just as well if used in other foods such as salad dressings, sauces, even cocktails. (We snuck in a couple snapshots of recipes from the prize pack below).

It isn’t like other immunity boosters I have tried such as Vitamin C or Echinacea in that you don’t take it and then sit back and wait to see if it makes a difference.  You feel the difference right away.  It’s a mix that fires like a bolt of lightening – immediately helping to clear the head, soothe the throat and bring dulled senses back to normal again. I’m sure I sound a bit like an infomercial here but this stuff really is the goods.  I was so impressed by my experience with Fire Cider that I immediately bought a couple bottles – one for the remainder of that cold and one to keep on hand should any other germs decide to wreak havoc.

In addition to actually really working to keep sickness as bay, the Massachusetts based makers of Fire Cider employ a very conscientious approach to its production to ensure there are plenty of other reasons to love the stuff. It comes in a beautiful and reusable bottle with hand drawn art and cartoons as well as the charming handwritten history behind the brew. Fire cider is also crafted with organic and local ingredients so It’s pure and you know exactly what you are putting in to your body and why the ingredients are good for you. Best of all, there are no side effects except feeling better. How many other effective cold treatments can say that?

Since then, I have gifted a number of bottles to friends and struck up a conversation with Amy Huebner, one of the company’s founders to see how I can help spread the word. Cue Giveaway! Fire Cider generously offered to give away a prize pack for a lucky FOND reader and I am thrilled to be able to share out ‘My Secret Weapon’ with everyone. After all, the healthier you all are – the healthier I am!

Whether you win it or buy it, it is certainly worth the investment ($12 for 8oz.) to keep a bottle of this magical stuff on hand as we get into cold and flu season. Oh, and rumor has it, it’s a miracle hangover cure as well so maybe hang on to a bottle as holidays (and inlaws) roll around.

With Fire Cider, be well.

ENTER TO WIN BELOW!

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ENTER HERE to win a Fire Cider Prize Pack Including:

  • 8 oz bottle of Fire Cider
  • Fire Cider Signature Shot Glass
  • Fire Cider Original Recipe Book
  • Fire Cider T-Shirt (we will ask your size when you win)

WE’RE SORRY, THIS CONTEST HAS ENDED AND THE WINNER IS BEING NOTIFIED. PLEASE CHECK BACK FOR OTHER GIVEAWAYS OR SIGN UP HERE to JOIN OUR EMAIL LIST AND GET NOTIFIED OF FUTURE AWESOME POSTS!

RECIPES!

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THE GOODS

"Here's to feeling good, All the time."
“Here’s to feeling good, All the time.”

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Fire Cider Cook Book

A Guinness Record at Google HQ for Electric Vehicles

An interview with the one-of-a-kind Susan Jones, the inspiration behind the record-breaking Ride The Future Tour.

FOND recently had the pleasure of meeting up with Susan Jones, founder and mastermind of Ride The Future Tour (RTFT). We sat down to chat with Susan in NYC just after she completed her trek across the nation on nothing but electric vehicles to set a Guinness World Record at Google’s HQ in Palo Alto.

From managing her four daughters’ professional music careers while jet setting around the globe to authoring books to healing clients through acupuncture, this woman has a passion for life that is downright contagious. FOND is proud to count Susan as a friend, a client (when we can keep up with her) and a mentor when it comes to living fearlessly and laughing in the face of adversity. In fact, she might have had a little something to do with the motivation behind the founding of FOND last year 😉

Check out the amazing video of their trek and read our QA and with Susan –  a very special woman hellbent on improving the planet.

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INTERVIEW WITH SUSAN JONES

FOND: Could you give us some background on how you came up with this idea to do an electric vehicle tour across the US and what the goals were?

Susan Jones (SJ):My personal goal is to stop gas emissions and help clean up the Earth for our future generations. I started my own electric vehicles company called Xenon Motor Company. Once I saw that Americans were not all jumping at the chance to leave their gas cars in the driveway and get on an electric scooter no matter how much sense it made, I switched gears and started Nashville Scooter Tours. We take tourists on a fully guided 2 hour tour of the city. It was an instant hit. So then I asked myself what else can I do? I thought that if I rode my scooter across the US, it would be a good way to make a statement for EVs. I really wasn’t sure if I could make it, but I wanted to at least give it a try. The whole tour grew out of this idea for me to ride my scooter alone.

FOND: How did you determine who was going to be the riders/driver in the tour?

SJ: The 11 other members who joined the tour just sort of came to me. Duane – who drove the car – I met in a park in Nashville while I was hiking one day. Rachel McCarthy, Ben Hopkins, and Stuart Scott I met while in Bangkok. Jonathan Becker – our filmmaker- I met when I went for a test drive of the Nissan Leaf when they first launched it about 4 yrs ago. Nissan hired him to document the tour across America.  Jonathan hired George Wymenga and Evan Scott to make up our 3 man film and sound crew. One member was my 26 year old daughter, Dominique Arciero. We put her in charge of the music entertainment at our nightly town parties since she’s a professional musician. Our boy wonder, Sean Scott, from Hawaii, was brought on by his dad Stuart. And lastly, I found Ben Rich who rode the electric motorcycle on Facebook.

FOND: How did you determine the route for the tour?

SJ: Our route across America was pretty much laid out for us. I knew I wanted to start in Charleston, SC because it would be beautiful for the documentary.  Then we mapped straight across the US as much as possible with little detouring. Then we made our cities about 100 miles apart because of the range of the electric car. These parameters dictated our trek for the most part.

FOND: What kind of electric vehicles were in the tour?

SJ: On the tour we had the electric car, electric motorcycle, electric scooter, and electric bicycle.

FOND: What was the most memorable experience from the tour?

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       Click to see more amazing footage of the teams ride.

SJ: The most memorable experience of the tour was riding my scooter down the mountain as we left Big Bear Lake,CA. I’ve seen a lot of beauty in a lot of countries but these views were spectacular like I have never seen before. And the ride down that mountain is an experience I will never forget. Scary but spectacular.

The Xexon All Electric Scooter. Click to learn more about Xenon.
The Xexon All Electric Scooter. Click to learn more about Xenon.

FOND: Who was the most memorable person you met along the way?

SJ: Angel. 90 something yrs old. The man known for keeping Route 66 alive with his store and barbershop. He is a virtual warehouse of wisdom and I was so fortunate to have met him. I can’t wait for the world to meet this special human in our documentary.

FOND: What was the craziest thing that happened?

SJ: The craziest thing that happened to me on the tour was the day we left Las Vegas, NV. I was supposed to wait for the film crew van and ride along with them as my support because it was a very dangerous ride and I was going to ride alone that day. We would be in the desert with extremely high temperatures and would not be able to rely on stores and shade and other people. It turned out that the film crew needed to change our plan and I would head out alone.  I headed out but I couldn’t find the small streets that Duane sent out in our nightly email for the next day’s trek. I got frustrated and jumped on the freeway thinking at least I can’t get lost and won’t be alone. 30 seconds later a cop pulled me over and insisted I get off and take an off highway route.  So my 89 mi trek became a 139 mi trek in 110 degree heat through the desert all by myself. I was armed with extra batteries and a charger so I eventually, just as the sun set and it got dark, rolled into the hotel in our next city. What began as my scariest moment on the tour became the most memorable. The vast openness, dead silence, not a soul in sight, and facing my fears made the ride that day unforgettable for as long as l live. It was the most beautiful day of all 44.

FOND: Did you have a lot of interest from people you met on the road and at presentations?

SJ: We didn’t have large numbers of people flocking to our town parties but the groups that did come out were so great. They loved what we were doing and were so eager to hear more about our journey and electric vehicles. It was nice to be able to sit and chat with people from all walks of life and get a snapshot into their life – and them into mine.

FOND: How was the finale at Google Headquarters?  Was there a lot of interest from Google employees?

SJ: I had no idea Google would turn out to be such a fantastic finish line. I simply wanted to thank them for everything they create for us. As it turned out the Google campus was teaming with people riding the Google bikes, strolling around, hanging out enjoying the gorgeous day. It was a built in crowd for our final scene of our movie. Our people all turned out but it was even more perfect with the buzz of the Google HQ folks. It couldn’t have been better !!

This was Ben Hopkins first time to the US and he road his A2B Alva
3,700+ miles and set a Guinness Book of World Record for the journey.

FOND: That is an impressive way to see the US for the first time!  How is Ben doing after that monumental ride?

SJ: As it turned out the mileage was more like 4400 miles. I haven’t even spoken to Ben once since he’s been back to Bangkok. I’m good friends with his wife and she has been sending me reports. He’s telling her stories non stop. She just sits and listens for hours soaking it all up.

FOND: You had a professional film crew recording a lot of the action on the road and when you gave presentations in local towns and cities.  When can we expect to see the documentary film about RTFT and where will we be able to see it?

SJ: We hope the editing of our documentary will be completed by November of this year. We would like to submit it for the film festivals as well as make the DVD available. At some point we will also make a 10 episode version showing all the entertaining people we interviewed along the way, more of the 12 tour members’ daily experiences, and lots more footage of America.

FOND: Now that the dust has settled a little, do you feel that the tour was as successful as you wanted it to be?  Is there anything you would
change if you were to do it over again?

SJ: I feel like the tour was a complete success because we finished the entire trek on our EVs on time and made a documentary to commemorate the event. If we were able to positively influence others to trust EVs the way we do, then all the better.
The one thing I would change next time is how I handle a group of 12 adults. I was real big on giving everyone a say and letting everyone express themselves. That just doesn’t work in every situation. Sometimes it’s a recipe for disaster. So next time I ll just have to be more comfortable with telling people exactly how it’s going to be. Not my style!  But things will run a lot smoother.

FOND: Do you have plans to do this tour again?  Or maybe a different tour?

SJ: I am contemplating making another Ride The Future Tour in 2014 through SE Asia. We would start up in Hanoi, Vietnam and end in Singapore. This would be a beautiful ride and an amazing documentary. I would love for the world to see Vietnam the way I’ve seen it. Cambodia and Laos are fascinating. Thailand is full of beautiful untouched countryside with the sweeting people. The longer distance version would include Burma. Google HQ in Singapore would be the grand Finish Line. If all the necessary components come together then this will be my next adventure and documentary.

———

Thank You!

A huge thanks to Susan and congratulations to the entire Ride the Future Team! We are thoroughly impressed.

Contact: To reach the Ride The Future Team, Click Here.

SOUVENIRS from dominique arciero on Vimeo.

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