An American Marriage, Von Schweetz, & Jury Service






I started looking over a few old photos from past adventures... it’s not something I do super often, but maybe I should given how many pictures I take.

For starters, doing this fills me up with gratitude- I’ve been able to go on years of adventures to some incredible places. It also reminded me of how much my soul gets fed from exploring.

I feel most like myself when I’m in an unfamiliar environment, somewhere that the colors pop and the smells are totally unfamiliar, meeting people who will later star in stories I’ll end up retelling for years. Getting from point A to B suddenly turns into a livelier quest.

I’ve got a long list of places I look forward to going to someday, but right now I’m feeling endlessly grateful for all the places I’ve already been taken.



“Nashville” – a playlist for neon reflections on rainy days and believing that things can get better.

It’s been a long time since I’ve put together a playlist, but I’m especially proud of the one I just curated. Not only does it feature a lot of music I haven’t been able to stop listening to, but it also kind of matches the way life has been lately. Weathering storms, keeping the light, and hope even when you aren’t feeling it.

Featuring The War And Treaty, Cautious Clay, the 1975, Gregory Alan Isakov, and many others.

I name my seasonal playlists after the places I go around that time, and the image of walking around Broadway St. in Downtown Nashville on a warm but rainy night, with the rain soaked street bouncing back all the neon seems to be especially relevant.

Visit the link in my bio to get some Spotify access.



“But home isn't where you land; home is where you launch. You can't pick your home any more than you can choose your family. In poker, you get five cards. Three of them you can swap out, but two are yours to keep: family and native land.”

–Tayari Jones

What a read. I can see why An American Marriage is popping up on so many Best of 2018 lists. There were quite a few moments where I just had to stop and admire the way a paragraph was written or how a sentence was phrased.

This novel itself had a straightforward story- one that’s pretty hard to take in, even with good prose. A wrongful conviction, years in prison, and a marriage that gets interrupted all lead you to feel for each character, even when they’re in conflict.

Thankful for good writing and all it adds to our world.



I spent almost all of last week serving on a jury. I think people typically think of jury duty as a big bummer- and having to be away from work for a week or more is inconvenient more often than not- but in all honesty I had a lot of fun!

I learned a TON. Here are a few things I’m more aware of now than I was a week ago:

• San Diego is so much prettier when it rains.

• The extent that people will go to get themselves excused during jury selection is oftentimes hilarious.

• Being able to use public transport as my daily commute really is a dream.

• Our justice system has a TON of room for improvement and some glaring areas of inequality. But the most direct way to making things better is with everybody playing their role as courageously and compassionately as possible: public defenders and jurors and witnesses and judges and prosecutors and errybody.

Back to the day job this week. It’ll probably be a little while but I’ll actually be kind of excited the next time a jury summons shows up in the mail.



I like a LOT of things. It doesn’t take much to spark my curiosity or to make something seem fun to me. Last week, I was on jury duty and kept on imagining my life in a parallel universe where I pursued a career as a lawyer.

Early on I realized there were at least three things I knew I really wanted to have play big roles in my life: I wanted to spend lots of time traveling and learning from other cultures. I wanted to do work that helped people, confronted injustice, and looked for solutions. I also wanted to put my creativity and storytelling to good use. Most of what I post comes from the crossroads of these three things.

Thankfully, two years ago I found a spot on the Plant With Purpose team as Creative Director. The role was perfectly in the center of these three big passions. Plus it allowed me further opportunities to explore them in different ways. I think I’ve done so much learning recently as a designer, storyteller, nonprofit practitioner, and conscious traveler.

If you have a bunch of interests but connecting the dots seems hard, don’t give up on them. The things you put your heart into keep coming back around.



Just a couple years ago, I was going outside and sleeping in tents every 2-3 weeks. I don’t think I spent a single night truly camping this past year. What happened?

I legitimately miss being outside, spending time away from man-made structures, and letting time slow way down. I don’t know if I just got occupied with a busier work/travel schedule this year, if I let SoCal’s geography become a barrier, or what. All I know is that I miss it!

Goal for 2019 and years beyond that: get outside more. A lot more. Outside is good for me.

Philippe Lazaro