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#213 Plywood Presents, Day One

01 August 2018 // Atlanta, Georgia

Day one of Plywood Presents was a good one! Definitely a marathon of meeting people, swapping stories, and learning a whole lot. So many ideas to take back to Plant With Purpose.

I love what happens when you get a whole bunch of problem solvers together in one spot.

Like Michele Sullivan says, “rarely in life do you do anything by yourself.”

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#214 Plywood Presents, Day Two

02 August 2018 // Atlanta, Georgia

Wow. Love is the greatest disruption.

🌇 I’ve been moving nonstop the past few days, (and will continue to for the next week!) but I’m able to do that because of how much energy I get from being around creatives, connectors, and problem solvers.

🌄 My favorite part was making so many connections, and the whole reason Plywood Presents caught my eye in the first place was the strong sense of community. And it delivered on that.

🎆 It was a blast getting to make so many new connections. Love ya, Plywood People. If there’s anything I can do to help any of you out- let me know!

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#215 Stuck in Fort Lauderdale

03 August 2018 // Fort Lauderdale, Florida

We’ll get to Haiti eventually, but for now, we’ve spent way too much time in the Fort Lauderdale Airport.

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#216 Haiti

04 August 2018 // Fonds-Verrettes, Haiti

My trip to Haiti is a storytelling trip. This is pretty much my favorite thing that I get to do for work. I’ll meet with several members of the Plant With Purpose in-country program and got to listen as they shared how their lives have been impacted by it.

This is an opportunity I don’t take lightly. Whenever somebody shares their story with you, it’s a tremendous thing. Even if they share with enthusiasm, it still calls for them to be vulnerable and open. People’s stories should be handled with love.

There is a lot of work ahead. There’s also audio to be transcribed, scripts to be written, videos to be processed and photos to be edited. Lei and I have our work cut out for us for the next several weeks. But we are so eager to get to it. This is a big project on so many levels.

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#217 Dieula

05 August 2018 // Fonds-Verrettes, Haiti

Dieula was one of the warmest people I’ve ever met. She greeted us with hugs and kisses, and she wasn’t going to let a language barrier stop her from expressing her enthusiasm.

The whole time we were at her house, everything she did was underlined with a strong sense of joy. She opened up to us about the people she knew who she lost in the earthquake and the challenges her rural community faced. She showed us the tree nursery in her backyard, and her collection of rabbits. She frequently gives tree starters and rabbits away to other people in her community and doesn’t ask for anything in return.

“This generosity helps me feel happy and blessed; Plant With Purpose came to share with me and now I must go and share with others.” 

Everybody I met in Haiti had something to teach me. Dieula reminded me how inviting it is to be around a deeply joyful person.

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#218 Lei

06 August 2018 // Fonds-Verrettes, Haiti

I’ve loved being able to work on this video project with Lei. 

Being able to help him fulfill a lifelong desire to go to Haiti, while collaborating on something meaningful and creative was so rewarding.

It was great to work together on something for the first time in years. From touring with LiNK together years ago, to making my own wedding video, to now this, it’s fascinating to see how different parts of life build off each other to get you where you end up.

Lei constantly reminded me that it’s a gift to find something so meaningful to you that you’re willing to work on it tirelessly. That drive helped us push ahead after the later hours of a long day’s video shoot in the sun.

This project also reminded me that collaboration is awesome. You get to feed off each other’s energy and see where your gifts complement. I want to do so much more of that.

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#219 Translating

07 August 2018 // Fonds-Verrettes, Haiti

Our main goal in Haiti was to produce a video series showing how a bunch of small but significant actions could change lives in a pocket of the world that hardly ever gets the positive attention it deserves.

Our days were packed with interviews, activities to film, and more technical work like handling gigs on gigs of video or translating hours of footage.

I think this has been my favorite thing I’ve had to work on with Plant With Purpose thus far and I hope it keeps on raising the bar as to how we tell stories.

We’re aiming to release the final product in October. Hang tight. Previews until then and once it’s out, I’ll be sharing wide and far.


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#220 Port Au Prince Departure

08 August 2018 // Port Au Prince, Haiti

Haiti’s given me so much to process. And that’s on top of all the sleep and showers I’m still trying to get caught up with. 

I kind of suspected that it would be like that. A visit to Haiti has as about as much to reveal about its visitors as it has to reveal about the country.

Part way through the trip, I felt nudged by God to try and take note of what I could learn from every encounter. And that’s pretty much what happened. Haiti ended up enriching my perspective so much. It felt like a master class on being human. I love that rural villages like Fonds-Verrettes are my second office.

Even though my time in country was fairly short, it was so full and rich that going back will also be a jolt. But I’m so thankful to have that. The road shapes your perspective but home is where it has its impact. And we’ll always have Fonds-Verrettes.


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#221 Justice

09 August 2018 // Atlanta, Georgia

Racism angers me. It always will.

It does seem like every day I hear about more and more reasons to be upset about it. Stats like wage gaps or incarceration rates. Incidents like Middle Eastern families having to endure verbal abuse at parking lots, or cops being called on black kids trying to do normal things in common spaces.

These things kind of make it feel like we often fail at the most important parts of being human: to know that we’re all connected.

My visit to the Center for Civil Rights underscored the fact that this isn’t anything new. A generation and a half ago, so many public offices were held by people who were so committed to segregation that their infamy landed them in museums.

But as long as they’ve been around, so have sit-ins. So have Freedom Riders. So have student activists and theologians. History is so full of people who have been willing and committed to putting themselves on the front lines, jeopardizing their own safety and taking beatings in order to move the needle.

Humans are capable of so much bad and so much good.

Throughout history and even today, there are so many people insistent on the idea that some groups of people are better than others. I’ll never understand that. But I’ll also always be amazed at the mystery of how many people have tapped into unbelievable bravery and courage to make things different.

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#222 Last Morning in Atlanta

10 August 2018 // Atlanta, Georgia

One last morning in ATL. This city has so much more for me than I ever would’ve expected. Hope to be back someday soon.

#223 Phillies vs. Padres: Nola Day

11 August 2018 // San Diego, California

Successful double date!

Once a year, the Phillies come to Petco Park and I get a chance to cheer for the road team. I got back into town just in time for this. Oh, and Aaron Nola was starting, so my odds of catching a win were pretty good.

Phillies took the game 5-1. This team is way different from the one I went out to see last year, and I couldn’t be more happy about that. #BeBold

#224 Cowles Hike

12 August 2018 // La Mesa, California

Observation from mid-August: this has actually been a really humbling year.

That means it’s been full of unexpected challenges, and in order to face them, I’ve had to become so much more honest with myself.

I have a huge independent streak, but that doesn’t make me immune to anxiety. I value people and have some great ones in my life, but that’s no immunity from loneliness. I love the life I get to live, but I’ve also encountered envy and impatience.

You can’t confront something that you aren’t willing to call by name, and that’s been so much of the hard part.

The good part is this- these familiar words have taken on so much more meaning these days:

Your eyes saw my unformed body; 

all the days ordained for me were written in your book

before one of them came to be.

“You’ll be taken care of. I already know how your story shapes out, and I had a blast writing it—” it’s the piece of reassurance I can’t get enough of.

Learning to drop the act and own the fact that I’m not in control has been a process, and it’s not done. But I’ve gotten far enough to catch a glimpse of the reward.

There’s no feeling that compares to feeling both small and known. Small but seen. If that’s what all these months have been trying to shove me towards, I’ll take that.

#225 Tacos With Matt

13 August 2018 // San Diego, California

Matt took us out for tacos on a Monday night and I have no complaints about that.

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#226 Mental Good

14 August 2018 // San Diego, California

Today I got to meet up with somebody who just started doing my job at a different, but similarly-hearted organization, and I had a blast sharing what I've learned. I also realized I've learned so much in the process of doing my job.

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#227 America Is Not The Heart

15 August 2018 // San Diego, California

“As for loving America or not loving America, those aren't your problems, either. Your word for love is survival. Everything else is a story that isn't about you.”

–Elaine Castillo

Book No. 19 of 2018

Of all the books I’ve picked up this year, this was the one I was the most excited about. This was the first novel I’ve read about a Filipina-American experience or written by a Filipina-American author. It was unusual reading references to my stepdad’s hometown, which I’ve always thought of as small and remote in a hardcover book I got from Strand’s.

The novel is set in the 90’s where a newcomer to the US tries to bury her past as a student-dissident during the Marcos regime. There were some parts that felt long, but overall it was a story well-told.


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#228 Fish & Chips Tips

16 August 2018 // San Diego, California

The key to good fish and chips is good batter. The key to good batter is vodka. The high alcohol content will evaporate much faster when it hits the oil, leaving you with a satisfying crisp.

#229 Caytlin Arrives

17 August 2018 // Chula Vista, California

Caytlin is in town! This is gonna make for a really exciting weekend.

#230 CC in SD

18 August 2018 // Coronado, California

We loved having Caytlin in San Diego! Tacos and beer and international houses and movies and carrot juice that was either free or stolen.

Come back again! Hopefully we’ll have a new paddleboard and a new apartment to store it in when you do.

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#231 Spreckles & Segways

19 August 2018 // San Diego, California

Did the organ make this the most ominous Segway ride? Or did the Segways totally cancel out the epic sounds of the organ?

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#232 Charnelton

20 August 2018 // San Diego, California

Monday night strategic planning.

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#233 Packing My Bags

21 August 2018 // San Diego, California

On my way to the PNW tomorrow. Gotta make sure I don’t run out of black t-shirts.

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#234 Hazy Northwest

22 August 2018 // Portland, Oregon

Oh no, Portland. This isn’t the Portland I’m used to! Smoky skies, terrible air quality and 90-something degrees? Well… I’m here for a week, so hopefully I’ll get to see it return to being its usual self.

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#235 Rhododendron Gardens

23 August 2018 // Portland, Oregon

I’m back in the PNW this week and to absolutely no one’s surprise, I’m loving it. I’m here for trade shows and meetings but of course I’ll still find time to model and grab Pok Pok with Raquel & Jesse.

Even when it’s not its usual fresh airy self because of all the fires and climate issues and what not, it’s still a joy to be back with some of my favorite coffee shops and doughnuts and people.

I wanna ‘grow where I’m planted’ and all that, but I’d just be lying if I said I didn’t miss living up here. I’m much more at home when living connected to the natural world, and Oregon makes that so easy and appealing.

I’m thankful that some places get to play important roles in our lives, and I’m especially thankful for the places I’ve been paired up with.

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#236 FarWest PDX

24 August 2018 // Portland, Oregon

My job takes me to the most colorful assortment of places sometimes. This month, it’s already brought me to the Symphony Hall of Atlanta, a pine forest in Haiti, and now I can add the Washington State Fair Dog Show and a tree industry trade show to the mix.

Bay Dave and I got to be at FarWest in Portland, representing Plant With Purpose to corporate partners, meeting potential new partners, and trying to raise enough money to plant 10,000 trees at a dollar per tree. We got a supporter who offered to match all gifts, and the people at FarWest were helpful in getting us the other $5,000.

This weekend let me physically see more of the people who came up to us and offered us gifts. Our supporters are an extremely diverse bunch, I’ll say that. It just goes to show that generosity really is for everybody.

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#237 Weekend in Washington

25 August 2018 // Monroe, Washington

I’ve gotten to spend my weekend in Washington, and so far that’s meant meeting the mayor of Monroe, coincidentally winding up in the community parade, and attending the Washington State Fair dog show. All in a day’s work.

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#238 Saltwater State Park

26 August 2018 // Saltwater State Park, Washington

Hey, I’m Philippe, and my interests are way all over the place. I work in the nonprofit world, on sustainability and international development. I’m obsessed over the craft of storytelling, I love traveling pretty much anywhere and tasting almost anything. The one thing that always freaked me out was the idea of having to do just one thing for most of my hours every day for the rest of my life.

I’m a true-to-form Enneagram 7, and I hated the idea of being put into a box. And it seemed like that’s what life demanded out of most people. Getting good at one thing, calling it a career, and so on.

What I’ve been finding out is that with some creativity and old school hard work, the “box” you wind up in can turn into a pirate ship, a fort, or anything you imagine.

In the past month, I’ve gotten to participate in a tree-growers convention, direct a short film, and collaborate with a couple brands I look up to. I also get to head to Waco in about a week to join a concert tour we’ve partnered up with. And that’s just the day job. I’ve started getting my feet wet in illustration and I’ve been loving that.

It’s especially fun when I see things that resemble past “odd jobs” or “student side hustles” pop up pretty often. All that to say, it’s okay to be a mixed bag if that’s how you were assembled. All those odd pieces somehow find their way forward.

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#239 Kainos Coffee

27 August 2018 // Portland, Oregon

One of my favorite things about Portland is how the streets are just lined with places that seem instantly boost your creativity just by being there. I haven’t been as much of a coffee shop lurker the past couple of years as I used to be, but the past week sort of makes me want to change that.

#240 Coffee & Conversation

28 August 2018 // Portland, Oregon

To the Portland-area coffee shops, doughnut spots, and nurseries that served as my office space over the past week– thank you.

I’m looking at you, Peaks, Case Study, Pistils, Kainos, Blue Star, and Cup & Bar... man that’s a lot for one week! But I’d say I was productive enough to justify all the caffeine.

#241 PWP Lobby

29 August 2018 // San Diego, California

Dreaming up a refreshed look for the lobby.

#242 Bay & Bike Path

30 August 2018 // San Diego, California

Quick stop at the bike path after work.

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#243 Cali Baguette Breakfast

31 August 2018 // San Diego, California

Discovered a new lunch hub, thanks to grabbing breakfast with Matt.

Philippe Lazaro