Meet Stacy and Bailey Katz, Westwood, Los Angeles

They say it takes a village to raise a child. When Stacy Katz became a mom in 2007, she created her own. A single parent of Bailey, now age 8, she left San Francisco, where she’d been working in public relations since the mid ‘90s, and bought a duplex in Los Angeles’s Westwood neighborhood, not far from where she grew up. Then she talked Bailey’s grandparents into moving into the other half of the duplex.

“It’s amazing, like something you’d see in Italy or Spain,” says Katz of her Mediterranean style side-by-side duplex home, where an interior courtyard connects her and Bailey to his grandparents. “He runs back and forth all day, often eating breakfast and dinner with them.” It’s a little bit like how things used to be when her own grandparents moved to the States from Lithuania, and the extended family lived on the same street and even shared houses. “Everyone chipped in and everyone benefited,” says Katz.  “We have a little bit of that here.”

Katz now owns her own public relations and digital marketing agency, Stacy Katz Communications, specializing in digital entertainment, immersive media, and consumer technology clients. After she walks Bailey to school, she often heads back home to work, or meets up with a client—or sometimes even squeezes in a workout. When we caught up with her, her head was freshly cleared from a morning spin class. She talked to us about how she’s creating a balanced life, and shares a few secrets to how she makes it all work.

Other than your parents being (very) nearby, is Westwood a family-friendly neighborhood choice?
Stacy Katz: Very! UCLA, my alma mater, is in Westwood, so there’s an eclectic mix of students and faculty from all over the world. It’s smack in the middle of Los Angeles, which means easy access to both downtown LA—where’s there’s a big resurgence happening—and the beach.

Do you spend much time at UCLA?
Stacy: There’s a lot to do there. Bailey loves to stop for donuts at old-school favorite, Stan’s Donuts, in the heart of Westwood Village, on the way to the Fowler, a cool museum on campus with tons of free or inexpensive kids’ activities on the weekends; or to a basketball game at Pauley Pavilion. There’s a great little secret garden on campus, too. You can easily make a day of it.

Eight is such a great age—still full of wonder, yet old enough to hang out a little later. What else do you like to do together? 
Stacy: I love this age. I grew up going seeing shows at the Pantages Theater in Hollywood, and Bailey’s nearly old enough to make it through a show without me having to feed him Starbursts to keep him quiet! We have a pretty good weekend routine, starting Saturday morning with a martial arts class at Little Beast Gym, or sometimes he’ll take a class at Rolling Robots, where he’s learning how to code in a really fun way. We also love a day at the beach—Helen’s Bike Rental staff is awesome at making sure our bikes are in working order for the bike path. We’ll stop for lunch at Back on the Beach and play at the Annenberg Beach House.

We’re also fans of going to the movies—not the big fancy multiplexes, but the traditional, local Westwood theaters, like the Regent or the Fox, that have been around forever and are famous in L.A. for hosting movie premieres because they look like old school Hollywood. Sadly, they are losing customers to the fancy book-your-seats theatres so we’re committed to giving our business to them.  If it’s a movie night in Westwood, or a matinee, we like to grab a meal at TLT, which used to be a food truck and has made its home as a restaurant right in the heart of Westwood.

With so much to do around town, do you ever stay home? 
Stacy: We love to stay home and play badminton in our backyard—it’s our thing. We’re really big Harry Potter and Percy Jackson fans, so we often read or stream a video on M-GO, which has all the newest releases. We’ll invite friends over, bring in food from Garlo’s Aussie Pie Shop or Panini Cafe, and have dinner on the patio.

Stacy and Bailey with his grandfather, Ronald Katz, in their shared courtyard

Having family around to help must be incredible. Are Bailey’s grandparents his built-in nannies?
Stacy: No! My parents both work full-time as lawyers. I’ve found an incredible male kid sitter who stays with Bailey after school while I work. Bailey adores doing macho things with him, like go-carting, playing dodge ball, or learning to play tennis.

How about when you need a little solo or adult time? What do you like to do?
Stacy: When Bailey is at a play date or with his grandparents, I get a bit of time to myself. I usually head to yoga or Pilates, or to a 30-minute meditation class at Unplug Meditation, to unwind. For a special treat, I’ll get a facial or massage from Nerida Joy at the Bel Air Hotel near Westwood. If I get a night out, I love to go salsa dancing with girlfriends, out to dinner at Taninos for great Italian or to Fridas Mexican Restaurant—where Bailey loves to go, too.

Do you think you do things differently as a single parent than you would if you lived with a partner?
Stacy: There’s no dad in our house, but I remind my child that there are all kinds of families, and we get to live with his grandparents. I try to create experiences and expose Bailey to different kinds of people doing cool things that I might not be so inclined to do myself. We rented a two-person kayak, which was a lot of work—and I ended up in the water, which he loved! I took him to a Tough Mudder race, where people train and show a lot of character and grit to get through it. It had a “Mini-Mudder course,” which he did and loved testing his physical abilities on the obstacle course like the fit adults. It would be awesome to say I did it with him, but…

Last year we learned to ride bikes together. I’ve had a phobia of bikes ever since I fell head first into prickly bushes full of spiders when I was a kid. I learned that sometimes the best way to teach your child how to do something is to realize you’re not the one to teach them. It’s important to be able ask people for help or bring in a coach or expert if you are able to once in a while.

It can’t be easy running your own business, being a mom and finding time for yourself. How do you do it?
Stacy: I aspire to go beyond just being a professional and a mother, but I don’t always succeed. My secret is personal training with Natalia. She has a sweet energy that pushes me when I have it in me, and does a great Thai massage or stretching when I’m exhausted. I don’t even have to tell her what I need.

My other key to keeping it together is the two hours of private time I give myself every morning. I wake up at 5:00 am, make my favorite Bullet Proof Coffee and a smoothie and usually read, meditate, or listen to a TED talk. I realized that I’m not very productive during the time after Bailey goes to bed at night, so I go to bed early and get up early. It helps me be present when Bailey wakes up, rather than trying to play catch up, because at 7:00 am, it’s on!

Photographs by Kyle Monk

Kristin Groos Richmond of Revolution Foods is Recruiting Kids for a Healthy Eating Revolution

Kristin Groos Richmond, CEO and co-founder of Revolution Foods

By Dawn Van Osdell

On her early morning drive to her Oakland, CA, office Kristin Groos Richmond is already thinking about lunch. Not her own, but the more than 1.5 million fresh, wholesome meals her company will lovingly distribute throughout the week to schoolchildren across the country. She’s also thinking about the small details that make the difference between kids gobbling up the food or leaving it untouched on their cafeteria trays. Details like white cheddar rather than orange cheddar in a quesadilla, and the red kidney beans Louisiana kids expect to find in their jambalaya.

No one knows food and kids quite like Richmond and her business partner, Kirsten Saenz Tobey, two moms who met at the Haas School of Business at the University of California Berkeley 10 years ago and together co-founded Revolution Foods. Their now-burgeoning company, ranked #5 in food by Fast Company magazine in 2012, provides nutritious snacks and meals to schools and stores, often in communities where children have limited access to them.

Fresh lunches are made daily at Revolution Foods Culinary Centers

As if it weren’t hard enough to get wholesome food into the hands of these kids to begin with, the company also has to get them to eat it. “If kids are turning up their noses, we’re not doing it right,” says Richmond, explaining that they provide affordable meals using real foods with no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives —and, just as importantly, educate kids about proper nutrition, helping them build healthy eating habits that will hopefully last a lifetime. The best way to do this, says Richmond, is to bring kids into the kitchen and into the discussion.

“We’ve found that when we not only give kids healthy food and tell them why it’s better, but also give them a voice, together we can come up with what works.”

— Kristin Gross Richmond

That discussion—or at least, the core values behind it—has its roots in her time volunteering with kids in New York while working in corporate finance, a career path she knew she wouldn’t follow forever. When a friend mentioned that she was starting a school in Kenya, Richmond, who grew up caring for animals on her grandparents’ cattle ranch in the hills outside San Antonio, TX, found herself quitting her banking job and signing on to head to the African savannah.

With her friend, she co-founded the Kenya Community Center for Learning in Nairobi and taught there for two years before her then-boyfriend, now-husband, Steve, finally talked her into moving to the Bay Area. There, working at the nonprofit Resources for Indispensable Schools and Educators (RISE), she heard teachers complaining repeatedly that their students didn’t have access to proper nutrition. That critical complaint stuck with her, all the way to the inception of Revolution Foods.

Today, Richmond lives in Mill Valley with her husband and her very own research and development team: sons Caleb, 8, and Watts, 5. “I am so lucky to get an inside look at what kids want and what they think,” she says, mentioning that Caleb and Watts have first tastes of just about everything Revolution Foods serves. “I ask them if the food is too spicy, too strong, about how the bread looks or how big a meatball should be.” Recently, Caleb asked, “Mom, do you really listen to everything we say about food?” Yes, she does.

Revolution Foods provides schoolchildren with delicious, healthy meals to fuel their growing minds and bodies

Richmond says her company prides itself on being culturally relevant. San Francisco has a large Asian population, as well as many Hispanic communities, and Revolution Foods also serves school districts in 11 states and Washington, DC.  Meeting local taste expectations is an important part of what Revolution Foods must accomplish.  And, she says, “We ask kids to help us get it right.”

Their culinary centers—really, massive commercial kitchens— are regionally located so food can be made fresh and sent directly to the 1,000-plus schools Revolution Foods serves. The meals they create must comply with the National School Lunch Program, a federal assistance program that subsidizes schools to provide low-cost or free school lunches. On visits to the culinary center kids can watch non-stop deliveries of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and meat free of nitrates and nitrites, all of which is prepped and prepared by real people, not machines. “It’s important for kids to put faces behind food, so that they don’t think it just comes from packages,” Richmond says.

Kristin Groos Richmond at Revolution Foods headquarters in Oakland

Here, kids are allowed to get in on the action, chopping and mixing and creating their own healthy dishes in Iron Chef-like competitions in which they’re judged on taste, aesthetics, healthy balance, and nutritional content— even the name they create for their masterpieces. “It’s about making it fun, so they respect food,” Richmond explains.  Recently, kids at the culinary center in Oakland helped name an Asian-inspired breakfast bowl.

They can also help tweak dishes. For instance, Revolution Foods always uses brown rice in their many Latin-inspired meals— a healthier grain that’s new to many kids. “We get that it’s different,” Richmond’s team tells them, acknowledging the denser texture and nuttier taste. Then they ask the kids to tell them how to make the flavor of the overall dish more like what they’re accustomed to. “We’ve found that when we not only give kids healthy food and tell them why it’s better, but also give them a voice, together we can come up with what works,” says Richmond. It turns out, brown rice isn’t an issue for most kids when it’s colorful from a mix of minced veggies and seasoned the way they expect.

Across all markets, kids help to nix ideas, too—recipes made with good intentions but ultimately not what kids want to eat. They also have the power to vote on the best-of-the-best dishes, so the company knows what will work nationwide. Some kid favorites are unsurprising: whole grain spaghetti and meatballs, chicken tenders, oranges, kiwis, and pasta alfredo with white beans. A more unexpected hit: salads. Kids especially dig Revolution Foods’ chef, taco, and sesame chicken salads, proving that pushing the envelope really can pay off.

Fresh meals made by hand, not machine

The process of involving kids, Richmond says, means kids are eating better and educators are starting to see improved test scores, fewer behavioral problems, and declining obesity rates. Time-pressed parents can get in on the action, too. Revolution Food’s ready-to-eat lunchbox kits are now available in more than 2,000 stores like HEB, Safeway, and Fresh and Easy.

“One of the nicest surprises to come out of Revolution Foods has been the job creation,” says Richmond. Mostly at its local culinary centers, the company has created more than 1,400 jobs, hiring the fathers, mothers, uncles, and cousins of the kids they feed. “It’s not just about fresh food,” Richmond says, “but about how we can have an even bigger impact on the community.”

Photographs by Bonnie Rae Mills and courtesy/Revolution Foods.

Meet Amy Rodriguez, Adam Shilling, & Ryan, Orange County, California

Adam, Amy, & Ryan, enjoying some rare family time.

By Lela Nargi

With the Women’s World Cup of soccer kicking off in Canada this coming June, two-time Olympic gold medalist and FC Kansas City forward Amy Rodriguez has been spending the winter getting in shape, in the hopes she’ll make it on to the final roster. That’s meant grueling weeks away at training camp with the rest of the potential team. She alternates these with time at home with husband Adam Shilling—a former All-American water polo player for the University of Southern California and now an athlete-focused physical therapist—and their 2-year-old son Ryan, under balmy skies at their home just east of Laguna Beach.

“Adam is trying to get Ryan to be a swimmer—with my full support!”




“When I was pregnant, we wanted to find a community with a lot of kids,” says Rodriguez of her and Shilling’s choice to settle in mountain-rimmed, ocean-close Ladera Ranch. “My best friends in my wedding were the friends I met when I lived at home in Lake Forest. I wanted that for my son: a happy childhood! And there’s a good vibe here for raising a family.” The town’s proximity to Rodriguez’s parent’s house, Shilling’s PT office in Rancho Santa Margarita, and all the amenities of the OC—from beaches and parks to play spaces and yes, Disney—make this the perfect base in the hectic life of a professional-athlete family.

What’s a normal day like for you?
Amy Rodriguez: It is chaos! Even when I’m not at training camp, Adam is working 11-hour days, so it can be hard for me to find time to do my job, which is to work out. Right now, I’m doing two, sometimes three team workouts a day. We get these sent to us and follow the regimen, mostly of weightlifting and running. A lot of times, I drive to my parents’ house in Lake Forest, drop Ryan off, work out, then pick him up in time for him to have lunch and a nap back at home. I’m always stressing about the clock for what I have to do, but I try to keep him on a pretty consistent schedule.

Adam Shilling: I drive to my PT office, where I see many athletes: high schoolers from Santa Margarita High School, college students from USC and UCLA, professional baseball and football players. I usually have Thursdays off, though, which I spend at home.

Ryan and mom kick the soccer ball around.

What does each of you do for fun with Ryan?
Amy: Having a boy is mostly about getting active and outside, so he can burn off a lot of energy. Mission Viejo has an awesome lake I pull Ryan around in the bike trailer. The city of Lake Forest just built a new sports park with a tot lot. I’m trying to teach Ryan to kick the soccer ball. He does quite well! If the weather is bad, we’ll go to the Big Air Trampoline Park in Laguna Hills. We also have a membership to the Gymboree Play and Music Center in San Juan Capistrano and Ryan loves to crawl and climb on everything there. He used to have a biting and hitting problem and it’s been great for him to learn to socialize with other children.

Adam: I like to take him to the parks, and jogging in his stroller, or take him to the pool in our community.

Amy: They’re a cute pair! Last summer, Adam took Ryan swimming at the pool every day. One day they came back and Adam had taught Ryan to do a back flip in the water. He’s trying to get him to be a swimmer—with my full support!

Adam: I want him to be as comfortable in the water as possible, if for no other reason than safety. If he happens to decide he likes water polo one day—that’s great!

Swinging by the lake.

What do you do on those rare days the three of you get to be together as a family?
Amy: We just got over an issue with eating sand so we’re taking Ryan to the beach more—we’re really blessed with great weather here. Aliso Creek Beach is a fun one to go to; we’ve had a few barbecues there. And Strands Beach is great for biking, since it has a paved pathway along the beach. We don’t really eat out much, because I’m in training, so we tend to cook a lot. Although I think Ryan has to learn how to dine out at some point, and experience that world outside our home. But we do have Disneyland passes—Ryan is learning the names of all the characters, and he can run there, and get all that energy out.

Adam: In the afternoon, we hang out with neighbors.

Amy: We have a street full of kids. Our neighbors had a baby boy exactly one month after us, so our boys have become great friends.

What about grown-up time?
Amy: My schedule is so tough during a World Cup year—training camp for three weeks, then maybe 10 days at home, then back to camp for another three weeks. And this is a very crucial time for a player like myself; I haven’t solidified my World Cup spot. Luckily for me, Adam is in PT. Probably the last thing he wants to do when he comes home is more of that. But I’ll say, “Can you rub my calf? I’m in pain.” And he will, he’s great!

Photographs by Kyle Monk

Meet the Silickis of Tenleytown, Washington, DC

Pleasance and Mel Silicki with kids Milo and Saylor at Lil Omm Yoga in Washington DC’s Tenleytown

By Dawn Van Osdell

On a recent brisk, snowy day in Tenleytown, Pleasance Silicki was watching out her window as her 3-year-old son, Milo, played in the newly fallen snow.  Preschool had been called off due to the weather. And since Milo’s big sister, Saylor’s, first grade class at Janney Elementary School was enjoying no such luck, Pleasance had only one kid and the family dog to keep her eye on as she chatted about the life she and husband Mel have built for themselves in this historic neighborhood on Washington, DC’s Red Line.

“We’re a real-life, modern day Dharma and Greg,” says Pleasance, born Pleasance Chyna Lowengard Darling, referring to the ‘90s sitcom about a married couple who’s a perfect match despite their night-and-day personalities and pursuits. She’s a self-described liberal, Jewish, sometimes-vegetarian who runs a family yoga studio. Mel is a dyed-in-the-wool Republican from Delaware, a CrossFit fanatic, and a builder by trade.

“Our home is the community, really. It’s our extended family.”

— Pleasance Silicki

The two lived for more than a decade in a modern townhouse Mel built for Pleasance in Grover Park. She used to call it her dream house, but once kids and a dog entered the picture, she realized they needed to swap sleek for homey. It took an unexpected business upheaval, self-reflection, and a stroke of luck to find just the right spot in family-friendly Tenleytown, which is just a short walk from the Lil Omm yoga studio Pleasance opened in 2010.

Originally, Pleasance, a former kindergarten and first grade teacher who also taught prenatal and Mommy & Me yoga in the Georgetown Lululemon store, opened her own studio in Palisades. The impetus was the frustration she’d experienced as a new mom to Saylor, on finding no integration between yoga and family in DC. “Yoga and spiritual connection are all about family, and kids and family are not parts I could leave out,” she says.

Pleasance lost the lease on her studio when she was weeks away from giving birth to Milo. “I was really pregnant and one hot mess!” she remembers, explaining how her “itsy-bitsy” yoga classes were deemed “too loud, too vibrant” for the upper-level office building space she was renting. She suddenly found herself with a community of dedicated families—a sort of broad family in its own right—and nowhere to teach them. The silver lining was a welcome four-month maternity leave and a chance to land a more kid-friendly space in Tenleytown, which turned out to be more accessible to her core community, anyway.

Saylor feels right at home at Lil Omm

Three and a half years after Lil Omm found a home in Tenleytown, the Silickis did, too. Pleasance wanted to be able to walk to the studio she had so painstakingly built. “I felt less vibrant, less connected when I was away,” she says. “It feeds my soul.” And Mel was more than game for a move. “I’m a builder,” he says. “I knew there’d be a time when we’d leave the home we built and find another.”

After journaling and creating her own vision boards about a house that would provide her family with a better mind and body connection, Pleasance says she wasn’t surprised when she found it— three bedrooms in a well-loved rental house—on Craig’s List.  “When you have faith and trust and you align it all with your values, it manifests. It all works out,” she says. The house also has the fenced-in yard they coveted for their Staffordshire bull terrier, Miller; an office and meditation space for Pleasance; and an open, flowing downstairs where the kids can play and run around circles, and everyone gathers around a big table in the kitchen for family dinners and “a lot of art projects,” says Mel.

“Our home is the community, really. It’s our extended family,” Pleasance says. The kids go to school with friends they know from Lil Omm, and spending time together at the studio is the life they know. “Yoga is their language,” Pleasance says. She recently heard Milo squeal, “Oh, I love that pose!” when he spotted a dog lifting a leg to do his business in the park.

Just as she’d once hoped, Pleasance can now throw on her shoes and run down to the studio to fill in for her instructors at a moment’s notice. Saylor often comes along to help moms with their babies. Pleasance and Mel rely on a nanny to help with their own childcare, but Mel happily ducks home from his nearby office whenever he’s needed. “I’m so proud of the business and community Plez has grown,” he boasts.


Having home, work and play in close proximity allows both Pleasance and Mel to be more flexible with their schedules. When Milo was repeatedly asking if tonight was family dinner night, they shuffled class schedules, work meetings, and personal workouts to add a second family dinner to the weekly calendar. Wednesdays are date night—usually dinner out—a ritual Pleasance and Mel have carefully guarded for the past two years. On weekends, they divide and conquer for morning workouts, meeting up in the afternoons for a swim at nearby Wilson High School, an outing at adjacent American University Park, or a movie. They often eat out as a family at neighborhood Mexican mainstay, Guapo’s, or at Masala Art for the kids’ favorite Indian dinner.

The family has two years left on their house lease and no plans to leave the neighborhood when it expires. “Everything happens for a reason,” says Pleasance. “Sometimes it just takes some time to get where you’re supposed to be.”

Photos by Jeffrey Morris

Max Ventilla of AltSchool is Taking Tech–and More–to the Classroom

by Lela Nargi

What makes a career tech guy chomp at the bit to open his own elementary school? The “disheartening” experience of applying for preschool on behalf of his own daughter. “It’s insane,” says Max Ventilla, founder of AltSchool, a four-location network of independent micro-schools in San Francisco, the first of which he opened in September of 2013. “There’s this notion that the preschool you apply to is a feeder for the elementary school, which is a feeder for the high school, which is a feeder for college, and that if you don’t choose right from the beginning, your kid is going to be a drop-out and have no job prospects.”

Insanity notwithstanding, that mindset was strong enough to set Ventilla to thinking strongly about the future of his daughter, Sabine’s, education, and how he might alter its course. And that included diving headlong into the fractious and fraught arena that is American education in the 21st century—in which the efforts of like-minded predecessors to corral it (Bill Gates, for notable example) have been handily defeated.

Ventilla is himself the beneficiary of elite schooling. The son of Hungarian immigrants, he received a scholarship to attend Manhattan’s Buckley School—all boys, blazers and ties, lacrosse—then Phillips Academy boarding school (known simply as Andover for the town in Massachusetts where it’s situated), then Yale. In 2012, contemplating would-be elementary options for Sabine, Ventilla says that it was actually “disturbing” for him to find schools that resembled so strongly the ones he attended, “because the world has changed enormously since then. And the most selective schools have changed the least.” What he wanted for Sabine was an environment that would get her ready to function and thrive in the future—a future that’s being greatly impacted by globalization and the internet. Says Ventilla, “The fundamental purpose of school is to prepare children for the world they’ll experience”—in Sabine’s case, when she eventually goes off to college around 2030. For it to be out of date “is a fundamental flaw.”

You might suppose that for a man who helped launch Google+ and now-defunct, then-revolutionary search engine Aardvark, inserting technology into the school day might be Ventilla’s primary focus. But the truth is a little more nuanced. Ventilla says that AltSchool is based on the notion of a one-room schoolhouse. Unlike that arguably outmoded model, though, which clustered together all children of all ages and abilities, at AltSchool students are grouped in small classes largely according to their interests and personalities. Tech in their midst opens up possibilities, rather than functioning as the sole learning tool. “The thing about technology is that it lowers the marginal cost of anything,” Ventilla says—watching a movie, having a car made, and eating a meal, as much as facilitating the running of a school (AltSchool has no central administrator). “The idea is not for everything to become digital, but to have a digital layer that allows experiences to happen more satisfyingly and easily. That gives you more choice, more intimacy, more personalization; every classroom can be more nuanced but still exist as part of an overarching network.”

Ventilla and his team—comprised of professional educators as well as technologists—have been working to hone those nuances one school at a time (four more are set to open in 2015, in two other SF locations, plus Palo Alto and Brooklyn, NY). “It’s not intelligent to design schools that are totally perfect,” Ventilla says breezily, as if such a thing were actually plausible. “They must always evolve and change.” The latest outpost, opening just this past year in South of Market, is a combined-use space that also houses AltSchool’s offices. “It’s literally a tech company in the back of the school, and it’s amazing for us and the kids to be part of a shared space,” he says. “It’s an incredibly different experience from when I went to school, where we were so disembodied from the adult world, especially the entrepreneurial world. Here, kids have mentors who are employees of the company.”

“The idea is not for everything to become digital, but to have a digital layer that allows experiences to happen more satisfyingly and easily.”



They also have a generous amount of flexibility in terms of how their school day unfolds. Ventilla explains that there’s a 60-minute window when children arrive in the morning. By 9:00 a.m., most of them are settled in to a two-hour open “playlist” block that can include what Ventilla calls a “curated” experience of whole-class experiences, or individual or small group activities, tailored to meet the needs of each child. Lunch is followed by athletics, then another playlist time, then extended day activities that can include everything from foreign languages to tutoring in the art of DJing. “We don’t really get behind any one model of education,” says Ventilla of AltSchool’s curriculum. “We’re creating something that can change in many different ways, but have building tools that are stable.”

Early embracers of the AltSchool philosophy include Ventilla’s 8-year-old niece and 6-year-old nephew, who attend the Fort Mason location. “My sister actually moved back to San Francisco in large part because our school was the right fit for her family,” says Ventilla. They began as transfer students, which allowed Ventilla’s team to be thoughtful about which classroom experience would be most beneficial to them, “right down to who in the class might be a friend or a good influence,” says Ventilla. His own daughter—with wife, Jenny, who works at the Stanford Design School—will probably start kindergarten in 2016; son Leo, who’s not yet two, has a few years to wait before he can matriculate.

Which is not to say that all Ventilla’s goals for AltSchool are personal. “We want to impact as many kids as we can in a positive way, even indirectly, by adding things to the educational ecosystem that other people can draw from and react to,” he says. He sees AltSchool as acting as a platform to benefit a wide array of educators, not unlike Amazon Marketplace, which has a strict infrastructure set in place by Amazon, that nevertheless allows a diverse group of (non-Amazon) functionaries to use it. “That’s the model for us for 10 years down the line,” says Ventilla. “In the long term, many students will be impacted by being sent to a school that uses pieces of the technology and content we’re creating for a broader network.”

Photographs by Bonnie Rae Mills

Corinne Cannon of the DC Diaper Bank is Making a Difference from the Botton Up

By Dawn Van Osdell

Corinne Cannon, an expert on the effects of care on infant brain development, is more skilled in handling babies than most people. But back in 2009, awake in the dead of night with her inconsolable, colicky first child, Jack, she felt as helpless and alone as every other mother in that desperate situation. She woke up her husband, Jay, asleep in the next room of their Capital Hill home, and handed over the wailing infant to get some relief. “The physical reality of parenthood is brutal, and that’s when it’s going absolutely perfectly,” says Cannon, now also mom to two-year-old Callie. But what happens to the women who have no one to wake when they’ve had enough, she wondered. And what happens to fussy babies when their mothers have reached their breaking point?

As a result of all those late-night, stress-induced thoughts and feelings, for the last five years Cannon has presided over a cinderblock warehouse in an industrial park in Silver Spring, Maryland, that’s marked with a small sign that reads DC Diaper Bank.  Despite the fact that Silver Spring is Cannon’s hometown, this is an unlikely workplace for a woman who graduated from London’s esteemed School of Economics with an advanced degree in cognitive anthropology. The entrance is crammed with donated packs of disposable diapers waiting to be sorted into piles beside ceiling-high stacks inside the 3,000 square foot space. Next to it, trucks pull up to the large dock, where volunteers load bundles of diapers that will be delivered all across the greater Washington area.

“The physical reality of parenthood is brutal, and that’s when it’s going absolutely perfectly”

— Corinne Cannon
Corinne Cannon is getting diapers to families who need them

For a mom who studied and rallied to make a difference in the lives of moms less fortunate than herself, the place is unlikely for another reason. Says Cannon, “I was surprised to hear, again and again, that diapers are the thing that mothers most need, not food or formula.”  This is because Safety Net programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), don’t cover the cost of diapers. And as any family knows, diapers are expensive. The estimated daily need for infants adds up to about $100 a month—more for families living in poor areas, who have no access to big box stores like Costco. That means that low-income families often have to make a choice between diapers and food. “There are families making do with one or two diapers a day, or worse yet, they are wiping out [disposable] diapers and reusing them,” says Cannon.

So, getting diapers into the hands of families that need them provides greatly reduced stress levels for both mother and child, and proper hygiene and care for the infant. The former, explains Cannon, is especially critical during a baby’s first three years of life, when his brain develops at its most rapid pace. “It’s during this very short and very crucial timeframe when you literally build your brain,” she says.  “We know that the brains of babies who experience prolonged periods of stress, and who have caregivers who are under stress, do not grow in the same way.”

Diapers also open the door to getting even greater aid to families, from health and legal services they may have been previously unwilling to accept. “When a social worker shows up at a house and says, ‘I have diapers and formula,’ doors open ten times faster” than if a social services provider shows up empty handed; in the latter case, the perception can be that she’s come to judge and assess, rather than to help, says Cannon.

Cannon spent years dealing with similar maternal and family issues when she worked in health communications, helping to spread the word about HIV/AIDS prevention and programs and creating curriculum around environmental health for children, for management and policy consulting firm ICF International. She admits that as a working mom with a rewarding career, she had no intention of starting a non-profit. But, “There was a such a need for a region-wide solution for getting bare necessities to those who need them the most,” she says, that she couldn’t ignore the fact that her knowledge and expertise in infant development and family care could help affect a significant change.

She started DC Diaper Bank on Jack’s first birthday, in 2010, without any outside funding. She was still working full-time at ICF, piling cases of diapers in her basement that had been donated by families who had leftovers, or through diaper drives; or that she’d purchased wholesale with donations that typically came in $25 to $50 increments. “It was, and remains, a shoestring affair,” Cannon says. In 2011, she secured a corporate donation commitment from Huggies and became a member of the National Diaper Bank Network, a non-profit organization that provides local diaper banks with hundreds of thousands of diapers, in addition to support, technical assistance, and connections to similar non-profits all over the country. She also partnered with Capital Area Food Bank, one of the largest distributors of food and aid in the DC area, which agreed to store the diapers and distribute them to social service organizations and food banks that already helped families in need. She started out distributing about 5,000 diapers a month and within two and a half years, that number rose to 50,000. In 2013, DC Diaper Bank moved to Silver Spring and Cannon quit her job to fully commit to the work, pro bono.

Corinne Cannon and her kids at the DC Diaper Bank

Today, the DC Diaper Bank space is more than a warehouse. It’s a welcoming community hub of do-gooding for families throughout the DC area and beyond. Families, mothers’ groups, scouting troops, meet regularly to bundle and sort diapers, organize and clean the space. Toddlers whizz down the aisles between the stacks on ride-along toys while their mothers volunteer. There’s a colorful play space, too, where kids can spread out with snacks and juice boxes, scribble on an easel, chase balls down the aisles of diapers, and maybe even lend a hand.

“Families are hungry to volunteer and to talk about issues like poverty and need, but it’s a hard conversation to start with a child and there’s nowhere to comfortably do it,” says Cannon. The Diaper Bank provides a forum for that conversation, and a gentle place where children can begin to understand the meaning of need. “Kids remember when they wore diapers, they see their siblings wearing them, and they can understand how all babies need them,” says Cannon. “They just get it.”

Last summer, the Diaper Bank added a baby pantry to their space, to collect other non-essential baby care items that are not covered by federal aid, like baby wipes and diaper rash cream, as well as formula and baby food. In a star-studded ceremony, Cannon was named a 2014 a L’Oreal Paris Woman of Worth and honored with $10,000 for her charity for her remarkable—and growing—legacy: To date, the DC Diaper Bank has distributed more than 1.5 million diapers and helped an estimated 2,600 families per month.

For more information about how you can help with the DC Diaper Bank or find a local diaper bank in your area, check out

Photographs by Jeffrey Morris

Meet Andrew Alford, Jeffrey Norberg, & Kate, Wicker Park, Chicago

by Lela Nargi

When hotel designer Andrew Alford got an offer to pack up shop in hometown San Francisco and become chief creative officer for boutique chain Graduate Hotels, based in Chicago, he knew it would be a big transition (not least of all because of the weather). “It was definitely a change for our family,” says Alford’s husband, Jeffrey Norberg, an intellectual property lawyer. “But Chicago is a great city to raise a kid in!”

Married in 2008 just two weeks before Prop 8 passed in California, the two have spent the last year settling in to the funky Wicker Park neighborhood on Chicago’s West Side with 3-year-old daughter, Kate, a sandwich maven. While Kate munched on peanut butter and jelly and the family’s Boston terrier, Squeaker, waited patiently underfoot for crumbs to drop, they talked to us about their new life in the Windy City.

“We try hard to maintain the interesting aspects of ourselves, so Kate can grow up knowing about those.”








What’s it like to be a Chicago family, now?

Andrew Alford: Lifestyle-wise, Chicago is more focused than some other cities on families—families with kids of all ages, not just in the 0 to 4 range. There are kids everywhere, in all parts of the city, and we take Kate out with us all the time.

Jeffrey Norberg: When we first moved, I started my own law practice and worked remotely for a bit, out of the back bedroom. I’m really busy now; it’s so easy to get to know people in Chicago. And it’s truly a city of invention: the avant garde, molecular gastronomy. People are willing to take a lot more risks in business endeavors, because the cost of entry into any given market is a lot lower than elsewhere. There’s a real pioneering spirit here.

Was there something about Wicker Park in particular that appealed to you?
Andrew: There are a lot of families in our neighborhood, but there’s still graffiti, a hip-hop scene, underground art. Even though we’re parents, we didn’t stop being interesting people. A couple of weeks ago, a local bar was having drag queen night in the basement, dedicated to John Waters. Kate would have loved it; she’s so social and music-focused. But they won’t let her in till she’s 21.

Jeff: We could get her a fake ID. That’s quality parenting advice! There’s a cool mix in our neighborhood. We’ve got all these galleries, bars, vintage and designer shops. But in the warmer months we can go to the amazing playground in Wicker Park, and to the farmers market on the weekends.

Andrew: We both work intensely so we don’t always want to have to load Kate into the car and put the effort into driving somewhere. Living here, we haven’t had to sacrifice our adult lives. We try hard to maintain the interesting aspects of ourselves, so she can grow up knowing about those.

Andrew & Kate in her art filled bedroom

How old was Kate when you adopted her?
Jeffrey: We had her a few hours after she was born, adopted from Colorado. It actually happened very quickly. Just over three years ago we had gone through the process of getting our household approved to adopt. The agency suggested that we send out letters talking about why we wanted to have a child to clinics and pregnancy crisis centers, and they said we had to hand-address every envelope. We had three big parties for friends who helped us address 3,000 letters. A few days later, we were contacted by Kate’s mother, then three weeks later, we were flying out to meet her.

Andrew: She’s one of the most open-minded, kind-hearted people we’ve ever met. We stay in touch with her, and she keeps track of us on social media. She visited us twice in San Francisco, and she’s due to visit again. We have no secrets from Kate about her—we’ve been reading her books on all kinds of families since before she could even understand.

What’s your family routine like?
Jeffrey: Every weekday Kate goes to daycare from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 or 6:00 p.m. and we have dinner together, as long as Andy’s not traveling. In which case, Kate and I will have dinner—steak, because Andy’s not a huge fan. On weekends, we spend both entire days together. December through March can be difficult in Chicago. But there’s the Shedd Aquarium, which has Beluga whales and a submarine with buttons and knobs for Kate to turn. Or we go out to eat. Dove’s Luncheonette has a potato hash that’s on the spicy side, which Kate loves.

Andrew: Kate also loves Vietnamese pho—actually, any incarnation of soup. We have to drive to Argyle Street on the North Side to get it, but then there are eight places to choose from, including Tank Noodle.

Jeffrey: In San Francisco, Kate would be the only child eating out in a restaurant. Here, she never is. I think that’s a good influence on her.

Photographs by Thomas Kubik, TK Photography

Stephanie Morales & The Mother Nurture Center Offer a Respite Along the Parenting Path

By Dawn Van Osdell

Stephanie Morales can peek out her living room window and get a good look at the old wood-shingled courthouse building on the South Bay’s Redondo Beach Pier. Inside its blue doors lies the Mother Nurture Center, which Morales founded in June 2014. The center is her dream come true. If you live in the area and happen to fit into one of Morales’s four “P” categories—Planning a Pregnancy, Pregnant, Postpartum, or Parenting—it might be your dream, too. As Morales explains, “It’s a place for prevention and support for all things related to perinatal health, and a welcoming community and resource for all growing families.”

An airy, light-filled space with warm, paneled walls, whitewashed floors, and a front row view of the Pacific Ocean, the Mother Nurture Center houses more than three dozen health and wellness providers, as well as myriad experts dedicated to the care and support of mothers and mothers-to-be. It’s a no-judgment zone, open to any woman “regardless of her birthing method, parenting style, or how she arrived at motherhood,” says Morales. Expectant moms come to attend expert-led classes, prenatal massage, yoga, and acupuncture; or for lesser-known services designed to alleviate certain discomforts and complications of pregnancy, such as a breech baby and “trapped emotions.” As new moms, they return, often with dads in tow, for parenting support groups, Dads Huddle, Mommy & Me infant development workshops, and the center’s popular lactation services.

Surrounding the central open space that is dedicated to group classes, and a well-curated baby boutique lined with designer onesies, teething rings, and lactation aids for nursing moms, is a series of private rooms where body work and mental health services are offered—led by Morales, a marriage and family therapist specializing in maternal mental health issues. She helps individuals and couples grappling with issues more complicated, and less discussed, than mere car seat safety and swaddling. “There are so many women struggling with the mental and emotional aspects of pregnancy and parenting,” says Morales. In fact, an estimated one in 5 women suffer with maternal mental health issues, many of them in silence. “They need a place to go where the providers are well-informed. A place where there’s no stigma and no shame,” she says.

Stephanie Morales peeks in on a Mommy & Me Class as the Mother Nurture Center in Redondo Beach, CA

Morales first hit on the idea for the center after she and her husband, Alfonso, became first-time parents to daughter Paloma in 2003. The young family was residing in San Francisco and like many new moms, Morales craved the support and assistance she imagined would be hers if she lived closer to her extended family, nearly 400 miles away in her native Southern California. Morales had moved north to pursue a graduate degree in psychology in San Francisco. She met and married Alfonso, a business owner, while attending classes and managing a 60-bed psychiatric unit in the San Francisco County Jails’ Mental Health Department. “The complexity of it was intellectually stimulating,” says Morales, but emotionally it was too much to handle once she became a mother. Within a month of Paloma’s birth, the couple quit their jobs and headed back to LA’s South Bay.

Although they were in close proximity to Paloma’s grandparents, who often helped out, settling into Redondo Beach was not as easy as Morales had imagined it. She battled postpartum depression, which she remembers as a truly horrific experience. “We are told that this is the most joyous time in our lives and that we will naturally fall into our roles,” says Morales. Yet, as a new mom, she battled teariness, anxiety, a sense of low self-worth, hopelessness, and, she says, “a real concern that I was not a good enough mother.” She was trained in mental health and yet couldn’t find anyone in town who knew what to do to help her. “There was a complete void of resources. I vowed to myself that I’d somehow, some day, create a one-stop wellness center for families in my community. Someplace where mental health was the crown jewel.”

In 2005, the Morales’ welcomed their second daughter, Reina, into their family and along with her came a stroke of bad luck: Stephanie developed peripartum cardiac myopathy, a life-threatening heart condition that can strike in the months immediately following birth. Struggling once again to manage motherhood and her own well-being, Morales began her journey in earnest to create awareness around the issues that afflict so many expectant and new moms. “I knew it would become my life’s work,” she says. She volunteered with Postpartum Support International, a global web of resources for new moms; and became a founding member of the Los Angeles County Perinatal Mental Health Task Force, a legislative policy think tank responsible for increasing awareness, enhancing services, and providing education for providers throughout Los Angeles County.

A playful, peaceful space for moms and babies at the mother nurture center

A year later, Morales made the leap from her full-time position as a therapist at a community-based mental health facility into private practice. She focused on helping women suffering with pre- and postnatal mental disorders, and challenges such as the loss of a pregnancy, postpartum psychosis, and fertility and third party reproduction issues. With the help of others interested in building what she deemed a “mommy super-center,” she was able to expand her practice and welcome other practitioners. She took a leap of faith and secured the open, light-filled space she had long imagined for a wellness center. Over the course of three months, she had the old courthouse redesigned to provide private and group services, and hung a sign—the Mother Nurture Center.

Despite the seriousness of the issues she treats, Morales jokes (sort of) about creating a parenting franchise. What’s no joke: says Morales, “We all need someplace to go to feel supported and nurtured in this parenting journey, no matter which stage we are at.”

For more information on the Mother Nurture Center, visit

Are You Afraid? A Message to Daughters, From a Daughter

By Eliza Reynolds

Are you afraid? I know that I am sometimes. There are moments when I have been so afraid of life beginning —like becoming-a-grown-up beginning—because then I might discover that I’m a failure, or a total disappointment, or maybe (whispers an especially dark part of my brain) never truly, fully lovable, except by my parents (and they have to love me).

When I was about thirteen or fourteen, something began to creep up on me—like an itch on my back that I couldn’t quite scratch—and my parents started to drive me crazy (plain bonkers, red in the face with frustration, irrationally ticked off, justifiably loony, and the like). Frankly, most of the time it was for dumb reasons (“MOM, did you have to move the pans so loudly??”) or for reasons I couldn’t understand (“DAD, I don’t want you to ask me about my day. No, I just don’t feel like talking about it!”). My reactions to them, and the way I began to judge them through every millisecond of every day, were new. And I found that after the first flush of anger or frustration passed (and I huffed out of the room or screamed in the confines of my bedroom closet), it scared me. These new changes made me feel, well, lonely.

It began to dawn on me that my parents weren’t the perfect people I had imagined them to be. I wondered: if they weren’t always consistent and on top of it, then what is consistent—always steady and reliable—in life? And if my life is beginning, like I-am-not-a-little-kid-anymore beginning, like in-a-few-years-I-will-be-leaving-home beginning, then what and who can I depend on? What won’t change? What is safe?…

Now, if you met me, walked up to me, and shook my hand for the first time (or even hugged me for the hundredth time), you couldn’t tell on the outside that I was afraid. No, you’d still see a tall, cheery nineteen-year-old, with hair twice the size of her head and feet that defy semi coordinated brain commands. But I’m telling you now what’s on the inside: the fears that line the innermost layers of my thoughts, my heart, and maybe even, if you believe in such things, my soul. These are the fears that aren’t cute enough to whisper under the blankets at a sleepover. I’m not always afraid but sometimes—often first thing in the morning, before I’ve seen anyone’s face, and the alarm is buzzing me into a new day—I feel empty, alone, like the bed is a bit too big, and yes, I feel somewhat overwhelmed by it all. Nah, I’m not an emotional train wreck or a “basket case” either, I’m just being brutally honest. I know you’ll get it, because here’s the secret I think we all know: I think, deep down, we are all afraid.

I don’t mean we are afraid all the time—not every moment. But sometimes in bed at night alone, or staring dismally at another English test, or looking around the dinner table, or scanning Facebook late at night, you and I are afraid. And I don’t think it’s a light passing fear, like that anxiety you get when you pass by that certain dodgy street in town. No, it is a deep question that seems to echo in our very soul, in the very heart of our bodies. And I know I don’t have the answers to the questions that keep bubbling up inside and you may not either (most people don’t). Questions like:

  • Who am I?
  • What am I going to make of my life?
  • What happens when I die?
  • What is the meaning of life? Why am I here, literally, on this earth? Do I matter any more than the ant on the hot pavement?
  • What is love? Does marriage mean you love each other forever? Do I have a soul mate?
  • Why is my mom the way she is?
  • Does God exist? Or “goddess”? Or any other kinds of higher power?
  • What do others think of me? Is this important? Why?
  • What will make me happy? Is happiness the most important thing in life? What is the most important thing in life?…

We will, all of us, have many “dark nights” in our lives—those moments, weeks, or months when we feel utterly lost and afraid in the change, chaos, or darkness that seems to be all around…[They] help me see my lonely or scared or overwhelmed feelings as meaningful. They are there for a reason: these questions, fears, obsessions, frustrations, and the oh-so-human pain all help me grow.

Excerpted from Mothering and Daughtering: Keeping Your Bond Strong Through the Teen Years by Eliza Reynolds & Sil Reynolds, RN. Copyright © 2013 by Eliza Reynolds & Sil Reynolds. Reprinted with permission of Sounds True.

Photograph via Creative Commons

Meet the Music-Loving Solares Family, Bucktown, Chicago

By Lela Nargi

Jessica Solares and her husband, Luis, don’t just teach music in Chicago’s creative epicenter; they live music, too. Parents to 3-1/2-year-old Lucia, who attends preschool at Bucktown Academy, near the Solares’ Bucktown Music studio, the two met at Elmhurst College, where they both studied Music Business —a major Jessica describes as “odd” and also uninspiring when put to real-life practice—before they decided instilling a love of all things musical in tots, teens, and even adults was their ultimate calling.

Although they and their staff teach voice and pretty much every instrument imaginable to school kids as well as the occasional grownup, they describe Kindermusik, an early-childhood-development curriculum for infants as young as, well, 0, as the real lynchpin of their operation— and their first love. Read on to find out why! And how important music is for them, their daughter, and families throughout Chicago.

Why is the Bucktown neighborhood such a great location for a music studio that caters mainly to kids—and that your own kid spends so much time in?
Jessica Solares: There are a lot of other cool businesses here: an art school called Easel Art Studio, a dance place where they teach ballroom—Dance SPA Chicago— a playspace around the corner called Purple Monkey Playroom. We were one of the first businesses on this corner, and just a few blocks down from us there’s a hub with fancy shops, restaurants, and bars: we love Irazu Costa Rican restaurant and Red & White Wines. There’s also a doggie day care, and an auto repair shop, so it’s kind of strange. But there’s always plenty of parking on the block!

What is it that you guys love so much about Kindermusik?
Jessica: When I began teaching at other places, I had students who were excelling above and beyond in their lessons. I wondered, Why are they so smart? It turned out they had all taken Kindermusik classes. I looked into and I liked the concept. It’s not just singing and dancing; it helps with brain and language development, prepares kids for school, teaches them patterning, how to use their bodies. It also gives kids way to express things when they don’t otherwise have the language, because kids can start singing even if don’t know words. It helps their soul. And when we listen to music they can notice instruments: “I hear a piccolo!”

Jessica leading a Kindermusik class“Music helps reading, language, math, abstract concepts, spatial awareness, and teaches kids to work in groups.”




In my own experience as a parent, Lucia and I have a song for every activity, from mealtime and brushing teeth, to bathing and going to the grocery store, to the doctor, to the park, plus feelings and sounds. The songs have saved me countless times while waiting in line or at a restaurant with a restless child!  They are a great, easy, positive distraction that doesn’t need anything but your voice.

Luis Solares: Jessica brought Lucia to a Kindermusik class when she was 1 week old. We were running the business and had to be here, and Jessica was tired of being home. Lucia loves music. She’ll say, “Papa, lets play ‘No Woman No Cry,’ or ‘The Lion Sleeps Tonight.’ That’s one of her favorites. She sings perfectly in tune and gets joy out of it. I don’t know if she’s going to be musician; she might be an accountant or a fitness instructor. But we’ve had this time together and music is part of her life.

Jessica: I don’t expect her to pursue a music career.  Our goal at Bucktown Music is the same for all children: that they can be musical children, not child musicians. I want her to understand how music can express feelings and give her a pleasurable activity to release stress. Music also helps reading, language, math, abstract concepts, spatial awareness, and teaches kids to work in groups if they are in an ensemble. So far, Lucia loves singing and playing all of the percussion instruments.

Does she like hanging out at the studio?
Jessica: Yes! She likes to chat with customers, color, play instruments, read books, and participate in whatever class she can!

Is Lucia also learning how to play an instrument?
Luis: Not yet, but we know she’s going to do piano for sure. It’s the most fundamental instrument, the instrument kids can be most successful at a young age. But if at 8 or 9 she wants to play guitar or violin, that’s fine, too.

Jessica: We’ll start her on piano when she is 5 or 6 years old, and it will be important to make it a positive experience for her so that she will want to continue.

What were your backgrounds in music growing up?
Luis: I was involved with the choir, a little band that did performances in church. That was my only association with music as a kid. I moved here for college 17 years ago; I’m originally from Guatemala. It was supposed to be temporary but I decided I loved music and wanted to continue being involved. I used to have bands that performed in local bars and restaurants a couple of times a week. It was a gratifying experience; and it also shows my students you don’t have to be famous to get rewards from music. In fact, I have a lot of adult students—doctors, lawyers, accountants, nurses. They play music to relax, it’s their hobby.

Jessica: My family has a musical background. I have three younger brothers and two of them are professional musicians; one works here now. My dad and brothers are also luthiers, so I grew up my whole life with music. It’s strange to me that not everybody does that. It was so great for me to always play music with my dad, violin, and he played guitar. And we had a family band, Wild Rice. We played hot rock/jazz type of stuff because my dad was big into the bluesy thing. And yes, we have been compared to the von Trapps.

What instruments do you each play and teach?
Luis: Jessica was the lead singer for a band, and when she went to college she played violin in the orchestra but was a voice major, and she’s also good piano player. I teach guitar.

Jessica: A good music teacher should have a variety of things they can do. Mostly, we want everyone to learn a love of music and get inspired.

Visit to learn more about Bucktown Music.

Photographs by Thomas Kubik, TK Photography.