Mother, New Yorker, founder of Good+ Foundation and author of Food Swings, a delectable cook book that speaks to the realities of how we want to eat — good stuff and bad…

WHAT IS YOUR MOTTO?

“Send them flowers”. I think most people would agree that looking back on their lives, many of the negative experiences they had pushed them forward the most. So, when something doesn’t go well or someone wrongs me, I try to remember that someday I will be grateful for this, and even want to send flowers to the most horrible people I’ve met.

WHAT IS ON YOUR NIGHTSTAND?

I have too many unread books in a pile, pressuring me even while I sleep. I keep a special pad and paper and pen in a little leather bound book given to me by one of my oldest friends for those ideas I have in the middle of the night and cannot remember by morning.  I also have a water bottle of room temperature water. And I am embarrassed to admit this, but maybe this will help me change this terrible habit – my phone and charger.

WHAT GIVES YOU GOOSE BUMPS?

Our work at Good+ Foundation, especially with Fatherhood. These low-income, hard-working men are committed to getting their lives on track, despite every odd stacked against them. They inspire me to stay committed to this area of social services that has not been concentrated on as a productive way to strengthen families.

And these days, with our kids being teenagers, we have many conversations that make me realize all the hard work we put in may add up to something.

WHAT IS YOUR BAD DAY BACKUP PLAN?

I go to work at a place which gives me critical perspective on what having a bad day looks like for other people less fortunate. If I am still feeling bad when get home, I grab my family and our crew of friends and go out for our favorite pizza.

WHAT ARE YOU GRATEFUL FOR?

Feeling loved and appreciated by the people in my world.

HOW DO YOU DEFINE SUCCESS?

Finding your purpose in life, whatever it may be.

BEST ADVICE YOU’VE EVER RECEIVED?

All is revealed in the fullness of time.

BEST ADVICE YOU’VE EVER GIVEN?

Learn how to apologize well. And when you say, “I’m sorry” don’t add a “but” at the end. “I’m sorry, but…” is not an apology.

WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON NOW THAT YOU ARE EXCITED ABOUT?

I am very excited about my new book called Food Swings — 125+ Recipes to Enjoy Your Life of Virtue and Vice. I needed to stop the conversation in my head about what I wanted to eat, versus what I must eat to keep myself healthy, out of the doctor’s office, and fitting into my normal (not skinny) jeans. The first half of the book contains virtuous recipes, and the second half are ones most would consider a fun treat. Having this structure has allowed me flexibility to go easily between virtue and vice without guilt. Living between the covers of this book has stopped the noise in my head, which is thrilling. And I am always laser focused on the innovation and growth of our work at Good+ Foundation.

HOW DO YOU PRESS PAUSE?

I put a few drops of eucalyptus oil in my shower and turn on very hot water. The steam makes you feel like you are in a fabulous spa instead of at home with your kids knocking on the door while you try to shower in peace. I also try to meditate for 20 minutes at least once a day, which is truly the best possible way to charge your own battery.

WHAT DID YOUR 8-YEAR-OLD SELF LOVE DOING?

Playing outside until it was dark with my sisters and the kids in our neighborhood.

IF YOU COULD HAVE ONE MAGIC POWER WHAT WOULD IT BE?

Be a mind reader.

WHAT MAKES YOU FORGET TO EAT?

Not a lot!

WHAT 3 THINGS WOULD YOU GRAB IN A FIRE?

Other than my 3 kids and husband, old family photos that are not “in the cloud”, my animals, and letters from my grandmother.

WHAT IS THE HARDEST THING YOU’VE EVER DONE – YOUR GREATEST CHALLENGE?

Forgiving myself for any mistakes I’ve ever made.

FAVORITE WORD?

Meow. It’s a funny word and funny sound that comes out of my favorite animal.

FAVORITE WORK OF ART?

One!? Impossible. So many powerful pieces to choose from in the world. I truly love Kara Walker’s work.  There is such elegance in its simplicity, but the imagery has so much pain and truth that I cannot look away. It cuts right into my soul.

FAVORITE BOOK?

I have never been able to answer this question, because I fall head over heels in love with books and think I never think I will another book as much as the previous one. Picking one is impossible for me.

To learn more about Jessica purchase her new book Food Swings — 125+ Recipes to Enjoy Your Life of Virtue and Vice  and follow her on:

  

Photo credit: Mark Seliger