Podcast Episodes

60: The Melanie Salvatore-August Episode

“Fierce Kindness”. You kinda have to love how that sounds.

The fantabulous Dana Faletti told me I need to meet Melanie Salvatore August. That Melanie and I would connect instantly. That the work Melanie does is right up Mindsoak alley.

Since I always listen to Dana (seriously, ask her) I reached out to Melanie and, true to Dana’s word, we connected instantly. So effortlessly in fact, that if we go back in our Italian heritage I guarantee we find we are related. And if we aren’t, well, I think we may adopt each other as siblings.

First my love note to Melanie: Thank you, thank you, thank you. For the work you are putting out on into the world. For the delightful conversation we had and for being so open and honest during the podcast. Your take on life and life’s purpose is refreshing and reinforcing. I’m positively stoked to know you.

Melanie is the author of the recently released book, “Fierce Kindness: Be a Positive Force For Change” and the creator of Operation Fierce Kindness. She also wrote “Kitchen Yoga: Simple Home Practices to Transform Mind, Body, and Life” and does about a million other things aimed at helping people become more mindful and more kind.

We discuss her insights which lead to writing “Fierce Kindness” (and wow is it a beautifully written and designed book), her history of self exploration and her desire to live intentionally. We discuss insecurities and how we try to beat them back with a stick and we genuinely have a glorious and fun filled conversation about life and the version of ourselves we are aspiring to become.

The first thing about “Fierce Kindness” that caught my eye when I opened the book was the statement “Don’t believe everything you think.” I absolutely love that statement and Melanie effortlessly breaks down it’s meaning. And she does it in a way that will help you challenge some of your false beliefs you carry around for no apparent reason other than you’ve always carried them around.

As if we weren’t deep enough in conversation from the onset of the podcast, Melanie then allows me to ask her the deep questions she asks readers in “Fierce Kindness”. Notice when you listen how after I ask a question, Melanie always takes a deep, insightful pause as she gathers her thoughts. I absolutely love this about her. It’s so indicative of how she is present in the moment.

Again, thank you Melanie, I appreciated our conversation immensely and am looking forward to the many more to come.

Show Notes:

Learn more about Melanie:
Yellow Pear Press (I’m really excited to have learned of they publishing company…they are putting out some fantastic books!

Books discussed:

The Power of Kindness: The Unexpected Benefits of Leading a Compassionate Life
The Gift of Therapy: An Open Letter to a New Generation of Therapists and Their Patients

59: The Sarah Aili Episode

Sarah Aili was born and raised in California and now hails from Nashville, Tennessee. She’s a singer/songwriter who writes and performs songs in a variety of genres from pop, country, bluegrass and folk.

She does the music thing. She goes on tour. She releases albums. She makes music videos.

And she’s pretty damn brilliant at it if you ask me.

During the podcast we begin our conversation by walking through her life, from being conceived while her parents were running a music festival to finding her voice at a young age to packing up her belongings and moving to Nashville to continue her musical adventure.

Sarah and I walk through how her creativity blossomed, how she overcomes performance fear, how she overcame criticism and we breakdown how she creates and writes.

We also talk about creativity and how important it is in all of our lives.

We talk improv and “going with the flow” dancing.

We talk insecurities and how we can free ourselves.

We talk intentional living (which by now you know I am a huge proponent of so it was great to hear someone else talking about it).

We talk being the creator of our own life.

And while Sarah is a wonderful musician where she really shines is being human.

Sarah and I recorded the podcast several days ago, but as I write this I’m still being positively effected by the depth she was willing to take the conversation. I don’t even know if my words can do it justice. Sarah brought a level of understanding and vulnerability to the conversation that blew my mind.

I hope you are inspired by Sarah as much as I was. Just listening to her walk through her aspirations, her beliefs and her hurdles in life is a lesson to all of us to focus on the positive, chip away at our false beliefs and grab life by the horns.

To Sarah: Thank you. That was an incredible marathon podcast. It reshaped what Mindsoak can be. It was beautiful.

Oh, and thanks for hooking me up with your dad…that dude is awesome.

To everyone else, enjoy the podcast. It’s a long one so feel free to pause us, go about your life and then come back when you have more time.

Now go find out more about Sarah by visiting www.sarahaili.com and make sure to follow her on all her social media sites. Make sure grab her album on iTunes and you can also check out more of her songs at SoundCloud.

58: The Dawn Garcia Episode

Dawn Garcia wears many hats. She’s a journalist, author, screenwriter and editor. I first learned of Dawn through her magazine, ATOD Magazine (which stands for A Taste of Dawn) and knew right away she was someone I wanted to talk to. Dawn also has over 20 years experience in film and TV production, starting with her career as a makeup and special effects artist. She started her writing career after being given positive feedback from the one and only Francis Ford Coppola.

When I think of Dawn I see a “no-holds-barred, experience life to the fullest, find the sexy in everything and don’t ask for permission” maestro who revels in pushing the boundaries of her experiences.

Dawn and I discuss ways in which she’s creative, the courage it takes to be a public persona, her writing methods, how she almost worked as a make up artist on the set of Star Wars and how she doesn’t fear experiencing all the wonders our world has to offer.

I love how Dawn experiences lifestyles, food and culture. She just dives into new experiences and pulls her readers in with her. Her passion is vivacious and it shows in her writing and in the podcast.

I admire all these things about Dawn.

But what I absolutely love about Dawn is her genuineness. She’s all about exploring herself and the human condition. I ask some deep questions about her regrets and feelings of vulnerability. We explore letting go of false beliefs and what she admires about herself.

Dawn’s answers, and her ability to be 100% transparent and humble, take us down some interesting discussion threads on feeling alive, being courageous and silencing self doubt.

I also talk Dawn into coming to Dubuque for a Tri-State foodie and travel assignment! And I nudge my way on to the TV show she is developing.

You can find out more about Dawn at ATOD Magazine, dawngarcia.com and learn about her pop up dinner series, White Lies + Alibis.

You can also follow Dawn on all the social media outlets: Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

57: The Brad Cavanagh Episode

Brad Cavanagh The Realist IdealistI’ve known Brad Cavanagh for almost ten years. But it seems like we’ve been friends for a lifetime. Brad is a social worker by trade, a professor, he’s been a therapist and he’s a deep thinker. Time with Brad, usually on a deck, in front of a fire pit or wandering some farmland, usually lasts until 2 or 3 A.M. He’s just one of those people you don’t want to stop talking to.

He’s also the main reason I got off my ass and actually launched Mindsoak.

I love debating politics and world solutions with Brad. One, because we never get angry with one another even though we might be coming from opposite ends of the spectrum. And two, because he’s so thought out, well researched, reality based and confident in his perspective. Where I am shooting from the hip and flying by the seat of my pants.

Sidetone: Brad and I enjoy play online video games with each other and have been doing so for quite a while. In the games we play there are usually two major tactics. One is be methodical, take your time, wait for the right opportunity and stay hidden. The other is run in like a madman, try to react to whatever situation is thrown at you and create as much chaos as possible. In fact, there is a game in which one of the tools you can use is a “snakecam” which allows you to look under the door to see what awaits you on the other side. I’ve come to call Brad “Snakecam” for his calm, measured approach to breaching a room while I patiently wait beside him itching to bust into the room and cause as much mayhem as possible.

But guess what, when it comes to snakecam-ing life and solutions, Brad is brilliant at it.

That’s why he started The Realist Idealist. And that’s why we should all be reading his ideas for solutions to some of society’s greatest problems. The man thinks of all the ideas, weighs all the options and makes decisions based on facts.

I hope you enjoy our conversation as we discuss his ideas for The Realist Idealist and we meander through his history and what shaped his perspective on life.

Here are the links to some of the books and products we discuss on the podcast (clicking through to the links will take you to Amazon. If you decide to purchase the product through these links Mindsoak get’s a little kickback for sending you.):

Make sure you also follow Brad at www.therealistidealist.com, on Twitter and on Facebook. Brad also recently wrote an essay for titled “In The Box” Mindsoak.

Resolute to the Ride

Hello, Jon here. Today is going to be forever known as Veronica Day. (Sorry Dad, I know it’s your birthday today, but Veronica gets it.) Why is today Veronica Day? Because we’re releasing her essay (below) and her second episode of the podcast!

Today we are also announcing Veronica’s brand new, glittery podcast; The New York Import! She’ll be interviewing people, like herself, who imported to New York and we’ll learn all about their trials, tribulations and experiences. Listen to the podcast to hear more about The New York Import podcast! So without further ado…here’s Veronica. Make sure to scroll to the bottom if you want to listen to her episode!

New Year’s Eve has always been my favorite day of the year, and the subsequent weeks always find me on a particularly nefarious high. I feel emboldened and exhilarated- in the way only true change can make you feel.

The turning of a new chapter is always something to be celebrated, and the dawn of a new year gives us the chance to do so right alongside our comrades in arms, accompanied by all the sparkle, glitter, and kisses we can find.

It’s because of such spirit and fanfare that I decided many years ago to forego the customary setting of a new year’s resolution. That’s right. I am resolute to the ride- the beautiful, intangible perfection of the journey. Yes, of course, I have daily goals that I am unwaveringly committed to. More so than that, though, I am committed and opened of mind to the expansion that comes which such a big turning point as a new year.

We are all riding high on such great, forward-thinking momentum, and I choose this time of year to listen to my heart and let myself be guided by the magic that surrounds this season of uplift and focus.


Speaking for myself, these days are a perfect time to acknowledge all of the change and evolution that has gone on over the previous months. New friends, new hobbies, new loves- all thanks to the ever-winding ride that is life. Reflecting back on any moments originally perceived as “missteps” that can now be seen clearly, and often celebrated for all of the wondrous- once unforeseen- greatness that has birthed from them.

I am thankful for loved ones and advocates for their continued support, because whether it’s the family we chose or the family we were born with, they have all come into our experience for a reason and have contributed more than we sometimes realize. And take the time to celebrate even the smallest of victories, for they all have such a profound place in the story of our lives.

I suppose if there is anything I can say in regards to the subject of resolutions, it would be this: please be kind to yourself, no matter what the outcome of your chosen resolution might be.

Because negative drive is incompatible with positive results, and too often people are excessively hard on themselves.

Yes, live a decisive life. Yes, by all means, honor thy commitments. You should also be gentle with yourself and allow for the passing of a new year to bring with it unanticipated growth and goals. Know that every moment in your life is a chance to reinvent yourself.

After all, we are always on our path- as my fairy godfather and dear Mindsoak colleague would say- and at any given moment it is your great privilege to deviate from the “plan” in favor of honoring a higher calling that may be beckoning from within.

Because what is the “plan” anyway, if not to follow your heart and live your fullest life? What is the point, if we cannot heed the call of our spirit and enjoy the deliciousness of disruption and reinvention? Trust yourself to go with your gut. Who knows…your inner voice/source/angel might just have a grander plan in store for you yet.

Either way, I’ll see you at spin class tomorrow. Because let’s face it- that leftover case of champagne isn’t going to drink itself. And we are all allowed to revel in being beautiful, evolving renegades- simultaneous masterpieces and works in progress.

Productivity, Entrepreneurship and Fitness – With Adam Ivy (Episode 55)

Adam Ivy is a man of many talents. As I learned more about Adam I needed to have him on to talk about productivity and entrepreneurship. Reading about Adam’s story intrigued me to no end. He relentlessly pursues creating genuine content and brands.

And I needed to know how he was able to remain at such a high level of productivity with the variety of roles he plays throughout the day.

On one hand Adam’s a music producer creating and selling music beats online. He’s an award winning creative marketing specialist. He’s launched an athletic apparel line and created a unique and distinct brand. He’s a YouTube personality. And he’s from Wisconsin.

And he’s a good dude.

We start the episode by talking about his entrepreneurial start at the age of 23. How he turned $800 into a six figure income by producing beats for other musicians to purchase online.

Adam is a big supporter of taking “calculated risks”. We discuss how he took a leap of faith and moved from Wisconsin to Florida to fulfill his dream and take the next step. How he believed in himself and knew he needed to continuously challenge his comfort level in order to take his businesses and life to the next level.

Adam discusses what it takes to have the courage to create, both audio and video, and the productivity skills necessary to keep driving towards your goals.

It was great to hear the story of how Adam created his apparel line Jusbi. Creating a clothing line is no simple task and getting to pull the curtain back on his productivity and the challenges he faced to launch a business in which he didn’t have any prior experience.

We also got into some of his suggestions about fitness and nutrition and how he keeps his productivity up in the gym and in the kitchen. I always love hearing about someone’s workout routine so it was a good time discussing all of this with Adam. I will keep true to my word to have him back on again to discuss more about nutrition and fitness.

You can find Adam on all the social media sites: YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and of course, AdamIvy.com.