Day 302

When I began the project last December, something rather interesting happened—I rediscovered donuts (or doughnuts, if you want to get fancy). Why is that interesting? Well, you see, before that I hadn’t eaten a donut in close to four years. When you’re living in NYC, I guess it just makes sense to always opt for the bagel joint. Yet, here I am, absolutely delighted that I stumbled upon this renaissance of sugary goodness.

Sure, I’ve always known I’d be hitting up Voodoo Donuts in Portland. But never once did I consider there would be equally creative and delicious confections in every other stop along the way too. It’s been 10 months and I’m convinced that this is no longer a string of random discoveries. Rather, this is a full-on donut revolution. Just take a look at some of the places I’ve already been:

Still on the to-do list: Top Pot in Seattle, Voodoo in Portland, Dynamo in San Francisco and finally, Randy's in LA.

What makes these shops so exciting is the love they have for their craft. Some focus on all-natural ingredients and season flavors, while others turn the whole concept on its head. But, they all push the boundaries of what a donut is in one way or another. I’ve enjoyed a Banh Mi donut at Strange, a Fried Chicken donut at Gourdough’s and a Peanut Butter & Sriracha donut at Glam Doll. Needless to say, they aren’t flavors or combinations you’d expect. Yet they’ve all been absolutely satisfying and delicious.

So… why donuts? I’m not 100% sure, but I think it has something to do with the small memories of home I enjoy with each bite. They remind me of Sunday mornings when my father would run down to the donut shop for a dozen cream sticks. They bring to mind a crisp fall morning, sitting outside a bakery in Cleveland. To me, they personify one of those rare calm moments when I can shut off my brain and just enjoy the things around me.

I think this unplanned—and ongoing—discovery just goes to show that there are young creatives all over this country pushing the boundaries in any number of fields. You just never know when you’ll stumble upon a new calling in life. That’s why you should always been on the look out. But most importantly, if you’re passionate about something, whether it be donuts, art, music or web design, always remember to give it your all. You might just start a revolution.

Now, bring on the donuts!

-Steve-

Day 207

Well... my time in St. Louis has come to an end. It was certainly an interesting experience and I think I came out of it with a newfound appreciation for this city and those who inhabit it. Before I arrived, I didn’t know much about the area or what it had to offer, but now I can officially say that this is one hell of a place. Everyone is so kind and motivated too. In fact, I don’t think I heard a single negative phrase uttered in my entire time here. I also learned you can’t judge a city by the size of its downtown. St. Louis is just too far spread out and the best of what it has to offer is certainly found in its accompanying neighborhoods. 

I certainly want to send out a huge thank you to Boxing Clever for letting me be apart of what they do here and for showing me an absolutely incredible time. They’re definitely doing something special and I’m a better person for having been involved with it. I also need to thank all of the other wonderful people I met here—everyone at Bruton Stroube, CoolfireCannonball, Group 360, 90 Degrees West, Hoffman Lewis and Moosylvania, as well as Wesley Hoffman, the crew at Strange Donuts, Archie McKinlay, the list goes on and on. Lastly, I need to send a special shout out to Casey and Sara Latiolais for letting me crash in their spare room for the month and for being my impromptu tour guides of the city. Without them, I would’ve missed out on A LOT of cool things. 

At 7am Saturday, I head to the windy city, where I’ll soon begin my tenure at TRIS3CT. Although I’ve been to Chicago a few times before, I know it has a lot more to offer and I’m excited to take it all in. We’re halfway through this little project of mine and if the second half is anything like the first, we’re going to have a great time together. 

Go Team USA!

-Steve-

Day 197

This weekend, I discovered just how tight knight the St. Louis creative community truly is.

It all started Friday night when my hosts (Casey and Sara) and I joined up with a small group at the Schlafly Taproom. As I’ve come to expect from most of the outings we attend, our table was filled with creatives and agency folks from all over—Boxing Clever, Bruton Stroube, Cannonball, Group 360 and Hoffman Lewis to name a few. We sat down to enjoy some delicious beers and spent the next few hours discussing agency life and how St. Louis stacks up to other cities around the nation. I also learned that many of the people I’ve met here all know each other in some capacity. Whether it’s through school, a past agency or just traveling in similar circles, it truly seems as if everyone here is connected in someway.

The following morning, Casey and I ran in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. For those following along, you’ll know this is the second 5K I’ve participated in along my #TGAA route, with the last one taking place in Charlotte. And for those wondering, I finished with a time of 25:07. After the race, we got together with Darrick Hays (a Digital Art Director at Boxing Clever) and his wife to chow down on some BBQ from Bogarts Smokehouse. The meal quickly manifested into a food coma and long story short, there are a few hours of the day I can’t quite place after we got back.

The next thing I remember is heading back to Schlafly, where I met up with some more Boxing Clever folks to catch Bastard & the Crows, a band that features BC Art Director, Joe Stephens. It was a great time filled with drinks, music and a few increasingly familiar faces.

But the fun and introductions don’t end there. Later this afternoon, I have the opportunity to sit down with Wesley Hoffman, a man of many talents. Not only does he run Treehouse Networkshop (which I discussed last Monday), but he’s also a Special Projects Manager at happyMedium and a Brand Ambassador for Strange Donuts. So, needless to say, I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to chat with him this afternoon.

I honestly don’t think I can accurately convey how many great people I’ve met here in the past few weeks. I know it’s only for a short while, but I’m having such an amazing time getting to know everyone here and learning of their various (and often overlapping) endeavors throughout the city. St. Louis is proving to be a great experience indeed—a trend that’s continued since day one.

-Steve-