Archive for November, 2016


“Hi I’m Lisa

The trash that I’ve brought today is from the beaches of Newport, Middletown and Portsmouth Rhode Island.

It shouldn’t be there so I pick it up.”

“This is also the area of the state in which I live. I became passionate about the trash when I became involved with the Surfrider Foundation and Clean Ocean Access in Rhode Island.”


“My name is Nate.

In his will, my grandfather made a bequest to me of this boarhead and two rifles- one of which was used to kill the animal.

I cherish them because he specifically wanted me to have them.”



“Hi, my name is Ana.

I brought my spoons. I may be the only professional chef fixated on this one particular cheap spoon. And to me they are just as important as my knives.

Usually people are like, what’s the big deal about the spoon? Well, it’s amazing what you can accomplish with a spoon when it doesn’t have a lip. You can cut, stir, and then because it’s flat you can take the mixture and spread it onto a plate. Then take another spoon, go to your hot sauté pan and use it as a spatula to flip up a scallop, pick up some juices from the pan, baste and also taste. Then grab another and move on.

These spoons were discovered by mistake about ten years ago. We kept stealing spoons meant for the dining room. So one day I asked my sous chef, “Can you just call and try to find the cheapest spoon so we can stop doing that? These are what happen to come in and now it’s come to the point where I don’t go anywhere to cook without them. Whether its New York or Europe, I bring tons of these spoons as part of my tool kit.

It’s now evolved into this spoon that is placed at every position in the kitchen. If it doesn’t have spoons it is not considered a set up station. In my restaurants all of us agree-once you start using these spoons, you can’t go back. We have hundreds of them and now, when we order new spoons from our supplier, we just ask for Oleana kitchen spoons.”

Ana Sortun is the owner of three restaurants, Oleana being the original. She won the prestigious James Beard award in 2005 for her excellence. She’s married to a farmer who provides all the organic produce that her restaurants need. Farm to table is a family affair.



“Hi, my name is Nellie.

I come alive whenever I see this album. It brings me back to my teen years which were sheltered and happy. I first bought the album when I was 13 and collected photos up until the time I left Tanzania to come to America. The year was 1974 and I was eighteen.

I was young and laughter was always present, especially when most of these pictures were taken. My mother and fathers pictures are in there and my brothers and sisters. And my one niece at the time, I was her idol so where I went, she went. I had one best friend that I really, really miss. We lost touch when I moved to the States. She went to England and then became a doctor in New Guinea. And I just don’t know how to find her. I’ve tried but this album remains my only connection to her.

America is my home now but Tanzania is still my true home. There are things about Tanzania that I miss sometimes. The people are genuine and they’re honest and when they tell you something they mean it. They’re not fake and they follow through. But the US has given me the opportunities that I could never have in Tanzania because in the states I could reinvent myself to do whatever or become whomever I want to be. For me to be able to work with McCartney or whoever in Hollywood, it’s — it’s just an amazing thing that I would never have had in Tanzania. Like when I’m watching the Oscars and can point out how many people I know that I’ve touched. It was like, oh, I know him or oh, I know her, so yeah, that’s pretty amazing. So I love this country for giving me these chances for success.

I still get impressed by all of this. My friends say I’m still too innocent and even at my age right now I’m thinking, oh my God, yeah, they’re right. But it’s my childhood in Tanzania that has given me a spirit that those I work with are attracted to — it’s why John probably wanted me around, and McCartney, and why they turned me on to other people. It allowed me to succeed, absolutely, Yeah.

Other than this ebony necklace I am wearing, not many things are still with me from my childhood in Tanzania.  The beads have a healing quality and are thought to be protective and symbolic. The wood of the ebony tree is very beautiful and it never rots, it just doesn’t. It will always remain the same. Like the feeling I get seeing the people in this album each time I look.”

Nellie is a makeup artist based in San Francisco and has worked with many of Hollywood’s most notable actors and some of the world’s most iconic musicians. Where she mentions McCartney and John in the story, she is referring to her time spent with Paul McCartney and John Travolta respectively. These days she spends most of her time working on projects with Silicon Valley’s brightest innovators.