Oct 06 2014

Mohop Shoes on the MOVE!

Hey!  Exciting news!

Remember my previous post about Mohop Shoes? Well, Annie Mohaupt and her Chicago-based Mohop Shoes will be on Science Channel’s How It’s Made on October 24, 2014!

Call me weird, but I’ve watched every one of their YouTube videos! I’m not a shoe lover, but I do love the ingenuity of the design, and I’ve been impressed with their marketing campaigns.  This is just FUN for me!

You can check out Mohop’s nicely done videos on their YouTube channel here, where you can see how these amazingly versatile shoes are made, and how to wear them.


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Mohop Shoes is also hoping to receive one of 20 small business grants from Chase’s  Mission Main Street.  Please vote for them at this link: https://www.missionmainstreetgrants.com/business/detail/65745

Jan 25 2014

Commit or Fail, Part One: Annie Mohaupt of Mohop Shoes

To have both an entrepreneurial spirit and a craft or skill seems to me a wonderful gift.  What a beautiful feeling it must be to discover something you’re good at and enjoy doing that will also provide value to clients who will pay for your product or services. What a joy it must be to be able to provide those products or services knowing confidently that your offering will be presented as a quality finished product that the client or customer will love and appreciate. In that arena, a new mentor has come into light for me. Annie Mohaupt is my new hero and mentor (although only at a distance, for now!) I’d like to introduce you to her and her impressive story, as I understand it.

Annie Mohaupt is the founder of Mohop Shoes.  She was an architect not quite satisfied with her career. An artist at heart, she longed to create something beautiful with her hands, something for which there would become such a strong demand that she’d have to quit her job to attend the craft full-time. With soul searching and exploring her options, she discovered she could transfer the skills of her formal education and training to the design and crafting of shoes. She worked “like a mad scientist” to refine the product design and manufacturing processes that would affect the uniqueness and quality of the final product. As she had hoped, the demand for her shoes grew quickly.

In order to meet the demand, Annie made a difficult decision she later regretted: to have her unique shoes manufactured in China. Upon delivery of the cases of mass produced shoes, Annie found the quality of the end product was inferior. With strong ethics and fortitude, Annie was determined to make good on all the orders for her quality shoes. I love this quote from an article she wrote for XOJane:

I didn’t know what else to do but carry on. Those shoes were promised to customers and shops. I hired several helpers to take the shoes apart and rebuild them from scratch. Over the next couple years, we remade every pair, and it was the experience of systematically assembling each pair that taught me not just to approach shoemaking in a much simpler way, but also to reclaim my love of making things.

So Annie went back to the shop in her basement and diligently, passionately found ways to improve the process that would increase production while maintaining her own strict quality standards for the finished product. Her customers loved their Mohop Shoes and the word spread like wildfire, faster than Annie and her growing team could keep up with production!

Recognizing that she loved what she was doing, Annie was committed, and she and her team decided a US manufacturing facility was the answer.  Their Kickstarter project was designed with the purpose of funding a Las Vegas, Nevada manufacturing facility.  That goal was achieved with the help of 435 backers with six days to spare in the project campaign.  This is a testament to the commitment of the team, and the appreciation shown by the customers, who shared the campaign with enthusiasm!  As with most Kickstarter projects, Annie and team posted a Stretch Goal, which was met with 2 days to spare.  Now, with only 90 minutes to go…  No failure, because of commitment.

Dec 12 2013

MOHOP Shoes: US-Made, Woman-Owned, Eco-Friendly, Vegan, and Pretty!


The more I learn about Annie Mohaupt and Mohop “infinitely interchangeable shoes”, the more enthusiastic I am about sharing this story.

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Annie Mohaupt is a Chicago-based shoemaker who is changing the face of domestic manufacturing with Mohop, an innovative shoe brand with an 8-year-old history. MOHOP was created by Annie and is managed by a team of passionate women who want to make fun, interchangeable, easy-to-wear shoes that are good for our economy and our planet.

Annie is an incredibly innovative artisan who has enlisted robots and lasers to help her craft her shoes!

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There is just one problem: the demand for a pair of Mohop’s has exponentially risen in the past year! (Nice problem to have, right?!) The cobbling genius behind this recent shoe epidemic has only two hands to craft and customize every pair. For this reason, she and her team have launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund a new Mohop factory in Las Vegas.

Here are a few facts that make Annie’s story worth knowing:

  • The Mohop team is entirely comprised of women.
  • Mohop is revitalizing U.S.-based manufacturing.
  • Mohop shoes are vegan, sustainably produced by an unusual collaboration between artisans and robots.
  • Mohop shoes are custom-made and fun to wear. (The fun to wear comment is from a friend who has worn them all over on her vacation in Europe!)
  • Mohop Kickstarter campaign provides Backers with multiple benefits: Giving a unique holiday gift that is valuable as a consumer product; supporting an established, woman-owned business; and helping to grow manufacturing in the USA!

Learn more about Annie and Mohop here at the Kickstarter campaign page, which includes videos.

The goal of this blog post is to increase momentum for Annie’e Kickstarter campaign. If Annie’s story sparks your interest, please help our team spread the word by sharing this blog post or the Kickstarter page at this link!

If you would like to cover this story in your blog or newsletter, please reach out to the MOHOP Operations Team at shoes@mohop.com.

About Mohop, Inc. (from their website http://www.mohop.com)

Established in 2005 by architect Annie Mohaupt, Mohop is an eco-friendly footwear company specializing in interchangeable shoes that allow nearly infinite design options with just one pair of soles. One-of-a-kind, custom-fit sandals can easily be created by simply lacing any ribbon or fabric tie in Mohop’s patented sole.

A socially-conscious company, Mohop ensures that all of our collections are produced with sustainably-sourced, recycled, and/or fair-trade materials.  Mohop has three collections: our flexible-sole MOPED collection, our Japanese-inspired MOKOBO collection, and our high-end BESPOKE collection. Each collection is produced by Annie and her team of talented artisans in our Chicago workshop. Mohop shoes are available online and at retailers in the US, Canada, Europe, and Asia, and have been featured on a huge variety of national and international media including Vogue.com, Chicago Tribune, Lucky Magazine, The Martha Stewart Show, US Weekly, MTV, Vh1 and ARTE.

Dec 08 2013

One of My Happy Memories of Santa Claus


One memorable Christmas Eve when we were pre-schoolers, my sister Laura and I spent the night at our grandparents’ house.  At bedtime, Grandma told us to settle down on the sofa on the “back porch”, a small, 4-season enclosure just off the kitchen.  The room was just big enough to contain a small sofa facing a picture window to the back yard. Grandma helped us get ready for bed and settled for sleep. The almost-full moon was so bright that I hardly noticed when she turned off the lights and told us to sit still and watch for Santa and his reindeer-flown sled. She reminded us that he can see how we are behaving, so we had better be quiet and still! We watched silently, waiting in full belief we would soon see him. Laura, one year younger than I, soon fell asleep. I, on the other hand would not miss the possible treat of seeing Santa!

Grandma and Grandpa went to their room for the night. The house was quiet but my eyelids were still wide open in anticipation! Suddenly, from the right middle of the picture window, I saw the flying reindeer pulling Santa and his sleigh in the direction of the upper left of the picture window, clipping the moon! Of course I didn’t want to wake everybody to tell them or Santa would know that I was being naughty, so I gasped, held my mouth covered, and watched in astonishment! I decided I had better close my eyes and pretend to sleep in case Santa would be coming to our house next. I closed my eyes and pretended to sleep, and woke up the next morning to a tree full of presents!

Yes, I’m now a grown woman of sound mind and I realize this story is rather fantastic.  It is, however, just as I remember it from my 4-ish-year-old, first-hand memory!  Maybe I had a colorful imagination back then, or maybe I was visualizing an animated film I had seen on television.  Or maybe, just maybe, I actually glimpsed Santa Claus in flight that memorable Christmas Eve!

Dec 04 2013

Factoids Most People Don’t Know About Lisa M. Blacker and Her Life

You’ve seen the Facebook posts: “10 Little-know facts about me” Well, I’ve chosen to do mine here.

1. Regarding weddings: I have been a bride’s maid, a bride, a maid of honor, a best man, and an officiant, in that order. I was first bride’s maid for my BFF Pattie back in 1979. I was a bride in 1982, then maid of honor for my sister Laura in 1983. In 2008, another BFF – Steve – married and I had the honor of being his “best man” so he wouldn’t have to choose between his two brothers. In 2011, I had the honor of officiating the civil union of a med-school-mate and her partner.

While I am currently very single, I’m not ruling out being a bride again some day in the not-too-distant future, and perhaps a maid of honor as my divorced girlfriends re-marry. However, although I’ve been a best man, I’m fairly certain I have no interest in being a groom.

2. As you may have caught in #1, above, I am an ordained minister. I prefer officiant or celebrant, as I don’t get involved with the religious aspects much at all. I wrote a blog post on this topic, which you can find at this link.

3. My mother, son, and I were the first family to have a third generation attend our high school. My mother attended the school when it opened and one of her favorite teachers was Mr. Gates. Mr. Gates taught each of us, over the three generations. When I brought my son to register for school, Mr. Gates reminded himself aloud, “I taught this kid’s grandmother!” Mr. Gates warned me, in a very colorful manner, that I had better prevent my son from bringing another generation to this school while he is still teaching because he WILL NOT teach the great-grandchildren of one of his students!

4. I come from a long line of young parents: My great-grandmother had her first child before her 18th birthday; my maternal grandmother had her first child just before her own 18th birthday; my mother had me before her own 18th birthday; and my son was born just before my 18th birthday. Knowing this unintentional tradition, when my son approached his 17th birthday her asked me, “So, uh, Mom. Do you want me to carry on the family tradition?” My response to him: “Don’t. You. Dare.”

5. It took me 25 years after high school to complete my Associate’s degree. I started in 1985 and earned the bulk of it between 1995 and 2006. I graduated with honors: Phi Theta Kappa and Sigma Kappa Delta. My son and his wife, and my BFF Steve attended my ceremony.

6. I graduated with my first bachelor’s degree at the age of 45 years. I wept on stage while smiling so big my cheeks hurt! My son, daughter-in-law, grandson, and BFFs Steve and Karen attended my ceremony. My degree is a B.S. in biomedical sciences. My cumulative undergraduate grade-point average earned me a scholarship for the first term of medical school, which I started just four weeks later.

7. After three trimesters (one year) part-time, I chose to leave medical school. My reasons were many, and deciding and acting on that decision was harder than staying, but I felt then and still feel that it was the right thing for me to do.

8. I became a grandmother at 45 years of age. I was ready. After all, my son’s responsible timing meant I had to wait 9 years longer than my mother, and her mother, and her mother before her! Each of them before me had become a grandmother at age 35.

9. During a warm-up act at Rosa’s Lounge in the late 1980’s, I danced multiple, consecutive dances with jazz pianist Pinetop Perkins without knowing who he was or that he was the headliner I had come to see & hear!

10. I have a Keith Richards story – yes, of the Rolling Stones. I was 23 years old and celebrating my birthday at Biddy Mulligan’s on North Sheridan Ave. It was Blues Fest weekend and my date was the sound guy for the house band who was gigging with Dr. John. Chuck Berry and Keith walked in to see & hear Dr. John. The details of our encounter are in my book. Nowhere else.

Nov 29 2013

Thanksgiving Always Brings Me Thoughts of My Father

The dying of an estranged family member is at least as difficult as the dying of a close loved one. Emotions surface that we had suppressed or even repressed, and we have to make decisions under the influence of those emotions.

Uncle Phil’s sudden illness and process of dying was no exception. Partially because of the relationship he and I had, and what I knew of him and other family members, and partially because Uncle Phil’s relationship circumstances reminded me of my biological father.

The last time I saw my father alive and well was the Sunday before Thanksgiving 1996. We hadn’t talked since the 50th anniversary party of his parents – I think it was 1986. I invited him to have dinner with me for the holiday. He agreed, but when the day arrived, he didn’t. I was heartbroken. No phone call that day or after. Troubled soul that he was, he avoided me and the rest of his family, including my sisters (his daughters) and his own mother, for the rest of his life. Until 2008.

Five years ago almost to this day, I learned my father was in a nursing home dying of testicular cancer. With a friend-schoolmate along for support, encouragement, and my physical safety, I went to see my father. To say hello. To ask why. To say goodbye. It was hard. Hard to walk up to his nursing home room’s doorway and see a man that more closely resembled my gentle, loving, recently-departed grandfather more than the trouble-finding, uncomfortable-with-reality father I remembered.

I was quiet a minute as I stood in his doorway, as I wrapped my mind around his aging physical body sitting in a wheel chair, and that this was not my grandfather, but my father. It was one of those spiritual moments when I assumed G-d caused my father to resemble Gramps so it would be easier for me to be warm to him. After all, if he still appeared to be the strong, healthy, 50-year-old who stood me up, it is likely I would have had a harder time making my next decision.

He spoke first: “Well, hello!” “Do you know who I am?” I asked. I honestly do not remember if he said my name, but I knew he knew me when he looked into my eyes and responded with all the enthusiasm his exhausted body could muster, “Yes! I do! Please come in.” My friend was right behind me, and when I determined my father was clearly no threat to me, I nodded for my friend to wait in the lobby.

I asked my father some hard questions, and I got a couple answers. Some answers made sense, others, not so much. The cancer had metastasized and was clearly affecting his brain. He spoke semi-coherently of minor events from my toddler years, and I recognized them as such only because my mother had told me those same stories long ago. His telling of these mini-stories helped me to feel connected with him, as if we actually had been family, if only in the beginning. My father and I made peace together there in the nursing home. Whatever his reason for choosing to abstain from family life, I forgave him. It was healing for me, and probably for him, as well.

Two days later, on the Sunday before Thanksgiving 2008, 12 years to the day after I invited him to Thanksgiving dinner the year he stood me up, his cancer-filled body died.

Before we made peace, I thought of my father every Thanksgiving as the anniversary of him standing me up. Since we made peace, I have remembered him at Thanksgiving in a much different way.

I am grateful my father and my mother conceived me and my sister Laura, and I am grateful he and Mavis, his third wife, conceived my sister Jayne. I am grateful that I chose to visit him in the nursing home. I am grateful I witnessed him and his mother also making peace.

baby Lisa and father Carl

Lisa and father Carl

Jun 27 2013

The Meaning of Life and Setting Goals – Part One: A Phone Chat with Mom

Today was my “Me-Day-Staycation”.

This, of course, means a day when I stay home — as opposed to vacating — and focus on myself. More often than in previous years, I’ve been making the most of these days off from other responsibilities. The purpose of today’s Me-Day-Staycation was to re-evaluate and refine my goals. Having just celebrated a significant birthday, I have been considering: “What do I want to do with the rest of my life?”

Earlier this week, I was doing an exercise in my Ambit Energy training manual that said the absolute first priority is to define your “Why”: What are your goals and why are they important to you? I went blank. Blank! This was NOT the first time, either! I had the same reaction at Unleash the Power Within with Tony Robbins in 2011, and in 2009 with Carlos Marin’s workshop Automatic Riches. Still blank. Then, brief feelings of sadness, then frustration…In all my free time this week since then, I have been actively taking time to remember earlier and recent dreams and goals.

What are the differences between dreams and goals?

A dream is just a concept while a goal is specific. Goals are recorded (in writing, or in audio or video) with: (1) achievable details including quality (how to identify what all senses experience when you achieve it) and quantity (how to measure it); and, (2) a deadline.

I know, I know: In his book The Practice of Management, Peter Drucker taught “S.M.A.R.T. for specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely.” However, I don’t use the acronym because I believe attainable and realistic are redundant, and the specifics of a goal include quantifying it, so measurable and specific are also redundant. But then, he may have been going for the acronym intentionally.

In my adult life, most of the goals I have written in clear detail, I accomplished! When did I stop recording my goals and paying attention to my hearts desires?

I had to call my mother.

My mother and I have been close for most (but not all) of my son’s life. She was a regionally acclaimed business professional in her late 30’s to mid 40’s until she was in an explosion that changed her life toward one that has since been spiritually-focused. With the subject of goals on my mind, I wanted to talk with successful people who lost or changed focus, as I discovered I had done.

After prefacing the conversation, I asked my mother about her early goals and why she stopped focusing on them. She shared personal reasons and revealed to me something I had not considered: She chose to focus on her spirituality rather than the material goals. I respect and appreciated the answer, and it gave me some insight into my experience based on Law of Attraction. I HAVE been focusing…on the wrong things, arguably. My focus has been on being flexible. The current name of this blog, “The Profound Generalist” is one that reflects my wide and varied interests and the range of my attention. Law of Attraction says what we focus on grows, and clearly my focus on being flexible, diversified, and general has come to fruition. Amazing. Profound.

Weeping on the phone with my mother at this realization, I asked her, in a childlike manner, “What would you like me to be when I grow up?”

Mom’s reply was profoundly simple: “Happy!”

That was the best possible answer she could have given me. A timely gift in that moment. I wept. We said our I love yous, and I got off the phone and started writing out my long-time, heart-felt, inspired goals.

Mar 23 2013

Overcoming My Past – Part 3 – It takes Work to combat inertia!

This body has been at rest for the greater part of the last nine years, being sedentary as a student and then as a marketing professional. Building momentum to combat inertia will require consistent, persistent Work (physics). Knowing this is true, and consciously choosing to act on this knowledge, I went out for another jog. It was a little easier to get up and go this second time than it was the first time, earlier today. I’m planning to go out again early this evening, jogging about the same distance and adding a long walk at the end.

This nice weather reminds me it would be good to take my bicycle out of the basement so I can alternate between jogging and bike riding, to work different muscle groups and to keep moving, conditioning my heart and lungs.

I also realized that all my goals were in progress except for those that pertain to my physical body. I changed that today. I changed ME today.

Part One
Part Two

Mar 23 2013

Overcoming My Past – Part 2 – Yes, I can jog safely.

If you have not yet done so, you may want to read Part 1 first.
At first, Derek invited me to take the plunge and go with him on his second jog. I thought I’d prefer to go alone so I could think rather than have the company. He had told me to think while running or jogging “yes, I can!” to help me believe, and I wanted to practice doing so. When I was appropriately dressed and ready to head outside, Dr. Derek added a clarifier: “I’ll go out with you. You won’t get hurt if you let me show you how to jog.”

Outside, Derek showed me how he jogs. It isn’t pretty. From my perspective, his technique is rather silly looking. (Enter visual of John Cleese doing a silly-walk skit on Monty Python’s Flying Circus. If you never saw it or want a reminder, watch the video here.) Regardless of societal norms, Derek does what he does for health, not for show. Besides, not only does he have more formal education than I, and a medical license, he practices what he preaches: he eats healthfully, exercises, meditates…He sets an excellent example for his patients, especially for me since we are housemates. Therefore, I’ll put my ego in check and be compliant. I’ll aim for his demonstrated technique without concern for my appearance silly-jogging down the street, keeping my show on stage in business and musical presentations.

Derek watched me emulate him. After just a few minutes, when he was satisfied that I understood his direction and would jog his way, he told me I was ready. I jogged away from him and in just 50 feet my right ankle hurt and I stopped. “Really?,” I wondered as I turned to glance at Derek watching me. He said to run through it and think “I can do it!” It brought me back to Tony Robbins’ Unleash the Power Within and the fact that I am a Firewalker. I am a Firewalker! Surely I can run, or at least jog for now! Off I went.

My jog was slow and calculated, somewhat methodical. The previous nine years of my sedentary lifestyle made breathing while jogging more difficult than I’d like to admit. I alternated jogging and walking just to catch my breath, not for any pain. When I realized I was walking for long enough that my heart rate slowed, I jogged again, hearing my inner voice saying, “Keep going!” Aside from the brief ankle pain, I experienced no adverse musculo-skeletal issue. At all. The fear the doctors instilled in me nine years ago – clearly with my permission – was for naught and apparently unwarranted. While jogging, I thought about how jogging and eventually running regularly might change me in mindset and spirit, as well as physical improvements.

I did it. I jogged. Taking charge of this old, senseless fear is a step in the right direction of overcoming my past adversities so I can move forward with strength, ease, and grace. I can do it. I can jog.

Mar 23 2013

Overcoming My Past – Part 1 – Can I run, or at least jog safely?

This morning my roommate Derek went out for a jog, as he often does. As he was tying his shoe laces in preparation, I thought about all the people in my life who run and how they each have a leaner, healthier-looking body than the average person. I thought about what it would be like to get up and go jogging or running without fear of injury, and what it would be like to have a runner’s body if I did, if I could.

Ever since a traumatic injury in 2004, I have believed what doctors told me immediately after the injury: Don’t run or jog. I took their word, without question, without re-evaluation…until today. When Derek returned from his jog, I bravely faced my fear and asked him if I, in this physical body of mine, can run, or if I should not.

Derek and I have known each other since we became neighbors in May of 2007, when I moved into a dorm apartment on the campus of the medical university where I would live for 20 months of undergrad and 12 months during work toward my doctorate. When we met, Derek was a first-year medical student at the same university, and lived down the hall in the same dorm. Dr. Derek has been my personal physician since shortly after he graduated with his first doctorate in 2010. Derek is a positive, spiritual young man who is a chiropractic physician, naturopathic physician, acupuncturist, and practitioner of Applied Kinesiology. He has been instrumental in my physical healing and spiritual-emotional healing, as well. This is why I asked Derek!

Derek was rather surprised that I would ask and his answer was, emphatically, “Of course you can!” I was equally surprised at this response. We then discussed mindset and neuro-pathways as it pertains to health and wellness, and why I “should go out and run. Right now. Let’s go,” he encouraged. I wanted to write this blog post first, capturing the before so my “after” would be more meaningful. So I have done. Now the run. Here I go.

(Continue to Part 2, here.)

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