Article and photos by Janelle Rominski
In our lives, we are given two dates. The date we were born and the day we depart this world. In the middle is the dash. How are you living your dash? Meet Living My Dash (LMD), a movement and merchandise brand. It is the brainchild of my music-loving friend Mindy Shulman and is inspired by the poem, "The Dash," by Linda Ellis.
Mindy Shulman, Owner of Living My Dash
Living My Dash celebrates its one year anniversary today and it's bittersweet. Mindy's great friend, Gerald Brown, passed away and he is the reason she started LMD. When she found out the news, she was crushed. That moment changed the rest of her life. Mindy continues to make the best out of everyday because life is too short. She says to Gerald, Living My Dash is "for you, my rock star."
Mindy designed the logo for Living My Dash, picked out all the colors for her apparel and she keeps it local, by having her friend Andrew Bauman's company, Creative Edge Visual Solutions, do all of her merchandise's embroidery and screen printing.
I met Mindy through the local music scene. Through getting to know her, we found out we worked at the same radio station at separate times. Small world!
She is the biggest supporter of all Chicagoland bands and you can always find her out and about enjoying solo acoustic performances to rockin' her socks off at full band shows. I call her the "Smiley Shulman" because she's always got a giant grin on her face.
Her brand, Living My Dash, got me thinking. I know she's always living her life to the fullest, but what about some of her biggest musical supporters? What do they individually do to live their dash --- away from the stage when the bright lights aren't on them and the crowds aren't nearby?
Mindy called up a handful of her musician friends and I captured their them doing their favorite dash activities.
Meet Tesa (pronounced like Lisa with a T) and George, a couple, from the GOOROOS, a high-powered current radio super hits cover band that performs P!nk, Maren Morris, DNCE, Justin Timberlake and more! Tesa is the band's amazing lead singer, and she plays a mean tambourine and George shreds on the guitar and provides support vocals. They love spending their dash being out in nature, hiking, exploring and enjoying each each other's company. So I captured them, in the woods.
Mindy Shulman Tesa and George from the GOOROOS
How much can you cram into a day? When Tesa isn’t geeking out teaching high schoolers engineering and architecture, she is either writing songs, hanging with friends or embarrassing her teenage son. She can relate any situation to an episode of FRIENDS and loves laughing until she ugly cries. She's always learning, growing and trying hard to follow the quote on her pop socket “Be Kind.”
George is Chicago born and raised. Started playing guitar at the age of fourteen. Never had an interest in being "normal". Learned everything the hard way and continuing on that path. He has always been a huge fan of loud guitars and kind people.
Tesa and George from the GOOROOS
Another great friend and supporter of Mindy joined in the photo shoot festivities and her name is Tamara Woodruff. She's a solo acoustic artist and works as a lead vocalist/keyboardist for Fast Times Chicago, is the co-lead vocalist/pianist at Blue Sirens and is one of the core members for a new group called Coterie, all based in the Chicago area.
Tamara Woodruff and Mindy Shulman
When Tamara isn't on the stage, she spends her dash hitting the road with her Harley-Davidson motorcycles. There's something so freeing about letting the wind run through your hair and breathing in the fresh air, especially on a perfectly sunny day. She chose to have her photo shoot with her gorgeous red bike with black leather seats and chrome for days. Along with her motorcycle, she was stunning and wore her favorite LMD shirt and hat.
Later on in the day, I gathered Mindy, Tesa, George and Tamara together for a fun shoot and posed them as if they were their own band taking promo photos. They were dynamite and so fun to capture.
Mindy Shulman, Tesa, George and Tamara Woodruff
The next fans of Living My Dash and Mindy are the super fun husband and wife duo, Patrick and Laurie McGovern. They rock so hard with their band, Winnie Cooper. Their band is the ultimate 90's to now rock party. They truly bring a full-on dance party playing the best music from Paramore, Blink-182, No Doubt, Green Day, The All-American Rejects and more.
The McGoverns are spunky, funky and love monkeying around. Their ideal dash activity is cooking, so they got Mindy involved in making pasta from scratch. So off we went to the Winnie Cooper couple's kitchen to cook up this delicious carbohydrate concoction. You can tell Patrick and Laurie's personalities light up the room with their super-comedic ways of putting together their pasta.
Mindy Shulman with Patrick and Laurie McGovern from Winnie Cooper
Life is so good when friends come together to support each other. This Living My Dash project was such a memorable one and good for my soul. Below is "The Dash" poem by Linda Ellis and photos of Mindy's many Living My Dash supporters.
I read of a man who stood to speak
At the funeral of a friend
He referred to the dates on the tombstone
From the beginning...to the end
He noted that first came the date of birth
And spoke the following date with tears,
But he said what mattered most of all
Was the dash between those years
For that dash represents all the time
That they spent alive on earth.
And now only those who loved them
Know what that little line is worth
For it matters not, how much we own,
The cars...the house...the cash.
What matters is how we live and love
And how we spend our dash.
So, think about this long and hard.
Are there things you'd like to change?
For you never know how much time is left
That can still be rearranged.
If we could just slow down enough
To consider what's true and real
And always try to understand
The way other people feel.
And be less quick to anger
And show appreciation more
And love the people in our lives
Like we've never loved before.
If we treat each other with respect
And more often wear a smile,
Remembering this special dash
Might only last a little while
So, when your eulogy is being read
With your life's actions to rehash...
Would you be proud of the things they say
About how you spent YOUR dash?
Join the Living My Dash movement by purchasing your merchandise at www.LMD-shop.com.