Costas Schuler - How I Cultivate My Creativity
MCHEF® Burst of Flavors Podcast Episode 8

Costas Schuler - How I Cultivate My Creativity

Being different from anyone else can either make you hide in your own shell or be an opportunity to stand out. Costas Schuler talks about how being exposed to different cultures shaped the creative person he is today. Costas received a lot of media attention because of his work named “Mercedes Pens.” He is a graphic designer, a welder, and a fabricator who makes art out of materials from old bikes, golf clubs, and other scrap metal. In this episode, he talks about how he cultivates his creativity and shares his unique childhood from Greece, England, to the USA while pursuing his passion for music and the arts.


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Costas Schuler - How I Cultivate My Creativity

Costas Schuler - The Pen Mercedes Artist On the Rise

We have a wonderful guest, a personal friend, chef, we haven't met him yet. His name is Costas Schuler. How are you?

I’m great. It’s good to be here.

It's always great to be on with friends and family. I definitely consider Costas an added member of my family. Let me give you a bit of background about this Greek God, if you will, Mr. Costas Schuler. His mother is Greek and his father is English. They made this wonderful child that by the name of Costas Schuler. They were married in Australia, which is interesting. I'll let Costas explain a little bit about his background and who he is. The very important part which I like, there's a ton of comedy in his life. He does art. He is a logo graphics art designer, a real one. Not the guy that says, “I'm your brother-in-law, let me do your logo,” and ends up using Comic Sans for your wording.

If you're out there and looking for someone, trust me when I say this that Costas is the best in the business. He won't be using Comic Sans, but I digress. Costas immigrated over to the States in 1985 and he got rid of his English accent because he learned of a new word called dude. That helped him through his early adolescence. His adventures in junior high, we're going to hear a little bit about that, but he's got an interesting background in music. I want to say the jazz band was his lifesaver, but the music I think in general was. He's got some great stories about great school/junior high moving into high school. Costas went to De Anza. We went to De Anza College. I always thought that was high school.

That's a community college. I did go there to study graphic design, but I dropped out. I was a couple of classes shy of a degree, so I started working

Sometimes that always works out best. I didn't know you were a Computer Science major like me.

That's because my dad's an engineer.

My dad was two credits shy of that as well. You've taken 3D art classes.

I took all the art classes and then I fell in love with art. I decided to go into graphic design to pay the bills.

We're going to go further into that about Michael Cooper changing your life and being someone open and amazing for you and being a mentor. Is that correct?

Michael Cooper was my first art teacher and he changed my world.

You've got a wife, Sandy, who I've met who's super wonderful, your daughter, Emma. I haven't met the other kids.

I've got four children. I’ve got Emma, she's 21. I’ve got Sophie, she's nineteen. I’ve got Giovanna, she’s twelve. I’ve got Seth.

You're residing in Forestville, California. Your family roots date back to six generations. What does that mean? Explain it to them?

My wife's right next to my father-in-law. He grew up there, so they've got connections with Forestville. They got streets named after them, so they go back to three generations. There's a connection there.

Connection to family and generations are super nice. I don't want to be like, “I told you so,” but if you are looking at Costas Schuler on your Wikipedia, he is also known on top of his wonderful welding work that he does but he's The Pen Guy. It's a big deal over here at MChef Burst of Flavors, we've got the actual literal The Pen Guy. The Pen Car, if I'm correct, does not exist. We're going backwards a little bit but somehow that car, there's a new one.

Pen Car number one, I covered in 10,000 pens. It died on me, so I bought another Mercedes in ‘83 so I covered that one in pens. That one decided to roll down the hill and crack. I got another Mercedes. I've collected over 500,000 pens in the last several years. People were still sending me pens in the mail. Half a million I can say with confidence, but I must have more.

You're getting silly with these pens and whatnot. I like it because I go into your room sometimes and we work closely together on different projects and stuff like that. Costas’ office has got this huge mural, which you've sold a couple of these things.

I sold a few locally. I sold three of them in Canada.

Where exactly?


Let's go back a little bit. Let's go back to the love at first sight, an Englishman and a wonderful, beautiful Greek goddess of a woman. Tell me a little bit about your journey over to the States.

We're living in Greece and we left Greece. It was some bad business deals, a bad partner my dad was into. It was not under the best circumstances. What happened is I moved to England and I lived with my English grandparents for a while. It was about a year. My dad was working in the Middle East in Qatar and my mom was in Greece. We're all split up for a while. After a year, we all got together in the Middle East in Qatar and we lived there for a while. That fell through. My dad was working in video games. After a few months, we left. I went back to England. Mom went back to Greece. My dad came to England. We were there for a year. My dad found work in the States and so we all got together finally. We came to the States in 1985. It was a weird back and forth for a while, but we ended up here and that was the best thing. They picked us up in a limo and that was pretty exciting.

How old were you?

I was thirteen and it was amazing. I was going from England to here and I was amazed by the size of the streets. The stores are huge. I remember seeing the steaks in the ads and they were thick. I’d never seen anything so big in my life. I remember four-lane streets. I'd never seen anything like it. It was amazing.

It was the exact opposite when I lived in Spain. I've never been to Canada before, but I always talk about it. Anytime I get a chance to talk about Barcelona, the streets were so small. I remember this crazy thing because compared to the United States, there was a person who had bought a Hummer and Hummers were brand new. He was a Spaniard, he was very rich. He's like, “I've been waiting for this forever.” He was taking up both lanes. If you can imagine how small streets are in Europe, he had the most gas-guzzling. Ford before the United States about the smaller cars, smart cars, stuff like that. They'd been doing a lot of that stuff. It was the craziest thing I've ever seen before. Like you, the big streets and stuff like that here in America, the streets over there were being crowded by this big H2 Hummer that was yellow. It was crazy.

How was the adaptation when you got here?

It was a little strange. You go to junior high and you try to fit in as quickly as possible. I had a British accent for a while. The one thing that got me in trouble was sarcasm because in England, sarcasm is part of the language. You speak in sarcasm and nobody gets hurt. Everybody understands it. Here it doesn't translate the same. When you say something in a sarcastic tone, they want to beat the crap out of you. There's no translation for sarcasm. It doesn't work. I stopped doing that after a couple of years and tried to fit into the culture.

I had a friend, Max Sohan, he was from Norway. We had him do the craziest of things. We had him say bad words. He would do that and we were laughing, but it wasn't very funny. I wasn't that guy that did that per se, but he did that. I befriended him because people thought he was different. He's European. My father was in the military, I knew people were the same as me, but different. We had that same thing. I would have been your friend because being African-American, I would have known what it felt like to be ostracized basically. I would have been your friend automatically. I would have been beating people up for you and we would have been good friends for sure.

It makes a difference when you've traveled you have a better understanding of other cultures. I befriended a guy who was Persian. We were like best friends. One summer, all we did was go around the neighborhood and eat fruit. We ate fruit all summer and I'd hang out with this guy. They were terrible to him, but he was my buddy so we got along.

You are an easy person to get along with. I sent Chef Marie your high school picture because I wanted her to see the process of an awesome, rocked-out dude.

It was in the ‘80s with the long, curly, black hair and trendy glasses.

I had a black leathered fringe jacket to go with that. When I came to America, I didn't have a middle name. I picked the middle name because everybody here has a middle name. My middle name was Gus. Everybody from high school called me Gus. Here's what I figured. In England, they used to make fun of my name in England. I'm a Condor Man, Cosmos, Cosmopolitan. I figured Gus, you can't screw that. That's why I picked Gus because I figured it would be a lot easier than trying to figure out Costas all over again.

Was it Gus Schuler?

I picked the name Gus when I came to America and I went by Gus in high school because I didn't want people to murder my first name as they did in England. That was a whole other set of trouble because I didn’t understand Gus was a goofy name.

With the experience because you lived it in the UK that you changed your name, when you came to the States and they don’t care a little teenager was already learning so hard.

BOF 10 | Cultivating CreativityCultivating Creativity: Part of the tradition in Greek celebration is breaking plates. It's a macho thing, like who can break the most plates.

I had a hard time in Greece because I had a weird last name. I go to England I have a weird first name. I go to the Middle East I have a weird first and last name. I was like, “I’ve got to figure this thing out.”

You can't win in either front.

When I went to college, I went by Costas. I went back to my first name.

Let's talk about breaking plates. For people that don’t know, I'll let you explain the customary because it's wild to me. I saw something online and I was like, “Is this what happens?”

It's a thing. You go to a celebration, you go to Greek dance and part of the celebration is breaking plates. I've never done it myself, honestly. It's a macho thing. Who can break the most plates? It’s like throwing money at the bride. At my wedding, one of my mom's Greek friends started showering us with single dollars. My wife's like, “What was that all about?” We didn't break the plates because we would've had a big bill. If you go on YouTube, there are funny videos. They get a big stack of plates and they're throwing them on the ground. At some point, they take the whole stack up and throw it on the ground. They'd sweep, push it all back and then they’d do it again. It’s a big pile of plates. It’s tradition.

Traditions are wonderful. We don't have many traditions in my family. The normal American traditions like Christmas, Thanksgiving and stuff like that, but nothing that is African per se that I don't know about. It's wonderful when you can come from a place of having a tradition. I respect that. That's why I don't make fun of it. When I ask you about it, it's more of like, “What is that like?”

In the summertime on the island, they celebrate name days in Greece. Every village in the church has the name of the saint, so they celebrate that name day on that day. They have a big party, lots of goats, lots of ouzo and retsina. They start at like 11:00 at night, that's early, and then they go all night.

You've had quite a history from living outside the States, but being in the States, being acclimated to American life. You're very much American.

I’m old-fashioned in the sense that I came from another country. It went back in time. I grew up on the island, my mom's village at the top there where she lives, she didn't have power. We had a lamp. It's all these things that I grew up with that they're like things from the ‘50s or ‘40s and really way behind on some things. That made it an interesting perspective.

You talked about your mom a little bit, but you've been back to Icaria and it's gorgeous. I showed you a picture like, “What's that?” For those readers who don't know about Greece, there's always this famous picture of this beautiful water with these white houses or it looks like little mini-apartments or whatever. That's the place.

That’s Mykonos, that’s another island.

I'm saying Greece in general. What's the difference between Mykonos and Icaria?

It’s a different island, two to three hours away. Mykonos is a party island. If you’re single, in your twenties, you go there. My mom's island is a little bit more secluded. It's not as much commercial appeal to it. It's beautiful. If you see pictures of the water, it's not Photoshopped, it's actually blue, clear.

Are you still going there?

I haven't been back since ‘91. My mother's there. She spent the whole year there. She has a house 500 yards from where she grew up and up on the mountain. It's pretty secluded. She basically survived on wild mushrooms all winter.

That's not my favorite per se, but for some people it works and some people it does not.

What do you mean when you say that she survived on wild mushrooms? Did she eat that only?

She ate wild mushrooms all winter. It’s a country. There are no stores. You don't go to a store. You eat what you grow. My mom's a big gardener. My mom's name is Lemonia, which translates to lemon tree in English. She’s into herbs. She's very amazing. She knows all about wild herbs. My uncle’s mule had asthma and the doctors couldn't heal the mule. She healed the mule with herbs. She knows everything about herbs. You talk to my mom, you won't stop talking for hours.

You won't stop eating for hours once you’ve tried Chef Marie and our spices. You bring up herbs and spices, Chef Marie’s taken several years of research and development to absolutely create something that is the best taste with the best flavors with not all the bad stuff. Typically here in the States, I’m not going to mention any names of spices and stuff like that, but they are filled with fillers and heavy in sodium. They’re not organic by any means. The great thing about being on this show is that we’re going to send you out some spices so you can try them.

We were talking previously about the fact that you know exactly how to make ouzo.

I don't know how to make ouzo. One night I drank a lot of ouzo and ever since that night I never want to drink ouzo again.

What is ouzo?

It's an alcohol made from fennel.

Is it like the sausage?

It’s fennel the plant.

They make fennel sausage, don't they? Am I incorrect on that?

They do, it's because fennel has a lot of taste.

My mom in the springtime, she'll gather all the greens that grow. A lot of the greens we weed whack in America, she will pick them and make into an amazing spinach pie and dandelions. I grew up eating dandelions in olive oil and water, put in a little salt and then that's it. It’s a big pile of dandelions. They got to be fresh and not too old because they get bitter.

I have another question. You didn't answer me to the secrets of ouzo, that you just drank it. Did you know about Skinos? It’s a very rare spirit that is made in the islands. The base is eucalyptus.

I don't know about it. I know about Raki, which they make in Crete, but I don't know about this stuff.

One day we will have to try Skinos if ever you go into a very nice Greek restaurant, ask the owner for Skinos, for sure he has some in his office.

I got to try that too. I'm not a big drinker, but I think I can get off my Keto. You two were going about don't put lettuce in any salad. Let's talk about this, a tad bit about the salad portion but also to all things olive oil and stuff like that.

Talk to us about the local tomatoes. Talk to us about the Kalamata olives and how to get the best one. Talk to us about the beautiful sheep milk feta that you can find here in the States. Talk to us about the quality of the olive oil and even about the Oregano we can find on the market if it's not MChef and about balsamic vinegar, which is something that is very particular in Greece. You guys make one of the best ones. It's renowned.

I don't have opinions about where to get this stuff. Trader Joe's is a pretty good place, they got feta cheese. They've got a nice variety. I grew up seeing my grandmother make cheese hanging from this cheesecloth from the sink. My mom makes her own olives. If my mom was here, she'd say, “You need to make it yourself. That's the only way to do it right. Don’t go to a store.” That's a big deal. Most people can't do that. What's interesting is the feta cheese on the island, for instance, it's different because my mom was trying to make it here in America and she couldn't get the taste right. The reason is that the animals are eating the local plants on the island with certain vitamins, minerals and all that stuff.

It tastes a certain way. If you try to duplicate that process here, you're not going to get the same taste. It depends on what the animals are eating, what they’re digesting. What are you feeding the animals? I used to get trouble from grandma because I used to feed the goats because they’d eat anything. I fed them this weird plant stuff and grandma would know. She's like, “You've been feeding the animals some weird plant,” because she could taste it in the milk and I’d get in trouble. The taste depends on what the animal's eating. It's a big deal. That's my lesson right there.

BOF 10 | Cultivating CreativityCultivating Creativity: Fasting for longer than 24 hours prompts your body to look for energy, so it goes after the fat and damaged cells.

We didn't talk about not putting lettuce inside of a Greek salad. Talk to us a little bit about that. I don't know what that means. I've had a gyro.

I grew up with Romaine lettuce, but other than that, I didn't have experience with other lettuce growing up in Greece. We never put that Romaine lettuce in the salad for some reason. It was tomatoes, olives, red onions, feta cheese, cucumbers and green peppers.

What's funny is I find green peppers inside the gyro. There's a place in San Francisco and I got to take you there. We would all go and there's this place I want to get your true opinion because I want you to look at the guy because he's Greek. It's right across from PG&E, this big place downtown San Francisco, close to that famous little triangle building or whatever it is.

Here’s an authentic gyro. Authentic gyro is the guy in his wife-beater shirt in the summertime, cutting the meat, sweating profusely.

There's no actual lettuce inside of a Greek salad. We get that. There are a ton of things that are coming out that people call Americanized, like Greek yogurt that's heavy in fat, which I really love for Keto. We both enjoy that. What traditions have you kept in your family so far? We've talked all things Greek and who you are. What are the two traditions that you've kept that you've brought to your children that they might impart on generationally for the rest of their lives as well and then another generation if they have children?

I'm going to get in trouble with mom because I don't take my kids to Greek festivals as I should. I did go to Greek festivals around here, not very often. When they do go, I do bring my kids and it's a wonderful experience. It's a lot of them here in the North Bay. There's one in Oakland. There's one in Novato here in California. Having them go to these celebrations or Greek Easter, that's another big one. It's a big deal. Everybody shows up to that and that's really wonderful, family, community, dancing, that's the best we can do.

Let's get into your tradition, which now becomes your tradition. It's always been your tradition, which is eating and being healthy. When I first met you, you got me on something crazy and me trimming up from 245 to 202. I was on the snake diet for a bit. It was a little bit too much for me, but I think that we still naturally fast. I do and I know you do too as well. Talk to us a little about the Snake Diet and how you got into it. We were fatties. How did you get from fatty to the leaned-out Costas that we see now?

I got ahold of the idea of intermittent fasting. Instead of eating throughout the day, the traditional way of doing things, you eat your whole meal in one sitting. What that does is it gives your insulin. Every time you put something in your mouth, you activate your insulin. You’re basically giving your body an opportunity to rest from all the insulin in your body, but eating one meal a day and/or going longer without eating. Your body is amazing. If you fast for longer than 24 hours, 48, 72, what your body does is looking for energy. It goes after the fat in your body, which is energy. It also goes after the damaged cells in your body and it goes after those for energy if you decide to dry fast, which means no water contact at all. You can heal all kinds of skin issues, anything that's damaged. People that lose a lot of weight, they got the hanging skin, for instance, all of that will go away from dry fasting because the body will naturally go after these damaged cells, eat them up and your body will go back to how it was.

Chef Marie and I know a lot about fasting. We both do Keto but we both fast for at least minimum of sixteen hours. I know that she's on the fasting state when she's working out. I'm not able to do it because I'm at work sometimes. We love that. I'm into fasting sixteen hours minimum. You talked about your HGH levels for men and women and your testosterone levels for both hormonal levels increase immensely. We need hormones in order to be satiated, to feel better as men and women walking around this crazy place. What is the Snake Diet exactly? I know it's pretty much eating one meal. What are you doing in that?

Cole Robinson discovered the Snake Diet. He’s Canadian. In order for you to go longer fasting, he says your body needs the salts. He has a recipe to put pink salt, potassium, Epsom salts and baking soda into a liter of water. You drink that to help you get through the fasting pains, your stomach is growling, you're feeling weak. When I first started this thing, I went cold turkey. I cut the coffee out, I cut the carbs out. I was having withdrawal symptoms from the coffee. I was drinking the snake water to help me get through this phase of detoxing. My body was detoxing. I was foggy. I couldn't think straight. I could hardly walk because my body was so filled with that stuff. It took a couple of months to get my body right again. Now, I don't do as much. I eat one meal a day at the bare minimum.

You're doing something different now that needs to be fueled a little bit differently. You went back to junior high for a little bit. You were making fun of people. I didn't see it, but you're making fun of people that were working out. Now, it's changed a little bit.

Back in my twenties, I used to do martial arts for a few years and that was amazing. It's been many years. I've never set my foot in a gym in my life. I signed up for gym membership. I discovered the Starting Strength 5x5 program, which every time you work out, the basic barbell exercises. I don't do any of the machines, I do barbell stuff. I add five pounds every workout. I add five pounds to my barbell.

For the readers out there, the 5x5 is a chest press, a lat pulldown, it's different days but there's pulling days and pushing days, but you also do a squat every time.

Every Monday, Wednesday, Friday you do squats every time. You alternate with the military press and the barbell row, the bench press and the deadlifts. That's it.

That's all that’s needed to build a solid body. I can see that you are becoming a lot stronger and a lot more solid for sure. You're eating differently because you have to with all that volume because it's a lot of volume.

I could be fasting in 24 hours, go to the gym and have all the energy to do another five pounds, which is remarkable. I ate the night before and then at the end of the day of the next day I go to the gym after work. It's been almost 24 hours since I've eaten. If you get yourself used to fasting, you can do it. I have to rethink I want to get bigger and stronger, so the whole eating thing is different. It changes things now that I'm working out. I'm figuring out how that works for me. I’m in the process of figuring that out. I got stronger. I was scrawny and skinny for most of my life and made fun of people that went to the gym and worked out and all that. I'm sorry, but I get it now. It's one of the best things I've ever done in my life.

I have a challenge for you. We have to try it. That Snake Diet, we have to do it. We cannot have Costas doing it alone by himself, he needs some friends to do it with him.

I've already done it before. Costas was the one that got me into it.

I've lost not that much weight. My starting weight was 178, I went down to 150 but I'm back up to 170. My wife, she's lost 60 pounds. She's doing it. She does it because she's a stay-at-home-mom so she could do it.

Talk to us about the transformation, not only about the fact that your body is feeling lighter and you are more tone, but what's going on inside. You manage stress through this type of diet. Do you have a special ritual? Do you do something special every day to maintain your balance other than your diet?

The one thing that I've done consistently since for many years is I kept a journal. I have about 38 journals that are filled up. Every morning, I write. I process my day. I process what happened the day before. I write about the things that are exciting in my life. I do pages of gratitude. What am I grateful for? If you could do one thing in life that will make a life change is be grateful. Write about it, think about it. Look forward to all the wonderful things you get to do today, tomorrow, next week. Visualize and think about cool things to do.

Gratitude, we always come back to that on this show. For those people that are picking up and first-timers reading this, we want to tell you that this amazing man that said something very profound, which is always trying to be and stay in gratitude. Being happy for the things that have happened and what might happen in the future, which is called being in a quantum field. This show is about a couple of things. It’s about life, purpose, balance, meditation and all things inner that is happening inside of us. Costas, talk to me a little bit about how your life hacking/Joe Dispenza-ing this quantum field, the things that you talk a little bit about like when I need money, I pray. Talking a little bit about people who don't know who Joe Dispenza is and what you've been quantifying in your life and what does that mean?

We are creators. Here's what I've noticed in journaling and going back in my life is things that I had, I used to wish for things. My first dream was to play the trumpet. I lived in Greece and I didn't know how that was going to happen. I had this desire in my heart to play trumpet. When I came to America, I was in junior high, there's band class. I signed up for band class so fast. Within the year, I went from not knowing trumpet to being in advanced band first year with a trumpet solo at the end of the year. In one year, I went from zero to trumpet solo.

That was a lesson for me. We have desires and how do you manifest those desires? How do you make things happen? I've spent my life at first accidentally manifesting things. Now, in the past several years or so, I've consistently and persistently sought out to manifest the dreams and desires in my heart. Here's my thing, I know I'm loved and from that I'm loved by the universe, by God, whatever you want to call it. I'm truly loved. Now, I'm able to pursue out of that love the dreams and desires of my heart, whatever those may be. They're all good.

As simplistic as it sounds, many of us get lost in the minutia of the world, myself and Marie included. We have these daily things that weigh on us sometimes. A lot of people that will continue to read this will understand that you're not alone. We deal with our different monkeys, whatever you will, that are on our back. Yours is being spiritual/working out. You realized that what I'm getting from you, Costas, is a sense of that love is always the answer. For people who don't know, love is always the answer. If it's self-love, if it's loving someone else as well, it's always the answer. When you can do your passion or do yourself the biggest favor, which is being of service and being in love to yourself first off, everything happens from there. You said it perfectly, “I know that I'm loved.” It doesn’t matter of by who, but somebody loves you. I love what you said, I was blown away going, “That's interesting.” It gave me goosebumps because I realized that you could truly live from a place of gratitude when you know that you are coming from that place of love.

I had a desire to play the trumpet, I did it. I had the desire to play drums, I did it. I had a desire to be an artist, I did it. I wanted to do an art car and I did it. I wanted to learn how to weld and now I weld. I make money doing it. I wanted to get fitter and so I found the Snake Diet. I wanted to get back into the gym somehow and now I'm in the gym. There are no limits. It’s just time. We’re only limited by time and how much you can do on a given day.

There's only so much psychic energy we have. If you're in a relationship that's toxic with yourself, it sucks the life out of you. I had no room for anything else happy to happen in my life when I'm consistently thinking about the relationship with someone else. We both finally realized that if I'm doing that and spending that energy, she was never going to be happy with me because I can never get to where I really needed to be. Honestly, by her letting me go, that was the best thing that ever happened for me my entire life. In order to get on with my life, because I was only thinking about something that was going to be happening between us like, “Does she love me?”

You were asking the question, “Does she love me?” You were stuck there.

I was stuck and maybe she was stuck too as well. How she did it, I didn't like it, but at the end of the day, the universe/God knows exactly where you should be. What I like about you, Costas, you live by feeling and Marie does too. I'm learning that, but you learn by feeling. Marie automatically knew that I was a good person and she trusted her soul intrinsically to say like, “Lee needs to be a part of my team,” and that's why I'm here. That's why I'm co-hosting this show. That's why I'm a part of this spice thing. That's why you're going to be a part of that too as well, Costas. We don't trust our natural instinct as humans. The one thing we have more than anything else is we have this feeling and we don't use that as much.

Here's a simple way of going about doing it. Most people are thinking about what they don't want, “I don't want this. I don't want that,” but they get more of that. You need to switch it and say, “What do I want? What is my happy place?” That's what I ask myself. I have all these projects I got to do. Which project would be awesome?

You are at a place that you've worked hard. The reason why you can even be there is because of something that happened tragically. It wasn't that tragic, but it is. It's scary. You were fired from a graphic arts design job that didn't pay you much. I won't say what their name is, but explain that story. Out of that story becomes Costas Schuler, the graphic art designer.

I worked for this company and I still have a great relationship with the guy. In fact, he emailed me a couple of referrals, which is amazing. I was working for his company, it’s a print shop. He let me go because I wasn't cutting it and I wasn't happy there. The next day, I started my business. I had a small little business card job and that was it. Since then, my business has grown and grown. Every time I see this guy, I'm like, “I'm so glad you let me go.”

Experience doesn’t happen for nothing. Maybe it didn’t serve you anymore, that’s why it happened.

Whenever I lose a big client or something like that happens, I'd go home and say, “Honey, I got promoted.”

That's the old eastern philosophy, which is Buddhism. Buddhism says anytime a problem arises, they go, “Congratulations,” because as soon as a problem arises in your life, that means you're about to grow immensely. You have Angel. She's every bit of an angel. She's someone who works for you now and you're expanding, which is pretty awesome. You've got enough work now to expand outside of that and that's always scary for most business owners. Learn here first. You put out into the universe what you want and don't be afraid to receive it. You did, you received that and you went for it. I'm proud of you.

I have a whiteboard in my office and I put things up on there. The things that I want, I put them on there. A few years ago, I put the desire to have extra help in the office. Then I met Angel.

BOF 10 | Cultivating CreativityCultivating Creativity: Most people think about what they don't want, so they get more of that. You need to switch it and say, “What do I want?”

She's so good and it's not even lucky, you asked for it. Ladies and gentlemen that are reading, it's a Bible verse and I'm not going to be a Christian out on you or anything like that but, “Ask and you shall receive.” If you believe in God or not, but the universe is listening. What you think about and what you put your intention into, like Dr. Wayne Dyer would say, “Intentionality is something, but paying attention to something is something else.” What you put your attention into is what you're going to get back. It’s very powerful. I'm calling him the Greek God because it's the truth. This guy's on the 5x5. He's on the snake diet. He's dropping fat, dropping LBs, looking good, looking slim. Chef Marie has challenged me to do snake diet, which I've done before but it might always be good. If you go to our Instagram, @MChefSpices, I'm going to put up a video about this device that we keep talking about, which is called Keyto. Hopefully, they will be a sponsor because I'm going to do a small short video about how we Keto our butts off. You can't Keto with this. It's like 60, 72 or 40 hours of not eating. It doesn't help me burn fat.

Too bad, I wanted to challenge you. We have to do it another time then.

We've got goals. I’ve got to look great with my shirt off on the television show that we're going to be releasing at some point. I'm down to do a two-day fast with you, Chef Marie. We can put that on.

We’ve got to put the snake juice recipe on there so you don't lose your mind.

Please tell us about this snake juice recipe.

You take a liter of Evian water because there's a certain pH balance. You can take a quarter teaspoon of pink salt, the good stuff, Himalayan. A quarter teaspoon of Epsom salts, make sure it's the edible kind. A half-a-teaspoon of baking soda and half-a-teaspoon of no salt, I don't know if you have it in Canada, it's potassium. All this stuff you can get from the local store.

If you're lazy like me, I will give a plug for our man that invented the snake diet. I just buy the packets on

If you don't want to make it, you could buy it premade and each packet goes for two liters. Basically, your drink that. If you need to drink a bunch, drink a bunch and then you're good. It's like in the meal, instead of a meal, you just drink this stuff.

I want to talk to you about real food. Are you vegetarian? Do you eat meat? Do you eat lamb?

I eat all the meat.

The super nice recipe, it's not about lamb, but it's about turkey. It's called Happy Cheesy Meatballs. That's the main goal. Why did I not take lamb? It's because it's a little more fattening than turkey and the turkey I wanted needs to have a very lean meat for this type of recipe. It's super easy for snacks, after workout. It's going to be turkey ground with feta cheese, the good one that you can find at Trader Joe's. Sheep milk, if it's possible, then you have some chopped spinach, fresh garlic peeled and chopped and red peppers, but cut in very fine dice with two eggs, no breadcrumbs, no nothing. We're gluten-free. We're Keto. 

Simply, we're going to mix all the ingredients together and we're going to cook it in the oven very easily. I do this every week because it's low carb and it gives me a lot of energy and it's super tasty. The blend that I put for this type of recipe is a very mild one, it's the MChef Mediterranean because there's a beautiful balance of acidity and lemon into it. It's very low in salt, so you will be able to enjoy all the great herbs of thyme, rosemary, oregano, basil, laurel and parsley. There you go.

You named all the spices that I love that I grew up seeing my mother and grandmother put into the food, especially oregano. If you want fresh oregano from the island, what my mom does is she goes out and gets it and she brings it in the airport in the pillowcases. It’s big pillowcases stuffed with oregano through the airport.

These are old-fashioned recipes, all authentic. It can be so simple at the same time, but let's get back to basics. I love when you share with us the stories of your childhood and what your grandmother and your mother are feeding their selves with natural ingredients basically. That's the way to go.

You're doing that. I want to get a hold of your stuff and I'm going to cook this thing. This sounds so delicious. I only had coffee but I'm ready to eat this thing.

Marie might know this, but Costas was the one that named something for us. It's called Seven for Seven, this being the first time it's ever mentioned. Costas was the one that named it. With those wonderful recipes that you have, Chef Marie, I've never tasted those meatballs before. You've never tasted my cheesecake and Costas has. Costas, can you give us a little bit of a story about you that's funny because you have one?

It's funny that you call me the Greek God. It's hilarious to me because that wasn't the case growing up. When I was a kid, I had buck teeth. My teeth were sticking out my face. It was embarrassing and kids always make fun of me and stuff like that. I was in first grade and we were in the yard playing. My best friend, he was standing in front of me. He jumped up and I stabbed him in the head with my front teeth. His head was bleeding. It's bad. He's bleeding down his side. He has to go to the hospital. It was an accident, but that tells you how bad my teeth were. What are the odds of that happening again? In third grade, it happened again. We're in the yard. The kid jumped up in front of me somehow and I stab him in the head with my teeth. He's bleeding and I got in trouble for it. Those are some crazy odds right there. Luckily, my parents got me into braces in high school, so my teeth got better.

That's a great story.

It’s not easy.

It's funny though. The thing is I can look back on my life and all the terrible things that have happened to me. We used to move all the time, different neighborhoods. I went to six different schools by the time I was in sixth grade. My mom was crazy, she kept moving places. I was always the new kid, never got picked for the sports. I look back on my life and I got to laugh because it's hilarious. It’s made me who I am now. I have a good sense of humor. I've gotten out of trouble by making people laugh. I've gotten out of fights because I started making the guy laugh and he's like, “You're cool,” because I wasn't strong. It's all good. I'm not bitter.

You aren't bitter at all and you are very much an awesome and interesting human being. I'm going to put in a shameless plug for you. Costas, what is your website?

It's That's my business website for my graphic design and branding services, website design, logos and all that stuff.

If you're looking for a logo, I had a bit of a joke at the beginning by people using Comic Sans and if you have Comic Sans, please don't be mad at me. Be mad at Costas because logo design and graphic art design is an art. You need to be artistic not only in that sense, but you need to know why things happen and why things are placed in certain ways. Costas has a wonderful sense and knows why those things go together or not go together. If you're looking for a wonderful logo, you’ve got to call Costas Schuler up.

My claim to fame is that I started collecting pens several years ago and I started gluing them to my Mercedes, so I dubbed the car Mercedes Pen. If you look on Google, “Pen car Costas Schuler,” or anything like that, do an image search, you'll see a Mercedes completely covered in pens. That's been my favorite project in the whole wild world because it's crazy, but it's one of those dreams I had that I wanted to do an art car and I did it. I've been able to meet some wonderful, amazing people throughout the last several years because of the car. I basically found a book at the library of people that decorate their cars by Harrod Blank called Art Cars. I read all the stories and why people did this. I was so amazed by this art form that I wanted to do it. I put it in my desire box. A couple of years later, I woke up one day and I thought, “I'm going to do pens.”

You knew who the best guy is and I taught his daughter way back in the day, and I'm going to say his name and you're popping a goat, “No way, you know that guy?” I'm like, “I know him really well.” David Best, Molly Best was my student. Is he the guy? Am I wrong when I'm saying that?

He’s the godfather of art cars. I met him, he's like, “I've seen your car around.”

When I met Molly, Molly is great. I think she has a business down in Petaluma. She’s a butcher. I met David when I was teaching at Sonoma Country Day School many years ago. Every kid's parents were famous, from John Lasseter and Nancy Lasseter to Joe Montana. It didn't matter, but David Best was so cool because he was such an artist. When he came in, you just knew. That guy is art. Did you get any inspiration from what he did? That’s one reason why I'm asking you.

Not necessarily from him, but it was the body of work in this book of all the people that did the different art cars. One guy was an alcoholic and every time he wanted to drink, he would put another horse on his car. He had 5,000 horses made out of metal on his truck. That was one of those stories, different reasons why people do art cars.

Why was that important for you to put your stamp into the world? You didn't name yourself The Pen Guy.

I did actually. I'm a branding guy, so I wanted to make sure when I drove down the road, I wanted people to know who I was, so I named myself The Pen Guy.

You've got another Pen Car coming up, but it's going to cost you. You got one that's called The Pengatti.

That’s for later. I got another Mercedes.

I'm giving a shameless plug for Bugatti if they ever want to call you and say, “Please, Mr. Schuler, do a pen out of one of our Bugattis.”

If it's a Bugatti, I’ve got to call it The Pengatti. The Maserati is called The Penserati. The Bentley's going to be The Pentley.

I can't wait to see the construction of these cars and these wonderful pieces of pens that are going to go on top of it.

BOF 10 | Cultivating CreativityArt Cars: the cars, the artists, the obsession, the craftThey're going to make the value go way up.

I'm sure they will. Marie, do you have a quote for us to lead us out of this wonderful, always inspirational talk we had? It was more of a talk than anything else than a show. This is a conversation we have every day with friends. Do you have anything for us?

I am very glad to have a quote from Dali because it goes very well with the inspiration and the true artist that you are, Costas. It's simple as that. It says, “A true artist is not one who is inspired, but one who inspires others.” It's simple, but it's such a quality quote from Salvador Dali that I thought that it was very relevant with our conversation. Thank you so much for sharing a lot of personal things from your life. Thank you because I'm sure that our audience enjoys what you are saying because we are going to meditate on what you are saying to us. That little box for wishes, it's so beautiful. The journal that you are writing every morning is something that we can all do. It brings a little hope. It brings faith. The fact that you say that you feel loved, we all should feel love. This is so true and thank you for sharing this beautiful knowledge. It's wisdom to our hearts. Thank you.

Thank you for saying that. That is the perfect quote and this is the kind of feedback that I get from people all the time, but it's nice to hear it from somebody. It’s nice to hear it again. Sometimes we forget, but sometimes it's nice to have somebody come along and say, “This is what I'm thinking about you.” It's wonderful. It's a gift. Thank you. I appreciate that. I receive that.

There's nothing else to be said because Chef Marie said it so eloquently. I want to thank you both for your time from the bottom of my heart. Costas, it's always great to talk with you. Marie, it's always a gift every day. We're so happy that one day at a time we're going to try to encourage as best we possibly can and be in service to others. This show is basically about those things, being in gratitude before something has actually happened and staying in the now and the present moment with friends, family and most importantly yourself. Goodbye to both of you and thank you so much.

Thank you. 

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