Drop Ins: Jerico Mandybur and Ari Katz

We believe in the power of routines and finding meaning in the ways we sew comfort into our everyday surroundings. Drop Ins is a series that explores just that, taking a dressed-down look at the lives of people who inspire us.

Time, and our understanding of it, is bent by days spent indoors. Weeks that feel like months and boundaries blurred strip each day of much context beyond just “today.” But as routines are burned down, new appreciations arise from the ashes. For Jerico Mandybur and Ari Katz, two LA-based freelancers, this looks like sunshine-filled lunches together and digging heels into the “support system” part of a partnership. 

We caught up with the pair to see how they’re spending their days and finding ways to stay inspired, despite it all. For Ari that means impromptu dips in the ocean and spending a little time shoeless in the garden each day. Jerico — a spiritual practitioner in many forms — has been diving into other waters, metaphorically speaking, with her new podcast Beyond Belief, which explores marginal belief systems straight from those who practice (think: dolphin communicator and anarchic magician, to name a few). 

Two Aussie transplants in Los Angeles find a swell pair in one another? How do you describe this magical twist of fate?

Ari: A unique combination of Jerico’s power of manifestation and my lucky Sagittarius moon.

Jerico: I got a tattoo of a cherub that looks suspiciously like Ari a few weeks before we met. So yes, manifestation. But also, we had a mutual ex-coworker who put us in touch over email.

You’ve both been freelancing from home, even before the recent shelter-in-place orders. How has your day-to-day changed since? Have you found a new spot to settle in to work from, or perhaps narrowed down your work from home look?

Ari: We never really used to work from home on the same days, so this is a new experience. For me, the pros are sitting in the sunshine eating lunch together every day. Actually, really the only con is that I’ve been working from the couch (Jerico has a desk!) and it’s bad for my posture. But one thing’s for sure: my lqqk is comfy and functional, featuring the shorts I designed for EVERYBODY.WORLD!

Jerico: I take a lot longer to get anything done! I have to close the bedroom door so Ari and our dog don’t distract me unknowingly. I go the fridge and stare into it more and more. That’s always fun! My work from home look is shorts or a long flow skirt and a rotation of a few select comfy t-shirts and no shoes or bra. It’s very staycation?

Jerico, as a seasoned tarot reader and spiritual practitioner you’ve long provided guidance for those on a journey of healing (and, not to mention, been way ahead of the digital content curve with your weekly tarot card of the week on IGTV). Is there a clear message of acceptance that you’ve found particularly prudent during this time?

Thank you! I’ve been thinking a lot about control. Many people, myself included, seek out woo-woo stuff for identity confirmation or affirming a feeling of safety. But we’re not safe or in control. We need to accept that and sit with the fear. We each have a lot of power to affect our lives and change the world. But “the universe has your back” I believe is false. Accepting that opens up a space for more agency around how we deal with our experiences, good and terribly bad.

We each have a lot of power to affect our lives and change the world. But 'the universe has your back' I believe is false. Accepting that opens up a space for more agency around how we deal with our experiences, good and terribly bad.
You’ve also just launched a podcast! Tell us a little about it, if you would.

Okay! It’s called Beyond Belief and it’s about exploring kooky or marginal belief systems and ideas through interviews with the people who subscribe to them. So I talk to a satanic feminist, a dolphin communicator, a stigmata researcher, psychedelic pioneer, UFOologist, an anarchic magician etc. It’s really fun whether you’re a believer or a skeptic—or somewhere in between. Find it wherever you get your podcasts ;).

How are you both keeping tabs on your mental health lately? Is there something small, a little daily routine of sorts, that you don’t skip?

Ari: A friend told me that having your feet in the grass is very grounding so I spend a little time shoeless in the garden each day.

Jerico: I also like to go outside in the sun every day, plus a lil meditation or reiki in the bath, stretching, pulling tarot cards, journalling, taking good CBD products, online therapy and coaching, and movement of one form or another.

Where do you go for creative inspiration when the well dries up?

Ari: The ocean.

Jerico: Ari loves to take a running dive into the sea and I say “It’s cold!” and then lay down. I also go to Spotify and YouTube a lot. My favorite library is about 800 videos deep.

What’s giving you comfort these days?

Ari: Cooking during quarantine has been really mediative for me.

Jerico: Ari, in general, is giving me comfort by being a rock of positivity even when they’re tired and over it. Also, playing with Babka the dog and lying on the grass, listening to music.

There’s quite a bit of uncertainty in the world right now. What advice would you give to someone who is feeling emotionally stuck?

Feeling Emotionally Anything, is Literally So fine and valid ily <3

^^ a FEALS emotion acrostic by Ari

Chelsea JonesChelsea Jones LA-based copywriter and social strategist.

Likes: Half-baked thoughts, rice pudding, nostalgia.
Dislikes: Papaya, bugs.