“Happiness is a feeling, but joy is a choice.”

When you first meet the dynamic duo of Caleb and Michael, it’s pretty evident that they live by this motto.  Their interactions, persona, and body language all scream that they are living steadfast in the realm of joy.  Another keen observation about these two is that they model a modern day odd couple. Regarding friends and followers they have on social media and the responses they get to posts, Caleb states that about “thirty percent are a mix of ‘Is Michael ok?’ or ‘I love how Michael reacts to your extra-ness’ and ‘call an agent, you guys need a tv show!’  

Michael is a former Army brat, born and raised in Lawton, Oklahoma.  He is kind and calm, with a soft spoken demeanor that immediately calms you.  Caleb describes him as the “kindest, most grounded, most humble man,” and he is spot on. Michael is the personification of Zen.  With his PhD in Pharmacy (that’s Dr. Michael to you, thank you very much), and active teaching career as a  professor within the Pharmacy school of West Coast University, Michael is the steadfast, even keeled member of this twosome.  

Caleb, who was born in Kalamazoo and moved, college bound, to Tulsa, Oklahoma, is an expressive and energetic ball of happiness.  He currently works as a full time yoga instructor, soul coach, reiki teacher, and tarot card reader, and has clients all over the world-super fans, just like us here at Inked. The current COVID crisis has driven his practices to the internet, where he holds yoga classes, tarot card readings, and reiki healing sessions for his over 15,000 followers.  His aura is magnetic, and his followers are growing by the day, with no sign of letting up.

 

A Twisty Road to Beverly Hills

But it’s a long way from Tulsa to Beverly Hills-so how did their paths cross in Tulsa, and how did they make it from there to Beverly Hills?  It’s a story of opera, illness, outdated chat apps, and good, old fashioned love.  After a breakup, Caleb moved in with two roommates, and during one Oklahoma winter, got pneumonia, landing him in the hospital.  While recovering, ribs broken from coughing, Caleb tried to relax by scouring a chat app.  He noticed a “handsome, geeky, sexy nerd in a Superman shirt” and was convinced he was the nurse working in the very hospital he was staying (the sexy nerd was Michael, but he was not the nurse in the hospital).  After admitting to having a “cyber crush” on Caleb, Michael agreed to meet him at a local restaurant.  Michael described the initial meeting as “a little intense,” especially since Caleb showed up in scrubs and crocs, an IV only recently yanked out from his hospital stay.  Caleb liked to call the approach determined, not creepy. Michael was mortified, yet drawn to Caleb’s personality (I mean, how could you not be?), and decided to go with his gut. Tell me, isn’t that the beginning of EVERY great love story?

As a teen, Caleb had a dream of living in Beverly Hills, after seeing the classic 90’s flick, Clueless. A caricature of Caleb was done by classmates by pasting Caleb’s picture on the body of Alicia Silverstone in the movie poster; a prank that he transformed into his vision board.  However, when Michael and Caleb initially got together, Caleb (who went to school to study opera) sang in New York, flying back and forth on a regular basis.  Michael, very grounded (as we have established), knew Caleb needed to go West, so he searched and obtained a new job.  While it wasn’t California, the options were Providence or Las Vegas (California adjacent, in our humble opinion).  All the while, opera executives were swaying Caleb with a career in the Big Apple, but with the caveat that he leaves Michael to pursue his career (insert massive horrified gasp by the audience)!  So, in true Caleb fashion, he stood up in Panera Bread in New York City, and exclaimed “I CHOOSE LOVE!” and proceeded to leave his opera career behind to move to Vegas with his one true love.  How’s that for a plot twist?  

After a two year, whirlwind stay in Vegas that included Caleb being recruited by Tony Hsieh of Zappos and working as the “Superman of Tours” for the Downtown Project, it was time to escape their hipster mecca in downtown Sin City and make the jump to La La Land.  While Michael continued to work in his field of pharmacy and teaching, Caleb was a success doing personal shopping, and eventually, fell in love with yoga, and began teaching group fitness in 2005, later getting his yoga instructor certification in Orange County.  After that, he moved to teaching yoga full time. Michael was becoming exhausted of his 90 minute commute, and the two started looking for places in the hot spots, such as West Hollywood.  While out house hunting solo, Michael texted Caleb, to say he found a place in Beverly Hills, and the zip code was 90210. Caleb instructed him to put down a deposit, sight unseen, and they have been living the dream ever since!

Beverly Hills suits these two gents to a tee.  Caleb has cracked the code with the celebrities that pepper his consistent walks in the area, since they live near Rodeo Drive-say hi to their dogs before you say hi to them.  But sometimes, the celebs beat him to the punch, and greet the couple’s dogs first, since they have two of the cutest pups ever, Winston and Roxy-both stars in their own right.  In addition, if you’ve ever done a celebrity tour, you may have seen Caleb-he likes to wear his large hat to maintain his privacy (sure, we believe it).

 

Coping with CoVid

The couple has taken the challenge of self-quarantining in stride; Caleb is coping through yoga, lots of dancing, lots of tarot card readings, and Inked Organics bread with Bonne Maman and high quality Swedish butter (we did not pay him to say that).  Michael is coping through a lot of teaching online, reaching out to students, and rediscovering his love of music.  Michael’s playlist includes jams by the Black Keys, Cage the Elephant, and other groups that are getting him in touch with his classic rock roots.  He’s also spending his time creating delicious grilled cheese sammies with Inked Organics Sourdough and Jarlsberg cheese, grilled with mayonnaise instead of butter (if you haven’t tried it, get ready to join Team Mayo, we’ve been waiting for you).  Caleb’s playlist includes yacht rock bangers from the likes of Air Supply, the Doobie Brothers and Billy Ocean, with a side of the Carpenters, featuring his all-time favorite singer, Downey’s own, Karen Carpenter.  Interestingly enough, Caleb was born 9 months after Karen Carpenter’s passing.  Coincidence?  We think not.

 

Getting Inked

Caleb and Michael connected with the Inked Organics team immediately, and the relationship was born out of a love of developing connections.  They firmly believe that the right people find each other at the right time, and that’s how they found Inked Organics-the right time and place was at a roadshow in an Orange County Costco.  Michael proudly wears his Inked Organics every time he goes there, and customers approach him to say where can they get “his bread” – they think he’s the CEO – and we love that!  We are grateful for connections like those we have with Caleb and Michael, and their support of the brand.

I asked the couple, now 10 years married what they were grateful for, especially during this challenging time.  Caleb stated, “My prince charming, food in my belly, love in my heart, being grateful to find gratitude during this difficult time, and that I’m choosing to find joy.  I know that my worst day is someone else’s paradise.”  Finally, not to be outdone by Caleb, Michael offered his simple, classic words of wisdom.  “I’m grateful for all the little things; the air I breathe, the food I eat, and grateful for a partner who I can tolerate during this challenging time.”  

Touché Michael, touché.

Get in on the positivity and Yoga with Caleb (and some Michael too) on Instagram @yogamerman