The Colorful World of Jeff Mindell

As part of our upcoming Adventure Project series this summer, we will be working with several select Collaborators to take This is Ground on the road with them as they travel the world.

Real estater by day, Jeff Mindell is a Los Angeles-based photographer whose colorful look at that SoCal life always has us inspired. He and his partner in crime, fiance Kelly Lanza of Studio DIY use Los Angeles as their personal playground for their adventurous life. We took a moment to ask him a few questions about the City of Angels, travel, and tacos.


Hey Jeff, how do you start your day?

My typical morning is me waking up, heading into the office, and grabbing the first caffeinated beverage I can find. After that, emails.


We love the graphic use of color in your photos. What people/places/things inspire your photography?

Color is something that oftentimes reflects a mood I’m in or a place I’m visiting. Desert and beach environments are always thought-provoking for me and great examples of this. Some people that are super inspiring right now are guys like Gray Malin and Max Wanger.

ph: Max Wanger

ph: Grey Malin

How does living and working in Los Angeles influence your work?

Living and working here in LA is insanely rewarding. Busting at the seams with creatives, I’m constantly on sensory overload out here and try to surround myself with others who are pushing themselves and me along the way. That, and there really is no shortage of beautiful backdrops and vignettes in this city to capture. Every time I go out, I’m looking to explore and find something new. Most times, I’m pleasantly surprised.


What do you shoot with?

When it comes to Instagram, I’d say I’m 95% iPhone. I’ve gotten pretty good at editing on the go and people seem to really respond well to the images I put out there. My favorite apps are Camera+ and VSCOcam. As far as legit DSLR camera, I shoot with a Canon Rebel T2i. My goal is to upgrade to the 5D Mark III before my wedding in November as I’ve had the Rebel since college.


Favorite travel destination?

I’d love to say somewhere far off and exotic to answer this question, but I always end up coming back to what’s comfortable for me, which is the California desert. I’ve lived all over this great country of ours and Europe in the past, but when I can jump in the car from LA and quite possibly be in the most tranquil environment in a matter of hours, there’s a reason I go so often.


Favorite travel method?

I love a good road trip. When we made the move to the west coast three years ago from NJ, we drove cross-country. (I’ve done it twice now!) I love having the option to stop. To open my window. To stretch my legs. On the other hand, I wouldn’t be able to see the world without plane travel and I don’t plan on stopping anytime soon!

What can’t you travel without?

My camera. Also, my leather weekender bag. I got the thing about 7 years ago from Italy and it’s probably my favorite material item I own. It’s this great (now beat-up) dark brown-colored leather and has been with me on every trip and vacation I’ve taken ever since. When I first discovered This Is Ground, your line of ‘Whiskey’ products almost perfectly matched my bag’s leather. It was a match made in organizational heaven.


Lastly, what’s your favorite taco joint in Los Angeles?

Hands down, fav taco joint in Los Angeles is Cactus Taqueria on Vine. Conveniently located around the corner from me, it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say I’m there about 3 times/week. It’s a problem, really. They are cash-only, which basically means I’m consistently screwed when I need to leave a tip or pay for valet at some point during the week. (After I finish typing this, you can probably take a wild guess as to where I’m walking for dinner.)


Follow @jeffmindell on his #thisisgroundsummer adventures on Instagram.

The Mod, A Case for your Unique Life


photo by @charlesriccardi

The Mod is a full design system – not a singular item. It’s a new space to stow and carry items that are in your life. The concept was inspired by those old vintage portfolios that allowed for tricking out the interior with phone books, pencils, notebooks and little things. The Mod takes that concept and updates it with respect to modern day gear and today’s adventurer. ‘Mod’ifiable means you’re covered for your day job, after hours, weekends, alter ego, and dreams.

The modern day adventurer is leading a seriously interesting life. They have a day job, they blog, they shoot photos from their mobile, they have a bunch of people waiting for their next Instagram and VSCO Grid shot, they draw, they invent, they take up less space, they’re trying to be more organized, they’re looking for that next destination or AirBnB to travel to to snap some great pics, they’re leading double and triple lives, they’re thrill seekers, they’re designers, they’re educators, they’re flying solo, they have kids and or pets, they make music, they make love, they drink a lot of cold brew, they get their news from Vice, they laugh their asses off, they have 5 jobs but outsource 3 of them, they’re homeless yet living in luxury, they’re artists, they’re connoisseurs, they’re lifestylers, they’re poets, they’re all of us and more.



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Mods from the 60′s were also interesting, but this isn’t all about them.

Our brainstorm & sketches led us to departing from the nostalgic yet not-so pretty three ring binder and instead we chose to include seamless magnets to hold different leather inserts based on the user’s needs. The vegetable tanned leather shell is designed to handle core universal items – phone, a tablet, cords, cards, stylus, and of course the Pencil by FiftyThree.

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Once Nisha started prototyping from sketches, we tested and tested which led to six iterations before we reached a final prototype.

Processed with VSCOcam with s4 preset

MOD (12 of 19)

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Our observations and refinements were about ergonomics, safety, gender, size, psychology, beauty, peace of mind and a whole bunch of other factors that we love to obsess and debate on. We reached a point where it was ready to share over social media to see the reaction and invite people to help us test it out. We were really excited when interest started to come through, not only from how many expressed interest but how interesting the people that were interested appeared to be.


As far as my personal testing goes, I am excited to finally have a case that has all my stuff (big and small) that I can carry in one hand. While deliberately unisex, it is exciting that guys have another option in a world where their aren’t a lot of options for guys. That said, with a simple switch of how it’s carried, it becomes quite cute and feminine.


jpeg-4jpeg-8 jpeg-7For me,  the most exciting part about the Mod (and the reason I called it a system earlier) is the modification the inserts possess. We’ll be launching with a bunch of inserts that are designed with specific people in mind. Kind of like Breakfast Club. There’s one for the musician, the artist, the writer, the prom queen, the photographer, the jock, the camper, and a few others.


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We’re still working out the pricing and a few other details but will be releasing the whole story soon.

For the latest on the Mod release date and availability, sign up here:

And the challenge.. We have 4 Mods that we’re giving out to test. To enter, just make sure we have your email address which you should’ve entered on your way into this post (if not reload). Then simply publicly share this blog post (link: on your favorite social site (IG, Tumblr, Twitter, etc) and make sure you tag with #tigmod #thisisground. We will run until Sunday when we’ll pick our last batch of testers, announce it here on the blog post. Good luck!

@macadaan @thisisground