Minneapolis Illustrator, Invitation Designer, + DIYer Blog

 

Art, Inspiration, and Life. Sharing all the inspires me to create.

 
Monday Muse: Carin Skowronsky
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Are you a wine Lover? Always on the hunt for the next great wine experience? Or are you a newbie to wine and looking to learn more about it? This week’s Monday Muse is your gal! It’s Carin Skowronsky of Pairs Well With. She’s a food and wine pairing educator who’s taking her passion for travel and wine and making a career out of it. Carin is a bundle of positive energy and she brings all the passion and excitement to her events. If you’ve ever been to one of Carin’s events, you know what I’m talking about. She brings you along on an educational journey and shares in all your discoveries like they are her own. She’s knowledgeable but accessible, never lecturing or telling you what you should taste or like. She wants to share in your experience and make it enjoyable. So grab a cup of joe (or glass of wine, i mean it’s noon somewhere right?) and let’s get to know more about Carin.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

Ummm....everything. First and foremost, I wanted to be a performer. Either a dancer, singer or actress. There was a brief stint where I wanted be to a magician too. I'm someone who still seeks out or creates magic in her everyday life.

What did you study in school?

I was a double major in Marketing and Merchandising. I'm fascinated by marketing and how an individual or company presents itself to the general consumer. I consider myself a creative business strategist, specifically with small and emerging brands and other entrepreneurs. My mind pretty much never shuts off. There are always ideas flowing. I find that to be a good thing.

You were a corporate girl - how did you get into wine?

My story of wine came about through travel. It all started when I took my sister on a birthday trip to Napa and Sonoma. That was my first wine trip and it was great. Then came Italy, France, Portugal....the list goes on and I've now been to over ten of the world's most notable wine regions and even some undiscovered ones, too. There's so much to learn, and I'm such a curious person. Each wine, vineyard, region and winemaker has a different story. You really feel lucky to be part of these works of art in a bottle. When did you know it was the right time to leave your job to start a new career? There was a point in my career where I was no longer inspired and, in fact, I was miserable. That's just not who I am. I needed to find passion again in my everyday life, so I walked into my job one day ( with no planning ahead), resigned, went and traveled the world for a year, did more wine study and really reengaged with The Universe in the biggest way possible. And now here I am, thriving everyday. Sometimes you really just need to trust yourself and take that leap.

Walk us through your day - I'm sure everyone is different - but what's the most common look like?

Each day starts with some sort of goodness: a short mediation, a feel good podcast or a walk to set intentions for the day. While most people think I'm in wine full time, I have a day job that I love as much as I do working in the wine world. I sell a fitness brand called SPENGA and am on sales calls during standard working hours talking to people with the most fascinating stories who are ready to move into business ownership. My evenings are usually filled with client wine meetings, blind taste study or wine dinners. There's usually some sort of wine work most nights, and sometimes it's a glass of the best bottle of whatever I've got in the house.

You get to travel a lot - what's been your favorite trip so far and why?

I've been to 34 countries now, 6 continents and quite a few states. I've seen a lot and have experienced a lot and I'm more than grateful for all of it. While it might sound lame, each piece of this travel fuels my soul in a different sort of way. I've gathered a lot of perspective from each step of my journey and let it shape me who I am today. I am ever evolving through my experiences and that, to me, is what it is all about. What advice would you give to someone looking to make a big career change? I would say if it's something you keep coming back to, keep thinking about, can't let go of, GO GET IT. You're always way more capable than you know, and when you pull the rug out from yourself, you're forced to think more creatively and even differently, putting you into a new space. I'm a big risk, big reward girl - in every aspect of my life. Lastly, you don't get a refund on the time you've spent waiting around contemplating. Seize that day, dream big and go get 'em!

What's the best advice you've gotten?

Easily stated, I'm a very driven person. My Dad always reminded me, "If you're always focused on getting to the top, you're not focused on enjoying where you are in the moment. You can't do both, and there's plenty of time to reach the top."

What would you tell your younger self?

Don't waste time and energy on people who don't want to invest in you as equally as you do them. You've got a life to be living, stop worrying about everyone else and do you.

Rapid Fire

Early riser or night owl: Early riser

Go to wine: Malbec

Planner or go with the flow kind of gal: Planner

Favorite wine region to visit: Mendoza (Argentina) or Maipo Valley (Chile)

Three words to describe you: Adventurous, creative and sensitive

If you could try ANY wine - what would it be? Gosh, anything I couldn't get my hands on day to day. Probably, something a few decades old or that's been in someone's cellar for years that I couldn't come close to affording. (Ha ha.)

Thanks Carin for sharing your journey with us! If you want to check out any of Carin’s events or have her host an event for you or your business, check her out on her website , instagram or facebook

Monday Muse: Katie Kath
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Another Monday is here and and what better way to start than with a Monday Muse? This week’s muse is Katie Kath of Jkath Design Build + Reinvent. I’ve followed Jkath on instagram for awhile, but little did I know Katie and I have met before! It wasn’t until we were both at an event together and we were introduced. We were both convinced we knew each other, but could not for the life of us figure out how. Fast forward a week later when I reached out to her for this interview, having done a bit of research on her and Jkath, did I discover how we knew each other. We used to both sell Stella and Dot and she owned Spill the Wine (where we would have our Team Meetings and one of our favorite wine bars back in the day). It’s such a small world and fascinating to see where our lives take us. I knew back then Katie was a force to be reckoned with, but after doing this interview with her, I’m even more impressed. Katie gets stuff done. She is a true girlboss. She sets goals and crushes them. Read on to learn more about Katie and Jkath.

Let's start at the beginning. What did you want to be when you grew up and what did you go to school for? Did you always have an interest in design?

I had many career ideas, but always knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur. I was enrolled in the Institute of Technology at the U of M, with a focus on engineering. Later moved to pre-law, eventually starting my own business upon graduation. In the end, I had a creative yearning that needed to be addressed. I was most happy buried in a cookbook, getting lost in a yarn store, dreaming up projects for the sewing machine. None of which I’ve mastered, but the endless opportunities to challenge myself and evolve creatively keeps me coming back for more. After a few failed start ups, I eventually opened a restaurant. It was an industry I knew, and I knew it well. Creating a profitable bottom line was no sweat, it allowed me to also tap into creative resources to drive traffic and revenues .. particularly in the dead of winter in Minnesota. I wore many hats in this career, and marketing/branding was the most fun hat to wear. Honing in on our target market, spending habits, frequency of visits, how to reach them (insert digital marketing!), and once they arrived how do we impress with the ambiance? What creative and unique ways are we different, what is our niche strategy, what memorable details are we leaving behind. I quickly learned this was no small task and not one I could take on and easily manage while also running the operations of the restaurant. We did our best, and after 8 solid years, many restless nights, a career change was in order.

Can you share your career journey? You've experienced a few different paths, how did they lead you to where you are today?

( .. taking off from the above question) I sold my restaurant and started over with a clean slate. I knew what I was passionate about, what skill sets I used in my previous career that I wanted to take with me:

1) Digital marketing/content to reach an audience- this is much more involved than a singular post in IG. It’s establishing a voice, rhythm, community, and building trust with a wider audience.

2) I also knew how to run a business, staffing, retention, branding, leadership to name a few .. so working for a larger company where I couldn't’ tap into what I enjoyed doing wasn’t going to be a fit.

It turned out my next move was already waiting for me, my significant other at the time had a remodeling business and a cabinet shop. He was managing 1 project at a time, wasn’t documenting his work or end results and was relying on the clients to make all their own selections. We didn’t love the idea of working together, we were also both single parents with full custody of our kids living in 2 separate households, this venture felt too risky. ONE of us should seek the corporate job with securities we often told one another. One small experimental project led to another, and another, and before we knew it we were working nights and weekends on the kitchen island together, CREATING beautiful spaces for our clients. I found this renewed energy safe and exciting all at the same time. Where I may have lacked in formal design language or etiquette, I showed up with an understanding of margins. I found immediate success in helping clients cut back when needed, and knowing when to splurge and where those splurges should be, some of this is innate, some is learned, and the rest is intuition.

Being an entrepreneur - what do you love most about it? Least?

I love the creative outlet, and this isn’t just the arts and craft of what we do, it’s the ability to solve problems, see immediate rewards, take action, results oriented. I also love the creative space of making spaces beautiful again. Least? It’s really challenging setting your own boundaries. I am not tied to an hourly rate/40 hour work week, so knowing when to turn it off can be really difficult. I also enjoy what I do, so it can often be a choice to work on client projects when I should otherwise take a break.

What does a typical day in the life look like for you?

Along with being an entrepreneur, comes the flexibility to write your own schedule. I almost always get up early, 5/5:30am, on purpose, lol! Cup of hot coffee, little bit of cream, no sugar .. and off to the lightrail (summer or winter) to catch a train to downtown Minneapolis for my morning workout at FlyFeet. This isn’t a daily routine, but several times a week. If I am not off and running, I am still finding time for myself first thing in the morning. Rarely do I do client work or early morning meetings. From there it’s go go go for 4-6 hours, I am pretty good about calling it quits mid afternoon to reengage with our kids. This may involve driving someone somewhere, meal prepping for dinner, working on a puzzle, sometimes a quiet moment to read. We opened an office in Highland Park, earlier this year, and since we’ve done this I rarely work after hours from home. An occasional urgent email or prep for a client meeting may take up some evening hours. If possible I am paging through cookbooks planning out our families next meal, scouring Pinterest making plans for our next vacation - things to do and see, may pick up a set of knitting needles or go for a walk with Jesse and our new puppy.

What's the best advice you've ever received?

What other people think of you, is none of your business. Stepping through this door and reminding myself we all have our past experiences that have created the people we are today. Often, the judgement of others truly has to do with their own experiences, and nothing you have said or done. It’s a solid reminder to be yourself, go out into the world putting out what it needs from you, finding happiness and CALM along the way.

What would you have done differently if you knew then what you know now? And what would you tell your younger self?

It took me awhile to surround myself with supportive people, I think I was always trying to prove myself early on. That I got this, I can do it .. I am an overachiever and often seeking perfection. It was never enough. I also wasn’t surrounded by the right people to acknowledge this, to support me, encourage me, tell me that I am enough .. all the messages I constantly share with my children now because I didn’t have this as a young woman. Once I experienced these messages and could feel it from the people around me, my life changed. It gave me permission to make mistakes, permission to fall short occasionally, learn from my failures, and realize that I am stronger today because of those lessons. I can also very easily set boundaries professionally and personally. And this has been a huge key to my success, knowing when to say no, or push back, as well as say yes and make a new connection .. I would tell my younger self to figure this piece of life out sooner. I may have lost some relationships along the way, and possibly hung onto to others too long as a result.

Rapid Fire Questions

  • Early Bird or Night Owl: 100% early bird.

  • Caffeine ASAP or nah, I'm naturally full of energy: Caffeine ASAP

  • Go to wine: Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

  • Three instagram accounts that inspire you: @clumsy.words, @theprettycities, @humphreymunson

  • City Slicker or County lover: City Slicker

  • Favorite room to design: Mudroom, I love the practicality of it.

Thanks so much Katie for sharing your story. Check on Katie and all the Jkath projects on instagram or their website.

Erin O'LearyComment
Monday Muse: Morgan Molitor
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Meet Morgan Molitor. This week’s Monday Muse. She’s the style half of Construction 2 Style, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t know her way around a tool box. Morgan is a girl after my own heart. She’s passionate about all things design, but isn’t afraid to dig in and do it herself. She’s a true DIYer along with her husband Jamie. In addition to tackling home improvement projects, she writes for a number of publications, holds workshops on how to get started with blogging, social media, etc, just recently launched e-courses to help grow your business, speaks on panels are various conferences and networking events, the list goes on and on. Morgan LOVES to be busy and truly loves meeting new people and helping them. She’s also a big proponent of community of competition (which I LOVE). So with out further adieu, let’s meet Morgan!

What did you want to be when you grew up and why? What did you end up going to school for?

Hairdresser, art teacher, fashion designer, coffee shop & boutique owner, server, business owner, and ultimately got my degree in fashion merchandising and marketing. To be honest, even when I got my degrees, I wasn't quite sure what my path would be. I just knew I thrived on creativity. Eventually my goal was to set displays for home magazines.

Can you share with us your journey to construction2style. I understand that isn’t the career path you originally had set out for yourself?

Although I never set displays for home magazines I spent years working the corporate gig creating planograms and setting displays for big box retailers such as Target and Walmart and fashion trade shows such as FAME and MAGIC.

I went to school in Long Beach, CA and after working in the fashion district for a handful of years, my dad died unexpectedly and I decided it was time to be closer to family. So I packed my bags and moved to the largest city in my hometown state, Minneapolis. I'm originally from a very small town up north called, Roseau. Quickly after I moved home to MN, I hit up the dance floor at the Wild Onion on Grand and met my man, Jamie. Fast forward to him buying his first investment property, while we were dating, and me telling him we should start this thing called a blog. And at that moment construction2style was born. Hardly knowing Jamie at the time I was blown away by his talents and wanted to document it all for him. Slowly but surely as he updated the house, I would document what he was doing which in turn led to DIY tutorials. Never would have I thought in a million years it would eventually lead us to the life we're living right now!

When you began blogging, how long before you knew you could make it a business? What steps did you take to get it off the ground and generate income for you?

Yet, again, I had no idea what I was doing when we started c2s. ha! I built the website on my own after a full year of watching how-to build a website YouTube videos. And had no idea that you could actually make a business from blogging until we got our first inquiry from a brand asking if they could do a sponsored post. Jamie went to school for carpentry so he knew he always wanted to be in the home improvement field. But what he probably didn't expect to be his career path was creating DIY content nonstop. He always envisioned that he'd be this big builder rolling the the good 'ol boys. But I put a kink in that plan. ha!

c2s started off as a DIY home improvement blog that eventually led into a full design + build interior residential remodeling company. People started reaching out to see if we could make a table for them or re-do their fireplace or finish their basement. So after we got married Jamie took the leap, got his contractors license, quit his job and dove in. I kept working my full time merchandising job and then once our blog was up and running I was so fascinated by this whole blog and social media thing that I made a career shift to a digital marketing agency and ran their social media department. I worked there up until our second son, Beckam, was born. I realized I just couldn't do it all...run two full time jobs, be a mom of two, and a present wife. Something had to give. So in 2017, I took the leap to be full time right alongside Jamie at c2s.

What advice would you give to someone starting in the blogging/influencer space?

Write, write, write, write and then write some more! Creating content regularly is key. Which can also be very time consuming! But if you're not creating content regularly, as in 3-4 posts per week, your page-views will never increase which means you'll never be able to pitch brands and make an actually money-making business out of it.

But also, don't give up! Page-views take awhile to reach the goal you need to be at, but if you're creating content on a regular basis, you'll get there. It just won't happen overnight. Nothing happens overnight. All good things take time, right?

You’ve had a ton of success with your business - can you share something that didn’t go well or failed and what did you learn from it?

Ohhh you are so kind. There have been a lot of mistakes in our business, for sure. And we've learned a ton over the years. We're still learning every day with every new project and client we face. And I'm always thinking up these crazy new ideas and not all of them work out. But that's ok, at least I tried. The thing I tell myself though when embarking on a new idea is that I have to commit to it for at least 1 full year before I can say, ok, you can be done now. Otherwise, how do you know it really didn't work?

I honestly can't think of any failures because even when things haven't worked out, we've learned so hard and fast from it and it's just made our business better, which is a win in my eyes! But if I had to think of a constant learning experience it would be - cash flow. Running your own business and being financially independent is stressful and cashflow is a constant juggle. For a long time we didn't know our worth and we danced around money with clients. We cringed at having the estimate conversation and explaining to them why what is what. And then if there was something in the project that was out of scope, we'd just do it and not charge them. Because it wasn't worth the time or energy to explain why it was out of scope to our clients and why it's costing x amount. Now because we've learned that we are worth more than that, and are confident in that, we just say it like it is and also don't even explain things. They can take it or leave it. We're not going to sit and convince them why they should have this or that and/or work with us. We're not a non-profit and we're done working for free.

How did you know when it was time to grow your team? Did you plan for it? What was the hiring process like? Do you plan to keep growing?

We never knew that we'd one day have a team, still scares us half to death at times. We have two full time employees and both of them found us through Instagram and asked if we were hiring. They started part time, maybe working 10 hours a week and quickly moved to full time. Each time we just made the jump and figured it out financially as we went. And we all have worked harder and smarter together and doubled our companies profits within the first year they went full time. Best decision we ever made! And we can't wait to keep growing our team. If you asked Jordan what our hiring process was like she'd say... Well, Morgan was 2 hours late to the interview because she was getting her lashes done and it was her first time so had no idea that it took so long and couldn't open her eyes to text me. And... within 5 meetings of meeting her I asked if she could help me setup an event that day. She was hired after that! The hiring process with Topher was pretty similar. So I guess you could say, we don't have a process. I can tell if I like a person within the first 5 minutes of meeting them. And I don't care what your background is, as long as you're a good, genuine person, thrive on creativity and working your ass off, and want to be here- we want that kind of person on our team. Because we can train the rest.

What would you tell your younger self?

Know your worth. No-one needs to know or be convinced of your why but you. Read more books early on. Avoid people who don't fill your cup. Don't stress over the small things, because it's all small thing- learn fast and move on! You'll be terrified of public speaking in college and will avoid it at all costs- knock it off and practice more of it! Do everything that scares the crap out of you. Spend more time with your parents because soon you'll loose your dad way too young.

Rapid Fire Questions:

  • Early bird or night owl: Both, I don't sleep.

  • Control freak or go with flow Go with the flow 100%

  • 3 Instagram accounts that give you life @beginninginthemiddle, @standtoserve, @ashleyklemieux

  • City slicker or country lover ....Bah, that's hard. If it weren't for family I'd totally be a city slicker. I grew up small town and now married a man who will never leave the country. So the country is where home is.

  • Favorite room to design/style Bathrooms!

  • Go to paint color Revere Pewter by Benjamin Moore

Thanks Morgan for sharing your journey and being a part of the Monday Muse series. You can find Morgan on their blog, instagram, and pinterest.

Monday Muse: Elizabeth Ries
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It’s Monday and you know what that means… MONDAY MUSE time! This week’s Muse is none other than the wonderful Elizabeth Ries, Co-host of Twin Cities Live and the Podcast Best to the Nest. Every day she openly shares her life on TCL and yes, she is that funny and quick witted. When you meet Elizabeth in person, she gives you 100% of her attention. She really wants to talk to you. Listen to you. Learn more about you. And she does it all without you even realizing you just spilled your guts out to her. She makes you feel like you’ve known each other for years and are just catching up after not seeing each other in a while. Besides her work on TV and Radio, she’s married, has 2 kids, 3 chickens, loves to grow and cook her own food, ride her bike to work (hopefully without crashing!), attend a multitude of events each week, and is also in the process of having her kitchen redone. Whew! I don’t know how she does it all and still stays so positive. Let’s learn more about Elizabeth!

Let's start at the beginning - what did you want to be when you grew up and why? 

I wanted to work in television from the time I was 13. I loved the idea of live TV and getting to connect with people and share stories. 

 What inspired you to go into journalism? 

I remember having a sort of lightbulb or a-ha moment when I was 13 — I was watching a newscast on TV and what a dear friend of mine calls “the still small voice” said, “I can do that.” It was this gut feeling. I listened and followed it. Along the journey, I kept meeting women who were strong, successful and smart who worked in this field and I knew I wanted to be like them.

What does a typical day look like for you? How do you balance it all and stay organized?

 My times on the air are the non-negotiables — I’m either on the radio or tv at those times — but the rest of the day always looks different. I fit in shoots, commercials, meetings and more in between show times. I live and die by my calendar! Making sure everything is on the calendar is the only way I can keep things organized at home and at work. I heard someone say recently, don’t strive for balance because it’s impossible, work towards harmony in life instead. I think that’s really wise. I also try to understand that everything in life is a season. My kids won’t always need me this much, a busy week leads to a lighter week and there’s a lot to be grateful for

 Tell me about your chickens? What inspired you to get them? How are they taking to city life? What does your dog think about them? Do they all get along? So many questions this could be it's own interview :)

We have three chickens right now – Emily, Chippy and Daisy and they are so much fun! I love to garden and the chickens came about as part of my mission to produce as much food as possible on my own property. At the time I lived in a house in the city on a tiny .13 of an acre lot. We’ve since moved to a house with a bigger yard and it’s so fun to plan out where the garden will go and how we can live off our land! Chickens definitely have distinct personalities and a pecking order within the flock. Emily is the bossiest of our bunch and tends to pick on Daisy. Chippy is a free spirit who tends to wander in her own direction! They are so calming to have around, I love hearing their little clucking noises and the way they scratch at the ground to find bugs.

What's it like sharing so much of your personal life with your viewers/followers? Do you have any off limits topics or areas that you stay away from or are you cool being an open book?

I really enjoy making connections with viewers and followers and sharing my life – both the great things and the hard things. One of the hardest days was talking about the death of my dog Henry (who’d been featured on the show for years!). He passed away on a Wednesday and it took until the following Monday for me to even be able to talk about it on the air. It was so hard – but I was just amazed by the outpouring of support from viewers. They sent me cards, stuffed animals and personalized items as a tribute to Henry and shared their stories of losing a pet. It was incredible to feel that support. It really reminds me that we’re more alike than we are different and that the more we share our stories, the better. That being said, I’m very conscious of what I share about my children. I don’t have a problem sharing times when I’ve been an imperfect mother, but I don’t share things that would make them embarrassed or open them up to criticism. And I have a very strict social media policy: if my family or children are criticized (even in a passive-aggressive way!) I hit the block button immediately. In order for me to continue sharing my life I have to feel like my social media community is a safe and supportive space. I think we should all use the block and mute buttons a little more often! Ha!

What’s the best advice you've ever gotten?

The best advice came early in my career from the main anchor at my very first television station in Duluth (shout out to Pat Kelly!). I remember receiving my first critical email from a viewer and he told me two things:

1)      file that away in case the person continues to send messages

2) don’t take the nasty emails personally and even more importantly, don’t take the praising emails personally.

His message really resonated with me because it was a reminder that you can’t determine your self-worth based on what other people think of you, whether they like you or they hate you. Your self-worth is determined by you. That’s a really empowering concept and it’s helped me significantly throughout my career.

What would you tell your younger self?

You are just as smart as anyone you are interviewing! As a young news reporter, I remember being so nervous to ask people in positions of power or leadership questions. I thought they knew so much more than me. Everyone is entitled to ask questions confidently.

Rapid Fire Questions:

  • Favorite restaurant in Mpls/St Paul – IN BLOOM

  • Coffee or tea – COFFEE

  • Fun fact no one would guess about you – I’M MORE INTROVERTED THAN YOU’D THINK

  • Early Riser or Night Owl – EARLY RISER

  • Dream Vacation -- ICELAND

  • Describe your perfect day – Wake up on my own time, solitude in the garden, cooking something amazing for my family who shows up in the evening.

Thank you Elizabeth for willing to be a Monday Muse! I can’t wait to meet those chicks, they sound like a lot of fun. Catch Elizabeth every weekday on TCL and on her podcast Best to the Nest.

Monday Muse: Melissa Oholendt
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I’m fan girling big time over this week’s Monday Muse - Melissa Oholendt. For real. I ADORE her. From the minute I found her on Instagram, I’ve been a big fan. From her amazing (I mean AMAZING) photography to her interior inspiration and DIY projects, to the funniest photo captions (that truly make me LOL) and her (and her husband Matt) journey to becoming parents - this gal is just downright awesome. I may have fan girled on her husband the first time I met him while working one night at The Foundry Home Goods - True Story. I realized it was him and was all - your OHOHouse’s husband. Yep. I said that. No shame. *smackshead. He took it in stride and when I actually got to meet her IRL a few months later, she hugged me like we’d been long lost friends. So let’s get to know Melissa a bit more and you can see why she’s truly the best.

How did you get started as a photographer? Did you always have a passion for photography?

I would love to say that yes, I totally always knew I would be a photographer but the answer is that my passion was born out of need for a creative outlet and quite honestly, took me by surprise! When I first picked up a camera with the intent to create something, I was working in finance at a super type-A, task-driven position that fit my strengths perfectly but needed a little dose of creative freedom to balance the left-brain heavy career. What began as a hobby turned into a snowball that would eventually allow me to fulfill both my love of analytics and organization and my need for beauty and artistic creation and ten years later, here we are. Older, wiser, definitely a little weaker in the knee joints.

How did you decide weddings were what you wanted to focus on?

Weddings were such a natural fit for me! Not only am I a hopeless romantic but I have a heart-pounding obsession with pretty things and nothing is prettier than a happy bride.

Has there been a specific moment that made you think "yep, I've made it because I've done ...

Last year I was recognized as one of 74 Best Photographers in the WORLD by Brides Magazine and if that's not a pinch-me-how-did-that-even-happen moment in life? I don't know what is.

Whats one bucket list photo you want to capture?

A self-timer photo of my entire family of 4 generations together this summer - this will be the first time we've all gotten together since the babies were born and I CANNOT WAIT. <3

Your Oho House account is FILLED with so much gorgeous home inspiration (and lets not forget the amazing captions you create!) - what inspired you to create that account and where do you get your inspiration from for your home?

Oh gosh, you are SO kind. Years (and years and years) ago, I initially started college with the intention of becoming an interior designer so I've loved interiors for as long as I can remember (just ask my mom who tried to talk me out of painting my childhood bedroom a deep navy). Initially, I started Instagram the way we all did, with the intent to document life (so please don't scroll back to 2013, k?) but as we (my wonderful, amazingly patient and receptive-to-my-hair-brained ideas husband, Matt) found such a passion for transforming rooms to align better with how we live (and, let's be honest - to be beautiful), the life documenting turned into documenting those changes (with life thrown in) and DIY projects became a fun outlet (and therapeutic when things would go awry, too). There is an amazing community of people who love DIY house projects and interiors on instagram and it's been really fun to find my place in that community.

You've also created a website , Oho Interiors, that offers online design help. What prompted you to start offering design services? Do you see yourself transitioning from weddings to this? Or will you do both?

This is the ten million dollar question!

Truth be told, 2019 will be my last year in the photography industry but I don't know what life beyond that looks like. All I know is that I truly believe that a home is a powerful place of rest, togetherness and love and if I can have a small part in helping someone create that in their own home? It would be an honor.

If you could tell your younger self anything, what would it be?

"Dear Year 2000 Melissa. You will marry Matt Oholendt so chill, ok?"

(But seriously.)

Rapid Fire:

  • Favorite Wedding Venue to Photograph: I LOVE my local MN venues but a certain winery in the Santa Ynez Valley has my heart (there is magic there, I am convinced) - Sunstone Vineyard & Winery!

  • Foodie (All about those new restaurants) or Stay home and cook (give me all the recipes/creations): Two years ago I would have said FOODIE ALL THE WAY but our daughter's 7pm bedtime has given me a new appreciation for staying home and cooking! (PS - Chrissy Teigen's Cravings cookbook might be one of my favorites. Not a bad recipe to be had yet!)

  • Go to Paint Color: Balboa Mist by Benjamin Moore

  • Describe your home style in 3 words: Cozy. Elevated. Layered.

  • Favorite Justin Timberlake Song: ALL OF THEM. How can you pick just one? (Ok, ok. Blue Ocean Floor. By a hair.)

Thanks so much Melissa! We’re so excited to see where Oho Interiors takes you. To stay up to date on all the great stuff Melissa is working on, follow here @Oho_house on instagram.

Monday Muse: Elizabeth Kendig
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If you don’t already know Elizabeth Kendig, you’re truly missing out! She’s the author of the award winning beauty blog Beauty Bets, has a Pinterest following of 5+MILLON followers, loves JCrew and anything stripes, her dog Molly is the sweetest girl around, loves to dive into the “woo” on her podcast Healers and help you connect with your higher self to heal in unconventional ways, and recently launched her website Healers Wanted to make healing accessible to everyone, no matter what stage they are at. She is a force to be reckoned with and one of the most honest, down to earth, outgoing woman I know. When you meet her, it’s like you’ve just met a long lost friend. She immediately makes you feel at ease and is able to get you to open up about just about anything. She truly has a gift for making you feel like you matter. It was such a joy to be able to learn more about her journey and how she got to where she is today. Grab a cup of coffee (or tea!) and read on to learn more about this amazing woman.

Let's start at the beginning - what did you want to be when you grew up and what did that look like when you were starting out?

I honestly wasn’t sure. Being a magazine editor was high on the list. I interned at a fashion magazine in London and fell in love with retail. That led to working for Target as a merchant out of college but the writer in me found my way back to journalism—both as a magazine editor and in corporate communications. When blogging happened, it was a way for me to broaden my platform and tell more stories about the things I cared about most: beauty and wellness and now healing.

How did you decide to start Beauty Bets? Were you always a beauty junkie? Was it a side hustle to start or did you go all?
I was a lifestyle editor at the time, so started the blog as both a creative outlet for all of my beauty opinions and expeditioners. It also felt imperative to understand what was happening in the content space. At the time, facebook had just happened and people were talking about this little blue bird. Yes, some of us still remember a time before social medial!

I was definitely born with a beauty gene, from raiding my grandmother’s Aquanet and Revlon cherries in the snow lipstick to whipping up homemade face masks from a very young age. In retrospect, beauty was self-care for me and a way to get out of my head and into my body.

Was there a specific "WOW" i've made it moment, or pinching yourself because you attained one of your huge goals?
Never. I’m not sure there ever will be. I’m always moving the goal post! And working on being more present with the good that’s right in front of me instead of trying to get to the next place. There is no there-there. But I have had some pretty otherworldly experiences like going on safari in Africa or equine therapy in the desert. Being a writer has opened a lot of doors and windows.

When did you start thinking about starting the Healers Podcast? Were you always interested in holistic/alternative healing?
I’ve spent the last decade immersed in holistic and metaphysical experiences, partly as a writer but mostly for my own healing. I often call it a self-help bender but it was a necessity, to get to the bottom of a lifetime of depression, perfectionism and an autoimmune disease. Healing eventually became a way of life because it saved my live. So when PodcastOne approached me a couple years ago about doing a podcast, I knew it was an opportunity to transition into the space. The producers were expecting me to pitch a show about beauty and I presented a fairly impassioned argument for Healers. They said “We don’t know what you’re talking about but you have to do this show.”

You just launched your healers community/website. Congrats! I love the concept so much - tell us more about it, why now, and what do you hope to attain through it.

Thank you so much! My goal has always been to make healing more accessible. The podcast was a start, and revealed that people are ready for more woo, particularly in an un-weird way. They’re also craving more wisdom, tools and resources to support them on their healing journey. We created Healerswanted.com to help demystify the work of holistic practitioners and practices, help our community easily connect with trusted healers (a directory was the #1 request I got from listeners) and offer virtual healing experiences so that regardless of resources or location, you have access to support. What’s been really beautiful is introducing real healing stories from our community, to show what happens when people incorporate everything from acupuncture to spirituality into their lives. I’m open to whatever is in the highest good for this platform, the more people we help feel better, the better!

If you could tell your younger self anything, what would it be?

You’re here to know yourself. The rest will follow.

Rapid Fire Questions:

  • 3 words to describe yourself: sensitive, empathetic, loyal

  • Morning person or burn the midnight oil: morning, but I usually wreck my chances by staying up too late!

  • Spa or adventure vacation: both in the same trip!

  • Go to crystal: citrine, which connects you to your higher self and brings in abundance. My engagement right is midcentury citrine.

  • Your sign and top characteristic: Cancer. I’m a nester.

  • East or West Coast Girl: bicoastal!

Thank you so much Elizabeth for sharing your journey with us! Check out Elizabeth’s podcast and website to learn even more.

Monday Muse: Wynne Reece
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This week’s Monday Muse is Wynne Reece and I couldn’t be more excited. I could literally say that every week, but it’s really true! There are so many exceptional, inspirational women who are doing amazing things, that it just give me goosebumps to be able to share them every Monday with you all. I’ll let you read on to learn all the amazing things Wynne does (I wouldn’t do it justice in just a few words here). But know this, she is just as wonderful in person as she is on her Instagram and I still don’t know how she does it all.

You wear MANY hats that cross both the legal and creative fields (a rare skill!), can you share with us all you do and how you got started? 

Founder of The Creative's Counsel and (coming soon, The Creative’s Connector); Partner, Reece Law, L.L.C; co-founder of the pro bono legal clinic, The Northside Legal Clinic; Partner, The ADR Collective, LLC; Adjunct Professor at Mitchell Hamline School of Law. And if that wasn't enough, I have a few pretty wonderful things in the works, collaborating with some other powerhouse business babes!

While many perceive 'growing up quickly' to be a crutch, I cherish the experience so very much. As a true Minneapolitan, I grew up immersed in two worlds: the land of law and the land of magic and music. Unfortunately, I am no musician. I followed in the footsteps of my attorney-father, but not without a fight. My mother was keen to the exquisite music scene as a Grammy-winning classical composer. When their professions collided, I traveled the world with them, running my imagination into wild depths. Today I credit my creative, entrepreneurial spirit to this childhood, filled like boiling water with opportunity and inspiration. 

Currently, I’m thirty-three and living in the quaint town of Excelsior, Minnesota, (just on the outskirts of Minneapolis), albeit with a heart brimming full of wanderlust. I own a boutique litigation and business law firm that focuses on helping other entrepreneurs grow and prosper.

 

I earned my Juris Doctor from William Mitchell College of Law, where I worked as a research assistant, a certified-student attorney in a public defender’s office and in a district attorney’s office, and a law clerk for a large national firm, before I landed with my private civil practice in Minneapolis.

 

Despite this succinct depiction of my legal path, I won’t pretend law was always the plan. Oh, gosh, no! My heart was set on becoming a plastic surgeon by day and painter by night. I interned with a plastic surgeon. I was on my way. So why deviate from a chance at pursuing my childhood dream? My college counselor suggested the shift. Before finishing my sophomore year, she carried with her an honest confession during one of our heart-to-hearts. I was really bad at science, at least, by standard grading methods. And while she admired my tenacity to stick with it, getting into a good medical school would not be impossible, but unlikely.

 

Knowing my aversion to pursuing the same path as either parent, she still encouraged me to consider the law. So, I switched majors, worked hard to get my GPA to a competitive level (for law school), and started interning in the legal arena. Admittedly the work came much easier to me and I enjoyed the subject matter whole heartedly. However, I was stubborn as an ox. I pushed back hard and didn't truly settle on becoming an attorney until the first time I stepped into a court room . I’ll never forget the first time I stepped up to the podium and let the words, ‘Good morning, Your Honor’ escape my lips, it was as though I became someone else; it wasn’t the adrenaline, rather it was the sense of being, the sense of knowing in my gut that where I stood was exactly where I belonged. After that, there was no looking back.

 

After graduation, I started Reece Law, L.L.C. and my father joined shortly after. Although, historically, firms of all sizes were built on familial relationships, today it is surprisingly uncommon to see family members practicing together. In fact, many mid-large size firms have policies against it because of the way money is distributed and the concern for favoritism, as well as the emotional aspect families can have that may not be conducive to working in a law firm. My dad departed big firm life, a very successful place that he had worked his entire career to build, to mentor me, just as he had been, thirty-some years ago. An opportunity of a lifetime, for my future.

 

Although I had the unbelievable blessing to start a firm with my role model, starting my own firm, or "hanging a shingle" as its commonly called, is not an easy endeavor. Most young associates go to work in one specialty for firms with existing structures, like vast document banks and existing clients.  During the first week working at the firm,  I was tasked with "finding an untapped area of law." (Writer’s Note: I know what you’re thinking What?! I was just learning how to be a lawyer - how in the heck was I supposed to find an area of law that was un-tapped!?) So, with a mountain of unknowns on my shoulders, I started from the ground up. I designed a business plan, picking known areas of law we could practice in while brainstorming fresh focuses, built the firm structure, managed the administrative needs and then set out to find clients. 

 

After two years of balancing a litigation practice, a plethora of pro bono cases, coaching high school Mock Trial, running the event company, becoming a newly-wed and reading a number of The Every Girl articles on time management and life balance, I realized consolidation was a must. No matter how I cut it, there were simply not enough hours in the day to balance so many professional lives and maintain a healthy personal life. Still, as a true Gemini, I was determined to find a point of connection, which is what led to the birth of The Creative's Counsel. 

 

The Creative's Counsel is an arm of Reece Law, L.L.C., built with the client in mind and heart. The company is based on our genuine interest and passion for people and our love of connecting new people and learning about their dreams. A bounty of business attorneys reside in the Midwest, but while immersed in the throws of the event planning industry, I found out how many of these business owners didn’t have the legal side of their businesses managed. In most cases, this was due to a few core reasons: lack of understanding their legal needs, DIY legal websites, or the concern that legal assistance was not only cost-prohibitive but intimidating. So, with all of these pillars in mind, we structured The Creative’s Counsel to provide affordable, approachable legal representation, with large firm experience and work product quality, to Creatives, Makers and small business owners. It highlights the importance of the attorney-client relationship and the need for ease and accessibility to one’s attorney. While I love planning, my truest joy is helping others feel secure in their business endeavors, so they can stay humble and hustle hard, pursuing their passions. 


Who inspired you to do what you do now? 

Fundamentally, my parents, my God Mother (Cindy), and a few very close friends who believed I could and pushed me to be more. I would be remiss not to mention that all of those who came down on me, shamed me for being a terrible test taker or laughed at my aspirations also inspired me, because they fueled my fire and I am better for crossing paths with them. 


How do you structure your days to get it all done?  

On my best days, I am very structured! In fact if you look at my calendar, I am scheduled out into October at the moment. I schedule a work out every day and then schedule all in-person meetings and calls on 2 days a week, to leave the other 3 days open to get my work down. Now, when it comes down to it, being a business owner / new mom / wife / friend / daughter, things don't always go accordingly, so I take each day as it comes. When there are weeks during which client emergencies arise, all breaks loose and every second of the day is utilized!

What's the best advice you ever received? And on that same note, what is the one thing you would tell anyone starting their own business? 

While you should always dream bigger, you are not invincible. Take care of yourself. Surround yourself with the most genuine of friends and don’t walk away when they tell you the hard things. Remember quality, over quantity. Sleep at least six hours a night, do not over commit yourself simply because you can, drink even more water, set boundaries, go easy on the candy intake and above all, learn to say no! 

Rapid Fire Questions:

  • Early riser or Night Owl? Early riser (recovering insomniac)

  • Beach or Mountains? Mountains

  • Favorite book? The Great Gatsby

  • Go with the flow or Control Freak? Go with the flow

  • Dream Destination? India

  • Three qualities that got you where you are today? Humor (Approachability), Independence and Ambition 

Thank you Wynne for sharing your journey with us! We can’t wait to learn more about The Creative’s Connector and all the other great things you have in the works!

Monday Muse: Chris Freytag
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Jumping into Monday with this week’s Muse: Chris Freytag! If you want to get a daily dose of inspiration and motivation, Chris is it. While most of us are hitting snooze, Chris is leading a packed 5:30am fitness class and getting the day started. She’s a nationally recognized health and fitness coach who’s goal in life is to provide you with all the information you need to be healthy and happy. She’s the founder of GetHealthyU and GetHealthyUTV, teaches live classes here in the Twin Cities, creates and shares content on Kare 11 NBC and multiple other digital platforms, has written 4 books, does motivational speaking engagements, is on air for Evine Home Shopping, and has raised 3 kids. Whew! I don’t know how she does it. Let’s learn more about Chris:

Let's start at the beginning... what did you want to be when you grew up (aka what did you go to school for)? Was it fitness/health related? 

I graduated with a Journalism degree in 1987. Talking, writing and communicating have always been strengths for me. 

However, I always loved fitness…there just was not a clear career path in 1983 went I went off to college.  It was always my “sidehustle” - teaching  ‘dance aerobics’ after work.  Then, when women started lifting weights in early 1990’s, I got my Personal Training and Health Coach Certifications and quit my job to do that full time. After a few years, I got involved with making fitness workout VHS tapes and working in TV and with magazines… much longer story but that’s the quick version☺!! 

I started blogging when that became a thing and it turned into my website www.GetHealthyU.com   

4 years ago I took the leap from fitness DVD’s to streaming my workouts and created a second website www.GetHealthyUTV.com where myself and several other trainers create new streaming workouts every week!  

This is TMI I know but just a little about me - My husband and I live in Wayzata – we have 3 kids – all grown 27, 25 and 22. We are dog people - We have 2 golden retrievers in the house: our dog Roxy and our son’s puppy Rusty. 

 I LOVE helping women feel empowered and help them take the steps to better health because they deserve it!!  #yesyoucan 

What does a typical day look like for you?

I like to work out early – I usually teach a group fitness class between 5:30am – 8am.  Quick shower, breakfast and then a typical day could be filled with any and all of these things: phone calls with brands; shooting fitness videos; collaborating with my team at our co-working office; planning out social media; and working on my computer. I try to walk the dog at some point too!   Evenings after dinner are often time to catch up on emails while watching a favorite TV show or sports.  

I love the positivity you spread! Tell us a bit about how you keep that mindset and the impact it's had on your wellbeing.

I have been a positive person my whole life according to my mom ☺.  But with age comes wisdom and I’ve learned along the way that positive thinking is a mindset not an emotion.  You can have lots of emotions like happy, sad, frustrated, stressed… but still choose positive thinking.  I’ve made it my mission to help people understand that they can choose positivity no matter their emotions. And positive thinking can help create a better outcome! I’m naturally smiley and outgoing and I love to give a happy greeting and offer up words of encouragement to people… and that actually goes well with my passion of spreading the message of good health!  

How do you keep yourself motivated? (Especially with winters like ours!) 

I am thankful for a community of amazing people who have been attending my classes for the last 21 years at Life Time Fitness.  I get my butt out of bed in the cold of winter for them <3!  I am thankful for my online community of Get Healthy U TV members – they post everyday about working out with me and our team of trainers and that seriously motivates me to keep on going! 

Is there anything you would tell your younger self if you could?  

I would say keep dreaming … you may not figure out your career or your passion till you are 40 or 50… I talk to so many younger women thinking they have to figure it all out but I didn’t even really get my career started on a national level till I was almost 40. 

Rapid Fire:

  • Coffee or Green Juice to get you going? Coffee first!  Hello Americano ;-) 

  • Cardio or strength training (both are great, but which do you prefer) OOOH – I can’t pick … I’m obsessed with both. Cardio for mental health, Strength for graceful aging! 

  • AM or PM workouts – AM !!! #earlyriser 

  • Strict with diet or moderation is the key?  Moderation!!  80/20 rule.  A healthy eater who enjoys ice cream, guacamole, and wine!  

  • Name 3 IG accounts you LOVE and we should all follow.  

  • I follow my past co-worker, fellow trainer and friend @coachbriannunz for motivation and inspiration.  The guy is even more positive than me – LOL!!   

  • I love to follow @livingwithlandyn for lifestyle and fashion. 

  • @positivelypresent – you can imagine why I like this one☺!!! 

Thanks for all the inspiration and being our Monday Muse Chris! We love all that you do and the energy you bring!

Monday Muse: Jennifer Johnson
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This week’s muse is someone I’ve seen almost monthly (sometimes more) for the past 10+ years. It’s Jennifer Johnson, my acupuncturist. I started acupuncture over 10 years ago when I was at my wits end trying to recover from a recurring eye issue that’s usually linked to an autoimmune disorder. I was the 10% they couldn’t determine what the cause was, and I was having eye flare ups quite regularly that were forcing me to take some pretty strong steroids. I didn’t love being on the medicine, and had tried everything to prevent the flare ups from happening. And when I say everything, I mean everything. I gave up sugar for a year, went gluten free, only ate organic, did yoga 6 days a week, basically lived as clean as I could. When that still wasn’t helping, I turned to acupuncture on a whim. What did I have to lose? Well, to my surprise, it worked. It’s been the one thing that keeps me healthy, and if I do get a flare up, acupunture heals it faster than any of the medicines they give me. Jen has helped me in more ways than I can count. Not just for my eye issue, but anytime I’ve had any other ailments, she’s been able to help get me back on track. If you’ve ever wanted to try acupuncture, I can’t recommend Jen enough. So let’s learn a bit more about her!

Tell us a bit about what you do.

I have been in practice as an acupuncturist since 2003. I also teach pottery classes and have a home studio where I get to play with clay!


How did you get started? Did you study in college? Post College? Side Hustle?

After getting my degree in biochemistry, I was intending to go to medical school - instead took a break from that track and ended up studying Chinese medicine and acupuncture.  

Describe a typical day

Wake up around 830-9, workout, lunch, go to work (acupuncture), meet up with friends for dinner, hang out with my husband and 4 pets (2 dogs & 2 cats) before bed.  

What do you love most about what you do? least?

I love working with people one on one - getting to know them in an intimate and meaningful way.  I also love teaching pottery and inspiring people to tap into and express their creativity.

Least?  The business side of having my own business - accounting, marketing etc...

Common misconception about what you do?

That getting acupuncture is painful.

I can verify it’s not! It’s actually one of the most relaxing things I do. One hour and I feel like I rested for 6!

Rapid Fire Questions:

  • Early Riser or Night owl? - night owl for sure!!!

  • Caffeine asap or green juice? - green juice, my nervous system can't handle any caffeine

  • 3 words to describe you - compassionate, intuitive, resourceful

  • Sweat it out or zen zone? -sweat it out

Curious? Want to try acupuncture? You can find Jen at Sattva.