Minneapolis Illustrator, Invitation Designer, + DIYer Blog

 

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

 
Posts tagged Monday Muse
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: 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: 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: 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.

Monday Muse: Jamie Preuss, So Happy You Liked It
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Jamie Preuss, food photographer and blogger extraordinaire at So Happy You Liked It, is this week's Monday Muse. I’ve known Jamie for years, working with her many times over the course of my time at Target. In fact, one of my first experiences with her was at a party she was hosting for Stella and Dot (back in the days when I was a rep for them and before we worked together). It was a brunch party, and Jamie didn’t hold back. It was one of the most organized, beautiful, and most importantly delicious parties I had been to. Even back then, this girl knew what she was doing! As someone who also loves to entertain, I can appreciate the time and energy it takes to pull off events like this. Jamie does it with so much joy and makes it look completely effortless. Grab a cup of your favorite coffee (or glass of wine if you’re reading this at night ) and let’s get to know more about Jamie.

How did you start So Happy You Liked it (and how did you come up with the name)? Have you always been in to cooking and entertaining?

So Happy You Liked It was born from my innate desire to share food with others. I realized in my senior year of college that I should have gone to culinary school...I spent just as much time watching cooking shows and researching recipes as I did on my Marketing course load! Realizing that I didn’t need a degree to pursue this passion, I continued to share my creations in the kitchen with others. I soon found that when given a compliment on something I'd made, my response quickly became, “I’m so happy you liked it!”. When I decided to start my own food blog, the name was a no brainer.

Who is your biggest influence in the food? Why?

The home cook who’s looking to try new things, eat seasonally, indulge intelligently, and lead a balanced life. Truly, I find most of my inspiration from those that I’m actually writing and creating for! I love nothing more than hearing, “that one recipe you shared looked so good, but it seemed a little too complex for me”. Direct feedback! When I hear things like this I am so inspired to dig in further and learn more about what my readers are looking for.

Biggest failure you've made in the kitchen? What Happened?

I once made a birthday cake for a dear friend, who is partial to particular light beer. While I was pretty confident in my cake decorating skills, apparently my can-shaped cake vision was not executable AT ALL. Photos of this cake will still send my girlfriends and I in to a fit of hysterical, tear-inducing laughter. 

Favorite ingredient(s) to use ? And is there one ingredient you can't stand or don't like to cook?

I love cooking with fresh and seasonal ingredients...it’s hard to choose just one! With the approaching summer months, I’ll be using fresh veg in every meal. I also love adding citrus to everything. You’d be surprised what a splash of lime juice or zest of a lemon can do to a dish! 

How do you balance the blog, cooking, your corporate job, and all the events you attend ( I get tired just keeping up with your IG! HA)

GREAT QUESTION! I've always been a busy, on the go, schedule-packed-to-the-brim kind of person. But I’d be lying if I said that it doesn’t get exhausting! Pro tip: find something that sets your soul on fire, and keep at it. The “work” I do is far from just that. And of course, having a spouse who supports me, knows when to challenge me to slow down, and when to jump in and do a sink full of dishes (sometimes twice in one day…) - is incredibly helpful too :-)

  • Rapid Fire Questions:

  • Cake or pie? (whines at difficulty of question)....CAKE

  • Favorite Restaurant? My husband and I had an UNREAL experience at La Grolla recently. 

  • If you could eat at any restaurant in the world, what would it be? Lo scoglio la tommado- farm and sea to table restaurant Amalfi coast 

  • Cookbooks or Online recipes? Cookbooks! 

  • Go to food when you don't want to cook? Avocado toast (#basic I know), eggs, or pasta 

  • If you could only make one recipe from your blog, what would it be? My Parmesan Pancakes with Caramelized Corn and Bacon are becoming a weekend go to in my house!

Thanks Jamie for being this week’s Monday Muse. Pop on over to Jamie’s blog to try out all her amazing recipes!

Monday Muse: Kayd Roy
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This week’s Monday Muse is creative brand strategist Kayd Roy. She’s a force to be reckoned with when it comes to building out a brand and has more energy than the energizer bunny. No joke. She’s busy all the damn time and still finds time to have fun, a family, take time out of her day to mentor/guide/inspire others over coffee or drinks. Seriously. She will meet you to chat anytime!

You're truly a "Jane of all Trades" when it comes to a creative career! Can you share with us what it is you do and how you got started?
I help launch and organize businesses through strategic design and thoughtful experiences. On the daily I create trend concepts for Target, am the Director of Design for the boutique fitness studio Fly Feet Running, Co-Founder of a career-growth event series called The Catalyst Circle and run a full-service design studio with clients nation wide. Since a young age, I was always around art projects thanks to my parents and began teaching myself Photoshop in middle school. I’ve said yes to almost every opportunity and this is where it’s landed me!


How to you get it all done? What does a typical day look like?
First, whenever my toddler wakes up that’s when I also wake up (trying to squeeze in every last moment of possible sleep). I drop her at daycare and the majority of the day I’m at Target HQ working on design concepts for Beauty, Essentials, Electronics and Pets. Half the day is spent in meetings and the other is spent pinning ideas to a wall creating a design strategy to drive the businesses forward. In the evening we’ll do dinner, a small walk and then it’s off to bed for my daughter, which is when the real work begins. A small but mighty team of freelancers pitch in on the projects I create for clients so it’s a lot of organization, communication and prioritizing while also catching up on the latest Netflix show. 


You're a small business owner as well as a corporate employee. What made you decide to do both?
It’s not easy, and I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it to everyone. My small-biz experience is where I get my energy. It allows me to be nimble, try new strategies, swiftly adjust course if something is not working, lead a team and be a part of other peoples stories. My corporate gig allows me to focusing in on areas of career-growth I wouldn’t necessarily get by being independent. 


What have you worked on that you are the most proud of and why?
There’s been a lot of really great projects but the one that takes the cake is Fly Feet Running. In a corporate environment, or even at a design agency, you only get to be a small part of the puzzle, very rarely the full thing. So when Kristin & Ben brought me on I helped further develop their brand in design, naming, class structure, website, social, floor plans & environment design, apparel and basically anything else that need that needed some design thinking. Through their leadership and trust I was able to prove that what I had been doing for much smaller businesses could be scaled up and still successful.


What advice would you give to someone starting their own business?
Figure out the goal of your business. Is it something to keep you busy? Is there whitespace you can develop in? Is this your get rich quick solution? Is this a business you want to pass down to your family? Is it for more control? Once you can articulate why you are going into business it will help you make the right decisions.

Rapid Fire Questions:

  • Introvert or extrovert? Super extrovert. hiiiiiii

  • Coffee or tea? Coffee. Lots of cream

  • Early riser or burn the midnight oil? Party all night long

  • Paper or digital calendar and to do list? Todoist.com is how I can manage it all

  • Your design style in 3 words or less: All-in. Underestimated. Jazzed.

  • Favorite IG account to follow: For years and years and years it's been Kate over at Wit&Delight. Now that we've all grown up, it's fun to see what her kiddos are doing and how she's grown from her #ootd days.

Thanks so much Kayd! If you have a business that could benefit from Kayd’s work, you can find her at KaydRoy.com. Drop her a note and meet her for coffee!

Monday Muse: The Skin Sisters
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I’m super excited to share with you this week’s Monday Muse: The Skin Sisters. Meet Lauren and Brooke. Two Dermatology PAs that also have a blog that answers all your skincare questions. They have over a decade of experience in the skincare industry and use their expertise to give you the best information to help you make informed decisions when it comes to skin, hair, and nails.

How did the two of you get into dermatology? Were you always interested in skincare? 

B: I started my career in a different field (enterprise technology public relations in San Francisco) and transitioned to medicine after about five years. I completed my masters and public health and physician assistant degrees and was very lucky to find a job in dermatology right out of school. I was lucky to have Lauren’s influence, as she had been practicing for several years at that point and encouraged me to consider dermatology as a potential career choice. I have always been drawn to jobs that are fast paced, and give the opportunity to wear many ‘hats’ throughout the day. I love dermatology because in any given day I am seeing patients of all ages for things like skin checks, acne, botox, rashes, hair concerns, skincare consultations, biopsies and minor surgical procedures, etc.

L: Prior to going to PA school, I was always fascinated by dermatology and the uniqueness of the field. Once in grad school, I kept waiting to be equally interested in other fields, but ultimately my initial instinct was correct and I took a position in a private dermatology practice on the Upper East Side upon graduating. It’s been well over a decade, and I haven’t looked back since!

If you could only choose 3 skincare/beauty products what would they be and why?

B:

  • Sunscreen. This is the number one building block of any skincare routine. You can spend a million dollars on anti-aging products, moisturizers, eye creams and lip plumpers but if you don’t wear a daily SPF you are basically throwing your money away!

  • Retinoid. Although I am currently breastfeeding and unable to use retinoids, in a perfect world this is definitely in my top three. These products help to brighten and smooth the skin, lighten sun damage and minimize fine lines. It’s as close to a one stop shop as possible in the world of skincare. There are similar over the counter options available (called retinol) but I prefer prescription retinoid. 

  • A thick moisturizing cream. I love face creams with hyaluronic acid and/or ceramides. These creams feel thick and luxurious, and really soak into the skin without feeling heavy. 

L:

  • Skinceuticals Phloretin Antioxidant serum - such a workhorse. It protects against free radical damage, brightens dark spots, and improves skin texture; plus it’s great for acne prone skin.

  • Colorescience Powder Sunscreen - I keep one in my purse and one in my car. It’s the perfect way to touch up my SPF throughout the day without applying a cream.

  • Cerave PM lotion - I love this lightweight lotion. It’s so affordable, great for most skin types and contains niacinamide (a calming antioxidant.)

One myth about dermatology that you'd love to debunk?

B: That we are all just pimple poppers! We do SO much more than that in the world of dermatology. Acne happens to be a condition we treat commonly and enjoy treating; however, we commonly see skin conditions that are far more ‘serious’. Many times we have literally saved a life by diagnosing melanoma, which is a potentially deadly form of skin cancer, during a skin exam or spot check. Dermatology providers are many times the first to diagnose an illness such as lupus or other auto-immune disease because of a skin manifestation. 

L: That is all about beauty. We love helping you find the best skincare regimen and giving you a smooth, natural look with Botox, but don’t forget to schedule your yearly skin check with us to look for precancerous lesions and skin cancers.

An assumption people make about you because of your profession and is it true?

B: That I must use really expensive products on my skin. So not true!! My daily skincare routine is full of products I pick up at Target.

L: People assume that I always have clear skin, but the truth is that everyone gets breakouts from time to time! The key is knowing how to prevent and treat them quickly.

Newest technology in skincare you are excited about?

B: I am really excited about the new skin pH tracker from La Roche Posay, one of my favorite low-cost skincare lines.

L: Hyaluronic acid serums are newish and growing in popularity like crazy. They are such a great way to add hydration to your skin that lasts all day and improves your skin’s texture. I don’t ever skip using mine!


Rapid Fire with Brooke:

  • Product you never leave home without: La Roche Posay AOX SPF50

  • Skin rule you swear by: Don’t forget your neck!

  • Give me all the products or minimalist? Minimalist. 

  • My skin feels the best when: It’s freshly cleaned, toned, moisturized and ready for bed!

  • 3 words to describe your sister: Smart, beautiful, thoughtful.

Rapid Fire with Lauren:

  • Product you never leave home without: Colorescience Powder Sunscreen

  • Skin rule you swear by: Keep it simple. There’s no need for a million steps, just choose effective products that meet the needs of your skin and your goals for skincare.

  • Give me all the products or minimalist? Minimalist for sure. We test out tons of products, so lately I’m using way more than I otherwise would prefer to use. I have two young kids and not a lot of extra time to commit to my morning regimen; simple is key.

  • My skin feels the best when: After dermaplaning! This treatment gets rid of the dead skin cells and peach fuzz on your skin - and helps all of your products to work better. My skin feels as soft as can be in the weeks after this treatment.

  • 3 words to describe your sister: Generous, thoughtful, passionate

Thanks so much Lauren and Brooke! You can learn more on their blog, The Skin Sisters, and if you live in the Twin Cities, you can find them at Zel Skin.

Monday Muse: Lindsay Grabb, Up Yoga
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It’s MondayMuse time. This week’s muse is none other than Lindsay Grabb, co-owner and co-founder of Up Yoga in South Minneapolis. Lindsay has created a vibrant, empowering community with Up Yoga, let’s learn a bit more about her.

When did you start yoga and what lead you to it?

My first Yoga class was prenatal yoga at Blooma in 2009. I first found Baptiste Power Yoga in 2011 and was drawn to the combination of strength and ease.  It connected with the runner in me and also provided ease which I needed as a new mom with a full time job.

What inspired you to leave your corporate job and start Up Yoga?

In 2013 I left Target Corp and moved to Singapore with my husband for a few years.  I loved the community  where I taught at yogamovement in Singapore. When we returned home I was inspired to open Up Yoga because I felt something missing in the Minneapolis yoga community.  There were amazing classes to take, but not the close family style community I’d felt at my trainings or in Singapore.

How did you go about building the amazing community that exists at Up Yoga?

Honestly, I welcome students like they are walking in to my home. That’s what Up Yoga is to me, and my teachers, and now to our students as well.  It’s home.  People want to be seen and feel accepted.  Everything we do from cleaning the floors, to developing teacher training programs is about community.

What advice would you give your younger self?

I would tell my younger self that she is loved and that she belongs.  I would tell her she doesn’t have to try so hard, that she is everything and has everything she needs.

What is the most rewarding part of being a small business owner?

The most rewarding part of being a small business owner is creating something that makes a difference.  It is rewarding to see an idea of mine become real and see it impact others.  Also after a corporate job it is incredible the speed at which I can make things happen! 

What's the toughest?

The toughest part is that my personal life is wrapped up in the studio.  So when I make decisions for the business that others may not agree with, I often lose them from my entire life. It can be lonely at times.

Rapid Fire

  • Favorite Pose:  Handstand and Savasana

  • I feel empowered when: I’m in forward motion on an idea

  • Introvert or extrovert: Introvert with moments of extrovert

  • Favorite Quote:  We rise by lifting others

  • 3 words to describe you:  Strong, Resilient, Compassionate:

  • Thanks Lindsay! It was fun getting to know more about your journey. Check out Up Yoga if you’re in the Twin Cities. You won’t regret it.

Monday Muse: Sara of ThisFem and The Merry Hour

I look forward to Mondays so I can share with you some of the bad ass women that inspire me on a daily basis. These women continue to motivate me to follow my dreams, and show that with a lot of hard work, you can make your dreams a reality. This week’s Monday Muse is no exception. It’s Sara Schultz and she is the epitome of chasing your dreams.

I’ve known Sara for years and not a day goes by that she isn’t cheering you on to accomplish whatever it is you’re chasing. She’s an inspiration herself too, though. She left the corporate rat race to travel the world with her husband for over 2 years. Experiencing life to the fullest and helping shape the values she brings to everything she does.

While on the road, she started her own paper company. Remotely designing invitations and cards from whatever destination she was in, with spotty wi-fi to boot! When she returned to the states, she co-founded The Merry Hour. The Merry Hour is this cool community of women that come together to help each other succeed with their small businesses. Whether they are full time careers or side hustles, Sara believes strongly in community over competition and that we are all better together. It’s a great way to have support while navigating all the struggles of running your own business.

Lastly, Sara founded ThisFem with the goal of changing the face and dialogue of Feminism. It’s all about equality for all, and everyone can be a feminist. And we should all be femists, because essentially it’s about equality. And everyone wins with equality.

Are you exhausted reading all that? She really does do it all. Oh, and on top of all the above, she and her husband just invested in a triplex that they are renovating themselves. They will be renting out two of the units and living in the 3rd. She never stops!

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