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ARTIST PROFILE | KRISTA SIMMONS your favorite food writer

Photo Mar 14, 10 42 36 PMFor all you travel-loving, Food Network obsessed birds out there, today’s profile is totally up your alley! Meet Krista Simmons, Travel & Leisure Global Corespondent, Columnist for Departures Magazine, & New York Magazine contributor – and don’t worry, that’s just her day job. When she isn’t traveling the world scoping out the best spots to eat, drink, & be merry, she is judging on Knife Fight, Top Chef Masters, and Hell’s Kitchen. Yep, get out your pens boys & girls, because her interview is not one to be missed! xoxo, LK


HELLO!

Krista Simmons

CURRENTLY BASED IN

Los Angeles, CA

YOU HAVE SUCH A GREAT JOB, TELL US ABOUT IT!

I’m a multimedia culinary travel writer and on-camera personality, which means I spend most of my time scoping out food trends and culture from around the globe, then sharing them with the world through my words, images, videos, and broadcast media. It sounds like the dream job, and to me, it absolutely is. I came to my current position organically, creating my career and carving out a niche as I developed and honed my skills and voice.

Like any self-made career, it took some time before I felt stable as a freelancer. (The hustle is very real!) I think my backbone in the food industry combined with working in a traditional newsroom has given me the chops to figure out how to build things to where they are now. Though I do still love seeing my words in print, I’m really drawn to digital media and the way stories can be told in such unique, visceral ways. I’m obsessed with accessing my audience through my social feeds — my two faves are Snapchat and Insta — and I really feel most at home when I can showcase my enthusiasm and other people’s stories on camera.

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WHAT INSPIRES YOU?

I’m totally inspired by people who have mastered the art of innovative digital storytelling. So often I see news agencies and brands jumping on the bandwagon and not making the effort to put resources into creating dedicated teams for storytelling on various social platforms. I am obsessed with how Vox Media creates engaging, meaningful, rich content for Snapchat. It’s the perfect example of how you can be smart on that platform while remaining connected to the younger audience. It makes me wish I had a whole social/digital team behind me so that I could craft my own digital publication. Some day!

WHAT DOES BEING CREATIVE FOR YOU LOOK LIKE?

Being creative is about seeing the beauty in the world around you, and remembering to recognize and appreciate the abilities and gifts others have without being envious. It’s also about working hard, really There’s often this idea that being creative means you’re this crunchy hippie that just floats around creating. The most successful creatives I know also happen to have incredible business acumen, and that’s no coincidence. People sometimes think my job is to be a jet set leisure lover, and let me tell you, I never turn off. I am constantly cobbling together ideas as to how to capitalize on my creativity. Finally, it means never giving up. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve been told “no,” but I’ve kept pushing. Progress isn’t made in one giant leap, it’s done in several successive small steps.

WHERE DO YOU FIND YOUR DAILY INSPIRATION?

I try to surround myself with positive people who are equally driven. You’re only as good as the team you surround yourself with, so rather than focussing on superficial stuff, build your #squad to be a bunch of motivated badasses rather than just a slew of pretty faces.

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HOW DID YOU KNOW YOU WANTED TO BE A TRAVEL WRITER?

Since I was a little girl, I was obsessed with PBS food television — Julia Child, Martin Yan, Huell Howser, and this amazing show called “Great Chefs, Great Cities.” I traded that for cartoons every single day. I guess it was meant to be. Since I could work I’ve always been somehow involved in food, whether it be working front-of-house, harvesting produce on organic farms, or working at a winery in college. I’ve also always been into creative writing, so when the opportunity came to marry the two, I just felt compelled to make it my life’s work.

HOW DO YOU GET UN-STUCK WHEN YOU ARE IN A CREATIVE RUT?

When I’m in a rut, I know it’s time to get on the road, not on assignment, but for pleasure. I travel so much for work, and it’s a very different experience than a vacation. Even though what you may see on social media is fun fun fun, it’s exhausting collecting all that content — the video, the interviews, the air travel, the editing, all of it. Every once in a while I just need to pack up and experience something without expectations, and that generally gets me back in gear.

WHAT ADIVCE DO YOU HAVE FOR AN ASPIRING CREATIVE?

Just do you. Be true to yourself and what you love. Work hard. And definitely take some interest in learning how to market yourself and your work. The rest will follow.

WHERE CAN WE FIND MORE OF YOUR WORK?

You can find me on Instagram, Snapchat at Krista_Simmons, kristasimmons.com, and as a Global Corespondent for Travel + Leisure online. Thanks for following, and happy creating!

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photography by Wasim Muklashy

WDC | KELLY & ANDRA OF WITH GRACE AND GOLD

Well Dressed Creative 1-1

Meet Kelly & Andra, the brains behind the beautiful branding boutique – With Grace and Gold. Fast friends turned business partners, Kelly and Andra help businesses grow their creative dreams into flourishing businesses with authentic packaging and branding services. Andra (left) is the graphic designing heartbeat behind With Grace and Gold.  When not creating brands and sitting at Caribou with Kelly, she is designing wedding stationery with Andra Delores DesignKelly (right) has long had a passion for serving and encouraging women in business.  After gaining experience in university-level teaching, career counseling, and business consulting, Kelly’s heart was filled with the launch of With Grace and Gold, where her goal is to instill a sense of confidence and business savvy in every Client. When she is not serving women in business, she is Guest Lecturing within a local university Business Department.  Learn all about their heart behind their business, what personal style means to them, and how they stay true to themselves as business owners!


Full Name: Kelly Zugay + Andra Barkey

Age: Kelly, 27 + Andra, 24

Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota

Current Title/Company: Kelly, Co-Founder and Brand Stylist + Andra, Co-Founder and Brand Designer at With Grace and Gold

Well Dressed Creative 2-1How long have you been a full-time Creative?

Kelly: I have been a full-time Creative for two months! I feel really blessed to be able to pursue what I love as a full-time career. Prior to becoming a full-time Creative, I was a college Career Counselor and Instructor. Along the way, I was drawn to anything and everything creative – but it wasn’t until I formed a friendship with Andra that I realized my potential to wholeheartedly pursue design and branding. I’m in love with being a full-time Creative, and I wouldn’t have it any other way!

Andra: My career as a full-time Creative actually began immediately following College graduation! I started my first full-time business at age 21, designing Wedding Stationery at Andra Delores Design. It has been 3 years since I’ve been a full-time Creative, and while it can be hard at times, it is by far the most fulfilling challenge! Kelly and I created our business ‘officially’ in October, so now I create at With Grace and Gold and Andra Delores Design

What is your day-to-day work routine like?

Kelly: I wake up around 8 AM for a quick workout, then “meet” Andra on Google Hangout for a Strategy Call at 9 AM. We live across the Wisconsin-Minnesota border from one another, so meeting online is quickest and easiest for us. During our Strategy Call, we discuss our plan for the day – our priorities, our projects, and everything we need to accomplish. We work hard all day long and try to wrap up at 5 PM every day, but when you love what you do as much as we do – it can be tough to put work away!

Andra: I usually wake up around 6:30, which to my family, probably sounds crazy; I’ve never been a morning person! With running two small businesses, I do all of my Wedding Stationery work in the morning, so that Kelly and I can focus full-time on With Grace and Gold during our normal work hours! While each day looks a little different, we usually spend our morning catching up on emails and smaller tasks, and leave the afternoons for client work. I leave my evenings open for my husband, family, friends, and let’s be real – Netflix! In my 3 years as a full-time creative, I’ve learned that burn-out is a very real thing, and spending quality time with others refreshes me!

Well Dressed Creative 2-2Best part about being a business owner?

Kelly: For me, the best part about being a business owner is having the freedom to be – unapologetically – exactly who I am. During my career, I was often made fun of for my petiteness and my high-pitched voice. After losing my confidence and reaching rock bottom, being a business owner has helped me to bounce back in such a refreshing way. It has given me an opportunity to share who I am – to share my gifts and talents, and to encourage other women to do the same. For me, there is nothing better than being able to lift people up – to share your story and say, “I overcame this obstacle, and I know you will too!” (Another amazing bonus? Being able to wear red lipstick, top knots, and maxi dresses – just because!)

Andra: Freedom! I love that my day and life looks exactly how I want it to look! While being a business owner can be tough at times, and feel like the opposite of freeing, I know that ultimately, I have the choice to do what I do! This is truly what I was made to do, and it feels amazing knowing that I am doing what I was made for! Using your talents and gifts to help and grow other women in business is truly the most ultimate feeling!

What is some advice you wish you would have had before you got started?

Kelly: Honestly, I’m not sure if there is any advice I wish I would have received before I got started. In the end, I believe everything has worked out so perfectly! Andra has been an inspiration to me throughout my journey as a business owner and is always saying, “You’re doing it! You’re a business owner!” She has not only been a best friend – but an amazing encourager along the way. I’m learning so much from her experience in business, and we’re learning so much as a partnership, too!

Andra: Reach out to others! Working with your BFF Is amazing, and it helps me realize that we are truly there as inspiration, encouragement, and plain-ol’ help for each other! While we are a partnership, Solopreneurs can benefit from reaching out to others as well! When I first started as a business owner, I was nervous to ask for help and as a result, I felt overwhelmed. As I connected with more women in business, I realized that we are all in this together. Reach out, make connections, and don’t be afraid to ask questions and ask for help!

Well Dressed Creative 2-3What is the key to making a fool proof, creative, yet professional outfit?

Kelly: For me, the recipe for a creative, yet professional, outfit is: a basic and professional piece, a piece with personality, and a great accessory. Because I spent several years wearing business casual, I am savoring the balance of “creative” and “professional” I am able to have today!

Andra: I’m all about wearing the basics, and pulling it together with a killer pair of shoes, and some cute accessories! Being in a basic pair of skinny jeans and basic top or blouse allows me to feel comfortable – which is key – but when I’m going out to meet a Client or grab coffee with a friend, I know that I can put on a high heel, some gold accessories, and pink lipstick – voila! My basic outfit is instantly professional and chic. Plus, I believe there is power in a good pair of high heels… or it might have something to do with me marrying a very tall man!

Any tips for having a well-balanced closet?

Kelly: For a well-balanced closet, I recommend great basics (a grey or black blazer, dark denim, basic or modestly patterned tops) and pieces that reflect your personality and help you to feel confident and stylish. I also have an obsession with rompers and maxi dresses, because they’re “all-in-one” outfits; I can’t help but feel put-together!

Andra: Lots of neutrals, and lots of accessories! Lately, I’ve loved having the ability to add color where I want it in my wardrobe! While I do wear a bright piece every once in awhile, I love having a neutral palette of clothes – black, grey, nude, light pink, white – that I can work off of to create interesting outfits! Plus, accessories are an easy way to make anything ‘you!’

To see more from With Grace and Gold, visit their Instagram account or Facebook page

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Lauren Kirkbride Photographylauren

WDC | THE GALS OF LILEE

groupMeet the creative geniuses behind your favorite new way to treat yourself, Lilee! Felicity, Kelsey, and Natalia are the wizards behind the curtain of this insane new subscription box service to come out of Austin, Texas. With perfectly curated taste, great business savvy, and “do what you love, love what you do” attitude, these women are the epitome of a Well Dressed Creative. Learn about their brand, their idea of perfect style, and what it means to be a Creative below!
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Full name: Felicity Rose Fromholz

Age: 35

Location: Austin, Texas

Current title/company: Director of Brand Management for Lilee and Beauty Box

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How long have you been a full-time Creative?

I think I have been a full-time Creative all my life, but people have been paying me for it since 2005. I am a makeup artist by trade and have actively been working in the cosmetic field for the past 10 years. I love the creative possibilities of makeup. I also ran my own beauty-centric social media management business in graduate school, which I started just about the time I started working with Beauty Box 5 – Lilee’s sister company.

What is your day-to-day work routine like?

I am a single mom, so I start my day off at 6:00 AM in order to get my son to school by 7:30 AM. Then I am off to work by 8-ish and I typically stop by my favorite coffee shop on the way. I am usually the first one in the office and I really enjoy that hour to myself before all the hustle & bustle starts. Despite what most people think when they meet me, I am an introvert at my core and need that quiet time to recharge my batteries.

I like to change things up during the day, so I typically have lunch out of the office. Sometimes it’s with friends or for business, other times I sit at the bar and zone out on whatever project I am working on. I am usually out of the office by 4pm or 5pm to get the kiddo.

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Best part about being a business owner?

For me, the best part about being a business owner is being able to work by my own rules. As a creative, I haven’t always fit into the corporate mold. Working for myself means I get to call the shots and work with the people I want to work with. It means I have the freedom to go to my son’s performance at school or pick up a friend from the airport in the middle of the day.

What is some advice you wish you would have had before you got started?

I wish someone would have told me to be more conscious of my work-life balance. I love what I do, so I tend to take work home which means it sometimes takes me away from my family.

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What is the key to making a fool-proof, creative, yet professional outfit?

I think the key to making a fool-proof, creative, yet professional outfit is to pay attention to the trends but spend your money on the classics. And to know the styles that flatter your figure!

Any tips for having a well-balanced closet?

Shop everywhere! I have pieces in my closet from Nordstrom and Asos, packed in with pieces from TJ MAXX and my favorite, local thrift or vintage shops.


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Full name: Kelsey Rebecca Manning

Age: 24

Location: Austin, Texas

Current title/company: Communications Director, Lilee & Beauty Box 5unnamed-1

How long have you been a full-time Creative?

I’ve just been a full-time creative since July of last year! It’s a crazy, exciting statement to be able to make at such a young age.

What is your day-to-day work routine like?

It depends on the day! I am very ritualistic about waking up around 7:30 and putting on a good playlist (lately it’s been lots of Hozier, Meghan Trainor and Butch Walker!), drinking strong-brewed coffee at my vanity while I get ready and checking Twitter for anything exciting or adorable that’s happened overnight. I get into work around 9:30 or so and start on a second cup of coffee, diving into branding, content, emails and copywriting for our website, emails, and social. Our entire team is super collaborative, so we often work on our laptops all on the same table, and are firm believers in chips and queso to boost creativity at all our meetings. I try to take a break around 4 or so to plan out social media posts for the next day, and if I’m really in need of a creativity boost, Natalia and I will leave the office early, grab our trusty notebooks and head to a cafe or bar to brainstorm with some beverages. We are strong believers in “beer is for brainstorming, coffee is for creating.”

unnamedBest part about being a business owner?

The best part about being a business owner is that you’re a walking-talking business card and billboard for your own brand! You talk about your job without even realizing it because it’s so much a part of your day-to-day and what you’re constantly building.

What is some advice you wish you would have had before you got started?

You can only be as good as your taste! Working a job that lets me write and brand full-time is my dream job (and so inspiring!), but it also drives me to want to elevate my own bookshelf by finding and following other talented writers and brands all the more to help drive my passion. Additionally, working around beautiful items inside our monthly boxes means that my taste in outfits, jewelry, makeup and pretty things have all gotten even better made since I research brands and trends – not that I’m complaining, though!

10480552_758137724268423_3704904606109257564_oWhat is the key to making a fool-proof, creative, yet professional outfit?

Wear an accessory with a story!I always have on a piece (or five!) of sentimental jewelry that was handed down from my sweet grandmother, a hat that I got from a tucked-away vintage shop, or a pair of unique boots that I snagged on a girls’ trip. I love balancing designer brands with everyday finds, but always adding something that’s unique to my closet alone. Since I work around words and copywriting all day, I love that someone can get to know my story through an accessory before they ever say hi.

Any tips for having a well-balanced closet?

Imagine that you could run into Ryan Gosling at any moment of your life. Only keep the outfits that fit well and make you feel confident enough to talk to him in and toss the rest.


 

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Full name: Natalia Isabelle Bernard

Age: Just turned 25!

Location: Austin, Texas

Current title/company: Creative Director for Lilee and Beauty Box 5.1973932_763162967099232_7788667628345674964_o

How long have you been a full-time Creative?

A little over 4 years, 5 startups, and 2,856 cups of coffee later!

What is your day-to-day work routine like?

My day begins the moment I open up my Macbook, plug-in to the dual monitor set-up and take out a pen and sketchbook to make a list of the day’s tasks. Everything after this point is far from routine. Each day brings fresh ideas, new concepts, and a diverse range of projects. Depending on the day you’ll usually find me in our creative room, headphones in, working away on a design or completely off the grid, sketchbook in hand and set of sharpie pens, sketching away!

What is some advice you wish you would have had before you got started?

Either find a way to make it fun or find a way to get it off your plate. The startup environment comes with a multitude of tasks, projects, and deadlines. It takes prioritization and really knowing how to divide your time to get everything accomplished! Sometimes you just can’t do it all. And other times you’re given a task that may not be in your job title, but someone’s got to do it and that’s you. Always find a way to make it fun! I usually opt for that.

10904475_766406170108245_2425520617722182081_oWhat is the key to making a fool-proof, creative, yet professional outfit?

A pair of stylish high heels. I tend to keep my wardrobe minimal, but love to play up an outfit with a pair of pumps or high heels. Nothing makes me feel more confident and that I can take on anything!

Any tips for having a well-balanced closet?

It’s simple. If you haven’t worn it in a year then get rid of it.

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