On Health, Wellness, and Personal Connection : An Interview with Kim

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Did you know you can highlight any sentence in this post to automatically tweet it? Give it a try!

As you know, if you follow me on Twitter or Instagram (or if you've noticed the quiet here the past few weeks), I've been partaking in Rach's amazing course, Bright-Eyed and Blog-Hearted. It's been an absolute game-changer,  and I met Kim Williams, who I have the pleasure of interviewing this month! She is such a sweetheart, and getting to know her has been wonderful.

Hey Kim, would you mind introducing yourself and what you do? I’m Kim Williams, I been married to my wonderful husband Simon for 11 years, we have 3 kids (Tyler 11, Kayley 8 and Zac 4). We live on a beautiful property and farm in South Gippsland, Victoria. I am passionate about health, wellness and healthy cooking. I am an avid reader and am obsessed with cookbooks and cooking magazines. My website for Wellness Coaching, Health & Wellness articles and recipes are at www.healthyzest.com.au

How did you first get involved with health and wellness? After having my kids, I was always tired and carrying a bit of extra weight. I started exercising and calorie counting and dieting, and even though I lost the weight I wanted I still felt exhausted and depleted all the time. I started researching foods and how they affect the body and changed my eating into more of a “clean eating” mentality. I started to feel so much better and even cured my chronic migraines. This started a passion for whole foods and a more balanced view of eating and healthy lifestyle.

Has running Healthy Zest changed or impacted your life in any way, big or small? I have only been running HZ since the start of the year, but in a BIG way YES it has. I spend a lot of my time researching, studying, writing and working on my business. The biggest impact on myself personally is that when I see my clients or readers making positive changes it motivates me to keep educating women and is so positively rewarding and truly makes me gushy on the inside. I LOVE what I do and I enjoy it so much it doesn’t even feel like work sometimes.

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You offer one-on-one wellness coaching — can you tell me a bit about how that came to exist and one of the most unexpected things that has happened because of it? I was studying Personal Training but something wasn’t quite connecting to me about how I wanted to help people, so I started researching coaching and came across Wellness Coaching. Wellness coaching is so much more than what you eat, how to exercise, it is really about how you feel and how you want your whole life to be. I connected to this part personally as I know how you feel about yourself is the most important part because if you don’t feel good you are not going to look after yourself. Every session is unexpected for the client, and me because we uncover some deep realizations about the way they see themselves and the way they act.

What does your recipe creation process for things you post on Healthy Zest look like? I have a diary full of ideas, flavor combinations and things I would like to try. I get a lot of my recipes ideas at nighttime and then I pretty much just “wing” it. This has ended in some pretty big disasters though!! (Hello upside down banana cake that ended up on the bottom of the oven) I LOVE food so anytime I try something new I think, “How can I make this healthy?”

How does being a mom impact your approach to health and wellness? For me it’s really important to be a role model for my kids and my family. After losing my own dad (at age 48) I want to make sure I am around to see my kids grow up, that I am also healthy, happy and energetic for them. As a busy mum I don’t have a lot of extra time to spend exercising for hours at a time, or hours at night in the kitchen. So I do what I can and most of my meals are fast, healthy but still yummy.

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Who are some of your heroes? Life inspirations, style mavens, people who make your soul shake. Well Jamie Oliver is my total foodie crush ;) I LOVE his passion for getting people excited about healthy non-complicated food and learning to cook again. Which is why I was so insanely beside myself when I was announced as a Jamie Oliver Food Revolution Ambassador.

My style mavens would have to be Kate Middleton and Olivia Palermo, their style can be summed up into CLASSIC elegance. They always look so chic and I would totally steal both their wardrobes if I could. 

Also everyday women who find their passion and work their bums off inspire me. I think its easy to look at celebrities and say wow they are inspiring but the reality is we have women in our lives that have overcome adversity and succeeded in their careers, personal lives and family lives. Lets celebrate those women!!

You can only read one book, watch one movie, one television show, and listen to one album for a year. What do you choose and why? Oh GOD this one is tough, one book would be Harry Potter (yep im a total HP nerd) My all time fave movie is Dead Poet's Society, I was lucky enough to watch this movie in high school and it moves me every time I watch it. Robin Williams is absolutely amazing in it!! My one album would be Matchbox Twenty's Yourself or Someone Like You. Whenever I am down or on a long car trip this is my sing along go to!!

[Tweet "If you don't feel good you are not going to look after yourself -- @HealthyZest"]

To connect with Kim, be sure to check out her site + find her on Twitter, Instagram, & Facebook!

On Making Monster Zines, Dinosaur Jewelry, & Blogging : An Interview With Rebecca

canoes-24_zps28919d62Did you know you can highlight any sentence in this post to automatically tweet it? Give it a try!

I first found Rebecca's blog while I was in high school and was incredibly inspired by her when I began my first forays into the blogosphere around that time. I've always loved her creative style and how each outfit seems so wonderfully crafted to capture a particular mood or emotion. This month I had the pleasure of interviewing her!

Hi Rebecca, would you mind introducing yourself and what you do? Well, I’m Rebecca or The Clothes Horse as I usually go by online! I started blogging way back in college, so it was more comfortable to have a pseudonym than use my own name—I feel like when I was younger everyone said not to go online because you might meet creepy people and now everyone says go online it’s the future career! I run a fashion blog and do a little bit of freelance work and make dinosaur accessories.

You’ve had The Clothes Horse for years now. How would you say your blogging style + fashion style has evolved since you began? When I started I was in college and I was just figuring things out—both blogging and style wise. I didn’t intend to be a personal style blogger, but it became really addictive to photograph my outfits and use the photographs as a way to assess my style and figure out what I liked. I don’t think my core style has changed much, just that I’ve gotten more polish and developed my “look.” I was wearing flower crowns in my first year of blogging (back in 2007!) but now I feel more confident in them and they look more natural on me.

Something that I really admire about your blog is the way you’re able to seamlessly integrate sponsored content into the posts — it never feels like something you have to say, but that it’s something you want to say. Has it taken time to get to a point where you know how to share a sponsored item in a way that fits with your voice? It can definitely be a weird balance and even if you feel authentic in it other people mind find it unnatural. I mean I’ve written about things before that weren’t sponsored, but because I was talking about a specific product people thought I was getting paid! But I’ve been doing it for a few years now and it’s partly about being very upfront with the brands you work with and also balance. For example all of the clothes I wear I choose myself—even if someone sends me something I chose it from their website and I send things back all the time too! If it doesn’t fit or I ended up not liking it in person, I mail it back to the store/brand. I also try to balance the sponsored content with non sponsored content, I don’t want a whole “c/o” outfit or several in a week and I try to post twice a day, so there are plenty of other things that I just found on my own and think are inspiring going up all the time.

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Can you tell me a little bit about how Monsters Zine came to be and what the process of creating it was like? Oh man, Monsters Zine that was such a love project. I’ve been talking about doing a zine since I was in high school but I always felt overwhelmed with how much work it would be on my own and deciding what subject to focus on. Last summer my friend Jon was fired up to do a zine too and we both loved the concept of monsters (we’re big scifi nerds) so we did it together. It was great. We just drew and wrote flat-out for a couple of months then found a local place to print it and loved our finished zine. We definitely want to do another. I have a list a mile long about monster concepts to make into more zines—Childhood Monsters, Monsters in the X Files, Homegrown American Monsters, Monsters from the Future, etc!

I love that you make jewelry out of dinosaurs! How did you get started in that? At Christmas I started hand painting dinosaurs as stocking stuffers and present toppers. I made dozens and each one with a different tiny design, people really loved them so I decided to try to figure out if I could make them into necklaces and such. It’s still a learning process, but it’s something I want to stick with. As much as I love blogging and photography I feel like I need to make things with my hands—it’s very rewarding in a different way.

Has your style ever been influenced by poetry or literature you’ve read and / or movies you’ve seen? How so? Old movies inspire me constantly. I mean like Audrey Hepburn’s character in Charade or How To Steal A Million are just the dream for me. When I was younger I always wanted to dress like characters in those movies, I wasn’t reading fashion magazines so it was movies I aspired to look like, but it wasn’t until I was in college that I started to realize I COULD dress like those characters. I always felt like fashion was for really rich people or people with different lifestyles (I was a cashier at a thrift store before college and worked at a convenience store while I was in college) and then I just sort of realized that you don’t have to be an editor or a wealthy widow trying to survive intrigue and find a missing fortune (ala Charade) to look chic and wear dresses every day. Books and poetry inspire me too, but in a different way—it’s more emotional. I read a sad book and I feel a bit gloomy and want to wear darker colors or I read about dragons and want to go on adventures and wear gladiator sandals and the like!

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[Tweet "You don’t have to be an editor or a wealthy widow to look chic @aclotheshorse"]

Who are some of your heroes? Life inspirations, style mavens, people who make your soul shake. Soul shaking? I’m actually not too sure. I feel very moved by characters in books or movies and usually a less attached to real people. There’s always so much unknown with real people. I do admire Emily Dickinson, Maya Angelou, and others like them. And sometimes I get quite caught up in thoughts about all the unsung women, like Virginia Woolf's quote, “for most of history anonymous has been a woman.” All the women in science who are left out of the books when talking about their discoveries or inventions. Like Cecilia Helena Payne-Gaposchkin who proposed in 1925 that stars are mostly composed of hydrogen and helium. I took Astronomy in high school and learned all about what composed the universe and I never heard her name until I was out of college. Women like that who are forgotten now but were passionate about their work are endlessly inspiring to me. Even if they’re forgotten they were brilliant in their lifetimes and it’s a good reminder to just be passionate and work hard.

You can only read one book, watch one movie, one television show, and listen to one album for a year. What do you choose and why?

One book: I honestly can’t pick, I love too many books to choose a favorite and my favorite books I’ve read so many times already I probably need a break.

One movie: Charade; it’s Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn, beautiful clothes, comedy, and intrigue, everything I want in a movie.

Tv show: The X-Files; it is my favorite television show and there are so many seasons you could watch it forever with hardly a repeat.

One album: Mumford & Sons, Sigh No More; just a perfect emotional tidal wave of an album.

Last but not least — what would you tell a younger version of yourself who is just starting on this journey of blogging? Just do it; just get to working and taking pictures and writing about what you love. Don’t worry too much about your quality not being the best or not having as many followers as others—comparisons are odious and you’ll learn best by doing so just get in there and get your hands dirty and work at what you love.

You can connect with Rebecca on her blog, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr.

I interview inspiring + amazing people every month! Want to read more? Check out the interview tag.

All photographs are from The Clothes Horse

On Attending a 1200 Person Dinner, Podcasting, & Charging What You're Worth : an Interview With Kyla

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I am so excited to share this interview with y'all! Kyla is an amazing blogger, podcaster, e-course leader, and owner of a boutique web design studio. I've been reading her blog for almost a year now, and absolutely love her style, her voice, and how she looks at the world. It was a real treat to get to interview her this month!

Hello Kyla! Would you mind introducing yourself and what you do? My business card says that I'm "a creative type", but to be more specific, I own a boutique web design studio, Freckled Nest Design, with my best friend Leigh-Ann Keffer. I've been blogging for 16 years (since 2008 at my current site), I teach online courses, mentor and collaborate with bloggers and business owners. Most of what I work on is focused in some way on helping other creative people share their work, or better serve their audiences.

You recently attended a dinner for 1200 people (& made a table runner for it!) What was that experience like?It was pretty incredible! It was dinner at one long table for 1200 people, everyone dressed all in white, and there was a design competition for the table decoration. The idea was to start conversations about architecture and design, and it was energizing and inspiring to be around so many passionate people who care about how our city grows, and in building community.

I live in Winnipeg, Manitoba, which is a Canadian city that's neither Toronto or Vancouver and so many people who live here are creative and proud of where we're from. It felt like a party to celebrate the prairie attitude that we can make anything we want happen, and we're going to have fun while doing it.

I love listening to your podcast and wanted to find out how it came to exist — what was that journey and how has having a podcast impacted your life?I'm glad you like it! I love having big conversations with friends, and the podcast seemed like a fun way to have that kind of connection with people who read my site and are curious some of the same things as I am. I talk about life hacks, ways I'm experimenting with making my life feel better, how to get lots done in a focused way so you can have more fun in your free time.

I started an online course last year called Create Freedom In Your Online Work that was delivered by private audio. I fell in love with the process, and didn't want to give it up! I'm not podcasting as much as I want to be, but I'm going to move toward more blogging and podcasting this fall. But so far it's really taught me to get out of my own way and start doing things! Planning can be a form of procrastination if you're not careful, and I created the first podcast just a few days after I came up with the idea. Running with that momentum was a lot of fun!

What does a typical day look like for you?

I'm generalizing, but this is usually what my days look like:

7:00 am   - Wake up, grab coffee & walk the dogs

8:00 am   - Clean up, get breakfast

               - Watch some silly reality TV while pinning to Pinterest

               - Decide what 3 things I want to accomplish today, based on what will make it easier to hit my goals later on

               - Process my email into To Do items & schedule them into my calendar (I use OmniFocus for this)

10:00 am - Work on the most important thing for that day, usually a client's web design

1:00 pm   - Grab lunch & take a break

3:00 pm   - Put on my business owner hat and work on training, contracts, administration, accounting & scheduling

               - Quiet my dogs down when my husband gets home from work, as they lose their sweet puppy minds

               - Have more coffee, or I'll crash and take a nap (Just being real! lol)

6:30 pm   - Start saying to my husband, "I'm going to be done in 5 minutes!" while he makes dinner for us

7:00 pm   - Actually finish work for the day

I've tried to draw a very strong line for myself so I don't work in the evenings or on the weekends. I'm not perfect at this, and I have productive days that make me feel like everything is possible, and others where everything feels like it's uphill. But I try not to judge any day as the be all and end all.

Balancing our work and lives is about building the muscles that bring you back to centre, not executing everything perfectly every time. And thank goodness for that, it's a lot more interesting and attainable.

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You’ve created two e-courses and I was wondering if they came to be because of problems you were constantly solving while working with clients or if they were inspired by something else?Absolutely! The idea for Planner Camp came from designing my own day planners every year and having so many people comment on those blog posts asking for tips and guidance, or for me to sell them. Selling day planners isn't something I felt was a natural next step for me, but I started imagining a way I could help other people make a day planner that fit their life, instead of using my system.

My other course, Create Freedom In Your Online Work, came from years of trying to run my blog, etsy shop, and having a personal life and feeling like I was always running from one place to another. I was wishing for a place where people who have a passion project or a small business could talk about ways to make that feel good and be more sustainable. I was working with a life coach at the time, and she challenged me to just make it and to create the course content live during the course. It was scary and exhilarating and I can't wait for the next session!

What are three things you would tell someone who is just starting out working for themselves? Or, what would you tell yourself when you started working for yourself?I would encourage people who are starting out, with all my heart, to stop charging less than what they can live on happily. I charged next to nothing for years, and it made scaling up the business into something sustainable that I enjoyed incredibly difficult. I wasted a lot of time "earning my dues", only to realize that no one cares about dues. People care about what you create for them, and how you make them feel.

I'd also recommend working with a business coach or a mentor who's more experienced in online business than you are as soon as you can afford it. Those conversations can pull you forward in exponentially beneficial ways that will earn you more money, much faster than re-inventing the wheel on your own. And they remind you that you're not alone, which is incredibly helpful.

In your about page you mention being a recovering over achiever. What exactly does that mean and how has it impacted how you live your life and how you run your business?I don't think of myself as a perfectionist, but I have a huge desire to make things better in anything I'm doing. I'm always thinking about how I could make things run more smoothly or how I could make things more fun for everyone involved in a project. I call it "fiddling with the dials", and that means that I'm constantly making suggestions.

That being said, being in a business partnership has taught me a lot about compromise and honouring other people's approaches. I love trying new systems and exploring, but I know that having new processes for the same things can really throw Leigh-Ann when I get carried away. I know that tendency in me is both amusing and tiresome to her, so I've learned to pick and choose when I feel strongly about how we can make things better.

Collaborating with Leigh-Ann has made me a much more considerate person, and a stronger communicator than I was before I met her. Watching how skilled she is as a designer has made me want to be better at my job, and she's helped me see that when I get tunnel vision or become too serious and intense about what I'm working on it can become a disadvantage.

Without realizing it, we've worn off the sharp edges of our personalties on the other person. Having a business partner is a lot like being in a marriage, only the other person isn't starry eyed and in love with you, so they'll push you much harder and really call you on your stuff! But they'll also cheer for you with everything they've got, because they're invested in your success and understand the details of your work in a way that's hard to match. It's been transformative, and so much fun!

Who are some of your heroes? Life inspirations, style mavens, people who make your soul shake.My parents, because they're so open and supportive, and have shown me that it's okay to change careers and take risks.

Moorea Seal is a constant reminder to me that being yourself, and looking for opportunities can completely transform your life.

Diana from Our City Lights and Ashlee Gadd are both young, deeply soulful women of character who I aspire to be like - on my better days.

You can only read one book, watch one movie, one television show, and listen to one album for a year. What do you choose and why?Goodness, I take my pop culture seriously so this is very high stakes...

Book: Nicholas and Alexandra by Robert Massie. It's about the last Tsar of Russia, and that time fascinates me beyond end. It's a very interesting story about power, naïveté, and a completely different world that wasn't so long ago.

Movie: The Royal Tenenbaums. It's tender, quirky and entertaining and has been my favourite for years.

TV Show: Law & Order, because I love mysteries and there's a lot of it!

Album: This is so hard, because you'd almost certainly hate the album after! I can't choose!

You can find Kyla at her

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On Baking Your Way to Design Success: an Interview With Melissa

Image from designeatrepeat.com
Image from designeatrepeat.com

Image from designeatrepeat.com

It feels so good to be back, babes! I've been having some technical difficulties with Wordpress this week, thus the radio silence, but I have FINALLY got it to cooperate again. Thank goodness! Unfortunately that means this month's interview is a day late getting to y'all, but I'm so excited to share it regardless. Today I'm sharing an interview I did with Melissa, which wouldn't have happened unless I baked a batch of her sugar cookies over winter break and decided I needed to get to know the girl behind the recipe that had my whole family singing praises. So, without further ado...

Would you mind introducing yourself and what you do? Hi there! I'm Melissa & I'm a freelance Graphic Designer & Blogger over at Design Eat Repeat. I recently made the leap to take my business full-time, and now spend my days designing blogs/websites, branding, stationery, and more! I get to work with other creative business owners & bloggers every day & I absolutely love it.

How did you first get into cooking and baking? Were they lifelong passions or ones you stumbled upon? I've been a baker ever since I was really little. I come from a big family, so anytime I wanted to step in and make dinner/treats for the family, my parents had no objections! I made tons of messes and always made a deal with the family that if I cooked, then had to do the dishes.

Do you think blogging about your adventures with cooking and baking have changed how you approach a recipe? How so? Yes, definitely! Growing up, I didn't really experiment much with recipes, mainly because I didn't want to waste ingredients if they ended up not working. I would use recipes I found in family cookbooks and usually decorated them with my little decorating kit. Now days, I better understand how different ingredients interact with each other, so I take a little more freedom in developing new recipes. Before posting a recipe, I always make sure it's something I love & something I think my family would love. My siblings are pretty honest critics of anything I bake, so I just try to imagine what they would say about it before posting!

As a graphic designer by trade, do you see any influences in your cooking from your design work? And conversely, are there any influences from baking that come into your designs? I'm a big lover of clean, simple design and I think I carry over an element of that in my baking. Mainly with how I decorate goodies, but I tend to lean more toward simple treats, rather than something with a lot of extra "fluff."

Image from designeatrepeat.com
Image from designeatrepeat.com

You also offer printables on your site. Was that always a goal or something that just happened? I started my blog back in 2011 the summer after my sophomore year of college, simply as a little summer hobby & an excuse to craft. I had zero idea of what I was going to blog about & really had no idea what kind of "niche" I wanted to take the blog. As I went through design school & experimented with a bunch of different design projects, I decided that I might as well share some of these designs as printables on the blog. A lot of my readers & clients find me through a printable they saw on Pinterest & Craftgawker & I always love seeing reader photos of something they printed off my site.

On your blog you document series of food-related challenges, as I think of them. 30 days of cookies, smoothie week, etc. How do you come up with the ideas and the recipes, and how do you stay motivated to keep up with them all the way through the end? Whew, 30 days of cookies was a real challenge! I did that challenge mainly because I had been pretty sporadic at blogging throughout the summer & needed an excuse to bake & get some new content on the site! I honestly didn't know HOW I was going to complete 30 days of cookies, but I made a point to bake/photography 4-5 recipes each weekend, so that I didn't have to do much baking throughout the week (I was working a full-time design job at the time, so my weeks were pretty full). I usually just do these type of challenges when I have a bunch of different recipes within the same category in mind. I figure that I might as well group them all together!

Who are some of your heroes? Life inspirations, style mavens, people who make your soul shake. Professionally, I am always inspired by Courtney over at Pizzazzerie. She's a styling genius & I just love everything she does. Melissa over at Best Friends for Frosting is also conquering the party & entertaining world, and everything she touches is just gorgeous!

You can only read one book, watch one movie, one television show, and listen to one album for a year. What do you choose and why? Eeeek, okay moment of truth. I am the WORST book reader, movie watcher, and pop culture follower on the face of the earth. Whenever I do sit down and watch tv, it's usually some kind of reality tv (yeah, embarrassing). But when it comes to music, I love country music, as well as a little bit of pop.

This is a space for you to leave any last remarks that you would like to share! Or, if you would like another question, here’s the last one: Has running Design Eat Repeat changed your life in ways you thought it would, or have you been surprised by the ride? Starting my blog has absolutely changed my whole career path. Like I mentioned before, I started it on whim after a friend told me that I should start one. I literally did not think I would stick with it for more than a few weeks. I had no idea what blogging really meant, and I had zero intention to ever turn it into something more than a little summer hobby. It has completely taken me by surprise, but it was one of the best spur-of-the-moment decisions I made. My blog has allowed me to connect with other creatives all around the world and grow my client base for my business. It has also given me a creative outlet where I can share free printables & family recipes, in hopes that they make someone's day/party/get together a little brighter! I recently left my 9-5 job to pursue my graphic & blog design business and there is no way any of that would have been possible if I had not started my blog.

You can find more of Melissa on her blog, Facebook page, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter.

Lessons on Magic, Tea, Music, and Intuition with Paige

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Hello Paige! Would you mind introducing yourself and what you do?Hi there, sweet chicken! I’m Paige Zaferiou and I’m a tarot reader, magical practitioner, and tea maven. As a reader and practitioner, I specialize in helping people remember where they put their power - specifically, their ability to trust themselves and take action. Sometimes, that looks like slingin’ cards over Skype. Other times it looks like a snail mail care package full of magical tea and goodies for you to play with. Ultimately, all of my work is about helping people remember that they are capable of accomplishing fulfilling lives.

One of the first things that first drew me to you was your daily tarot and energy advice posts on Instagram. Can you tell me about that? How you got the idea, the process for reading the cards, and how it has impacted your daily life (if at all). My daily tarot posts on Instagram came about as a direct result of my tarot studies. The process was a beautiful example of the way trial and error works.

When I first began studying tarot, I pulled cards every day and journaled extensively in my effort to get to know my deck, its ins and outs, its commonalities, its relationships. I filled an entire notebook with observations, and in the process of doing so I experimented with different ways to record which cards I had pulled and what I saw - I used symbols, shorthand, and diagrams. I dissected each card and I wrote stream-of-consciousness about the messages I saw. I kept it up every day and, in the process, discovered what journaling methods worked for me and what didn’t.

Eventually, in my search for magical babes to connect with, I began following other tarot enthusiasts on Instagram. Many of them posted daily card draws, and one format in particular, the two-card “Energy and Advice” spread, caught my eye. I began to pull daily energy and advice cards.

AND THEN one fateful day, instead of writing in my journal, I began to write my interpretation of the cards directly into Instagram. To my surprise, the words began to flow out of me with astonishing ease! It felt so right, so good. I was grooving with it, baby!

And thus was DTEA (daily tarot energy and advice) born.

Doing this daily draw has been wonderful for my magical practice. I get a lot of questions from people with a budding interest in tarot and/or magic, and that is always my first piece of advice: get a deck of cards and play with it every day. It exercises your intuition so deliciously!

Also, it’s important to note that your practice may not look like my practice. I found my groove through experimentation, and I encourage others to do the same. For example, my DTEA is a daily routine that is NOT time specific. I always pull the cards spontaneously, when the time feels right. That’s what works for me, and I dig it, baby! But you might like to pull cards at the same time each morning, or right before bed. That’s groovy, too!

You talk a lot about tea, and even make and sell your own. As a fellow tea lover, I understand the magic of tea, but I was curious about what makes it magical to you? I feel like everyone’s love for tea and the magic it brings into their lives is a very personal experience, you know? Like my dad’s love and how tea serves him in his daily life is different than how tea serves my own and different than how it serves yours.My relationship with tea began as one of herbs and healing. The winter I was eleven, we had visitors from England and all of us got the flu. Being British, they promptly brewed up some chamomile - and I was smitten. Not long after, I discovered the tea plant itself and oh, what a love match made in heaven!

For me, the magic of tea is very literal. It combines all of the elements - the leaves grew from the earth, fire heats the water, and the steam carries its heavenly aroma which activates the powers of air. The compounds within tea make it a powerful ally when it comes to magic. My practice is solitary and animistic, meaning that for me, the spirit of the tea plant and other herbs you brew are very much alive. Tea is a very powerful ally and friend.

Did you know tea is actually psychoactive? It can cross the blood-brain barrier and alter consciousness! That's part of what makes tea so magical to me. Tea is one of the keys to unlocking reality. Each tiny sip opens the door that much wider until, before you know it, you've slipped into another world altogether.

The new world looks a lot like the old one, but we experience it differently. Our bodies hum and thrum in response to the gentle stimulus of caffeine. We relax. Our minds expand and clear. It is a merrier world, the world of tea, innately cheerful and buoyant. You can't help but feel better with your hands curled around a steaming cuppa.

Unfortunately, many people believe that magic is something far away and unattainable. My mission in life is teach people that magic is everywhere, right under your nose all the time, and you don’t need fancy tools or a ceremonial initiation to practice magic in your home.

Tea is one of those valuable everyday household magics. It is so apparently ordinary, like water or salt, that we forget how much power is contained within. It is magic in plain sight. I use tea in practically all of my magical workings, from meditation to spellwork to ritual bathing. I've even developed my own system of tea magic based on the Western elemental system of earth, air, fire, water, and spirit. Tea is my constant companion, trusted ally, and stalwart friend.

In your post on space you talk about how you make your own worksheets. Is that something you’ve always done or is it a fairly new part of your life?Drawing, writing, and painting have most definitely always been part of my life. I majored in fine art (watercolor painting and book binding), and will always consider myself to be an artist first and foremost.

I’ve also always had a strange love for filling out forms! There’s something about the layout of the questions, the blank spaces, and the satisfaction of filling that space with my own essence - it feels like a ritualistic act of self-consideration, an act of understanding. I just love it!

That said, it’s only in the last year that I really began creating worksheets for myself and sharing them with others. When I began reading tarot, I kept a journal and experimented with how to record the reading in writing. Eventually, my journal pages began to resemble worksheet pages. When I decided to start teaching workshops, it only seemed natural to create worksheets for my students.

Music plays a large part on your blog, I’ve noticed. How has it impacted your life outside of blogging?Music is life. I cannot imagine living without it.

Songs are like spells; they weave a reality in which I can lose myself, joyfully and freely, and when I come out of the song the world is changed.

Music is also an aid to moving meditation - I listen to music when I wash the dishes, do laundry, daydream on the bus, and go for walks. When I’m working at my desk, I take regular music breaks. I get up and dance around to sweet tunes or I’ll sing folk songs with my ukulele. It keeps my brain from getting stuck and my body from getting cramped!

Paige, how did you get into tarot and magic? And when did you know it was the right path to follow those passions into a business?WHAT a good question! Tarot is relatively a very recent outlet for my interest in magic, albeit the one which came most naturally to me.

The winter I was eleven - the selfsame winter in which I drank my first cup of tea -  I simultaneously fell headlong in love with magic and a girl whose mother was a witch.

It so happened that the following January contained a blue moon. I’ll never know what possessed me to do this, but I decided that I should have a blue moon party. I invited the witch-daughter and three other girls over to my house, where we scoffed blue-frosted round scones, baked clay crescent moon earrings, and gathered around my mother’s coffee table to cast a circle. The witch-daughter led us, lighting candles and invoking the four directions. We held hands and went around the circle, taking turns saying nice things about each other. Afterward my mother drove us to an abandoned tower in the woods, which we climbed to stand, howling and laughing, beneath the moon. I will never forget that night: the cold, the snow, the bare branches and the thrill of making magic with my peers beneath the fat yellow moon.

I’ve walked a long and crooked path since then, but I never lost my belief in magic. After I moved to San Francisco, I fell in love with tarot and began reading for myself and all of my friends. After a few months, they started to say things like, “Uh, Paige? You’re really good at this. Like, really. You could do this for a living.”

So, here I am! I’ve always known I would be happiest working for myself, and I’m very fortunate to have found a useful skill that comes naturally to me. Reading tarot is one of those things I love to do so much that I’d do it every day for free if I didn’t have bills to pay. I’d say that’s the best indicator that this is the right path to follow into business!

Do you feel like San Francisco is a conduit in your magic at all? Why or why not?Absolutely. The place that you live, wherever you live, is an integral part of your magic. I’m very lucky; San Francisco happens to be one of the most magical cities on earth! It has a very special quality. There is something about the light here, something delicious and freeing, sharp and clear and illuminating.

I grew up in harsh, granite New England, which is a very weird place but retains a sort of Puritan sternness in its character. Growing up, I got teased a lot for being really weird. San Francisco is a great place to be weird. It’s also a great place to be a magical practitioner, practically speaking! I bought my first Tarot deck at the Scarlet Sage, an herbal apothecary in my neighborhood that sells books, oils, candles, and all manner of magical supplies. There are botanicas everywhere, full of statuary and altars. The walls of the city are literally covered in art. I’ve seen murals of Ganesha and alleyway altars to the Virgin of Guadalupe. There are secret treasure troves filled with wood stoves and swords, beads and runes, meditation rooms and buckets of crystals.

In short: San Francisco is a ding-dang magical place to be.

You inspire many people, but I’m curious — who inspires you? Who makes your soul shake, your spirit tingle, fill you up with positive energy and optimism? Yes! Oh, my sweet chickadees!

First and foremost, I owe an incredible debt to Gala Darling. Her optimism, positive energy, and practical advice guided me out of a ten-year stay in the darkest waters of chronic depression. I can’t even tell you. Thanks in large part to Gala’s story, her infallible sparkle and message of radical self love, I finally, finally emerged out of the darkness and into the light. It was also through her site that I discovered Theresa Reed, aka The Tarot Lady, who is a shining example of a majorly magical business BOSS. Observing her example of what owning your own business could look like has been incredibly inspirational to me.

Leonie Dawson is a gift to the world. She’s the one who inspired me to go into business for myself in the first place. She showed me that it’s possible to be wildly successful in business and still be 100% your own weird self. And she makes me laugh!

My magical practice owes a great deal to practitioners who blog and openly share stories, information, and resources. Bri Saussy and Sarah Anne Lawless are the two I admire most. Their work inspires and excites me, pushing me to learn and explore and experiment and get my hands dirty with magic.

Alexandra Franzen taught me that to be successful, all I really need to do is be helpful. Her laser-lucid guidance keeps my wild ADHD brain on track, and her sweet soulful nature keeps my heart uplifted.

A magical babe cannot succeed without a goddess gang to lift her up, inspire her, and walk the path beside her. I am incredibly honored to call Dyana Valentine and Sally Hope members of my goddess gang. HEYY PRIESTESS!

You can only read one book, watch one television show and movie, and listen to one album for the next year. What do you choose? OH GOD. Ok. I can do this.

I choose The Lord of the Rings (Tolkien considered them one big book, so I count them as such), The Adventures of Pete and Pete because it tickles me PINK, the movie Mystery Men, and Tom Waits’ Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers, and Bastards. It’s a 3-disk album, which might be cheating, or might just indicate how important music is to me.

What would you say to someone who needs the last little push to follow their passion in life? My #1 piece of advice is always: Learn to trust yourself. You are more powerful than you realize. Underneath self-doubt and fear there is a voice inside you that knows which way to go, which way is right and good and will fill you up with love and light. All you have to do is listen for it. It might be small at first, quiet and unassuming among the cacophony of doubts and insecurities, but it’s there. You can never kill it completely. So listen for it, tend it and keep listening to it once you’ve found it. Follow it. Trust it. You’re going to be OK.

You can find Paige online on her blog, instagram, and twitter!