Friday Introductions

Happy Friday! Anyone else have an immeasurable amount of love for the weekend? (Hand raised high!) I thought that now that I’m using this space in some capacity to share the stories of other inspiring women, perhaps I should give a {re} introduction of myself here and on Instagram too for any new followers who haven’t been around since those early days. (And for those whom have stuck around, I commend you.) Here’s a bit more about who I am (interview style)!

Photo by Shannon Duggan Photography

Age: 30
Hometown: St. Louis, MO

What do you do in your day job?
Sometimes it seems so easy to follow along with other bloggers and Instagrammers and instantly assume that blogging and Instagramming is their full-time life, but alas, that’s not always the case (however for some, it is!). Outside of my Instagram loving life, I work in fundraising and alumni development in the world of business and higher education, and I love it!

How long have you been married?
Seven years (this week)! Tim and I started dating in high school, went to college together, were engaged two weeks post-graduation and married a year after that. We have grown so much together since the day he asked me to be his girlfriend when I was only 17 years old.

Do you have any kids?
No kids yet, however we cannot wait to start a family (more on this to come, I promise). In the meantime, we have two furry, four-legged children who we so love. Both Bentley and Emma were adopted; Bentley is an eight-year-old Beagle mix and Emma is a three-year-old Border Collie mix (or so we believe). They keep us very active and busy and sure do have a way of keeping our lives exciting! 

Favorite color? 
It’s always been pink – all shades of it!

Coffee or tea?
An iced vanilla latte or a glass of sweet tea – I love them both (and I have a sweet tooth)!

What’s your go-to when it’s ‘5 o’clock somewhere?’
A glass of rose or a moscow mule (with mint!)

Favorite city?
St. Louis is home, and it’s amazing to see the growth and transformation of our city. I love this place and always will. But, I love exploring other cities too (and I think this is something so important for all of us to do). Chicago makes the top few on my list, being a city I always thought that we would move to (and also where we got engaged!). New York was my dream city since I was a little girl, and I still envision living in a brownstone in Brooklyn, but after living on the west coast, Los Angeles has a very special place in my heart too. I love to travel and learn about the different cultures and ways of life in cities other than my own, and I feel like I can always find a little sense of home in every city that I visit.

If you could share a meal with one woman, who would it be?
Hoda Kotb, Co-Anchor of The Today Show

Favorite musician?
Andrew McMahon (If you don’t know him, you should; he’s a phenomenal storyteller.)

Favorite movie?
You’ve Got Mail forever!

Favorite bingeworthy TV show?
Marvelous Mrs. Maisel has been a big favorite within the last year on Amazon Prime. This show is my favorite era, has amazing music and costume and is so funny. Highly recommend! As of late, Tim and I are obsessing over 13 Reasons Why. We watched season 1 as soon as it came out while we were still living in California. We started season 2 as soon as it came out, and now, we’re back to rewatching season 1. It’s so real and emotional, but can’t seem to get enough!

Random fact about you?
I am a big germaphobe – hand washing and sanitizing are a constant in my life. You could say I’m a bit fearful of the germs that surround us everywhere!

What has been a dream job that you have always had?
I’ve dreamt of being a magazine editor in NYC since I was a little girl OR of being an anchor on the TODAY Show (I’ve been watching since I was little with my mom and still can’t go a day without having it on the TV while I get ready in the morning). I have always been passionate about the world of journalism (storytelling!). I still dream of bits and pieces of that life. Various aspects of my life and career have had more characteristics of this vision than I think I ever truly realized.

Today’s biggest aspirations?
Seeing women continue to persevere and push for progress, growing as a leader and contributor to my community, and to one day become a mom.

A few of your favorite things?
Fresh flowers ($3.99 bouquet from Trader Joe’s is the best!), local finds, iced coffee, blush pink and gold accents, gluten free pretzels

Words to live by?
“This world can be ugly, but isn’t it beautiful?” -Andrew McMahon

Feel free to share more about who your are too! I love getting to know each of you. Stay tuned for the next Women Inspire Women interview coming your way next week.

Happy Weekend!

Xo.

Meet Jenna!

Alas, the thing that I have been most excited about in revamping my blog – the Women Inspire Women series – is officially ready to launch! I cannot think of anyone more perfect to start this series with than my sweet friend, Jenna.

Like many of the inspirational women in my life, our relationship started thanks to the love of social media. It was in the world of wedding planning when our paths really crossed. Jenna was living in St. Louis (prior to her move to Kansas City, and now back to her hometown in Indiana) and working as a graphic designer for a wedding and events company here while I was in the the early stages of my events-focused career. I was enthralled in the world of weddings and special events, and Jenna even designed some pretty stationery products for one of my first styled photo shoots for Regale – the online space that Jenna was running at the time and that I was lucky enough to have been given the opportunity to write for, thanks to Jenna. (It’s been a few years since such fun things have been the main focus of my career.) Since then, I have followed along on Jenna’s journey as she traveled across the state and began to launch and grow her own business. It has been so fun to see how things have progressed as an outsider looking in. I’ve also used some of Jenna’s products, and I can vouch for the fact that they are indeed all the things she says they are. I also really love paper products, planners and to-do lists, so I feel like she really speaks to my heart. Jenna, I am so proud of how far your business has come, and I look forward to continuing to watch you and your business grow! (Oh, and ‘How I Built This’ is one of my absolute favorite go-to podcasts too…Not surprised!) Enjoy learning more about Jenna and her business – Workspacery – below!

Name: Jenna Murillo
Age: 29
Company: Workspacery
Title: Owner
Currently Located: Evansville, IN

All photos by Shanley Cox Creative

Describe yourself in 3 words:
Resilient, intentional, and curious

Describe your business and what you do:

Workspacery was founded with the mission of helping those who work at home create an inspiring, functional, and productive workspace so they can do their best work in any environment. I design planning and organizational tools to encourage working smarter, not harder, and I aid other businesses with creating their own custom planners, workbooks, and digital products for their clients, employees, and events.

How did you start in this field?

It all started with a love of paper and to do lists — and that love evolved into an entire business centered around productivity, planning, and the workspace! The product world is its own adventure; through months of research and trial and error, I created my very first planner back in 2015 and fell in love with the process of creating and selling a physical product. Knowing that my passion lies in the science behind working smarter and planning more strategically, I launched under the name Workspacery, my online hub for sharing this knowledge and these intentionally designed tools with the world.

Did you know that this was something you always wanted to do?

I always knew I wanted to start and own a business; I thrive in figure-it-out situations and fell in love with the idea of building something from nothing, while supporting others through fun job opportunities. I had no idea it would be in the paper and planning world — but looking back at my love of creating paper books and toys as a child, I’m not surprised! Life has a funny way of building your experiences on top of one another as you continue to evolve and grow as a person.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

At its core, Workspacery is all about creating an inspiring, functional workspace so you can do your best work; I have dreams of creating a beautiful workshop and space, inviting people to come in and create, collaborate, and connect with others. With more and more people working from home for others or themselves as business owners and freelancers, I’d love to help bring them together through a multi-functional space designed for collaboration and growth.

What has been a dream job that you have had since you were a little girl?

Ah, there have been many dream jobs that crossed my mind over the years! I was very into the arts as a child, and for a long time, I wanted to be an illustrator of comics and childrens books. There was another brief moment when I wanted to be a professional voiceover — like those you hear on commercials and infomercials. And then of course, thanks to Jennifer Lopez, I set my heart on becoming a wedding planner for many years. I like to think all of these interests came together to play a role in my business today.

In what ways do you see yourself inspiring other women?

Business ownership can be a very male-dominated world; over the years, however, my eyes have been opened to the vast numbers of women starting their own companies, and I love to think that I’m a part of that, encouraging young women to do the same. One of the biggest reasons I’m excited to hire a team and introduce internships is to share the experience of running a business with other young, ambitious women.

Who has been the biggest inspiration to you?

Ready for a cheesy answer? I find immense inspiration in the stories and lives of those who have built empires from nothing. All of the “sharks” on the ABC show Shark Tank have incredible stories of how they started at ground zero and built thriving businesses — not without their individual challenges, struggles, and setbacks along the way. I think it’s important to look past the highlight reel and understand the entire journey it took to get them there. I also love the stories of entrepreneurs like Kendra Scott, Sara Blakely, and Kate Spade — all forces of nature that transformed industries through their resilience and innovative thinking.

If you could have coffee/tea/lunch/happy hour with one of your life role models, who would it be and where?

What a great question! My list is long — but if I had to narrow it down to one person at this time in my life, I would love nothing more than to have a long afternoon with Sara Blakely. Her drive for continual evolution and resilience in business is something I’ve admired for years, and I’d love to simply listen to her, ask her questions, and dive even deeper into her philosophies for life and business. I would fly anywhere in a minute to make this dream afternoon a reality!

What are 3 of your current favorite things (books, podcasts, music, beauty products, etc.)? 

I’m the biggest business book nerd, so this first one is for my fellow biz readers out there: “The Personal MBA” by Josh Kaufman. This book is packed with brilliant info and nuggets into the world of business, finance, marketing, consumer psychology, and more. It’s been an invaluable resource for me this year.

My favorite podcast on any given day is NPR’s “How I Built This with Guy Raz.” There’s that spark of inspiration I love surrounding myself with on the daily!

I also get asked quite a bit about my favorite photo editing apps — and my go-to for the last two years has been PS Express, the on-the-go Photoshop app designed for smart, consistent editing.

Here are all of the platforms where you can find Jenna and see more of her gorgeous work:

Website
Instagram
Facebook
Pinterest

I hope you had fun getting to know Jenna, and I can’t wait to introduce you to more fabulous, inspiring, empowering women in the weeks to come!

Xo.

PS – Know someone who would be great to feature as an empowering women? Contact me HERE, and let me know! I’d love to contact her and learn more!

Women Inspire Women

Well, would you look at that? One month since my first post back in action, and I’m already onto the next. Not too shabby considering my lack thereof for the last year or two, eh?! I’m working on it. I do have quite a few drafts awaiting completion, but that’s another story. (Note – One of those drafts is of a few of my favorite places in Orange County, CA – I’ve had lots of people asking for places to go while they visit OC, so I thought I’d go ahead and put it all in one place…It’s coming, I promise!)

BUT, what I’m currently feeling so excited about is one of the main reasons that I ultimately wanted to bring the blog back – sharing stories of women who are inspiring other women, every single day. I’ve been chatting with a few pretty darn amazing women who are rocking it in their businesses and local communities, and I cannot wait to share their stories with you, and many more to come.

I believe women empower women. I believe in men as our allies. I believe that we all deserve a seat at the table. I believe that our stories can change the world.

Women constantly amaze me with their stories, their dreams, their pursuits. I continue to be encouraged and empowered by the stories I learn of other women and the ways, big and small, that they are changing the world. Some are birth moms, some are business owners, some are co-founders, some are foster and adoptive moms, some are non-profit and community leaders, some are CEO’s and everything in between. I hope that you can relate to some of these stories and that they can encourage and inspire you too.

Interviews coming soon!