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inspiring women, part 13

Posted on: Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Happy Wednesday! Today I’m excited to share an awesome addition to my Inspiring Women Series – Stephanie! Stephanie is someone I met via the awesome world of social media and have since gotten to know beyond the tweet every here and there. She works in the social media/tech space, often partners with really cool brands as a digital/video correspondent and above all, balances all of her professional life with her priority – her family and personal life {how cute are her two sons?!}. Given we’re in similar professional industries, I’m inspired by her drive, motivation and success but even more by her outlook on life and focus on what matters most. Read more below!

What story is your life telling right now, today?

Happiness, family, and letting go. I’ve been focusing more on things that make me happy and the biggest part of that is my family. As the mother of 2 young boys (Chase, 5 and Carson, 8 months), I am in awe of how the saying “enjoy every moment because it goes by too fast” is completely true. I think I used to be one of those people who heard this phrase and just smiled and nodded. I didn’t realize all of the amazing moments ahead of me. Moments that I’ve never experienced before and ones that I’ll never forget.

I’ve found myself letting go so much more easily. Not frantically caring nearly as much about proving something. I’ve allowed life and work to unfold gradually around me rather than trying to control everything that happens. I am feeling that I’ve gone through some major “life experiences” and these experiences have made me realize that there aren’t a lot of things that really matter. These are the things that I’m not willing to spend so much energy on anymore and focus on the things that DO matter.

I don’t say “yes” to as many projects as I did before. I don’t have a full editorial calendar like I did before. I want to focus my time on my family and my career. My personal business has actually grown tremendously since I’ve had this new outlook. I think it’s because I did put the work in early, but it’s also because when I’m sharing things via video or my blog, I’m sharing things I’m passionate about. Passion shows and goes much further than something that just fills an editorial calendar.

I want to leave a legacy for my children and I want those memories to be of me enjoying my moments with them.

What woman inspires you and why?
Ivanka Trump has been one woman that I’ve admired and been inspired by for quite some time. Even though her family business “trumped” my family’s business, I respected the expectations that her parents had for her. I was taught to have an amazing work ethic and while working for my family’s business, I had to work harder than everyone else because that is what was expected. After reading Ivanka’s book, I saw some of the same expectations were set for her. She is an amazing business woman who has excelled both in her family’s business as well as her own all while being a wife and a mother of two. She has a completely classy image and I enjoy her outlook on business.

What are three things you’re thankful for?
Family, mentors, and my camera.

All families have tough times where they don’t always agree, but then you realize something…above all else, family is all that matters. We are there for each other in good times and bad. We are all very different, but yet the same and that’s what makes it fun.

I’ve been so thankful for amazing mentors throughout my life. I’ve learned that you have to be receptive to hearing suggestions and ways they see you can improve. A mentor isn’t someone that tells you you are great all of the time. A mentor is someone who pushes you to grow and continually improve.

Video and photography is my favorite pastime. There are times where I feel I could get lost behind the camera looking at amazing shots of things around me, but also capturing those favorite moments with my family. Being in front of the camera for videos and even going in and editing is a blast for me. This pastime allows me to relax, rewind and have fun.

What’s one lesson you’ve learned that you can share with Polish My Crown readers?
Let’s go back to your first question about the story my life is telling. I am very focused on “moments”. But what I have to remember is that we shouldn’t rely on only the beautiful moments in our lives. There are tough moments too. We tend to fill social media with these beautiful moments, but it’s the mix of these beautiful and tough moments that ultimately shape us. Every moment is worth it. Embrace it and be thankful for where it leads.

Follow Stephanie’s adventures on Twitter here and read more stories from inspiring women, visit here!

 

inspiring women, part 12

Posted on: Monday, June 23, 2014

Hi queens! I’m super excited to share with you another interview in my Inspiring Women series. Today, I’m sharing Katie Den Ouden’s story with you. I discovered Katie’s magic originally on Twitter and I’m constantly inspired by her positive spirit and encouragement she spreads online {and no doubt in person!}. She is a Denver-based Soul & Life coach, blogger and spirit who has made it her mission to help women live their best life ever – all with a focus on joy {my favorite!}. Plus, that flower crown photo! The cutest. You can follow her blog, Twitter and Facebook for more too! I’m thankful she took the time to answer a few questions for me that hopefully inspire and encourage you today. xo!

Read more stories from inspiring women on Polish My Crown here.

What story is your life telling right now, today?

My current story of adventure: the essence of stepping into and owning my full and true womanhood. While I’m nearing the end of my 20s and a decade of so much growth, insight, and becoming…it wasn’t until very recently that the true essence of womanhood started speaking to me. Calling me. Welcoming me. (And no, I’m not pregnant nor do I have kids:)).

Since a young age I’ve experienced life events before many of my peers – parental divorce, caring for a mother with multiple sclerosis, the prospect of death several times, self-sufficiency by the age of 8 and more. Many of these may be “adult-like” in nature…but, today, right now, I am truly learning they are not real womanhood for me.

Womanhood, for me, is the path of owning my genius, gifts, strength, wisdom, wild and untamed-ness, desires, full story, contagious joy, vulnerabilities, playfulness, intuition, and power at a level that I’ve never experienced before. It is profound, scary, and exhilarating all at the same time. And, it’s through this that I am holding the space more tenderly, fiercely, and lovingly for other women to do the same. It’s an honor that I never knew I could experience.

It’s hard to describe in words…can I just let you hang out in my heart for a bit and feel it? :)

What woman inspires you and why?

Right now I’ve been mega inspired by (and girl-crushing on) Amal Alamuddin. Yes, I know that feels a little cliché to me as well since she’s engaged to Mr. George Clooney… but man, this woman is single-handedly impacting the world through her brilliance, defense of important social justice issues, and her killer beauty, poise, and style. While I’ve simply managed to conjure up an idea of who Amal is (basically what I desire at my core and impose it on her J), the inspiration to “have it all” and“change the world” calls to me. I do not desire to “have it all” based on what magazines or society tells me, but the “all” that my souls longs for…to live with purpose, presence, joy, freedom, empowerment for others and a good dose of style and true beauty.

What are three things you’re thankful for?

1) The women in my life. I am surrounded by some of the smartest, most awakened, most alive and vibrant woman who not only support me but stretch me into the highest and truest version of myself…allowing me to give my gifts and genius to the world and literally create the ripple effect of change >>> joy, freedom and truly LIVING. They know my weaknesses, secrets, AND genius and they champion me on like no other.

2) Uncovering, pursuing and living a “career” that fills my soul on a daily basis… I call it my purpose (at least for this point in my life).

3) My family. They keep me laughing, loving, and grounded.

What’s one lesson you’ve learned that you can share with Polish My Crown readers?

We MUST embrace ownership of our lives, fully. Meaning that the entire way we feel and experience our lives is our responsibility – no one else. I call this radical responsibility and the day we acknowledge this and take action…guidance, freedom, joy, abundance and more will flow like no other. We have the power to shape our experience of life – don’t give someone else that power.

Women who allow themselves to have a direct experience with their life, who allow themselves to fully experience their feelings, sensations, moments, intuition, and desires – meaning what they desire, why they desire it, and making sure it is in alignment with their actions and values – are freaking world changers – in the best way possible. We have the opportunity to create ripple effects every day of contagious joy…it’s your choice. It’s your responsibility.

Design your life. Do not default into someone else’s desires. The world needs the true and full you. I need YOU.

Oh, and choose joy, daily. xo :)

inspiring women, part 11

Posted on: Monday, February 3, 2014

Hi friends! Happy Monday! If anyone finds the cure to why weekends fly back and weekdays seem to drag on, please let me know. Anyway, I am so excited to continue my Inspiring Women series today and feature my lovely friend Stephanie! Stephanie is a Twitter-friend-turned-real-life-friend who is full of curiosity and optimism. I remember talking to her on the phone over two years ago on a Saturday afternoon and she was talking about how she wanted to find a new job and more importantly, move to New York City. Fast forward to now and she’s been living in NYC for two years, has a new job that she loves {at my same company!} and is completely in love with her new life. She’s a real life example of how important it is to step out into the unknown and try new things. I’m super thankful for her and hope you are inspired by her words today. Follow her adventures on Twitter @stephanieflo. xo!

What story is your life telling right now, today?

My current life story has been very family focused around weddings. I say that because my brother and sister were recently each married six weeks apart! Plane rides home to Chicago, events, dresses and even playing videographer for one has consumed my life. I am so excited for the new adventure each of my siblings has begun because I know they have both chosen the perfect partner in crime. Throughout the planning process and during the events, many people asked when I’d be taking that walk down the aisle (just another six weeks, right?). Rather than panic at my single status, what I’ve learned is that it’s okay to be on a different life path. And that path has brought me to New York City where I feel constantly challenged and more alive than I ever thought possible.

What woman inspires you and why?

My mom inspires me. She has been teaching kindergarten for more than 30 years (at the grammar school she attended!). She’s gone on to teach the children of former students and everyone (even, grown men) call her “Mrs. Kathy.” She’s a fixture in the community and I admire her patience and dedication to impacting so many lives with the gift of education.

What are three things you’re thankful for?

Every night I take a quick look outside my window at the Woolworth Building (one of the oldest in the U.S.) and think how thankful I am that I get to wake up, again, in New York City.

I’m thankful to be a 20-something contributor to the 40:20 Vision. This is a blog where I read new perspectives daily. In this community 40-somethings share their advice and what they wish they’d known with still learning 20-somethings. From professional aspirations to relationship woes and everything in between the 40:20 Vision is relatable and motivating for readers of any age.

More than anything I’m thankful for the support of my family and friends – the ones nearby and the ones states away. When I said I wanted to move to New York City people didn’t believe me – after all, I was homesick while living two hours away during college. Those closest to me soon realized I meant business and offered their complete support. Their phone calls, letters, emails and visits keep me totally connected.

What’s one lesson you’ve learned that you can share with Polish My Crown readers?

Face your fears head on. For 25 years I had never lived outside the state of Illinois. I had big dreams, but was so afraid of them that I was practically decorating the walls of my comfort zone – because I thought that’s all I would ever know. After moving to New York City I am a more determined person who knows fears do not define you.

inspiring women, part 10

Posted on: Wednesday, January 22, 2014

can i just say AGAIN how awesome it is to be surrounded by {whether in real life or in the blogging world} by inspiring, loving women living their lives in the best way they can? sometimes i look around at my friends or read a beautiful piece online and just think – wow. it’s like a double bonus when i read someone’s words online and then get to experience it all in action in person. savannah is one of those friends who lets me do just that. she’s full of energy and joy and always on the lookout for inspiration, which is something i really admire in people. she also recently launched her insanely cool blog grace-made so definitely check it out! one of my favorite posts she shared was about how she was marking 2014 with courageousness and bravery. i’m thrilled to share a few words from her today on my blog for my inspiring women series.

thanks sav! xo

what story is your life telling right now, today?
Change is becoming a constant theme. I think I’m just more receptive to it, lately. Things seem to be evolving rapidly, I’m more willing than ever to step away from my comfort zone, and I’m chasing my passions with an energy that I’ve never experienced before. On the cusp of 24 years, I’m finally realizing what’s most important. I think the key to this story is a renewed hunger for growth. I’m now looking for ways to improve even the small things in each day. My most recent little improvement — cycling to work. I never want to ride MUNI again!

what woman inspires you and why?
Right now, I’m extremely inspired by Brené Brown. I think I’m a little late for the boat on this one, but I just watched her TED Talk, “The power of vulnerability,” last week. The 20-minute clip is easily one of the most inspiring and empowering talks I’ve ever heard. Her ideas on courage, vulnerability, and authenticity absolutely blow my mind. During my reflections before the new year, I became obsessed with thoughts of courage and bravery. This TED Talk was exactly what I needed to hear! During her talk, Brené discusses the root of courage. Basically, the original definition of courage is to tell the story of who you are with your whole heart. She found that the people who are living their lives wholeheartedly (+ to the fullest) are the ones with the courage to be imperfect – the ones who embrace vulnerability. If you haven’t listened yet – do it now!

what are three things you’re thankful for?
my family & friends – it doesn’t matter what life throws at me, they’re always there and they always love me.
podcasts – unlimited inspiring listening during my day!
my brand new bicycle – my legs are alive!

what’s one lesson you’ve learned that you can share with polish my crown readers?
I just finished reading an incredible book called Creative Confidence! It’s one of the best “design books” I’ve ever read. I collected so many valuable little bits of knowledge and lessons on cultivating creativity. Basically, the Kelley brothers (founders of IDEO) argue that everyone is innately creative. It’s a choice – and we’re all born with the ability! I’m an artistic person, but everyone can benefit from this book. It’s given me a renewed perspective on design and I now recommend it to people all of the time!

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