Aces Interview: Jasmin of Vintage Vandalizm

My next Ace is a fellow blogger who's inspired me with her laser-like focus on crafting a personal style that's all retro but decidedly refreshing and different. I write once a week for the Independent Fashion Bloggers and thus pay a lot of attention to the fashion blogging landscape, and I can say with 10000% confidence that Jasmin Rodriguez's Vintage Vandalizm is one-of-a-kind. I had the good fortune to meet Jasmin in person at IFBcon, where I spotted her while speaking on a panel, and had to run up and tell her what a big fan I was of her blog. I was surprised by how humble and shy she was in real life! She's one of my favorite people to see whenever I'm in NYC.

She's got legions of fans all over the world just like me - and also critics, haters and copycats. Some try to emulate, others straight up duplicate - but none of Jasmin's imitators come close to her clear and unabashed love for rockabilly and other fine vintage eras. She lives and breathes the lifestyle as much as the modern world will allow. This is why she's no trendy throwback (what up Katy Perry) - Vintage Vandalizm is the real rockabilly deal. Her commitment to this life & style is what makes her one of my favorite bloggers on the interwebz.

Vintage Vandalizm-Jasmin Rodriguez

Vintage Vandalizm-Jasmin Rodriguez

What's on your playlist right now?

  • Lots of Lana Del Rey

  • Pervov Stelar

  • The Great Gatsby Soundtrack

  • The Weeknd

  • Niki and the Dove

  • Frank Sinatra

  • Ella Fitzgerald

  • and some rockabilly compilations.

Describe your style.

I'd like to think of it as a marriage of the timeless beauty of vintage & the gritty rawness of my vandalized city, NYC.

Vintage Vandalizm-Jasmin Rodriguez

Vintage Vandalizm-Jasmin Rodriguez

Who inspires you?

I am deeply inspired by the classic hollywood actress' of the 40s, 50s, and 60s like:

  • Debra Paget

  • Ivonne De Carlo

  • Diana Dors

  • Grace Kelly

  • Eartha Kitt

  • and of course Elizabeth Taylor.

What are you reading?

Right now I am enjoying listening to many inspiring TED Talks like my recent favorite by Shawn Achor, who says that we have to reverse our perspectives on success. He says that we are taught that "We must be successful to be happy;" but in fact..the happier and more positive we are, the more successful we will be :).

Vintage Vandalizm-Jasmin Rodriguez

Vintage Vandalizm-Jasmin Rodriguez

What are you most excited about in the coming months?

I am working on a few projects to be finished by next year but you will have to stay tuned to find out ;). I am also excited to be attending Lingerie Fashion week and NY fashion week before my big move to Vegas. I am pursuing my dreams and though it is quite scary to leave a place I called home for 26 years, I am ready for the big change ahead of me.

Thank you!

Find Jasmin at VintageVandalizm.com.

Read all of my Aces interviews here.

Aces Interview: Emma McIlroy of Wildfang

These Aces interviews are every bit as fun for me as I hope they are for you. The essence of them lie in the fact that I want to share these incredible people I've come across with you - so how could it not be a blast every time? Emma McIlroy of Wildfang (German for 'tomboy') closed out the Create + Cultivate Portland conference I attended last month with a keynote talk outlining how she and her team have created a whole community for the tomboy lifestyle on the site and beyond. I was riveted.

It seemed like there was a site or blog for literally every style known to mind, yet I couldn't think of anything quite like Wildfang. I was fascinated by how Emma, co-founder Julia & team took the marketing, branding & hustling skills they'd honed at Nike and spun it into an e-commerce site that attracted a healthy first round of funding and thousands of loyalists in a matter of months. All of this amazingness just three hours south in Portland! I asked Emma to share a little about herself and about Wildfang with all of you fine Fresh Jess readers. Enjoy!

Tell us about Wildfang.

We think tomboy is much more than just a style. It’s also an attitude. It’s about being confident, strong and paving your own way. While also being cheeky and knowing how to have fun. We don’t think our girl has ever been allowed to be herself and be her best. She's been restricted and held back for years. She hasn’t had access to the clothes and tools and sources of inspiration to allow her to be who she wants to be. That’s where Wildfang comes in.

We will free her. We will fuel her.

This isn't a business for Jules and I - it's a labor of love. We are the consumer. We share her frustrations. We wanted to do it, so that it was done right.

What inspired you to create Wildfang?

I remember the first time we had the idea. We were in the men’s department at a well-known store and I was looking at a men’s graphic tee which had a barely clad Kate Moss on the front. Jules was staring at a men’s blazer with patches on the elbows. I remember her looking at me and saying “Why don’t they make this shit for us?” And I couldn't answer her. We thought about it a lot, did a ton of consumer research and fast forward three years later - here we are. Launching Wildfang.

What are you most proud of about Wildfang so far?

I'm proud of our team. In five months we've built an online store, an offline store, a product collection and attracted the attention of thousands of young women as well as some awesome media. It's been amazing to watch girls get excited about our brand and feel like they belong at Wildfang. The support we've received has been overwhelming.

What's on your playlist right now?

  • Ms Mr

  • Savages

  • The new David Bowie album

  • and honestly, there's probably some Rolling Stones on there too

Describe your style.

My style is a lot like what you'd expect if you let Patti Smith lose in Keith Richards wardrobe.

Who inspires you?

People who take risks and are laser focused on their consumer. They don't follow the status quo and they do what feels right. Richard Branson is a hero for me.

What are you reading?

I'm currently addicted to Orange is the New Black, but I think everyone is. I'm also reading Triumph of the City. Awesome book.

What are you most excited about in the coming months?

I'm psyched about launching our Wildfang product collection. I'm so excited to see Wildfangs everywhere proudly rocking our gear.

Thanks Emma for the interview, and thank you Wildfang for being so fucking awesome!

Head over to the site and show 'em your Wildfang!

Aces Interview: Madeline Moy

Everyone I interview on Fresh Jess influences me in some way, doing inspiring things in their specific field of work and/or play. This week's Aces interview is someone I've followed on Twitter for many years but just recently have had the honor of knowing personally.

Madeline Moy and I did some project work together last year and I loved getting to know a fellow Filipina-American in the social media industry. I really admire commitment to her family while still doing great, fulfilling work and being active in the local social media community. She's also an adventurous cook who loves exploring ways to approach recipes a bit differently - she's the first Filipina I know to dive into healthy versions of classic recipes like adobo, with delicious success! You can follow her food adventures on Edible Joy.

Madeline Moy

Madeline Moy

What's on your playlist right now?

  • “Treasure” by Bruno Mars

  • “Mirror” Justin Timberlake

  • “White Walls” Macklemore

  • “Unaware” by Allen Stone

and lots of Postal Service and NKOTB since I just saw both acts in concert.

I’m an NPR nerd so I listen to a lot of podcasts of programs like “Fresh Air,” “The Splendid Table,” “Selected Shorts” and “Snap Judgment.”

Describe your style.

I like classic shapes, clean lines and bright pops of color.

Madeline Moy

Madeline Moy

Who inspires you?

My husband, Baron, is a constant source of inspiration. He always puts family first, takes care of everyone around him and is incredibly patient. And he’s a great cook! I wish I could cook like him. I always need a recipe, but he can take whatever is in the fridge and make something amazing.

What are you reading?

I’m currently reading A Cook’s Tour by Anthony Bourdain. I love his writing because he has such a distinct voice and provides vivid and unique descriptions of the places he visits and the food he eats.

I remember watching Bourdain’s show of the same name on Food Network back in 2001. At the time, there was no one else on TV like him. It’s funny to read in the book how much he actually hated making the show. A running feature in the book is titled, “Reasons Why You Don’t Want to be on Television.” Bourdain turned into a great TV personality, but he was always an outstanding writer.

Madeline Moy

Madeline Moy

What are you most excited about in the coming months? 

I’m looking forward to the International Food Blogger Conference. I’m interested in taking my food writing in a different direction and hope to learn a lot and be inspired by the people I meet at this event.

Speaking of food, there are plenty of things in Seattle that I want to eat and drink in the near future. Among other things, I’d like to order oysters from the Narwhal food truck, eat at Skillet Ballard, and have a float at the new Rachel’s Ginger Beer in Pike Place Market.

We recently bought a new house so I am super excited about making the space ours. And our son is starting kindergarten this fall. The last several months have been an incredible period of growth and change for me, and I can’t wait to see what’s next.

Thank you!

Read all of my Aces interviews here.

Miss Wu Fall '13 Premieres at Nordstrom (Interview w/Jason Wu)

Jason Wu's got a new collection exclusively for Nordstrom, and he spent some time with me yesterday to talk Miss Wu and answer a few lifestyle questions as well. But before we get into the interview, a little about what you'll find in various Nordstrom stores and online now. The Miss Wu collection is wrought with beautiful fabrics, bold colors (lots of fuchsia, chartreuse and cobalt blue), exclusive prints (confetti dot, Baroque lace, Ginko leaf and Jason's signature stripe) and impeccable detailing. Ranging from $195 - $995, Miss Wu is a clear nod to the 1960s, with a whimsical nod to the 1970s. There's a black feather evening dress, shearling moto-inspired jacket and red wool military coat that I know will do well here in the Pacific Northwest! 

Jason-Wu-Miss-Wu-Nordstrom

Jason-Wu-Miss-Wu-Nordstrom

How did you get into fashion design?

I was 9 when I lived in Canada, and I would read my mom's fashion magazines. There was always a lot of inspiration in them. It wasn't one 'Eureka!' moment; I just realized fashion could be a career and it always felt right.

You spent some time growing up in Vancouver. What are your favorite memories about the area?

Vancouver is beautiful. It's so serene. I live in New York City now, and it's so bustling. Vancouver is so peaceful and quiet in comparison. It was a great place to grow up. The food is very good; there's a lot of really good Chinese food as there's a large Chinese population there. I discovered fashion, art, design, and myself there. My mom would take me to antique shows, which we don't have in Taiwan. I got my first sewing machine and learned how to sew in Vancouver. My appreciation for beautiful things definitely grew there.

Jason-Wu-Miss-Wu-Nordstrom

Jason-Wu-Miss-Wu-Nordstrom

Who inspires you?

My mother has always inspired me. The women I dress as well. Women in general, really! You can see in my work - it's all a celebration of the feminine form and femininity. It's the string that connects the aesthetic from collection to collection.

Tell me about Miss Wu.

The collection really came about organically; it's an extension of my design DNA. It's very reminiscent of my early work. While the Jason Wu collection is heading more femme fatale, Miss Wu is very feminine. Prints, srtipes, full skirt, feathers. I'm very inspired by the women of the '60s: Penelope Tree, Anna Karina. When Nordstrom approached me about an exclusive collection, it was the perfect opportunity to take affinity to that era and those beautiful things.

Jason-Wu-Miss-Wu-Nordstrom

Jason-Wu-Miss-Wu-Nordstrom

What do you like to do to take a break?

I like to go to the spa; my favorite in New York is Mandarin Oriental. It's very peaceful, quiet and nice. I'm not hard to please! I love going to dinner with my friends. I do that 3-4 times a week. They're my friends I went to high school and college with. In many ways, I designed the Miss Wu collection with my friends. We all grew up together and somehow all ended up in New York. I guess you could say Miss Wu was designed for the girls around me.

Is that you behind your social media?

Yes! I don't do my Facebook page, but it's pretty clear that's run by my team. I send my own tweets and Instagrams. I just did my first Instagram video here today for Miss Wu (watch it here.) It's really fun. I was never good at keeping a diary or taking photos. I'm a very spontaneous person. It's nice to be able to share something in a few seconds. It's like a peek into my world; no filter, very organic. I think it's important to be authentic in that way.

Thank you!

Shop Miss Wu at Nordstrom here.

Read all of my Aces interviews here.

Aces Interview: Jen Nausin

What better way to pick up the Aces interview series than with someone as badass as Jen Nausin?

Jen is a marketing consultant and founder of Detaale, Marketing and Events. I met her (in real life as we'd been following each other on Twitter) last year at a startup networking event here in Seattle. I'd just left my job and was trying to navigate the waters of working for myself as a consultant and writer. She was CMO at a lifestyle site. Fast forward a year later and here we are on regular walking dates to discuss those consultant waters, and how they balance with living a healthy, fit and balanced life.

For me, Jen is someone who just gets it. We can talk about be(com)ing business owners, obsessing over and changing every aspect of our respective businesses while sharing ideas, connections and resources. We can also talk about balancing all of that with boundaries for family time, workouts and eating well. I've learned a lot in the short time I've known Jen and am grateful for her unrelenting commitment to doing amazing things.

Jen-Nausin

Jen-Nausin

What's on your playlist right now?

During summer I love having all of the windows open and listening to classic rock favorites like Van Morrison or even some good old 90's jam band stuff by Dave Matthews. If I had to pick just one newer song to listen to on repeat it would be Move by Mausi, it is so great for jamming out on a sunny Seattle summer day.

Describe your style.

I grew up in Chicago and Southern California so my style is definitely influenced by the relaxed style of the beach and the classic styles of the city. I'm into styles that are comfortable, timeless and fun. My wardrobe staples include: lots of premium denim, tons of cozy and colorful scarves, a never ending rotation of white tops, t-shirts and button downs, and heaping handfuls of oversized, handmade or eclectic jewelry. In my most perfect world I would wear the best shoes ever created, Sanuk yoga mat flip flops, every single day.

Who inspires you?

In addition to my family, who inspire me to keep it real at home, I am very inspired by others who are living authentically. A great example of authenticity and vulnerability I've been really aware of recently is artists. I've been thinking so much about how personal art and creativity can be, and how brave, vulnerable and authentic artists are when they share their creative expression with the public. I admire their work, their creativity, their honesty, their vulnerability, and their bravery so so much.

What are you reading?

Well, call me old fashioned, but I’m a huge fan of the library. Currently I’m borrowing: anything and everything by Brene Brown, Disciplined Dreaming by Josh Linkner, Tribes by Seth Godin, and a bunch of poetry books by Mary Oliver. Habit is next on my to-read list (can’t wait to get my hands on it!) and I just was gifted UX for Lean Startups by Laura Klein, which I’m also loving it so far.

What are you most excited about in the coming months? 

Of course, I'm most excited about my marketing consultancy, Detaale. It's a newer project for me and I'm so excited to be helping organizations of all sizes do great things in marketing. I'm also really excited about an event I'm facilitating in August called Urban Campfire. It's an event focused on bringing passionate, career-minded women together for a day of fun, friends, and even a Flashdance dance party, its going to be awesome.

On a more personal note, I'm enrolling in a couple of multi-media art classes and climbing classes this fall and can't wait for the challenge of mastering new physical and creative skills.

Thank you! Find Jen at Detaale.com, on FacebookLinkedIn and Twitter at @Jen_Nausin and @Detaale.

Read all of my Aces interviews here.

Aces Interview: Vogue's West Coast Editor, Lawren Howell

If I worked in the fashion industry, Lawren Howell would have my dream job. This San Francisco native spent some time studying art history in Paris and in the creative department at Kate Spade and Jack Spade before landing in the offices of Vogue. Oh yes, she worked as an assistant to editor-in-chief, Anna Wintour and executive fashion editor Phyllis Posnick before being promoted to West Coast editor for the publication in 2006. 

Lawren now manages all of Vogue's West Coast editorial shoots, as well as the annual Vogue CFDA Fashion Fund show and other Vogue sponsored charity fashion shows. She's in town today for the Nordstrom Designer Preview, and spent some time with me last night to answer a few of these questions. This is the first time Vogue and Nordstrom have partnered for Designer Preview, and speaking with Lawren got me that much more excited for tomorrow night's show. Get to know her, and follow us at #NordstromxVoguePromos on social media for behind the scenes shots and more from the show!

Image via Vogue

How did growing up in San Francisco inspire you to pursue a career in the creative and fashion industries?

San Francisco is such an international city. I had an eclectic upbringing and grew up with exposure to such rich culture. San Francisco has beautiful architecture and is such a creative place; there was always art shows to go to. I also grew up in a family of creatives; my sister is now an artist and my brother's in graphic design.

Is there a project you've worked on that's near and dear to your heart? Why?

The Vogue CFDA Fashion Fund is really cool and so much fun to work on. I've made so many friends and learned so much about the different designers that have been a part of it. The show features new, young designers (this year's finalists were just announced yesterday!) I style the show; we do all of it, from casting to hair and makeup, so the designers can breathe and be a part of the audience in their own show. It's fun to see how far they've come. The show first happened 8 years ago, in Pebble Beach with a partnership with Lexus. I've been involved for 6-7 years.

Image via Vogue

Describe your personal style.

There's definitely a 'menswear-y' vibe. I like simple things. Very all-American. I don't heavily accessorize. Less is more; not overdone. I think that's a very California, Northwest mindset. [true!] Not ostentatious. Understated.

What are you most excited about in the coming months?

That's easy! Moving into a house in the next couple of months that we've been working on for the last year and a half. That'll be nice!

Thank you!

Read all of my Aces interviews here.

Aces Interview: Eddie Borgo via Nordstrom

Eddie Borgo recently launched his latest collection at Nordstrom with an appearance in their Downtown Seattle store. I love Borgo's aesthetic and style and was delighted to get some insight on the inner workings that eventually become fuel for his designs. Read on:

Who or what inspired you to be a jewelry designer?

I am specifically interested in the jewelry and adornment that we attribute to the different realms of NYC subculture; how and why a padlock around someone's neck can immediately establish their identity. My collection plays with the ideas we have of subculture, and then how those points of view trickle up into the luxury fashion market. My aesthetic has to do with this idea; it is high-end meets street.

What's your favorite piece you've designed so far?

Our cone bracelet; it has really become such an instantly recognizable piece for our brand - and also within the jewelry space today.

Who are some of your modern-day muses?

Our ad campaigns reflect who we see as modern-day muses. Each season, we photograph our friends as models. Past campaigns have included: Vanessa Traina (fall/winter 2009); Lauren Santo Domingo (spring/summer 2010); Kate Lanphear (f/w 2010); Giovanna Battaglia (s/s 2011);  Tabitha Simmons (f/w 2011); Cecilia Dean (s/s 2012); Alison Mosshart (f/w 2013); and Anja Rubik (s/s 2013.)

What's one of your favorite highlights in your career so far?

Winning the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund, being awarded the CFDA/Swarovski Award for Accessory Design, and being awarded the Tiffany & Co. Development Grant - all within months of each other.

What's on your music playlist right now?

  • David Bowie

  • Iggy Pop

  • Lou Reed

  • The Rolling Stone

  • Patti Smith

  • The Kills

Describe your personal style.

Uniformed.

What are you reading?

I always seem to be reading a few books simultaneously. I recently started I Dreamed I was a Very Clean Tramp by Richard Hell and it's great!

What are you most excited about in the coming months?

We always have special projects in the works at the studio - I continue to be excited and inspired by the innovate, progressive development processes our team consistently realizes.

My concentration for the time being is spearheading our fine jewelry division.

Thank you! All images and video courtesy of Nordstrom, via The Thread blog.

Read all of my Aces interviews here.

Aces Interview: Ray Page

The Aces interview series are a little look into the lifestyle of people I admire who are doing amazing things for their community and world.

Today, please meet Ray Page!

In the social media & tech scene here in Seattle, there are people who are at every meetup, Ignite talk, SMC event and more. Then there are others you never see, because their job has them being a full-time badass here, there and around the country.

Ray Page is the latter. Like so many others, I met him on Twitter and then in real life over happy hour with our dear friend Carrie. All I remember was laughing as hard as I've ever laughed before at the most random jokes the three of us were telling each other. Getting to know Ray since then has shown me he is every bit as creative, curious and passionate as he is hilarious. Anyone that knows Ray knows that he's incredibly fucking good at what he does (he's executive creative director of POSSIBLE's Seattle office.) I am personally grateful to Ray for believing in my future. He was one of the most instrumental figures in helping me find the confidence to pursue my dreams. Read on to see what inspires him:

What's on your playlist right now?

  • Del the Funky Homosapien

  • Kitten

  • The National

  • Pavarotti

  • Biggie Smalls

  • Nas

  • Daft Punk

  • Wu-Tang

  • Rufus Wainwright

  • Dinosaur Jr

  • The Cure

  • & The Smiths.

At any given time, these get me through the week. However, when I need to crank out a presentation deck or ideate around a concept, it’s continuous hip hop every single time.

Describe your style.

Understated, with clean lines. Simple, with mostly solids. I’m a sucker for details, so moods of norway, scotch & soda and nau are my sweet spots. I will never wear pants that resemble salt water taffy. Men, please stop that.

Who inspires you?

I have many, but they have shared traits.

I’m inspired by individuals who fearlessly pursue their passion.

The extremists. The makers. The ones who live without balance. The ones who go against the grain without any other objective except to be the best at what they do. The ones who are motivated only by their internal dialog and not by financial gain, awards or recognition.

Great dads inspire me. The ones who blossomed as people because of their kids. Those that get giddy recounting weekend stories with their children. Yeah, those guys.

What are you reading?

I mostly stick to industry publications; Monocle, Contagious, IDEA, CommArts and various websites. I’m currently reading Present Shock by Douglas Rushkoff, where he introduces the phenomenon of presentism. He shares thoughts around how the “future” we used to talk about pre-Y2K is happening now. And, frankly, how we’re not hard-wired to deal with living in the present. It impacts global economics, social economics and everything in between.

The next book in the cue is Finding Ultra by Rich Roll. He’s the epitome of one of the inspirational types described above. An extremist, who in 5 years went from an overweight middle aged man, to one of Men’s Health Magazine’s top 25 most fit men in the world.

What are you most excited about in the coming months?

My 6 year old daughter choses not to pick a favorite of anything. She loves too many things. So, I’ll take her lead and mention all the things I’m excited about in the coming months.

Summer in Seattle. Zanny. The final episodes of Breaking Bad. Decatur. My daughter’s dance recital. Home renovations. raygr. Continued badassery the creative department produces. Dinner with friends. The Perfect Bite. Tennis lessons / tournaments.

Thank you!

Read all of my  Aces interviews here.

Aces Interview: Jaclyn Johnson

The Aces interview series are a little look into the lifestyle of people I admire who are doing amazing things for their community and world.

Today, please meet Jaclyn Johnson!

L.A. is home to most of my favorite fashion bloggers. One of those is Jaclyn, whose Some Notes on Napkins blog I've been following for a couple of years now. The graphic design in her posts drew me into the blog, so it was no surprise to find out she'd founded a creative agency, There is No Subject. The hustlers who use their blog as the gateway to pursue their dreams are the best kinds of inspiration to have. Read on for what's lighting up Jaclyn's life right now:

What's on your playlist right now?

The new Jai Paul album is amazing. I also love Night Time Sound Desire, RHYE and Lorde.

Describe your style.

Consistently changing. Some days I feel like a good drop crotch and others a baby doll dress. I tend to stick to earth tones and simple silhouettes. so ever changing simplicity, maybe?

Who inspires you?

People who are loyal. There are very few people in this life that can pick you up when you are down and generally be on your team. I am lucky to be surrounded by amazing hard-working women and business owners that all lift each other. To name names, Alisa Leonard (French BK), Jasmine Takanikos (Jas Consulting Group), Geri Hirsch (leaftv), Jeanine Pesce (We Are Range) - they all have businesses but are creative geniuses as well and they consistently inspire me.)

What are you reading?

I just finished Contagious by Jonah Berger which was a great read. I also finished Sheryl Sandberg's Lean In between flights to NYC-- a must for any lady getting her hustle on.

What are you most excited about in the coming months? 

Create + Cultivate, my company's creative event series is hitting the road! We are hosting our first one in Portland on July 27th and another one in Brooklyn in late August. I am so excited for Portland as we are working with super dope brands like WildFang, Betsy and Iya and more! Plus the space we are hosting it in is like a creative playground.

Thank you!

Find Jaclyn at Some Notes on Napkins (her blog), There is No Subject (her agency) and Create + Cultivate (the event.)

Read all of my Aces interviews here.

Aces Interview: Jessica Piha

The Aces interview series are a little look into the lifestyle of people I admire who are doing amazing things for their community and world.---

Today in Aces, please meet Jessica Piha!

When Jess agreed to do an Aces interview for me, it felt right to either begin the month or end it with this pint-sized power chick. Jess and I met two years ago at an event. A few weeks later, we went out to lunch to talk blogging and PR, and our friendship's been flourishing ever since.

If you have the pleasure of knowing Jessica Piha, you'd join me in singing these same praises about her. Jess is one of the most supportive, giving people I have ever met. She's nice and sweet, sure, but don't underestimate her ferocity. We both started our own businesses last year, and though she had the skepticism and fear we all have when we're about to do something scary - she leapt right off into the world of entrepreneurism and hit the ground running. She's now one of the busiest publicists I know, and yet she always has time to spend with and be there for her support system. Life as an entrepreneur is much sweeter when you have a friend going through the same things. Thank you for always being a light and a friend, Jess.

What's on your playlist right now?

Country music. Rascal Flatts and The Dixie Chicks have really good break up songs. ;-)

Describe your style.

Pretty classic. 90% of my closet is Banana Republic and J.Crew. I generally wear a lot of stripes and nautical colors. Have taken a recent liking to C.Wonder. Minimal makeup (just mascara and Kari Gran lip whip and I’m ready to go) and I can’t enough pairs of Tods flats.

Who inspires you?

People who live with purpose and passion. My best friend Whitney, my friend Aimee, my client Marci Zaroff, every single female entrepreneur who is following their dream.

What are you reading?

The Rise & Fall of the Third Reich (book) and always my weekly New Yorker.

What are you most excited about in the coming months?

Continuing to excel in my work and grow my business and personal brand, quality time with my incredible family, friends and dog Figgy, vacations to Napa Valley, Walla Walla, and my family summer home on Lopez Island, summer walks around Greenlake and dare I suggest, a little romance?

Thank you!

Read all of my Aces interviews here.

Aces Interview: Sayra Morán

The Aces interview series are a little look into the lifestyle of people I admire who are doing amazing things for their community and world.

Today in Aces, please meet Sayra Morán!

One of the reasons I decided to continue the Aces series after 30 Fresh was so I could feature and also get to know people I admired but didn't know very closely already. Sayra was one of the first people to come to mind. We met almost two years ago at a Seattle event for Miir bottles but have only kept in touch over Twitter. We have a lot in common, which made it easy for me to think of her when I wanted to do more interviews. We have a shared love of sports, Georges St. Pierre, philanthropy, music and so much more. I'm looking forward to getting to know her more in the future!

 

What's on your playlist right now?

My playlist right now consists of Coachella sets and as usual, music to dance and work out to. A lot of:

  • Eric Prydz

  • Pete Tong

  • Daft Punk

  • Macklemore

  • Calvin Harris

  • Above and Beyond

  • and Phoenix to name a few.

Describe your style.

I can always be found in skinny jeans or a skirt and tights, that I love to pair with print/screen tees and a colorful blazer. I love to wear black so I try to balance that by adding pops of color and statement jewelry. Can't wait for spring to start wearing dresses, shorts and tanks regularly though!

Who inspires you?

Tough question for me as I feel so many people in my life inspire me. My mom. The extremely-gifted author Paulo Coelho. My friends and family are all huge inspirations to me. I love to surround myself with people who are moving and shaking things up in their life, traveling, learning and loving, people who have passion and the drive to experience life and meet their goals.

What are you reading?

I just read the book Tuesdays with Morrie and loved it. The Prophet by Khalil Gibran is a recent read too and I was floored by its beauty. Next book on my reading list is The Manuscript Found in Accra by Paulo Coelho. I am an article and blog post collector and am constantly perusing Twitter for new content to favorite and read in my down time.

What are you most excited about in the coming months?

I'm really excited about my job that is constantly challenging me and pushes me to be a better businesswoman, traveling to Utah next month to see my family and friends, the new Daft Punk album and in keeping the positive energy going! 2013 has been a great time already and I'm excited to see what else comes my way.

Thank you! Follow Sayra on TwitterInstagram and sporadically blogging at SayraGrissel.com.

Read all of my Aces interviews here.

Aces Interview: Jammie Chasteen

The Aces interview series are a little look into the lifestyle of people I admire who are doing amazing things for their community and world.---

Today in Aces, please meet Jammie Chasteen!

Jammie's whirlwind story brought her to Seattle for a short while. We met at another blogger's shopping party at Banana Republic, and kept in touch over Twitter. It wasn't until the week before she made a big move to L.A. that we finally sat down together for something longer than a passing conversation. All it took was a little happy hour to know that she and I would have a long-lasting friendship. Now, she's at the top of my list for people I absolutely have to see every time I'm in the City of Angels!

I adore Jammie's resilience and good spirit. I respect and admire Jammie's ever-evolving relationship with God and how it shapes her life. Though I am not very religious myself, I am a big believer that you should always be nurturing your spiritual self. Your spirit and energy are huge driving factors in your life, and how you deal with what happens to you. Jammie's got the strength and persistence of a true hustler, and I'm a fan of hers for that. Long story short, Jammie's move to L.A. was a fresh start to her next decade, and I am grateful to be her friend throughout a year or so of successes and lessons learned.

What's on your playlist right now?

Right now I have three in constant rotation:

  • I'm obsessed with Maroon 5 after seeing them live.

  • I listen to Hillsong United pretty much every morning.

  • I'm a huge Frank Sinatra fan and love anyone in the jazz/easy listening/big band genre. Rain + wine + cooking + this playlist = perfection.

But generally, my music taste is all over the board and my playlist making skills are subpar. So I’m very thankful for Spotify and the fact that I can rely on playlists- not made by me.

Describe your style.

I'm a little New York and a lot L.A.

Give me a maxi dress and some sandals or yoga pants, flip flops and a tank any day. That's the basis of my wardrobe, especially since moving to SoCal. My style is definitely a reflection of my personality. Although I can be the easy- going/soft-spoken type, I also have an adventurous side and an unexpected edge. Cue my love of all black everything, studded anything and the highest of heels.

When I travel I am so inspired by my surroundings and the locals. I love layering when I'm in Seattle, dressing to the nines in Paris (I say that like I’ve been more than once), buying colorful jewels and scarves at the marketplace in Israel, and my studded over the knee Stuart Weitzman boots go with everything I pack for New York. When in Rome...

Overall, I have fun dressing for the occasion. I don't take fashion too seriously and I almost always wear a bright pink lip. It's my “signature”. Or something like that?

Who inspires you?

My friends and family, I am surrounded by amazing people and I try to learn something from each one of them. My parents taught me the power of love. They've been married over 30 years and raised 7 kids. If they know how to do one thing in life, it's how to love. Side note: I just sang the Lil Wayne song while typing. Guilty. I digress… My siblings have taught me to laugh more, be me, and not take myself so seriously. My friends have pushed me to be better all around. Some setting examples of healthy living, some live so full of faith it just amazes me, some living their dreams and making things happen, others are such selfless humans who would give anything to anyone who needed it. My friends who take risks, my family who has taken me in when I needed to start over in life and everyone who lives life to the fullest. My best friend, Melissa, has lived out the definition of a true friend. I really don’t know if there’s anything much more inspiring than that. And you, Jess, are an inspiration to chase dreams, make your passion your work, and keep on hustlin baby.

What are you reading?

As with the playlists, my ADD brain cannot grasp the concept of reading A book! I've always got at least 5 on my iPad. A mix of learning and fun reads. Right now a few are: The Great GatsbyJesus Is ____., and Super Rich (for the second time). If you tell me that you are going through a hard time in life, chances are that I will recommend a book to you. I’m THAT girl. Got a problem, need advice, going on vacation? There’s a book for that!

I can't get enough of the TED talks. They really come in handy during my morning commute. L.A. traffic is much more bearable when listening to these passionate, positive and driven speakers. My most recent favorite was Aliza Licht, aka DKNY PR girl. She played a major part of my Twitter story and how I became a stylist.

What are you most excited about in the coming months?

I’m just REALLY excited for life in general. It’s been a roller coaster since turning 30 (see her 30 post here.) The past few years have been rough, yet character refining. You find out who you are in the valley and now that I’m closer to the mountaintop I’m ready to live life 100% authentically for the first time in a long time. I’ve accumulated the best group of friends and gotten closer to my family. Now I’m enjoying just doing life with every single one of them. Since moving to LA, everything has been an adventure and I never know what will happen next. One moment I’m styling for an editorial shoot and the next I’m riding to lunch in a helicopter, front row at a concert or just chatting over coffee with a celeb… no big deal. My new favorite saying is: Only In LA! I’m so thankful for everything happening and my heart is so full of love it could burst. I hope to get back into blogging and styling within the next few months, so that’s exciting too. But whatever happens happens and I’ll be here to make the best of it.

Thank you!

Read all of my Aces interviews here.

Aces Interview: Nohe Ka

The interview series I started last month during 30Fresh has resonated so well with readers that I've decided to extend the series indefinitely! From now on, these interviews will be a look into the lifestyle of people I admire who are doing amazing things for their community and world. To see all of these interviews, look for the Aces tag.

Today in Aces, please meet one third of my Pretty Gang and one of the most beautiful island girls I've ever seen, Nohe Ka!

Let's talk about how I was too intimidated by Nohe when I first met her to even have a straight conversation with her. Imagine a tall, gorgeous Hawaiian athlete girl strolling around Niketown. Then imagine a tiny, awkward Filipino college girl just trying to make a living dressing mannequins in the same store. Though Nohe's known my best friend Paula their whole lives, I never really talked to her much until recently. Thank you once again to based God & Twitter!

Nohe is the picture of how to make single motherhood life look effortless while having and doing it all. She holds down a stellar job at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and raises her young daughter to be just as well-rounded as she is, while staying close with her parents & brother, and regularly entertaining fun dance parties and nights out with Paula and I. OH and don't get me started on her cooking skills. Chicken adobo, spam musubi, all that. I feel like I can't go a week without seeing my two favorite island girls, and glad to have a forum for you all to meet them.

What's on your playlist right now?

Major Lazer, Major Lazer, Major Lazer. Ever since their concert in March that’s 90% of what I’m listening to, the other 10% is Miguel. The How Many Drinks Remix with Kendrick Lamar is everything!

Describe your style.

I think my style is diverse, my friends have also said sophisticated MILF. I absolutely LOVE accessories - from scarves, jewelry, watches and of course handbags. Louis Vuitton will always be a weakness of mine. I’m usually in black, always in heels and will pay a small fortune for a good white tee.

Who inspires you?

My boo, Anuhea and my parents. They all put perspective in my life and keep me grounded. Anu makes me want to be a better person and brings laughter to my life every day. My parents are great role models and I feel like I’m a combination of both. My dad is stern and intimidating. My mom is smart, kind and considerate. The #1 thing they’ve taught me is loyalty.

What are you reading?

I’ve been reading a lot of nonprofit benchmarking reports for work, Fresh Jess (this month’s posts are my 7am highlight I look for on the train) and any YouTube videos you or Paula send me. Ha!!

What are you most excited about in the coming months?

There are a lot of exciting things going on for me at work now and in the coming months. Two big things in my work life right now are Project Violet and Obliteride. Project Violet is an inspired grassroots project to allow people in the community to “adopt-a-drug” for $100 and follow that drug through the research process. Obliteride is our new annual bike ride taking place August 9-11. What’s unique about this ride, besides the picturesque routes, is that 100% of every dollar will go directly to the research at Fred Hutch. It’s exciting because we’re trying new strategies to offset the drop in government funding due to sequestration. Oh! And highlight of the summer will be Hawaii in July for my family reunion. We’ll be spending time on the Big Island and Honolulu. No doubt I’ll be eating the entire time.

Thank you!

Read all of my Aces interviews here.

Aces Interview: Kelly Ogilvie

The interview series I started last month during 30Fresh has resonated so well with readers that I've decided to extend the series indefinitely! From now on, these interviews will be a look into the lifestyle of people I admire who are doing amazing things for their community and world. To see all of these interviews, look for the Aces tag.

Today in Aces, please meet a dear friend and true hustler, Kelly Ogilvie!

I've known Kelly for almost ten years now, and he's been an incredible role model for me and so many others since. He's like a big brother I didn't know I had! I met him for the first time while I was an intern at the Downtown Seattle Association and he was serving on former Mayor Greg Nickels' team. Less than a year later, we both ended up at the Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce, where he served as Director of Government Relations and I served as the Chamber's events director. He left the Chamber to found Blue Marble Energy with a focus on turning algae blooms into a renewable fuel source. He's now working on another startup, Quemulus (read more in his interview) and on Social Milli, a social media consultancy.

Having met him when I was maybe 22, I couldn't comprehend how someone just a little older than me was accomplishing so much and yet had his eye on leaving an even greater impact on the world. I admire his passion for giving back to his community, on a local and global level, changing the world for the better. Don't be surprised if you see Kelly on the stage at TED or the World Leaders' Summit someday, because I sure won't. I can say that Kelly has always been someone for me to look up to, and any success I have has been fueled by seeing the things he's done in just a few short years.

What's on your playlist right now?

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis "Can't Hold Us". I love the song because it has an aspirational quality to it. That, and the fact that at the end of his video he lands on the Space Needle and hoists a flag. He reps so hard for Seattle; how can you not get behind that?

Describe your style.

My parents subscribed to the Cary Grant school of fashion and instilled some basic ideas:

  1. Buy a few nice things you can afford, not lots of things, and;

  2. A man should wear the suit, the suit shouldn't wear the man.

So I'd say my style is professional-casual. Devil wears Chucks. Blazer and blue jeans with a timepiece. Minimal bling.

Who inspires you?

Neil DeGrasse Tyson. He's an astrophysicist who's dedicated his life to making science accessible and exciting for people. He's a great story teller and makes a compelling case for scientific literacy.

What are you reading? 

I just finished the book Ender's Game. A movie based on it is coming out this year (w Harrison Ford), and I have to say it's one of the best fiction books I've ever read. It's set in a dystopian future where young kids are genetically engineered to be geniuses, and used to fight in wars. The book has a twist that you just don't see coming. Highly recommend it.

What are you most excited about in the coming months?

Quemulus (cue-mu--lus, like the cloud) launches is a few months! We're going to provide an easy (and free) way for people to save, send & receive money. The goal is to make money an extension of our social networks, and to give people an alternative credit option. For example, if someone doesn't want to go to a bank or apply for a credit card, they can go to their network with Quemulus to raise $$. June is the target launch date! Quemulus.com is the signup page for BETA users.

Thank you!

Read all of my  Aces interviews here.

Aces Interview: Steven Severin

The interview series I started last month during 30Fresh has resonated so well with readers that I've decided to extend the series indefinitely! From now on, these interviews will be a look into the lifestyle of people I admire who are doing amazing things for their community and world. To see all of these interviews, look for the Aces tag.

Today I have the honor of sharing with you a Seattle's "Rainmaker." Meet Steven Severin!

If you've ever enjoyed a show or a night out on Capitol Hill (and probably many other places in the city), most likely Steven Severin had something to do with it. His Neumos / Barboza / Moe Bar / Pike St. Fish Fry establishments are arguably the heart of Seattle's nightlife, steady beating lively for over 20 years (Severin is also part of the team behind Li'l Woody's.) Certainly that block has come to be the center of activity on the Hill. I've always had indirect connections to Severin - I knew of him but I didn't know him. I figured we'd meet one day at one of his venues or at City Arts Fest, which he also oversaw for the past three years. Funny enough, we meet one sunny Saturday when I'm watching my friend Sara's store, SPUN Sustainable Collective and he stops into Porchlight Coffee next door for his usual coffee & chat with Porchlight owner Zack Bolotin. As fellow Seattle die-hards and consistent supporters of local small businesses, I guess I shouldn't be that surprised. I loved getting to know Steven through this short interview, and hope you enjoy too:

What's on your playlist right now?

My playlist is kind of funny actually. There's two ways that I generally listen to music. When I'm walking around  (I walk pretty much everywhere), I listen to what's on my iTunes. I decided at the beginning of the year that I was going to listen to every track in alphabetical order. I'm currently in the G's. The last 5 tracks were: Erykah Badu, The Weeknd, Fucked Up, Charles Bradley, and The Black Keys. What's coming up is: William Elliot Whitmore, Kanye, My Morning Jacket, Black Flag, and The Maldives.

The other thing I do is listen to everything new on Spotify. If I listen to it at least twice, then I'll buy it. Right now that's Shuggie Otis, Alice Russell, Melvins, Daughter, and Trinidad James. I'm about to go on a Slayer marathon as I just found out that Jeff Hanneman passed away yesterday. I'm crushed. I've seen them more times than almost any band. The Melvins, Sunny Day Real Estate, and Hush Harbour are up there with having seen 25+ times too.

Describe your style.

My style is "the sneakers always match the shirts."  Other folks may not think it's matching, but my color scheme can be different than others. My wife thinks I'm colorblind. Probably am a little bit. I think pink and green is a great color combo. Don't you?

Who inspires you?

Inspiration is a funny thing to me. I know this is kind of cliche to say, but the Dalai Lama inspires me. I have a book called the Path to Tranquility which gives you a small way to think about the world or yourself every day. I read it each day and try and keep that idea in mind. I struggle to be a better person every single day. I'm a lot better than I used to be, but in this world it's tough. Lots of hate out there. I do just do my best to avoid that shit.

One person that I do look up to in this city is Tim Keck, publisher of The Stranger.

I was at a Stranger Holiday party and then writer Christopher Frizzelle said that Tim was the guy that he hopes he grows up to be. I thought he was joking and I started to defend Tim when I found out he was serious, I said I do too. If you don't know the man, he's one of the best.

Steven-Severin-Squatch.jpg

What are you reading? 

As far as books, let's see: I just finished Casual Vacancy a week or so a go which was pretty good. Just started the Girl who Played with Fire, the second in the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series. I'm totally hooked. I'm also reading the new book by the guy who wrote The White Tiger (Aravind Adiga.)  Really good book. My favorite authors right now are Gary Shtyengart and Murakami. I guess I can't really get enough of Dave Eggers either. What is the What was kind of a life changing book for me. I love to read. Wish I had more time for it.

What are you most excited about in the coming months?

I'm excited about having more time. I've recently hired a new assistant, which is giving me more time to have fun. I stopped doing City Arts Fest this year after 3 years, which is kind of awesome even though a little sad. It was basically a full-time job that I did while I have all my other day and night jobs. I am really focusing on less work and more fun. Of course, there's always a couple irons in the fire with consulting etc., but trying not to take on any more 40 hour a week gigs. Ha ha.

Thank you!

Read all of my Aces interviews here.

(30Fresh) Aces: Anisa Ghadrshenas

Oh you thought it was over?!?

The interview series I started last month during 30Fresh has resonated so well with readers that I've decided to extend the series indefinitely! You met my best friends last month, but from now on you'll hear from people I admire who are doing amazing things for their community and world. To see all of these interviews, look for the Aces tag.

Today's interview is actually one that should have gone live during 30Fresh but alas, working internationally and life got in the way. Meet another one of my bests, Anisa Ghadrshenas!

Being ridiculous 

How we met (her version):

So I think the very first time we met was at GirlsNFootball - but I would say you and I really got to know each other through our time at Banyan Branch - when you guys sponsored the Mona Foundation project, and through various other social and community events/projects that we did together, or supported each other on (THAW fashion show, etc.) I'd also say that just in general, one of the things that attracted me to you was your community orientation - you've always made a point to support the people and causes that matter to you, and in my own way, this has been the cornerstone of everything I've ever wanted to do with my life, so I think that's why we became friends. Each time we struggled, one of us would get the other person back on track. There are so many conversations that I have had with you that I am grateful for, and that put things into perspective for me. But I digress :)

I'd like to add:

We met at a random girls' get together but what really brought us together was finding our sense of purpose, in community service and a shared admiration for some of the world's best leaders. Anisa's got the biggest heart and warmest energy of anyone I know. Talk to anyone who knows her and they wouldn't hesitate to say the same thing. While I know working in Africa is your dream job and an incredible opportunity, there's definitely an unfillable void back here in the States. I cherish our conversations and time we do get to spend together greatly. Your intelligence and ambition paired with your deep-seeded passion for giving back to the world are truly unmatched.

What's on your playlist right now?

My playlist right now is full of everything that reminds me of Seattle:

  • Macklemore and Ryan Lewis

  • Kris Orlowski

  • Other Lives

  • Blue Scholars

  • Mumford and Sons

  • Arcade Fire

  • Allen Stone

  • Matt Costa

  • Jack Johnson :)

Describe your style.

I surround myself with ladies who have a fierce and bold aptitude for fashion, and I love the ideas I get from each of them. However, I would say that my style tends to be pretty classic, and while I will occasionally get out of my comfort zone with the bright cardigan, or the bold-colored heels, I usually stick with the classic, famine lines that I'm most comfortable in. While I've been known to splurge on the occasional dress or handbag, most of my most treasured pieces are ones that I have found at consignment shops, thrift shops, or have been gifted to me by my girlfriends - one of a kind, simple, classic.

Anisa-Ghadrshenas-Jess-Estrada

Anisa-Ghadrshenas-Jess-Estrada

Anisa made Coachella an unforgettable experience

Who inspires you?

I feel very fortunate that in all my circles, I am surrounded by some of the greatest people on this planet. I sometimes stop and think to myself, how did I get so lucky? I have friends who are entrepreneurs, designers, teachers, writers, philanthropists, scientists, filmmakers, homemakers - no one doing the same thing, but all following their the beat of their own drum. I find constant inspiration in watching them take intelligent and bold risks to accomplish something great in the world. I am so grateful for their example, their encouragement and in what I believe is a collection action that will make this world a better place. This is what keeps me on my path. This is what I live for.

What are you reading? 

Since moving to Kenya, I've been reading a lot about the history of many of the countries I travel through. Some of my favorites have been: "It's our turn to eat" about Kenya, "We wish to inform you that tomorrow we will be killed with our families" about Rwanda, and " The teeth may smile but the heart does not forget" about Uganda. My daily reads include: Harvard Business Review, Huffington Post Women's Page, and Co.Exist.

What are you most excited about in the coming months?

The coming months are a little uncertain for me right now. I've been living in Kenya for almost a year and half working with the Clinton Health Access Initiative, and I love my work. But I'm starting to think about what the next steps are for me, both professionally and personally, and while I'm not entirely sure what that looks like, I feel like there are infinite possibilities, and I trust that with hard work, faith, and love, all will unfold as it's meant to.

Thank you!

Read all of my Aces interviews here.

30Fresh Aces: Paula Aio

Each week during 30Fresh, I'll introduce you to a couple of incredible people whose soul, energy, humor, talent, intellect and dreams light up my life. I think the world of them and hope you do too!

On this last day of 30Fresh, it's my pleasure to introduce you to my best friend of 16+ years, Paula Aio!

Paula and I met in 8th grade P.E. class back in good old Kent. We figured out right away it was more fun talking to each other and dancing to songs like Bell Biv Devoe's 'Poison' while standing in line waiting to play soccer and running a mile than it was to deal with the awkwardness of junior high alone. We were talking just the other day about how the group of friends we rolled with in junior and high school were so much fun and yet somehow we stayed away from career-ending poor decisions youngsters sometimes get into. LOL!

Paula's stuck by me throughout college, our shared time working at Niketown with the coolest coworkers in the world, and this crazy career of mine. We have a lot in common, but music is by far our strongest bond. To be honest, I'm not sure why she hangs out with me because her music tastes are way more diverse and classy than mine. I mean, I can never have enough Gucci Mane. But this isn't about me. I can say with full certainty that Paula is one of the nicest people walking this fine planet, with the biggest heart to boot. In high school, she won Best Dancer senior year. That's why it's no surprise she's now a Zumba teacher whose classes are rich with salsa, merengue, cumbia, hula, hip-hop and maybe even a little bit of twerkin' too. Whenever I take one of Paula's Zumba classes, my heart swells with pride because it's clear she's in her element - and her students totally respond to her amazing energy. They are diehards for her class, dressing up in tutus and all! I feel like the world is just seeing what Paula is capable of, including Paula herself. I'm excited and a little scared for y'all now that Romy and Michele (one of our favorite movies next to The Count of Monte Cristo & Lilo & Stitch) have approached their 30s! Now that we have a better grip on ourselves, this decade's 'bout to ROCK.

WE JUST GETTIN STARTED Y'ALL!

Paula decided a video was the best way to answer her interview questions. Enjoy :)

Thank you! 30Fresh30 days of posts celebrating 30 years - and 5 of Fresh Jess!

30Fresh Aces: Jacob Boysen

Each week during 30Fresh, I'll introduce you to a couple of incredible people whose soul, energy, humor, talent, intellect and dreams light up my life. I think the world of them and hope you do too!

I have a very strict rule against talking much about him on the interwebz, but in the spirit of 30Fresh, it's only right to finish the month with an introduction to my boyfriend, fellow hustler, mentor, sounding board, sometimes antagonist and always my very best friend. Meet Jacob Boysen!

If you ask him, the story of how we met will be very different from my account. He stalked me, alright? I was minding my own business walking home from UW one fine spring day. I'd just bought the latest issue of YM because Brandon Boyd of Incubus was on the cover (LOL) and was on the phone with Paula telling her all about the issue. I noticed this business school-lookin dude creepin' me from about 20 feet ahead. He slowed down to wait for me and I was like, "Paula, there's a dude over here creepin' me but he's cute so I'll call you back." (LOL) He told me it wasn't nice to stalk people on their way home from school, I gave him the Nicki Minaj eye roll and we had a wonderful conversation the rest of the way home. When we got to my corner, I said, "So are you gonna give me your number so we can have coffee or what?" I'm not sure where I found my sassy pants that day but I'm sure glad I did! Over ten crazy years later, we are still going on those coffee dates.

While Jacob and I have a lot in common, we couldn't be more different in many other ways. He's into Swedish House Mafia & Macklemore, and I can't live without my trap mixtapes. Somehow we make it work. I appreciate that he's so different from me, because I've learned worlds from his perspective on the world. In the over ten years we've known each other, I've seen him take on the role of college student, magazine founder and editor, nightclub promoter, overseas (Baghdad!) contractor and now Gates Foundation analyst darling moonlighting as a professional MMA fighter. In turn, he's dealt with a reserved college student who somehow found her way as an events director, social media agency face and now a blogger-turned-entrepreneur. 

I feel incredibly lucky to have a partner in life who is as ambitious and motivated as I am in pursuing his dreams. A lot of times, you'll find us at a coffee shop on a Friday or Saturday night working on blog posts and watching jiu-jitsu videos. 10,000 hours, alright? He doesn't give me grief if I go to a few events for my blog or have to work all night on something, because he trains MMA or jiu-jitsu every night anyway. With our ridiculous schedules, we still come home every night and talk about our day, and there is no shortage of time to talk about our next moves or just relax with our bulldog Spike. We are not perfect, but we make it work. It's been amazing growing and evolving next to this handsome face, and I can't wait to see what the future holds for us in this next decade.

What's on your playlist right now?

  • Get Lucky – Daft Punk, Pharell Williams

  • F**ckin Problems – A$AP Rocky

  • Punching In A Dream – The Naked and Famous

  • Love Train – The O’Jays

  • Can’t Hold Us – Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

  • Jah No Partial – Major Lazer

  • Get Away – Snoop Lion

  • Ten Thousand Hours – Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

  • Wild for the Night - A$AP Rocky

Describe your style.

The Jiu-Jitsu lifestyle! Hahahaha, for real, I spend a lot of time in the gym or on the mat, and it’s all about being comfortable without looking sloppy. I love fresh kicks, nice shirts, and shorts. If I could wear shorts 365 days a year I would. My favorite brands include RVCA, Shoyoroll, Alive & Well, Quiksilver, Artlete, Nike, Ben Sherman, Uniqlo, and Brooklyn Industries.

Doing what we do best. Look at my hair though!

With Jacob's future boss

Who inspires you?

Oh man, that’s such a loaded question. I would say that I’m inspired those that dream and have the balls and fortitude to chase those dreams with reckless abandonment in spite of all the crap life throws at you. If I had to say it more eloquently, I would say I’m inspired by those that innovate, those hat think outside the box and are willing to put in the necessary work to make those ideas come to life. Real change, real innovation, real disruption isn’t easy and those that “do” inspire me.

What are you reading?

Just finished Interventions by Kofi Annan and Renegades Write the Rules by Amy Jo Martin. Both are must reads!

What are you most excited about in the coming months?

My goal is to get four more professional MMA fights in 2013 – it looks like my next fight will be June 8th.

Thank you!

30Fresh. 30 days of posts celebrating 30 years - and 5 of Fresh Jess!

30Fresh Aces: Byron Gronseth

Each week during 30Fresh, I'll introduce you to a couple of incredible people whose soul, energy, humor, talent, intellect and dreams light up my life. I think the world of them and hope you do too!

Today it's my pleasure to introduce you to my next Ace and creative director behind Fresh Jess -Byron Gronseth!

Byron and my friendship is another one that blossomed via Twitter. A transplant from all over the place, Byron used Twitter to find a few fun people to talk to in Seattle and we've been friends ever since. We've got a shared love for scathing sarcasm, the color black and all things Harry Potter. Seriously, if we could be in a movie, we call the parts of Sirius Black & Bellatrix LeStrange! He's the only one I trust in helping me carry out the visual design behind the Fresh Jess brand. He's responsible for the background and header you see on FJ today, as well as the 30 Fresh banner. It's always awesome to see your friends hit a good stride, and Byron's been on one for the last couple of years, landing his dream girl and an amazing job at a design agency. Read on for more:

What's on your playlist right now?

  • How to Destroy Angels - Welcome Oblivion

  • Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds - Push the Sky Away

  • Talib Kweli's Attack the Block mixtape

  • Some random shit with violins and yelling.

  • I heard there was a "Trent Reznor Aggressively Touching Things In An Antique Store" EP—i'm on that.

Describe your style.

Villainous, usually. Heavy, textured blacks, leather, slates and greys, dull, muted patterns and rugged edges. However, at some point in 2012 I bought some brightly colored v-necks. It sounds cheesy as hell but I guess my fiancée brought color into my life. My dreams of being Sirius Black when I grow up were officially dashed with heavy doses of gingham & orange accessories.

Who inspires you?

I'm extremely critical of my own work and everyday I worry that I'm a fraud. So naturally, my heroes come in two flavors: creative peers (industry folk from all disciplines) & appreciators (family & friends with real jobs.) Sometimes I need hard-hitting peer review and critique to remind me how much better I need to be. Other times, I need someone to be there for me, whether I rise or fall. I need someone to share my process and inspire me, beyond my peers and mentors. to watch the transformation. ...and to remind me what is most important. (Tacos & hugs #RealTalk)

What are you reading?

Great Gatsby, the last few books of the Sandman series by Neil Gaiman, just rolled through Lord of the Rings and now finishing up Stardust also by Gaiman. You could say that my hobbit, sword & whiskey-based inspiration is at an all-time high.

What are you most excited about in the coming months?

Duh, marrying my damn soul mate, my voyager, my dancer, my sun chaser, my most enthusiastic cheerleader, my philosopher, my scientist, my queen.

Also, by the way, i'm producing the absolute best work of my life at an agency that challenges me every day to not suck.

Thank you!

30Fresh30 days of posts celebrating 30 years - and 5 of Fresh Jess!

30Fresh Aces: TigerBeat

Each week during 30Fresh, I'll introduce you to a couple of incredible people whose soul, energy, humor, talent, intellect and dreams light up my life. I think the world of them and hope you do too!

Say what you will, but I am proud to call this next Ace my friend. Meet TigerBeat!

Josh, better known to you as TigerBeat, is a DJ who absolutely knows how to throw a party. I met him at his HollyHood weekly Friday dance party, and through Twitter, sarcasm and Atlanta hip-hop, became great friends. I admire Josh for his unfiltered honesty and opinion. He's the epitome of "keeping it real." He's a constant reminder to stick to my guns, even when it's not the popular thing to do.

He lives in NYC now and is getting his name out there as a solid DJ, building his production and DJ skills every day. If you're in the Big Apple, make sure you find him and check out one of his sets. Find him on SoundCloud & Twitter to see where he'll be spinning next.

After the interview, peep his latest mixtape, a birthday present to me and all of you!

What's on your playlist right now?

Hella YouTube and World Star videos. A bunch of stuff really. Random music. I have been focusing on production a lot lately so I have been listening to producers, like:

  • Willy Joy

  • Cobra Krames

  • Mike Will

  • Salva

  • Proper Villains

and music like Donnis & Kendrick Lamar. Diplo's killing as per usual...you know, club shit.

Describe your style.

My style.. as to...DJing or how I dress? I know this is for a fashion blog. How I dress? I'd say I have a pretty basic style. A.P.C. jeans all day, tank tops and hoodies, v-necks, Vans. Gold chain,  gold teeth. Sunglasses. I put a button-up on if I'm feeling ethnic. I also haven't combed or cut my hair in 4 months. I don't know whats going on with that. My DJ style: Heavy rap influence on top of everything else. I love rap chants and 808s.

Who inspires you?

Inspiration. That's a big feeling to have. People that get up and go out and work hard for what they want or believe. Not falling into line because its the easy thing or trendy thing to do. Standing up for who and what you love. But mostly, just cats.

What are you reading?

I am currently immersed in musical theory, production books, the internet and friends all on the subject of music production and turntablism. I don't have time for much else right now with networking full time in anticipation for the summer here in NYC. I'm very excited!

What are you most excited about in the coming months?

NYC!!! Making a network of colleagues and friends. Practicing, learning and honing my craft. the parties where I can play unabashed rap anthems.

A real mixtape from a real DJ for my birthday! Enjoy!

Thank you!

30Fresh. 30 days of posts celebrating 30 years - and 5 of Fresh Jess!