Spotlight on Constant Creatives

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Spotlight on Constant Creatives: Lexy Olivia

This is the second installment of Spotlight on Constant Creatives and I am ecstatic to introduce on the blog today my best friend, my inspiration, my constant encourager and supportive partner in the creative world Lexy Olivia! I don’t even know where to start with this amazing human, which is why I know her interview will stand for itself. She is so intelligent, kind, one of the most selfless people I know, a great storyteller, and an incredible artist. If I had to name a friend who gets what it’s like to be a constant creative, to be an entrepreneur, to travel down that road of having a fiery passion for something, it would be Lexy. From meeting in high school to navigating the creative and business worlds together, she just GETS IT! Scroll to the bottom and let me know your favorite part of the interview by leaving a comment!

Lexy Olivia interview

Can you tell everyone about who you are? Let’s hear about your creative business and passions!

Hey everyone! My name is Lexy and I’m the constant creator behind my brand Lexy Olivia.I chose my namesake as my brand because I wanted it to evolve with me as I grow and expand into new endeavors. Currently, I make watercolor book inspired prints for a really unique niche on Instagram called Bookstagram. I’m currently deeply invested in this loyal community and have an amazing group of followers who are incredibly supportive! I’m super passionate about growing my skills and evolving my business. Beyond that, you’ll always catch me outside! Summiting mountains, running, rock climbing, jumping out of airplanes or off of cliffs, you name it I’m out there! Being surrounded by nature and living a rejuvenating and adventurous lifestyle is of the utmost importance to me; without it, there is no creative well for me to draw from!

Have you always considered yourself a creative?

Absolutely! I always knew I was born to create. At a very young age I had dreams of being an artist. I would fantasize about being an actress! Watching my dad draw and sketch my whole young life impressed upon me a great appreciation for art of all kinds.

What led you to take that leap into starting your own business?

It started out as a way for me to cope with my serious health issues. I had to quit my job after being sick for such a long time and the doctors didn’t know how to help me. I found myself living in a new state with no friends and no job and was starting to get seriously depressed. I went down to the art store one day and picked up a $7.99 paint set and began painting. I’d show friends and family my designs and they were all really enthusiastic, so I thought why not? At that point, I had nothing to lose. It truly evolved and unfolded beyond my wildest expectations.

What’s your favorite thing about having an unconventional 9-5 lifestyle?

Freedom is the greatest gift that this lifestyle provides. I’ll never stop being so thankful for those days when there’s a foot of fresh powder on ski slopes or I have the chance to travel the world and I can be flexible and nimble enough to take my work on the road.

Have you always known you wanted to be an entrepreneur?

Yes! I’ve been running other people’s businesses since I was 16. I always had a keen eye for identifying problems and optimizing solutions. But of course, it wasn’t my business so I didn’t have full control over the outcomes. When I turned 21 I tried the corporate world on for size and it didn’t fit. Now I could never imagine working for someone else. Sometimes it feels so surreal I literally yell “I’M THE BOSS!” when I’m having a hard day to remind myself that I definitely got this. Being able to collect data to optimize your interactions, conversions and advertising strategies is so satisfying to me. I find the business aspect of my brand equally as gratifying as the pure artistry. 

Being an entrepreneur has its ups and downs. Can you name a moment of failure that you ultimately learned from?

I don’t necessarily believe in failure. There have been so many times that I’ve made choices and looked back and realized I could have done better. At the same time, when you run your own business you’re the only one who is in charge of everything. It is impossible to foresee certain obstacles so I try to be really gentle with myself. Despite my best efforts to think through each situation and consider every possible outcome, sometimes I drop the ball. Every time I face a challenge, I try to welcome it as growth and change and take notes on how to avoid similar situations in the future.

What’s been the biggest hurdle you’ve had to overcome in your creative journey?

I can’t say that I’ve overcome it quite yet, but time management is often paralyzing to me. The flipside of having so much freedom is also having a total lack of structure. Creating structure for myself is vital but it’s a skill I haven’t quite cultivated.

How has your business evolved since you first started?

Wow, what an amazing question! I hardly take the time to sit and reflect. From starting out painting a smiling lemon and whale cards, to managing high-level business accounts, packing orders, crushing deadlines and maintaining a life, I’d say everything has changed! My level of responsibility is so much greater these days, but I’d never trade the thrill of a challenge to predictability.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to start their own creative business or go after something they’re passionate about?

I’d say just dive in. I personally don’t believe that we’re here on this earth to hustle and grind so we can pay bills and live monotonously. I think we are here to realize our highest selves, love one another and do things that set our souls on fire. Fear is such a limiting factor in today’s world. I know we have a lot to lose; from friendships to job security to our homes. Maybe we fear judgement or whatever your limiting beliefs may be, know that you are worthy of the highest joys and success in life. Whatever that may look like to you, go after it.

I love that inspiration can come in so many shapes and sizes. Where, who, or what do you draw inspiration from?

I’d say YOU definitely inspire me! I try to surround myself with people who expand my parameters. I like to look at people who are doing radically different things in life. I think it can be dangerous to saturate your feed, whether it be digital or in real life, with people who are doing the same things as you. I love reading the New York Times every Sunday and reading through a Wired Magazine front to back. Technology, science, quantum theory, health and organic living are things that are constantly inspiring me. Assimilating the information I absorb back into my artwork is the challenging part.

What’s something you’ve focused on personally this year to better yourself or your business?

I’ve really shifted my focus to growing spiritually. I found that the lifestyle I created for myself was running me into the ground. I feel like that is such a learning curve for entrepreneurs. If I’m the only one who is directly in charge of how much income I make, shouldn’t I work as hard as possible for as long as possible? Wrong! You should design a comfortable lifestyle where you’re productive but also taking really good care of yourself so you have limitless creative potential.

What’s a dream of yours that you hope to accomplish in the coming years? (P.S. I know you will!)

My ultimate dream is to create a film that I write, direct and star in with you as a creative collaborator! It’s been something that I have visualized my whole life. I truly look forward to the day this dream actualizes. I can see it all now; from the crew to the script and the feelings I’ll have when it’s all coming together! Lexy Olivia interview

 

Do you have a favorite quote or mantra that you live by?

A personal mantra I live by is mind over matter. I really push myself in every area of my life because I truly feel like we live in a world of infinite possibility. Thoughts are things and if we think we can achieve something, then so it is. A business mantra I apply is “learn, test, pivot.” To me, it is the essence of being an entrepreneur. You should always be learning, testing your hypothesis and applying that data back into your business to always get better results.

You have an unmistakable style that shines through on your Instagram. Can you tell me about your aesthetic and how you feel it reflects who you are?

Thank you so much! I feel like it’s definitely an ever evolving work in progress. I love how it oscillates between light & dark photos but there’s always tons of color! It’s a duality that I think I experience in life between the light and the dark. I just want my feed to inspire people and evoke a sense of gratitude and happiness that rubs off on people.

How are you a “Constant Creative”?

I cannot escape the Constant Creative lifestyle! Sometimes when I’m trying to quiet my mind and relax, I have non stop visions of new products I’d like to see, more partnerships, bigger productions. I could be listening to a song and envision an entire short film set to that song! It is endless and so exhilarating. I started out having no formal knowledge of painting and now I do it for a living. I love the constant creative process of being inspired to learn something new and incorporating it into your life. Who knows, maybe pottery is next! Although, I think I’d like to take up longboarding…

 

Quick Six:

  • Favorite book: Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls!
  • If I were to walk into your kitchen I would find this freshly made: Hummus or pesto! Eating clean is something I don’t compromise on. I love to have things prepped and ready to grab when I’m working full throttle all day.
  • A song you love to sing at the top of your lungs: I have a confession to make. I LOVE singing but I find myself rapping more often. You can generally always find me rapping Tupac or J. Cole lyrics when I’m driving in the car.
  • A hike you want to cross off your bucket list: I’ve been training to climb the Grand Teton which is a 13,700 foot mountain that I live near!
  • A person, dead or alive, you want to meet: I had a hard time with this one! Mostly because I don’t really idolize anyone. I love meeting people in general and hearing their stories. I think it would be really amazing to meet some of my friends that I’ve made through social media in real life though!
  • You’re a new addition to the crayon box. What color would you be and why? Pastel rainbow! It’s the first color scheme I ever painted that I fell in love with and is indicative of my style as an artist. A soft blend of all the colors we see around us.

Thank you Lexy for sharing your thoughts and story with everyone! You are such an inspiration! You can follow lexy on Instagram  or Facebook and be sure to check out her shop!

 

P.S. Did you miss the first Spotlight on Constant Creatives interview with Queen Shirin? Catch up here!

 

Spotlight on Constant Creatives: Interview with Queen Shirin. An interview series where I interview the "constant creatives" of the world: artists, entrepreneurs, and dreamers!
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Spotlight On Constant Creatives: Interview with Queen Shirin

I’m really excited to introduce a new interview series on the blog called Spotlight on Constant Creatives. There are so many creative people out there who are pushing past boundaries, stretching the idea of being a “creative” and showing the world that you don’t have to be confined to one passion. I wanted to start this series so we could hear from all the people that make up this community of artists, entrepreneurs, and dreamers.

I’m ecstatic to have a very smart, pun-loving, talented fellow blogger and friend come onto the blog to share her journey and advice with you all! Her makeup tutorials are outta this world, she creates really fun YouTube videos thanks to her editing skills, and her answer to one of the Quick Six questions (person she would meet dead or alive) is surprisingly fitting and says a lot about the unique person that she is. Read on for all the greatness that is beauty-guru Shirin Nahvi of Queen Shirin!

Can you introduce yourself and tell everyone about who you are and what you do?

Spotlight on Constant Creatives: Interview with Queen ShirinHi, everyone! My name is Shirin and I am a beauty, fashion, and lifestyle YouTuber and blogger. Thank you so much, Sam, for having me on Constant Creative!

Have you always considered yourself a creative?

Yes! My mom is an architect and my grandpa is an artist, so being creative is basically in my blood. Since childhood, my passions and hobbies included artistic endeavors from playing violin to telling stories to being behind the camera. I was obsessed with taking pictures and videos. Clearly, nothing has changed.

What led you to take that leap into starting your own blog and Youtube channel?

When I was in middle school, I taught myself HTML and CSS from reading the codes for custom site layout themes on Neopets. One of my biggest inspirations is Jessica Kobeissi, an amazingly talented photographer, who at the time had a blog featuring tons of graphic design tutorials that I followed to create custom blog headers and backgrounds. Through combining my coding and design skills, I started my first blog where I posted about my daily life and connected with fellow bloggers from Neopets.

Around the same time, I discovered the YouTube beauty world and started watching tons of makeup videos. I realized I wanted to be a creator instead of a viewer, so I started my first YouTube channel during middle school and posted a now-cringeworthy video about socks and shoes, neither of which exist anymore. After that video, I stopped posting because I thought I needed to have long hair in order to be a beauty YouTuber since all the creators I watched at the time had long hair. Looking back, that was honestly such a silly thought.

Fast forward to 2010, I created my Queen Shirin YouTube channel. Throughout high school and college, I uploaded videos sporadically, as focusing on school and getting good grades was my priority, and ran an extremely neglected blog that was meant to accompany my channel. Upon graduation, I briefly worked at a digital media company that worked with YouTubers and influencers before deciding I wanted to pursue YouTube full-time. Thus, I quit my job, started making videos more consistently, and launched my third and current blog, www.queenshirin.com.

When did you first get into makeup and beauty?

At some point in elementary school, I wanted to start shopping for my own clothes and accessories instead of my parents buying them for me. As I developed my own fashion style, beauty came hand-in-hand. I enjoyed playing around with different hairstyles and doing my nails.

While running my first blog, I was so fascinated with photos of lip art and creative makeup looks I found online that my site graphics started to include images of models with artistic makeup. I didn’t start wearing makeup until high school, and by makeup I mean experimenting with my mom’s eyeshadows. Halloween 2009, I dressed up as the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland and followed Kandee Johnson’s makeup tutorial for the look. I’ve been into makeup ever since.

You also have a passion for film and screenwriting (we met in college where we both received degrees in Screenwriting), where do you plan to go with that? Anything in the works right now?

YouTube! I find that a lot of screenwriting elements, from structure to storytelling, translate over to creating a YouTube video. Yes, even for creating a makeup tutorial or product review! Having a video planned out before filming allows me to present information in a way that is engaging, educational, and concise. I recently started a Beauty Editing 101 series, where I teach tips and tricks about editing beauty photos and videos, but I also plan on adding a comedy series to my channel.

Being a blogger/Youtuber has its ups and downs. Can you name a moment of failure or a hurdle you overcame that you ultimately learned from?

Learning to stop comparing myself to others is something I’ve had to overcome and still remind myself. It’s so easy to look at other people’s content and ask yourself why your work doesn’t look as good as theirs. In fact, I’m still learning how to properly blend my eyeshadow. I know that in time, with practice and patience, I’ll get better. I’m not perfect and that’s ok. Strive for improvement, not perfection. Trust me, it’s less stressful that way. This is coming from a perfectionist.

You’re passionate about so many things: film, writing, graphic design, beauty, fashion, the list goes on and on! How do you think not allowing yourself to be defined by one thing has shaped you?

I find myself constantly incorporating each of my passions into my content. For instance, my YouTube videos allow me to combine my film, writing, and graphic design skills with fashion and beauty. My blog graphics also display my design skills. By combining my passions, I’m able to further showcase my style and personality.

How has your blog/Youtube channel evolved since you first started?

Spotlight on Constant Creatives: Interview with Queen Shirin

Basically, my channel and blog reflect my interests. As I continue to grow and evolve, so does my content. When I first started, I posted mainly makeup and nail art tutorials, DIY’s, and outfit videos. Then, I went through a phase where I was really into baking and making healthy recipes, so I started uploading food videos. Now, I still upload beauty videos, but plan to include comedy, as well.

Additionally, I filmed using natural light and edited all my videos on my iPhone when I first started. Since then, I’ve invested in lighting, editing, and camera equipment which have significantly improved my production quality.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to start their own creative business or go after something they’re passionate about?

Do it! But, take calculated risks. Have a business plan or set goals so you know what you are working toward and have a way to get where you want to be. Have some money saved up so you can support yourself while launching your business.

My top three tips are to research the industry you want to pursue, be patient, and surround yourself with a strong support system. Becoming an expert in your field will give you a cutting edge. However, success does not (typically) happen overnight. It’s easy to get caught up in the analytics and get frustrated about not getting enough likes or views, but the more content you put out, the more chances people have of finding you. I know more often than not, friends and family won’t always understand what you want to do nor will they support you. That’s ok. Support can come from people other than just friends and family. There are several online communities, like Facebook or Reddit groups for bloggers and YouTubers, that are designed to support one another. I definitely recommend checking these out and being a member of these groups. There’s a good chance you’ll make some new friends while you’re at it!

You said you’re a big fan of self-teaching. Is that something you think our generation has a leg up on? What resources have you turned to, to learn a new skill?

Absolutely! Our generation has access to such a vast amount of resources that you can teach yourself almost anything or connect with someone who you’d like to learn from by reaching out to them via social media. YouTube is one of my go-to sites for learning new skills, especially video editing techniques. I also love checking out educational books from the library.

I love that inspiration can come in so many shapes and sizes. Where, who, or what do you draw inspiration from?

My inspiration comes from lots of different sources, from music to movies to photographers and everything in between. I frequently reference Pinterest and Instagram for makeup look ideas and flatlay compositions. As far as editing style goes, I pull a lot of inspiration from Teni Panosian. I love her cinematic style and aim to create a similar feel in my videos.

How do you believe you stand out amongst other beauty and lifestyle influencers? I think a lot of young people that are considering starting a blog or Youtube channel are worried about the market being too saturated, what’s your opinion on that?

While the market is definitely saturated, the world of influencers is still relatively new and growing. There is room for everyone to succeed. Also, more brands are starting to work with micro-influencers as opposed to the top content creators, so if you’ve ever wanted to start your own blog or YouTube channel, now is the time.

What’s a dream of yours that you hope to accomplish in the coming years?

I would love to start my own beauty line.

What message do you want your audience to get from your content? What inspiration do you want them to pull from you?

I seek to inspire my audience to be confident in their own skin as well as empower them to be the best version of themselves.

I love your style! You really go for it in so many of your Instagram posts and Youtube videos. Can you tell me about your aesthetic and how you feel it reflects who you are?

Aw, thank you! My aesthetic is colorful, yet simple. I like having a white or neutral themed background and using a pop of color for my subject, whether that’s my eye makeup or products. My personality is calm and fun, which mirrors my white/neutral and colorful aesthetic.

Lastly, how are you a “Constant Creative”?

Being an active learner and continually seeking out ways to improve myself makes me a “Constant Creative”.

Quick Six

  • Favorite book: The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
  • Influencer you would love to do a collaboration with? Teni Panosian
  • Tv show you’re addicted to: Jane the Virgin
  • Destination on your bucket list: Egypt
  • A person, dead or alive, you want to meet: Richard Branson
  • Favorite thing about having a Youtube channel: Connecting with people around the world

What was your favorite thing about this interview? Tell me in a comment below!

Thanks so much Shirin for having such an inspiring conversation with me and telling everyone about yourself and what you do! You can follow Shirin on Instagram @queenshirin or on her YouTube channel.

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10 Influential Women to Read, Watch, or Listen to For Major Inspiration

influential women to read, watch, or listen to for major inspiration

There are honestly so many inspiring and influential women out there, but I thought I would share 10 women that ignite passion, motivation, and encouragement in their own unique ways. Whether it’s through their blogs, books, podcasts, or Youtube channels, all of these women will bring some serious inspiration into your life!

1.   Lauren Hooker of Elle & Company:

When I came across Lauren’s blog during the building stages of my website, it was like stumbling across a treasure chest of all things branding, growing your business, creating amazing content, and SO much more! For any creative entrepreneur out there, this is one woman you don’t want to miss. Every single one of her blog posts is so helpful, she truly focuses on serving her readers, and her content is unmistakable, it’s that good. When I say that, I really mean EVERY single blog post is purposeful and I walk away from reading with a new idea or strategy for my business. Not only does she have a blog, but she goes above and beyond with her Elle Chats, a weekly webinar, and she also offers E-courses (I can’t wait to sign up for the Adobe one)

2.   Maya of Shameless Maya:

If the name doesn’t already give it away, Maya Washington is an extremely talented and influential Youtuber who inspires you to share who you are and celebrate that shamelessly! I love her videos because she really encourages you to go out there and not care what other people think and to follow your passion with all your heart. Maya has an unmistakable style and vibe about her that will make you binge watch all her videos! I also love her Tech Talk videos, they’re super informational in an engaging way. Also talk about being a #ConstantCreative, Maya is also a creative producer and actor who stars in Google’s Original Series, God Complx and Feature Film, Alaska is a Drag.

3.   Hannah Gale:

The first blog I ever read of hers made me laugh out loud, literally! This gal is so funny, down to earth, and also quite inspiring. Her wit and humor will draw you in, but her well thought out blog posts with thoughtful content will keep you there. She’s all about being YOU, whatever that may look like. She shares her life and her heart on her blog and also on her YouTube channel. She’s a major influencer in the blogging/beauty/fashion world and you should check her out ASAP.

4.   Natalie Franke of The Rising Tide Society:

Being in The Rising Tide Society has changed my journey as a creative and so has the incredibly inspiring Natalie Franke. In the spirit of #communityovercompetition, Natalie started a community where creative entrepreneurs can band together to encourage, learn with, and inspire each other. Whether it’s through the Facebook page (which is nearing 100,000 members quickly and you should absolutely join as a creative) or via the weekly TuesdaysTogether the Rising Tide Society holds, she’s a voice in the creative community this generation needs. Natalie has her own blog with such valuable content and she also has a pretty strong vlogging game on her Youtube channel! Maybe it’s because she started The Rising Tide Society in her early 20’s or maybe it’s because she likes coffee as much as I do, either way, she’s one influential and inspiring chick!

5.   Elsie Larson and Emma Chapman of A Beautiful Mess:

This was one of the first blogs I EVER read, isn’t that crazy? I remember checking their blog religiously to see if they had added any new posts, I was obsessed. Sisters Elsie and Emma have created an empire with A Beautiful Mess and it’s for good reason. Their blog really resonates with me because you can see that they’re passionate about different things and didn’t want to be confined to one topic, a lot like myself I would say. Plus, their blog is total eye –candy! On A Beautiful Mess, you’ll find blogs on everything from food, décor, hair tutorials, crafts, blogging, travel, fashion, you name it! They truly have a colorful outlook on life that makes them stand apart from the crowd and inspires people like me (and you) every day! Elsie and Emma not only have a blog, but they also have an entire shop full of books, apps, classes, planners, a Happy Mail subscription, and so much more! What else could they possibly have?! Oh yeah, a popular DIY Youtube channel. If I had to say what I hope my blog will become one day, A Beautiful Mess has set the standard for me!

6.   Maya Elious:

You can pretty much just call her the content queen! She helps creative women strategize with purpose-driven content and the second I downloaded one of her guides, I was hooked! She has a killer blog and so many freebies that will challenge you with your content in the best way possible. Maya also has a YouTube channel that I recently came across and she’s all about helping you find your purpose and grow overall as a person. All of her videos are so inspiring, SO uplifting, and really encouraging. I think she said it best when she says: “It’s time for you to step into your purpose, strategize your business, and be the boss you know you’re meant to be.

7.   Reese Witherspoon:

Not only is she one of my all-time favorite actresses (and I hope I get to work with her one day) but she also started a #ForTheLoveOfReading book club that’s run exclusively on Instagram called @rwbookclub. There’s no formal website, instead she starts a conversation with her followers to pick the next book—the perfect kind of book club for the Millennial generation, right? I’m a bit of a romantic when it comes to books and the written word and I love that she’s keeping book clubs alive in this social media driven world. Also, she puts out AMAZING film and television content with her Pacific Standard production company who focuses primarily on female-driven stories. So yeah, #GoReeseGo

8.   Julie Solomon:

Oh man, it was like hitting a gold mine with Julie! I stumbled across her Instagram which eventually led me to her Pitch It Perfect course and that was one of the best decisions I could have made since I knew I eventually wanted to start my own blog, and here we are! Her Pitch It Perfect course is a must-do and I really walked away from that course feeling so much more confident in navigation collaborations and reaching out to brands. There’s even more good stuff on branding, pitching, blogging, and social media on her blog. She also just launched an amazing podcast called The Influencer podcast that’s my latest addiction! Seriously, this is another one that I have on repeat in my car because I love soaking up all the great information this podcast has. I love that she is so passionate about what she does, but in such a relatable way. She’s so encouraging and engaged with her audience, I know you will feel the same way about her too!

9.   Jenna Kutcher:

She’s another one that I gush about to people all the time, this girl is the real deal! You really do end up feeling like her best friend after reading her blog or listening to her podcast—both which absolutely top the blogging and podcasting charts, at least in my opinion. I actually came across The Goal Digger Podcast first and I think that’s all I listened to in my car for a week straight! Jenna Kutcher has lots to say about marketing, growing your business, and being your most authentic self in every part of life. She’s not afraid to be herself and consistently talks about her love for Mac n Cheese too, which is fine by me because pasta is my must-have. Go check her out! (And let me know when you’ve been down the JK rabbit hole of goodness for days and days).

10.   Joanna Gaines:

The woman of the year! Joanna Gaines is everywhere these days because her style and outlook on life is inspiring and so contagious! You probably know her from HGTV’s Fixer Upper where you’ll find lots of inspiration for your home and shiplap for days, but she also has a book that she wrote with her husband Chip called The Magnolia Story. This book is SO good it will make you feel motivated, empowered, and ready to put in the hard work it takes to accomplish your dreams. You can also read more from Joanna in their magazine, The Magnolia Journal. One of my favorite parts of the journal is the “A Note From Jo,” heart-felt musings from Jo herself about the little things in life that matter a lot. Reading those pages, and the Manifesto in the back of the journal, make me feel like I’m sitting on a back porch getting advice from my Mom or wise older sister. Her words are just a beautiful as her heart and she truly inspires me!

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