How I got my start.

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A couple of weeks ago, on my dear friends Kat and Em's site The Refined Woman, I had the pleasure of doing an interview about everything from how I launched my career to my biggest challenges. I always think sharing your story is a very powerful thing. Although my story is not perfect, it's mine. I have to say... I have loved the ride so far. The interview is below. Be sure to check out more uplifting and wonderfully authentic stories like this on The Refined Woman.

 

Growing up I really wanted to be
A mix between Meriwether Lewis and Dr. Quinn, Medicine Women.  A strong, exploring woman!

My most-used emojiis are
The pizza and red heart because of my overwhelming love for pizza.

My go-to order at a coffee shop is
A decaf black coffee. I’ve been off caffeine for about 2 years now. I would like to think I’m a little less cray because of it.

I don’t know how I ever lived without
My husband. He makes a mean breakfast (lol)!

One thing people don’t know about me is
I’m the distant relative of Meriwether Lewis (Chief explorer of the Lewis and Clark Expedition). I also cannot blow a bubble with gum for the life of me.

My real life hero is
My mother, who has been with me through everything. She started an organization to help cancer patients and helped launch an after-school club to provide a safe place for students to play and learn. She also supports a center which serves kids in need. If I can make half the difference in the world as she has, I’ll be blessed. Go mom!

What I love about my work is
I love the flexibility to travel and work with my husband. There are days or sometimes weeks when we hardly get to see each other, but other times, we can tackle large-scale projects together. We have so much fun. I love creating lifelong memories with him!

The hardest thing about my work is
There is no set stopping point. I am always working on the go. It’s hard to know when to truly decompress. Tech breaks are a must. I cherish those electronic-free moments.

How I got started with my current career
I was working in corporate fashion. The intensity and bottom-line mentality was stressful. I realized it was no place for me. I wanted to try to make a go of it on my own.

Luckily, I had some great people to mentor me and help me grow and expand. I had already created Being Elliott. Styling and consulting came as a natural extension of my blog.

I’ve always been a very visual person. I feel blessed to work in a very visual field. My work is not always a picnic, however, I often have to power through stressful moments. I tell anyone interested in freelance the first years can be tough. It’s important to have a strong foundation and support system.

The dumbest thing I did when I was starting out
I said yes to too many projects at once. The result: I felt like an inexperienced court jester trying to juggle fire. We all know how that turns out!

My typical day looks like
I always start my day with a power smoothie! You can’t go wrong with kale, spinach, water and a wide assortment of healthy add-ins!

I might be on location styling. I might have my own photo shoot. I may even have to style and shoot right in my own home.

My biggest interruptions are unexpected delays. I live and work in New York, where life is dependent on subways, cabs, walking, and, of course weather! That can get crazy!

Everything is deadline oriented. That can be frightening. An unexpected call, someone arriving late… it’s like watching dominoes fall. I have to be creative to stop the avalanche!

I used to think success meant
Like every little girl, I looked at magazines and thought flawless beauty, perfect clothes and lots of money spelled success! Of course, I also thought you had to add New York living to the mix!

My current definition of success is
I believe success is finding beauty in imperfection, celebrating unique qualities and, most importantly, sharing love.

An example of when I had to push through my insecurities/fear of taking risks was when
I don’t always have the best self-confidence. When facing big projects, that negative voice in my head screams at me. I try to remember God gave me a gift to use. In any job, you’ve got to be open to failure. Don’t let that paralyze you. It’s OK to make mistakes. I’ve made my share. It isn’t the end of the world.

I know my work/life balance is out of sync when
I’m crabby! I need to stop, pray, eat a healthy snack (My go-to snacks are almonds, kale chips, or fruit) and focus on others.

The last time I created something I was proud of was
My husband Aaron and I created a short film which was featured at Cannes. I also just created and directed a unique handbag commercial which not only featured handbags, but also the strength, dignity and beauty of women. It’s something I’m really proud of.

I wish I could tell my younger self
Don’t be so worried about tomorrow. Focus outward. Everyone is dealing with their own struggles. Help others feel better. In the end – you will feel better.

The legacy I hope to leave is
My mom says she wants her tombstone to read “She loved God…and it showed.”  I’m with my mother. I hope people are able to see how much I love them.

xo,
Brynn

In the company of women.

We need each other, truly we do. There's something special about connecting with a group of creative ladies. That's exactly what I had the opportunity to do a few weeks ago. In a sense, we played "dress up" and had a fun photo shoot together.

We're all New Yorkers. We share the big-city challenge. In this dog-eat-dog environment, we've decided to create a community, not a competition. That's pretty doggone refreshing!

I've found the secret to connecting with cohorts without fear is to know who you are and what you have to offer. In other words, the secret is standing on a firm foundation.  

We all have unique gifts to share. And, guess what? A lot of times our gifts compliment each other!  

We can also connect when we share our fears and are vulnerable. Every person struggles. Let's admit it, link arms and accomplish something in spite of it. 

I encourage all girls to jump in there and connect!

-All Dresses above all by BHLDN

This post is in collaboration with some of my favorite NYC girls.  Be sure and check out their posts today too: Esther Houston, Krystal Bick., Kat of The Refined Woman and Janelle of Wait You Need This.

Photos by Israel Veintidos.

Spicy Sweet Potato Pasta

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Pasta is one of my favorite things ever. This is why I partnered with the kind folks at KitchenAid to create a healthy spin on my go-to favorite.

I am sharing my recipe for Spicy Sweet Potato Pasta. I used the KitchenAid 5 Blade Spiralizer to create fun sweet potato noodles.

The spiralizer attached right on to my KitchenAid Artisan Mini Mixer making it such a breeze to use. I simply popped on the blade I wanted to use, added the peeling attachment and just turned it on.

I must admit it was a little mesmerizing to see the spiralizer turn the sweet potato into ribbons. They're just so pretty-haha!

Try my recipe for yourself below.

Happy pasta-ing-it-up!

 

INGREDIENTS:

3 large sweet potatoes
3 cups arugula
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup cashews (+ 2 cups water for soaking them)
¾ cup water (for blending)
½ teaspoon salt (for blending)
1 clove of garlic, minced
handful of fresh chives, rosemary and basil, minced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to season


DIRECTIONS

Place the cashews in bowl and cover with water. Let soak for at least 3 hours (I soaked mine overnight). After soaking, drain and rinse cashews. Transfer to a blender (You can also use a food processor). Add the 3/4 cup water, garlic, red pepper flakes and salt to the nuts. Blend until very smooth consistency. Set aside.


Use your KitchenAid 5 Blade Spiralizer to create sweet potato noodles. I used the medium spiraling blade and the peeling attachment for this.

Grab a large skillet and heat your olive oil on high.

Add sweet potato noodles to olive oil. Toss to cook for 8-12 minutes (depending on how thick your noodles are) until crisp.

Remove pan from heat and add arugula. Toss in fresh herbs and the sauce you blended. Mix ingredients together.


Top off with salt , pepper, and extra leftover herbs.

Add extra red pepper flakes if you like to spice things up! Haha!

Enjoy your creamy healthy pasta.