Okay, this one is LONG overdue but it's all good because it's an awesome one. I asked my good friend Jules of the beautiful Om and the City blog to take part in my Women Who Inspire Interview series because this lovely soul is indeed a force of nature that has created a hub of inspiration for women everywhere. And I'm so happy I got to shoot her for this interview, since we're Brooklyn neighbors!
The female entrepreneur community has been an amazing thing to be a part of since I became one, but it became particularly so this year. Meeting, collaborating, and creating with other smart and inspiring women has been such a special experience and I can feel how this community is collectively creating a wonderfully positive and empowering shift in the world.
If you're just joining in now, this Women Who Inspire interview series taking place on Fridays (alternating with Favorite Friday Finds) is meant to initiate a more in-depth discussion about the realities that happen offscreen, with women who are innovators and creators. We tend to forget that these people who command large followings on social media and/or are public personalities are just as human too. A human with their own struggles, insecurities, half the hustle you don't see, triumphs, and more. You guys know I'm all about embracing your NOW, rather than the living for the "after" pictures. I wanted to look beyond the pretty feeds and filters into reality.
Jules is a certified yoga instructor, dog mama to Luna Loo, fellow crazy plant lady, girlboss blogger entrepreneur, and social media whiz. She loves traveling, supporting sustainable + small businesses, popcorn, her boyfriend Andrew, meeting new people, and always learning more about health and wellness. Something I love about her is that she truly lives life, leading by example. While her Instagram feed (snippets below) is gorgeous, she is always transparent and doesn't parade behind a veil of "perfect."
Maybe it's our Libra twin-ness, our Korean backgrounds, our shared perspective on work + women, or maybe it's Jules's natural ability to authentically connect with new friends, but it's hard to believe I've only known her since the beginning of 2017. Since then, I've watched her grow her audience and her community through her hard work and putting her heart out there for others to see, and I'm truly proud of my friend for being a positive beacon in the wellness community.
Instagram photos above courtesy of @omandthecity
Let's get to the interview and get to know Jules better!
Hats you wear: Libra, dog mama, plant lady, blogger, yogi, chocolate-lover.
First thing you do when you open your eyes in the morning: Raise my arms over my head and stretch with an audible stretching noise (sorry, Andrew)
3 characteristics other people use to describe you: Warm (temperature & temperament lol), friendly, & motherly (I like to feed people).
Current book you’re reading: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, You are a Badass, & The Universe Has Your Back
Current color crush: Purple, Blue, Green
Current thing that never fails to make you smile: Andrew, Luna + dogs, plants.
Next purchase or experience on the bucket list: Travel to Europe.
Morning bird or night owl: Morning bird all the way. I love going to bed early.
Coffee or Matcha: Both... but usually coffee!
Sweet or savory: SWEEEEET.
Favorite lazy girl weekday meal: Buttery popcorn, wine, & dark chocolate chips (thrown into my popcorn).
5 items always in your purse/bag: Natural deodorant, phone, sunglass (no one wants cataracts!), wallet, chapstick.
Get Shit Done
What is your one signature shortcut or cheat that makes your life run a little smoother?
I love/hate buying $9 smoothies… It helps me rejuvenate when I’m on the go, but boyyyy does it add up!!!
Life doesn’t always go according to plan, so we choose our battles. What are your daily non-negotiables?
Probably the same as you - always need some form of stretching/yoga/meditation, even if it’s only for 10 minutes. I live for my coffee-making ritual in the morning. And I always try talk to my mom on the phone for a bit.
What is the most important lesson you’ve taken away from a particularly big achievement or success?
Always live your truth. Be honest with yourself and others, stay genuine, and you’ll never have regrets.
What’s a habit you’ve adopted in the past year that has had a significant positive change on your daily routine?
Not checking my phone/email for the first hour of the morning. And signing off of social media a half hour before bed, so I can decompress.
Working from home or on the go has it’s own set of challenges— what are 1-2 key things you’ve found to help you be most efficient and productive?
Utilize my Google calendar. Schedule in time for yourself like it’s a meeting. Don’t forget to get up every hour to stretch your legs and take a breather.
When feeling overwhelmed with all the tasks you have to get done, what is your first move with regrouping to tackle it all?
I sit still and breathe. Then, I organize my thoughts into a to-do list and go down the line one by one.
Mountains to Climb
Your work is a lot closer to home than most. While most everyone brings home work these days, thanks to emails on phones and the workforce being more demanding, your job actually entails documenting and sharing your everyday. How has that affected your relationships with friends and family?
It’s not easy being ‘on’ all the time. I just have to remind myself that not every meal needs to be photographed. Not every situation has to be Storied. I try keep content creation between regular work hours, and if I am making plans with a non-blogger friend, I put my phone away and enjoy their company like I normally would. I’d say since going solo, I just have less free time, so I don’t see my friends as often as I’d like to!
Have you found that technology- especially with the real-time trend that social media is adopting (Snapchat, IG stories) that it takes away from the experience? Particularly travel or new experiences?
I definitely think social media can disrupt an experience, but I think it’s okay to catch the first bit of it on stories to share with your community, but then put the phone away. If I’m photographing an event, a meal, etc. I give myself 5-10 minutes to get the shot and then it’s done. I put the phone away and enjoy my time.
Do you think you have your shit together? Do you think anyone else does?
Hah, no one can have their shit together 100% of the time! I feel like I’m in a good groove, but the hustle never stops!
From time to time, we all get caught up lusting after others lives— whether it be their travel photos on Instagram, their beautiful home, their adorable husband + babies, their burgeoning career, etc. What do you do when you fall down the rabbit hole of comparison to others in your field?
When I find myself feeling envious on Instagram, I usually compliment the person. I look for the good, and then I get off of Instagram and focus on my own shiz. We tend to forget all of the amazing accomplishments in our own lives if we’re focusing on others. I used to get caught up in this, but honestly, I think I’m finally overcoming these types of feelings. If you’re living your truth, I’m happy for you. Someone else’s success surely do not take away from your own.
What is an important thing in life that that you feel like the world is lacking lately and could use more of?
Authenticity. Who are you if you aren’t being true to yourself?
What is currently frustrating you the most about the industry you work in?
The influx of people flooding into the blogging world just for the perks of being a "blogger."
We all see it— society’s increasing pressure to be so “perfect” — our outfits have to be Instagrammable, our homes have to be Pinterest-worthy, we have to be eating all-organic and healthy, our engagement shoots have to be magazine-worthy, and even our dogs have to have their own following! What are the effects on your life that you’ve noticed because of this dynamic, both negative and positive?
I have hit a point where I am just focused on doing what I love and will continue to do that as long as it continues to make me happy and feel inspired.
Define “being healthy” in your perspective?
Being healthy is all about balance and listening to your body. It isn’t extreme. It isn’t restrictive. It is about finding something holistic, sustainable, and what makes you feel your absolute best.
How has your perspective on your body changed since 5 or 10 years ago?
Soooo much has changed. I used to be so hard on myself. It completely consumed me. I worried about every little thing I ate, I worried constantly about my appearance, and my self-esteem was at an all-time low. Today, those negative thoughts do not consume me. I am balanced, healthy (mentally and physically), and I’m realistic about my goals. I feel beautiful with or without makeup, and I’m not hung up on superficial things.
What do you think is unique that you offer to your audience that is lacking out there?
I am just me. I share my real-life personal experiences that I hope people can feel inspired by or apply to their own lives. My blog is truly me in a nutshell, and if anyone wants to know who I am as a person can read my blog and understand a bit more. I am my own brand.
What inspires you most to do what you do?
The community that has resulted from this entire journey! Getting to share my experiences with a like-minded community that gives a damn is incomparable.
What is the biggest challenge for you personally, as someone who is an entrepreneur working for herself?
Probably the same challenges as most… time, money, and resources! Wish I had more of all three to really invest and take everything to the next level, but I’m doing the best I possibly can with what I have :)
What is the key to maintaining your personal aesthetic + brand integrity while working with other brands?
I’m learning I need to protect my personal brand with everything I’ve got. If that means turning down big money from off-brand partnerships, then I’ll do it. We all make mistakes and get ourselves into weird situations at least once in this biz, but you learn, grow, and evolve.
Do you ever feel like you see the advice out there to “just be yourself! Produce content that makes you happy and the rest will fall in place?”— but reality is, is that there are some parameters for succeeding in these kinds of creative fields. How do you maintain integrity while also still propelling your business forward?
You think of the best questions, Minna! It’s really frustrating when people say ‘just be you, be consistent and post content you love’, because in reality, that’s not all it takes to grow your brand. There’s so much more. There’s outreach, networking, reposting, engaging, advertising… the list goes on.
As an entrepreneur, there is no one typical day. How do you approach your workweeks and stay on top of everything?
It has been quite the transition from working full-time for another company to now going self-employed! I share my 5 Biggest Learnings in this blog post!
What is the most rewarding part of what you do?
Sharing and connecting with like-minded people to promote a balanced, mindful and non-toxic lifestyle.