1.23.2015

DAYKA...AL ROKER...AND MY FIRST LIVE, NATIONAL TV INTERVIEW--EVER!


Deep inside, I've always known that TV was in the cards for me.
As I became more confident in my abilities & established some bigger dreams, it started to become clear that it's the next logical, progressive step along my path. 
I've been offered two opportunities in years past and received emails from a few producers requesting casting videos, but I either didn't make the final cut or it was for something I've always shied away from--a competition-style show. 
Because I've been able to get a good amount of behind-the-scenes production work under my belt, both from my days as a Design Assistant on the show Movie & A Makeover (Turner Broadcasting) and from the last few years through my work with Flynnside Out, I'm clear that my ideal situation is being in front of the camera as an expert. There are so many uncontrollable things that happen behind the scenes that the viewer never sees--budgets disappear, parameters change, etc, but all you end up seeing in the end is an ugly room--no thanks. There's nothing wrong with the competition premise in general, but also I understand my personality enough to know that it probably won't play well in those circumstances--I've been told I have a case of RBF (Resting Bitch Face), I'm often a little heavy on the sarcasm & I absolutely enjoy a raunchy comment (or two!) every now & then. In TV land, this is either a recipe for disaster or the makings of great drama...depending on who's doing the interpreting! 


So it shouldn't come as a surprise to you when I say that getting booked as a guest expert on the Wake Up With Al morning show (The Weather Channel) was right up my alley--the exact thing kind of thing I've been wanting to do. It may be a surprise to you, however, to learn that 3 minutes after the opportunity was extended to to me...I got scared, y'all!! I immediately said yes but my mind was all, "What have you done???", once I started thinking about the parameters of live tv & how there's no editing. Then all of the dreaded "what-ifs" started popping up:
What if I trip over my feet, grab the table for balance & pull it down with me??
What if I get all tongue tied as I'm speaking, can't get my words out & just go into blank zone???
   Or better yet, What if I drop my beloved F-bomb in an off-the-cuff moment??
YIKES. All very scary scenarios.
But as much as fearful dayka was saying no (little d), I had this other voice in my heart that was all, "Go girl...you know you got this!" (said in my Mom's tone), so of course there was no turning back. 
Not only because I believe we have to run towards the things we're afraid of, but also because it was true--I am/was equipped for this!!
And in the end, this first-timer couldn't have asked for a better outcome.


The thing about live TV is this--the only way for you to get better at doing live TV is to actually DO live TV....I don't think there's any other way to simulate this kind of experience. After my fantastic producer Michael discussed the parameters of the segment with me, I pitched 10 ideas and he narrowed it down to the ones he liked the best/thought were the best fit for their content (weather-related upcycle & recycle projects). I actually prepared 6 projects, we narrowed it down to 5 when I arrived Wednesday morning, and then during my segment, Al actually skipped over the recycled umbrella bag (which was fantastic, btw), so I only ended up presenting 4 of my projects which worked perfect for my 2.5 minutes. I had a bit of anxiety Monday & Tuesday morning but by the time I settled in Tuesday evening and carved out some quiet space, I was feeling confident and great...which lasted right up until we were about 15 seconds out and my stomach went all haywire. I was telling myself, "Don't you even do this shit, Dayka. Not now." and that was all I needed to pull it together--ha! All in all, my 2.5 minutes went off without a hitch (of course there are a few things I could nitpick, but I won't) and I'm pretty proud of this segment! Sam Champion--formerly of GMA and now host of his own show, AMHQ--and I were in makeup together so we had a chance to chat for a bit  which was very cool--such a great guy to be around (with a body to match!).
Totally just as warm & pleasant as you would expect. And Stephanie Abrams, his cohost, is hilarious--I can see why they make a great team. 
 I was able to stay in the studio for a bit around my segment and watching Al work is incredible...and so mind blowing to find myself in the same studio with an icon that I grew up with every morning, not only watching him do his thing in person but being interviewed by him as well!! 
I seriously wanted to pinch myself.
I can only imagine the grind of getting up at 3am daily (and having to go to bed very early, I imagine), but they both made it look effortless.
 I'm believing my skills will be much the same one day, too (and soon)!




So if you have a moment, take 2 minutes to watch my first, live national tv guest spot ever with none other than Al Roker himself. I wrote a blog post a few days ago where I mentioned just saying yes and thinking of your fear like a lion, only to get right up to it and see that it's just a tabby cat. 
This was one of those times, for sure, and it's funny to see how I wrote that just days before, not knowing that this opportunity was just around the corner.
Essentially I was talking to myself.
I was nervous, I won't lie, but when the cameras went live, your girl was ready to go.
 And now that I've got this one under my belt, I'm really excited about doing this again--I loved every minute.

1.19.2015

AN 8 PAGE SPREAD IN SOUTHERN HOME...FEATURING YOURS TRULY!!



On the list of cool things that have happened to & for me since I started my business 4 years ago, this ranks up there at the very top--definitely a milestone. 

My first bit of press is out for 2015 and it's a huge deal for me--AN 8 PAGE FEATURE IN A NATIONAL MAGAZINE!!!! And I don't mean me and someone else on the same page, I mean page after page of yours truly in a story on my home here in Atlanta.




When an editor of Fresh Style magazine and its sister publication, Southern Lady, reached out back in November 2014 to profile me for this piece, my first thought was "no" because like most designers, my house isn't exactly how I want it to be. Still, I knew I'd be crazy to pass up the opportunity and got busy prepping my place for the team's arrival from Alabama. I'm used to working with my own photographers (or ones I know well) so it's rare that I don't see images before something gets published. In this case I didn't see anything with exception of the headshot pics they took of me, so I had zero idea of what to expect when it hit newsstands. When I finally found the magazine in the grocery store, I was in awe of how beautiful the photos were....and blown away by the size of the feature!




(pages aren't in order)

Seriously overjoyed!!

My house, as you can see, is done in a palette mainly consisting of black, white, brown & gold with a few pops of color, texture and pattern throughout. I really do LOVE color, but when I finally started getting around to addressing my home I found myself getting color confused (too many choices as a designer!) or the things I really obsessed over were a bit beyond what I wanted to spend, so I went with the palette of all of the things I most love to wear (which is a great place to start your design, btw!). This strategy also worked well for me because I tend to like spaces that feel warm & enveloping, so I'm a huge fan of darker colors and cozy rooms--and when I pull those blackout drapes closed in the living room, I feel like I'm in a cocoon on a planet far away.
Mission accomplished. 

Most of what you see here is vintage. The sofa & dining table are the only things that I purchased brand new almost 10 years ago...and both of them are hopefully on their way out soon! A few years back I mentioned in a blog post that I wanted the majority of the pieces in my home to be secondhand and fast forward a few years later and it's safe to say I'm around the 95% mark! The only other piece of furniture that I purchased brand new was my mattress--every other piece in my house is either from a thrift store, estate sale, yard sale or something similar, and it's all been refinished and reupholstered within an inch of its life! But I wouldn't change a thing about my choice to go that route. I pretty much love (almost) everything in here and when I DO tire of something, I have no qualms about letting it go on to its next life because my investment hasn't been outrageous. And more importantly, I know how good it feels to live with things you love. I'm grateful I can say that.


So if this is feature any indication of what 2015 will be for me, I am expecting to constantly have my mind blown this year, both personally and professionally.
And am I'm very much looking forward to every.single.bit of it.
And so it is.



1.13.2015

MY 2015 IN REVIEW....AS TOLD BY MY 2016 SELF.


I decided to give myself a break this year and take some time with creating my goals. 
I sat down at some of my favorite spots--even cleaned my office and cleared off my ENTIRE desk (such a feat, if you know me)--but nothing was really taking ahold. The process was feeling forced with all of the   "New Year, New Me" pressure going around, so I decided to dial it back and just let things unfold organically. To remember that going into the new year without a clear set of goals doesn't mean that I don't know what I want for my life and that it's okay if my goals don't come to me in the timeframe that I think they should. Matter of fact, I've been hearing this same thing from a lot of people in my circle. I knew what I wanted generally speaking, but could only put my finger on one or two specifics that weren't even values based. 

But then I went to an incredible all day seminar this past weekend and through that, the loose ideas that had been floating around in my mind over the last few weeks crystalized into something more tangible. Something that's been right in front of me all along. 

2015 is my year of Intention. 
Making sure that every move I make is in alignment with who I say I am.
Nothing more, nothing less.

And hearing this word probably isn't a surprise to you if you've been reading this blog as of late--my focus on intention is an expansion that has been taking place for a few years (3, to be exact), though it didn't really start making its way to this platform until the beginning of last year. And why am I so focused?? Because I believe that we, either intentionally or unintentionally, create lives that reflect what we believe about ourselves. So essentially, if you (1) get clear about what you want (2) and let go of being attached to how it comes, you will see all of the good you want and exactly what you believe. Not always what you ask for mind you, but always what you believe.  

So instead of laying out the specifics of this year's agenda, I'm approaching this thing from a different perspective and thinking about what I will say about 2015 when January of 2016 rolls around. So here's Dayka in 2015, as reported by my 2016 self. 

2015 did NOT disappoint. In addition to intentional, joy & peace were two words that defined my year--words that speak to the greatest sense of happiness and tranquility I found by being in alignment with what I felt led to be doing. I had an adventurous year because I changed my perspective & didn't limit the adventures moments to the times when I was traveling--I found great adventure at home and finally, truly, spent more time discovering this fantastic city that has been so good to me. 2015 was my year for lots of dating. And I'm not just talking about fantastic people taking me out on fantastic dates--which they did--but I dated myself a lot, too. All of those great date ideas I'd been saving up for the "right time/right person"? I did them all last year. I was the one I was waiting for!

I took care of myself like a MF. I mean, really. Recommitted to the discipline of eating in a way that optimizes my body & makes me feel (and look) good. Was hyper-viligent about monitoring my stress level, which is imperative to my auto-immune disease, and set firmer boundaries regarding things that didn't fall in line with keeping me physically balanced. All of the things I'd been wanting to write about for the last few years, I finally did. I stopped worrying about whether they were "on topic" or "strayed from the brand", and instead, I just wrote what was on my heart and let my words set out to do what they intended (I AM my brand, after all!). And because of this, lots of new, paid, writing opportunities opened up...something that I didn't even realize I wanted until 2 years ago.

That paper line that I'd planned on launching in 2014?? It finally went to print this year and it found audience of people who really supported & embraced the message. Knowing that it's out there is such a joy (there's that word again), because it's a huge part of who I am and what I believe in. My first NYC jobs--plural--happened this year. I could never have imagined the how, who, or what but happen they did and consequently, I can say that 2015 saw DRD expanding to NYC! Lots of mini-vacations in 2015, too--some with my super tight girls, some by myself, some 2 hours away and at least 1 international escapade. My passport hadn't seen some stamps in a few years and 2015 was the year that thang got dusted off. 

And that's it (for now).
The basics?
I will be healthy. I will be adventurous. I will be full of joy. I will live with integrity. And I will love. 
Not "I want to", but "I will".

All intentionally, of course.
And so it is. 

1.12.2015

HAPPY NEW YEAR: HIGHLIGHTS & LESSONS FROM 2014

I really love a good year in review post. 
Yes, part of the purpose is to document my work and progression as a business owner but honestly, 75% of my purpose in writing them is really for my own benefit--so that I can look back on this time in the years to come and remember all that was happening in my life & follow the journey on how I became who I am and how my business became what it is. If I don't document my life in increments, it's so easy to forget about the allllllll of little things I did once too much time has passed by, so these posts serve as snapshots of my year. And they act as a reminder that sustainable change doesn't take place in one giant leap but in the all of little "ah-ha's" that unfold over a thousand little steps. The things that don't seem like they're changing you in the moment but years later, you can see so clearly how all of those little shifts became a 180 degree arc. 

So 2014.
It was a really, really good year for me, both personally and professionally. 
When trying to think of a word that could encapsulate the year, the first one that popped into my head was "expansion". I would've preferred something sexier...but they say the first thought is probably the truest one, so that's what I'm going with. And I guess expansion really does fit the bill because in all ways, my life became more last year. 

A brief run-down of my year:
-celebrated my 35th birthday with the most perfect dinner party

-started working with Flynnside Out Productions as a Project Designer


-Spent the entirety of my summer working on HGTV.com's Holiday House 2014
-FINALLY reupholstered my dining chairs


-Styled a kick-ass faux dinner party

Tomas Espinosa

-Featured presenter at the 2014 Haven Conference
-Spent some long overdue & much needed time with my best friends in California. 
-Took the most perfect vacation in NYC after the RMDH project.


-Went to a broadway show with my best friend which may not sound like a big thing...but it was
-Recognized on HGTV.com's Front Door as one of Atlanta's best Interior Designers
-Became a (god) mom when my BFF from Spelman had a (very cute) baby boy!


-Redesigned a beautiful dining room for wonderful, color-loving clients who let me paint their trim & moulding robins egg blue!


-Got braces!!
-Finally wallpapered my laundry room. It's bold & I love it.


-Tried my hand at dating online & IRL. It's an interesting world out here for sure. Still trying. 
-Presented a "hail mary" pattern palette for a client's bedroom--she loved it and had me design her living room, too.


-Ended a business partnership. 
-Featured in a fantastic article in the Atlanta Journal Constitution
-Finally spent some time working on my own home & striped my entryway...in my favorite color combo, of course ;-)


-Faced a major health scare (All clear, thank God! See Instagram for details)
-Designed/Produced my first ever video project for FSO.
-Met & had a chance to work with some fantastic people


-Hosted a very fun Paleo Thanksgiving party
-Celebrated 4 years in business (here & here)
-An INCREDIBLE 8 page spread featuring my home & design philosophy in a national mag

I keep looking over this list thinking about more things I could add, but even with the small snapshot I've shared...this was indicative. 2014 was a good year.

Here's what I learned:

-Less How?? and more DO. Things have a way of lining up looooong before I can ever see that they are.
-Permission is not required. Period.
-My intuition will always be the truth, whether I receive it in the moment or not (& it will find me). It's like a radio tuned a static-y station on a low volume in my downstairs bathroom with the door closed (I like to think I have supersonic hearing). It's not "in your face", but it's a low hum that only I can hear, and intentionally choosing to ignore it will not make it stop humming. Point taken.
-Your tribe is out there--find the people who want to be on your team and roll with you & whatever it is you represent. I went out a few times with someone who liked to refer to my personality as "extra". Is it true? I guess that would depend on what your definition is. But my point is this--when he said it, it wasn't intended as a compliment. Whet??? And you call yourself trying to date me?? Umm...no, thank you! Girl, bye.
-Just say yes. A life of "expansion" requires facing my fears constantly & saying yes to things before I can get the details worked out in my mind. What's makes me expand is to acknowledge what I'm afraid of, then move towards that because occasionally my mental supersonic hearing is off and what sounds like an African lion is actually just a tabby cat.  *sigh*
-Come hell or high water, don't be without health insurance. Nothing is more important than my health & health insurance is NEVER more expensive than 8 weeks of lab tests, doctor visits & biopsies.
And most importantly,
-I am the author & architect therefore, it will be whatever I say it will be (now THAT'S powerful).

I hope you all had a fantastic holiday & a great New Year!!

12.12.2014

IT'S MY ANNIVERSARY PART II: THE ONLY 2 THINGS YOU NEED TO START & SUCCEED IN BUSINESS

In the midst of writing Part I, the wheels in my head started spinning with practical tips I could share with you if find yourself dreaming of starting a new biz or moving to the next level with your current one. Lots of specifics crossed my mind, but as I though of nuggets that would hold true across any industry, there were 2 major things that stood out to me.

Can it really be that simple--only two things??
Yup, it is.

I don't care what industry you're in, or how old you are, if you're looking to launch a new business there are really only 2 things you're really going to need in abundance.

pic via Angela Murry Morris 

Confidence & Faith.

Everyone thinks money is the holy grail--and don't get me wrong, it helps A LOT--but here's the thing:  there are many a problem that an abundance of money can't solve.
A fool-proof business plan? A dream business partner? A can't-fail marketing strategy?
All fine & dandy, but none of these things can take the place of good ol' confidence & faith.

Confidence: There's a video that's been floating around the web for years now, and it features a curly haired little girl dancing on top of a vanity in the bathroom mirror full of gratitude for every little thing & telling herself how wonderful she is (see it here).  It's a great video...all of us really should wake up reminding ourselves of our utter wonderfulness everyday. But the reality is that you're gonna have those days where you wonder if you're good enough.
If your work is solid. 
If people like you OR your business. 
If you're doing the right thing. 
If anyone is reading what you wrote. 
Maybe even if you're a fool for choosing your career path.
(yes, sometimes on this road you'll be really unkind to yourself, too)

pic via Christina Wedge for DRD

The confidence you'll need to develop isn't for those fantastic days when you'll feel like Olivia Pope, walking across the White House lawn in 6" stilettos, taking names & solving the crises of the world in 45 minutes. It's actually for those OTHER days....when you think that your parents (partner/friend/teacher/etc) might have been right and maybe you should go get a "real job" instead of trying to make your dream work.
When it seems like your endeavor isn't a novel idea after all.
When you feel all lost, overwhelmed and unsure about which way to go...so you kinda just want to give up instead.

The truth is, no one is really gonna be able to pull you out of those shitty spots but you.
Being successful in business really means finding your voice and expressing it, but you can't do that without a shot of confidence...because in being you & expressing your unique voice, there will inevitably be something you'll want to say or do one day that will go against the grain. And the main thing you need to go against the grain is, you guessed it--confidence.
(or as I like to say "balls"--even though my mom hates when I say that)


Faith: Although I believe in God, I'm not saying you have to. What I am saying is this:
 you need to be very clear about your fundamental belief on how you think the world works...and if it's not a positive set of beliefs, you might as well stop now. Because trust me--as you move & grow in your business, you'll come across enough reasons to doubt yourself or think something isn't possible without adding a negative world view into the mix. I believe that the circle you create/world you live in is merely a reflection of what you believe about other people and the world as a whole, so if you're one of those conspiracy theory/everyone-is-out-to-get-me/no-one-is-ever-on-my-side/nothing-ever-works-out-for-me kinda people, please let me help you save your hard earned dollars--just stop, now. Do not try to start a business unless you're selling said conspiracy theory (in that case, it's a perfect fit!)--you're better off finding something else to spend your money on.
Because there WILL be late nights of "why??" and early mornings of "how??" and if you don't have a fundamental world view (or belief in God) that says something like "good will always triumph" or "I'll never miss anything that is truly for me" or "the Universe is always conspiring in my favor", then chiiiile...you are gonna have a tough time. Because it's never "if" those days come but "when" they come. And when they do, you need to have something to stand on that keeps you moving forward when you're doubting yourself and it's too dark to see the light at the end of the tunnel. 
So develop a belief system that supports you and I promise...you'll find yourself supported.
When people talk about how much being an entrepreneur has changed them, I think this is really what they're talking about. That no matter the industry, what changes who you are the most is going through each of these phases & uncovering that thing that we all have deep inside to push us forward to the other end--at least I know this is what I mean.
Each time you beat back your doubts, you win.
Each time you take a chance on your intuition and see that it was right, you get stronger.
Each time you remind yourself that "no matter what it looks like right now, all is well", you grow.
Each time you go against your gut, get burned but keep moving anyhow...you STILL win .

And this is how being a business owner can change the very core of who you are.
You might not always get it right, your idea may not make a gazillion dollars, you might stick your foot in your mouth more times than you'd care to, and you may never become a commercial success (whatever that means to you), BUT...if you can just believe that you're on the right path and have some faith that everything is ultimately working out for your good in spite of the details, you can always rest assured of one thing.

You'll end up winning anyhow.


(And PS--if you have a husband/girlfriend/lover/partner that isn't supportive of your dreams, you need to exit stage left IMMEDIATELY...and you probably don't need me to tell you this. Going this road is hard enough without the support of your intimate circle. If you're in bed with someone who doesn't support you...you should think about what you're really telling yourself about what you deserve).

12.09.2014

IT'S MY ANNIVERSARY PART I: REFLECTIONS ON 4 YEARS IN BUSINESS

4 YEARS.

I can't believe that this November marked 4 years in business for me.

When I first launched Dayka Robinson Designs in 2010, every tiny step seemed like a massive leap of faith. Major.
HUGE.
I look back & laugh now, because it's so easy to see in hindsight, how all of those little steps were examples of my floor becoming my ceiling.
Yet still, I remember being down at the county office filling out the required paperwork and turning my payment in, feeling like a fraud because I didn't know if I had the correct forms, the right dollar amount, or really, just what I was going to do when I left that office. I secretly wondered if someone was going to jump from behind that plexiglass window, call my bluff right there in that waiting room & blow my cover...'cause I wasn't really sure how to proceed with this business of mine. It all seemed so overwhelming at the time, and yet I still remember how I felt when I walked out of that that office--like a bonafide business owner. 

There's no doubt about it--business ownership has been one of the hardest and most incredibly rewarding experiences of my life. 
In the early days, every little step was a walk in the dark--though a tentative one--because I was never 100% sure if what I was doing was right. 
That feeling stayed with me for several years and it's only been since last year--in all honesty--that I was really able to identify exactly what that feeling was--that I was waiting for permission.
To build my business.
To share my ideas.
To be great.
Patrick Heagney for The Atlantan 

If I could share any advice on starting a business it would be this: don't worry about what you don't know...because if you do, it will overwhelm you.
The truth is, there is gonna be a lot you don't know--A LOT--but the most important exercise is putting one foot in front of the other, every single day. There are 1,001 business books on the market giving you the so-called "insider scoop" on how to make your endeavor a success, but there really is no one correct formula...every approach has to be tailored for the clientele the business serves and the owner who gives it life. You can have 2 people in the same field--especially a creative field--and I can assure you, they will run business their business in two totally different ways.
And not only is this okay, but it's what you should endeavor to do--make your business stand out by keeping YOU at the center of your passions.


As I see it, the biggest challenge in entrepreneurship is to stay focused on what you know intuitively.
And if you're clear about your why, it will be so much easier.

Want to know all of my secrets??
Well here's a tip: you won't have to look far, because my whole journey is detailed on this blog. And I don't mean all of the specifics, but if you start from the beginning, you can see pretty clearly how I built my business.
I don't edit my old blog content on purpose, because it's important to me that the people who WANT to know how I started can see all of the turns my business has taken. When I started this blog back in 2009, my first post wasn't even about design, it was about whether or not I should relax my hair (omg)!! I tell anyone who inquires about my path that this business has grown very organically...and looking back, I never would've been able to connect all of the dots that have brought me to this point...not in a million years. If you've followed me from the beginning you know that I used to do a ton of DIY projects and furniture refinishing...but as I've gained more experience and broadened my horizons, I've moved away from what I was SURE I'd be doing all of my career towards a niche that encompasses all of who I am...not just as a designer or a business owner, but most importantly, as a woman as well.


My intent is to help you live your home AND your life by design and not by default.

Did I start out that way?
Not at all.
Do I wish I had?
Eh.
Here's my truth: it probably would've made for a more seamless blog with hundreds of thousands of readers, exciting sponsorships and new opportunities (well, more than the ones I've had) but the path I took speaks to my most important values--transparency & authenticity--and I'm happy that I can share that with all of you.
I've been flexible enough to remain open to the possibilities & turns that my life/interests have taken and in that way, my blog has been like a glimpse into my life. I'm a very different person now than who I was when I first started this blog. And I love that I've had this blog here to archive and detail some of that progression.

Through it all, I've just continued to keep moving forward, one step at a time. 


In 4 short years I've:

Started a business
Launched a website
Redesigned my blog
Redesigned my website
Had my work published in a coffee table book
Had my work published in 2 national magazines
Been featured in every major local Atlanta lifestyle magazine (Atlanta, Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles)
One of 20 designers selected to participate in the 2013 Cathedral Antiques Inspiration House (show house)
Recognized on HGTV.com's Front Door as one of Atlanta's Best Interior Designers
Featured twice in the Atlanta Journal Constitution (AJC)
Featured on West Elm blog
Named to the Hot List by The Atlantan as an up & coming designer to watch
Started a non-profit for designers to collaborate & makeover shelters in the Atlanta area
Participated in & managed the redesign of 3 homeless/temporary housing projects in 2 years
Named to the 2014 15 Under 40 list for Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles
Selected to design a vignette for the 2014 Atlanta Food & Wine Festival
2013 Decor Judge for Taste of Atlanta
Design Assistant on TBS' Movie & A Makeover
Project Designer for Flynnside Out Productions
Featured on Design Sponge
Style Spotlight on Style Blueprint Atlanta
Styled national ad campaigns for HGTV's 2013 & 2014 outdoor & indoor furniture lines plus gardening accessories
Requested panelist for AmericasMart Seminars
Featured speaker for 2013 Winter Market at AmericasMart
Asked to speak at a local high school for career day
Filmed a 2 news segments with the local NBC affiliate
Partnered with national brands including Home Depot, FLOR, Sherwin Williams, Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams, WallpaperPlus, HomeRite
Styled editorial photo shoots for Atlanta magazine & Jezebel
Helped countless clients improve their lives through the power of great design.
Producing my first design video (Flynnside Out) in less than 2 weeks!

In the midst of that I've also:
Left an 8 year relationship
Lost 37 pounds
Developed an autoimmune disease
Started & ended a business
Lost my grandmother
Tackled some major financial hurdles
Gained a few fantastic new friends
Rediscovered some incredible old friends
Wrestled with some really tough decisions
Uncovered more of myself

Mali Azima for AHL

It hasn't always been easy and the path isn't always clear.
Every step of growth means I'm simultaneously outgrowing something else, and I've had to get very very comfortable with change--that's the nature of being an entrepreneur, especially in a creative field. There have been times when I didn't know how I was going to make it and hear my heart when I say this--I can surely tell you a thing or two about rubbing 2 quarters together!!
But through it all, I've kept on going. And because of that one commitment to myself, I now have a life (and a business) that I never ever imagined I'd have when I graduated from college so many years ago.
So as I celebrate my 4th anniversary, I encourage you to honor whatever whisper is keeping you up at night. If you want to start a business, start today. Yes, it's scary and you'll feel like everyone is watching you and you might not be sure how to do everything and you may not even be sure your idea is going to work but here's one thing I know--it will never work if you don't at least try.
Your future self is waiting on you. 



(If you STILL want to read more, you're in luck...Part II of my reflections will post on Friday!)
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