A Little Piece of You

A Piece of Their Story: Emily Byrski

Some know her as Emily Byrski, some know her as Empire Style of Mind; either way, she's a NYC livin' Fashionista who is killing the game. Emily lives a colorful, stylish, exciting life. Whether she's globetrotting, blogging, or maybe both, it's safe to say Emily is always living her best possible life. I mean come on, try looking at her pictures and not thinking, "goals". 

We want to get to know you! Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I am currently working as a freelancer in various capacities. I’m mainly a freelance photographer and I shoot projects as needed, from fashion photos for different brands, to blogger photos, to travel content, and more. I also maintain a blog and do a lot of creation for that site, from the Instagram, to the blog posts, to managing collaborations and sponsorships, to sharing posts across social channels. I also write freelance, mainly for a site called LikeABossGirls.com about travel and career advice. I also have an Etsy print shop called PrintSomethingPretty where I sell prints of my photography and I sell photos to stock sites like Adobe Stock. Oh, and I travel all the time, most recently to Paris and then home to Florida. And somehow on top of that I maintain some semblance of a social life. So yeah, I wear a lot of hats.

 WHAT ARE YOUR FOUR TRAITS AND WHY?

 CREATIVE: Ever since I was little I’ve loved art and creating new things. I am a very visual person, I love color and pattern, and I love good design. I’m now working in some very creative fields and most, if not all, of what I do is content creation of some sort. I also think that I’m creative in the way I approach problems and see the world—I try to keep an open mind and look at things from different perspectives.

 AMBITIOUS: I have a bit of a perfectionist personality (type-A as can be) and as much as I try to enjoy my accomplishments, I’m always looking forward to the next thing I can do. I always want to do more, achieve more, and be more. I have a lot of ideas floating around in my head at any given time and whenever I actually choose one to focus on, I tend to make it happen no matter what.

 ADVENTUROUS: I am always looking for the next adventure, the next big thing, the next fun experience. I am a bit of an adrenaline junkie and my bucket list is never-ending. I’m a very take charge person and if I want to do something, even if no one else wants to, I’ll probably do it anyways. From jumping off a cliff in Zimbabwe, spontaneously booking a solo trip to Paris a week ahead of time, learning to surf, and even just trying weird new cuisine, I’ve always been excited to try crazy new things.

 INTELLIGENT: I was that nerdy bookworm stereotype growing up. I could read confidently by the time I was two years old and by the time I was 10 owned thousands of books, preferring to stay at home and read rather than be outside with other kids. I was always top of my class, got straight A’s, scored highly on tests, and still had time to sass the teachers and join a ton of extracurriculars. I’m really good at trivia (I love Jeopardy) because I’m just full of a ton of generally useless information. Except for math, I hate math. But even that I managed to get all A’s in… 

 

YOU CHOSE AMBITIOUS AS ONE OF YOUR TRAITS, WHAT ARE SOME THINGS YOU’RE AMBITIOUS ABOUT?

As I mentioned, I’m always looking for ways to improve everything I do. I want my photography to be published in important publications like Town & Country or AFAR or Conde Nast Traveler. I would love for my blog to grow a larger audience and reach a point where I can post content consistently every single day, possibly bringing other writers and creators onto the site. I eventually want to start my own business and I know I want it to be along the lines of a sustainable media company. I want to be the best that I can possibly be in my chosen fields.

WHAT ARE SOME WAYS YOU EXPRESS YOUR CREATIVITY?

Every single day I am working on taking or editing photos, planning outfits and content for the blog, writing articles and posts, and more, so all of what I do is a creative outlet. I also love design and decor so I really enjoyed decorating my apartment. I moved into a new place in August and I’m constantly looking for pretty new things to add to the style. I’ve recently gotten back into film photography simply for my own enjoyment. I used to shoot film in photo class in high school and in photography school (my first two years at NYU I was a Photo major before I transferred programs) and I find it to be a really creative medium in a way that digital photography is not. It’s more tactile and takes more patience and focus.

 EXPLAIN TO US WHAT EMPIRE STYLE OF MIND IS ALL ABOUT!

 I started the blog my freshman year of college having just moved from small town Florida to the big city. I quickly realized that my fashion sense was vastly different than my Greenwich Village counterparts. In typical Emily fashion rather than straight up conforming I decided to start a blog to explore the ways my fashion sense developed merging the colorful and preppy style I loved with the edgier and neutral city style. Since then it has grown into a place where I share fashion tips, outfits, travel tips, stories about my experiences and my travels, lifestyle content, and more. I’ve also tried to incorporate my passion for sustainable fashion as much as possible and certainly plan to do even more moving forward. I’m working on a New York City Guide as I’m often asked questions about the city and I’m also planning to add more and more travel content to the site. It’s fun to see how much I’ve grown since starting Empire Style of Mind and can now consider myself an expert, of sorts, on many of the things I’m writing and blogging about.

 WHAT ARE SOME WORDS OF WISDOM YOU SHARE WITH OTHERS?

 On of my favorite quotes is, “The definition of madness is doing the same thing and expecting a different result.” If you’re trying your best at something and it just isn’t working, try something new. This isn’t the same as giving up rather finding a different way to approach a problem is often the key to solving it. If it were easy, everyone else would be doing it already. We as humans have such a tendency to get stuck in one frame of mind but allowing a chance to step back and revaluate often reveals a lot about what you have already been doing. Even if something has been working just fine, you don’t want the sum of your achievements to be “fine.” Good is the enemy of greatness. Life is about constant improvement and the worst thing you can let happen is for your growth to plateau. Be confident yet humble in all that you do, accepting that you do not always know best and will often need help, and realizing that it is not a failure of your own ability but rather a success to be able to recognize your own strengths and weaknesses. No one person can do it all so you have to focus your efforts where you know you will best excel. Every experience—each challenge, failure, and success—is a chance to make yourself better. Set goals for yourself and hold yourself accountable for your actions because more often than not no one else will do it for you.

CHECK OUT MORE FROM EMILY! 

INSTAGRAM | FACEBOOK  | PINTEREST WEBSITE

A Piece of Their Story: Cassie Mendoza-Jones

This week's blog post features Cassie Mendoza-Jones, an Australian author, business alignment coach, kinesiologist, naturopath, writer and speaker. Whew! Did you get all that? This girl is busy! 

WHAT ARE YOU UP TO RIGHT NOW? TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF!

I’m the bestselling author of You Are Enough and It’s All Good (Hay House), a kinesiologist, business alignment coach, naturopath, writer and speaker.

I work with women and entrepreneurs, healers, coaches and creatives who are driven, devoted and honoring their dreams, and who want to become more powerfully aligned to their bigger vision, clear away perfectionism, procrastination and overwhelm, and create their own version of a beautiful and aligned business and life. It’s my mission to share what I know about building and establishing a business and life that feels deeply aligned to who you are.

I know that life feels better when we push and force less, and instead, tune into flow… and so I love helping women understand how to work with the natural rhythms and cycles of their body and energy to support the creation of their best business and life. I’m incredibly passionate about helping driven entrepreneurs, healers, coaches and creatives navigate the waters of establishing and maintaining their heart-centred businesses, helping them to get clear on their goals and align their energy and intentions towards success, ease and flow.

I also love helping women give themselves permission to stop pushing themselves so hard, and to start believing that self-care, self-confidence and self-acceptance is so very possible, without having to do more in order to be worthy of it.

Right now I’m working on some upcoming projects… that I’ll reveal more about soon!

WHAT ARE YOUR FOUR TRAITS AND WHY?

AMBITIOUS: I love taking action towards my dreams and goals, and I’m always working on something!

CREATIVE: I come from a very creative family, and love being creative through writing, painting, drawing, pottery… and living a creative, fulfilling life.

DETERMINED: I put my all into my work, and into creating a life and biz I’m proud of.

DRIVEN: When I know what I want, I align myself to it, and work towards it.

SO, YOU ARE AN AUTHOR? TELL US ABOUT HOW THAT BEGAN!

I’ve always written throughout my whole life, so when I started my business, it was natural for me to start writing ebooks, articles and online programs.

I went to the Hay House Australia Writer’s Workshop in 2014, and won an international book deal with them! From there, I wrote my first book, You Are Enough, which is about releasing comparison, trusting your worth, and increasing your self-confidence.

 YOU ARE AMBITIOUS, WHAT IS YOUR END GOAL?

To always do my best work, every day, and to love what I create in my life and biz.

TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOUR BOOK, IT’S ALL GOOD!

It’s All Good reminds us that we can trust ourselves and know that we are supported on our path, even if we sometimes feel lost. It’s often during our most challenging times that we learn and grow the most.

When we detach ourselves from past disappointments and future outcomes, trust our journey and surrender to where we are now, we can tap into a new-found ability to approach our lives with a fresh perspective—one that stems from resilience and a devotion to our dreams.

When we surrender to the bigger plan, we can be comfortable with the uncertainty that often lies between making plans and seeing our dreams manifest. We understand that we can take patient, aligned action in our lives, without attaching, controlling or making ourselves suffer through hard times.

When we let go of expectations, we can truly receive our dreams, or something even better.

Filled with practical tips, affirmations, meditations, energetic tools and more, It’s All Good guides us to surrender to where we are, tune into trust, and ultimately achieve the peace of mind that comes from knowing we are always supported.

 WHAT’S ONE PIECE OF ADVICE THAT YOU LIVE BY, OR THAT YOU HAVE GIVEN TO OTHERS?

In his book, Die Empty, author Todd Henry says we should empty ourselves of our best work every day, so we don’t die with our best work inside us.

This inspires me to always show up, create, and do my best work.

 CHECK OUT MORE FROM CASSIE 

INSTAGRAM | WEBSITE | FACEBOOK  |PINTEREST  YOUTUBE

A Piece of Their Story: Kate Caddle

Meet Kate! Kate is not only an amazing speaker and writer, she's also an award winning Life Coach. She strives to help others overcome jealousy, comparison, and perfectionism. Kate's passion to help others reach an ideal level of confidence is empowering. Okay okay, let's learn a little more about Kate...

 

WHAT ARE YOU UP TO RIGHT NOW? TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF!

Right now, I’m growing a little human inside my belly! Which feels like the most exciting and beautiful blessing to be experiencing. But the most incredibly part is, my body is doing that all on it’s own! I don’t know how many times I’ll need to see (or experience) a baby in the womb to no longer find the gift of life the most incredible miracle of all.

Aside from the baby growing, I’m also a life coach and at the moment I’m currently holding full coaching books, and a group coaching program, as well as lots of other fun projects on the side. Oh and don’t forget the renovations! It’s a great idea to move out of your home and completely re-do the kitchen, living room and dining room when you’re 5 months pregnant right? I say that sarcasticly, but I love it! Renovating our home has been such a joy, I’m a creative person at heart, and bringing our ideas and vision to life is truly special! (Check out my instastories for updates)

I live with my husband on the Gold Coast in Australia, and we have two cute rescue dogs, Kobe and Daisy who bring so much joy to our lives, and in April 2018 we’ll be welcoming our first human child, a little boy. 

WHAT ARE YOUR FOUR TRAITS AND WHY?

AMBITIOUS: For as long as I can remember I’ve wholeheartdly chased my goals, rarely taking no for an answer. If I set my mind to something, I will do all I can to achieve it.

COMPASSIONATE: I value and respect other people and their experinces in life. Personally I identify as an empath, meaning that I deeply feel what others are also feeling. It’s for this reason that I feel compassion comes so naturally to me, I find putting myself in someone elses shoes to be simple. One the other side of the coin, news and current affairs can deeply effect me, so I keep them at a minimum.

PASSIONATE: A true taurus, I like to say I’m passionate about passion! If you catch me on a topic that lights me up, you’ll feel it radiating, and you’ll find it hard to get me to stop! I believe in allowing the heart to guide the way, it’s from this space that I find my passion.

ENCOURAGING: A natural trait that I believe aids in making me a great coach, I truly believe that we can all be what we hope to, and achieve that which we dream of, with the right support. I love being able to support someone, and show them whats possible when they have a cheer squad in the background.

SO, YOU ARE A LIFE COACH? TELL US ABOUT HOW THAT BEGAN!

Back in 2012 I was diagnosed with severe endometriosis, and had emergency surgery to remove a rupturing cyst, just two weeks after my now husband and I got engaged. The fairytale I was living cam crashing down, and over the coming years as I came to terms with the severity of what I was experiencing, I had no choice but to grow. To go all in on personal growth, to show up for myself like never before, and learn to love my body in it’s entirety. Even those parts that are a little harder to love.

Through all of this I was running a successful business as a hair and makeup artist, but it came to a point where it was no longer fullfilling. The work I’d done on myself was calling me to show up in the world in a different way. I knew that there was something more I needed to do. And so, I shut up shop of my makeup business, which was a big descision to close the doors of a successful business, seven years in, and I got a part time job, while I figured out my next move. Remember what I was saying about being heart lead?

It was only a couple of weeks later that I was having a discussion with a friend, confused at how I could turn my natural desire and calling into a career. I had all the pieces to the puzzle, but they just didn’t seem to fit together. And just like that the answer landed in my lap. I signed up immedately and started studying just a month or two later. I love what I do so much, and when I finished I dove into my new business head first, and have been building, growing and expanding ever since.

I’m so glad that I made the choice in that moment, a few years ago to listen to my heart. I could have easily continued with my work in makeup, and on the most part I would have been happy, but I know for sure that I wouldn’t have been fullfilled. I’m blessed to live in a country where I will never starve, or be homeless. So I asked myself, if not now, when? Although it was a risk to leap, the risk of not seemed so much greater.

YOU PICKED PASSIONATE AS ONE OF YOUR TRAITS, WHAT ARE SOME THINGS YOU ARE PASSIONATE ABOUT?

I’m passionate about self care and developing a loving relationship with yourself, empowering women, nature, zen time, lovingly supporting others and living an abundant life. I’m passionate about honoring my relationship with my husband, and my nearest family and friends. I don’t do much without passion behind it, because really whats the point?

WHAT SPARKED YOUR DESIRE TO HELP PEOPLE OVERCOME PERFECTIONISM? Almost every single one of my clients was displaying perfectionism tendencies, or the key issues they would want to explore would all come back to perfectionism, and it was breaking my heart to see that as a society we are raising women to care so much about what other people think of them. If we were to empower women to be their true messy selves, and embrace that beauty in others at the same time, rather than criticizing it, this world would be a very different place. It’s in those messy bits, or ‘edges’ that we become unique. What a shame it would be to a live a life in the shadow or the mirror of someone else. I figure if I can support a handful of women each year to come back within, embrace who they are, and be brave enough to show it, I know that I’m showing up for my purpose. So in short, I was given sign after sign, the work called me!

WHAT’S ONE PIECE OF ADVICE THAT YOU LIVE BY, OR THAT YOU HAVE GIVEN TO OTHERS?

You already have it all within. I know it’s cliché, but how many times have you actually thought about the gravity of the statement. What would it mean if you believed it? How would your world change if you no longer needed to find something outside of yourself in order to be happy? There are way too many people telling us how we should or shouldn’t be living our lives, and the truth is, we’ve lost sight of who we truly are. The more we connect to ourselves, the less we lean on advice, rather asking within. The best place to start, is ALWAYS within.

 

CHECK OUT MORE FROM KATE! 

INSTAGRAM | FACEBOOK  WEBSITE

A Piece of Their Story: Ashlyn Carter

Introducing Ashlyn, a wedding calligrapher and creative copywriter from Atlanta. Ashlyn strives to use her creativity and work ethic to help women work from a place of rest; forgoing the typical stresses of life, in and out of the workplace. She also helps encourage creative entrepreneurs in every way she can. Keep doing you, Ashlyn. You rock!

WHAT ARE YOU UP TO RIGHT NOW? TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF!

Hi! I’m Ashlyn (don’t mind my ink-stained hands), creator of Ashlyn Writes. I help women live and work from a place of rest—not hustle—by crafting copy that converts for creative entrepreneurs … and heirloom suites for brides.

WHAT ARE YOUR FOUR TRAITS AND WHY?

DREAMER: That’s what my name means! This one was easy. :) I’ve always been a dreamer.

CREATIVE: I remember looking forward to Mondays in first grade—that’s when we got to go to art class. I studied classical ballet for 19 years growing up, and between art classes, English, and ballet after school, the creative side of working has always had me spellbound.

HARD-WORKING: My StrengthsFinder results always point towards Achiever—I don’t have a problem with motivation, typically. ;)

ENCOURAGING: I have to watch this, because it used to exhibit itself with me tapping into my people-pleasing nature. Now, I try to speak into others what they may not see themselves, because that’s what helped me go full-time with my job: when other women noticed things in me.

YOU CHOSE CREATIVE AS ONE OF YOUR TRAITS, IN WHAT WAYS DO YOU EXPRESS YOUR CREATIVITY?

Art for art’s sake is really important to me, so I make time each week to do calligraphy and creative writing for no one. I journal every day, and I make sure to get up early so I have time to do these things before the craziness of the day sets in.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO SOMEONE ASPIRING TO REACH THEIR DREAMS?

(I have a whole YouTube channel (ashlynwrites.com/YouTube) and blog (ashlynwrites.com/blog) dedicated to this! I love giving small business advice for creative women. :) Feel free to pull from any of that content as research for your story.)

TELL US ABOUT ASHLYN WRITES, HOW DID IT BEGIN?

Hustle's a good thing and serves its purpose in its season ... but imperfect progress for me looks like never learning how to rest when work and striving are my drugs of choice. We don’t often grasp the gravity of how we were created for and commanded to cease our striving and our drive towards perfectionism, do we?

Long-story-involving-hospitalization-short (head here to read my story about an eating disorder), I was literally stopped me in my busy, hustle-minded tracks while working in corporate marketing, moonlighting as a calligrapher.

I launched Ashlyn Writes with a heart to serve brides during a trying time ... and teach creative entrepreneurs all I learned in more than a decade of marketing and communications.

 

 

WHAT IS A MOTTO YOU LIVE BY, AND ENCOURAGE OTHERS TO AS WELL?

Work from a place of rest—not hustle.

CHECK OUT MORE FROM ASHLYN 

INSTAGRAM | WEBSITE | FACEBOOK  |PINTEREST  YOUTUBE

A Piece of Our Founder's Story: Elsa Vos

As we continue to feature inspiring women on our blog, it's only fitting to write a post dedicated to the woman who started it all. Elsa Vos, the founder of Pieces of Me, turned a college graphic design project into something much much bigger. With the combination of her creativity, determination, and entrepreneurship, Elsa has began to build her empire. 

TELL US HOW PIECES OF ME BEGAN!

Pieces of Me truly began back in college, my junior year and stemmed from a Graphic Design project. For this project I decided to analyze my personality through my friends and family. I asked them to pick out which personality traits they saw in me. I took those traits, compiled the data and came up with my most dominant traits. From there I designed a visual set of icons, and each design was created to represent each personality trait. After creating the set of icons I put them together in a reflective pattern. This was a life changing experience for me. In college, like many others can probably relate to, it’s hard to know exactly who you are as a person, and what your identity truly is. I was going through some tough things in my life at the time and had a pretty toxic friendship that was taking over who I really was. This project and this pattern gave me a sense of freedom. When I saw the traits that people saw in me it was a HUGE confidence boost, and gave me so much strength to see hey the closest people in my life think I’m creative, and hardworking etc. It made me realize how I was made unique, that I do have these qualities people appreciate about me.

 The entrepreneurial spirit in me said how can I share this with others? How do I allow others to feel the same sense of freedom, and feeling of love and appreciation. That is when Pieces of Me was born.

 It evolved into a jewelry line as a way to let individuals truly wear who they are, and share their unique personality with the world.

 

WHAT ARE YOUR FOUR TRAITS AND WHY?

 DETERMINED: I’ve been told that I’m extremely tenacious and determined. Others might say that I’m stubborn, and yes they couldn’t be more right. While being stubborn and determined can be a negatively quality it is also that exact character trait that keeps me on this entrepreneurial path and growing the business each and every day. When I want something I go after it I stay extremely determined until I meet what ever goal it is I set my mind to.

 CREATIVE: I’ve always been creative, since I was very young. When I was a little girl I always wanted to grow up and be an artist, then it was an art teacher, and then in high school I knew I wanted to go into Graphic Design and that’s exactly what I did. I believe that being creative isn’t always necessarily what it means in the traditional sense when people think of the word, I think it runs much deeper than that. It is about observation. I’m a much more introverted person, an observer. I take in the world around me, and have a natural curiosity about things, I think I’m creative in the way that I problem solve and approach a challenge. Being a creative individual is at the very center of who I am.

 LEADER: This is a newer character trait for me that I feel like I continue to grow in each day. I never thought I’d grow to have such a passion for leadership and mentorship. I started an intern program, and through that I’ve grown such a passion to lead. It brings me so much joy to mentor and help someone else in the best way that I know how. I’ve had a few people approach me and tell me how inspirational it Is to see me and what I’m doing. It’s those moments where it hits me sometimes, like wow what I’m doing is really impacting people’s lives around me which is a really great feeling.

 AMBITIOUS: I think that any entrepreneur has to be very ambitious. They have to be hungry and driven to keep striving for the best, or to reach that next goal. Building a business is hard, really hard. It takes everything you have and more. I feel like if I wasn’t a very ambitious person by nature it would be very difficult for me to stay motivated to work towards building this business every day. 

 

 YOU’RE OBVIOUSLY VERY CREATIVE, WHERE DO YOU THINK THAT CREATIVITY STEMS FROM?

Like I said I think that I’ve always been that way and it is the center of who I am. When people talk about being heavily left brained or right brained, I’d say I’m one of those people that is so far on the creative and visual side of things. I’m an observer, I see things in composition in the way the different objects relate to one another. Being a graphic designer has pushed me to be creative, but it’s being creative with a purpose. Approaching a challenge and deciding what is the best way to visual communicate something. I’m not great at making small talk or communicating verbally, but give me a design challenge and I’m all in to communicate visually to the best of my abilities. Tying back to Pieces of Me designing our set of icons was one of the biggest design challenges to do that had to be solved in a very creative process.

 

 WHY IS ENCOURAGING OTHERS TO BE INDIVIDUAL AND UNIQUE SO IMPORTANT TO YOU?

This is important to me because I believe it is something that we all struggle with at one point in our lives. Who are you? What makes you different, what is your true identity? There are a lot of pressures out in society and social media has made it even easier to play the comparison game. Leaving a lot of us to feel inadequate, that we need to dress better, decorate our house better, our children need to be more put together, that we need to have our own business, that we need look a certain way, act a certain way and be a certain way. Instead I want to give people a little piece of positivity among all of those pressure to remember that they DO have strengths, and UNIQUE personality that they need to remember and embrace. When the pieces are given as a gift it is a reminder that they love and cherish you for who you are. 

This brand started out as my journey and my business idea, but it has turned into so much more than I could’ve ever imagined. I hear customer stories and testimonials about how our pieces have made an impact in their lives, and that is truly what keeps me motivated each day. I’ve realized that there is greater purpose here at work then just me building this business. I can’t wait to see where God takes me on this journey and how Pieces of Me may impact many more individuals lives.

 

 WHAT IS YOUR OVERALL GOAL FOR PIECES OF ME?

My overall goal for Pieces of Me is for it to become a nationalized brand. One of those brands you know and love that will always be there. I want to spread positivity, encouraging others and reminding them of their strengths near and far in the US and beyond. I want to impact as many individuals as I can. I can’t answer what the future looks like exactly, but I can tell you that I want to build a national brand that revolves around individuality and embracing who you are. I can’t answer what jewelry pieces we will sell years from now, or if we’ll have apparel or accessories, but I can tell you that the brand itself will remain true to who we are.

 We want to inspire others, spread positivity, and celebrate everyone’s unique personality across the globe.

 

WHAT ENCOURAGMENT WOULD YOU GIVE TO SOMEONE ASPIRING TO BE AN ENTREPENUER?

 My biggest encouragement to someone aspiring to be an entrepreneur would be to say make sure you are 110% passionate and committed to what you are doing. It may look glamorous at times, but I’m here to tell you it’s not easy. It’s really really hard, so the only thing that is going to get you through is your passion and commitment to whatever venture you pursue. That being said when you do pour your passion into your business, you will look back on it and have so much joy in what you’ve created. My other piece of advice would be something I’m still learning how to do, but it’s to embrace and celebrate the little moments. It is so easy as an entrepreneur to always be focused on the future and where you want to be then where you are right now in this moment. It’s important to take the time to celebrate all the little successes along the way, and pat yourself on the back every once in a while! You deserve it!

 

 

CHECK OUT MORE FROM ELSA
INSTAGRAM | FACEBOOK