NazaHenna

Name: Nazha Nasfin
Company: Naza Henna
Age: 32
Instagram: @nazahenna
Website: Naza Henna

How did you get to where you are today?
I grew up with henna in my culture, used during celebrations, holidays and weddings. I fell in love with the art form at a very young age, I think 10. I continued to apply it with a toothpick out of a bowl, not knowing how to mix it properly or apply it efficiently. When the internet came to life, I started to study and apply the techniques on myself and roommates in college. I also went to school for fine arts, which helped me grow as an artist. After graduation, I turned the hobby into a business.

What is your elevator pitch on what you do? I’m fortunate for the fact that my art speaks for itself. I’m always doodling on myself to try out new ideas for designs and when I’m around people, I find that they fawn over my Henna. I simply give them a brief overview on the harmlessness of the Henna and how it lasts for about a week or so. Before I know it, business cards are exchanged!

How do you define success? Do you consider yourself “successful”? I definitely feel that I’m successful. I believe that when a person outlines a set of goals for themselves and manages to achieve them, then they should feel successful. Whether it’s something as small as walking a couple of miles a week or graduating from a university, everyone has something that they eventually accomplish and should feel successful about.

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What have been some of the most rewarding things in your career thus far? The ability to not only do what I’m passionate about, but most importantly, be able to share this art form with so many people. It’s a wonderful feeling to be able to employ and train other artists who have an interest in fine arts, as we all know, being an artist doesn’t always pay the bills! So helping other artists utilize their talents in a successful way makes me very proud.  It’s also satisfying to see the smiles of my clients when they see the finished product. It’s what keeps me going.

What have been some of your mistakes? What have you learned from them? Like any artist and entrepreneur, I have made many mistakes and one in particular was attempting going into business for myself full time before I was ready. Sometimes as an artist you get over eager when things are going well and people are interested in what you do. Unfortunately, I made the initial mistake of not having the business side in order and that brought on a lot of challenging situations.

What do you still want to achieve personally and/or professionally? Personally I would love to raise a family. Professionally, I want to grow my brand and make my product line of balms, handcrafted items and apparel available nationally.

Who has been your greatest inspiration? I am inspired by any woman that has broken out of their social norm to become a leader in her own right. I was raised in a conservative Islamic home that wasn’t able or willing to assimilate into the American culture. I was expected to go to school and become a doctor or a lawyer or at least marry one lol. Becoming an artist was frowned upon. I have a lot of respect and admiration for women all over the world that found the strength and courage to step up and set an example. I love it when any woman proves that we can do whatever we want and be successful doing it!

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When was the last time you were overwhelmed and cried from something provoked by work? I found myself overwhelmed earlier this year when my business began to grow at an exponential rate. It was tough keeping up with the demand of my clientele and finding ways to create a balance with my personal life and not work 14hour days!

How has your career affected your personal life/relationships? It can be tough balancing personal life with business responsibilities. However, everyone in my circle has been incredibly supportive and helped me to grow as a woman and as an entrepreneur. I feel that my career can at times take a toll on my social life, but because I have the right people around me, we’ve all become even closer.

Have you ever thought about giving up? What provokes those thoughts? The thought has crossed my mind before going fulltime for my business.  I of course worked a full-time corporate job for 10 years while growing my business on the side. The fear of not having a steady paycheck or benefits is something that can be very intimidating when trying to venture off on your own. Almost like leaving the safety nest of your parents’ home lol. Now that I have ripped that scary band aid off, I’m doing what I love, every day. I work harder than I ever have, but I am very fulfilled and humbly living my dream. I don’t think anyone can ask for anything better.

What causes you anxiety/sleepless nights? Sometimes I find myself dreaming in hashtags. I’m always coming up with new ideas and marketing strategies and it can keep me up at night. The problem with working for yourself and growing your own company is that your mind is constantly in work mode.

Naza Henna  Naza Henna

What makes you happy? Being a couch potato with my boyfriend and our pets. It’s the best feeling in the world!

What advice would you tell your 21 year old self? I would tell 21 year old Nazha to take more risks for herself professionally and to not be afraid of sacrificing certain things. Oh, and to retain the shape I achieved at age 25, because our metabolism will never be the same!

What is the biggest misconception about what you do?  There’s still a learning curve on what henna is, where it comes from and the safety of it. I am constantly education clients about the organic and natural henna recipes I use and to avoid black henna, which has PPD (hair dye).

What is your favorite quote? “Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!” ― Hunter S. Thompson

monica wise lspaceName: Monica Wise
Company: L*Space by Monica Wise
Instagram: @lspaceswim
Website: www.Lspace.com

How did you get to where you are today?
I’ve always been obsessed with the outdoor lifestyle and sunny weather. Growing up with harsh winters in the Midwest, I found myself daydreaming about warm-weathered getaways.  As soon as I turned 18, I packed my bags and moved to Florida, where I fell in love with the sun-soaked beaches and the bikini culture.  I became a swimsuit addict living near the beach. I quickly learned that in order to be a serious contender in the swim world that California was where I had to be so I packed my bags and landed in Orange County.

What is your elevator pitch on what you do?
I’m Monica Wise, the founder of L*Space, known for classic beach-chic swimwear and apparel with impeccable fit!

How do you define success? Do you consider yourself “successful”?
Waking up every day and doing something that I truly love and that I never tire of defines success to me.  There’s not a day that goes by that I’m not grateful.

What have been some of the most rewarding things in your career thus far?
Six years ago L*Space was voted “Mercedes Benz Presents Designer” during Miami Fashion Week. At that moment, I knew there was something unique and special about my brand.

What have been some of your mistakes? What have you learned from them?
There are times when I become too much of a control freak in handling projects and not allowing my team to do what they were hired to do. I’ve learned to take a step back, take a deep breath and trust.

What do you still want to achieve personally and/or professionally?
I am passionate about continuing our product offering at L*Space and expanding to categories beyond the beach.  The challenge really excites me!

Who has been your greatest inspiration?
I’ve had the chance to meet and work with so many strong aspirational women over the years. Nothing inspires me more than young driven women who have a vision of their own. I’ve mentored a few over the years and it’s rewarding to see their passions and accomplishments.

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When was the last time you were overwhelmed and cried from something provoked by work?
My first year winning “Swimwear Brand of the Year” at the SIMA Awards was a very emotional moment for me.  Standing there on stage to accept that award 8 years ago definitely had me bawling!

How has your career affected your personal life/relationships?
At the onset of L*Space I was quite the workaholic putting in 7 days a week.  I knew I had to stay focused on the “prize” which didn’t allow a lot of time in my personal life.

Have you ever thought about giving up? What provokes those thoughts?
Never!!  I’ve always believed in the harder the struggler, the more glorious the triumph.

What causes you anxiety/sleepless nights?
I’ve had many sleepless nights when I first launched L*space and I could run on 4-5 hours of sleep.  Having to do it all as a one woman show was challenging and there was never enough time in the day. Today I have the support of an amazing team and I get plenty of sleep in days!

What makes you happy?
I recently married and I love weekends spent at home with my husband and our three kitties, but there’s also nothing like traveling to new international cities and experiencing different cultures. Luckily I married a man who love to travel too!

What advice would you tell your 21 year old self?
“Monica, take care of yourself. You only get one body so lay off the sugar, eat healthy, and exercise!!”   (I still have those sugar cravings)

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What is the biggest misconception about what you do?
People seem to have this misconception that owning a bikini brand is all fun in the sun.  Although the product in fun and the lifestyle we portrait is aspirational it’s really just like running any other business.

What is your favorite quote?
“Good, better, best. You can never rest until good is better and better best.” I’ve rehearsed this quote many times when a launched L*Space and still live by it today!

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emily pereira surfing

Name: Emily Pereira
Company: Emily Pereira / Free Your Spirit
Age: 38
Instagram: @emilybegins
Website: emilypereira.com

How did you get to where you are today?
I had a radical personal transformation in my life that opened my eyes and heart to an entirely new and passionate way of life. I awakened my once dormant creativity by writing a book, learning to play guitar, writing and singing original songs, painting large canvasses, and dancing in the Le Vie Noir burlesque troupe –all after 32 years of believing I didn’t have a creative bone in my body! Becoming my own irresistible muse sparked a wildfire that tore through my life, burning up everything that wasn’t aligned with guiltless freedom, radical personal realization, and unabashed passion.

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What is your elevator pitch on what you do?
I’m on a mission to show every woman the way out of the thankless prison of perfection and back to her playful, creative, passionate self!

As Spirit Nature Certified Spiritual Advocate and Gateless-trained writing teacher, I’m dedicated to helping women discover a wildly adventurous creative existence that becomes the foundation of permission where self worth, joy, and purpose can’t help but flourish.

I do this via my writing, videos, workshops and transformational retreats.

How do you define success? Do you consider yourself “successful”?
I define success by spending my days doing what I love and making enough money to live a lifestyle where I feel abundant and free.

What have been some of the most rewarding things in your career thus far?
Having the opportunity to lead women on transformative, creative adventure retreats is literally my version of the best time ever. It combines all of my loves: Sisterhood connection, writing, yoga, meditation, surfing, clean eating… I still don’t believe I get to do it. To witness how much each woman grows in a week is astonishing, and gives me incredible hope for what’s possible for all women.

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What have been some of your mistakes? What have you learned from them?
I live by the understanding that every single thing, person, event, and experience I personally create to aid and abet my spiritual growth. Even the good, the bad and the ugly. This helps me retain a vibration of gratitude because I know everything that comes my way is for me. And trust me I’ve been through some dooooozys.. chronic illness, divorce, projects that haven’t gone as expected… to name a few. But these are things that have allowed me to look deep inside myself, and shift limiting beliefs I’d been unconsciously holding about myself. Those shifts led to massive breakthroughs. At this point I wouldn’t trade my journey for anything.

What do you still want to achieve personally and/or professionally?
I just wrote a memoir! It’s a cross between Eat, Pray, Love and Are you there Vodka it’s me Chelsea. I’d love to see it reach the lives of women all over the world.

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Who has been your greatest inspiration?
I’ve yet to find anything as satisfying as growth. To look back to last month, last season, last year and say… wow I’m a bit braver, I’m a bit bolder, more loving and more accepting. It gives me motivation to keep living on the edge of my comfort zone, because the magic always lives there. My spiritual teacher and co-creator in my upcoming podcast SPIRIT NATURE: The Portal to Radical Truth, James Stellar inspires me everyday to look outside this so-called prescribed vision of happiness and really design life based on what’s in my heart.

When was the last time you were overwhelmed and cried from something provoked by work?
We live in a culture that promotes things outside of us will bring us happiness: a big bank balance, a raving tribe of online fans, that big sparkler on that all important finger. And while these things are nice, they do not lead to genuine self worth, passion, or a deep sense of fulfillment.

I’ve discovered a radical path to knowing yourself, loving yourself, and having the freedom (the most delicious luxury of all) to be yourself. I got frustrated the other day and cried because this is something something many women don’t know they want, but desperately need. A lot of people just aren’t there yet.

How has your career affected your personal life/relationships?
My career and life are all wrapped into one. So many of my dearest friendships and collaborations have resulted from women attending a retreat, and so many of my closest friends attend my retreats regularly. I really believe that when we are inspired and fulfilled in our lives, by our own creations, competition falls away and collaboration and love unfolds between women. We’re all in this together.

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Have you ever thought about giving up? What provokes those thoughts?
I have several different arms to my brand and there are times when I think, this is causing me too many headaches, or I’m spending way too much time on this and it feels like more of an obligation than something I’m really passionate about, so I let go and focus to something else that inspires me.

But the bigger vision of helping women… I couldn’t give up even if I tried. One my favorite quotes (Maya Anqelou) “If you get give, if you learn teach.”

By the time I reached my late 20s I had a life that looked amazing on paper: #1 in company, home on the beach with my internet tycoon boyfriend and a closet full of designer clothes and I still had a deep ache in my heart that I couldn’t quite pinpoint. Back then, I didn’t understand that as long as I didn’t feel like I was enough, IT would never feel like it was enough.

So I did more of what I knew. I worked more, I shopped more, I worked out and went on vacation more and tried to be as perfect as I could in attempt be OK. Short story: it didn’t work. I had a big breakdown that led to a big, beautiful breakthrough (I go into far more detail on this in my new ebook, Unstoppable Woman) that became the biggest turning point of my entire life. I’m determined to help women find their way out of this thankless prison of perfection we’re all born into in our culture. There is another way.

emily pereira

What causes you anxiety/sleepless nights?
I’m a bit of a paradox. I know that the unknown, adventure and experiences that challenge me feed my soul, so I seek them out on the regular. But they also scare me! So depending on what’s coming up for me… a talk in front of hundreds of women, going to France to meet my boyfriend’s family (when I don’t speak French), moving to Costa Rica to open a retreat center (this September) can keep my mind swirling when I lay my head down. But even when I’m scared, I remind myself that I’m allowed to be “The Beginner” and it calms me down enough to fall asleep and move forward with greater ease.

What makes you happy?
So many things! Authentic hilarious friends, the inspiration to create, surfing warm waves, sweet kisses, snuggling with my pup Disco, barely ripe avocados, coconut everything, playing and singing a tunes I’ve written on the guitar, riding motorcycles on the forgotten seaside roads, women celebrating other women, having my own spiritual breakthroughs and witnessing other women breakthrough… to name a few 😉

What advice would you tell your 21 year old self?
Your life doesn’t need to look like anyone else’s. If you follow your heart it won’t.

What is the biggest misconception about what you do?
Many people probably think I fall into the life coach category. I don’t really do one-on-one sessions aside from a very select group of people. I’d say I’m revolutionary inspiring a true sisterhood-spiritual rebellion. I’ve discovered a method that allows women to cultivate genuine value for themselves, which leads to freedom, passion and purpose for living. When we’re inspired by our own creations, competition falls away and collaboration presents itself. Women supporting women—all on the same side?! We are looking at an entirely new planet.

What is your favorite quote?
“Be the beginner… as the beginner you have the ultimate freedom to do or try anything never fail!”- James Stellar

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Name: Kim Khan
Company: Love & Bisous
Age: 35
Instagram: @loveandbisous
Website: loveandbisous.com

How did you get to where you are today?
They say life is all about timing. Since childhood, I’ve had a mild obsession with pretty things and always wanted to be my own boss. I was also craving a change of scenery from my 9 to 5 job. I wanted to create and bring some of my inspirations floating around in my head to life. It was my love of gift giving to my favorite people.

So, I researched and handpicked a selection of old with new artisanal goods, and put them together in a wooden gift box. A modern twist on tradition. I kind of ended up combining many of my loves into one profession: photography, food, pretty blooms, stationery, french inspired, and snail mail. It’s the personal thought that makes a gift really special.

Each gift box I curate for my clients are always brimming with loveliness. From brightly colored blooms, bottle of bubbly, crafty goodness, absolute deliciousness, to organic elements… the list is endless! Life is too short for boring gifts!

p.s. “Bisous” is the French word for kisses.

What is your elevator pitch on what you do?
I’m Kim, owner + gift curator of Love & Bisous, based in Fort Lauderdale. L&B carefully curates high-end gift boxes filled with a collection of unique items for any holiday or special occasion and shares them near or far.

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How do you define success? Do you consider yourself “successful”?
I think you feel successful when you’re doing something magnificent that you enjoy. I take time to be thankful for what I do have instead of what I wish I had. So yes, I consider myself successful!

What have been some of the most rewarding things in your career thus far?
The day when I launched my small business. It’s wonderfully satisfying to be my own boss. I feel so blessed for all the incredible connections I’ve made through Love & Bisous and without them L&B would be nothing. I also look forward to working and helping people bring to life something that truly is one-of-a-kind. Their delight in their eyes is what makes my heart happy.

What have been some of your mistakes? What have you learned from them?
To not take things personal that are out of my control. The more I practice that, the more at peace I’ll be with myself.

What do you still want to achieve personally and/or professionally?
Discovering places and people that I deeply connect with and taking the time to build a tribe that feels more like family than friends. I’m also working on new designs and products for Love & Bisous and have big dreams for expansion.

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Who has been your greatest inspiration?
One of the people I’m inspired by and adore is Lauren Conrad. She didn’t let the glitz of Hollywood get in her way to build an empire for herself. She worked her way up to be her own boss. I love how she remained so true to herself and she’s always put together nicely.

When was the last time you were overwhelmed and cried from something provoked by work?
I was overwhelmed with juggling between work, family and my personal needs. It’s easy to get sucked into the never-ending list of to-dos. A few deep breaths can do a world of good to shift my energy and bring some calm.

How has your career affected your personal life/relationships?
I keep them separate by scheduling in my personal time into my planner. Giving my mind a break from a crowded week to unplugging from social media brainstorm sessions, puts me in a relaxation state of mind. I’m grateful that I have a hubby, family and a handful of close friends that support me. They’re my tribe. They keep me grounded.

Have you ever thought about giving up? What provokes those thoughts?
I remove negative thoughts and replace them with positive ones. I believe that sometimes the most stressful day can be followed by an outstanding day.

What causes you anxiety/sleepless nights?
The feeling of being in a rush to get something done, my food allergies and flying. I have different approaches to a peaceful sorta calm when experiencing all the above. Yoga and meditation has helped tremendously.

What makes you happy?
My main squeeze, my hubby. Photographing, because I love the experience. My two furry chihuahuas. Nothing better than a little love through snail mail. The experience of reading an actual book. Beautiful blooms. A delicious charcuterie and cheese spread. Laughter is medicine. Shopping and scoring some unique finds. Pretty packaging. Celebrating life and those close to me who put the color in it.

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What advice would you tell your 21 year old self?
Follow your instincts. No matter how much you love your parents, they probably love you more. Without pain, you would never have grown. Things fall apart so that other things can fall together. Live to capture beautiful moments and sights.

What is the biggest misconception about what you do?
Is this a real business?

What is your favorite quote?
“The universe buries strange jewels deep within us all, and then stands back to see if we can find them.” ― Elizabeth Gilbert

Hosting Easter Sunday Brunch? We got you covered. Here are some of our favorite Easter and Spring inspired tablescapes…

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Easter Sunday Sweet Treats

Some of our favorite Easter Sunday Sweet Treats!

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With Easter Sunday approaching quickly, here are some of our favorite Easter Egg decorating idea…

Gold Foiling is a great way to give your Easter Eggs that extra sparkle and shine!

Easter Egg, Gold Foiling, Easter, Eggs, Dye

Easter Egg, Gold Foiling, Easter, Eggs, Dye

Easter Egg, Gold Foiling, Easter, Eggs, Dye

Marbling gives your Easter Eggs an artistic multi-colored effect

Marble Eggs

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Cute emoji’s, words and prints create playful Easter Eggs

Emoji Egg

Wordy Easter Eggs

Easter Eggs

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Name: Lisa Petrillo
Company: WFOR-TV – CBS
Instagram: @lisapetrillo
Website: cbsmiami.com

How did you get to where you are today?
The simple answer. Through hard work, staying at it and on it and truly loving what I do.

What is your elevator pitch on what you do?
I am the Entertainment, lifestyle and food reporter for CBS4. I do my best to be the “smile” of a newscast. You’ve usually heard all the bad news before I come on, I hope my reports will make you feel good about things for a bit.

How do you define success? Do you consider yourself “successful”?
For work: I think true success is being satisfied with the work that you’ve done, at the end of the day. Nothing makes me happier, or makes me feel more successful than when viewers tell me how much they enjoy my work and tune in to watch me.
Personally: It’s all about family. My husband and I are raising 2 kids who we hope will be happy people, who will be kind and thoughtful to others AND be an asset to the world. I’m happy and blessed to say it’s looking good so far! ☺

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What have been some of the most rewarding things in your career thus far?
I have interviewed some of the most interesting people!  I’ve chatted and danced on camera with Oprah Winfrey, had a great interview with Paul McCartney, had Tom Hanks tell me I remind him of Julia Roberts (how charming of him! Hahah). I’ve interviewed Hilary Clinton and watched and covered my friends, Gloria and Emilio Estefan get the  Medal of Honor at the White House. It’s been amazing.

What have been some of your mistakes? What have you learned from them?  
There are always mistakes here and there and you learn from all of them. No one is perfect and you just try harder next time.

What do you still want to achieve personally and/or professionally?
I just want to keep doing what I’m doing, while still learning and striving to get better, one of these days, I wouldn’t mind having my own show. Not anchoring a news program, but hosting a lifestyle/food show.

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Who has been your greatest inspiration?
All of the working Moms who juggle it all everyday.

When was the last time you were overwhelmed and cried from something provoked by work?
I can’t say I cried, but sometimes the schedule is overwhelming and there are too many demands leaving no down time. It’s those times when I have to learn to just say, no, it’s enough. That’s always been a struggle for me to learn to say NO.
I’ve also realized that some people are just out for themselves no matter what and that’s that. Stay the course and stick to your inner values and good things will happen in the end.

How has your career affected your personal life/relationships?
My career has opened me up to meeting some wonderful people. Many have become close friends through the years. My personal relationships and friendships have remained strong. Those who I know and love the most, I keep close and they know who they are.

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Have you ever thought about giving up? What provokes those thoughts?
No. I’ve thought about “changing” things up, but never giving up.

What causes you anxiety/sleepless nights?  
Too many things on my schedule, that I haven’t thought through, Turbulence on a flight AND when my teenagers come home in the wee hours of the morning.

What makes you happy?
Just hanging with my entire family, (including my 2 dogs); Spending time with close friends;  I also feel happy when a story I created for work comes together on the air just like I wanted it to…. AND I’m happy when a great song makes me get up and dance!!  I also love the mountains.

What advice would you tell your 21 year old self?  
It truly will all work out. Don’t worry about having to make everyone like you. The smart ones will and the rest don’t matter.

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What is the biggest misconception about what you do?
Oh, this is a good one. Because I cover entertainment, food, celebrities and fashion, most people think it’s fun and so easy!  It is (mostly) FUN. But, it’s not easy. It can be very demanding and difficult at times and requires many types of skills that I’ve worked very hard at obtaining. My husband always gives me the biggest compliment when he says : “You work so hard, to make it look so easy.”

What is your favorite quote?
The best way to cheer yourself up is to try to cheer somebody else up.
– Mark Twain

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Name: Madeleine Marr
Company: Miami Herald, Miami.com
Age: 40 something!
Instagram: @madinmia
Website: www.miamiherald.com/entertainment/celebrities

How did you get to where you are today?
I wanted to be in journalism since college when I was the TV and movie critic for my college newspaper also called The Herald. I also loved international travel so found out that there was an English language weekly magazine in Madrid and applied. Lo and behold they needed a managing editor and I worked there for almost two years at the top of the masthead of Guidepost. Later, incorporating my love of travel and journalism, I moved to Puerto Rico to be a copy editor for The San Juan Star daily newspaper. Back in my home of NYC I freelanced and ended up at Forbes – their Special Interest Publications.

What is your elevator pitch on what you do?
I interview all types of celebrities who have some kind of connection to  South Florida, whether it be a movie, TV show, book, exhibit, song, etc.

How do you define success? Do you consider yourself “successful”?
In the world of entertainment journalism, I would say I have a plum job as I have gotten exclusive interviews with dozens upon dozens of megafamous people in showbiz. I also work for one of the most major dailies in the U.S. so yes, I would say I have arrived!

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What have been some of the most rewarding things in your career thus far?
It’s rewarding to meet people who I’ve been a fan of most of my life in the flesh and realizing that they are just human beings.

What have been some of your mistakes? What have you learned from them? Mistakes?
The big one: Spreading myself too thin. Trying to do to too many things at once and pleasing too many people. The biggest lesson I’ve learned is the art of gab but to also how to be a terrific listener.

What do you still want to achieve personally and/or professionally?
I’ve got a great idea for a book – mixing motherhood with red carpets. I am taking any and all ideas on how to get this off the ground!

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Who has been your greatest inspiration?
My mom – she used to be a pretty big time publicist in NYC. She’s going to be 89 on April 1 and she is still as sharp as ever. I think I inherited her way with words. She is truly an amazing lady.

When was the last time you were overwhelmed and cried from something provoked by work?
I really have honestly never cried at work unless someone I knew was ill, had died or was leaving the company. I get a bit stressed when publicists who have my cell phone number call or text me on weekends! LOL

How has your career affected your personal life/relationships?
That has been a bit of a juggle as I have two small daughters, aged 6 and 8. So their father has had to step up and be Mr. Mom often when I go out at night for events, a role he is very good at but all the same, it can be tough at times.

Have you ever thought about giving up? What provokes those thoughts?
No – goodness no! That is not my nature at all. I’ve been told many times I’m a survivor and will always land on my feet. You just have to take a deep breath and keep going, no matter what.

What causes you anxiety/sleepless nights?
I’m a little like Woody Allen, with the hypochondriac thing. Getting better, but I’ve had those moments where I’m thinking, OK I need to call and get that CT scan.

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What makes you happy?
Seeing my daughters’ sleepy faces the first thing in the morning. Making deadline! Seeing an article I worked hard on come out beautifully in color in print the following day. Talking to an old friend.

What advice would you tell your 21 year old self?
Stay on your path. You’re doing the right thing.

What is the biggest misconception about what you do?
That I have an easy gig.

What is your favorite quote?
“Nothing is good or bad but thinking makes it so.”

Nila_Do_mug3Name: Nila Do Simon
Company: Venice Magazine
Instagram: @nilado
Website: venicemagftl.com

How did you get to where you are today?
I was always been a voracious reader. The Hardy Boys mysteries, The Baby-Sitter Club series, Mark Twain novels, Shakespeare plays, you name it. I remember reading books while at the dinner table, during car rides and right before I went to bed. Along with my brothers, I would regularly go to the local libraries and spend hours going from book to book, magazine to magazine. My parents are both avid readers, and my father is a writer who has published several best-selling books of his poems in his native Vietnamese; whether or not they knew it, their love of reading unconsciously spilled over to me.

We didn’t have a newspaper subscription growing up, but my parents always brought home the day’s paper after work, and I would read that from cover to cover, too. I remember thinking how a writer’s words affected me as a reader, and in the case of newspapers, I started really feeling the power of the fourth estate early on. I thought if I could be affected by reading a journalist’s words, then perhaps I could strive to affect and inform readers with my words.

I eventually majored in journalism at the University of Florida, where I began falling in love with photography. There, I realized how words and images, when paired sonorously, have the ability to tell stories in effective ways, and hopefully move and provide thought-provoking ideas to readers.

What is your elevator pitch on what you do?
At the end of the day, I tell stories. These stories are of real people and situations, and I love that I can get them onto a page. I love that I can connect with individuals on a micro and macro level to tell their stories.

How do you define success? Do you consider yourself “successful”?
Perhaps success can be thought of as setting a fairly lofty goal and eventually achieving it. Am I successful? I’m not quite sure I can answer that without some subjectivity, particularly because I’m intimately familiar with the contexts that surround my achievements and my disappointments. But I at least like to think that I’m not a failure.

What have been some of the most rewarding things in your career thus far?
I really don’t pay much attention to awards, but one particular accolade made me especially proud, particularly because of the team effort that went into it. When Venice magazine was in its infancy, we submitted our magazine for consideration of Best New Magazine of the Year, awarded by the Florida Magazine Association. And, guess what? We won! It was huge for that organization to recognize our team, especially our publisher, Carlos Suarez, for bringing the magazine from a mere concept to a strong literary product.

On the individual front, I admit I was very honored to have co-written a New York Times front-page story about legalizing same-sex marriages in Florida. I attended a mass gay wedding at the Broward County Courthouse at 3 a.m. on January 6, 2015, and to be able to help tell the plight of same-sex couples whose rights to marriage had been a dream up until then was beautiful experience that I will never forget.

What have been some of your mistakes? What have you learned from them?
Not trusting in my teammates’ skills. There’s a point where micromanaging is really unnecessary and not only ineffective, but just plain silly. I’ve been there, and I’ve learned that if you surround yourself with really strong colleagues, then there’s no reason to not trust them and for them not to trust you.

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What do you still want to achieve personally and/or professionally?
Does dunking on a 10-foot basketball hoop count? I’ve always wanted to do that! … In all seriousness, I still want to tell my parents’ story and their epic journey of coming to the United States. Look up the word “sacrifice” in the dictionary; you’ll find their photos. Their resolve to make a life for themselves and their family, despite monumental odds, is super-human. Whether or not I find a publisher for it, I intend to write about their biographies – and only hope I tell it as eloquently as they have managed to live their lives.

Who has been your greatest inspiration?

I am more inspired by actions and moments than I have been with individual people. For example, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s lyrical words in “The Great Gatsby” and Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s touching prose inspire me to tell stories with meaningful syntax and diction. Jon Krakauer’s crucial attention to details and unearthing of facts show me that no matter how minute the fact, it could make or break a reader’s attention. Lane DeGregory and Pamela Colloff’s abilities to connect and empathize with their subjects are handled with so much deft and care that it’s a true art form.

I’m also a big sports fan (I blame it on my father, who treated me as his third son), so epic performances such as Pete Sampras’ five-set quarterfinal win at the 1996 U.S. Open, after literally getting sick on the court, inspire me to dig deep and persevere. Too, off- and on-the-field accolades have inspired me to remain gracious, such as Larry Fitzgerald’s ever-humble nature. Here’s a man who is considered one of the greatest wide receivers of all time who just won a huge playoff game, and he’s on the field wishing a reporter a quick recovery from his cancer treatment. The world is bigger than us, and people like Larry Fitzgerald continue to remind me of that fact.

When was the last time you were overwhelmed and cried from something provoked by work?
I’ve been fortunate to develop a thick skin, particularly at the beginning of my career. The newsroom can be a nasty place. I remember senior editors ridiculing my writing publicly and, in perhaps the cruelest way, questioning my character. But I always stood by what I was producing. Sure, it saddened me, and in one particular instance, it left me despondent and pretty much non-verbal for the rest of the day. I also realized that there is so little time in the day that tearing up wasn’t a particularly time-effective way to move forward with a solution. At least for me. I didn’t want to waste my tears on some person or situation that made me sad. Instead, I’ll save those moments for Nicholas Spark movies (ah, such tear-jerkers those movies are!).

How has your career affected your personal life/relationships?
In some ways, it’s enhanced them, and in some ways, it’s weakened them. But the common thread is that my career has taken my relationships to its rawest forms. My days can be unpredictable and, at times, stressful and frustrating. I know that my closest friends and family members who have stuck by me and supported me through all these times are here because they want to be. And, I am so grateful for them.

Have you ever thought about giving up? What provokes those thoughts?
Never. I’m all in and ready for the cards to be dealt.

What causes you anxiety/sleepless nights?
Comma splices and run-on sentences! Oh, and deadlines.

What makes you happy?
Brilliant prose. That, and Gator football, basketball and volleyball.

What advice would you tell your 21-year-old self?
That this job can be fun. Despite all the late nights, missed birthday parties and super-low pay you’ll receive at 21 years old, journalism and magazine editing is exciting, fast-paced and too much fun.

What is the biggest misconception about what you do?
That I don’t work. Ha! Nothing could be further from the truth. Folks might see me at an event or party, but nine out of 10 times I’m “working” it to some extent. My work is a bit more untraditional compared to the typical 9-to-5 office job, and I don’t ever clock out. As the editor of Venice, I’m always representing the magazine, so communicating with others and discovering new stories are essential parts of my job.

What is your favorite quote?
My high school basketball coach told me something that I apply through all parts of my life: “If you’re on a scoring spree, keep shooting; if you’re not on a scoring spree, keep shooting until you are.”

Photo credit: Edward Linsmier