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  • Writer's pictureShelby

Summer Favourites

Let’s end a very unusual summer in a happier way; a favourites post! Super simple, this is just what I’ve been loving and using a lot:

Lettie Jane -

What inspires you?  

I'm inspired by trying to figure out my place in the world. I am often excited to draw people, plants and feelings. Sometimes that comes from looking at art, sometimes from talking walks in the neighborhood and sometimes from a good conversation or podcast. I often make drawings as ways to calm myself or document a moment or thought. Putting words to my drawings helps me understand what I was processing visually. I recently finished a whole bunch of wooden cut-out panels filled with patterns. They felt like a metaphor between this very rigid exterior (my face, my body) with this very fluid interior (my thoughts, my feelings). The patterns incorporated plants, eyes, mouths, and little doorways that feel like deeper internal passages. 

What’s your sign and how do you think that plays a part in your life?  

I've got Venus rising! I'm an Aquarius with Taurus rising and a Gemini moon. I think about astrology a lot, I love systems for investigating personality types and conversations around those systems. I try to use it to expand my ideas of who people are or could be and not contract my expectation of myself or others. I've got a lot of air energy and I frequently need to verbally process my emotions (Gemini moon), I often feel like an outsider who is obsessed with the good of humankind (Aquarius sun) and I love love, connecting with other humans, food and plants (Taurus rising). 

What is the main purpose of your account/brand?  

I make art and I want to connect to others through my art. I made and sell tarot deck, Many Queens Tarot, which was and still is a wild and beautiful ride for me in self-acceptance and celebrating different presentations of beauty, love and community. It shows folks presenting across the gender spectrum. I make stickers, prints, altar clothes and sell original art as well. I feel like it's on my Aquarius/Gemini axis to have a ton of projects going at once. So selling products is just one stream of what I do, I also teach art and drawing at a grade 6-12 private school and (currently) online with a local art studio. I have done several murals in Portland. I do branding a signage for a couple of shops. I sometimes do commissioned portraits. I also sell prints through BuyOlympia, a local print shop with national distribution. I'd really like to illustrate children's books, but I just haven't made time or space for that yet. 

What is something you love deeply about yourself?  

I love this question! This is a real challenge for me, learning to love myself has been a big part of my life for the last 3 years. It still feels really new and difficult. I love my ability to create, I love my ability to connect to other humans through art and conversation. I love that my legs carry me everyday and that I can still pick my son up. He's 6 years old. 

What’s some advice you have for other people revolving around confidence?  

I have been practicing patting my stomach and saying "I love my soft belly" regularly. I got this little practice from adrienne maree brown in her book Pleasure Activism. She talks about looking at herself in the mirror and naming what she loves about herself. I've been trying to do that with my face during Zoom calls and at night when I go to bed. These practices have been helping me build my confidence around physical appearance. I'm working toward dismantling an internatlized heteronormative beauty standard. 

Another piece of advice I might give is that all of our stories matter. That you are on a path with your own unique narrative and that matters, so begin speaking to it. I see this in art, I love the artists that feel like they are speaking their own unique story, not trying to tell someone's else's version or please me with what they can do, but investigate what's important to them. 

Last, I might say that I really believe none of us are truly bad, and we all make mistakes. We live in a system that asks people to behave like machines, without emotions, constantly productive. There are so many layers of trauma that come from working in this system and from generational traumas. I think Capitalism and White Supremacy ask people to feel shame everyday and it's really hard to build confidence outside of that. When I started thinking that it wasn't me that was inherently flawed, I started feeling better, and more capable of addressing mistakes I've made in the past. 

What makes you feel confident?  

I feel confident when I talk to good friends about my feelings and they validate them. I feel confident if I present a piece of art and it's well received, I feel confident if I teach a class or give a talk and people tell me what I said resonated with them. These feedback loops with other people help me to build my confidence, but I try to practice alone too. I feel confident when I walk around my house naked, watering plants, drinking coffee and patting my belly saying "I love my soft belly." 

What have you had to overcome that’s made you who you are?  

I think becoming a mother continues to be one of the big hurdles in my life. The constraints on my time and energy have forced me to loose some of my perfectionism and to be more brave in putting myself out there. I have definitely had to work against my self-doubt, there are so many doubts when pursing art, it's not often validated as a reasonable life pursuit. People kept asking me for artwork, so I kept going and learned more and more along the way. I've often felt like maybe my skills would be more useful elsewhere, but art kept coming back, no matter what else I was interested in at a time.

Who are your biggest inspirations?  

Oh there are so many! I mentioned adrienne maree brown earlier, she's my biggest social justice inspiration. David Hockney is one of my most favorite artists, for his style and his willingness to experiment with materials and subjects. Raymond Pettibone's paintings of surfers and the ocean are really moving to me. The book Art Inc. by Lisa Congdon was really inspiring in helping me think about making money from art. ALOK has inspired a lot of my thinking around the gender binary. Mary Oliver's poetry, This American Life, Trevor Noah, The Moth Radio, often my friends or folks I work with feel really inspiring. I have a friend who has written an email letter to our friend group every week of quarantine talking about the walks they go on and what they are thinking. It's so simple and so magical. I'm inspired by my friends that are vegan, by my friends who mend their clothes, by my friends who are bodyworkers, by my family who are supportive and loving, by my friends who are organizers, members of democracy groups, or anarchist protesting. I feel like inspiration and hope are deeply linked and we need hope to keep going.

What’s your beauty/fashion go to?  

I like soft fabrics that I feel confident in. I wear a lot of stretch pants, but I try to make them look intentional, like stretch pants and a loose silk shirt on top. I started wearing a beret and I kind of love that. I like to wear pants that show my ankles, I'm not very tall. Coconut oil is the beauty product I'm most reliant on, and perfumes. I recently bought a set of colognes from Lvnea and am in love. They make me feel abundant.

What would you say is the best thing about you? 

I think the best thing about me for me is that I'm deep down an optimist. My father is an incredible optimist who can always find something funny or something good in everything. That has helped me so many times to keep going. 

What does equality mean to you? 

Jeff Bezos paying everyone to stay home until a COVID vaccine is found?

But seriously, I think equality would look like a more socialist form of government. It would be incredible to halve the prison population and have universal healthcare. It would be incredible to feel like everyone had enough to survive and we weren't fighting each other for the scraps while a very tiny portion of the population had enough to sustain us all. I just finished doing the workbook, Me and White Supremacy by Layla F. Saad and I'm really just beginning to wake up to how systemic racism is. To all the places in my life where I hold white privilege, I don't have to consider my race, I can live in most neighborhoods, I've got family with means and connections. I am not afraid that my son might be incarcerated or killed. Racial equality is going to take deep internal work on my part and the part of most white folks to listen to BIPOC, lift their voices, LISTEN, buy BIPOC-made products, elect BIPOC to offices, follow their leadership.

What is your mission statement/what does your brand name mean? 

My mission is to connect with folks personally and connect people to each other, to let people feel accepted and beautiful. I know I don't always get there, but I think that's what brings me back to making art and making products every time. And I feel so lucky to scrap together a living doing it. My brand name is Lettie Jane Makes and well, that's just my name and that I get to make things, it allows me freedom in what I make. Many Queens was named to celebrate this wide and regal version of femininity that the deck embodies. We can be Queens in so many places and so many ways. 

Bruu -

Dee’s apothecary -

What inspires you?  

Possibility of creating something that can be of service to the world inspires me. To be able to create and cause change for a healthier and happier world is at the heart of everything I do. 

What’s your sign and how do you think that plays a part in your life?  

I am a Virgo. And being a virgo I am constantly critiquing myself and my work, which helps me grow and make my products better. I can not sit idle and have to keep working which helps with the many projects I am always busy with. I am also pretty stubborn so if I want to do something nothing can stop me, guess being a Virgo can come in handy for business. 😊 

What is the main purpose of your account/brand?  

The Main purpose of Dees Apothecary is to provide people with clean and freshly made skin care products. I believe what we put on our skin should be as clean as food and should be as freshly made as possible. You would not eat a meal that was made a year ago so why would you feed your skin something that was sitting on a shelf for that long. I was a cancer researcher and it was disturbing to see how many carcinogens are in the lotions that we readily apply on our largest and fastest absorbing organ that is our skin. So I wanted to create something that will be free of carcinogens and free of chemical preservatives. Also, everyone's skin is different so I wanted to offer customization based on what the client likes. It can be from what their skin needs to what they like in terms of aroma or packaging. While we offer basic products there is a possibility to customize most of our products. 

What is something you love deeply about yourself?

I would have to say it is the fact that I am always learning new things, I am always working on becoming better at my work and better as a human being. 

What’s some advice you have for other people revolving around confidence?  

Confidence comes from being okay with failing. Everytime you fail and you get back up you have learnt something new, if you looked at failing as a process of growth it would create a different kind of experience. Most of the time we lack confidence because we are too afraid of what the world would think of us, or if we didn't meet their expectations. And that is a trap. One that you can easily set yourself free from, let the world judge you and laugh at you when you fail, because you know that without failing there is no growing. At least, that is my motto.

What makes you feel confident?  

To be honest there are times when I don't feel confident and I continue working on my passions anyway, and confidence just makes its way back as I work my way through the fears or nervousness or worries. I think working makes me confident. 

What have you had to overcome that’s made you who you are?  

One word "Patriarchy"

Who are your biggest inspirations? 

There are so many people I could name but the biggest inspiration for me were and are my parents. Their resilience and love for life is what keeps me going. I have lost both of them but they continue to be my guiding stars. 

What’s your beauty/fashion go to?  

Aloe Vera, sunglasses, indo-western fusion jewellery and outfits. 

What would you say is the best thing about you? 

My ability to look at criticism as a path for growth and improvement and taking risks.

What does equality mean to you? 

 A merit based world to me is a world with equality. 

What is your mission statement/what does your brand name mean? 

Dees Apothecary is reflective of my training as a scientist.  And our tagline "Conscious skin food" is really that, we are very careful with what goes in our products, the products are made in small batches after we receive the order. We truly believe that skin care products are food for your skin and for your soul, and when you get one from Dees you can be assured of it being clean, pure and infused with love and gratitude. 

Humble -

Noya Skin -

What inspires me?

Hmmm... a lot of things, but I would have to say MUSIC.  Music inspires and keeps me sane in life.  Sometimes you go through things that makes you feel incredibly alone in this world, but the right music and lyrics makes me feel that there is someone else in this world that is going through what I'm going through and that I'm not alone.  In my field of work, my friends and the people around me inspire me.  I hop

I'm a cancer and I think I am the epitome of the sign.  Hard protective outer shell with a soft and gooey inside that I only let a few people see or into my life.  I'm really trying to change or maybe change isn't the right word, EVOLVE.  I'm trying to evolve to be more open and welcoming.  

I was in the Consumer Product Goods Food & Beverage Industry for about 16 years.  I got really burnt out not just by the industry, but I was raising funds to keep my brand going and that whole investor world just put a bitter taste in my mouth.  My sense of confidence was chipping away and I was sick and tired of dealing with immature and rude people in that world.  I was in a pretty dark place and needed to climb out of the hole.  I always loved skin care and people always asked me about skin care products and treatments so after some thought I decided to get back into creating my own brand.  The main purpose of NoyaSKIN is to connect with people who are interested in skin care products and let them know about our products.  I'm also trying to do things a little bit differently with my NoyaSKIN and make myself a little bit more visible on social media. 

One thing I know about myself without a shadow of doubt is that I am incredibly positive and RESILIENT.  

Sometimes you have to do things you don't want to do and you have to fake it till you make it and confidence is no different.  

Keeping in shape and healthy keeps me confident and most importantly LAUGHTER. 

The last 4 years have been incredibly difficult for me financially.  Worrying about paying bills every month and sinking deeper and deeper into debt and at the same time trying to keep positive and not fall into depression and keep myself sane has made me incredibly RESILIENT and it's taught me a great lesson in humanity.  

My biggest inspiration without a doubt is my mom.  We butt heads quite often, but she is a woman that will go to the moon and back for her family.  Her work ethic is incredible and inner strength is on a superwoman status.

My fashion go to is a pair of nice fitted jeans, simple leather jacket, classic jewelry, sunblock, mascara, lip gloss and shades.

I'm honest.

Equality means safety.  Safe to be who you are and not made to feel less than. 

I literally heard the word Noya in my dream.  I was so moved by this dream that I googled what Noya meant and was incredibly surprised to find out the meaning.  

In Japanese Noya means Beauty.

From Wikipedia 

Noya in Hebrew means "beauty of god."[1]

Noya is also derived from Hindi word Naya meaning “New, Renewal, Fresh”.[2]. Another meaning for Noya is "ornament"[3]

I knew that if I ever started a beauty brand I would name it NoyaSKIN.

I want everyone to feel beautiful inside and out and create a community of people that inspire and uplift one another. 

Cuvée Beauty -

Beauty By Africa Miranda -

Vie Beauty -

Glad Skin -

Smartliners -

Clarity RX -

Axiology -

Acarre -

Indie In Love -

What inspires you? 

I get inspiration from everything around me. Nature and architecture are probably my biggest two inspirations for my work. But really anything that makes me feel happy I use that for inspiration. Whether it’s certain colors, patterns or a moment.

What’s your sign and how do you think that plays a part in your life?  

I am a Cancer. A few traits of a cancer that stood out for me were, wearing their heart on their sleeve, they are very creative, imaginative, protective and intuitive. As I read more about the traits, I realized how very true they were for me. It really reigns true for the creative part. I thrive for creativity. This is when I’m the most happy. Whether it is clay jewelry or random projects, I need my creative outlets!

What is the main purpose of your account/brand? 

I created Indie In Love to bring love, confidence, and joy to those that wear my pieces. Each item I make is truly special and one of a kind. I want my pieces to give you that feeling of being fearless. 

What is something you love deeply about yourself? 

The one thing that stands out for me is I’m always thinking positive. I am constantly working towards my goals and I’m not afraid to put myself out there. 

What’s some advice you have for other people revolving around confidence?  

Do what makes you happy. I found that once I spent more time listening to myself and focusing on that I was able to get my confidence back. And for me my earrings really helped me! Wear that shirt that you can’t live without, buy those shoes that make you feel good, spend time with yourself and learn what makes you feel good, the confidence will just come out!

What makes you feel confident?  

After having my daughter 2 years ago I really lost my sense of who I was. I didn’t feel like myself. It took me a long time to feel good and confident again but what really changed my confidence was wearing my earrings. Wearing something that really makes me feel good, is unique, and one of a kind makes me feel fearless. Whatever that may be for you, rock it!

What have you had to overcome that’s made you who you are? 

I can’t think of a specific event but I’ve always worked really hard. I spent my fair share of time at different jobs throughout the years. Each job, even if not significant at the time, has made me who I am. I really appreciate and am very grateful for all the steps that have gotten me to where I am today.

Who are your biggest inspirations?  

There are so many that inspire me but my biggest inspiration is my mom. Growing up I watched her as she worked extremely hard and overcame so many hurdles to accomplish her goals. She has always taught me to work really hard and has made me the person I am today. She has always been my biggest cheerleader and I am so grateful for her love and support with anything I do!

What’s your beauty/fashion go-to?  

Lately I've been all about the accessories. My earrings make me feel so good when I wear them so it’s always a necessity. 

What would you say is the best thing about you? 

I think the best thing about me is that I really care about people, I’m very genuine and loving.

What does equality mean to you? 

Equality to me is treating everyone the same and allowing everyone to be able to have the same opportunities.  

What is your mission statement/what does your brand name mean? 

My Mission is to create unique, one of a kind jewelry for everyone to love and enjoy. I want my pieces to give you that feeling of being fearless and give you the confidence to always be yourself.  First Curve Apothecary -

Solara -

Tend Healing Arts -

Valentia -

Libertine Fragrance -

Girl Gang Craft -

Unsun -

Higher Education -

Captain Blankenship -

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