Our next gorgeous guest is Jess Conzo of Alchemy Initiative. When i first started this interview series I knew Jess was going to be at the top of my list. She is a community leader who is incredibly soulful as both a mother and a creative entrepreneur. And, she just got married...on a beach...in a beautiful dress....with her children there to see. How wonderful is that? In this interview Jess talks about what makes her feel strong, kind, and beautiful. Enjoy!
Where do you live?
Pittsfield, in the beautiful Berkshires. We bought our house a couple of years ago- in between babies- so there are still lots of projects and renovations to be done. Before we moved in, my husband and his friends (and a case of beer) took down a wall. They sent me terrifying pictures of a demolition scene, but once it was all cleaned up, our house felt so open and spacious. I love that. Anyway, it’s a great first home, with a big kitchen, a sunroom loaded with succulents, a music room filled with instruments and an ever-growing garden. We just built a coop and have chickens on their way.
What makes you a creative?
I think of myself as resourceful… but creative works too. I can whip up an amazing meal when we are way past due to the grocery store. I can make up elaborate stories that enthrall my kids. And I run a small non-profit so everything about that takes creativity- programming, marketing and fundraising!
Where does simplicity show up in your life?
Everywhere. In my home, in my work, in my food and in my relationships. No need to overcomplicate any of those things!
What is your style?
Hmm. Mixed bag over here... I love dresses, but I also love a good hoodie. I love big, chunky jewelry and I love delicate, flowy clothes. I love vintage and I love modern. I love things that I have found from my travels. I’m pretty eclectic!
Have any daily habits or routines?
I have a lot of flexibility in my schedule, but every morning starts with a snuggle session with the kiddos, a cup of coffee and a game plan for the day. And every day ends with story time, a song and more snuggles. Not too shabby.
How do you stay healthy?
I was really lucky to grow up with two amazing cooks for parents and I spent a lot of time helping in the kitchen. I also played outside from sun up to sun down. I am so grateful for that because eating well and being active are natural parts of my life. I love to cook, I have a garden and I run a farmers market, so we eat fresh, local and seasonal. We spend a lot of time outdoors and we spend a lot of time with family and good friends- key to sanity!
What does balance look like for you in your daily life?
I read this great article awhile back about the bogus idea that we can compartmentalize everything into either “work” or “life” activities… that this rigid division is impractical and that for most people work and life are inseparable.
I work from home with two kids, so I have a very fluid work-life relationship. Integrating my life into my work and my work into my life feels like the best kind of balance to me.
When/how do you feel most beautiful and most aligned with yourself?
Digging in the garden, nursing my baby, putting a meal on the table, bringing food to the food pantry. I feel most beautiful when I am giving. It is honor to be able to give… It makes me feel strong, kind and beautiful.
What are some of your imperfections and how do you embrace them?
Gah there are lots! But really, I feel like I am finally able to own them. I don’t want to live a life where I am only seeing imperfections… I am proud of my smile lines because I EARNED them from lots of smiling, you know?
We are constantly growing and working on ourselves. What are you working on right now?
Letting go. While I don’t collect things, I do have a habit of hanging onto relationships way past their expiration point. Now that I have two kids, I have no time for drama or toxic people. I am finding it much easier to let go these days. “Let it go, let it gooooo!”
What is your beauty regime?
I wash my face nightly and apply a face mask once a week. I am constantly putting on lotion and I am strict about sun block. I don’t wear much makeup but I typically manage to get mascara and a pair of earrings on before I head out of door.
What are 5 things you cannot live without?
* my family
* my girl friends
* coffee (seriously, I have tried many times)
* honesty (again, seriously, just imagine it!)
What advice do you have for mothers looking to find balance in both being healthy and staying creative?
Let go of the judgment and the guilt. Women do both too much… moms especially. There is way too much “mom guilt.”
Also surround yourself with other women. Moms, sisters and girl friends. Cherish and honor those relationships. Being healthy and creative starts from within but is enhanced with support from the outside. So build the community you want around you.
Thanks so much for hanging out with us today. I love what you said about "surrounding yourself with other women." As creatives and mothers we sometimes forget the importance of sisterhood and the power of hanging with our friends to unwind and destress. Much love Jess and can't wait to see what kinds of things Alchemy Initiative will be up to in the near future!! xx If you liked this interview please like, share, and leave a comment below. See you all next week!!!