Jessie Artigue from Style and Pepper Keeps it Smart and Stylish

Today I am chatting with the energetic, stylish and SMART, Jessie Artigue. You know I love a girl with style and Jessie has boundless amounts of it. Her blog Style and Pepper is full of ideas, tips and spunk. Not only does she blog about  personal style, DIY projects, healthy cooking, adventures as a style expert, she also hosts her own  show on YouTube and helps bloggers and brands work together. You’ll hear more about that in this interview. 

Jessie blogs on all of these topics because she believes “everyday ingredients like these have the ability to enhance  your own recipe for success in seeking joy.” She has a personal passion for her weekly newsletter called Weekly Love Notes which can pop into your email once a week to cheer you on. (Right up my alley!)  I think Jessie is a girl on the move and is one to keep your eye on! 


 She has a big Instagram following and she discusses how she uses it to build her brand. I like what she has to say on the subject! You can follow her here.



Room to Grow


Busy, busy last two weeks. In hindsight the fact that I had construction workers here for a solid week and then had to move my stuff,  buy new furniture and have some semblance of order happening, I think I am doing pretty well.

I don’t think I realize the impact what having  more ROOM will have on me.  I found myself texting my girlfriend, “I finally have room to grow.” Wow! I think those words actually had  layered meaning.

You see, over the weekend, I got the chance to teach a workshop at the Providence Lady Summit. In the middle of construction, I was working on my talk. I was putting slide show together and sweeping up fine dust at the same time. My brain was muddled.

The voice inside my head said, “No one will come to your workshop, anyway.” What?! I thought I had trained myself not to let those voices take charge. I just laughed at my inner critic and said, “Well then, I will have put together something I need to hear.” Hooray for laughing my inner critic. That’s growth, right?

Then I was asked  if I was nervous. Nervous? Not remotely, I would talk to a room full of women (or even an empty one) just like I talk to you all. Hey, that’s growth too! And would you look at this painting table just WAITING to be used?! READY TO GROW! This was my view as I sipped coffee early this morning. I am in LOVE. I am just showing peeks today because…

I need to layer on some fun without layering on clutter. 

Part of what I spoke about Saturday was finding a way to quiet noise and spend time with your creative self. With a world full of “access” we are not taking advantage of the quiet. The quiet is where we hear that still small voice inside us. It is the  whisper that urges us to “quit this” or “clean up that.”  Quieting the noise ALSO means quieting the imagery. Our senses are often overloaded with clutter and that can cloud our creative spirits. For me this meant dialing back the “things” that I am surrounding myself with on a daily basis. It feels so good! 

I can’t wait to share my talk with you. I have a bit more work to do getting Luke settled into his new space. He’s at school today and I am thinking about painting stripes in his new room just to make his life interestingI am sure he’ll have a cow! Haha!

So what about you? Do you need to do something in your life to allow yourself room to grow?


Creative Office Spaces: I am Moving Up!


I am on the move! I am moving my office to the upstairs attic bowling alley stretch space of our house. Tom is taking the pink room (needs to be repainted) Luke is moving down to the bottom nearer his bathroom and I get a new glorious space!! Over 500 square feet to house my plans to take over the universe one creative stroke at a time. Doesn’t that sound divine?!! So I hopped on Pinterest (follow me, I have been going nuts) and created a board titled Where She Works. It is all so lovely…..


Except that….I have really really low pitched ceilings and virtually no budget to decorate. New flooring, new paint and skylights cost quite a bit. I would show you the before pics but you might call child services aghast at how I let my child inhabit such a forgotten and forlorn space. For the record, I wanted to fix it up for him several times over the years and he refused.  Great. Fine. Be a teenage boy.


My dear friend Vana Chupp from Le Papier kindly (really kindly) took a look at the measurements to help me plan the space.

The phone rings. Vana with her cute Greek accent, “What is the wall height again?” As in, are you sure you measured that right? Me, “43 inches before the roof starts to pitch.” Long pause. Cute accent comes back on the line, “You really don’t have as much space as you think to move around.”

Yes. I know and I will probably whack my head several times (you should have heard the contractor do it!) before I get used to the slanted ceiling. Nevertheless, I am thrilled!! I need to be really thoughtful on how I furnish it.

Truthfully, I am feeling a tight squeeze in  my chest telling me I have WAY TO MUCH STUFF and it is painful to realize. As much as I want to shed things, it is a difficult thing for me to do. I am blaming my gypsy style childhood and my divorce. If I had time I would sit down and find some self-help person to help me figure out why. But I don’t have time and I already terribly regret getting rid of Luke’s mahogany bedroom set that won’t fit downstairs. I should have refinished it and used it myself. LET GO,  MONICA.

So I am taking a bit of a break this week to rearrange, paint, try not to melt down. I have big plans, no budget and trying to talk myself into waiting and getting what I really want to furnish the space.  Although, I have never been known for my patience in that area.

So I will be disappearing this week. You can follow my progress on FB or Instagram. Better yet catch up on interviews! You also have until this Wednesday to enter the giveaway! While you are at it, could you fill out my survey?


I am not sure my space is going to be quite as darling as these rooms that I found on Pinterest. I am not sure if Pinterest is as healthy as it should be….would I go crazy with polka dot walls? See you back here soon!



Jill McDonald designs joyful memories

I met Jill McDonald  years ago when I was walking Print Source. Her art really stood out to me! It was bright, fresh and original and friendly. I have kept my eye on her as the years progressed and have been delighted to see her business excel! In this interview she talks about “the biz”! If you are selling your art for products or would like to one day, you need to tune in. Her art has covered just about everything from books to bedding! She has worked with some BIG clients and you’ll want hear what she has to say about staying true to yourself and growing your brand! Jill is offering insights as a long term industry insider. Find out what drives her to create and what her core beliefs about her art are as she shares her heart in this interview.

You can follow Jill McDonald on Pinterest to see her products in action and to see what inspires her!




A Giveaway, A Survey and A Gift!

edited 4/10 Congratulations Melinda Peterson for winning the giveaway! And thank you all for taking my survey!

Lots to do and tell you today! As you may have seen my card was in the March Olive Box, the feature was watercolor.  YAY! Did you know that I teach Watercolor 101 here?

Now I get to give away the March Box to one of you! It has the fabulous book by Samantha Hahn in it! Remember when I interviewed her?? She does SUCH fabulous work and this book is visual eye candy. Wouldn’t that be a nice goodie to arrive in the mail? I also thought that the winner might want to pick out a print from my new Etsy Shop!! I just added this floral yesterday! Just comment below to enter to win! You have until next Wedensday at 12pm EST to enter!

I do have a BIT of a favor to ask you!

monicashop  You know that I am a girl that is always plotting a good business model and as you may have heard in my own story, that I had initially intended to bring on sponsors for the  show. After all, I figured if someone supported me and my endeavors that they were really supporting you and your endeavors.

I have thought  through different versions of this and I think it would make sense if we (all of us :)) could land a year long sponsor. Now that Smart Creative Women has expanded to a podcast version, I thought it might be time to try to bring a sponsor on board.

I do know that the first thing they will ask is,  “What are your demographics?”

Um. Well. Even though I feel like I know you all, I don’t have stats that tell me your age, where you live and how much you earn well, because it just seems a bit impolite to ask! For heaven’s sake, I’d feel more comfortable asking your bra size! But I am putting on my business hat and asking you in a survey. I just figured if you know what my long term goals are from the survey, you wouldn’t mind filling it out. After all, I have had some of you all email encouraging words to keep  Smart Creative Women going. Getting a fabulous supportive sponsor in place would enable me to do that. So bra size, eye color, chocolate preference and allcan you answer a few questions for me? There are only 12 so it is quick!!

 Be sure and click through them all and hit submit survey at the end! Thank you so so much!

Your age?

Where do you live?

What is your household income?

How long have you been following Smart Creative Women? (And thank you very much for following!)

What is your creative outlet and if it is a business, do you do it full time?

How often do you visit SCW?

Have you ever visited the website of something or someone you saw on SCW?

Would you consider supporting a sponsor of Smart Creative Women?

If you are a business owner what are biggest challenges?

How many interviews do you listen to a month?

Would you ever take an online course during the summer months?

What are your favorite types of interviews?




Rachel Faucett from Handmade Charlotte shares secrets to having a successful niche business

You HAVE to meet Rachel Faucett! She is one smart and crafty cookie! Rachel is a the mastermind behind Hand­made Char­lotte. Handmade Charlotte offers a daily dose of DIY  projects, crafts, recipes, inspir­ing fam­ily spaces, and design inspi­ra­tion for families and kids. Named one of the Top 50 Design Blogs for Moms by, the site has been fea­tured in Martha Stew­art Liv­ing, Bet­ter Homes and Gar­dens, HGTV,, Huff­in­g­ton Post, Busi­ness Insider. Whew! Rachel was also named one the top 20 most influ­en­tial Pin­ter­est users by Busi­ness Insider! She is a power pinner on Pinterest and she knows her business! The BEST part about Rachel is that she seems to be having such a BLAST doing it! Did I mention she also has 5 children??  In this interview you’ll get Pinterest tips and business tips, you will also find out where she gets her enthusiasm for life, woot! You know I love an enthusiastic, smart woman!

P.S. She cracked me up when she called herself a “Visual DJ!” You have to tune in to see what she meant!




Here is the cool tie-dye cake Rachel talked about in the interview! And I couldn’t leave out the gluten free yummies that I have found on her blog! See, big girls can have fun at Handmade Charlotte too!


Gluten free sweet potato muffins

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip layer bars

Gluten free Nutella Cookies

You can follow Rachel Facuett on Pinterest HERE. You can certainly get some fabulous ideas on how she rocks this platform just by following her! It’s all just very FUN.




Why meeting people (especially women) is a really good thing


When I typed out the title to this post, I had a strange image of what type of odd spam comments and SEO hits I might get. But I wanted to do a quick share of some fun news which revolves around meeting women, staying in touch with them and being FOR them, behind them in all their endeavors. I was so touched by all your comments on Friday’s post when I announced that I am jumping back into making art and opening an online shop.  I felt a collective “hooray!” from all of you. One of the things that prompted me to get it together after mulling it over for what seemed like forever was that Grace Kang, owner of  Pink Olive, asked me to put some watercolor work (greeting card) in the Olive Box. I interviewed Grace sometime back and she had just launched the subscription based Olive Box.  That meant 100′s (more than 100′s!!) of cards printed, packaged in cello and sent out in about two weeks time. I did it and it FELT good. I felt good.  Meeting Grace and keeping in touch with her makes me feel good! I am so happy to see Grace’s businesses thriving. If you remember Grace-she likes things in 3′s so she recently announced she is opening her THIRD retail store!!


Next up is Betz White! Betz and I met years ago at the Creative Connection event, we have stayed in touch, I interviewed her when I first started. Recently, she hopped into the Smart Creative Style Course and WOW! She just wrote the nicest write up on what the course did for her! This is a GREAT POST! If you want to know about the course, go read it! I am so happy for all Betz is up to, I was excited to see her launch her new website. I am BIG fan of her books,  her shop and her creativity in general!



But that’s what it is all about, right? Being a fan of other people’s creativity! Knowing that there is room for us all, building a community of people that say “hooray” for you when you launch something, have a break through, get a dealRealizing that the competition we create is so often a figment of our overactive imaginations! (You know I am right and trust me, I have done it too!) We are all in this together And it is FABULOUS!

If I would have remained a private stalker (mixed with a tad of envy) in these women’s lives, I would not have been so blessed by them this week! When I meet you all in person or online, it enriches my life in countless ways! I know I don’t get a chance to meet all of you, but when I see exchanges like this one below from my Instagram post from this past Sunday, it warms my heart! I adore the fact that you all can meet each other via Smart Creative Women in whatever form it takes! I love it when we put isolation, discouragement and judgment behind us and realize that meeting each other is a really good thing!


Here is my interview with Grace Kang.

Here is my interview with Betz White.

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