Oct 08 2015

Just Some Photos – Life in Iowa

I was recently cleaning out my cabinet when I found my old camera. I decided to pull all the photos off it and take a look through them. I found some very interesting photos, most of them (actually all of them) from when I lived in Iowa from Spring 2012 to 2014.



I bought the camera on my way to vacation in Colorado Springs, this is among the first couple hundred photos on the memory card.

Des Moines Angle 1

I took quite a few photos in Des Moines, because that’s where I lived for the first year I was in Iowa. This photo was taken from the Southside. I had to stand on the top of a picnic table to get this photo.

Des Moines Angle 2

Taken at the same time as the first one, just a slightly different angle.

Des Moines Angle 3

This photo was taken much later than the first two. I was standing on the steps of the Capitol building in the East Village.

Foster Building

Historic Foster Building, built in 1907, was in downtown Des Moines, but it has apparently since been demolished. (Click the image to view a news article about the demolition.)

Man Sculpture

This is the Sitting Man sculpture in Pappajohn Sculpture Park in the middle of Downtown Des Moines.

Parking Meter

Random Parking meter and scaffolding at a construction site in Downtown Des Moines

Purple Flowers

Some gorgeous flowers, likely outside the library, but I honestly can’t remember.

Street Light

And last, but not least, a very weird angle of one of the Downtown Des Moines street lights.


Thanks for looking through this album, a strange collection of photos that don’t even begin to break the surface of shedding light on my life in Iowa.


Jul 07 2015

Women Entrepreneurs – Heather Davis

The second, but admittedly the most unique (in my opinion,) edition in our series of Women Entrepreneurs is the awesome Heather’s Haberdashery and founder/creator Heather Davis.

heathers haberdashery profileI met Heather through a mutual friend via Facebook awhile ago because we share similar views on women’s rights. Heather is an awesome person in general, but when I saw that she makes really cool hair accessories out of occasionally unusual materials I was incredibly fascinated. She also handknits custom items & creates jewelry.

Heather very accurately describes her style as “burlesque inspired” and a little “morbid” but overall makes her accessories for versatility purposes, something she wasn’t finding in commercial hair accessories. She’s been in business with Heather’s Haberdashery since 2012.

Let’s just jump in and have Heather discuss her business in her own words.

Why did you start this business?

I needed my hobbies to pay for themselves, and there were too many hair things in my house.

Seriously, though… When I was younger and had more free time, I did a lot of modeling and event work, burlesque, pin up style stuff, and I could never find accessories I liked, or they were way out of my price range, so I just started making my own. My friends liked them so much that they were asking me to buy them, and then friends of their friends. I’m not really sure I actually started this business, so much as this business needed started and I happened to have an unusual fondness for making things.

What, exactly, do you make & sell?

Hair Accessories, fascinators, clips, usually feathered. Sometimes with flowers or bows additionally or instead. Small top hats and Hat pins (tiny or normal sized.) Everything is 100% one of a kind, custom, work. Exceptions, of course, for matched sets.

Where does the name come from?

A haberdasher is actually a men’s hat maker. I would be more accurately called a “milliner” since I mostly do work for women. However, I do sometimes make men’s hats or hat pins, so I think it’s fair. And I like alliteration.

Do you have any exceptionally memorable customers or orders?

Nothing very crazy so far. I’ve definitely made wedding pieces the day before the wedding. Or showed up to a burlesque show, and ended up selling one of the performers the rest of her costume for the night unexpectedly, on the spot.

heathers haberdashery hairpieces

Have you ever made a really awesome custom piece for someone and had a hard time parting with it?

I have definitely made pieces for other people that I’ve wanted to keep, but that’s the nature of making art pieces you’re passionate about, whether they are paintings or jewelry. Sometimes it’s hard to let them go.

On a lot of the really super awesome custom pieces, I tend to console myself knowing that they’ll be doing great things in their futures. Like being in weddings and shows and at parties and it would be terrible if a piece just sat on my vanity gathering dust. I made a gorgeous one for a fashion photo shoot once, and it was so hard to send that to Kansas City.

I do, actually, have a piece that I made with the intention of selling, for A wedding, but not for a specific wedding, and I still have it. It’s a very morbid, 20s looking fascinator in all white and cream feathers. Then I topped it with a possum skull I found in my Grandma’s basement, added some pearl spirals to the skull, and ta-da! Perfect for a Halloween wedding! …Or a shelf in my bedroom…Where it’s been for several years… Because I really, really, like it…

If your sales suddenly jumped by 30%, how do you think you’d react?

That would be awesome. I’m pretty practiced at this point, and I have a lot of inventory right now, so I would be able to keep up.

What are your main forms of advertisement right now?

Repeat customers do a lot for me. I was most successful when I had an in-person presence, and have recently started selling my hair pieces and jewelry at Five Monkeys, a local boutique/art gallery.

Speaking of that, you sell mostly through Facebook, where can people look for you on there?

Heather’s Haberdashery on Facebook.


Green hairpiece with and without red feather accent.

One more thing. What’s the most important thing you have learned as someone who has turned their artistic talents into their own business?

I think the hardest thing for me to learn is that just because people like my aesthetic, doesn’t mean it’s always the best choice for my work. I was working on a piece recently for another redhead, and the it was all green. It was so much green, so I slipped this one red feather in, and she was just like “No.”  I couldn’t tell her that she was wrong, because it’s for her head, not mine. So the red feather came out. It was still a very very pretty piece, it’s just not quite where I would have ended up. I’ve also diversified the colors and centers and things I use, just because I, personally, don’t really like the color yellow, doesn’t mean no one does.  Remembering that when I’m working, I’m working for OTHER people, and need to account for their tastes, has been a long lesson to learn.


I want to give a big thanks to Heather for the interview and invite all of you to check out her facebook page, Heather’s Haberdashery. Also, if you want to check out her work in person, Five Monkeys is having a grand re-opening at their new location on July 18th. Follow them on Facebook as well for updates.

Check back again next week, I’m interviewing a graphic designer I met when I first moved to Houston, she’s out of the Dallas, TX area and her work is fabulous! And go here to read all the Women Entrepreneurs Interviews.

Images provided by and property of Heather Davis.




Jun 30 2015

Women Entrepreneurs – Jaime Tessman

Welcome to the first post (of several) in an awesome interview series about women who are in business for themselves, are truly their own boss, and work hard every day to make their business thrive. Some of the women in this series, like our first, are moms looking to make a full time income at home. Others are artists who make their own accessories and share their creations through their business to support their craft.

Women Entrepreneurs – Jaime Tessman of Graystitch

women entrepreneurs graystitch jaime tessmanWithout further ado, I’ll just begin! Our first entrepreneur is Jaime Tessman, creator and owner of Graystitch, an online children’s boutique. Jaime started her business in January of 2014 in order to create an income that would allow her to work outside the home less. Because I personally know a bit about Jaime, I’ll jump to the conclusion that she sought to spend more time at home because at the time, her son was very little and she didn’t want to miss out on his babyhood. Jaime now has another little one to spend her days with, yet she still manages to keep up with her business and provide great quality products to her consistently growing fan base!

Let’s let Jaime do a bit of the talking though, and tell you about her business.

What sort of things do you make and sell through Graystitch?

Bibdannas, skirts, shorts, leggings, dresses, bow tie and bows, head wraps and crib bedding.

What product is your favorite? I see a lot of popularity with the bibdannas, but is there something else you prefer making?

I love my Bibdannas but just making new things is great fun. I love figuring out new patterns; I go through phases though. I loved sewing leggings then grew to hate them so I switched to something new. I think it’s important to switch it up so I don’t get burnt out.

Do you have any memorable customers?

[There] was a situation where the customer had no clue what they wanted. I ended up losing time and money.

What is your main form of advertisement? What has worked best for you?

I have a customer in Miami that I think has told every mom in Miami about me. Word of mouth is huge- I let my products speak for themselves. I believe in my products and don’t feel the need to do huge gimmicks to get people interested.

Graystitch Bibdanna & Leggings on Xander

Graystitch bibdanna & leggings on Xander

If you could change one thing about your business, what would it be?

I’d love to be selling in more local stores. I’m just getting started so hopefully one shop leads to another.

Speaking of, you have a store in Central Iowa that’s about to start carrying your products? Where is that?

Kidding Around in West Des Moines, Iowa beginning in July. Kidding Around is a kids consignment store near Valley West Mall. I’m starting with a few products: diaper covers, skirts and Bibdannas. If my products get a good response then they’ll have me bring in more product.

I also see that you’re active on Instagram, what percent of your sales do you think come through that resource?

Instagram is 95% of my sales- I tried etsy and it still exists but I just prefer Instagram. I’ve met a lot of amazing women through there- it’s quite the community.

Where else can we find your products?


What’s the most valuable advice you have to give to someone who’s wanting to start a business?

Be original, be patient and be confident. Allow your business to grow slowly; I see a lot of shops pop up and they try to do everything at once and end up failing. That’s not good for anyone so allow yourself to be small for a while. I’ve been open for 15 months and still feel like a small shop which I’m happy about.


Thank you Jaime for a fabulous interview! I always love seeing your posts on instagram and I know your products will come in handy especially for us with a new baby in the house.

I invite you all to check out Jaime’s instagram for sales and more photos as well as her etsy store. Also, if you’re in the Des Moines area, don’t forget to check out Kidding Around for her items as well as gently used and new children’s and maternity items.

Stay tuned for more from our Women Entrepreneurs Series, next we’ll be chatting with the designer and creator of some of the most unique women’s hair accessories I’ve ever seen!

Images provided by and property of Jaime Tessman

Jun 26 2015

Marriage Equality – A Day In History

Today is a remarkable day in history for every person in the United States of America. Some will choose to deny the benefits, positivity, and love that surrounds this day, while others will most definitely embrace it.

I, for one, know that embracing the beauty of today is the right thing, the decision comes easily and without need for additional thought. I’m proud to say that I live in a country where 15 states declared marriage equality for all with state legislative rulings. I’m just as proud that our Supreme Court of the United States has by a vote declared it to be legal for same sex couples in ALL states to be allowed the right and freedom to marry whom they love. I don’t know what this does for people who identify as transgender/transsexual, but I am curious to find out. I certainly hope all people are included in this ruling, regardless of their gender orientation.

marriage equality transgender rights

In the meantime, I’m putting a hold on the scheduled posts I had for today and this weekend and celebrating. I also did something I had promised myself long ago that I would do. I applied for (and was accepted into) ordination with The American Marriage Ministries. This non-denominational, interfaith church believes in the right for all people, regardless of race, religion, gender, or sexuality to marry and to select a minister to marry them without prejudice.

I’m now ordained to perform marriages in the state of all states, but most importantly the state of Texas. Now, while we wait for Governor Abbott to quit dicking around and let the courthouse grant licenses (which already have a 2-day hold period from issuance to marriage due to state laws) you’re free to check out my minister profile.

marriage equality ordained minister

Yes, this is a real, scaled down image, of my ordination certificate.


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