The Chocolate Spectrum in Jupiter Florida

It’s almost Mother’s Day,

so I thought it would be the perfect time to introduce you all to a very hardworking, Jupiter Mom! Valerie Herskowitz is the owner of the Chocolate Spectrum in Jupiter Florida. She works very hard to help her son and others, with developmental disabilities, through chocolate. Read the interview below and get to know her and her mission.

Tell us a little about yourself

My name is Valerie Herskowitz and I am the owner and founder of The Chocolate Spectrum in Jupiter Florida, an artisan chocolate company and store. Our mission is to employ and  train adults with developmental disabilities. I’ve lived in South Florida my entire life (I will not tell you how many years that is!). I did have a brief two-year time where I lived in Massachusetts, but it was way too cold for a southern girl like myself. I have two children named Hunter and Blake. Hunter, it is a 27-year-old man who lives in Orlando, Florida. He is a behavior analyst and works in the autism field. Blake, is a chocolatier in our business. He is 26 and has severe autism. I also have two amazing step kids name Seth and Daniel. And a terrific little grandson named Samuel. And I’m also blessed with an amazing daughter-in-law name Poom. We don’t have nay pets. Blake, like many other individuals with autism, has allergies to all animals.

When did you start your business?

The Chocolate Spectrum started in 2013. Two forces in the universe came together. First one was the fact that my son Blake had absolutely nothing to do after high school. Although I looked for programs for him for two years before, I came up with nothing. Coincidentally, at the same time, I had gotten involved in pastry arts and chocolate making, as I had semi retired from my speech therapy practice. We started making pastries and chocolates for friends and family but soon the word got out and we developed an online business as well as a business selling at shows. Other young men and women with similar issues that my son had joined us in the kitchen and in the business. Eventually two of them were hired as employees. Then in the middle of 2016, we moved into our own brick and mortar shop in Jupiter Florida.

What are the major influences for your business? What made you choose chocolate?

As we are a social enterprise and the major influence of our business is our mission, which is to train individuals with autism. We do serve the rest of the community as we have training and classes for everyone as well as the opportunity for people to have parties at our shop. I picked chocolate, as I mentioned before, because it was just a coincidence and Blake seem to really enjoy working with it.

What do you find most challenging about running your own business?

This business presents many challenges, especially for an individual like myself who is older. Also I have many other responsibilities in my life such as teaching at the University, taking care of my father, and of course taking care of Blake. Therefore the biggest challenge I have is time, which I absolutely do not have enough of!

What is the most rewarding thing about running your company?

There are many rewarding factors about this business first of all, most importantly, my son, Blake, has a job six days a week. Without this business, he would be sitting at home watching TV. But it is also just as rewarding to be able to offer the same opportunities in the form of paid employment to the other individuals that work here as well as  recreational activities for many others who have autism and other related developmental disabilities.

Can you share a little bit with us about your involvement with Autism Community?

I have and continue to be extremely involved in the autism community. In 1999 My husband and I started a nonprofit called National Autism Registry. Through the years, we have offered many community activities for individuals with autism as well as for the family. My business itself is a community activity. I do not take a salary or any form of compensation and therefore it is also part of my community involvement.

What do you like to do on your days off?

I seriously do not have any days off yet, as this is a seven day a week business. If I do have a couple of hours on the weekend. I hope to share it with my family and to take care of my father who is quite elderly. I do hope as the years go on that I will get some time off, LOL.

What living person, other than family members, do you most admire?

I have two groups of individuals that I admire the first one is the D’Eri Family at Rising Tide Carwash down in Broward County. They are the individuals that started the ball rolling on employment options for adults with autism and they have been amazing mentors toward me. In addition, my dear friend Bonnie Schmidt, The founder of ScentsAbility Candles is also someone I admire greatly. She is doing a similar venture with candles also down in Broward.

 

Where can we find The Chocolate Spectrum online?

Our website at www.thechocolatespectrum.com. You can shop on our website at shop.TheChocolateSpectrum.com. We’re also on Facebook and Twitter and Instagram.
Facebook.com/TheChocolateSpectrum/
twitter.com/thechocspectrum
Instagram.com/thechocspectrum

Upcoming events:

Book a private party with us.
Make chocolate every Thursday 2-5.
Contact us about summer camp.

 

Thank you for sharing your story and your images, Valerie!

As always, thanks for reading the blog, friends! Please shop locally for Mother’s Day this year!

Don’t forget,

if you or someone you know is thinking of buying or selling a home in the Northern Palm Beach County area, I’d LOVE for you to Contact Me! Let me help you have an enjoyable real estate experience! ❤️ Nicole

Meet Local Artist Sarah LaPierre

If you live anywhere in Palm Beach County,

you have most likely seen my next guest featured in a number of local publications or at local events! She’s a very busy young woman, making the world a more colorful place, one painting at a time! I’m really excited about the opportunity to interview this super talented local! So, without further adieu, Meet Local Artist Sarah LaPierre!

Tell us about yourself:

Sarah LaPierre, born in Palm Beach Gardens FL circa 1991. Full time resident of South Florida, made a huge move all the way over to West Palm Beach a few years ago. I live there with my partner Michael, our 2 adorable ex-alley cats Dredd and Ditto, and our sweet American pit bull terrier Dex. Dex might possibly think he’s a cat too!

When did you start painting and was it always with a knife?

I’ve been creating in someway or another from early childhood. Since my dad was an artist, and his studio was in our home, the materials were always around. Creativity was very much encouraged.
I didn’t begin painting regularly till I was 18. At that time it was more experimental, exploring brush work across all sorts of genre with different textures and mediums.

Major influences:

My connection to my dad and his work remains the strongest influence in my own. I consider my style the next generation of his. In that, it’s a combination of both history and future, with techniques learned from pop as well as new methods discovered along the journey.

Most challenging about running my own business:

Balancing a creative drive and a “life” outside of work. It’s a battle, but it has become very important to me to manage my time better and realize the difference between the essential and non-essential. It’s easy to fall into a hole of never ending to-dos when you work from home because it’s always present till you consciously make the effort to put it aside.

Most rewarding about managing my own business:

Seeing something I work hard at developing, grow and prosper is very rewarding. But also, the fact that I am able to manage my own time is wonderful. I love having the flexibility to make time for family and travel whenever I choose.

What do I like to do on my days off:

I enjoy spending down time with my family and pets, usually outside. A trip to Jupiter’s dog beach is always a good time!

What living person do you most admire:

I am blessed to have lots of truly admirable and wonderful people in my life, even just here locally. All of them for various reasons, so much that it’s hard to name just one, either within or outside of my life circle.

Where can we find Sarah LaPierre online:

You can find more information about me and my artwork online at www.sarahlapierre.com however the best way to see what’s new or upcoming is to follow my social accounts @thickpaint on Instagram and on Facebook @Sarah LaPierre-Artist

Any upcoming events you would like to share with us?

I’ll be showing at my last festival of the spring season this weekend at SunFest in West Palm Beach May 5th-7th! After that keep and eye out for upcoming events with my new gallery representation Ready2Hang Art in Downtown Abacoa (Jupiter).

 

Thank you for sharing your story and your images, Sarah!

As always, thanks for reading the blog, friends!

Don’t forget,

if you or someone you know is thinking of buying or selling a home in the Northern Palm Beach County area, I’d LOVE for you to Contact Me! Let me help you have an enjoyable real estate experience! ❤️ Nicole

 

Meet Jupiter Local R. H. Ferriell – Author

We’ve (finally) got some real fall weather headed our way, so it’s the perfect time to introduce you all to today’s talented and creative Jupiter Local, R. H. Ferriell.

Rebecca Holden is a Children’s Book author that lives right here in Jupiter, Florida. I’m so happy she agreed to share her story on the blog!

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Tell us a little about yourself

My name is Rebecca Holden and I was raised in lovely Louisville KY. I moved down to West Palm Beach after getting married in 2012 and now we live in Jupiter. While I could never have imagined living in FL, here I am and Jupiter is really charming. It’s a full house we live in… With two young girls, two dogs, one cat, three fish there is rarely a dull moment. During the summer my stepson and stepdaughter come to stay as well, and watching them all together is really sweet.

When did you start writing and who/what was the inspiration behind starting your first book?

Words have always been amazingly important to me, and writing is something my family has always suggested I try. Getting married and moving was a huge, bittersweet step for me. It was in a very joyful time, so much happiness but I left all my friends and my entire family. I thought I would try honoring them all by actually trying what they had always wanted me to do. Throughout the story are hints of friends and family and personal memories. I even tapped one of my very talented cousins for the illustrations.

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How many book have you written?

This is my very first attempt at publishing a story, but I do have a second ‘Mrs. Julie’ story mostly written, in case this goes well. This one is Halloween themed, so it has a very limited time of year for selling. This next one is much less holiday specific.

What is you latest book title who/what was the inspiration behind it’s story?

‘Mrs. Julie’s Pumpkin’ is my first story. It was inspired by my friends and family, and a deep love for the fall season and its holidays.

What do you find most challenging about writing?

Most challenging to actually writing the story, I would have to say creating a character others will want to relate to, or remember, maybe even recognize in their own lives. Setting the scene was easy, I just tapped into so many memories of my own. In addition to that, I have always been really very shy and do not like to be in the spotlight much. The success of this story, in a large part will my depend on my getting out there. Always a work in progress for me, but things like this interview are a great way for me to work on that.

What is the most rewarding thing about writing?

Like I said, I love words. In a time of ‘OMG’ and ‘LOL’ I fear actual words lose their relevance. I don’t use elaborate wording, but it’s not dumbed down either. If a child can see how wonderfully words can create something memorable and beautiful with words, perhaps they too will come to love words and language as much as I do.

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What do you do on your days off?

First and foremost, I am a mother. When the girls are at school, I spend quite a bit of time at a local barn where I board my horse (another new adventure for me) and trying to learn there. It’s amazing to connect with an animal that is so large (just under a solid ton), she trusts me and I trust her. The barns can be very physical too, it helps keep me active.

How do you juggle writing & family?

Not a difficult task for me. After the girls go to sleep, I have hours to think about characters and lessons I want to express through the pages.

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Where can we find your books online?

This book is currently available on Amazon.com and through the publisher at Dorrancebookstore.com. In addition, I have an authors page through Facebook, R. H. Ferriell. Hopefully it will reach some of the local bookstores soon.

Thank you for sharing your story, Rebecca!

As always, thanks for reading the blog, friends!

Don’t forget,

if you or someone you know thinking of buying or selling a home in the Jupiter area? I’d LOVE for you to Contact Me! Let me help you have an enjoyable real estate experience! ❤️ Nicole

 

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Meet Local Milka Gordillo of Dreamallows

Oh my goodness you guys! Today’s featured maker is responsible for some of the tastiest goodies in South Florida! Jupiter local, Milka Grodillo, is the owner & chef at Dreamallows. She makes deliciously awesome marshmallows and you NEED some in your life. Trust me on this one!! I’m pretty excited to share her story on the blog today…enjoy!

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Tell us a little about yourself.

Milka Gordillo, Originally from Venezuela, raised in Miami Beach and have been in Jupiter for 2 ½ years. I have two kids (13 year old Adrian and  2 month old Mateo). We have two fur babies (Julio (lab-13 years old) and Nino (lab-8 years old).

When did you start the Dreamallows brand and who/what was the inspiration behind starting your business?

I graduated from Johnson & Wales University with a baking & pastry degree. I wanted to create a business based on small desserts. I am a firm believer that dessert should be part of your daily routine but it has to be small to avoid the extra calories. LOL! Dreamallows started in 2014 as an idea to re-create marshmallows. I wanted to create a healthier version of the famous marshmallow removing corn syrup and any additives. It took me over a year to come up with the perfect formula, logos, licenses, packaging. The process was fun but challenging. It launched October 2015 at the West Palm Beach Greenmarket.

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What products do you offer?

I offer stuffed marshmallows in all different sizes. The original size is 1X1 making them the perfect BITE! Yes, they are stuffed (inside) with flavored callebaut chocolate ganache & we also make our own salted caramel to stuff them!

Who makes up the Dreamallows crew?

Myself (chef), husband (Hiram) & Adrian (13)- helps out at the greenmarket, packaging and of course “tasting”  🙂 We are waiting for Mateo to get older to get tasting too!

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What do you find most challenging about running your own business?

Not having enough time to be in several places at the same time. It is a small business & most events are on weekends. Having to stick to 2 events per day.

What is the most rewarding thing about running your company?

If it is your passion it is not work! I feel like I am always playing.

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What do you do on your days off?

We are addicted to the beach, outdoor activities as a family. I am a foodie and love trying new places. I also love reading and researching new restaurants and always always work on Dreamallows. Flavors, and packaging.

How do you juggle work & family?

We are a family owned business. We attempt to have fun together while working but I do have a schedule to work on Dreamallows as family time is extremely important. Balance is key to success.

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Where can we find Dreamallows?

You can find them online at www.dreamallows.com, and follow us on Instagram/facebook/twitter @dreamallows. We will also be at the West Palm Beach Greenmarket, Every Saturday (this is our 2nd year at the Greenmarket), we will be participating at the Fresh Fest in February & Arti Gras – Abacoa. Elements Yogurt off US1 in Jupiter carries our 6 packs, and Guanabanas has a s’more dessert (using Dreamallows) which is part of their special menu on weekends only! It comes with a scoop of ice cream!! Follow us on our social media for additional local events we will be part of.

Is there anything else you would like is to know?

Dreamallows are a one bite experience! Enjoy!

As always, thanks for reading the blog, friends! I have several talented makers to feature over the next few months, so stay tuned!

Don’t forget,

if you or someone you know thinking of buying or selling a home in the Jupiter area? I’d LOVE for you to Contact Me! Let me help you have an enjoyable real estate experience! ❤️ Nicole

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Meet Local Nicole Hodson of Boho Garden Crowns And Events

Hi! I’m so excited to be bringing you the first, “Awesome Local” feature for Fall 2016! Today’s blog interview is with the very talented Nicole Hodson of Boho Garden Crowns And Events! I’ve been following Nicole online for quite sometime and I’m in awe of all her amazingly beautiful floral creations! Warning: This post is going to make you want to dance in a flower crown and have pineapple floral arrangements in every room!

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Tell us a little about yourself.

Hi! My name is Nicole Hodson! Born & raised in Syracuse NY, and transplanted here in Jupiter Florida my freshman year of high school! I met my husband (Bob) here while finishing up college (he went to FSU & I went to the art institute of Fort Lauderdale ) and the rest is history! We have one human baby named Bobby (he’s 4 years old) & hoping for another baby nugget this year!

 When did you start the Boho Garden Crowns brand and who/what was the inspiration behind starting your business?

I started Boho Garden Crowns when I graduated college. My husband and I moved to Asheville, NC (my favorite place on the planet) and I was tottally inspired by all the amazing wild flowers scattered all over town! I started making fresh crowns for locals and people visiting the city! I started selling them out of a boutique in downtown Asheville & it was a hit! We moved back to south FL, where I still continued to grow and nurture my business. I started branching out doing floral installations working close with local photographers and the bridal community! My degree is in fashion merchandising and design so I have always tied in the element of wardrobe styling into my business, which is a fun twist that my clients love!

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What are the services you offer?

Fresh flower crowns, floral crown bars (think of a DIY taco station except it’s with fresh flowers to make a floral crown), floral installations for stores, events and parties, workshops, bridal/wedding packages, wreaths, and wardrobe styling!

Who makes up the Boho Garden Crowns crew?

Myself and an amazing co-worker Sara, who always comes with me to large events!

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What do you find most challenging about running your own business?

The work-life balance. I’m a business owner but I’m a mom & wife first. Making sure I set aside time for myself and my family is still challenging but I’m learning to find the balance!

What is the most rewarding thing about running your company?

The look on my clients face when they see the finished product. It’s so self fulfilling. Especially with my brides, a lot of them sit down at our initial meeting stressed, confused and not sure how all these elements will come together. The biggest compliment is when a bride/client leaves feeling relieved and excited knowing all their floral Pinterest wishes will be granted! 🌸

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What do you do on your days off?

My days off consist of waking up slow with my husband & son, cooking a great yummy breakfast or grabbing an Acai bowl and head to the beach!

How do you juggle work & family?

I make sure I set aside time for both. I try and set my phone down at a certain time everyday to be MOM & wife! Owning your own business makes you very accessible at all times. You don’t really ever “clock out” so making sure I’m honoring myself, my business, and my family is crucial!

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Where can we find Boho Garden Crowns online?

I have a Facebook: Boho Garden Crowns & Events. I also have a Instagram: bohogardencrowns  I am in the process of putting together a website in the coming year! You can find all my upcoming workshops and events on all my social media accounts!

Is there anything else you would like is to know?

I love doing workshops, I’m always trying to be very active in the community with local shops and artisans! I have tons of awesome floral workshops coming up in the next few months for the holiday season! I’m also opening a little floral cart in October outside of a boutique called Marston in Abacoa. I’ll be selling fresh floral arrangements and potted succulents!

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As always, thanks for reading the blog, friends! I have several talented makers to feature over the next few months, so stay tuned!

Don’t forget,

if you or someone you know thinking of buying or selling a home in the Jupiter area? I’d LOVE for you to Contact Me! Let me help you have an enjoyable real estate experience! ❤️ Nicole

 

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Meet Local Business Owner Elizabeth Legore of Vagabond Apparel

Hello Lovely Blog Readers! I’m excited to introduce Elizabeth to you all. Vagabond Apparel is one of those shops that has a something for everyone. The moment I walked in, I basically wanted everything! You can tell a lot of time goes into the curating of the shop. Elizabeth offers some really wonderful items for our local men, women & children. So, without further adieu, meet Elizabeth Legore, owner of The Vagabond Apparel!

Vagabond Apparel Boutique

 

Tell us a little about yourself. Elizabeth LeGore, Originally from Maryland, Moved to West Palm Beach, Florida in 2002 to attend Palm Beach Atlantic University. Married to my high school Boyfriend, Eric. I love to travel, explore new places and cultures and enjoy outdoor activities such as surfing, and snowboarding.

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When/How did you start the Vagabond Apparel brand? I opened Vagabond Apparel in August of 2014. However, it’s been a long time dream to have a boutique. I started working in a Surf Shop in Maryland during summer vacations, while in college worked at Rapunzel’s College on Palm Beach. That was a really great experience with the owner had just opened so I was able to experience the start up of a new boutique and learned so much from buying to book keeping. Then from there I spent 5 years in retail management.. So you could say I did my due diligence in retail and it was time to branch out to open my own boutique. The actual process took exactly a year… Finding the perfect vendors, space, securing loans etc.

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How does the Vagabond Apparel brand stay involved with our local community? The main thing for me is building relationships on a personal level with our customers and them knowing we truly care for them. I also enjoy partnering with local charities to help raise awareness and funds through give back shopping. CharitiessSuch as Austin Blu Foundation, Place of Hope, Epic Beauty etc.. I also love to partner with other local businesses! It’s just so great to collaborate with other entrepreneurs in the community to support and encourage each other. This is how the Boutique Warehouse Sale got started, we’ve had two events so far- it’s been a huge success and so much fun working with other local boutiques! On a store level, most of our jewelry is locally made. I love supporting local artisans!

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What do you find most challenging about running your own business? BALANCE!! I love being on the sales floor with my team and customers but their are days where I just need to buckle down to my computer and get work done (like today!)

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What is the most rewarding thing about running your company? Building relationships with my amazing employees and customers. I’ve been so blessed to meet so many wonderful people this past year. I’ve had the opportunity to speak at PBAU, Mentor a few college girls and just see my employees grow and develop as beautiful young women. I love the creativity, the challenge, the freedom of running a business too!

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What do you do on your days off? Spending time with friends and family. Traveling. Exploring New Places Locally. Relaxing and Pampering myself… and now and then catching up on work! eek!

How do you juggle work & family? With me being a business owner and my husband a FireFighter/Paramedic we really don’t have a “normal” routine or life. We support one another, know that everyday is different, and make sure we are having fun along the way. Communication is key!

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Who is your favorite Superhero and why? Wolverine- I’ve always loved him since the cartoons. He has no fear, strong, get’s the job done and has a softer side. Haha!

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Where can we find Vagabond Apparel online?
Website: www.vagabondapparel.com
Check us out on Instagram and Facebook @ Vagabond Apparel Boutique

Is there anything else you would like us to know? Upcoming events, etc.
Be sure to follow us on Social Media for new products arriving daily! Also we will be doing a Sunfest Festival Inspired Trunk Show and Event with Mamie Ruth and a few local vendors on April 23rd!

Thank you Elizabeth, for sharing your story! Your boutique is wonderful!!

Thanks for reading the blog, friends! Please support our local business owners. They are a very important part of our little slice of South Florida.  Northern Palm Beach County has many small businesses that make living here great! – ❤️ Nicole

 

 

Meet Talented Local Lacey Obry of Pitchoun Designs

I’m excited to bring my lovely blog readers the first Jupiter Local blog interview of 2016! I met Lacey back in back in December at a local event. She is a super talented lady and I’m so happy she agreed to share her story on the blog!

Lacey Obry of Pitchoun Designs
Lacey Obry of Pitchoun Designs

Tell us a little about yourself. My name is Lacey Obry and we are new transplants to south Florida from New York. We have lived here in Florida for a year and a half now. I have two sweet girls named Léa ( 5 years old) and Zoé ( almost 3 years old).

When did you learn to work with leather/ When/How did you start the Pitchoun Designs brand? I started working with leather in the fall of 2013, when i started my business. i was a hairstylist and took off time after the birth of my second daughter. I noticed that there was a lack of small, minimal hair accessories for children and had trouble finding bows for my daughter. I decided to start making my own, after request from many people, i started my own line of accessories.  Having a love for all things leather, i decided to try my hand at making accessories with leather, at that time there were no kids accessories i had come across made with leather. I am self taught and have tried my hand at different types of leather to find the perfect material for each style i design and i absolutely love working with leather. The name for my business was born from the word ‘Pitchoun’, a french term of endearment for a little one, influenced by my french husband and my love for everything french.

Lacey Obry of Pitchoun Designs and Her Family
Lacey Obry of Pitchoun Designs and Her Family

What do you find most challenging about running your own business? I find it most challenging finding the balance between work and life. I’m a bit of a workaholic, i have so many goals for my business, sometimes i have to slow myself down.. There is always something to be ordered, an email to be sent, promotional events and advertising, its endless running your own business, but i have to make myself take time off to enjoy life.

Pitchoun Designs Spring Collection 2016
Pitchoun Designs Spring Collection 2016

What is the most rewarding thing about running your company? The most rewarding thing about running my own business is seeing my accessories on my customers via social media, and seeing them worn global. i get so many darling photos from customers and recently received sweet notes from customers saying their daughter started in our headbands as a baby and now have grown into our hair clips. i want all my accessories to “grow up with your child”.

What do you do on your days off? On my days off, when i actually take a day off,  I’m all about shopping, mani/pedis and brunch and coffee dates with my girlfriends or husband. Because i work so much running my own business, i need that time to unwind and catch up with my friends to talk about things other than my work.

Pitchoun Designs Spring Collection 2016
Pitchoun Designs Spring Collection 2016

How do you juggle work & family? When juggling work and family, I have learned work stops  once I pick up my kids from school. Having my studio currently in my home, Its tricky knowing you have work that could be done just in the next room.  We do homework and have playtime and bath time before dinner. In the evenings, I try not to be on my computer working, so i can spend time with my husband. You have to set those boundaries to make that time special with family.

Who is your favorite Superhero and why? I don’t really have any specific “superhero”, but I would say my super hero would be any “momprenuer” who has started their own business from scratch and who has built it into a successful business and who has maintained balance in family and life. There is something so empowering about owning your own business as both a women and mother, where your identity in not only found in your kids but in yourself and your own creativity.

Pitchoun Designs Spring Collection 2016
Pitchoun Designs Spring Collection 2016

Where can we find Pitchoun Designs online? You can find Pitchoun Designs accessories on our website pitchoundesigns.com and other stores in the US and Canada. You can Click on our “retailer” tab on our website to find a shop that carries our bows. Ileen Boutique will be the first local store to start carrying our accessories this February . Make sure to check us out on both Facebook ( facebook.com/pitchoundesigns) and Instagram @pitchoundesigns to see how our bows are styled and for updates and discounts.

Pitchoun Designs Featured In Pregnancy & Newborn Magazine
Pitchoun Designs Featured In Pregnancy & Newborn Magazine

Is there anything else you would like is to know? Our accessories were recently featured in the latest February issue of Pregnancy and Newborn Magazine and have been recently featured in two of the top Children’s fashion magazines in the US, Babiekins Magazine and La petite Magazine.

Pitchoun Designs Local Event
Pitchoun Designs Local Event

We are having our first POP-UP shop event in Jupiter at Ileen Boutique on February 12th from 5:30- 8pm for food truck night in Abacoa. Customers will have a chance to be the first to shop our new spring collection, not yet released!

Thank you Lacey, for sharing your story! Your work is so lovely!! I’m so glad I have a baby niece to buy more adorable Pitchoun Designs Accessories for!

Thanks for reading the blog, friends! Please support our local business owners & entrepreneurs. They are a very important part of our little slice of South Florida. Northern Palm Beach County has many small businesses that make living here great! Know a business owner you would like to see featured. Contact me and they just may end up on the blog! – ❤️ Nicole

Are you thinking of buying, selling or moving in the Northern Palm Beach County area? Interested in how much your current home is worth? Just let me know, I’m happy to help, just email me! Myself and the rest of the Sean Underwood Real Estate Team would LOVE to help you!

Meet Susie Bettenhausen – Local Artist

Today’s blog interview is with Susie Bettenhausen, a local artist in our area. I met Susie several years ago when I worked at a local Fine Art Printer. She paints gorgeous pieces with delightful colors! She was always one of our sweetest clients and so easy to work with. Luckily, I ran into her again and she agreed to do a blog interview! So, meet Susie!

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Photography Credit Shelley Megathlin

Tell us a little about yourself.
I grew up in Alabama and headed out to Texas for college.  After college, we moved around the South a number of times and spent a few years in the UK as well.  In 2006, we settled in Jupiter full-time.

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In the Face of Ambiguity

When did you first have an interest in art?  How did you get started in the “Art for a living” field? How long have you been in the biz?
I’ve had an interest in art ever since childhood but I never really thought I could make a career out of it.  I was the kid with the little art station in the corner of my bedroom all neatly organized.  I drew houses, fashions, etc.  My creativity is always finding an outlet and I love to experiment with new mediums all the time.  After college, I pursued art on the side initially.  I began by illustrating sketches, invitations, notecards and other stationery products.  I later branched out into giftware related items.  I love the aspect of “handmade” and the uniqueness that comes with each product.  I made the transition to fine art and have never looked back.  Each piece takes more time and had more meaning behind it.

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Tickled Pink

What do you find most challenging about running your own business?
Balancing everything – especially the aspects of the business that are not my strength areas.  As a wife and mom I have to keep everything in check and make sure my priorities stay in the right order.  Even a God given gift or talent can become and idol when it takes over your life.

Pool on Peruvian
Pool On Peruvian

What is the most rewarding thing about running your company?
Hands down, the ability to work for myself under my own guidelines and timelines.

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What do you do on your days off?
Because my work schedule is so flexible, I may take time off at any given moment on a whim.  When I am feeling extra creative I work – a lot! If I’m not feeling it, I don’t stress over it! I adore spending time with my husband and kids and we usually make our way to the water somewhere.  We love to get up on Saturday mornings before the weekend crowds are out and go snorkeling in the Inlet or bike around Palm Beach Island.

Diadeloso
Diadeloso

How do you juggle work & family?
With a lot of help from my husband for sure!  I make an effort to start the day with a prayer and devotional time which I absolutely need in order to keep myself on track with my eyes in the right direction.  If you don’t constantly remind yourself where you’re going, it’s too easy to get lost!

Right of Center Nat
Right of Center

Where can we find You and your artwork online?
I have a website, www.susiebettenhausen.com which I try hard to keep relevant and up to date but the best way to keep up with what I’m working on is through my Instagram @susiebettenhausen.

Is there anything else you would like us to know? 
My art has been taking me all over the South recently but I do have some local events on the horizon this spring.  In February, I’m looking forward to participating in an artists event at Social House Lake Worth and in March, I will be taking part in an art event on Jupiter Island.  I am currently working on a Palm Beach series of works that will be available in the spring as well.

Thank you Susie, for sharing your story! Your work is so lovely!!

Thanks for reading the blog, friends! Please support our local business owners & entrepreneurs. They are a very important part of our little slice of South Florida. Northern Palm Beach County has many small businesses that make living here great! Know a business owner you would like to see featured. Contact me and they just may end up on the blog! – ❤️ Nicole

Are you thinking of buying, selling or moving in the Northern Palm Beach County area? Interested in how much your current home is worth? Just let me know, I’m happy to help, just contact me! Myself and the rest of the Sean Underwood Real Estate Team would LOVE to help you!

Meet Kristy Grant of Sporty Girl Apparel

All I can say is WOW about this next interview. Kristy is a young, Jupiter Local, that is hard working and making things happen in Jupiter and beyond! I get so excited when I do these interviews. The hard working women in this area are seriously awesome. Kristy is no exception. Read on to learn more about her & her local business.

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Tell us a little about yourself.
My name is Kristy Grant I was born and raised in South Florida. I have lived in Jupiter Farms,West Jupiter, my whole life. I’m 27 years old and love the outdoors. I have two fur babies. One pit bull hound mix named Woodrow and the other is a blue tick hound named Gus. If you’re familiar with the old western Lonesome Dove (my all time favorite movie) then you’ll know where I got the dog’s names.

When did you start the Sporty Girl Apparel brand?
I started Sporty Girl apparel in 2008. I was 20 years old at the time and wanted to created something that looked cute and showed off my passion for the outdoors, that was completely different then what was out on the market at the time.

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Andrew & Kristy in Georgia with Woodrow (brown dog) and Gus (Black dog).

Who does the artwork for your apparel?
I do all my own artwork for the line. Unfortunately, I don’t have as much time anymore to draw or paint like I used to, so I only come out with one or two new designs a year.

Who makes up the Sporty Girl Apparel crew?
The crew consist of family and close friends. The best way to have it. My mom, Kim, who is the book keeper & manager, deals with my wholesale accounts, primarily Gander Mountain, helps run the store and many other things in between. My sister, Jenny, was working full time running my store but she had a little baby boy 7 months ago, and now she helps wherever we need her to fill in. Then I have a few other amazing workers that are also great friends Jan, Sherry, Miranda, and Patricia. They are lifesavers whenever I need them and help me with everything from making products, working the store, internet, and helping out at shows.

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Kristy, with her Mom & Sister at a show.

What do you find most challenging about running your own business?
The most challenging thing about running a business, is finding time for yourself. I just recently discovered how important it is to have some time away from work. It’s not easy to shut your brain off from all the things that need to be done when running your own business, it’s a full time job. When you
leave work you never actually leave, so it was super hard to learn to try to leave work at work and I still struggle with that most of the week. But I know how important it is to take time to rest and enjoy other things about life.

What is the most rewarding thing about running your company?
The most rewarding is all the accomplishments and seeing the hard work pay off.  Every year the the things I tackle get bigger but the feeling is the same. From surviving my fist craft fair show in Dec 2008 to opening up my second shop location this year, the feeling of accomplishment and huge achievements is the same and keeps me going. Success is super rewarding and thankfully I’ve been lucky enough to continue to grow every year. Seeing excited happy customers keeps my drive to survive in the business world strong.

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Kristy with her sister & friends at the boat show.

What do you do on your days off?
I really don’t get many days off. Sundays I take off most the year, and that’s to catch up on household chores I let go all week. I do however try to leave work at 6:00PM and when I get off I do things for me. I love to take bike rides or walks through the woods and take wildlife pictures, that’s one of my passions. I luckily do get to take lots of little vacations throughout the year and for those I’m either hunting, fishing, or going on spear fishing trips to the Bahamas. I love to be either in the woods or out on or in the ocean, away from the hectic city life, where there are no people and it’s so peaceful.
Right now I’m writing this interview In my tree stand, on my annual 3 week hunting vacation at my family’s ranch in Georgia. We’re in the middle of nowhere and I’m just soaking up the peace, beauty and quietness of nature. Plus it’s my dogs favorite place as well, they love the freedom of running the fields, in the cool crisp air. I work super hard in order to take the time off though. Before this vacation I worked 2 months straight, 12 hours a day, 7 days a week to get everything I needed to get done. The busy holiday season will start as soon as i get back. But all the hard work is total worth this!

How do you juggle work & family?
I’m so lucky and thankful I get to work with my family everyday, all day long. We’re super close, even on days off we hang with each other. Since my sister had the baby she’s not working that much but she can’t be away from us too long. LOL She and the baby come and hang with my mom and I almost every day of the week for an hour or two. Friends are another story. I’m grateful they are so understanding to my busy schedule. I hang out with my friends the most while I’m working. Like I said work never ends! LOL We do lots of photoshoots together and grab lunch or
breakfast to catch up after if there’s time. If not, they come to the shop and hang for a little bit to catch up. My boyfriend, Andrew, is super understanding and he is busy doing his own things most of the time anyways that he never complains when I work to much. We’ve been together for 10 years now, so he has grown used to me working a ton. Last year I took  the internet and a computer out of my house so when I get home I’m done with work. I used to come home and do computer work till 10-11 every night. When I started to get sick and rundown I knew things had to change. Now when I’m home I can focus on myself, my boyfriend and my dogs. For all the women who run businesses and have kids, I give you a TON of credit! I can’t imagine that right now.

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Sunrise photo shoot for the 2015 summer line.

Who is your favorite Superhero and why?
Honestly I don’t have a favorite super hero. I was never into those kind of shows or movies. I don’t really even know who they all are other than Batman and Spider Man. However, I always thought it would be so cool to have the power to fly. That sounds like a super hero trait 😀

Where can we find Sporty Girl Apparel online?
You can buy Sporty Girl  Apparel online at www.sportygirlapparel.com
You can also follow my Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Wanelo
You can also buy us at 15 different Gander Mountain locations.

The Sporty Girl shop is located in Jupiter, North of Indiantown Rd, just North of Dune Dog or Center Street on Alt. A1A.
Sporty Girl Boutique
1001 N alt A1A
Jupiter fl 33477
561-972-6300
Our new store will be located in the Jupiter Dive Bar restaurant in the Jupiter Yacht Club, the south part of Riverwalk. Opening Black Friday.

We will have our Grand Opening for the new location December 5th from 11am-6pm. Please come and check out the new store! There will be lots raffles and discount coupons for buyers. The perfect time to get some holiday shopping done as well. It’s the day of the Holiday Boat Parade so the shop location will be an awesome spot to stay and watch it.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read a little about myself and my business. Happy Holidays!

Thanks for reading the blog, friends! Please support our local business owners & entrepreneurs. They are a very important part of our little slice of South Florida. Northern Palm Beach County has many small businesses that make living here great! Know a business owner you would like to see featured. Contact me and they just may end up on the blog! – ❤️ Nicole

Meet Katie Choy, Author of Family Secrets Cookbook

Katie and I have known each other for several years now. Her three children and my daughter swim on the same swim team. Over the last couple of years or so, I’ve learned more about her. Let me tell you something… Katie is amazing! Read on!!

KatieAndMom

Tell us a little about yourself.
I was born and raised north of Pittsburgh in rural Western Pennsylvania. I moved to South Florida in 1994 to work as a travel nurse at the Jupiter Medical Center, where I met my husband Rogelio. In the short time I was here, he convinced me to marry him and make my home in Jupiter! We married in 1995, and in the next three years, had three beautiful babies. We have raised our children on the Loxahatchee River and have one cat, KitKat. Our oldest son has left the nest and made his home in the San Fransisco Bay Area as a computer programmer.

Why did you first decide to make a cookbook?
The idea to make the cookbook came about years ago. I loved my Mother-in-law’s food, and it was so different from what I had ever had. I used to watch her cook and write down the recipes. When the kids came along, I had no time, and it was put on hold. Once they were older, I started learning to cook from her again. I was collecting them purely for my own use, and one day my husband said, “You should publish this.” I sort of chuckled, but kept the idea in the back of my head.

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Presenting Christine Najac, director of South Florida Food and Wine, with her copy. She also gave an amazing review quote for back cover.

How did you get started on the book? How long did it take from start to finish?
I can’t tell you the exact date I started the book, since I had been collecting recipes for a long time. I hit a lot of roadblocks along the way, and I am very busy with my family, so it was a long process. I would safely say that from when I took it seriously, until the book was actually published, has been at least 5-6 years.

What do you find most challenging about making the book?
The most challenging part of the book for me was actually submitting the work. I tend to feel things aren’t “good enough” and have high expectations. Letting go, and realizing it will never be perfect was my obstacle to overcome.

Presenting Mike Moir, owner of Food Shack and Leftovers, his copy. He gave an awesome review quote for back cover.
Presenting Mike Moir, owner of Food Shack and Leftovers, his copy. He gave an awesome review quote for back cover.

 

What is the most rewarding thing about the final project?
The most rewarding part of the final project is knowing I am helping to contribute to the medical care for the underserved people of Peru. A portion of the proceeds goes directly to the Peruvian American Medical Society providing clinics and medical mission trips in the remote regions. Peru educated my husband, and I want to give back.

Do you have a favorite recipe from the book?
My favorite recipe…that is so hard, because most every recipe is my favorite. Well…..except the beef tongue (that is my husband’s favorite)!

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Do you plan on doing a book tour?
I have no tour scheduled yet, but I would love to do a book tour!

What does your family think about the book?
My family loves the book. They better, because they were all a part of it. My husband and daughter did the photography, my oldest son created the iBook version, my younger son helped with the writing and editing, and my cousin did the professional editing. It was truly a family affair.

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Where can we find out more about Family Secrets Peruvian-Chinese Cuisine?
You can learn more about Family Secrets at katiechoy.com. I am doing my own marketing and distribution and will ship anywhere in the U.S., or locals can contact me directly at katichoy@outlook.com. to get their signed copy.

Is there anything else you would like is to know?
I am fortunate enough to have wonderful friends who have hosted some book-signing parties in their home to help spread the word. I am planning on attending local events such as The Benjamin School’s Kid’s Corner holiday shopping and Harbourside’s Farmers market. After the holidays, I would like to start offering personalized cooking classes. I have an exciting event scheduled for April at the Oakland Park Culinary Art Showcase. I have a lot of ideas in the works. I have been asked to arrange culinary trips to Peru, and am in the process of working with a local travel agency to make this happen. We are scrambling to put the first one together for late February.

Thank you Katie, for sharing your story! Congratulations on this wonderful project!!

Thanks for reading the blog, friends! Please support our local business owners & entrepreneurs. They are a very important part of our little slice of South Florida.  Northern Palm Beach County has many small businesses that make living here great! I’m totally ordering a few (signed) copies of this gorgeous cookbook for the chefs in my life. What great holiday gifts!! – ❤️ Nicole