Ever dreamed of being featured in a magazine? Kelly McMaster shares her one-of-a-kind story on how an unexpected magazine feature led her to become the chief editor of one of the top décor magazines in the country.
Don’t miss Kelly’s inspiring story of hope after loss, a peek behind the glamorous pages, and how YOU can get featured in a magazine too.
IN THIS EPISODE, YOU WILL LEARN:
- How Kelly’s childhood inspired her passion of art
- What motivated Kelly to embark on a new creative journey.
- Kelly’s big break at a magazine.
- Why an attitude of gratitude results in bigger opportunities.
- Kelly’s expert on advice on how to get featured in a magazine.
- The do’s and don’ts of emailing a magazine.
- How to stand out when engaging with magazine editors.
- Blogging for Business?Paperback: https://amzn.to/3tMKL2E
- Blog: Dear Daisy Cottage: https://ashtreecottage.blogspot.com/2016/09/dear-daisy-cottage-imagery-by-kimberly.html
- Instagram: @imagerybykimberly: https://www.instagram.com/imagerybykimberly/?hl=en
ABOUT KELLY MCMASTER
From Orange City, Iowa, to Laguna Beach, California, Kelly McMaster’s life is as colorful as her eclectic flea market style. A single mom of 2 facing difficult losses, Kelly shares her unorthodox journey that led her to become the chief editor at Cottages and Bungalows – one of the country’s leading home decor magazines.
CONNECT WITH KELLY MCMASTER
- Website: https://www.cottagesandbungalowsmag.com/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KellyMcMasterCF/
- Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.ph/CottageFleabytheSea/_created/
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/COTTAGEFLEABYTHESEA/ and https://www.instagram.com/COTTAGESANDBUNGALOWS/
CONNECT WITH US
- Website: http://www.hammersnhugs.com
- YouTube: Ahna Fulmer // Hammers N Hugs
- Instagram: @ahna_hammersnhugs
- Facebook: Ahna Hammersnhugs
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Welcome to the imperfectly empowered podcast with leading DIY lifestyle blogger on a Fullmer where women are inspired with authentic stories and practical strategies to reclaim their hearts and homes by empowering transformation. One imperfect day at a time. And welcome back to another episode of the imperfectly empowered podcast. I’m your host on a former today. I am on the show with Kelly. From orange city, Iowa to Laguna beach, California Kelly McMaster’s life. As, as colorful as her eclectic flea market style, a single mom of two facing difficult losses. Kelly shares her unorthodox journey that led her to becoming the chief editor at one of the country’s leading home decor magazines today. Welcome with me the amazing Kelly McMaster. Welcome. It has been so long since I’ve seen you. I last saw you at the Haven conference. Right? Which was, it feels like ages ago. I guess it was really seven months ago. Yeah, July, right. So yeah, I mean, I don’t even know what day it is anymore. Let alone, how old am I? Where am I? What’s going on? How many children do I have? What is your name? Yeah. Um, move on. Um, Everyone listening and watching. I, Kelly, I heard her speak at the Haven conference. And many of you have heard about the human conference already. Curry in has been on here. Kristin was on here, Kristen Stockdale. So people are kind of familiar with what it is, but for anyone new it’s. Kind of the national home DIY decor conference for creators bloggers, influencers and Kelly was leading a session on how to get featured in a magazine, all of her tips and tricks as the chief editor. Cottages and bungalows. And you started telling your story at one point during the session. And it was so sweet and it was so inspiring. And I was like, okay, we need to get her on the podcast. Cause your story fits so perfectly. And I think. The audience is really going to appreciate your perspective. I, one of the questions I love to ask is I like to press the rewind button. We are so quick to highlight our successes in life, but it’s a process and it’s a journey and what’s maybe more empowering is to hear kind of where it started and how we got to where we are. When you look back. At yourself as a little girl. Would you guess that you’d be where you are today? Like, did you see personality traits in yourself growing up that you’d be like, oh, absolutely. I’d be like a major, a major player in a home decor magazine. No, but, but yeah, I mean, looking back now, It kind of makes sense. Like, yeah. Like looking back at all the things that I liked and what I spent my time doing and, you know, puttering around with that. Um, yeah, like my mom was, um, I don’t know if you remember the company home interiors and gifts. It was. In-home party situation where my mom was a displayer and she would bring these big suitcases of stuff to these houses homes all over Southern Minnesota and show ladies how to do wall decor, you know, groupings on the wall or vignettes on the table or all these things. And so my mom did that for 30 years and my mom kept, you know, a really clean, beautiful, attractive. You know, home, um, different style than me, but still, it just kind of learned watching her do things, you know, changing out decor for all the seasons and, you know, just having it be a large part of her life. And so I think you’re just around that you don’t even really know anything different. And, um, just as like little, little girl, I’ve never been in my room, um, cutting things out of magazines and gluing them into books, you know, things that I liked, you know, the flowers and the puppies and the, you know, whatever’s. And just assembling these little keepsake books and making my own little calendars with little markers for each month, like the pumpkin trucked over and doing things. And this is like second grade, you know? And I’m always like wanting my room to be fun. And my mom letting me pick up my paint and my bedspreads and things like that. So I wasn’t obsessed with it. But when I look back, I realized like, okay, I always had that interest. As a kid and. Uh, but you know what, honestly, growing up in Southern Minnesota, small town, little farm town, I didn’t know about these careers. I didn’t know that you could, I didn’t know. And my mom loved magazines. I love magazines. I hoarded them as a kid. I would go to the children’s library and gather up all I member. Um, ranger, Ricks and all these little magazines and I would sit and just pour through them. And, um, I would write to the editors and ask for their autographs and stuff. I have this collection of weird little magazines. So yeah, looking back on it, it, it was in my. My genetics or something, but, um, I didn’t know. I didn’t know that I could pursue pursued those things. And so I went off on a whole entire different trail. Yeah. I think it’s an interesting point. What, you just made that depending on where you’ve been raised or where you’ve grown up, I’ve heard this express before you don’t even realize certain opportunities are out there. It’s like, it’s just not even part of your framework in terms of what do you want to do one day? It’s like you don’t even, and I think that’s true now more than ever with all the virtual jobs that are possible. I, you know, I, would’ve never guessed I’d end up doing what I’m doing. You know, it’s just, it’s an interesting perspective though, depending on where you’ve been raised and your environment, you don’t even know that certain things are. No. And when you’re living in a small city like that, um, the nearest thing to you as Minneapolis St. Paul area, which was great, but, um, those types of careers, probably in those days, you know, I’m almost 59. So this is a while ago, um, 40 years ago or more that wasn’t a big hub, you know, of maybe or something. So New York, like that’s where everything was LA in New York, which seemed like. The foreign country or something, but it just unattainable, you know, for a small town kid. So you look at professions like nursing, you know, I tried being a candy striper, but dropped this port man on the floor, decided that wasn’t for me. Um, you know, and so you end up gravitating towards more, um, Your mainstay so traditional years. And so I started going on that path towards social work, and I got my bachelor’s degree in social work, um, later getting a master’s degree in psychology. And so that’s where I was, but I always had this longing, um, and it kept getting worse. I think worse only because it was painful for me at the time, because I was always working. Jobs that I enjoyed. I was okay. Yeah. You know, I was doing things, but I always had this longing to be use my creative juices, you know, do, do something with this stuff that was in here. And, and, um, I just, I would find other outlets, but I. I really wished I could somehow, like, who can I get to pay me? You know, I’m super fortunate the way it worked out. But, but yeah, and I think, uh, I would go to the career centers at my high school and college too. And I went to college in Iowa at a very small college in Northwest Iowa, which, you know, unload, but. Again, those kinds of careers weren’t set before me. Um, but I wasn’t saying at that time, either I wanted to serve people. That was my thing. I wanted to be a helper. Um, and so I wasn’t asking someone like about journalism careers or what could I do with my writing? I was a good writer, but it wasn’t where I was focused. I was focused on. How do I give back? How do I serve? How can I be a good person? You know? Um, and so those were the careers. I was more steered towards. Yeah, which I think is, I mean, on the flip side, what’s crazy now is those types of service based industries. It’s like the, the need for balance there, because now it’s like pulling teeth to get anyone in those service-based industries. Partly because they’re not treated well and they’re not valued. And so it’s interesting. I feel like we’ve swung really far now to the other side. Um, Of things. So there’s certainly, there’s a need for people in all different avenues, but, you know, I think the important thing is finding that blend of what are you good at? What are you enjoy? And. Using those in order to serve somebody else, that’s kind of being able to combine those two things, maybe not in the traditional sense that they used to be. Totally. And that’s what you have to do, because if you’re someone that, um, has that heart to serve and do something for your fellow, man, that’ll eat you alive too. If you’re not utilizing that. And so to combine the two of them, your creativity with your, your wanting to serve. Yeah, you can make anything that you’re doing of service to someone else. You just have to make sure you remind yourself of that and think about that. Like, okay, how can I, how can I make this help someone else? How could I benefit someone else lifts someone else helped someone else shine? Um, you can turn anything into that. You know, really, no matter what you’re doing. So I, I, I went through a lot of struggled though, getting there, you know, really just, um, uh, yeah, a lot. I mean, yeah. You had a lot of losses. Tell us a little bit about some of those challenges. I mean, you shared, there were, there were a lot of kind of pivot points. You had personal losses, you had relationship, um, You know, pivots in the road as well. Talk a little bit about those challenges and what, how that kind of helps steer your journey. Yeah. Um, well, very much so because, um, you know, as a young kid coming out of college, I had my, my social work degree and I wanted to do something with that. And, um, as luck would have it, I was married very young at 20 years old in between sophomore and junior year of. College and, um, started off on a journey. Early motherhood too, you know, just mom at 22. And then, um, my former husband, my husband at the time I had a job chancellor in there. We were moving to LA. And so luckily I had an opportunity with, um, a college friend. I had friends thank goodness in that lived in California that took us under their wing. And one of them happened to be a director and at adoption agency. So she helped me get my first social work job. And I was a birth mom, counselor. Moms, you know, or sometimes older moms too, that just could not parent their baby. And so I would help them through that journey and helping them choose an adoptive couple and do all that kind of stuff. Well, then I went through my own divorce and like you just mentioned a lot of times social service jobs. They’re not highly compensated. And so there I was with a one-year-old baby live. In a suburb of LA, you know, broke his heck and I had to do something. And so luckily another friend said, Hey, Kelly, come on over to, um, this office supply company, you can sell, you can make commission, you can make good money. Okay. You know, and I had felt. Accidentally I sold Tupperware in college. That’s a whole nother fluky thing, but I ended up learning how to sell things, worked retail in high school. Um, you know, just always had a job, you know, some sorts of 16. So I’d been in a, you know, kind of sales. And so I thought, okay, well, you know, they’ll train me. I’ll just, I’ll just go do it. And so they had some training and they gave you just an open territory and just. Cold call, go get business. And that’s what I did. And we sold office products and furnishings and printing services and all kinds of stuff. So I just hustled and, uh, you know, I just kind of found that people would say, well, how can you go from being an adoption counselor to selling stuff? And then I was successful. Like all of a sudden, I. Climbing the ranks and making good money. And I was on the it’s heartbreaking though, like, so we’re adopting, so this really speaks to my heart. We’re actually adopting our fourth. Um, oh my gosh. Internationally. But like it breaks my heart that I think that speaks to what we were just talking about. Like service-based industries are not valued. Like it kills me that, you know, you, not that there’s anything wrong with sales, but just. Like our social worker has literally done, made our adoption happen. Like if I didn’t have a social worker, we would not be able to adopt. And when you think. What that process is. It’s like, what, like, how can we pay these people so much more? I don’t know what the answer is, but I hear your story. And I just think like, yeah, what a shame. I know. I know. And at the time, um, my employer, they were wonderful. They tried, they tried to give me the back raise, but back in those days, we’re talking like 1988, a yearly salary for a social worker was $15,000. Can you imagine trying to live on less than a thousand bucks a month in LA? So I love that, but here’s what I did every time I was in my sales position and it started feeling like, eh, you know, this is very meaningful for me. I had to put meaning into it. And so I would just always feel like, okay, I’ll serve these clients. They have a need, I’ll fill it. And, um, that’s how I got meaning out of it by just, um, being a social worker. In a sales role. And that, that brought me a lot of success and a lot more money. And I was able to get on my feet and get situated. So, um, after this. I stayed in that for a while. And then I went back to school at night, then I got remarried, had another child. So I have two sons and, um, went to school at night at Pepperdine to get my masters in psych because then I had my mind set on the fact that, okay, someday I want to be a. So I’ll start working towards that. So I would work all day and then I’d go to school at night, two nights a week from like four to two you’re in LA. Like this is, you’re still in LA at this, which is tough in and of itself from what I understand. Well, yeah, this traffic will kill ya, but so I was living. So in south orange county, which is lovely and less congested, less traffic in Pepperdine had an orange county campus. So I could work my day, run there and thank God for my husband. He was, at that time, he was, uh, you know, great father, great helper. He got the kids, got him dinner, did the thing so that I could get this degree. So. I get this degree and there I am. And, um, but then another wave of kind of personal disaster comes along and I’ve always been so embarrassed to talk about this, but now, you know, so many years have gone by that. I can talk about it. And especially because I’m friends with both of my ex husbands and everybody’s healthy and happy and good, um, but went through another divorce. And so I. Just could not go get my doctorate immediately. After that I had to work. I had to do my half of things of, you know, pay for expensive, uh, housing there and all the things. So I continued to work in, um, very. Sales jobs. That was the way I found that, okay, this is how I can best support myself as a single parent. And, um, I did, I was a sales marketing director at an assisted living place, which I loved working with seniors. Um, sold multiple different things over the years from precious moments, figurines to cheerleading uniforms, to, um, raw materials, to nutritional supplement manufacturers. I just did all kinds of stuff. And then finally, I was feeling that same urge again, like, okay, I’m just selling things. And I really wish I could be more in a helping profession. And so I ended up landing this position. That was a really great combination. I was a patient consultant for a hair transplant surgeon. Um, very well known, very successful surgeon in orange county and LA New York, Vegas. He had offices all over and they taught me the business. And I found in that role and I went in and out of that different role for about seven, eight years. Um, I was able to meet with these patients who were hurting and suffering over hair loss. Um, You know, hear their story, you know, be compassionate, empathetic for that, help them find solutions, get them through the whole process, meet their wives, their kids, their, you know, whoever was involved with the patient. And that felt, that felt nice. I was making good money. I was still selling things, but I was helping directly. So did that for a long time. It’s still. That creative urge. So what I did to fill that, people always will ask me this question too, like, well, what did you do to kind of prepare yourself? And I always say nothing, you know, I just got lucky, but when I. I was doing stuff. So I started a little online shop and so I figured out how to do a website and a little store. And I was selling scrapbooking and paper making kits, um, just from my home on nights and weekends. And the same time I had a little space at a. Consignment store that had various goods, you know, and the little craft spaces and whatnot. So I was making stuff. I was gluing stuff and glitter and it was all over the house and I was making cards and, you know, and I could stick something cute on, I was making it and selling it there. And just trying to fulfill this longing, I had to use it. Creative juices like your right that I had since I was a little girl and, um, I always loved home decor. So I was always buying home decor books and trying out a little idea here, there, everywhere. And all of that was going on. And then I felt like I was so scattered and, uh, stretched thin, you know, just, it’s just hard. It’s hard for a long time. And do these other things. And, um, if you’re not making a ton of money, sometimes you do have to like reevaluate and say, okay, I haven’t seen my friends in a month. I I’m always piled high with glue and glitter. Um, I can’t even sit down. I have so much crap all over my place and maybe I should probably be smarter about this and figure something else out. I don’t know. You know, so I have, I slowly out of necessity how to do abandon some things, you know, which kind of broke my heart, but I was, I was focusing on my career and just getting my boys raised and, and, you know, moving on. So. Cutting to the chase, kind of with how I got where I am now, which was just a huge stroke of good fortune. I, I had been through this a really hard time. My mom has passed away in 2008, after a long struggle with ovarian cancer, about eight years of that. And that just crushed me. You know, even when you’re expecting, when you lose your mom, your dad, uh, you know, does your parent, you know, you, whoever is your parent figure. It is just crushing. And I went through a very hard time of, um, just loneliness and despair and just grief and guilt and, and depression over all of that. And so, um, and then the economy took a huge, huge tank and I was laid off from a job and there I was with this house with a huge, huge payment, a car payment insurances. I was living up to this income that I had at the time. And. Um, everything stopped. And so my mom died got laid off from the job needed to move real quick, but you can’t move if you don’t have a job. And it was just a super, super stressful time and ended up got into this little apartment and just hated it. You know, just white walls, just a boxy little box, no personality. After having my own little place that I had painted and made cute, I was just so defeated and, um, didn’t do anything in there for about a year. And then one day I was reading a book called blocking for business, and this was a long time ago, like 2010 or something, right. Blogging for business. Blogging for business. And it was one of the first on the scene and it was gals who were, you know, starting a blog, making a business out of it, so on and so forth, um, or just kind of their stories. And one of the gals in there. And I always credit cam for my whole new season of life because Kim Kimberly McColl had a blog called, uh, dear Daisy cottage. And, um, she. Had Darlene yellow cottage in Florida and all of the things that I love and had had once she had in this cottage, you know, yellow walls and red accents and Baisley and Stripe and florals and little chickens and tons of pillows and all the things, all my stuff was in the garage. And I had done some things in this apartment, but not really. And I was so inspired and I looked up her blog, you know, on my computer and I read that thing. You know, top to bottom, like I stayed up till two, three in the morning and just thought, God, dang it. You know, my mom would not want me to lay it up in here in this white apartment, feeling sad and not living my life. You know, it’s like the last thing you want as a mother is for your children’s lives to stop when you stop. So I thought, God, I’m going to get out of this bed and I’m going to Lowe’s. And the next day I went to Lowe’s and I bought cans of paint. I got, you know, candy, apple, green, and yellow, and a light blue and a little bit deeper blue and red. And I just spent the next like month just painting every wall in that little apartment and it came to life. And then I got all my stuff out of it. Storage. And I put all my stuff up on the walls and made it cute. And later I sent a little note to Kim to thank her for inspiring me to get my crap back together. And I sent her some before and after pictures and she was so kind, she just a lovely lady. If you guys don’t know her, you should. Um, but she. Does she still have a website? She still has. Um, yeah, she does photography and imagery by Kimberly and on Instagram. It’s, it’s an imagery by Kimberly. If you guys want to look at her or we can add that to the show notes and you’ll love it. And she’s going to be featured in cottages and bungalows coming up this summer, her cottage. So I wrote her, I think I sent her something. Well, she asked me, could I post this on my blog? I just love people to know, you know, your story. And I said, okay. And at this point I was a very shy decorator because I thought my stuff was too, too little bit too bright, a little bit too kitschy, a little bit too, too much, you know, just feeling like everything I was doing, I was too much, you know, so I didn’t really show too many people and I wasn’t super proud of it or anything. Was, and so she shared these little snapshots I took and on her blog and, oh my gosh, it was amazing. And I printed it and I still have it to this day, like 300 ladies who have comments about how they thought it was so cute. This should be in a magazine and, oh my goodness. I was just humbled beyond I was in tears. I, I could not believe it. I was shocked that people liked what I was doing. So that gave me confidence. All of a sudden I felt more confident, like, okay. So then I started having my girlfriends in more and having more entertaining marks. I didn’t feel like, like my stuff was embarrassing and all this positive feedback kind of kept rising my confidence and. I then got an opportunity to move to a little tiny place at the beach. And I’d always wanted to live in Laguna. My friends saw a lot of my friends were there, but I could never afford anything, but this particularly kind and generous family, they owned properties there for 40 50 years. And they had a tiny little place for. 50 square feet, max, but it had a big outdoor deck and little patches of dirt that I could plant flowers and little windows that cranked open. And I went to look at it. And at first I thought, oh, that’s way too small. I have to get rid of so much stuff. I don’t know. I better not, you know, all the things you do to yourself. And then it was my youngest son who said, mom, why do you think. You know, nobody can live that cheap at the beach and that’s a great little place. And what do you need all this stuff for? You really basically sit on your couch or you sit in your bed. You’re not right now using your dining room and all this stuff. I’m like, you know what kid you’re right. So I got rid of a whole bunch of junk. I just gave stuff away and I did it. And that’s when my life really unfolded. So that was in 2015 and I was working. I was working in sales jail. Um, and I had stopped all kinds of the little, little making of things and my website store, I kind of stopped all that stuff and, and got this move done. And there I was. So I started. Instagram was new to me. I didn’t know much about it, but I just thought, oh, I’ll get in here. I’ll get involved with some friends and stuff. I was just posting mostly stuff with my dog, you know, just stupid personal stuff. Well, I started posting a few, like, okay, here’s my before of my place in Laguna bathroom. And here’s the after and here’s this and here’s that well about a year of, you know, messing around. All of a sudden, I get a direct message from the editor of flea market decor magazine. And she said, Hey, Kelly, we love your little place. Could we come do a photo shoot? You know, I’m just, again, shocked. Like somebody likes my stuff is like, I’ve stuck everywhere. I have all kinds of junky junk found for 49 cents. But okay. So I prepare for a month. They come for the day, they shoot the whole thing. About six months later, they did an interview. And, but when you’re new to all this, like, I didn’t know. I didn’t hear from anyone. I thought, oh, they must’ve thought it was ugly. They’re probably not going to use it. Then after the interview, then it was still like, it was like six or seven months before it was published. And. There it was though in all my insecurity. I just thought, oh gosh, I hope it doesn’t look dumb. Oh, I hope they didn’t just have to trash it. Oh gosh. Do I want anyone to see this thing? Well, lo and behold, you know, there was. Little bedroom wall. I had made a gallery wall of a whole bunch of florals that I paid for less than 12 bucks with my max, I would spend on florals. And that was on the cover of the magazine. And inside was 14 pages of my little place and the gardens I’d planted in the gazebo and all these things. And I was shocked. And so. It taught me a huge lesson because, um, I realized then that, okay, when you stay in your lane and you just do what you love and you’re doing it because it’s fun. And, um, I was sharing a little bit, but it wasn’t my mission in life. It wasn’t my mission life like to like, to be an influencer in the decor community. I was just doing what I like and to have people notice it and like it, and, um, Edify what I was doing. It was, it’s so much more than just our stuff. It’s our, our hearts, you know, it’s like, you’re creating this little situation from your heart and one of your homes to be welcoming and cozy for folks and tell a story. Um, and so when someone actually likes it, you’re like, oh my goodness. So that gave me a lot of confidence. And then from there other people saw. That issue. And so then other stylists and other photographers started approaching me and asking, could we come show your place? And can I feature you here? And I was like, what? And so that went on and on for like three years. And so ended up, I think there was like six national magazines by the time it was over. And, um, in the meantime, because I still was longing to do this. More creative things. When people ask you, well, what did you do? Kind of, and I felt like I wasn’t doing anything, but when I looked back, I realized, no, you know what? I was, I was teaching myself WordPress. I was taking online photography classes from a local school. How to use my big camera. I call it my like Canon girl camera finger on camera. I was learning iPhone photography. I was practicing that like crazy. Um, It’s just obsessed with it. Um, I was learning all the social media platforms, you know, building a Pinterest account, building Instagram, building Facebook, um, starting pages for all, all the things. Um, and really that came at the urging of one of the stylists who came to my home. She said, Kelly, you really should start a home decor. You have so much to share and people would love it. And who knows, you know, someone may send you some things to talk about and, and, you know, I’m like, eh, nah, I didn’t really want to. And here’s my, I, I had always been very goal-driven and in sales you must be goal-driven and always have a quota and you know, kind of that thing on your head. And this thing had evolved just from my heart and my passion. And I thought I start putting goals and things on it. Yep. It’s going to get wrecked and I don’t want to start doing things for the gram, you know, as they say, I just wanted to do what felt right for me. And so I resisted for a long time, but. Then I finally realized like, oh, I’m kinda missing out, you know, as I would stock other people’s stuff, I’d see like, oh, these ladies are getting to know each other and they’re having fun sharing and on and on. And so I thought, okay, I’m gonna, so I, I did, I started my Instagram account, Facebook page, Pinterest account all under my, under my, um, my little tag of cottage flea by the sea. That was my, that was my little tab. So cute. It’s as cute as your style. The name is perfect. Thank you. Um, it just went from there. So I was fussing around with all this stuff, doing, just having the time of my life at this little place and entertaining friends there and still, never thinking about a career. In magazines, I’m still just loving it. You know, I just love, I love everything and I got to meet all these awesome people. And so when they came to do the flea markets, of course, shoot Jackie who’s. Now my boss was there another stylist, the editor of the market decor at the time and a photographer that is their local or local go-to guy in Southern California. And they all came in and that day really, you know, changed the course of my life. I didn’t know. And of course at the time, Loving it, you know, watching him take pictures and how does this work? And this is how you style these things. And, and then when other teams came to do shoots, I learned from them and made new friends there too. And so I just kind of loosely kept in touch with the team from. Flea market decor and Jackie who, um, was the editor of cottages and bungalows. So when they did their shoot, they did flea market to core. And then we also did a, like a tablescape summary tablescape thing that appeared in cottages and bungalows. One thing I could say, if you wanted any advice for me about anything like that is when an opportunity does appear like that in your life. Like, what I have found is that, um, Just being gracious about it, like, Hmm. You know, I was so grateful and I was so surprised, but, um, just giving kind of credit where credit is due. It’s like, yeah, I’ve done all this stuff and fussed around here with all these things, trying to make it cute, but had not that editor taking the time to look at my profile and she might, things reached out to me, gave me that opportunity, spent that money that I know is now spent on a photo shoot and hired. Assigning a writer to my stories and, and then coming back and doing a Christmas shoot and they invested in me, you know? And so I felt that gratitude. And so I made sure to let them know, you know, and take them and mentioned them and made sure that I gave them credit for what they’ve done for me and, you know, to send cards and, and just. And not in a contrived way. It just how I felt, but I think that helped me down the road. And so kind of loosely kept in touch and flea market decor, you know, had my heart that’s, uh, you know, I just loved that magazine and being on the cover and then being in the Christmas issue, uh, you know, just loved it. And so as a outsider, you know, as a fan, I started noticing. Gosh, you’re not posting as much, you know, I just feel like what’s happening, you know, to seem like there was this gap in activity. And so I thought, you know what, I’m going to write to, I’m going to write to Jackie and see if they need help or something. And in the meantime, I had just decided I’d had it with sales, jobs and stuff. And I had a little savings. I had started a little online shop of. Good. I didn’t really know what I was going to do, but I decided, you know what, I’m going to quit. I’m just going to quit. And I’m just going to see what happens and just have faith. I can’t hack it anymore. You know, it was 54 years old or whatever I was, and I just decided I’m I’m over it. I’m just going to take a chance. The other thing I’d like ladies to know guys, you know, girls, whoever that it’s never over, you know, to put that lady. Yeah, it’s just not, I used to cry feeling like I’m missing out on something something’s missing from my life, you know, with my career and stuff. And, um, I would see other people living their dreams and I would be happy for them, but I, I would cry a lot feeling like, what am I doing wrong? And so when this all happened for me, Um, so, so much more than just a job so much more than just home decor. It’s like, ah, all the pieces of my life now just make sense. And I don’t lie. I don’t have that angsty anymore of just, oh, I need to read that article about how to be content. Oh, I need to read that article about how, I mean, they’re all good, but I used to just be constantly seeking. Yeah. I feel like scrounging to find the thing for me, you know, here I am and the thing for me and I am so blessed because I get to look at home decor all day. Um, I get to write things. I used to do photography. I get to do all the things, but the biggest thing, that’s the most meaning to me. Putting the spotlight on other ladies, um, discovering that little nugget of a person. Like I was that doesn’t have 500,000 followers on Instagram. They have maybe made a hundred, like I did. And, uh, putting them out there, um, encouraging ladies, lifting them up, supporting them, um, helping them believe in themselves. Yeah. I get to do that every single day. And I love it. And I think coming from where I did struggling, and then just, you know, I remember being so broken this first apartment in LA that I got cheap fabric at the dollar store and just tucked it around my couches and chairs because the upholstery was so ugly, you know, that kind of thing. And being embarrassed about my decor tonight. Where I am now. It’s like, yeah, I would not be in this position without people like Kim, Kim from Deere, Daisy cottage, without Chicky, without, um, even my boys, you know, they’ve always been very encouraging to me, my sister, you know, there’s just people that have girlfriends that have always just supported me, you know, no matter what. Um, and you do a great job. You do a great job in your role of encouraging, encouraging women. And I love seeing how your story, like you said, it’s sort of this tapestry of all these different things and colors and experiences, and it does, it comes together to form this really beautiful. Story. And I think you do such an incredible job with where you’re at. We’re going to take a quick break, but we come back, we’ll play a quick speed round of this one out with Kelly, and then we’re going to get her expert advice in how to get featured in a magazine. Right? When we come back, you have tried it. We’re 80. 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Curious to try the program, but not sure if the strategies will work for you. Try the faster way strategies for free. Head to www.hammersandhugs.com and sign up for my free seven day fat loss accelerator course today. And start your own transformation story. Well, we are back here with Kelly McMaster. We’re going to play a quick round of this or that there’s two options. You don’t have to overthink it, which would you rather, so burger or hot dog, a burger candy or baked goods. Baked goods. What’s your favorite baked? Good. I’d say probably chocolate chip cookies. That’s a good choice. Would you rather cook or decorate? Decorate? Do you first notice someone’s smile or their hair? Their smile. Would you rather decorate with reds and yellows or blues and greens? Red. Yellow? Yeah, for sure. Um, would you rather go to a movie theater or a concert? Uh, concert. And lastly, would you rather go to New York or Paris? Oh, Paris. I’ve never been to Paris. That’s on my well, France is on my to-do list, period. I am me to Italy and Paris. Those are the places. Yes. I agree. Especially our style is perfect. Both of us. Yeah. Italy in Paris. Yes. A lot of people ask. What is the benefit of being in a magazine? Are you paid to be in a magazine? Um, so one, what is the advantage to being in a magazine and then two, what are some tips and this and your tips really are true for any magazine. I mean, the advice that you gave was excellent. No matter if you are, regardless of where you are, what your niche is, your advice I think is excellent for all of it. So if you want to touch on that a little bit, Well, you know what I think the. It really does vary. You don’t have to think about that a second, because it does vary person to person. Like for someone like me that did not have a business was not, uh, trying to grow an account at the time I was just hanging out, you know, doing my thing. The benefit for me was, um, I felt my self confidence just boosted my morale, uh, was able to, you know, sharing about it, reconnecting me with friends from elementary school, you know, on Facebook and whatnot. So it was just the fun element of it. It, for sure, no matter what you’re doing, it’s just really a lot of fun and it, it just gives you confidence to keep going with what you’re doing. Someone likes what you’re doing and just keep going. But if you are say you’re a designer or you do have a business. Um, always, if someone approaches you, someone like me and says, Hey, we’d love to feature you, then make sure you stick your stuff in, you know, make sure you ask them to, can you please list that my Instagram account or my website or my blog or my, my business website, because we’re not offended. You know, we want to know those things and we will put them either in the, in the body of the article or, or, and, or in the back at the sources in the back of the magazine, we’ll list your things and, um, So for sure. Uh, like if you’re a designer, especially, and we get approached all the time by designers with submissions, for their projects, it’s just builds a portfolio for them of media coverage. And you need that as a designer for credibility. So, uh, for. Like to be able to publish the finished feature on their websites, show the cover on their websites of all the places that they’ve been featured. So, um, it can be worth really thousands of dollars and it can lead to more things. Like, even for me, like for me, uh, you know, how lucky am I, I ended up having other people approach me. Other features were done in other magazines. And then I got a whole new career out of it. You know, I’ve got all right, that’s not going to happen for everybody, but you. You just never know. And, and I’ve featured homeowners before that their own photography was good enough for us to use it and put their name on the masthead and their name as photographer and stylist on the feature. And they’ve since been contacted by other people to do photo shoots in their area. Um, so photography can go that direction. I’ve had a couple of homeowners say, Hey, could I help write. My own feature because I I’m trying to build a writing portfolio. Yeah. You know, so writing could come from it. Um, just, just that exposure and just that credibility because you know, whether it should or shouldn’t, it does, you know, have been published nationally. It gives you another leg to stand on and a little bit. A little breaking thing, a little arrow in your quiver. Yeah. Yeah. It creates more authority. There’s kind of that sense of like, you are more of an authority in your space. I think you’re absolutely right. Yeah. Yeah. The expertise thing. Absolutely. Especially if you’re. Any type of professional, if you’re just a gal out there, like I was just having a good time with it, then, you know what? It’s just so much fun. You know, you just can never lose. I think the only thing that can, can go bad sometimes, but usually it does. It is if you don’t like, um, the pictures or something, or if you don’t like the way the spread was done, but that happens. Oh, 0 0, 0 1% of the time. And it’s usually like with me, they took a picture of me with my dog and I thought it was going to be like from here on up. And I bet, you know, I hate pictures of myself anyway, but I thought, okay, I’ll do it. Cause I thought it was mostly just going to be like her at the top of me, because I just had these ratty jeans on and these ugly flip flops and my feet were just white as a ghost. And no, it was a full leg thing Grinch, so whatever, I’m just happy to have it on my dog. I have since lost. But, um, but yeah, it’s. It’s I have read, uh, different, um, different articles about the value of being published. And it is especially high for folks that have a business, especially in design, but even if not, um, and in our magazine too, besides a home tour feature, we have various other things that we like to highlight. Um, ladies, we have the artistry column, which usually talks about someone, a maker of some sort or a small business. You know, sewing pillows, painting, painting, birds, you know, just pottery, uh, all kinds of different things that we featured there. A lady that did her own stationery business. Um, we, so we love submissions for that stuff. Uh, we have, uh, a column called one to follow. It’s specifically about someone on Instagram and our writer that she Scouts those and writes about those, those ladies. Um, we have a page called room recipe where I’m always looking at just a one-page shot of just like a great room or a great, uh, she shed or, you know, just something kind of it’s on the inside back cover of the magazine. And it’s there because when you pick up a magazine at the newsstand, some people flip from the. You know, interesting in the back first and some people look at the breakfast, so that back inside thing needs to be striking as well. So we find something great. There I’m always going for that. Um, so there’s ways to fit in and in every issue of cottages and bungalows, there’s a letter editors letter from me. And at the bottom of that, my email address is there. And, you know, we mean it when we say for ideas, questions, concerns, right to blah, blah, blah. And, um, don’t be afraid to do it with other magazines too, because we are always trolling for content looking for content. And is that true for most magazines? I that’s, what I’ve seen is most magazines, whatever they are, usually the contact is within like the first page or two. So you find the email on the letter to the editor section usually. And then what should or shouldn’t somebody include an it’s an email that you’re most likely sending what should or they shouldn’t include in that. One thing you got to know for sure, with editors, and this is just true of all of us, you know? And it’s, it sounds like just kind of cliche and like an excuse or something, but we are so stinking busy. We just really are. We have so many irons in the fire. So if you don’t hear from us right away, don’t feel like, oh, that person is rude or they hate my stuff. We’re probably just working on. Honk and deadline bearing down on us. And we’ve just got to get that thing done first. Okay. Now I have open Headspace. I can look at these other things for future issues, but first of all, of course be gracious and nice, but let us know, you know, where you live, what you’re kind of trying to tell us with this particular situation, be it a craft, a DIY craft thing, a small business, um, your whole home, your. Stuff, uh, let us know, like what you, what you want to share about it, you know, why is it special to you? What makes it unique and just kind of a little blurb doesn’t have to go on and on, but you know, just a little thing. So we just kind of get in your head a little bit, but letting us know where you are is really important because we have. Uh, bank of photographers that we use through the country and sometimes believe it or not, it’s, it’s just a hard fact of this industry is that sometimes we want to feature someone, but they are in Podunk, Alaska or something, and trying to find someone who can capture it, um, quality photographers, sometimes a challenge. And so, um, not that it just immediately eliminates you because we’ve gone to weird corners all over the place to do shoots, but we need to know where you are. But, and then just clear pictures. Photography is so important. You guys it’s. It’s kind of a shame that it is, but it just is in our, in our business. You just have to know how to take some clear photos to represent yourself. Well, because if you give us your social media handles, we’re going to go look like if we open your email and go, gosh, that’s cute. Let me explore this further. Right? When I start scrounging around and looking at all, the photos are kind of dark or they’re too yellow or they’re Ooh, the study’s kind of weird. Sometimes I can see past that. We can see past that and go know. If we went there with a pro. This would fix the problem that it’ll be okay. It’s it’s styled well, and it’s, it just needs to be photographed differently. Um, but sometimes we can’t even tell. And so invest some time in your photography. You don’t have to get the big, you know, $1,500 camera, but even your phone, um, there’s tons of little online courses you can take that are 39 bucks or something, even less to just know what settings to use, how to edit things. Um, just represent yourself the best you can. And. Big big thing too, though, is, um, study the magazine that you’re trying to be featured in, or you’d like to be featured because sometimes we’ll get stuff and it’s so not us, you know, it’s kind of like, I wonder if they’ve looked at our magazine before. Cause it’s so not a fitting sometimes you don’t know and that’s okay. Like a lot of times. Um, someone might share something with me that I feel like, gosh, this is really nice, but it’s much more farmhouse. I’ll send it to Victoria, the editor at Marriott pharma style or Jackie at atomic ranch, which is mid century modern and vice versa. And so we share, um, on ourselves for sure. Um, but if. You know, who’s connected. What I love about that point is that you could be, this could be like a bit, it could be Forbes. I mean, this could be any magazine that you’re talking about and you don’t know a lot of these, you know, I’m sure a lot of magazine editors are connected with each other in their niche. So it’s like what you’re saying, try to know the magazine, the kind of content you should. Absolutely. Have some of those magazines that you’ve looked through. Um, but you never know, they might share you with somebody else. So I think that absolutely there’s no, the magazine you’re approaching study what they’re up to study, what they, they don’t do. Like if, if you browse through someone’s Instagram account and you can see. The kind of content that you’re sharing on their instruction. That’ll tell you a lot about the brand and what they’re up to. One of the things that I did is I actually hired an editorial photographer because I know my photography skills are not up to par, but what was interesting is I did not even know. I didn’t know. There was a difference that not all photographers are. Editorial photographers that there is kind of a different approach. So, um, you know, that’s something too, you can Google that in your area, um, to have somebody come shoot your home for you with the intent of submitting it, but then the advantages you have all these great images then for your brand, if they’re not accepted into a magazine, so that. Beneficial for me. I did all my own staging, but then I hired an editorial photographer and then I had the images. The other piece of advice you had given, which I thought was really good too, is you said don’t be afraid to follow up because you had mentioned that before that I think that’s true for all of us. We’re just busy. Like very few of us are truly just don’t care and don’t want to respond if you need the reminder. And I think that was really good advice too, is if you are pitching. To again, any magazine. Give a little brief period of time, but don’t be afraid to follow up and follow up graciously recognizing they’re probably just busy. Yes. I appreciated that. It is. It’s all about these deadlines. Cause we have so many, we just live on this clock and calendar and so oftentimes like yes, absolutely do that because, um, usually if we know that it’s just not going to. The fit, you know, it’s just not quite our style or genre or people won’t go for it, whatever. I’ll tell you right away, like I’ll write you back and I’ll tell you right away. If it’s something that I feel like, gosh, I could use this. I just don’t have time right now to really study it or delve into it. But I will, when I’m done with this thing, I’ll write back. I’m SWAT getting this thing done, but bug me again, but I’m going to flag this and let’s talk about this for summer issue or whatever, but that’s usually what it is. It’s not people just trying to blow you off or whatever. I mean, I can only speak for us, you know, myself and on our team of ladies. Um, we tend to be very caring and. People never to have hurt feelings. So we tend to get back to you guys, but there’s just times like I flag things and it’s been like, oh my gosh, but I do with that thing. And I’m looking at him and then sure enough, the person will write me again and say, Hey Kelly, sorry, I don’t mean to bother you, but, um, have you got a chance? Like, ah, thank God. Yes. Okay. Now I can look at this thing. So it’s really that. So don’t be shy about that, but you, right? The graciousness, I tell you, it goes a long way. If somebody writes to me and says, Hey, I wrote to you six months ago, you never got back to me. It’s like, Okay, ladies, try again. We understand we get it, but, um, it is just so much better to be a gracious and just understanding in the process because, um, What’s that book. You never win friends. You know, when you, when you come across that way kind of demanding or overly particular like that is another kind of full pawn is being overly particular about, uh, like say, would say you are selected to have your home featured. Um, there’s a process, you know, to the whole thing and people that have been. Doing layouts and writing tax, you know, for years and years and years, you know, way beyond me that once I do my little part and I pass it on to the next people in line. They have their expertise. And so there’s, you know, protocols that we have to follow and just parameters and all the different rules and what and stuff. And so sometimes, um, very rarely though, you know, a homeowner will be very, um, invested in the process and kind of trying to control that process and what goes, where, and just different things. And unfortunately, it’s just not very well-received for. Are so busy when he’s got so much going on that we just can’t, you know, we just gotta do the best we can. And being on the other side of that, as the homeowner being featured, I think it’s a heck of a lot more fun. Like nobody showed me nothing. I just, yeah. I just opened my door, come on in film stuff for my interview. And there it was. And I prefer it that way. It was, I did my part. It’s decorated. You do your thing, whatever you want to do. One thing too is try not to take ourselves so seriously. Like that’s another sort of theme that kind of rears its ugly head. It’s like. Like, let’s not get too big for our britches. It’s kind of, you know, the theme it’s like, we’re all just ladies over here, just creating things in our spaces and it’s important to us. And of course I believe in it, I’m all for it, but there are so many other more serious things going on in life and in the world that to get upset about, you know, white feet in flip-flops silly. It’s just like how dumb is that? You know, people are suffering and dying here. There, you know, babies with illnesses and all kinds of bags. Yeah. Well, and this is why I love cottages and bungalows because it’s magazines like this, that it’s, it is an opportunity to like sit back with a cup of coffee and a blanket and enjoy beauty and enjoy stories. And it is, it’s a chance to take a deep. And being able to take a step into somebody else’s home. And that’s why I, you know, I love magazines, like the one that you put together. It’s just so beautiful. I do want people to be able to know. So the Instagram handle, certainly of the magazine is cottages and bungalows, cottages, and bungalows, meg.com. And then. Kelly, his handle is cottage fully by the sea cottage flee by the sea. You are. If you love the flea market style, the vintage kind of eclectic, super, super like warm colors. It’ll make you very happy. You definitely want to follow Kelly. I love your style. It’s so pretty. And when I’m hearing your story, I thought about there’s this old saying that says, um, luck is when preparation meets opportunity. Yes. And I think, you know, it’s been widely accepted that maybe we should really say that it’s more applicable. That success is when preparation meets opportunity and it doesn’t really happen by chance. And cause I hear your story and you were still putting in the effort day after day, you had no idea what was going to happen, but whether you knew it or not, you were still laying that foundation so that when that opportunity did present itself, you were ready and. I just thank you for sharing this. I think you’ve modeled it so beautifully in your life. You know, you could have sat down just wallowed in grief or frustration or depression, but you used it as an opportunity to pivot. And I just thank you for your story and being here and sharing it with us and for all the beauty that you inspire and create in your. Thank you so much. Thank you for having me. I’m really, really just honored and flattered and just humbled that you would find my journey. Interesting. And, um, just, yeah, I just want ladies don’t give up, you know, just whatever you’re doing in life, just don’t give up. Just keep going and. Keep that little voice that’s driving you to do whatever you feel driven to do. Just keep doing it. You know, you’ll never regret it. I just don’t think of it. The smile along the way. There’s always gray, white feet. Flip-flop moments guys. Keep going. Oh, well thank you, Kelly. You’re so welcome. Take care. Thank you so much for joining us for this episode of the imperfectly empowered podcast. It is my honor to be here with you. I am so grateful for each and every one of you. If you are watching on YouTube, be sure to click the subscribe button below. So you don’t miss a show and leave a comment with your thoughts from today’s episode below. If you are listening via your preferred podcasting platform, would you help keep us on the. By rating our show and leaving an honest review of your thoughts from today in case you haven’t heard it lately, your story matters and you are loved. This is your host on a former, and I will see you here next time on the imperfectly empowered podcast.