VoyageTampa Support Artists & Small Businesses Sun, 24 Jan 2021 02:43:37 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Change-Makers: stories that inspire Tue, 19 Jan 2021 04:00:33 +0000 The heart of our mission is to find the amazing souls that breathe life into our communities. In the recent weeks, we’ve had the privilege to connect with some incredible artists, creatives, entrepreneurs and rabble rousers and we can’t begin to express how impressed we are with the incredible group below. In coming weeks we’ll […]

The post The Change-Makers: stories that inspire appeared first on VoyageTampa.

The heart of our mission is to find the amazing souls that breathe life into our communities. In the recent weeks, we’ve had the privilege to connect with some incredible artists, creatives, entrepreneurs and rabble rousers and we can’t begin to express how impressed we are with the incredible group below. In coming weeks we’ll be sharing some amazing stories from Tampa, St. Petersburg and the surrounding areas.  Check out our favorite stories from across the Voyage family.

Chase Parker

I’ve always been creative, from painting cars to my career as a hairstylist for the last 16 years. I created a craft room at our house for my daughter and her friends to use, but I had no idea I would soon take that over as a studio. A friend came over and liked a piece of art that I made for my dining room so much that I told her I would create something for her. The finished piece was a Kurt Cobain charcoal drawing over his handwritten lyrics. That piece was posted to social media, and from there, I got my first commission, which was also my first oil painting. I also received an offer to place my work in Luxe Gallery in West Palm Beach. I wasn’t exactly an “artist” at the time, but that moment changed everything for me. I just started creating and pushing myself to see what I was capable of creating. Since then, every moment I have free is spent making art. I have been pretty blessed in the sense that everything I have created has sold immediately and sometimes before I’ve even finished it. It’s been amazing and I feel like I found my purpose in life, all by chance. Read more>>

Teresa Jennings

As a doula, I strive to create change in the way birth is viewed. It’s important that birth be given back to the birthing person. I want families to become trusting themselves and their decisions as to what’s right for them. Its viewed as a being a doula is more than just holding babies. Read More>>

Nate Blakely

I was born in Orlando, Florida, when I was five, my family moved to Vienna, Virginia, which is about 30 minutes from DC. Words have been hard for me to find all my life, I have always gravitated towards visual storytelling. It wasn’t until my senior year of high school in 2010, I started to do video editing, this was my first real love. Read More>>

Pete Mahoney

Just a little background about myself, my company and our product. I’m a US Navy veteran and classically French-trained chef who graduated from Le Cordon Bleu. I’m also a third-generation ice pop maker. I’ve been living here in Florida with my family for about five years now. I came up with the name and branding idea as a tribute to my Grandfather, Father and to the 1950’s era on how ice pops and ice cream used to be sold using an old-style ice pop bike cart. We make all-natural handmade fresh fruit ice pops. There are no additives, dyes, preservatives or corn syrups in any of our ice pops. We pride ourselves on quality and ensure there is plenty of all-natural fruit flavor in our ice pops and never watered down. I wanted to make a healthier version of ice pops for all to enjoy, from kids to adults. We do make cream-based ice pops for those who like to indulge as well, such as Cafe Con Leche, Key Lime Pie w/graham cracker and Banana Pudding w/Nilla wafer, to name a few. Read more>>

Blaise Ryndes

The roots of Spheres Bubble Show originated in 2010 when the artist Blaise Ryndes received a magic kit for his 9th birthday. He quickly mastered all of the tricks and longed for more. He convinced his father to take him to a magic shop called “The Magic Emporium” in their hometown of Tampa, Florida. The staff there was very helpful and nurturing. Blaise began to immerse himself in all things magic. He acquired new tricks, attended seminars and conventions, as well as going to see as many professional magicians perform as he could. After about nine months of practice and serious dedication, Blaise started to perform small magic shows for friends and relatives. He also taught himself how to juggle and make fantastic balloon art. It was so well received that he was actually hired on several occasions to do birthday parties for kids in the neighborhood. This marked the beginning of the segue from the amateur hobbyist to professional. Blaise and his family were always big America’s Got Talent enthusiasts, and it soon became his dream to appear on the show. Read more>>

Amanda Sagarian

I was lucky enough to be the dog mom of an amazing 11 and a half-year-old German Shepherd named Taz. We did everything together, from traveling to the west coast to hiking the Grand Canyon to swimming in the Gulf of Mexico. Taz was my best friend since I was 20 years old and had been by my side for most of my personal, educational, and career development & growth. Taz and I moved down to Florida from MA in 2011, where I attended USF to complete my bachelor’s degree. I struggled with many trips to the vet due to Taz’s allergies and sensitive stomach issues similar to many German Shepherds. I went through numerous amounts of medical bills, specialty foods, hypoallergenic treats, expensive allergy testing, allergy shots, and medications. It was so bad that I stopped feeding him treats completely to help control and pinpoint what was causing so many problems. I finally had the allergy testing done around 9-10 years old. Results came back that Taz was allergic to the environment such as grass, trees, and dust mites. Read more>>

Tomeka Soremekun

After moving to Tampa, FL to begin my career in Law, I started to gain a love for visiting new establishments and concept restaurants. I would often catch myself daydreaming about owning my own business and serving the community. It wasn’t until a few years later, when I was at home watching an episode of Fixer Upper, that I saw Joanna Gains was building her own dream bakery. She stated that you’re never too old to start. It was just the push I needed. I was so moved and motivated that I rushed to Michaels Craft store and purchased a planner. I was ready to set my dreams into motion, but first, I had to get my feet wet. Now I may not be able to paint, draw, or knit, but I consider myself a very crafty individual full of ideas. I knew I wanted to base my business around something I was passionate about – Ice cream! I began by making samples for my family, coworkers, and friends to taste test, but I was still hesitant. What if my product isn’t good enough? What if I fail? I was so riddled with self-doubt that I met up with a business guru and shared my fears with him. Read more>>

Hope Donnelly

Florida native and world-educated Hope Chanel Donnelly founded 8-Count Productions in 2011 as the umbrella brand to create and consult, at the end of a decade working in professional sports entertainment while teaching art and coaching collegiate dance. Hope purchased and re-envisioned the Rialto Theatre in 2013 as a mixed-purpose arts and events space. The Rialto is now filled with wedding celebrations as featured on Southern Living, Pop Sugar, and Carats and Cake, along with an assortment of photo and video productions, dance showcases and cyphers, gallery receptions, community gatherings, and corporate events. Outside of venue management, Hope also curates gallery spaces featuring local artists, volunteers for community and arts planning committees, coordinates public art installations, and consults for historical projects and creatives. She believes in taking risks, historic preservation, making events and spaces green, and community over competition. Read more>>

Carmen Navratil

In 2017, I started thinking about what I wanted to do with my life, for myself, as a career. My kids were now older, both in Elementary school and I had been a stay at home mom for their primary years. But, I always knew that I wouldn’t be a stay at home mom for their entire childhood and frankly, I was beginning to need more adult interaction. After discussing things with my husband, who I have also helped with his family business of real estate property management, about what to do, he suggested buying a business. I knew that I could not go back to a corporate job, and I had already owned my own business in the past, with little success at making a profit. But, this time it was different. We were looking at buying an existing business or franchise rather than starting from scratch. Eventually, in my search for what to buy and what to get into, I stumbled upon a franchise broker who asked me a very significant question; “what are you passionate about?”. At the time, almost hitting 40, and I had finally begun to appreciate an active lifestyle and was I was feeling the physical and mental benefits of it. Read more>>

Carol Valderrama

I love red wine and create, I was able to realize my life-long dream… when I opened my flower boutique. I’m the owner of Blooming Flower & Art, located in Winthrop Town Centre Riverview, Florida. Growing up as a young child, I fell in love with the creative arts, always trying to find papers, glue, and crayons to create something!!! I’ve been blessed like my mom with a creative eye… “I was a born artist like her.” 15 years ago, I became a designer, after I graduated with a degree in Interior Design. To be honest, I didn’t set out in life to be a floral designer, I actually have nothing to do with flowers…. But here I am. I possess a passion for design, and I express it with fresh flowers. I wanted to learn how to create beautiful arrangements, and without any training, I start designing and creating unique flower arrangements. Initially, it was for my friends and family, but my passion, drive and hard work led me to the world of Professional Floral Designers. I was convinced that my calling had been found. For the past 13 years, I have been meeting amazing people from all walks of life. Read more>>

Breanna Browning

Cookies have always made me happy. They’ve been my go-to dessert. Chocolate Chip, Peanut Butter, M&M, they’re all sooo good! But there’s something about that Snickerdoodle cookie. There’s something about the way the cinnamon flavor lingers on your tongue for a little while after each bite. After perfecting my Snickerdoodle recipe, my friends and family fell in love! That’s when I decided that I was the perfect person to satisfy my own cookie cravings. So I began baking every flavor that I ever loved and then some. I set out to create cookies in flavors of other desserts that I like (strawberry cake, s’mores, butter pecan ice cream, sweet potato pie, etc.) because everything’s better as a cookie. Soon, I was convinced by friends that it was only right to share these goods with the world. Thus, The Cookie Monster Cookies was born! I began selling the cookies at a local farmer’s market once a month. I eventually began going to a different market every week and was able to introduce many more cookie lovers to my company. Read more>>

Emma Makdessi

My parents moved from Lebanon to the US a month before I was born – they actually track how long they’ve been here by my age, so 32 years. We bounced around from Ohio to Florida and finally settled in Palm Harbor, FL, when I was in middle school. It was interesting being in such a Lebanese household but growing up in the US. I would say I got my start in the work that I’m doing now because I was able to push back against some of the expectations and break down the barriers for my sister and brother. After much research and conversations, I convinced them to let me attend a week-long leadership and residential diversity program called ANYTOWN when I was 13. That week changed my life, and as soon as I turned 15, I returned as a counselor. I attended college at the University of South Florida and had no idea what college was about. I was the first person in my family to go to college. Once I got there, I did what I could do to graduate. In a way, I fell through the cracks. It turns out there were so many scholarships and programs for first generation students, and I had no clue. Read more>>

Brittany Borders

I have loved photography for as long as I can remember. My Granny started buying me disposable cameras when I was about three. I grew up in an Army family, and we were always traveling to wherever my mom and dad were stationed. My Gran would mail the cameras to me, I would take the pictures, and the next time I saw her, we would develop the film and go over my pictures. She was also a photographer and taught photography as well, so she would show me where I cut someone’s feet off or how it was blurry, etc. We did this for most of my childhood. It wasn’t until I entered high school that my love of photography became the focus of what I wanted to do with my life. I got on the yearbook photography team and began taking photos. When the yearbook was finally published, I was hooked! I loved seeing my images in print. I decided I wanted to get a degree in photography and learn history as well as new techniques and equipment, so I enrolled at Daytona State College. It was there that I earned my Associate’s Degree and knew I had to know more. Read more>>

Bonnie Hough

I think the work I do today has just always been in my DNA. I grew up in a family that volunteered quite a bit and gave to community organizations regularly, so in many ways, my passion for what I do grew out of that. Career-wise, I’ve been working in the nonprofit world since 2011, full time since 2014. I’ve worked in Texas, Virginia, and Florida, at organizations that are both focused on solving community problems and those that fund the organizations doing community work. I’ve supported causes from food banks to community health clinics and focused on serving every age, from young kids to older adults. I’ve held a blend of roles in fundraising, communications, and project management. So I’ve been a little bit all over the place! But in every organization I was in, I noticed the same thing: feeling like we didn’t have enough SOMETHING – whether it was people, funding, or time – to focus on the strategies that will move the mission forward and ultimately make our community a better place. This feeling kept showing up, and it pushed me to create systems and strategies to stay focused on the big picture in my day-to-day work. Read more>>

Melissa Dozier

I started taking photos at the age of fifteen years old. I remember it like it was yesterday as a yearbook photographer. It’s funny because I remembered how much I didn’t like taking photos of my yearbook class. I pretty much only liked the fact it got me out of class sometimes. My real love for photography started more with Myspace, believe it or not, and yes, with those hilarious selfies of ourselves with all the angles and photos with our friends, haha. I would get so many comments on my photos. I started to take more photos of outside scenery and people. It became an outlet to express myself as a young plus-sized teen. After high school, I had many people reach out and tell me, hey, you have an eye for this. Why don’t you go to school for photography. I was already going to a public college for my AA degree, and I loathed every part of it. I just wasn’t great at school. Actually, at the age of ten, I was diagnosed with SLD (Slow Learning Disability) so every academic class was hard for me, it took me twice as long as a normal student to understand common things, but I worked so hard to get good grades and graduate high school without any special help from the school. Read more>>

James Connell

I’ve been a graphic/web designer since 1999. Part of my college requirements for my graphic design degree included photography as an elective. I always enjoyed taking photos and hoped to someday own some decent equipment. That day came in 2013 when I purchased a Nikon D90. As soon as I learned my way around a camera through experience and watching YouTube videos, I was hooked. I knew I couldn’t get my wife to sign off on the ten thousand dollars worth of equipment I would need to be successful, so I searched Google for the most renowned wedding photography companies in Manchester, NH to fund my venture. Dave at A Photographic Memory hired me based on my limited portfolio. I was hired as a second shooter and photographed approximately 15 weddings as well as a handful as the main shooter for myself. At the end of 2013, my wife and I decided to move to Florida – which at the time had approximately 144,000 weddings more than New Hampshire. I again searched Google for the best wedding photographers, only this time I searched for Tampa, Florida. Read more>>

Sesto Ramadori

Sesto was born in Montreal, Canada, in 1963 but grew up in Northern Italy. He graduated with a Mechanical Engineering degree but still retained a strong passion for food. Following his passion, Sesto Ramadori decided to give up his engineering career to open up his first Italian restaurant, Pasta Casareccia, with his mamma Angela and dad Lorenzo. Sesto’s Mechanical Engineering degree proved useful in helping him start Techno-Pasta, which specialized in the sale and service of pasta manufacturing equipment. This would eventually lead him to service Florida Pasta Company in Clearwater, Florida, and in the end buying Florida Pasta and moving his family to St. Petersburg in 1997. For over ten years, Sesto managed Florida Pasta Company before deciding to open up his own restaurant, Da Sesto Italiano Ristorante e Vino in 2007. Da Sesto Italiano Ristorante e Vino opened its doors in January 2007. Starting out as a boutique size restaurant, chef Sesto has since grown his business and relocated the restaurant to the larger present location on 66th St N., in Pinellas Park, Florida. Read more>>

Jamie Santillo

I have always had a spirit of adventure. I want to explore the world and experience all that it has to offer. However, being born with muscular dystrophy and utilizing a power wheelchair for my mobility, exploration can oftentimes be a challenge. Despite my physical challenges, I have been blessed with the most amazing family who always supported and encouraged me to find ways to achieve my dreams – travels being one of them. As I grew older and my travel experiences expanded, I saw, to my surprise, that there were many accessible options for those with disabilities that I never knew existed. In addition to traveling by air, rail, and sea in a more relaxed fashion, I have also experienced more heart-pounding, adventurous travel types. I have adaptive zip lined over hungry alligators, floated above the clouds in a wheelchair-accessible hot air balloon, and most recently, explored the Florida marshlands in a wheelchair accessible airboat. As much as I love to travel, life can’t be all play and no work. Read more>>

Amanda Girton

Our story began in April 2013.. my dad was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimers. As you can imagine, this was tragic news to our family. I was born and raised in Duette, Florida, eating meat, potatoes, boxed mac and cheese and other processed foods. We didn’t realize just how impactful our diets are on our bodies. It was then that we began to switch to a whole-food, plant-based diet and lifestyle. My family discovered that we needed to eat food. Though we were not able to find snacks that we were looking for- nutrient-dense, vegan, (preferably raw vegan), and truly tasted great. As an excellent home cook, my mom took this as a challenge. We began to make our own raw vegan snacks. We sold them to our neighbors and at many local farmer’s markets. Slow Foods Kitchen began to become a reality. Today we have a commercial facility in Palmetto, Florida, with wholesale and retail customers across Florida. We are excited to be able to use our snacks to help busy families snack well and teach others how they can begin to live a more plant-based lifestyle. We welcome all diets. Part-time vegans are welcome. Read more>>

Allie Benson

The 4th of July is a day of celebration. We celebrate the Declaration of Independence with beach days and barbeques. We celebrate America with patriotic music and fireworks, and in 2016 my husband and I celebrated the news that we were pregnant with our first child. We went through the typical ups and downs of the first few weeks of pregnancy, but the first time we saw her tiny little heart beating like a flashing grain of rice on the ultrasound screen, we fell in love. As the weeks passed, we tracked her growth from a sesame seed to almond to a grape. We talked to her and played her music. We started to collect toys, clothes, and baby gear. Then, at a routine ultrasound in August, we have blindsided with terrible news: our so far perfect little girl had a severe birth defect called an omphalocele. Due to a complication early on in development, her abdominal wall didn’t close and all of her abdominal organs were growing in a round, beach ball like sac outside her body. Read more>>

Kimberly Tucker

I was born and raised here in Tampa, Florida. After graduating from Chamberlain high school, I moved to Tallahassee, Florida to attend Florida State University. Go Noles! I graduated from Florida State with a double major in Finance and Real Estate. Afterwards, I moved back to Tampa. My family is here and I think it is such a beautiful and fun city to live in! I tried the Finance route for about a year and decided the 9-5 job just wasn’t for me. I decided to get more into promotional marketing and started working at tradeshows, conventions, sporting events, concerts, and festivals as an independent contractor. I promoted brands at these events as either a brand ambassador, crowd gatherer, lead generator, or product specialist. I then signed on with Ford Automotive and traveled the country working Auto Shows as a Ford Product Specialist and Narrator for three years. Meanwhile, I also got my Real Estate license and been with Berkshire Hathaway Home Services for several years. I truly love both paths of work and they are each very flexible, so they go very well together. Since Covid, I have switched to do a little more online marketing for brands via Instagram and Facebook. 🙂 Read more>>

Ileana Urquilla

Born in Miami and raised in Tampa. I’m a Hispanic American who believes that anything is possible if you are determined! I began my career after going to Manhattan Hairstyling Academy. I obtained my license as a skin specialist, but my passion was always the fashion industry! I began doing makeup and worked as a makeup artist for eight years and realized I wanted to open up my own small business from home!! I have to say it wasn’t easy, and I really thank God for all the opportunities he has allowed in my life. If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I definitely faced a lot of challenges & I began to have a lot of health issues where I had to stop doing makeup for good. I believe that God placed me where I am today, and now I have my own online shoe & jewelry business! I named it Ileana Shoe Boutique! One time someone asked me, “what is your dream job?” I said, “where I am today is my dream job,” like I mentioned in the beginning, I always had a passion for fashion and little by little, I was able to sell shoes online! Thank God I have been successful. Read more>>

Deborah Bostock-Kelley

My company, The WriteOne Creative Services, began in 2005 as a fun side gig in addition to my full-time marketing communications job. When the company I worked for went international, I was informed I would be taking over all design, newsletter, and intranet web design. Though I loved writing and did design as a hobby, my background was as a reporter. I was blessed to return to college, get my bachelor’s degree, learn everything I could about graphic design, and take classes in web design to apply to this role. In passing, I spoke to parents about my idea of starting a company because I could combine reporting, graphic design, and web design to provide a one-stop creative shop for entrepreneurs like myself. And then I did nothing more about it. For my birthday that year, my parents surprised me by purchasing my company name with Sunbiz and told me not to waste the opportunity. My first web client was actually my employer. My second was my daughter’s charter school. Nearly every client after that was referred by the client before. Read more>>

Erin Hurter

I began teaching yoga classes because I wanted to share something of value with the community. After a couple of years of working a couple of hours a week at a private yoga studio, I wanted to reach a larger audience. When COVID hit and classes began to dwindle, I had the idea to take yoga out to a waterfront park and see if I could help people get through the challenges of the pandemic. I wanted people to know that–while they couldn’t control what was happening–they could certainly control their reaction to it. The response was good at first–but due to social media and word of mouth, the classes began to snowball. We now average of 75 people per class on Tuesday nights at Bayfront Park in Downtown Sarasota. It’s so gratifying seeing all the people arriving from different directions and from all walks of life. I’ve had people tell me they’ve never done yoga before and know it’s the highlight of their week! The City of Sarasota reached out, asking me if I’d lead a second class each week. The same thing happened there. We get a huge turn-out each Saturday morning on the lawn behind the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall. Read more>>

Roc Rochon

For much of my younger life, I had access to participate in team sports. I was a student-athlete in college and when I left the team, I still played through local town recreation leagues and intramural sports. Beyond the “organized” sport, I am someone who has an appreciation for lifelong physical activity and movement. I believe that everyone should have access to accessible and affordable movement opportunities. Collective-community movement particularly. Rooted Resistance was founded in 2016 in Tampa, Florida. Read more>>

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#LadyBoss: redefining what a boss looks like Mon, 21 Sep 2020 03:29:26 +0000 Too many of us grew up only seeing one kind of boss or leader in the media. The lack of representation for other groups reinforced harmful stereotypes and acted as a self-fulfilling prophesy, but would our opinion of what a leader looks like be different if the media did a better job at representing the […]

The post #LadyBoss: redefining what a boss looks like appeared first on VoyageTampa.

Too many of us grew up only seeing one kind of boss or leader in the media. The lack of representation for other groups reinforced harmful stereotypes and acted as a self-fulfilling prophesy, but would our opinion of what a leader looks like be different if the media did a better job at representing the true diversity of leadership in America?

Women and other under-represented groups are already leading many great companies, organizations, & academic institutions; others are authoring best-sellers, building engaged audiences, leading movements and more.

We have the honor of connecting with many brilliant female leaders each week and we’ve highlighted some of our favorites from throughout the Voyage family below. We asked them our question of the month: What is the best advice you have for someone who feels like they are facing insurmountable odds.

We encourage you to check out the female leaders we’ve highlighted below, follow them on social media if you find their work or story interesting and most importantly do your part to #fightstereotypes.

Chelsea Luckey | Pilates instructor & Medical Sales Representative

Taryn Kelly

I’ve been here before, when I lost my father 2 years ago, I felt like there was no way for my life to continue forward. I wanted to jump into being “okay” again and simply put, I couldn’t. It was during this time I learned about moving the needle, inch by inch and being present in each moment. My best advice is, we can’t skip steps in the process but we can break it down into pieces to manage it easier. Avoid looking at the challenge as a whole but accomplishing one small step everyday. If you buckle down in the process, put one foot in front of the other with your mind on the prize, you will build something bigger than you originally dreamed. In sales, it’s small daily moves to meet a big quarterly goal, in fitness, it’s building each segment of your routine & in life, it’s the same. Always keep the peak of the mountain in mind, but your head down and climb step by step.


Molly Schoneveld  | Founder/CEO The Storied Group

First, learn to master your mind. It’s the only thing you can control. Your mind will want to tell you that you can’t, that the challenge is too great. It will convince you you’re doomed. I love the Calm and Headspace apps for practicing mindfulness and getting you out of that panic mode that comes with great challenges.  Second, start with baby steps. Think of a tiny thing you can do right now that will move you in the direction you wish to go. If you need motivation for putting one foot in front of the other, literally go put one foot in front of the other. Take a walk. Change your scenery. It’s amazing what moving the body will do for our minds. 

Jennifer Navarro | Media Executive & Lifestyle Blogger

The best advice I can give to someone facing a challenge they feel is insurmountable, is to remember to breathe. Take a moment to reflect and try to make sense of your feelings and the challenges at hand. Understand that there will be happy, sad, and sometimes confusing moments that lie ahead, but continue to work toward developing a solution. Never lose sight of all the positive things in your life. There is so much to be thankful for and it can be easy to let the bad overshadow the good. Remind yourself to be grateful for even the simplest blessings such as waking up in the morning, driving to work in your car, your family, your health, etc. Lastly and most importantly, remember that this too shall pass. When something seems insurmountable to me, I always remind myself that one day I will look back and everything will make perfect sense.


Christiannah Oyedeji | Entrepreneur & Strategic Partnerships Professional

Full Fledge Entertainment

Allow that feeling to soak in for a moment and appreciate the challenge ahead of you. Then flip that energy into a sense of determination by thinking just how amazing it will feel when you’ve successfully defeated it. Now, take a step back and look at the challenge from different perspectives – turning it over and over again in your mind. You’ll eventually find a weak point and can begin breaking that gigantic challenge down into smaller obstacles that you have or can find the resources to overcome bit by bit.

Susan Rebecca White | writer | mother | wife | friend | spiritual junky

If a friend tells me she’s facing a challenge she feels is insurmountable, my response is, “I’m so sorry.” And then later, “Do you want to talk through solutions, or would you rather me just listen?” Sometimes just listening is the most valuable thing I can offer. Personally, when I’m facing a tough challenge, I first let myself feel exhausted and overwhelmed by it, then I talk / vent with a friend about it,  and finally I think about how to approach it “bird by bird” (as Anne Lamott says), meaning, how do I tackle little bits at a time until I actually get through it?

Kayle A. Martinez | Visual Artist & Designer

I can relate to self-doubt. I come from an environment that teaches contentment within the easy, safe, and quiet route of life. I grew up around examples of “Just let it go” and “Don’t speak unless spoken to” and “Are you sure you want to try that?” and “Do what’s going to make you the most money.” It wasn’t until college where I moved to the other side of the country, completely on my own, not knowing anyone, that I started to realize how important a healthy, self-loving, self-motivating conscious is. For example, I knew I couldn’t have a thriving career in my hometown, so I moved. I knew I didn’t want to become the people I was surrounded by, so I talked to new people. And I especially had doubts — I knew that this new life was going to be a hard, emotionally painful challenge, but I did it because I also knew that the rewards of my newly found positive attitude on life would greatly surpass the consequences of sulking in whether something is “insurmountable” or not. And they did. my advice for someone who is facing a challenge they feel is insurmountable is to change the way you perceive such challenges. Everything in life is merely a test on your ambition; nothing is insurmountable when your mindset and energy is geared towards OVERCOMING SELF-DOUBT. Love yourself, love what you do, love the people around you. Dismiss everything else.


Charlotte Ellsworth | Community Outreach Director & Veterinary Technician

I am learning that your twenties are filled with challenges and obstacles at every turn. Whether that be at work, with family, in relationships, etc. The best advice I could give for someone who is facing an insurmountable challenge would be remember to believe in yourself and never be afraid to ask for help. Challenges are going to present themselves for the rest of your life, but how you deal with these challenges will make or break you. I know that when I’m faced with something that I feel like I can’t handle, I rely on my faith and I seek out mentors who have been in my position. Having a supportive community behind you, as well as believing in yourself, will help you move mountains you never thought you could. Even when you fail. Even when the world is telling you that you can’t do it. Even when you don’t have the right answer, try to make time to clear your head, take a breath and find that inner strength to overcome the odds. You will come out on the other side stronger than ever. As a millennial, I know that I can let anxiety about a certain situation and fear of the unknown completely shut me down. However, when you learn to combat anxiety with strength and confidence, you will be victorious in the end. Don’t let the worries of tomorrow steal you joy and peace for today.


Jennifer Nicole | Handbag Designer & Founder of Jennifer Nicole Collection

The best advice I have for facing a challenge they feel is insurmountable is to do a couple of things which have always worked for me.  Fist, no challenge is insurmountable or impossible, it’s all about perception and attitude! If you go into a situation feeling like you’ll never be able to achieve it, it’s over before you even began. This leads into the second aspect, perseverance, which is half the battle. If you go into any situation knowing you can achieve any challenge and if it’s something you’re truly passionate about, just keep working at it and never stop “swinging the bat” and eventually you’ll knock it out of the park.  This is something I always remind myself and have done for every challenge I’ve faced creating my own business and it’s worked for me every time.


Megan Mears | Audiologist and Author

Set small goals for yourself along the way and reflect on your accomplishments. These small achievements will keep you motivated as you work toward the larger goal.


Mariah Henry | CEO of ‘Deeper Than Dance’ and Dancer/choreographer

Nathan San Miguel

Endure until the end. Many times we have to get through tribulations in order to gain blessings. Stopping in the middle will only leave us wondering what we could have gained and where we could be. If you leave yourself wondering, it is the same as ending up wandering around. I will always encourage people to spend time with yourself and spend time with God. Pray, meditate, think about the problem and find new answers while focusing on how you overcame past challenges! 

Heather Wehrly | Supercar Owner and Driver

Put a demand on yourself to be fearless. Otherwise, you will never know how strong you are or feel the conquering pride you deserve.

Being defeated is an option. Don’t make it yours.


Sam Bee Beauty | Beauty & Lifestyle Influencer | Youtuber

Life throws you curve balls all the time especially, when you are on a new path in life or starting a new venture. It’s so easy to throw your hands up and say to yourself “”Forget it. I give up”” but always remember your purpose, your “why” as people call it. We grow up always hearing to never give up on yourself and this is the most vital piece of advice I will take with me forever, because it’s true! Never give up on yourself when you know you are destined to do more. The Universe sends us these hurtles that may get in the way of our passion and dreams for a reason – it’s to challenge ourselves to find a solution and keep thriving for more. I have had challenges and will continue to have challenges get in the way of my goals but that doesn’t mean what I want for myself is not a possibility or that it’s far fetched. Challenges are meant to test your patience and are meant to make you stronger in the long run so always remember your purpose. Easier said than done, right? Accomplishing your dreams is never easy, so always keep your head up, believe in yourself and remember your goals and dreams do not have an expiration date!


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The Trailblazers: Rewriting the Narrative Sun, 20 Sep 2020 20:46:09 +0000 The editorial team has a special attachment to our new series, The Trailblazers: Rewriting the Narrative, because so many of us feel that media portrayals of women have been too one dimensional. Today, women are doing incredible things in all fields – from science and technology to finance, law, business, athletics and more. With the […]

The post The Trailblazers: Rewriting the Narrative appeared first on VoyageTampa.

The editorial team has a special attachment to our new series, The Trailblazers: Rewriting the Narrative, because so many of us feel that media portrayals of women have been too one dimensional. Today, women are doing incredible things in all fields – from science and technology to finance, law, business, athletics and more. With the Trailblazers series, we hope to highlight and celebrate female role models, encourage more equal and just representation in the media, and help foster a more tight-knit community locally helping women find mentors, business partners, friends and more.

Danielle Kelley

Standing on an elliptical machine at the gym I notice groups of women coming from a dark room on the other side. They were smiling, laughing and didn’t have the UGH expression I was wearing at all. What was this rolled up mat they were carrying? crossed my mind first. Before leaving I looked at the class schedule to find Yoga there. I didn’t really know what that meant but I knew they were on to something more than that silly elliptical machine. I went to the next scheduled class. It was weird but I felt great so I went back again and again for a couple of years even following the teacher when she opened her own studio. I felt stronger and calmer after every class but life seemed to take control as my career started demanding more and more of my time. After becoming a mommy Yoga became more something, I was going to do rather than something I did. Read more>>

Jessica Shaw

I was born into a family of pet lovers so I was set up for success from the start. From an early age, I wanted to be a vet but I ultimately decided that wasn’t exactly what I was looking for as a career. In my senior year of high school, I decided to apply for The Art Institute of Tampa with the major of Digital Photography. I graduated from there in 2013 and started a marketing/photographer job in April of 2014. I lost that job in October 2016 and after 400+ application denials or never getting a call back I decided to try the freelance route. To this day I continue to do freelance but my real passion came to me a few months into freelance life, Dogs. When it hit me one day, I felt that feeling everyone talks about when they know their true calling. I am meant to be a photographer of pets and their humans! Read more>>

Misty Jones

My parents were in the military so I spent my childhood traveling the world and experiencing other cultures. I believed everyone was kind and that all people are equal. Upon moving back to the US after graduating HS, I realized that I seen the world with rose colored glasses. It then became very important to me, to speak out for those that are less fortunate. My business is a place where all people feel welcome no matter their race, culture, or sexuality. I have also come to realize over the years the importance of supporting women. I want them to not only look beautiful but to feel beautiful. I can remember showing someone the back of my camera during a boudoir shoot and she said “wow, I really am beautiful”. It was a moment I will never forget. Since that my focus has really shifted to women.  Read more>>

Jennifer Vieira

When I was 12, my dad handed me his old Canon camera he had bought in the 1980s. It was metal, a little clunky, and only worked every other press of the shutter button. I didn’t know anything about cameras or taking pictures, but I had been artistic since a very young age, so the possibilities intrigued me. My love for photography blossomed when I saw how I could catch the light just right coming into the lens and create artistic visions of objects in front of me. From the beginning, I wasn’t interested in creating a realistic representation of what I saw, but more of what I felt, the emotion an object invoked in me. Years went by and I eventually bought a modern-day version of that ancient Canon. I never stopped taking pictures of the world around me, but something new had caught my interest. Read more>>

Jessica DeLeo

The Movement Sanctuary owners Aaron Tremper & Jessica DeLeo saw the need for a circus space for the existing movement community here in Saint Pete! Our space is here to cultivate creative collaboration, challenge both the mind and body, and learn a new and exciting way to get to know yourself. We started by saying YES and had a tribe to back us up. Read more>>

Kristin Verhine

I’ve been a Speech-Language Pathologist since 1998. I have spent most of my career working with children with various speech and language impairments. In 2003, I had the opportunity to move to Japan for a year to teach English. During and after that experience, I realized I would one day like to pursue a career in accent modification. After returning from Japan, my husband and I settled down, bought a house, then a dog. We welcomed our first child into the world in 2005 and our second in 2008. Time marched on and the dream of working with people on their accents seemed like it may never become a reality. Read more>>

Alice Burnett

I was born and raised in St. Petersburg. My grandmother was a stylist for 29 years, so I grew up in her salon. I tried the college thing for a few years but ended up gravitating back towards hair and attended the Aveda Institute of Tampa Bay in 2016. I graduated in February of 2017 and immediately started working at a well-known salon in the area. I left that salon in June of 2018 and in August of that same year I signed on with Blo Blow Dry Bar to open my own franchise location. Read more>>

Junise Belizaire

I have always had a desire to help people. So, it is no surprise that I became a nurse. After years of working in a hospital, I decided that I needed more and I wanted to make more of an impact on my patients. So, I went back to school and became a nurse practitioner. I loved what I did. I loved the difference I was able to make in someone’s life. It was not the ability to prescribe treatment for their disease or give a diagnosis to bring peace of mind. It was the ability to listen, to bring healing with touch, and to care. Unfortunately, that love and fulfillment slowly began to fade. I started to hate going to work. I hated being asked to do things that I thought were not ethical. I hated being rushed from patient to patient. But even more so, I hated that my patients were seen as nothing but numbers. Read more>>

Teresa Restom Gaskill and Egle Mateo

We are Egle and Teresa, owners of The Art of Science, LLC, in Saint Petersburg, Florida. We started our business in 2015, investing $300 of our own money! The idea for this business came when, as parents, we struggled to find high quality, affordable summer programs that offer a breadth of disciplines. We decided then to combine our strengths (Egle is an artist and Teresa is a biologist), and design a trial program for the summer of 2015 to see if there would be any interest. To our surprise, it was a great success! Parents and kids enjoyed the high quality, creative, outside-of-box projects, and requested we offer the program year-round. Now, we offer after school programs in eight different schools, summer programs every year, and, recently, we have added adult classes. Read more>>

Coco Crowder

Event planning began as a hobby very early in life. I’ve definitely come a long way from planning sweet sixteen parties on notepads for my sister and I, to planning baby shower’s for elite local city government officials. I honestly thought I was going to be a teacher; I had my first classroom layout figured out by second grade. Little did I realize that be doing this, I was setting my path in motion towards a future in events, planning and design. I wasn’t until I got to college that I truly started taking the actual act of event planning seriously. I joined and led various event committees during my time at the University of South Florida which opened up a lot of learning opportunities for me. My first real paying gig was by way of my sorority sister, she asked me to plan her wedding. Read more>>

Maurice Lawrence

Growing up I was always picked on because of speech impediment I suddenly started working out in my early teens. As my body began to change, my confidence started to grow. I began to control my speech impairment. I noticed the more I stayed in fit, the more great things started happening for me. Workout started as a habit and became a lifestyle for me. I began to go around the country to different gyms picking up routines and ideas from other fitness people. I’ll ask so many questions from trainers, owners of gyms, and many professional bodybuilders. This career became my passion and once there’s passion, it’s not work anymore. Mobetterfit has arrived!! Read more>>

Donald Stokely

I took up photography as a hobby when my son was born in 2005. I was hired to photograph a friend’s wedding shortly after and I have been hooked to wedding photography since then. Other than a photography class in college, I didn’t have much formal training, but I read books and studied the work of many of the prominent photographers in the area. I am always a student of this arts and willing to continue learning from those who are willing to pass on their knowledge to a guy like me. Over the years, my business grew from photography to photo booths, video production, and DJing. I am passionate about what I do and delighted to connect with the people I have served over the years. Read more>>

Roy Foley

After college I worked in corporate America for 15 years. I started riding a bike to get into shape. I would hang out at a local bike shop and one day they offered me a job. I left my secure career to become a bike fitter. I worked for a few bike shops in the area and eventually ventured off on my own. I worked in small offices throughout Tampa. I am in my 8th year working for myself and 13 years as a bike fitter. My most recent expansion was moving into an old historic building in west Tampa on Main Street. We moved in 2 months prior to COVID. Our space is a studio for people to custom fit bikes, endurance coaching, bike service and coffee shop. My parents both passed away this past year. The last place they got to see was my new space before they passed away. I just started a Charity called THE SOCKS charity. Read more>>

Joy Hmielewski

Well, I’ve been doing photography for 9 years, so it’s been a pretty long journey. I always deep down wanted to be a photographer and I’ve been taking photos since I can remember. It’s still funny to think that Joyelan Photography is really my job. I went to college and did all of the things people tell you to do, but at the end of the day this is the only thing I have ever truly loved doing. The brief answer is: hard work. I work extremely hard to give my clients a good product. I’m an over communicator most days, but that’s because I believe that every person I work with is important and deserves a good experience. I’ve photographed weddings in different states and countries, I shoot portraits, and now I’m working on expanding some services. Read more>>

Angel Foster

It all started in August 2008. I was at a crossroads in my life. I was telemarketing at the time and was struggling to keep my household together. I was faced with a choice to buy my oldest son some diapers or pay my light bill so we would have power. It was at that moment that the Everest University commercial came on the radio in my car and I called the number before the commercial even ended. That next day I was in the admissions office taking a placement test which landed me to choose between medical assistant or massage therapist. I knew that I wanted to own a business so I could pass it down to my son when he was old enough and I needed the freedom to make my own schedule due to me being a single parent. That following Monday I was in class and my journey began there. Read more>>

JoAnna Esposito

We lived in Connecticut growing up. I was born as an artist and I am a true believer. You either are born with it or not. It’s nothing you can learn. If you decide later in life to become an artist then it was always in you and chances are, someone in your family before you is also an artist because it’s proven to be hereditary. For me, I know I inherited my talent from my mother, Bette Esposito who was a well-known fine artist from Connecticut. She taught me everything she could about art at a young age (I’m talking months old and until the day she passed away in 2008). She was a true artist in every right and she also taught all the kids she came into contact with how important their imagination is and how to use it. She’s the one that got me interested in art. Read more>>

Pete Marin

Started my airbrush apprenticeship back in 1993 in Portland Maine. Worked with my boss and teacher at a retail mall kiosk painting t-shirt. Moved to NH where I work for another airbrush company and eventually purchase the business with an associate artist. After 6 years I sold my half of the business to my partner and moved to Florida. Continued to airbrush everything from t-shirts, to murals, and automotive. Started doing events that grew slowly over 10 years until I decided to focus solely on this which helped my business to expand to 8 artists and a small team for marketing and administration. We now travel all over the country painting party favors live for events. Some of our events are small birthdays some are large multiday events with thousands of attendees. Read more>>

Michael Ethyn

If experience speaks volumes, then Michael Ethyn could quite possibly write several books! In 2009, after realizing tremendous success in his previous career, Michael decided to follow his creative passions and enter the salon industry. Since then, he hasn’t looked back! After graduating from Redken’s Salon Professional Academy, Michael has made it his goal to seek out education from the best in the industry, enhancing his skills and building on an already huge passion for hair. In the last few years, Michael Ethyn has trained under Roy Naccour at J. Joseph Salon & Spa, trained at the prestigious Redken Exchange in New York City, taken close to a countless number of courses at annual Premiere Orlando International Beauty Events, attended the Redken Symposium in Las Vegas, been actively involved in multiple Centricity and A.M.F. hair shows. Read more>>

Desiree Campbell

I was in the medical field for over 10 years and needed a change, I left my medical job to return to school for Medical Esthetician, This is where my passion for beauty really began. I was struggling financially during esthetics school. There were times I slept in my car because I didn’t have enough money for gas to go home and back to school the next day. So needless to say, graduation couldn’t come soon enough. I was offered a job right after graduation, however, was soon disappointed. I was told to use products and services that did nothing for the skin. Sell, Sell, Sell. I honestly believe in products and services that truly change the skin which is why I left the esthetics world and returned back to the medical field. I worked in Dermatology for the next 2 years and loved every second of it. Read more>>

Corine Potter

My love for beauty started as a child. I used to put my mom’s makeup on, tear out model photos in magazines and try and copy the looks and I always got myself and my sister ready for school dances. I worked at the department store when I was 16 and I used to go to the Este lauder counter and put makeup on customers all the time even though I worked the perfume counter. I never knew I was going to go to beauty school and become a makeup artist. I started working in a salon when I was 20 and never looked back. Now, almost 11 years later, I am my own boss, having worked on countless commercials, a few feature films, more photo shoots then I can count and a few music videos. I’ve even worked on live TV. A few years back I even added my own product line to my business. I have makeup products as well as a lash and brow growth serum. Read more>>

Chelsea Lopez

I am the owner of Tipsy Tampa Bartender & Events. I have been in the biz (ITB) for over 13 years! My own business all started with my regulars at one of the bars I was working at in Tampa about 4 years ago. They were planning their wedding and they needed a bartender! They asked me and I said yes! I had to work out the logistics but at the end of the day it was amazing! I loved helping them, figuring what and how much they needed to buy, setting up, working, and breaking down. We had such a good time and everything was perfect. (It was also Cinco de Mayo so a lot of Corona’s were served! After the wedding my regular kept referring me. I ended up doing another wedding shortly after. Now, 4 years later I have a whole team! We have expanded and offer Bartending as well as coordination services. I am extremely thankful. Read more>>

Taeler Buchanan

I maneuvered my way through a few circles and found the perfect cast for my first pilot project, Hollywood (Invisible Ties) which just recently premiered on Amazon Prime and RokuTV. I actually wrote, directed and produced it solo so I’m majorly proud of my first baby! I’m currently writing, directing, and producing a mini-drama series with my production company called “The Things We Survive.” Ever since I made that first step in 2017, I’ve gotten a lot better, gained a lot more knowledge, and have met some AMAZING people in this industry. Read More >>

Alina Smith & Elli Moore

Luckily, we have actually had so much fun on our journey! I think the best piece of advice we could offer women/ anyone in the industry is to partner up with another creative! The reason we feel like we have had such a smooth ride is that we have each other. We are stronger in numbers, and a solid team will move quickly because members of a good team will all have different strengths. We find that we really compliment each other and feel very confident in what we do because we aren’t alone. This industry can be scary, but when you are certain someone has your back, you feel fearless. Read More >>

Dalal Alrashed

I came to the United States of America in a full scholarship from the Ministry of Higher education in Kuwait to pursue my degree in Art in Journalism/PR, I started my journey at the California State University of Northridge majoring in Marketing, however, I realized how unhappy I was. For that reason I decided not to waste my scholarship in doing something I don’t like, I switched my major to journalism/PR and many people asked me why this major. Read More >>

Kimmie Jeppson

I’ve had extremely sensitive skin and suffered from terrible eczema for half my life. I tried almost everything on the market and spent thousands of dollars on dermatology appointments, prescriptions and beauty products that promised so much but delivered little results and comfort. Eczema is extremely painful and uncomfortable. After my 2nd child was born in the winter, my eczema flared up in the worst way. I had dry, dull skin that was accompanied by stretch marks, breakouts, and dimples on the back of my thighs and behind. I was MORTIFIED! Fast forward to Easter dinner where I saw my Aunt Jenifer, who has always had the most gorgeous skin. I asked her what she did to have beautiful, flawless skin. She said to make a Coffee Scrub. I went to the store the next day and picked up Coffee, coconut oil and sugar to make a natural scrub.  Read More >>

Katy Erin

However, within my first two years of living here, I was hit quickly with the fact that writing for a living was just as much a pipedream as acting was. I realized if I was going to be a starving artist and follow my dreams in the big city, I might as well commit to a dream that was actually mine. But I was already “in it” as a writer – I’ve never been able to let go of one thing to commit fully to the other. And because of that, I’ve been lucky enough to work as a showrunner’s assistant through several pilots and four seasons of TV, which has given me access to an incredible support system as a writer, as well as skills in producing and directing I didn’t even realize I was learning. Read More >>

Deziree Dufresne

Just a few weeks after I sent over that business plan, we launched Acorns & Oaks on January 1, 2018. An educational business focused on teaching creative entrepreneurs how to grow their businesses by design, we offer everything from free articles and worksheets, to paid online courses and 1 on 1 mentoring. And the more I work on Acorns & Oaks, the more I realized just how truly passionate I am about the topics we teach on. Having my own business has been rewarding, but helping teaches other business owners how to succeed as been even more fulfilling to me. Read More >>

Dani Bondurant

Oh, it’s been SUCH a fun journey! Since 2015, I have been designing products with the sole purpose of spreading kindness and positivity in the world! In 2014, I had decided to take a pause in my elementary teaching career and spend more time with my own kiddos, volunteering in their school and being present when they were home. During that time, I also found more space in my life to spend time on my passion for paper crafting, scrapbooking, and creating handmade greeting cards. I sent the cards to anyone and everyone, simply because it made me happy, and I knew it made the recipients happy, too! My friends eventually started encouraging me to try selling my cards, and my business was born! Read More >>

Amy O’Connell and Sarah Brittenham

We think every small business has its fair share of rocky roads! While ours has been fairly smooth, the struggles we have faced were really the result of things we could never have predicted – but these have also been important learning experiences for us. All of the challenges have given us the opportunity to pivot and move with the market. Our advice for other women who are just getting started? Don’t be afraid to pivot. Don’t be afraid to change your original plan or vision if it means greater success. These don’t have to be big changes – but little changes that could make all the difference. Keep your eyes open wide and be open to new ideas! Read More >>

Brooke Breazeale

I started Briya after spending six months working at a chimpanzee sanctuary in the Democratic Republic of Congo. After seeing, firsthand, the devastating impacts of poverty, I couldn’t just walk away and ignore what was happening. Briya is my way to actively support organizations implementing a holistic, sustainable, community-based approach. Read More >>

Jessica Mahnke

I think you can learn and train for any career, but some things are just so innately inside you, it would be impossible to not live them out. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been an artist and a designer. As a kid, a blank pad of paper was a thrilling world of opportunity and any box or a found object got my mind swirling about what it could become: countless forts, funny gadgets, Barbie homes. I even remember being given a few small cardboard ring boxes and rigging them together with rubber bands and pencils as pillars to build this multi-level modern apartment complex…. ya know, like most kids do, when they’re nine. Read More >>

Brittany Bouse

I purchased my first home in 2003 when I was just 22 years old, and it was then that I developed such a love for real estate. Shortly after, I went to school to be an appraiser. But before getting my license to sell real estate, I detoured into being a wedding planner and event manager after moving to Colorado from south Florida over ten years ago. After years of planning, managing, and executing one of the biggest days of peoples’ lives, I decided it was time to circle back to my original passion, and I have been rewriting my story ever since. Read More >>

Allie Gilmore

The path of an emerging artist is not set like any other career. Unlike many other professions, there is no “right way” to become a studio artist. Even if you do go to art school, once you are out there are a million different avenues that can be taken in order to make your art-making dreams a reality. If that means taking another job in order to sustain a studio practice and losing sleep to do both, then that is what has to be done. Having to pull late nights in the studio until 2 or 3 am (that’s when I get my best work done!) and then having to wake up for other obligations is not for the weak, but sacrifices have to be made for studio work to flourish. I have definitely had my fair share of missing out on quality time with friends and family in order to “get it all done”. When you are a sole creator, you are ultimately the one who has to push pass those walls to make it all happen. Read More >>

Holly Fuller

Thankfully, within a week of moving, I landed a job at Nickelodeon within their Digital Advertising Department. Working in media was always a goal of mine and I was so grateful to be in the midst of it. A little over a year later I moved into the tech startup world. I brought my background in Digital Advertising to a mobile based startup in Playa Vista. After working in tech for two years, I realized there were not many people who looked like me, an African-America Woman. African-Americans, in general, were far and few between. I thought to myself, we are the main consumers of technology, but we do not have a seat at so many tables. Read More >>

MK McGehee

My hope is that it is getting better for women, my LGBTQ family and people of color, especially – that the opportunities will just keep growing and growing. I’ve been very candid about the physical and emotional abuse I’ve experienced as a woman at the hands of male colleagues and mentors, mainly during my theatre years. The worst was in 2010 and it was a doozy – I ended up in the hospital and then in therapy several times a week to try and regain my mental and emotional strength. I became a shell of my former self and almost dropped out of grad school as a result. I’m glad I didn’t let him have my graduate degree in addition to everything else he took from me. I’m thrilled I was able to push through because it landed me here – and I think now is a very exciting time to be a woman in this industry. Read More >>

Kayla Bertagna and Lisa Ballstaedt

It all started when we had a Korean skincare night on a girls trip to Puerto Vallarta. We were excited to try the masks, but… well, they weren’t great. The masks didn’t have clear directions, they didn’t fit well, and we really didn’t know what we were putting on our faces.

We knew we could do better, so we set out to create something revolutionary. After hours of measuring each other’s faces, countless trips to Korea to meet with skincare chemists, and dozens of nights testing products, we’re proud to announce we’ve created the most innovative sheet masks on the market. Read More >>

Jenny Baek

As we all know, nothing can be easy in life, and so is modeling. Fashion Photography/modeling industry is super competitive and they do not take every single one. It’s been a struggle for me too since I am petite (5’3) and the majority of model agencies still look for models who are tall enough who have more various options including runways and fashion show. Still, I wanted to try my best so I was applying for agencies and also been rejecting lots of time. Read More >>

Mel Brown McGinnis

“I fell in love with poetry in Mrs. Tucker’s 9th grade English class,” and I’ve been writing poetry and prose ever since. I’ve always known that writing is my passion, and someday I hoped I would be able to share my gift with the world on pages. When I was in high school, I had two poems published in my school’s 10th grade honors English literary magazine and from that day to this one, I knew I wanted to be a writer. I was a member of the Speech and Drama Club in high school, and I was hit with the performing bug when I did my first silique in speech class and was cast for the chorus in Greece the musical.

So, you wonder how I ended up becoming an attorney, right? Well, I was born in a small town in Louisiana that Time magazine once called the “poorest town in America.” I came from humble beginnings but was raised with a strong sense of family, faith, purpose and the belief that your beginnings don’t have to dictate where you end up in life. I always had big thoughts and big dreams and the self-belief that I could be successful at whatever I chose to do in life. Read More >>

Valencia Holland

It hasn’t been a smooth road but it’s been worth it. I can think back to my intern days and thought everything was going to be glamorous. Being in the business of fashion, beauty, and image can be tough. I remember catching subways from showroom to showroom, dragging suitcases for blocks to catch a subway, doing things that I never imagined. I got a million No’s before I got the one yes. And when you become the boss of your own company, it doesn’t get easier. You’re now responsible for so much more. My advice to women, no matter what you’re looking to do would be, don’t be afraid to start from the bottom and work your way up. Just because you are passionate about something doesn’t mean you know everything. There is a business side to everything and today, there’s so many more resource available so take advantage. Become a sponge and soak everything up. Never stop learning and growing.  Read More >>

Yazmin Cherety

Throughout my childhood, I grew up seeing my parents work for everything they provided to me and my 3 other siblings. Every day was a new challenge for them because they were in charge of their own business. I always looked up to them and was always inspired to strive to be like them one day. They shaped me into the woman I am now, to not take anything for granted because everything I want or have will come with hard work and dedication. People always ask young children “what do you want to be when you grow up”? I never had an exact answer because I felt there were many things I could be good at, but the key was what I really enjoyed doing for the rest of my life. Read More >>

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52 Motivational Quotes that Will Change Your Life Sun, 30 Aug 2020 20:59:26 +0000 A collection of our quotes of the week from the past year 1. “Work until you no longer have to introduce yourself” – Unknown 2. “When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to […]

The post 52 Motivational Quotes that Will Change Your Life appeared first on VoyageTampa.

A collection of our quotes of the week from the past year

1. “Work until you no longer have to introduce yourself” – Unknown

2. “When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.” –John Lennon

3. “Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.” –Benjamin Franklin

4. “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.” –Robert Frost

5. “Build your own dreams, or someone else will hire you to build theirs.” –Farrah Gray

6. “Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.” – Steve Jobs

7. “My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.” – Maya Angelou

8. “Winning isn’t everything, but wanting to win is.” –Vince Lombardi


9. “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.” – Steve Jobs

10. “Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value.” –Albert Einstein

11. “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.” –Steve Jobs

12. If you’re offered a seat on a rocket ship, don’t ask what seat! Just get on. –Sheryl Sandberg

13. “I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” –Michael Jordan

14. “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” –Arthur Ashe

15. “Certain things catch your eye, but pursue only those that capture the heart.” – Ancient Indian Proverb

16. “The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson

17. “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” –Chinese Proverb

18. “The best revenge is massive success.” –Frank Sinatra

19. “Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.” –Maya Angelou

20. “There is only one way to avoid criticism: do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing.” –Aristotle

21. “Everything you’ve ever wanted is on the other side of fear.” –George Addair


22. “How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” –Anne Frank

23. “The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person who is doing it.” –Chinese Proverb

24. Education costs money. But then so does ignorance. –Sir Claus Moser

25. “I have learned over the years that when one’s mind is made up, this diminishes fear.” –Rosa Parks

26. “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” –Martin Luther King Jr.

27. “The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me.” –Ayn Rand

28. “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

29. “When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.” –Henry Ford

30. “Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.” – Mark Twain

31. “Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

32. “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” – Mahatma Gandhi

33. “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.” – Mark Twain

34. “It is our choices, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” – J. K Rowling

35. “Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life – think of it, dream of it, live on that idea. Let the brain, muscles, nerves, every part of your body, be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success.” – Swami Vivekananda


36. “If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much.” – Jim Rohn

37. “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.” – Steve Jobs

38. “The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.” —Alice Walker

39. “If you hear a voice within you say “you cannot paint,” then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced.” —Vincent Van Gogh

40. “I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do.” —Leonardo da Vinci

41. “Limitations live only in our minds. But if we use our imaginations, our possibilities become limitless.” —Jamie Paolinetti

42. “We can’t help everyone, but everyone can help someone.” —Ronald Reagan

43. “Nothing will work unless you do.” —Maya Angelou

44. “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” – Lao Tzu

45. “Tough times never last, but tough people do” – Dr. Robert Schuller

46. ““Don’t count the days, make the days count.” – Muhammad Ali

47. “Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway.” – Earl Nightingale

48. “Someday is not a day of the week.” – Denise Brennan-Nelson

49. “Obsessed is just a word the lazy use to describe the dedicated” – Russell Warren


50. “Even if you are on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.” – Will Rogers

51. “If everything seems under control, you’re just not going fast enough.” – Mario Andretti

52. “Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavor.” – Truman Capote

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What Does it Take to Create a Viral Ad Sat, 22 Aug 2020 21:05:08 +0000 The best way to learn about what it takes to create a viral video ad for your brand is to watch those that have been most successful. 1. Dove : Real Beauty Sketches | You’re more beautiful than you think If you look at Dove’s competitors, on average their youtube videos have only 600 views […]

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The best way to learn about what it takes to create a viral video ad for your brand is to watch those that have been most successful.

1. Dove : Real Beauty Sketches | You’re more beautiful than you think

If you look at Dove’s competitors, on average their youtube videos have only 600 views each. This Dove video has over 60 million views. It’s because they aren’t talking about Dove – no one cares about watching a video about Dove. The video is about a topic that resonates with people – self esteem issues.

2. Always #LikeAGirl

This video proves that you don’t need a fancy backdrop, action scenes or celebrities to go viral. A simple message that people care about is enough to get 60 million views.

3. Pepsi: The Friend Finder

Poking fun at a situation many people have found themselves in and using a cool new gadget make for a great viral ad.

4. Dumb Ways to Die

This Australian public service announcement uses comedy, repetition and real talk to get its message across. It’s been viewed over 100 million times, but more importantly, it reduced the number of accidents by 30%!

5. Shakira & Activia

Obviously, if you can get Shakira to be in your video you have a good shot at going viral.

6. Dollar Shave Club – Our Blades Are F***ing Great

This video launched – after posting this video within 48 hours the company got it’s first 12,000 customer. Now, they have raised over $150 million from investors and giving large companies like Gillete a run for their money.

7. Thai Life Insurance: “Unsung Hero”

A compelling story, that touches people and teaches a great lesson can do exceptionally well on social media. This video has over 25 million views.

8. Google Search: Reunion

If you can touch on geopolitical conflict in a way that can unite both sides you are sure to get a lot of attention.

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VoyageTampa FAQs Sat, 01 Aug 2020 01:56:30 +0000 We’ve prepared this FAQ about VoyageTampa in an effort to ensure that anyone who is interested can have a full understanding of what we do and why we’re doing it. Who started Voyage Hi everyone – I’m Mayank and I’m one of the two founders of Voyage. I was born in Miami, Florida and lived […]

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We’ve prepared this FAQ about VoyageTampa in an effort to ensure that anyone who is interested can have a full understanding of what we do and why we’re doing it.

Who started Voyage

Hi everyone – I’m Mayank and I’m one of the two founders of Voyage. I was born in Miami, Florida and lived in South Florida through high school. My parents came to this country with very little, but they scraped some savings together, borrowed on their credit card and bought a small business and ran it together for almost 30 years. We weren’t wealthy, but my parents never wanted their lack of wealth to interfere with my ability to grow, learn, and pursue the dreams that I had. After high school I moved to LA to attend UCLA, which is where I met my cofounder Sid. After college, I was fortunate to land an incredible job as an investment banker at one of the world’s top banks. My parents were proud, their decades of sacrifice had helped their son “make it.” I worked in LA and NY for a few years, but then I left banking because I wanted to make an impact on the world in a different way. I wanted to figure out how to help people who were like my parents, but just starting out. Sid and I started building a tool to help small businesses build their own websites, but there were already so many of those, so we stopped working on that and focused on what we felt no one was doing – telling the stories of everyday heroes. We wanted to build a platform fully focused on telling as many stories and bringing as much exposure as we could to hard-working people who were doing something entrepreneurial, creative or artistic with their lives.

Hi everyone, My name is Sid and I’m one of the co-founders of Voyage. I came to the US for college and ended up falling in love with everything about America, in particular the free-thinking and anything-is-possible spirit. I went to UCLA to study neuroscience and become a doctor, but realized that medicine was not my passion. Through some struggle trying different jobs, I ultimately found software engineering to be extremely fun and fulfilling. So many people helped me along the way and encouraged me to find my passion. What I realized through my journey is that many other people struggle to find what they are passionate about too, and once they find it they end up having a positive impact on the world. These people have great stories but because they aren’t necessarily famous, the story is often untold. A few years ago Mayank and I partnered to provide web-development services to freelancers, artists, and small businesses – a group of creators close to our hearts. By talking to these people we learned about their amazing struggles and successes, but realized no one was sharing their stories. So, we set out to be the ones to uncover and share the human stories behind the people pursuing their passions, who we often see and drive past, and maybe even interact with everyday, but know little about.

Our mission & ethos

We believe that our communities are great because of the little guys and gals, the mom-and-pops, rising artists, local makers, creatives, and others who go off the beaten path, take risks and try to serve their community with something unique and special.

Our goal is for people to spend more of their money with mom and pops, local artists, creatives and makers rather than with large, one-shape-fits-all corporations.

We think if people knew more about the lives, journeys, struggles, values and background stories of the local business owners, artists, etc they would be more engaged with them, more likely to do business with them and support them in other ways. We believe the best way to do that is to help get the stories of local hidden gems out there, because once people get to know each other at a deeper level we are confident our communities will become even closer and more supportive.

Over time we plan to grow and deepen our involvement with the community beyond storytelling, to include in-person events that promote local artists and entrepreneurs, etc. We are excited and touched by the number of people that have expressed an interest in being part of that growth.

How we differ from traditional magazines

We are a platform that highlights the extraordinary life stories of everyday folks, told in their own words.

We do not have a masthead: For us, this started as a passion project. We are a small team that works with freelancers and contributors because there is an enormous number of amazing, untold stories that deserve to be told. Our contributors are not reporters – they are real people who work with us because they believe in our mission. By working remotely, part-time etc., they are able to support the magazine based on their availability. Through their efforts, we are able to learn from, and share the stories of many more people than we otherwise could. As such, our outreach contributors are free to use nicknames, first names or pen-names in their communications to preserve their privacy and avoid being contacted personally (i.e., on social media by people looking to connect). Since our outreach contributors may come and go, we do not require them to have a staff bio on our website. Our stories don’t have by lines because we allow interviewees to tell their stories in their own words, eliminating the (well-intentioned) interference of a writer’s voice.

We are not journalists: We do not provide headline news. We don’t analyze politics or preach policy. We are in the business of finding amazing people and giving them a platform to tell their own stories in their own words.

Inclusive rather than exclusive: We strive to be an inclusive platform, rather than an exclusive club. Many media outlets create value through exclusivity, featuring a very small number of people each year.

We believe in the opposite approach. We believe in supporting people who are up-and-coming, as well as established. We believe in sharing the struggles behind the success, not just the accomplishments. And we believe in getting to know the person and their philosophy, not just their art, product, or business. We believe that by telling more stories we can make a bigger impact on our communities and the world. If only a handful of stories are told, then only a handful of people can benefit from the power of storytelling. We think communities are better when we know each other at a deeper level, but that’s not possible if we are only exposed to the stories of a select group and tiny percentage within the community.

We value diversity: We take pride in the diversity you’ll find on our site. You’ll find people of all different backgrounds, races, countries of origin, religions, sexual preferences, gender identifications, professions, education levels, colors, shapes, and sizes featured on our site. Relative to almost any other media organization, on a typical day, even a cursory glance at our homepage will highlight how much more diverse we are relative to almost any other media outlet. This is intentional. We strive to make our platform accessible to groups that have traditionally been underrepresented in the media.

Authenticity over polish: We publish people’s stories in their own words, even when there are grammatical issues because we believe it’s important to highlight that not all successful people sound the same, have flawless writing skills, etc. If every time you see a feature of someone successful in the media and everything about them is perfect – from editing their responses to photoshopping their images to remove every “imperfection,” you may get the false idea that successful people are perfect and that if one is not perfect, they might not be capable of success. We want to debunk this myth by showing that success comes in many forms/styles/education-levels/writing-styles, etc. That said, we all make mistakes, so if you notice an error in your submission after the fact, we are more than happy to work with you to correct it.

What happens with the information and pictures you submit to us

If you participate in a Q&A interview (our primary feature format), your answers and pictures will only be used for the interview and promotion of the interview. It will not be used for ANY other purpose. We do not sell your data, and we also do not use the information you provide to analyze it for marketing purposes.

We use Google Analytics to keep track of our website traffic. However, we DO NOT aggregate, share, sell or otherwise use data for any other commercial purpose other than keeping track of our traffic.

We may reach out to you in the future via email or social media to see if you are interested in collaborating with us again on another series, event, project etc. If you ever want us to stop reaching out you can let us know easily by clicking the “preferences” button in any of our emails to you.

Where are we based

We are based in Los Angeles, California, where we started our first site Our mailing address is: 9415 Culver Blvd STE 207, Culver City, CA 9023. This is the co-working space from where we first started, though we now work out of multiple co-working places and many of our contributors and outreach team are remote. Given our access to phones, e-mail, Skype, and other digital forms of communication, our contributors have the flexibility and freedom to work from wherever is convenient to them.

Why we ask for recommendations

The power in most media organizations is concentrated among a tiny group of people in the editorial department who decide who will get coverage and who won’t. Often, these editorial elites can be removed from the heart of the community. By valuing recommendations we are able to take power out of the editorial office and distribute it to the people – so that the community is helping to drive coverage decisions rather than a small group of editorial elites. This allows us to feature thought-provoking art that may not be the most commercially successful (yet), and/or highlight the stories of trailblazing women that are making a difference in all fields.

What we are most excited by

On our platform, we have been blessed and amazed to see what people we featured a few months or years ago have accomplished since because we were able to connect with them when they were still an up-and-coming artist or entrepreneur. We want our site to be a positive and inspirational place, but know the path is not always easy. We have been particularly touched by the stories of people who we happened to connect with at a time of personal or professional difficulty in their life, like when they were making a career change to leave a 9-5 and pursue a passion. We love getting updates about how them sharing their story helped their business, self-confidence, re-connected them with old clients/followers who never knew their personal story, or allowed them to chronicle and journal their journey.

We can’t wait to read and share your story!

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15 Amazing Female Founders Changing the World Sat, 01 Aug 2020 00:30:01 +0000 Meet 15 incredible women who aren’t letting the world hold them back.  They’ve built hugely successful businesses, created thousands of jobs and made a mark on the world.  Below, you’ll find some of the most interesting talks they’ve given about their journeys. Brit Morin of Brit & Co. Ooshma Garg of Gobble Payal Kadakia of […]

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Meet 15 incredible women who aren’t letting the world hold them back.  They’ve built hugely successful businesses, created thousands of jobs and made a mark on the world.  Below, you’ll find some of the most interesting talks they’ve given about their journeys.

Brit Morin of Brit & Co.

Ooshma Garg of Gobble

Payal Kadakia of Classpass

Sophia Amoruso of Nasty Gal

Kathryn Minshew of The Muse

Jessica Mah of inDinero

Julia Hartz of Eventbrite

Alexa von Tobel of LearnVest

Grace Garey of Watsi

Sukhinder Singh Cassidy of Joyus

Rashmi Sinha of SlideShare

Amy Jo Martin of Digital Royalty

Jennifer Pahlka of Code For America

Sara Blakely of Spanx

Weili Dai of Marvell Technologies


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An Internationally Inspired Bucketlist Sat, 25 Jul 2020 20:47:07 +0000 The world has so much to offer, but too often we confine ourselves to a tiny little piece of the human experience. From snorkeling in Mexico to rock climbing in Asia there is something for everyone on the bucket list below. Check it out and let us know if we should add any to our […]

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The world has so much to offer, but too often we confine ourselves to a tiny little piece of the human experience.

From snorkeling in Mexico to rock climbing in Asia there is something for everyone on the bucket list below. Check it out and let us know if we should add any to our list.

Cheers to a life full of adventure!


Go snorkeling in Isla Mujeres, Mexico, where you’ll find some of the world’s largest fish


Visit a Wildlife Refuge in Africa


Skydive at Fox Glacier, New Zealand


Visit the South Pole


Spend a night in a glass igloo in Finland



Road trip from NY to LA


Volunteer at an Orphanage


Travel the Oregon Trail from the East Coast


Dive the Pacific Coast Highway from Los Angeles to San Francisco


Go swimming in the Maldives


Look up at the skies during the Northern Lights


Kiss your lover on a gondola in Venice


Eat smores at the Summit of Mount Kilimanjaro


Ride a Camel in Jaisalmer



Eat Kati Roll at the Coliseum in Rome



Rent a Ferrari in South Beach

Take a Selfie at the Grand Canyon


Have Chai at the Taj Mahal


Make a new friend while walking the Great Wall of China


Visit the Pyramids of Egypt


Go through the Panama Canal


Drink Darjeeling Chai while watching the sunrise at Everest Base Camp


Visit the Caves of Ajanta & Ellora



Circle Borobudur, the Buddhist temple in Indonesia


Celebrate Diwali in India


Dance Gerba Raas during Navratri in Gujarat


Advocate for Animal Rights in front of Sea World




Plant a tree in the Amazon


Visit the Lincoln Monument


Devote yourself to one year at an Ashram in India


Attend a Baba Ramdev Yoga Camp



Run a Marathon


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11 Women Who Changed the World Wed, 01 Jul 2020 21:02:29 +0000 History has not given its fair share of credit to the amazing women who have pushed humanity forward. Here we highlight 11 amazing women you should have learned more about in school. 1.Rani of Jhansi 2. Sojourner Truth 3. Margaret Thatcher 4. Queen Nzingha 5. Empress of Wu Zetian 6. Queen Kittur Chennamma We could […]

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History has not given its fair share of credit to the amazing women who have pushed humanity forward. Here we highlight 11 amazing women you should have learned more about in school.

1.Rani of Jhansi

2. Sojourner Truth

3. Margaret Thatcher

4. Queen Nzingha

5. Empress of Wu Zetian

6. Queen Kittur Chennamma

We could not find a video about Queen Chennamma because (just evidence of the clear bias against women in Academia). She was one of the first Indian leaders to take action against the tyrannical and oppressive British. She led an armed rebellion and was eventually arrested and never released by the British. Nonetheless, she ignited a spark the eventually led to the Independence of India.

7. Anne Bonny

8. The Kahina, Queen of the Berbers

9. Tennessee Celeste Claflin

Tennessee Claflin is another amazing woman that you should have learned more about in school – but didn’t. There aren’t any videos of her either. She’s kind of a double whammy – she was one of the first women to open a Wall Street firm – a woman and a Wall Streeter, no wonder the academics don’t like her….we love her though and think you should learn more about this trailblazing woman.

10. Ernestine Shepherd

11. Lucy Burns

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12 Positively Brilliant Mini Recipe Videos Tue, 16 Jun 2020 20:42:01 +0000 Impress your friends, your significant other or your mom by learning how to cook in just 2 minutes or less 1. Cookies & Cream Puffs 2. Peanut Butter Brownie Cookies 3. Molten Cinnamon Rolls 4. Goat Cheese Filled Mushrooms Credit: 5. Coconut Dessert Crème Credit: 6. Peel, Cut & Prepare an Artichoke Credit: […]

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Impress your friends, your significant other or your mom by learning how to cook in just 2 minutes or less

1. Cookies & Cream Puffs

2. Peanut Butter Brownie Cookies

3. Molten Cinnamon Rolls

4. Goat Cheese Filled Mushrooms


5. Coconut Dessert Crème


6. Peel, Cut & Prepare an Artichoke


7. Classic Creme Caramel



8. Cinnamon Roll Waffles


9. Brie & Pear Quesadilla


10. Passion Fruit Margarita


11. Whateva You Got Guac


12. Chocolate Mousse



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