It's Wise Women Wednesday, each week I interview a woman that I believe is inspiring, living abundantly and following her passions. These are all women who have taught me something and I want to share what each of these women are up to you with you.
Today is super special because it's a two for one deal! I've been watching the beginning and massive growth of a fabulous blog called Love Mala. This blog is a collaboration between Lauren Key and Mallory Drew. They are energetic, passionate and creative beings and I can't wait for you to get to know them!
Q. Who are you?
Lo: My name is Lauren Key, I also go by Lo or Key, I am coauthor of the blog Love Mala. I am wife and fur mama, to a wonderful husband and two furry pups, Naga and Grendel. Currently living in California but always a Carolina girl at heart.
Mal: My name is Mallory! I am a wife, a dog mom, an adventurer, a coffee addict, a craft maker, a makeup junkie, a vegetarian, a purse lover, and a fashionista!
Q. How do we know each other?
Lo: Alisha and I met around 4 years ago, when I attended one of her yoga classes and got to know each other more and more each week I attended. We have since stayed in touch and I have fortunately gotten to follow along and see all the wonderful things Alisha has been doing!
I met Mallory, who I loving call Mal Pal, through my husband who at the time was my boyfriend and it was like best friendship at first sight.
Mal: I have known Lo’s husband for 10 years – we became friends in college and worked together at a ski resort. Cody has always had a soft spot for his people, so when he met Lauren, he had to make sure we all approved. So, he brought her down for a weekend, and needless to say – we swapped phone numbers, immediately started texting, and have talked basically every day since then!
I know Alisha through Lauren!
Q. What is your work?
Lo: I spend my days working as an academic advisor for a university but I also put a lot of my heart into a blog I started with my best friend Mallory called Love Mala.
Mal: I am currently spread thin, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. By day, I work in the clinical research industry. I work for a CRO – we are contracted by pharmaceutical companies and medical device companies to conduct clinical trials for them. In college, I majored in French and Psychology – so my job isn’t necessarily what my school career prepared me for, but hey – at least I enjoyed school! By night I am a blogger with Lauren – we crafted Love Mala and have put so much love into it. While it is a “job” in the sense that it takes time, and planning, and lots more time, it does not feel like a job! I also have an Etsy shop where I make wedding binders and decorations – Mallory Drew Designs – so I find myself crafting a lot during my downtime and I just love it!
Q. How was your blog birthed? How did you decide this was what you wanted to be working on and doing?
Lo: I had been wanting to blog for more years than I care to admit and since the dawn of my friendship with Mal, we had continuously talked on and off about how great it would be to start a blog. Never really committing to it, mostly just dreaming it up but then in 2015, after my husband (who is in the Navy) and I were stationed up in New England and after a hard year for Mallory, as she was dealing with the loss of her mom, we decided we wanted to channel our focus and energy into something we both had long dreamed about and didn’t let physical distance or hardships do anything but enable and inspire us. Not only was it a way to bring our passions to life but it also brought us even closer together. So, at the beginning of 2016, we started Love Mala. A lifestyle blog about all the things we love, fashion, makeup, food, stories about life and love and more than anything, a place to document our happiness and passions.
Mal: Okay, so way back when, in 2014 when Lo and I met, we both bonded over our love for blogs and certain bloggers, and we tossed up the idea to start a BFF blog together. But with our wedding, then the passing of my mom, and then Lauren & Cody’s wedding, it got pushed to the back burner. But when I was in the slums of my depression from losing my mom, we both were like hey – lets actualize that blog idea and give us a happiness outlet – and it worked!
Q. Do you have day jobs as well as the blog and if so how do you juggle that?
Lo: Yes and it’s a balancing act that truthfully, I am still figuring out. Some weeks are more natural and easier than others and then some are a bit more challenging and that is when understanding my priorities and having good time management is everything. Since, Mallory and I co-blog, we have the benefit of added support, especially when one week may be more busy for one of us than the other, and one of us can usually work to counter balance that. Another important function that we do, is we sit down at the end of the month and plan out the following month’s blog posts. Of course, we leave everything open for change and adaptability but this gives us a better generalized idea of what the next 4 weeks will look like and allows us time to write in advance if needed.
Mal: Yes! I have a day job as well as an Etsy store, so there is a LOT of juggling going on in my world. One blessing about our friendship is we never get sick of each other! We love to talk on the phone and FaceTime, so that helps a LOT with the blog planning. We plan out for the month what Thursday posts we are going to do, allowing for a little flexibility in case of emergencies or if something comes up and one of us has to cover the other. Luckily – the blog is such a happy place for both of us, it never really feels like we are juggling jobs. We go to work during the day, and get to do fun blog stuff on our off time!
Q. What is one project you are excited to be working on right now?
Lo: We recently just received our first sponsorship for Love Mala and will be doing a post on that soon, stay tuned, definitely more to come! ;)
Mal: I have a bunch of new items that I am working on launching on my Etsy shop, so I am really excited to finish making them and get them posted and out there in the world - who doesn’t love wedding decorations?!
Q. What is one thing you've done recently that's scared you and took courage, but you're glad you did?
Lo: This is going to sound so silly but after almost 6 months of blogging and saying that “we were just doing it for fun and that if it turned into something more, we would be okay with that but it was not our main goal” and realizing that I was only saying that to protect my ego and then actually officially saying that blogging full time is my dream and that with this blog, I want to work towards that. That was the scariest thing I have done in a long while. It was scary as hell to admit that but I realized that there is not a thing in the world wrong with vocalizing and actualizing my dreams and I also realized that wherever Love Mala takes us, is exactly where we are supposed to go, even if my dreams of the blog play out differently than expected, it will all work out the way that it is supposed to. And I won’t let my fear of verbalizing my dreams stop me. I’m so glad I did it, being able to be honest with myself and others about something that I am clearly so passionate about was eternally refreshing and taking comfort in knowing that things work themselves out how they are supposed to and I just need to continue following my inspirations, working hard and putting love into my work and the people around me.
Mal: Recently, I wrote a post for Love Mala that made me very vulnerable, on emotionally abusive relationships (link: http://www.lovemalablog.com/blogspot-archive/search/abusive). It really highlighted the fact that an emotionally abusive relationship does not have to be a spouse, but can be anyone, including family. I have struggled my whole life with being emotionally abused (and not knowing that it was in fact that) from someone in my family who is supposed to be one of my biggest supports. And in losing my incredible mother last year to cancer, I had some revelations about this toxic relationship I was in, so I took a deep breath and put it all out there. I was shocked at the outreach that followed after it was published. I had people calling me, texting me, sending me Facebook messages, telling me that my post was so helpful to them and they were in these relationships. That was the first time I really felt like I was able to help people, and it made my own vulnerabilities totally worth it.
Q. What is the work you most want to be doing and are you doing it? If not why not what's stopping you?
Lo: I think I kind of answered this in the question before, haha. Ever so convenient, those digressions of mine!
Mal: Bills. Haha, bills are stopping me. The work I love most and would love to be doing - full time - is blogging. I love sharing this babe with Lauren, I love the happiness it creates for the both of us, and I love that it is fun! So, I am doing it, but right now, bills are keeping me from doing it full time. When did we become adults, and how can we stop it?!
Q. What would you tell your high school or college self?
Lo: Also conveniently, we did a post on this over on Love Mala back in April of this year but I will pick some of my favorite ones from that post and link it below, in case any of you would like to check out more.
· when you make healthy decisions for yourself, things will fall into place as they should, things always have a way of working themselves out. they just do.
· you will have a love to last a lifetime, keep not settling. don’t compromise who you are for someone else.
· To know that just because you're offended, doesn't mean you're right. And also that people act, believe, and think differently and therefore, set different expectations for themselves. remember this, and you'll fare far better in getting along and understanding others. and with that keep your expectations in check, be realistic, set yourself up for no disappointment and you'll be happier for it.
· embrace that unbridled passion and love and give it to those you love unconditionally and endlessly. and remember to look for beauty with your heart, and ears, and mind. if with just your eyes, you'll lose sight of some beauty in the world.
· nothing will feel as good as doing the work, wholeheartedly and genuinely. don't be afraid to go for it but also say yes to new adventures. regularly. continue to fall in love with as many things as possible and live in love.
Mal: (link: http://www.lovemalablog.com/blogspot-archive/search/sooner) To sum it all up, I would tell myself to enjoy every day, because life is very short, and to focus on the positives, and eliminate unnecessary toxicity.
Q. What's one piece of advice or moto you love and use in your daily life that you would like to share with my sweet readers?
Lo: “Do everything with so much love in your heart that you couldn't think of doing it any other way.” Day in and day out, I try to live by this, it’s my mantra.
Mal: Man, this is a tough one - I live for quotes, seriously. But I think if I had to choose one to live by as my motto, it would be Always, always be kind .You never know what the next person is going through. Don’t ever judge anyone else because you don’t know the pain they carry.
Q. What keeps you creating when you don't feel like it?
Lo: I would love to sit here and tell you that inspiration comes from everything and you can find it around you all the time and while that may be true more times than not, sometimes you may found yourself in little or even big lulls of inspiration and that is completely normal. That is what I have to remind myself. I wish I could give you some magic formula but unfortunately, I do not have one. If any of you do, I’d really like it, to tuck away for a rainy day! Haha! But in all seriousness, the spark is usually reigniting in a moment by a feeling, thought, quick moments and I get to jotting them down right away. What I do know is that you have to keep putting work out there, volumes of work and continue to push yourself to grow and pursue what lights your cells on fire. Find those things that inspire you. For me, it’s things like the love I have for my husband and our imperfectly perfect life of adventures we have together, as ridiculously cheesy as that sounds, it’s true. Some days it’s a shade of lipstick or something Mal says, some days it’s something as simple as a good recipe for the seasons changing and cravings for traditions knocking on our blogs door.
BUT I came across this quote years ago and if I find myself in an inspirational rut, I always go back to it, so I will share it here with y’all, in hopes that maybe you will find comfort and dare I say, inspiration from it as well, “Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”
Mal: Honestly, it is super helpful to be doing this blog with someone else, because when one of us feels unmotivated, the other can lift them up and spark that creativity!
Q. Anything else you’d like to share?
Lo: Nothing terribly monumental, except pals, it really is as simple as our parents used to tell us, “work hard and be nice to people”, keep doing that.
Mal: I truly believe that all happiness depends on a leisurely breakfast.
Q. What's your favorite yoga pose?
Lo: I’m a sucker for the wheel pose, every time.
Mal: I really love Virabhadrasana (all of the warrior poses), but I am a sucker for shavasana too - who doesn’t love laying there in peace and self-reflection and awareness?!
Q. How do you live a life of abundance?
Lo: For me, I think it goes back to what I mentioned earlier about putting as much love as you can muster in everything you do, some days that’s a whole hell of a lot and some days, well, it’s not as much but always showing up and giving it your best is a damn good start.
Mal: My husband and I have worked very hard over the past year to get rid of negative people and thoughts in our lives - and that has helped immensely in this journey to live abundantly. I live life every day like it is my last, I tell people I love them, I constantly reflect to ensure I am becoming the best version of me, I always try to help out whenever and wherever I can, I travel anywhere and everywhere I can to become more cultured and to experience as many new things as I can, and I channel myself into Love Mala Blog to spread positivity and happiness to others.