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Q: How long have you been writing this blog?

I founded Chic Steals in January 2008 – and rebranded and relaunched it as Chic Creative Life just in time for its 10-year anniversary in October 2017. You can read more about the history of this blog and my affinity for DIY here on my About page.

Q: What are your favorite lenses?

I get a lot of use out of my 50mm f/1.4 and my 24-105mm f/4 L zoom lens – though my Canon EF 50mm f/2.5 Compact Macro Lens is hands-down my absolute fave for DIY tutorials and detailed close-ups! If you’re just starting out with DSLR photography, I’d recommend the 50mm f/1.4f since it is affordable and you can get a variety of photos with it.

Q: What do you use to edit your photos?

Photoshop CS6. I’ve been using Photoshop since 1998 back when it was Photoshop 2…so I’m pretty comfortable in it. (And am refusing to upgrade into CC because – ugh!paying a subscription when you already own the software is all kinds of wrong. Adobe, I’m looking at you!)

Q: Who designed your logo?


Q: What camera do you use for your photos?

Usually I use my Canon EOS 6D, though occasionally for event photos I’ll use a Nikon COOLPIX P310 because it’s light and easy to carry.

Q: Who takes your photos?

I do! Once in awhile I will collaborate with others for photos (and have sometimes asked for help from my poor, put-upon son!) but usually 99% of the photos on the blog are taken by me with my camera on a tripod and the Canon Camera Connect App on my iPhone (I don’t know how I survived without it). I include the photo credit for photos taken by other people.

Q: Who designed your blog? What is it hosted on?

My blog is hosted on Bluehost on the WordPress.org CMS on a shared CDN. (I DO NOT recommend Bluehost and will be moving hosts soon – once I have one I like I’ll share!) The theme was designed and developed by Sunflower Creatives, who specialize in Divi WordPress themes. I highly recommend their work!

Q: How did you learn about blogging?

By taking a leaf from Nike’s playbook and just.doing.it! Everything I know, I taught myself over years of playing on the amazing playground that is the Internet. I started my site originally on Blogspot, then self-hosted Blogger, then on WordPress.com briefly, and now self-hosted WordPress. I started my Internet journey by creating websites in Microsoft FrontPage, based on hand-coded HTML tables back in 2001, but didn’t learn about CSS, PHP, and XML until I began blogging in 2007. From there I learned about writing for content, conversion metrics, social media marketing, SEO, inbound marketing, content marketing, online copywriting…pretty much everything. I got so good at it that it’s now my day job – along with running Chic Creative Life, of course 😉


Q: Where do you live?

In a lavender-grey house just south of Portland, OR. Though I’m in a suburb, it’s technically still the Portland Metro area.

Q: Where are you from?

Born in rural Northwestern New Jersey and lived there 12 years. My parents are actually both Australian and I was the first of my family born in the U.S.

Q: Do you have any siblings?

One younger brother who is a Professor of Mathematics and is always off on some math conference expounding new theorems and the like.

Q: Do you speak any other languages?

Yes, Japanese. My family moved to Japan when I was 11 due to my father’s job as a research chemist. I lived in Japan 6 years and have been speaking, reading, and writing the language for over 25 years now. I’ve worked as a translator and simultaneous interpretor in the past. If you’re particularly curious and want to hear me speak Japanese, I put up a YouTube video years ago of me speaking it to my son.

Q: There are a lot of pictures of you on your blog with a garden in the background. Is that yours?

Yes, it’s the garden behind my house. It was what made me choose this house, and I’ve worked over the years to add many cool things to it. I have a pear tree, plum tree, sour cherry tree, dwarf pixie crunch apple tree, strawberries, mammoth red raspberries, a blueberry, and a goji berry bush. I also added Blue Lady blue roses, Queen of Night black tulips, and Sorbet Peonies. I love blue and black flowers best (as well as unusual specimen and green flowers) and have a Pinterest board filled with gardening ideas for rare and bizarre flower.

Q: What do you do for your day job?

I am the Marketing Manger and head up the Marketing department for an elearning solutions and software company in Portland, Oregon.

Q: How many different places have you lived?

Califon [New Jersey], Yokohama, Tokyo, Philadelphia, Virginia Beach, Middlebury [Vermont], Honolulu, and now Portland, Oregon.

Q: How old is your son?

My son was born in 2005 and sometimes appears in photos here 🙂


Q: I’m thinking of starting a blog. Any advice?

There is so much great advice out there! Once wonderful resource is Portland Bloggers (a group I volunteer with) – and they have extensive articles about blogging how-to and tips and tricks. I also like Wonder Forest for her in-depth, useful information.

Q: What sewing machine do you have?

Both my sewing machine and 4-thread serger are old Kenmore 385 models. If you’re looking for a good starter machine, I’d recommend the Singer 2259 Tradition 19-Stitch Sewing Machine and the Brother 1034D Serger if you want to get into serging for that professional, finished look. Buy a refurbished or floor model machine direct from a sewing center if you want an even better-quality machine at a steep discount!

Q: How do I…DIY this?

Fill out the contact form here…or leave a link in a comment on one of my posts. I’ll check it out and help you the best I can!

Q: What sewing tools are must-haves if I want to make my own clothing?

I share a blog post about the Must-Have Tools for Sewing DIY’s here that hopefully will get you started. Also see: Must-Have Tools for Embellishing DIY’s and Must-Have Tools for Jewelry DIY’ing.


Read them here!

*I don’t drink alcohol. Period. I loathe the taste of it, and am a total teetotaler. Rum raisin ice cream is acceptable, though 😉

*I also don’t drink coffee or caffeinated drinks (very rarely tea) or soda (unless I’m indulging in something local and made of natural ingredients). For the most part: Water all the way, baby!

*I taught myself to play the guitar when I was 13, and then the bass shortly thereafter. I used to play bass in a death metal band in junior high (yes…seriously!) and then in pop/alternative bands in high school and college.

*I have a B.A. in Film/Video, a Certificate in Multimedia, and 2 Certificates in Animation. After college in the U.S. I went to animation school in Tokyo and learned hand-drawn 2D Japanese animation techniques right from the source.

*I’m kind of addicted to Vosges chocolates, salt varieties, fancy cheese, and peanut butter anything.

*I love cats: I grew up with the same 2 kitties who were with me for 21 years. I recently adopted a sweet little (noisy!) kitty named Meeka from a local shelter.

*I LOVE making jewelry! I’m often wearing jewelry I’ve made in outfit posts on this blog.

*Favorite magazines: Lucky Magazine (so sad it is no more), Marie Claire, and Vivi – those were excellent DIY-fodder and a source of chic ideas for this site!

Have a question I haven’t answered above? Give me a holla here – I’d love to hear from you!

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