Women Branching Out: Mic Boekelmann

Mic Boekelmann Portrait

I’m excited to welcome award-winning painter and art coach Mic Boekelmann to the Women Branching Out interview series.

Mic’s the creator of Orange Door
, an art community for creative women in Princeton, New Jersey. She helps women make time for their artist journeys by providing a beautiful environment, community, and support.

You can sign up for a free mini drawing class from Mic at Orange Door.

Here’s Mic …

Tell us about Orange Door. What inspired you to start it?

Orange Door was inspired by the drawing and painting classes I held for women in my home studio in Princeton, New Jersey. It is a symbol for the creative possibilities that await you and my front door is really orange 🙂


What advice do you have for women who are yearning to begin a creative journey, or restart their journey, but haven’t yet take a first step?

If you have a desire to start creating – it doesn’t matter how small or large this desire is – honor it and take action.
Schedule creative time and fill it with sketching, attending a weekend workshop, etc. The important thing is to show up and create. Have some sort of accountability – especially if you’re just starting your journey. One step will lead to another, so don’t over think this.

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When did you first start painting?

I started abstract painting in 2001 and then moved on to classical painting in 2010 when I was 40. I’m a living testimony that it’s never too late to start.

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What have you learned about your own artistic process from teaching others?

I’ve learned that the process takes time. It requires patience and being kind to yourself because you are your own worst critic.


You’ve lived in four different countries, how has this experience impacted your take on life?

I value the beauty of diversity. Cultural differences excite me, but I also know that at the core we are all the same. We all share experiences such as hope, despair, dreams and love. I’m not thrown off by differences, I seek connections.

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Which artist(s) present or past would you love to sip Chianti with?

Frida Kahlo and Artemisia Gentileschi. That would be heavy and interesting, but I hope my time would them would still be infused with laughter.

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What your favorite museums in the US and abroad? 

I like the Princeton Art Museum – it’s small, not overwhelming and they have a nice range of art. You still get to see a Warhol, a Van Gogh and a Monet.  

The museum I would like to live in is the National Gallery of Canada based in Ottawa. It has a garden court, a water court and plenty of seating to view and connect to the art. The architect did an amazing job to create a building where your soul can breathe in art and feel refreshed.

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Why do you think it important for us to have art in our lives?

It’s breathing space for your soul and your mind.

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Mic Boekelmann is an award-winning painter, based in Princeton, New Jersey. She’s married to the coolest German, Joachim, and is the mother of two entertaining kids, Max and Luisa.  Her paintings are reflections of the beauty and potential she sees daily. You can find Mic at her studio, at Orange Door, and on Facebook.

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How do you bring art into your life? Do you paint, draw, write or do you fill your home with your favorite art? Share your art story below.

Women Branching Out: Beryl Ayn Young

BerylExcited to welcome photographer, teacher, and mompreneur Beryl Ayn Young of BerylAynYoung.com and Momtographie.com to the blog.

Beryl believes in nourishing the soul from behind the lens of a camera and you can see the results in the photos showcased here (they are all taken by her former students).

She’s the creator of the Momtographie Online E-course, a 6-week photography course, which begins May 5th.

Here’s Beryl …

Tell me about your business. Who do you love to serve and why?

My business is all about teaching photography to moms. But more importantly than simply teaching the technical basics of photography, I love sharing with moms how they can find a deeper sense of family purpose and confidence behind the lens of a camera too.


How did you discover photography?

I was gifted my first DSLR camera while pregnant for the first time, when we found out at 20 weeks that our daughter was incredibly sick. She was stillborn not long after receiving the devastating news. I used ‘her camera’ to process my grief and re-discover beauty and gratitude and joy in my broken world.

Since then I’ve been hooked on photography. It was the tool that helped me reconnect with my life. Now, I instinctively pick up my camera anytime I’m in need of
a pick-me-up. For awhile I owned a part-time business photographing children and families, but after our 2nd daughter, Brielle, was born healthy and vibrant and full of life I decided I didn’t want to be out taking photos of other families every weekend. So I put my studio to rest and instead combined passions – developing classes to teach
moms how to rock their cameras and find their own confidence and joy behind the lens.

It’s been the best of both worlds and I absolutely LOVE what I do!


You’ve been an elementary teacher and currently help other teachers incorporate technology into their classrooms, how have those experiences influenced how you teach photography?

It’s funny because teaching photography fits in so well with my role at my day job. A DSLR camera is simply a complicated piece of technology that moms need broken down into easy to understand terms. Just as there are functions on a computer that teachers may never need to use, there are also functions on a camera that a mom will never need to use. It’s my job to break down the technology into its simplest parts and show the important components to get the desired job done.


Tell us about your online class: Momtographie. What can a newbie photographer expect to learn in 6 weeks?

I’m so glad you asked about this class! It’s been in the works for awhile now, and is an online version of a class I’ve taught locally for the past 3 years. The goal of the course is to have moms using their DSLR camera to comfortably shoot in manual mode by the end of 6 weeks. I break down each weekly lessons almost like the steps and ingredients of a recipe where we layer one thing on top of another until it gives us a delicious final product. We start with tips and tricks for taking better photos and then ease into mastering technical settings like shutter speed, ISO, aperture, and light.

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How has the experience of teaching others photography impacted your life?

Teaching photography has allowed me to teach on my own terms and watch the positive impact my teaching is having first hand in my students work. As the world of public education continues to focus on more and more testing and less on creativity in the classroom, it’s been increasingly difficult for me to remain passionate about the work I do there. I feel like teaching photography has truly re-kindled my love of being a teacher.


You recently announced that you’re going full-time at your business in June. How did you feel when you reached the tipping point that made this transition possible?

When I began this journey 3 years ago, I asked a mentor how I’d ever be able to work my passion business full time. At the time, I had no clue how I would turn my business into a full time income and I felt like no one had the magic answer that would get me there.

The frustrating advice I was given by this mentor, and then again over and a over and over again from other entrepreneurs was, “You’ll just know.”

Now that I’m in this place of actually being there, on the brink of making my passion business my full time gig, I’m on a roller coaster of emotions!

I’m giddy thinking about what’s to come, excited to be able to be home for my daughter more, scared about providing financially for my family, and nervous about being my own CEO.

But that first mentor of mine was right. I just knew this year was the right time. There wasn’t any magical formula that got me to this place, there wasn’t really a point where I felt completely secure and ready. I just knew I was unhappy with where I was in my life as an elementary teacher and mom and the ideas I had for my business simply couldn’t be sustained anymore on a part-time schedule.


How has having your own business empowered you?

My business has made me realize that hard work really can reap some amazing rewards and that I truly can be in charge of my own destiny.

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Beryl Ayn Young is a wife, mama, teacher, and photographer offering photography lessons and classes to nourish the mind, body, and soul. She’s the creator of the Momtographie Online E-course offering moms a 6-week recipe for photographic success. Get a sneak peek of what Momtographie Online will offer by joining Beryl right for a FREE mini-class One Ingredient Fix. Check out her site for all the details. You can also find Beryl on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

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What memory would you love to have captured in a photo? Comment below…

Women Branching Out: Mindy Crary

CraryMindySo happy to have Mindy Crary of Creative Money on the blog today.

Mindy is a financial coach. Her site provides a ton of super practical, heart-centered, personal, and funny money advice. Read 5 Ways that T-Rex and Yoga Eliminate Money Angst, for example.

Her 7-week program, Conscious Money, starts April 9th. You can learn more about it here.

Here’s Mindy …

Tell us about Creative Money. What do you do? Who do you love to help?

Creative Money is my financial coaching practice where I help people with the practical, mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects of their money. This might be as simple as helping someone get out of debt (I know, I am the only one who thinks that is simple!) to more complex issues, like helping someone see how her thinking — not just around money, around everything — affects her current level of financial success.


What experiences have shaped your approach to financial coaching?

I started my career in the traditional financial services industry, and after a few years I could see that I thought differently than my colleagues — that advice and product should be separate, and that we weren’t there to make people more afraid of their money. It was tough to leave that security that I had built for myself, but by then I knew that I needed to find a different way. That decision led to several strange financial experiences — like the buyer of my practice deciding he wasn’t going to pay me, just take my practice (which is crazy) — that really forced me to become completely conscious about how I thought about money and decide how I wanted it to interact in my life.

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What are some of the biggest myths about money and financial planning that you help your clients bust? 

“Perfect” seems to be the biggest myth. I think there are a lot of people out there waiting to pay off debt, or reach a certain level of income to work with someone like me. But perfect doesn’t exist. You have to start imperfectly.

I also think it’s a myth that comparison is productive. People look around and assume that their financial lives don’t measure up. This is shaming, and once you start to feel shame about your financial life, it’s really hard to move forward to create your best financial reality.

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What do you love most about working with small businesses and entrepreneurs?

I love the possibility. Just recently I met with someone who obviously needed to double her rates, and I inspired her to do that by helping her think differently! How much is her life going to change by helping her do that?!

I really love all aspects of business; I love to understand how entrepreneurs decide which market to serve, what their pricing strategy is, their growth strategies, etc. I have a masters in business, so it’s a little bit of my MBA-geekiness that loves listening to an entrepreneur talk about production processes, organizational leadership, product line expansion, etc. We all tend to focus on marketing, but a good business is the sum of all its parts.

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How has running your own business empowered you?

I’ve been working for myself since 1998, and what I think has been the most empowering thing is realizing that there is no such thing as failure. During that time, my business changed and evolved, and each time I made a choice to stop offering something, it felt scary. Just by virtue of NOT QUITTING — even when things got really tough — I have created a life where I can have and do whatever I want. I am no longer afraid to let things go when it’s time to move onto new ideas.

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What did 7-year-old Mindy says she wanted to be when she grew up?

A cake decorator, isn’t that funny? My mom used to tease me about that all the time. The first one I personally remember is wanting to be a veterinarian because I love animals so much. Even though I feel like I am on a clear life path, I like to play a game I call What Would You Be If You Had To Go Into Witness Protection? I think being an aesthetician would be fun.

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Finish this sentence. I believe…

I believe we can live in world where money doesn’t have to be a struggle, and where it’s a source of stability in our lives, instead of something we have to stabilize.

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Is there anything else you’d like us to know?

The amount of financial success in my life has been tied directly to my personal and spiritual growth. It’s something I discussed in a free call I did recently (for a program I offer starting April 9th), and more than anything, I believe this connection has the power to change your life, IF you’re willing to take the growth. Saying yes is the first step.

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Mindy Crary (MBA, CFP® practitioner and financial coach) helps you become a lot more educated (never inundated) about not just your money — but the whackjob behind it. Mindy helps both your money AND you succeed, bridging the gap between the energetic, spiritual and practical financial services industry, but doing it with a creative twist. Go to Creative Money to get access to free call recordings, ebooks and video trainings. For information on the Conscious Money program starting April 9th, click here. You can find Mindy on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.

Comment below: How are your thoughts impacting your financial picture? What shifts could you make to change your financial course?