Creative Moments

TAYRLD Media and Designs

Things are heating up and the past few months have been exceptionally colorful. Between a trip to Palm Springs (and staying at The Parker!!!), styling a photoshoot for Aisle Planner, and bringing on a new client, there has been no shortage of creative inspiration. Here are a few of my favorite moments from the spring; bring it on summer!

Aisle Planner Interview

Aisle Planner Marketing Director Tayler Hollman

I have been very lucky to grow a client list of driven, inspiring, and creative clients over the past year! Aisle Planner was one of my first clients and my work with the start-up has grown from just social media management to in-house marketing director.

I am continually working through the unique challenges of working on a small start-up team and love how it makes my mind work – it’s pretty amazing how deep you can dig when you are pressed for time and resources.

2016 is shaping up to be a fantastic year for the business and the team over at Aisle Planner and I am honored to be a part of it! Click through to read my interview and then check out the rest of the blog!

Read my interview on Aisle Planner here:

Meet the Team – Emily Buswell

I met Emily years ago at a friend’s birthday party. She happened to sit next to me at the table and I overheard her say that she was from the same small(ish) bay area town as my parents. My ears perked, I turned to her (and may or may not have butted myself into her conversation) but I am so glad I did! We hit it off and have been friends ever since.

So when I was looking to expand my team, Emily was the first person that came to mind! She had left the corporate world to become a mom and was looking for something to back to get her foot back in the working world. 

She is a critical part of the business and is an absolute joy to work with! I am so lucky to have met this lady…I’d love for you to meet her too!

How has the experience been coming back to work after becoming a mom?

I love being a Mom, my little guy will be three in January….so he’s really starting to blossom into his own! And definitely keeps me on my toes.  Getting back into work has been just as exciting, for me, it’s been an amazing opportunity to create a work/life balance in my day.

What from your background (surprisingly or maybe not so surprisingly) has translated into what you are doing now?

I worked in the Interior Design industry and then in the software marketing world. Both of those industries taught me that beauty and design are truly in the eye of the beholder. The key, I found, is to listen to what the client really desires and act accordingly.

What about working with small businesses excites you the most?

I love the close personal relationships that can form and the thrill of working as a dynamic small business team. It’s inspiring for me to be able to work closely with so many creative and intelligent people.

Part of your job is to be on social media quite a bit. Have you seen any trends or learned anything about people that surprises you?

I spend a lot of time on social media looking at feeds that are wedding-centric for Aisle Planner and I’ve noticed that people seem to be driven to create experiences that are genuine and unique to their personalities. (Which creates some of the most exquisite event backdrops!) Whether it be in design or location, many couples seem to truly want to create not only a memorable experience for themselves but for their guests as well.

Tell us about balancing being a mom and someone restarting their career.

I work on this daily, especially since I’m a stay at home mom. Something that helps me get physically and mentally focused for the day is to do at least seven to ten, modified, downward dog/pushups, first thing in the morning. It’s also essential for me to get out the house for a couple of hours to enjoy nature with my kiddo. When I switch into work mode I feel a little more grounded and focused.

Where do you find inspiration?

Everywhere really. I’m really effected by color, music, lighting, and scent, I find that I can tap into the energy of an environment pretty easily.I’m also inspired from the amazing and dynamic women and men in my life.…just to name a few… my parents and grandparents, my siblings, and girlfriends…they are all awesome and I wouldn’t be who am today without them!

What are you looking forward to in the rest of 2016?

Travel! With my kiddo and husband! We especially love to go on beach/surf trips to Mexico with friends, being open to how my career will unfold, running until my hearts content, and continuing to practice really truly loving myself.

Favorite place you ever went on a run?

Lahaina…it was like a zillion years ago! (ok maybe 14 years ago) but I will always remember it – something about the weather, and the time of day I ran has stuck with me all these years. It was absolutely perfect!

Favorite coffee drink?

I’m a black coffee gal buuuuut I do love a Cafe con Leche, having enjoyed these when I lived in the Florida Keys…So delish!

When my son says…

“I love you too mama” but comes out sounding like  “I luh you too mama” (in his little two year old voice) I literally get butterflies in my stomach! It makes me feel so vulnerable and full of love.

Favorite color? (Can’t be black, white, or grey, ha!)

Eek! Haha! …My eye is drawn to two color palettes; certain oranges (think shades of deep coral with hints of blue) I love a splash of this color with grays or navy; my second favorite are ocean blues, as a California native I’m naturally drawn to the sea, which has definitely inspired my love of blue.





Tiny but Mighty: Making a Big Impact on a Little Budget

TAYRLD Media and DesignsWhen the ladies over at Social Studio asked me if I would like to contribute to their blog, I of course jumped at the chance! They do such a great job at educating creative business owners on how to rock social media that the bar was set pretty high. So, I did a little reflecting and thought of some of the biggest challenges that our clients have and how we help them overcome them.

And the issue that pops up time and time again? Budgets. But just because you have a small budget doesn’t mean you can’t have an impactful social media strategy. Read my full article about turning a tiny budget into a mighty impact here.

How to Master the Art of PR

TAYRLD Media and Designs

Photo from LVL Academy from Brian Leahy Photography

Getting your work published or landing a speaking engagement can do wonders for a small creative business owner when you land the right coverage. But putting together the perfect pitch and knowing how to navigate through the submissions process isn’t something you probably went to school for.

I’ve put together my fair share of pitches at this point and when I was asked to share some of my “secrets” (for lack of a better word) with the Aisle Planner community, I jumped on the chance!

Read my full article on how to master the art of public relations over on the Aisle Planner blog!

Stay Tuned!

I’ve been working behind the scenes on some fun updates and I can’t wait to share them! You can hold your breath if you are so inclined but I’d be very impressed if you held it for that long :)

Stay tuned!

Creative Conversations | Sanford Shapes

It’s not secret that I am a sucker for handmade anything: meals made from scratch, scarves sewn by hand, furniture made without machinery. I always finding myself falling in love with with the stories behind the artisanal things I in my life because I appreciate the creativity, vision, and effort it takes to do something the hard way.

A while back, a friend told me that there was a “guy in your ‘hood who makes skateboards,” when we were working on an action sports project together and I had to check it out! I reached out to Don and Cari Sanford, owner’s of Sanford Shapes, and they invited me to come see them in action. I met them at their workshop in Leucadia and got a behind the scenes look at how these beautiful skateboards are made by hand. And (no joke) I started skating because I got my very own Sanford Shapes board!

Sanford Shapes is something special and has a story, product, and people you can stand behind. Here is our creative conversation:

Sanford Shapes

From Don and Cari:

In your “grown up” world, you are a general contractor. How did you get into shaping skateboards?

One summer, the nephews were bored and wanted to build a skateboard.  I was challenged by the process.  Most things I’d worked with were primarily straight and square.  The skateboards don’t have a straight line on them and the concave decks offered a new challenge.

Was the first board any good? Do you still have it?

I think the first one out of the mold failed; but I recall the second or third one being successful.  I believe our friend Jake kept it.  He must have known we were on to something.

Tell us about your design process. How do you come up with such cool patterns and shapes?

It’s truly a group effort, although Cari has been the most instrumental.  It’s a combination of visualizing a pattern and also figuring out how to make it efficiently.  The available wood scraps also play a part in it.  We make patterns from what we have in front of us.

What’s the most difficult or time consuming part of the building process?

Up until recently, cutting the veneers was most time consuming.  We just got equipped with a monster band saw, so that will now be easy.

We’ve visited your shop and saw something really cool and inspiring while we were there – you’re crew. Tell everyone about who helps you make all of these boards.

It’s a group of local teens (some our nephews.)  All avid surfers and skaters who have developed some amazing skills in the shop.  The boards are extremely gratifying to make, but seeing these guys be the hands behind them is even more rewarding.

Sanford Shapes

What do you hope that they learn from this whole experience?

They’re learning a real skill and using their hands to create something special.  They’re putting the iphones down and engaging in something that makes them use their minds and think critically.  We also let them handle some of the business affairs.  Maintaining accounts and invoicing is real life experience that they can grow from.

When was the first time you realized that you were making something special?

We did the Encinitas street fair a few years ago, not knowing how people would respond.  We had amazing feedback and sold heaps of boards.  It really pumped us up and made us realize we were on to something.

Where do you see Sanford Shapes going? What are your goals for the business?

We want to continue to grow it, but keep it handcrafted with an artisan vibe.  We are close to doing online sales, which has been a goal for quite a while.  We will offer shipping domestically and internationally and hope to get boards across the globe.

What are you most excited about?

Continuing to build our brand and seeing the stoke that people get from our boards. The craft of Sanford Shapes is so rewarding.  Sharing it with family and friends is priceless!  And all the cool people we’ve met… beyond cool!

Where is your favorite place to skate?

Ironically, I’m not much of a skater.  I’m afraid of getting hurt and not being able to surf!

Sanford Shapes

From the groms:

How did you guys get into making skateboards?

Our uncle is a woodworker and has his own workshop.  Out of summer boredom, we were always trying to make things in the shop.  Because we love skateboarding, we tried making one and it went from there.

How involved are you guys in the design process? Do you guys basically get to imagine the perfect board and build it?

We’re all very involved in the design process.  When someone comes up with an idea for a new wood pattern, we go out into the shop and try to make it come to life using the woods that we have.

Did you guys have any experience working with these tools? What was the hardest thing to learn?

We didn’t have any experience with the tools until Don taught us everything we needed to know.  He taught us how to properly use the tools in a safe way.  Some of the tools took lots of practice to get good at.  One of the hardest things to learn is to pay attention to all of the little details of the board-making process.  There are a lot of details involved.

When was the first time you realized you were a part of something special?

Once the boards started looking really cool and unique, and they started selling all around town, we realized we were getting into something awesome!

Working at Sanford Shapes seems like it is one of the coolest gigs out there. Do you guys see yourselves doing this for a long time?

Working is a lot of fun in the shop.  We hope to keep doing it as long as people enjoy our boards.

Where do you see Sanford Shapes going? What are your goals for the business?

We hope to see Sanford Shapes be as big as possible, and our goal is to influence as many people around the world as possible!

What are you most excited about?

We are excited to just keep having fun, being creative, and meeting new people who are interested in our work.

Favorite place to skate | Cruising around Encinitas on our boards!

Dumbest thing you’ve done on a skateboard | One of us skated off a roof into a quarter-pipe a while ago.  He pulled it, but it was pretty dumb.

You need to go to to buy a skateboard!

The best thing about what I do is | We’re working but still having fun!!

Sanford Shapes

My personal Sanford Shapes board.


Better Together | Creative Partners

Creativity doesn’t grow on trees – it comes from inspiration – and I am lucky to have some amazing creative partners in my life! They continually inspire my storytelling, push me to my creative limits, and challenge me to think outside of the box. So, in appreciation for all that they do to keep the wheels spinning, I thought I’d take a moment to introduce you to them!

Aisle Planner  inspires the hustle in me. I am proud to be a part of this small team that is making big waves in the wedding industry!

Shane and Lauren Photography teaches me to look at pictures through a photographer’s eyes. There is so much you can learn by working with people who are masters of their craft and Shane has helped me fine tune my eye for visual storytelling.

Hello Happy Town reminds me of how important it is to have a cheerleader. I am fortunate to have some special people in my life to cheer me on and I am fortunate to have a new creative partner in a woman (and business) with a beautiful mission.


TAYLRD Media and Designs

You’re the kind of gal whose got a checklist, right? You’ve mapped out your educational goals, your career path, what age you’ll be married and you even have a name for that dog you haven’t adopted yet. You’re used to working through each of the items on your life’s to-do list and checking them off one by one. Things have always happened according to your plan. But, all of the sudden, it became harder to check things off of the list. So you worked harder at it. But that wasn’t enough. So you came up with a different plan of attack. Still, no dice.

You officially got frustrated (to say the least).

Eventually, you started to feel lost because you saw yourself off track for the first time and you didn’t know how to get back on the path to achieving your goals. You started questioning your abilities, comparing yourself to others, and wondering why. Why can’t I get that job? Why won’t someone give me a chance? Why is this happening to me?

Sound like you? Because this definitely sounded like me.

I am a competitive person by nature and grew up setting goals for myself and achieving them. I never didn’t get what I worked for as a kid so I assumed that life as an adult wouldn’t be any different. Boy, was I wrong.

To tell this story, I’m about to get really honest with you. Really honest about how setting linear goals can set you up for disappointment and really honest about wanting you to come to these realizations much sooner than I did. So to set the stage, let me share how I had my professional life all mapped out:

  1. Transfer out of community college in 2 years to a 4 year university (and, by the way, I only applied to 1 university which now I realize was REALLY risky)
  2. Finish my undergrad degree in 2 more years and get into grad school (again, I only applied to 1 school…kind of dumb)
  3. Complete a Master’s degree in 2 years
  4. Get a teaching position at a community college
  5. Secure a tenure track position at a community college
  6. Teach for the rest of my life (and consider getting a Ph.D.)

But here’s how my professional life actually played out:

  1. Transferred out of a community college in 2 years to a 4 year
  2. Finished undergrad degree in 2 more years
  3. Got into grad school
  4. Completed Master’s in 2 ½ years
  5. Did not get a teaching position and had to accept that I probably never would
  6. Worked in the non-profit space for 4 years
  7. Took a left turn into the corporate world because I was emotionally worn out
  8. Left the corporate world with no job lined up because I hated it
  9. Decided to figure shit out for myself
  10. Started my own business and I am now my own boss

I had planned a very specific path to success that I defined with a very narrow scope. I was only going to be successful once I had a tenured teaching position somewhere. So, to be honest, when I got thrown off track it was really hard for me to comes to terms with what I initially thought of as failure. So I did a lot of soul searching, had a lot of hard conversations with myself, and learned how to look at things differently because that was the only way out.

Getting out of a career slump can feel like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole if you’re not going about it the right way. I know that you don’t want to rewrite your list of life goals (and that is not what I’m suggesting you do) but eventually you need to find (or make) the round peg to put in that round hole. It’s probably sitting right in front of you to grab. You just don’t see it yet.

Most people have the makings of a happy and fulfilling career; they just also have a very specific definition of what a “happy and fulfilling career” is. The key to pulling yourself out of a career slump or putting yourself back on track is to redefine what success means to you. So take a step back and grab these tools because they are going to help you find that round peg.

Be Agile

The pace of change is lightning fast and multi-directional and in order to survive, you have to be on your toes. There isn’t a ladder to climb anymore; rather, there is a web of opportunity waiting for you. Take the opportunities you have to learn new skills (no matter how small) because you never know where you are going to end up next. The more skills you have under your belt, the more agile you will become and finding your way through the web of your career won’t feel nearly as overwhelming. I moved from the academic space, to non-profits, to corporate technology and I learned skills in each of those fields that are allowing me to thrive in the space I am in now.

You also need to operate under the assumption that your goals will have to change or at least be modified. Success in one field looks different than success in another and you are very likely to work in more than one field throughout your years in the workforce. Millenials have something like 7 different jobs over the course of their career so you need to keep your goals fluid in order to not hit the wall. Avoid disappointment and frustration in your career by allowing yourself to take to the opportunities that present themselves even if sometimes they fall outside the scope of your original plan.

Be Open

When I was in the middle of my career slump, I hired a career counselor and one of the first things she had me do was read Body of Work by Pamela Slim. I am going to suggest that you do the same.

The biggest takeaway for me was that I needed to be open to new ways of defining what success was for myself because my body of work is so much more than the job I am working. When you open your eyes to all of the contributions that you make towards projects and people in your social circles, you will see that the legacy of your body of work is so much more powerful than your job.

“Your body of your is everything that you make, contribute, affect, and impact throughout the course of your life” – Pamela Slim

Once I opened my mind to see the opportunities I had, I started to redefine what success was going to look like for myself. I grew up as someone who wanted to be something very specific, so I never considered my side projects to be anything other than hobbies. But trust me when I say that I feel so much more fulfilled now that I include them in my list of accomplishments. If you measure success in a quantitative way, you can only succeed by working your way to the answer. Measuring your success in a more qualitative way allows you to include the things that fill your emotional buckets: your volunteer work; your passion projects; your hobbies. And it’s when you become open to including this work in your story and how you tell it to yourself and others, that you become able to overcome anything.

Be Purposeful

The last piece to pulling yourself out of a career slump and putting yourself onto a path towards success is creating your personal legacy. What is it that you want your family and friends to remember you as? You know who you are and who you want to be so start doing the purposeful and meaningful work that will build your legacy. Once I had redefined my goals and committed myself to this new path, things became easier. I wasn’t fighting myself anymore. I had made the conscious decision to do work that served me as much as it served others and, at that point, everything I did became significant.

Build a network of peers that support your work and value it. Surround yourself with people whom you can both help and learn from. Let the painful experiences and failures of your past shape who you are and your future. These are all ways that you can contribute to writing your own personal legacy on a daily basis.

What I am going to leave you with is something that I challenge myself to do all the time; make yourself uncomfortable every once in a while. Force yourself to make really objective decisions even if they make you reassess and restrategize. Make yourself pursue something that you always thought was silly and wouldn’t get you anywhere. Start looking outside of your comfort zone for prospects that will help you grow. Allow yourself to find happiness and fulfillment in the little things while working through the bigger challenges. And stop fighting opportunities that present themselves because, if toddlers can figure out that the square peg doesn’t fit in the round hole, so can you.

3 Creative Moments

While it is my job to think creatively for each of my clients, every once in a while, I get to do something that really feeds my creative soul. Whether it’s sitting down at my sewing machine for a small project, taking a photography class or being a part of designing a photo shoot, all of these things (no matter how small sometimes) keep me creatively inspired and ready to go!

Here are 3 creative moments from this fall so far.

TAYLRD Media and Designs