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Spend just a few minutes on Stephanie Trotta’s The Girl Guide website and it’s easy to understand why she became a stylist and lifestyle blogger--her eye for a clean, relaxed, natural style is readily apparent. Known for her classic yet fresh aesthetic, she enjoys discovering that latest up-and-coming designer, delicious recipes, amazing florists, enviable home decor and more. She loves the challenge of creating something new with each and every client, all while raising two young sons (a challenge of a different kind!).
We’re pleased to share this little guide on The Girl Guide blogger. Read more about Stephanie’s life, career and how a cup of Harney tea helps keep her hectic life centered.
Harney:Tell us a little about you. Where are you from, what’s your educational background, how did you begin your blog, etc.?
Stephanie: I live in Connecticut with my husband and our two sons. I grew up in the Hudson Valley of New York and spent summers in Belgium where my mother is from and her family still lives.After attending The George Washington University, where I majored in Political Science and International Affairs and met my future husband, I made a brief foray into the finance and tech worlds. But my true passion for the creative world kept calling my name, and soon I joined Ralph Lauren. It was while working for Ralph Lauren that I began my career as a stylist. I originally started my blog in 2011 as a creative outlet, but after two years decided to take a break. Fast forward nearly seven years, a husband and two children later, I re-launched The Girl Guide in the summer of 2016. I call it my third child – creating content is a true passion of mine, and the blog is absolutely a labor of love.
Harney: Where do you find your passion for style and design? What or who inspires you?
Stephanie: My aesthetic was profoundly shaped by my Belgian grandfather who I would visit in the summers growing up. His homes were filled with minimalist decor in neutral palettes. He was full of life, his style was simple yet elegant, and spending time with him taught me all about appreciating and finding beauty in every moment. I get my passion for style and design from those early years, but today I draw my inspiration from my clients and from the world around me. I love to explore. Whether it’s finding a new coffee shop, a Saturday drive to the farm (we love going to Stone Barns in Pocantico, NY) or traveling with my family, I love discovering new places, foods and people. I also love Pinterest!
Harney: What are some of your favorite tools for styling or creating content for your blog or social media accounts?
Stephanie: I use Photoshop for almost all of my style guides on the blog and for my styling clients. I love the flexibility it gives me to be creative. My site uses Squarespace so I utilize that every day, as well as the VSCO app to edit my photos.
Harney: What keeps you going when things get tough in your business?
Stephanie: It can be really hard working for yourself, and it gets lonely at times. The hardest part for me has been the absence of a team-- people around me to pump me up when I fail and also to celebrate my successes with. That’s one of the things I miss the most about working for a big company. Luckily for me, I love what I do. This is my dream job, and it took me a while to get here. I try to remember that when things get tough.
Harney: What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced in your career? And on the flipside, what are some of your proudest moments?
Stephanie: I’m a perfectionist. There is a long list of issues that come along with wanting things to go a certain way, especially when you’re an entrepreneur. It has taken me a long time to realize that perfect doesn’t exist and to be adaptive when life throws you curveballs. What I’ve realized is that the universe has a funny way of working itself out. The opportunities that I’ve missed out on or the jobs that I didn’t get, they’ve all led me to the place where I am today and I’m better for it. My proudest moment? I was recently published on a website that I’ve always admired. That was pretty cool.
Harney: What does a typical day look like for you?
Stephanie: I’m a mom of two boys running two businesses….I would say there are no typical days! I always start my day with a cup of tea. 😊
Harney: Do you have any advice for someone interested in a career like yours? What does someone starting in your industry needs to know?
Stephanie: My best advice is to be authentic. It can be so tempting with social media and the internet to change who you are or your content because that’s what you think people want to see. There is a difference between being inspired by another person and copying their content. Stay true to you and to the reasons why you came into the ring to begin with.
Harney: How does your love for tea influence your work?
Stephanie: I am a tea LOVER. It is a part of my daily routine, and I often share it with my followers. Harney & Sons has always been my favorite – for me nothing compares. Having a cup of tea is an outlet for me and I consider it self-care.
Harney: Do you have any favorite flavors or types of Harney & Sons tea (or anything you’ve been wanting to try)?
Stephanie: My top three are:Wedding,Paris,Organic Green with Coconut (I love this one bottled, and also I use the sachets and make iced tea at home).
We really appreciate Stephanie taking the time to share her passion for style, blogging, raising kids and tea with us! You can see Stephanie’s work firsthand at her website. All photography has been provided by Stephanie.
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Yuko Shimizu is an illustrator and art instructor whose work has graced everything fromThe New York Times to Apple products to DC Comics and so much more. Read our story to discover where this tea lover finds her inspiration.