Gemma: Healthy Lifestyle Blogger

Name: Gemma

Age: 27

City: Sydney, Australia

Main Hustle: Journalist

I am a radio news journalist turned online digital journalist. I write mainly current affairs and news, but I also freelanced for health/fitness and travel sites while travelling the world for two years.

Side Hustle:
Sunlit Eyes – a healthy lifestyle blog

How did you get started?: My side hustle is my true love. On Sunlit Eyes I write from my heart. It’s healthy lifestyle, but through my eyes.

I don’t see healthy as a diet of kale and having an instagrammable rig 24/7. I had that—it was boring. I am passionate about sharing a manageable form of healthy. For me, a big part of that is travel and lifestyle, not just what you put in your mouth and how you move your body.

The phrase “Sunlit Eyes” was formed, because I want to remind people to always see the positive, to see the sun in everything they do. Be positive, and you’ll attract positive.

I am already a writer and a journalist by trade. Sunlit Eyes started at a turning point in my life. I quit my job, my life, and my current boyfriend and I moved to the other side of the world. I wanted to document my life jump, provide inspiration for others to do the same and focus my then unemployed self toward the things I was passionate about.

When/where do you work on your Side Hustle?: I write on public transport, be it a train or plane.

When I travel, I keep track of cool places I see and visit in the notes section on my phone. I write articles on my lunch break and while I am relaxing on the couch after my day job is done. My mind is full of ideas, it never runs dry, and I fit content creation in where and when I can.

I only recently started my Sunlit Eyes Instagram. I post on my way to Crossfit, on the 6:20 AM bus. It’s become a routine.

What are the challenges of your Side Hustle?: There are so many “healthy” blogs out there. So how do I make mine shine? What makes mine different? Breaking into the industry is hard when you start from nothing. If I had the financial freedom to work on it full time, I am sure I could grow it quicker, but I don’t have the luxury to do that. But I am just going to keep creating content from the heart when and where I can and see where it takes me.

What are the rewards of your Side Hustle?: It’s my therapy. It’s my passions written down.

I have always been an “over-sharer” so by creating this content and having it live somewhere, even if no one is reading it, it makes me happy to get it out there and write it down.

My friends will say to me “Where should I stay in Greece?” or “What was that banana cake you made that time?” Well, I now have somewhere to direct them to.

Who is your greatest supporter?: I can’t pick one. I have three, and they support in different ways.

My parents: subscribe to my site and read everything I do. My parents have never questioned the decisions I make in my life—they just support them.

My boyfriend: lives a very similar, health-focused lifestyle to me, and is more than happy for me to blog, photograph, Instagram our lives and holidays away without a second thought.

My best friend: my travel inspiration. She’s a dreamer, a supporter, and my own personal cheer squad.

Who/what is your greatest source of inspiration?: There was a time when I never would have admitted this. But my strength is my greatest inspiration.

I used to care what others thought of me. But I’ve come to realise, someone might “care” for a few minutes or a conversation, and then they go back to their lives. My life is MINE; it’s completely unique to me.

I draw inspiration from my hardships, my successes, my tragedies, my personal motivations, and my learnings from others. I gain such inspiration by observing how they fit into the tetris that is life and everyone else out there in the world.

Have you received recognition for your work? If so, please toot your horn below: My site has sparked the interest of similar, more accomplished sites along the same vein. I have written content for both Hip and Healthy and Bekibo,  which are both UK based.

What is your dream for your Side Hustle?: I would love to make it my main hustle one day. I would love nothing more than to make my own rules and stop working on someone else’s dream. I want to work on my own dream.

Do you have any advice for others working on a Side Hustle?: Just keep swimming.

I have by no means “made it yet” with Sunlit Eyes,  and if I wasn’t strong or I cared about what others might say, I might have just packed it in already. But instead of worrying about how many people are reading, or how many followers I have, I am just focusing on making great content I am proud of and having it live somewhere. I am treating “followers and readers” as a bonus.

To learn more about Gemma and her Side Hustle, visit the Sunlit Eyes blog, following along on Instagram, or reach out via email to connect or collaborate!

Megan: Children’s Clothing Boutique Owner

Name: Megan Hines

Age: 30

City: Mobile, Alabama

Main Hustle: Registered ER Nurse

Side Hustle: Co-owner of a children’s clothing company, Sweet Magnolia Smocks.

How did you get started?: I was blessed with a sweet little boy named Sawyer and then another little boy named Charlie, so like any other Southern mama I decided I loved smocked and appliqué clothing. I never could find reasonably priced items in local boutiques, so I began shopping on various Facebook preorder groups. While there prices were fair, they still lacked something.

As I lay in bed one night, I thought,  ‘If these other ladies can start up their own groups, so can I.'”

So I began my mission, recruited a fellow nursing/mama friend, Jessica Sheldon, to be my business partner, did lots of research, and we opened Sweet Magnolia Smocks!

When/where do you work on your Side Hustle?: All the time….no I really try hard to do it when I’m not working at the hospital or with my kids, so I stay up late a lot! My husband just finished up some remodeling/updating to an apartment above our garage, which is where my office is now.

What are the challenges of your Side Hustle?: Making sure that my customers have a good quality, uniquely designed, and reasonably priced outfit. I think another challenge is making sure I balance my time equally between my job as a nurse and most importantly my jobs as a MOM.

What are the rewards of your Side Hustle?: I get to design clothes (something I have always had a passion for), meet so many new people, and do something I truly enjoy!

Who is your greatest supporter?: I’m going to say my husband, without him I would lose my mind!! He is always helping and finds ways to do things better (advertising, website stuff, manufacturers). He is definitely a big part of the success of my business.

Who/what is your greatest source of inspiration?: I would have to say my family—can’t pick any one person but they all have always encouraged me to reach for the stars! They have always told me I could do anything as long as I put my mind to it.

Have you received recognition for your work? If so, please toot your horn below: Right now we are in the running for a Nappie Award in our hometown! There is a local lifestyle magazine in Mobile that does something called the Nappie Awards every year.

The categories are widespread, but we are in the top six for Best Kids Clothing Store, and we have only been around for one year. I SAY THAT’S A BIG ACCOMPLISHMENT considering all the local stores!

What is your dream for your Side Hustle?: One day for it to be a storefront and to be able to support my family with it!

Do you have any advice for others working on a Side Hustle?:

Don’t stop doing what you’re doing; you have to fail to succeed!

Check out Megan’s website, follow along on Instagram, join the Sweet Magnolia Smocks Facebook group, or reach out via email to connect or collaborate!

Featured Image by Susanna Womack Photography

Waitin’ On The Good Things, Workin’ While We Wait

Be patient. Good things take time.Chelbe: Food & Lifestyle Blogger


Hard Work And Lady Luck Go Hand in Hand

Work hard. Luck helps, but definitely don’t skip the work so you’re ready when luck decides to grace you with her presence.Tjaden, Aerial Silks Vocalist & Performer

Land of The Free, Because of The Brave

I traveled to Highlands, North Carolina, last weekend for my cousin’s wedding. Her fiancé is a former Marine, so there was an essence of military pageantry to their wedding weekend that only added to the romance of getting married up in the mountains, soft rain falling miraculously in between parties and pictures.

When we arrived at the Rehearsal Dinner on Friday night, there was an unexpected guest at a reserved table toward the entrance of the room. The table was small with a single chair accompanied by a single place setting, a single rose, a single yellow candle, a Bible, and a small frame listing the names of all the groom’s brothers in arms who had gone before him defending the country we call home. It was a night that would have been emotional already, but now it had a level of surreal sacredness attached to it. These were the names of men who should have been there—would have been there—had they not received a higher calling, had they not been asked to give the ultimate sacrifice and risen when their name was called, had they not stepped out of the precious life they were given to give others theirs in exchange.

In the past few weeks, I’ve thought about that chair a lot, the people it represents, the families it made incomplete, the children it made parentless, the spouses it made single, the siblings it made one of three instead of one of four, the friendships, the dreams, the fears, everything a person is identified by. The ripple effect is overwhelming when you consider just how many people are affected by an empty chair. It’s hard to stomach the loss.

This weekend was my husband and I’s first weekend home in a long time. We celebrated this rarity by sleeping in, using restaurant gift cards we’ve built up over holidays and birthdays, went house hunting, checked out a bagel shop we’d been meaning to but never had, ran errands, watched all the sports (him), read all the books (me), slept in more, had beignets for dessert and again for breakfast, went to the grocery store, and argued over the menu for Memorial Day dinner (ribs vs barbecue shrimp—like true Americans, we chose both). As simple as it sounds, it was pure bliss.

When I woke up this morning, my mind immediately went back to that empty chair. The lost life that that empty chair represents, and the lives of countless others, allows me the freedom to make the simplest choices: sleeping in or getting up early (never), eating in or eating out (google New Orleans), hockey or basketball (not a fan of the goal buzzer on the ice, or the ice in general), ribs or barbecue shrimp (why choose when you can have both?). But because of that empty chair, these simple choices become sacred, they become invaluable, because a man or a woman put on a uniform and decided that these little freedoms, these little choices, this little of life of mine is worth defending, worth fighting for, and ultimately, worth dying for.

Tonight we ate our Memorial Day meal of compromise, and we set an extra place and pulled up an empty chair, just as we learned to do a few weeks ago at my cousin’s wedding, and we thanked God for the life of the man or woman in the empty chair. While today may be a day off of work, the start to a short week, and an excuse for ribs, beer, and red, white, and blues, it is so much more than that. It is a day to remember those who gave us the freedom to celebrate all of those simple joys, to honor those who gave up their one life so that we might have ours.

Because of an empty chair, we can sit down today or tonight with our family and friends, eating and drinking and breathing and choosing and loving and living—freely, at the ultimate cost.

Around this country, in so many homes, at so many tables, there is an empty chair. Today we are given an opportunity, and a responsibility, to remember why.

Thank you will never be enough.