An Interview With… Anna Kosmanovski

// Meet Anna Kosmanovski — storyteller, all-round lovely, and defender of the apostrophe. Having been published numerous times, she is a wealth of information when it comes to writing, living with vision, and simply going for it. Here is an interview with, Anna…

anna edited image 2

Can you tell us a little about yourself and how you became involved in freelance writing?

Hi, my name is Anna and I love writing, creativity, coffee, chocolate, Paris, daydreaming, (as well as night dreaming!) and cats. I would describe myself as both a writer and ‘all round creative’.

I became involved in freelance writing soon after finishing my university degree. I got a job in marketing and, when my contract was up, took time out to write my first novel. It was after that that I had the epiphany – “Hey! I write. And businesses need writing. They need words for their website, newsletter, annual report, media release, brochure, etc. I can do that!” Really, that’s the gist of it! I found as soon as I started to market myself as a professional writer, work started to come in.

What’s been your favourite piece to write so far, and why?

In my freelance writing work, my favourite piece to write was the 2012/2013 Diana Ferrari/Supersoft new season catalogue. I really enjoy writing about fashion, style and of course, pretty shoes!

In my other work, I’ve also really enjoyed writing some short stories too. They’re long enough to lose yourself in but not long enough to go on for ages like a bigger piece of work.

I love how you have listed on your website the vision and values you live by. Why do you think it’s so important to have vision and values?

I think it’s really valuable to be really clear about your vision, as well as values. As an artist, your values help identify your unique selling points – and this will appeal to the right employer/client. It also just saves time – yours and other peoples’ – to be upfront about what you’re comfortable with, if something comes up. I think it’s about just being true to yourself! Really, as writers, we need to have a sharp conscience and be sensitive because we need to pick up on things – sometimes things hard to pick – and communicate them to others.

As for vision – that’s important too! Without a vision which makes you feel sparkly inside, how can we do our best work? A vision is life-giving!! It is something grand, something honest and something you are definitely allowed to keep to yourself – not excepting mum, spouse and cat.

How can a writer write a book unless they have a vision for it? Unless they ‘see’ it and imagine it happening!? We need to believe in our work like a bird believes in building a nest. They don’t doubt that they have what it takes to build it, or stress that it’s not perfect – they just do it and it’s great! We should take a leaf from that bird.

Outside of writing, what else do you love to do to that keeps you refreshed and inspired?

A few things! I find being creative so refreshing and invigorating, and I enjoy just exploring that. I love drawing, painting – furniture, canvasses, jars, frames -, making things like paper flowers and cards for friends, sticking ribbons around things and doing any kind of tactile arts! I also love reading, and intentionally seek to devour books! I have a crazy, lofty goal of reading as many of the classics as I can. I love a good movie too, though! I’m also very into walks… especially in Autumn when it’s so pretty! Love the beach too.

And lastly, I am a café girl! I love catching up with a friend at a café, talking for way too long, and also am quite happy to go on my own too!

For those who are passionate about writing and interested in pursuing it professionally, what gems of wisdom or encouragement would you give them?

Study. Learn about the craft, write, get feedback, get experience, read + repeat.

Read. Stephen King says that if you don’t have time to read then you don’t have time to write and I agree with him. As writers, it’s our food and something irreplaceable which gives us strength to our work…ideas, inspiration and also knowledge.

Hang out with other writers. If you don’t know any, find some! As writing is a solitary process by nature, I’ve found it rejuvenating – and inspiring – to meet other creatives along the way who share a passion and love of writing.

Develop your online presence but don’t put ALL your work up. Save something to be published! Also, don’t spend all your time doing it, either. Also, get a basic understanding of the Adobe Creative Suite, photography skills, video skills too. The funny thing is a 21st century writer now needs to wear a designer’s hat, a marketer’s hat, a bit of a tech hat, etc. Yes, it’s about the words but it’s also about how it looks too… this is what I am learning. So considering that things are only going to become “more digital” in the years to come, if I was an emerging writer today I would be becoming comfortable with these tools and program because marketing is such an important part of what we do.

My last piece of advice and the most important – write, write, write. Aim for everyday! Write about everything and anything. The more you write, the better you will be! There’s this theory that if you do 10,000 hours in your field, you become an expert of sorts. Makes sense to me!


Favourite writer: C.S. Lewis… but I can’t help but mention Dickens too. With non-fiction and journalism writing, I really admire Helen Garner.

Can’t stop listening to: ‘Zion’ by Hillsong United.

Savoury or sweet tooth? Both, unfortunately! Potatoes are my favourite vegetables but chocolate has crept into my life as a “hard to get rid of” companion… trying to reign it in.

Connect with Anna on her website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest

Image provided by  Anna  Kosmanovski

An Interview With… Jessika Garcia

// Meet Jessika-lyn Garcia – Beauty & Lifestyle Blogger at Jessyclassy. I first stumbled across her blog late last year. Since connecting, I so appreciate her warmness and love that she’s always refreshing the look of her blog. Here is an interview with Jess…


Hi Jess! First of all, can you tell us a little about yourself and how you became involved in blogging?

Hello! My name is Jessika-lyn and I live in Honolulu, Hawai`i. I started my blog, Jessclassy, a little over a year ago as another platform to share my beauty YouTube videos that I was posting at the time. Shortly after I realized that YouTube wasn’t for me, but I stuck with blogging because I enjoyed writing and (blog) design.

Beauty is a major passion and part of your life. What is your “beauty philosophy”? 

To be completely honest, I don’t really have a “beauty philosophy”. I just enjoy beauty (hair/makeup/skincare) because it’s fun to pamper myself and try out new products.

Do you have any favourite beauty go-to’s?

My favorite beauty go-to’s are my MAC Studio Fix Fluid+, Lorac Pro Palette, MAC Lipsticks (Angel/Rebel).

When it comes to blogging, how do you stay inspired, motivated, and even organised in posting regular content?

I make sure to read other people’s blogs with similar content to myself. I think it’s good to look at the way others create a voice or how they design their posts! I started a secret board on Pinterest and I pin blogger’s (post) graphics to get a feel of how I can create/organize future blog posts. I also always use my phone/note book to write down a blog post idea as soon as it enters my head! That way, when I get home, I can create an outline/web and plan out my post instead of trying to force content out of my brain (been there, not fun).


What gems of wisdom would you give those who are interested in pursuing blogging?

I say if you’re even thinking of it, try it. But don’t get too “inspired”. I say that because it is real easy to confuse “inspiring” with comparing. You can be so inspired by something that when you try to re-create the content into how you would make it, you find yourself struggling because your post doesn’t match your expectations. Create a brand for yourself and know that it’s okay to re-brand over and over again. Re-branding is a great thing because you want to create an opportunity for you to grow not be stuck in the same place! Basically, go for it and in the words of Shameless Maya, “DO YOU BOO!”


1. Favourite quote: In 2005, my mom wrote me a letter before she saw me off to boarding school. In her letter she quoted this, “And above all, always remember to put God first in your life, for with out Him you are nothing. When you are sad and homesick, pray and He will give you comfort. When you are angry or upset, pray and He will give you peace. When you struggle with your studies and are confused, pray and He will give you clarity. When things are going well and you are happy, pray and give Him thanks and praise. Look to the Lord and He will guide you to be successful. Remember that success is not measured by the amount of friends we have or the amount of worldly possessions that we have; True success in the eyes of God is a kind, caring, giving, humble and thankful person.” It’s still my FAVORITE letter/quote to date, I still have it at my work desk for inspiration.

Can’t leave the house without: Chapstick | Cellphone | Bobby Pins | Wallet

Favourite Instagram account to follow@AubreyKinch


Connect with Jess on: blog | Instagram @jessclassy | facebook | twitter

Image credit: Renee Kanney, Wild + AIR Photography | blog | facebook

An Interview With… Elizabeth Lim

// Say hello to Elizabeth Lim. She’s a budding photographer and one of the most genuine, quirky, creative, people you’ll ever meet. Last year we crossed paths through our local church and I’ve absolutely adored getting to know her ever since. So much so, that I want you to meet her too! Enjoy this interview with…

DSC_5418AYou’re 17 years young and have already had your work featured in magazines, exhibitions and more. Can you tell us a little about your background and how you became involved in photography?

From a really young age, I’ve always been very creative. When I was about 8 or 9 years old I won a small digital camera at a lucky draw. As I got a bit older and went on school camps, I would take that camera with me and started to enjoy taking photos of the scenery and friends.

Eventually when I was 12 or 13 my parents brought home a DSLR. I thought it was kind of cool but didn’t really think too much about it. I made myself a Flickr account and started posting photos online for my family overseas to see. Things changed a little when I saw the Flickr Explore page (a place where all the best public content of Flickr is displayed). I suddenly realised I could create things with photography and that it could be a real creative outlet. I continued learning different ways of editing, composing, and kept taking photos.

A little later I asked a girl at school if we could do a photo shoot just for fun – we had an awesome time! I posted them on Facebook and people saw, liked and commented on it. I knew from that shoot that this was the kind of direction I wanted to go in. It’s been a couple of years since then and I’ve changed a lot, but I have continued posting things online, submitting photos to magazines, entering competitions, asking people for constructive criticism, trying out new things and learning a lot. I don’t use Flickr much anymore, but it really was where I first discovered how great photography is, along with chatting to people like my Dad, who is also a photographer.

What’s been your favourite image to capture so far and why?

DSC_3598I love this photo that I took of my friend Corinne – it was very spontaneous! I pointed my camera at her and she jokingly curtseyed. I didn’t realise I liked it this much until I got home and looked at it on my computer. I like it because I think it was the first time I had photographed someone as they were. I felt like this image really showed her personality as it was a little candid, and it was something I’d never really done before (intentionally). It also got on to the Flickr Explore page which made me so excited at the time, and her parents asked to have it printed on to a big canvas for their home.

Creativity oozes out of you in your style, Instagram snaps, work, & who you are. What constantly inspires you?

First of all, thank you! I am inspired by a lot of things – in films I’ve watched (Moonrise Kingdom, Into The Wild & Spirited Away are a few of my favourites) and music I listen too.

I love looking at other photographers’ work and getting inspired by things they’ve done. A photographer I’ve recently been inspired by is Annie Leibovitz. I had seen a few of her photos, but didn’t like her that much until my class at school studied her. My Dad actually gave me the book ‘Annie Lebovitz At Work’ and it’s really good! I haven’t finished reading it yet, but I love it already. I love the way she works, and I absolutely love the Rolling Stone cover photo she took of Yoko Ono and John Lennon together. I also really love a photographer called Nirrimi. Her blog is an absolute treat to look at and read.

Outside of photography and study, what else do you love to do?

I like to send snaps to my friends of videos of really mundane things captioned ‘performance art’ on Snapchat, along with really obscure close-ups of random things (Snapchat counts as a hobby, right? Haha). Aside from that I like to draw a lot and always have a sketch book lying around. I like to read blogs and websites. One that I really like is Rookie Mag - they always post really great, clever and relevant content for teen girls. I also enjoy vegetating on the couch while watching a good TV show like Daria or Community (but only sometimes!).

Oh, one thing about me is that I’m not a morning person… So sometimes to wake myself up for a day of school I have what I call a ‘mini dance party’ in my room where I dance ridiculously for about 10 minutes to upbeat music while getting ready. I’m not sure if it works, but it sure is a lot of fun!!

For those who are passionate about photography and interested in pursuing it professionally, what gems of wisdom or encouragement would you give them?

Take lots and lots of photos and don’t be afraid to ask for constructive feedback. Learn from what others tell you about them. Also, don’t be afraid to post your work online! This is a great way to be a part of a community of people who share the same passion as you and to get tips and advice off other creative people.

Another great thing to do is to immerse yourself in a lot of good stuff. By ‘good stuff’ I mean things that you like – movies, music, photos, books, paintings, etc. Figure out what you like about these things and try to apply it to your own work. Doing this has helped me to figure what kind of style I want to develop and what direction I want to go in with my work.



Describe your style in 3 words: candid, emotive and atmospheric

Can’t stop listening too: John Mayer, Chet Faker, Youth Lagoon, Alt-J, Coldplay, Tame Impala, Pond, Last Dinosaurs, Snakadaktal, Taylor Swift’s album Red and Radiohead’s album Kid A.

Favourite Instagram account to follow: @kevinruss – Always lovely photos!

Connect with Elizabeth on: Instagram @elzbthlim | Facebook | Tumblr

All images provided by Elizabeth Lim

Difference Maker: Kristen Schiffman

{Note: ‘An Interview With‘ was originally called ‘Difference Makers‘. Similar concept, just revamped.}

:: Difference Makers are those using what’s in their hand to make a difference in this world ::


Meet Kristen Schiffman. 

I first connected with Kristen many, many months ago when she followed me on Twitter. Looking at her bio and tweets, there was something about her that made me want to know more. This connection has since flourished (and continues to flourish); she even gracefully invited me to be part of what was formerly 2:21, to now on the contributing team at A Woman Inspired.

Kristen  loves tea lattes, weekend hikes, everyday celebrations, her funny husband, and Humphrey Bogart (both the man and the dog she named after him). She’s a messy faith embracer who believes wild & free things are the best things.

And this is one of the many reasons why she is a Difference Maker…


// First of all, who is Kristen? Can you  tell us a little about your story and journey so far? :)

In a nutshell: I’m a girl who loves the wild way of Jesus and the eternal story being told through Him throughout the ages. I love a boy named Eric and a dog named Humphrey. I recently joined the core team at A Woman Inspired (AWI) as the Director of Communications. I’ve served in ministry – online ministry, more specifically – for nearly 7 years now (!!) and love the way the internet can serve as a global tool to spread the fame of Jesus.

// You founded Exemplify Magazine, then the offshoot website called 2:21 (which has now merged into a brand new a channel  at AWI) some time ago, what sparked a desire in you to pursue this line of work in communications, especially with teenage girls? 

I’ve always loved the art of communication.

When I was 11, I started a family broadcast (KPE News: Yes. It was even branded!). For every family function, I had an episode ready to go that was on topic. Great Grandma’s turning 80? Let’s interview her children! Christmas? Let’s spotlight what each cousin has on their wish list. And on it went for some time. The library of movies is hilarious looking back! I love the connection of story on a personal level. I’m the type of person who asks, “But how does this apply to my own life?” That’s my real heart for communicating the Gospel. It’s not some old paper scroll of sweet ways to get along with your neighbor. It’s meant to apply today, now, to you and me in really powerful, life-changing ways.

As for my heart for teens, I went through a really rough, dark time in my mid through late teenage years. One of my family members was murdered on September 11, 2001 in the World Trade Center attacks and the ricochet of that was just… truly devastating. Nearly crippling, if I’m honest. For years I struggled and fought the doubt that comes with an experience like that. How could the heart of God really be good if so much bad was happening? Is God really Sovereign? Could He really do what He says He can do? Did I even want Him to do any of that in my life when tomorrow I could be blown up?  I made a lot of mistakes out of that place of, “He is not good and I don’t even want Him if He is.” I think the late teen/early twenties age is when you are coming to grips with knowing who Christ is on a deeply personal level – not just based on what you’ve been told or what you have seen your parents believe. And that is huge. I’m passionate about offering a place for young women to come and be heard. To ask hard questions. To get real answers. To embrace the struggle and the wrestle and come out knowing God is indeed good and He really does redeem. And you know what else? You really do want Him. It’s a messy faith.

// Your hope is to “equip and inspire women and teen girls to live a life that does”, what does living a life that does look like for you? 

In my early twenties I went through this really odd time. I was working in full time ministry but my heart was so disconnected from what that really meant outside of my work hours. God is not confined to a calendar space and what He is asking for is more than the box we fit Him into so often. After I closed up shop at the magazine and went off the grid for a few years, the Lord really worked on what a life that does looks like for me. I had lost the sense of adventure that comes with following Christ. For me “a life that does” is one that embraces the every day ministry of being a salt-shaking, light bearer. It looks different for everyone but it takes us all to the same place: Jesus shared in ways that really impact our communities. I get so tired of all the talk regarding “church” when the truth is that we are the Church. Wherever our feet step, so goes the message of the Gospel. I want to live in a way that honors that. Not just a Sunday that does, a life that does.

// Who continually inspires you and why? 

My sister Katelyn is the most profound person I know. She’s 18 and a ball of fire. She’ll often say something that stops me in my tracks and gets me thinking for days. So many of the ideas I bring to fruition start with whatever “truth nugget” she just tosses into every day conversation. Kate can say thirteen intense things before breakfast and not even realize it. One day God’s going to use her in a huge way to stir the hearts of the people around her. I’m grateful to get a sneak peek.

// If someone has a dream and wants to step out and make a difference in this world, what would you tell them?

I’m into bite sized advice so I’d say a few things that I hope they could journal about later: Step out but step wisely. Be careful not to lose yourself to your dream. Be stretched but do not be joyless. Live a large, open life. And have fun! Dreams are meant to be enjoyed.


1. Coffee or tea? How to choose?! I’m going with tea, though. Oh how I love my tea.

2. If I could be anywhere in the world right now I’d be: On the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland!

3. Favourite late-night snack? Chocolate! Always.  

4. Describe yourself in 3 words: Celebrator, communicator, laugher.

5. I love social media, but have a soft spot  for… Believe it or not… Google+! (+Kristen Schiffman) I’m new to it but I love it. 

You can connect with Kristen on Twitter, Google+, and A Woman Inspired.

[see more Difference Makes posts here]

Difference Maker: Elora Nicole

{Note: ‘An Interview With‘ was originally called ‘Difference Makers‘. Similar concept, just revamped.}

:: Difference Makers are those using what’s in their hand to make a difference in this world ::


Meet Elora Nicole – story coach + author. 

Elora describes herself as: “a believer in Beauty and pursuer of Story. I write because if I can move a heart – if I can bend a knee – then this is all I need.” Guest posting on several blogs + online magazines, including Relevant Magazine, Prodigal, & The Deeper Story – where I first stumbled across her blog + work – she is proving herself to be a valuable writer + role model for this generation. She’s released a couple of e-books, her latest being “Come Alive”, + has even recently co-founded a story-coaching business called “The Story Unfolding” to help others tell their story. 

And this is just one of the many reasons why Elora is a Difference Maker… 

// You’re truly a beautiful writer – what first sparked a desire in you to pursue writing? 

I honestly don’t remember a time in which I wasn’t writing. When I was younger, I became enamored with words. I taught myself how to read and write when I was three or four. Since then, writing has been a constant companion.

// ‘Come Alive’ is your most recent book out (& first in print form!), was there anything throughout the publishing process that took you by surprise? 

Ha! So much. I knew enough to anticipate my life not changing in any way, but I never anticipated the difficulty it would bring. Everything that could go wrong for an author has happened to me during this publication, and I’m anxious to put it behind me. Six months ago I had a published book, an agent, and a publishing house. Now, I have the rights back to my novel but nothing else. My publisher closed its doors and my agent emailed me a few weeks ago to tell me he wasn’t working with me anymore because I didn’t sell enough books under publication. I’m still waiting for Come Alive to disappear off online shelves so I can release it as self-published.

I’ve learned a lot about what it means to believe in your work, to stand up for your words, and to listen to that small voice telling me to pay attention. I won’t make the same mistakes again.


[purchase a copy of Come Alive on Amazon here]

// Storytelling has exploded the past couple of years. Why do you think is it important for people to tell their stories? And, why do you believe people’s stories can change the world?

There is freedom in owning what has happened in your life. Shame flees the moment we possess the bravery to speak against that which haunts us. As a teacher and in my own experience of therapy, I’ve realized how difficult it is to rest in the messiness long enough to see the pattern – our greatest purpose, what we were meant to do and what makes us feel most alive, often hides in what brings us most pain. I want everyone to know the freedom I’ve brushed up against these past few years as I take steps in telling pieces of my own story. And, as far as stories changing the world – there are countless examples of literature crashing into society and creating change. If a piece of fiction can do that, imagine what would happen if we became vulnerable enough to share the Truth of what we know and how we believe?

// Adoption is also very close to your heart & something you’re currently in the process of with your husband, how has the experience so far impacted or influenced your writing?

It’s made me more aware. I notice the timing of things, how time is really just circular and never linear. It’s made me realize my faith and my belief echoes itself throughout my writing whether or not I say the name Jesus. It’s made me appreciate the rituals of everyday life: the morning pages, the words forming, the anticipation. Most of all, it’s the reason why I’m here. When we started the process, becoming a mother terrified me and I had no idea why. Now, I know. Now, the sense of jubilee coming means so much more than when we began.


[read their adoption story here]

// If someone has a dream + wants to step out + make a difference in the world, what would you tell them? 

Before I quit, every time contracts would come around I would ask God whether or not I should sign. I never let Him answer. I always signed, thinking if He wanted me to leave I would have found a job elsewhere. About two years ago, I was driving home and I had this thought - what if He’s waiting for me to step out on faith? I thought it was a ridiculous notion and dismissed it as just my own way of trying to talk myself into quitting.

This time last year that thought kept coming back – it would be the first thing I thought about in the morning and the thing that kept me up at night. Last year was dark – I was in the midst of some heavy therapy, work felt as if it were sucking my soul dry, and the adoption process was leaving me emotionally spent. The day my husband and I decided I wouldn’t be renewing my contract I felt terrified. Walking into my boss’ office was even more terrifying. But as soon as I said the words (through tears, no less) that I was turning in my resignation, I felt as if a rush of air fell into my lungs – as if I’d been holding my breath for three years and suddenly I could breathe again.

If you have a dream or if you want to step out and take a risk or make a difference in the world, just begin. Baby steps are still steps, and as long as you aren’t remaining stagnant, something magical will happen. Maybe you’ll be redirected. Maybe you’ll succeed wildly. Maybe you’ll be able to pay your bills. Whatever happens, you’ll feel more alive because of it and the beauty around you will overwhelm. Colors seem brighter when you’re living at full capacity.

1. Latte or tea? Neither. Iced coffee.
2. If I wasn’t a writer I’d be: a painter or hip-hop dancer.
3. People describe me as: Brave. Gentle. Wordy. Quiet.
4. Favourite late-night snack: Cake
5. If I could be anywhere in the world right now…I’d be in France.

You can connect with Elora on TwitterFacebook + her blog.

see more Difference Makes posts here ]