An Uncommon Woman - Meet Juliet

Thursday, September 03, 2020

 


I want to introduce you to a friend---one I have never met, yet it feels  like I've known her forever.  Instagram is responsible for connecting me with the kind, compassionate, beautiful and very talented Juliet Russell...thank you social media.  

When I started Uncommon Threads three years ago, I sent out an SOS to the Instagram community asking for clothing donations and support.  Many of my blogger friends including the wonderful Dawn Lucy, Jamie, Suzanne, and Sheree, came to my rescue donating boxes of gorgeous clothes and accessories. These women rock!  However, the program particularly resonated with Juliet, in a deep and meaningful way. For the past few years, she regularly ships donations from across the country and supports the program with a monthly contribution.  

I'm a big fan of this incredible woman (who is as beautiful inside as she is out) and in awe of her interior design talents.  Her stunning home is warm and inviting--reflective of her personality. 

I want to share Juliet's story with you and hope that you will follow her new blog Make Mine a Spritzer and on Instagram. She's also an amazing writer and photographer!

One day Juliet and I will meet and I will give her a personal tour of Uncommon Thread as well as a great big hug. 💖
 

 


Tell me a bit about yourself.


I’m 50-something retired human resources manager, empty nester and mom to two small dogs. My husband, Jim, and I have been married for 17 years. Our blended family includes our son, and four nieces … and now three grandnieces and two grandnephews. We’re looking forward to two family weddings over the next year. Although they might look a bit different due to the pandemic. I’m also a newly minted blogger at Make Mine A Spritzer!

 

How would you describe yourself?

 

I’d describe myself as an extraverted introvert who loves nothing more than being at home, but also enjoys travel and exploring the world.

 

Describe Make Mine a Spritzer and how did it come about?

 

Several years ago, Jim and I decided to build a home in coastal Washington. We have family in the area and thought we’d eventually live there full-time when Jim retired. I planned to start a blog to document the design and build process. A combination of perfectionism, procrastination and embarrassment (who does she think she is?) kept the blog in a permanent state of ‘coming soon.’ The house in Washington was built, we lived there for two years before selling and returning to California. We then bought and renovated Snowberry. But, still … no blog. With a lot of encouragement (ahem … nagging) from my husband and some blogger friends, I decided to get over myself and press the publish key. So now I’m blogging about Snowberry’s renovation process and what I learned along the way.

 

The blog needed a name. I decided to poke fun at myself and my wine-loving (read: wine-snobbish) husband and friends who take their wine very seriously. Spritzers are very on-trend right now, but just a few years ago ordering a wine spritzer in public would have subjected me to ridicule and potential expulsion from the group. Nothing short of heresy. I jest, but barely. Today, with new-found, mid-life confidence I can walk into any restaurant or party with head held high and say, ‘make mine a spritzer.’ And that has become my brand!


 


Have you always been interested in home interiors/design?


As long as I can recall I’ve been obsessed with interior design, but I didn’t delve into renovating until about 10 years ago. In my childhood bedroom I constantly moved furniture around, styled and restyled my dresser and shelves and occasionally ventured out to the family’s living room and to do the same. My mother wasn’t interested in interior design, but did love a good coffee table book. And, how those books were arranged was of great importance to her. 

 

As a young adult I became obsessed with Martha Stewart. Her books and early TV show really changed my perspective on what I could do with my apartment and later home. When I think back now on some of the design choices I made, it’s truly cringeworthy. Martha would not have approved.


Monica Vargas Photography



What inspires your creativity (designs, colors, etc.)?


Inspiration is everywhere. I get ideas everyday through books, movies, TV shows, magazine, and, of course, social media like Pinterest and Instagram. We live at a time where there are almost too many ideas being thrown at us. It can be confusing and overwhelming.

 

My style has remained fairly consistent throughout my life. Classic and traditional is the aesthetic that creates a feeling of warmth and comfort for me.  That said, my interpretation of classic, traditional has evolved and expanded over time. It’s streamlined a bit to a include a bit cleaner, more modern aesthetic … that I like to call modern traditional or modern cottage.

 

I believe the style of a home dictates what its design should be. And, that the exterior of a house should tell you a lot about what you’ll find inside.  My favorite colors are soothing blues and greens, but I’ve been known to expand my horizons beyond those colors when it worked for a specific house or room. I think Snowberry reflect my new modern traditional, and colorful, outlook.

 

What might someone be surprised to know about you?


I’m an introvert and a homebody. This seems to surprise people because I can appear outgoing and I love a good social gathering. 

                     


Who inspires you?


That’s such a broad question. You inspire me. Your commitment to creating a non-profit to address a need you saw in your community moves me greatly. And, your obvious joy in seeing your clients transformed through clothing and accessories allowing them to step out more confidently into the world. Your vision is infectious and it’s a thrill for me to be able to provide support to your organization in a small way. Many people, myself included, are overwhelmed and feel helpless when faced with the ever-increasing needs in our communities. But you decided to get out there and do something about it.


 



 


What attracted you to Uncommon Threads?


I’d been following you for a while on Instagram when you shared about starting a non-profit. I loved the idea behind it - helping other woman - and I admired how you were able to move from awareness of a problem/need and actually getting out there and addressing it. It also resonates with me having gone through a challenging personal experience when I was quite young and starting my first job.


You’re in CA and Uncommon Threads is in Lawrence, MA....why is it important to you to support the program?


I believe that supporting our local community organizations is crucial. It’s also important to support efforts that touch our hearts and souls and Uncommon Threads spoke to me.  Are there organizations in my area that are doing similar things? Probably. That said, relationships matter, and my connection to you via social media allowed to me understand your story and why starting this organization meant so much to you. I wanted to do what I could to support you in achieving your goal of helping others.

 

What is appealing about donating your designer items to Uncommon Threads?


I donate a lot of clothing. Not as much as I used to now that I’m retired. But, cleaning out my closet feels like a never-ending process.  Consignment stores are certainly an option, but I’m fortunate to not need the income that consigning items brings. At the same time, I have a limited charitable giving budget and the donation of clothing and accessory items is a means to contribute more in non-monetary form. Plus, it makes me feel great to know someone will get joy from these pieces and maybe a boost of confidence. 



What motivates you to stay involved in the program?


Many years ago, my husband and I changed our approach to giving in response to an article we read. It introduced us to the idea of impactful giving. Identifying two to three causes that we were most passionate about and designating our donation budget to these organizations for greater impact. As someone compelled to give to every worthy cause, this message made sense and so we concentrated our efforts toward two organizations. About three years ago we expanded our area of focus to include Uncommon Threads. That doesn’t mean we don’t ever support to other causes. But, the bulk of our monthly donation budget is directed to these three organizations.  


 


What has surprised you most about Uncommon Threads?


What strikes me about Uncommon Threads work is the joy found in watching your clients, highlighted on social media, styled and transformed. They are beaming with confidence in their appearance and ready to tackle whatever comes next. Whether that be an interview, new job, or their everyday lives knowing they are cared for and supported. What a difference clothing can make in how we feel about ourselves and that can trickle down to how we feel about and care for our family, friends and communities.


What would you tell someone who is thinking about donating to Uncommon Threads?


Giving is such a personal matter and everyone has causes and concerns that are near and dear to their hearts.  What I would say to someone considering supporting Uncommon Threads is … learn about the organization. Ask yourself, how does the work of Uncommon Threads make me feel? It’s hard to imagine anyone being unmoved by your clients’ stories and the smiles on their faces after they’ve been styled. How good does it feel to know you’ve had a small part to play in creating happiness and confidence in the life of another as they move forward to tackle their life challenges.



What’s in your future? (I think you should have your own home goods line)

 

I’m laughing but thank you! I’d love to have my own home goods line. William Sonoma … call me.  Seriously though, as I approach 60, I have two big goals. The first, to finish college. Second, to give this blogging thing a shot. As an introvert I’m dreadful at putting myself out there and finally publishing my blog has been a major step forward. I don’t have any big goals in terms of turning it into a business, although I’m not opposed to that. It’s more about getting out of my comfort zone and doing the things I’ve dreamed of but allowed fear, embarrassment and lack confidence to hold me back. I guess my blog is my way of getting over myself and stretching creatively. 


Do you have a message to share?

 

After graduating high school at the age of 17, I went through a challenging period. My mother and I had a difficult relationship and fell out over where I would attend college. In my infinite 17-year old wisdom I elected to not attend. My mother was terribly disappointed and told me I would have to move out of her house immediately and find a job to support myself. Long story short, I found a place on a friend’s sofa and miraculously got a job. An entry level, clerical position at a large, well-known company. A professional office environment was new to me. I had no money and no appropriate attire.  Somehow, I scraped together enough money to purchase a decent skirt, a pair of shoes and two blouses. For the first three weeks at my new job, I wore that same skirt two and three times a week. I remember feeling embarrassment and shame and hoped my new co-workers wouldn’t notice.  Once my meager paychecks started coming in, I slowly pieced together a decent work wardrobe. I’ve never forgotten the sense of fear and panic I felt in this thankfully temporary situation and how clothing, or lack thereof, made a dramatic difference in how I felt about my ability to rise above my present circumstances. When I learned of your work through Uncommon Threads these memories came flooding back and I knew I wanted to be part of it.


Photo by Chelsea Keenan

Follow Juliet's blog Make Mine A Spritzer and on Instagram

To learn more about Uncommon Threads, visit 

You can also do some "guiltless shopping" at our online social enterprise Uncommon Closet where  you can score amazing deals on new and gently worn designer items while supporting low-income women! Shipping available and CODE SPRITZER10 will give you an extra 10% off!

And check out The Dress to Impress Gala on 9/16, a VIRTUAL event to support Uncommon Threads.  Rock your "Red Carpet look" and join the fun!
Tickets and info here.
Silent auction here (gala ticket is NOT required to access the auction)
Thank you to our sponsors Timberland and Northshore Magazine!


XO Susan





You Might Also Like

2 comments

  1. Susan - it's been a grueling week and I apologize for not dropping a comment here sooner. You know what a thrill it is for me to be part of your work at Uncommon Threads ... words fail me when it comes to expressing how I deeply feel about your commitment to serving the wonderful woman of your community. I'm looking forward to the upcoming virtual gala ... maybe next year we'll be back to more normal circumstances and I can attend in person. xoxo

    ReplyDelete
  2. I totally understand!!!! NO worries! Thank you for being a part of our mission to empower women.XO

    ReplyDelete