Extraordinary Women - Jennifer Rizzo

Welcome to the third installment of my
Interviews with Extraordinary Women Series.

Today's interview is with a dear blogging friend of mine, Jennifer Rizzo.
Jen and I have known one another since I first started blogging back in 2008.
She is insanely creative, and a gifted entrepreneur.
I admire Jen so much and I am so excited for you to get to know a little bit about her as well.

Welcome Jen...

What was your view of "aging" before you hit your 40's and how has it changed?

Before I hit 40, I thought 40 was really old, and near the end. Now that I moving into my late 40’s, I realize that there is still plenty of time, but it’s moving faster. I think that’s why I decided I needed to move forward with my dream of opening a store. I didn’t know what I was waiting for, because time wasn’t waiting for me.

What is something you consciously let go of and didn't take with you into your 40's?

I consciously let go of caring what other people thought. In my 30’s I really felt and wondered what other’s thought.  In my 40’s I realize the only opinion of me that matters is mine.

When and how did you realize your passion in life?  Has it changed as you've grown older?

My passion has evolved and changed as my life has changed. I realize that all of my life experiences build on the next thing, and lead me to the next step. I feel like I’ve been so lucky that I’ve been able to walk out many of my dreams in this life, and I plan to continue following the things that are placed in my heart. The biggest thing is realizing when one dream ends, there’s always something else that can replace it. I’m not very good at sitting still, so bring active and busy makes me happy.

What ignited the fire in you to finally "pull the trigger" and pursue your passion?

The only way I can say it, is it was a “God thing”. For the last 5 years, I had been looking in my town for a studio space where I could operate a small shop with it where I could teach workshops, and sell handmade items. Our home is really small, and I was out of room at my kitchen table. For the last 12 years, Beside DIY/ lifestyle blogging, I had been wholesaling to boutiques, doing markets, shows, and antique store booths, selling on-line, art licensing, product design, and teaching. My blog and art business had outgrown my home.

My husband and I looked at location after location in our town and didn’t find anything.  I had such a strong feeling that it was supposed to be on our main street.  One day in May I was walking with a friend, and looked in the window of a vacant space and I could feel a whirl in the pit of my stomach, and a really strong pull inside. My husband and I called on it and went to look at it.  I just felt likethis was the right time. I asked my friend, Autumn, if she was interested in jumping on board, and we signed the lease! We opened The Collective LHE + Makery in Downtown Lisle two years ago already!

What's one of your best tips for making difficult decisions?

While I don’t believe in being led my emotions, I am a big believer in praying it out and following where I feel led.  

Change can be scaryWhat helps you overcome any fears/insecurities, or excuse-making, in order to courageously leap onto a new path?

It’s taking that first step that’s the hardest part. I think it’s realizing that small steps along the way are just as important as big scary ones, and it’s super important, no matter how small, just to start.
I don’t know if we ever overcome fears until we actually take the risk and see how it works out. It’s that leap of faith! That’s when I really turn to praying when I’m walking out the will for my life.

How do you make your time work for you so that you are able to fulfill family and professional roles, but still have time to "create" and develop yourself?

When you are juggling so many balls, one or two are going to drop. I don’t have the time to create as much as I used to, and that’s the real bummer in running a business.  I just give myself grace when I don’t do everything right, or get to everything I’m supposed to. My kids have had to take on a lot more responsibility and even though I have mother-guilt about it, they are actually better for it.

What do you consider to be your most essential priorities at this point in your life?

My faith, my family, and my business are my biggest priorities. Everything else squeezes in on the sides.

And a couple just for fun...

Have you found that you have developed more in your personal style (fashion or interiors - or both!) as you've grown older?  How has it changed/evolved?  

I have! I’m much more open with what I want to ear and take bigger risks. It helps that I don’t care as much what other people think. When I worked from home, I wore gray sweatpants all day long. The hard part of working out in the public is putting on make up every day and nice clothes every day. The good thing is it forces me to look for cute outfits and I have fun because I like to get creative mixing vintage pieces with new.

Is there a beauty or make-up tip you wish you had learned about earlier?

White eye shadow on your cheek bones. It gives the skin a glow-y look, and highlights them!

Thank you, Jen!

You can find Jen on line at JenniferRizzo.com

Until next time,


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