The Work We Do: Natalie Brookshire



“The Work We Do” is an interview series that asks creatives with daydream-worthy jobs how they got where they are—and what it’s like to live a day in their shoes. Today, I’m speaking with my very talented friend, San Francisco floral designer, Natalie Brookshire of Natalie Bowen Designs.

Natalie and I first met in 2013 through mutual friends over a glass of Rosé on that most beautiful hillside at Scribe winery. And yet what I recall about the scene that day is that I couldn’t take my eyes off her sunglasses. She looked so cool! We talked about growing up in California (she’s from Chico) and our mutual love of traveling. And when I learned more about her business—and realized I’d probably admired her arrangements at Foreign Cinema in the past—I wasn’t surprised at all to learn that she was capable of making incredibly beautiful (and cool) things. Her arrangements are so fresh and lovely; I truly admire her work. I’m so glad she agreed to talk today about following her passion to create her own floral design studio. 



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Weigh This: Overcoming Self-Deprecation



This discussion is supported by Lean Cuisine.

Last week, I wrote a little about giving compliments that truly add to a “symphony of encouragement” in ours and our children’s lives—and your comments confirmed what I’d long suspected: it is really difficult to admit pride and tout your own accomplishments.

It’s a challenge “overcoming the fear of both internal and external judgement,” wrote Anna. Laura admitted to feeling a “self-imposed prohibition not to brag.” Emmy noted that there’s “a gendered modesty at play that we, as women, are acculturated to adopt and perform. Humility can be a good thing, but not at the expense of not internalizing our accomplishments.”

(I’m reminded of that brilliant Amy Schumer skit where every compliment is deflected with self-deprecation until one woman says a simple “thank you,” and it’s literally mind-blowing.)

I think we tend to valorize self-deprecation. We feel self-conscious about taking ourselves too seriously. It’s something I’m especially interested in as it relates to modeling confidence for my children, who start off with so much! And of course the matter becomes more complicated when you throw in our tendency to start conversations with young girls with compliments on their appearance. As Margaret wrote: “all these articles about how to talk to girls, how to help girls recognize their intellect, etc. It’s great to read and, at times, can be overwhelming. I want her to hear that she is smart, creative, talented, etc. But, I’ve struggled because I also want her to hear that she is beautiful. And, I want her to hear it from me! How do we balance these conversations and ideas with little, impressionable people?”

So, first, how to move beyond the self-deprecation? A few tips…


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