Stephanie Liu Hjelmeseth (@honeynsilk), creator of style, travel and beauty blog Honey & Silk, embraces the beauty of romance and simplicity. We had the opportunity to learn about about her creative process, what inspires her and the best kept secret in Los Angeles.
How and why did you get into content creation?
I first started my blog Honey & Silk in 2011 as a food blog and it transitioned to being more about fashion as I found a stronger voice in speaking about style. Writing is my most eloquent form of expression, so it’s a passion of mine to always keep writing and to always keep my blog as my strongest platform. My blog naturally evolved into storytelling content creation when I bought myself a DSLR and started to consider photography as a serious hobby to learn. I discovered photography to be the most relevant art form to me, because a camera, or rather the photographer, captures beauty in our reality and that spoke to me.
Where do you find your inspiration?
I’m deeply inspired by romance and the ethos of a romantic lifestyle rooted in history, elegance, and easy-living. I grew up with my childhood head in the clouds of fairytales and poetic love and that spirit has grown into a pursuit of a thoughtful life that I want to always remember as elegant and effortless. I love to find inspiration in the architecture, the art, and fashion of the Old World, an era when the natural form was simply beautiful. I believe Old World beauty balances our New World pace and allows us to practically lead a life well-lived.
How do you decide what to share and what to keep private?
I love sharing a ton of things and moments with my followers, because I know they’ve followed me for my lifestyle and I think I’m pretty transparent with almost all aspects of my life with them. I’ve found that this is a way to connect with like people and it’s very special to see the support and community in that. The few things I do keep private are moments that are so special and indescribable, like my evening spent with my closest friends and family and my new husband at our wedding and the day that we found out I was pregnant.
What is the best kept secret in Los Angeles?
We take anyone from out of town to our local neighborhood street called Larchmont - it's a beautiful, charming block of cafes, boutiques, and restaurants and it's the best place to sit with a tea or ice cream and puppy watch (a ton of people walk their cute dogs here, it's like a puppy parade!). I love it because, no matter what time of day, you’ll always run into friends and neighbors. I don't think there's anywhere else like it in LA and only locals know about it.
Any tips and tricks you'd like to share with other creators?
One tip I’d share is to not spread yourself thin trying to accomplish so many different things at once, because someone else seems to be doing it all. Establish your expertise and distinction first in photo or video or other expression, conquer it, and then move forward with expanding your repertoire. Another tip I think is so important in this industry is to strive for professionalism, always. It’s shocking to come across multiple instances when professionalism is lost, at all levels of the industry in PR, brands, and creators; being professional in your communication, your work, and your relationship protects your brand, integrity, and bottom line and it’s what will keep the industry respectable and growing. The last tip I have that stems from professionalism is to keep consistent, open, and honest communication with your brand partners and to manage expectations realistically. What that means is to not ghost on emails when a PR or brand representative is asking a question, because behind the scenes on their end, they may have a boss that’s relying on their answer. If a deadline is expected in two days time and you typically take a week to produce, make that known and ask for an adjustment. It never hurts to ask.
What camera and editing software do you use?
I shoot with my Canon 5D Mark II typically on a 35mm F1.4 lens and I edit with Adobe Lightroom. I know I’m super old school with the Mark II, but the camera is such a beast and my baby has been so good to me for the last 5 years.
How would you describe your aesthetics?
My aesthetic is romantic, elegant, and effortless. I love to share what I find beautiful in life’s simplest things like light shining through a glass of jasmine tea or the luster in a silky dress. There’s a warm tone to my photos, because I’m such a Cancer - sentimental, nostalgic, and moody.
Tell us something no one knows about you.
I’m kind of a hoarder, because I find beauty and sentiment in every single little thing. But I’m managing this habit by allowing these things find new homes and new people to share its beauty! My husband consistently helps me size down my closet and knick knacks.
What's been your favorite piece of work to date?
My favorite piece of work is from my solo experience in Paris. I travelled to Paris by myself to spend a few days exploring the city before meeting with friends in another part of France. The few photos that came out of the trip are some of the most significant for me personally, because they truly reflected a transformative chapter in my life. I walked around the city with my camera and tripod and stopped at different points like by the river Seine to set up my tripod and take self photos, amongst passersby and crowds. This independent experience tore down my walls and constraint and my vulnerability grew into confidence as a photographer and overall helped me grow stronger as a woman as I stepped out of my comfort zone. The freedom allowed me to fully challenge and indulge my creative whims throughout my entire time in the inspirational city and I feel that this newfound connection to my inner self is reflected in my photos.
The best thing about being a creator?
The most rewarding thing for me is receiving a message how something I shot or shared has impacted the person’s life, whether it was a simple beauty tip that improved their skincare routine or that they took a huge step in achieving their dreams of traveling or starting their own business or embracing their own creative spirit.
Favorite people to follow on Instagram?
@sarahbahbah, @rvstapleton, @parkncube
If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self, what would it be?
Keep saying yes because trying new things always opens doors.
Follow Stephanie here.