Meredith Jones, known to many as "the girl with the braids" is also an adventurer, photographer, designer, and master of the dinner party. I was originally drawn to her quirky sense of style and super sweet demeanor, and it turns out she's done just about every type of project you can think of from starting a own popup art gallery to making short films in South America to sewing her own clothes to blogging about creative things and people (like us!). You can just tell by looking at Meredith that art and fun are deeply rooted into every bone in her body. And those projects listed above, yeah, that's just what she does in her free time. Meredith is also a full-time consultant at one of the "Big 4" firms. Talk about dream girl. I'm so pleased to be featuring Meredith today. Please follow her blog and read on to learn about how she gets it all done and looks super cute doing it!
Where do you find your inspiration?
On days when I'm staring at a screen all afternoon, it’s Pinterest or various design blogs. But when I’m out & about, I’m constantly absorbing the world around me. I write down little notes about the people I see on the subway - what they look like, what they’re doing, what mood they seem to be in. Sometimes I draw them. I try to intentionally observe. I’m never on my phone unless I need to call someone or am lost or am taking pictures of doors.
What’s your special sauce? That little trick you do before walking out the door to perk you up and make you feel your most you?
I make sure I’m wearing lipstick & that my metrocard is not buried in the depths of my purse.
Who are your mentors? Who do you look up to?
My friends make fun of the fact that I love older people - but it’s true. I have two mentors: my grandmother, who is 93 and is still raucous and witty & remembers everything and Margot, who is 63 and runs a farm by herself in a tiny town in Argentina, whom I met last year.
What makes you happy no matter what? Like if you’re having one of those no good rotten days where everything is terrible, what’s the thing that pulls you off the ledge?
My formula is simple: eat blueberries, do 50 jumping jacks, and then watch South Park. I’m not kidding.
Where do you shop for closet staples?
I became pretty serious about recycling last year and that mentality of consuming less and taking care of the things you own has definitely permeated my approach to style. I’ve made a very conscious shift to buying previously owned or vintage clothes. I’m also just learning to sew, so soon it will be easier to tailor my clothes or even make some of my own pieces.
Where do you go to find your special thing?
What’s your formula for a killer outfit?
Appropriateness for the occasion, comfort, weather, and balance (of color, texture, and shape) are the things I try to achieve in an outfit.
What’s something you struggle with in your career?
I like to make realistic plans almost immediately. Nothing stays in the hypothetical realm for too long. But when you start to make every idea you have actionable, you just start to pile up projects that you can never finish. So I’m learning to categorize my thoughts as projects to finish now or ideas to tackle later.
Tell us about a time when you hit a breaking point, a fork in the road? Have you ever wanted to quit and run away to Bali?
I did that, sort of. Last year I took a leave of absence from my job and traveled through South America for 4 months with my boyfriend. But it wasn’t some amazing, effortless dream world. You still have to cook meals and ride public transportation and decide how to spend your time. My motto is: be romantic about your reality. The cool part of travel to me is that it removes you from your context - who you are friends with, where you live, what you do - all the things that society uses to easily categorize you. And that experience of being a free agent is exhilarating.
What is something you’d say you are always fighting against? What’s the thing you have to pep-talk yourself about?
Put simply, I wish I was better at more things. I’m a compulsive hobbyist and am always learning a new skill. But being a beginner all the time can be frustrating, so I have to remind myself to enjoy the learning process.
What is the skill you picked up as a kid/teen that you still rely on today (i.e. teaching yourself html/powerpoint/etc., getting what you want from mom and dad, making a great sandwich)?
I suppose I’ve developed a habit of throwing massive dinner parties. I’ve had a Moroccan feast, friendsgiving, random sunday suppers, and various cocktail parties. These days I’m trying to convince everyone I know to be vegetarian, so it’s basically a propaganda tool - cook them an amazing meal and then ask if they missed eating meat.
What are you most proud of in your life? Can be career or non-career related.
Last month I went to Six Flags and rode every single rollercoaster - over 20 rides total. Compared to my younger self - who was painfully shy and had to be walked to my classroom by my brothers until 3rd grade - well, I guess you can say I’ve come a long way in overcoming my fears.
What is the one thing you throw on when you head out the door that gives you that warm glow from deep in the tummy that says, “I know I look good”?
I’ve worn ‘milkmaid braids’ almost every day for the past 2 years and it’s safe to say it’s become a part of my identity. It keeps the hair out of my face, it takes 5 minutes to do, it’s weather-proof, and it definitely adds a bit of quirk. I’ve received compliments from people of every walk of life: construction workers, bosses, frat dudes, 4 year old girls, you name it. I don’t worry about it being perfect, either - my boyfriend often makes fun of the sprouts of hair that make me resemble Alfalfa from Little Rascals, but I think it sends the message that I don’t take myself too seriously.