Meet Lisa Shenkle from Magnolia Blue!
Today I am delighted to introduce you Lisa Shenkle, Creator and owner of Magnolia Blue!
In Magnolia Blue, Lisa shares her love for celebrating the American Coastal South and she believes that every occasion in life should be celebrated. She enjoys traveling, eating out, and connecting with people in many different places!
"Gathered around the table, stories are told memories are created and love is abundantly grown." ~ The Heaping Harvest via Lisa Shenkle @southernskiesnrisingtides (her Instagram handle)
Questions for Lisa
Q: Lisa, it’s truly a pleasure having you here on the blog. Can you tell us about yourself, where did you grow up and how did your childhood influence your life and your path?
Hi, Ceci, thank you for your interest in Magnolia Blue and in me! I’m very excited to be part of a blog with someone who is so in tune with the southern coastal audience.
I was born and raised in Maryland, just outside Washington, D.C. We grew up in a neighborhood where we walked to our grade school and everyone knew one another – our school had Christmas Bazaars and bake sales, and in good weather we all road our bikes, played games and in the summer, my brother and I read all season long!
Both my mother and father are/were ‘detail’ people – they noticed everything from architectural accents on buildings to the colors of the sky to embroidery on clothing and textiles. Moreover, they included us in those conversations. They carried this penchant for detail into everything they did and I like to think that this influenced me in being detail-oriented in my public relations career, as well as in everything I do with Magnolia Blue.
Q: As a child what did you want to be when you grew up?
My brother jokes about that by saying I wanted to be a “ballet-dancing-nun-nurse!” Haha! I did take classical ballet between the ages of 8 and 16. Next to writing, ballet was my first love. My father had other ideas, however, and he intended for me to attend college instead of joining a dance troupe.
Q: Where did you go to college and did you learn anything in there that helped you do what you are doing today?
I attended the University of Maryland as an English Literature major. During my time there, I reluctantly decided to join a sorority (I say ‘reluctantly’ because I had just graduated from an all-girls school!) – and that was one of the single best decisions, for myself, that I ever made. It really developed my team mentality and leadership skills. Those friends remain among those closest to me today.
Q: What inspired you to start Magnolia Blue? Do you have any experience in retail?
When my husband accepted a job nearly 10 years ago in northeast Florida, I would drive every six weeks or so between Maryland and Florida with our two terriers. At the time, I owned my own public relations business and had since 1998 and was quite busy with that – but I felt like I always wanted to do something else.
Along the drives, leaving Florida and entering Georgia, I’d witness the stunning beauty of the marshes throughout the seasons. When stopping off of I95, I’d experience some of the shops along the way, like Carolina Cider in South Carolina, or Peach World in Georgia, and the amazing garden center, DeWayne’s in North Carolina – all very different, but all an important part of the fabric of the south. My parents are originally from Pennsylvania and I was the only member of my family born south of the Mason-Dixon line. For me, being different in my family, suddenly southern, captivated me and I found that when I travel to places, I’m my most comfortable in the south. I have very strong MidAtlanticsensibilities, but I feel the most at home anywhere between Maryland and farther south. My obsession with the south, in nearly every way, from nature and vegetation to style and even cultures, from state to state, brought me to the concept of Magnolia Blue.
The only retail experience I have was pre-college, but I have my black belt in shopping! Seriously, over the years, one compliment that resonated with me from co-workers and was that I have a good radar for choosing the right gifts for people. That doesn’t mean I didn’t make mistakes! However, I think by being detail-oriented, like my parents, means that I not only listen to people, it means that I notice nuances with certain products that might make those items special. Magnolia Blue is the convergence of my love of the south through my writing and blogging, and my abilities to locate – I hope – products that create, or add to, a mood or sensibility that resonates “coastal south.”
Q: How do you define your style?
I would define my personal style as “transitional.” My roots are embedded in classic lines, both in décor and in my wardrobe – but I always try to look for something that gives it a more contemporary feel. Personally, my default is Navy blue, but I cannot stay away from pinks, greens and shades of blue.
Q: Where do you find inspirations?
Inspiration comes in all forms, but I’d say most likely nature – and the creativity of the human spirit. I am in awe of artists and creators just like you. One of my goals with Magnolia Blue is to support southern art and artists, or those who have a southern sensibility with their art, no matter where they are.
Q: How do you decide where to travel next? Also what are some of your favorite places that you visit regularly and why?
Caregiving for my mother is my biggest priority and has been over the last 2.5 years. Every day, whether it’s administrative tasks – banking, bills, medical follow-up, or if it’s more personal, running errands, taking her to appointments, working with the assisted living facility, my time is primarily focused on my mother, so my travel is not very extensive at the moment – mostly long weekend trips that are not too distant from her.
For many years, however, my family, including my husband, would set out from Maryland to the northern Outer Banks. We stayed there for several years, primarily in Southern Shores. One of our last trips, we stayed in Corolla. My husband and I have been to Europe several times, and I’m always humbled by the history, artistry and cultural beauty of European countries, which is varied and rich.
Q: What are some of your favorite treasures in your home, and why?
It would always be difficult, if not impossible, to part with my blue and white porcelain. My mother influenced me with her collection, and I have pieces from everywhere – the Netherlands, Mexico, Portugal, China. I’ve been gifted pieces from friends, too, who seem to associate me with blue and white. When my husband and I do travel, I feel that the other items are small pieces of artwork we have picked up – something from a street artist in Paris, or a signed watercolor from New Orleans. We’ve been doing that for 30 years and every time I see something in our home from Newport or Athens, I recall the trip and the moment we bought the piece.
Q: Do you have any favorite collection?
My blue and white, or my various Wedgwood dinner patterns – and Cavendish, a now discontinued pattern, remains my very favorite since the age of about 16.
Q: For people who don’t know Magnolia Blue, can you describe how you came up with that name and also the name for your Instagram handle ?
The name, Magnolia Blue, had to encompass both a southern, and a coastal, feel. I tried various combinations, but many of them were already taken (like Southern Tide). I eventually settled on Magnolia Blue, feeling confident that it captures the spirit of the brand. The tag line for Magnolia Blue is: southern skies and rising tides, which also serves as my Instagram handle. The reason behind this is the old saying: the rising tide lifts all boats. Part of the mission of Magnolia Blue is to ‘lift up’ others. To celebrate entrepreneurs and artists, give voice to small business and culture in the south. If we help one another, we all rise – that, right there is my philosophy and has been throughout my life. I want Magnolia Blue to be a community of all of us helping one another!
Q: I understand that you like to eat out, can you tell us more about that? Which are some of your favorite restaurants and meals?
I enjoy dining out, but I’m not what I would consider a “food enthusiast” like others. I love a great cheeseburger, frankly, or crab cake, most any kind of seafood, or pasta - really. I am, however, obsessed with mixology, distilled spirits and cocktails. It’s less about the actual drinking than it is about the ceremony. Just like afternoon tea – which gives pause to the day, I love the concept of happy hour, whether the drinks are mock-or-cocktails. I like putting the pause button on, taking the moment to savor something delicious, whether that’s a lavenderlemonade or a botanical gin and tonic!
Q: When you aren’t busy working on Magnolia Blue, what do you enjoy doing in your free time?
When I had more free time, I used to volunteer and I wish I could do more of that. I’m obsessed with dogs, and will be growing the blog to include a dedicated dog blog and retail section. I volunteered to help rescues, in the past, and organized fundraisers. I also enjoy going to museums, historic homes and décor or furniture stores.
Q; What are 3 every day luxuries you could not live without?
Q: Anything else you would like to add?
As a life-long publicist, my goal is to help inform, bring joy, share unique finds and be a voice. I also appreciate support from my followers, too, for my work. Every “like” or “share” matters – and as someone who places a professional value on publicity, it means my gratitude never forgets – I never forget someone who helps lift me up, and share my message. We are all in this together, right?
Q: Where can people find you, let us know your social media handles and any other ways people can get in touch with you.
I invite everyone to come over to what I call ‘the front porch’ on Facebook where I share alternative content and engage our community in discussions about everything from southern sunsets to favorite recipes to home décor
Thank you Lisa, it was a pleasure having you in this space!
SHOP her website HERE Lisa is giving a coupon code for 15% OFF her website with coupon code DIGALINDA through 10/15, enjoy!