Leading Ladies: Who Are Yours?

July 20, 2009

Country Living has this thing they do each year where they shine the spotlight on a handful of inspirational women who have turned their passion into profits. This year, they’ve selected 6 and posted them some time ago now but I stumbled upon it again today and thought about how important it is to tell those who have inspired us that they have in fact done so. Many of us do this through blogging, I write about those who have touched my life on a daily basis and honoring in this small way means a lot to me. I thought that for a moment we could all pause for a moment and reflect on those who are currently on our radar, who are inspiring us to live the best life possible, and who either directly or indirectly helped us to rise up and meet a challenge, personal or otherwise.

Leading Ladies: Who Are Yours?

Are you ready? Would you like to participate? You can either shout them out on your blog and leave the link to your post below in the comments section or comment below with those who inspire you – you may or may not include links to their site/blog – that’s up to you. This is not a popularity contest or meant to be anything like it, but I would like to know who you find to be helpful, caring, sincere, talented and all those good things — who you think really leads in the sense that they inspire you personally to do great things. My leading ladies number into the thousands, but I will participate in the comments section below with a few I’ve chosen to honor.

So tell me, who are your leading ladies?

(image: country living magazine)


  • Reply Alissa July 20, 2009 at 1:28 pm

    Ooh, not easy to narrow it down, but what a great idea! From a business perspective I really admire Jena over at Modish She’s always got a full plate, yet never misses a beat–she’s got a tremendous sense of style and a real creative business savvy. I always look to her blog first when I’m struggling with something related to business. Plus she’s funny, charming and beautiful to boot!

    Other inspiring business pals are Jan of Daisy Janie, Michelle of Cicada Studio, Rachel of Fog and Thistle and Fiona of Cafe Cartolina.

    From a different point of view, not related necessarily to my business, is my own granny. Even at her age 83, she’s not slowed down a bit. Full of energy, full of life, always laughing and so easy to please!
    .-= Alissa´s last blog ..Meet the Bride–A Nantucket Wedding at the Beach =-.

  • Reply decor8 July 20, 2009 at 1:44 pm

    My leading ladies:

    My mother – She is battling with a health issue right now and is so strong and lovely, doing all she can to get through it. I love my mother so much, she has always been my #1 leading lady.

    My Ob/Gyn – I know this is weird to nominate a doctor, but I absolutely love this lady and how much time she takes to answer questions but also how she always makes me leave her office feeling strong and confident and beautiful. I never in my life thought a visit to an Ob/Gyn would ever be pleasant but I this lady is top notch and makes you feel so proud to be female.

    My friend Esra – I can’t speak highly of this lady enough. She inspires me because she’s very hard working, extremely caring and giving, and very loyal and definitely not a flake or surface… we always have the best time together – from shopping to dining out. I also love our weekly “ladies lunch” — it’s a special time for me to make myself slow down for a few hours and enjoy the company of a good friend.

    Leslie Shewring – She’s my new writer on decor8 and I just love her style and personality — I can’t wait to see more of her work and to share everything she has to offer with my readers.

    Fernanda Bourlet – Fernanda is such an inspiration to me, she is an interior designer and Boston shop owner and I adore her work and how lovely she is as a person…

    Rebecca – my agent – What an amazing lady! Gosh! I have no words to describe how much I appreciate her.

    Alex Beauchamp – What a fine, fine human being. She is lovely inside, outside and extremely caring and genuine. She recently did something REALLY nice for me and I’ll never forget it.

    And there are many, many more: everyone in my BYW class (awesome women!), Tara Hogan, Nicole Robertson, Tiina, Nicole from Delicious Days, Michelle from Design Evolution, Melissa from Melissa Loves, Julianne from CreateGirl, Shanon, Pia, Sia, Danielle, Anna Spiro, Victoria Smith, Susannah Conway, Irene Hoofs, Petra Hassan, Kelly Rae, Maryam Montague, Vanessa De Vargas, Michelle Caplan, Kat Davy, Mati Rose, Shanon Gass, Vicki from Simply Hue, Shannon Fricke, Amy Butler, Emma… the list could go on and on and on and for this I am so, so grateful.

  • Reply maryam in marrakech July 20, 2009 at 3:55 pm

    Oh my goodness, so thankful to see myself included on this list esp since you know, Holly, that I started blogging b/c of you and it has changed my life so completely. Others on my list include my best friend Anna Wang and my darling friend Maryam Sagheb. Also Delphine Warrin, who taught me how to use manual on my camera and my generous boss, Marina Fanning. I am so grateful to you and to them.

  • Reply Amy July 20, 2009 at 3:58 pm

    Hello, Holly!
    This is a great idea–I’m so happy to participate! My first leading lady is my dear friend Karin who has been facing and fighting breast cancer for the better part of a year without one single drop of self-pity and a sense of humor and vibrancy and love of life that constantly amaze me….My second is my children’s school principal. She is strong, and fair, and expects only the best–not only from the kids, but from everyone. And she is an inspiration to me daily… And last, my number one leading lady is my own mother, who has faced challenges you wouldn’t believe, but has always, always believed in me (and my girls). I could never begin to express the gratitude I feel for her…I plan to tell each of these amazing, inspiring women what they mean to me, thanks to your lovely post.
    Thank you!
    .-= Amy´s last blog ..handheld love =-.

  • Reply simply hue July 20, 2009 at 4:11 pm

    Aww, thanks Holly. :) You have been a huge inspiration to ME……yours was the first blog I ever read and now I’m having so much fun and finding so much reward with my own!

    So, I was going to list you, my precious Mom who loves so unconditionally, my friend Debbie who I’ve known since we were sophomores in high school, and my sweet friend Pattie who always has an encouraging word and never says anything unkind about anyone.

    In the blogosphere it’s been Heather of Gathering Spriggs and Rachel of Design Lovely. I’ve been getting to know Leslie from A Creative Mint, too, and they’re all great people.

    Great post, Holly. This could get long! xo
    .-= simply hue´s last blog ..Monday Morning Inspiration =-.

  • Reply leslie July 20, 2009 at 4:47 pm

    Holly thank you! I am so touched to be on your list. You are one of my leading ladies and have totally helped me into a new creative chapter of my life. so thank you. big time.

    Just a few of my leading ladies are my mom and my sister who I could not survive without. My dear girlfriends: Carrie, Cara, Julie, Lois, Carolyn and Angela. My Aunt. My lovely step-daughter Caitlin. My friend Rousi.

    Just a few of the many inspiring gals from the blog world who amaze me: Ez, Nicola , Susannah, Aran , Vicki , Heather, Wini, Amanda, Livy, Julie, Constanca and Shannon…I am sure I have forgotten some! But thank you all.
    .-= leslie´s last blog ..A Little Preview =-.

  • Reply gina July 20, 2009 at 4:47 pm

    I was just on my way out the door but couldn’t resist commenting..
    I am sure you will hear this often here, but Holly you changed my perspective with her kindness and generosity, I now see more potential in things than ever. Thank you:)

    My dear friend Laura, who I have known forever, she is an incredible chef and gardener, a fantastic party thrower, and when I call to tell her I’m in trouble, she comes running, and usually with a good bottle of red.

    My Auntie Susan, because she never let difficult times ever get in the way of still enjoying life to its fullest.

    and my thursday night ladies….some of my mom friends in the neighborhood get together at 9 pm every thursday, just to hang out and be friends, no kids, no husbands, just chicks laughing until it hurts. I appreciate these women so much and look forward to getting together with them every week, just to celebrate friendship.

    I know once I hit submit I will think of someone I should have mentioned…such is me. Thank you Holly for another inspiring post

    xo Gina
    .-= gina´s last blog ..Equal Time =-.

  • Reply simply hue July 20, 2009 at 4:50 pm

    Just thought I would mention that you’ve not only inspired me when it comes to blogging, Holly, but by the way you live your life. You grab it by the horns and live it to the fullest! And, you manage to be kind and gracious along the way. ;)
    .-= simply hue´s last blog ..Monday Morning Inspiration =-.

  • Reply Suzy Lorenzen July 20, 2009 at 5:55 pm

    This lady inspires me every day:

    An extremely talented artist and an equally wonderful friend.
    .-= Suzy Lorenzen´s last blog ..How I see it =-.

  • Reply Danielle July 20, 2009 at 6:00 pm

    Hi Holly,
    I love this idea. I have so many women in my life who inspire me. I am sure too many to list.

    I have two friends who are worth checking out. They both have creative spirit and drive that makes a successful entreprenuer. They both have turned a passion into a profitable business.

    Jess Hogan is an illustrator and designer in Edmonton, AB, Canada. She runs her own design company VRSE. She started pretty much right out of school with a friend and has continued to thrive. Every year she designs and sells a calendar to raise funds for an organ donation foundation. Her little brother died while waiting for a transplant. You can check out her site here: and her etsy shop here: She has a wonderful sense of style and true love for the art form. I feel lucky to have her in my circle of creative friends.

    Crystal Driedger is an illustrator from Edmonton, AB as well. Her work is beautiful and has a wonderful style. She left her job to go on her own and has done fantastic. She is also a new mother and even though baby is keeping her busy she still finds time to draw and paint. You can check out her blog here: and site

    Thanks Holly! Great post!

    PS- you definitely make it on my list of inspiring people as well!


  • Reply Julieann July 20, 2009 at 8:51 pm

    You are just a ray of light, thanks for including me on your list!! I LOVE this idea, its so nice to slow down and be thankful!

    My list starts with my mom and Gram, 2 amazingly strong, loving ladies that I am lucky to have in my corner.

    With every job I take one or 2 people as my “forever friends” when I leave and interesting enough they are all creative, incredibly supportive leading ladies – Adele, Jill and Vero!

    By blogging I feel the love and encouragement everyday, it gives me the confidence to keep going! These are leading ladies who know their voice, their niche and are just entertaining to visit every day!

    Holly you are AMAZING!! Whenever I think of giving up I think of your story and how you started Decor8. Your support and constant optimistic outlook are incredibly inspiring!

    Cassandra from Coco+Kelley
    Dana Cordova over at cordovadesign
    Leslie at Creative Mint
    Crystal (a new blog/twitter friend) Plush Palate
    Vitania @ Verdigris
    The best I can do is show these ladies some blog love and I hope you will too!!!!
    .-= Julieann´s last blog ..Ballard Designs Delivers A Custom Outdoor =-.

  • Reply cassandra @ cocokelley July 20, 2009 at 9:03 pm

    this is a fantastic post and idea holly! love it. i will have to do a little thinking and shout out to some fab women on my blog this week!! thank you for leading the way to inspiration!

  • Reply veda July 21, 2009 at 2:55 am

    wow thats really good!

    my first inspiration among ladies are:

    1. My grandmother for her strength, cooking, and her amazing willpower!

    2. My mother from whom I have learnt that no matter what others think and behave with you…You should always be good…which is hard i know…..but seeing her I have realised that so many people love her for this. She always encourages me and never says “This or that is not possible”.

    3. Talking of Inspiration in the creative field….
    Geninne’s Art Blog….She blows me away with her creativity and Simplicity!

    4. I like all the works of Georgia O’Keeffe. What a fabulous artist she was!

    5. Holly of decor8….why? naturally becoz of ur amazing blog, which gives us an insight to all the artists around the world, Ur enterprising skills! and I can go on and on about you Dear!

    There are so many people that I want to mention….All the amazing artists around the world….amazing bloggers! Keep Inspiring!

    Thank you so much for this lovely post again!

    .-= veda´s last blog ..INSPIRE ME THURSDAY- TOPIC – Owl =-.

  • Reply lanne July 21, 2009 at 4:14 am

    I am adding Barb Uil of Barb is a very talented photographer who i have always admired. We were lucky enough to be able to have a session with her this weekend and she was just as lovely in person.

    And my lovely american shabby friend – Shabby Miss Jenn of A true leader in the digital scrapbooking scene and .. oh so talented. She is about as sweet as apple pie too. :)

    And last but not least my friend Robyn who is a high school art teacher and my life mentor.. no web address… not sure i could share her anyway ;)

  • Reply Shira July 21, 2009 at 6:32 am

    I would put my favorite design blogs on the list, which would be yours, Grace from Design Sponge (I also love how she has business tips on her site as well) and the lovely women of Desire to Inspire.

    In my non-design world I admire Erin at who is currently going through some serious health issues and isn’t afraid to share them with the world and who lost her son and had the strength to get through it marriage in tact and adopt special needs children. Both of them write about their daily trials and tribulations with a much needed sense of humor that can leave you crying with laughter.
    .-= Shira´s last blog ..The beauty of public water gardens =-.

  • Reply Toni Brockliss July 21, 2009 at 7:12 am

    Pip from is my inspirational role model.
    Pip runs a her store, makes fantastic crafty things, writes books, has a family, cooks and is a stylish trendsetter. Pip also
    runs Brown Owls and is a just a great person.
    Pip’s like the McGyver of the craft world. If you gave her a piece of old paper and a paperclip she would turn it into something ace.
    She is my inspiration.
    .-= Toni Brockliss´s last blog ..i love orange! =-.

  • Reply christy July 21, 2009 at 8:13 am

    great post! i have an amazing friend who inspires me every day! jennifer, at is a sweet, caring entrepreneur who creates natural products that are good for the skin + earth, strives to educate women and give back to the community. she works non-stop, cheerfully, to not just make money, but to change the world one bar of soap at a time. her faith, work ethic + dedication to soap for hope ( is a constant encouragement in my life.

  • Reply tara g July 21, 2009 at 8:46 am

    I have two leading ladies right now:

    Jan from Daisy Janie – who is not only gracious as a woman & friend but a gracious business person as well. She created such a beautiful & inspiring blog in Scoutie Girl and passed it off to me last week so that we could both realize our hopes & dreams for the future!

    My mom – Rosie from Rosie’s Whimsy ( even at 50+ she is making plans and realizing new goals for her business. Every day her vision evolves and grows – I hope I have the same entrepreneurial spirit when I’m her age!

    Thanks for the chance to give a shout out!
    .-= tara g´s last blog ..Brief Introductions: ME+MAC =-.

  • Reply Laura July 21, 2009 at 10:10 am

    This is such a wonderful idea – I am smiling reading through everyone’s lists of “leading ladies” :) I’m giving this a bit of thought and I’ll be back later with a list!
    .-= Laura´s last blog ..Daily Mood: In The Deep Blue Sea of Dreams =-.

  • Reply KariAnne July 21, 2009 at 12:18 pm

    My leading lady… Jennifer or Jenna as I call her. Her hubby David and her just adopted an adorable baby girl from Russia. Jennifer is a civil engineer but makes hats and jewelry in her extra time. Not only does she make her hats and jewelry from scratch she is extremely talented at what she does. Check out her beautiful hats at

  • Reply tiina July 21, 2009 at 4:34 pm

    this is lovely! one can never praise anough other brave women (men too!!). i actually had an interview a couple of days ago with lovely Jessica Rust, one of the 6 ladies featured in Country Living. come to me and have a look!

    i am so inspired by all the women who put time and effort in creating stuff and promoting others’ too. i admire Jen at MadeByGirl, you Holly since when i wasn’t even blogging yet i always ended up here to read everything. i admire DesignSponge too, her female entrepreneurs network, and miss Madonna for being such a bad ass girl and doing her thing since many decades ago. to name a few… Have a happy day girls!
    .-= tiina´s last blog ..loveliest tableware: Jessica Rust Designs =-.

  • Reply decor8 July 21, 2009 at 7:54 pm

    I love all of these shout outs, it’s wonderful to see that so many appreciate others and aren’t shy about saying so. :)

  • Reply stephanita July 22, 2009 at 7:44 pm

    This inspired me to do a post about leading ladies, and some who’ve inspired/informed me in my work & life:

    Cheers by the women in our lives!
    .-= stephanita´s last blog ..Inspiration: Leading Ladies =-.

  • Reply ROOM design studio July 25, 2009 at 11:54 am

    they are never a final list.. always keeps on building.

    Sunday Suppers ladies inspire me and are my heroes in starting this unique idea

    LuLu Guiness

    Aran from Canille et Vanille

    The Farm Chicks

    Heather Bullard

    Pia Jane bijkerk

    Zoe from Zoe Bakes

    Shanon Fricke
    .-= ROOM design studio´s last blog ..I’d eat Breakfast ALL day! =-.

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