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Five Questions with Beth Kirby

Beth Kirby

Beth Kirby is a Tennessee-based stylist, photographer, writer, and recipe developer whose work unveils the beauty in life’s simplicity. From styling an elegant table setting to making a southern supper with fresh, local ingredients, Beth inspires us to savor the everyday. Her popular blog, Local Milk, was recently chosen as a Best Food Blog by Saveur Magazine for its stunning photography, and its name serves is a metaphor for Beth’s belief in living in the present: “finding sustenance (milk) where you are and when you are there (local).”

Here is a favorite Steller by Beth: 


1.  How has being from the South influenced your work?

There’s a darkness, a humidity, a lush chaos that my work is inevitably infused with. And that’s the South. It’s moonlight & magnolias. I couldn’t shake it if I tried. Between that affinity for southern gothic & compulsive need to work buttermilk or sorghum into anything I can, my work is categorically southern and will be no matter where in the world I end up living.

2.  Why do you think that cooking is the art of living?

Well, because it very literally is. We have to eat to stay alive. We can’t do anything else unless we eat. The biological reality is that food is the very stuff that is transmuted into the energy to love or paint or pay the water bill. To turn it into art is to turn survival into an art. It lifts up our most basic, physical need.

3.  If you were to host a small gathering of friends this weekend, what would you serve?

Oh man! I’ve been traveling so much all I can think about making is caramelized milk porridge. Ha! Okay. So it’s coming up on fall now (I just got back from spring in Australia so I have spring cooking brain!) I would make something so simple. Fresh pasta with foraged greens, fennel pollen, farm eggs, and some local cheese & country ham fried crispy. A huge salad of whatever looks good at the market with my favorite raw honey, pink peppercorn, & shallot sherry vinaigrette. Homemade bread. Cultured butter. Kombucha to drink. And one last batch of earl grey caramel ice cream to serve with a seasonal galette. Probably throw some flowers in there somewhere. Cause that’s how I do.

4.  One of your Steller collections is called Quotidian.  Could you tell us more about your thoughts on the quotidian as art?

It’s very much an extension of my love of cooking. I think we oftentimes think art is somewhere “out there.” We disregard our daily lives—our morning coffees, our dishes, our sleep. But I think those things are as worthy of the novel, of art, as any cosmic love affair. When we regard those mundane moments as art, when we try to make them beautiful & sensual, we lift up the very fabric of our days. We say normal is exceptional. We say we’re worth it. Life becomes an intentional act instead of a mindless blur, and we start to see beauty, a kind of peace, in the every day.

5.  What are some of your favorite Steller stories?

My three favorite stories (so far) are:

Moving Pictures by @chrisbelcina  

Moments in the Kitchen by @tifforelie

Light Leaks by @LuisaBrimble.  

I love the variety of ways they use Steller:  visual storytelling, abstract art, recipes, DIYs… The possibilities are endless, and it’s great to see people exploring them! 

To see more from Beth on Steller:

Search user @local_milk in the app or on our website at steller.co

Download Steller for free:  www.appstore.com/steller


This Week’s Featured Authors

 Click/tap the story below to see the top five authors of the week.


For more news and updates, follow us on TwitterFacebook + Instagram. 

This Week’s Featured Authors

Check out this week’s featured authors on Steller.


Click/tap the story above to see the five top authors of the week.

For more news and updates, follow us on TwitterFacebook + Instagram. 

Five Questions with Tiffany Mitchell

Nichole Robertson

Tiffany Mitchell (@tifforelie) is a stylist, baker, photographer, and illustrator based in Lexington, KY. She is the author of lifestyle blog Offbeat + Inspired, which focuses on everything from recipes to fashion and adventure. Tiffany is also a talented fashion illustrator and was recently asked to create a series of illustrations to be sold exclusively on ShopRuche.com.  In all of her work Tiffany inspires us to find beauty in the everyday and to live our lives creatively.

Here is one of our favorites Stellers by Tiffany:


1.  What does living creatively mean to you?

To me, living creatively means uncovering your true passion and learning to express it daily in whatever way feels the most “you”. I believe that creativity isn’t limited to obviously “artistic” mediums like painting or music. It’s so ingrained in us that it can be lived out in countless ways — how you decorate a space, how you cook a meal, the places you travel, the clothes you wear. It’s raw, real, everyday life and letting people get to know you by sharing what you love.

2.  Could you tell us more about your beautiful fashion illustrations?

I’m so glad you think they’re beautiful!! I started creating fashion illustrations because of my passion for styling. I loved that I could dream up outfits and bring them to life simply with pencil and paper. That grew into what I do now! I’ve been lucky enough to work with some amazing companies like Copic Marker, Hobo The Original, Ruche and Zooey Magazine who have featured my work and really helped me grow in that area. I look forward to a lot more illustrating!

3.  Why do you think it is so fulfilling to make your own soap?

Creating anything from scratch is fulfilling. Creating soap from scratch is especially fulfilling because it’s a necessity that directly affects the health of your body and skin. I compare it to cooking with whole ingredients. If you’re putting it in you or on you, it should be pure! Aside from the health reasons, exploring all the oils, clays and herbs you can work with to craft a homemade bar of soap is completely addicting. At the end of a soaping project, I feel like I’ve gotten to play, learn, create and improve my health all at the same time!

4.  Autumn is almost here - what do you like most about the upcoming season?

Oh my. So many things. I love the “winding down” season. If a year was a day, fall would be dusk. The time people are getting home from work, changing into their comfy clothes, putting on a good movie and spending quality time with loved ones. It’s the cozy season. It’s when spending the day in my kitchen, warmed by a busy oven is most satisfying. It’s when I get to don fluffy socks first thing in the morning, make a cup of spiced tea and watch the trees go vibrant from my living room window. The slowing down that happens in the fall gives me a whole new set of things to be inspired by — the fashion, the seasonal fruits and veggies, the recipes, the traditions — it’s also the time of year I start watching Gilmore Girls from season 1. This is an annual affair…and I’m not ashamed!

5.  What are some of your favorite Steller stories?

@rickpoon's “mount tamalpais" captures the ethereal beauty of the northern Californian hills. His writing is equally beautiful!

@ValentinaS's “Through the Cities of Veneto" shows off the beautiful structures and delicious food to be discovered in Veneto, Italy. Her photography and narratives are captivating and this story made me crave a visit to each and every place she went.

@harryfricker's “WEST" is simple and stunning. He shares his journey across the Canadian Rockies to British Columbia in search of the perfect surfing waves.

To see more from Tiffany on Steller:

Search user @tifforelie in the app or on our website at steller.co

Download Steller for free:  www.appstore.com/steller


This Week’s Featured Authors

Check out this week’s featured authors on Steller.


Click/tap the story above to see the five top authors of the week.

For more news and updates, follow us on TwitterFacebook + Instagram. 

Five Questions with Jeff Bartlett

Nichole Robertson

Jeff Bartlett is an adventurer, photographer, and writer based in Jasper National Park, Alberta, Canada.  In his blog, The Adventure Freelancer, he explores both the art of adventure - the inspiring stories and and photography that motivate people to get outside, and also the craft of adventure - the intricate details like route planning and technical outdoor skills, along with writing and photography techniques.  Through his work Jeff hopes to motivate people to discover the outdoors.  “In the end, I hope, simply, to provide the tools required to: Get Inspired. Go Outside. Explore.”

Check out this Steller by Jeff:


1.  How did you manage to turn a love of adventure into a career?

I simply followed my passions for outdoor activities. I have always been a skier, cyclist, and hiker. I love camping and adventure travel. I used to work a series of odd jobs to pay the bills. On two occasions, I’ve taken “career” oriented jobs only to become unhappy sitting in an office. After a while, I realized I would only stick to a job if I was doing what I loved, so I took what I’d learned about storytelling in journalism school and used it to tell compelling stories about the outdoors.  

2.  How did a gap year in 2002 turn into a ten-year journey as an “adventure nomad?”

My travels are always adventure-driven. I went to New Zealand to cycle tour, to Scandinavia to backcountry ski, and to South America to backcountry ski and hike the Andes. I barely thought of myself as a traveler, but in retrospect, I realize the term “adventure nomad” might be accurate but it seems ridiculous to say. I was simply doing what I loved in interesting places and fortunate to have either good paying seasonal work early on or a growing collection of editorial outlets to help foot the bill.

Living on the road is tough, and my photography and writing career has really grown since I settled in Jasper National Park. Having a home base makes work more productive, and I’ve been traveling frequently but for shorter time periods. In the next year, I hope to spend some time abroad, as I haven’t left North America in way too long. 

3.  What’s the secret to having having more successes than failures?

I think any photographer and writer would laugh at this question. I’ve been incredibly fortunate, but I’ve had way more failures than successes. We all have, but its the nature of the work. Editors will turn down stories and photos won’t make the magazine. I’ve had a magazine go out of business while I was on assignment. I’ve broken camera gear and shot an entire morning with no memory card. This year is the first I haven’t had to supplement my income with part-time work.

But the secret to doing well and growing a portfolio is to simply work hard. It’s a job like any other, except I have to ask for work and deliver on my assignments. I try to send out three query letters or assignment requests per week. I’ve never missed a deadline and I usually try to over deliver. I obey my alarm clock, even if it’s set for 4:00AM to beat the sunrise to location.

4.  What has been your best travel experience yet?

There are way too many to select even a top five list, never mind a single favorite  It’s a balance between seeing beautiful landscapes and enjoying the company of incredible people. I met my wife while backpacking South America and convinced her our honeymoon should be a 5000 km cycle tour along Argentina’s Ruta 40. I visited a friend in Tromos, Norway, and spent a few weeks ski touring the Lyngen Alps. Most recently, I completed a 4-day bike packing trip in British Columbia’s Chilcotin Mountains and it was simply incredible from start to finish, yet it doesn’t compare to the truly epic moments like blasting the 8600-ft descent on Volcan Lanin in boot-top powder, day hiking the abandoned TransAndino railway, hiking the Torres Del Paine Circuit, and trying to find a solid dinner in Bolivia.  Yvon Chouinard, who founded the Patagonia brand summed it up nicely when he said “Real adventure is defined best as a journey from which you may not come back alive, and certainly not as the same person.”

5.  What are some of your favorite Steller stories?

Fruita – A Weekend in the high desert by @Adeibold

Camp in the Clouds – by @Jenaltman

Adventures in Bolivia – by @Cpondella

Burning Desire – by @BrunoLong

Iceland in Motion – by @SpencerAlbers

To see more from Jeff on Steller:

Search user @photojbartlett in the app or on our website at steller.co

Download Steller for free:  www.appstore.com/


This Week’s Featured Authors

Check out this week’s featured authors on Steller.


Click/tap the story above to see the five top authors of the week.

For more news and updates, follow us on TwitterFacebook + Instagram. 

Five Questions with Michelle Kaufmann

Nichole Robertson

Michelle Kaufmann is an architect, designer, author, and advocate for sustainable and accessible design. Her work has been widely featured on television and in major publications, and her homes have been showcased in a number of museums, including a full-size model home in the National Building Museum in Washington, DC. She is the author of Prefab Green, a book that outlines her green design principles and the benefits of constructing buildings off-site in a factory. Most recently Michelle co-founded FLUX, a Google-backed software start-up working on the future of architecture. She and her husband, Kevin, live in Marin County, CA in a home they designed and built themselves.

Check out this Steller by Michelle:


1.   Why did you decide to start working with prefabrication?

After working for years with Frank Gehry (which I loved), I started my own firm with a mission to make thoughtful, sustainable design affordable, timely, and, therefore, accessible. I chose modular construction as a means to that end and spent years stalking factories to learn how they build, where their efficiencies and possibilities are, and the potentials of mixing existing systems with new materials and approaches.

Over the last half century in the U.S., we have been using innovation in every industry other than home construction to streamline the delivery process. When you also consider that buildings account for more than 50 percent of the energy consumed in the U.S. and produce about that share of our CO2-equivalent emissions, you can draw two conclusions: this is insane AND it is an amazing opportunity for architects. We can help make things better.

2.  What is the mission of FLUX?

Many architects strive for simplicity in their designs, and yet forget to think about creating simplicity in their lives and how they work. Our profession is not an easy one. It requires a lot of knowledge on many things, much communication, and effective coordination. This often translates to long hours with little pay and not as much time with our families and friends as we would like. Many of us also no longer have as much time to design as we want. We can change this, though. We can rethink how we work to maximize efficiencies for the parts that can be repeated so we can have more time to innovate on other parts. Simplicity in our lives should be designed as much as simplicity in our work.

This is part of the reason that we started Flux. Flux’s mission is to spread design knowledge and improve the accessibility of design tools in order to help meet the world’s demand for durable, sustainable buildings.

3.  What was it like to work under two giant figures in your field:  Frank Gehry and Michael Graves?

I drew much inspiration from the work of my mentors Michael Graves and Frank Gehry, two of contemporary architecture’s most remarkable practitioners. Although best known for their iconic building designs, both Graves and Gehry are also product designers. Michael Graves was one of the first contemporary architects to venture beyond the realm of building design into product design. This really helped me to think about sustainable buildings like product industrial designers.

4.  What inspires your creativity?

The landscape. Whether it be the canyon walls of the Missouri River in Montana, watching the sunset melt into the ocean’s horizon, or the form of sand dunes at Point Reyes, I find that I am most inspired after being outside with my husband, Kevin.

5.  What are some of your favorite Steller stories?

I love Nick Frank (@vuuus) - both his “Subways” and his “Concrete Living” stories. There is poetry in modest settings with an architectural eye. We can find beauty in almost everything if we look closely enough.

To see more from Michelle on Steller:

Search user @mkaufmann in the app or on our website at steller.co

Download Steller for free:  www.appstore.com/


This Week’s Featured Authors

You don’t want to miss this week’s featured authors on Steller.


Click/tap the story above to see the four top authors of the week.

For more news and updates, follow us on TwitterFacebook + Instagram. 

Five Questions with Brian McAniff and Karen Poole

Karen Poole Brian McAniff

Karen Poole and Brian McAniff are brother and sister co-founders of Steller. Since their childhood in Seattle, they’ve been drawn to design and technology.  When their life paths landed them both in the Bay Area, they decided it was time to merge their talents and start up something new.  Soon they set up shop in a garage and Steller was born.  Karen’s experience in visual design and Brian’s background as a user experience designer made for the perfect pairing to build a new storytelling app on mobile.

Here are a couple of favorite Stellers from Karen and Brian:

1. How did the idea for Steller come about?

B -  In some ways the idea was pretty simple.  Telling stories is one of the most basic things that we do as humans… it’s the way we hold on to our traditions and pass on our memories.

K - During the summer of 2012, we spent many (MANY) late nights brainstorming how to transform this simple idea into a product that could take advantage of videos, photos, and text, all from a mobile phone.  

2. What roles do you each play at Steller?

B -  Karen and I work really closely together on all aspects of product design.  When we aren’t designing new features for Steller we spend a lot of time brainstorming new ideas.

K -  Sometimes debating new ideas!  It has been great to work with someone I know so well.  In the past I’ve worked more independently as a designer, so it’s been really fun to have the opportunity to collaborate on Steller with my brother.

3.  If you could time travel to one year from now, where do you see yourselves?

B -  I used to think one year was a long period of time, but I have to say it’s beginning to seem much shorter. The future is uncertain, but I hope I am still learning and experiencing new things. If I can stay true to that, I will be happy wherever I am next year.

K -  One of the really cool things that has happened this year is that I have met so many amazing new people through Steller.  I’m so inspired by this community and hope that in the next year we can continue to build on it as a place where people can be creative and feel inspired to share their stories.   (And maybe we’ll finally move out of the garage!)

4.  What do you like to do when you aren’t working on Steller?

B -  I spend a lot of free time working. On the side I love to exercise and spend time with family and friends. And if you see me around a ping pong table I take all challengers as well!.

K -  Outside of Steller I am a mom of three busy kids.  I love spending time with my family and going on spontaneous adventures together.  My family would probably say I need to put my phone down more often, but in my defense I am documenting memories!  In addition to photography I love painting, nature, the open road, and watching my kids grow and learn.

5.  What are some of your favorite Steller stories?

B -  Too many to include here, but a few that come to mind are @yelldesign’s “Rip It Up,” @devin’s “NEPENTHE” and @londonbusred’s “Iceland.”

K -  I’m constantly blown away by all of the creative, insightful and heartwarming stories that people are sharing.  I adore @mstetsondesign’s “Dear Stetson” series that she creates to document each month of her baby’s life.  I also love @paperfashion’s “Red Dress” - it’s so beautiful and peaceful to watch her paint.  And @local_milk’s “Coffee - The Ritual” is beautiful and reminds me to slow down and enjoy life’s little moments.

To see more from Karen and Brian on Steller:

Search users @brian and @karen in the app or on our website at steller.co

Download Steller for free:  www.appstore.com/steller