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Natalie d'Aubermont Thompson from Living By The Page

My name is Natalie d’Aubermont Thompson, I’m first generation Argentine-American…founder/CEO of Saltar Consulting and Living by the Page, mama to three and about to celebrate 15 years of marriage this summer to my husband David!

 

I grew up in Atlanta, GA and came to faith initially via my parents and church community (Northwest Presbyterian).  YoungLife staff were wonderful in challenging my faith in the high school context and InterVarsity at Tufts, where I went to college, was crucial in the deepening and maturing of my faith.  Meeting David in Washington DC after college was also key. I had never factored faith much into dating, and he was the first Christian guy I dated, or at least the first one to take his faith seriously. I loved how much he loved and honored the Lord but in a way that was freeing, not legalistic.  Being married definitely has it’s moments where “iron sharpens iron” but I appreciate how he’s pushed me to develop and grow as a daughter of Christ and use my gifts and talents accordingly. Since meeting in DC, we’ve lived in Durham, NC, London, UK and now, Ann Arbor, MI.    

 

Living by the Page was born out of a life-long passion of reading, communicating and writing.  My undergraduate at Tufts, and my Master’s from the London School of Economics were both in International Relations which speaks to my generalist nature as I adore the intersection of political science, anthropology, history and business. I love to read, travel (although that’s been a bit more naturally limiting since having children) and communicate so even though I’ve been running Saltar Consulting since 2010, I felt as if it were time to establish a new place/space where I could integrate these other passions.  Now at Living by the Page, you’ll be able to book coaching sessions (individually or workshops), get a glimpse into what I’m reading, as well as the kids, and hopefully walk away encouraged by where you are in your journey (single, grad school, parenthood, etc).

 

What I’ve learned by starting up Living by the Page is that not everything follows the traditional business plan.  Saltar Consulting was much more straightforward: website, business cards, networking, clients, etc.  For years I had blogged with the Huffington Post without really knowing what to do with it, just was walking through an open door and using it as a space to process out my thoughts on life.  It didn’t make sense to showcase that writing in my consulting capacity so I honestly wasn’t sure where to “put it” so to speak.  But I kept writing and then about a year ago, I decided to post reviews of the books that I was reading online via Instagram.  Again, there was no underlying business plan to this, I just got joy out of reading and sharing what I read and I have a private Instagram account (mainly of the kids antics, wink) and each time I posted a book review, I had a hunch that probably others outside of my intimate family and friends circle would be interested.  So about a year ago I created a public site (this was a big step for this non-Facebook gal!) and I’ve had such joy in connecting with like-minded bookworms.  Sometimes passions don’t make sense. What I’ve learned in this creative process is that you have to follow what makes your heart sing…over the last year I can see now how all the pieces of the puzzle are falling together; starting with my first Huffington Post op-ed back in 2013.  You can ask any friends/colleagues, my default setting is to achieve and this was one time where I did the opposite, I just let things unfold naturally in their own timeline.  God is constantly teaching me to simultaneously lean in, yet release control of the process.

 
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I stumbled across Tatiana's instragram a few months ago and fell in love with her unique yet simple jewelry. Her pieces are eye catching yet subtle, timeless yet modern and stunning but humble. I instantly fell in love. I had to know more about her. Who was she? How did she make this gorgeous stuff? Can she be my real life friend?? So lucky for you all- I got the answers to my burning questions.

 

Tatiana is a Bronx born and raised, temporary florida resident and Savannah living jewelry designer and creator. She is a wife to her hilarious husband of almost 5 years (garden wedding at night—SWOON!) and a mama to some adorable pets. She is one of those people you can't help but love. She is deeply authentic, adorably funny and just a breath of fresh air! She's the kind of person you want to  invite you over for dinner so you can eat good food, laugh way too hard and just soak up the good company. (road trip to Savannah anyone?!)

 

Faith walk: Tatiana grew up Catholic and learned a great deal from her Grandmother. Her grandmother served as a spiritual leader to Tatiana and led her in devotion for years. She was taught at a young age that a relationship with Jesus was the most important thing and that she could always go directly to her savior. When she was around 14, Tatiana attended a youth group service with her friend at a local Baptist church. She heard the gospel in a way that she could understand and took the next steps to follow jesus. Ironically enough, the first person at the church that was designated to speak to her after her life changing choice that night was her friends mom. #awkwardbutcool

 

Company: Prior to starting her minimalist jewelry company, Tatiana did social work with Big Brother Big Sister. Her heart for others has long since been part of her journey. Throughout life, Tatiana struggled with anxiety and was a bit of a worry wort. She was on the hunt for a healthy coping mechanism to help her deal with these challenges. She has always had an interest in art and she ended up meeting someone who used to work at Savannah College of Art and Design where she is currently working. The lady suggested she take a jewelry class with the city of Savannah. It was a 3 hour class once a week and she dove right in. The first technique she learned was enameling and she created a big gorgeous necklace. During this process, she got a bit frustrated. Her instructor told her that her piece had character and that’s what makes it cool. That day she learned a valuable lesson-

"It doesn’t work out the way you want all the time and that’s a lot like life."

This recovering perfectionist was on her road to embracing life's little imperfections. The next technique she learned was stamping. Her teacher noticed she had a great talent for that and suggested she keep at it. Tatiana had just recently gotten back from a trip to Ethiopia where she was helping to build a school. This village was in dire need of a school because at this point, the community only had access to an 8th grade education. She wanted to make jewelry to raise funds for them. Her goal was to make something that would keep the village of Wachuge at the forefront of her mind and that's when she created the stamped brass cuff with the name of the village on it.(GORGEOUS!)

After a while, Tatiana began to wear her own jewelry around and people began to comment on it. Informal orders began to come in and things started to take off. One of her friends from Project Runway was going to New York Fashion and asked Tatiana to create all of the jewelry for it. She created 16 pieces for her that also ended up being in LA Fashion week. She is currently in two boutiques and has done other fashion shows in Savannah.

[caption id="attachment_1199" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Straight from her website[/caption]

 

 

What She's learned: Tatiana spoke so transparently about this entire jewelry making process. She said she is constantly learning and still feels like a baby. She strives to stay as curious as she can and never wants to feel like she knows “a lot”. She isn’t afraid to ask questions and she is open to whatever opportunities God puts in her path. Her advice to the Feast Fam:

Stay open and be willing to do things and awesome things will happen. And work hard too.

 

Future: Tatiana intends to be totally open to whatever God has for her in the future. She intends to follow the holy spirit into new spaces and to continue to deepen her relationship with God. Her prayer is for God to show her people how He sees them and be a person who helps those in need.

 

 

Tatiana is a gem. I am so inspired by the way she uses her God given creativity to hand make these gorgeous pieces and simultaneously support a village across the world. She is living proof that we each have a role to play on earth and that all we have to do is tap into what is already in us. Beautiful things, internal and external come about when we dare to create and dare to believe.

 

 

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So I traveled to LA to see my sister and realized that one of my favorite Instagram friends lived there too. Her company Bibles & Coffee is an obsession of mine and I had to meet the girl behind the movement!

 

Jackie was all in for coffee so we met up in Culver city. I instantly knew we would be friends. Jackie has the warmest smile, the friendliest demeanor and the cutest style. Also, she had paint on her arms & the coolest tattoos. I was SOLD. #instantbesties. The second we sat down my eyes were glued to her personal painted bible. I grabbed it and examined the beauty I had seen so many times in Instagram photos. It was stunning. I was overwhelmed with the quality of her work and the questions started to swirl. Who was this girl? What was her story? Where did this idea come from? Will she let me hold her bible again?  So after 2 and a half hours of talking, sharing and laughing this is what I uncovered:

 

Background

Jackie: 25, craft-head, lover of fashion, covered in paint, fan of Iced Americano's, puppy mama, loving girlfriend to Mike.

 

Jackie wasn’t raised in a religious home but spent occasional Sunday's at church with her childhood bestie Sara where her seeds of faith started to be planted. Over the years she has developed a close relationship with God through some major trials.  I won’t dive in to the details of her childhood but you can find that story on her blog. It’s a story best told from the person who experienced it and definitely worth the read.

 

Before...

Before starting Bibles & Coffee, Jackie was a power house at a tech company and loved it for a bit but then decided that it ultimately wasn’t what she was passionate about. So she quit her job and started to search for something she really could get behind. After quitting, she experienced 3 months of unemployment that changed everything. Jackie said that as she looks back on that valley season, she is amazed at what God was able to teach her.  The Lord taught her patience, gratitude and grace. That season for her, set her up for what was about to come but at the time she had no idea...

 

She currently works full time at a fabric company where she creates newsletters and handles their social media. (cool right?!) But she had no idea that she would basically have another full time job on top of that: Bibles & Coffee.

 

The Idea

Bibles and Coffee came about when she saw a painted bible on Etsy and thought to herself “I can do that!”. She already was not feeling the standard cover on her bible and decided to see what she could make of it. She grabbed some fabric from her other dope brand and started to work. It took 12 bibles to figure out exactly what combination of time, paint and glue would create the most durable and aesthetically pleasing bible. But after number 12- She was hooked and started re-doing literally any book she could find. She told me all about how her sweet boyfriend Mike (a total dream boat) let her redo many of his books! She started making bibles for people close to her and eventually (with the encouragement of Mike) pulled the trigger on launching an Instagram page.  A friend and blogger Brittany reached out and wanted to be a brand rep. So Jackie- never thinking she would have a brand rep, bought a bible, worked her magic and shipped it off. The followers started coming in. In four months Jackie has sold over 70 bibles. I could not figure out how she managed the spiritual, creative and practical process of running this booming side business and she immediately credited Mike. His constant support, amazing photography skills and willingness to do whatever it takes to make it happen is how this boss lady is able to manage it all. #swoon. Since the launch, her instagram following has continually grown and most importantly, she has touched the lives of dozens of women and men.

I love the way God has blessed Jackies business and sent his children running to her with their most precious possessions but what I love the most is the entire process of creating the bible and how closely it resembles life.

 

The process

After Jackie gets an order, she buys a bible and starts the work. First things first, she strips the bible. When she said this my jaw dropped. She said “yes. it is very weird to rip your bible apart. I feel guilty every time!”. Jackie takes the entire cover off of the bible and essentially destroys it before putting it back together. Once the cover is off, Jackie can apply the fabric and begin painting. But what to paint? Sometimes people send her their image requests and scripture preferences but Jackie said that more times than not, people just TRUST her with their bible. And those that make suggestions, she often has to change because it contradicts what God puts on her heart. At this point I was so intrigued and I began to wonder about how she chooses what to put on a bible when someone trusts her with it. Naturally, her first response was: PRAY. She prays over the bible and lets God speak to her spirit about what should be on it. Additionally, she scopes out the social media pages to get an idea of who they are but most often, social media fails to really capture who someone is and she has to rely mostly on what God speaks to her. I am sure my face expressed my speechlessness and she immediately responded that it can be a very frustrating process but she has learned to trust it. And testimony after testimony has shown her that God IS speaking to her as she creates these bibles and He does have a message for each bible that comes into her studio.

 

The process is far from easy especially when working with paint. When she makes artistic mistakes, or no images or words come to mind at first, she has learned to take a break and step back and then approach it later. Makes sense- can’t rush God or art! After painting and 72 hours of drying- she ships it off to its owner so they can dive into the word with their brand new bible. Sounds a lot like life right? So often we have to get stripped down to our bare self before we are remade into something beautiful. The whole process requires an immense amount of patience to wait on God and wait on the actual bible to be done, gratitude to appreciate every single bible even on days where she is exhausted from her full time job, and grace for herself during the successes and failures of being an artist/entrepreneur. She uses everything God taught in her valley season in her mountain season.

 

The lessons

Hard to believe, but this superwoman struggles with fear. She opened up to me about how she feels God tugging her into spaces she didn’t intend to go and how scary that is sometimes. She is not a fan of public speaking, gets nervous to say the right thing and believe it or not this beauty got camera shy on me when I tried to snap some photos! But every day, she leaves her 9-5 and plops down in her studio and does what God has called her to do with boldness and a confidence we should all be praying for!!

Favor and Faithfulness have been all over this business before Jackie even recognized it. She was equipped with patience and perseverance prior to even knowing she would need it. God has continued to send her people to serve, energy to execute and financial provision to keep the business going. God is dope. Her number one piece of advice? Trust the process.

I hope you all are inspired at how Jackie uses her gifts to lead women into an exciting and beautiful journey with the word of God. If God is tugging your heart to use your gifts for His Kingdom, go with it, trust the process and watch God use you in ways you never imagined! Who knows, maybe you can do something as cool as painting bibles!