V.A: Tips + Inspiration for Busy-Brained, Overwhelmed Creative Business Owners


Being an artist and entrepreneur is not for the weak. It's hard to monetize something as fickle and ephemeral as creativity. Tricky creativity that comes and goes, that's sometimess stagnant, sometimes flows, vexing, perplexing, but thoroughly beautiful!

 It can be lonely. And overwhelming, but there's nowhere else I'd rather be! This blog is all about sharing unique tips and giving inspiration to business owners, creatives, crafters, and You!

Our local shop in Jacksonville, Florida.

Hello! I'm Vanessa Alvarado, I own the local and online shop Body&Soul where I make and design herbal and aromatherapeutic body care products and plant medicine.  I'm curious, eclectic, & put too much on my plate to ever be bored! (Scanner Personality Type + INFP ) I love vintage, kitsch, interior design, whole living, herbalism, studying how the creative brain works, comic books/anime, horror movies and too many incongruous nerdy things to list here

I occupy the spacious, sunny second floor of a historic brownstone on the outskirts of Jacksonville, Florida's downtown with my best friend (Marianne), boyfriend (AJ), my cat Yuko and my greyhound Zorro. 

My biggest passion in life is helping others live their fullest, healthiest, most creative lives and I do that by sharing creative business tips and inspiration on this blog!


Creative entrepreneurship is in my blood, plain and simple. There was never a time I wasn't doing some time of creative work of one thing or another, my earliest memories are of helping my mom garden and crafting the details for my mom's pinata making and selling business!


 I've been doing my only little weird start-ups since the single digits and worked a lot of odd jobs to get to where I'm at with a shop, including night club rose seller! Weird details of that here!

One of the many offices I'd occupy, they moved us around a lot at the web start-up I worked at!

For three years I worked as a copywriter and web marketer, learning the tricks of the trade and putting those to work on the side to create my own vintage selling business.



Staging the photos was one of my favorite aspects of the job, but it was a LOT of work!

A few years into that and after moving hundreds of kitschy vintage goods I decided I didn't like the constant storage & acquisition portion of that job (thought I still ADORE & collect vintage!) and abruptly sold off the business without a back-up plan! I was broke, there were tears, but at the core of my soul I know I have to be 100% satisfied creatively with that I'm doing and I knew it was time to move on.

Fate and serendipity led me to my current path. Right after selling off my vintage business I had the chance to fulfill a lifelong dream of becoming a for real crafty plant-witch and spent two years on a work-trade scholarship becoming certified in clinical herbalism  (having learned in-depth from working in a raw vegan kitchen while I sold vintage) and aromatherapy. I survived by teaching raw vegan food creation classes and herbal tea creation classes on a tiny salary from the school and by doing a little creative freelance work for business owners here and there. 


A year or so into focusing on our new business Body&Soul (sustaining ourselves with dozens of pop-ups shops and outdoor markets) we leapt on an opportunity to open our own little local shop and that's where I find myself now, trying to make this new brand and shop the best it can be. And I know our creative business journey is far from over. This type of work requires constant evolution to grow and I love having this blog to teach about it and share the journey.

I know working in so many different fields and mediums gives me some unique insight on the topic. I study it all the time, I'm obsessed with creative business and love it! Also See: Why I'm so Passionate about Creativity, a Story of High School Craziness

1997, Science Club. Soon after I'd start making ALL THE WEBSITES.

My company's signature dinosaur soaps!

E-mail me if you have any questions or want to chat! 

I update my business instagram frequently and my personal one occasionally. Feel free to follow and chat there, too, I love sharing info and answering questions!

Random Facts:

Left: My mom, brothers, and me  --- Right: My Dad, Brothers, and Me
  • I'm a Certified Aromatherapist, HerbalistNutritionist via Florida Holistic School of Health
  • I'm a Trained Gourmet Raw Vegan Chef via Shakti Life Kitchen
  • Currently vegan, but I once ate a hamburger a day- 30 lbs ago! Read my Health Journey Post
  • I've lived in Naples Italy, Charleston South Carolina, and Norfolk Virginia
  • I've lived the last twenty years in Jacksonville, North Florida.
  • I have two older brothers (twins) that are five years older than me and 6 nieces/nephews! 
  • My mom is Mexican and my dad is Puerto Rican.
My parents when they met in San Francisco, late 1970s. They were literally disco dancing local legends.

  • I'm a HUGE Michael Jackson and Prince fan. My MJ+Prince record collection is formidable. (God rest their souls, Prince Tribute here + recap of Prince tribute concerts
  • Basically all I listen to is video game soundtracks, the two legends above, Motown, classic R&B, funk and disco...
  • Anime fan and general Japanophile. Unabashed lover of all-things-kawaii.
  • Comic book  + horror video game fan. Favs: Batman, Resident Evil, Silent Hill, Parasite Eve
  • Robot + dinosaur toy and miniature object collector- I'm picky about the ones I induct!
  • My love of DINOSAURS, CEPHALOPODS and ROBOTS knows no bounds
  • Random, but it appears my most-viewed post on all time is a tour of my old office cubicle!
  • I once lived in a camper on a mini-farm with a boyfriend--- and no internet! Loved it. 
  • It's weird for a young tech-person who works on the web but ...I hate smart phones and struggle to use them.

Blog Must-Reads:

Home and Organization

- My KonMari Method Journey: How to Organize Your Home Once- And Never Again!
- 15 Feng-Shui Tips for Wealth and Productivity
- Guides for Organizing Your EVERYTHING: Home, Schedule, Money, Cleaning, Life!
- Short Cuts for Living a Healthy, Minimalist Life

Personal / Creative Inspiration

- My Favorite Posts from 2014
- Odd Jobs: My Journey to Self-Employment
- Philosophy Lesson: The Mexican Fisherman and the American Fisherman
- You're Exactly Where You Need to Be
Blogging From Inside the Confessional: 6 Reasons Why I'm Crazy Honest on My Blog
My Herbalism School Experience
Adventures in Soap Making: The Best Damn Dinosaur Fossil Soap You've Ever Seen
My Childhood Bedroom

Blog and Business Tips

- My Top 22 Digital Tools for Running An Online Business
Try This: An Exercise to Find Out Exactly What You Want to Do For a Living. For Really
How to Earn EXACTLY The Amount of Money You Want to Earn
- 6 Offbeat Tips on Full Time Blogging and Getting Advertisers You Haven't Read
- A Round-Up of My Blogging Tips Posts

Vintage Selling Success Stories

Kimberly, Published Writer, Mom, Turns eBay into a $3K/Month Gig
Scavenger Life Vintage Selling Chat: On Earning $13,000 Per Month and Living The Dream

Gorgeous House Tours

- Ranch Dressing with Eartha Kitsch's Perfect Mid Century Modern Ranch
- Becke's Expertly Staged Cozy and Industrial Vintage Home
- Sherry's Gorgeous Mid Century Modern Home + Her Epic X-mas Collection
- Bianca's Artsy Tasmanian Bungalow
- A Literal Secret Hippie Hideaway
- Bianca's Cozy California Casa
- My Fresh, New, Light-Filled Office

My Favorite Round-Ups

- A Round-Up of My Favorite DIY and Craft Posts
- A Round-up Of My Interviews with Thrifters Around the World
- A Round-Up of All of My Body Care DIY Posts (deodorant, toothpaste and more)
- A Round-Up of My Healthy Recipes / Weight Loss Posts + My Raw Vegan Series

Travel Favorites 

- My Grandparent's House in Puerto Rico
- Come One Come All to Groovy Land: Toast and Jam in a Colorful Folk Art Garden
- The Amazing- And Scary- Wolf's Museum
- A Tranquil Mid Century Modern Church
- My Favorite Place in the World. The Hostel in the Forrest Part 1 and Part 2
- Japan: History | Kawaii | Mountaintop Vintage Shop | Signs | Highlights | ALL The Food | Cats
- The Art of Sampuru: Contemplating Hyper-Realistic Fake Food in Japan

/ / / / /

Feel free to contact me if you have additional questions. You can chat with me on Twitter and Facebook. I also have an FAQ with information you may find useful.

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