Inspired By :: { Tara Illy of The Brew }

27 April, 2015


Hi lovely one,

Welcome to the first Inspired By interview of 2015 with our new pretty website look! You can check out our other Inspired By features {here}. So today, whether you're needing a little nudge to take a creative risk, or maybe you just need an extra dose of inspiration, all I can say is grab a cuppa, or a "brew",  and get ready to be inspired. I'm about to introduce you to a beautiful friend of mine, whose gorgeous heart and steadfast faith has brought her on a wonderful journey of late. You'll find out more shortly. but first, a little bit of background... Tara and I were both honoured to be part of our beautiful friend Miriam's bridal party last year in England, and from the moment I noticed her blog details on the bottom of a pre-wedding email I thought... "Ah hem. Hello. This is one fab chica". We finally met in person in Manchester for the wedding last July and we've been screaming encouragement out across the globe to one another ever since.

With a heart of gold, Tara (pronounced 'Tera' to all the Aussies thanks very much!) loves generously and is passionate about encouraging others to see beauty in everything. I know you're going to love her, so it's my honour to welcome to The Writer's Ink my beautiful friend, Tara Illy of 'The Brew'.

After five years inspiring thousands through your blog A Brew of Blessings, last year you launched your brand new (and super creative) website, The Brew. It's just fabulous; tell us about the vision behind it and how it came to be.

The Brew has been an evolving project, something that's been on my heart for quite a while. I originally started A Brew Of Blessings to keep family and friends updated after I made the move across the Atlantic, never really having the intention or vision of making it anymore than just that. That was until it became quite clear that a wider audience was intrigued and women all over were letting me know how much they could relate to the challenges + struggles and were inspired by the way I dealt with adversity. It wasn't too longer after that, that God really started working on my heart and gave me a vision to launch something that would appeal to a wider audience. I truly believe that everyone has a beautiful story to share and The Brew is a vessel to share mine. My passion was to launch a platform that I could use to let others share their passions, dreams and vision and The Brew was born. With our first Fashion and Beauty contributor now on board, we already have visions of adding other talented individuals to the team. There are also some other exciting projects in the works including our own "The Brew" branded products.

You're originally from Florida, when and how did you move to the UK?  

I moved to the UK after marrying my husband in 2012. After a big leap of faith, supportive family and friends and a few years of English culture under my belt, it's now beginning to feel like home.

Do you work full time on The Brew? What does a typical day look like for you?

When I first launched The Brew I was working part time at a PR agency and the rest of the waking hours were spent developing content and strategy for this labour of love. Exhaustion is an understatement, but when you love your 'work' you find energy you never knew you had. In March I officially began working full time as the Creative Director for The Brew. Don't be fooled, it's been a scary decision, but one that I'm so excited to begin. Here's to a new season!

Since I've started working for myself no week has been the same. It mostly consist of waking up to make coffee and breakfast and see Stephen out of the door - I cherish these moments. If I'm 'on it' a quick workout usually takes place around 8ish, shower and then at about 9 I'm up in the office to crack on with emails, editorial planning, advertising planning, scheduling social and doing any creative photography or videos for the week, grab lunch and the continue to crack through my to-do list, I try to wrap it up by about 5:30. I've found that without a structured day nothing that's a priority gets done and I end up exhausted and frustrated. Planning, planning, planning is key. Some days are much of the same with an added yoga/workout classes and/or meetings, press events and a commute down to London here are there to meet with brands, bloggers and attend events for The Brew.

What's the process of writing your posts and what is your favourite thing about creating content for your website?

I thrive on content creating, it's so exciting to see ideas come to fruition. If there's one thing I've learned about the art of drafting content it's simply this, don't over think it the first time around. I've made myself get in to the habit of writing my thoughts as they come to me, all editing and structure is off limits. Then I let the content marinate, meaning I leave it to sit overnight or across a few hours, then I casually think about anything else I want to add or fun/intriguing social posts to sit alongside of the content. The next day or hours later, I sit back down with a clear head and edit, add a little more 'meat' and structure the post as if I was a reader taking it in for the very first time.

As you mentioned above you've recently redesigned your whole website, which I know for a fact is not an easy task! How did you find the creative process? How long did it take and was the journey what you expected?

You hit the nail on the head, definitely not an easy process. Even still I see things that I would like to improve and change. I did learn a lot through the journey, whether it was project management skills or patience – two skills that I definitely had to sharpen during this process. From the vision through to the website launch probably took around a year. The journey makes the end result so exhilarating though, and it's another step in the right direction to the next dream/milestone.

How do you think your faith in God helped/helps you on your creative journey?

Oh, I couldn't have done it without that. The thing that keeps me going is knowing that this is a calling with a purpose and a vision. You can easily get caught up in the comparison game or fear – both of which try to taint visions, but knowing that at the core God will see me through has been vital.

You're quite the jetsetter (hello glamorous pics from Lake Como on your website!) If you could narrow it down, what would be the top five places you've travelled and why?

New York City has remained on the top of my list for many years now, every trip there gets better and better. I swear that if we weren't called to England for this moment in time, we'd be setting up home in the big apple in a heartbeat. The energy you feel when you step off the plane is like no other place I've ever been - it's addicting! Lake Como would be the second. I'm not sure if it's because I didn't have any expectations upon traveling there, or if it's part of my long lost heritage. The beauty was breathtaking, the food was authentically delicious and the people were gems. I'm secretly finding any excuse to go back again soon! The other places that rank at the top of the list are Florida because it's my native, and the familiarity will always be welcoming. We recently spent some time in South Africa and we loved it. The culture of California is contagious, and the coastline - breathtaking, so that remains up there as well. (Here's Tara looking fab in South Africa.)

What are your top five travel tips?

1. Pack efficiently, although I haven't nailed this talent yet. It's a work in progress, but the lighter your luggage the easier and more convenient it is to get from point A to your destination with less stress. 
2. Have a plan. It can seem tempting to not have a plan and go with the flow, which is nice sometimes. However, plotting a few things out will ensure that you fit in the things that are a priority to do/see and securing that dinner reservation will guarantee that you'll have a sit to try the coveted dish at the favourite restaurant you've been eyeing up. Hello River Cafe. You don't have to have every minute of everyday planned to the tee, but having a few things slotted in will add a little structure to your day.
3. Ask around for suggestions from others who have visited the place you're traveling to. Those that have been can point you to those quaint, off the beaten track, places that they've discovered that you might miss otherwise.
4. Put down the technology and soak up your surroundings. There's nothing worse than getting back from holiday not feeling anymore rested + relaxed than when you left.
5. Capture your thoughts and feelings to remember for years to come. Whether you document it on Instagram, journal down your feelings or capture through a camera lens, you must seize the moment and be able to recount the memories for years to come.

The Writer's Ink readers love being inspired and encouraged to be everything God has called them to be. What are your top three pieces of advice to those taking a leap of faith (which may be slightly scary!) to follow the dreams God's placed in their hearts?

1. Don't let fear scare you into sinking back.
2. Don't compare yourself to others, everyone is on their own unique journey. There's enough room for us all.
3. Find someone to cheer you on in those moments when all you want to do is quit.

Okay, if I said "anything can happen", you have unlimited finances and unlimited time; what are the Top Five Dreams you would love to see come to pass?

Good question! Many of the things that my heart desires money just can't buy, but if I had to highlight a few I think the list that follows is a good peak into the dreams I hold.

* Attend conferences + fly around the world interviewing some of the amazing people who are going full throttle towards their dreams.
* The Brew would continue to morph into other exciting products/projects such as charity partnerships, collaborations and social enterprises.
* To have to opportunity to contribute to different global media outlets so that our vessel can inspire millions more.
* Selfish maybe?! But S and I would both love a flat in Greenwich Village.
* Have happy and healthy family.

So what's next for The Brew?

We have lots of things bubbling up that we can't wait to share. We plan to launch a few products in the Summer and add some new friendly faces to the team.

60 seconds with Tara Illy

1. My secret hidden talent is... Picking up things with my toes, a talent that makes tidying up a little more efficient.
2. My favourite subject in school was... Lunchtime – no joke! I think I wrote an essay about it around 3rd grade, even then I was a social bug with a passion for people.
3. The thing that makes me feel most alive is... Travelling!
4. My hot drink of choice is... I'm a coffee snob - no doubt. A grande Americano with steamed almond milk and 2 pumps of sugar free cinnamon dolce would typically be my first choice but it depends on the day really.
5. When I want to feel inspired I... Read, surround myself with other creatives or book a flight to NYC.
6. If could visit Australia I would definitely want to see... Nat Box! Other than that? I'd like to park myself on a white sandy beach or one of those authentic coffee shops that everyone raves about.
7. The book I'm reading at the moment is... The One Thing by Gary W. Keller and Jay Papasan
8. My happy place is... Soaking up the simplest moments with my husband, my family and friends. With a coffee in hand of course. Or throwing a dinner party – I love feasting and fellowship!
9. If I had unlimited time, money and resources I would... Establish a boutique/coffee shop filled with products to inspire/encourage, build it to be successful and then fly home to Florida (via NYC) once a month. That's not asking much is it?


Um... in answer to your final question, NEVER! New York City is always a good idea. And I know that one day we will soon be having a 'dreaming session' at Bergdorf's together. So watch this space ;)

So lovely Tara and everyone at The Brew, The Writer's Ink is cheering you on and we can't wait to see what is next for you!! Our next interview will be in a few weeks with the amazing guys over at KindSir :) Enjoy your week guys... and dream BIGGER than big!

Big love... Nat xo

Images from The Brew  | Image 3 via Pinterest


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Comments (1)

  1. Nat:
    May 13, 2015 at 07:56 AM

    Thank you beautiful Tara for inspiring us ALL!! Eek, I am so excited for what's ahead for you :) And let's plan our Bergdorf's date soon. I KNOW it will happen :)

    Love Nat xoxo

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