Becky Brown of My Utensil Crock and Federalisms Greeting Gards

She's an attorney by day; a food blogger AND the creator of the lovely Federalisms greeting cards by night.

Becky is the type of person who, once you start talking with her, you end up wanting to learn more and more. Between her career as an attorney, a popular greeting card line, and her amazing food blog, she embodies the multi-passionate spirit that runs through so many of us in the Compell'd community.

Tell us a little bit about your background and how you found yourself working on these amazing projects.

I have always been someone who loves projects. I can’t help but have a few irons in the fire, and I need to be spinning a few plates (and all the other metaphors too). Once I identified that liking to start new projects was actually an “entrepreneurial mindset,” it gave me a sense of legitimacy and permission to just take off. Now, when I have an idea, I just go with it. 

A lot of my creative ventures can be traced back to the day when I tried to organize the recipes I liked to make. I thought a blog - just for myself - would be a good way to be able to tag and index them. I loved the feeling of accomplishment when I would post a recipe, and the creativity that went into the writing, and the business aspect of learning about the niche that was last decade’s cooking blogs. I started an LLC for the blog, and that became a platform for credibility, really. I had a company! I was asked to teach cooking classes, and I took workshops to improve my photography (and meet some great people and visit new locations). That led to a line of greeting cards with food on the front and recipes on the back. And that led to Federalisms. Once I broke out of my work bubble and met entrepreneurs and creatives in the community, I saw I had those traits in me, as well. 

My pup Tazewell is far and away my favorite project -- my favorite thing. He has taught me a lot about finding new paths and new adventures and just going with it. He always knows where he wants to go, but if I make him deviate, after a second he then heads in the new direction with the same energy and strut that he had started with.

"Once I identified that liking to start new projects was actually an “entrepreneurial mindset,” it gave me a sense of legitimacy and permission to just take off. Now, when I have an idea, I just go with it."

Having not been a government employee myself, I still so much appreciate your Federalisms cards because of their relatable wit (and who doesn’t love a non-generic greeting card?). Tell us a little about your creative process for coming up with these amazing cards.

I am all about morale at work. The idea for Federalisms initially came to me during a meeting when someone made a joke about a “very government” occasion, and followed up with, “There should be a card for that!” And I saw it all in my mind within a few seconds. The one-liner for insiders idea, the low-frill but special look, and the name. I reserved the domain name within a day. Sometimes new ideas for cards hit me on the spot, and sometimes I have to sit down for a brainstorm session. I run some new ideas by trusted long-time government colleagues. As Federalisms has grown, customers have submitted ideas as well.

We also adore your food blog (bagel & lox bake - GENIUS!). Tell us a little bit about your process for being creative in the kitchen.

I love a cooking challenge, and my cooking club is a great example of this. It’s like a book club with no books (just the snacks), and for 14 years we have met monthly to explore new themes, dishes, and ingredients. Of course, we aren’t gathering in the same way this year but we are looking forward to when we can, and in the meantime we share the recipes we have made and enjoyed, on video calls and at firepit yard hangs. Which reminds me - my favorite food-related purchase of the year is far and away my Breeo. In addition to being a beautiful, solid, American-forged fire pit, you can cook with it -- both on its rim and on a grate over the top of the fire -- and it’s been like a camping trip in my yard every time I fire it up. It has really shaken the rust off of my cooking pathways and provided a nice distanced social activity.

2020 has been a tough year for many of us who love to discover new things, travel, try new things, etc. What are some ways you’ve been able to cultivate this attitude even during this crazy year?

While most of us would not have our creature comforts without Amazon and I am for sure thankful it is available, this year it has been a great experience to find and support small and local makers. I have found great new brands and stocked up, and have tried to be more consistent with sending gifts to people who have supported me in the past, which has been a fun “excuse” to explore new products. I have turned inwardly to find new experiences, rather than expecting to find it outside. It was a great time to do a little research on things I have been meaning to refresh, like new pajamas and comfy pants, and order a few to pick my favorites. A lot of people, myself included, are going through their housewares or clothes and beautifying our homes, which are all chances to look for something new and different.

Thanks so much, Becky! Your lists are a true goldmine.

December 2, 2020

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