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I read once that people are either “born entrepreneurs” or they’re not.  That its a part of their soul…their makeup. That they are a special breed of crazy that leads them to take wicked chances….open their big mouths when they probably shouldn’t….and, as result, lose a lot of jobs on the way to their “career”.

Today marks six years since I got canned for, what I decided, was the last time. Apparently, people who are entrepreneurs at heart get fired a lot. I used to be kind of ashamed of the amount of times I’ve been given that “this isn’t working out talk”.

Now I’ve decided it’s probably because I simply was always meant to work for myself….no matter what.

I thought it would be kind of interesting to take a little trip down Occupation Memory Lane….and check out the myriad of jobs I’ve had…and, well, didn’t keep.


My first job was as a newspaper carrier for the good ole BDN. I was 12. I had a little BMX type bike. I way underestimated how heavy all those papers were once ON the bike. Also realized I wasn’t a big fan of getting ink all over my hands from rolling papers.

I do remember that true to my “late bloomer” status, I used my first paycheck to buy a Cabbage Patch Doll.

Yes. A Cabbage Patch Doll.

2014-04-11_0010(Training to carry a crap-ton of papers)


This was the first of many jobs my parents got me into in an attempt, I think, to filter my energy to something productive. Making sandwiches wasn’t really my forte (anything involving touching food? Not my forte). I think I worked there for about 5 months before I got bored and quit.

HOWEVER, job perk? BAGS of bread cast offs. That bread was the bomb.

2014-04-11_0005 (I probably made that fat cash making sandwiches)


My first real run in with a micro-manager, power-hungry boss. Don’t even remember what the dude’s name was but looking back on it now, he couldn’t have been much older than maybe 21 or 22. But dammit, he was going to MANAGE THAT DAIRY QUEEN…..into the ground if he had to.

I remember he called me stupid because I couldn’t quite figure out the finesse of putting the “curly” on top of the ice cream cone. I did get to serve Johnny Cash a slushie during my tenure there, however…..so there’s a bright spot.

That one didn’t last long…..


This was a locally owned pizza joint. I signed on to be a waitress….but they never had any customers so I spent most of my time sitting in a little room off the kitchen smoking and drawing band logos.

Ahh, the 90s.


Kind of became my go-to-fall-back-if-I-have-to-have-a-job job.

I was a kick-ass checker though. Very fast. Mostly because I wanted to get people through the line quickly enough to continue chatting music or geeky TV or politics with my manager.

I remember that before I got hired there they made me dye my hair back to a respectable color. Didn’t start me off with a good taste in my mouth…but I lasted the longest there….all through high school graduation.



This one cracks me up because by the time I went to work at Musicland, Musicland as a “thing” was pretty much obsolete anyway….this IS pre-MP3 but people weren’t really buying tapes and CDs like they used to. Especially not at the Beloit Mall.

So, I spent my days drinking malts from Mr.G’s (SOOOO good) and listening to Tom Jones’ Greatest Hits and warding off shoplifters. What was even MORE funny about working for Musicland was their strict dress code. I couldn’t wear jeans and I couldn’t dye my hair weird colors.



This was the first one I got canned from. They fired me over, what they claimed, was a $5 accounting mistake (I never claimed to be very good at math). Really I think they were just on their way to closing and were cutting dead weight (or I’m just really crap at math….). Either way, I was quite okay with it.


This dental office is still in existence, so to protect the not-so-innocent I’m going to keep it anonymous. I was assigned to this place by a job placement service. I had never worked in a dental office before. I had never used a COMPUTER at a job before. I had no front office medical experience what-so-ever.

So yeah…you can probably guess how well that went.

They weren’t too keen on being sent an untrained newb from the staffing service. I wasn’t to keen on being sent down to the bowels of this place to “file”…..without being told what to file or where.

I think I lasted 3 weeks before I got the “yeah, this isn’t working out” speech.

They did keep me around long enough to scrub their entire waiting room with Murphy’s Oil Soap while the rest of the worker bees sat in an office and ate snacks.

To this day the smell of Murphy’s Oil Soap makes me twitchy.


Yes folks, your friendly Type A gal was a TELEMARKETER at one time.

And, if I do say so myself, a damn FINE telemarketer. This was the first time I kind of got to flex my sales muscles….with the Sears Home Protection Plan.

To this DAY I have no idea what the Sears Home Protection Plan really DID….but I remember the script word for word.

I don’t really recall why I quit Market USA…..I think sitting in a tiny cube and getting hung up on 1000 times a day probably had something to do with it. After awhile it wears on your self esteem.


During this time, as a part time venture, I worked as a karaoke warm up singer. Yep. Yep I did. I know Shania Twain’s entire repertoire and I own it. : )

2014-04-11_0009(I was well trained to be a karaoke queen. And check out the Hammer Pants.)


My mom worked at Tilley’s for many many years, so it was kind of a family affair. I really enjoyed waiting tables. It was kind of the first job where I didn’t have much of a boss “per se” so I could kind of figure out my own way of doing it. I figured out how to approach tables to maximize my tips. I LOVED being “slammed busy”..I started having “regulars” that would come see me on the nights I worked..I still maintain that everyone should wait tables somewhere at least once in their life. I learned more about business as a waitress than the whole time I went to college.


This was this little mom and pop store in the Janesville Mall that mostly sold concert t-shirts and body jewelry. It was run by a couple that had no freaking IDEA what they were doing and managed by their son who I think would have rather been doing ANYTHING else.

Not a bad job, but massively boring. And everyone kept telling me I had to get into a factory position….because then I’d have it “made”.


This was pre-GM-shutdown, so factory jobs were kind of “the big show” for local positions. If you could find a good one, you could be set for life (we didn’t know what was to come….we just assumed it would all keep going like it had been).

I got a position at local factory SSI, which made parts for GM. My job entailed going into a line at about 3pm….sticking this metal part in a hole and pushing a button….then putting the part on a rack….for up to 10 freakin’ hours a day.

To say it was SOUL SUCKING would be going easy on it. It was the worst. I am so not made to do the same thing over and over and over again. Had I stayed there I would have gone postal.

It’s funny because when discussing jobs, my husband has always said he’d like to have a job where he could “make something”….and “see the results of his labor”. Yes, I can see that. But after awhile I didn’t care WHAT I was making.

I’d rather have a job where I could, you know, move….and not just be “Worker #291283″ on the line.

I lasted 3 months. I remember calling my dad from the break room and telling him to not be disappointed in me….but I was walking off the line.


I actually really enjoyed this position. I was a pharmacy tech and I found learning how to read scripts and what all the different medications did REALLY interesting. It was something new. Plus, the pharmacist I worked with was awesome.

But, alas, the store closed. However, I probably would have grown bored with it eventually.


This place was out in Oceanside, CA. I think they were trying to create a sort of “Midwestern greasy spoon truck stop” type place in the middle of Southern California. The owners were this older couple who weren’t around a whole lot.

The manager was a beast. I don’t even remember her name but I do remember she was on my butt CONSTANTLY. The cooks didn’t speak a lick of English….and I had a hell of a time conveying to them what I needed for my customers. This was all, apparently, my fault according to Beast Manager. And I probably should have…you know…put more time and effort into learning a 2nd language for my $5.45/hour. Looking back.

I think my general distaste for California as a whole probably boiled over into my distaste for the job. I also think they only hired me because they said I had a “Fargo accent” that went with their theme. At the same time they got upset when I called Pepsi “pop” (like a NORMAL person).

Whatevs, folks.
One day they just called me and told me it wasn’t necessary for me to come in. Apparently they’d hooked another “Fargo Accent”


 (When in Southern California, it’s pre-requisite that you have bleach blonde hair, methinks)


I’ll always have a fondness for the CCB. They “saved” me after leaving my first marriage and coming back to Wisconsin without a dollar to my name and my tail between my legs. And I met a LOT of people while working there (including my future father-in-law).

Plus their Strawberry Shortcake was worth employment there. Had I not needed to pay rent, I probably would have accepted that as payment.

My manager at the time, Bette, taught me a TON about networking….and dressing for success (when I showed up for work in Chuck Taylors and ratty black khakis…..yeah, I was kind of clueless).

I sadly left that job when I moved away from Beloit for a 2nd time, but I chalk it up as probably one of the best ones I had : )


I worked here simultaneously as I worked at CCB and 1 day a week at Tilley’s. So three jobs….and I went to school.
Because I’m NUTS.

But I was also determined to get my degree and support myself, so yeah. I worked a lot.
Denali’s was an odd duck. I’ve always been interested in restaurants as a business (not that I would EVER open one, I’m not that nuts)….but to see what works and what doesn’t. I love the show Kitchen Nightmares. Denali’s never really kept me busy enough…and if I wasn’t running around like a chicken with my head cut off I let my mind wander too much and I got bored.

I had started dating the guy who would become my husband and one night he mentioned that Krist Novoselic’s new band was playing in Milwaukee.

I called in, and honestly told them I would rather go see Krist Novoselic’s new band than sit in a booth doing nothing that evening. So, yeah. I was 22. And when you’re 22 you’re allowed to be reckless and stupid to a certain point.

Plus….it was Krist Novoselic.

2014-04-11_0004(Yeah. Totally worth it.)


Kinex. Kinex was the catalyst. The job to “end all jobs”. The job that let me know I would never ever ever be successful working for someone else. It just wasn’t in my DNA. And I had been telling people this for years. I think they thought I was just a lousy employee.

2014-04-11_0006(All pregnant and stuff at Kinex. Check out my uber-cool pregnancy work-wear though. Flip flops and husband’s Get Up Kids T-shirt FTW)

After years of working and failing at jobs I really didn’t care for….I knew after being let go from my cube-farm job that I needed to try something else. That I needed to steer my own ship.

And it’s where I needed to be from the get-go.

But looking back, I think I’ve taken pieces from ALL of my past jobs and applied them to my work ethic that I have today. How to talk to customers. How to deal with difficult people. How to dress for the job you want (still kind of working on that one). How to market….and how NOT to market. How to manage. I learned a lot from consistently trying on the “shoe that wouldn’t fit” and now that I’m walking around in the perfect pair, I’m thankful I took so many chances to get it right.





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Fractured Thoughts

- Surgery week! Wasn’t nearly as bad as I had really anticipated….though the stuffiness is quite unpleasant. I’m looking forward to that clearing up and being able to FINALLY breathe through the left side of my face!

- It made me even more determined to schedule the next phase of “Nose Reconstruction 2014″….the outside. I have an appointment with my new doc on May 8th, so I’m looking forward to seeing what can be done about the beak.

- The husband and I attacked my destroyed “sales room” at the studio. Since the kick off of construction on Tin Dog Records, the sales room area of my studio has been absolutely GROSS….full of cement dust and cast offs and crap….just unusable. So….now its usable. Thank goodness.

Construction is still going on….slowly but surely….we were really hoping to have Tin Dog open by now, but as is the case in most construction situations, we’re behind schedule (kind of like weddings, nothing ever happens on time, apparently). We’re eyeing up mid-May now. We’ll see.

- This week was 20 years since Kurt Cobain died. I find it absolutely astounding that it means no one in high school right now was ALIVE when he was. So insane. I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing the moment I found out he had died.

- The Piggly Wiggly FINALLY opened this weekend. I haven’t been there yet (I’m waiting for the mad rush to die down) but I’m pretty jazzed to have a grocery store so close to us! Yes, a Piggly Wiggly opening is a HUGE deal in this town.

- Kicked off senior season this week. My favorite time of year. The more I shoot them, the more I really enjoy senior sessions.

- RIP Mickey Rooney. He was kind of high on my “who’s going next” list. Next to Zsa Zsa.

- Mr. Mickey Smith turned 1 year old this week! My little baby is becoming a man. : )

- Discoveries while on recovery bed rest this week: Netflix seriously needs to invest in more than 2 seasons of What Not to Wear…..and I probably really needed to be on that show before it ended. Badly. I did get some fun Carmondy make-up tips while laying in bed though.

- Tomorrow I’m shooting the pictures with the Easter Bunny for the Easter Extravaganza sponsored by the Downtown Beloit Association. So swing on by from 1-3 at Horace White Park and get a picture taken! : ) (Try to ignore my puffy post-surgery face!)

- Kiddo is on Spring Break this week (and gets to go see Mary Poppins at the Fireside. Totally jealous.) I have more senior sessions and wedding meetings. April is turning into a pretty heavy inquiry month, which is really odd. But hey, bring it!

- Wedding season kicks off Friday with a intimate, hometown affair. I’m SO BEYOND ready for wedding season to start. I think I probably put on about 10 lbs this winter sitting on my butt eating popcorn. Time for some movement.

I….of course….didn’t take any real pictures this week because I was all drugged up and in pain, but here’s a post-surgery Instagram. HAWT.


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Corporate, Personal, Portrait

I grew up in Beloit. I was born here. Raised here, and with the exception of some years in Milwaukee and a misguided stint in Oceanside, CA (shudder), have made my life here. 

My husband and I have also decided to make our livelihoods here through the creation of two businesses downtown. Since arriving downtown, I’ve been exposed to an amazing resurgence of arts, entrepreneurship, and city pride that I didn’t really realize existed in the past. 

Beloit is THRIVING, and I wanted to highlight that in a new project dedicated to capturing local businesses and business owners showing the best of what Beloit has to offer. 

Online, whenever something negative hits the news, people are known to frequently remark “Only in Beloit”.

I’d like to see that remark take on positive connotations. Crime, poverty, and bad behavior are not “only in Beloit”. But there are some amazing places and people that are “only in Beloit”….and its time they got their due : ) 

Interested in having your business profiled? It’s free! Email typeaimages@gmail.com. 


The first thing you’ll notice about Stephanie Johnson’s Oak Leaf Salon is how COMFORTABLE it is. Oak Leaf is a home-based salon offering hair, makeup and energy healing services tailored to your specific needs in a chemical-free environment. It’s kind of like visiting a friend and getting services at the same time. Complete with friendly salon puppy Moseley.

Stephanie aims to quiet your mind and rejuvenate your spirit with her wide variety of treatments, ranging from hair services, wedding & portrait makeup to Reiki, foot reflexology and chakra balancing.

What really sets her apart is that Stephanie only uses certified professional organic/vegan products to eliminate the use of toxic ingredients and promote a healthier salon environment for her clients as well as her family.

She’s been in business for 12 years and running Oak Leaf for 5.


1 hour $60 1/2 hour $40

Reiki means “universal energy.” It is a natural and safe method that uses light touch to channel universal energy to a client’s energetic body. The purpose is to promote relaxation and stress reduction, restore balance, eliminate blockages, support the immune system and foster all around healing and well being. Reiki treats the whole person including body, emotions, mind and spirit. During the session, a very light touch will be used and the hands will be held in certain positions on prescribed areas of the body, or just above the body. You may feel warmth or tingling or just feel very relaxed while receiving Reiki. Sometimes a series of sessions is suggested in order to effectively address your goal or health concern.

What are some benefits of receiving Reiki? It can reduce stress, help with life changes, enhance your immune system, assist with healing injuries/surgery, boost and balance energy levels, enhance well being in pregnancy and improve concentration.


1 hour $50

When people vibrate more intensely they feel better, which makes it easier for them to learn and move forward in life. Stephanie works to adjust the energy in and around your body and raise the vibrations bringing your mind, body and spirit into alignment.


1 hour $60

Based on the premise that there are reflexes in the feet that correspond to all parts of the body and that stimulating these reflexes brings about physiological changes.

2014-04-07_0001 2014-04-07_0002 2014-04-07_0003 2014-04-07_0004OAK LEAF SALON
Contact Stephanie on Facebook @ www.facebook.com/oakleafsalon

She is open Tuesday through Friday 10AM-4PM and Saturdays by Request

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 Maisie ~ Studio Session ~ Beloit Memorial High School ~ Class of 2015

2014-04-06_0001 2014-04-06_0002 2014-04-06_0003 2014-04-06_0004

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Anniversary Portraits

Who: Lindsay and Lee : Married 2 Years

Where: Beloit WI Train Trestle

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