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Check out Amanda Simkin’s Artwork

Today we’d like to introduce you to Amanda Simkin.

Amanda, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
I started off my career as an English teacher at a North Shore high school, with the goal of instilling a curiosity in and respect for language within each and every one of my students. One of my absolute favorite parts of that teaching assignment was creating the curriculum for a Chicago literature course and teaching my students not just about the most spectacular city in the world but also the talented writers and artists that contribute to Chicago’s story.

After ten years of teaching I left the classroom to raise a family, but after about a year I was left with a creative void. My answer to this boredom? To write, of course. Writing was something I truly missed once I stepped outside of the classroom and I was itching to get back at it, two little boys in tow.

My blog, Queen of the Land of Twigs ‘n Berries, was designed not just as a creative outlet for me, but a way for me to share my parenting tips and tricks with other moms in the Chicagoland area. Just about all of my articles and social media posts have a Chicago twist to them which is what makes my little corner of the Internet unique and crafted to the perfect community for Chicagoland moms. I love being able to connect moms with local businesses and resources to make motherhood less lonely, a little bit easier, and a ton more fun.

We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do you do and why and what do you hope others will take away from your work?
I started out as a blogger, sharing the stories of our family trips to the zoo, aquarium, library, etc. and that grew into a website that is known and highly regarded throughout the Chicagoland community. Over the four years I have been writing and maintaining my blog, I have expanded from topics such as community events and product reviews to editorials that empower women and help foster a positive online community for Chicagoland moms.

My main message is that moms should embrace the imperfection of parenting and not hold themselves to the unrealistic standards that we tend to see on social media. For example, if you look at my Instagram account, you will see completely honest posts, such as my realization that I don’t NEED to have the “beach body” that society tells me I need to and signs that every mom needs in her bathroom (Focus, Aim, Flush in case you were wondering).

I also give suggestions on things to do both inside and outside your home, products that help make being a mom a little bit easier, and any other empowering tips and tricks that will resonate with the Chicago mom. The Midwest is known for its friendliness, and I want to bring that type of support to every single parent who reads my blog.

Have things improved for artists? What should cities do to empower artists?
When I attend events with bloggers and other social media influencers, there seems to be a real lack of community. Instead of bloggers competing with one another for projects and storylines, I wish there was more of a focus on working together and sharing voices to create more intriguing, one of a kind collaborative stories. I feel that with more opportunities for writers like myself to meet in real life and away from screens, they can make more personal and positive connections.

Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork?
In addition to my blog (www.queenofthelandoftwigsnberries) and social media channels, I also contribute to Mamapedia (www.mamapedia.com) as well as Chicago Parent Magazine. I’m very excited for the newest issue of “Going Places,” a quarterly subset of Chicago Parent Magazine to hit newsstands because I am branching out and writing about a topic that is still somewhat unfamiliar for me: Family Travel!

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Black and White Photo–Bella Jackson Originals
Truck Photo–Kristen Lisa Photography
Feminist Shirts and Headshot–Lori Sapio Photography
Beach photo (horizontal)–Gooch Too Photography

Getting in touch: VoyageChicago is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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