Left her Full-time Job to Fulfill her Dream of Opening her own Art Studio


Redmond Art Works


Redmond Art Works was founded on the idea of creating a space for our community to gather and make art! Founder Chelsea combines her passion for teaching and pottery to create a stress-free, get messy atmosphere where guest can relax and get creative!


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Redmond Art Works was founded on the idea of creating a space for our community to gather and make art! 

I studied both elementary education and ceramics in college and taught in the elementary school classroom for the past 6 years. I've been dreaming since a little girl of one day opening an art studio. A combination of my passion for teaching and pottery, Redmond Art Works was born. 
We have created an atmosphere where guest can create masterpieces, enjoy themselves, and where the question 'What would happen if we tried this?' is greeted with an enthusiastic, "Let's try it!"



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As an artist, I have always been led towards functional pottery. I love the experience and relationship you have with pieces handcrafted and used daily for that always important cup of coffee each morning. Being able to sit down with a piece of clay and create whats in my mind is so rewarding. It is such a blessing to have a space where I can teach others so many therapeutic and rewarding art forms in a one time class, weekly class, or drop in workshop. 





Creating a space where I could not only work but be able to empower others to start creating their own artwork is really what makes our studio thrive. Adult classes are used as an introduction to the space with the ultimate goal of giving each student the foundation they need to then start creating pieces on their own during our open studio time. 



We are very proud to offer so many different art mediums and classes taught by our talented staff and guest artists from our community. We are constantly introducing new classes at the suggestion of our current students or local artists that have ideas for a fun class that will further the opportunity for our community to connect. 



Recently I had a 12 year old student working on the pottery wheel that could not stop sharing how 'Wednesdays are her favorite day because she gets to come play with clay, she went on and on about how relaxing it is to get messy and create something with her hands, bringing her ideas to life.' This was such an awesome moment for me as her teacher knowing we are giving her and her friends a space to truly get creative and try new forms of art. 



"The greats weren't great because at birth they could paint. The greats were great because they painted a lot."   -Macklemore    

We have this quote up in our studio to remind students of all ages that it's more important to enjoy the experience of making art, it's all about practice, honing in on your craft and being in the moment.

Create Beautiful Works of Art and Sip on a glass of Wine with Melissa

Vino and Canvas

Vino and Canvas offers a variety of party options but our most popular event is our two-hour acrylic painting class. Each month we offer a number of different classes to choose from so check out our Event Calendar and see where we will be next.  When booking a private painting party, there are a number of other great options in addition to our standard paint class to choose from including wine glass painting, Pop Art Your Pet classes, and charcoal sketching a live male model in an event we like to call Ooh La La Art Party.




Hey! I’m Melissa Trinkl, the Founder and COO of Vino and Canvas, a mobile painting party business serving the entire Phoenix Valley since 2012. We do not have an art studio; we pop-up shop in local restaurants, homes, and corporate offices. We bring the painting party to you! Join Vino and Canvas for a creative night out or invite us into your home for your next life celebration. 

Looking for something different to do with your staff? Vino and Canvas offers a number of team building options including logo painting, group painting, and more. We also offer a fun and interactive birthday option for the kids called Kiddos and Canvas; a one-hour art class designed just for the kiddos! There are a lot of options! Know that absolutely no experience is required and we will walk you through the entire class step-by-step. Join Vino and Canvas for fun night out and try something different. 



I had attended a similar event in my home state in early 2012 with my now husband. We enjoyed the experience so much that I knew it was something I wanted to pursue more. We still have our first paintings! I moved to Arizona in the Fall of 2012 and soon started Vino and Canvas. 

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I’ve always had a passion for art and party planning. My childhood was filled with drawing, crafts, and hoarding decorative gift bags. For as long as I can remember, I knew I wanted a career that would allow me to be creative, inspired and excited.  With a love for art, a palate for wine, and passion for supporting the local community, Vino and Canvas was born.  I’m passionate about this business because it challenges me and it allows me to make an impact in our community and lives of our customers. 



I attended college at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) where I received a Bachelor of Science in Hotel Administration with an emphasis in Meetings and Event Management and a Master of Hospitality Administration. With a passion for event planning, my career path led me to wedding planning at the MGM Grand Resort in Las Vegas and later working a fulfilling career as a freelancer for the meeting and convention industry. Today, Vino and Canvas is more than a paint-and-sip business, we are a full-service event planning company. I love what I do; what we do. This business wouldn't be what it is if it weren't for my amazing team. Their devotion to Vino and Canvas as well as our customers, allows us to thrive as a business.




Mission Statement:  The mission of Vino and Canvas is to create a fun and relaxed social art experience while supporting local artists, local businesses, and encouraging the “locals” to explore their artistic side. 
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Vino and Canvas is a locally owned and operated business partnering with other locally owned restaurants and businesses within the community. We’re not teaching fine art, we are teaching FUN art. Try something new and enjoy Vino and Canvas for a creative night out. Let us celebrate life with you; everyday is worthy of celebration. 



Since starting Vino and Canvas, my biggest achievement to date has been our 5-year anniversary! On March 17, 2018 we celebrated 5-years; our first class took place on March 17, 2013. Since the launch of the business we have held nearly 2,000 events, have partnered with more than 100 local establishments, and have painted with nearly 30,000 people. That is a lot of masterpieces! As a business owner, achieving 5-years was a huge milestone and I’m looking forward to see how much we grow in the next 5-years. 

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It’s challenging to pick just one favorite moment. We develop relationships with our customers and it’s THEIR stories and experiences with us that are truly my favorite. Getting to know our customers with each class is truly rewarding. 



We have approximately 300 original images in our Art Gallery. Each month I try to incorporate new paintings on to our Event Calendar in addition to some of our fan favorites. Around the holidays, we off holiday themed paintings for Valentine’s Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Being in Arizona, we also offer a number of beautiful desert landscapes. Our goal is to provide paintings that our customers will be proud to hang in their home. 



We are often too critical of ourselves, especially when it comes to art. There is one story that I often share with the customers... At a public painting class in late 2013, a customer was not pleased with her painting. She was near tears in frustration. Honestly, her painting looked great! No amount of encouragement would change her mind. We did not know that she tossed her completed painting in the garbage bin outside of the restaurant. We were later informed by restaurant staff that they had found a painting in the dumpster and loved it so much that they had hung it up at the bar. To date, her masterpiece is still on display. This customer has no idea how many people have enjoyed her beautiful masterpiece; a painting she did not like. I love to share this story when a customer is unsure about his/her work. This is FUN art, not fine art. Have fun, relax, and order another glass of wine. 



In terms of our classes…. Bob Ross is mentioned by our customers at nearly every event. We always enjoy speaking of him and the beauty of his art. His painting advice has played an important role when keeping our classes fun and light. 

“We don't make mistakes. We just have happy accidents.”— Bob Ross, from "The Joy of Painting"

As a business owner and momprenuer… 

"You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it." - Maya Angelou

This quote has been a longtime favorite of mine and powerful reminder. Whatever obstacles today may bring, I will defeat. 

Impacting Other's Lives Through Creativity and Play


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Hi, my name is Jill Johnson and just over a year ago, I purchased The Paint Mixer. We are a locally and woman-owned business with two locations in Utah, one in Park City the other in Salt Lake. In addition to our physical studios, we have our Van-Go Mobile Studio that allows us to bring our studio to you at any location! We specialize in step-by-step painting adventures and love helping all of our clients find their inner artist.

With Verlocal guests can link to our website and sign up for any of the classes that we offer, or request a private event of your liking.



I was approached by the previous owner through a business broker. I had been considering a creative business start-up and then The Paint Mixer came to us and here we are!



I am incredibly passionate about creativity and play. These two elements are often overlooked in our schools and in our culture as a whole. It is my belief, that creativity and play not only enrich our lives but are vital to our wellness mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually. The creative spirit allows us to be flexible in our thinking, try new things, learn from mistakes and grow as a whole. We are so focused on results, that we forget to enjoy the process. At The Paint Mixer, we love getting our guests engaged in the process with music, fun, (sometimes a drink or two), and eventually get to a final product that reflects their creative expression.



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I am an Art Therapist and have witnessed countless times the incredible impact of creative expression. In my private practice, I specialize in trauma, particularly PTSD and MST, and survivors of sexual assault. With art, they disrupt their narratives and see alternative perspectives, ideas, and possible healing solutions.  


With The Paint Mixer, we bring art to the general public in a non-threatening and encouraging atmosphere. I often refer to The Paint Mixer as our creative spa and the art therapy I do with Wound Warrior Project, Project Odyssey, The National Ability Center and Art Access as the "PT" the physical therapy that is more in-depth and gets below the surface.




We are a locally owned company and pride ourselves in offering local products and experiences.  Our art reflects the beauty of Utah's landscapes, our products show a range of the amazing small business owners in Utah and our team is local lovers of all things Utah. We host events at the Utah Natural History Museum and at Whole Foods in Park City, among others. We love to give back to the community through donations and fundraisers. I refer to our team as creative concierges, not only are they hosting you in the studio, but help guide your experience outside of the studio.




Honestly, it happens every time someone comes in and declares that they "are not an artist".  Then they begin and the next thing you know, their doubts turn into excitement, giggles, and surprise. I love that moment, when a belief of "I am not creative" transforms into, "I AM!"



My favorite right now is our new Board Room, we have been making custom ski signs, and I love to see our studio transform into a workshop where our guests are distressing wood, staining, painting and transforming a plank of wood into a work of art.



As I mentioned, before, the moment when a non-believer, becomes a believer in their own creative process. Our kid camps and groups, never doubt their work like adults. They come in a paint without commentary and have fun. It's when I see an adult let go of their limitations and expand into a new understanding!



"Every child is an artist, the problem is staying an artist when you grow up." -Pablo Picasso

Her Desire to Connect with People Drives her Business



My name is Kelsey, I’m 23 and I am SO lucky to call paradise home. I live on the island of Maui and have been here for 4 years, with family who lives here moving to Hawaii was no question. The opportunity to become a zip line tour guide presented itself to me and I was on the plane 4 days later. I left a whole life behind; quit my job, transferred schools, re-homed my rabbits, sold my stuff, shipped my car and flew the nest… and it was the best idea I’ve ever had. Fast forward 3 years and I’m a pro at leading tours, Ziplining taught me not only how to lead a tour safely but to BE the tour and share my love for life with others.

After working a real job for a while, I realize its time to become my own boss. Working for myself has always been a dream of mine, thus Kruzin’ with Kelsey was born. After an entire year of paperwork KWK IS a fully licensed and legal tour company in the state of Hawaii. Kruzin’ with Kelsey offers more that just a tour guide but a local friend, committed to providing the most personal and customizable private tour available on Maui. I aim to make a personal connection with each of my guests and provide an experience of Maui that I would want my close friend to have. Adventure is the goal, fun is required and freedom is the feeling.




Being a Zipline Tour guide, I feel like I’ve almost developed a sixth sense of my surroundings. Ive done some crazy hikes on Maui and fortunately survived some scary situations. With Wilderness first aid training and thousands of miles of experience driving the roads on Maui. I felt it was time to venture off on my own and become Maui’s most exclusive saught after private tour guide. The people I guide are who inspire me, I see the desire in people to just let go and have fun and the feeling is not only contagious but addicting. I love to pull out the fun in people and help people live in the moment. Life could be short and we are so fortunate to be in this tropical paradise, I live to encourage others to seize the day!



My passion is positivity. While I understand life is not all roses and butterflies, I do believe spreading positivity is the path to happiness. Nature provides a sense of connection with the world and I feel it makes us happier people to spend time in nature. Therefore my passion is what I do. Providing people with positive experiences and memories that last a lifetime… Priceless.



The desire to connect with as many people as I can. Living in a place like Hawaii where tourism is the number one industry and people travel here from all over the world gives me the opportunity to meet so many amazing people. Which give me the ability to literally spread positivity all over the world, for which I am very grateful.




Conservation and sustainability are very important to me. Especially because I live on this island where most people really care about the future of the Aina(land). One of the main motivations behind opening my own business was to be able to psychically clean up the island of Maui and rid the roads of large dumped items. Unfortunately there are people who dump on the side of the roads around Maui, I would like to offer discounted tours to those who help me get that garbage off the sides of the road. Through my project I call The Trashy Trailer. Not only will this trailer help clean up Maui of large debris, but I hope to spread a positive movement to encourage others to live an environmentally cleaner lifestyle. KWK would also like to get involved in Native bird restoration and wants to plant native trees all over the island, as well as remove invasive species, all to help restore the native habitat. Its also very important to wear reef safe sunscreen, just in my 4 years on Maui I have seen the reefs loose life and color. I hope to learn and take part in coral reef restoration



Honestly… one of my favorite moments of opening my business was when I received my final approval letter from The Public Utilities Commission. An organization all tour companies who operate on the roads must be permitted by. It took me almost 6 months to be able to put the proper stickers on my car. After a 16 page application followed by many other requirements, months of waiting and checking the mail every day. It was a glorious moment when that big yellow envelope finally showed up. Dancing all over my house in celebration as a result of months of work and waiting.




Maui inspires my tours, to go with the flow and enjoy the ride. Play it by ear and live in the moment.  Positivity inspires my tours. And the desire to put as mush positivity into the world as possible. I encourage my guests to “let go” and relax. Life can be stressful, this is your vacation and you deserve a day of no worries and happy memories.









I love when people are able to face their fears and push themselves outside their comfort zones. To be able to live through an exhilarating experience is very rewarding for everyone involved. 

To an 8 year old 8-feet seems like a lifetime of a jump. And to watch this young man face his fears and leap into the water right into dads arms was such a rewarding experience for me. Giving confidence in others is a passion of mine. I truly believe confidence is the key to success, and I gave that little man the “push” that he needed to face his fears. Priceless.



Think lightly of yourself and deeply of the world.” -Miyamoto Musashi

Used his Experience and Love for Pottery to create a Business!

Shiloh Pottery


Shiloh Pottery offers group clay and woodworking classes for Cub Scouts, Brownies, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts and other groups. Ken Hankins is a former Scout, having attained the rank of Eagle Scout. They have a large, well-equipped studio located on a farm in Carroll County where adults and children will be able to create many exciting clay projects such as: flower pots, log cabin bird houses, creature sculptures, dishes, trivets, masks, piggy banks, slab pots, cups, bowls, wind chimes, and Noah's arks with animals.



Shiloh Pottery was created in 1972 when my wife, Marty, and I (Ken) returned to Maryland from graduate school at Alfred University in New York State.

Over the years we have made stoneware pots, run a potters’ supply business, made and sold kick wheels, and fired salt-glazed pots with gas or wood. We have attended many craft fairs and shows, taught classes of all kinds in our studio, schools and colleges, and run workshops with famous and talented potters, all the time raising 2 children, Matt and Meg, who now have children of their own.



I have been making pots for over 50 years. I have connected with the clay; clay is a medium that is malleable and easy to create with. Being able to share my skills and what I have learned with others is a great thing. Seeing my student's faces after they have created their art work fuels my passion!



I wanted to share my love of clay and creating with it with my students. We have been offering clay classes in our studio to kids and adults for over 40 years. I also teach ceramics classes at McDaniel College where I have been a member of the Art Faculty for more than 40 years.




I have been living in the Hampstead community since 1967. Marty and I were married in 1971 and after a year of graduate school in upstate New York (Alfred University), we moved back to Hampstead. We started the pottery on the family farm in 1974. We raised our two children here. We have been offering classes here since the beginning. Now we offer clay and woodworking classes to scouts, 4-H groups, day-care centers, to folks with disabilities, and home-schoolers. We have open studio events here twice a year. We donate pottery to local fundraisers. We are very involved in the community.



People don't leave. We have many repeating students, both kids and adults. Some of our adult students have been with us for almost 15 years. We have a kids class called "Been There, Done That, But Want to Do It Again." I have to keep thinking of new projects because the kids come back over and over.




I honestly don't have a favorite moment because I enjoy them all! I just love being able to share my experience in pottery and help out my students create beautiful pieces of art. During our adult pottery classes, we celebrate birthdays and people moving on. Our open studio events attract hundreds of people. Our Mothers' Day Weekend event is one of the top five things to do in Carroll County. My wife Marty bakes goodies and some people show up just for the food!



“Opportunities don't happen. You create them.”

I don't believe that things happen for a reason, I believe opportunities are created with hard work, initiative and persistence . No one is just going to hand you what you need or the answer you are looking for on a silver platter, we need to find these solutions ourselves and put in the hard work to reach that next step in whatever we are trying to excel in. 


Explore your Creative Side through Community and Inspiration



Hey, my name is Alisha and I have recently opened a maker space for fiber arts. Anyone (I mean anyone… beginners, intermediate, women, kids and even men!) can come and take a class on weaving, dyeing, spinning, sewing, knitting etc. And it gets better… Want to keep getting your stitch on? The studio offers membership and day use for those who have acquired these types of skills through our workshops, others workshops or self-teaching, but need access to an abundant source of equipment and tools such as weaving looms, spinning wheels, drum carders, sewing machines and more.  


I was 17, wild haired, wearing 2 different colors of converse and more eyeliner than I should have been, and working in a sock store.  Boy, can 10 years, some yarn and a set of knitting needles change A LOT in one’s life! After becoming engrossed with knitting, I dabbled in other fiber arts creating a deep yearning for “the whole package”.  It’s been 2.5 years since the business idea developed for this “fiber makerspace” and less than a month since being open!


Everything! The creativity, and gratification acquired from these fiber arts and passing the experience along for others to have keeps me breathing. It’s the type of satisfaction that is hard to come by in the “average” world.



When you love something so much, that you live it day in and day out (and I mean that literally…), there comes a time when your knowledge base is overflowing. What’s a better thing to do with that knowledge than sharing it with others? After I began my first teaching at an already established business, I quickly learned that not only was I made for knitting, but I was meant to teach it too! That’s when I decided it would become my “career”. At this point, I was 22 – talk about a wallflower amongst my peers.  


Socializing in a productive, creative way brings the community together on a level that is almost innate. Fiber arts are such a specific niche, that when a group of shared interest come together, bonds are formed and more creative energy is developed.  Pow!


My favorite moment…that happens fairly often and never loses its satisfaction, is when someone says, “Oh! I get it!” Seeing that light bulb go off for a student is the best. feeling. ever. in teaching!


I love them all for all sorts of different reasons. Can’t choose just one. Sorry!



I love it when a group of students feel really comfortable around each other and can open up – on a humorous, troublesome or encouragement level. When the group as a whole lets their guard down from being “polite”, or self-conscious, it opens up the doors to a more intimate, and fun class! And often times friendships.


“Whatever your dream, whatever you create, let it be organic…” –someone in passing.

Brightens the Community of Anaheim Through an Artistic Expression.

Located in sunny Southern California, Painting UR Way brightens up the community through painting.

This family-owned business has created an experience that’s great to share with a group of friends, colleagues, family and significant other. Amelia, the owner and founder of Painting UR Way, started from an inspiration of taking her very first paint and sip class. Now Painting UR Way has inspired others to kick-back relax and truly have pure fun. Learn more about Amelia and the story of how Painting UR Way has thrived as an interactive experience in the city of Anaheim.

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Hi Amelia, can you introduce yourself to our community and tell us more about the experiences that you offer through Verlocal?

Painting UR Way is a family, female and minority owned and operated business.  

The Corona, California based family takes immense pride in bringing to Anaheim, California an amazing entertainment venue that allows its patrons creative and artistic expression.

Painting UR Way will guide you through the process of recreating a work of art while adding your own individualized touch.  It's less about learning to paint and more about relaxation, social interaction and self-expression.  

We provide everything:  paint, aprons, canvas, as well as beverages for sale.  And you leave with your own work of art - without any stress or mess.

When did you first become inspired to begin this paint and sip' business?

My “day” job was as a Human Resources Director for a major Pharmaceutical company.  Upon traveling to a location, I was responsible for in Michigan, I was invited to a Paint and Sip Studio as a team building event.  As I was the boss, and had never in my life painted before I was worried I was about to make a fool of myself in front of my staff.  But I didn’t. Given my lack of skills I was so impressed with my results and I thoroughly enjoyed the event.  I knew I had to bring this feeling of accomplishment and joy to others, who like myself, did not normally endeavor to get in touch with our artistic side.

I flew home and immediately began to pitch the idea of opening our own studio to my adult children.  They were very reluctant initially.  I booked them in a class held locally and they were hooked also. I am very proud that from the initial class that I took to the day we opened the doors was only 6 months.

What does your passion mean to you?

It is so important to me to provide the best possible experience for each of our guests.  I want everyone who walks through our door, to leave with the same incredible sense of accomplishment and wonder that I did in that first class that I took.  Although, we have completed 3 years in business and are approaching our 4th year, seeing this in our guests, never gets old.  It’s what keeps me inspired to keep fighting to maintain our business.


What made you want to pursue your passion and teach your expertise?

As mentioned before I wanted to share the experience that I had received.  However, it was also important to me to set an example for my children to always reach for more and never be satisfied working for someone else.  Succeed or fail, you know that you tried and in the process, you were in control of your own destiny.  

How would you describe the link between your classes and the community around you?

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We are proud to be able to offer an opportunity for Artistic expression to our community.  Very few people have the confidence to explore the Artistic side of themselves.  Once attending our class, they become more comfortable to do so.  We have had several students become, hooked on our classes and they return repeatedly.  They become addicted to the self-expression of the classes and the relaxation they enjoy, when they just let go and experience the class.

Tell us about your favorite moment/ biggest achievement since you started teaching your classes.

I am fortunate to have my favorite moment almost every night that we offer a class.  There is always the one student who declares they cannot even draw a “stick figure”.  They are tentative, nervous, excited and most of all hopeful at the same time.  I absolutely love it, when at the end of the class they have created a painting that they are proud of and amazed they accomplished it because they were sure they would never be able to do so.  When we take pictures at the end of the class and I love seeing their beaming smiles, filled with pride in their very own “masterpiece”

What are your favorite class themes and the story behind it?

I think my favorite class themes are the Valentine’s Day and the Christmas paintings.  Both events, seem to “give permission” to guests to just have fun, get caught up in the spirit and show some love to themselves and others.  During the Valentines’ Day events we have all types of people showing love, newly dating couples, long-married couples, parents and children and girlfriends using it as a much-needed excuse to reconnect.  During Christmas, we have guests of all faiths and beliefs who are just caught in the magic of the year.  We have actually had an entire class spontaneously burst into a hardy and loud version of “Frosty the Snowman”, while painting our Snowman themed paintings.

Valentine's Day Themed Paintings


Holiday Themed Classes

What is your favorite moment/story you’ve had between you and your students?

I think my absolute favorite moment was when we had a student about 10 years old.  She was clearly a high-achiever and extremely hard on herself. About 15 minutes into the class she became so frustrated that she was almost in tears. Her mother was trying desperately to assist her and make things better.  

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I stepped in and reminded her that 1) she was there to have fun 2) it was Art, so there is no such thing as perfect 3) her painting wasn’t going to look exactly like the Artist Instructor’s painting because it wasn’t a photograph it was a creation of art and her individual strokes and interpretation were important for her painting and finally if she wanted to eventually paint as well as the Artist she was taking the first step and she couldn’t give up.  I stood right next to her the entire class and gently coaxed, encouraged and supported her through the completion of her painting.  In the end, she actually did better than a lot of the Adults in attendance on the same night.  Seeing the pride and satisfaction on her face of having stuck with something and succeeded brought enormous joy to me.  Her mother was so happy because the child was always so hard on herself, that she wrote a YELP review the next day to thank me for helping her daughter.  This will probably always be my favorite story from the studio.

Share one quote that resonates with you :

“If you don’t even try, you have already failed.”

I strongly believe that every failure is the step in the direction of the success that is waiting for you.  Failing teaches you what not to do and what to try now.  Every accomplishment, even the smallest, builds your confidence to try to something bigger and better.  If you don’t ever try, you will never know what you “are made of” and what you are capable of doing.


Feeding His Community With Delicious Food and Entertainment.

Meet & Cook With Chef James

James grew up on a 50-acre horse farm near the Salinas Valley. His great-grandfather emigrated from Yugoslavia into the Central Valley and started an apple farm. His grandfather later moved to the very fertile Salinas Valley and started one of the first produce companies. It was called Sun Harvest. My mother raised us mostly on local fruits and vegetables though there was still the occasional cooking “out of a can” given the generation. Canned beets! The one thing we always had was a bowl of fresh fruit, cut up and put into a bowl for us before we went to bed.

James earned a master of Spanish literature and linguistics from Middlebury College and lived in Spain for two years. He later entered into the technology business and worked at various advertising agencies in San Francisco over a 12 year period. Along the way, he started cooking as "therapy" for his corporate day job. CookWithJames has created 15 years ago as an underground supper club. James would prepare multiple-course regional Italian and Spanish dinners in his home for guests and friends. James staged at Quince restaurant after they opened in 2004, and has also lived and cooked in both Italy and Spain. After leaving his day job in advertising in 2009 James launched CookWithJames as a full-time business, offering private sit-down dinners as well as cooking class parties for all occasions. To learn more visit CookWithJames.com.

When did you first become inspired to begin cooking?

I was looking for another creative outlet and I love to entertain and feed people so cooking was a logical choice. I love going to markets and shopping for ingredients and talking to local farmers and understanding where all the food comes from It’s incredibly therapeutic and fulfilling.

What does your passion mean to you?

Passion is something you drives and excites you and something you want to share with others. Cooking can literally be very utilitarian (an end to a means) but for me, it excites me and drives me to do more and learn more. And of course, I naturally want to share all of this with likeminded individuals, while getting people excited about shopping and cooking for themselves. It’s really a lifestyle choice.

What made you want to pursue your passion and teach your expertise?

When people set foot through my door they are typically here for some sort of celebratory occasion. It gives me great pleasure to welcome them and hopefully shows them a very special and unique evening of cooking and conversation over great food and ingredients. It’s very rewarding to me and I love it when my guests come back to me days or weeks later and tell me about the dishes they have prepared based on their experience with me.

How would you describe the link between your classes and the community around you?

I would say that my classes are very closely linked to the local farmers and markets and food purveyors that provide me my ingredients. My butcher friends at Bi-Rite Market, for example, all know about my business and follow me on Instagram. Often I send my guests into Bi-Rite to talk to them, etc. It’s a very small, tightly knit community.

Tell us about your favorite moment/ biggest achievement since you started teaching your classes.

That’s a tough question. Certainly, when my guests come back to me with photos of my dishes that they have successfully prepared…well, that is very fulfilling. I also think that seeing CookWithJames grow as a business over 7 years and become so popular and successful has been incredibly rewarding. It means that I’m doing at least some things right and people really enjoy the experiences I provide.

What are your favorite dish and the story behind it?

One of my favorites is the Spanish tortilla de patatas. It took me years to master and it’s a dish I love to consume on a regular basis. Also, my Five Dot Ranch slow-braised beef brisket has been on my menus and in my repertoire for years and is always a crowd pleaser. I have tweaked it over the years and it’s just a great, hearty dish.

How long have you been living in the Bay Area? What are some culinary insider tips you’d like to recommend to someone who just moved to the city?

I have lived in SF for 19 years. As for newcomers to the city, read some of the better food blogs such as my friend’s e-column Tablehopper.com, EaterSF and of course my own blog at EatWithJames.com. These are all great ways to plug into the food scene. Instagram is also a great source of information. I’m @cookwithjames.

What is your favorite moment/story you’ve had between you and your students?

I had a very passionate group of students about 6 months ago for a daytime cooking class. They came from all over the Bay Area for our class and were very curious where I shop etc. I invited them to accompany me to Bi-Rite, my favorite market after the class. I introduced them to my butcher and fishmonger, etc. It was really a special day.

Share one quote that resonates with you the most and what it means for you?

This is a quote from one of my students on his Yelp review of the experience. It really sums things up:

“James is not there to impress you with his cooking skill.  Nor is he there to tell you what to do. James shares a love of cooking WITH you, and shows you what that means. In an age of celebrity chefs and frantic displays of cooking prowess, it's refreshing to meet a real person who cooks with love, and inspires that in others.”

–Will Spencer

Check Out Chef James's Upcoming Classes!

Using Music as an International Language to Inspire

Music producer, composer, music educator, event organiser and musician for 4 different bands in Singapore. Rupak started his career by playing original music at Going Om, followed by performing live Mexican music at Piedra Negra on the streets of Haji Lane. He first ventured into teaching at the Overseas Family School, mentoring students through his personal experience as a musician. Through Verlocal, Rupak now provides private guitar classes for people of all ages, and experience levels. As his music teaching career grows, Rupak continues to gain exposure and hone his skills through live performances. At the end of 2017, he will be travelling with his band Mantravine with support from Singapore International Foundation to play in one of the biggest 5-day music festivals in New Zealand called Twisted Frequency.


1.     Tell us about your background: When did you first become inspired to do what you love?


A few years ago I was invited to become a guitar teacher at the Overseas Family International School, where I spent a fulfilling 2 years teaching students between the ages of 5 to 16. Unknowingly, I fell in love with my role of teaching and sharing my passion with others. During the long summer break of school, my teaching came to a halt and I was feeling empty without having students to teach. I came to the decision to create a self-sufficient mechanism of providing private guitar classes so I could continue my passion of teaching music during the holiday periods. Through this, Private Guitar Class was born. 


2.     Tell us about your biggest achievement since you started your music career.

I never received or was able to afford a formal music education. Thanks to life, my music education has been gifted through learning directly from musical masters in Mexico, India, Singapore, Malaysia, online courses and playing for thousands of people in 6 bands. Over a year ago I set out to make a course on how to read, write, sing and play music scores with a musical master from USA named Seth Rouse. I didn’t know how to read but I could teach and think from the perspective of a student. We used our combined knowledge and expertise to make an affordable online course accessible to all musical instruments and ages. Making this course has been the biggest achievement in my life and I’m super excited make more courses for the community.


3.     What was your biggest challenge when you first started your business and what inspires you to continue building your business?

 Rupak playing a flute at a gig

Rupak playing a flute at a gig

I faced problems finding students for classes at the initial stages of this business. I perservered by constantly learning how to be a better teacher and creating online content. As a result, students kept coming back and referred me to their friends so I’m very thankful that the community put their trust in me. Throughout this entire journey, a never ending drive to learn to be a better teacher and openness to feedback kept me going and hungry to connect with more students. My students have been one of my biggest inspirations. I am extremely lucky to have been given a deeper understanding of patience and time through teaching and guiding my students, a massive reward for being a teacher.




4.     Can you share with us what your passion means to you?

me in red.jpg

“No playing, no progress. I try to teach people to play music rather than practice because practising can feel like a tiring chore but playing usually feels like your falling in love.”

If I'm passionate about something, the fulfilment that I derive from it is infinite. Since I started PGC, it has evolved into a music education platform that helps connect students and teachers to each other. When it comes to turning your passion into, a full-time gig, financial instability to make ends meet can put one off from doing so. Strangely enough, when I went through this, it inspired me to start producing a free online guitar course to help anyone who wishes to get started on learning the guitar. My 1st course turned out to be a catalyst to create the 2nd called “Read & Play Music Rhythms.” This inexpensive resource is designed to help others who desire to learn how to read & play music scores as well as share their musical ideas with other musicians. The passion to keep going automatically fuels itself and I’ve observed that PGC has already become greater than what I could have ever imagined.


5.     How has privateguitarclass impacted your community and the people who support it?

Everyone enters the musical journey at different points in life and has different learning capabilities. We guide students in their journey by either allowing them to choose their own path of what they want to learn or providing them with the capabilities to find a path of their own. Whether you’re interested in learning just the basics or a large variety of music styles, we present positive challenges every lesson to cater to your individual needs. We welcome students of all levels as long as you have the passion to learn. Our personalised one-on-one experience is what brings the greatest impact to the guitar community as we recognize that everyone has different needs and do our best to match them. Most importantly, I strongly believe in teaching people the art of enjoying while playing rather than practising.

6.     Are there any exciting courses you have in store for the near future?

I am aiming to make my next course on how to be a musical DJ in New Zealand later this year. The inspiration for this course came from a DJ friend named Loom who has taken the art of DJ-ing to a whole new level I've never experienced before. Watching Loom is like watching a psychedelic guitarist play mad solos with a mixer! Another one on the "Course-To-Make List" is aimed at learning slide guitar taught by a locally based master named Isuru Wijesoma who also teaches for us at PGC. 

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7.     What advice can you give to people who want create a business from doing what they love?

To those who dream of starting your own businesses, remember that projects take time to grow. You need to give a project at least 5 years before you can make a fair evaluation of what it's doing for you and for the community. Most importantly, when times are bad, you have to just keep going and believe in yourself. My advice would be for you to make a choice between being all in or all out -- being half-hearted isn't sustainable. 


8.     What led you to choose Verlocal as your hosting site?

My opinion is that Verlocal is a platform that shares some of the coolest activities you can indulge in locally. As a service provider, it definitely has all the right processes in place to be a super guide. There has been a considerable amount of care taken to meet me in person and to be in constant communication, ensuring a collaborative vision for sharing my activities to the community. From my experience, every other service provider in this league of services lack either of these choices. With rampant technological advances, it's hard to find something so good that's so human. You can trust that you’re in good hands with Verlocal, where a good source of information and the right people are its driving factors.

She Empowers Others By Sharing the Passion of Leather Crafting

Located in the north side, Chicago School of Shoemaking and Leather Arts places their mark as a hub for local leather artisan. From beginners to those with an advance skill set, anyone can explore the art behind leather work with trusted professional instructors. Meet the woman who started it all, and read about the inspiration and passion behind Chicago School of Shoemaking and Leather Arts:

Chicago Leather Logo.jpg

Hi Sara!

Please introduce yourself and tell us more about the experiences that you currently offer.

  Sara Macintosh, FOUNDER

Sara Macintosh, FOUNDER

I have been a custom shoemaker since 1974.  Having made over 10,000 pairs of shoes for people all over the US and abroad, I decided to open a school for shoemaking and leather working in 2011.  We offer classes in footwear construction and classes to make all kinds of leather goods.

When did you first become inspired to begin leather crafting?

I was living an alternative lifestyle, part of the back-to-the-land movement in the late 60’s and early 70’s. We were growing our own food, building a log house and working on making everything we needed by hand.  When I needed a pair of shoes, I decided to try and make them myself.  That’s how I got started.

What does your passion mean to you?

My passion is focused on sharing what I’ve learned over the years and empowering others to have a great life experience through working with their hands. I am able to do that through the classes and programs we’re offering at the school on a daily basis.  Teaching has been a most satisfying experience because I get to feel others’ excitement as they create something new and unique for the first time.

 Leather Shoemaking Class 

Leather Shoemaking Class 

What made you want to pursue teaching your expertise in leather craft? 

When students finish their first pair of shoes, there’s this amazement on their face: I did this!  I made these shoes!  They can hardly believe they were able to do it.  I like being around that energy.

How would you describe the link between your classes and the community around you?

I am pleased that in our 6 years we’ve had a very diverse student population attend our classes and use our space to make things out of leather.  Many of these wonderful people I’d have never met if we didn’t have this space to share skills.

Tell us about your favorite moment/ biggest achievement since you started teaching your classes.

Launching our Vocational Training Program in September of this year. We are training people to be self-employed as leather workers and also collecting a roster of companies in the industry who are looking for trained leather workers with industrial sewing experience to employ.   That is very exciting—that we can help people find meaningful work and also promote things made here in the US.  We have a winter semester starting in January and a summer semester starting in June.

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What is your favorite story about the Chicago School of Shoemaking & Leather Arts?

Early on in the history of the school, a woman came in asking if I could help her make a tote bag she loved.  We began working together and after about 6 months of working with me once or twice a week, she’s now got a full-fledged business making her bags and has a dozen or more styles and products that she makes to sell.  It’s very rewarding to see how successful she is and know that I was able to help make that happen.

Chicago leather 6.jpg

What are some insider tips for a beginner looking to attend one of your classes?

Be willing to try something new and fall in love with it.  Bring a friend and share the experience.  It’s fun and it’s a great way to balance our digital lives with some hands-on creativity.

Share one quote that resonates with you the most and what it means for you?

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.” -Margaret Mead

Chicago LEather 5.jpg

I believe we all have a chance to make our culture a safe place to thrive and experience life fully for all people.  I am grateful that I have the school to offer a place where people can come together and feel good about what they are doing.  Every little bit helps.  

make your own leather goods TODAY

With Chicago School of Shoemaking & Leather Arts


Baaah-Maste In LA with Goat Yoga

I’ve been so antsy to try Goat Yoga for months now, since it started popping up on my social media everywhere. Funny enough, it seemed that I was going to have to go back to New Hampshire (where I’m from) to take a class in it! Living in Los Angeles there is so much opportunity everywhere, but I was not expecting to find many goats here. You can bet how surprised I was when my friend Courtney said she was hosting an upcoming Goat Yoga class for a fitness group she is in and asked if I wanted to join. Was that even a question? Of COURSE I was in! 

Goat Yoga

Sunday morning we drove up to Thousand Oaks to Lavenderwood Farm. It was so peaceful in this neighborhood, it felt like we had totally left city life. This pretty little house was sitting on this calm little road and all of these goats and dogs were outside. We were so excited! The people who own Lavender Wood Farms greeted us and let us in, introducing us to the goats and explaining how they are part of the 4H club.

 This is Kevin the goat. She is a little girl but Kevin Hart was recently visiting this farm and fell in love with her, requesting she be named after him. Oh Los Angeles, you never cease to amaze.

This is Kevin the goat. She is a little girl but Kevin Hart was recently visiting this farm and fell in love with her, requesting she be named after him. Oh Los Angeles, you never cease to amaze.

We were told that if the goats came onto our mats during practice to just pick up their rear ends and turn them off the mat – their faces were fine to stay on the front but if we didn’t want our mat to get too “messy” we might want to move that end off. 

The class was hilarious – not all that zen considering the goats kept unlocking the gate and escaping or climbing on people as they did certain poses. The goats definitely calmed down during the practice, like they were feeding off our energy, but nevertheless they were fun to be around. I haven’t laughed so hard in quite a long time.

The instructor told us that during this upcoming work week, when the world feels stressful, to try to remember the simple humor that was a goat climbing on a yogi. Every time I think back on it I smile and giggle a bit – so I guess she was right. Doing such a humorous activity has definitely made this work week less stressful.

She ended the class with “baaaah-maste” instead of “namaste” to stick with the theme. Then we had more time to play with the goats! They were so funny and cute and loved to be pet.

Goat Yoga
Goat Yoga

Courtney (the event planner she is) had packed some wine for everyone and Lavenderwood Farms provided us with some of their homemade goat cheese. It was such a fun way to end the afternoon.

Goat Yoga

I would highly recommend Goat Yoga. You might not get the most “zen”yoga practice but you’ll have a great time and laugh until your eyes water. 

For more information contact:

Lavenderwood Farm

805 – 428 – 2684


Check out the video below for a time-lapse of our class.

Empowering The Artist Community Through Her Passion


When you feel like picking up a new hobby, forging is one experience that caught the interest of many Verlocal guests. Adam's Forge has made a successful entry to hosting a forgery experience. Guests have discovered a new passion for forgery in the Southern California area and returned for more courses and a wealth of knowledge from the experts and Adam's Forge. To tell you a little bit more, Heather from Adam's Forge is here to explain:


Hi Heather, please introduce yourself to our community and tell us more about the experiences that you offer through Verlocal? 

Adam’s Forge is a non-profit blacksmithing school and cooperative in East Los Angeles. We offer classes, starting with our Discovery Class. That class is required before you can advance to other classes and the open forges we offer. Most of our instructors are volunteers, so everyone there is enthusiastic and motivated to help pass this amazing craft on to others.



 Tell us about your background: When did you first become inspired to begin Adam's Forge? 

I started in steel fabrication (cut & weld) in the theater in 1978. I was first conscious of forging about 1991 and started teaching myself from books. In 1992 I found ABANA, the national artist blacksmith group. I went to a conference where I first saw live blacksmiths forging and saw what was possible. I was hooked! In 2002 my friend, Bob Cooper, was starting Adam’s Forge and he asked me to be on the board. When he left, I was elected president of the board. It’s not what I meant to do but being involved with a group of others passionate about blacksmithing is compelling. Many exceptional smiths helped me along the way. Helping others learn about the craft completes the circle for me. 

What does your passion mean to you? 

Nearly everything. I get to do what I truly love every day. I get to use every part of myself in metalwork, my brain, my body, my imagination and creativity and my spirit. I also get to help other people try their hands at this incredible craft. 

What made you want to pursue teaching the craft of forgery? 

I hadn’t really wanted to teach but a friend talked me into teaching at her place. I found out how much fun it was to see the experience of hitting hot steel light a spark with some students. When I am able to pass my love of blacksmithing on to others it is so energizing. I also have found that having to put techniques I do intuitively now into words makes me understand the material more deeply. 

Adam's Forge 2.jpg

How would you describe the link between your classes and the community around you?

Besides classes, we try to link with our surrounding community in other ways as well. We do demonstrations for the public and for schools. We have a special program for Wounded Warriors that we’re excited about. We offer private classes and parties. Students share their experiences with us with their friends and family so there is a ripple effect.

Tell us about your favorite moment/ biggest achievement since you started teaching your classes. 

There are many. When I see a student who surpasses my work, that is incredibly gratifying. Our Artist in Residence, Aram Nigoghosian, started learning to forge with us. Now he’s really a skilled blacksmith. He makes incredible tools and is a superb instructor. He fell in love with blacksmithing with us and has changed his career. 

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What are your most popular class and the story behind it? 

Besides the Discovery Class (which everyone must take) any class to make “sharp pointy things” is super popular. With the popularity of “Forged in Fire” and video games with a blacksmith character, lots of people have an awareness of bladesmithing now. 

What are some insider tips for a beginner looking to attend one of your classes? 

Sign up for any Discovery Class. They are our most popular offering since you have to start with that class. If you are able to come during the week, those classes are easier to get into than the ones on the weekend. You can sign up with friends but if they are dragging their feet, sign up yourself and make them jealous when you show them what you made!

Share one quote that resonates with you the most and what it means for you? 

"Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray." ~ Rumi.  

I think it speaks for itself. As it turns out, I had been following his advice throughout my life. I consider myself to be incredibly lucky.


Host Spotlight - The Science Behind an Art Studio

Mimi Liu

"Passion takes dedication. Dedication takes commitment. Commitment is an attitude. You need to have the right attitude to continue in the act of accomplishing your goal. Which is to give purpose in passion and exert what I’m capable of."


1. Can you introduce yourself and tell us more about the experiences that you offer through Verlocal?

I graduated from art college and have always been interested in art. Since young, I enjoyed art and developed a passion for it. I thought, if I enjoyed doing what I love doing I should share this with those who want to try and get into the act of art making. Verlocal has given me this opportunity to connect with the public and become a teacher in the process. I started Magicten Art Studio to offer an experience on the use of resin and its possibilities; creating your own home décor, craft items, jewelry and more. It is for those who are looking for a new hobby, or want to exercise the creative mind. This experience allows you to apply imagination to creation.

 Resin Products including Plates, Bowls, etc

Resin Products including Plates, Bowls, etc

2. Tell us about your background: When did you first become inspired to do what you love?

 Resin Boards

Resin Boards

I was working on a craft project for myself early this year, and I needed to decide on a material to complete the piece. In research, I chanced upon resin. I did not know much about resin then so I had to start from the beginning. After much research and exploration, I realized that resin very versatile and adaptable to other types of materials. I embarked on this as a hobby and created many items. The possibilities are endless. I realized that Singapore does not offer such workshops with the opportunity to learn about this specific material, nor the space to develop artistry for resin. I have the knowledge in hand, and wanted to teach what I know. Thus came to birth of my workshop, Magicten Art Studio. Magicten - represents your ten fingers, you create magic and anything with your imaginative mind with the extensions of your hands.


3. What does your passion mean to you?

I couldn’t have done this without the support of my family to pursue my passion. They understand my attachment to art and how much enjoyment it gives me. It keeps my drive going and helps me continue doing what I’m good at. The motivation is to become better at what I am good at and develop it further. Setting goals are easy, but accomplishing them is an uphill task, though not impossible. This became the main driving force of my work; regret not your passions, reap satisfaction and happiness in turn. Why choose to wake up to something you can’t find fulfillment in?


4. How has Magicten impacted your community and the people who support it?

 Different Resin Designs on Stools

Different Resin Designs on Stools

Magicten has been running for a little over 2 months, and I have been receiving positive feedback from the students. Some find the experience relaxing, not thinking of work or feeling pressures from life. This comes as a surprise to them as their hands are always moving to match up to the ideas coming from the creative mind. Resin is a unique material and it seems to open up doors to a new artistic path. It is something they have never experimented on before, yet this allows them to loosen up, creating a relaxing and therapeutic experience. Some return for second workshop and bring their friends, this makes me happy as it is an indication that I am doing something right.


5. Tell us about your biggest achievement since you started Magicten?

 Mimi working on a Resin Canvas

Mimi working on a Resin Canvas

Since opening the doors of Magicten, the awareness for this material has begun and word is spreading. This is the whole purpose isn’t it, to have people know what Magicten is about. I don’t expect it to spread like a wild-fire, but I’m definitely making an impact on the community! Not everyone will know about your business or what you’re about, not everyone will be interested. You can only reach so far as much as you can. My achievement is that I have students coming back for seconds and wanting more. They bring their friends because they as well want to share what they’ve enjoyed.



6. What was your biggest challenge when you first started your business?

Having a vision is not enough, to construct your vision was my challenge. Vision is just the start of an idea. Nonetheless as it comes along you progress and it eventually builds. Building an architect (brand) you need a strong foundation, it is the ground base which your vision lies upon and where your business will grow.

7. What inspires you to continue building and improving your business? 

 Resin Design Tools

Resin Design Tools

There is always something new that can be done, this is to keep the business going and keep it interesting. Coming up with new ideas so consumers can return for more or finding ways to appeal to those who have yet to try their hands at the craft of resin. I hope this shows the community the joy it brings to me and they can enjoy it too. It purely is fun!

8.What made you want to pursue your passion and become a host?

Passion takes dedication. Dedication takes commitment. Commitment is an attitude. You need to have the right attitude to continue in the act of accomplishing your goal. Which is to give purpose in passion and exert what I’m capable of.

This is teaching, although not just an art form, but anything is achievable when you have the right attitude. So teaching others is what inspires me; to teach the things I love doing, I truly do enjoy in what I’m doing. My purpose is to share with others with what you can create and it's not that hard! With this direction, you give your best service to your students and convince them that they can do it too, maybe creating better than me. 

 Collection of small ornaments and accessories made of Resin

Collection of small ornaments and accessories made of Resin

9.What are your goals for the future?

At the moment I’m starting small and still learning, gradually to grow my own business and understand customer’s needs, coming to know how much more I still need to do, and how to progress. It is like having an option to order either a whole cake or just a slice of it; you don’t want to have a whole cake you can’t finish, so just take a slice for now. Eventually when I’ve got a clearer perspective of my brand, I’d like to move to a bigger space and cater to more people. When that happens, include materials in the workshops, alongside resin art so there will be a bigger market for different audiences. Everybody gets a chance!

10.What advice can you give to people who want create a business from doing what they love?

You need to have the knowledge first. You have to believe first. Have the right attitude first. Know your skills first. Know what is possible first, and what is not. Be ready to accept you don’t always get what you want, but welcome what you don’t understand. You don’t always want to meet the people you want to meet, but you will. You eventually will have to find answers to your questions because no one is going to do it for you. There is always a solution – to everything! You have choices to make your decisions, your opportunity. It is whether you want to or not. When you are ready to test your capability, do it, when you have so much ready, when you know so much by now, what do you have to lose? Don’t be scared, it is your quest and you are already half way through it with this attitude. Most of all, have fun!

 Hand-made Resin Cup 

Hand-made Resin Cup 

Join Mimi as she spreads the joy and love of resin to everyone in Singapore and the world! She's holding classes for you to teach you how to create your very own products!

Photo Credits : Olivia Kwok



BANTER & BLISS CANDLE CO. Experience with Verlocal


This past weekend I drove down to San Pedro for a Verlocal Experience with Banter & Bliss Candle Co.

Banter & Bliss is located in the year round market place called Crafted at the Port of Los Angeles.


Sheena greeted us with a friendly smile and told us to take off any nice jackets or purses we had and place them to the side, as the oils and wax can get a bit messy.


You start by picking out what scent or scents (you can mix a few) you want your candle to smell like. Ranging from traditional scents of vanilla and fresh cut grass, to fun ones like sparkling mojito and champagne kisses (smells like mimosas!), all the way to seasonal scents such as Fraser fir, cranberry marmalade and mistletoe. I chose to mix vanilla and Fraser fir.

There were 7 other people in the group with me. Two of whom were a young couple there to learn how to make candles and decide on scents so that they could make their own as upcoming wedding favors. She chose to mix a lilac and hyacinth combination that smelled like sweet summertime. Another two was a set of girlfriends just looking for something fun to do on the weekend, one chose a rose scent that smelled heavenly. There were also two women there with their mother who chose to make a candle that smelled like cranberry marmalade. Perfect for Thanksgiving that's coming up. Its such a fun activity to do whether you're alone or in a group and I can see doing this with friends often as everyone gets to go home happily with whatever scent they choose.


You start by tacking the wick to the bottom of the glass jar. Sheena took this time to explain to us all about the differences in wicks and why certain ones should be used over others and how to know if you should be using a thicker or thinner wick.

Then we took the time to measure out 8 ounces of the scented oils. Up to 10 ounces is ideal for the candle but initially measuring to 8 ounces gives you wiggle room to adjust however you see fit. This was the fun part - getting to decide if you wanted your combination to smell more like one of the multiple scents or if you wanted it to just have a hint of a scent. To do this, you divide the 8 ounces into whatever ratio you think you'll like. I wanted there to be a hint of vanilla but mainly Fraser fir (like when you walk into a home at Christmas time and can smell the tree but a hint of fresh baked cookies in the background too) so I put 5 ounces of Fraser fir with 3 ounces of vanilla. After stirring it the vanilla was stronger than I had anticipated so I added another 2 ounces of the Fraser fir. So perfect!


Sheena comes over to pour your wax for you. Then you can choose whatever color you want your candle to be and stir that and your oil mix into the wax. There are so many options for colors such as teal, pink, orange, red, green, light blue, dark blue, purple and grey. I went with grey - which initially looked black when she dripped it in. The colors definitely lighten up as the wax cools down which was also cool to see because it was kind of a surprise as to what exactly they would look like when they've cooled.


Once we had stirred the color and oil into the wax we slowly poured them into the glass jars. Sheena had a cool little trick of threading the wick through a clothes pin to hold it straight up while the wax cooled around it.


The candle takes about an hour to cool and be ready to take home. This is so nice because there is so much to do at Crafted at the Port of Los Angeles and this wait gives you the time to do it. I grabbed a nice, warm coffee from a nearby booth, Drunken Cake Pops and browsed the booths. There are so many different things to look at and other fun crafts booths to stop at and check out. After browsing a bit I went back to Banter & Bliss' booth and made a label for my candle. It wasn't cooled yet so I went out had a delicious chicken sandwich from the food booth where people were picnicking and kids were playing soccer. There is also a craft brewery out there! What a cool place to spend a Sunday.


It was such a pleasant way to spend a Sunday and I got to take home my own candle. Overall, I spent about 3 hours attending the class and dilly-dallying around. I would highly recommend attending a Verlocal Class at Banter & Bliss!

Thank you Sheena and Banter & Bliss! Thank you Verlocal for letting me know about this class! Hope everyone reading this can go check it out soon too and take home your own treasure :)






P.S. Did I mention that Banter & Bliss partners with AbilityFirst as a production partner? The matchstick bottles sold by Banter & Bliss are filled by the AbilityFirst team at the Pasadena Work Center. All of the Banter & Bliss matchstick bottle purchases support AbilityFirst and its mission to provide a variety of programs designed to help people with disabilities achieve their personal best throughout their lives. How cool is that? They're so cute too. Click here to check them out!


Make your personalized candle, with Banter & Bliss Candle CO.

Host Spotlight - Helping Others Live the Gluten-free Lifestyle

One Degree Gluten Free with Karen Horan and Tabitha Millington


1.Can you introduce yourself and tell us more about the experiences that you offer through Verlocal?

 Gluten Free Pizza

Gluten Free Pizza

One Degree Gluten Free (1°GF) is the hub for gluten-free living in Singapore. As a business, we aim to provide useful information about eating, shopping, and living gluten-free. We also offer classes, talks and social events for anyone who is interested in learning more about living a gluten-free lifestyle.

The concept of 1°GF started as the directors -Tabitha Millington and myself – both have children who were diagnosed with celiac disease.  For those who are less familiar with gluten, celiac disease is an autoimmune disease where the body reacts to gluten and damages itself. The only effective treatment is a strictly gluten-free diet.

With over 15 years of combined experience running gluten-free households,  we have a wealth of information about the practical aspects of a strictly followed, medically necessary gluten-free diet and we hope to be able to bring together the gluten-free community in Singapore.


2.Tell us about your background: When did you first become inspired to do what you love?

 Fried Chinese Dumpling - Gluten-free

Fried Chinese Dumpling - Gluten-free

Singapore Celiac and Gluten Intolerance Support Group formed in 2012 to help people following a gluten-free diet find dietary and emotional support and information.  The group continues to host monthly coffee mornings that are open to anyone wishing to join.  

1°GF grew out the request to teach classes and as a way to fund the all volunteer support group. Both Tabitha and I both wish to share our extensive knowledge and skills to help other families who are just starting their gluten-free journey. 

 Participants in 1°GF's baking class

Participants in 1°GF's baking class

3. How has 1°GF impacted your community and the people who support it?

The response to reliable up-to-date gluten-free information and classes has been overwhelming. The proceeds from 1°GF help to fund and Singapore Celiac and Gluten Intolerance Support Group help provide resources that improve the lives of both expats and Singaporeans alike.  

 Learning to fold Chinese Dumplings

Learning to fold Chinese Dumplings

4. What made you want to pursue your passion and become a host?

1°GF wants to reach a larger audience and help more people master gluten-free living without having the feeling that they are restrained.


5. Tell us about your biggest achievement since you started 1°GF?

One of the most satisfying accomplishments so far was the development and teaching gluten-free bread and potsticker classes.  For people who have not been able to enjoy eating certain food in years due to dietary restrictions, the opportunity to have a delicious gluten-free version is life-changing.  

 Gluten Free Donuts

Gluten Free Donuts

6. What inspires you to continue building and improving your business?

Our inspiration comes from helping people become more confident and proud of their homemade gluten-free creations, especially good bread. There is great satisfaction in seeing people master the techniques in class as well as seeing them make new gluten-free friends and connections.   


 Gluten-Free Bread

Gluten-Free Bread

7. What are your goals for the future?

The ultimate goal of 1°GF is to leave a lasting legacy in Singapore by raising awareness of celiac disease and gluten intolerance, creating a lasting gluten-free community, support structure and information to lean on.  We want to see Singapore be the first truly gluten-free accommodating country in Southeast Asia.  



8.What advice can you give to people who want create a business from doing what they love?

Be sure you are doing something you love and believe in. The payback in friendship, satisfaction and changing lives (one gluten-free meal at a time) is worth all the hard work.

Interested in learning more about living the gluten-free life or create gluten-free products that look and taste good? Sign up for Karen's class below!

He Molded His Life with His Passion in Pottery

“I believe all people need an outlet that allows them to step outside their daily reality to turn a vision into a product. Clay does this and more, allowing me to dive into a process that is both highly meditative and creatively satisfying.”

How often have you taken a step back to fully ponder over what you are truly interested in? Especially in today’s context, we often find ourselves putting our passions on hold to fulfill our daily expectations. In today’s Host Spotlight – Meet Scott, an avid potter and maker who pursues his driving passion in pottery while being career-focused. Read on to learn about the reason why Scott finds joy in creating and how his classes help to inspire individuals!

Hi, can you introduce yourself to our community and tell us more about the experiences that you offer through Verlocal?

Hi, I’m Scott! I’ve always been a driven individual, equally focused on my career…and on having as much fun as possible. I spent a decade working in politics and foreign policy, before moving to Austin to start a company. However, while I stay busy with work, my passion for fun and creation leads me to live music venues, trout streams and the pottery studio.

Pottery, in particular, has been a driving passion. Beyond the joy of creating, it is the synapses, the creative process that creates and keeps sharp that I value above all. Call it what you will, but I’m better at every part of life when I’m making time to create with clay.

Tell us about your background: When did you first become inspired to do what you love?

In university, I took pottery class to fulfill art credit requirements. Many potters will tell you they never intended to become potters, but when given the chance the clay chose them. This is exactly what happened to me. That single class has now turned into a decade-long passion that I expect to be with me the rest of my life.

What does your passion mean to you?

To me clay is creation. I believe all people need an outlet that allows them to step outside their daily reality to turn a vision into a product. Clay does this and more, allowing me to dive into a process that is both highly meditative and creatively satisfying.

What made you want to pursue your passion and become a host?

I recently fulfilled a long-time dream, building and equipping a home studio. Pottery has always been about community, and Verlocal has enabled me to begin meeting and building a community around the studio.

How would you describe the link between your classes and the community around you?

For me, the classes are a way to build a community of creators, while offering those nearby a way to sharpen their skills or begin the ceramic journey that has meant so much to my life.

Can you tell us a little bit more about a story you’ve had between you and your students when you were teaching your classes?

So much of mastering pottery is about learning or knowing about, techniques that unlock a specific piece of the creative process. I used to work with a student named Allison who, with just a little work on how to center or how to pull clay from the bottom of the pot, was able to quickly improve her ceramic ability. This allowed her to rapidly gain confidence in her ability to throw bigger pots and create more balanced structures. The most satisfying piece of this was that she had long-term frustrations that were quickly put rest with just a small amount of good instruction.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to learn more about your passion?

Get started! The end result is a gorgeous vase, mug or platter, but it is the creative journey that gives me the most joy. Plus…you get to get muddy when making pots. What’s more fun than that?!

How long have you been living in the city? What are some insider tips you’d like to recommend to someone who just moved to the city?

I’ve lived in Austin for a year and a half, but have visited for many years. My best advice to new Austin residents is to take advantage of the cities’ friendly environment by joining new friends for Greenbelt outings, barton swims, and late-night dancing at one of Austin’s many wonderful music venues.

Is there a social cause you are really passionate about?

I worked in politics for years and consider myself to be an issue-driven individual, though I have a special affinity for environmental conservation and social justice.

What is your favorite moment/story you’ve had between you and your customers?

My favorite moment as a teacher is to watch a student have an “aha” moment, knowing that I helped them to discover a skill or a technique that further unlocks their creative potential.

What are your goals for the future?

I constantly seek new challenges. I hope to always be fortunate enough to pursue my passions, whether that be starting a company or mastering a new hobby.

Any recommendations for someone who might want to start their own business?

Just do it! And then remember that the challenges and the failures are simply learning moments as long as you are persistent enough to keep trying.

What does Verlocal mean to you?

It’s a platform and a conduit that both connects me to customers and helps me to discover and build a community around me.

Share one quote that resonates with you the most and what it means for you?

“We hear nothing so clearly as what comes out of silence. ” ― David James Duncan

Whether fly fishing or throwing a pot, I feed off the silent, meditative process. It brings me joy in the moment and creates a centered state of being that improves every other aspect of my life.

Host Spotlight - Building Friendships & Alliances One Meal at a Time

Meet Chef Rachel Zierzow

“Like all explorers, we are drawn to discover what's out there without knowing yet if we have the courage to face it.” - Pema Chödrön

Chef Rachel.jpg

Hi Chef Rachel! Tell us a bit about yourself and what you're currently offering on Verlocal: 

My company, Chef Rachel Zierzow, started in 2006. For about 10 years, I taught natural foods cooking for the professional chef training program at a plant-based cooking school in Austin, Texas, and also was a healing personal chef for individuals with serious health conditions or those wanting to achieve optimal health. Currently, I am teaching my own natural foods cooking classes for the Austin community, each limited to 8 students, with offerings such as Holiday Tamales Workshop, Creative Vegetarian Sushi, Nourishing Buddha Bowls and Dressings, Healing Winter Soups, and more! I also have a blog that focuses on healthy recipes and holistic health tips.


When did you first become inspired to do what you love?

squash soup rosemary pepitas.jpg

In my 20's, I became interested in"Food as Medicine" when looking for alternatives to conventional medicine. I discovered the healing benefits of a natural foods diet, and learned how to use balance as a tool to choose the foods and activities that would create strength and vitality. After completing my certificate in natural foods cooking and macrobiotic studies, I was inspired to empower others to take charge of their health by providing personal chef services and cooking classes. I taught macrobiotic and Ayurvedic cooking in the professional chef program at The Natural Epicurean for 10 years. I am also a certified holistic, macrobiotic health counselor and work with individuals wanting to achieve optimal health or those experiencing a particular health condition.


Can you tell us more about the what students can expect from your class?

My classes are fun, hands-on, and informative. Group classes are limited to 8 people and private lessons are designed for just one or two people. Students can expect to learn about healing benefits of different ingredients and dishes, how to properly use knives and kitchen tools, helpful cooking tips and techniques, where to shop for ingredients, and more. Recipes are given out to students to make dishes at home. My recipes are nourishing, healthy, and delicious, naturally free of gluten, dairy, and sugar, and simple to prepare.

  Sushi Making Class

Sushi Making Class

nori rolls w pansy.jpg


What differentiates your classes than others?

cooking class.jpg

My classes are a combination of demonstration and hands-on, so that students can learn proper techniques and then practice. Some of my goals include educating my students about the healing benefits of food, how to make meals more digestible, and how to make the best choices when selecting food at the grocery store and eating out. I love to work with families, involving kids in meal preparation, and introducing new ingredients and cooking techniques to parents and kids. I am aware of the many diet restrictions people have, and ask my students before class if they have any food allergies I may be able to accommodate. All of my classes are free of gluten, dairy, and sugar, which is a help to many.


Dinner Sami & Lorraine.jpg

What's your biggest achievement since the start of your classes?

The process of building friendships and alliances with people in my community while building my business has been the most rewarding experience so far.


What was your biggest challenge you've encountered thus far?

The biggest challenge has been shifting from teaching at a culinary school to creating my own community cooking classes. Getting the word out and getting folks to sign up ahead of time is challenging!

What advice can you give to people within your industry?

2-cooking class spring rolls.jpg

Start small and let your business grow organically. Give a cooking demonstration at a community event, a friend's launch party, or a kid's birthday party. Ask a few friends to each host a cooking party at their house with different groups of friends where you teach a fun recipe or two. Find an event space or renovate your own kitchen to teach in. Learn how to take good food photos and share them on social media. Document recipes you make daily in the kitchen that you can use for class recipes later on. Browse magazines, cookbooks, and food blogs for ideas and inspiration. Pretty soon people will be asking you how to sign up for one of your classes!

If you're in Austin, Join Chef Rachel and experience a hands-on activity cooking class!

Tips for those Post Travel Blues

Coming home from a fun, new adventure can be a bit of a bummer. Sure it’s great to see everyone you’ve missed and be back in your own bed but the everyday life suddenly makes you miss the new adventures you were having on your trip (especially if you’re coming home from the wonderful sunshine to lots and lots of snow). Here are some tips on how to keep the excitement of the trip alive and things to do to cheer you up a bit:

  • Create a scrapbook of pictures and momentos collected on your trip.
  • Make a memory box, like these, that look pretty on the shelf and can store those extra items that aren’t going to otherwise be displayed, such as plane tickets or receipts.
  • Grab your dog, snuggle up in your bed and pop in a travel movie or read a travel book. I love reading more about the cultures I have just been to and as soon as I got home from Cambodia, where I first really learned about the genocide that recently occurred in that country, immersed myself into books about the history there.
  • Count the countries you’ve been to and list the things you loved the most while there so you can recommend them to friends
  • Feed your travel blues with activities in your own city. The best experiences can be from your own area. Open up your browser and start searching. While googling can be a great source to search for activities, Verlocal has a great selection of experiences that are hands-on interactive and definitely worth the while. Checking off bucket list items can be easily done. Making a weekend into a staycation will eliminate travel blues.
  • Start planning! Make a list of where-in-the-world you might want to go next! Keep up that adventure spirit! As they say, an object in motion stays in motion, so keep on chasing those dreams.

Host Spotlight – Turning Passion to a Part-time Business

"Grit is passion and perseverance for very long-term goals. Not just for a week, not just for a month, but for years."

 Shartini, Owner of Shartini's Food Journal

Shartini, Owner of Shartini's Food Journal

1.Can you introduce yourself and tell us more about the experiences that you offer through Verlocal?

Hi, I am Shartini and I have a great passion in bakes and desserts. As I have a full-time job, I am currently only doing it only during the weekends. With Verlocal, I would like to offer my baking classes to those sharing the same interest as me and be able to connect with other like-minded individuals who simply love cooking and baking!

My classes are suitable for beginners because I was once someone who doesn’t have an interest in baking but loves to eat them! My personal belief is that everyone has the potential to do what they love, so long as they put in the sweat and tears to get better at their craft. At the start, I didn’t even know how to bake a cupcake but now I’m able to make a 3-layered cake. In my opinion, life is all about giving yourself an opportunity to try something different and taking the chances when it comes.

2.Tell us about your background: When did you first become inspired to do what you love?

 Fully Decorated Strawberry Cake

Fully Decorated Strawberry Cake

I first started off as a home cook before I decided to go into baking. In fact, about 2 years ago, I had the opportunity to participate in a cook off challenge on Suria – a Malay television channel. The challenge was to create a dish that centered around chicken, a common ingredient but I knew that in order to win, I had to innovate and elevate the dish. In the end, I simply combined my love for Oranges together with the theme of Chicken to have my very own dish – Orange Chicken!

I presented my original creation and hold and behold, I won! Winning this competition has not only made my family proud but has also greatly boost my confidence to pursue my passion in the culinary field. Never would I have ever thought that a simple girl like me, who loves cooking in my small humble kitchen for my mother and my husband, could do this much and perhaps so much more. After the competition, my passion grew from culinary to baking and my curiosity to try a lot of bakes grew wider.

3.What does your passion mean to you?

Passion means to me is by waking up all night during weekend and sacrificing my time to complete my orders. Grit is passion and perseverance for very long-term goals. It’s like sticking with your future, day-in, day-out. Not just for the week, not just for the month, but for years. And working really hard to make that future a reality.

4. How has Shartini's Food Journal impacted your community and the people who support it?

We wanted the community to know us as a 100% Muslim-Owned business who bakes are sweetness controlled. Ultimately, I would like to contribute back to my community, especially the Muslim community and serve them delicious treats bearing in mind the amount of sugar inside.

 Snapshot of one of our cupcake making lessons!

Snapshot of one of our cupcake making lessons!

5.What made you want to pursue your passion and become a host?

We believe that through Verlocal, we can engage to more audiences and able to create awareness of our classes. We want to reach out to a vast audience who will be interested in learning how to bake cakes using localised ingredients such as my Ondeh Ondeh and Bobo Cha Cha Cupcakes Workshop which I think is really special as it’s not very common to find it online.

6.Tell us about your biggest achievement since you started Shartini's Food Journal?

 Chendol and Bobo Cha Cha Cupcakes

Chendol and Bobo Cha Cha Cupcakes

Every one of our orders are our biggest achievement, we take it very seriously and professional because we are the chosen one by the client among all other home-based baker in Singapore. As such, we treat every one of our orders with the upmost respect and do our best to make the desserts as pristine as possible


7.What was your biggest challenge when you first started your business?

I have no proper background in baking, and wasn’t sure if I could meet their expectations. 


8.What inspires you to continue building and improving your business?

 Customised Liverpool Birthday Cake

Customised Liverpool Birthday Cake

It took multiple rounds of trial and error but eventually I saw improvements and this was what kept me going. There have been, and still are, many instances where I’ve doubted my capabilities, and there are many times where I’ve failed – but with time and lots of practice, it will all get better. 





9.What advice can you give to people who want create a business from doing what they love?

I think that we are all pretty hard on ourselves when we are passionate towards the things that we genuinely love and want to be proud of, and sometimes we get lost in the stress of it all. But as much as we want things to be perfect all the time, we have to also remember to savour and enjoy the process.

Love what you read? Stay tuned every week as we interview more hosts from different walks of life to learn about how they started doing what they do. 

Do you have an inspiring story that you would like to share? Drop us an email at junyan@verlocal.com and we'll be in touch with you shortly :).