WHAT DO YOU DO
I am a freelance designer, stylist, producer, professional shopper and hand model for Meredith Corporation here in Des Moines, then cake baker by night (@urbanestics). That’s a mouthful, isn’t it? What does that all entail you ask? On a daily basis I get to help conceptualize magazine stories and sets, make DIY projects that are featured in rooms I design and style in a photo studio in Des Moines. That means I spend much time shopping for project supplies and home decor props along with making and creating handmade details and projects. I don’t get as excited about going to Target as others, I’m there on a daily basis. I am usually producing stories for Better Homes and Gardens special interest publications, such as Do It Yourself, and Storage, Color magazine as well as hand modeling in how-to videos for Better Homes and Gardens website.
I also get the pleasure of prop styling and hand modeling for many videos for companies such as Nestle, Kraft, Panera, Aetna Health and Kilz Paint. It’s yet another outlet for me to use the many talents I’ve been so blessed with. I just recently discovered the song Vacation by Dirty Heads and I felt like it should be my theme song. I feel so blessed to be able to do what I love and be creative and work for myself.
Cake baking is my creative outlet and hobby since I get to do all the other creative things for my living. Growing up my mom only allowed us, kids, to watch PBS on Saturday mornings instead of Saturday morning cartoons, so I grew up watching Julia Child and learned cooking and baking at a young age. Mom also lets me explore the kitchen and try out new recipes and develop my interest in baking. During college, I worked in the food industry and learned many professional techniques that helped me get where I am now in the kitchen. You might know me as @DJThreeLayercake on Instagram. I love to see how food brings everyone together and gives us a sense of tradition and family. In the kitchen, I get to be creative and forget all the other things that I have going at the moment. I believe that using the best ingredients is key to an amazing cake but, it also takes a little bit of science too - the only science I am good at.
I am a big proponent of using products that are not only good for my skin but also my body. I love Beauty Counter cleanser, moisturizer, and face oil for my face cleansing regimen and then include several different essential oils to help keep my skin looking young and bright. Young Living has an essential oil blend that is called Purification and I put that on my face morning and night to help fight breakouts. Since you have to give some and lose some I then use MAC products for all my makeup. I’ve been a MAC fan for the last 15 years and appreciate having to make up that looks and wears well. Always have to have that fun lipstick color on that will last hours upon hours Mac Prep + Prime Lip is the best! It keeps your lipstick going long without your lips drying out. You’re not fully dressed without a smile.
My house is always the hub of projects and props coming in and out. Organized chaos is what I like to call it. It’s small - so I use every space, for EVERYTHING. HA! My dining room ends up being not only a dining room but also a Solarium, Office, Craft Room and extra tabletop surface for cake baking. Due to the fact I went to school for interior design, I am always working on making my home a true reflection of my style and currently, it is boho and mid century modern. Your home should be like your wardrobe, always evolving and changing with the styles and function. I love for some DIY projects and have taken on the challenge of completely gutting and remodeling my tiny bathroom, the kitchen has gotten a facelift with newly painted matt black walls and ceiling, new marble contact paper backsplash (easy inexpensive DIY to cover up ugly tiled backsplash), and modern restaurant style faucet. I’ve got big plans for the living room ceiling at some point.
Several years ago when I was living in NY I only had a small wardrobe for a closet and a few dresser drawers to store all my clothes in. I learned to buy clothing pieces that I loved, that were statement pieces, and that would work with items I already owned. I like to mix vintage with classic and also add just a bit of edge when dressing. Because I don’t work the standard corporate 8-5 job I get to dress pretty casually on a daily basis but that doesn’t mean I don’t like to dress up and dress nicely. I feel that I represent myself as a brand and like to present myself as a creative professional when I get dressed for the day. So many people ask me if I just wear pj’s all day when I am not running errands or in the studio shooting, I’d rather get up and get dressed for the day so I am ready to run out the door at a moment's notice.
- As told to Preservation
Leslie Poyzer photographed at her home in Des Moines, Iowa by Nicole Lorenson