Rebekah Steen is a jack of all trades currently living in the remote Northwest corner of Florida with her family of three including her husband and young son Levi.
She's the face behind the longstanding popular lifestyle blog 'Goldfish Kiss', a creative outlet where you can find her talents on canvas, beach inspired style, life inspiration, fitness tips and random bits and bobs from her life as a creative mind. Her blog has been a gateway to collaboration opportunities with brands like Rip Curl, Coco Moon, bikini designer Ola Feroz, Island Company and more.
How'd it all get started? After feeling the monotony of a 9-5 office job Rebekah broke away from the corporate world and started Goldfish Kiss in 2010 while living in Hawaii. She's self employed, self-empowered, talented in many facets of life and the focus of the fourth edition of Sophisticated Banter.
First and foremost, tell us where you’re from, where you currently live and what you love most about where you live
I’m originally from Colorado, so I’m a mountain girl. Now we live in a town called Navarre, Florida and there’s literally nothing here besides the beach – but that is what I love most about it. It’s super simple, laid back, not very developed and the ocean and beaches are gorgeous.
So you made quite a leap moving to North West Florida, tell us what that was like
So before we moved here we were in Minnesota for six months and prior to Minnesota we were in the Bay Area for eight months and then before that in LA for two and a half years so we’ve moved quite a bit. Moving here we had zero expectation. We just were in a situation where we had a good opportunity, this place looked beautiful and we just did it. So far it’s been great, we love it here. It’s great for my son – he can just cruise and be a kid on the beach and in the ocean.
Being that you’ve bounced around and lived all over the globe -- If you could spend one year of your life somewhere, anywhere on the planet, where would it be?
I’d go somewhere in the South Pacific. A year in Tahiti or Fiji would be unreal. Some remote island, off the grid with just our family would be pretty sweet.
Where’s the most beautiful place you’ve ever traveled to? Tell us a bit about it
Moorea is heaven on earth. The water, the lush green mountains and the combination those two things with the amazing people, the food, the surf just makes it unreal. It’s probably the most beautiful place I’ve ever traveled to.
You travel a lot, why do you think traveling is important and what do you get from it?
You gain so much -- by being around different cultures, meeting new people and seeing new things. I think it broadens your horizons of the world and makes you think differently, more empathetic, compassionate and it just improves you as a person. However it does make you a bit restless when you’re not traveling. I love it, I wish I could it more.
So you’re a jack-of-all-trades - creative, artist, blogger, photographer, health advocate, writer, inspiration, and designer – how did it all start? Were you artistic as a kid?
I’ve always been artistic and creative. I was that kid in class. When I was in kindergarten I tried to sell my paintings door-to-door in my neighborhood. I was putting on performances and all about arts and crafts, music, design, dance, etc.
When I wrapped up college I was kinda of ill-advised. People saying you need to look into getting a real job, a real career and what not Out of college I did do a bit of advertising, copywriting and creative work. After a year of that I got back into art. I always wanted to be self-employed and be a freelance creative. I never planned it, everything just gradually snow balled from creating the blog. My whole thing has always been to just keep on creating and good things will happen.
Any early inspirations to get into art/creative projects?
My mom has always been very encouraging and growing up one of my older brothers was really big into art so I did take after him. I think just being disgruntled at an office job was a huge inspiration for me. The blog started as a creative outlet for me. I think that is a common story among a lot of people is that need for a creative outlet. One person then encourages you, you keep going and the continuous encouragement sparks the inspiration to do something different.
Tell us how Goldfish Kiss the blog got its name…
Goldfish Kiss comes from the very first bikini I owned. When I was two I had this little bikini and the top was two goldfish kissing. And for some reason when I was starting my blog and brand I just went with it. It’s funny though, my Mom just recently told me that the bikini was given to me as a gift from her friend who got it in Hawaii on a trip which is bizarre because I started my blog while living in Hawaii. Pretty ironic but amazing nonetheless.
How was the process of starting your own thing?Any curveballs along the way?
When we moved away from Hawaii I thought the whole blogging thing was over. I didn’t think anyone was going to be interested in it but what it did was forced me to be more creative and open up more. That’s why I started showcasing more of my art. It was interesting how moving away from a place like Hawaii helped me grow so much and evolve my business and blog.
Another curveball is of course having a kid and a game changer. It’s made me better at what I do. I have less time to bs and just need get things done. Blogging has also changed a lot. It’s easy to self-doubt and compare so that is a curveball within itself. You kinda just gotta put your blinders on and do your own thing.
What’s your favorite part about your lifestyle as a blogger/artist and being self-employed?
The flexibility is amazing. It’s such a blessing to have a flexible schedule – being able to raise my son and still work from home and pursue my passion and career is priceless and I am super thankful for it. Other than that, just being able to spend time outside, on the beach is really important for me.
Any favourite projects or collaborations you’ve done?
The RipCurl womens collab project is something I am really proud of. I could have never predicted working with a big international surf brand. Them wanting to work with me was humbling and super flattering. (Rebekah teamed up with RipCurl to create a line of hats, bags, tank tops, swimwear and more. Check it out here)
Words of wisdom for guys and girls who want to follow in your footsteps as a self employed creative and designer?
There’s only one you and that’s what makes you interesting. Be authentic. You might as well talk about what your passionate about and what drives you. If you’re gonna try it, just embrace your you-ness. That should always be your starting point and what keeps you going – whatever makes you you. You also gotta have fun with what your doing – always have fun with it.
Alright, time for some random questions so the OTIS audience can get to know you a bit better outside of blogging and creating. I fire away, you answer..
One last meal before you kick the can
Dinner at Los Dos Molinos in Pheonix
Your favorite beach on earth
Mokolea on the North Shore
What makes the ocean such a special place
It’s my long lost best friend. It gives you exactly what your craving that day – adventure, peace, relaxation. What you need on any given day the ocean gives it to you.
Your perfect day – sunup to sundown
Dawn patrol, really good coffee/breakfast, sleep on the beach, go for a swim, sleep in a hammock, eat chips and salsa, go for a sunset surf and swim followed by a cold beer.
Your driving force – that reason you wake up in the morning
Waking up in the morning is just another chance to have a good day. That simple fact changes your mindset and makes me appreciate the little things more. I think of it as, this is it, I don’t get to do this day over again so lets make it a great one.