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Get to know our community members. 


Deb Achak photograph by Dorothee Brand


Instagram: @debachak

Deb Achak is a fine art photographer based in Seattle. Her fine art photography explores her fascination with water and beach culture, in the US and abroad.  Swimming with her camera allows her to study the texture, color and poetry of water above and below the surface, as well as capture intimate moments with her human subjects from the unique vantage point of the water.  Deb’s love of decor and design plays a huge role in her photography process.  Her goal is to have her limited edition prints live on in beautiful spaces and enhance the lives of those who receive them.  Her work has been featured in Luxe Magazine, Domino, Apartment Therapy, and Elle Decor, as well as in juried exhibitions around the world.  She is represented by Winston Wachter Fine Art Seattle.  


Dee Alams


Instagram: @citysweats

Dee, the founder of City Sweats Wellness Centers, pioneered Seattle’s infrared movement. While sweat therapy has been practiced by ancient cultures for centuries, infrared sweat therapy gained attention in the 1980s and went mainstream in the 2000s in cities like Los Angeles and New York.  As a teenager, Dee chartered her own health path, taking up dance and fitness. After graduating from The University of Washington and starting a career in project management, she soon realized the traditional corporate environment was not for her.  She decided to get back to her love for dance by opening her own fitness studio. Earning her wellness coaching and fitness certifications, she was drawn back to early introductions to sweat lodges, steam rooms and saunas. Aiming to amplify the healing that her studio clients gained, she introduced an infrared sauna to the studio in 2010. Due to the lack of infrared therapy available in the Seattle area, Dee had new clients coming from nearly 50 miles away, seeking help with problems ranging from mood disorders to debilitative diseases.  The deal was sealed as Dee witnessed multiple client transformations, including her own in 2013 when she was severely injured, and infrared sweat therapy expedited her recovery. In 2014, Dee opened City Sweats. With services including Infrared Sauna Therapy, Ultrasonic Cavitation Shaping, Detox Facials and Scrubs, and Rehabilitative Massages, the company is committed to cellular level health that works from the inside out.  A health and fitness enthusiast and self-proclaimed “sweat junkie,” it is Dee’s dream to see infrared therapy become accessible and convenient. The increase in clientele and wellness partnerships that City Sweats is experiencing- with its two locations in the Madison Park and Wallingford neighborhoods- are getting Dee one step closer to that goal. In addition to overseeing the two locations, Dee enjoys anything outdoors, creating all natural and organic body products, cooking, dancing, playing music, and deeply connecting with loved ones. Dee is especially passionate about helping others, especially working with women and children. In her Fitness studio days, Dee spent many years teaching free dance classes to the women of Mary's Place, teaching art and music to the teens at Ryther Center and working as a court-appointed advocate for Family Law Casa. Philanthropy is a true passion for Dee, as she feels that “success is doing what you are truly passionate about, while always looking for ways to expand our hearts. I feel fortunate to have a career that  fills both needs.” Dee is currently working on an e-book, focusing on sweat therapy detox called "The Dee-Talks Method.” Join our City Sweats sweat tribe!


Lauren Belfor

Instagram: @laurenbelfor / @thisisvele

Lauren is the Co-Founder of Velé, a collection of ethical leather goods essentials supporting women through conscious production and nonprofit partnership. With Velé she is passionate about bringing freedom to fashion by slowing down industry practices to focus on ethical supply chains and by sharing a new narrative in the industry: that all are worthy, wanted. Her heart lies in building communities of badass women through social entrepreneurship and authentic conversations. 

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Lauren Crocco

Instagram: @laurencroccoad

Lauren Crocco is a licensed architect and principal of  the boutique design firm, Lauren Crocco Architecture & Design.  With over 10 years of experience in residential design, her portfolio includes projects ranging from remote cabins, urban residences, renovation and remodel projects as well as commercial interiors.  No matter the project type or scale she strives for authentic design solutions that emerge based on collaboration with the client and the distinct nature of each site.  Common themes throughout her projects are human scaled and naturally lit spaces, a strong inside-outside connection and a simplicity of structure and materials.  Most of all she takes pride in creating spaces that evoke a feeling of serenity and are well loved by her clients.

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Anie Buckmelter


instagram: @aniebhomes

From hanging signs for a real estate agent as a child to becoming a broker's assistant and eventually branching off on her own, Anie sold 30 homes within her first 2 years in the business, most of them to first time homebuyers and Seattle transplants. She finds great pleasure in introducing others to what this unique city has to offer. Helping others get settled and discover little hidden city gems is her specialty as well as a passion of Anie’s.  Prior to entering real estate, Anie found herself in teaching positions where she honed her listening skills, both as a mentor and tutor in King County schools and a international yoga instructor. With a background in Communication Design and Art History, marketing is an integral part of Anie's approach to real estate, which brought her to Realogics Sotheby's International Realty where award-winning marketing meets innovation on a global platform. As an avid jet setter, Anie has created genuine and lasting connections all over the world through the Sotheby’s brand. Her clientele benefit not only from her extensive local knowledge but from her global connections as well. 


Lauren Caron


Instagram: @unionadorn / @laurenlcaron  

Lauren is a creative consultant currently splitting her time between Seattle and New York City. After 10 years in the retail industry working for such luxury brands as Bergdorf Goodman, Tiffany & Co. and Ralph Lauren, she developed an expansive skill set across the areas of visual merchandising, creative services, concept development, prop styling and advanced production and construction of large scale installations. Lauren launched the creative studio Union Adorn in 2014 to focus on consulting for creative presentation and visual merchandising in retail spaces, and interior design for residential and commercial clients. Passionate about history and visual story telling, Lauren’s design sensibility leans toward traditional yet is approached through a modern perspective. Combining classical elements with timeless pieces, she is noted for her ability to create layered, eclectic, livable spaces that are reflective of her clients’ personal tastes and lifestyles. 

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Stephanie Eburah


Instagram: @seburah

Stephanie studied photography in college, but has a true passion for food. She spent 10 years cooking professionally in the Bay Area - from owning a food truck, to fine dining, to founding a caviar company where she developed products with the likes of Jacques Pepin. After starting a family and moving to Seattle she felt the strong urge to get back behind the camera shooting what she loves most, food and the lifestyle of eating. When not photographing food she splits her time between Seattle and her home on Lummi island where she hosts community dinners and culinary retreats because she believes food tastes better when shared with good company and there is nothing more enjoyable than sharing the table.

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Danielle Elliott


Instagram: @dmotif

Danielle is a lifestyle photographer and leads the brand strategy at online education startup CreativeLive.  She began her career in film production in LA which led her down a path as a producer.  After several years at post & production houses and working at a couple of ad agencies she decided to follow her dreams and pursue more creative endeavors.  She's deeply passionate about experiences and finds the intersection of storytelling, design, food, photography and music to be the sweet spot where all the magic happens.  She can often be found brunching around town at one of her favorite places, camera in-hand hoping that her friends will wait 2 seconds before diving into the meal so she can get a shot first.


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Emily Freidenrich

Instagram: @emfrei

Emily Freidenrich is a book editor and image researcher for Girl Friday Productions. She is the author of The Art of Beatrix Potter for Chronicle Books (as Emily Zach), and her second book will release in the fall of 2018. Emily has a background in art history, and has a deep interest in Modern and contemporary art, as well as illustration, design, and pop culture. She lives in Seattle with her husband, Tyler, and corgi, Pancake.


Katie Hackworth


Instagram: @katiehackworth

Katie Hackworth has a hefty design portfolio within a range of mediums over the past 20 years. With a graphic design degree as her foundation, Katie is a self taught architectural designer and interior designer who oversees each and every detail within the homes she creates. Her focus is design + build, as she firmly believes taking a vision from inception to completion leads to the best results on so many levels and for everyone involved. She has formed relationships with a talented group of elite contractors and architects in the Seattle area, who understand and support her mission; to create beautifully unique spaces with a nod to historical details and high-end craftsmanship that will stand the test of time, while simultaneously embracing the modern amenities and clean lines of design today.


Amy Johnson


Instagram: @amyjohnsonphoto

Amy Johnson is a Seattle based food and interiors photographer whose true joy is to create beautiful imagery. She loves using pops of color, and playing with light, be it natural or studio lighting. Her aim is to bring out the beauty of the food or interior through her photography. After a career in Logistics she decided to follow her passion for photography, quit her job, and went back to school. Always having had an interest in interior design and food, photographing them felt like a natural fit. She has studied commercial and fine art photography respectively at the University of Washington and Seattle Central's Creative Academy. Clients include the recently published book Tasting Cider, Amazon Restaurants,Taylor Shellfish, Sip Northwest, Seattle Magazine, Grand Lux Cafe, California Walnuts, Amazon Fresh, and many more. Born and raised outside of Seattle, when not busy photographing she can be found like a true northwesterner, outdoors hiking or indoors at the local theater another passion, films.


Gabriela Alban Hidalgo


Instagram: @capuliclub

Gabriela Alban is an artist, trained as an architect seeking purpose through entrepreneurship. She is originally from Quito, Ecuador and holds a bachelors degree, with Honors in architectural studies form the University of Washington. Gabriela is a ScanDesign Fellow and has worked in architectural firms in Copenhagen and in Seattle.  Her worked has ranged from adaptive reuse, to high end residential, to the design of high-end food experiences. She is the community programs coordinator at Design in Public and enjoys empowering others to step out of the box and explore the latent potential of design. Gabriela is fascinated with the potential of communities,  to break stereotypes and build authentic, empathetic relationships. Gabriela believes that design is a not a luxury but rather, and incredible asset which can make us more vividly human.This appetite for critical thought, grounded on a fascination with design, propelled Gabriela to start building her own business with her mom. Together, they launched Capuli Club – Sips and Treats in 2016.  This business  looks to become a leader in developing a culture of environmental responsibility. The team works hard to lead Capuli Club toward becoming a resilient brand; committed to delivering transparent, organic and food forward experiences - make sure to check out their organic fruit sips! 

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Melissa Kaseman


Instagram: @lisskaseman

Melissa Kaseman is an Interior and Lifestyle Photographer who recently relocated to Seattle from Oakland, CA. When not photographing commissioned work for boutique architecture firms or editorial work, she focuses her time on her personal art projects, exploring themes of loss, hope, and magic in the mundane. Driven by her love of art and design she is always seeking inspiration and is excited about building a creative community in Seattle.  Her work has been published in the NYT T Magazine, The New Yorker, Lonny, DesignSponge, SFGirlbyBay, Monocle, Sunset, Tiny Atlas Quarterly, and numerous other publications. When she isn’t shooting commissioned work, you can find her chasing after her two little boys. 


Aileen McGraw


Instagram: @aileenmcgraw / twitter: @aileenmcgraw / linkedIn

Aileen is a Chicago-born, Seattle-based writer who lives by the words, “There’s no such thing as too spicy.” She’s on a mission to humanize tech: Most recently she led grassroots storytelling on the Mixed Reality Marketing team at Microsoft, celebrating a growing community of designers and developers creating holograms. You can find her writing on veganism, socioeconomic identity, and womanhood around the web, and her heart at Capitol Hill's Joe Bar Café (Those green walls! Those caffeinated brainstorms!). These days, she works in communications and culture at Microsoft and cohosts an ongoing Immersive Storytelling Salon for creators in VR/AR.

Amanda McLaurin

Amanda McLaurin

@ptxstudio /

@rayaexchange /

Amanda McLaurin is a fiber artist, freelance event producer and art educator teaching embroidery, sewing and fiber arts to students in Seattle and Skagit County.  Drawing offer her past career as a event planner, she takes on freelance event coordinator gigs producing textile workshops and art related community events.  She recently returned to the Washington area after a two year living in Semarang, Indonesia.  During this time her love of textiles and her husband’s background in import/export inspired them to establish Raya Exchange, a company whose mission is to support traditional artisans in Indonesia. Their curated collection of Indonesian home goods is available on their website


Chi Michalski



Chi is an Istanbul-born, Seattle-based artist, illustrator and art director.  For over a decade, she has been working in the field of art and design. During this time, she took part in, and often creatively led projects ranging from illustration, motion, interactive, to character design, editorial, apparel and more.  These days, under the pseudonym of ChiChiLand, she creates art, illustration and design works as well as small editions of art products. ChiChiLand has a naïve, humorous illustration style with whimsical creatures, surprising visual narratives, colorful lands and patterns.  When Chi is not working, she's probably either outside - eating something delicious, or in the kitchen - cooking something tasty. She loves freshly made natural meals, long happy dinner tables filled with small sharing plates. 


Karen Okonkwo

Websites: / /

Instagram @karenokonkwo / @TONL / @partywithak

Karen is a social entrepreneur with an interest in impacting lives through big business entrepreneurship. She owns three businesses called Party With a K, Her Big Day and most recently, TONL. Karen is also passionate about philanthropy and empowering women and she lives that out through her impactful brunch called Building Bridges Brunch that she hosts in different cities annually. 

Keri Petersen

Keri Petersen


Instagram: @kpspaces

Keri Petersen is the owner and principal designer at KP Spaces. For over 10 years Keri has dedicated herself to creating elegant and sophisticated custom home interiors that reflect her client’s unique personalities and lifestyles. Keri is a firm believer in the trans formative power of interior design and is passionate about helping her clients love and thrive in the spaces they inhabit. Keri lives in Ballard with her husband Justin, two children Maggie and Jude, and dog Biscuit.


Ashley Rodriguez 


Instagram: @ashrod / @notwithoutsaltshop

Ashley is a Seattle-based food consultant, cooking instructor, food photographer, author of Date Night In, wife, and mother of three young children. As the creator of notwithoutsalt.comAshley blogs about life as told through food. Her blog has earned accolades from (Best Food Blog 2013), the Times Online,, and for her writing and original photography. Ashley's work has also been featured in several publications such asMartha Stewart Living, Glamour, Sunset, and Edible Seattle. Before she began writing, Ashley worked in several professional kitchens including Wolfgang Puck's Spago in Beverly Hills. Now, Ashley teaches in and around Seattle at various locations including The Pantry and The Book Larder.


Christine Sanders

Website: Airbnb Bungalow Seattle

Instagram: @thebungalow.seattle

Christine is the owner/operator of The Bungalow Seattle, a creative venue in historic Wallingford. The Bungalow hosts short and long term stays, film and photo shoots, dinners and special events. Find us on IG @thebungalow.seattle. DM with inquiries or follow Airbnb link in bio. 


Kandra Scheffler


instagram: kandrascheffle

Kandra is an abstract expressionist oil painter.  Her paintings emphasize the depth and complexity of stroke and form, reflecting human nature by combining strength and softness. Through the precise application of color and paint, I strive to infuse control with an emotional velocity that moves the dynamic beyond the canvas. Backed with self-built frames and hand-stretched canvas, her hope is that the physicality within her compositions reminds the viewer of the process and transcends mere visuality.

Catherine St. Laurent

Catherine St-Laurent

Catherine is the Director of Communications at Pivotal Ventures, the Executive Office of Melinda Gates based in Seattle, Washington.

 Until the end of 2014, she was a Senior Communications Officer at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, where she acted as Strategy Lead for Melinda Gates’ profile and communications.

 Prior to joining the foundation in August 2011, Catherine was based in London and worked as a Senior Manager, Global Projects at HSBC Holdings where she was responsible for developing and managing international communications efforts. 

 Prior to this, Catherine was a Director at Vero Communications, a strategic communications consultancy specialized in the business of sport. In this capacity, she worked on successful international campaigns including Rio de Janeiro’s bid to host the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games as well as the International Rugby Union’s bid for re-inclusion in the Olympics. She also managed the profile and communications of 400m Olympic Gold medalist Christine Ohuruogu. 

 Before joining Vero in 2008, Catherine was based in Brussels where she was a Manager at Burson-Marsteller and managed pan-European public affairs and communications campaigns for clients in the healthcare sector.

 A native of Montreal, she is fluent in English and French.


Sarah Sweeney

Instagram: Sarahmsweeney


Sarah was born in Southern California and relocated to the Pacific Northwest in 2012 to complete her Bachelor’s Degree in Communication and Media studies at Seattle University. After interning for The Seattle Art Museum in the Communication Department and working with local wine aficionado Jon Rimmerman of Garagiste, she forged a career in technology.

She has produced and co-led an Executive Thought Leadership Dinner Series while working at Substantial, a product development studio in Capitol Hill, in various cities across the country and deeply believes in the power of conversation, community and authentic connection to drive modern businesses forward.

Sarah’s love of design and community led her to a volunteer role with Creative Morning’s Seattle chapter. We believe in the power of community. We believe in giving a damn. We believe in face-to-face connections, in learning from others, in hugs and high-fives.

A confidant, an authentic human, a lover of living.