Teri Williams: The Five Question Interview

Teri Williams is owner of The Melanated Apothecary in downtown Elgin. She is a modern day apothecary, esthetician, herbalist, yoga instructor, personal trainer, nutrition coach, and mother.

1. Why did you move to Taylor? 

I did live in Elgin a few years ago, but moved back to Taylor. Taylor has always been home for me. My family is here, my aunt and uncle are here. My family is pretty big, but my immediate family is small. So when I got pregnant in 2014 I knew I wanted to raise my son here close to family. Plus I love the feel of small towns. Everyone knowing everyone, the community organization, and the love and support when something happens. I watched the Taylor community, and the Elgin community, come together in a huge way! It made me love the reason why I chose to come back, and don’t have any plans on leaving.

2.  What compelled you to create a business in Elgin?

At the end of 2019 (or beginning of 2020) I had a phone conversation with a friend. I told her that if I completed both my esthetics training and herbalism training, which were both happening in 2020, that I would open up a business, somehow someway. In October of 2020 I saw a post for a room for rent in Elgin, which later turned into a partnership with 12 Star Massage! I have always admired how the Elgin business community comes together, and just wanted to be part of that type of energy! So, when the opportunity came available it was a no-brainer for me. I can’t wait to feel that business magic that Elgin possesses.

3. Tell me three things you’ve learned in the past five years.

I don’t think we have space on here or time to share all of it!

The first thing is gratitude! There were a lot of things made possible for me because of family and friends, and I can’t thank them enough. I’m forever grateful for my family and my friends that have stepped up in a big way over the past 5 years. From helping me with my son who’s 5 to helping me with school, donating clothes, money, and time to help make our (I say our because Julius my son is a huge part of who I am why I work so hard to be successful.) dreams come true.  

Patience is second. I don’t have a lot of it, and often times I find myself getting short beacause I’m looking for instant results! So learning how to be patient is huge!

The last but sure not least is self-care & meditation. They both go hand in hand. I had a health scare in 2013 (which lead me on this path of health and wellness) because I wasn’t taking care of myself. So I make it a point to take time for myself, meditate, and move energy around when I’m feeling stuck. You can’t pour from an empty cup so taking care of myself first is important for me.

4. What are you currently making, reading, watching, or listening to?

EVERYTHING! I’m currently making The Melanated Apothecary a true to life business. I’m making teas, soaps, bath Bombs, labels, glitter cups, body oils, body butters, herbal tinctures, herbal vinegars. Everything!

I’m reading all things herbal and skin related. Watching a lot of Discovery+… you can’t tell me I can’t remodel a house! LOL!!!

I’m listening to Life after Death it’s a sequel to a book called The Coldest Winter Ever by Sistah Souljah. It was one of the first books that I read when I started reading books written by African-American authors. I wanted to expand my reading horizons. My first author love was Mary Higgins Clark. Now I have many loves for different authors!

5. Cake or Pie?

I went to culinary school for baking and pastry! I love them both!!

Instagram @the_melanated_apothecary
Book an appointment www.vagaro.com/twelvestarmassage


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Amy Miley: The Five Question Interview

Amy Miley, Firewild; photo by Henry Moon

Amy Miley owns local favorite Firewild on Main with her husband Travis Mills. They made a big splash at the 2019 Hogeye Festival serving up roasted whole hog on Main Street. Since then Firewild has become the destination for brunch and special events. When Covid’s dining restrictions had us all staying home they created a Sunday Comfort Menu for locals to pre-order and pick up and reaheat for Sunday dinner. It didn’t take long for this family affair to become a mainstay in our historic downtown.

1. Why did you choose to open a business in Elgin?

I’ve had a connection to Elgin since 1990, as I made friends in college whose families were based here. When wondering “What Next” after living in NYC in the early 2000’s, my and my husband’s instinct was to get some land, an antidote to NYC’s loud, cramped hustle to eventually grow into with a family and a business. Elgin fit that bill. Flash forward to two years ago when it became clear that the next step for our growing Austin-based catering company was to find a professional kitchen to call our own. It was by chance one day, after catching lunch in Elgin with a friend, that we spied the For Lease sign at 201 N. Main Street. The space boasted a fully stocked commercial kitchen – which checked off a lot of boxes for us. And on top of that, we were drawn to the sweetness and opportunity of Main Street and Elgin’s bubbling vibe of creatives, entrepreneurs and community-minded leaders. It ended up being a “yes” for us on so many levels. 

2. What compelled you to create a catering company then open a restaurant? 

The catering has grown very organically over the last decade. It started as a side project focused solely on whole pig roasting — which is super random! But we fell in love with this niche way of serving slow food, using beautiful, pasture-raised, local hogs and being a part of all sorts of celebrations. About 5 years into it we made a clear choice to grow the business – taking the leap to “quit our day jobs” and focus on spreading our foodie love throughout Central Texas. The restaurant is another story! When we signed the lease, this huge cafe space that we couldn’t even imagine developing at the time since we were so busy with catering, was just an included bonus. Then Covid hit and completely wiped a super-busy year of catering off the calendar. The silver lining of 2020 for us was getting time to prioritize developing this new world of “bricks and mortar”. No one in their right mind would open a restaurant during a global pandemic, but despite all the fits and starts, it’s slowly starting to work. As things eventually settle back to a semblance of normalcy, we’re hoping Firewild On Main will be a destination, a retreat, a home-away-from home and a comfortable space for all of Elgin and beyond to enjoy. Cafe, bar, event space, marketplace, community resource — it’s exciting to imagine the possibilities!

3. Tell me three things you’ve learned in the past five years.

Keep showing up! Even when the world is topsy turvy and there’s no such thing as “making plans”, just SHOW UP and be ready to do your best.

See the best in people. We have so much to learn from each other and it’s easier to do that when we look for the goodness in one another.

Give yourself a break. Seriously, just do it. 

4. What are you currently making, reading, watching, or listening to?

I, like many on the planet, am hooked on the Great British Baking Show. It’s an addictive combination of British silliness, serious critique and the pain and pleasure of watching real people compete and strive to do their best.

5. Cake or Pie?

Pie. With a cake chaser 🙂


Firewild on Main
201 N. Main Street
Elgin, Texas 78621
(512) 573-3412
info@firewildonmain.com

firewildonmain.com
@firewildaustin
@firewildonmain


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Murray Kaough: The Five Question Interview

Murray Kaough’s paintings, leatherwork and “Texas Toile” fabric are inspired by nature, particularly West Texas’ Big Bend area. She proclaims it her soul country. She loves to travel and can’t wait until the pandemic ends and it’s safe to travel outside the U.S. She lives with her husband on a few acres south of Elgin with a few dogs, cats, birds and chickens. Her kids are grown now but went to school in Elgin.

1. Why did you move to the Elgin area? 

We moved to the Colorado River bottom, 11 miles south of Elgin, about 30 years ago! Amazing, right? It was truly dark sky then and so much more uninhabited. I remember how hard it used to be to find our road at night, as there were no lights around. In those days you did NOT just zip out for a pizza! I need open space and feel like I can think better if there aren’t too many people crowded around all the time. Of course this does not include dogs, animals, trees, birds….they are welcome in large numbers at all times.

2. What compels you to spend time creating?

Busy hands are happy hands, I always say!  My creative outlets are not only a true source of happiness, but also a necessary component in maintaining my good health and pleasant disposition :). I’m not really good at sitting around and genuinely prefer to be doing something productive. Painting is my first love, leatherwork is my side hustle, and gardening is another form of creative expression that requires a lot of watering and occasionally produces items I can actually eat. I also write and am co-founder of WEAVE (Women Engaged Artfully in Vital Expression), a women’s group started in 2019 to support women’s creative expression and to advance the integration of the divine feminine worldwide.

3. Tell me three things you’ve learned in the past five years.

This is really a hard one, as I’m learning new things all the time! Curiosity is the fountain of youth! I guess I would say: 

Persistence and discipline are the keys to success.  I know it sounds dull! Make a space, set regular studio hours, and just keep hammering away at it until you produce results that please you. But try to hammer in a playful, easy-does it sort of way, where you can enjoy the process as much as the end result.

Keep stepping out of your comfort zone to keep it fresh. Cultivate wonder to feed your inspiration! Reach across mediums to try something you don’t usually work in. Maybe take a class, look at magazines, go to a museum, follow other makers on instagram, look at things upside down…PLAY!

Follow your interests. You just never know where you will end up.

4. What are you currently making, reading, watching, or listening to?

I’ve really enjoyed making nature spirit charms lately, under my Mode Less Travelled line – painted leather butterflies and feathers, imbued with good juju and meant as blessings in the world. I’m eager to start a new canvas! For some reason, I’ve been obsessed with the scarlet ibis lately, and want to work one into a painting. Also jackrabbits. And the moon…

5. Cake or Pie?

Hmmm. I guess I’m generally more of a savory than sweets person… Maybe pecan pie. But not too gooey in the center, and with toasted pecans. Are you sure you shouldn’t list cookies as a third option? I’m craving cardamom cookies lately.


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