Yelena Johnson has over a decade of writing and editing experience in both online and print publications. Writing has been a lifelong love affair for her since she first began writing stories in elementary school. After earning a Communication degree from the lauded Annenberg School of Journalism at the University of Southern California, she began her career in public relations and marketing. During her time in the PR world, Yelena experienced her first foray into event planning and fell in love all over again. She has been running her event company, The Stylish Soiree, for over eight years, and is known for her keen eye for design and budget-savvy tips and tricks. An avid animal lover, traveler, yogi and total health foodie, Yelena enjoys sharing her knowledge with others through her writing.
During her public relations days, Yelena worked with major corporations including Hyundai, BMW Designworks, McDonald's, Cirque du Soleil, Fireman's Fund Insurance Company and Chase, creating press releases and pitching stories to garner positive press for her clients.
Yelena has always been a lover of aesthetics, and fashion is no exception. She dedicated her final term papers while studying abroad to the history of fashion in London as well as the cultural symbolism of fashion from the early 1900s through the 2000s. After working in public relations and marketing for a few years, she began working as a style editor for an online fashion destination website. While at StarStyle, she penned articles on the latest trends and shared tips with readers on style pieces to achieve a runway look for less.
Yelena also worked with the company's brand and retail partners, including Nordstom, Bloomingdale's and Saks Fifth Avenue, to build online trend stores. She has also served as Senior Editor of a luxury lifestyle magazine where she covered fashion bi-annually, highlighting the best of New York Fashion Week. Thanks to her experience in the wedding and fashion worlds, she also had the opportunity to interview top wedding gown designers (Jim Hjelm, Junko Yoshioka, etc.) to create in-depth articles for industry bridal wear magazine Better Bridal.
Events & Weddings
While freelance writing and editing for various lifestyle and fashion publications, Yelena founded her own event planning and design firm known as The Stylish Soiree. Under her leadership and design savvy, The Stylish Soiree quickly became synonymous with sophisticated, personalized weddings and parties. Over the course of eight years The Stylish Soiree events were published over thirty times in blogs and magazines including TheKnot.com, Martha Stewart Weddings, and Brides. Yelena is known as an expert in the wedding and event design field and has mentored young up-and-coming planners to help them break into the industry.
Interior Design & Home Renovation
Unexpectedly, Yelena's signature process for designing unique, personalized events segued into a career in interiors. When former wedding design clients struggled to find the right look and feel for their new homes, they turned to Yelena for advice. Since she had a knack for creating warm, inviting events that taped into the couples' unique stories, backgrounds, likes and dislikes, they relied on her to use this same process to create their perfect home. Couples were thrilled with the result and word spread as she took on additional interior design clients alongside her event planning business.
Interestingly, one of Yelena and her husband's hobbies is buying old, outdated homes and renovating them. Instead of the cheap and quick flips that are featured on many TV shows, Yelena specializes in creating uniquely designed homes with high-end materials. The couple is now on their fifth home in only ten years of home ownership thanks to their penchant for successful high end flipping. Impressively, they have turned their initial investment of $40,000 into nearly half a million dollars of equity.
A lifelong lover of pizza, fine cheese and gourmet desserts, Yelena's foodie world was rocked to its core when her first child developed debilitating eczema as a baby. After what seemed like endless rounds of steroid creams and a lack of answers from top pediatricians and dermatologists, Yelena decided to try a gut healing and food elimination diet for her daughter to determine what was triggering the eczema.
Just thirty days later her daughter's skin was 100% healed, and the doctors and dermatologists were astounded at the improvement. Her daughter's miraculous recovery from eczema led Yelena down a deep research rabbit hole into the world of food and nutrition. It also resulted in giving up two of her biggest foodie obsessions, gluten and dairy. Though she still indulges now and then, Yelena and her family are primarily gluten and dairy-free. She loves crafting original recipes that still satisfy her foodie senses.
Since her daughter's recovery, Yelena has been studying gut health and superfood nutrition now for nearly four years, and covers her family's journey along with her best original recipes on her personal blog Gut & Glamour.