Mary Johnston + Yeasted Waffle Bar
On February 22, Jessi and I got to sit down with Mary Johnston for a few hours and enjoy a build-your-own waffle spread. I met Mary a few years back when we both worked at Anthropologie together. Unfortunately, we worked different schedules so I never got to know her very well. But I always heard about what a wonderful person she was. Let me just tell you, the hype was 100% correct. Mary is easily one of the sweetest souls. Her smile could warm anyone's heart. I absolutely loved getting to know her and hear about her new business, Merry Floral. This girl is definitely going places!
Question 1: What was your most memorable haircut?
"Ok, so I had the same haircut since I was in 6th grade. Basically from the time I was 12 until I was 22, I had this long-layered haircut with side swoop bangs. My hair was blond and long and yeah, that’s how it was. I was most comfortable like that, but I cut it short, like cut it all off. The girl said “Maybe we should just work your way into it, you know what I mean.” But I said, “I’m not getting that awkward middle length, like that’s my worst nightmare.” So we just did it and I loved it. The next time I went back I got straight across bangs and had it colored. I wanted to go a little darker because my natural hair, at this point, has gotten darker. It’s a lot to keep up with so I told her I wanted to go into a transition of going a little darker with my hair. So she does it, but when she turns me around my hair is like red. Not like little mermaid red, but it was not at all what I planned. It was like pine needles kind of. Like rusty and dull, but not brown. I didn’t say anything, I just waited for a few months and got it fixed. I was so nervous, just worried about my hair. When I went back, I said this has been good for this time but I’m ready to go back blond. Never again. (laughs)"
As we talked:
(Are you a morning person?) "I can get up and get going, once I’m out of my bed. You know what I mean? I’m not one of those people who would say that I could never be a morning person. So I guess that makes me a morning person?"
"So if I have to be at work at 7, I wake up at like 6:25. I mean I’ll put my mascara on in the car. The longer I can stay in bed the better. If my alarm goes off before 6am, that’s not even morning. That’s still night."
Question 2: What’s one quirk that most people don’t know about you?
“Well I don’t think a lot of people notice it, but some people have noticed and been like ‘what are you doing?’ and I’m like ‘I don’t know.’ But I guess if I’m in the right setting, well I don’t know how it happens because I’m not doing it consciously, but if we are talking and you say ‘Oh for breakfast I had bananas.’ I might pick one word out of that sentence and write it using my finger on my leg. (She proceeds to demonstrate for us.) I’ve caught myself doing it before while watching a movie. It’s a very insignificant thing. I remember doing this in high school. My mom would ask me what I was writing. And I would say ‘what do you mean?’ But then I would be able to tell her what I was writing. It’s weird. Like I don’t know that I’m doing it. It’s never a significant word; it’s always something so random. That’s the weird part, it like, doesn’t mean anything. I mean bananas?? Maybe it is when I’m listening intently because I do it a lot when I watch movies.”
Question 3: What is something you felt you are meant to do with your life, but you’re not sure it will really happen?
“The flower stuff is something I really, really wanted to do, and really felt called to do. When I started working at Magpie, something that was really important to me was being a part of this brand that has an offering to give the community. So the flower work is kind of the same – being an offering, like a service. But outside of that the only thing I’ve ever wanted to do was be a mom. I remember being 16 and telling my friends that if it was socially acceptable I would have a baby. I just always, always wanted to be the mom. My friends call me ‘Momma Mary.’ I have three younger siblings, so I’ve always kind of taken on the roles of nurturer, caregiver, house-mom, hostess – things like that. So then to be a mom, you know, I thought – like for a couple of years I thought I would married by the time I hit 24 and starting a family by the time I was 26. Obviously, that isn’t how it’s going since I’m right around the corner from being 25. It’s hard not getting married because I realize that I’m putting that dream of being a mom on hold. I’m excited for that season though, even though I don’t know when it will be or who it will be with 100%.“
“The responsibility I have now is just to be the best friend I can be or the best sister. Instead of being so worried about being a wife or a mom, just being where I am and being invested in that calling is really important to me and brings me a lot of joy – it’s really life-giving and I can walk into that identity and embrace who I am right now. “
“That’s something that I’ve seen in my life, I’ve seen a lot of opportunities to mother other people. You know, as a listener or like somebody that people can trust and rely on. That’s always been really important to me, to be somebody that can be trusted. I’m like the most loyal person that I know. (laughs) By far! I am invested, you know what I mean? I’m not going anywhere. I’ve always been that way though, I’ve gotten hurt by a lot of people because they don’t reciprocate as much as I do. Which like ruined me in middle school (laughs). I just give it my all.”
Question 4: What is one opportunity that you passed up that you wish you would have taken?
“So in my last semester of college I took an oil painting class and I was amazing. (laughs) I was so good at it, but I had never taken a painting class before. I mean I wasn’t the best in my class or anything. My teacher asked me if I was going to take more classes but at that point I was about to graduate. So when I switched out of interior design and into business, I wish I would have considered majoring in painting and drawing. I took still life drawing but was never very good at it. But the oil painting – even painting people, I could do. Which is strange because I couldn’t draw people. I really wish I had taken more of the oil painting classes in the middle of college instead of in my last semester. It’s something I regret after seeing what I could do in that intro class and the fact that I really enjoyed it.”
Question 5: How would you describe your current religious or non-religious beliefs.
“My religious beliefs… I mean I love God, a lot! (laughs) I believe that Jesus died for my sins and that I wake up everyday and have newness of life because of Him. I walk in the joy of my salvation and that, on some days, is all I’ve got.”
“My relationship with God has changed through the seasons of my life. I grew up in church but didn’t know as much about God’s character until I got to college. I’m thankful that God is intentional about placing people in our lives at the right time. He is just really faithful, just the perfect provider. “