About Elise and Phil



Elise and Phil Okrend

As two creative souls passionate about the healing arts, Elise and Phil Okrend founded a successful greeting card company, MixedBlessing in 1990 based on messages of peace, tolerance and diversity. The story behind their company was featured in national media such as The Wall Street Journal, USA Today and Good Morning America. Their greeting card business success allowed the couple to diversify further into individual passions. Elise now pursues her artistic callings in healing and mindful pastel paintings in her art gallery space in Asheville, North Carolina and in the permanent collection of hospitals, offices and residences. Phil helps hundreds of clients as a certified life and business coach, incorporating writing, public speaking and original reflective music into his practice.

Elise and Phil currently make their home in the mountains of North Carolina where they enjoy hiking, kayaking and being in nature. They have two sons, Jordan and Josh, and a blue eyed dog, Maya.

Learn more about Phil Okrend at, www.steppingstonescoaching.com
and about Elise Okrend at, www.eliseokrend.com

Visit Elise at her working studio and gallery at The Wedge Studios, 129 Roberts Street, Asheville, River Arts District

About the Artist – Elise Okrend


My work is inspired by my observations of the natural world whether through travel or simply looking outside my back door. Using pastels, I capture a simple scene and transcend the ordinary into a work of vibrant beauty with a healing spiritual dimension. My attention is given to a strong sense of light and an intense richness of color. I strive for my work to evoke a feeling of balance and harmony.

Using Pastels

I love using pastels. I feel they are a direct connection from my body to the paper. I use my figures as a tool to blend vibrant pigment and create endless tones of color. I start each piece by blocking and building layers of color in the dark areas and working toward the lightest tones and highlights. I am always amazed at the versatility of using pastels. With the ease of an erasure or rub off you can change color, value or form.

Design and MixedBlessing

I have been involved in art for as long as I can remember. From kindergarten paintings of the solar system to endless hours of studying the master artist’s drawings, creating was always part of my life. During college, my focus remained on fine art and the study of different medium. I also explored the world of commercial art and design. After college, I went to work for an advertising agency in New York City. My career expanded in the areas of design and print production. At the same time, together with my husband started what is now a successful, nationally known greeting card company, MixedBlessing which focuses on holiday cards celebrating multicultural and religious diversity. I design all the cards for the line.

I am passionate about being creative and enjoying the process, in my everyday life. My pastels paintings are a reflection of my life in harmony. See all of Elise’s work at www.eliseokrend.com

About the Author – Phil Okrend


I believe that in order to change the world, we must change ourselves.  Having been on a journey moving me from my head to my heart, there have been setbacks, triumphs, joys and sorrows. Through it all, there is a knowing that this is an authentic, path, and it is healing, freeing and empowering. In my career, I have transitioned from being an attorney to the life of a creative entrepreneur, coach, writer, speaker and musician.  I am passionate about awakening others to the truth of who they are and their greatest potential.

Learn more about Phil’s life and business coaching services under the coaching section of this site and at www.steppingstonescoaching.com

Phil speaking on living from one’s heart, letting go, and sharing a passage from Messages to the Heart.