We had the good fortune of connecting with Margaret Alba and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Margaret, how has your work-life balance changed over time?
Hi ShoutoutLA! That is an excellent question. My work life balance has shifted significantly during the last two years with covid. The time working from home revealed the cracks in my ‘hustle’ mentality. I used to assign so much of my identity to the work that I do and how much time I put in. As a result, I said yes to projects I wasn’t aligned with. I established an unattainable bar of perfection and overworked myself – leading to inevitable burnout.

I learned the hard way that the only person who can advocate for my emotional and mental health in the workplace is me. Nowadays, my priorities and motivations look drastically different than before. I give myself more time in the week to rest and I protect it fiercely. I’m no longer the creative ‘workaholic’ that I used to pride myself as – and it’s probably for the best.

I think balance is active work. It’s not a destination – where you reach the peak and that’s it. Work life balance requires honest reflection, boundary setting, and consistent communication. The best thing I can do, is be kind to myself throughout the entire journey.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I do graphic design at a creative agency for work and make metal objects for fun. With experience in 3D, animation, augmented reality, and metalsmithing, I love creating work that combine modern programs and traditional practices.

The road to where I am today is lined with creative achievements, waves of self-doubt, and unwavering curiosity. I’ve learned there is no singular blueprint on what an artist’s journey looks like. When they say everyone’s path is different, they don’t mean a little different. They mean wildly, doesn’t-look-even-related different.

Being comfortable with how mine looked was essential to my growth as a creative.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Welcome to Portland!


Hale Pele – The tiki drink place that made me fall in love with tiki drinks.
Hey Love – Never had a bad cocktail here.
Soro Soro – The cafe with the cutest lattes and pastries.
Roadside Attraction – If it’s gloomy and rainy, we’re having drinks at this cozy spot.

Hunnymilk – A prix-fixe brunch place with none of the pretentiousness.
Grand Stark Deli – I have dreams about this egg sandwich.
Proud Mary – I love this place so much, my boss got me a gift card.
(My favorite meal is brunch and this list reflects that)

Road Trip:
Cannon Beach – Visit Haystack rock! We’ll stop at Mo’s for clam chowder with a view.
Hood River – We’ll soak at Society Hotel and go to Broder’s for brunch.
Tacoma – Slightly longer trip, but I think it’s worth it. We’ll stay at Elk’s Temple, visit the Museum of Glass, and America’s Car Museum.

Yo! Store – My go-to place for gifts. They wrap purchases with patterned paper and tulle.
Grate Company – Just opened this year! Started by my friend who makes the best candles.
Cargo – I could spend hours looking through this shop. It’s filled with stationery, books, knick-knacks – everything truly.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I’d love to give a shoutout to my parents. I am able to pursue a creative life because of them. My dad introduced me to computers at a young age and enabled me to code and design my first website. My mom taught me how to sew, crochet, and build tangible items. These were skills they brandished in everyday life to thrive as first-generation immigrants that I now use for creative and professional pursuit. It’s such a privilege and one I don’t take for granted.

Website: www.margaretalba.com

Instagram: www.instagram.com/margaretalba

Image Credits
Jessica Marie

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