BETH SALMON

WRITER, LIFE STORY COACH, SOUL SISTER

To know Beth Salmon as a writer, friend, and soul sister, you have to understand the journey that got her to where she is now. Sure, the fact that she was an editor in chief of national, consumer lifestyle magazines for many years before becoming a publisher for a health and wellness book company is impressive. She’s the best at what she does, and her professional background alone is an invaluable asset to our Write Your Life Los Angeles community. It’s Beth’s own inspiring story, though, that makes her a true gift and light for anyone who’s lucky enough to know her well.

Beth decided she was going to be the author of her own story, but learned early on that surprising plot twists—especially those that result when things don't go as you planned—might be just what's needed to make a good story even better. For example, when she tried to write for her school newspaper at Emerson College, and was told that they didn’t have a spot, she went out and pitched herself to a national college magazine, and actually got paid to write a monthly column! 

After she graduated, it was expected that she would settle in Upstate New York like the rest of her large, extended family. But Beth knew that to follow her dreams, she would have to make edits to this plan, and move cross-country to Los Angeles, where she hoped to work as a screenwriter. After working 12-hour days in the entertainment industry for a few years, though, Beth realized that she wasn't doing what she loved: writing. She quit her job as an agent's assistant, and took a job as an editorial intern at an alternative medicine magazine, where she would eventually go on to become the editor in chief, a job that would soon become a rewarding career spanning more than 20 years.

Beth was so successful early on that she bought what would become the Farmhouse, and after watching the movie Under the Tuscan Sun, remodeled it (with her partner Milo) into the secret little retreat it is now. Everything about the Farmhouse reflects who Beth is, inside and out. And you will feel that reflection of comfort and elegance the minute you walk inside and have a chance to talk with her. It will feel like you’ve come home.

Edith Wharton once said, “There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.” Beth is that mirror for me and her family everyday. I’ve never had a friend with whom I laugh and create more everyday. And as part of the Garage Girls, we believe that it’s never late to become a dream doer.

You can count on Beth’s let's-do-this attitude to support and inspire you at the Farmhouse each week.

Five fun facts about Beth: 1. She still climbs trees in her late 40s—often to the shock of nearby children. 2. Dolly Parton’s "9 to 5" is her anthem. 3. She loves good food. Like seriously loves it. 4. She still goes to “camp” each summer on Lake Ontario.  5. She often takes notes while watching "Grey’s Anatomy," "Grace & Frankie" and "Cosmic Disclosure." Yes, that diversity says a lot about her personality!

COURTNEY DUNHAM

WRITER, LIFE STORY COACH, SOUL SISTER

A seasoned and well-rounded media maven, Courtney has been an award-winning journalist, editor and publisher before evolving into publicity director for multimedia companies, including the publisher of the successful New York Times bestseller, The Secret and Infinite Possibilities, Simon and Schuster, and the alternative-medicine niche publisher, Basic Health Publications, which is where she met her good-friend Beth, who wrote this bio for her. Although Court doesn't like to brag, Beth enjoys telling people that she has nailed major media hits on "Oprah," "Larry King Live," "CNN Heroes," National Public Radio, Coast to Coast and many others. 

Beyond her impressive CV, though, Court is an uber-fun, vivacious, girl-powered goddess; an old soul, who everyone—adults, kids, animals—just seem to naturally gravitate toward. (Just ask me, as my kids always want to hang out with her.) Her warm, generous spirit and wildly relatable personality make you feel instantly at ease and so inspired to put stuff together, especially the powerful words necessary to craft the most incredible story ever told: your own.

Court’s own personal story, though, is what I believe is her best work. It reflects so much of what the Garage Girls are about–authenticity, heart, determination, reinvention, and a yes-you-can attitude. After making the painful decision to leave her 17-year marriage following a long battle with infertility and late miscarriage, she decided to backpack around Europe for three months at 39 years old. This began a series of brave adventures for Court–going after many things she had always wanted to pursue (but had to take a backseat to life, career, and family plans).

Following her travels, Court moved cross-country to Manhattan, where she knew no one except for her two furry babies, dogs Sammy “Pup” and Belle. When people would ask her why she moved there–for a relationship, family, or new job—Court just said it was because she always wanted to live in New York City and knew that she was too stuck to stay in her old life. 

When it comes to Court, her motto has always been, "make it happen!" That’s what brought her here to Los Angeles, where we are so lucky to have her. The youngest of a family of 12 kids, Court is a fighter, but only in the most positive sense of the word!

Five fun facts about Courtney: 1. Her "other half" is white, furry and super cute. 2. She lives in a really cool cabin in West LA, but it looks like it could be in the woods of the Pacific Northwest. 3. She has a silver tongue (it's the gift of gab, the Irish say), a heart of pure gold, and makes new friends literally everywhere. 4. She loved the movie "Under the Tuscan Sun" so much that she went to Italy, stopped at Francis May's house and invited her for coffee. 5. She is one of the bravest people I know (see #4), which makes sense considering her role models came from TV show characters of the 70s, "The Bionic Woman," "Charlie's Angels," and "Fantasy Island."—need I say more?!