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

Hi Melissa, what habits do you feel play an important role in your life?
Working a flexible schedule from home, has required that I create routines for myself to stay organized and on task. Even on days I know I won’t be leaving the house, I make sure that I’m 100% dressed and ready for the day. As the day goes on, if I need to run an errand, I’m ready to go handle it and get back to work. I keep a master running list of tasks that need to get done, and every day I pick my top 3 items that need to get done, and work on those first. I also try to plan out specific days to run errands to avoid unnecessary distractions. One day a week is scheduled for down time, which means I give myself permission to engage in other hobbies that I enjoy. Go for a hike, visit Bookmans, nap or whatever I need to rest and relax. It’s too easy to get sucked up into working all the time to get through the list, but it’s important to leave time to generate new ideas while just living and enjoying life.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I make a variety of art depending on my mood, from watercolor wildlife, to colorful acrylic cactus and custom art of all kinds.! don’t think there is anything specific that sets me apart from others, but what I do know – is that if you want something bad enough, you’ll put in the work to get it. I was a public school Art teacher for many years, and while I enjoyed sharing art with students, it just didn’t light a spark in me. I wanted more time and energy to put into creating and building a business for myself, so I quit teaching and took that leap. I’m proud of myself for having the motivation and determination to just jump in and figure it all out as I went. I had to research and learn the different parts as I went along from a variety of sources, taking in all the advice I could along the way. You’ll never feel ready to make the next step, but once your soul knows what you want to do, you can’t go backwards. It can be a big, scary thing to not know exactly what’s going to happen, but I say it’s worth the time and effort to try and see where it leads you. I still worry whether things will work out financially at times, but somehow it always does, and I’ve never been happier!

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?
I have so many favorite places in Tucson, and when my friends and family come to visit I always have a long list of places I want to take them. Desert mornings are amazing and full of sunshine, so I would start the morning with Black Crown coffee, and head out to the Arizona Sonoran Desert Museum to see the critters. Most of the animals are up early being fed by staff, and go into hiding as it warms up, so it’s best to go early to see them. I recommend eating lunch at the ASDM, and leaving before it gets too hot. After that we would head into town for some local boutique shopping at the MSA Annex, then down Historic 4th Ave. Dinner would have to be at El Charro’s downtown location, preferably on the patio. Prickly Pear Margaritas are a must, and if the sun hasn’t set by the time dinner is over, a trip to A Mountain (Sentinel Peak) is a great place to watch the sunset over the city. Another day in town would require a trip San Xavier del Bac Mission, and Mt. Lemmon- Windy Point for pictures and a giant cookie at the Cookie Cabin. There are also so many amazing places within only a couple hours drive to visit, my favorites are all of the National parks, Bisbee, Jerome, Sedona and Kaibab Lake near Williams.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?

I want to dedicate my shoutout to all the people who volunteer and work for the State and National Parks. So much of my nature inspiration comes from visiting the parks and becoming more informed about the local history, native plants, and wildlife. I thank them for their willingness to share what they know and help preserve our beautiful lands.

Website: www.mercistwodeserts.com

Instagram: mercistwodeserts

Facebook: Two Deserts

Yelp: Melissa M.

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutArizona is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.