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How Lauren Riihimaki Turned Her Passion for DIY Into a Social Media Empire

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How Lauren Riihimaki Turned Her Passion for DIY Into a Social Media Empire

This story was initially published in The Creators — a newsletter about the people powering the creator economy. Get it sent to your inbox every Saturday here.

The path to internet fame is so incredibly murky that even Charli D’Amelio, the most followed person on TikTok, has said she doesn’t know why she is famous. But 28-year-old DIY digital creator Lauren Riihimaki (@LaurDIY, 8.58M, YouTube), who has been on YouTube for over a decade, cultivated her following by doing what she loves: Crafting. Lauren got her start while she was a college student at X University (formerly Ryerson University) in Toronto. She’s now the host and executive producer of Craftopia on HBO Max — a crafting competition show that wrapped its second season last year — and she co-hosts the relationships podcast Wild ‘Til 9 with her boyfriend Jeremy Lewis who works in technology. 

Her DIY Master video series shows her making things like a clay sculpture of her dog and a “chunky knit blanket” with high energy and ease. She also has a series showing her DIYing YouTuber merch, which occasionally resulted in the featured creators cross-promoting her work. “It’s the ability to express yourself and the ability to customize things and it’s just the overall empowerment that I think a lot of people feel when they are able to literally do something themselves,” Lauren said of crafting. “And I think there’s been a massive creator movement especially with platforms like Pinterest and a lot of the shorter form content platforms like TikTok and Reels and so there’s always been a really great niche community for the DIY space.”

Lauren’s first DIY video features her against a blank wall using a black sharpie on a black shirt to demonstrate how to do a skull cut-out. The lighting and shooting are so lo-fi that in 2019 she shot herself doing commentary on the video, cackling over its amateurish nature. Since then, her content has evolved to cater to a more adult audience, mainly women between ages 21 and their early 30s, with videos that go beyond DIY. She hosts “Girl Talk” videos on her YouTube channel where she answers questions about sex and womanhood (Sample: “Is it just me that feels orgasms differently between penetration and masturbation?”)

“I think building off that over the nine years on YouTube, it’s really given me the opportunity to talk about things that I care about so advocating for mental health and just sharing you know authentic parts of my life around being a 28-year-old female who’s in a relationship and, you know, everything that comes with that and just being authentic and normalizing so many things that I think have been considered taboo to talk about in the past,” she said. 

How Lauren Makes Money

Lauren began to vault herself into internet fame between her first and second years in college, which gave her time to pick up on the key parts of the business of being a creator before pursuing it full time after graduation. 

She monetizes her YouTube channel and video editions of her podcast through Google’s AdSense program. Wild Til’ 9 has had a variety of sponsors, including Peloton, BetterHelp, Ouai, Bombas, LiquidIV, and HelloFresh. Lauren has had brand partnerships with companies and services like Google Pay, Function of Beauty, Princess Polly, and Dyson and she makes money through her role as host and executive producer of Craftopia. She also recently got involved in angel investing in companies like Lolli, a service that offers free Bitcoin or cash when users shop at a selection of stores; Community.com, a text-messaging service that connects brands and public figures with their audiences; Racket, Kinship, and Stir.

“I was beyond ready to go full time with it as soon as I graduated,” she said. “But I think a lot of creators kind of have to, like, take that leap of leaving your full-time job or deciding to do online school versus, like, staying in physical school, so it turned out really well for me.”

The Brand to Creator Relationship 

Just as creators are becoming more intentional about the brands they choose to promote, Lauren says brands are giving creators more freedom in how they approach partnerships. Brands are catching onto the fact that influencers know their audiences well and have a strong idea of what people want to see. 

“I think six, seven, eight years ago brands were really hesitant to let some 23-year-old girl who doesn’t have a degree in media and production or business take the reins on a brand sponsorship,” she said. “But I think now they have a better understanding that the influencer or content creator has an in-depth understanding as to what their audience will receive in a supportive light and so they’re really leaning into that and embracing the creator culture.”

Do you have questions about the creator economy? Have you quit your job to focus on being a creator? Have you quit your job for a different reason?  Please email me at [email protected]. We respect your privacy.

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On the Minnesota-Canada border, the water just keeps coming

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On the Minnesota-Canada border, the water just keeps coming

CANADIAN BORDER — When many people think of a flood, they imagine a rush of water that comes up fast, wreaks havoc, and then subsides quickly to reveal the damage done.

But in the water world that residents along Minnesota’s border lakes with Ontario are living this spring, the floodwaters came up weeks ago and just keep getting higher, expected to surpass record levels in coming days.

It may be into July before water levels drop back close to normal as the Rainy River watershed continues to spill out of its boundaries, with flooding occurring from just north of Lake Vermilion to Lake of the Woods and beyond.

The flood of 2022 this week eclipsed the modern record flooding event set in 2014, according to the National Weather Service in Duluth, and border lakes will likely set records in the next week or two, topping even 1950 and 1916 events.

“It will take a long time for these levels to decrease once they peak, and those experiencing flooding should be prepared for weeks of high water levels into June,” the Weather Service noted Thursday.

The good news is that the heavy rains of April and early May slowed some. And far upstream, some rivers have crested and have begun to fall slowly from flood stage, including the Basswood, Vermilion and Kawishiwi. All are still well above normal, however.

The bad news is that the Weather Service is forecasting a good chance of strong thunderstorms across the region this weekend, which could produce another 1-3 inches of new rainfall. And, even without more rain, there is still far more water coming into Crane, Namakan, Sand Point, Kabetogama, Rainy and Lake of the Woods than can get out of each lake, and water levels for each are forecast to continue rising.

“We’re entering a very active weather pattern. The outlook is not good,’’ said Joe Moore, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Duluth. Moore said above-average rainfall is expected through June.

On Thursday, Namakan Lake and connected Kabetogama Lake were at 1,122.0 feet above sea levels — 17.7 inches above the 2014 peak level. A rise of another 5-7 inches is expected by June 1 with continued rises into mid-June possible. At this rate, Namakan Lake will reach the record high level of 1,122.8 feet set in 1916.

Rainy Lake is currently at 1,111.7 feet, which is 4 inches above the 2014 peak. A rise of 11-13 inches is expected by June 1 with high water likely into at least mid-June. At this rate, Rainy Lake is expected to break the record high level of 1,112.95 feet set in 1950.

Water on Thursday was flowing into Rainy Lake 28,000 cubic feet per second faster than it can go out, and it was entering Lake of the Woods 25,000 cubic feet per second faster than it can get out.

The flood of 2022 has been caused after heavy rains fell on top of deep snow on frozen ground in April, creating an unprecedented runoff in volume and speed. More rain in early May compounded the problem, and the lakes and rivers along the waterway spilled their banks.

Sandbagging continues around homes, cabins, resorts and other businesses near the lakes. Local, state and federal government agencies and the Minnesota National Guard have been working to help.

MOST RESORTS AT LEAST PARTIALLY OPEN

Somehow, many businesses remain open, including resorts, taking advantage of any high ground they have and sending anglers out to fish on flooded lakes. It takes more work to launch and land boats every day with docks flooded or destroyed, but the fishing has been good.

“The water is winning right now. But we’re putting up a good fight,’’ said Tracy Lindstrom at Northern Lights Resort on Kabetogama.

So far, the resort has been able to remain open, with only three of their 14 cabins out of commission due to flooding. But they were sandbagging until dark Wednesday night and were up early Thursday trying to keep their sandbag dikes from collapsing.

“We’ve got great guests here. We’re trying to do what’s best for them right now. That’s the focus,’’ Lindstorm said.

John Stegmeir, a Kabetogama Township supervisor, said there was a 20-person emergency management team from St. Louis County attempting to save buildings at two resorts Thursday. Meanwhile, a 20-person Minnesota National Guard crew has been working this week filling sandbags at the town hall, with another 20-person crew set to arrive today.

“We had big problems with the wind (Wednesday) and we were losing sandbags; they were collapsing with that wave action,’’ Stegmeir said. “There may be some places where we just can’t keep up, can’t keep the water out. … They are managing it by priorities now, what can be saved and what can’t.”

CAMPSITES FLOODED, DANGEROUS DEBRIS

Many campsites in Voyageurs National Park and upstream in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness are impacted by the flooding and campers with reservations are warned to call ahead to make sure their site is usable. Many boat landings are also flooded, although some are still usable.

As of Thursday, more than 40 campsites and houseboat sites in Voyageurs were closed, many inundated by rising lakes.

Debris, from uprooted trees to large pieces of docks, continues to be a major issue across the region, with boaters warned to go slow. No-wake rules have been put into effect near shorelines in an effort to reduce the impact of erosion.

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Katelynn Berry: The Missing Persons Report

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Katelynn Berry: The Missing Persons Report

Katelynn Berry was a young woman who loved to get out and spend time with friends, even if it meant she had to walk somewhere from her apartment, which was a small renovated space above her father’s workshop. Katelynn’s friends and family didn’t think too much of her disappearance at first because it was so common for her to go a few days without answering her phone or texts. But as time went on, her parents grew worried that something may have happened to her.

Hank and Carmell Berry contacted Katelynn’s friends to ask if she had reached out to them during this time. No one had been in contact with Katelyn. A missing person report for Katelynn Berry was issued on December 31, 2021. The police working the case determined that she had last been seen at her apartment on December 21st, just 10 days prior. After conducting a thorough search of Berry’s apartment, the police determined that Katelynn had left her home without identification, her purse, or a coat.

This further concerned the girl’s parents and a search for Berry was launched. Carmell and Hank surmised that Katelyn likely had to go outside for something and did not expect to remain there. Her lack of a coat suggests that she intended to come back inside immediately but wasn’t able to for some reason. It remains unknown whether Katelynn may have locked herself out of her apartment, met someone outside, or left for another reason.

Body Located Fitting the Description of Katelynn Berry

The Sidney police searched the area for almost a month without success and by this time, the Berry parents were certain the news wouldn’t be good if they ever did find Katelyn Berry. On January 20, 2022, a volunteer search party had come in to assist and located a human body consistent with what they knew of Katelynn Berry. The body was transported to the medical examiner’s office where a full autopsy was performed.

It was determined that Katelynn died of hypothermia after being outside without proper cold-weather attire for a short period of time. It is not currently clear why the police search of the same area weeks prior did not reveal Berry’s remains, but the later volunteer search did.

Parents of Berry Still Don’t Have Answers

Katelynn’s mother and father went through the next several weeks in a daze, unsure of how their daughter had gotten outside and why she wasn’t able to go back inside for her coat. They suspected something terrible must have happened and that’s why Katelynn left the house, or perhaps Katelynn somehow went outside for something and couldn’t get back into the apartment. No evidence gathered by law enforcement during the investigation indicated the manner in which Katelynn lost her life.

Katelyn Berry’s Life

The Berry gave birth to their daughter Katelynn on February 1, 1995. She quickly grew into a smart young woman, finding great joy in reading, writing, and school in general. Katelynn was a passionate academic and later earned her degree at Northland Technical College. Her excellent grades garnered her a place in the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, and in her spare time, Katelynn liked to read, listen to loud music, and watch races with her father Hank.

About The Katelynn’s Voice Foundation

Katelynn Berry’s parents used their experience to create the Katelynn’s Voice Foundation, which is a scholarship program and non-profit organization dedicated to helping high school students who deal with the impacts of being diagnosed with a mental illness. The Foundation is currently active and recently paired with The American Legion to host annual mental health and addiction, awareness fundraiser.

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DJ LeMahieu confident he can avoid trip to injured list

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DJ LeMahieu confident he can avoid trip to injured list

ST. PETERSBURG — DJ LeMahieu was able to hit after Thursday night’s Yankees win and is fairly confident he will be able to avoid the injured list.

“I don’t want to get too excited, but it’s definitely felt better as the day has gone on,” LeMahieu said. “I think that cortisone finally just took.”

LeMahieu had a cortisone shot in his left wrist on Tuesday. Before Thursday’s game he said the wrist had not improved enough. He admitted he might need to go on the IL. Thursday night, he was not available off the bench and the Yankees had just catcher Kyle Higashioka available.

“DJ was not available. Although it sounds like he’s doing a lot better in literally the last two hours,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “So we’ll see where we’re at. Kind of get together again tonight and see where we’re at in the morning.”

HICKS SCRATCHED

Aaron Hicks felt his right hamstring tighten during Wednesday’s game against the Orioles in the Bronx, but still tried to play Thursday. He had to be scratched less than an hour before first pitch, but he thinks he will be able to play on Friday.

“I definitely feel like I’ll be able to be there tomorrow and that’s what I’m planning on doing,” Hicks said.

The center fielder said he first felt it running to first base Wednesday. Boone said he asked Hicks to try and play Thursday, but after treatment he could not run at full speed.

The Yankees have gone through a bunch of injuries lately. Third baseman Josh Donaldson is on the COVID IL with a respiratory illness. Giancarlo Stanton is on the IL with an ankle injury.

NICE TO MEET YOU, YOU’RE BATTING EIGHTH

Matt Carpenter barely had time to put his bag down when he was called into a hitters meeting. The Yankees signed the former Cardinal and three-time All-Star before Thursday night’s game and when Hicks was scratched, he got rushed into the lineup.

“It was pretty crazy, I think I landed (in Tampa) at 3:20,” Carpenter said. “To be part of a huge win right away is pretty cool.”

Carpenter got hit by a pitch in the sixth and came around to score the Yankees first run of the night.

BRITTON AND GERMAN UPDATE

Zack Britton is expected to throw his first bullpen session since elbow reconstruction surgery on Tuesday, Aaron Boone said. The Yankees manager said he absolutely expects Britton to be back this season.

The lefty reliever was in the clubhouse before Thursday’s game. He has been recovering from left elbow reconstruction surgery in Tampa.

In other injury news, Yankees right-hander Domingo German, who has been rehabbing from a shoulder issue since spring training, has been facing live hitters in batting practice and is “close,” to getting a rehab assignment.

With the Yankees bullpen losing Aroldis Chapman (Achilles), Chad Green (Tommy John) and Jonathan Loaisiga (shoulder), German could possibly be a reinforcement when he is ready.

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