Tara and I never set out to be entrepreneurs. We never thought we'd work for ourselves, much less each other. We didn't grow up fantasizing about owning our own business. And when we decided to make the jump we just trusted that we'd build our wings on the way down. Or at least we'd hold hands and crash and burn together – Thelma & Louise style.
Just a few short months after the beginning of Braid we hired Kristin. Truth be told... she got the job because she kind of reminded of us Liz. It could've been the short hair and oxfords or it could've been the kind of cool calm she managed to maintain through her portfolio review. Now... I can't imagine Braid without her.
It still sometimes feels as if we're in a free fall - plummeting towards the earth at a million miles an hour. So when Liz sent us a snapshot of her costume materials the wings seemed all too appropriate.
Visit the Braid blog to see our Halloween costumes – and welcome Liz to our team.
It's 10:32pm right now. A cold front came through today so my fingers and toes feel especially cold. I'm sitting in lotus, wearing an oversized wool cardigan, at my breakfast nook table in my only kind of comfortable Herman Miller bucket chair. My favorite Velvet Underground song is playing and Mister Scooty Boots is curled up in Jeremy's lap, per usual. We're both illuminated by the glow of our open laptops and we're nursing hand crafted pale ales out of the bottle. I've chewed my nails down to the quick (and damn, I was doing so good about that). It's the kind of week where I'm employing Jeremy (the guy in grad school who is constantly working on never-ending math equations) to not only calm me down when I start to feel overwhelmed but to actually help me through this late night work session. To help me dot my "i"s and cross my "t"s and make sure my "their"s are "there"s.
It's been the kind of week where the weight of the work is starting to feel a little heavy for all of us. It's the kind of heavy where all I can think about is my all-consuming desire to lay in hot sand or zone out to on the couch to a Wes Anderson flick. But it's also a comforting kind of heavy - like a warm body on top of my own. The kind of weight that reminds me that I'm putting in late nights because I'm in love with my work - and that I have so much to share that I can't not work into the evening. It's physically impossible to stop the flow.
So all of this to say: Sometimes the weight of the work feels a little heavy - sometimes in a good way. Even though I pride myself on keeping my work week to 40 hours or less, sometimes I work late. But it's because I've chosen to build something bigger than myself. And I'm building it with my tribe - with Jeremy, Tara and Kristin. And with all of you. So thank you.
Now might also be a good time to tell you that our new Braid ECourse: Personal Branding: Blending Who You Are with What You Do is open for registration until this Sunday. (I promise I won't tell you to blend the two by working late into the night - but sometimes that's just the reality of entrepreneurship.) You can register for a discounted price of $65 if you check out my guest post over at Sarah Von Bargen's blog with tips on how to blend the personal with the professional.
Photo by my personal paparazzi and member of my tribe, Greer Inez.
First astrology and now lucky charms. Superstition must be the theme of the week. But I think there's something true to be said for the little things we use to help focus our thoughts and energy. The magic is within us - but lucky charms are great tools for harnessing the power we've got.
Here are a few things that help me get my mojo aligned:
My Everest rocks. As we were trekking the trail up to base camp I kept seeing stacked rocks. I asked our guide, Buddhi, what it meant and he simply said it was for good luck. I collected these rocks at base camp and brought them all the way back to the other side of the world. They remind me to take one step at a time and breathe.
My action bunny in gold pants. Liz got me this little guy (you guys are following Liz's blog, right?). He sits at my computer with me and reminds me that life is more fun in gold undies.
My sunstone. My new client turned fast friend, Claire, got me this sunstone while she was in Sedona. The sunstone is said to energize the second and third chakras - stimulating leadership, creativity and sexy times. I'll take it.
My lucky kitty. Tara got me this lucky kitty while she was in Japan last week. And by Japan I actually mean the Japan part of Epcot while at Disneyworld in Florida. This little red cat symbolizes healthy business and healthy children. I'll take that too.
What are your lucky charms? Are you superstitious?
This past weekend Jeremy and I were invited, last minute, to a Halloween party. Okay. I lie - we were invited a long time ago via Facebook but somehow I've become completely illiterate in the ways of Facebook - so I missed the event invitation. Either way, it was the night of the party and Jeremy and I didn't have costumes.
I've never needed an excuse to dress up. In elementary school I'd wear a thrifted zip-up jet fighter pilot uniform with combat boots ... on a Tuesday. As I got older I would find my outfits inspired by sailors, school girls, and Kurt Cobain. When I was in the 9th grade my next door neighbor was selling all of her old polyester pant suits from the 70s in a garage sale - I took all of them off her hands for a quarter each and continued to wear them for the duration of the school year. These days my outfits have to be able to make me confident enough to survive the post-apocalypse.
The way I see it, every day is an opportunity to make a statement with what I'm wearing. So when it comes to Halloween, and dressing up, it feels like it's got to be something really special. And that sentiment either makes me feel lazy and unenthusiastic or it drives me to go all out. This year my already-all-out hair did the hard work for me. All I had to do was pull my favorite article of clothing - a furry vest - from my closet and bust out the bronzer and liquid liner.
Now, I'm not about to become all furry kinky on you guys - or on Jeremy (sorry, dude) - but something about this silly, last-minute costume, felt more like an... awakening. As I transformed myself into a lion I felt as if I was uncovering the Leo I've grown in to. I don't know a whole lot about the stars and the signs but my whole life I've been aware that I was born with my sun in Taurus - that I'm supposed to be a bull who is patient and slow, with a love of comfort and ease. And that has never felt quite right. I'm impatient and quick to make decisions. I crave pushing myself, and those around me, out of their comfort zones.
I had my astrological chart read for my 30th birthday in May. The woman reading my chart told me that the Leo Rising in my chart is more dominant than my sun in Taurus. That when I'm reading my horoscope in the back of a magazine I should read what it has to say for the Leo, for that is far more applicable to who I am than Taurus.
And so, my Leo Rising tells me that I like to be the center of attention - that I am idealistic and I like to appear strong, confident and dominant. It tells me that I'm loud and pay attention to my hair - but that I also radiate energy and want to make sure the people I love are alright. My Leo Rising tells me that others may not see me as beautiful, but as I grow up I will develop a regal bearing that will make others feel that I am dependable. It tells me that I want to make things happen and create a stir.
I don't know about the stars and signs and lions and bulls, but I do know that I feel more me than I have ever felt in my life. With or without a face full of lion makeup.
One of my favorite local retailers, Blue Seven, asked me to participate in their raw denim Clean Start Project. The rules:
1. Wear the same pair of jeans every day (or at least 6 days a week) for six months.
2. If they get holes in them patch them up - or let them be.
3. Don't wash the jeans. You can hang them up to air out, Febreeze 'em or stick them in the freezer overnight to help eliminate any stink.
Blue Seven is tracking the progress of over 60 participants over 6 months. The idea is that each pair of raw denim will emerge with its own personality depending on the life of the wearer. Apparently this isn't a new concept - raw denim fanatics have been preaching this no-wash method to allow the jeans to fully express their true personality.
When Blue Seven asked me to participate I didn't hesitate at the challenge. I love finding creativity within limitations. Challenges like these push me to the edge of what I think is possible for myself - and I always discover something new.
At the same time, I've recently purged about 75% of my wardrobe. Clothes that I love but never wear. Outfits that were reserved for my old art director self - my catwalk the open office hallway. But who I am now is someone who wants to do more with less - I want my limited articles of clothing to reflect that.
And so... I'm wearing the same pair of jeans. Every day. For six months.
Follow the Blue Seven Clean Start project on Instagram: #b7cleanstart and here on their blog.
One of the things I love most about saying goodbye to summer is the comfort fall foods brings us. I love how a heated kitchen draws everyone in to the heart (and belly) of the home. I love roasting squash and soaking lentils and then bringing them together with spice, cilantro and a little bit of Greek yogurt. I love holding a warm bowl of hearty food between my hands while settling in on the couch with lots of cozy throws and a couple kitties - sharing my meal with Jeremy and John Stewart. Ah, fall food.
When Jeremy and I decided to go to Europe we also decided to attach a trek to the adventure too. We wanted a trek in which we were carrying our own packs and taking our bodies from point A to point B on our own two feet. We decided on a trek through the High Tatras in Slovakia and Poland. It was rated as being a little bit more difficult than Everest Base Camp - but I was up for the challenge.
Our first day started with a bus ride from Zakopane into Slovakia. The bus driver was a volunteer mountain rescue man who looked like he drives a Harley on the side. He had big white sideburns, a handlebar moustache and some really tight pants. He wore a red and black jacket with a patch that authorized him to go searching in avalanches for mountaineers in trouble.
When we got to Slovakia our Hells Angel / Mountain Rescue bus driver dropped us off and we made our way, on a relatively flat and smooth path, to a small lodge where we ate lentil soup and stale bread for lunch. From there we trekked another 1.5 hours towards our final destination for the day: Chat pri Zelenom, The Green Lake Hut.
I don't know how we didn't learn our lesson, especially after being caught in a down pour at Ama Dablam basecamp in Nepal aka the most miserable experience of my life (but in retrospect, damn, what a good time) - but we came into this trekking experience without any rain gear. And it started to rain. We made it to the Green Hut Lodge just in time. I only had a couple of hot spots on my heels and failed to note my newly forming blisters as foreshadowing to the kind of condition I'd be in on this adventure.
We checked into our lodge and had a snack of cake and beer. I noted in my travel log that this kind of consumption has got to stop once we get home. Oh, Kathleen from July 2012. How I wish I could tell you that that kind of consumption has got to stop immediately - cake and beer do not proper trekking fuel make.
Have I noted how beautiful the Tatras are? Because so far... so beautiful.
Next up: Cold Lakes and Crap Knees
Ah, the weekend. Even working as my own boss the weekend brings with it the promise of chilling the eff out. Jeremy and I slept in this morning until 7:45 when grey skies and rolls of thunder in the distance gently woke us from a night of dreams about train rides and embarrassing bathroom situations. Followed up with a breakfast of sweet potatoes and eggs, over-easy, and a cup of French pressed and freshly ground coffee. Clearly, I haven't weened myself off the sweet comfort of caffeine.
Afterwards Jeremy dropped me off for an hour of sweaty asanas while he worked on his pushes at the YMCA. It's the perfect beginning to a happy weekend.
Over the next 36 hours I'm looking forward to:
• Painting a big hot pink + on my living room wall
• Hanging the fiber art I scored in Palm Springs
• House hunting (investment / rental property)
• Watching a scary movie or two
• Eating some coconut + cayenne cocoa balls (recipe to be featured on Design Crush soon!)
• Another cup of coffee
• More yoga
• Reading Brene Brown's Daring Greatly (so far, so good - highly recommended)
What are you all up to this weekend?
Braid ECourse: Defining Your Personal Brand from Braid Creative on Vimeo.
One of the things Tara and I have been working really hard on (and are really proud of) are our Braid ECourse offerings for creative entrepreneurs. It's a way we can be of value to those of you who can't quite afford a one-on-one engagement with us - or are still in the process of developing your own creative career.
Our current offering is on Personal Branding: Blending Who You Are with What You Do. Living in the overlap of professional and personal is a topic I'm passionate about. I find happiness and fulfillment when I'm in tune with the grey areas - when I don't keep who I am and what I do entirely separate.
You can learn more about the Personal Branding Braid ECourse here. Or register here. If you want to stay updated on our ECourses, receive discounts and get exclusive creative entrepreneur letters to your inbox (stories and tips from me and Tara that are never posted to our blogs) sign up in the sidebar - either here or over at Braid Creative.
Hi, friends. Is it okay if I get a little "Dear Diary" here for a minute? Because I really want to be writing in this space but I don't quite have the time to color-adjust and design photos and craft stories around my Europe adventure (still to-be-continued), what I'm eating and what I'm wearing. But I have the desire to share what I've been up to these days.
These days I'm sleeping in a little later as the days get a little shorter. I'm being a little easier with myself. I've traded in my short high-intensity I-think-I-might-puke workouts with long yoga sessions. Sometimes they're more restorative and about connecting my breath to my body while stretching out connective tissues and finding balance in my mind. Other times it's more about shaking as I hold an inversion and feel my muscles wrap tightly around my bones while finding balance in my body. Sometimes I do yoga twice a day. I think I could probably do it all day, every day, if that were an option. We've also been hitting the climbing gym more lately and I've been feeling confident on the wall - stretching and gripping and pulling myself up and pushing myself off from hold to hold. I'm itching to learn how to tie knots and go climbing outdoors one day soon.
These days I'm still eating mostly paleo and more recently Jeremy and I attempted a juice cleanse. We only made it 24 hours in - the coffee withdrawals were no joke. Since then we've been slowly weening ourselves off coffee. I'm living life, happily, without grains but every once in a while I'm enjoying some dark chocolate and wine. Though, I've found the sugar and alcohol seems to weigh me down. My very favorite snack right now is mixing greek yogurt with almond butter and cubed mango.
These days I'm working hard. I'm working with a local dining group and even got to help name a new restaurant with my sister. And because we're all about saying what you mean we named it Kitchen. We're also working on branding other creative entrepreneurs including a yogi who specializes in juice cleanses, a photographer, a marketing consultant / project manager and a life coach from San Fransisco. These days I love my job. But damn... we're stretching and gripping and pulling ourselves up and pushing ourselves forward with each new client.
These days I write more than I design. I write ECourses, I write emails, I write letters and I write blog posts. I might not have the best grammar and I don't really understand the oxford comma. Sometimes I hit publish or send a little too fast. But I really enjoy writing - especially here. J&K is like home. I'll be back with a little more frequency as soon as I get through a few deadlines and find my breath.
What are you guys up to these days?
Image by Greer Inez. A light test for a shoot we were on together, recently.
Right on the heels of Mighty Summit I was invited by Promise Tangeman and Alyssa Yuhas to hang out in Palm Springs with the two of them and a turnout of what ended up being 20 other freelance designers to soak up some sun, talk shop and chill out.
I started the weekend out trying not to let my insecurities get the best of me. I was hanging out with some hot-shit bloggers and big-deal designers - some of whom I've admired for a long time. They've got devoted fans, metrics, loads of style, tons of talent and thriving creative careers. But I took a step back and asked myself two things:
1. What can I learn from these gals?
2. What gifts of knowledge can I share to make myself valuable to these rad ladies?
What I learned:
• We need a new word for networking. Because the word "networking" conjures up images of trading business cards in stuffy hotel conference rooms. But sometimes networking happens while you're shaking your ass in a bikini at the hippest poolside you've ever been to.
• And networking isn't just about landing new clients. It's also about finding your people - those who can inspire you to look at your career from a different perspective. People who uplift your vision, challenge your viewpoint and inspire growth.
• Showing up is important. I wrote more extensively about this over at the Braid blog today.
• I need a web plan for my clients. I've been so focused on branding and business visioning that I've put web by the wayside. Star taught me that I need to have a plan of action to better work with my developers - so that in turn I can better service my clients.
• I need to go to Burning Man. I've been really curious about economics, exchanges of energy and how we, as artistpreneurs, are compensated for The Work. I think I might be able to learn a few lessons on these topics at Burning Man, of all places. Star is a seasoned Burning Man veteran and gave me lots of insight - from staying hydrated to not being run over by an art car while high (or sober - there are whole communities at Burning Man dedicated to staying clean).
• Metrics don't matter. It's easy to get caught up in analytics when it comes to measuring your value as a blogger - but Megan (hi, roomie!) reminded me that it's not about numbers. It's about our content and the impact we can have on a narrow, but deep, group of readers.
• There is enough work for everyone. One of the coolest things about this weekend is that a lot of us gals are in each others sandboxes but never once did I feel jealous or threatened. Success isn't a zero-sum game. There is an abundance of opportunity to create and make a living from what we, as artists and entrepreneurs, have to share with the world.
• Erin Jane and Kelli Murray taught me that when it comes to having a family and a creative career you can have it all. You just have to redefine what "having it all" looks like. Seeing the love they have for their young families combined with the passion they have for creativity was admirable.
• Sometimes you gotta stop talking shop and shake it. At one point we were all feeling exhausted from talking shop. So we grabbed some beers and danced by the pool. The conversations went from SEO to our love lives, babies and alternate universe dream jobs.
Every single one of the ladies I kicked it with in Palm Springs have motivated and inspired me to kick ass and take names while capturing, shaping and sharing the creative adventure I'm on in this lifetime. Thank you, Promise, Alyssa, Megan, Amanda, Star, Shauna, Bri, Breanna, Erin, Lindsay, Joanna, Cassie, Vanessa, Chelsea, Emma, Eva, Kelli, and Kate. (I hope I didn't leave anyone out!) I learned so much from you ladies and can't wait to see you again!
P.S. All images shot with Instagram. Follow me there - @andkathleen and you can see more images from this weekend by searching #designlife2012
When I was 15 I used to go to my local bookstore and thumb through a book about train graffiti. I was too young and broke to ever buy it but I was obsessed with full flood photos of train cars in New York covered in tags. I could stare at each page for hours. Okay - it was probably minutes - but still. It set my imagination on fire thinking about what it would take to execute a piece of art on that scale. Around the same time my brother introduced me to Shepard Fairey's work by covering his trumpet case (we were total band nerds in highschool - I played the French horn for seven years) in Obey the Giant stickers. I thought it was so cool.
I distinctly remember trying to figure out how I could possibly express myself with graffiti. I fantasized about covering the almost non-existent public transportation in my small suburban town with fantastic murals. I was probably bold enough to do it - I just never had anything to say. And the logistics of that sort of operation always made me sleepy.
My curiosity for this illegal form of public art has never waned. While in Europe this summer it was particularly fascinating to see these modern day equivalents of cave paintings juxtaposed on amazing works of architecture dating back to the 11th century. And these days I'm especially attracted to stencil and sticker graffiti - the execution is typically far more clever and designerly than the traditional train tagging.
What do you think about graffiti? Yay or nay? My vote is yay.
J & K started this blog project to document the remodel of their 1929 historical home in the heart of Oklahoma City. It has now turned into a documentation of life, food, fashion, freelance, inspiration, design, adventures and details around the J & K house.
Kathleen works as an award-winning brand consultant and designer specializing in small business branding at Braid Creative & Consulting. Jeremy is a software engineer and is the left-brain to Kathleen’s right.
You can contact Kathleen at
jeremyandkathleen (at) gmail (dot) com.
All photos and graphics by Kathleen unless otherwise stated. Feel free to use them with permission or credit.
Anatomy of an Outfit
Sometimes I like to get dressed and take pictures of myself. For all of my outfit posts click here.
Freelance Matters: A series about how I tackle freelance issues such as estimating, billing, to-do lists and how to fire a client.
Trekking to Everest
In October 2010 Jeremy and I trekked through the Himalayas to Mt. Everest Base Camp. It completely changed my life. Read about the entire adventure, day-by-day, here.
Braid is a creative & consulting business I own with my sister. We do branding and business visioning for creative entrepreneurs. On the Braid blog I share branding adventures, how-to articles and advice on the creative process. If you need a little brand therapy of your own visit Braid or subscribe to the Braid blog RSS feed here.
What We Eat
We like to eat really good food - at least 3 times a day. Sometimes I blog about it - click here for recipes and yummy ideas.
J & K: Blog Archive
- ▼ October (12)
- ► 2011 (257)
- ► 2010 (387)
- ► 2009 (406)
- Eva Black | Spaces
- Emma Dime
- Life as an Artistpreneur
- Jane Reaction
- Ink & Letters
- Meg Biram | The Edit
- Sarah Von Bargen's Small Biz Blog
- Design Crush
- The Equals Record
- Emmarie Designs
- Rory Gordon
- Yellow Brick Home
- The Creatives Project
- Silly Grrl
- Photographers Skeen
- The Clothes Make the Girl
- Bringing Design Home
- Pip & Estella
- A Practical Wedding
- Kind of a Sideshow
- Sandra Juto
- Old Sweet Song
- Rambling Renovators
- Brooklyn Bride
- Design Crush
- Experiment in Poverty
- The Jealous Curator
- Making it Lovely
- Dressing on the Side
- The Oklahoman
- Young House Love
- Oh So Beautiful Paper
- A Cup of Jo
- Brooklyn Limestone
- Glamour Weddings