Lately I've been feeling pulled, from the inside out, in opposite directions. For example:
- I want to buy a little cabin in the middle of the woods and spend my weekends soaking up the sun in the middle of nowhere
+ But I also want to build a super modern eco dream house in the middle of the city where I can ditch my car and walk/bike everywhere
- I want to slow down and chill out
+ I want to change the world. Right now.
- I want a baby
+ Oh wait ... No I don't.
- I want to develop another ECourse, take on 4 more clients, write an EBook, and brainstorm a workshop / retreat – all so I can help other creatives live what they love
+ I want to do some yoga, learn to surf, become a gypsy and travel the world ...
- I want a clear head and 8+ hours of sleep a night
+ But I also want a glass of wine and late conversations
- I want to be a non-consumerist
+ But I also want to support local and handmade with my dollars
+ And if I'm being honest, I really want those cozy boots
- I want to read and teach
+ I want to do and create
- I want to be inspired by the details
+ I want to imagine the big picture
This sounds pretty painful, right? And to be honest, at times it has been. It's all too easy to play the role of the victim – suffering from circumstance and the way things are. If only I had chosen a different path. If only I had gone to a different University. If only, if only, if only... Then I give myself a stern talking to about being an ungrateful, spoiled brat – which always ends in tears. That's not the person I want to be.
I'm ditching the victim and the brat. I drive this ship. The common thread is that I want. I want. I want. I'm okay with that. The challenge is in having it all.
Photo of me, a dog person, and Mister Scooty Boots by Greer Inez
Lately I've been feeling pulled, from the inside out, in opposite directions. For example:
I've been battling a bit of a cold this week. Which means I'm taking lots of time off from going to yoga and the climbing gym to rest and finally watch all of Season 1 of Downton Abbey on Netflix. And nothing pairs better with a Netflix marathon like these coconut & cayenne truffles. These guys are definitely a treat but they're also raw, vegan, and paleo... So it's definitely a better choice than a box of Oreos. I also like to think the coconut & cayenne have healing powers – that the coconut is powering up my white cells while the cayenne is burning off the bad stuff that has invaded my system. Truffles as medicine? I'll take it.
You can get the recipe I posted over at Design Crush here.
I haven't had many chances to bake since doing the Whole30 and eating mostly Paleo since then (meaning no grains, no sugar, no dairy, and no legumes). But as the weather cools off and the nights come earlier and earlier I crave the kind of warmth that only baking can provide.
If it isn't obvious enough from the decidedly unsexy shots of this leftover banana bread in tin foil, I wasn't planning on sharing this recipe. But it is too good not to share. This recipe is significantly modified from Molly Wizenberg's banana bread recipe in her New York Times bestselling memoir A Homemade Life. So if you use this recipe please go buy the book too – you'll thank yourself for it. Furthermore, this recipe isn't paleo and it isn't vegan. But it is gluten-free and blow-your-mind delicious. I took out the extra sugar – I think it's sweet enough from the banana, chocolate, and ginger. So if you like super sweet banana bread this recipe may not be for you.
Gluten-Free Banana Bread with Crystallized Ginger and Dark Chocolate
6 tablespoons coconut oil
1 1/2 cups quinoa flour
1/4 cup hazelnut flour
1/4 cup coconut flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 bar of 85% dark chocolate - chopped
1/2 cup crystallized ginger - chopped
2 large eggs
3 large ripe bananas
1/4 cup Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat your oven to 350F. Melt your coconut oil (I do it over the stove in a small pan). Meanwhile mix your dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, salt, chocolate and ginger) in a bowl with a fork. Throw all your wet ingredients (eggs, bananas, yogurt and vanilla) in a mixing bowl. I use a Kitchen Aid mixer but you can use a hand mixer as well. Mix your wet ingredients until combined. Then slowly add the dry ingredients to it until just combined - don't overmix. Scrape the batter in a greased loaf pan and bake for 50 minutes. If the bread starts to get too brown on top just cover with tin foil. Let it cool in the pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes – then gently remove the loaf and let cool on its own. Because this recipe doesn't have gluten holding it all together be careful – the loaf is a little more crumbly than your conventional banana bread.
I love this bread fresh out of the oven but Jeremy prefers it cooled from the fridge. Try it both ways and determine which is your favorite.
You see, a little over 4 years ago Jeremy asked my parents, in a hotel room in Orlando, Florida, for permission to marry me. It was early in the morning and I was in the hotel cafeteria getting us coffee when he showed them the tiny heirloom ring that he would propose with. They gave him permission but they also gave him a word of precaution... that I can be a handful. That being married to me wouldn't be easy. He promised them that he could handle it – that he thought it would be fun. That evening, after making ourselves dizzy on the Mad Tea Party ride at Disneyworld, Jeremy proposed. I still had fresh wounds from a failed starter marriage. I had no idea what I was getting myself in to. But I trusted him enough to say yes.
Over four years later I've absolutely proven myself to be a handful and Jeremy continues to handle it like a champ. And me? I am most definitely thankful for what I've gotten myself into.
I've found myself deeply in love with Fall this year. It's been a colorful season full of changing leaves and a moody sun that set the landscape on fire. The quality of the light and the crispness of the air leaves me feeling impossibly nostalgic and grateful. The way the earth kind of shuts down to rest until Spring has been a gentle reminder to do the same. I need to slow down.
The photos above were taking while Jeremy and I were in North Carolina visiting Liz. Liz always puts a priority on being chill and inspires me to do the same – being a minimalist doesn't stop at her things (or even her hair) – it's also how she lives her life. Unnecessary drama or negative emotions that don't serve her are put out on the curb along with things that she no longer finds beautiful or useful.
Tomorrow is Thanksgiving – I'm sure to find lots to be thankful for (and I'll be sure to share those findings with you) but I'm also going to take some time to think about ways to slow down this season.
Yesterday Jeremy and I bought a house. It's pretty much the cutest house in the world. And before I even closed on it I listed it to Instagram and Facebook to rent for $775 a month (and I'm pretty sure it will be rented before the week is over).
I immediately got the responses I always get when I list a house for rent. Which is: "OMG. Brooklyn / Chicago / Manhattan / Minneapolis / San Francisco / Portland / Seattle / San Diego is SO EXPENSIVE. You couldn't rent a shitty little closet for $775 a month where I live."
So here is my invitation to you guys who live in super rad (but expensive) cities, especially creative entrepreneurs, to move to Oklahoma City. If together we can create a creative revolution in the heartland we'll have a rad place to live, a booming art scene and at the cost of pennies to the dollar of what you're used to. There's no beach and there are no mountains and the politics can be a little backwards. But the sunsets will leave you breathless. And the cost of living will afford you to chase your dream – whether that's a creatively curious career or travel to the other side of the world.
If you're interested in renting this house here are the specs:
• 2 bedroom, 1 bath - 765 sq. ft.
• Completely updated
• Wood and slate tile floors
• Large back yard (pets allowed with $500 pet deposit, per pet)
• W/D hookups
• Central heat & air
• $775 month / utility bills not included
If you're interested in learning more about our adventures as landlords read more here:
• Landlord | Matters
• Becoming Landlords
When I first started freelancing over 2 years ago I was completely freaked out. So of course, I shared that struggle with you guys. I also shared the details of how I work with my Freelance Matters series – from advice on when to quit your "real job" to how to fire a client. And then when my sister quit her job as a creative director / VP to work with me we took a big leap of faith and decided to build a business model out of giving away our advice – we call it gifts of knowledge – for free over at Braid Creative.
But I wanted something more meaningful... or more personal... So I had this idea to start a series of letters for creative entrepreneurs (and aspiring artistpreneurs too). These letters aren't flashy or tricked out with designs and photos. They're letters like we would send to our friends where we share our personal journey as well as the advice and insights.
Today I want to share some excerpts from a couple of our letters with you guys - and then I'm going to ask you to sign up for our mailing list so you can continue to get these nuggets of Braid Creative wisdom for creative entrepreneurs from us. Or maybe just a good laugh. Or maybe a little bit of both.
From the Creative Entrepreneur Letter | Money Is Energy:
Confession: when I first started working for myself I felt like I didn’t really deserve to make money. I had convinced myself of a few deep-seated myths that I found to be true, including:
1. If I do what I love for a living then I don’t deserve to make lots of money.
2. My work is more meaningful if money has nothing to do with it.
3. Money is bad.
4. My family doesn’t come from money. I’ve always been provided for but “being rich” is for other people.
Now two years into working for myself my mindset about money has completely changed. Economics are fascinating to me and money is one of my favorite topics of conversation. It took a little bit of work to get right with my attitude about money but one of the best tidbits I received (and boy, did I receive) was this:
Money is energy. Giving and receiving money is an exchange of energy.
When I take a look at my list above and replace the word “money” with “energy” it is clear that I am worthy of energetic transactions that result in me making money. For example, statement #2, "my work is more meaningful if money has nothing to do with it", would now read: "my work is more meaningful if energy has nothing to do with it." And that’s just some horseshit right there. I got right about money real fast after thinking about it in those terms.
From the Creative Entrepreneur Letter | Everyone Else SEems to Have Their Shit Together But Me:
One of the most complicated things about working for yourself is the abundance and potential of ideas (so many world-rocking ideas!!!) immediately followed by the overwhelming feelings that:If you miss Freelance Matters and want more of those insights sign up here (if this sign-up box doesn't show up in your RSS feed visit my blog page and sign up in the right hand side bar - or at www.braidcreative.com):
A) you should’ve figured it out already, and then
B) not knowing where to begin, quickly followed by
C) paralysis to act
If you’re anything like me you start surfing blogs and reading interviews and watching TED talks on creatives you admire and start feeling like everyone else has their sh*t together but you. The earth begins to rotate a little faster and your heart starts thumping a little louder and you get that knot in the back of your throat and fantasize about working an “easy” job - like at a makeup counter in the mall. You start feeling really unoriginal and as if you will never be able to create anything world-rocking. Ever.
Tara and I have found from our work with creative entrepreneurs that this end-of-the-world feeling is common. We have found that everyone feels as if they’re making it up and nobody feels like they totally have their sh*t together.
My recommendation to remedy this feeling is this: start creating content immediately.
Where do you begin?
1. First, figure out which ideas have spark for your big future vision but also make sense of those ideas within the trajectory of your past victories. Pick one idea to start executing on now. Our past, present, future exercise is a great way to identify the overlap of what you should focus on right now.
2. Then sort out and organize what you can share about this idea (your expertise and gifts of knowledge) against what you actually get paid to do when implementing this idea.
3. Get specific and make it real. If you’re trying to keep your idea appealing to anyone and everyone it’s going to fall flat. If you’re using words like “unique” or “quality” to describe your product or idea … stop. Those words say nothing about who you are and what you do.
4. Get hired. Tell your customers how to hire you and then get paid - this step is what takes you from having a dream to becoming an entrepreneur.
These letters will also keep you updated with our Braid ECourse offerings – including exclusive discounts for our creative entrepreneur letter recipients. (Pssst... one is going out Thursday for our newest ECourse on Dream Customer Catching).
There's something I love about liberal cities smack dab in the middle of red states. My own little neighborhood of Oklahoma City is a pocket of unexpected culture - much like a scaled down version of Austin, TX. Durham, North Carolina is the same way. It's a city where you can't avoid eating locally sourced dairy and meat (if meat is your thing... Durham will also have a vegan and grain-free menu option for your health-conscious liberal heart as well). If you live in a rad place don't take for granted the certain amount of osmosis that takes place by proximity – where the good stuff starts to soak into your skin, bones and heart.
I like the vibe in Durham but Jeremy and I visit for the people. Liz, in particular, along with her man and our weekly dinner guest, Micah (before he moved across the country to be with his lady).
The long weekend filled with carbs, wine, a little work, a lot of chill and a bit of whiskey started with Liz picking us up from the airport. We had hardly made it to the car before the deep conversation, paired with intermissions filled with deep belly laughs, began. We jumped right in to talking about what we really want – the big stuff like month long trips to India and building beach cabins and babies and what it all means. Then we got down to articulating the little details... like an appreciation for oversized ice cubes and dark grainy photographs.
We talked about friendship, love, creative entrepreneurship, uncertainty, yoga, kitty cats, travel and creating a life worth living. We both came to the conclusion that every experience either energizes you or depletes you. Durham, and it's people – my people – send me home energized. And maybe a little hungover.
All shots taken on my iPhone5 with Instagram. Follow me here: @andkathleen
In July, Jeremy and I traveled through Eastern Europe. This leg of our trip took us on a trek through the High Tatras in Slovakia and Poland.
Jeremy woke me up at some point between 4AM and 5AM in a room full of bunks and strangers. He whispered at me to look out the window where we were greeted with one of the most beautiful sunrises ever. We slept in adjacent bunks at a 90 degree angle – head-to-head.
We officially woke up at 6:30AM, packed up our bags and met up for breakfast before heading out for what would turn out to be a really long day.
One of the reasons we chose Poland (and here we're actually trekking through Slovakia – the country just south of Poland) is because Jeremy knew that he wanted to see Eastern Europe and I knew I wanted to go on another trekking adventure. When I was looking into guided trekking options lots of them included transfers – meaning we would be walking all day, then transferred by bus to another location to another national park. But I liked the idea of traveling via my own two feet. Taking my own body from Point A to Point B to Point C and so on.
When we chose our adventure we were looking at the difficulty of the trek in relation to the Everest Base Camp trek. This hiked through the Tatras, though not nearly as high in altitude, was rated a little more difficult. I remember thinking "yeah right... the altitude is 9,500ft. max. how hard can it really be?" Oooh... silly Kathleen from June 2012. If only I could go back and tell you how hard it would be you'd A) train a little harder B) drink a little less and C) check your ego.
Because you guys... this trek was hard. The trails were never flat. My boots quickly started to wear holes into my heels and bruise my ankles. There were lots of ups and downs – and lots of weight on our back.
At one point it got really cloud and the view both looking up and down was identical – it was incredibly disorienting and surreal. But also really beautiful. But by this point I knew I was in pain. Putting one foot in front of the other didn't require a steady breath but mental focus that left me exhausted – physically and mentally.
We stopped at an observatory for a lunch of bread and cheese and carbonated water that tasted a little bit like sulphur. From there we trekked to a small lodge and dropped off our bags to trek up to the cold lakes. And you guys... it was cold. I feel like maybe because it was so hot in Oklahoma this summer we forgot cold was a thing. And maybe I was underestimating how cold it would get even at 6,000 ft.
I have exactly ONE photo of the very beautiful, but very cold lake. Because by this point the pain I was in was very clearly manifesting itself in my body and it was very very cold. We ordered hot chocolates and beers and the lodge was decorated with posters of the Himalayas and Tibetan flags (for whatever reason) – and it made it very apparent to me that I wasn't there... and that's where I wanted to be.
We made our way back to our lodge and had dinner, beers and vodka. We were trekking with a super sweet English doctor named Georgia who hooked me up with some anti-inflammatories. It didn't quite take the pain away but it gave me hope.
Today I'm sharing how I Get Shit Done (GSD) with Meg Biram over at her newly rebranded and launched blog The Edit.
I first met Meg by chance at a dinner get together at Alt Summit a couple years ago. Then I got to hang out with her again at Mighty Summit and let me tell you - Meg is a force to be reckoned with. She's insanely smart and talented and is working hard to create the kind of curiously creative and cultivated life she wants to live. So I was thrilled to be invited to share with her readers how I stay organized and productive. Go take a look and share with me how you Get Shit Done.
When I think about what I want my life to look like I always come back to soaking up the sun. As much as I want to create and grow and carve and push, most times I just want to lay in hot sand – blinded by the sun through closed eyelids. And lately, when I think about what I want life to look like I grow more and more curious about what it would look like with a little J&K.
But you see... I don't think anyone feels quite as fifty-fifty about baby-making as I do. I'm jealous of my friends who opt for vasectomies and a child-free by choice kind of life. I'm equally jealous of my friends who have known from the moment they were born that they, themselves, wanted to bring their own baby into the world one day.
Half of me wants to enjoy my life to the fullest with just Jeremy. I want to travel, pour myself into creating work with meaning, and craft the world around me into something beautiful. This half of me cherishes my slow, still mornings and the rituals that ease us into our day. This half of me works out twice a day and has spontaneous dinner parties. This half of me has really listened to how raising a baby is pretty much the hardest thing you'll ever do and this half of me can't seem to work through the "but it's worth it" part. This half of me feels pretty damn fulfilled without baby.
But then this other half of me wants to expand this love we've got into a family of our own. This half of me is incredibly curious about the kind of person we could bring into our world – and what we could all accomplish having each other's back. This half of me swoons over giggling babies in white onesies and fantasizes about station wagons and family adventures. Sometimes I think this house is a little too quiet at times. This half of me feels a rush of hormones and a very loud biological urge to make a baby and hold it tight.
I've been working through this feeling of fifty-fifty and being stretched in both directions for a while now. I'll never forget my sister generously telling me, for as hard as we work, that maybe life is about enjoying your family and soaking up the sun. So with that... I trust that, either way, I'll continue to create and grow and carve and push and when I grow tired, I'll always have the sun.
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
- ▼ November (11)
- ► 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