I love resolutions. I make them often and have little problems with seeing them through. One day I can resolve to pick up a daily yoga practice and like that I've got my leg behind my head. The next day I can resolve to stop eating grains and never look back. I can decide I want to see the sunrise over Everest and book a ticket to Kathmandu – all in one morning. I can quit my job and find more success doing my own thing.
But I'm often left in a tailspin of never enough and what's next.
Every New Year's Eve Jeremy and I play this game where we pick one word to describe the past year and one word to focus on for the next.
This year I have four words – four concepts – that I want to focus on defining, capturing, shaping, and sharing throughout 2013. I'll elaborate further, throughout the year, but for now here's where my head is at for now:
Illuminate // From within...
Radiate // This little light of mine...
Liberate // I want to celebrate live-out-loud non-conformity.
Hydrate // I'm thirsty for knowledge, story, travel and adventure. I also need to drink more water.
So this year I resolve to explore these words and how they can bring focus to my present moment. To let the way I want to feel, and the person I want to be, dictate my actions. To forget about the destination and instead focus on the adventure that's happening right here, right now.
What is your word (or words) for 2013?
P.S. The image above is a sunset I was admiring the other day from I-35 in OKC. I tried to capture it on Instagram but it hardly did it justice. You can follow my Instagram here: http://instagram.com/andkathleen
I've been thinking about art a lot lately. A lot, a lot. I've been wrapping my brain around complex questions and peeking through every nook, cranny, and brush stroke to try and find the answers. I've been picking brains and conversing with friends, new and old, over coffee about the value of art (and the artist) in today's world. I've been reading books like The War of Art (amazing) and watching TED talks on creativity. I've also been doing the work – creating, questioning, and answering by getting my hands a little dirty.
In one of those coffee shop conversations my friend Dave posed the following question: does the canvas matter? You can read my response here.
I started thinking about my hair when I was 10 years old. I remember watching movies like Labyrinth, The Legend of Billie Jean and Madonna's Who's That Girl. I remember seeing clips of Jennie Garth as Kelly Taylor on 90210, even though we didn't watch that show (my family opted for shows like Twin Peaks and Star Trek: The Next Generation and our favorite soap opera, recorded daily on our VCR, All My Children, accompanied by meals of Rice-A-Roni). Anyway, I remember seeing Jennie Garth and feeling this pain in the pit of my stomach – a sharp awareness that I didn't look anything like her – and that that was a bad thing.
I remember feeling a sense of urgency to remedy this situation of not looking like Jennie Garth. I marched straight to the bathroom of our 1980s suburban home and staring at my dirty dishwater blonde hair – crazy curls, frizz, and uneven blunt bangs. I searched the cabinets for anything that would make me look like Jennie Garth, Madonna, Billie Jean, or even David Bowie. I remember feeling completely clueless but totally determined.
Fast forward 20 years. Over two decades I had run the gamut of hair styles. From a Michelle Williams pixie to a jet black David Bowie shag – and everything in between. I had employed an army of bleach, toner, stylists, straighteners, and curling irons to transform me into anything I wanted to be. At 30 years old my hair and I were finally in this place of "blonde" and "pretty" and "respectable" and on some days "hot". But I wanted more. I wanted to be Sarah Jessica Parker. With the same sense of urgency I felt to be Jennie Garth, I found myself scouring YouTube for hair tutorials to figure out how I could look just like Carrie Bradshaw at her most refined self. That was seven months ago.
After a couple hours and countless videos of gorgeous Asian girls showing me how to transform my hair into that of SJP, I walked into my little 1920s bathroom and plugged in my best curling iron and my heavy duty hair dryer. I risked blowing a fuse but I didn't care. I gave myself a good close look in the mirror and once again felt completely clueless but totally determined. And with that, instead of grabbing for the hot curling iron, I grabbed a .5" section of hair behind my ear and starting twisting and ripping it until it formed a knotty dread. I felt the opposite of hopeless. I felt completely and totally liberated. And now I feel like Kathleen.
My end of the world preparedness kit.
We've been here before. You know... the end of the world and all. It was 1999 and we just KNEW our computers wouldn't be able to handle the transition to 2000 – that they would come to life, gain intelligence, and revolt.
So as December 21st, 2012, the end of the Mayan calendar, looms over us as the newest threat end of the world, very few of us are convinced. You guys already know that I live (or am at least dressed) for the impending apocalypse, but I think it's a different kind of apocalypse that doesn't involve fire or brimstone or zombies or desert wasteland or Mad Max style attire. But I don't think that kind of end of the world is happening any time soon.
But I do believe with my whole heart that tomorrow marks the beginning of a new kind of world. It may not backed by science or history or fact but a very strong feeling. I feel a shift in energy that seems to manifest my thoughts, desires, and ideas at the blink of an eye. I feel connected to the universe and an ever so subtle hum of truth. I feel full of purpose. Do you feel it too?
So tomorrow I'll be prepping for the end of the world – or the beginning of a new world, rather. And not by stockpiling food and water, or sealing off my house with plastic and duct tape – but by doing things to raise my vibration. Below are some very specific ways I'll be doing that – you're welcome to try it out too.
35 Ways to Prepare for the
End of Times Beginning of the New World
1. Drink a Green Juice.
Flood your cells with all the good stuff kale, spinach, apples, pears, celery, and ginger has to offer.
2. Eat Local.
When your food has been harvested close to home, by a farmer whose purpose in life is to feed her neighbors... well, it just tastes (and feels) better.
3. Do Some Yoga.
For me, it's a moving meditation that helps me feel grounded in my body. I like a nice and sweaty Vinyasa class. You don't have to be a human pretzel, though, to do yoga. You can also try some more restorative Yin Yoga or meditative Kundalini Yoga.
I've been calling myself an atheist since I was 8 years old. But over the past year, through a daily meditation practice, I've found something bigger than myself in the place between my thoughts. Even if it's a peace that resides within, it's there, and it transcends the ego. It's a good place to go on a regular basis. Here's how I practice meditation.
5. Reflect on How You Want to Feel.
I've been working through Danielle LaPorte's Desire Map. It goes beyond goal setting and resolutions to really tap into how you want to feel. I'm going to be spending the day really tapping into my core desired feelings. Danielle's Desire Map is a great tool to get their but if you can't afford it, the gist of it is to ditch your list of to-dos and focus on how you really want to feel – and ways you can start cultivating those feelings (vs. finding yourself miserable just checking of a list of goals).
6. Dream Big.
The time it takes to manifest your deepest desires is no longer limited to a 5-year plan. In fact, I find that time is beginning to feel irrelevant. So take this time to dream big. Imagine what it would feel like to cultivate your best wishes – whether that be to work for yourself, travel across the world, create art, or do some yoga every day – and then watch those wishes become a reality now.
7. Purge the Things That No Longer Serve You.
Whether that's 80% of your wardrobe or that drawer of old makeup, purge the things that no longer serve you. My minimalist friend, Liz, is always on a never-ending edit of pairing down her things to the most useful and most beautiful – feel free to find inspiration from her. Leo Babatua is another great writer on minimalism.
8. Burn Some Sage.
This is excellent for clearing some of that mental clutter and bad energy that no longer serves you.
9. Get It On.
Make out with someone you love or get it on with your own rad self. Celebrate the beginning of a new world with a bang.
10. More ideas:
French press your coffee. Book a massage. Read your horoscope. Paint your nails. Use your best china. Drink some tea. Make art. Listen to your favorite album. Say a little prayer. Buy a nice bottle of wine and share it with a friend. Take a bath. Get your palm read. Wear your fancy undies. Create art. Bake something tasty. Look at a globe - make a list of all the places you want to visit. Burn some incense. Buy a plane ticket. Write in your journal. Watch a documentary. Hire a life coach. Bust out your old Holga and take some photos. Build a fire. Make a fort. Breathe in. Breathe out.
You can't go to Palm Springs, California and not fall in love with fiber art. I found this gem at a midcentury modern consignment store for a steal – $20! It's been hanging on a nail I happened to already have in the wall in my bedroom, but I've recently found a more appropriate home for it in the hallway. I like the way it contrasts against the black and white stripes.
When Claire Ragozzino emailed us over at Braid about doing some branding work for her company Vidya. Claire had a vision for selling truffles out of a caravan in India, teaching yoga, sharing her plant-based cooking expertise, and guiding her customers through juice cleanses. Like most creative entrepreneurs, Claire was not lacking in ideas of how she wanted to change the world. But she was kind of all over the place with her offerings and feeling a little bit scattered.
As we took Claire through The Braid Method we found that her core genius and the biggest impact she had for her own dream customers was through her juice cleanse offering. But it's so much more than that. It's about Vidya - which in sanskrit means clarity, knowledge, and inner wisdom – and Claire believes that wisdom and wellness begins from within. And so... with that Claire floods each and every cell of your body with her cold pressed, raw juice. But the juice only scratches the surface of the cleansing process. Claire also makes a custom tea blend to help you balance out your dosha and gives you lots of tips and guidance to make the most of your cleanse. Oh... and when you feel like eating some fried falafel you can call her cell phone and she'll talk you off the ledge.
Once we nailed down Claire's core genius and business vision we moved forward with her brand story and executing the identity – as seen above. And it's so perfectly Claire. And of course, since working together, Claire has become a fast friend. She inspires me daily to treat my body with the utmost care and to dig deep for that Vidya. And it always ends in conversations about poop (when you're cleansing you can't help but go there) – which is how I know we were meant to be.
If you're in OKC Claire is offering a detox 101 workshop + 1-day cleanse and restorative yoga class on January 5th and 6th at M+ Yoga. You can find more details on her Facebook page – (you should go "like" her, either way). If you're not local but have your own juicer you can hire Claire to coach you through your own juice cleanse with custom recipes designed just for you.
Bottom three photos by Greer Inez... who recently went through a cleanse with Claire. You can read her experience here.
I recently read that you shouldn't give gifts that you really just want for yourself. Confession: all the gifts ideas I contributed to Meg Biram's To and From Holiday Gift Guide I want for myself. The theme I chose is "witch doctor" – you know, for all the witch doctors in your life (I happen to have a few in mine). But the truth is I want to be a witch doctor – complete with an herb garden, a mysterious tarot deck, nag champa burning and midnight black nails.
I promise I'm the weirdest contributor to the To and From Holiday Gift Guide. So if black magic isn't your thing still check it out for rad gift ideas for pretty much every single person in your life. Ever.
I learned about Manifest Destiny in the 9th grade from my history teacher Ms. Bahan. The phrase Manifest Destiny grabbed my imagination and sent me into a fantastic daydream about the pioneer days and you know... manifesting destinies. I was terribly disappointed when I learned that it was an alleged prearrangement, appointed by God, to expand and colonize and enslave and fight and trample over anyone who got in the way. I mean... that's just some horseshit right there.
But to this day, when I'm on the highway driving through small towns with big fields and huge horizons, peppered with small farmhouses and happy cows I can't help but whisper "Manifest Destiny" to myself. More recently, while feeling especially inspired by the view from the road, I even said the words out loud. Jeremy replied "I don't think that means what you think it does." But the political ideology behind that phrase isn't nearly as strong as the daydream I had attached to it in that 9th grade history class.
But I do believe the universe gives us the right to manifest our destinies. We get to choose the life we live – the story we tell.
Over the summer I wasn't feeling super content in my space. I felt weighed down by Oklahoma – the politics and scorching heat were bringing me way down. But lately... there has been a shift in energy. I'm finding my tribe here of artists, writers, photographers, dancers, and soul-seekers. Creatives who are manifesting their destinies and making magic happen right here at home. And instead of looking at my state through a lens of lack I'm seeing it as this place rich with prosperity and abundance – a place to convene, converse, and create.
I recently wrote a somewhat pointed and even sarcastic post* calling for creative entrepreneurs all over the world to stop spending their money and energy working just to pay the bills - to move to OKC and live what you love. But that sentiment has become a reality that I'm taking to heart. Lately, I'm finding myself committed to manifesting my destiny, hunting down beauty, making magic, chasing the dream and finding it all a little closer to home.
*Edit: Sarcastic isn't the right word. I'm being completely serious about there being some pretty amazing creative energy here in Oklahoma. I suppose I was being sarcastic in that I don't think many people would trade their amazing, progressive cities on the coasts for Oklahoma.
The evening before we were scheduled to climb Rysy – the tallest mountain in Poland – I contemplated NOT making the hike. Over fried cheese, beer and shots of vodka (this was our typical supper every evening) I thought about my Aunt Lynda who has had two metal knees. I thought about my countless friends who have had knee surgeries only to go on and run marathons.
The next morning I woke up in our lodge that smelled like dirty socks and teenaged boys. I had decided not to hike to the top of Rysy. But I went ahead and strapped on my boots – the same boots that took me to Everest Base Camp and to the top of Kala Patthar. I had a sad breakfast of stale bread and sugary jam followed by a few anti-inflammatories.
I figured I would hike half way up and then turn around. The plan was to summit Rysy from the Slovakia side and trek down the Poland side to our next lodge. But it turns out a boulder was blocking the path down – so we'd have to back track down and take a bus to our next destination. It was my out – and it may have been divine intervention.
But before I knew it I was ascending the trail and scrambling up chains – which was the funnest part of the climb. Then we were at a little hut near the summit. With clear skies and only an hour to the top I decided to go for it. You see - stepping up didn't seem to bother my knees at all. If only I had known what would be in for me coming down...
We spent a solid 30 minutes at the top of Rysy. We were literally straddling the line between Slovakia and Poland as we snapped shots of our accomplishment. We watched the clouds roll in as we ate our lunch (which for us vegetarians was a pepper) and began to think about heading down. And with each step down I realized that I had made a huge mistake on ever going up.
There was a family from England trekking with us – Alaric, his wife Judith, and their grown daughter, Georgia, who works as a doctor. Alaric and I spent many hours on the path talking politics and entrepreneurship. He loved to be contrary and stir some shit but he was genuine and had a great point-of-view. Georgia and I spent days talking about feminism and universal health care. Judith was a kind mom to Georgia and loving wife to Alaric - but I could tell there was something fierce and strong behind her proper English veneer. During the days we trek and chat - in the evenings we'd share pints of Polish beer. So as I was having a difficult time coming down the mountain Judith let me borrow her hiking sticks to take some weight off my knees – she offered up a tremendous amount of physical relief but the unobliged emotional support she lent me on the way down lifted me up too. At one point I took a step down on my right leg and heard a crunch in the side of my knee. It felt as if an ice pick had been shoved straight through the thick of my joint. And I cried.
I felt helpless, weak, embarrassed, and disappointed.
One careful step at a time, Jeremy, Judith, and I made it back to the lodge about an hour or two after everyone else. From there we walked about another hour (3 miles) along a flat asphalt road to a bus stop for our transfer to our next lodge in Poland. We arrived at Morskie Oko and walked another hour to our cabin. We arrived around 8PM – I took a shower and proceeded to numb my pain and hurt feelings with beers and vodka.
I was chasing this experience I had in Nepal, at the base of Mount Everest, into Eastern Europe. And I couldn't find it. I couldn't find my stride. I couldn't find my breath. I couldn't find my rhythm. I tried to find the lesson in it all, but I was blinded by pain and couldn't find the meaning of it all.
That evening Jeremy and I crawled into a twin size bunk together. And as we wrapped our bruised bodies around each other on a tiny mattress on the other side of the world I at least found home.
Last week I got really sick. It started as a faint feeling in my throat – as if I had a tortilla chip stuck in my tonsil. I was in denial that it could be anything serious - but that's how it always begins. The next morning The Sick had spread down my throat and up into my head. From there it creeped into my lungs and every time I coughed I thought my brain might implode on itself. Between work and tight deadlines I tried to get as much rest as possible by watching all of season 1 of Downton Abbey (I'm hooked) and keeping my body as still and as horizontal as possible. For about a week I didn't do any yoga, lift any weights, ride any bikes, or climb any walls. I took late afternoon naps and squeezed fresh ginger orange juice. But I didn't feel like I was getting any better.
So I called my client / neighbor turned friend / witch doctor, Claire, for help. She brought me something called "shaman juice". I was instructed to carefully measure and combine 5 drops of the medicine with 25 drops of fresh lemon juice, wait 10 minutes, dilute with 8 oz. of water and chug. This recipe was given to her by her boyfriend – a yogi who once spent 48 austere days in a cave, in Greece, meditating – only to be followed up with a case of SARS that was cured by this very shaman juice. Once the lemon had activated the contents of the dropper the mixture smelled a bit like bleach. But I was in.
The next day I was feeling a bit more like myself and itching to get moving. That evening, I pried Jeremy away from a 40-page math problem and grad school studies for a walk around the park. I was so happy to be outside. And in that moment of gratitude that the sky turned brilliant shades of pink, yellow, and teal. It was so still out you could hardly tell where your skin ended the the air began. I've always thought "content" was the kind of emotion that only boring people liked. But right then and right there I felt more content than I ever have before. It was a taste of pure satisfaction and truth, and just like a powerful drug, I think I'll always be chasing that high.
As of late, I've found myself a little sad that I don't have a beach or a mountain range nearby. But I do have the sky. I just need to remember to look up.
iPhone photos via Instagram. You can follow me here.
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. My last post of this adventure can be found here.
After a breakfast of scrambled eggs and bread with jam we headed out. I woke up feeling a little busted but after warming up a bit on the trail I didn't feel too terribly bad. We walked three hours on an easy trail to a 1960s Bauhaus lodge. I caught myself admiring the out-of-place architecture when our guide told us it was regarded as the ugliest building in Slovakia.
I'm beginning to think maybe Eastern Europe isn't "my place".
As we were having lunch the clouds began to roll in and it started to drizzle. We continued to make our way along the trail, past another gorgeous lake, when we came across a man on the trail incapacitated with a broken leg. A helicopter came in from the distance and dropped off a rescue paramedic. He helped the man with the broken leg into a body bag as the helicopter disappeared into the distance. Just as we were considering hitting the trail again we saw the helicopter make a return. And with that the paramedic and the injured man in a body bag were hooked onto the helicopter and carried off.
It was a pretty serious reminder to remain focused as we were hiking – it's easy to get sloppy with your step as you start to get tired after a long day of hiking.
From there we hiked another few hours until we got to a valley. With each step my knee was starting to feel like an ice pick was being stabbed through the side of it. And just when I thought I couldn't be in any more pain I experienced some of the coldest, sharpest wind of my life. You see... when we signed up for this trek all the images on the website included sun and shorts. I had no idea and was ill-prepared for all the cold rain we were going to experience in the middle of July at less than 7,000 ft. elevation.
Anyhow, at the top of that mountain we could see our final destination. It looked so close but with a steep valley full of switchbacks it took us about 2 hours to get to the bottom. And with each step I went deeper into meditation to send light and love to my busted knees.
The next day we were scheduled to hike to the top of Rysy (the tallest mountain in Poland) and cross over from Slovakia and desend into Poland. I was in deep, serious pain and didn't think I would be able to make the trek. But I also didn't really know of any other way out aside from my own two feet.
I've written lots about managing client relationships. I think I always used to approach it as this way to get paid and avoid working with clients from hell. But what I didn't really consider, until working with my sister at Braid, is that our clients help define and deepen our own expertise. We RELY on our dream customers to let us do the kind of work for them that will shape who we are as experts. And that's a relationship we don't take lightly or for granted.
We're currently offering a Braid ECourse called Dream Customer Catching: Embrace Your Expertise and Attract What you Track. It's not just about client relations – it's about defining your own business model and offerings by meeting your customer's needs, defining and embracing your own expertise, and using a little bit of magic to manifest your dream job. This Braid ECourse is $75 and will be in session next week from Dec. 3rd - Dec. 9th. You only have through tomorrow to register!
And just a note on our Braid ECourses... the plan (for now) is to cycle through all three again throughout the winter. Then our hope is to package all three up into one big Braid EBook and Braid Workbook that you can purchase for download. If you want to stay on top of this news sign up for our Letters for Creative Entrepreneurs at www.braidcreative.com (or in the sidebar here on my blog).
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
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- 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