I can't believe it has already been 2 months of full-time freelance. Jeremy and I started the month off by hiking up to the summit of Pike's Peak. I felt brave and confident - I was ready to take on the world. Unfortunately, once we came home and back to the daily grind I became overwhelmed and reactionary. Even though I was creating some really neat work, I was losing grasp of the vision I had vaguely created for my new career. I have been getting sucked into answering emails every 5 minutes and having my tweet feed open at all times. My to-do lists are becoming pages long. I've started working in my pajamas and into the evenings. At times I find myself filled with frustration and am struggling to keep work at work when my job is at home.
I'm also struggling to find the balance between the big picture and the every day.
With all that said, after two months I feel confident enough to set goals and define what I want my days to be like. I want my mornings to be set aside for focusing on blogging and creative work only - while my afternoons will be for administrative work, answering emails, putting systems in place that will make my work to flow efficiently.
Creatively I would like to put more craft into my work. This month I've been working on projects that include a lot of hand-drawn type and hands-on packaging. I want to push my creative work to the next level. I need to slow down and focus in order to do this.
I bought this romper the week I decided to quit my job and go freelance. This article of clothing epitomized the fantasy I had built for future career in working for myself - unfussy and carefree. Little did I know that this linen romper would require ironing - which is an appropriate metaphor for what freelancing is actually like.
I'm a huge fan of layering in the fall and winter - so in the summer I feel naked without accessories. This sweet head piece I picked up is perfect for dressing up the most basic of outfits.
Linen Romper: Aeropostale (of all places...)
Hair piece: Urban Outfitters ($5 clearance)
Braided Belt: American Apparel
One of the things I did today was buy medical and evacuation insurance for our upcoming Everest Base Camp trek in Nepal. I also had to send the trek organizer photos of us - I'm thinking for Visas we may need. I decided to wear a little extra lip gloss
and Photoshop some blemishes - because if we go missing, and these are the photos they use, I want to make sure I look good while plastered all over CNN.
One of Jeremy's biggest pet peeves (that I know of) is that I like to have bobby pins all over the house - on the edge of the sink, on top of the fireplace, tucked between cushions, on my nightstand... in case I need to pin a piece of hair back, at that very second, I will have a bobby pin just an arm's reach away. It makes perfect sense to me but it drives Jeremy crazy. He doesn't understand why I can't keep them neatly contained in a couple of strategically placed jars in the bedroom and bathroom. It also baffles his left-brained mind as to why I can't keep my keys in one place so that I don't have to run around like a crazy person looking for them every time I leave the house.
That kind of organization just isn't in my nature and I don't think it ever will be. And Jeremy is very much a place-for-everything-everything-in-its-place kind of guy. I try to be mindful of the bobby pin problem to keep Jeremy from quietly going insane, I really do - but I'm like an addict. I just can't stop.
What are the little things you do that drives your spouse/boyfriend/girlfriend/roommate bonkers?
Veggie season is in full swing around here and this week we found ourselves with more food than we could possibly eat by ourselves. So along with having the Jensen's over as house guests we also invited our friend Kelly, from Design Crush, over for dinner. In order to use as many veggies as possible I threw together some chili and cornbread muffins.
Kelly: Kathleen, I think you need to photograph this food and do a post about it.
Kathleen: Kelly, it's chili. Just throw everything in a pot together!
Kelly: I need measurements and I need them now.
So here's my best attempt at recording this recipe. Keep in mind that I buy vegetables on the small side - apparently they have more flavor - so if the quantities seem like an awful lot, that's why.
Cinnamon Peach Vegetarian Chili
1 can black beans
1 can kidney beans
1 can pinto beans
4 potatoes chopped in .5" cubes
4 zucchini and/or yellow squash cut in .25" thick slices
4 tomatoes chopped
2 ears of sweet corn - kernels cut off the cob
2 peaches - depitted and cut in cubes
(note: in the fall we use apples in place of peaches)
3-4 tablespoons chili powder
2-3 tablespoons cumin
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
Salt to taste
Note: items in green are local
Dump all of your beans, juice and all, in a large chili pot. Add your vegetables and seasoning. Bring to a simmer. Lower heat to the lowest setting possible, cover and let simmer for 2 hours. Stir every 15-30 minutes or so. If the chili is too watery after it simmers down leave the lid off to let some liquid cook off.
Serve over cooked brown rice and top with plain greek yogurt (an excellent sour cream alternative) or goat cheese crumbles. Honey cornbread muffins are a must - I used this recipe.
The sweetness of the peaches is not at all obvious or overwhelming and the cinnamon adds just a little somethin' somethin' to this recipe.
Custom bookplates for Henry by Sara Jensen
When Sara Jensen (crazy talented designer and blogger) asked me over Twitter for good places to stay in Oklahoma City (in a cool area, with a pool and/or close to a park) I came up with nothing but crickets chirping in my ear. So I offered up our place. We're the kind of people to let touring bands crash on our couch. Why not a cute family on a cross-country road trip? And we've got a barely used guest bedroom begging for visitors.
Sara, her husband Thor, and their adorable kid, Henry, stayed with us for a couple days. This creative family defines cool and were an inspiration across the board. They work together, play together and are driving across the country without killing each other.
Farewell to our new friends! I hope we made you feel at home.
I can count the amount of times, on one hand, I've babysat in my life. I've always been the youngest child - the one needing to be watched. But I'm getting to the age where I might need a little practice taking care of kids - so when my sister-in-law was looking for a babysitter for her kids (2 boys, ages 5 and 6; 1 girl, age 11) I was up for the challenge.
I learned that my chalkboard wall is a lot more novel than an xBox. I learned that peanut butter with peanuts in it is just gross. And when the youngest needed help wiping his butt some sort of instinct kicked in and I knew what had to be done - without being scared or grossed out.
I don't think I'm ready for this gig full-time quite yet but I had fun with those kids. Even when it meant getting my hands a little dirty.
When Kathleen and Christopher spotted my invitation designs on Oh So Beautiful Paper they emailed me to ask about having custom invitations designed for their upcoming wedding.
Kathleen wanted a rustic and vintage wedding invitation but a little more traditional and sweet than my typical design aesthetic. She wanted to use earthy colors with a little pop of color here and there.
This couple was on a budget so we decided to use digital printing to save them a little money - but we still wanted the invitations to have a unique flair so we bundled the package with twine and a sweet little tag. We used kraft envelopes to complement the twine and give the invitation suite that rustic look and feel Kathleen and Christopher were going for.
I've been wearing Jeremy's jeans for a while now - my boyfriend jeans are actually my boyfriend's jeans. I've tried on a few pairs of other "boyfriend" jeans made for ladies - but I always come back to the real deal. I like to girly them up with dainty gold jewelry and heels but still honor the boyness of them with an athletic racer back tank.
Jeans: Gap 1969 button-fly boot cut (mens)
Tank: American Apparel tri-blend racerback
Belt: Braided gold belt ($1 estate sale find)
Shoes: Tortoise shell mary-janes with leather soles ($1 garage sale find)
Jewelry: Heirloom diamond ring on a necklace; costume gold chain with pearls
I find myself only reading memoirs lately. I suppose I like hearing compelling stories about real life, or real point-of-views, from real people.
Most recently I've read:
Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer
This book was intense. I've been a vegetarian for 13 years because it never felt natural, to me, to eat meat. I couldn't really care less about what people around me were eating. After reading this book, I started to care and asked Jeremy to read it too. Here is a nice summary of key take-aways from the book, if you're interested.
I'm Down a memoir by Mishna Wolff
This book was a much-needed comic relief after reading Eating Animals. From Publishers Weekly: Wolff details her childhood growing up in an all-black Seattle neighborhood with a white father who wanted to be black in this amusing memoir. Wolff never quite fit in with the neighborhood kids, despite her father's urgings that she make friends with the sisters on the block. Her father was raised in a similar neighborhood and—after a brief stint as a hippie in Vermont—returned to Seattle and settled into life as a self-proclaimed black man. Wolff and her younger, more outgoing sister, Anora, are taught to embrace all things black, just like their father and his string of black girlfriends.
A super enjoyable read. I'd highly recommend it to anyone.
Seven Summits by Dick Bass, Frank Wells and Rick Ridgeway
When one of my spinning instructors at the YMCA caught wind of me and Jeremy's Everest trek he insisted I borrow his copy of Seven Summits. A story of two men that make it their goal to be the first to summit the highest peaks on each continent. I'm in the middle of this book - the narrative isn't as well-written as Eating Animals or I'm Down, but so far it's a good story about a subject I'm obsessed with.
Do you have any memoirs you would recommend I add to my reading list?
It's been a while since I've posted about the veggie garden - and the truth is that I haven't been the best backyard farmer. I'm ashamed to say that things like mosquitos, heat and an ever-growing to-do list have been enough to keep me inside. Yesterday when Jeremy told me to check out the garden "if I get a chance" I felt a pang of guilt - so this morning I spent some time with our little patch of veggies.
We've got one zucchini plant that is trying to survive the great Vine Borer attack of 2010. Our tomatoes are starting to take off and that mystery plant everyone thought was a cucumber - it happens to be a cantaloupe! We didn't plant it - it made it's way through our homemade compost. Nature y'all!
I'd like to get some more herbs and peppers going now that it's warm enough for them to thrive.
When Jeremy and I got together I felt the need to see the world with him. All of it. Since then it's been my life goal to travel and experience what this planet has to offer. Accompanying this desire has been an obsession with maps, and I've been on the hunt for a great globe for years now.
The hunt stopped at my favorite antique store down the road. $35 later I had the perfect globe to admire spin and stare at for hours on end (minutes, really - but I'm like a kid when it comes to measuring time). I've decided to keep it in the office for now - so I can constantly remind myself what I'm working for.
I'm keeping a list of destinations - so I'd like to know what is your favorite place you've traveled to?
I've taken food for granted for a very long time - I realized this when I got some brussels sprouts in my CSA and had no idea they came on a stalk like that. For all I knew they grew like blueberries on a bush. Embarrassing, I know. I've only eaten Brussels sprouts once before and they were alright but not my favorite... so I've decided the best way to eat a questionable veggie is to throw it in a quiche - lots of onions, eggs and cheese make anything taste delicious.
I used this recipe but caramelized these little Brussels sprouts and diced onions in a skillet before adding them to the mix.
I'm loving these state illustrations by Frank Chimero.
I've only lived in two states my whole life: I was born in Tyler, Texas and moved to Oklahoma when I was 6. What about you?
Here's the deal. I'm not a model at all. But from time to time I'm asked to pose in front of a camera. I remind whoever is asking for said pose that my face is slightly asymmetrical and that I'm not a size 0 - and that I don't translate well on camera. But with that said - there's very little I'm willing to say "no" to. So when NewsOK asked me to model some local fashions for their Mood section I said "sure!"
So, I arrive to have my makeup done and get into wardrobe. I'm having fun striking poses in an alley way when the male model shows up. This dude is actually a model, represented by an agency, and I'm super quick to tell him "I'm not a model! I'm a... designer slash blogger" - in that moment I felt very Carrie Bradshaw. But then I start to become really self aware and realize I haven't shaved my legs or armpits in about 5 days. I haven't washed my hair in over a week. And I'm in desperate need of a mani/pedi. It becomes clear that I'm completely unrefined: unprocessed, crude, lacking in refinement; moreover that's how I've always been.
Then and there I decided to embrace it. And I'm glad to see just a little bit of that does translate on camera.
If you know me as a designer you probably know that my favorite things to design are invitations and annual reports. I've been designing the Noble Foundation annual report, every year, since I started my career as a designer 6 years ago - and every year it is the project I am most proud of. When I received my samples in the mail this year it was like Christmas and I pretty much cried when I held this report in my hands. I know, I'm a total dork about what I do.
My favorite part to design is always the financials. And for the past couple of years I've used a contrasting paper in this section - I think it elevates that entire section which can often come across in other reports as mundane and boring. The paper I used here is a French Speckletone in True White for the cover and financials and an uncoated Finch stock for the interior.
Another reason I love working on this report so much is that I get to use amazing paper and metallic ink throughout the whole report. The Noble Foundation also has a really talented in-house photographer - and good photos always make my job so much easier.
And finally, some great news - this report has received a silver in the non-profit ($100 million - $1 billion) category of an international annual report competition held by LACP - this makes me so proud of the guys I work with over at the Noble Foundation. They pour their talent and hard work into this project every year and I'm so lucky I get to bring it to life for them.
I feel like I've been on the hunt for the perfect snack for a while now. And after a very busy day and feeling a bit under the weather I put together what might be the most perfect snack ever. This most perfect snack ever is comprised of exactly three pitted Medjool dates, twelve pecans and 3 slices of raw cheddar cheese with a side of lemongrass & spearmint green tea. This snack is so perfect and unreal - I almost feel like a character out of a fictional novel as I enjoy every last flavor in my breakfast nook.
I love this snack so much I would marry it.
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
- ► 2012 (182)
- ► 2011 (257)
- 2 Months Freelance
- Anatomy of an Outfit: The Romper
- Missing and Presumed Dead
- Bobby Pin Wars and Other Pet Peeves
- Cinnamon Peach Chili
- House Guests
- Adventures in Babysitting
- Wedding Invitation: Sweet and Rustic Bundle
- Anatomy of an Outfit: The Boyfriend Jean
- Reading: Memoirs
- Veggie Garden
- Around the world.
- Brussels Sprout Quiche
- I'm jealous of...
- Designer Slash Model
- Noble Foundation 2009 Annual Report and Why I'm a ...
- The Perfect Afternoon Snack
- The Eggplant Parmesan that almost burned my house ...
- Nag Champa
- Working on my Fitness
- Cheese and Tomatoes on Toast
- Capt. Fantastic
- One Fabulous Rental
- Wedding Invitation: Vintage Tattoo Letterpress
- At the top.
- Pikes Peak Summit
- 1 Month Freelance
- Saturday Morning Nostalgia
- I haven't washed my hair in 8 days.
- Blog Crush: These Roving Eyes
- A Design Philosophy
- Vegetable Gardening: This Means War
- ▼ July (34)
- ► 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