I've posted before about huevos rancheros aka the best meal I ever ate before. It's still my favorite meal and with my mostly vegan diet a very special ovo-lacto treat that I cook up every once in a while.
I used the same recipe as before but modified this version by sauteeing some diced mushrooms and squash in taco seasoning (in place of the beans) while Jeremy mashed up a couple of avocados with a little bit of onion for guacamole to top it all off with.
I literally* died and went to heaven with each bite.
We've also been eating a lot of the following for dinner lately:
• Broccoli & Tofu fried rice
• Coconut curried lentils
• Megan-Joy's Thumbprints (yes, we had cookies for dinner Sunday night - but only because we had a really late lunch)
(*That's a little nod to Rachel Zoe. I can't wait for the new season to start.)
I found Jason Hudson just a little over a year ago. It was love at first site and since then, between snarky tweets and a handful or two of emails he's become someone I can call a friend. Jason recently quit his nine-to-five job to be a full-time photographer and he asked me to design his business cards. I was thrilled. Together we decided that he needed something super classy and subtle, traditional yet modern. Through much deliberation, sketching and estimating we landed on a blind deboss execution with ultra thin letterpressed contact information on the sexiest paper ever.
This morning I went to see these babies on the press. I carefully examined the ink, placement and impression. I shot the shit with my pressman as he made the necessary adjustments to get the cards just right. And when he gave me the final sheet to sign-off on I was elated. I was over the moon about his cards turning out just how I imagined. But I was even more excited for Jason and his new adventure - and that I get to be a tiny little part of it.
Jason, you're going to be amazing.
Jason's Blog: www.jasonhudson.com
Jason's Twitter: @theserovingeyes
• Watching the Kings of Leon documentary Talahina Sky.
• Sleeping in followed by a slow morning and french pressed coffee.
• Making out with this guy.
• Rice crispy treats (homemade by my mom)
• Grocery shopping (I really do love stocking my fridge and cabinets for the week)
• The unrelenting heat. The upside: I am really going to appreciate Fall this year.
• Finding out that the big tree in our front yard is going to have to be completely removed. The upside: We won't run the risk of more branches falling on our home. And we're going to get a new tree for our yard to replace it. Maybe this will finally be the push we need to landscape.
• Having a slight melt down about my hair. It's just not curling like it used to. The upside: At least I have hair? The dramatic girl in me is having a hard time finding an upside.
What were your weekend highs? Any lows? If so, what's the upside?
boots: fiorentini & baker
skirt: charlotte russe
bra: american apparel
Do any of you remember that show called La Femme Nikita from the late '90s starring Peta Wilson? It was the precursor to Buffy, Alias and Dollhouse and marked the beginning of my desire to be a beautiful secret agent who could kick some ass. And I always had a crush on the nerdy/genius computer boys in these shows.
Anyway, my mom and I would watch La Femme Nikita every week. I was 15 and developed an obsession with La Femme Nikita's sunglasses collection (hers were super special sunglasses that had cameras in them, of course). Since then I've had a collection of my own (minus the spy camera).
So the other day Jeremy decided to put on just the portion of my sunglasses collection that had accumulated on the kitchen counter. It was then that I realized I totally landed my nerdy/genius computer boy. I'm still working on the beautiful ass-kicking secret agent part though.
I've never been much of a lake girl. I mean... even though I was raised with a lake in my backyard I never really took to playing around in questionable water. But recently I've been taking anything I can get when it comes to adventure. So while we were in Michigan we took full advantage of the lake. Lake Superior that is.
We would run from a 250F sauna into the freezing waters.
Then I put on a very flattering wet suit.
And after many failed wake boarding attempts put on some water skis.
That little dot is me successfully skiing.
It was a blast but I didn't know how to stop! Apparently you're supposed to just let go.
Do you all like playing in the lake? I think I'm hooked.
I was designing these invitations around the time I decided to stop working with wedding clients. But to be clear the decision had nothing to do with these clients in particular - Neeley and Erik were fantastic. They were the kind of client that had a few requirements (vintage typewriter, a black & red color palette) and let me run with it. I was so pleased with the final prints I almost backed out on my decision to quit designing wedding invites.
I designed these invitations using my actual typewriter. It was a little inspired by my own invitations with the signatures at the bottom. I had the save the dates printed on actual carbon paper to make them feel that much more real. I had a custom rubber stamp made for the return address on the kraft paper envelopes. But I still included some modern design elements, like the tabs at the top of the invitation and map, so the suite didn't feel too themed or hokey.
Here's a huge thanks to Neeley and Erik for letting me be a small part of their big day.
My sister and I invented The Blinking Game over two decades ago. It was born out of our ability to stare at each other for a long, long time on cross-country road trips.
Now, my friend Daniel (I designed his wedding invites!) is a gaming genius. He plays and invents and talks about all sorts of games that are way over my head. When I told him about The Blinking Game he was intrigued. So he asked me if I would make a video to explain it to him. I obliged.
If you're not really into games feel free to watch the video if you want to know what Jeremy and I sound like in person - or if you want to see some genuine toothy smiles.
P.S. Daniel is currently offering $1,000 (of his own money!) to someone who can create a game that can last 1,000 years. If you're into that sort of thing you have until August 31st to enter. Click here for more information.
Guilt is not an emotion I like to partake in but lately I've been feeling guilty for cooking and eating the same things over and over again. So last night I decided I would use up some potatoes I had on hand in a new and interesting way. As I browsed potato recipes on 101 Cookbooks (my go-to site for recipes) I landed on kale & olive oil mashed potatoes - which then led me to empanadas.
I followed this recipe for the crust and spices but changed up the filling with ingredients I had on hand including potato, mushrooms, onion and kale. It was tasty but next time I'll probably try to stick to the original recipe. And there will definitely be a next time.
And the winner, selected by random.org, is Kimberly!:
Thanks again to Langston's Western Wear and Justin Boots.
For those of you who are still needing cowboy boots I encourage you to use this code (it expires tomorrow!) at Langston's Western Wear to get a pair. You won't regret it:
Coupon Code: jeremykathleen
Coupon Value: 15% Off any order over $50
I feel like at the end of every week I say "Phew! What a week." I guess the exciting thing about freelancing (and starting a new business!) is that every single day there is something new and different to tackle. I'm consistently pushing boundaries and am constantly learning new things. And at the same time I'm exploring new ways to find balance - I'm learning how to still my mind and give my full attention to one thing at a time. This is keeping me from throwing up on myself because I'm scared of the unknown or from indulging in a good ugly cry session on my bed (you know the kind) because I'm feeling overwhelmed by the big picture.
So cheers to Friday. Because in my world, the weekend is still very much a celebration to end a phew-what-a-week.
P.S. I will be announcing a winner for the cowboy boot giveaway tomorrow! You have until midnight to enter!
I often receive emails from blog readers and fellow freelancers who vent about clients from hell and am asked for advice on what boils down to how to manage freelance clients.
I come from an advertising background where I had the luxury of account executives who would act as a buffer between the creatives and the clients - clients who often had a dedicated marketing team. Now as a freelancer I am often working with small businesses (and formerly brides) who have never worked with a designer - so now it is not only my job to execute a kickass design it is my job to educate and guide them through the design and branding process.
So today I want to discuss how I manage my clients.
1. First you have to manage yourself.
I've talked a lot about how I manage myself - from project management and to-do lists and estimating & billing. Being organized allows you to direct you focus to your clients needs without getting all flustered.
2. Communication is key.
Figure out how your client likes to communicate. Is it by email? Face-to-face? By phone? The goal is to create a meaningful connection and trust through these mediums while being respectful and efficient with everyone's time. Maybe an email is appropriate to touch base or send files for proofing. But maybe a phone call or Skype session is more appropriate if you have a lot of brainstorming and direction to hammer out.
3. Manage your meetings.
Meetings can be a time-suck but sometimes they are a necessary evil. I will have very brief meetings with a potential client to see if we're a good fit for each other, but otherwise I wait until a contract has been signed to invest a lengthy amount of time talking about art direction and goals. Our time is valuable!
Some tips I've picked up from productive and unproductive meetings are:
• Have a meeting agenda. Prep your client beforehand with your expectations of the meeting. Think of specific questions you need answers to. Write them down.
• If you start to veer from the agenda gently guide the meeting back to the topics on hand.
• Always end the meeting with next steps. Each meeting should produce action steps for you to take.
• Follow up by email. Consider following up with your client. Thank her (or him) for her time and briefly bullet your conference notes and outline next steps. This way you have in writing what was discussed should it come up for question down the road.
9 times out of 10 a client from hell situation is the designers fault (there! I said it!) for not listening to the client in the first place. If you listen to your client you will efficiently be able to uncover the solution easier than if you just want to design something rad with banners and birds.
4B. Then Guide.
I always try to present myself as a friendly authority to my clients. I am not an order taker - I'm an expert. I always communicate with my client what I think they're saying they need and then my recommendation based on what I heard him (or her) say. I also walk the client step-by-step through the process (with a timeline attached) so they know what to expect and when. I may have done this a million times but I have to remember it's my client's first time so it's important to shine some light on the process. Your client will thank you for your confidence and direction - afterall, that's what you were hired for.
5. Be Nice.
Always remind yourself that your client is not the enemy. They chose you because they need your help and oftentimes, that is a vulnerable position to be in - especially for my clients who are usually DIY and do-it-all small business owners. I always treat them and their project with the respect, attention and genuine enthusiasm it deserves.
6. Get Paid What You're Worth
If you don't value your services neither will your client. And if you're not getting paid what you're worth you're going to become resentful. It's a toxic combination, but it's your own fault for agreeing to anything less. If you're not worth a lot yet (because you're a new designer or fresh out of school) remember that you are investing in either a portfolio piece or experience - so be grateful.
Do you all have any tips for managing your clients? Do you have any other freelance questions you would like me to address? I would love to hear some of your ideas or experiences on this matter in the comment section.
• Estimating & Billing
• Project Management
• To Do Matters
I love this photo because it makes Jeremy crack up every time he looks at it. I was trying to imitate a football player but apparently it comes off more as cave-woman-protecting-her-food.
Fact: Jeremy has a third nipple. Can you spot it?
When we were on a family vacation in Destin, Florida, Jeremy got really tan and could often be found drinking one of my dad's Coors Light. I also think the sun has bleached out his grey a little. So one day we started throwing a football and he looked like one of those middle-aged dudes that goes on and on about The Glory Days. So now I like to call him Glory Days.
Glory Days made another summer appearance when we found a football to throw around on the beach in Michigan - paired with a Pabst Blue Ribbon, of course.
I'm still having a hard time shaking my summer funk - I just need to keep reminding myself of the moments where I've laughed myself to tears. And there have been quite a few of those moments lately. These really are the glory days.
OH! And before the blog police come to arrest me I should thank Liz Fabry for taking all of these photos.
Bryan and Kendi found me after seeing the work I did for Clyde's Rebirth. They challenged (and paid) me to see what I could do to brand their lifestyle & wedding photography business - I accepted. When we had an intial meeting over Skype it was a little bit like love at first sight. There was a lot of energy and brainstorming that left me with the exciting task of designing a logo that captures the story and mission of Photographers Skeen.
Bryan and Kendi desired a clean & modern logo that wasn't too masculine and cold or overly feminine and scripty. But what I really wanted to do was not only elevate their identity but really tell their story. I wanted to capture the fact that they're a husband/wife duo shooting other couples getting married. It's like a double-whammy love fest. I kept on thinking about the overlap - so a Venn Diagram seemed fitting. I used watercolor paired with a really clean and modern typeface.
Bryan and Kendi loved it.
From there my next charge was to create a portfolio / rate piece for Photographers Skeen. This is a document they can share with potential clients to give them a glimpse of Bryan and Kendi's personality, photography style, rates and capabilities. Here are a couple spreads from that:
Bryan and Kendi were once again thrilled. They said really nice things that made me feel good about myself. Things like:
Oh my goodness -- you've outdone yourself. We hate it. Just kidding, we love it! It is just what we wanted, so thank you for being an artist and a psychic. - Kendi
This is exactly the message that we want to give to our clients. We so appreciate your ability to look through and help us to visually communicate what we cant only with photos. - Bryan
WTF Kathleen. Why are you so talented? - Kendi
• Kathleen and Kendi. Everyday.
• Identity: Dina Avila Photography
I've been wanting a pair of cowboy boots for a while now - my sister has a pair that I've been attempting to kidnap for years now. There are a few reasons why I should have cowboy boots:
1. I live in Oklahoma.
2. I love cows (and yaks).
3. I love boots.
So when Langston's Western Wear emailed me asking if I'd like a pair of cowboy boots for myself and a pair to give away to my blog readers I didn't hesitate to say yes (it was really more of an exclamation that maybe involved almost peeing myself with excitement). Because I really needed those boots. And I think you need them too.
So here's the deal. Browse Langston's Western Wear and comment below with your favorite pair of Justin Boots and a valid email address. You have until midnight Friday, August 19th to enter.
The giveaway is for any pair of Justin Boots (men, women or kids, exotic boots made from ostrich and lizard are excluded). A winner will be selected at random and announced on Saturday, August 20th.
Langston's Western Wear is also offering a coupon for J&K readers until Sunday, August 21st:
Coupon Code: jeremykathleen
Coupon Value: 15% Off any order over $50
First off, thanks so much for your positive energy and support with the marriage equality post. The response was overwhelmingly positive - it made my heart sing. The winner (picked with random.org) of the limited edition YAY NY! marriage equality tote is:
Katie! Katie I'm going to have to call you out here for not leaving your email address. Email me at jeremyandkathleen (at) gmail (dot) com so I can get your shipping information.
As I was brainstorming a blog post for this morning (Fun on the Lake! or Fitness Matters or Photographer Skeen Identity or A Love Note Invitation) I decided that what I really want to talk about is life lately.
I've been asked a couple times to do a "Day in the Life Of" post but my days never look the same, especially lately. A typical work day might go something like this:
• 6:35AM Wake up and write down my dreams
• 6:45AM Eat breakfast (oatmeal), drink coffee, read my favorite blogs
• 7:45AM Jeremy leaves and I wander into my office
• 8:00AM Answer an important email
• 8:05AM Send a job to print (this includes double-checking my print specs and art files)
• 8:30AM Start working on a blog post
• 10:00AM Work on a logo project
11:30AM Answer or compose emails
• 11:45AM Go to the gym (if I have a lunch meeting, and I often do, gym time is moved to the evening)
• 1:10PM Drink a protein shake and jump in the shower
• 1:30PM Design consultation with my web developer or maybe go to a press-check or maybe work on a brand identity
• 2:30PM Answer emails, put together estimates
• 3:00PM Eat lunch (lentils and rice)
• 3:30PM Work on more designs
• 4:00PM Take some Anatomy of an Outfit photos
• 4:15PM Quickly clean up any mess I've made (usually in the kitchen) before Jeremy gets home
• 4:25PM Take care of some billing
• 4:30PM Jeremy comes home / I continue to wrap up some projects
• 5:30 - 6:00PM I pry myself away from my computer & talk with Jeremy about our days
• 7:00PM I start cooking dinner and enjoy the rest of my evening with Jeremy
My days have been especially interesting and never-the-same lately because I'm starting a new business, a creative & consulting firm, with my sister. It's a scary and exciting secret I've been waiting to share with you all for a while now. Today is her last day as Creative Director, VP at an amazing advertising agency she's been with for the past 14 years. I've been working overtime lately to get our new business up and running (strategizing and brainstorming, building business plans, designing websites, meeting with accountants and lawyers, opening bank accounts - the list goes on) while also tending to my current And Kathleen clients. We go full time together on Monday and I couldn't be more excited. It's been an incredibly energizing time but I run the risk of feeling scared, overwhelmed and spread thin at any given moment. I'll share more when I can - probably towards the beginning of September.
What does this mean for And Kathleen? I'm not sure yet. I'm no longer designing wedding invitations (though, I still have quite a few designs to share with you all!). I'm still passionate about working with small businesses to develop brand identities and am trying to figure out how that will work with my new business venture. I'm still on fire about sharing what I know about being a creative entrepreneur through my Freelance Matters series. That won't stop. I still find joy in blogging original content and making real connections with you all every single day - that won't stop either.
So that's that. For now. I'm glad we had this chat.
P.S. Today is your last day to enter the giveaway for the Marriage Equality tote! I will close comments and pick a winner tomorrow at random.
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)
- Huevos Veggies
- A Press Check for Jason Hudson
- Anatomy of an Outfit: Boots and A Skirt Up to Ther...
- The Lake
- Vintage Typewriter Wedding Invitations
- The Blinking Game
- Vegetarian Empanadas
- Langston's Western Wear + Justin Boot WINNER!
- Cheers to Friday
- Freelance Matters | Managing Your Client
- Glory Days
- Identity: Photographers Skeen
- Anatomy of an Outfit: These Boots (+ A Giveaway) [...
- Marriage Equality Tote Giveaway - WINNER!
- Life Lately
- More Michigan
- Cow + Girl
- For the House
- Marriage Equality (+ a giveaway) [closed]
- Cookbook Inspiration
- Watching: Documentaries
- ▼ August (24)
- ► 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