Do you ever feel like when it's your job to be creative that you don't have the energy to be creative for ... you know ... fun? I do. So when my sister (and co-owner of Braid) told me that she had this idea for Halloween costumes I let out a big sigh and said "but I'm so ... tired."
But we did it anyways and it was so worth it.
Happy Halloween everyone!
My favorite kind of food is Indian food. I die for a good plate of Saag Paneer, Pakora and Samosas with Raita sauce on the side. But when Jeremy first suggested (about a year or two ago) that we try out an Indian food buffet in a gas station I scoffed. And then when I met him at the gas station and saw the really sad used-to-be-a-burger-king floors and the kind of atmosphere that looked like a scene from Natural Born Killers I just about lost my appetite.
But we powered through. I grabbed a paper plate, plastic silverware and styrofoam bowl. I loaded up on hot naan, lentil soup and a curry chock-full of paneer & peas. And you guys - it was the best food I had ever tasted. I ate every last bit. We met up there again yesterday for lunch and noticed they had also opened a little grocery section where I was able to find some hard-to-find Indian spices for my own home cooked meals.
I have it on good authority that this is the most authentic Indian in the city. If you live here or are driving through OKC and you like Indian food you must stop here: Tandoor Restaurant (off MLK and Reno at I-40).
I recently did a photo shoot that involved me wearing bright teal tights and balancing myself on a unicycle (found in my parents' attic - it was abandoned by my sideshow brother when he became distracted by juggling a chainsaw instead). I can't share any more of the photos or what this shoot was all about - you know, in case The New York Times wants the exclusive (cross your fingers for me).
But what I can share is this. The secret to riding a unicycle:
• Do not ride too slow. It is actually more difficult to ride slowly since it becomes more difficult to maintain your balance.
• To keep from falling off, you have to pedal continuously so that the unicycle can keep up with your body.
• Your mindset should be something like this: the unicycle is under you rather than you are at the top of the unicycle. This simply means that you should be in control and not the other way around.
• Pedal faster to keep from falling.
• If you fall, get up and ride again. All beginners experienced this when they were just starting.
Now, if that isn't just one big fat metaphor for my life right now.
I seem to mostly work with clients on the coasts - so if we're Skyping I can fake getting dressed. I'll just throw on a little bit of make-up and make sure I'm wearing a bra and call it a day. But lately I've had a couple real-life meetings - so in order to look professional I'll put on some pants. Or a skirt. Or at the very least some shiny leggings.
scarf - urban outfitters
tank - american apparel
skirt, belt & leggings - target
boots - frye
At some point over the past few months I got it in my head that I needed to go camping. The experience I imagined would include hot dogs, s'mores, a little bit of hiking, and life-changing conversation around camp fires. We would be isolated in the woods (with just a little threat of being attacked by bears to make it exciting) and a dock that we could sit on to watch the sunset and dip our toes in the water from. I insisted that last weekend would be the perfect time to see this fantasy to fruition.
But the reality was a State Park full of youth groups and RVs (
isolated), we're vegetarian ( hotdogs), we forgot to buy marshmallows ( s'mores), and we're not very good at starting camp fires.
That's when our tent neighbors, a small group of professional dancers (not the take-off-your clothes-kind but more like the Dancing With the Stars kind), came over and offered us some kindling and lighter fluid. We became fast friends and wound up playing Farkle and Uno into the evening. We shared popcorn, a bottle of Raw Power shiraz and lots of laughs. We were never afraid of bears but at one point we did become suspicious of our slasher-movie setting.
So, it wasn't the perfectly art directed camping trip that could double as an Urban Outfitters catalog that I was expecting - but it was still unexpectedly picture perfect.
If you've seen me (in real life) in the past month there is a 75% chance you've seen me wearing this outfit. I kind of live in it these days. The gal who sold me these jeans made a solid promise, rooted in science, as to why these jeans would never stretch out. I should've known better - but it's okay - I love them unconditionally, baggy booty and all.
jeans - fidelity (from Blue7)
fur vest - steve madden
tee - bcbg
Something about this week... there's magic in the air. Can you all feel it too? I think there must be some sort of shift in the cosmos.
• This week I learned that curiosity kills fear. I've been kind of scared about starting a new business (again) but just this week I crossed the threshold and replaced anxiety and fear with excitement and curiosity. Try it for yourself! The next time you're freaked out or all in a tizzy get curious instead.
• This week Jeremy considered applying for a job that's description sounds very spy-like. I would be so jealous. (I hope this doesn't blow his cover.) Some of the requirements are perfect vision and being able to hear whispers at a certain decibel within a certain range.
• This week I got some serious work done on the Paleo cookbook I'm designing. I've been doing so much thinking and planning and fantasizing lately that it was nice to get lost in some good old fashion layout design.
• I blogged over at Braid:
- A Case For Brilliant Note Taking (this is a video post!)
- A Review Of Finish This Book (I was excited to hear that Keri Smith read & loved it)
- Tools for Capturing (where I share my favorites)
- And our October newsletter: Draw More In Meetings and Get Others On Your Page
Have a fantastic weekend, you guys!
Last week I was on a business trip with my sister in Lawrence, KS (my new favorite city) - as we rolled into town we found some coffee on the main drag downtown - we also found a really rad clothing store where I found this really rad Ben Sherman jacket. I looked at the price tag and decided to try and forget it about it. That lasted about 2 seconds because before I knew it I was trying it on and fell in love.
So I bought the a-little-too-expensive jacket and guess what. I've been wearing it almost every day since then. I can pair with a sloppy bun, grey deep v and jeans and instantly feel more professional. More confident. Like I know what I'm doing. So I think it's safe to say the jacket was a worthwhile investment.
jacket - ben sherman
tee - bdg / urban outfitters
scarf - urban outfitters
leggings - american apparel
boots - fiorentini & baker
When one of my closest friends in the whole world asks me to take a few snaps of her, her husband and the bump - well, I quickly become a maternity photographer for a couple hours.
You might remember my friend Hallie - I was a bridesmaid in her wedding just last November. Just a few months after she said "I do" she sent me a text with a photo of a stick she had just peed on - it said PREGNANT. I couldn't believe it. I know this is how the world works - it's simple biology, really - but I couldn't believe it. It seems like just yesterday Hallie, Liz and I were chasing birth control pills with whiskey and celebrating false alarms with champagne. It seems like just yesterday we were making an over-sized slip 'n' slide out of a discarded outdoor billboard vinyl in Edgemere Park. So to be taking photos of my very pregnant friend, and her husband Chase, in that same park just a couple years later - it felt a little unreal.
But in just a few short weeks it's going to be very very real. Hallie and Chase are going to be a mom and dad. I'm going to be Aunt Kathleen to a brand new little baby girl. I can't wait to meet her and one day tell her about all the times her mama and I used to have.
Towards the end of September I was invited to be a guest teacher for a class at the University of Central Oklahoma - it was a Design II class (mostly juniors) working on a project to push the limits of traditional invitation design. It was my job to guide them through this process over four classes. This gig also included a gallery showing - where the school hung 30 boards of my work and I shared my art and experiences with what seemed like a hundred or so students & faculty.
Even though it's just boards hanging in an art school it felt surreal to see a years worth of freelance work - from invitations to branding projects - hanging in that hallway. The last time my work was hanging in an art school was in 2004 - when I was an art student. It almost brought tears to my eyes. To think how much I've grown since school. To think of how much I've grown as a designer and thinker in just the last year. I spend a lot of time pushing myself (and sometimes even unproductively beating myself up a little) to be better. A better designer. A better strategist. A better writer. But in that moment when I saw all my work lined up - I just felt proud of what I've accomplished in just a year.
The students and faculty were so kind about my work. It was so much fun to geek out over letterpress and typography with kindred spirits.
THE TEACHING GIG
When I was art directing at an advertising agency, before I went freelance, I hardly had the patience to talk to interns. I learned throughout this teaching gig that there has been a major shift in my mindset. The desire to help these students become amazing designers, writers and thinkers is eye-opening. And the compassion I have for these kids is overwhelming. I remember how hard school was - the need to be amazing but not yet putting in those hours, weeks and years it takes to get there.
Over two weeks and four 3-hour long classes I directed and guided a classroom of 20ish students through an invitation project. Some of them had potential and some of them had natural talent - and almost all of them had this spark - this desire be designers. It was really cool to see that.
P.S. Would you believe that when I busted out my camera to take photos I had no memory card!? D'oh! My iPhone saved the day.
WHAT I LEARNED
I learned that it's not just about being a badass designer anymore. Over the last year I've become just as passionate about talking about freelancing (if not more so) than the actual work I've been doing. I want to share my creative process (from the design direction to the nitty-gritty stuff that makes designers more efficient - like to-do lists and estimating) with anyone who could learn from what I have to share. So I've got ideas. Big ideas. Stay tuned. (Hint: It starts with writing a book ... or 12).
Oklahoma is hungry for good grocery stores. Within the last couple months we got a Sunflower Market and Whole Foods Market - and everyone around here is acting like it's the second coming of Christ. I'm excited about the growth and demand for quality, organic food in Oklahoma, but I have to tell you - my shopping habits won't change much. I will continue to frequent my local farmer's markets (Urban Agrarian is my favorite) for produce and my go-to grocery store will still be Native Roots Market.
Jeremy and I are both huge fans of Native Roots Market in Norman, Oklahoma. When we can't wake up early enough to get to the farmer's market we know that we can get fresh and local eggs, dairy, peanut butter, honey and produce at Native Roots. They also have a small bulk section and amazing spices and blends that I use in almost every single meal. My favorite blends are the West Indian Masala, Garam Masala and Yellow Curry. Native Roots is small - it's about 4 aisles wide but it's got everything we need.
I've mentioned Native Roots here and there on J&K before - and owner, Sara Ann Kaplan noticed the traffic we were sending their way. She checked out my blog and loved my design work. She asked if I could put together a business card for her and I enthusiastically said yes. Sara liked my 2-color, square-format, chipboard card for And Kathleen and said she was inspired by vintage silverware. From there I came up with the design you see above (note: the logo was provided). The best part is that we worked on trade. Sara got a rad business card and I got some delicious groceries. It's just my way of bringing home the
One of the best parts of our long weekend in Durham was lounging around for a couple hours in the Duke botanical gardens. We kicked off our shoes and threw down some blankets. We drank wine out of plastic OU cups and thumbed through magazines. I read two Dwells cover-to-cover and the new Design*Sponge book. And when I was done I fell into a sweet day dream about the future - the kind of day dream that can only happen when the present moment is nothing short of perfection.
In the six years that Liz has been my friend, I've seen her live in five different places. One even landed on Apartment Therapy. But it doesn't matter where she resides - it always feels like home. She carries with her, from place to place, mid-century modern furniture, a couple cozy throws and white dishes - from a little grey house in Oklahoma City to a little yellow duplex in Durham, North Carolina. But I've said it before - and I'll say it again - what Liz really takes with her is that minimal magic. It's like everything she touches is reduced down to it's most simplistic essence. She finds the kernel of truth in her things and is able to get rid of all the excess. Maybe it's that magic of hers that has cast a spell on me because since I've known Liz I've been completely smitten with her badass-meets-minimalist style.
That same style permeates her being - from her clothes to her food to her attitude towards yearbooks and Facebook (in a recent fit of minimalism Liz threw away her yearbooks and more recently decided Facebook was cluttering up her life too). I admire her. Clearly.
So here's what. Over the next few months I'm going to go through each room of my house with Jeremy, one at a time, and touch every single thing I own. I'm going to ask myself "Self, what would Liz do?" Her voice will go through my mind and say "Is it useful? Is it beautiful?" If the answer to both are no I will toss or donate. Then I'm going to light some candles and breathe deep knowing that my space is clean - it's going to be magical.
• Liz's Flickr Stream
• The Accidental Minimalist
• Liz's OKC house is still for sale! You should buy 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)
- Happy Halloween: Dia de los Muertos
- Truck Stop Indian
- Unicycle Secrets
- Anatomy of an Outfit: Meeting Time
- Anatomy of an Outfit: New Jeans
- This week.
- Anatomy of an Outfit: A New Jacket
- I'm Not A Maternity Photographer But...
- The Time I Taught A College Class (And What I Lear...
- Eating Local: Native Roots
- Sneaking Wine in Parks
- Anatomy of an Outfit: Back to School
- OKC to RDU: A Surprise Vacation
- Future By Design
- Root Juice
- A Little Backstory (and 7 links)
- Pea Pesto and Spaghetti
- Best Friends
- ▼ October (21)
- ► 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