Entries from October 2010

Tools for Freelancing

October 22, 2010

I’ve already mentioned how being a freelance designer doesn’t mean I’m drawing puppies and rainbows all day long. There are a few more components that make up my job – like project management and billing/financials that take up quite a bit of time. I want to share with you guys how I stay on top of this stuff.

Screen shot 2010-09-13 at 4.17.33 PM

Project Management:
This includes everything from managing my work flow, establishing timelines/deadlines for myself and my clients, and juggling multiple projects at the same time. While I still utilize old school post-it notes and sketchbooks full of lists, I also use a few other tools to help keep me organized:

• Teux Deux – This super simple web and iPhone app streamlines your to-do list and keeps your desk and monitor from becoming cluttered with a million post-its.
• Google Calendar – I keep all of my business and social obligations scheduled in my Google calendar and share it with Jeremy – otherwise, it’s easy to double-book.
• Gmail – I’m not the best at keeping my inbox immaculate but I do star emails that need my attention and label emails to be archived.
• Folder Organization – On my computer I keep my work organized in 3 different folders: Complete, Estimating and In Progress. It’s simple but helps me picture my overall work flow on days when things become overwhelming.
• iPhone – I always insisted on keeping my computer as my computer and my phone as my phone but all of the tools I use (online) to keep myself organized also synch up to my iPhone. So my iPhone will actually TELL me that I have a meeting in 10 minutes. Or if I need to jot down a quick to-do on the road I can just plug it into my Teux Deux list on my phone.

Billing/Financials:
For some reason, I always thought this would be no big deal to keep track of. It’s just money in and money out. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. I’m still a little confused about taxes, social security and write-offs but I’m doing the best I can to capture all the information as accurately as possible. That way I can just hire an accountant (or get Jeremy) to figure out the big picture for me.

• Freshbooks: When I first started freelancing Jeremy and I played around with Bento and a Google spreadsheet to help me keep track of my finances but it wasn’t streamlined enough and I wasn’t in the mood to reinvent the wheel when it comes to bookkeeping. So I finally gave in and bought a monthly subscription to Freshbooks. It’s really easy and intuitive. Now, if only it would do my quarterly taxes for me.

The Accidental Minimalist

October 21, 2010

Simple living has been top of mind for the past couple years. I love the concept of living a stuff-free spartan life but I also love my stuff. And when I became close with Liz, a minimalist with stuff, I became inspired. Liz is a regular around here – at times we even joked about renaming the blog Kathleen & Liz, Fabulous Friends Great Taste. You guys seem to like her too, so while guest posts aren’t a thing I typically do around these parts I wanted Liz to share her philosophy on being a minimalist of sorts.

P.S. I’m only featuring images of her newest place in Durham, NC. Because I want to show you how she can even make a rental beautiful. But for more pictures please visit her Flickr.
P.P.S. I’m leaving in the parts where she makes notes to me, because I love it.

From Liz:

Afternoon Light

“If you want a golden rule that will fit everything, this is it: Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.” – William Morris

Living Room Sneak Peek Vignette

Some time in the last year or two I got the distinct reputation of being a “minimalist.” Someone who could throw away her yearbooks without a second thought, and always seemed to have a bag of clothes that needed to be driven to Goodwill. Whenever Kathleen posts pictures of my home (thanks for the free fame, ladyfriend!), she always gets comments about how spartan it appears, which crack me up, because I have crap like everyone else. Stuff. And you know what? I love it. I. Love. Stuff.

Toilet Hand

It comes down to this, though: quality, over quantity. I simply only want to surround myself with stuff that I think is awesome. Also, cleaning/organizing is my knee-jerk response to any sort of anxiety or stress, so it’s easy to throw a thing away when really you’re actually trying to avoid conflict or figure out some Big Life Thing.

Headboard

Plus, I’ve moved every year for the last 4 or 5 years, and nothing will make you re-evaluate what’s important more brutally than having to move it from home to home. Those infamous yearbooks? Were all in a box that I had packed them into when I graduated from college. Three and a half years ago. I hadn’t even looked at them, or thought about them, in years. And for a while, I struggled with getting rid of them, because I love looking at my parent’s yearbooks, and how will my future children develop emotionally without seeing awkward pictures of me with braces?! But it came down to the fact that I measure value differently. Like homeboy’s quote up there, which sums up my feelings on the subject far more articulately than I can, because I use words like homeboy to describe one of the forefathers of the Arts and Crafts movement.

Bedroom Sneak

It’s a process, though. It took a few rounds before I worked up the yearbooks. It’s easier to start with clothes you’ve owned for years but only worn once because they fit you weird. Why would you own clothes that you don’t wear?! What?! Why would you want a wardrobe filled with things that make you feel anything less than awesome? (Also, please feel free to substitute in another, less juvenile adjective whenever I use the word “awesome.” It’s my go-to, but I promise I only keep it around because I know it to be useful and believe it to be beautiful.

Right Sill

You just have to keep asking yourself what makes something worth keeping, and let go of anything that doesn’t make your heart sing with it’s awesomeness. For me, a lot of my stuff just didn’t live up to the standards I decided on. So I recycled/donated/trashed it. And didn’t look back. Which is the other benefit of getting rid of crap- you realize what little value it ever held, and you start to apply the Awesome Test (yeah, that’s what I call it) to other areas of your life. Priorities, friends, life goals. Or at least I did. Or at least, I hope I am. Ask my hopefully emotionally-developed children in fifty years.

They’ll probably be packrats.

Charmed

October 20, 2010

Charmed

My friend Erin runs a little shop called Pippin + Pearl. Every week I visit her to split a bottle of wine and share cupcakes and usually always end up wanting to purchase all of her new creations. And sometimes I do. I picked up this charm necklace with a vintage button and little flag – I was drawn to the unexpected combination of the two.

Anatomy of an Outfit: Black and Brown

October 19, 2010

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JeremySunglasses

AnatomyBenSherman

I have always been impressed with Jeremy’s sense of style. He’s the first guy I ever saw in real life wear a deep-V – before it became a standard in every frat boy’s closet. He doesn’t orchestrate outfits and is by no means on the up-and-up when it comes to fashion or trends but he manages to be effortlessly stylish in his own clueless boy kind of way. He’s not afraid to wear black and brown together while rocking some oversized lady sunglasses.

Shirt – Perry Ellis
Pants – Reunion (Ross)
Shoes – Ben Sherman
Tie – Ben Sherman
Watch – Nooka
Sunglasses – Urban Outfitters ($5 sale)

A pop of color.

October 18, 2010

a.
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CouchPillowsWide

b.
CowChair

a.
I posted a while back about some fabric remnants I found at a local store that I wanted to fashion into throw pillows. Well, I finally did just that. Actually, my mom did just that. Thanks, mom. While I used to favor minimal lines, I’m kind of enjoying the eclectic cozy mess my couch is turning into.

Oh, and remember the white couch? I know, I never got it. The thing is every week we have friends over and all of us (usually 5-6) can all lounge comfortably on this couch. And we can accidentally spill red wine on it and it’s no big deal. The cats are tearing this couch apart, at the corners – but again, I kind of secretly like that too. Our home isn’t out of a catalog and nothing is perfect. ::sigh:: But I do love that white couch.

b.
This is a rarely seen corner of our living room that I thought I’d share.

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