Entries from April 2012

Being Elmo

April 20, 2012

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I know I’m a little late to the game here but have you guys seen Being Elmo yet? It’s a documentary film following Kevin Clash through his career as a puppeteer. It’s a simple story of doing what you love and success will follow but I had a few “ah-ha” moments that just about brought tears (okay, totally brought tears) to my eyes as I was watching this film.

1. DREAM SMALL 
Everyone always says to “dream big” and have goals of world domination. But it’s not attainable nor is it sustainable. This film hammered in the fact that if you narrow your focus and find your niche you’ll have a much greater impact than if you try to be everything to everyone. If you first have an obsession with mastering your specific craft, like Kevin Clash does with puppeteering, only then might you be able to then dominate the world, like Clash has done with Elmo.

2. DO WHAT YOU LOVE (but what do you really love?) 
In the film Kevin Clash tells a story of making his first puppet out of one of his dad’s fur-lined coats. He was so passionate and overcome with vision and inspiration that he couldn’t NOT cut up his dad’s coat and turn it into a monkey puppet. So for me – I love the idea of designing typography. Spending my days drawing fonts. But if this is what I really loved I would already be doing it. This film made me take a step back and really evaluate what I’m already doing that sets me on fire. Not what I would love to be doing if only I had chosen a different major in college / I had started dancing when I was 5 / I had more time …

3. CREATION OVER CONSUMPTION 
Sometimes it’s so easy to consume rather than create. It’s so easy to browse, pin, right-click-save and add to cart. Our world is set up so that to consumption is the path of least resistance. This film was a good reminder that being a creator is not always easy but it is valuable and it is essential. Being Elmo got me thinking of ways in which I can be more creative and ways in which I can be more supportive to others in their creativity.

What do you think? Have you seen this film? Any thoughts you’d like to add?

Balance vs. Alignment

April 19, 2012

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Since writing this post on finding work/life balance over at Braid I’ve been giving a lot of thought to balance. Mostly because I don’t really actually know what finding balance really means.

Below is an illustration of what I think balance might traditionally look like:

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If we can just find ways to distribute our values and desires with reality and circumstances we’ll find balance. But if you’re anything like me that’s not how it works. The real picture looks a little something like this:

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I throw my weight into what needs my attention at the time – often tipping the scales and leaving me feeling guilty and crazy for being off-balanced. Sometimes I think the idea of balance itself is making me crazier than being a total hedonist one day and a workaholic the next.

So I’ve decided to revisit my idea of balance. Rather than redistributing the weight of my choices and what I do laterally I’ve decided to focus on finding alignment. The thought-form that accompanies this concept is that of walking on a tight rope or riding a bike.

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Instead of throwing my weight around from side-to-side, up-and-down, I find my equilibrium by moving forward at a steady pace – arms stretched out wide.

On the way to Long Beach

April 17, 2012

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On my flight out to Long Beach (a business trip for Jeremy that I tagged along for) I was sitting next to a guy reading a thick text book that clearly had something to do with electronics and engineering. He would occasionally underline certain equations with a mechanical pencil. As the flight attendant took our drink orders he requested a gin and tonic and took a moment to ask me if what I was reading was as boring as what he was reading. And you guys… I was reading a creative entrepreneur self help book called Uncertainty: Turning Fear and Doubt Into Fuel for Brilliance – I explained to my plane neighbor that I’m a creative entrepreneur who was trying not to freak out over the ambiguity that comes with being an artistpreneur for a living. There was no possible way what I was reading was as boring as what he was reading.

When I asked him to tell me about himself he explained that he is an electrical engineer who works on rockets that go in to space. I said something funny about him being a rocket scientist and he told me that he’s not allowed to use the words “rocket” and “scientist” together when sharing what he does for a living since getting married. I shared with him that my husband is also an electronics engineer who works on planes – only how glamorous his job description would be if his air crafts went into space.

The Color Purple

April 16, 2012

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I love it when the air around me is so colorful I can bathe in it.

Blogging | Matters

April 13, 2012

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I’ve been blogging in this space for over 4 years now. It started as a public declaration of me and him – Jeremy & Kathleen (because it was still so weird and novel to see our names together like that) – on an adventure to make a house a home. Since then I’ve found my voice. Telling very intentional stories, large and small, every single day has taught me that I can design my life. That I have control over the narrative, the setting and the plot. I unabashedly love this space and can’t imagine what my life would be like without. In fact, I jokingly told Jeremy on our 3 year anniversary that the best thing I ever did for our marriage was brand it. But it’s kind of true.

THE REDESIGN
When I first designed my blog I was really into hand drawn type and vintage banners. I adopted the ampersand as my own. But I’ve grown up a little since then. I found my aesthetic (through designing the Nepal series, shooting Anatomy of an Outfit and writing about freelancing). So the redesign reflects my organic growth and evolving style as a designer. I’ve also made my posts a bit wider and the sidebar a bit more narrow. Even though some of the elements are bright I wanted to give the actual content some breathing room. Because that’s what it’s about, right? The content.

NOTE: You do not have to have a professionally designed blog in order to blog. Start with a simple Blogger or WordPress template. If you can write in your space consistently for a year (with or without readers) then invest in a design. Or perhaps at that time you’ll decide you don’t need it.

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THE CONTENT AND FREQUENCY
While I don’t have an editorial calendar I typically stick to a few topics:
Anatomy of an Outfit
Freelance Matters
What We Eat
• Adventures (big & small)

In between those kinds of posts I like to write about life. I spend as little as 15 minutes on a post but more often than not I’ll spend an entire morning (and on rare occasions an entire day) working on a post. But it’s never a burden – blogging is what I love to do. My content will change as I change but in general, you can expect more of the same here.

ON KEEPING IT REAL
It’s in my most vulnerable posts that you guys commend me for keeping it real. And I appreciate that. I love that I can choose the right words and images to accurately convey authenticity in a way that resonates with you. But more recently a friend of mine who I see a few times a year asked me how real my blog really is. He was genuinely curious if I was painting this picture perfect life that isn’t entirely accurate.

The truth is this: It’s all real. I carefully craft and color adjust what I show & tell around here. It’s all original content but I’m curating the bits and pieces in my life that I want to share. But get this – by choosing to blog about mostly positive things my life has become more positive. I’ve intentionally created adventure in my life because I wanted something to write about – I wanted a good story to tell. But guess what – by choosing to blog about adventure my life has become more adventurous. Through my blog I’ve come to learn that I can design my life. It’s real and it’s powerful.

NOTE: When you want to call bullshit on someone’s blog think about your own perceptions you’re bringing to the narrative. Is there a disconnect between what you believe to be true against the words and images (told from someone else’s point of view) you’re digesting? If so, is it any less real just because it’s not your reality?

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BRAID CREATIVE
I also blog once a week over at Braid Creative. It’s kind of like Freelance Matters – but grown up. If you are a creative entrepreneur (or want to be) you should subscribe to those posts too.

At first I thought Braid and J&K would be very separate. Braid would be for work and J&K would be more personal. But that kind of goes against everything I believe in – which is intentionally blurring the lines between work and life. Tara and I are working to bring more of our personal style into Braid. We’re also choosing to work, exclusively, with people like us – creatives, the independent, artistpreneurs and small start ups. We’ll be featuring creative entrepreneurs like you. So just like J&K is going through an update so will Braid.

MAKING A LIVING OFF BLOGGING
I believe you should be compensated for the amount of time you put into your blog – whether it feeds your soul or puts food on the table (for me, J&K does both). Some bloggers choose to have banner ads and sponsorships – that’s okay. But for me I make a living off blogging because it’s my readers who are hiring me (thank you, a million times thank you). Over the next week or two I will be updating this blog with a new page called “HIRE ME” – it will detail the ways in which I would love to work with you. But the majority of people are not really here to hire me – and that’s okay too – I like sharing my life here regardless of the financial outcome.

Recently I was pushing a workshop (it’s not happening, by the way – more on that later). Every time I posted about it I felt a little funny about it. Like I was marring this space by pitching to you guys in it. So while I will continue to share my work with you I never want to feel like a sales person. I am currently developing an online eCourse and in-person workshops over at Braid – at some point I will ask you for permission to pitch those things to you by allowing you to opt in to receive emails from me to tell you more. That doesn’t mean I won’t ever talk about it here (because I will) – I’ll just do it in an integrated way – where it feels less like a loud commercial interrupting the regular broadcasting that you all are here for.

NOTE: I talk extensively about my thoughts on peppering business into a personal blog here. But ultimately, I would encourage anyone wanting to blog to A) write original content (if I see those Pantone tarts reblogged one more time I might puke – or simply stop following your blog) B) find your voice through exploration but be consistent C) grow organically and D) write for the sake of sharing – not making money or scoring free things to review – but if money follows, great.

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BUT WHAT ABOUT JEREMY?
I tell people all the time “Had I known what this blog was going to turn into I wouldn’t have named it something as cheesy as Jeremy & Kathleen.” But that’s not entirely true. I’ve had people encourage me to rebrand and ditch “Jeremy” altogether. But as my life evolves and changes Jeremy is the constant. He might be the silent partner but he’s a key component to what goes on around here.

So phew! All of that to say – I love blogging. And I love you guys. Thank you for being here.

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