DV.

This song has been buzzing in my ears this week. I like little ditties that make you stop and feel something.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qoWRs7lXtYE&feature=kp

Something else I’ve been enjoying this week:

Diana Vreeland’s book: Memos.

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It’s no secret how deep my girl crush goes for this woman. Not so much for her contribution to fashion (which is significant and undeniable), but for her energy for revolution. To change what was before with such a force that the world followed after.

[If you haven't found yourself in acquaintance with who DV was, watch 'The Eye Has To Travel' on Netflix.]

Diana had this unique relationship with the human language that made everything around her fit into a new box. And Memos are just that: memos she sent out to the magazine everyday. And what would normally be a strictly informative note everyday was this quirky (sometimes even slightly poetic) insight into her creative process. She has inspired me to see every little thing as an invitation to be creative or intentional- and it does make like quite a bit more interesting, no?

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Happy first day of school. And to every one else in the real world, I raise my second cup of coffee.

XO, Ken

The one with the crunchy post.

This is going to make me sound so crunchy, but at the end of my yoga class yesterday, my instructor said something that stuck with me:

“Take a second to think about the things that make you feel alive. What brings vitality to your life? What makes you feel so full that you want to be the best person you can be?

Now take these things and make room for them in your life. Carve away time to do them: because the world needs more people are are actually alive.”

 

Two things I thought of were: (there are many more- but pretending to be on So You Think You Can Dance alone in my apartment didn’t seem quite as inspiring.)

*Creating for the sake of creating- without payment or instruction.

*Riding my bike for miles with a damn good playlist.

 

So this morning, when I had business emails to answer, I decided to put them to the side for a minute and create- draw. write. take a few pictures.

So here is my “this is what makes me feel alive” creation: a photo I took of an adventure and some hand lettering I drew this morning. These are just my scribbles- but it makes me feel alive to create to just create.

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And for those of you who love biking- or just listening to good music- I’m cooking up a play list for you.

Now, just do something today that makes you feel full and inspired. Don’t down play it. Don’t feel guilty for it. Just do it: because we need more people to actually be alive.

XO, K

 

South Africa – part 1

I never blogged my trip to South Africa- so here it is. The extremely short version since people only like pictures these days.

This part of the trip consisted of:

1. Landing in Cape Town after 36 sleepless hours of flying solo… next to a large man who decided we share my seat. It wasn’t the smoothest of international travel, so I was thankful to finally land in Cape Town, South Africa after not seeing my hubs for 9 weeks. His company paid for a night in a beautiful hotel which we will never have the luxury of duplicating again in our lives. So we pretty much just took turns soaking in the huge jacuzzi in the bath room and pretending we weren’t poor all night. And then contemplated drinking my first hotel bottle of water to further financially punish his company for keeping him away for so long.

Cape Town is considered the Paris of South Africa: the Mother City. Full of vibrant personality and beautiful landscapes. We went to a few of the restaurants- realizing that no one could really tell us what South African cuisine was. We gathered that it pretty just means an American diet with some ostrich thrown in. I really loved the Dutch inspired homes with such clean, simple presence.

2. We drove to Simon’s Town where some extremely generous American friends let us stay in their beautiful home there. On the way, we stopped at the beautiful Table Top Mountain National Park right as the sun set- splitting the sunlight across the mountains in a way I will never forget. The home we stayed in had a view of the ocean with the mountains behind it- and for a few days we would just open the windows and enjoy the simple things in life: a good book, a walk on the beach, long naps, and light meals of local cheese and wine.

3. Boulder’s Bay- where I got to play with penguins on the beach and it was pretty much the best day of my life.

4. Cape Point- a part of Table Top Mountain National Park that juts out into the ocean. We hiked to the top and witnessed some stunning views and relatively deserted beaches.

5. Travelled a little farther down the Garden Route and made our way to Franschhoek for horse back riding and wine tour where we learned about adult things like tannins and what good brandy is supposed to taste like.

* Part 2 coming soon. 

 

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Here is a video of our trip. As you know, I’m a videographer so I almost didn’t show this to the public because of how unprofessional it is, but take it as just what it is: two crazy kids slinging a camera around to a few of our daily adventures. Enjoy!

 

XO, K.

It’s been a minute.

Well, it’s been a while. *cue staind song to now be stuck in your head all day*

My absence has been related to: (since I know you all care soo much and all.)

1. Business has been insane. Like… I’m crying from both joy and sleep deprivation kind of insane. You see all those big princess cut halo rings on your facebook feed? Those are my beautiful brides. And they put food on my table with their gorgeous weddings that need to be documented. And let me tell you- prime wedding season had me living life out of my little duffel bag and using the word “Starbucks” as a holy word. And I have been loving every minute of it.

2. Somehow in there I squeezed in moving. We packed our 3 bedroom, 3 bath home in 48 hours. People, I don’t know how it happened. Or how I’m still married. But it happened. And then we moved to our little one room warehouse loft. But more on this later.

3. Oh, and then I got poison sumac on my… face. This produced a selfie I took and sent to a very select few that I trusted wouldn’t sell it to the magazines if I ever decided to run for president. Eyes swollen shut. Lips blistered. And I wish I could prove to you that I’m not over exaggerating- but I’m not that brave. And you don’t want to have nightmares of the Quisimido I looked like. The doctor gave me medicine and put me on complete house arrest for 5 days. And I went a little coo coo and started talking to my plants as I watered them.

How did I get poison sumac on your face, you might ask? Oh, you know. I saw this pretty little green berried plant I thought would be just perfect for a shoot.

If the devil himself had a physical form- it would be the picture below. (The plant, not my hubby.)

View More: http://cottonwoodroadphotography.pass.us/kendallandclint

P.S. Shout out to Cottonwood Road Photography for taking our anniversary pictures!

P.P.S. Book us for your wedding. I’ll film. She’ll photograph. Or we’ll both photograph. And we’ll throw in a free choreographed dance if the reception gets a little stale. We haven’t learned the dance just quite yet- but we will if this is something you and your future hubby/wife agree on.

4. Oh, and I spent about 3 and a half weeks in South Africa playing on a beach with penguins and learning how to surf after my husband sailed across the world for 9 weeks for work. I’ll post about this later as well. Jeez, we have a lot to catch up on. Pull up a chair.

5. Free People. Oh, that beautiful, inspiring brand that has been letting me run free with my camera. You know how when you were a little girl, you would dress up and put all your friends in your clothes and take pictures with those disposable cameras? (Was this just me??) Well- this is the adult version, where I get to style up outfits of whatever is trending in the fashion world and photograph pretty women wearing it. And I got to “suggest” we have the shoot in the “woods” across from my apartment this morning so I could walk to work. :) But really, I am so crazy blessed to work for a company that allows such creative freedom that I can totally pull out some crazy idea and run with it (and sometimes it looks completely ridiculous- but they somehow still trust me). And I can’t get enough of it.

6. And a whole lot of back and forth with a long distance marriage. So- pretty much 2 weeks of editing until I see the sun rise while he’s gone (+totally considering popcorn a meal) (or getting the irrational, but totally wonderful grocery items that he eye rolls at: organic produce and individual waters) and then two weeks of dragging him around Texas for shoots and binge watching Scandal.

So, here I am, breaking the seal- and writing something down so that I can actually get back on this blog I love so dearly. Plus, far less people are brave enough to get married in the heat of July or August, so work life has finally (and temporarily) slowed down. And thank you [no, really. THANK. YOU.] for those of you who have recently pushed me to get back on here. Sometimes I wonder if putting my words out in the world even matter- or if I’m just jabbering on to myself. So I appreciate those of you who have encouraged me to start again- and that creating just for the pure enjoyment of creating is something worth sharing.

 

XO,

Ken

 

Marfa.

As some of you may have followed on Instagram, I recently went to Marfa with Maddie to shoot some Free People pieces for their social media/fpme. I’ll be excited to share some of the photos we got once we have them submitted and approved by the company.

Until then- in a bout of insomnia yesterday, I decided to stay up until 5 am and put a video together of our road trip.

10 hours there.

10 hours back.

And tee pees, one legged motorcyclists, running in empty highways, open mic night, a pound of cheezits, playing the piano with strangers, getting stranded in the desert with no gas, and lots (and lots) of twirling in between.

 

 

Enjoy.

XO, K.

WCW// Maggie from Type and Title

You guys didn’t think I had stopped crushing on driven women did you?! Because this WCW is going out to you, Maggie.

So let’s back up a bit, because how we got to this point is at least half the fun. Maggie and I found each other through social media. She had a friend who suggested she follow my work, and once I saw this girl’s skill cranking out into the world, I was hooked. We went back and forth for about a year, checking in on the latest creative efforts of the other. Then when I posted that I was going to be in California this last month, she reached out. Happens that she lives in the same city I was about to be shacking up in. So we planned brunch. Fast forward through a mimosa and a breakfast pot pie (YES. And it was heavenly.), we are practically leaning over the table passionately talking about business, blogging and the delicate art of authentic living. We took the party outdoors so I could snag some head shots. I mean- look at her.

Guys. This girl is awesome. So thankful to be friends with this branding genius, business owner and master in all things with a gel pen.

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Thank you for interviewing with me! Tell everyone a little about yourself.

Hello! I’m Maggie, and I’m a graphic designer and letterer living in San Diego. I love handmade and DIY, neutral and light colors, old things, paper goods, calligraphy, vintage clothing and my two sweet dogs. I run a design studio and Etsy shop called type & title.

What inspired you to start your own business?

I think I’ve always kind of wanted to work for myself but never really had the courage or opportunity to give it a shot before now. Around this time last year, my husband (then fiancé) and I found out we would be moving to California for his Navy job, and I seriously started thinking about going freelance. Military means we’ll move around quite a bit in the coming years, so being self-employed, with a flexible schedule, actually makes sense for me. It’s not lost on me how lucky and blessed I am that having the freedom to explore my career dreams is actually practical!

I know how that feels having a husband in oil! Flexibility is paramount. Okay. Putting your work out there is hard. Starting your own business is harder. What advice would you give to other creative entrepreneurs? 

Just keep going. Working for yourself is like one big, never-ending exercise in trial and error. Some things are going to work, but a great deal of things just won’t, which will hurt in a totally unavoidable way. Just keep pushing forward — learn from your failures and make a more informed decision next time!

What do you do to refuel and reenergize your creative vision? 

Taking a walk is my number one trick. It always seems to help me think about a project in a new or different way. Also, reading. Lately, I’m way inspired by Frankie Magazine, I can’t get enough of it. Every article seems to give me the urge to get up and make something.

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I have to ask everyone I know this: what are some of your favorite books? My favorite book from childhood is Tuck Everlasting. I read it as a teenager and cried for days — I feel like it was the first time I truly understood the beauty and importance of living a full life, experiencing as much as you can, and appreciating the moments when you’re in them. I also love everything by Joan Didion, especially her essays on California. Nine Stories by Salinger.

Beautifully said. I love hearing about a book that changed someone’s life. Speaking of life changing- who is someone (or people) who have influenced or inspired you in your work or personal life?

My younger sister is devoting her life to empowering and growing communities around the world, and she constantly inspires me to remember the effects my work and my actions have on other people. I have her initial, E, tattooed on my forearm, as a constant reminder that I’m not all by myself (and not to get too caught up inside my own head). I’m also totally obsessed with Brene Brown’s work — her TED talk on the power of vulnerability actually changed my life and the way I interact with others.

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Has having a blog helped connect you to others who share your vision, and if so, how has that affected you?

Definitely. I think connecting with like-minded folks is the best reason for anyone and everyone to keep a blog. I just finished reading this book by Seth Godin called We Are All Weird and it’s about how the age of mass marketing is over, how the internet has allowed individuals to find their own “tribes” — basically, a group of other people who are the same kind of weird that you are —  and connect via your specific shared interests. I don’t expect or even want everyone to love my blog. I just make what I like, and trust that others in my tribe will connect with my work, and potentially hire or collaborate with me so I can keep making things I love. It’s so liberating to know that network exists and that we have this platform to find, share and connect with each other.

You’re a multitalented artist- skilled at lettering, product design, logo creation, illustration and more. What is your favorite and why? How did you first learn how to use this medium?

If I look back on my life thus far, the one thing that connects through everything I’ve done is the written word. I read constantly as a child, I used to write and wanted to be an author or journalist but decided in high school that I liked designing better than reporting. Even then, I worked in publication design jobs from my freshman year of college all the way up until last year when I went freelance and decided I wanted to focus on lettering and illustration. Now, when I take freelance jobs, they still tend to be for bloggers or writers, and I maintain a blog myself. I can’t escape! But in a good way — I hope I’m always able to work with letters and words. I’m fascinated by the many ways we use them to communicate.

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I love that. What are some words that have inspired you

 “And I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, ‘If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.’” – Kurt Vonnegut

Sometimes I think that heaven will be like a perfect Sunday. What does your perfect day look like? 

Coffee on the porch with a book or magazine, a long walk with my husband and our pups (maybe a hike!), a craft project, and a long stretch of time away from my phone, the internet or television. Sundays are the best day to unplug and reconnect with our more immediate world.

And for the most important part of the interview. We’re all dying to know: Who was your favorite Spice Girl and why? 

Baby! I always wanted to color my blonde hair at the ends like she did, but wasn’t quite bold enough. I went to the reunion concert in Chicago in 2008 with some friends. We all dressed up as our favorites, and I finally fulfilled my childhood dream and dyed the ends pink (in pigtails, of course).

Thank you so much for taking the time to pass on your wisdom and encouragement. I know It’s got me all pumped up.

Maggie, being the amazing person she is created a desktop wallpaper for you guys. So make your screen pretty with her calligraphy and check out her other work HERE.  You can also follow her @typeandtitle on Instagram to get a daily dose of her skills.

dream-it

Now go do amazing things friends. XO, K.

 

creative cocktail hour.

There have been several events over the past year that have really changed my heart on the matter of community. I have always been social, but since moving to Houston, I have recognized the true importance of humans coming together. To understand each other. And support each other. To let someone else know you’re just as weird as they are.

And at the same time I began recognizing the importance of this was about the time that I realized that everyone is terrified of community. You get older and this world becomes a place that’s not safe for your story to be told. So we hide behind our jobs and our computer screens because it’s safer than saying “this is me”.

I am strange bird. But I remember going to Circles Conference last September and feeling truly understood in those weird spaces of my brain that make me want to create things. We were all made of the same stuff and we were all strange birds together.

Since then, I have set out to intentionally connect with strangers that I think might be a little like me. I am floored by the amazing people I’ve been able to meet through social media. Like Maggie from Type and Title, a branding wizard, who I met up with in California (more on this creative fireball next week). Aric Queen, a writer for National Geographic (who has an inspiringly raw book out called Shanghai Exile Diaries that you should NEED to read). He helped me with my travels through Europe in a way that was so completely touching. Sam Melton who shoots film for West Elm and really encouraged me in quest for connecting people. Rebecca Rebouche, a woman after my own heart- a designer for Anthropologie and one HELL of an artist. Seriously, check out her stuff.

To call these people friends now is an honor. And makes the world feel like a lot cooler of a place.

Anyone who has lived in Houston knows that it’s not a place where creatives jump out at you. It’s a big ole’ industrial melting pot where artists are a little more underground. So I set out to connect these individuals. I called up a friend in Houston and told her I wanted to host a meet up for all the various photographers, designers, painters, sculptors, writers, and filter obsessed people in the area.

So with the help of a new friend, Edi (find him on @htx_), I rounded up a bunch of people and asked them to email me if they’d like to all grab some drinks and share stories.

Here’s where I am going to be honest. I was pretty scared it was going to be a huge flop and I was going to be the idiot with the idea of herding strangers on instagram. And then 30 freaking awesome people came.

Well shit- now they’re actually here. And I’m trying to pretend I’m not a nervous wreck. And then the coolest thing happened. People started thanking me for coming- saying that it was such a big deal for them to come to something like this. “WAIT- YOU’RE NERVOUS TOO?!” And then in that moment I was overcome with the “okayness” of it all. Why are we so scared to be with other people- to just show up? Here I am surrounded by some of the most beautiful minds and getting blessed on by their inspiration and unique stories. People are just people. And when we decide to “show up”, our days are so much richer for it.

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So thank you to every single one of you who went out of your way to come out and spend the night photographing, wearing your hats, having some cocktails, and being brave enough to show up. Yay to a new Houston creative community.

XO, K.