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.

Lettering + dreaming.

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I recently read an article that encourages one to create something everyday to share. Not just your latte picture (GUILTY AS CHARGED), the wing of an airplane (look at what a great little traveler I am!), or the Texas sunset- but something that you’ve created or worked on. It helps you stay inspired, connect people to your vision, and refine your craft. This is something that I really want to embrace because I can too often get sucked into the habit of creating only when I get a job to do so. So today’s project was lettering.

This message has meant something to me in the last year. Listen, I have alot of big dreams. And I often let my fear of man steal that fire inside of me. But this is me deciding that it’s time to move full steam ahead. And I hope you do too.

Create something awesome this week guys. This life isn’t just a read through.

XO, K.

 

Image: John Hoyland

Lettering/Typography: Me

Cali + VSCO.

The last few days have been a bit rainy, but super productive. The blog got a much needed facelift. Emails were answered. I got caught up on my projects. And Sarah (a career coach for creative entrepreneurs) took me to Coffee and Tea Collective to really nail down what I envision for my business and future.

And then I ended the day finally indulging in the new VSCO filter pack. Here are a few snaps I grabbed yesterday from C&T Collective and what filters I put on them.

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Kodak Ultramax 400 Soft Highs

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Ektar 100 +++

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Agfa Vista Cool +

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Kodak Ektar 100 – –

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Agfa Vista 100 – –

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Kodak Ektar 100 warm

To give you an idea of personality of this new pack, here is a comparison of what came straight out of my camera and then the filtered aftermath.

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XO, Kendall

When you decide to be an artist.

Well. I promise I’m still alive, I’ve just been under a pile of projects and I have been exhausted in the best type of way. I’ve been in New Orleans doing interior design for an upscale boutique. It was so much fun being able to really get my hands dirty and do everything I love at once: paint, design, photograph and eat. And boy did I eat. I won’t even start on that subject, because I won’t be able to stop gushing about the things you can consume in Nola.

The woman that owns the store graciously allowed me to stay in her guest home- a small cottage hidden behind her beautiful victorian home. It was previously a carriage house back in 1822 with all of it’s original wood and flooring. I was over the moon about it with it’s simple white washed walls and worn in bones that held 200 years of history.

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Something I love about Nola is it’s sense of community. The stores open later in the morning and everyone walks to cafes with their close friends and dogs. Every morning, the sunlight would pour into the carriage house- waking me up without an alarm clock at 7am, and by 7:30, Dianna and I were walking to a local breakfast stop, with her french bulldog Poppy in tow, for coffee by the gallon and a pastry. People would come up and talk to me like I was a long lost friend- asking about my life and giving me advice about my upcoming trip to Europe. This was so refreshing (and a bit shocking, honestly) compared to the typical awkward smiles from strangers followed by them avoiding eye contact by scanning their instagram feed.  On the first day, I thought we might have just happened to stumble upon a few friendly people by chance, but as the days went on, it really was that the majority of people were asking “how are you” without wanting to hear an unauthentic “great!!” in return.

Dianna requested that I create a holiday display for the store that wasn’t your typical Christmas decorations. So I decided to make the entrance of the store into a wintery snow land that embraced the season while still bringing the focus to the furniture. I really wanted the customers to have an interactive element to get engaged into the display and leave with a positive emotional tie to the store. So I decided to make a “wishing tree” where costumers could write down something they wish for or want to do before they die and hang it on the tree.

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I painted a huge branch (quite a bit more messy and used far more paint that I expected) and suspended it from the ceiling so that the stories would hang over you as you shopped. Within a few days, the tree was full of beautiful wishes from one wishing that she would write a novel about her humorous dating relationships to someone wishing that they might live without abandon this year. As a lover of stories, I would check it over and over to see if there were new ornaments to read.

On one of the last days I was there, Clint was released a week early from his rig due to bad weather and was driven to New Orleans to fly out from the airport there. So he was able to come surprise me and see the store, grab some local food and stay in the carriage house with me for the night before flying out the next day. I thought it was so fun that we both happened to be there at the same time and were able to meet up.

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Other nights, Dianna showed me the dangerous addiction that is Nola food, go to an art gallery show and meet some new amazing faces. I couldn’t have asked for a better week.

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And honestly, I am still in complete awe that I have been given the opportunity to get paid to use my passion for design. I remember a few years ago being so reluctant to completely submerge myself in the creative world. I hoped business school would stomp it right out of me and I could have a career in something “normal” or made people “proud”. And honestly, I was pretty scared. Putting your art out to the world is so extremely vulnerable and exposes a part of your soul. What if people think it’s weird or I flop right on my face and into a big fat puddle of acrylic paint? What if people don’t get what I do? (Spoiler: they don’t.) As the years passed, I found the only things that made me feel truly alive were those design projects that I would do in the safe secrecy of my own home.

And then I dropped the bomb. “Oh hi parents. You know all those business classes I’ve been taking for the last couple of years? Soooo.. funny thing is… I think I want to be an artist. Oh. And move to Austin. Oh…and one more tiny detail..funny I almost forgot..I’m get married.” And of course, in my subtle and mature manner, this was sent in a text message. “GOIN TO B AN ARTIST! LUV U LOTZ!”

So then there were those years in between where I struggled to find out what being a designer even means and where I fit into that equation. And then those art classes that made me feel like a failure as [TRUE STORY] my teacher picked up my art work and threw it on the ground saying “if I wanted something cute, I would have gone to F*&#KING HALLMARK”. Well tell me how you really feel.

And then that time I was hired as an office assistant as, what I’m sure was, a pity hire because I was newly married with both Clint and I in college in a brand new city and didn’t have 2 dimes to rub together. And then she happened to see something I was designing on my computer and asked if I wanted to apply for the position of a graphic designer for the firm. Of course! The only minor problem was, I didn’t know a thing about graphic design. Like- I didn’t even own photoshop. I used the free version on the school computers. So, I faked it until I made it. I would go home and spend hours teaching myself design from youtube videos and books. I studied every designer I could find and tore out pages of magazines to try and reduplicate them myself. Then I would go to work and design. And then I would go home and work on it for hours without pay to make sure it was perfect. And I found out that I liked graphic design. A whole lot. And the clients kept coming back. And we got paid and got to use the heater! BOO YA. And so began design. Finally I had found my place. I wasn’t an artist I was a designer. And you can imagine my relief. I can’t hardly draw a stick figure and was in art classes with teachers who were surely quite fearful for my creative future. But DESIGN?! I could actually do this. And love it.

From that time on, I found my place in interior design and graphic design as my happy and alive place. And I have been blessed beyond my wildest dreams by people who took a chance on me and allowed me to try and make their companies more beautiful. Since then, I have had the pleasure of working with people ranging from small homegrown companies all the way to designing for Free People/Anthropologie. And most of those opportunities came from really putting myself out there in an uncomfortable way, hoping that I might have something to offer them.

And yes, I still have the people who think “I don’t have a job” *palm to forehead* or don’t understand what I do, but I am now doing exactly what I feel God wired me to do. And there are still those days I wish I didn’t have this unquenchable desire to completely redesign everything or have to resist the urge to reposition the furniture in someone’s home, but I am so completely happy and fulfilled by what I’m doing and all the projects I am taking on.

And through my crazy and sometimes awful (my resume being all the grey hairs on Clint’s head he’s sprouted during the last 3 years) journey, I have learned that you have to make the leap. You HAVE to. And people are going to think you’re weird and you’re going to feel insecure and want to leap back to the safe monotonous side of life, but it’s so worth it. Because the world has a way of embracing and changing for a person who is brave enough to grow up to be themselves. So leap! And then write me a letter and tell me all about it.
XO, K.

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Lifescape.

Hannah from Cottonwood Road Blog and I decided to team up for a photo challenge. We have both recently been inspired by photographers that shoot the everyday (check out  A Year of Mornings) and decided we’d like to challenge ourselves to do the same. We shot one picture every day for 15 days, each picking our 10 favorites to share. Through these images, we hoped to bring celebration to the ordinary and realize that everything around us in life is art.

Hannah’s:

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I decided to focus my challenge on the simple things that give me peace and solitude. As a lover of all things vintage, I aimed my photography, over the last 15 days, to look like it had been shot with film. While it’s currently popular in photography to blow up the exposure to have that bright clean whiteness of an image, I have been studying the personality of film, which plays with shadows and has intrigue in the darkness.

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Hope you’re staying more dry than I am today.

XOXO, K.

when I can’t sleep

I am a night owl. I do my best thinking, writing (and sometimes self destructing) in the night. Tonight I decided to journal and put together a few of the pictures I’ve been virtually collecting of what’s been inspiring me lately: flowers.

I tried my hand in floral arrangements lately with a few styled shoots/weddings and I am hooked. Line. Sinker.

Sometimes I don’t understand how nature has the capacity to be so awe inspiring.

 

 

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XO, K.

lettering lessons

During the Circles conference, I was completely inspired by the many designers and their use of lettering. Particularly the transformation of drawn lettering into an online graphic- which I had absolutely no experience in doing.

For the past year, I have been following an artist by the name of Sean McCabe. I love his attention to detail and his transparency in how he creates his work. During the conference, I make friends with the guy who is sitting next to me. We chit chat about what the do and what we’re working on and he hands me his business card. “UHM- HELLO, YOU ARE SEAN MCCABE?!” I screamed in my head. And then politely gave him a collected “well, nice to meet you Sean” instead.

So, as the day goes on, he tells me about this “skill share” he has in which he teaches you how to create lettering vectors. I about ran home and started working on it right then.

*Side note: If you have never checked out Skill Share- you are missing out. While this is a well known thing in the designer world, until that day, I was blissfully unaware of this absolute GOLD MINE of talent that is shared from leading professionals in all different mediums on how they do their work. Needless to say- I’m now an aspiring professional of everything.

Here is my first go at lettering:

Before// drawn out on paper with a sharpie pen and snapped with my Iphone.

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I then put the image into Adobe Illustrator, where I created outlines. The rest was just a bit of tweaking with color changing and designing.

After//

take a wild adventure

It made me realize how overcomplicated I believed that this process was and how simple and fun this art form can be, as long as you have the time to create it.

I’m excited to get more into lettering and maybe crank out some prints. We can all dream.

XOXO, K.