On not being a martyr of life.

 

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It’s funny. Everyone is encouraging us “LIVE WHILE YOU’RE YOUNG!” or “FOLLOW YOUR DREAMS!” and then when you do, you feel something you wouldn’t expect. Guilt.

And for a long time, I would feel guilty any time I decided to go out get some fresh air. As if actually living my life to the fullest was something I needed to apologize for or justify. That if I purposely carved time out of my schedule to refuel, I was getting behind. Being lazy. Being foolish.

But taking time away has actually been the biggest blessing in my personal AND professional life.

1. You connect with people. REALLY connect. 

When you have your phone in your hand, the stories of another human’s life have a 4 second shelf life, until you scroll down and double tap the next. And when you travel, you get to hear the real stories. On my last Tribe trip, we all joked that car rides are for the “long stories”. You have a captive audience for hours and hours, and you get to share the tales that would be too long for a typical lunch meet or quick phone call. And these are the words that matter. The ones that really connect you to other people. And leisure time facilities that more than anything else I’ve found.

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2. You’re filled up. 

Ok. You’re burnt out. Don’t lie. The maze of adulthood is long and hard and if you have to make ONE more U-turn, you’re going to lose it. But any time I get out in the world, I am refilling my tank. Taking in new ideas. Being inspired by things I hadn’t ever taken the time not notice. Feeling healthier.

And this is huge for me. Maybe the biggest part. Because I am someone, that once burnt out, is actually less productive when I just push through and keep working. I’m no longer creative, passionate, or… well.. pleasant to be around.

So when I travel or explore, I am purposely allowing myself to fill up. And all those ideas and connections pour over into my work, relationships, and lifestyle. And I can see this domino effect so clearly in my work that I try to get out as often as possible.

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3. You don’t have to be a martyr in life.

My friend Sarah wrote to me that “It takes so much courage to live free and trust that there’s truly no need to be a martyr in life. We are allowed to receive and live in abundance!”

And it’s such truth. We shouldn’t feel guilty for living this one, precious life.

So work hard. Work so very hard. But then take time to experience the world. Love people. And put that damn iPhone down.

Oh, but before you put it down… watch this video.  While in Colorado, Clint and I met with our best friend Cameron and he took us on adventure where we totally climbed to the top of a mountain in snow shoes.

XO, K.

 

OH! Big P.S.!

Kensfolk just launched it’s Instagram! @kensfolk_blog

There are big, big things in the works, and I would love if you’d like to follow the journey beside me!

That one time we went to New Mexico.

Clint and I have always had an itch for adventure. We’re always falling in love with the idea of the next somewhere. A sunset over a different landscape. Converting the next stranger into a friend.

I’ve been admiring White Sands for a while. The long, rolling hills of seemingly untouched earth. It looked like the feeling of freedom.

A couple of weeks ago, I had a short 3 day break from shooting and Clint helped my visual and adventuring dreams come true. We drove 14 hours into beautiful nothingness, stopping in Marfa, TX on the way.

Marfa provided a night we will never forget- a sleep under the stars, a land of tee pees, a surprise concert, chats over wine… and a freezing outdoor shower.

Then it was off to New Mexico.
We made it to the gorgeous White Sands- and experience that exceeded even my high expectations. We slept in a tent tucked in the mountains, found a random petting zoo in the snow, and ate our weight in road snacks.

Not everyone likes the rough (sleeping on the ground/brushing your teeth in a McDonalds) type of travel. And night number two in 25 degree weather? Neither did I.
But it’s these moments where Clint and I leave comfort behind and connect in a special kind of way.

So here’s a little glimpse into our adventure. Hope you enjoy the ride.

Courage.

In August, I went to Yellow Conference, in Las Angeles, CA- where I was introduced to the spunky, ball of energy Caitlin Crosby (the bomb shell below). Aside from her charm and superior execution of sarcasm, she founded a company called The Giving Keys, where she sells keys embossed with different words and phrases. Theses keys eventually help homeless people get into their own apartments, and off the streets.

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You pick a key that in inscribed with a word you want to internalize, and you wear it until you feel like you have fully possessed the word. At that point, you pass your piece of jewelry on to someone else who you feel needs that word for themselves.

Well, I am a lover of words and believe in the power of them. (I mean HELLO, I write a blog for pete’s sake.) So I gave myself a few days to think about what word I most needed in my life.
Throughout Yellow, I was pushed to write down my “big crazy dreams”. And in that moment, I could hardly even put pen to paper. If I was honest with myself, I felt that my dreams were so much bigger than anything I could truly accomplish. These “big scary dreams” were desires of my heart that crept into my thoughts over and over, only to have me snuff them out, knowing that I couldn’t pull them off. That was for other people. The people that had a “K” after their Instagram followers, had famous fathers, or washed their hair more than once a week.

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As Yellow went on, I recognized that all of the women speaking were these real, beautifully raw, normal people. And the only difference between me and them was that they believed in their dreams enough to actually make them happen. And BOY were these women makin’ it happen.

So I picked the word “Courage”. I selected it so that I could wear it around my neck to remind myself that it’s the only word I need to make my “big crazy dreams” into “been there, and did that”.

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Everyone has a different story, different goals, and a different outlook. But we need to know that our dreams were placed on our hearts for a reason.

So no matter how awkward you might feel, I encourage you to write down your “big crazy dreams”. Don’t water them down. Don’t be scared of your pen. Just write.

And then pick a word that will help you get there. And wear that word (physically or mentally) until you own it.

XO, K.
P.S. I was ridiculously flattered by your responses to my last blog. Thank you for taking time out of your busy, busy day to read this little publication of mine, and even more so- for contributing. Keep being awesome.

 

 

**thank you capturing my key, Hannah Hagaman!

** Yellow Conference snaps by yours truly.

 

 

 

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.

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Now go do amazing things friends. XO, K.