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!

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.

painting for paris.

First of all, I would like to thank all my readers for the overwhelming response to WCW.  My most genuine gratitude to all of your kind words and encouragement on the new series/photography. You are pure gold.

Second, happy Labor Day to all of you. I hope you are grilling up some delicious meat with some of the people you love the most. I cheers you from Houston.

Thirdly, Clint and I have been painfully itching for a trip. For the last year, we have been saving, planning, brainstorming and dreaming of our next adventure. And we have finally decided on backpacking across Europe and ending in Morocco. We are still in intense research mode, but we are hoping to take a modest 2-3 week trip across the Northern Hemisphere this Winter (crosses both fingers) with nothing but a pair of cameras and the clothes on our backs.

Clint is doing most of the planning for all the incredible places we are stopping, but has given me Paris as my own project to plan. I am in love with Paris from afar. The culture. The fashion. The romanticism. The history. From Hemingway to Chanel, I am fascinated with this city that curated so much of what I find to be so magical and lovely. And while I tried to pretend that the Eiffel tower was overrated and touristy, I long to see it. And have a coffee where Fitzgerald changed literature. To witness the city that is deep and sad and buzzing and hip all at once. And while I know I am going to be in unwashed clothes and train slept hair when I see it, I am beside myself with anticipation.

Lately, I have taken up painting. I stumbled upon a work of art that I adored at an antique shop. I loved it so much, I would stop in every once in a while to look at it, each time hoping that it hadn’t been sold. With a handsome price tag of 4 grand, I knew it would never be mine. So I decided to try my own hand and make my own. So I went out and bought myself a 28″x36″ canvas and some new brushes. Much of the paints and supplies I still had from my college art classes. I took the evening and I painted my own piece of work with the same color scheme I found so beautiful in the antique shop painting. I sent a picture of the finished product to my friend who strongly encouraged me to post it on social media to get input. Once I did, the response was truly surprising. I was getting offers to buy it, along with generous praise. I was FLOORED. I was so scared to even post it in public and they wanted to BUY IT? I hung it up in my office, but soon after, I was wanting to paint more of them. Half out of curiosity (that was surely a one hit wonder.. right?) and half out of the creative freedom I felt while painting the first one. I felt like time flew by and was alone to express my emotions with a paint brush.

So I painted some more. One for over the fireplace. One for the bathroom. One for our bedroom. Another for the office. I was loving this. And running out of room. And money. (Thank goodness for hobby lobby’s 40% coupons.) But I still wasn’t selling them. I wanted to have a good enough cause.

And once this backpacking trip became a reality, I decided it was time. Time to paint for Paris. So in the next few weeks, I will be spending my free time painting different sizes of canvases to sell to help support our trip. I’m not sure yet on how I will be selling- on etsy, or simply by word of mouth through social media. If any of you readers sell handmade goods, please comment with your recommendations! I will be ever so grateful! I would love to get one (or 4!) of these labor of loves into the homes of the people I cherish.

I will be open for business once I can get about 5-10 paintings ready.

But here are a few snap shots of my project from this week, and my first attempt at using gold leaf in my work.

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Thank you for reading! And all of your continual support.

XOXO, k.

a few outfit posts.

I have definitely cut down quite a bit on the fashion aspect of this blog. While I enjoy fashion and the art of it, I want my blog to focus on something more internal. I have thought quite a bit about what direction I want this blog to go. If this art form were a business, what would it’s mission statement be? What five words would describe this blog, if it were a person? These were things I wanted to really solidify. And while these things are still being worked out- in my blog and in myself, I have a few words that I hope guide this labor of love: adventure. creativity. consciousness. courage. and authenticity.

All that to say, I’ve been asked several times by readers why I haven’t posted one in so long, and honestly, I’ve missed the silly girlish pleasure of getting dressed up every once in a while. So I decided the next time I had some outfit pictures, I would post them. Read: when I wasn’t in a tshirt with a bed head for more than a week. Well. I pretty much always have a bed head- but that’s what braids and hats are for. amIright?

These pictures are not edited, for both time reasons AND because Clint is such an awesome photographer.

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In other news:

I am excited to be doing a collaborative styled shoot with Cottonwood Road later this month. We’ve been giddily texting ideas to each other for weeks. That woman is my creative counterpart.

I recently signed up for an online course taught by an amazing photographer on the different aspects/techniques/understanding of light in photography. She recently got scooped up to work with the ever famous A Beautiful Mess blog (try to control your envy), and is selling her online courses for half off until December. Go here to grab up a 8 week course from Arrow and Apple.

I will be going to Austin from Sunday to Tuesday with Maddie. While this is business related, it’s her first time the capital, and I am devilishly excited to introduce her to all that is weird and liberal.

TGIF, ya’ll. Enjoy your weekend.

xoxo, K.