Friday
Jul122013

Thinking I'm Worth It

Things have been fast paced and hectic around here. Working on Verily has been a tremendous learning experience. It has forced me to learn and stretch and grow in more ways than one. My communication style is different, my time management strategies have changed and over the course of the last 4 months I have gotten a little better at my job (if I do say so myself!). I have failed a few times. I have stressed out to the max. I have cried and gotten angry, but the satisfaction of working with this team has been really rewarding and I wouldn't change it for anything.

While in design school I thought the hieght of my career would be when a stranger asked me to design their wedding invitation. I thought that if someone I didn't even know wanted me to do their wedding announcement that meant that I had really made it. Out of school and a few "stranger" wedding invites later I decided my new dream job was to create logos and brand indentities for small creative businesses... once that came and went my goal was to do some design work for a magazine. After doing some design work for Kinfolk magazine I saw the oppertunity to help build Verily's visual identity from the ground up. When Verily eventually asked me to be their full time art director I was shocked. How did I get here? In school I never would have admitted this - but working for a magazine like Bon Appetite was my wildest dream job. I would never have said that out loud to anyone because I didn't think I was good enough to even dream of that. Instead I set my eyes on wedding invites. Not that there is anything wrong with wedding invites! I still love doing them from time to time but I think I vastly underestimated myself. Now I look at myself and think, "Hey! I'm a lot closer to my wildest dreams than I ever thought I would come! How did that happen?" Now, I know that Bon Appetite is not beating down my door or anything but I don't feel as foolish day dreaming of that occupation anymore. I did hesitate divulging that dream here on my blog just now but maybe it's not as ridiculous as I think it is? Maybe I should give myself a little more credit? Maybe we all should? I have been reading Lean In by Sheryl Sandburg (don't sell yourself short, go all the way to the top of your field and don't look back, be a leader!) while simultaniously gobbling up everything Brené Brown says (you know? be vulnerable? dare greatly? take risks? bla bla bla?) The combination of the two women has made me think maybe we all sell ourselves a little a lot short. Maybe I am a lot more capable and worthy and powerful than I give myself credit for. I like looking at my life that way. 

Things with Verily are sometimes up in the air. It is a new magazine and just getting started. I have a baby on the way and I wonder how I am going to get my work done or if I will even have work to do. I've taken some big risks - freelancing, working for a new magazine, having kids young and in the middle of navigating my career path, encouraging my husband to leave a secure job to persue something he loves... It's all a huge crap shoot and I worry endlessly about it. But for the first time in a while I'm actually really excited about what might happen. I am aware that there could be failure along the way... no, scratch that... I fully expect failure, but I'm not as afriad of it as I used to be. I'm embracing it. So, all of this just to say that I am happy with where I'm at right now. I'm excited for Verily Magazine and hope that it continues to do well. I can't wait for baby #2 and the mess that comes with being a new mom all over again. I'm happy to just be me. Even with all of my imperfections and short comings. And I'm totally not afraid to admit that I day dream of bigger and better things than I have right now. And I think I might actually be worthy of "it". All of it

And guess what? I think you are probably worthy of it all too! What are your goals? Dreams? If you knew you could do anything and not fail what would it be? 

(Above photos taken by friend Cassie Pyle. She did all of the watercolor spreads that seperate each section in this issue and I just loved how they turned out!)

Thursday
Jul112013

New Series*: Recipe Confessional 

The year was 2001, I was at the height of my collegiate running career when onto the scene walked Liam Patrick O’Sullivan. Let me paint you a picture here: tall, Irish (obviously), privately educated, endurance and adventure athlete. Sure, there was the skinniness and red hair too, but gosh, that’s just the way I liked them then.  He was older, at least 2 years. Seeing him on campus made me burst into nervous giggles and elevated my pulse straight into my target heart rate.  I NEVER played it cool. NEVER.  I carried my heart around like a puppy with a toy in its mouth and that beggy look in its eyes. I followed him home from a party one night and awkwardly made him give me a piggy back ride. It was awkward because I was as tall as him and probably weighed more. Patterns in his daily activities started to emerge, including his panache for weekend breakfasts in the student cafeteria. Suddenly, I could not get enough of the weekend waffle bar at the cafeteria clear on the other side of campus from where I lived.  After a couple months of waffle/Liam stalking I found myself in a group of runners from my university talking between the men and women’s races at a cross-country meet.  I was proudly sporting my blue and white uniform (it was the standard short top and underwear like bottom) when Liam Patrick O’sullivan seized the opportunity to tell me I looked pregnant....  I guess the waffles had finally caught up to me.  Weirdly, my love for that narcissistic skinny mountain goat did not dwindle and my mind began plotting out how I could accidentally run into him while he was guiding on Mt Rainier that summer.

To this day when I see a waffle iron and all the fixins, i can;t help but pour one on for Liam Patrick O’Sullivan.

Recipe: Old Fashioned Raised waffles (like the Ingalls on Little House on the Prairie might make) I prefer to make these the night before and in the morning pretend like a waffle fairy left me the gift of a work free-amazing breakfast! (Recipe adapted from Vegan Brunch) Yields 6 Belgian style waffles -

Ingredients:

 2 cups warm milk (non-dairy for vegan waffles)

2 teaspoons dry active yeast

¼ granulated sugar

1/3 cup oil (I use canola, but any flavorless oil will work)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

½ cup warm water (not over 105 degrees F)

¾ teaspoon salt

Cooking spray for waffle iron

Method: 1. In a large glass, plastic, or ceramic mixing bowl, pour in milk and sprinkle yeast over milk. Let sit for 5 minutes in order for yeast to dissolve. 2. After 5 minutes stir in sugar, oil, and vanilla. Stir in flour until batter is relatively smooth, though a few lumps are okay. Add water to activate the yeast and stir just until incorporated. For the third step, you can choose your own adventure! (First option) 3. Cover bowl with a damp cloth and let batter rise in a warm spot for an hour. (Second option) 3. Uncovered, let batter rise at room temperature for 30 minutes and then place bowl in refrigerator to let batter sit overnight. 4. Preheat waffle iron to a higher setting than usual. These particular waffles are amazing with a more crispy exterior. Cook waffles according to manufacturer’s instructions.

Serve waffles immediately, or freeze, up to a month, and toast as needed.

*This new series is a fun little project between my sister and I. All posts are written by either my sister or myself and art is done by me. We love how food can conjure the most vivid memories. We thought it would be fun to share a sneak peek into our lives with a recipe to accompany it. We are not going to say who is writing each post but some will probably be pretty obvious... like the one above... definitley my sister! Oh how I adore her! 

Friday
Jun282013

hello summer

1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5

Just a mini summer wishlist... just because. 

Tuesday
Jun252013

Fox & Anchor + Blogshop

 

Excuse the silence around here.... I knew that working for a magazine there would be times where work got a little crazy. Especially around press time. Well this last week and half have been one of those times. Working at Verily is exciting and stressful... and then when the dust settles you see all of your hard work come together into one beautifully printed piece and it is so rewarding. We are going to print tomorrow and I am still on the stressed side of things but looking forward to the reward side.

My parents have been in town enjoying the hot Texas sun, swimming with Henry in the backyard all morning and afternoon while I work. It's been nice having them around. I like those guys. 

I was too busy to mention this earlier but Fox and Anchor was featured in two of Blogshop's goodie bags this last month - Brooklyn and Chicago. I was excited because DesignLoveFest is a favorite blog of mine so to see something I designed on there is a huge compliment. See all of the cute goodies given at Blogshop here

Tuesday
May212013

You Guessed it!

We are expecting! Yup, that's the big Riley family news. I'm 18 weeks and feeling great! Due October 22. We have been sitting on the news for a while because we had a misscarriage this last October (another blog post entirely) but things seem to be going really well and baby is healthy and kicking! We have been trying to tell Henry about the new baby but so far he is just really interested in belly buttons and not babies. I can't wait to see him interact with a sibling. He is going to make this very interesting for sure! We are over the moon excited to be a family of four!  

Wednesday
May152013

when it rains, it pours

You know how they always say, "When it rains, it pours!" and you always think, "Shoot! How do they always know!?" Because they are always right. Things come in waves and we are just little people standing on the shore. The good comes rushing in and knocks you to the ground and the bad sucks everything out from under you including the sand under your feet. Either way...you find yourself falling down. 

At Verily we just wrapped up our first full issue and started work on our second! The first magazines came back from the printer today and let's just say the whole team was in a dreamy state of pride for what we had accomplished. We are very excited to share the first issue with you - I am particularly excited to show off some of the hard work I have been toiling away on. I couldn't have done it with out some serious help - my graphic designer Loren, my design intern Haruka and a handful of other seriously talented photographers and designers helped put the visual side of the magazine together. I am so thankful to them and happy with what we came up with!

While starting in on the second issue I have also decided to take on another exciting side project. I have been turning down a lot of freelance projects lately to focus on Verily full time but a project came along that I just couldn't say no to. It's one of those projects that you just know you want to be part of because it is fun and happy and makes you feel good about yourself - hence the romantic, girly yet very bold moodboard above. I can't wait to share more about it but for now here is a visual sneak peek of what it will feel like.

On top of the excitement going on at Verily (we are talking dinner parties and editorial shoots galore!) and this new fun project, we have even more excitement coming our way! Big changes are on the horizon for the Riley family and we couldn't be more thrilled. Can't wait to share that news with you either! But let's just say for now, I am that awkward kid on the beach, with goggles on bigger than my head, just laughing as each new wave comes and grinds me into the sand. And I keep on taking wave after wave with a smile. Because when it rains it really does pour!

Thursday
May092013

Caught my eye

1 / 2 / 3 

Have you seen the blog Montreal Bobo yet? These sisters are making some pretty cool stuff and I love their blog. I got a cute little package in the mail the other day... needless to say my camera is looking a whole lot prettier these days with that blue camera strap on it! And as someone who spent many, many... many of her college days in a ceramic studio I appreciate these simple moon plates with imperfect edges quite a bit. They are beautiful! Just thought I would share this gem of a shop with y'all. Perhaps you can find a last minute mother's day present here. (and yes, that's right, I've only lived in Texas for 6 months and I already say y'all... actually whenever I talk to anyone with any sort of accent I sort of adopt it. It's really annoying to me, I'm always worried the person I'm talking to is going to think I am mocking them, but I'm not, I just can't help myself! The other day I answered the phone and immediately started speaking with the heaviest southern accent upon hearing the woman's voice on the other end... I about dropped out of my chair I was so embarassed.) 

Monday
May062013

Need Read Greed

1 / 2 / 3

We are starting this week off with the need read greed series. This week we are taking a look at what Kylie from The Flybird blog needs, reads and greeds. I met Kylie while going to school in Hawaii... she is a one of three identical triplets. Her, and her husband Spencer, are an unstoppable creative team. If you like pretty pictures with lots of adventure take a look at their blog! It is full of inspirational images! Together Spencer and Kylie travel, run a photography and production company and do lots of humanitarian work. 

Thank you so much for being on the blog today Kylie! Can't wait to meet up with you and Spencer again someday soon!! 

Saturday
Apr132013

Spilled Milk

I've been invited to be part of a fun little photography project. Spilled Milk- is a collaborative photography blog. 18 mothers from around the world are prompted by a weekly theme reflecting some aspect of parenthood and the complexity and beauty that comes with raising our kids. I love looking at these beautiful pictures and thinking about how wonderful and exciting it really is to be a mom. 

Some days are hard. Sometimes the screaming and the crying make me want to scream and cry myself. If you have ever had days like this too (and if you never have, well, then I don't think you are human) read this blog post. It made me chuckle out loud to myself. I especially like the part when this parent talks about wanting to hold anyone under water who says, "enjoy every moment! it goes by so fast!" I hope it makes you laugh too... Because we have all heard someone say that. And we are trying to enjoy every moment, we really are! But some days are just plain hard! Because that's what being a mom is. Making a sacrifice for someone you love more than life. 

And then there are days like today. Conor and I took our shiny new bikes down to the lake for our first ride! We have been looking forward to getting bikes for some time now! Henry screamed and cried when we forced his Mickey Mouse helmet over his cute dumbo ears and buckled it under his squishy little chin. He somehow managed to get his legs up over his bike sit and kick me in the back during the entire ride. He cried and screamed in the car on the way to the farmers market. While at the market he ran away from us and hit small doggies in the face. We made one last stop at an estate sale on the way home and as Conor bargained for some new furniture I chased Henry all over the front lawn. Tired and out of breath I finally scooped him up kicking and screaming and started towards the house to tell Conor I couldn't take another second when an old man stopped me. I noticed that he had been watching me and as I got closer he said, "that was my favorite part of being a dad! and a grandpa! I loved chasing my kids and grandkids around.." Reliving his past as he watched me chase my crazy Henry around that lawn made this man smile bigger than the moon! It was as if I had taken him right back to the best days of his life. I could see it in his eyes. "My wife and I had 5 kids you know! and chasing them around like that was my favorite!" I said a few polite words and hurried along to find my husband. As we crossed the street to get into our car I saw him helping his cute little old wife down the stairs... no children with them, no grandkids at their heels. Just the two of them. I sat in the car and wept. 

Yes these days are hard! and they are long. And sometimes I'm pretty sure the best days of my life were in college when I was wild and free and everyone I lived with was over 21 - and I could sleep under the stars on the beach all night if I wanted to and not have to nurse anyone at 5:30 in the morning if I didn't want to! But when I think of all of this being history ... when I imagine Conor helping me down stairs because I am too old to do it myself, and all of our kids have kids of their own.. my heart aches for these long hard days! And I say a silent prayer that God will somehow make these days last forever. Now, writing this, I question my sanity a little. Because it is hard. But something inside me tells me I will be just like that old man someday. Yearning for the days that my babies were little. Wishing and willing to give up anything to go back to even the hardest day. 

Tuesday
Apr092013

Odd Fellows

This last Saturday was such a treat. Just a simple day spent with my family eating out, exploring our city, cleaning up our little house and meeting friends at the park. It's been quiet on the blog lately because the last month has not been such a treat. Well, not that it hasn't been sweet - it's just been chaotic and busy...

After accepting the art director position at Verily I quickly realized I had a lot to learn! and there is a lot more that goes in to directing a magazine than I previously thought! I've had to learn so much about communication. Working on a team with 5 other women forces you to learn everyone else's communication styles in order to work harmoniously together. It also forces you to be way more direct than you ever (EVER) wanted to be. I find myself writing 2 sentence emails with no punctuation and pushing send with out thinking twice about it. Before, in my freelance career, I used to vacillate over every word, every use of punctuation.. wondering if the recipient would get the wrong idea, wondering if they would think I was angry or not understand that I actually was angry but trying to be polite! ha! Now? I just write the damn thing and push send! No time for second guessing!

I've also had to learn how to manage people. I have a graphic designer who helps me layout the magazine and I just recently hired an intern to help me run the visual content on the Verily website (the website I've been re-designing for the past month, you'll see it soon!) I've never been anyone's boss or mentor before so this is a totally new ball game for me. I'm finding that I enjoy it a lot more than I thought I would. The girls I work with are incredible! But this is not to say that learning how to MANAGE has not been CA-RAZY!

Aside from my busy new job - Conor recently quit his job which moved us to Texas in the first place and accepted a new position at a new company. We are staying in Dallas which is good but him changing jobs was scary and hectic. In the end it turns out it is so much better for our family. Conor is so much happier at his new job and it makes all the difference in our home. We now have a nanny working for us 5 mornings a week (who by the way is the reason I can wake up in the morning, god bless her!) And all of this is why we are now able to spend Saturdays lazily brunching at places like Odd Fellows and exploring Dallas - a city that we have lived in for 6 months and until this past week I saw very little of. We weren't spending much time together because Conor's job forced him to work 24/7 and any free time he had to watch Henry I spent working on my freelance projects. I think we are glad those days are behind us.

I hope to be blogging more moving forward but I am finding that a lot of my energy is going in to staying organized for work and taking care of my two boys. I mean just take a look at that tired daddy (up above) and that happy lime munching baby and tell me you wouldn't want to skip everything else in life to hang out with them too!?  And then there is this gem of a photo (below) that I somehow snapped accidentally. I know it is blurry but it reminds me of something I would pull out of an old Polaroid land camera... the colors, the sun spots... that tiny little face peeking over his daddy's shoulder! It's everything.