I was incredibly ecxited to see the feature story that VSCO did on the Weaver House. Read the enitre feature here. The Weaver House girls put together the Emily Dickinson photo shoot for our June/July issue. These photos were really fun to work with and layout for the magazine so I was really excited when I saw them being featured over on VSCO blog.Being the art director for a print magazine was an incredible experience for me. Once these photos were recieved, I worked with the style editor to narrow down our final selections for the magazine (not an easy task because they were all so beautiful) and then I got to work laying out the images for print. I also worked with fellow design friend Eva Black to create a beautifully hand drawn title page and quotes that wove in and out of the elements in the photos.
Entries in My Work (52)
I still exist! We have had a lot going on over here lately and I just haven't had time to blog. Not a bit. A lot of changes, traveling, working and adjusting have been happening. I'm excited to announce that another website I designed will be launching soon! A very editorial/magazine type site with inspiration for women JUST LIKE ME!! It's a site that I am going to probably be checking everyday! So stay tuned for that! The project was so much fun to work on and of course the group of women that I have been designing for are phenomenal! I love creating mood boards with my clients! (See above)
There have been some major changes going on over at Verily as well. With the editorial team deciding that it would be best for the magazine to become an online only platform I have taken a huge step back. I loved working with print and editorial/layout design. Working with Verily on a print magazine was definitely a great experience and world changing as far as being inspired by intelligent, creative women! I will still be involved in the overall art direction of Verily but I am now focusing more of my time and attention on my freelance work/business. Working for yourself can be tricky so I am eager/excited/nervous about investing a lot more energy in to Jane Reaction! This year I am taking on more clients than ever before but still keeping my studio small enough to provide that personal, unique, one on one design experience.
And finally, after encouraging Conor to quit his (really nice, awesome, flexible) job at his real estate investment firm - he finally did it! Now he is crossing off real estate goals of his own! I'm proud of him but adjusting to the new schedule of him being gone a LOT more. Every time I start to feel discouraged with all of the change and chaos going on I start singing David Bowie's Changes! and I feel like I can handle it all over again!
Every year I like to put together a little post about my new years goals using some of my favorite pins from Pinterest from the last year. It is just my way of getting my goals out there and creating something beautiful that I can look at that will hopefully remind and inspire me to work towards my goals. I have to admit I don't think I accomplished half of my goals from last year... This year I decided to take a different approach. I only set 3 really big goals and then the rest are just fun/easy to achieve goals - things like sign Henry up for swimming lessons and make more ice cream! Duh! of course!
I also heard recently that instead of setting a bunch of goals and working towards them and trying to achieve them no matter what - we should first really consider how we want to feel about ourselves and then set goals accordingly. So instead of setting goals to earn a lot of money we should set a goal to feel successful or financially stable. Then really examine what that means to us. I personally struggle with anxiety and worry a lot. More than I'd like. This year I want to FEEL peaceful, and calm. For all of 2013 I was cynical and scrutinized my religion and my beliefs to death. It was exhausting. At the end of the day all I felt was doubt and fear. This year I just simply want to be still and know. I don't want to be perfect or overly zealous about religion but I do want to feel peace - and for me that means trusting that a higher power is guiding my path. I want my children to also feel peace and comfort and know that even when things aren't going right they can always find love and acceptance at home. I just want to trust that things work out the way they are supposed to. It seems really scary to me but I am going to work on it.
And (drum roll please) I am really excited to announce the winner of the 4moms RockaRoo swing! I let Conor do the honors of randomly selecting a number ... and the winner is!! MICHELE RODOCKER. You will be emailed and notified soon! 4moms will be sending you a brand new RockaRoo swing in the mail! Congrats!
I recently had the chance to work with James from the blog Bleubird on her blog re-brand. It was a really fun project to work on as you can imagine. James and I came up with the mood board (directly) above together and then I went to work on creating all of her brand elements and blog design. She knew she wanted the site to be clean and minimalist with some hand drawn elements to make it more alive. I spent a few hours one day painting Bleubird over and over and over trying to get it perfect but after a while I decided to just quickly paint it out in my normal handwriting and let it be imperfect. It ended up being both of our favorite versions of the logo and we stuck with it. James is a really fun person to work with and we really took our time on this project to make it perfect. I am so glad I got to know her and so excited to work with her more on some upcoming projects!
This project practically went off without a hitch until the very end! We encountered some technical difficulties as we started to export her blog from Typepad to Wordpress. Because her blog is so huge it crashed both Typepad's export server and Wordpress' import service repeatedly! It had James and I both at home before 10 o'clock on new year's eve trying to figure out how to fix it! In the end her blog just ended up going up a bit late. It was a pretty frustrating lesson to learn the hard way: leave plenty (and I mean plenty) of time for technical errors towards the end of your projects. Just a word to the wise. ;)
On a personal note: I knew I wanted to start working again after having Wayne but I wasn't sure how fast I should jump back in to work or how much I should take on. Back in September I decided to take this project on. We would start once Wayne turned 4 weeks old and I would have it be the only thing on my plate - just to see how I would do. It was a great transition for me and has totally inspired me to take on MORE! Yeah, I really thought I was going to slow down a lot too but these 2 kids just push me harder! I'm not going crazy working all of the time but I don't feel like quitting either (like I really thought I would). I'm trying to take it easy but I have projects booked out until April right now and I am pretty excited about it.
Now that the new year has begun and Wayne is starting to sleep longer through the night I am diving back in to work. My plan for the year is to work smarter not harder. I plan on only taking on projects that I am excited about. As a freelancer it is easy to get stuck in the habit of working more, more and more. Anytime you think of something "extra" you want to buy you just take on an "extra" project. But when you have kids you can't really do that anymore. Time is a hot commodity. So saving money, and being selective about projects is how you survive...
As I planned out my next year as a working mama of two I decided I would share a few of my working mama tips. This is how I balance work and life (if you can call it balancing... I like to just think of it as life with kids, things are messy and unbalanced) I work from home and have 2 really young kids so this stuff might not apply to everyone but I think a lot of it is pretty universal and it has saved me quite a bit of time and money in the last couple of years.
1. Meal Plan - I know this one sounds boring and trivial but it has been a game changer in our house. Every week I sit down and write out a dinner menu. We usually eat out once a week and have leftovers one night a week so I really only have to plan 5 meals. I take stock of what I already have and then only buy things for those meals (I also stock up on lots of eggs for breakfast and fruits and veggies for lunches). Then I try my hardest to not go to the store for the entire week. I sorta make a game out of it. Sometimes I win. Sometimes I lose. But we save a ton of money this way and there is less stress at that time of night when everyone just goes bonkers. You know, your kid has that switch that automatically flips at 5 in the evening? And they start screaming about everything and nothing? and going wild for no apparent reason? Mine too! It's so convenient because it's right at dinner time when you need to get food on the table. Having a plan usually helps this time of night go a lot smoother.
2. Scale Down - This was/is a hard one for me. We decided as a couple to live well within our means a long time ago. I hate feeling like I can never buy anything I "want" because all of my money is going towards stuff that I "need". I want to be able to take my kids to get ice cream and buy myself a new shirt every once in a while and not feel like I am breaking the bank. So we scaled down. We don't have overly expensive "needs". I used to drive a new Honda Element that I absolutely loved. Now, I drive an old Volvo wagon (she's a boxy little thing but I think she's pretty) that we don't have to make payments on. Instead of furnishing our house all at once we shop around at thrift stores and buy things on sale. In order to make our lives less stressful we scaled down our expenses. Now I don't have to worry about taking some time off of working here and there to spend more time with my kids. I know I will be able to pay my bills because I have scaled down.
3. Child Care - This is probably the most important one for me. It is absolutely impossible to work with children pulling you in several different directions. It's even harder when they are in someone's care that you don't really trust. Or at a daycare facility that you feel uneasy about. I have extreme anxiety about my children's well-being. I'm not just exaggerating either. I mean I really have panic attacks over my children's health and safety. I tried taking Henry to a day care while I worked for a while and I would go pick him up really early every single time because I couldn't breathe thinking about all of the things that could possibly happen to him there. I know that might sound a little nuts but I am pretty nuts when it comes to my kids. I think most people are. You have got to be able to find something that works for you. I finally found a nanny that I love. I love her so much. She is more money than a day care but that is why I drive an old Volvo wagon. Because knowing that my kids are safe and well taken care of is more important than a nice new car. And without our nanny I am not able to work at all - so she seems really worth every penny. If child care solutions are hard for you don't worry! It's hard for everyone! Don't give up if a child care situation doesn't feel right. Try something else until you feel secure. I don't know why I felt like I needed to say that? Maybe because I really was about to give up on ever trying to work again when my mom encouraged me to keep trying different solutions. Working has helped me feel fulfilled and sane. It helps me be a better mom. So it was kind of a big deal to be able to find something that helped me do what I love and still feel like a good mom.
4. Get your partner on board - I don't know how single parents do it. They are amazing. I know I can't do it without my other half. Ever since I read Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg I have had a way easier time asking Conor to do specific things around the house to help take care of the kids. I am able to express to him what exactly it is that will help me each day. For example Conor gets Henry dressed and ready for the day before he leaves for work. This simple thing helps me get myself and Wayne ready so much faster and there is less drama when we head for the door. It is amazing how that simple little act makes my day go a lot smoother. Without him putting in time and energy I would not be able to get anything done.
5. Let go of the Type A personality - I am still working on this one. Those who know me well know that I am a closet perfectionist. I like to pretend like I can fly by the seat of my pants but really I am constantly planning, plotting and cleaning. With two kids, a job and myself to take care of I don't have a lot of time for relaxing, painting my nails... just sitting and talking with my husband about anything...let alone cleaning and organizing. But those things are sooo important. I have learned the hard way that sacrificing relaxation or one on one time with my husband for a totally spotless house does not make me happier. It makes me grumpier. So I have had to learn to overlook messes. I walk out of my house with dirty dishes in the sink quite often. More times in the past 2 months than I ever have in my entire life actually! I have a "good mom" mental checklist that I go over every night in my head: did I feed the kids good healthy meals? Did I take Henry to do something fun or exciting or to the park? Did I give him enough time and attention? Did I tell them that I love them and make them feel important? If I can answer yes to those questions I feel good about myself. I've stopped asking myself if the house is clean or if there is clean clothes left in the dryer... that stuff can just WAIT!
Anyway, I hope this was helpful to someone out there! If not, at least you can enter the RockaRoo giveaway! I've teamed up with 4moms to do a fun little giveaway. One lucky Mama out there will win one of these new RockaRoo infant swings. I'm a huge fan of all of the 4moms products but this is by far my favorite! It is super light so it is easy to relocate to different rooms around the house. I think it looks super comfortable - Wayne slips right in that seat and just hangs out while I eat (with two hands!) or play with Henry. I love the rocking motion and you can really crank it up for those babies that need MORE motion in their ocean (this would have been so nice to have 2 years ago with Henry who was a very very difficult sleeper). To enter LIKE 4moms on Facebook and leave a comment below letting me know you "liked" them and that you want to win the brand new RockaRoo swing by 4moms! Also check out the 4moms 31 days of RockaRoo on Facebook - they are giving away a RockaRoo swing everyday for the entire month of January so if you don't win one here, you still have 30 more chances!! Ready Go!
This giveaway will be closed on Friday January 10th and a winner will be announced right here on JaneReaction. This giveaway is only open to US residents.
Happy weekend everyone! I am so glad it is F R I D A Y!! Designer friend Jaymee made this awesome video of our weekend together at Designer Vaca. I got a little teary eyed watching it. Give me a break I'm 9 months pregnant! I cry over everything. It reminded me of being young and going to summer camp and making tons of new friends that were interested in all of the same things I was! I especially love this retreat because even the girls that I think are going to be "too cool" are not. Everyone is inclusive and the drama you usually brace yourself for when interacting with 50 hot, talented, strong, women is nonexistent. I am so grateful to have been part of a group that was so encouraging and fun! That's what life is all about! Love mixing business with pleasure in such a beautiful way!
Just sharing an old project on the blog this morning! While I am taking all of this time to "slow down" I'm realizing that blogging is a fun creative outlet that I really let go of recently. So today I am taking the time to post some images from a past styling project that I got to work on with some friends out in Hawaii. My friend Katie runs a little shop on Etsy called Pretty Swell - selling little fabric garlands and cake toppers. We got together with photographer Tiffany Garfield one afternoon and styled a mini shoot in Katie's living room. I love projects like this! It is so fun to get together with friends and dream up a scenario and set the stage. It is even more fun when the props include fresh strawberries, lilikoi cake and Izze drinks!
I just got back from my trip to Palm Springs last night and honestly I am completely exhausted! Mentally and physically. I attended the annual Designer Vaca retreat with 50 other creative women and it blew my mind! I learned so much and was so inspired by others. I spent the weekend getting to know new people, speaking on a couple of panels, reconnecting with old designer friends and reflecting on how far I have come in a year. It was amazing and just what I needed at this time.
Last year as I drove home I remember writing pages worth of ideas and notes... for days! I re-designed my site and updated my portfolio. I challenged myself to work more more more and more. I revamped my work process to make it smarter and not harder. I took on new challenging projects that I never thought I would. This year as I left I just wanted to toss my laptop in the dumpster on my way out. For the past 9 months I have been looking forward to October - to my due date. Trips were scheduled for all over the country and projects were booked right up to the last second. Literally. I think everyone is still scratching their heads at how I was even allowed on that last flight! I have not slowed down for one second since last year. I have been pushing myself even harder in the last few months knowing that a baby would really slow me down. But now, I don't want to think about work. I don't want to figure out how to push myself harder and be more successful or competitive. I don't want to think about anything but my babies.
I just want to be a mom.
I loved at the retreat when my friend Kathleen (who is also expecting) said that one of the biggest risks she is going to take in the next year is slowing down, and that it is scary. Damn right it is! I am afraid to slow down too! But I am soooo ready to. AND I am so excited for that fresh heaven smell that is going to be coming to me in a couple of weeks! I can almost feel the soft peachy fuzz on my lips. It is all I think about as I drift off to sleep at night. I also want to cherish these last days of just having 1 child. Henry and I have been best friends for the past 2 years and have done pretty much everything together. I know he is going to be the best big brother ever but my heart is aching to just hold him like a baby a little longer.
It's definitly quitting time for me. At least for right now. It's time to wrap my babies in blankets and read them stories and kiss them like crazy. I'm sure when it's time to charge full speed ahead again it will seem like I barely had time to blink. So here's to slowing down. Here's to letting go for a season and enjoying the magic that life can bring.
P.S. I know this post may make it sound like I am really quitting and walking away, but I assure you I am not. My brain is still going a mile a minute thinking up new projects and things that I want to do. I am just giving in to this part of my life and really slowing down for a few months while my baby is small and needs me the most.
Hello! It's been a while! I feel like I blog so randomly these days that it is really hard to just jump right in to a post. I feel like I need to excuse my absence. Or update everyone on something huge that has been happening in my life. Truth be told - I have just been a little busy. Busy with work, busy taking care of that crazy beautiful boy pictured above ... and really busy growing another human.
The November/December issue of Verily went to press yesterday!! I celebrated by eating a huge milkshake and getting in bed at 8. It was glorious! The two weeks before we go to print I always feel like a zombie. Not the slow moving, arms out in front of me kind of zombie. More like the fast, crazy eyed, stop-at-nothing-to-get-a-taste-of-blood, World War Z type of zombie. I work as much and as fast as my tired little mind will allow me in order to meet a deadline. The other day one of my co-workers asked Conor how I got it all done at the last second and he described how I just shut down and go in to "work mode." He doesn't see much of me for those two weeks. I had never looked at it from his point of view before but I'm sure he sees a Zombie. Shut down. Not human. Thirsty for blood - AKA the day everything goes to print.
I'm telling you all of this because in a few short days I will be flying out to Palm Springs to attend the 2nd annual Designer Vaca at the Ace Hotel. I have been asked to speak on a panel with 2 of my other designer friends (Liz Grant and Alyssa Yuhas) about the over-talked about and ever-elusive work/life balance. What is that anyway? I'm pretty sure I have professed right here on my blog to know what that is, but let me tell you - I don't really know for sure! But, hey, who better to talk about it than the huge pregnant zombie in he corner over there! Right? I mean she's gotta know something about balancing work and family and life...look at her! Is she even alive?
I guess I do know a little...I mean I've managed to carve out a happy place in my life - doing what I love while raising a family. I know how to prioritize. I know how to ask for help. I know how to stay organized. I know when to let the house work elude me for days so that Henry and I can just jibber jabber in a language that only he and I understand all afternoon. I also have a husband who knows how to be a partner in all of this and not just another person I have to feed at the end of the day. Gosh, he is amazing. But I DON'T know how to place all of these things in such a way that the scale never tips... aaahhh the scale....
Does anyone know how to balance it all perfectly? Is it really that easy? Just do this, this and this and the scale never tips? I don't think so. And we all know exactly what side of the scale we would let fall if forced to choose. Life wins every time. So I am asking you for practical advise on how to balance the scale. Even if the scale is teetering at best. I know I have my tips and tricks that I will be sharing: child care, communication with your spouse, re-thinking spending habits in order to work less.... etc. But what are some of yours? How do you manage to keep the scale from crashing to the floor? Or how do you manage it all when one side does crash to the floor (as I know it can and will from time to time)?*
*I know from experience -and I just want to say to anyone that is going through this, IT'S OK! That stupid old scale wasn't meant to stay balanced perfectly. Life is tricky and sometimes you have to heroically save your family from a sinking ship and let work go to (you know where) :)
Remember this post I wrote about having some fun projects in the works? Well, the time has finally come to reveal my latest freelance project - Clementine Daily. It has been sooo much fun to work on! And I am so thrilled that it is finally here for everyone to start visiting... daily!
A few months ago Erin Loechner (from the blog Design for Mankind) contacted me about a new project she had been dying to work on. When she explained her vision, "to create a space for real women living authentic-sometimes-frenzied-often-harried-but-always-inspired lives" I knew I wanted to be a part of it!
The site is relevant and fun and the messages strive to make you feel like you are good enough. I am so happy to have been able to work on this project and so pleased with the way it turned out! I hope you hop on over to the site to check it out! And enter the giveway!! (See below!)