Entries in Personal (157)

Monday
Jul282014

daydreaming of the perfect home

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Lately we have been talking a lot about our ideal life... our ideal home, our ideal jobs, where we eventually want to settle down forever. Last night we decided the ideal life was living on a really small farm (a few chickens, a goat and some llamas) close to the beach where we work together on creative fun projects for a living, share the responsibilites of taking care of our kids equally and surf every weekend! Sounds pretty fantastic right?! It also sounds pretty far from the lives we lead right now... and to that we say - "SO WHAT!" Let's make it happen! So here's to putting our heads down and working hard so that someday we can actually have that life! What's your ideal life? Where would you live? What would your job be? I would love to know! 

Tuesday
Jun172014

Perfect Timing

I went out for soufflés the other night with some girlfriends at Rise No 1 (in Dallas). As you leave this particular restaurant the hostess hands you a little card with a quote written on it that she pulls out of an old fashioned bingo cage. Mine was totally irrelevant to my life right now, but my friends said this, "No army can withstand the strength of an idea whose time has come." -Victor Hugo. She could tell I liked it a lot so she gave it to me. I'm a bit of an idealist... and lately I have seen some people fighting ideas that I think have great merit. This quote gave me hope.  

Wednesday
Jun042014

Mother Magazine


Oh hey! Just stopped by the ol' blog to share a recent project that I worked on and to type out a few thoughts and feelings ... I have a lot of feelings! :) 

First of all - Mother was such a fun project to work on. I always love working with Miss James (from the blog Bleubird), and it was fun to work with her new business partner Katie (formerly the editor at R29). It's exciting to collaborate with other women who are just as passionate as I am about mothering and fashion and eating well (both delicious and healthy) and on and on. This project was especially fun to put together because it focuses on something so important to me. Being a mom. Being a fun, loving, adventurous, fashion forward, up to date mama at that! I'm not always all of those things (are you kidding me? who IS?) but it was fun to work on a site that inspires me to be more of the fun loving woman I want to be and less of the stressed out, over protective, anxious mother I really am. Some favorite things about this site - it has a real magazine feel to it but is easy to navigate. I love that the slide show images are LARGE LARGE LARGE and that the viewer doesn't change sizes when different images pop up! That was important to me! I hate when slide shows jump all over the place depending on the size of the image. I also love the tiled images for slide show pages so that you can view all of them at once and not have to click through a bunch of images if you don't really want to. Overall I am pretty excited about how it turned out and even more excited to see it evolve in to something much bigger! Mother Magazine is my new online lifestyle inspiration site! Win!

And on to my thoughts and feelings - 

I have been talking to a few friends lately about this but mothering really has sent me on a spiritual journey I never anticipated. I am finding out truths about myself that I never even knew existed before becoming a mother. I am more confident about standing up for what I truly believe to be good and right. I am less willing to just fall in line with things that don't really jive with my spirit. I am coming to peace with my imperfections, the imperfections of others. I am admiring the beauty of the world more and freaking out over how exciting it is to just be able to wake up everyday (although somedays I really don't want to get out of bed, I still think it's pretty awesome to have this life). I kinda want to get a huge grizzly bear tattoo because I feel like that is what being a mom has done to my soul. It has turned me into a fiercely protective wild animal!  

I am currently working hard to launch my new website! I am so excited about it! I have been working hard on all of the behind the scenes stuff (new media kit, process kit, updated homework package, etc.) It's finally time to give my actual web presence the new look and I couldn't be more thrilled. It is currently being developed by my new friend, side kick, partner in BIZ - Brandi! She is amazing and will have a little ABOUT section on the new site so that you can get to know her! 

I recently attempted to do Whole30. And failed. Twice. But I don't consider myself a failure. I think I learned a lot about my eating habits and my body. I actually made it 21 days before I was forced to go on a clear liquid diet and have some tests done on my insides. I will have to write a longer post about my experience with whole30 another time (and the health issues that lead me to that diet in the first place) but for now I will just say, I am excited about the new insight that trying to eat more whole foods, organic, less processed, slowed down, simplified foods has given me! It truly is amazing how our minds and bodies will respond when we slow down and take the time to nourish them. (If you're interested I'm still basically eating whole30 but with some added foods like quinoa, granola, greek yogurt.. and occasional sweets when I'm out with friends).  

That's all for now! Hopefully, the next time I blog it will be on the new site, but if not... no big deal right?

Wednesday
May072014

How I got Started. It's weird. 

Lately I have been getting these questions a lot. I thought I would share my story here, that way the next time someone asks me this question I can just point them in this direction... How did you get started in Graphic Design? Did you go to school? and do you have any advice for me (me being a person just getting started in graphic design)? 

Well... it's weird, but here it is. The story of how I became a freelance graphic designer - 

I took a lot of art classes in high school. As soon as I graduated from high school I moved to Hawaii to live on the beach and surf. I enrolled in college on the North Shore of Oahu and decided to major in ceramics (I also took several drawing, painting and printmaking classes). I surfed all day and played with clay and paints all afternoon. And yes, I loved my life.

I graduated in 2008 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts and a minor in psychology. That summer the economy was bottoming out and jobs were hard to come by. I moved back in with my parents and somehow managed to secure an internship at an art therapy studio in down-town Portland. I worked with schizophrenic young adults and helped put on fairy art camps for little kids. It was an interesting summer. While I had previously planned to enroll in a masters program for art therapy by the end of that summer I realized that that path just wasn't for me. 

My mom encouraged me to enroll in some of the graphic design classes at a community college in Portland. Now, this is where I have to be totally honest - I was seriously depressed at the time. I had just moved away from Hawaii, I was living in my parents house again, I didn't have many friends and I had no idea how I was going to support myself with a degree in ceramics. Everywhere I turned there were articles about how bad the economy was and how no one could find a job. The future to me seemed sooooo bleak... also I really didn't know what graphic design was. I told my mom I would apply for the program and see if I got in. I did. and I loved it. Design made me happier again too. I went to school 2 days a week so that I could get a second degree in graphic design. I got a job at a restaurant at night, and another job at Anthropologie on my off days and weekends. Anthro has a great art department so I did everything I could to help out with their visuals when possible. 

During my second year in the design program I met my husband and we decided to get married once I graduated. Conor still needed to finish his degree and he wanted the same experience I had in Hawaii (of course, who wouldn't?!) So after I graduated, we got married and moved back to Hawaii. The ONLY bad thing about Hawaii is there are not a lot of jobs, especially not on the North Shore where we lived. I basically had no chance of finding a job in the design industry. NONE! I'm not even exaggerating. So, I started blogging. I blogged all of the time about things I liked and projects I was working on. I took on as many freelance projects as I could. I really didn't know what I was doing.

I had limited knowledge of HTML and coding but everyone wanted a website. So I ordered Coding For Dummies and took on my first website design project. I charged $800 to brand, design and code an entire site - I think it took me almost 3 months. I stayed up late into the night crying over my keyboard and pulling out my hair. I learned a lot! We were dirt poor and living off student loans and the government. But we were happy. I kept taking on projects and raising my prices as I felt more confident in my skills. Blogging helped get my name out there in a huge way. Without blogging no one would have ever been able to see what I was capable of doing. Updating my blog and my portfolio regularly let people see what I was up to. 

Our close friends Nate and Katie came to us one day and told us they wanted to start a magazine. It was going to be called Kinfolk and it would be the next big thing. We jumped on board and helped in any way that we could. Nate and Katie decided to move to the Oregon Coast while Conor still had a year of school left - and I was seriously sick with my first pregnancy (like couldn't even look at a computer screen without puking sick). So we stayed in Hawaii and professionally parted ways with Kinfolk. It was really hard for me to let that go but working with Kinfolk in the early stages opened up opportunities for me with another magazine - Verily.

While Conor was in his second year of school I started taking on more and more projects. I had a baby and I designed Verily Magazine from the ground up. When Conor was done with school we decided to leave Hawaii so that he could get a better job than what was there. We moved from Hawaii to San Diego and then from San Diego to Dallas... Each time we moved I set up my computer and started taking on new projects - with each new project/blog post/invoice/collaboration I gained more knowledge and practice. I learned how to run a business. I learned how to educate my clients about my creative process. I learned how to write invoices and keep records for taxes. I got better at designing. I'm still learning as I go. With every project there is something new to be learned. There have been days where I have literally hid under my covers certain that my world would end and no one would ever want to work with me agian... and there have been days where I felt like my time and talents were worth MILLIONS OF DOLLARS and everyone should want to work with me! haha 

There isn't a clear path to get into the design industry. You set goals and then you fight to get to where you want to be. Once you get there you set new goals. I feel really happy with what I have accomplished in design and where I am right now but there is still so much more that I would like to do. I haven't arrived yet. Right now I am super happy that I have figured out how to make this a sustainable job but there are still areas where I would like to improve, get better or bigger or faster. 

As for advice I have 3 things to say

#1. Blog. Start a blog and get an online portfolio together. Right now. Starting a blog serves 2 purposes. First it is a great way to practice putting together layouts and designing for the internet. Second it is an invaluable marketing/advertising platform that you can use to connect to other people and allow others to see your work. No one is going to hire you if they can't see what you are capable of doing. A print portfolio is awesome but an online portfolio is an absolute must! 

#2. Work. Work begets work. Take on anything and everything. If you don't know how to do it, GOOGLE IT! Learn as you go. Get paid to learn. Does your sister need a wedding invitation? Do it for her. Take her through your creative process. Start by sending her a questionnaire. End by sending her an invoice - even if the bottom line says $FREE! Take your files to a local printer and ask them to help you set them up properly for print. 

#3. Create. Stay creative. Don't always do everything on the computer. Make a collage with magazines and glue. Take a pottery class. Rip up a bunch of paper and sew it back together. When designing for others it is easy to loose your creative edge. Remember you went in to this field because you are a creative person. Don't lose site of what it is you love to do. The more work you can create that is authentic and represents who you are and the type of work you like doing the more you will attract your dream clients. 

 

 

Sunday
Apr272014

The Farm

It seemed like a lot of things didn't work out the way I expected them to this month... Mostly just as far as work goes. Please, nobody get me wrong here! I LOVE LOVE LOVE my job and I am so grateful to all of the people that I am able to work with, the last thing I could even think to complain about is my job! ... but sometimes being a designer can suck the life out of you. A good designer knows you just can't let that happen. But sometimes it can. After designing for other people for so long you can't remember what your own style is anymore. You aren't making things just for fun, you are making things to make a client happy... and that's when you get stuck in a rut and you just gotta break away. it's nice to just go do something you are passionate about and let it inspire you. Not to make money. Not to help someone else make money. Not for a grade or a job or a friend or any other reason. You just have to leave your desk, find something out in the world that makes you happy and be inspired by it. Make something just for the sake of making something. It's a guaranteed rut obliterater. 

Conor built a Mid Century inspired chicken coop last week for our 4 chickens. This week I just had to get away and do something different. We told Henry to put his cowboy boots on because we were heading to the farm. We drove about an hour outside of the city and picked up 2 new silkies. I have been dying to get my hands on some silky chickens. On the way home (while the chickens wrestled each other in an emptied diaper box) I planned a photo shoot and a catalogue and a packaging design for our eggs... I let my imagination run wild. What would it be like to design for a chicken? I lined our girls up in the backyard on white foam core board and snapped photo after photo, trying to get their personality just right. Call me absolutely insane for all of my chicken shenanigans but damn, it felt good to do something creative just for creativity's sake. 

Maybe I'll share the final catalogue in my portfolio someday... maybe you'll see a pretend magazine spread of our "coop tour" ... who knows... For now I am rejuvinated. For now I feel ready to jump back in to designing for other people again. I seriously can't wait to get rolling on May's projects! I have some pretty interesting clients lined up! Wahoo! 

Monday
Apr212014

Mom Style: SAY YES

I'm over on the blog SAY YES talking about mommy style, being nice to yourself after you just had a baby and what my go to pieces are while I am in between sizes. Go check it out! Thanks for having me Liz! 


Friday
Apr112014

Donut Craze + Winner Announced

I'm a huge fan of the donut. HUGE. I have a favorite donut joint in every city I visit. I have a pinterest board just for donuts. I often fantasize about opening a food truck with my best friends and serving only the prettiest, yummiest donuts. It would be called.... Donuts.

While in Portland a few weeks ago I went to Blue Star. It wasn't my first time having their donuts, I remembered the last time I went to Portland I tried a couple of donuts. They were great. But all donuts are great.  This last time was my first time trying the Blueberry Bourbon Basil Donut. It was amazing! I have thought about it at least twice a day since I had it... and dreamt about it once. I finally hunted down the glaze recipe tonight and plan on trying to make my own this weekend. Wish me luck... or else everyone at my house is going to be very un-happy. When mama isn't happy, NO ONE IS HAPPY! ;)

Also the winner of the Winter Water Factory $100 gift card giveaway is Meg! - "I love summer rompers & the tanks, all of the patterns are so cute but I especially love the high seas one :) Thanks for the great giveaway, fingers crossed!" Meg - please send me your contact information (erinjane85 (at) gmail (dot) com) so that we can get you your gift card! 

Thank you to everyone who entered the giveaway! We are so excited to be partnering with more fun, creative companies like Winter Water Factory! Be on the look out for more giveaways like these! 

Saturday
Apr052014

Winter Water Factory + Giveaway

The boys and I just got back from our 2 week vacation to Portland. I grew in a small town just outside of Portland so I consider the North West my stomping grounds. We go back often to visit family and friends. I love it there. I love it there so much I often wonder why we don't live there!? The first week we were there it was absolutely beautiful! After living in Dallas for the past year I am always surprised at how the beauty of a place can really take my breath away. Literally, it will catch me so off guard that I feel like I might cry. (Dear Dallas, you are so good to us but you aren't the prettiest place we have ever lived. Sorry. I love you for other reasons.) Then, the second week we were there it rained. Constantly. And then I remembered why I don't live there. I love the sun. I often think of myself as someone who follows the sun wherever it goes. I am drawn to it, hence the move to Hawaii the minute I graduated from high school. (and Dallas, that is why I like you most, you are nothing if not sunny!)

I love that in Dallas I can take my kids to the park everyday. Or play in the back yard while our funny little chickens cluck around us. Yesterday we stayed at the park all afternoon. I just let Henry run around with his little friends while I lay on a blanket with some other mommy friends talking about our day. When we got home I put Wayne in his crib and got Henry a few books to look at while I made dinner. The sun shining in their window was perfect so I decided to snap a few pictures.  I want to remember days like this forever. I spend a lot of time wondering why I am in the place I am - physically, emotionally, spiritually. How did I get here? What am I supposed to learn from this? But yesterday afternoon I didn't wonder at all. The warm sun beaming in the window, the grass stains on Henry's little gray pants and the smell of my warm baby content in his crib reassured me I was exactly where I was supposed to be.

The boys are wearing Winter Water Factory clothing in these photos. Have you heard of them? Their cute little spring line is out and has the cutest prints and patterns for girls and boys. To celebrate their new line we are giving away a $100 gift card to their store. To enter the giveaway like their Facebook page or their Instagram feed and then leave a comment here letting me know which item (or item(s)) you would buy with the gift card! Only one entry per person. The winner will be chosen at random and announced here on Friday the 11th by the end of the day.

Monday
Mar102014

CH CH CH Changes

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! 

 

Changes by David Bowie on Grooveshark

Friday
Jan102014

2014 Goals + Winner Announced

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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!