1. March 6, 2015

    in review | FEBRUARY 2015

    Back to the one-monthers…and seriously lacking on the amount of instragram photos I had to share. Progress, not perfection.

    Happy March everyone! I first off want to share a little something that I was able to work on to start this month off right. A few days late…but, see that last sentence above. Head on over to the Card Store blog to celebrate March with me.

    Soooo February. It was a pretty intense and awesome month. I went on my first week-long vacation that wasn’t over a regularly scheduled holiday. Boy is the amount of work you have to prep for different when you do this! The weeks surrounding my vacation were packed to the max, and I spent every waking minute making sure that I wasn’t letting anything slide. Everything went smoothly, but I need to remember to prep a little better when this happens again.

    That vacation I’m talking about? I went to Hilton Head for a health retreat with my mom. My dad was also on the island, but he was doing his own thing while I was there. I did sneak away to enjoy a night of fresh-caught oysters, and ooooh man was it worth it. Since Christmas, I’ve been trying to live a healthier lifestyle and get back to feeling good again. I went through so many emotional ups and downs over the past couple years, and I have just been ready to stop making excuses, and learn how to live a balanced life. This doesn’t mean I’m giving up everything, hitting the gym every day, and making ‘no excuses’ to having any fun. It just means that I’ve taken the time to make health and wellness a priority, and that I’m making way more ‘good’ decisions than I am ‘bad’ ones. I still have taco bell after dance practice on Fridays, and I’ll have a beer before volleyball on Wednesdays. I just don’t go crazy, and I’m eating tons of veggies and healthy foods that actually make me feel great. I’ve still got a long way to go, but I’m so happy with how I’ve been progressing while still living a happy moderate life. Oh, and I’ve lost 11 pounds!! This vacation was so needed in the midst of this winter, and I have a feeling I’ll be trying to head back next year just to keep on track. Last year I spent the majority of February having 1PM sadness in my office. I’m happy to report that this year I’ve had a relatively cry-free February.


    Other than the vacation, we launched two new brand identities through Pinegate Road. We’re in the midst of web design for both — one to launch at the end of the month, and another to launch in May. Also! Finalizations have been made on this space right here, and Pinegate Road will be getting a new look within a month. Crossing my fingers I don’t decide to change things up again last minute and that all pulls through.

    Hope you’re having a great start to your month, and as always you can follow along with my month, day by day, here.

  2. February 10, 2015
    sisters in shape branding

    sisters in shape branding | PINEGATE ROAD

    Here’s the other brand that I have been chatting a little bit about via instagram lately. The Sisters in Shape branding was completed this weekend, and I’m happy to see how this brand refresh turned out. Erica came to Pinegate Road with a website and a brand that had been growing very well over the years. She has made amazing strides as a fitness model, and as a founder of the Sisters in Shape fitness coach community. After a new baby, Erica was ready to step it up to the next level visually for this brand so that she could keep working on her big dreams for Sisters in Shape.

    We warmed up the purple and green from the previous look, and added two more warm tones that come together to create a strong, famine palette. As we go about creating more of the look, we will incorporate a gradient in the Sisters in Shape colors, as well as using watercolor as a texture throughout. It was important for Erica to have the logo in many different forms as she builds out her brand across social media, the web, and print, so we created an alternate logo, a monogram, and various wordmarks to fit her different needs.

    sisters in shape branding before and after | PINEGATE ROAD

    Keeping the purple and green color story from her original branding, as well as the perky, strong, and feminine silhouette, this new Sisters in Shape branding keeps the same values that started with the company and brings them to a clean and refreshed space to grow from for many years to come. The look was cleaned up, a new typeface was chosen, and the silhouette was tweaked to work across both print and web materials. She was also flipped to the right so that you look visually from left to right as you take in the logo. In the wordmark, the ‘in’ is raised up to signify the link that the coaches have their their clients and to signify the community of women that Sisters in Shape provides for those involved. This also allows for an accent of the secondary color, green, to be added to the primary logo for a cohesive brand look. Throughout this process it was imperative to Erica that the brand still kept a feminine and soft appearance while exuding strength. I loved working with these parallels, and chose Brandon Grotesque as a perfect accompaniment to the brand identity. While it appears to have a strong and stable look, each corner on this typeface is actually rounded. This paired so well with the values of Sisters in Shape and will be an amazing typeface to work with as we build out the rest of the brand. We’ll be working on the website next, and I’m excited to see it all come together and see how this new look will help propel the Sisters in Shape community forward with their goals.

  3. February 9, 2015
    monday musing | 6

    monday musing | PINEGATE ROAD

    Because I’m always making that time excuse.

    Healthy reminder.

  4. February 4, 2015
    Hello Yellow Branding, an interior design blog

    Hello Yellow Branding | PINEGATE ROAD

    We finalized the new Hello Yellow branding last night, and I couldn’t wait to share! If you remember from only a few short weeks ago, this logo is based off the first moodboard in this post. We went through a process of creating three very different hand-lettered logo options, and settled on the one above. Working with a brand that’s name incorporates ‘Yellow’ had me thinking all sorts of bright and cheery thoughts. This logo hints at sunshine without going over-the-top and it also references many vintage logos made for home-oriented products that used scripts as their main mark. Bright, cheerful, hand-made, clean, updated, and female were all key words that signify this brand’s aesthetic.

    Now we’re on to placing this brand look into the website, and fingers crossed we will get to share the complete project soon!

  5. February 3, 2015
    IN REVIEW | december and january 2014 – 2105

    IN REVIEW | december and january 2014 - 2105

    Just sitting down to write this, I’ve overwhelmingly proud of myself for doing this before the middle of the month. Patting myself on the back and celebrating the small wins ;)

    December: Much less crazy than the December before! I was on top of work, and spent a lot of time just catching up with the year and getting ready for Christmas. I really need to start getting back to doing these monthly, as December has been lost on my at this point. One of the most fun things was heading to Ft. Lauderdale to visit with Todd’s family! We went out on the boat, ate some of the best sushi I’ve ever had, and had such a nice time relaxing and getting to know each other. Straight from Florida I went to Pennsylvania to celebrate the holidays with my family. We also spent a lot of time relaxing and having fun in our hometown. I went back to Cleveland for a week of work during the quietest time. Most of the building takes the two weeks off for Christmas and New Years, so it was nice to get back into the flow of work and work on a few fun projects for the department while deadlines were a few weeks away.

    January: This month was super productive. While I didn’t set goals, I felt this urge to kind of tighten up some things that has been had been a little willy nilly last year. I took the Be Free Lance course over the last few weeks, and it was great to learn about tools and practices to integrate into this part of my life. I’m so happy where I am right now with my career, but I knew that I had a lot of room to grow when it came to running this side business of mine. I’ve never been to business school, and I’ve been mostly just learning as I go. Having this course, as well as a facebook group of other creatives who are all over the spectrum as far as creative goals go has been amazing to glean information from. I knew I was on the right track with certain things, but sometimes it’s learning how to properly write that contract, or finding out about that app to help with bookkeeping that will help me run this facet of my life a little more smoothly. Other than that, I’ve been trying to soak in this winter life as much as possible. A bunch of us went tobogganing one Saturday, and I’ve been trying to fit in as many winter wonderland walks as Eaton can take. All in all, January was a month of refinement and learning to live life a little more presently than before. I’m really hoping for a similar February as I jump into Life With Intention Online.

    As a fun little note: Eaton was photographed at work about a week or two after she came home with me. She ended up making it onto a Valentine’s day card!! Cue the hugest stage-mom moment ever. If you’re up for it, you can find the card above at any store that carries American Greetings products that isn’t a Target or Walmart (check Rite Aid, CVS, or your local grocery store).

    Cheers to an awesome February friends!

  6. January 22, 2015
    when to hire a designer for branding

    The right time to hire a designer for branding | PINEGATE ROAD

    I recently received an email from a passionate lady starting off on a new event planning business. She was wondering how important it was to go into this process with a truly solidified brand she was proud of. Like so many other creatives venturing off onto new business quests this year, branding is sure to come up as a ‘should I? / shouldn’t I?’ situation. When there are so many costs to consider, the thought of spending a significant amount of your budget on branding right at the beginning deserves a little thinking over. As a designer and a lover of a great brand identity, when I started my own freelance journey I would have told you that it was an absolute necessity. After working with creative entrepreneurs over the past couple years, and seeing the various sides of where their business were at when they decided to take on a new brand identity, I have completely flip flopped.

    So…if you’re a new business with a small budget looking to brand yourself, my best advice would be to WAIT! Crazy, huh?

    The time with the most changes for any business will be in those first couple of years. Your goals might change, your vision might change, and most importantly, the values of your business might change as you go about figuring things out. As a designer who builds brands around values, having those change as your business is growing is a definite sign that you will need a completely new identity design when you work out the kinks and start moving on. Some of my most successful clients and branding projects have come from working with creative entrepreneurs who took the time to work on growing their businesses with an identity that got them by until they reached the point where they really knew their voice and values as a brand. This is essential. It can make months, or years, but it often comes with the feeling that you have the background knowledge and confidence to move forward, but knowing that you need to step it up visually for your brand to come together to reach your full potential. Now’s the time.

    From here, you’ll be able to work with your designer to build a brand that will last you five to ten years before you need a little refresh — not a complete overhaul. That is always my goal when working with my clients, and I try and base design decisions around timeless elements that can grow with the brand rather than something that shows its age a few years later by using a too-trendy trend. My blog, my terms here, ok? ;)

    So what do you do in the meantime? Hire a student! Go to a college with a reputable graphic design program, and post on their job board. Reach out via craigslist, or ask your college friend’s niece who is taking that course in typography. You will get an identity that will do you fine for the time being, and you will be supporting someone who would love to have some real-life experience to build up their resume and portfolio. You could also look to Etsy and search pre-made brands that could also get you by for the time being. These are often-times designs that will give you a nice look and feel, but that lack a true individualism and value-based identity that is true to your brand. Lastly, take a go yourself if you have the right software. Pick colors and values that are true to your vision now, and have at it.

    When is it right to begin a new business with the identity design in place? When you are a mid-sized business or corporation starting a new venture with a new identity, this is the time to begin with a well-designed identity. You most likely have the budget, a business plan, and you’re rearing to make your new business the best it can be right off the bat. Yay, go for it!

    Do any of your have other questions or have any input on this subject? Leave some notes in the comment section, I’d love to hear from you! Have any of you gone through the branding process and wish you did it differently? I’ve totally had my ups and downs when looking back :)

  7. January 21, 2015
    double moodboard kind of day

    moodboard for interior design brand

    Along with the new year inevitably—and thankfully—comes clients rearing to go with big new ideas. This is the second year that I’ve experienced this kind of ‘new year’s surge’ and it’s good to take note of for the years to come. Has anyone else experienced this? Note to self: schedule clients to finish up before the new year, and book new clients in advance to start that week back from the holidays. 

    In the past couple weeks back, we have finalized two moodboards:

    The moodboad above is for a large corporation looking to create an interior design blog to show off the possibilities of their line for our generation. I love it when you see established corporations taking on new ventures like this, and I’m even more in love that they chose me as their partner in crime to make this come to life. The blog is currently under development, and we are working a little bit backwards and are getting to the cohesive brand look now. This was a realization after working through some of the blog elements, that an actual branded look needed to be created for this new subsection of their company. While the traditional route is to work through this before the web portion is done, things don’t always have to go as perfectly in order as you think they do. This project has been teaching me a lot about going with your gut, how client friendship and communication is key, and how awesome it is when you have clients who are as passionate about their undertaking as you are for designing and bringing their vision to life. Can’t wait to share how this all turns out!

    Moodboard for female fitness community

    This next moodboard is for a logo refresh for a fitness coaching community. I’m usually working on bringing a new brand to life, or doing a complete rehaul, so taking the pre-established values and revamping the look is a fun new venture for me. Here, the main colors used on the last brand were purple and green. We decided to warm up the tones, and add some juicy and punchy tones to accompany those two as accents. I’ve already begun some of the refresh, and I can’t wait to show my client and see what she thinks of the new look.

    Happy creating, friends!

  8. January 15, 2015
    a recap and this year

    2014 recap and 2015 intentions for Pinegate Road


    I don’t know what’s gotten into me, but I’ve been a huge pile of happy lately. I’m just going to take the moment to share that since I know it’s not always the case. Gratitude and sharing happiness is the first step to getting more of that in your life, right? Even though I’ve been having a terribly hard time jumping into this new year with the same gusto of goals I’ve had in the past, there’s been something slowly brewing in my general attitude over the past month or so. I’ve been giving myself a break, I’ve been living in the moment, and I’ve been taking on new and exciting work that fulfills me creatively. Anyways, babble central over here. How are you guys?

    This yearly transition, from the holidays into the new year has been different. In the past, I’d have had all these goals and reflections that would propel me towards change in the new year, but this year I’m just drawing a blank. And you know what? I’m ok with it. Is anyone else not getting into the crazy goal setting thing this year? At the same time, I’m so pumped for this year. I finally feel like I’m settling into this little life of mine, and it feels good. I’m excited to have the foundation down, and to grow into healthier habits and do some personal growth. I don’t have specifics on these, but I can feel that awesome things will be happening.

    Oh, and I’ve been reading The Slight Edge — and it’s flipping my world upside down, in the greatest way. It’s amazing how a little positive decision making on even the simplest of things can change your perspective. Highly recommended for anyone with a go-getter spirit that’s feeling a little wishy-washy this January.

    Now for a little recap on my 2014:

    This was my year of settling in. I had big goals for myself to edit in all the areas of my life, and while some of that might have happened, I spent a lot of the year transitioning from ‘student’ Kelsey to ‘real life adult’ Kelsey. It was good. And bad. But mostly really great.

    Good, because I met Todd, I got Eaton, and I took on new clients and projects at work that really helped me grow professionally. I opened my print shop, which I had in my back pocket for two years running. Bad, because I celebrated a lot of the good with eating and have packed on more than a couple happy pounds. Like, way more than a couple. I let my work take over my health, and when I don’t move my body I subsequently get pretty darn sad for no reason at all. Not good. This year was mostly great because overall, I think this has been the happiest year of my life. No huge life complications, great friendships made, and lots of new experiences. I could really feel myself growing into more of who I want to be, and that is always a great thing.

    As traveling is always a priority in my life, here’s a list for my records:

    • March — Omaha, NE to style and shoot photographs for The Object Enthusiast

    • April — Dallas, TX for the Pursue workshop

    • May — Findley Lake, NY for a family weekend with my mom’s cousin’s family and Todd

    • July — Home, to Erie, PA for the 4th of July weekend

    • July — Chicago, IL to visit my grandparents

    • August — Toledo, OH for my very first German dancing event

    • October — Danville, OH for a cabin weekend to celebrate Todd’s birthday

    • November — Back to Omaha, NE but for a friend’s wedding

    • November — Draper, SD for Thanksgiving at the farm

    • December — Ft. Lauderdale, FL to meet Todd’s parents

    See, so much great fun happening! Lots to be thankful for.

    As I transition into this next year, I generally want to continue my trend towards mindfulness and general self-improvement. I want to keep practicing joy in the present moment, and making small positive decisions that will add up to a happy and well-lived life. There’s too much great to dwell in the negative, and I want to make decisions that reflect that mindset over the years to come.

    Cheers to a happy and healthy 2015 everyone!

  9. December 9, 2014
    IN REVIEW | october + november 2014

     in review | october and november 2014

    Hello friends! Happy almost Christmas. Am I the only one who doesn’t feel it yet? This is the first year that I just haven’t seem to catch on to the full Christmas spirit. Gah. I have my radio set to Christmas music on my drive to and from work, and I’ve even made my list of gifts and purchased half! Maybe I need a good Saturday spent baking cookies, a night of holiday movies, and at least a strand of lights up. Last year my garland didn’t come down to April, which I felt all sorts of lazy about. With the launch of the Pinegate Road Shop, my apartment is in no state to be decorated. I’ll be heading to Florida on the 19th, and then will head straight to Pennsylvania for Christmas with my family. Hoping those vibes set in before then!

    October and November were very productive months for me! I spent a lot of time getting prepped for the shop, and I feel like I generally got back on track with freelance after my computer was down for a month. I went to South Dakota for Thanksgiving, and my entire Dad’s side of the family came in too. We spent three days hunting, driving around the farm, and catching up on all that is new in our lives. My entire family is so spread out across the country so it’s pretty rare that we are all together in one place for an extended amount of time. This was the perfect amount of relaxation and family time that I was craving. In October, my very first designs have begun to pop up at Target — there was definitely an ugly cry on the drive home one day. I sit at my desk every day, designing, planning, making fun things, and then it’s entirely something else to see what you have worked on finally show up in stores after over a year of last seeing the product. This is the biggest design-girl moment I’ve ever had! Yay October!

    I know this is a review post, but seeing as how that’s about all I’ve been able to manage the past six months or so, this has me wanting to share what I’ve been thinking about the new year. This past year I set a goal to edit in most areas of my life. I don’t know if I’d say that I failed, but I don’t think that I lived up to the expectations that I set for myself (story of my life, hah!). This whole year I spent my spare time jumping from one project to the next, one activity to the other, and I feel like I lost a little bit of the reflection time that really helped me get through the year before. I’m realizing I need to take a step back and look at my whole picture and figure out where to move from there. In a weird way, this next year I want to be a selfish year. I want to take ‘me’ time, and set a good foundation for my future. So much of the past couple years have been just working on the next best thing to get me to where I’m standing right now. I’m so thankful for where I’m at, and I don’t want to crumble under my need to keep chasing the next big thing.

    While I don’t have any outcomes that I’m hoping for in particular, I have three big things that I’ll be working on early this next year that I hope can help my foundation-building.

    ONE: Over the past few months I have been devouring everything that Jess Lively has been putting out there. I spend all my time lettering listening to The Lively Show, and I’ve been so inspired by what she has to share. She has personally gone through and successfully worked towards changing many of the struggles I feel are still in front of me. She teaches about living an intentional life, and focusing on honing in on your values so that you can apply them to all aspects of your life instead of working towards goals. I’ve struggled my entire life with focusing on goals so intently, then achieving them. I’m left feeling the same amount of fulfillment shortly after so I start working towards my next goal. When does it end? Where I’m I trying to go? Achieving is not making me any happier, and it’s making me a whole lot more stressed than I think anyone should feel by supposedly chasing their happy. I’m hoping to work on this by taking Jess’ course, Life with Intention.

    TWO: As far as my freelance goes, I’ve been feeling pretty scattered! I’m just going to repeat what I’ve said above about jumping from one thing to the next, but I’m hoping to get things a little more organized when it comes to this little side business of mine. I’ll be taking the Be Free Lance course in January, and can’t wait to learn tips and tricks from two of my favorite designers: Bre + Jen.

    THREE: Lastly, I’ll be heading back to Hilton Head for health retreat. I did a ten-day retreat here three years ago, paired with an intense natural health overhaul the couple of months before with Vaughn Integrative. I’ve been SO BAD. And getting into an awesome relationship where I want to have fun and eat and drink and all that jazz all the time hasn’t helped my motivation. If I want to live an awesome life, the foundation of all foundations is my health. I’m hoping that this will propel me back into some better habits that I have lost over the past few years. I’m in the most stable of places that I have been in over the past couple years, and if I don’t make changes now, I don’t know when they will happen. The past few weeks I’ve been making some headway on healthier habits, and I’m hoping that by the time I head south in February I’ll be rearing to go for this week of focus.

    That seems like a lot now that I write it all down, but I’m thinking this is my year for subtle big changes. No moves across the country, no starting new careers, just some time to make big changes in small steps in my somewhat stable life.

    How have you all been doing on last years resolutions — did you make any big life changes that you stuck to? Any plans for this year?

  10. November 25, 2014
    Get your gift swap on


    Just a friendly holiday PSA to chat about one of my favorite new things about the holidays: blogger gift swaps.

    Last year I participated in Ali’s city swap, and was matched up with a lovely lady from Portland. She sent along tasty delights — I’m still enjoying the amazing Seven Smith Teamaker tea she sent along, and dreaming about a certain chocolate. I sent along some locally printed gift enclosure cards, and a tea towel from Mirdinara to my recipient. Here, who you give to and who gives to you are different people. What makes Ali’s swap unique is that the gift you give must be local to where you’re living. Supporting local artisans, making new friends, learning about other cities, win win win. Anyways, this was something I signed up for on a whim, and it turned out to be such a lovely experience that I wanted to give you all a heads up if you wanted to hop on board. The deadline to join is tomorrow, Nov 26th!

    This year, on another whim—holiday time seriously puts me into whim-mode I guess—I signed up for the Goody Goody Gift Swap. The names on the exchangers list were too good to pass up, and I’m looking forward to getting a taste of a different swap this year.

    The deadlines for both swaps are fast approaching, so if you’re wanting to get in to a little extra holiday spirit, hurry up and get yourself signed up.

    Wishing you all safe travels if you’re heading out this week, and lots of love on Thanksgiving. I’ll be heading out west for a Cronkhite family Thanksgiving reunion on the farm. I’m so looking forward to taking a few days to unplug and relax with all of them.

    Pssst: I opened a Pinegate Road Etsy shop, just in time for the holidays! I’m still going to be doing some tweaks, but I wanted to get it up in time for holiday shopping. If you have a creative go-getter on your list, one of these limited edition handmade prints might be a perfect new treasure.


















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