1. January 8, 2014
    MOODBOARD | fitness guru

    moodboard | for a fitness client | PINEGATE ROAD

    Well here’s something bright and cheery to welcome you in to the new year! Working on this brand has been such a refreshing thing for me. Not only because of the vision my client has, but by how we’ve all been working together. While I rarely take on exchanges for design, I knew in my gut I had to take this opportunity and run with it — quite literally! My client will be working with me this next year to help me meet my health goals, and in return I’m helping her build out her online presence. She has a talented friend on board who is also going through her own personal health transformation, and it’s been pretty awesome combining our three visions so far. This project is for the mind, body, and soul and I couldn’t be happier about kicking it off at the start of this new year.

    core brand values | for a fitness client | PINEGATE ROAD

    This is the first time that I’ve shared keywords with you all. They are such an important part of how design decisions are made throughout the process. They are gleaned from the core of the client’s vision for the overall brand. This is where I’m so glad that I hunkered down and finished that communications minor in undergrad! hah. Having words and their associated meaning to transcend into design aspects is incredibly valuable. That’s what can transform a brand that’s not bad to a brand people genuinely want to connect with.

    Throughout all of our conversations, I noted themes and picked out words that kept popping up. After some final exploration, they were placed in three different categories and the strongest keyword was picked for each to stand as a core value for the project. Certain aspects about the project were introduced at the very beginning of our collaboration, but it’s in this process that the design decisions start to have something to lean on. If a design element is created, it better be for a reason that falls back to one of these core brand values, or it’s watering down the brand experience.

    For this moodboard, we have a mix of bright colors that play with the idea of empowerment. You can’t shy away from these hues. Using sans-serif typography as well as geometric shapes will keep things clean, simple, and relatable. Using these same shapes and lines to possibly create a larger design element would add to the feeling of connection. My client is trying to build community with her ventures, so showing this visually would be a fun addition! Elements will be used in a way that flow, change perspective, or have an essence of moving through eachother. This relates to the transformative nature of fitness, and how my client uses her talents to help others transform their lives.

    Oooh man am I excited about this one!

  2. January 6, 2014
    2014 GOAL | embrace editing

    2014 goal | embrace editing | PINEGATE ROAD

    Here’s a pleasant surprise: four of my five goals for 2013 were a slam-dunk! About midway through the year when I was engrossed in moving across the country, I kind of let this list slide from my mind. I was worried about what I would find there come this turn of the year. The only one that wasn’t a success was the health aspect — and that’s being handled. 2013 was a huge year for me, and in many ways, it was the year that is paving the way for the majority of my future goals. I graduated with my MFA from the school of my dreams, wrote a thesis on self-curation, rebranded Pinegate Road, attended Alt Summit, landed my dream job and moved closer to my hometown than I ever could have imagined ending up. It’s been full of transitions and hardships, but all-in-all it’s been a solid year of change for the better. I believe that all that happened this year is what is really making my 2014 goal a plausibility.

    Instead of listing out a series of goals, I thought that this year I would have one focus word that could relate to many aspects of my life. This year, I’m going to embrace editing. I’m settled in my apartment, I’m half a year through my job, and I know what I want to work towards in the next couple years in that aspect. I feel like heading to grad school in 2010 was a huge change in perspective for me. It completely turned around what I thought was possible in the design world and how I could go about approaching the future. There is so much opportunity out there, it’s all about editing down the possibilities to get at the core of what makes your journey the best one for you. We can’t do it all, and using time and experimentation to figure out what makes you the most happy is key. The first couple years, I took everything I could in. I played with every aesthetic, good and bad. I experimented with career possibilities through freelance projects and internships. I started this blog, and boy was the start of that rocky! I found out what made me happiest and where I thrived, and now I’m here. I live in a world where I get to play with lettering, where I make products that reach the world in a way that spreads gratitude and connection with others, and I get to experiment with all different kinds of design medium and unique people both in and out of work. I get to connect with you! While I’m where I’m meant to be for now, that doesn’t mean the future is clear to me. It’s still foggy, and I’m hoping that by embracing editing, I’ll be able to get even closer to that core of what I’m meant to do long-term.

    Editing for design: I’m at the very tip of discovering my personal aesthetic. Since the rebrand at the beginning of last year, and after attending Alt, I really focused on making this space representative of who I was as a designer. For the first time in my design career I feel happy about what I’m putting out into the world. I’m hoping to use the foundations of what I’ve learned about my design aesthetic on the blog and to integrate them into all the visual and organizational aspects of my life. A couple weeks ago I wrote down a few words that Pinegate Road embodies as a brand: modern classicism with a natural influence. I hope to continue editing my practice and my design to embody this and define what that means further. I don’t have to be everything.

    Editing for health: Like anything else in life, how we treat ourselves now in the health department will impact how we live in the future ten-fold. For some reason the prospects of getting a puppy—picking out food, figuring out an exercise and health schedule—started me thinking on how determined I was to help her have the best life possible, and how I seem to fail on that aspect in my own life. What?! I want to take this year to reprogram my lifestyle, and to create healthy habits that I can take into many years to come — for both me and my pup. I’m teamed up with an amazing fitness coach, and I’m determined to make this the year I finally get this down. No excuses!

    Editing for financial stability: Week one of the financial peace university is underway! While I’m ahead of the curve in many respects, I need to stop acting like a budget isn’t important and start editing my financial life. This year I start to hope setting the foundation to making home-ownership a reality for next year.

    Editing expectations: Last year I had the goal of learning to say no. This is kind of that. I slipped up a few times, but in general I stood my ground and was able to say no to things that just weren’t necessary in my life. I hope to continue to say no, and to keep space in my life for free afternoons and fun time and puppy snuggles. For as long as I can remember I’ve had this aching thing inside of me that made me join almost any kind of club or activity I was slightly nudged into. These served their purpose at the time, but now that I’m feeling that feeling to join things again, I need to really evaluate whether they will impact me in a positive manner down the road. When in school, I wanted to make sure that I had enough experience in any aspect to be able to move forward in any career. I wanted to taste test it all. I have, I did. I think I’m good. For now. Now I need to keep room open for opportunities that make me happy and work towards more defined goals than I had when I was in school.

    Well, that seems to be about it! Who knew one word could pack such a punch, huh? How about you — are you making goals or resolutions this year? Sending you lots of encouragement if so!


  3. January 1, 2014
    IN REVIEW | december 2013


    December was a pretty hard month for me. I’m an optimistic person by nature and I love to keep things in a positive tone. On the other side, I don’t want to leave out when things get a little shaky, to an extent. It’s never all sunshine, but I hate to dwell on negative things. With change, both positive and negative, come new beginnings. This year-end is really setting the stage for some pretty big changes in the future.

    William and I decided to end our relationship a couple weeks ago. The details aren’t meant for here, but it’s all been amicable. Sometimes, two people’s paths just aren’t made to last, you know? I’m glad he was in my life, and I’ll take all the lessons I’ve learned from this relationship in to my next. I guess that’s what dating really is all about — finding out what you truly need in a life-long cohort.

    Over Christmas, a coworker of mine passed away from a long battle with cancer. If you could or are capable, I know her family would appreciate all the thoughts and prayers sent her way. She had been on leave since before I started, but I did get to meet her at a few team get-togethers. While I didn’t know her very well personally, she was a big part of our team, and she will be very missed. Just around this same time, my grandmother was put into the hospital. We spent the majority of our time in Chicago prepping for her recovery and future well-being. Family stuff is hard, and navigating sick parents, daughters, and how to help them breeds a lot of stress. All seems to be positive on this aspect for now, and I’m so glad that my family and I were able to be there when this all was happening to do what we could.

    Surrounded by these hardships, some exciting things have been happening around here this month as well. I’ve paired up with a new client who will be helping me with my fitness and well-being this upcoming year. Through all the weirdness, thesis writing, moving, long-distance relationshiping this year, I let my health slide a little a lot and I’m ready to get back on it. I know how good it feels to be treating my body right, and I have no excuses now that things in my life are finally settling down. This time around I’ll take it in baby steps. My new client and I had a long talk a couple weeks ago, and she is such an inspiration. I can’t wait to let you in on more of the fun we have going on this year. She helped me feel empowered to make changes at my own pace and to still have fun with the process. Does anyone else do the thing where they make a goal or lifestyle change too quickly or make too many changes all at once and can’t keep up with it? I definitely have that issue, and it’s time to make this stick, one step at a time.

    On a pretty life-changing note, yesterday I put down a deposit for a new addition in the Pinegate Road household — a baby girl pup! She’ll be coming home with me in a couple weeks, and I’ll be using this week to puppy-proof my apartment and get up to speed on all there is to know before bringing her home. I’ve been wanting to get a little lady of my own since graduating high school, and after this move, I knew it was just the right timing for me. It was an amazing feeling to do this on the very last day of 2013! Tips and advice on bringing home a new puppy are appreciated, especially if you know about cockapoo puppies. This month I also was able to enjoy the snowy weather, and had lots of family time. We even made it to Alinea for dinner one night while in Chicago, which has been a dream restaurant venture of mine for years. Spending time to take all of this in and cherish each moment this month was well worth it.

    Cheers to wrapping up 2013 friends! Hoping you all had a year of learning experiences and have your goals all sorted out. I know I’m ready to make 2014 a solid year! As always, you can follow along on more of the moments here if you wish. I’ll be back in a few days with a reflection on my goals from last year and a list of new ones for this year. Planning seriously makes me giddy.

  4. December 21, 2013
    happy holidays

    Happy holidays from Pinegate Road

    Hi friends, wishing you all a happy holiday break and a merry new year. I’m off on a baby plane to South Dakota for Christmas, and then to spend some post-holiday time with extended family in the Chicago area. Crossing my fingers the weather cooperates for us all! It’s funny how this year, the biggest gift I’m being given is to spend some quality time with family. I really couldn’t ask for more, and I guess this kind of feeling is something I’m glad to have. Makes me feel a little more adult, hah.

    Some changes have been happening around here, and there are some pretty big plans being made for this year. I think 2014 is really going to be a turning point for me. I’ll be back in the new year with updates and plans and goals, and all that good stuff. Hope that you all get to relax and really experience soaking in those holiday moments. Cheers friends!

    As always, you can follow along on the traveling adventures as I make my way to the west.


  5. December 16, 2013
    DIY | monogrammed gold sharpie mugs

    DIY monogrammed gold sharpie mugs | PINEGATE ROAD

    You’ve probably seen this pin floating around, right? It’s been in my head from the moment I saw it, and I knew it would come in handy come Christmas time. Thinking about what to get my co-workers for Christmas was daunting. You don’t want to over-spend and make them feel like you’re trying too hard, and you don’t want to give them something meaning-less just because. You want to do it right, and give them a little something to show them you care. In my case, I wanted to thank them for all the help they’ve been giving me as I started this new position, and the support they continue to give me as I learn my new job. Thankfully I work with a small team of five, and since our jobs involve picking out shiny adornments for stationery items we’ve all established gold and white as a favorite color combination. While I had thought about these for a little bit, these monogrammed gold sharpie mugs would make the perfect last-minute office gift to whip up this week if you’re stuck on what to do. Filled with matching Ferrero Rochers and tied up in cellophane with a golden ribbon, these are sure to spread some holiday cheer.

    DIY monogrammed gold sharpie mugs | the ingredients | PINEGATE ROAD DIY monogrammed gold sharpie mugs | draw on the monogram | PINEGATE ROAD DIY monogrammed gold sharpie mugs | prepping the mugs | PINEGATE ROAD

    Here, you’re going to want to thicken the letters where you would naturally make thicker strokes when doing calligraphy. Here’s a handy little guide to show you how if this is something you haven’t done before. I added polka dots as a simple accent around the top and bottom of the mugs, but the decoration is up to you! Pre-heat your oven to 425° and bake the mugs for 30 minutes. Turn off your oven, without opening the door, and let these sit in there until they are completely cool. After reading a couple posts about sharpie plates, this last step is key! And that’s a wrap:

    DIY monogrammed gold sharpie mugs | how to wrap it | PINEGATE ROAD

  6. December 9, 2013
    FROM THE DESK OF | jen serafini, designer & blogger

    From the Desk of Jen Serafini | PINEGATE ROAD

    I’ve been following along with Jen Serafini and her design for a little bit now, and I just knew she was the perfect next person to ask to be in this column. She shares about her process, her inspiration, and all about design over on her blog — she’s definitely a girl of my own heart in those regards. I hope that you enjoy this peek into Jen’s space and process as much as I did! Also, that wood-topped desk is incredibly dreamy and has me thinking about making my own version over here shortly. 

    Hi! I’m Jen Serafini, an art director and graphic designer living in the Windy city with my husband and little pup. I spent four years at Syracuse University where I earned my BFA in communications design. It really taught me to look at design as a holistic and strategic process that goes beyond just a pretty picture. When everything comes together and tells a cohesive story, that’s the good stuff. Currently, I work as a senior designer at Pinch Provisions and take on my own freelance clients as well. When I’m not designing, you can find me making pizza with my husband, decorating my apartment (over & over), eating sour candy, traveling, and endlessly searching for the perfect NYC bagel out here in the midwest.

    From the Desk of Jen Serafini | desk detials | PINEGATE ROAD

    What gets you jazzed?

    Exceptional typography, a great pair of shoes, editorial design, black and white patterns, bold colors, new york pizza & bagels, sour candy, a glass of red wine, the couch and my husband (and pup)

    Where do you go to find inspiration, and what are you inspired by?

    Lately I’ve been trying to step away from the computer and find inspiration in my surroundings. Chicago has such a talented creative community and I’m always blown away by the passion and pride that’s derived in this city. Whether it’s a photo shoot or a design conference, meeting other driven creative people and hearing their stories leaves me feeling so energized, inspired and excited to create.

    When I’m stuck at my desk, Designspiration and Design Work Life consistently has an amazing variety of work to browse through!

    From the Desk of Jen Serafini | a recent project |PINEGATE ROAD

    Tell me a little about this project and how it was inspired:

    This is a recent branding and blog design project I did for Girl Meets Brooklyn. I was really excited about this one since Cassie was so fun, energetic and enthusiastic about the creative process. It was a very collaborative and enjoyable experience from start to finish. The result is a fresh, bold design and a fun layout that breaks out of the standard blog template. I was really inspired by the architecture of the Brooklyn Bridge and used that as a jumping off point for the graphic patterns on either side of the site. I wanted the design to reflect a modern industrial look that compliments her content and personality. (blog developed by Dennise Saxton)

    From the Desk of Jen Serafini | on her desk | PINEGATE ROAD

    How has blogging effected your creative life, and vice versa?

    Having an online presence has opened the doors to so many new relationships and collaborations with creatives in my city and across the country. The blog has also provided me an outlet to share my process and creative exploration which is a great exercise for me as a designer; it helps me explore and grow outside of my normal client work.

    From the Desk of Jen Serafini | inspiration and process | PINEGATE ROAD

    If you could give one tip to the rest of us, what would that be?

    Take advantage of every opportunity you can and be passionate about the work you create. Sometimes the best projects are the ones with low budgets, or personal explorations after hours. Have an open mind and be willing to share your experiences, good or bad with others – there’s always a lesson that can be learned!

    Huge thanks to Jen for sharing with us today! Head on over to her blog for more inspiration and process — you won’t be disappointed!

  7. December 6, 2013
    2013 HOLIDAY GUIDE | favorites under fifty

    2013 PINE-WORTHY HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE | favorites under fifty | PINEGATE ROAD

    For this guide, I wanted to provide you all with some items that I personally love and use in my life — or variations of them at least. They are all under $50, so there’s something here for any budget. You can find links to all the items here.

    PASSPORT CASE — First off, if you’re an avid traveler or keep your passport handy like I do, this is such a special touch. One of the most clever gifts I have received was a leather passport case. Every time I use it, I feel so connected to my travels and it brings up all kinds of memories. I keep stamps, plane and train tickets, and other small trinkets within the case. It’s a fun little touch for the travel enthusiast.

    GOLD SCISSORS — If you know someone who is into styling, or who likes to craft in style, these gold scissors are just the thing. I found a pair just like this at an estate sale a couple months ago for one dollar! what!? But these are still a steal at $18 for their vintage and classic look.

    PINECONE CANDLE HOLDER — I proudly keep one of these on my dining room table. Pinecones, and gold, you know that is just my thing.

    VEGETABLE SPIRALIZER — This might be a bit strange, but this little tool has me thinking about vegetables in a whole new way. I use this regularly to make my zucchini into beautiful spirals that I then fry up and serve like pasta, with about 1/6th the calories. If you have someone in your life who is in to healthy cooking, this might be a fun thing to gift them!

    GLITTER COASTERS — You really can’t go wrong. Kate Spade? Glitter? I’m in.

    FRUITY STATIONERY — Working in the stationery industry, I make and see my fair share of printed paper in this size. I thought these painted fruits were simply too cute to pass up, incredibly unique, and a fine gift to give any stationery lover. Happy Menocle makes such sweet art.

    BOTANICAL IPHONE CASE — There’s no denying my love for Rifle Paper and this signature print of theirs. I have the darker version on my phone only because this version didn’t come in the size I needed when I purchased it. Even so, having such a fun print on my phone makes me happy each time I use it.

    METALIC POM POM — I know I probably post about this thing for every outfit post or gift guide, but, yeah, I love mine. It takes an ordinary outfit to a new level with this single addition. It’s even fun to wear on the side of a top knot, or to pin back some longer bangs.

    Hope you enjoyed these eight favorites under fifty! Again, you can find links to all the items here. Happy gifting, and happy weekend!


  8. December 5, 2013
    PORTFOLIO | obaby illustrations

    obaby app | illustrations by kelsey cronkhite | PINEGATE ROAD

    Silly to say, but I’ve never had to keep a freelance project reveal this secret. I’m beyond excited to share with you all what I’ve been up to the past couple months. When I was contacted to work on this project, I knew it was a dream come true. I had the opportunity in front of me to letter away for an amazing new app that helps connect families to share cherished moments. This is the first project where I’ve really been able to delve into illustration, and it was such a unique opportunity to hone in on those skills. My heart’s gushing you guys.

    Obaby is an app that uses illustrations created for all the moments children bring to those around them as overlays on photos. There is a collection of over 600 illustrations completed by myself, Megan Gilger, Kyle Steed, and Karli Ingersoll. These are some true talents I’m so proud to have been paired with. Even though we were working all throughout the world, it was so neat to see how our illustrations have been put together in packages to honor the moments made in childhood. Megan and her husband Mike have been working with the Obaby team to put together the Obaby brand, including the app and website. Huge applause to you guys and the entire Obaby team — I think it’s pretty much perfection. It’s simple, color choices are spot-on, and makes you want to share stories through this medium. This message from the website explains it all:

    obaby app | website | PINEGATE ROAD

    obaby app | story behind the app | PINEGATE ROAD

    Ooh, and I finally get to share some process with you all! Between work projects being kept secret—with items going to retail sometimes a year after our team works on them—and then this project being hush-hush, I’ve been missing being able to share the behind-the-scenes happenings. Here’s a little peek into some of the pages torn from my sketchbook for this project:

    obaby app | sketching | PINEGATE ROAD obaby app | sketchbook | PINEGATE ROAD obaby app | process | PINEGATE ROAD

    While I completed around 150 illustrations that ended up in the app, you need to check it out for yourself to see all that it has to offer! But since, well, I can’t help myself—here’s a few more of the final offering:

    obaby app | more illustrations by kelsey cronkhite | PINEGATE ROAD

    obaby app | app in action | PINEGATE ROAD

    So, are you ready to Obaby?

  9. December 2, 2013
    IN REVIEW | november 2013


    I didn’t realize it until I sat down to write this, but November was jam-packed. The one weekend I did stay in Cleveland, William came to town. The down-side of all the fun is how run down I get, and I spent the week before Thanksgiving and most of the holiday weekend downing cough syrup and trying to not let the sickness get to me too bad. I hung in there, but that’s a definite sign that I need to start really slowing down on weekends and take a couple here and there to rest up to be my optimal self.

    Early November I was off to St. Louis to visit my friend Megan. She spent so many weekends visiting me down in Savannah, and I really needed to make a point and visit her is St. Louis now that the tropical location wasn’t an option. We had the best weather when we were there. Really, I couldn’t get over it. It was in the sixties in the day and the fifties at night and perfect for walking around outside and enjoying that slightly crisp air and those fresh fall leaves. It wasn’t intentional, but this month really did turn into a month of gratitude. There were so many points during this month that I just had to say out loud to those around me how happy and thankful I was for the small things going right. Taking time to acknowledge these moments really did pump up my mood — like when the plants at Home Depot were 75% off and we did a little happy sing/dance in the car on the way to the parking lot after seeing that sign. This is how St. Louis went: I was around college friends, there was perfect weather, we didn’t plan one darn thing after getting there, and we just had a really great time making things happen in a time that could have been pretty stressful. If you’re in a situation where you’re especially happy or thankful, try talking out your feelings to those around you. It sounds pretty silly, but you’ll be surprised how these talks pep other people up and it makes the happy moments spread.

    Also, Snow! This month there were two snowfalls, one of which had me heading to Erie to visit friends from high school. I was the one with four-wheel drive, so I braved the storm to get three of us together who haven’t hung out as a group in over three years. We spent the weekend at my parents house, and just had a nice night catching up with some Christmas ale in-hand. I’m in love with all the weather that this month has brought — I haven’t been around all these changes in a couple years, and this time is really pretty magical.

    Lastly I was off to South Dakota to see my parents new house for the first time. They’ll be living in South Dakota for the majority of the year have already took up residency there, so it was really nice to see what there new life has been like. Extended family came out, and twelve of us spent the holiday weekend bundled up, watching football, drinking beer, and generally getting one with the wild. One pretty exciting moment: After over a decade of being a vegetarian I started to eat meat about two years ago. This trip marked a new time in my life, and was something that my dad probably never thought he’d live to see. He taught me how to shoot a rifle, and I went out pheasant hunting with him this weekend (!!).  I’m at the point where I’m wanting to try new things and I want to indulge in experiences I’m lucky enough to be around. I eat poultry, so why not hunt it off the land and really experience the whole process? After being out for about two hours, I hadn’t even taken a shot. There is so much to think about — not falling over, making sure you’re not aiming at anyone, having the safety on, not shooting the female pheasants — it was just a lot to think about on top of three hyper dogs running around at your feet. After finally taking my first shot, I felt comfortable to really aim and get into it after seeing birds. On my second shot, I got my first bird. Is it weird talking about hunting on a design blog? hah. I had a great time, and I’m glad that I was able to have a really neat father/daughter moment this weekend.

    Now, we’re all probably off to a whirlwind of a December! Needing something festive for your desktop?

    As always, you can follow along with my monthly adventures here. Cheers to staying healthy and getting all that holiday prep in!

  10. November 28, 2013
    holiday desktop wallpaper

    Holiday desktop wallpaper by PINEGATE ROAD

    I’ll just say that this post wasn’t supposed to happen. Right now I should have been flying high above the midwest about to land in the little capitol of South Dakota to rent a car and meet the rest of my extended family at my parents new home. Things don’t always work out as planned, and I’m trying to be ok with that. Because really, in the grand scheme I’ll hopefully still be spending Thanksgiving with my family and that in and of itself is something to be crazy thankful for. Having been sick this past week put me in an altered state, and after a plane delay and a possibility of getting stranded in Minneapolis until Friday was mentioned, I kind of lost it. Me and my tears. After a few phone calls, and a couple silly stories from my aunt I got my spirits back up and decided to take this extra night in Cleveland to share a little something with you all.  Fingers crossed the flights go smoothly and my body starts to cooperate so I can join in all the Thanksgiving fun!

    I wanted to give you a little thank you present for always being so supportive of what I do around these parts, even when it is a bit crazy time. Thank you, honestly. I designed this lettering a couple weekends ago for my Christmas cards, and thought it would make a great holiday desktop wallpaper. I love changing my screens out for the different holidays, and just maybe you do to. I have so much fun arranging items into lettering it’s not even funny. Who would have thought that was something you could get in to! I’m pretty thankful it is :)

    IPHONE // IPAD // 1900×1200 // 1600×1200 // 1024×768

    Happy Thanksgiving everyone! And happy positive thoughts all around.


















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