1. October 13, 2014
    Happy Blogiversary Ciera + life update

    Ciera Design Celebrates 5 Years of Blogging with a Giveaway

    Happy Monday all! Blogging has certainly not been my forté lately, but I didn’t want to miss the chance to celebrate one of my longest blog-friends blogging anniversary! She set up this amazing giveaway, and I’ve partnered with many of our other blog friends to give one of our readers an amazing gift. See the details below!

    While I’m all logged in to my blog and all, I thought I might give a little update on what’s been going on around here. Unfortunately, when I upgraded my phone last month, starting this process led to a string of mishaps with both my phone, my computer, all my files, my hard drive, and just…welll,  a lot of everything that I use to do my freelance work and general technological life outside of work work. I’m still in the midst of getting everything figured out — I’ve made more trips to Apple than I’d like to admit, and every time I think everything is OK something else seems to pop up when I come back home ready to get going again. I lost all my files from the past year and a half, and I’m working on just getting my computer back up and running so that I’m able to re-create some of the projects that I’ve been working on with clients lately. It’s a mess, and well, sometimes this stuff happens.

    On top of the technology issues, I’ve been doing a bit of freelance lettering for the lettering studio here at work (a dream come true!!), and I’ve been working on getting my printing process down so that I can get this new art print shop up and running by the end of the month. This has all been a little hard to manage without a working computer at home, but I’m hopeful things will stay on schedule. So many fingers crossed, and a photoshoot scheduled on Saturday. Computer, please be all better by then?

    Can’t wait to be back and posting more regularly soon. In the meantime, check out Ciera’s giveaway, and I hope you all are having a great October!


    Let’s join in the fun and help Ciera Design celebrate 5 years of blogging this month! It’s such an exciting accomplishment and what better way to celebrate than by giving away a special gift to our amazing readers? One lucky person will receive a $400 prepaid MasterCard that can be spent anywhere in the world that accepts Debit MasterCards. Yep, this isn’t a dream! Use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter!

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Thanks to the lovely sponsors who made this possible!

    Ciera Design | Kory Woodard | Yellow Heart Art | Rebecca Lately
    Patti Murphy Designs | Anna Delores | Cocorrina | Rachel The Hat | Fashiony Fab
    Sugar and Type | Squirrelly Minds | High Walls | The Nectar Collective
    The Proper Pinwheel | Ex Vitae | Fry Sauce & Grits | A Ruffled Life
    Pinegate Road | Buckets & Spades | A Girl Named PJ | Sarah Hearts | Tara Victoria

    This giveaway will be running until October 27th, 2014 and is opened to international readers!

  2. September 18, 2014


    Pinegate Road Challenge: Schedule a date with an old friend 

    This week has been an interesting one. Todd has been away on a family vacation, and I took this opportunity away from girlfriend duty to schedule a few out of the ordinary weekday activities. A la, going to a fashion show tonight! Hah. Anyways. There was a bit of a theme with this week. Both Tuesday and last night I met up with two friends who I hadn’t talked to in years. And I’ll let you know, I was nervous! All of these weird self-doubting thoughts came to me before we met up — I was worried I’d have nothing to talk about, or that I wasn’t going to be the same kind of person that they remembered me as. Have I ever run out of things to talk about? No. Has my personality changed so drastically in the past years that these friends would not see me as the same person? No, and yes I sound crazy. Did I almost want to cancel both of these meet-ups because the anxiety of the unknown told me that it was easier to stay in my sweatpants and work on freelance that night? Absolutely. I felt like I was online dating all over again.

    But I showed up. And you know what? These were two absolutely needed, thrilling, exciting, and inspiring chats that I can’t believe I was even fearing. I feel so motivated to keep these two women in my life for so many reasons, and I can’t believe that we had gone so long without each other in our lives. It just goes to show that when you do have had a connection like these in the past, there’s probably still going to be an awesome connection years later.

    This week I learned the importance of having support from friends outside of my day-to-day life situations. It’s easy to get caught up in the here and now and not make time for things that are out of the norm. At least it is for me. As I go about my creative journey, I realize that it is so much more than sharing artistic ventures, and so much about how you go about living your day-to-day life. It’s in these conversations that I found so much creative potential and joy to just laugh and live and explore new ventures. Happiness support.

    I thought for this week, my little personal ‘lesson learned’ could turn in to something more. I’d love to challenge you to set up a skype date, a coffee date, or a dinner date with a friend that you haven’t talked with for a while. Remember that lady who always used to bring a smile to your face, that had that contagious laughter, or the one you could sit around and talk about anything with for hours? Yeah? Shoot her a text, and see how she’s doing. You’ll probably be surprised to find out how invigorating and inspiring that hour chat can be!

    So, who’s with me? Use the hashtag #PGRchallenge to keep me updated, and let me know if you’re up for this weeks venture!

  3. September 9, 2014
    IN REVIEW | july + august 2014


    JULY: Celebrations, cool summer nights, and finding my freelance groove. Todd and I went to my parent’s home for the Fourth, and then came back to celebrate with friends on the fifth. Rowing was in full swing, and I spent more nights than I can count out grabbing dinner and drinks al fresco with friends. My dear friend from Iowa came to visit for a long weekend, and it was so nice to jump right back to where we left off when last seeing eachother. It was also interesting to see how we have been growing in the same direction with so many aspects in our lives — homes, boyfriends, jobs, faith — just so cool. I did a couple freelance projects over the month, and also solidified the direction for Pinegate Road’s new refresh. Crossing my fingers I get my butt in gear to get it for real done by 2015!

    AUGUST: Looking within, lowering expectations, finding a balance. This month was all about finding an internal balance. For the first time I came to some realizations about myself and the way I go about life that had me switching things up. I faced that perfectionism issue head on, and it’s something that I have brought with me every single day to work on. September always marks a kind of new beginning for me. My birthday is on the 2nd, and I really take a look at my goals that I set in January to see what still needs to be taken into consideration for the remainder of the year. August was about setting the foundation for some serious growing up. Along with all of that jazz, Todd and I took a trip to visit my grandparents in Chicago, went to a handful of German dancing events, and squeezed in a few Sunday night cookouts and puppy snuggles along the way. I’m not saying growing up has to be not-fun (!). If this month had a theme, it would be that I focused on reassessing where I was at in life, and what small steps I could take to live out my happy.

    Oh, and I made some art prints! I’ve been working on a hand-stamped lettering collection aimed at giving creatives motivation and inspiration in their workspace. I have three of them in, and I used them for a poster series that was featured at Weapons of Mass Creation Fest a couple weeks ago. All that I need to do now is get the supplies I need to be able to ship them out to buyers (you!?), photograph them, and get them up in the new partially-done Pinegate Road Shop. I don’t know why this all seems harder to do in my head than it sounds typing it out here. My goal is to have this all prepped to start selling by October! Crossing my fingers I find all that motivation ;)

    Cheers to crisp weather, creative pursuits, and taking some much-deserved lazy Saturdays.

    As always, you can follow along with my creative process on a more regular basis here. Happy September!

  4. September 8, 2014
    MONDAY MUSING | 5 | the creative process

    the creative process | PINEGATE ROAD

    A good friend of mine sent this copy along to me last week, and I giggled out loud reading it. I bet I’m not the only one who’s creative process resembles this. Here’s to more awesome days, and less of number fours.


  5. September 4, 2014
    Pinegate Road reader survey results

    Pinegate Road reader survey results 2014

    You guys are the best. Thank you so much for taking the time to fill out the survey that was posted last week. Your answers and suggestions are helping me brainstorm and plan in so many ways. It’s getting me pretty excited! This will certainly not be the last of the reader surveys, that’s for sure.

    Annnnnnd, here’s probably what you’re really waiting for…

    The recipient of the $50 Etsy gift certificate goes to the lovely Chelcey Tate!

    Thanks again everyone! Hope you’re having a great week. Chelcey, I’ll be in touch with you shortly about the gift card.

  6. August 28, 2014
    6 tips for creatives working full time and freelancing

    6 tips for creatives working full time and freelancing

    While the juggle of freelance and other commitments has been something I’ve been trying to balance for a little over five years, this past year was the first time I took on the responsibility of full time employment. This has been a hard transition for me, as I’ve had the tendency to bite off way more than I can chew. Literally and figuratively — I’ve been to the doctors a couple times this year because food keeps getting stuck in my throat! Serious there, but kidding aside, I’ve picked up a few tricks along the way that have been born out of some serious mistakes as well as taking notes on what was going well. If I can give you one over-arching tip, it’s to notice what’s going right, and to keep doing that.

    Anyways, here are my 6 tips for creatives working full time and freelancing on the side:

    1: Specialize

    Since moving to Ohio, I have worked on all sorts of projects on the side. I’ve taken on styling and photography, copywriting, consulting, branding, web design…the list goes on. What I’ve been learning over this past year is that I feel best when I am working on shorter-term projects. For now, I’m trying to focus on contract lettering projects. I can concept and letter over my lunch breaks, and then come home to edit and send off finals and be done with a project within a week. Getting work out the door on my off time, while still having a weekend full of fun feels incredible. I give this up a little when I take on bigger projects that require full-days of work that I can only do on the weekends. I’ll take them on here and there, but for now my heart is with these lettering projects because of the flexibility they afford my schedule and the passion I have towards doing them.

    2: Under promise, over-deliver, and over-estimate

    Over-promised, missed deadlines, apologies, and guilt. Been there, and I’m through. Keep lofty goals to yourself, and tell your clients about half of what you hope to accomplish. It’s not deceitful, it’s just honest. I’d much rather the client be happy with what they 1: assume they are getting and 2: a little something extra, than to be promised something huge and grand and end up with something less than. This is a huge one that I’m still working on. I get ahead of myself, and I let my passions speak louder than what my time allows. Also, over-estimate the time that it will take you to complete a task. Unless you’re up against a strict client-given deadline for a certain deliverable, double up the time you think you could get it done in. If you get it done early, your client is happy, and you’re happy! If you run in to snags, you have that buffer time to smooth them out.

    3: Learn to say no, to say yes

    My 2013 goal was to learn to say no. It’s treated me well. When you’re working a full time job, you usually have the liberty to take on only the projects that you’re super passionate about. Your regular work pays the bills, and the freelance is a little something extra. When you’re taking on these extra projects, they should be fun. This is one of the huge perks of doing both! You get great creative projects to do at work, and you get different projects to balance out those other creative needs on the side. Say no to anything that doesn’t immediately have you saying heck yes! When you say no to the so-so, it opens your schedule to say yes to the thrilling projects when they do come along. It’s so worth it.

    4: Connect with peers in and out of work

    Working for a creative company, I’m lucky to have so many other people who are in this very same position. A group of us have a monthly sushi lunch where we catch up with our lives, and usually end up talking through the struggles and benefits of doing this working full time and freelancing thing. Being a blogger also lead me to finding one of my creative soul sisters at work, which has lead to us collaborating and chatting about so many things we tackle in life as creatives. Outside of work, it’s been important to me to connect to others through instagram, by leaving comments on others’ blogs, and to be active in the online creative community. I definietely had my moments where it was all too much, but a blog post here, a ‘great job’ comment there, it all adds up! All of this leads to a network of people that are there for you in different but necessary ways. These connections help keep me inspired, and they help me gauge some of that ‘what’s going right’ business. It’s too much burden to be a solitary creative. Reach out, open up, and find out the possibilities of what some of these creative relationships can do for you all!

    5: Take smaller bites

    This is something that I’ve been learning since I went to Pursue in April. One of the speakers (eeep, I can’t remember who! Giving myself a wrist-slap) showed us how writing out to-do lists for our to-do lists in teeny tiny steps actually helps you get more accomplished. Herm!? Yeah. So what you do is that for each task you have that seems a little daunting or that you can’t quite make yourself manage, you write out every tiny step that is put in to that to-do item. Maybe it’s as simple as buying a new calligraphy pen — yeah, lettering girl at heart here. For example:

    1 – open safari

    2 – google ‘calligraphy pen’

    3 – browse for a calligraphy pen shop

    4 – compare prices at different shops

    5 – choose which one works for you

    6 – put it in your cart

    7 – get out your wallet

    8 – type in your card info

    9 – click purchase

    10 – celebrate!

    Kidding, kind of, on that celebration part, but honestly this does work. I’ve been breaking up to-do’s at work and it has been helping me manage things that seem a little daunting to me. By breaking up to-do’s for freelance, I’m able to get small aspects of work done on my lunch breaks that I would have otherwise spent worrying about how I was going to get the whole project done during the nights that week. Taking bite-sized pieces of work, and of food, is just the way to go for a more productive you.

    6: Give yourself grace

    This is the biggest one of all. I have extremely high expectations for myself, and it’s bitten me in the butt in the form of emotional sabotage waaaay too many times. Look at you, you’re basically working two jobs! That’s excellent! You did your dishes this week? CONGRATS. Learn to give yourself the opportunity to mess up, and learn in the process. Smile and solve when something does go wrong. The freaking out wont help the matter. I realize this is all simpler said than done, but it’s something I try and remember when I feel like I’m just going about life all wrong.


    And that’s that! For those of you who are working full time and freelancing, do you have anything else to add? This is certainly a work in progress, and I know we’re all just trying to figure it out one day at a time. Hope this helps full time workers, freelancers, and anyone just trying to manage their work load.

    PS: you’ve got this!


  7. August 25, 2014

    monday musing | 4 | Pinegate Road

    As I’ve been working through some of those perfectionist tendencies, one of the biggest takeaways was how much worrying and talking and figuring out I was doing versus how much action I was actually taking. I’ve always been an advocate of ‘actions speak louder than words’ mentality, and here I was sitting around talking about all the things that I could be doing to reach my goals. I’d been telling Todd for months how I was going to write a budget and really get in control of my finances, or how I was going to take a few hours to myself to finally get this site redesign underway.

    This past week, I decided to ditch the perfection, and lean in to the doing. What came out of it in one week was incredible. I felt so productive, and I actually started to realize how getting things done imperfectly feels more perfect than any of that worrying ever did. Everything I’ll do in life will still be a work in progress, but the only way to get to where I want to go is to take those small steps and actually take action. In my free-time this week I was able to write my budget, launch a blog survey (finally), send off the homepage and structure for this site redesign, and then take the entire weekend off to go to a German festival in Toledo. Work and play. Definitely messy, but worth it. I focused less on what I wasn’t accomplishing—which paralyses me in to non-action—and focused on all the little steps that I was taking to propel my goals forward.

    Today, my eyes are definitely sparkling.

    PS: Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to complete the reader survey. I can’t believe I have gone so long without getting any of your input — it’s been amazing to hear. If you haven’t completed it, you still have time to do so for your chance to win a $50 Etsy gift card. Hope you have a great week!

  8. August 22, 2014
    survey + $50 etsy gift card giveaway!

    2014 Pinegate Road Reader Survey + $50 Etsy gift card giveaway

    Guys, I’m in some major need of ‘figuring it out.’ Pinegate Road just turned three, and not once have I held a reader survey. Eeep!

    As part of my goals for this year, I wanted to edit down certain things in my life. As Pinegate Road has grown—and turned, and paused—over the years, I’ve never had a great grasp at exactly what has been going on here. That’s just the honest truth. It’s been my little place for experimenting with design, connecting with new friends, and sharing what I’m trying to work through. It’s my hope that over the next year as I continue to settle in to work and my life here in Cleveland, I start to really settle in to what Pinegate Road can bring to YOU. In order to do that, I have to do my research, and figure out more about who you are. I’d love if you could click below and spend three minutes, tops, giving me some invaluable information.


    The survey is 10 questions long, and they are all answers you can click on. Yay! After you’re through, please leave a comment on this post letting me know you completed the survey. Optionally, it would be so appreciated if you left any feedback about Pinegate Road, what you like / what you dislike / what you’d like to see in the future / etc. with that comment. Anything goes. This will help me re-focus and shape Pinegate Road for the future.

    As a thank you for taking the time to give me your thoughts, I’ll be randomly selecting from the comments on this post and sending out a $50 Etsy gift card to one reader. Hint, hint: you could get a lovely ceramic addition from Emily’s shop when she’s back from vacation! While the survey will be open for the next couple months, and I’d appreciate feedback at any time, the winner will be chosen from those who leave a comment by midnight next Friday (August 29, 2014).

    Thanks everyone! I hope you have a wonderful weekend.


  9. August 18, 2014
    MONDAY MUSING | no. 4

    perfectionism | monday musing no. 4

    Anyone else dealing with perfectionist tendencies? I’ve been having an off couple of weeks, and after a candid conversation with my boss this morning, she sent along this article. Yes, yes, and more yes. There’s a difference between realizing it, and taking action. I’ve realized that I need to delve more in to why I have these tendencies and start to practice habits that help me learn that perfect is not always good. I’ll take happy and enough over overwhelmed and perfect any day.

    PS: Can you spot where I’m a work in positive progress here? ;)

  10. August 13, 2014
    the object enthusiast styling + photography

    the object enthusiast photography and styling | Pinegate Road

    This past March, I hopped on a flight to Omaha to meet up with Emily of the object enthusiast. We started blogging right around the same time and have been creatively collaborating for the past couple years. This past winter, Emily contacted me about getting her online presence in tip top shape now that her business has grown. It’s been an absolute dream to work with her over the past months to make her shop’s website a reality. While it’s currently being developed, I thought I’d share some of the photos that we took of her work for the site.

    the object enthusiast photography and styling | Pinegate Road

    Emily’s story is an amazing one. After starting her ceramics career in Kansas part-time after she graduated college, she decided to take the leap to full-time ceramics work when she moved to Omaha with her boyfriend last year. Since she’s been focusing 100% on her ceramics, her career has skyrocketed. It’s truly amazing to have watched this growth happen, and I’m so proud and excited for all that Emily has done. As of last week, her ceramics are being sold at Anthroplogie, she has been a featured artist on Etsy, and she continues to gather accolades from all over the blog world. Go, go Emily!

    the object enthusiast photography and styling | Pinegate Road

    These photos were all taken at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts. It was an incredible space to work in — perfectly imperfect backdrops everywhere and natural light galore. We gathered blooms and props the day before the shoot, and spent the entire next day styling and taking photos. This was one of the first projects that I have worked on where I incorporated my photography chops in a big way. I took it as a personal challenge to add this passion of mine to a client project, and I’m happy that Emily was willing to put her faith in me and let me have at it. It’s amazing to me what can come out of a project when the people working on it are just in-tune as far as aesthetics and an end vision go. Thanks girl!

    the object enthusiast photography and styling | Pinegate Road

    Sharing this is getting me excited to see the site working! Eeek. I’ll be sure to keep you all updated as it comes alive. Happy Wednesday!


















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