1. 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?

  2. November 3, 2014
    IN REVIEW | september and october 2014

    September and October in review 2014 | PINEGATE ROAD

    I’m thankful to share that the birthday transition this year was far less emotionally turbulent than the last. Early September I turned 26, and it’s been pretty smooth sailing into this fall. I always get super excited to get back into the swing of things when the weather starts turning, and this year was no exception. The print shop is still on it’s way, and I’ve been working a little more on my health. Let’s say I’ve packed more lunches these past two months than the last year combined, and I’m trying to make healthier choices when they’re available. It’s going along slow, but it’s going and I’m not giving up.

    After this summer of always having plans, it was nice to relax a little bit more these past two months. When my computer was down for a month, that really forced me to take some time to focus on creating in the ways I had available to me, and to just go out and have fun on the weekends. A handful of us went to a friend’s cabin for a weekend to celebrate Todd’s birthday. We hiked, made fires, played card games, and ditched technology. It was amazing. I think I need one of those weekends every month now ;)

    A pretty exciting thing: these past two months have been a dream when heading to retail. I picked up my first lettered design at Target a couple weekends ago, and I could barely believe it. We work over a year in advance, and there is only a small percent of what we create and present to buyers that ends up in stores. These past two months I’ve finally been able to see some of the designs I worked on end up places in real life, and that feeling was just…surreal.

    September and October have also been setting a stage for a lot of self-discovery. I’ve been obsessively listening to The Lively Show, and have been having long creative and faith-based talks with my friend Katie. (Psst: if you’re looking for a great read on infusing your life with creative possibilities, check out her book! It’s full of amazing inspiration and supportive words that definitely helped me out when I was in a tough life spot earlier this year jumping back in to dating and feeling all the feels. I passed it along to my friend Megan, and it inspired her in different but equally amazing ways. Also, she’s been sharing such heartfelt content on her instagram lately, and even has me in on a few of them with some lettering. Go follow her!) I’ve also been stocking my ipad with creative reads, and have been dedicating an hour each night to dive in. It’s been feeling so good to keep inspired, and to keep pushing forward with creative dreams. I can take too much on and get really bogged down sometimes, but living in this creative excitement seriously fuels me. Taking small bits of time to take this stuff in, instead of always saying that I’ll get to it later, has been exactly what I’ve been needing lately.

    And now…who’s ready to get that She & Him Christmas album going on repeat? Too soon? ;)

    Cheers to fall enjoyment!

  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. July 25, 2014
    IN REVIEW | april, may, & june 2014

    IN REVIEW | april, may, june 2014

    So, what have I been up to? Most of all, just trying to make life happy. Wholeheartedly.

    This year started off with some more big life transitions. Eaton came in to my life, and while I’m sure many of you have way bigger obstacles to overcome, single-puppy-momdom was incredibly difficult for me. It’s all in perspective and past experiences I suppose. I felt like almost nothing could get done in-between work and making sure that she had a happy healthy upbringing. Call me crazy puppy lady. I’ve finally got my lunch breaks back and we are sleeping through the night and past 7AM on weekends. Oh man, the sanity that has come back to me! At this same time, I took on the life-changing experience of working with Angela Hauck. Working with her and her team on both blog design, as well as my personal health journey has challenged me in more ways than I could have ever expected. This process has taught me just what I am able to take on while I walk this 8-5 + freelance career journey. I’ll be honest and say that it’s been tough. I failed myself more than I’d like to admit, and these past few weeks I’ve been transitioning in to more self-care and attention. That gung-ho “let’s do it!” attitude helped me get started, but maintaining my self-expectations didn’t go so well. Work, freelance, and fun came first for a while. Ice cream and fancy cocktails were had; workouts, not so much.

    One of the most fun things that has happened in the past couple months has been the start of a new relationship. I met Todd in March, and we’ve been exploring, dining, chatting, and fun-having ever since. I don’t want to be too gushy on a design blog, so I’ll leave it at that. Hah! It’s been amazing to see how my life has changed for the better since meeting him. It’s also been a couple months of figuring out how to live a life together. You know how that beginning stage of a relationship goes. All you want to do is have fun, right? Life catches up, and then you realize that those real-life-adult things need to start happening again. You’ve gained ten pounds and don’t remember what your tennis shoes looked like. Oh, and those pants. Too tight to even explain. Whoops! We’re getting it together now, I promise.

    Since March, I’ve been able to head to Pursue workshop, explore Cleveland in a whole new way with friends, figure out more of who I am as a designer and business owner, explore cooking with local produce, and really live up these warmer months. I don’t know if it has been the harsh winter we made our way through, or the new relationship that has me all giddy, but I’ve been loving this summer like no other. Things are busier, but they are also so much more worth while in lots of ways. Keep it coming, please and thank you!

    All in all, I feel for the first time in years I’m settling in to a regular pace of life. A pace that fills me up, challenges me, and makes me a happier personal all together. These past few months have been an amazing experience, and this time around these experiences needed to happen outside of this online space. That’s ok. For now, I’m working on me, I’m working on us, and I’m working on working on things. I needed this time away to get to this place, to focus on something other than what’s been for so long. It finally feels good to be back.

  5. April 14, 2014
    IN REVIEW | march 2014

    IN REVIEW - MARCH 2014

    March, you were pretty cool.

    March taught me a lot about where I’m at now, and where I’m hoping to head next. While I never like to make definitive decisions about my future (I change my mind all the time!), I definitely like to make decisions about the direction things are heading. One of the most remarkable moments of March was when I went out to Nebraska for my first ever styling and photography project. If you told me a year ago that I’d be flying across the country to style and photograph product for a client that wasn’t part of my day job, I’m sure I would have given you a huge “yeah right lady friend!” This trip taught me so much about where my heart lies as far as design and branding goes. It also taught me the importance of open communication, and how a genuine connection with your creative cohorts can bring amazing things to the table. I’ll be writing up a post about what we’ve been working on, and how everything happened to be later on, but I thought I’d share how special this particular weekend was to my creative journey.

    In the middle of the month, my family dog Gumbo passed away. She had been through so much in her fourteen years: surviving diabetes, two types of cancer, eventually complete blindness, and having one eye removed. She was a champ. I went home to spend the weekend with my parents after it happened, and little Eaton filled the house with lots of laughs. Gumbo will certainly never be replaced, but we know she’s in a happier place. A place where she has two eyeballs again :)

    Other than the above, March was filled with chaotic weather — getting our first tastes of spring — and exploration. My good friend in town closed on a house this month, so I spend some weekend time celebrating this. We both got pups about a month a part, and we have decided they are future husband and wife pups. Eaton is about a fifth the size of Finnegan, but she’s totally the boss. These two make me so happy.

    Cheers to April, and to a new season. I know I’m ready to have a cocktail — or three — on a patio.

  6. March 12, 2014
    IN REVIEW | february 2014


    Time. It’s been on my mind.

    What’s the right time for this, why did the time come for that?

    I think February was for realizing that there is a time for everything, and it’s time that I realize that I don’t have control over it in the slightest. Good things take time, and there is good in the time spent getting there. And therein lies the challenge: living in the moment while taking steps towards your future.

    February has been a lesson in patience, in letting go, in faith, and in focusing. That’s a lot to handle for the tiniest month of the year, and that’s part of the reason this space has been a little neglected. I’ve just been immersed elsewhere. Time has been taken to step back and asses how I’m living and working now so that I can grow in to the future I hope is waiting for me. There’s been new adventures, and creative insights galore, and I can’t wait to start growing in to all that I’ve been gleaning this past month.

    Cheers to March, keeping focus, and figuring things out. I know we certainly are all trying our very best, so let’s keep at it, ok?

  7. February 3, 2014
    IN REVIEW | january 2014


    January was a pretty simple month for me. Lots of getting back to the basics and finding my personal balance. Eaton came into my life. While having a new puppy is all kinds of stressful, having her has also forced me to stay on a regular schedule. She wakes me up, well, dark and early at 4:45. That’s something I never thought I’d welcome, but my day has just shifted. At nine, I’m ready to get to bed, and I do. My fitness journey is off to a great start. Things aren’t going perfect, but that’s not what we’re aiming for. Balance is key. My mom said she could see my cheekbones again, and that was pretty much all I could ask for during this first month! I’m feeling good, and I’m still indulging. Hello queso and margarita night.

    I know some of you have asked me to share more details about what I’m doing for my fitness journey, so I thought these monthly recaps would be a great way to share about that. Right now, I skype with Ange every Sunday night, and we go over our plan for the week. We set attainable goals, and add them only when I’m ready to take more on. My first two weeks, I had four goals:

    ONE: Get eight hours of physical activity a week. I spent my lunches walking around my building in my work clothes and my headphones, which I just had to get over! Hah. One of Ange’s key phrases is “get comfortable with being uncomfortable.” I’m trying to embrace that, because this is where the big long-term changes come from. I also spent my weekends taking longer walks around the river trails when I could get in some sunlight.

    TWO: Three high-intensity interval sessions a week. These are sessions that I can do outside on a trail, or at the gym on any cardio equipment. I go as hard as I can for one minute, and then have two minutes of low intensity, eight times. With a warm up, cool down, and stretch, these are about 45 minutes of work that have really been pushing me .

    THREE: Drink 3L of water/coffee/tea a day. At first I spent the majority of my days taking visits to the bathroom! It was crazy, but I never realized how dehydrated I was. I wasn’t even experiencing thirst because I’d deprived my body of the hydration it needed. After a couple days, I started to actually feel thirsty when I’d go an hour or two without a sip. I’ve been going through some medical things lately, and when I went to get my blood taken, I automatically told the nurse that I had bad veins. I’ve always had to get pricked a couple times, and I thought this was just how it was going to be for me. After one successful try, she just told me I was healthy and hydrated! You always hear how important water is, but to actually experience these benefits from doing it right was amazing.

    FOUR: Get five servings of fruits and vegetables a day. Guys, I’m not on a diet! Instead, so many of my calories are being replaced with fruits and veggies just by trying to fit them in to my meals. I’ve been going crazy with green smoothies, and making salads for a meal or two a day. I snack on apples, and make avocado toast for meals. Switching from a deprivation mind-set to this anything-goes mind-set has really been helping me.

    After the first two weeks, we started adding in weight training. I am starting to see my arms in a whole new way — baby amounts of definition happening over here! I still have a long way to go, but I’m excited about the progress I’ve been making. At a much slower pace than I normally take this stuff, I’m able to take it in strides and not feel like I’m turning my life upside down all at once.

    Thaaat was pretty much my whole January. Simple living, huh? I’m really liking this new pace of life. I feel like I have a little control over how things are going, and when they go weird, I’m equipped to handle that too.

    Have any fun clean recipes that pack a bunch of fruits/veggies you want to send my way? I’d love some new things to try! Cheers to taking on February and making all your goals come true!

  8. 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!

  9. October 7, 2013
    IN REVIEW | september 2013


    September is my favorite — it all-around signifies a new start. My birthday is on the second, and it was in this month that the long process of becoming as Ohio resident became a reality (!!!!!!!!). You have don’t want to know how many roadblocks I ran into along the process and how many times I cried in the DMV parking lot. Hah. It’s behind me now, and I’m so glad to move on. I can certainly be a drama queen when it comes to forms.

    I rang in my year of being 25 with a bang at the end of August with a visit from my best friend, and throughout September I’ve been thinking a lot about what being 25 really means. It’s kind of silly, but turning 25 really felt different for me. I finally felt like I truly had to start focusing on striking that balance between being an adult and still being young at heart. Making decisions that will help me in the long-run without only living for the future. These thoughts are still a work in progress, but I can tell you that it’s been an uneasy transition. You can giggle at me now, but 25 means the wrinkles are coming, scientifically. I’ll get over it :)

    One big highlight from my month was heading to Georgia on my first vacation since starting work to see William. I flew in to Savannah, and then we went a little north to Athens for a wedding. It was amazing to explore UGA and see what his college life was like and to spend lots of quality time with him. This long-distance thing is hard.

    Lastly, some friends and I rang in fall on the last day of summer with a delicious fall feast. I know I’m not alone when I say that this changing weather makes me want to stuff my face with everything pumpkin and apple. Yum.

    Happy fall transition everyone! And, as always, you can keep up with more happenings throughout the month by following along. Did you all have nice Septembers?


  10. July 4, 2013
    IN REVIEW | june 2013

    IN REVIEW - JUNE 2013

    There have only been a couple of posts since the last monthly review, eek!

    June has been one of the hardest months for me. Making a transition across the country, to a place where you don’t even know a handful of people has been rough. Missing my boyfriend and starting a long-distance relationship is an entirely different thing that I can’t even begin to touch on here. I thankfully have had such a strong support group figuratively holding my hand through this whole process, and I can’t thank them enough. I’m not all the way through, but I’ve been trying to focus on all the positive aspects and good things that have been going on in light of the weirdness. I’m about two weeks through my job, and that couldn’t be more fantastic. There are amazing people that I’m being introduced to daily, and my team and boss seem like such supportive and great people to work with. I can tell that I’m going to learn a ton. It’s amazing that the environment has really been about collaboration and building each other up in positive ways rather than focusing on competition. I was looking for a place where I could be truly happy with what I’m doing day in and day out, and I know I’ve found that. It’s the big reason and thing I need to focus on when I’m dealing with those little irritants moving and acclimating bring on. Like how within 24 hours of moving here my car got towed.

    June was this weird wonderland of graduating with my MFA, and then a complete relaxation. I finally got to meet Ciara when she made a spontaneous trip down to Savannah to explore before I left. I know it’s said a lot, but yes, blog world, I love you. Meeting kindred spirits like her really make all of these weirdly spent hours very much worth it. Hours and hours were spent on Tybee trying to soak in as much beach and summer and boyfriend time as possible. Megan came to visit, and we ate ourselves silly trying to take in our last Savannah experience (at least for a long while). We even went to get her a little tattoo that I lettered in celebration of both of our graduations. She’s a fancy French teacher and graduated with her MEd around the same time I did. Go Megan! And then, then there was the move. There’s not much to say other than it’s been a complete turn around, and not for the worst. It’s just a transition, and I’m stepping slowly through it day by day.

    Have any of you moved far away from home or a place you were really familiar with? It’s been nice hearing people’s stories of struggles and happy endings as I’m going through the process myself. The perfectionist part of me is all “why haven’t you made one million friends and have figured out how to drive everywhere without a map, and have your apartment completely decorated?” Crazy me, right? The other side of me is so proud that I’ve potted three whole plants, and have caught up with all the new episodes of Pretty Little Liars. Go Kelsey! This month’s in review is in celebration of the little things. When life is in flux, and you don’t have a solid footing, sometimes the best thing you can do is celebrate living in the moment.

    Happy Fourth of July friends.


















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