If I’m being completely honest, this winter was a tough one for me. And not just because it was endlessly freezing ( literally 150+ days below zero here ), but mostly because the feeling of being cooped up was overwhelming. Over the past six months or so, I’ve continually blamed the weather, threw up my hands, and stayed put. I got comfortable and simply attributed my lack of motivation to good old mother nature. But you know what? It was my own fault. I was the one who allowed myself to feel cooped up and not live life a little more adventurously. Even in the bitter cold.
After all, one of my favorite days this winter was when Michael and I headed over to Minnehaha Falls, which was frozen and beautiful, for a little hike. The trails down were closed because of pure ice covering the stairs … but we chose to go anyway. I literally slid the whole way down, grasping a small railing. And let’s not even talk about the trek back up. That was intense and scary. But I did it, and Michael and I laughed the entire way, despite our frozen fingers and toes. It was one of the few times this season I didn’t let the cold get me down. Instead, I punched it in the face and enjoyed the day.
Meg Lewis of Ghostly Ferns has long been an inspiration for me in my own design journey towards creating a collaborative studio. Not only does she have impeccable design taste, but she is also nominated for Designer of the Year for the 2014 Net Awards. Her interview over there is a must read. For this creative diary entry, she was to focus on one single work day and answer a few simple questions about the good, the bad, and the inspiring. This is what happened, truthfully.
WHAT IS THE FIRST THING THAT YOU DID THIS MORNING : Today was great because the sun was shining fairly early this morning. We have 3 skylights in our apartment, one of which is above the bed. It’s so nice to have the sun wake you up in the morning. This morning was no exception! I woke up, made some coffee and sat down at my home computer to do some light work in my pajamas. I find that I have a lot of creativity in the early mornings before I get ready for the day and like to do some work at home before I get ready and go into my studio.
DESCRIBE ONE CHALLENGE THAT YOU FACED : Today was the first real gorgeous day of spring. I work out of a shared studio space in Brooklyn called Studiomates. Studiomates is full of freelancers like myself who don’t come into the studio when the weather is lovely (or terrible). It was hard being the first person to arrive in the morning and force myself to work all day in spite of the beautiful weather! Luckily some of us were able to get out during lunch, walk around the neighborhood, and eat by the water. Wait, am I mentioning a challenge? It sounds like the best part of my day!
DESCRIBE ONE ACCOMPLISHMENT : I was able to finish all of my deadlines and go home when the work day was over. That rarely happens for me as I like to keep a ton of clients at once. Typically I go home around 6 or 7 to have dinner with my husband and then return to working at the computer at home for the rest of the night. Today I didn’t have to do that! I went home and got to hang out for the evening. Perfect weather, perfect day!
DESCRIBE ONE THING YOU LEARNED : Today I learned to stop asking my clients about demographics. Typically I like to ask my clients what their target demographic is like and to describe their primary customer. Most of the time my client ends up describing themselves or someone they would like to be. Today, I got together with some other designers and we decided it’s best to ask the client to describe a problem they are trying to solve for a specific type of person. Design-y boringness of course, but exciting for me!
WHAT IS THE LAST THING YOU DID FOR WORK : I had a cocktail happy hour meeting with a friend whom I’m working on a project with. It was great! We had two extremely delicious cocktails each, took notes, got tipsy, and ate tater tots. Work is hard, guys!
AND JUST FOR FUN, DID YOU EAT ANYTHING TASTY : When I got to my meeting today at Condé Nast they had chocolate covered strawberries from a previous meeting waiting for me. They were exceptionally tasty. Also the truffled parmesan tater tots I had during my second meeting were spectacular!
As usual, I’m pretty pumped to share these process shots with you all today! They are for a fun client who I spoke a little bit about right here a week ago. Lydia’s story + strategy is so great and it’s been an absolute breeze working with her so far. As you can see, we kept “edgy” in play at all times, but in different ways. That was key. We needed to figure out what the right amount of “edge” was. Obvious or not. The first option was a little more light + open ( less obvious in “edge” ), while the second option was far more bold in comparison. We are actually still finalizing things, but have made significant headway on the chosen direction. For now, I’ll just say that less is more. I’ll make sure to share the final result once we put everything together! More soon. PS. Sorry for always being such a tease with these posts. I truly love hearing all your thoughts and sharing insight into my process, so I hope you don’t mind … too much. ;)
After the launch of my new design studio Rowan Made a few weeks back, many of you expressed interest in hearing more about why I chose to kick my own name to the curb and start fresh. In all honesty, I felt that I had hit a ceiling working under the name “Breanna Rose.” Yes, it’s my name … but it didn’t allow for much growth beyond myself. Last May, I took a big step and hired a contract designer to help with incoming project overflow. But in doing so, I quickly realized that I had entered into a new weird grey area. This designer was working alongside me, but under my name. That part felt weird. I absolutely loved having her around to take on new work, but didn’t feel my personal brand was truly setup for this type of working environment. So from that moment on, the seeds of creating a new brand were planted.
Hey everyone! I’m back from my trip down to New Orleans + the Florida Panhandle and man was it good to relax and NOT work. I was pretty lazy when packing and decided not to bring my nice camera. Major regret on my end. At least I had my iphone with me to capture some beautiful things along the way, most of which I shared over on instagram! But since I didn’t take a ton photos ( sorry!! ), I thought I would cover our trip in one overview post. I promise that I’ll be better next time. ;)
As I’ve mentioned before, we decided to drive down to New Orleans, LA from Minneapolis, which in total was about a 19 hour drive after stops. I can’t even begin to describe how good it felt as we finally started seeing more green and less brown in the surrounding scenery. We actually only spent one entire day walking around NOLA. We stayed in the Central Business District, just two blocks from the French Quarter which ended up being a perfect location, especially with a few lingering safety concerns. Like Paris, it was fun to just get lost in all the streets and alleys there. We ate lunch at Cafe Pontalba on a whim, since we were hungry and happened to walk by just outside of the Saint Louis Cathedral, which is beautiful! Lunch was filled with traditional Po’ Boys and Hurricane drinks ( YUM ) before heading out to wander some more. We stepped inside many shops and made a point to grab some coffee + beignets ( you all were 100% right on that one ) at the famous Café Du Monde. We chatted with a nice local family there who told us to head over to Royal Street for some awesome street music! I can’t remember who exactly we listened to, but it was two ladies playing violin + guitar together in duet format. SO GOOD.
On our way out of NOLA on the second day, we drove through the Garden District, which is full of classic Southern mansions ( whoa ) and beautiful gardens. We parked at Lafayette Cemetery No. 1, walked through, and enjoyed the surrounding neighborhoods, too. If I go back again, I would probably opt to stay in the Garden District, as I personally felt the French Quarter was more busy + loud than I typically prefer. But that’s just me! It was nice to enjoy both.
Next, we headed over to the Florida Panhandle for the rest of our stay. While we were hoping for warm weather + LOTS of sunshine, it only topped out around 68 degrees and was mostly windy and cloudy, which was a bit of a bummer. I actually wore a light leather coat the whole time ( don’t worry, my mom + aunt made fun of me ) because I’m a wuss. Woops. We stayed at the Hilton on Sandestin in Miramar Beach, which was more of a splurge for us to be right on the Ocean. Since the weather wasn’t great, we did a whole lot of walking around, shopping, and eating.
On the nicest day, we hopped in the car and drove down 30A to explore some insanely beautiful beach towns, including Seaside, Alys Beach, and Rosemary Beach. And all I have to say is WOW. These places are luxe and sweet and everything in between. In Seaside, everything is pastel and ideal. We enjoyed hitting up their local food trucks that lined the main square. Super tasty. We then moved on to Alys Beach, which is like putting my aesthetic into a box and transforming it into a neighborhood. Just ask my road trip buddies. I walked around like I was lost in some sort of white wonderland. We only spent a half hour walking around here, but I already decided that it’s the place I want to retire. It’ll most likely not happen, but a girl can dream, right? And last but not least, Rosemary Beach was our last stop. Another dreamy town with a totally different vibe. They had more shops to go into and I ended up buying a comfy blanket in one of them. While here, the temperature started rising quickly, so we decided to book it back to the hotel and enjoy what was left of the day oceanside!
Other than perusing beach towns, we did a whole lot of eating. Duh! While I try to be mindful of what I eat while on vacation, I also want to enjoy myself, so I don’t worry too much about it. Because hey … life is short. We had pasta at Travinia outside on their patio by the fire topped with a bottle of wine. That was a fun night! But my favorite, by far, was this tiny Italian Kitchen, Christiano’s, in a random strip mall along the highway. We found it after a random internet search with a huge craving for pizza. Of course. The food, the staff … everything was amazing. We even asked our waiter ( also a practicing chef ) if he would open up a branch in Minnesota. He was too scared of snow and said no, bummer. I have a feeling that I’ll dream about this place for years to come! Other than that, other favorites included a Mexican dinner at Cantina Laredo and gelato in Seaside at Heavenly’s. I could go for some of that right now! But alas, it’s time to get back to work. I have some exciting things coming up that I can’t wait to share with you all. Cheers to a fresh new week!