Transparent Moment: My birthday is today and I’m honestly in my feels. Days I’m so filled with purpose and others I want to never leave my bed. I’ve felt attacked all month by trial and circumstance to not feel worthy of celebrating myself, my success or my life.
#TrueFact: I get this way every birthday. It’s like my emotional purging before I make that uphill climb to being a strategic badass. I’ve been told this process is quiet normal for strong creatives. This time, you get to read through my process…
Feel Your Feelings
I’ve felt unvalued.
I’ve felt depressed & sometimes isolated or contained.
I feel unworthy.
See The Good
But I know (from the foundation of Christ) that on the other side of all this fear and anxiety is JOY (and peace).
Joy in knowing I’m alive today & I get to see others that love just as hard.
Joy in knowing others care and share in the positivity of healing others in the smallest ways.
Joy in knowing God loves me and that’s GREATER then the immediate satisfaction of the previous two joys…
My life is far from perfect. I struggle with the best of them. I’m living proof that God wrestles tirelessly in this realm. God is fighting for my good even when I don’t feel good in this season.
Birthdays are hard because it forces me to look at things that aren’t always pretty. I feel guilt about things I woulda/ coulda/ shoulda done. But that is what also makes my life extremely rich and beautiful.
My life has been an ebb and flow of experiencing the best and worst of myself. As I’ve built my business I’ve also made eternal friendships and built foundations that could’ve only happened the way it did.
I’m incredibly grateful for each of you that have spoken wisdom and truth into my life. To my clients and friends that have gifted me direction and clarity this past year; thank you.
Hoping this next year reveals even deeper planting for my life, my business and everything in between.
Octane was super excited to be a part of this years Wild Hearts Fun Run Superhero 5K benefiting Kerringtons Heart Inc at Keeneland this year, sponsored by UK Healthcare and Cincinnati’s Children’s Hospital.
With over 600+ 5K participants and over 75 Super Sprinters this event was filled with superhuman abilities! The biggest part was fundraising $12,000 for children with congenital heart defects in Kentucky.
From caped crusaders to legendary heart heroes, let’s recap!
EVENT LOGO & BRANDING
Octane has designed this special event for Kerrington’s Heart since its conception in 2015. The organization chose a superhero theme because they believe that kids fighting and living with congenital heart defects are real life superheroes (and they are)!
For Octane this means pulling elements of comic book flair which was fun and challenging. Each year a different type of superhero was selected which means whole new color schemes and new artwork was created. The traditional logo for the event focuses on a traditional comic pop art with a beating heart in the center.
This year theme: The Incredible Hulk featured in the recent Marvel Infinity Wars Pt. 1!
Before we settled on the Hulk we were still playing around with the latest Marvel film Infinity War Pt. 1 and wanted to incorporate that feel in the initial teasers of the event. Phase 1 began with the FB cover and phase 2 with the theme and updated website followed. New this year was our first ever 5K Photo Filter created for participants Facebook stories!
Its first event held at the former commonwealth stadium brought a few hundred people together to support kids and families in Central Kentucky affected by Congenital Heart Defects. As the event grew we found that Keeneland was a better location logistically for both our families and our sponsors.
This year the crowd was OUT! We loved how the barns helped breakup the various activities and sections of the race (Registration, Kids Metropolis, Awards Stage). And the course is absolutely beautiful! THIS is Keeneland!
SIGNAGE, T-SHIRTS & AWARDS
This years theme was all about “Hulk Smash!” With that in mind we wanted all the awards to reflect the epic heroism of the Incredible Hulk.
All the awards of Best Superhero Boy and Girl were given hulk mugs with the event decal.
Earlier in the design process of the event, the race committee liked the idea of the rips and cracks of the hulk coming from his center, similar in mark to the hundreds of CHD kids and adults that have the iconic heart surgery scar across their chest, many enduring heart surgery within days after being born. The medals and t-shirts followed this design pattern with the iconic silhouette of the mean green machine.
All event sponsors were given autographed event posters from the Kerrington’s Heart Board of Directors as special thanks for supporting CHD families in Kentucky.
In my Russell Crowe voice; are you not entertained?!? (I seriously love that movie though!)
The Kentucky Derby (+ Cinco De Mayo) is right around the corner and I decided to break from my routine to create my own quick entertainment for the fastest 2 minutes in sports.
By ‘quick’ I mean single handedly designed, produced and photoshot. Whaaaaaa?
Here’s to juleps and Woodford on the porch, dreams of Millionaire Row and ALL the roses this side of the Mississippi!
Let’s get it started
So I initially got my wheels a turnin’ from this concept of a simple black, white and gold palette inspired by Rodin Designs. I love the sophisticated look of the color combo but also wanted it to be a little lighter for the Derby theme I envisioned.
My initial thoughts were: Invites & welcome sign, party table & reception table.
After not finding some specific items, I wasn’t sure if I could pull off the ideal look I wanted. Luckily I had just recently finished a quick Facetime Call with my fellow crafter, woodworker and cousin Jacqueline Rowan of JRow Everything whom I immediately called back for some quick designer advice.
After some camera flips and some frozen unintended video selfies (aka frozen camera), she totally refocused my vision with some quick fixes (switching out tablecloths for foil paper rolls and other simple things my brain was farting on) and I was rearing to go! I used one half day to stain wood and design the simple pieces and the next day to design the rest and assemble and start snapping some progress shots. I shared a few on my instagram.
They’ll tell the story of tonight
Day Two was all about assembling the small stuff early. By early, I mean by 2:30pm before I completely switched gears to embrace a completely different profession; motherhood of 3.
As I rushed to pick up my troop from the bus stop I remembered the horseshoe piece that was my intended focal point for all the smaller pieces. I decided to use that on the two color menus and the initial invitation for ALL the southern charm! I decided to roll with a sister font for the table tent cards at each setting, each with a fun derby themed phrase.
My personal fave, “I’m betting on you” and “You’re in my winner’s circle”.
Bright & Sophisticated, check check.
Onward to the invitation suite.
To be honest I went through this process all wrong because it was the LAST piece I designed! Typically with a client the event logo is what I would complete before anything else but I felt confident about the use of the horseshoe. I wasn’t just any other client so that was my rationale going into this; cheeky I know.
My original idea was gold foil roses across the top but I decided to rock the simplicity of the horseshoe. I’ve noticed the trend of watercolor and foil & used that on this bridal suite. The gold foil Louisville skyline and cascading roses looks so beautiful with the red watercolor brush stroke. The picture doesn’t do it justice!
Back Back, Forth & Forth
So finally on the second day I assembled the reception table.
When you’re styling things you’re moving things around, inch by inch, sometimes even, breath by breath for just the photo. I was already between other business deadlines that day yet still I was determined to complete something for ME. Thankful that had Jacqueline on Facetime from North Carolina for on call “professional accountability & support”. Hence these pretty photos!
This is how we do it; DIY
Day Three is party day! I invited my mum and the kids for some fun upcoming derby day fun! First how about these cute signs? I was able to use some blank clear acrylic pieces I already had to make some simple vinyl based table signage (And We’re Off & All The Fixin’s) and I think it turned out wonderful! Using simple and open Kentucky phrases kept the convo going when the kids and Gigi carouseled the table. Lastly, I continued the striped gold foil paper from Party City and the wedding sign for the “married couple” to keep things consistent.
Strawberry Delight anyone? Those straws totally complimented the look of the bright and colorful derby style reception turned backyard derby party! Throw in a close enough Derby Pie and you’ve got a simple party!
Curating and cherishing memories is what I live for! Maybe this inspired you to do something simple or not so simple for a themed Derby Day event? Either way, this was fun for me!
I’ve officially completed the first week of 2018 and I’ve been doing quite a bit of purging, clean slating and then reconfiguring. I’ve noticed that right toward the end of the year the piles of trash and paper scraps have flooded my office floor. My desk is loaded with business cards and the occasional scattered brochures. It’s THAT time of year!
A New Year means new beginnings right? Out with the old and in with the new? I’ve been inspired by some amazing people in 2017 as I continue to “build up” in the New Year.
To help motivate myself I’ve candidly captured some wisdom from some of my fave creatives / business owners / colleagues to inspire/advise you to make 2018, your year! If you don’t know these powerful ladies, get to know them. Better yet, follow there success. I’m still learning from them.
Here’s to littering the floors more, breathing fully (metaphorically and literally because the flu is no joke this time of year) and laughing a lot louder in 2018.
“Business Wisdom: find people who are smarter than you and figure out a way to work with them. Barter, trade, save up. Do whatever you have to in order to ensure you are working with people who are better than you. It’s the only way you will have the space you need to get better too!”
“My Advice for 2018 is …no matter who you are, odds are you unintentionally think to prepare for the worst more times than not, but in 2018 try to ask yourself, “what’s the best that could happen?”
Ephesians 3: 20-21 in the Message: “God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us”
Do the work. You literally have to stop overthinking and journaling and positive meme posting and just do the first thing. A lot of our answers come out in the movement, not in the brainstorm during a netflix binge. Write the next 20 lines or pages, contact the adoption center, take your health seriously, schedule therapy, record that podcast, audition for that film, go viral… do something toward your goals/happiness to force yourself to take the next step.
“Starting a business can be an amazing fulfilling adventure but it will take time and patience to build the business of your dream. Don’t get discouraged if in the beginning things are slow or not going your way. Don’t quit! Keep going and remember that the world wasn’t made in a night… nor a successful business.”
Jessie Laine Powell
Jazz Artist, Singer/ Songwriter, JLP Music
“Don’t harbor unforgiveness. You immediately imprison your own heart. Forgive and set yourself free. This is true liberation.”
“Successful entrepreneurs (online or brick and mortar): What’s your no.1 fear for you and your business?
a) Revenue: How to increase profits while decreasing overhead expenses
b) Balance: How to balance your business and personal life before you lose your cool.
c) Retirement: You don’t have a plan in place. All you ave is the business as your retirement plan. “
True Story: While reading a bible passage of the Christmas story to my kids before bed, an idea came to me. I was literally telling my kids that each time I reflect on the birth of Jesus and how it ALL came to be, I notice more subtle details that make this story more special than before.
I sat there on the edge of my sons bed and just looked puzzled as they continued to ask me questions about the story. Finally when they realized I wasn’t responding, my middle son spoke up and asked “Where did you go?” And I stared at him for a second.
Where did I go? I was replaying this random string of events in my head. How a young tweening adult was impregnated by God and living with all the fatal drama… how three old guys followed a star technically for years before getting to Bethlehem, wandering like groupies from city to city in hopes of meeting a king…. and how the lowliest class of people on earth were notified FIRST of this spectacle before anyone else.
I mean, this is an impossible story. But in all of it, its proving God is possible. His works are real.
And I kept going. To the inn keepers that turned away Mary and Joseph not knowing what miracle and spectacle lay before them. In our modern day lives, am I the old inn keeper thats turning away the son of God? Am I missing the Moment?
Slowly my brain unravels this big idea: the miracle wasn’t the babe being born, he was coming with or without everyone else… the miracle is us listening and seeking something bigger and being present to witness something greater than our individual accomplishments. The miracle is listening to God’s desire for us, fulfilling the promise to Abraham from the near beginning of man. Immanuel; God with us.
All these little scattered supposedly insignificant pieces brought together by a creator who knew it would all play out to those that are welcome to receiving Him.
Am I receiving Him? Am I still seeking?
“Umm, MOM? Where’d you go?”
“Whoops, sorry. I literally just noticed something cool that I didn’t before.”
If you’re like, part whaa? Then read this first. For the rest of you lovely bunches of Oats, today’s #TablescapeThursday was simply put, FUN! Getting further away from the traditional green red and orange look & used only two colors –keepin’ it cozy. In my Ernest voice, know what I mean?
All month-long I’ll be showcasing tablescapes of various styles I love. Be inspired & purchase custom paper items on #OctaneOnEtsy! Lookout for extra pics & comments in my Instagram stories!
Interested in having Octane design your holiday party or event? Chat with us at email@example.com.
So this is where I decided to get fancy with the camera. I love pumpkins… but I also love to reuse. You better believe these were from Halloween… its got my little ones doodles all over them. Love the array of families memories spread all across the table!
What is it with natural wood?! I Iove the texture and color and works really well with the candles I put in my faux lanterns. It always flows well with natural foilage. And I loved that the table is bare… I like being able to use the table as a means to talk to others I don’t always get to talk to. Having tall crazy pieces kind of ruins that possibility. It’s a Ga-ther-ing, remember?
Let’s talk about these menus. My kids crack at me for still using “turkey day” instead of Thanksgiving Day. Growing up the only time I had turkey was on Thanksgiving Day (and the leftover turkey salad sandwiches thereafter ) with my family. As a paper enthusiast kraft paper gives me LIFE. I was also shooting for a signature look. (The curse of being a graphic designer…and all her “looks”.) Just a simple natural black and white feel with my favorite embellishment, satire. That’s right we’re having TURDUCKEN, Grandma’s mashed potatoes (not that Idaho in a microwave bag mess) and The Pie of ALL Pies… who doesn’t want that?!!
Overall this was more fun than last week because its closer to my personal style. Next week we’ll get further from traditional and go for the gold… literally! #StayTuned and continue to follow #OctaneOnEtsy for more #TablescapeThursday inspiration for you holiday gatherings!
Hello #November! This month is made for gatherings, giggles and gnache. I’m always excited to experience all three with loved ones this time of year. Fall brings out the best of my creative crafty mood. Not too hot and not too cold… hot cider… and all the pumpkin you can eat!
As a child I loved dressing the table and the habit never left me. So to continue this little childhood tradition I’m showcasing lots of dreamy tablescapes and paperie and invite you to follow me all month long as I dress to impress the table!
Be inspired & purchase custom paper items on my #etsyshop! Lookout for extra pics & comments in my Instagram stories!
Interested in having Octane design your holiday party or event? Chat with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This table is a pretty traditional look. I used simple traditional tones of gold red and green to capture the nostalgia of old time holiday season. Chargers give all the elegance needed to dress up the table. The “Give Thanks” printable is from @circutofficial. This printable is pretty easy to use and style however you need.
I love details! It what makes every thing flow and connect together to set the mood. These simple leaf cutouts are perfect for an extra decor at each setting. I decided to add some foil to these for a lil more “bling” factor. (Psst! You can purchase these and other paper greenery on my etsy store for your Dinner Party 👍)
What do you do when your vase breaks at a vendor setup? You SAVE it and reuse it for rustic chic candle holders. I repurpose almost everything if I can. My little way of saving the planet, one #nailedit at a time!
Believe it or not my mom would constantly remind me to make sure to make sure it looks the same as everyone else’s plate. But mooom! The christmas radio is just starting! I’m dancing and styling full spirit over here! And yet somewhere in Kentucky my mom’s looking at this and scowling. Haha! Sorry mom!
Let’s talk greenery! I got away from using the cheaper faux vinery and started looking at more elegant ways to showcase florals. Paper florals is definitely its own fine art but I fell in love with paper foilage. Hopefully you’ll see what I mean at the next tablescape reveal!
So, I decided to go out on a limb this year for our wedding anniversary this weekend. We did a photoshoot in our wedding clothes.
Most of us can’t even wear the blouse from this time last time last year. I can’t. ( But kudos to everyone that kept there new years resolutions of weight loss .) Miraculously my idea panned out.
This year the “newlwed” cloud landed in a rough season for my husband and I and I clearly had a vision for how to commemorate and treasure a year of loss and joy and triumph. Reminding each other of the eternal promises we made “for better or worse… in sickness and in health.”
Life is a growing process.
Life takes it time.
Time heals all things.
Not just fortune cookie wisdom.
This photoshoot meant so much more than just reminiscing from “I do” three years ago, this still is an emotional renewal of the faith and promise of loving deeper; especially when it doesn’t always feel loving.
I was super fortunate to cross paths with amazing knit queen and local photographer Lea Thompson of Velvet Paper Photography who just happened to be working with me on a future IG giveaway (shhh… more about that later) and offered an open photo session that we miraculously fit into.
And thus this idea of SAME CLOTHES. BETTER PEOPLE was born.
Because… its true.
I’m better because he loves me when I’m physically at my worst.
He’s better because I love him at his darkest and lowest moments.
We’re better because we keep running back to God in the midst of pain and sorrow and confusion.
We’re better because God keeps loving us to love each other deeper, especially when the answer is no.
Our wedding day symbolized all that and more. What better way to remember eternal promise than with the love of your life?
This whole experience was surreal. In seeing the photos, seeing the joy and the love that endures past the pain of optimistic failure, low self esteem, multiple miscarriages and a crazy amount of personal soul searching. The greatest of these is love.We stuck to it. And we’re better for it.
So I began my FB post:
In our nearly 7 years of life together this year was really a rough patch.
“For better or for worse…In sickness and in health…. and the greatest of these is love.” These words have such deeper meaning now than the first time we said it to each other.
This season has given us deeper purpose. It’s taken us through winding narrow paths. Roads less traveled.
It’s easier to scoot it under the rug and not wield the bad times as times of promise. But it was a promise. A promise from our Maker. A promise to a man filled with the characteristics of God. A promise to myself.
Inch by inch in weaving Gods love into the fabric of our lives, we’re certainly not the same ‘Danielle + Kevin” from three years ago. We’re better.
We see it in lives present. We feel it in lives lost.
In our clothes In our skin Between souls
We still ‘do’.
“Then God looked over all he had made, and he saw that it was very good…” – Genesis 1:31
I can say this session was a first for me and Misty! This firecracker had her birthday coming up and she wanted to CELEBRATE! We connected through a mutual friend and when we spoke on the phone about her session, she told me she wanted lots of color and CAKE. I think we nailed it;)
Misty is basically a badass in all the ways.
We had a great time shooting, but the rain got in our way a little bit. Then the photographer nightmare occurred… we lost the light. It got too dark too quickly for me to really shoot my usual style and I freaked a little bit inside my head. But, then I remembered that we captured GREAT photos already. Everything else was going to be..well…icing on the cake!
So we rolled with it and ended up with photos that are so different from what I typically shoot. Misty is basically down for anything so after we got through with the cute, flirty, fun pictures, she was more than game for a little depravity!
It was a hard listen even though all the good tidbits and wisdom was invaluable. Lately I struggle with friendships and confrontation. I don’t have a lot of close friends. I can talk to anyone, I can tell strangers my life story but I don’t let people “in” much, at all.
Since I was a young girl I always wanted friends but never had them. In high school I attempted to throw a luau themed party for myself that turned into my younger sisters ‘swole’ summer field party. People didn’t want to friend me. I didn’t want to friend myself. I was emotionally lone a lot.
Fast-forward 20 years … different ocean, same boat.
I can only think of 2-3 real girlfriends in entire adult life — two who ironically dislike each other. Over the years I just stopped trying to ‘play god’ in uniting them so I felt better about it. It’s become a good thing but still separate.
When I listen to Jen’s podcast I note some big truths about myself:
Friendships scare the hell out of me because it involves investing more than I want to
Personal failure is more devastating then professional failure
I still crave real life friends
I feel a Spider-Man quote coming along… “with great power come great responsibility.”
Her guest was the eloquent author Shauna Niequist. These girls / published authors speak about how there friendship of 10 years had such deep impressions and altered there lives because of the investment in there friendship. Investment = time.
As I’m listening I’m thinking to myself: “Yeah I don’t have that; time. Or do I?”
If I spent the extra hour that I spend crafting for instagram photoshoots and creating marketing e-blasts for more wedding clients … would I have more friends? In my lack of friendships, its made me only focus harder on polishing my craft. And I love that about myself.
How are these women making intentional time to be at each other’s doorsteps? How are women making space for friendship to be a “shelter”. Honestly, if I had a shelter I would never leave for home. (But I also have to understand that I in turn would be a shelter for them too. Maybe I’ve done that without thinking it.)
My favorite part in this amazing podcast was the advice to “only connect”. I don’t have to leave this amazing impression with people. Just be present. If I’m not in a good place then be ok not in the good place. Just like Shauna that shared this tidbit I tend to hide from humility or sore spots. Who doesn’t?
But I know humility is one of the most humbling gifts God offers. So I smirk try not to hide so much, take it as another notch in my belt and press on. Knowing He will use it for His good … somewhere. At least I nailed that one.
In my daydreams I think about hosting this quaint high end dinner party— just a buffet with friends families over some HGTV style lavish space I created. People come and laugh and share and connect and leave deeper friends.
Stop. Who are these people?
And It’s still a dream because I don’t feel comfy doing this anywhere but home. You won’t find me downtown hanging out drinking martinis and skinny drinks. I barely make it to The Fig for coffee / lemonade unless it’s work related. How can I desire the result of something more than the actual work of doing it?
So I’m left with investing time & energy (which can be gratifying) and the fear of being judged and disappointing out of my own insecurities.
This is my impasse. So I want to hear from the world.
I’m about to turn mid thirties and I have little ambling about having lasting friendships beyond my marriage (that took three tries before I got it right even). What am I missing here? Is it better for me to notably wave / nod at the idea of real friendships? Or is friends (the good , the bad & the WAY ugly) in this day & age overrated?
My Prayer: God. I’m struggling being with your people. I’m struggling defining relationships that are meaningful and rich beyond my professional career. I’m praying that your Holy Spirit breathe the right words in me and grow my confidence to build things that matter in the people you love. Help me to see past my perfect flaws for the greater good of your desire to connect each other on earth. Help me radiate your fire for connection. Amen.
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We’re the real creative connoisseurs. We are planning thoroughbreds that take the lead. We are experts in graphics, project management, sweet treats, amazing cakes, rocking photography, the dougie and righteous hi-fives. We assist businesses and individuals in building powerful brands for today and tomorrow. We are women, mothers and dreamchasers. We ignite cultural influence and believe in it like a cold Ale-8-One. This is Octane.