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!
Many moons ago I had this idea that we should start an event for entrepreneurs. Finally in 2018 it HAPPENED!
The concept of the event is to provide networking opportunities and resourceful information that any entrepreneur could use at value to start or grow their own business.
So I began asking my friends that were each really good at a specific thing within there own businesses, if they’d talk about these skillsets in a group of 5-10 growing entrepreneurs. One by one they said, yes! With each yes I asked “What advice do you hope entrepreneurs obtain by coming to this event?”
Here’s your recap!
Event Logo & Branding
I knew initially that I wanted the word to be an action verb (as all conferences are typically) and I wanted it to still look similar to the branding of my company that was sponsoring the event. I started with “O” words that circle gaining new knowledge and then it hit me! Obtain, a lot like Octane. I ran the idea past my PR specialist, Samantha Johnson of SamanhattanPR. She liked the idea but couldn’t see the word used as a logo. I love bold typography and decided to go vertical with the word instead of the typical horizontal. The flame inside the block lettering of the O seemed to streamline the connection of Octane and Obtain so that it stands on its own.
It worked out so well on all the other branding across social media and the conference badges. I loved creating the DIY photo backdrop and with each answered “Entrepreneur Wisdom” response I was able to brand the speakers quotes not only across social media, but into a unique poster piece as well.
I had thought about amazing places to host it but when it all came to it, I knew that my fave place Pivot Brewing was truly the sweet spot to start small. Pivot was PERFECT due to the multi-functioning of the facility but also because I could offer them a unique experience of trying craft ciders. I’m a HUGE cider fan and Pivot is the only cider brewery in Kentucky!
There modern mesh of industrial chic decor makes me feel right at home and I knew once the evening crept in that the Edison bulbs in the community room would just “sing” in the space.
I love working with Bevin and ALL the staff at Pivot! Truly humbling people to ensure your event goes without a single hitch! What was super awesome was the bottled baby’s breath centerpieces we got to incorporate on our welcome / registration table and on the food table & barrels for decor.
Food & Decor
In the beginning I thought to go the catered route but I realized closer to the event it was way cheaper to use simple appetizers for guests that came early or on time.
After consulting with Shalon Thomas of Passionate Event Designs, I came up some simple solutions that I felt worked best and paired well with the free ciders each guest received with entry:
Mini Assorted Cheesecakes
Italian Meats & Cheese Tray and
Chocolate Dipped Pretzels (made by Passionate Event Designs)
Shalon glammed out the appetizer table and I loved all the positive vibe details in the floral arrangements, she did a fantastic job making the space glamorous and inviting!
The event speakers were not only dear friends but honestly they all responded after how humbling this experience was to give back in a way that helped others be successful. In the famous words of our Keynote Speaker, Chris Hudson of Life’s Journey Clothing, everybody “planted seeds” that night.
I’m so grateful to each of them for their time and talent:
This event taught me a lot but it was so rewarding seeing those that came leave such positive remarks across social media. I definitely want to host another one next year with some funding for business pitches!
What’s a 12 year old to do when she’s crazy talented and enjoys swinging a paint brush or two? If you’re anything like this birthday mom, this starving artist themed birthday should completely inspire you!
You may remember Nakia from our Fabulous Bell House Bridal Shower, married and mother of elementary age and college daughters, she’s infused all her own event planning into amazing personal showcases celebrating the milestones of her children.
I’m feeling a tear! Return customers for the win! Let’s review.
We loved that Nakia chose this theme based on her daughter Jasmin’s own whimsical creativity. After already doing research and discovery processes, she had nailed down a venue, strong concept and color palette for the event.
In working collaboratively we created an event logo that she could brand throughout the party including a custom birthday smock for each guest.
Pinot’s Palette was a great mutual location for this creative gathering! Located right next to Fayette Mall, the classes were simple and gave all the girls their own space to truly venture from the original design and do their own art. It felt so clean, professional and the staff was so friendly.
What could we not say about this simple, fun and creative table display?! I mean, WOW. From the fun primary colors to the creative idea of the party favors. Nakia wasn’t holding back on the birthday fun for her daughter!
Our “starving artist” and “creative juices” tags were just the right touch of cute to help guide the eye along to all the other amazing things displayed on the table.
The concept that the food was the art was an understatement. The talk of the event was cute cake pops on paintbrushes and the amazing colorful fondant cake. These event branded watercolor cookies were amazing!
There were not one but two party favors to this event. Guests not only got to paint with their new custom smock but they also received a goodie paint bucket filled with skittles, a creative paintbrush pen, inspirational watercolor notebooks and a custom mini painted canvas.
I’m thrilled to finally share what I’ve been sitting on for what seems like forever. After months of praying, waiting with this team of independently amazing women business owners, I’m blessed to announce our newest addition, event designer Shalon Thomas to the Octane tribe!
Shalon comes with years of experience as an event designer building everything from floral walls to grand reception halls and intimate gala decor. I think what I love most about Shalon is that she’s so easy to talk to and versatile in style. She can go allout or keep it reeled in while staying within budget and within the desired look.
Be sure to follow Shalon across Instagram and Facebook and continue to follow Octane’s blog as we feature more works from each business.
Q&A With Shalon Thomas
Q: What inspired you to get started in event design?
A: I have always been a creative person. I believe my background in early childhood education played an important part in the beginning stages of being a creative. I found myself being very inventive and taking on DIY projects. When my children were young I would have parties that was full of DIY decor that actually turned out pretty well. I started to receive many compliments on my work, I also enjoyed the production of the actual event. From there I started creating and crafting small social gathers for family and friends.
Q: What’s your typical event day look like?
A: Depending on what type of event we are design and styling, an event day could be anywhere from 4 – 8 hrs long which includes set up and break down. The morning usually starts with event set up, event rental arrivals, following the production timeline, assign tasks and lastly returning to the event for the break down.
Q: Do you have a preferred clientele or are you open to working with anyone?
A: I do prefer to work with clients who do not enjoy decorating or just simply do not have the time nor desire to come up with themes and concepts for their event. When clients come to me for design services it helps if they have ideas but are unsure how to pull all the pieces together. We also specialize in creative direction… meaning if you have no ideas and don’t have a clue where to start we help you map out unique personalized themes from the very beginning. We love blank canvases, those are usually the events that wow our clients the most.
Q: What do you enjoy doing when not event designing?
A: I enjoy family time when I am not event designing. I have a husband Eugene, 2 boys Jay and Eugene and a dog named Eva! There is never a dull moment in the house. My children keep me current on the latest dance moves, they both are great dancers! We also love to watch horror movies together while making homemade smores in the microwave LOL.
Q: What’s your favorite food?
A: I love flatbread pizza!
Q: What’s your favorite Movie?
A: The Nutty Professor
Q: What’s one of you most memorable events you’ve done? (Or two, or three…)
A: The Kate Spade inspired bridal shower has been the most memorable event so far. When I first had the idea I wasn’t really sure how everything was going to turn out. The colors were bright pink, black and white stripes with gold accents. I didn’t want to get to carried away with the design elements. I was going for a clean and simple yet bold statement. On the event day, the production team totally rocked the vision. When you entered into the room you felt like you were at a New York Kate Spade show room. No detail went unnoticed. The metallic gold favor boxes matched the gold chargers from the place setting. The perfume of fresh pink roses filled the room leaving the guest with a long lasting impression.
Octane had the pleasure of providing design and coordination of the 24th annual Unity Breakfast in Lexington Kentucky. This event is hosted and produced by client, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. We enjoyed every minute of the event from the elegant staging, to the polished programming, to the distinguished speakers at the end. In our second year coordinating with the Alphas all the hard work paid off in a big way!
While the event in its entirety encompasses Unity each year the client chooses a fitting theme. This years theme was Unity: Peace Through Non-Violence. In conducting a improvised ‘kneel in support’ photoshoot with various diverse citizens from Lexington, we were able to capture our finalized concept art.
The Printed Items
Each year the organization gives a commemorative bookmark with each printed program. This years quote was selected by Octane of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s 1963 letter from Birmingham, Alabama.
Talk about teamwork! The night before the event at rehearsal, members of the Alpha Phi Alpha and supporting staff placed each program, bookmark and table placards across the 175 tables.
This year we added some additional social media imagery prior to the event to highlight each speaker and create more awareness of the various topics of each speaker: Education, Spirituality, Civil Rights, & Humanitarianism.
On the day of event, a team of 4 covered live footage of speeches, performances and event atmosphere in real time, giving each online viewer the opportunity to interact in the live event as it was happening.
AV & Videography
This year the stage colors and uplighting created a glowing juxtaposition effect that looked extremely high end. A team of 4 in coordination with the staff of the Lexington Convention Center made this event look flawless from transitions on the screen projectors to DVD duplication of the event.
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.”
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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.