SIX BOMB BOARDS: Jae Johannsson

Throughout April Octane is celebrating the 10th anniversary of Kentucky’s elite group of comic art creators, the SIX BOMB BOARDS. Get to know them and celebrate with them on Avengers Day at the SIX BOMB BOARDS LIVEART CON AT MOVIE TAVERN APRIL 27, 2019 FROM NOON TO 8PM.


Your name:
Jae Johannsson

Your published credits:
None (YET!!!)

Where do you live:
Lexington

Your current project(s) that we should mention:
I’m making mermaids for a show at Limbo Bar in Louisville. Its for Mer-May. Haaaaa

Website for readers to find out more about you:
Instagram: @starfall_art
Facebook: @starfallart
Etsy: Etsy.com/shop/starfallart

When did you first decide that you wanted to create your own comics as a career?

I wish I made comics. As it is, I am working towards getting my nursing degree, with the hopes of getting into medical illustration!

Who has had the biggest influence on you outside the comics industry, and how did they affect your life?

My biggest influence would have to be my therapist. Is it weird to put therapist? My past was not so great, and she helped me through some really dark times, as in I wouldn’t be here without her interventions. She was the one who pushed me into art to help process my trauma.  She gave me the tools I needed to become who I am today. There is no shame in my mental health game. ( And no shame in anyone else’s! Do what you must, get the help you need if you need it!)

Who has had the biggest influence on your comics career, and how has that person changed your work?

Freaking Joshua Penrose and Justin motherfucking Stewart. Josh introduced me to all these amazing creatives I’m lucky enough to call friends now, and Justin, well this guy has been dropping great hints about things to think about in my art. Without these two dudes, my art wouldn’t be what it is now.

What do you do to recharge your creative batteries?

I like to pretend I’m in a quiet room and no one is touching me. But since I have kids, husband and pets, I usually try to veg out with them, doing something requiring no brain power.

Describe your typical work routine.

Sketch a few thumbnails of what I want to do. Decide on one. Realize that idea was shit. Start over with a different thumbnail. Second guess myself. Yell at myself in my head to just go with it. Starting over 12 times is a wee bit overkill. Tell Kira ( youngest daughter) she cannot use the copics or my watercolor paper. Yell at the cat for jumping on my desk. Start painting. Stare at the cat who is now drinking paint water…. (whhhhhhyyyyyyy) push cat off desk. Look for cat hair in the painting. Dig them out. Repeat until painting is complete. Put the painting away because otherwise a kid will draw on it.

What tools do you use to create comics and what makes them the “right tools” for you?

It depends on what I’m feeling for that piece. I use Bombay inks, watercolors, iPad Procreate, copics, acrylic paint, pencils…. some weird amalgamation of all of the above… just depends on the textures and feeling I want in that piece.

What element of your work gives you the most personal satisfaction?

My favorite part of my work is when I work in watercolors or ink, and the colors swirl perfectly. I paint a lot of wet into wet, and I’ll get wildly excited when I see textures coming through or colors blending in an unexpected but wondrous way.

What has been the most rewarding project in your professional career – in or out of comics – and why?

Well this will be silly. But my most rewarding project was making a piece of art for the LexArts public works project. I found out The Nest selected it for use in their building. I cried when I found out, because it’s like my art has come full circle. I started creating as a way to deal with past abuse, and here is my art, now hanging in this place created to help families through the worst of times, including escaping abuse. I can’t begin to explain how meaningful this is to me.

We’ve seen very talented newcomers who are trying to get their first professional projects. What’s the best advice you’ve ever heard given to a promising new creator?

Find your community. Your community will raise each other up, and help each other grow as a person and artist. And if someone says, let me introduce you to this person, let them. 🙂 Making friends and connections is important. 

Let’s get deep: What’s the most important “big idea” that you’ve learned in life – in or out of comics – and why is it important?

Stop comparing yourself to other artists. Everyone has their own style, find yours and run with it. There’s enough room in the world for all of us. (Even you paint cup dump artists.)

Six Bomb Boards: Alex Robinson

Throughout April Octane is celebrating the 10th anniversary of Kentucky’s elite group of comic art creators, the SIX BOMB BOARDS. Get to know them and celebrate with them on Avengers Day at the Six Bomb Boards LiveArt Con at Movie Tavern April 27, 2019 from noon to 8pm.


Your name:
Alex Rhys

Your published credits: 
Bingo Love: Jackpot Edition, Cash & Carrie Book 2, Robin & Cat: Falling In Like With You (self-published)

Where do you live:
Junction City, KY

Your current project(s):
Robin & Cat, my ongoing LGBT romance webcomic.

Website for readers to find out more about you:
robinandcat.com
Twitter: @robinandcat
Instagram: @heypizzaking

When did you first decide that you wanted to create your own comics as a career?

Like just about every artist ever, I’ve been drawing all my life. But it wasn’t until, like…2013? 2014? Around that time that I wanted to create comics for a living. It was around the time I found out who Harvey Pekar was and watched “American Splendor”. I was also big into Daniel Clowes at the time, and I picked up the “Daniel Clowes Reader”. Both of these things, the movie about Pekar’s life and the book discussing Clowes’ work, showed me that a life in comics was possible. That I could tell my own stories and it didn’t have to be about superheroes. And that even if the life isn’t glamorous, it’s fulfilling.

Who has had the biggest influence on you outside the comics industry, and how did they affect your life?

Easy answer is my parents. They never scoffed at me for taking art classes in school, and going into an arts field in college. They even encouraged it. I think they knew I wouldn’t be happy with anything else. The “I really had to think about this” answer is Satoshi Kon, the animation director. He was pushing his field further than anyone else at the time. And when he died, it brought me to tears. There was like this connection, and it made me realize how little time we might have. So draw, write, and create with the days we’ve got.

Who has had the biggest influence on your comics career, and how has that person changed your work?

There are two…no, three people who have helped me tremendously. The first is Johnathon O. Rose-Lyon, who has been a fountain of encouragement and knowledge. He wrote some comics like Neon Noir and Superhuman…they’re really great! The second is Justin Stewart, the master of Six Bomb Boards! Thanks to him, I’ve found my community, and he’s always pushed me to go out there with my ideas. And number three is Shawn Pryor. He has taught me so much about having confidence in what you do, and to go after what you want. He’s my friend, and he believe in my work, so I have to believe, too! I wouldn’t have had the chances I’ve had in the comics industry without him.

What do you do to recharge your creative batteries?

When nothing is going right creatively, then I zone out with a video game. Usually a classic JRPG like a Final Fantasy, or a fun, relaxing game like Kirby or Animal Crossing. But sometimes I have to throw myself into something new to get the creative juices flowing. Like watch a horror movie that would have scared the Baby Alex from 5 years ago. Or read a new manga series because the art looks cool.

Describe your typical work routine.

I have a full-time day job, so the comic work is all done in the evenings and weekends. I post new pages of Robin & Cat on Tuesdays and Thursdays, so each week’s pages have to be done on Monday and Wednesday respectively. Thursday and Friday are veg days after the comic posts. I’ll do either nothing or draw something just for me. Then Saturday and Sunday is writing and drawing time wherever I can fit it in. Usually with plenty of samurai and anime movie breaks.

What tools do you use to create comics and what makes them the “right tools” for you?

I mostly work traditional. Pencil, paper, ink. For my comic, I color digitally, but for everything else I color with copic markers, paint…I’ve been really into white gel pens lately. They add a nice after effect to traditional work. But at the moment, I’ve been experimenting with adding more of the impressionist-esque painting style I do at Live Arts with what I usually do at home with copic markers. I’m having a lot of fun blending it together!

What element of your work gives you the most personal satisfaction?

Trying something new, and it actually working, is the biggest joy I get from my work. Experimenting with style and tools is a lot of fun. But when it comes to my comic, Robin & Cat, it comes from seeing someone totally get what you’re saying. If they felt the emotion I was going for, then I’m doing something right.

What has been the most rewarding project in your professional career – in or out of comics – and why?

It has definitely been Robin & Cat, my webcomic. It just reached it’s 5th birthday of being published online. I’ve never seen anything through this long. And I’ve met so many incredible people from this project! It’s really changed my life.

We’ve seen very talented newcomers who are trying to get their first professional projects. What’s the best advice you’ve ever heard given to a promising new creator?

In the immortal words of Jake the Dog: “sucking at something is the first step towards being sorta good at something.” Just start that thing you’ve wanted to work on! It will probably be bad! But the more practice you put in, the better you get. And find your community. Find people who can help you find what you’re great at, critiques what needs improvement, and lifts you up to doing better.

Let’s get deep: What’s the most important “big idea” that you’ve learned in life – in or out of comics – and why is it important?

Failure isn’t the end. You’re going to fail. A lot. But that’s how you learn and grow. So don’t be afraid to mess up a lot. Because a bad drawing is just a first draft of a good drawing.

Six Bomb Boards Feature: Joshua Penrose

Throughout April Octane is celebrating the 10th anniversary of Kentucky’s elite group of comic art creators, the SIX BOMB BOARDS. Get to know them and celebrate with them on Avengers Day at the Six Bomb Boards Con at Movie Tavern April 27, 2019 from noon to 10pm.


Your name:
Josh Penrose

Your published credits:
None in the comic world, I have diagrams in a science journal out there.

Where do you live:
Lexington, KY

When did you first decide that you wanted to create your own comics as a career? 

I never thought of it as a career.  I did run the comic book club while I was in college and we published some anthology stuff as a collective.  We also participated in some 24 hour challenges.  Recently I have just done some stuff with comics like promo art for a friend but nothing too much like a career.

Who has had the biggest influence on you outside the comics industry, and how did they affect your life?  As far as influence on my life I would have to say my partner Mouse.  She constantly pushes me to keep creating and supports me when I am feeling down on my art.  Not to mention supporting me on my career choice which is not always easy.

Who has had the biggest influence on your comics career, and how has that person changed your work?

As far as artists that influence me I have a couple:Frank Miller:  The art in Sin City really made me want to work in the high contrast style that I am currently exploring.Alan Moore:  His writing and strict devotion to his creations is an inspiration.  To be able to write fiction based on fictional characters being brought together is impressive.  His work has always entertained me and I could reread any of it over and over.Ralph Steadman: My favorite artist of all time.  I grew up loving the Gonzo art and later became completely enthralled with anything he created from children’s books, artwork, political cartoons, to his writing.  He will always be an inspiration to keep working on my style.

What do you do to recharge your creative batteries?

Coffee.  I am a big time coffee drinker.  Even the act of making the coffee has some recharging power for me.

Describe your typical work routine. 

Sitting down in front of my pencils.  Looking confused at my pencils.  Putting ink to the paper.  Messing up that ink.  Not caring that I messed up.  Moving on to the next one.  Inking is my favorite part and I often just go for it no matter how confusing I made my pencils.

What tools do you use to create comics and what makes them the “right tools” for you? 

INK!  I use ink and brush while at home mostly.  When I do events like live art I move to markers.  I found some markers that I really like UNI Posca’s.  I burn through so much ink though that I have gotten used to re-filling them with Montana inks.  Really for me any tool has a purpose and it is just waiting to be found.

What element of your work gives you the most personal satisfaction? 

It’s hard to describe this.  Once a piece is finished there is joy that it is finished but the real satisfaction I think comes from making it.  That being said I don’t like doing pencils so I guess the REAL satisfaction is when I can finally put ink to the paper.

Josh Penrose

What has been the most rewarding project in your professional career – in or out of comics – and why? 

If I were to look at my career in terms of my art I would think that the most rewarding part is when I see people post pictures of my art hanging in their house, or hearing that people were very happy with their gift (my art).

We’ve seen very talented newcomers who are trying to get their first professional projects. What’s the best advice you’ve ever heard given to a promising new creator? 

Keep creating.  It’s hard to stay positive but the real truth is that you need to keep creating.

Let’s get deep: What’s the most important “big idea” that you’ve learned in life – in or out of comics – and why is it important? 

To let the past happen and not keep it in the present.  Learn and move forward, always forward.

That and, always have an out.

Six Bomb Boards Feature: Justin Stewart

Throughout April Octane is celebrating the 10th anniversary of Kentucky’s elite group of comic art creators, the Six Bomb Boards. Get to know them and celebrate with them on Avengers Day at the Six Bomb Boards Con at Movie Tavern April 27, 2019 from noon to 10pm.

Throughout April Octane is celebrating the 10th anniversary of Kentucky’s elite group of comic art creators, the Six Bomb Boards. Get to know them and celebrate with them on Avengers Day at the Six Bomb Boards Con at Movie Tavern April 27, 2019 from noon to 10pm.


Your name:
Justin Stewart

Your published credits:
Bleed Leaders, Kentucky Kaiju, Grrl Scouts: Magic Socks, Avengers Vs X-Men, Howard the Human, Marijuanaman, Miami Vice: Remix

Where do you live:
Nicholasville, KY

Your current project(s) that we should mention:
Currently promoting ‘Bleed Leaders’ which was completed and published in October 2018.

Website for readers to find out more about you:
www.justin3000.com

Justin3000 on Twitter

justin3000stewart on IG

Justin3000 on FB


When did you first decide that you wanted to create your own comics as a career?

When I saw a “How To” article in Wizard magazine in the late 90’s. It went over how to copy and collate your own mini-comic. Coincidentally that article was written and drawn by Jim Mahfood, who was, and still is, my art hero who I’ve collaborated on tons of stuff with.

Who has had the biggest influence on you outside the comics industry, and how did they affect your life?

That’s tough. My initial instinct is to say “my father”, but that’s a whole other thing. So keeping it in entertainment, I’d probably say OutKast? 🙂 The way those dudes came up showed me you can start with whatever you have and make it all the way to wherever it is you want to go. Also, I totally bit the “3000” in my brand from Andre 3000. 😀

Who has had the biggest influence on your comics career, and how has that person changed your work?

Jim Mahfood (aka foodone) without a doubt. He was an art hero of mine before I ever knew him personally and he didn’t disappoint when I did get to know him. He showed me that you can take on the client work, but still do your own thing and still have a thriving career. He taught me that “people will come to you” if you focus on making stuff you enjoy and stuff you want to see out in the world.

What do you do to recharge your creative batteries?

I become completely sedentary and just read and watch movies and shows. You can’t exhale if you don’t inhale, right? 🙂 So when I’m drained creatively, I just accept it and plop down on the couch and watch something I’ve been meaning to or I’ll crack open that book I’ve been chipping away at. And on occasion I’ll have a few beers then go into my basement and dance like I’m on Broadway.

Describe your typical work routine.

I have a part-time day job, so that’s over at noon everyday. Then I’ll go home, eat some lunch, fix some coffee and head to the studio to work until my daughter gets home from school around 3. Then later that night after she and my wife have headed off to bed, I’ll go back to work for an hour or so, mainly just checking over what I did earlier that day. I think it’s super important to push away from the table and let something sit for a while before you send it to the client or consider it “final”.

What tools do you use to create comics and what makes them the “right tools” for you?

Pencil, ink, paint, markers, crayons, chalk, desktop computer, Photoshop, iPad, Procreate; basically whatever I think is gonna work for the thing I wanna do. Sometimes it’s all digital, sometimes all analog, but most of the time it’s a Frankenstein’d combo of both to varying degrees.

What element of your work gives you the most personal satisfaction?

Two things actually: When something comes out onto the paper that’s exactly what I saw in my head and when something happens as I’m working that Bob Ross called “happy accidents”. It’s when you make a mark or stroke that you didn’t intend to make but ultimately makes the art so much better. I like to think that our subconscious knows more than we do, so on occasion it’ll take over and be like, “Nah, you’re overthinking homie. Here, let me take this one.”

What has been the most rewarding project in your professional career – in or out of comics – and why?

That’d be ‘Kentucky Kaiju’. It was a book I concepted and had my three friends and fellow creators, Shawn Pryor, Tressina Bowling, and Jason Sizemore help make a reality. Jason is publisher and EiC of Apex Book Company. He reached out and asked, “You wanna do a comic for me?” I immediately replied, “No. Comics are fuckin hard and take forever. I have an idea about giant monsters tho.” I pitched it, he gave the thumbs up, I hit up Shawn and Tressa and we all made a dope thing! 🙂

We’ve seen very talented newcomers who are trying to get their first professional projects. What’s the best advice you’ve ever heard given to a promising new creator?

“Make friends in the place you wanna be because no one succeeds alone” Connect with people who are on your similar path. They don’t all have to be drawing or painting or doing what you’re doing either. If you’re a painter, hook up with a musician or filmmaker, and vice versa. If you’re being creative and making things, then the commonalities will transcend the particulars. You’ll find common ground with anyone else who’s creating regardless.

Let’s get deep: What’s the most important “big idea” that you’ve learned in life – in or out of comics – and why is it important?

See question 9. 🙂 But I’ll tack onto that; It’s okay to have lulls in your creativity and career. We’re all humans and we all need both downtime and uptime. So don’t beat yourself up if you haven’t posted a new drawing/song/design in a few days. When you have something to say, that’s when you say it. Don’t just make noise.

Body Positivity Does Not Happen Overnight

Featuring Guest Blogger Aisha Nwandu

Sometimes, I hate my body. There, I said it. It feels great to get it out. But then i feel guilty. I was never heavy set. I was a size small & curvy, weighed about 55 kg throughout high school. Hell, I was nominated best body at some point (LOL, the things you remember) but i was never active or cared much about the things i put in my body. I just never ate much. Mostly because i was in a boarding school and the food was horrible. It was either you eat what was offered or go hungry. So naturally, most of us were losing weight or maintaining the same weight we had.

Now fast forward to my arrival to the United States, the land of fast food and busy workload. I was convinced I still could not gain weight because college is stressful enough, no way that stress will let me gain much weight. Boy was i fooling myself. The first 2 years was fine, i was still maintaining my weight but then my junior year of college, i was going through so much and was depressed so where did i turn to? You guessed it, emotional eating. I will binge eat indi’s fried chicken at 1am in the morning 3 nights straight. My heaven was greasy food and i could not get enough.

I look into the mirror sometimes and i don’t even recognize the person staring back at me. I am currently a size medium to large and i have some cool folds in my belly. I had to get rid of most of my clothes because they just do not fit the way they used to. I have tried looking into weight loss programs but most of them just do not work with my lifestyle or they are literally trying to get me to starve myself. I also just do not have the discipline to workout, eat clean and healthy and maintain a healthy lifestyle. So, I know there are solutions, i just need to work on them.

Body positivity is not easy. Whenever i talk about my body, people’s response is “well you know what to do to fix it, sooo.” If only they knew that it was not that easy. See, I need to lose weight because i want to, because i need to be healthier but i also need to love my body the way it is right now because losing weight might not fix how i see myself. This is very psychological and that’s where body positivity and body love comes from. If you do not love your body in its imperfection, what makes you think you will ever love it when it transforms to something else? You need to love your body in every single stage it is in because our bodies change, they will continue to change and we have to change our mind set along with them.

Below, i will share a couple of ways in which i have decided to celebrate my body this year and practice a healthier lifestyle.

  1. I am going to invest in clothes that make me feel good, in clothes that fit my body and not waste my time buying clothes a size smaller so i can “lose weight and fit into them”
  2. I am definitely going to stop weighing myself constantly because those are just numbers. I am going to focus on how i feel, how my body moves, how active i am, how much better i am doing in learning the yoga poses etc.
  3. I am going to unfollow any accounts that make me feel terrible about myself. I am going to follow accounts that make me feel amazing about my body.
  4. I am going to take more pictures and not worry about how my body looks, i am going to love my glowing skin, the amazing colors in the pictures, the background and most of all preserve the memory in the picture.
  5. I am not going to beat myself up about eating a cookie every now and then. I am looking for a balance and not a do or die diet.

I know i have not been very good to my body over the years but I am learning how to take care of her, how to nurture her and i am unlearning every negative thing i have learned about her. I sometimes hate my body but i am getting to know her again and i am learning to love her again. Body positivity does not happen overnight, it is a process and a journey.


Aisha Nwandu is a Nigerian lifestyle blogger focusing on personal growth. She wants to inspire and encourage people through her personal experiences to keep working on themselves and understand that personal growth is vital to living a great life. She is also the founder of Kentucky Bloggers. A community she created to connect and promote bloggers, influencers and content creators based in Kentucky. You can find her on all social media platforms Aishadaobi and her website is Aishadaobi.com. When she is not busy creating content for her social media pages, you can find her at home, cuddled up with a good book and some tea or catching up on her favorite tv shows.

Self Love Series: Your Why

Welcome to Octane’s Self Love Blog Series! This series is a collection of 4 posts from an array of guest bloggers focusing on the concept of loving yourself beyond the month of February. 

Week 4: Your Why

When I think about my most peaceful and fun memories in my life you would automatically think I think of those times as self care and love but I also take time to look at the times I felt uncomfortable, stretched, down and out, and away from my comfort zone. Those are all self-love and care as well. Why? These are the times I have felt the most growth in my personal and professional life.

Sure I love to treat myself and having a hot bath in peace and quiet is the best but when it all boils down to it a lot of my self love and care rewarding came from the struggling that happened before hand. Recently I was promoted to a new position at the company I work for. It came with a lot of stress and IM STILL STRESSED. But it hasn’t made me stop wanting to grow.

I haven’t necessarily had a lot of time for reward and trying to balance a career, family, friends, and a side business/project has been a difficult task but I am not giving up. If I could offer one piece of advance for someone who is constantly busy and may not have time to stop for much needed self care and love would be to write down goals and when you accomplish them pat yourself on the back! Buy yourself something or just take a nap.

Rest your mind from all of the days thoughts and just start fresh because what selfcare and love boils down to is you! No one can take care of you like you can yourself!


Betsy is 35, an EKU graduate with Bachelors of Arts in Sociology and Minor in Womens studies. She is currently a Sales Manager for Galls LLC in the Lexington Ky Corporate office. She is also one of the co-creators of The Black Route– a business helping route you to black owned businesses and events in Kentucky and surrounding states. The Black Routes online presence is mostly through social media such as Instagram and Facebook. They are always willing to get the word out about your business or event. Betsy is a lover of all things natural for hair and skin!

For product recommendations follow her on Instagram: @Heavens2betsie

I would have to say Self-care and Self-love are things I live by heavily. It always makes me feel better that I know I have my own back and am completely aware of when I need to stop, focus, and take a little down time. I’m pretty happy with the journey I am on right now and look forward to meeting lots of people out there who have the same mindset.

Self Love Series: Confidence

Welcome to Octane’s Self Love Blog Series featuring topics that encourage you to love yourself.

Welcome to Octane’s Self Love Blog Series! This series is a collection of 4 posts from an array of guest bloggers focusing on the concept of loving yourself beyond the month of February. 

Week 1 topic: Confidence

This particular topic was one I had an instant knee-jerk reaction to as I prepped for this series. Mostly because I have recently rediscovered a new sense of confidence in myself. 

When I think of confidence I think of my “board of directors” or people that would advise me to be my best self, from a recent exercise I completed from Coach Colene’s (author of  Monday Morning Pep Talks) recent Vision 2019 7-day facebook challenge. 

I knew I had to have Steve Jobs, Oprah and Michelle Obama on board because these are icons and visionaries that deeply impact my day to day thoughts and processes. 

Each of them carry there own swagger and there own convictions making them universally known. 

Is that what confidence is? The ebb and flow of swag and convictions?

Recently I got to listen to the latest episode of Equipped with Purpose podcast with special guest marketing strategist Kevin Jennings who spoke on confidence. (Long story short, his wife is my old college pal and I had the pleasure of designing there wedding invitations oh so long ago.)

He too shared his own definition of confidence and dropped a SERIOUS dose of truth that had me in deep reflection: your purpose gives you confidence.

As a graphic designer of 10 years (dear lord that’s weighty when you type it out) that seems easy but you’d have to define your purpose beforehand. 

10 years ago my purpose was the hustle of the almighty dollar. I was young and a single mom stretching every cent.  Five years ago, I began to mature that purpose into relationships and meaningful storytelling of voices unseen or unheard. And now, all I want to do is pass the baton and amplify my mic for others. 

I was hesitant every step of the way.

In further listening to Kevin’s response to him asking his clients “why do you trust me”, he quoted a book, Anything You Want, that I too had read not too long ago by Derek Sivers.

“What’s simple to you is amazing to others.” 

Boom. It hit me again. 

I can distinctly remember reading that quote and thinking all the way back to impromptu working sessions with my colleague and best friend Samantha Johnson of SamanhattanPR. She would always snap at me when my self confidence was low. Usually about how I could simply whip up a complete business branding concept in a matter of hours and have a fully designed soft launch waiting within a day or two. 

“No one can do what you do” she would say. It didn’t seem miraculous to me. 

Fast forward to now and I can tell you I was created to create. Through trial and circumstance its the only constant to the deepest self fulfillment in connecting with others the way my faith is connected to me.

That’s purpose. 

Through my faith I’m a part of a bigger story. And each has its own role to play. And in it others depend on me being at my best to be at there best. In fact it is a disservice to my faith in the growth of others to not do what fulfills me. 

So where does confidence begin?

It comes from knowing & reintroducing yourself.
It comes from knowing where you’ve been and where you want to go. 
Its accepting that you don’t have it all figured out and could fail anyway. 
It’s knowing who you are after you fall. 
It’s knowing you’re not alone. 

To love oneself is to know thyself. 

Confidence is a huge reflection of loving yourself and overtime becomes the gift that keeps on giving. 


Danielle is the owner of branding agency Octane Design Studios where she designs and strategizes for brands full time. When not working she enjoys time with her three boys and beloved husband. She’s a MMA fan, mentor and educator. Follow her at @octanedesigns. 

6 Rule of Thumbs to Kick Butt in 2019

I’ve had my fair share of hard falls and slip ups in 2018. I’m ready for a new year of clarity, focus and direction. No time like the present to reflect on how to actually get there than right now before the New Year.

I’m pretty sure there’s no manual, magic oil or incantation that will airlift me from the start line to the finish line. So that just leaves my perseverance, my heart and my mind. And a pantry of sugar.

These are some general thoughts that I thought might help others in similar sediments to kick butt in 2019!

 

1. Know that your only competition is who you were yesterday.

Often we can be our own worst enemy. During the holidays I clearly remember having near panic attacks knowing that all the work I do can be done by someone else at any time. What made me special?

Its knowing that I can do *magic* with little to nothing. That I can create well beyond the concept of something and see it completed in a quick turnaround.

The only thing stopping you is you. The real question I find myself asking is: how bad do you want it? Success is a mental stress test and requires lots of additional conditioning to undo some things to learn new things. Sounds cliche but its total truth.

Try to live it out loud. You’re worth it!

 

2. Earn, save and invest before you spend.

This area is a constant work in progress for me. I grew up with my mom, a senior banker of 33 years for Chase Bank and the three mergers prior to that (thats right all the way back to First Liberty National Bank *mind blown*) and still grew into an adult where none of that stuck.

Truth: I still can’t balance a checkbook unless an app does it for me. 

Before I was married I was a single mom to 2 kids under 3 years old in a 500 sqft 1 bedroom apartment living off child support and a hustle.  I was living paycheck to paycheck depleting food stamps to the penny each month. I wasn’t saving because every dime went right back out.

I had to want to change first. Then I had to teach myself how to reserve while in survival mode.  Starting with nickels and dimes. Start small and build on it.

In order: Earn. Save. Invest. Spend.

I am still teaching myself inner Financial Peace before Dave Ramsey could get a hold of me. I’ve started, emptied and refilled my ‘rainy day fund’ on more than one occasion but now I know how to rebuild it.

  • As a business owner and a mom of now three boys, savings and investment is crucial. Real talk: we’re not meant to do this alone. Knowledge is power. Find a local finance resource or even ask for financial recommendations from your social circles. If you don’t have a wealth management professional or a financial advisor of sorts I recommend to find one that works for you.

 

3. Avoid negativity, life is too short.

Is this not self explanatory? By definition, negativity is, the expression of criticism of or pessimism about something.

Negativity can be things that hold you down. Things or people that are negative do not build you up or inspire you to move. It makes you feel small and often immobile. Trapped.

Did you know that scientific research indicates that negativity is contagious, akin to a cold.

“Feelings circulate in patterns analogous to what’s seen from epidemiological models of disease,” reported Wired. 

The effects are drastic. Research has shown that even a small amount of negative brain activity can lead to a weakened immune system, making you more prone to illness, and even lead to a heart attack or a stroke.

Who needs that? Not you.

Note that I didn’t say ignore negativity. This world is imperfect and requires reflective spaces for us to grow from. You need negativity to balance yourself, but not dwell in.

Know when to cut people (even business) off and surround yourself with people that love or at least appreciate your true self.

 

4. Go after what you want (because you’ll never get it if you don’t).

Man, oh man. This is always a whopper for me as I’m sure for anyone who struggles with fear of failure. I’m constantly plotting / rooting ahead for my kids, for my husband, for my business and lastly with whatever is left in the tank for myself.

I’ve had to make some major changes to that over the past few years and will push even harder in 2019 to stick to. You only get ONE life folks. If you spend your whole life in the “what if” bubble, real life will pass you by.

My oldest son and I are dreamers. We could spend weeks in our own thoughts and dreams of how it would all play out, while in reality abandoning relationships and ignoring opportunities to make the dream real. We often get stuck here not wanting to do the work to make our dreams real because the dream is prettier than the reality of making it happen.

This is a lie.

Life is not about what you don’t have, its about what you DO have.

Want to start that dream business? Do it.
Dreaming of going back to school for that degree? Do it.
Inspired to make impact in others lives? Go do it.

Does it involve change? Of course.
Will it be easy? Prolly not.
Will you want to to give up? Most likely.
But it’s entirely worth the risk.

Don’t walk into your later years with regret. Use each day as an open opportunity/ a gift to do something great.

“It doesn’t do to dwell on dreams, and forget to live.” -Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter

 

5. See failure as a new beginning and not a short end.

I clearly remember sharing with a fellow Partnered Vendor this past year to not fear failure because it’s the beginning of something else.

Real Talk: all things end. It’s how much you positively nurture yourself in between the ebb and flow of your failure that will depict your real success.

Fell down? Get up, dust it off, keep it moving.

As my beloved Aunt Shirley would say: NEXT!

 

6. Mind your habits for it directs your future.

Again more advice for myself indefinitely. I find myself nit picking at lots of bad habits this time of year. I even wrote them down:

  • On Phone After Hours
  • Comparison to Others
  • Fast Food Line
  • Over thinking

Can you relate? Each one of these stem from a consistent action that doesn’t benefit me spiritually, emotionally or physically. It could easily define my next 5 years..

Staying on my electronics after hours leads to less family time with people I love especially my married time (apparently we’re above the national average of people who have sex in 2018, so I’ve got that going for me).

Comparing myself to others dismantles my self esteem to stand against the grain and be my true self without consequence of opinion or judgement.

Fast food will kill me. Literally.

Over thinking diminishes my personal faith that God already has his best intentions for me and that by attempting to play Him, I’m playin’ myself.

Make new habits in 2019 that allow you to grow taller in the virtues that matter most to you.

  • Make a plan
  • Set goals
  • Stay firm with your boundaries
  • Start small
  • Take in the moment
  • Hold yourself accountable through others or support group

Wishing you every success in 2019 personally and professionally!

Passionate Event Designs: Fall Inspired Tablescape Sweet and Savory

Are you tired the traditional fall colors? You know, the yellows, oranges and reds combined? Those colors our parents and grandparents pulled out the closet to add a little extra love in the room at the beginning of Autumn. I know this too well myself! I can say that being a event designer I find inspiration in almost anything especially nature, seasons, and natural elements.  I dare to be different, bold and unique creating designs and styles that could seem a bit risky!

The inspiration for this tablescape first came from my obsession of Fall. I guess can say I love Fall, it’s warm, cozy, and inviting. The breezy weather allows my family to spend more time together for some indoor shenanigans! As a busy mom with two boys, thick cardigans are my go to and the boys actually get to dress in actually nicer clothes like flannels instead of their favorite summer Dry-fit athletic wear.

I love designing non traditional themes that have original pieces I can add my own twist on. Of course, you can’t have Fall without pumpkins and gourds. But who said they have to stay completely original?! I went for a sweet and savory look, the bolds with hints of soft complement perfectly. Navy blue and sky blue, accompanied by metallic trims of gold made an amazing color palette which really appealed to the eye keen for details. Leaving the stems original, I spray painted the pumpkins and gourds with matte and glossy paint which turned out quite better than I expected. In love again once the pumpkins and gourds were placed in a perfect flow centered on the wood tablecloth. Yup! You read right, tablecloth!!!

READ HER FULL POST

Octane’s Holiday Photoshoot

We are passionate.
We are strategic.
We are creatives.
And we’re women.

These words became a mantra over the past year as Octane sought unique collaborations that became deep friendships and unshakable sisterhoods that took a life all its own.

It’s truly greater to gift than to receive.

Recently Octane hosted its first ever partnered vendors photoshoot as a way to collectively create holiday content but also take a moment to gift some ‘woman to woman’ self care before the hustle and bustle of the season, where we too often put ourselves last.

This was an opportunity for us to uniquely celebrate who we are, exactly where we are.

As I began to share this ideal photoshoot, more jumped on board linking arm in arm with me to uplift women doing incredible things together. It filled me to watch so many people lovingly surround each of them in ways they didn’t even know.

From getting glammed up to crafting and opening presents under the tree, this full day was worth every minute of surprises, laughter, dresses, headshots, convos and food.

We’re just a bunch of Kentucky girls, barefoot in our passions, striving to be our best selves.

We didn’t ask permission.
We didn’t water it down.
We hold each other accountable.

Let our bond, be our crown.


See our event trailer and read our feature in The Mixx Magazine!


Special Thanks To All Vendors:

Hosted by: Octane Design Studios / @octanedesigns

Photography & Venue: Franzetti Photography / @m_franzetti

Make Up: Edomoni Young / @Amavi_Beauty

Paperie: Octane Designs Studios / @octanedesigns

Event styling: Passionate Event Designs / @passionateeventdesigns

Onsite Videography: Cre8tive Visions / @ei8hty_se7en

Ugly Sweater Workshop: Octane Design Studios / @octanedesigns

Youth Tents & Quilted Blankets: JRow Everything / @JRow_Everything

Partnered Vendors: Samantha Johnson / @SamanhattanPR ,  Shalon Thomas / @passionateeventdesigns, Michelle Franzetti / @M_Franzetti,  Jacqueline Rowan / @jrow_everything,

Gifted Lifestyle Subscription Box: @mochamavenbox

Gifted Bowties: Deez Bowties / @deezbowties

Gifted Calligraphy Quotes: Caylie Mindling / @cayligraphy

Catering: The Mousetrap / @mousetrap_ky, sponsored by Scale Consulting / @scalefemale

Signature Hard Cider: ‘Almond Spice’, Pivot Brewing Co / @PivotBrewing