I've Moved!

Please update your RSS feed if you are seeing this! This site will no longer be active in a few weeks. You can still find me at www.janereaction.com - check out the new site! THANK YOU!


daydreaming of the perfect home

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Lately we have been talking a lot about our ideal life... our ideal home, our ideal jobs, where we eventually want to settle down forever. Last night we decided the ideal life was living on a really small farm (a few chickens, a goat and some llamas) close to the beach where we work together on creative fun projects for a living, share the responsibilites of taking care of our kids equally and surf every weekend! Sounds pretty fantastic right?! It also sounds pretty far from the lives we lead right now... and to that we say - "SO WHAT!" Let's make it happen! So here's to putting our heads down and working hard so that someday we can actually have that life! What's your ideal life? Where would you live? What would your job be? I would love to know! 


Recent Project - Woodnote Photography

I am getting ready to launch my new website soon, which means getting together all of my recent work to put into the new portfolio layout. It has been fun to go back through recent projects and also exhausting at the same time. I loved working on this branding project with Woodnote Photography - such a fun, interesting, full of life, power house team! 

Woodnote Photography is a husband wife team. They came to me wanting something different and exciting that really represented who they are - fun, energetic, silly and in love. They are friends with and admire the talented photographers behind Shark Pig and really liked the idea of the hybrid animal. Knowing we couldn't use a hybrid animal to represent Woodnote (because that would be copy-catting, and not cool) we had to think of our own solution - something that was fun, quirky and visually pleasing. After having the couple write out their tagline - "Caroline+Jayden, Wife+Husband, American+Australian, Photographer+Photographer" We decided to make a little hybrid of them. I had a lot of fun positioning their images together to make quirky little iconic images to paste up all over their brand elements. They compliment each other very nicely if you ask me! Once we got done putting together the graphic icons we decided to incorporate the thin black line that appeared to separate them in to their logo and in to their tag line. The thin black line is where they come together. It's what makes them unique from the other and it's where they meet in the middle. I really like how it all turned out!  

I seriously can't wait to see where this couple goes! They are already doing some pretty freaking amazing things in the photography world! I just adore this couple! If you are not familiar with their work go check it out and fall in love with life all over again! I promise, they will make you want to! 


Steel City Pops / Dallas

This summer is really starting to get... well... hot. With heat in the hundreds everyday this week we are running out of ways to stay cool. And I am totally starting to lose my marbles. We took the boys to Steel City Pops on lower Greenville this week to get a cold, sweet treat. Henry loved it and got it everywhere. Of course. Best way to eat a popsicle. Unless, you order chocolate and are wearing white shorts... then it kinda just looks like you had a terrible accident. As was the case with me. Blueberry Basil, Lemonade, and Cherry Sour Cream are my favorite flavors so far. 

Anyway, we are trying our best to enjoy the sun while it is blazing. I am not a big fan of cold and winter so I try not to complain when it gets hot. No matter how hot it gets. Popsicles, swimming pools, big floppy hats and more popsicles. That is my plan for getting through the summer while retaining at least a couple of my remaining marbles. And just in case you are worried that I give my kids too much sugar, I will also let you know that I also let them watch a movie (or 2) in the afternoon (everyday) while the sun is at it's worst. That's how we do. That's how we get by. Summa time! and the living is easy... yeah.  


Perfect Timing

I went out for soufflés the other night with some girlfriends at Rise No 1 (in Dallas). As you leave this particular restaurant the hostess hands you a little card with a quote written on it that she pulls out of an old fashioned bingo cage. Mine was totally irrelevant to my life right now, but my friends said this, "No army can withstand the strength of an idea whose time has come." -Victor Hugo. She could tell I liked it a lot so she gave it to me. I'm a bit of an idealist... and lately I have seen some people fighting ideas that I think have great merit. This quote gave me hope.  


Mother Magazine

Oh hey! Just stopped by the ol' blog to share a recent project that I worked on and to type out a few thoughts and feelings ... I have a lot of feelings! :) 

First of all - Mother was such a fun project to work on. I always love working with Miss James (from the blog Bleubird), and it was fun to work with her new business partner Katie (formerly the editor at R29). It's exciting to collaborate with other women who are just as passionate as I am about mothering and fashion and eating well (both delicious and healthy) and on and on. This project was especially fun to put together because it focuses on something so important to me. Being a mom. Being a fun, loving, adventurous, fashion forward, up to date mama at that! I'm not always all of those things (are you kidding me? who IS?) but it was fun to work on a site that inspires me to be more of the fun loving woman I want to be and less of the stressed out, over protective, anxious mother I really am. Some favorite things about this site - it has a real magazine feel to it but is easy to navigate. I love that the slide show images are LARGE LARGE LARGE and that the viewer doesn't change sizes when different images pop up! That was important to me! I hate when slide shows jump all over the place depending on the size of the image. I also love the tiled images for slide show pages so that you can view all of them at once and not have to click through a bunch of images if you don't really want to. Overall I am pretty excited about how it turned out and even more excited to see it evolve in to something much bigger! Mother Magazine is my new online lifestyle inspiration site! Win!

And on to my thoughts and feelings - 

I have been talking to a few friends lately about this but mothering really has sent me on a spiritual journey I never anticipated. I am finding out truths about myself that I never even knew existed before becoming a mother. I am more confident about standing up for what I truly believe to be good and right. I am less willing to just fall in line with things that don't really jive with my spirit. I am coming to peace with my imperfections, the imperfections of others. I am admiring the beauty of the world more and freaking out over how exciting it is to just be able to wake up everyday (although somedays I really don't want to get out of bed, I still think it's pretty awesome to have this life). I kinda want to get a huge grizzly bear tattoo because I feel like that is what being a mom has done to my soul. It has turned me into a fiercely protective wild animal!  

I am currently working hard to launch my new website! I am so excited about it! I have been working hard on all of the behind the scenes stuff (new media kit, process kit, updated homework package, etc.) It's finally time to give my actual web presence the new look and I couldn't be more thrilled. It is currently being developed by my new friend, side kick, partner in BIZ - Brandi! She is amazing and will have a little ABOUT section on the new site so that you can get to know her! 

I recently attempted to do Whole30. And failed. Twice. But I don't consider myself a failure. I think I learned a lot about my eating habits and my body. I actually made it 21 days before I was forced to go on a clear liquid diet and have some tests done on my insides. I will have to write a longer post about my experience with whole30 another time (and the health issues that lead me to that diet in the first place) but for now I will just say, I am excited about the new insight that trying to eat more whole foods, organic, less processed, slowed down, simplified foods has given me! It truly is amazing how our minds and bodies will respond when we slow down and take the time to nourish them. (If you're interested I'm still basically eating whole30 but with some added foods like quinoa, granola, greek yogurt.. and occasional sweets when I'm out with friends).  

That's all for now! Hopefully, the next time I blog it will be on the new site, but if not... no big deal right?


How I got Started. It's weird. 

Lately I have been getting these questions a lot. I thought I would share my story here, that way the next time someone asks me this question I can just point them in this direction... How did you get started in Graphic Design? Did you go to school? and do you have any advice for me (me being a person just getting started in graphic design)? 

Well... it's weird, but here it is. The story of how I became a freelance graphic designer - 

I took a lot of art classes in high school. As soon as I graduated from high school I moved to Hawaii to live on the beach and surf. I enrolled in college on the North Shore of Oahu and decided to major in ceramics (I also took several drawing, painting and printmaking classes). I surfed all day and played with clay and paints all afternoon. And yes, I loved my life.

I graduated in 2008 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts and a minor in psychology. That summer the economy was bottoming out and jobs were hard to come by. I moved back in with my parents and somehow managed to secure an internship at an art therapy studio in down-town Portland. I worked with schizophrenic young adults and helped put on fairy art camps for little kids. It was an interesting summer. While I had previously planned to enroll in a masters program for art therapy by the end of that summer I realized that that path just wasn't for me. 

My mom encouraged me to enroll in some of the graphic design classes at a community college in Portland. Now, this is where I have to be totally honest - I was seriously depressed at the time. I had just moved away from Hawaii, I was living in my parents house again, I didn't have many friends and I had no idea how I was going to support myself with a degree in ceramics. Everywhere I turned there were articles about how bad the economy was and how no one could find a job. The future to me seemed sooooo bleak... also I really didn't know what graphic design was. I told my mom I would apply for the program and see if I got in. I did. and I loved it. Design made me happier again too. I went to school 2 days a week so that I could get a second degree in graphic design. I got a job at a restaurant at night, and another job at Anthropologie on my off days and weekends. Anthro has a great art department so I did everything I could to help out with their visuals when possible. 

During my second year in the design program I met my husband and we decided to get married once I graduated. Conor still needed to finish his degree and he wanted the same experience I had in Hawaii (of course, who wouldn't?!) So after I graduated, we got married and moved back to Hawaii. The ONLY bad thing about Hawaii is there are not a lot of jobs, especially not on the North Shore where we lived. I basically had no chance of finding a job in the design industry. NONE! I'm not even exaggerating. So, I started blogging. I blogged all of the time about things I liked and projects I was working on. I took on as many freelance projects as I could. I really didn't know what I was doing.

I had limited knowledge of HTML and coding but everyone wanted a website. So I ordered Coding For Dummies and took on my first website design project. I charged $800 to brand, design and code an entire site - I think it took me almost 3 months. I stayed up late into the night crying over my keyboard and pulling out my hair. I learned a lot! We were dirt poor and living off student loans and the government. But we were happy. I kept taking on projects and raising my prices as I felt more confident in my skills. Blogging helped get my name out there in a huge way. Without blogging no one would have ever been able to see what I was capable of doing. Updating my blog and my portfolio regularly let people see what I was up to. 

Our close friends Nate and Katie came to us one day and told us they wanted to start a magazine. It was going to be called Kinfolk and it would be the next big thing. We jumped on board and helped in any way that we could. Nate and Katie decided to move to the Oregon Coast while Conor still had a year of school left - and I was seriously sick with my first pregnancy (like couldn't even look at a computer screen without puking sick). So we stayed in Hawaii and professionally parted ways with Kinfolk. It was really hard for me to let that go but working with Kinfolk in the early stages opened up opportunities for me with another magazine - Verily.

While Conor was in his second year of school I started taking on more and more projects. I had a baby and I designed Verily Magazine from the ground up. When Conor was done with school we decided to leave Hawaii so that he could get a better job than what was there. We moved from Hawaii to San Diego and then from San Diego to Dallas... Each time we moved I set up my computer and started taking on new projects - with each new project/blog post/invoice/collaboration I gained more knowledge and practice. I learned how to run a business. I learned how to educate my clients about my creative process. I learned how to write invoices and keep records for taxes. I got better at designing. I'm still learning as I go. With every project there is something new to be learned. There have been days where I have literally hid under my covers certain that my world would end and no one would ever want to work with me agian... and there have been days where I felt like my time and talents were worth MILLIONS OF DOLLARS and everyone should want to work with me! haha 

There isn't a clear path to get into the design industry. You set goals and then you fight to get to where you want to be. Once you get there you set new goals. I feel really happy with what I have accomplished in design and where I am right now but there is still so much more that I would like to do. I haven't arrived yet. Right now I am super happy that I have figured out how to make this a sustainable job but there are still areas where I would like to improve, get better or bigger or faster. 

As for advice I have 3 things to say

#1. Blog. Start a blog and get an online portfolio together. Right now. Starting a blog serves 2 purposes. First it is a great way to practice putting together layouts and designing for the internet. Second it is an invaluable marketing/advertising platform that you can use to connect to other people and allow others to see your work. No one is going to hire you if they can't see what you are capable of doing. A print portfolio is awesome but an online portfolio is an absolute must! 

#2. Work. Work begets work. Take on anything and everything. If you don't know how to do it, GOOGLE IT! Learn as you go. Get paid to learn. Does your sister need a wedding invitation? Do it for her. Take her through your creative process. Start by sending her a questionnaire. End by sending her an invoice - even if the bottom line says $FREE! Take your files to a local printer and ask them to help you set them up properly for print. 

#3. Create. Stay creative. Don't always do everything on the computer. Make a collage with magazines and glue. Take a pottery class. Rip up a bunch of paper and sew it back together. When designing for others it is easy to loose your creative edge. Remember you went in to this field because you are a creative person. Don't lose site of what it is you love to do. The more work you can create that is authentic and represents who you are and the type of work you like doing the more you will attract your dream clients. 




Cassidy Parker Smith

Wow! What a week! We have all been sick over here! It's tough to get anything done when babies are sick. But I wanted to share one of my latest projects! New York based photographer Cassidy Parker Smith was absolutely amazing to work with! We had a lot of fun putting together her branding and website! You can check out more in my portfolio or you can head over to her site right now to look at all of the work we put in together. And I just want to give a huge thank you to my developer Brandi! She is amazing and incredible at what she does! Anyway, hope everyone is having a better week than we are! and stay healthy! We will be seeing the doctor this afternoon for the second time this week! :( No fun! No fun at all!


The Farm

It seemed like a lot of things didn't work out the way I expected them to this month... Mostly just as far as work goes. Please, nobody get me wrong here! I LOVE LOVE LOVE my job and I am so grateful to all of the people that I am able to work with, the last thing I could even think to complain about is my job! ... but sometimes being a designer can suck the life out of you. A good designer knows you just can't let that happen. But sometimes it can. After designing for other people for so long you can't remember what your own style is anymore. You aren't making things just for fun, you are making things to make a client happy... and that's when you get stuck in a rut and you just gotta break away. it's nice to just go do something you are passionate about and let it inspire you. Not to make money. Not to help someone else make money. Not for a grade or a job or a friend or any other reason. You just have to leave your desk, find something out in the world that makes you happy and be inspired by it. Make something just for the sake of making something. It's a guaranteed rut obliterater. 

Conor built a Mid Century inspired chicken coop last week for our 4 chickens. This week I just had to get away and do something different. We told Henry to put his cowboy boots on because we were heading to the farm. We drove about an hour outside of the city and picked up 2 new silkies. I have been dying to get my hands on some silky chickens. On the way home (while the chickens wrestled each other in an emptied diaper box) I planned a photo shoot and a catalogue and a packaging design for our eggs... I let my imagination run wild. What would it be like to design for a chicken? I lined our girls up in the backyard on white foam core board and snapped photo after photo, trying to get their personality just right. Call me absolutely insane for all of my chicken shenanigans but damn, it felt good to do something creative just for creativity's sake. 

Maybe I'll share the final catalogue in my portfolio someday... maybe you'll see a pretend magazine spread of our "coop tour" ... who knows... For now I am rejuvinated. For now I feel ready to jump back in to designing for other people again. I seriously can't wait to get rolling on May's projects! I have some pretty interesting clients lined up! Wahoo! 


Mom Style: SAY YES

I'm over on the blog SAY YES talking about mommy style, being nice to yourself after you just had a baby and what my go to pieces are while I am in between sizes. Go check it out! Thanks for having me Liz!