I feel like this time of year is packed with a lot of transitions — how about you?
As we head into the last few months of 2017, life is shifting into high gear and it’s been a challenge to stay focused and productive with so many changes happening at once.
Let’s dig in…
1. 10 Year Blog Anniversary
Just writing this makes me a bit sentimental! In August, I celebrated 10 years of blogging in this spot. Crazy, huh?! Thinking back to 10 years ago, I was 25 years old and just starting my graphic design degree after taking a year off from college. I worked at a shoe store and had a lot of roommates. I also ate plenty of ramen. #collegelife
Things were chaotic but exciting and there were way more unknowns than knowns. Like most people in their mid-20s, I was still trying to figure out who I was and where I fit in. I didn’t have any professional design experience, I wasn’t married, I didn’t own a house or run my own business.
Looking back, this blog gave me an outlet to share during the many ups and downs and also provided me a with foundation to later launch my design studio — and I am forever grateful for that. This place will always be home. I love you guys!
2. Finally Going Vegan
I say “finally” for a reason…I’ve fluctuated between being vegetarian and pescatarian since 2004 but always held off on going vegan because I was afraid that I wouldn’t have the willpower to stick with it. The thing is, Joey has been vegan for 25 years (that’s not a typo!) and does all our grocery shopping and cooking. A month ago, I had the realization that I was eating vegan about 75% of the time without trying and with a handful of adjustments, I could make the change.
Now that I’ve been at it for a few weeks, it’s become easier — if I want a treat, my local coffee shop has vegan banana bread. Daiya makes an awesome vegan yogurt (I’m actually eating one now!) And, let’s talk about pizza (because life without pizza isn’t worth living, right?) Baby Doll makes the best vegan pizza around.
Diet is such a personal thing and everyone has to make a decision about what’s right for them but I’m so glad I made the switch.
3. Slowing Down and Speeding Up
Summers are usually slower for me — my small business clients are on vacation with their kids, traveling and taking time away from the daily grind to live it up. For some reason this year, that didn’t happen. Projects got stacked on top of more projects and a few great opportunities came up that I didn’t want to pass on. That meant less sharing here and less time online in general. Instead of feeling guilty, I gave myself a blogging break and focused on getting the work done.
September always feels like the perfect time to jump back into routines — it’s that infectious back-to-school energy and shift to cooler weather, not to mention my birthday, Joey’s birthday AND our anniversary! It’s a time of renewal, reflection and an opportunity to re-set and make the most of the rest of the year. I’ll be 36 in a few weeks and the old cliché I used to roll my eyes at as a kid is so true — as you get older, it really does feel like time speeds up.
4. Big Branch Shoot
At the end of September, Branch will be celebrating 4 years in business! I still remember how scary it was stepping away from the safety net of working for other design studios. For the first year, my only goal was to bring in enough business to not have to go back to a day job. Every day brought new challenges but I never regretted the change.
As we’ve grown, I’ve decided that it’s time to step up and book a full-on creative studio shoot. I’m flying to the east coast in mid-September with a bundle of props and a shot list to finally make this dream come true. It’s definitely anxiety-inducing but instead of sitting at my desk and fearing the unknown, it’s time to put my trust in a creative team and see what unfolds.
5. Saying Yes to New Opportunities
One of the things I’ve been working on this year is being more spontaneous and open to opportunities. Instead of overthinking it, I’m practicing saying yes. My friend Sarah asked me to help her with a workshop in Washington, D.C. a few weeks back and even though we’d only ever talked over Skype and email, I flew across the country and spent 3 days with her. It was AWESOME!
I made friends with an amazing group of women, shared a bunch of still life styling and social media tips during our day in the photo studio and we spent our nights exploring Old Town Alexandria — so colonial, so cute! Yes, I was nervous, yes, I questioned what I was doing as I boarded the flight, and yes, I AM SO GLAD I did it! Say yes…and see where it takes you!
6. Mini Summer Vacation
Last week, I took a few days off to fly to New York and visit Gala. We made the most of our time together, cramming in her rooftop event at The Wing, a goddess-themed birthday party where we were hand-fed grapes, apartment tours, plenty of good food, a massive closet clean-out (and two trips to trade it all in at Buffalo Exchange!), late night living room dance parties, hotel room chat sessions with Alexandra at Public, long walks along the river and plenty of cuddles with her dog Cleo.
As I get older, I’m reminded of how important friendships are. We live on opposite sides of the country yet we always make the most of the time we do have together.
7. More Ch-ch-changes
Ah, man. There’s even more to share with you but the biggest change of all involves its own post because it’s too special to just tack onto the end of this list. Tune in Tuesday for the big news!
• Ugh. Supposedly 6 hours of sleep is as bad as none at all!
• With some strategy and style, you can do a surprising amount with a 300 square foot living space.
• I love this advice so much: Leap when you’re almost ready.
• The 3 types of bullshit feedback…and what to do about it!
• Did you see the IKEA x HAY design collaboration? So good!
• An honest cover letter is so painfully accurate! #guilty
• It would be amazing if Adobe integrated the Playful Palette into its programs.
• These freelance achievement stickers are so true…and so funny.
• When should you buy your plane ticket to get the best pricing? This is something I’ve always wondered about!
• Timeless advice: It’s never too late. There’s only one finish line in life!
• As a creative, it’s important to be aware of the 12 stages of burnout.
• What’s it like to work for your hero? Pretty cool…and full of surprises.
• I love this concept! Try Studio is a platform that lets its users take one-on-one private lessons in all things creative!
• If you’re interested in looking at your career prospects in a new way, check out Ellen’s monthly column called Career Forecast which combines practical advice with astrology and key dates.
Thanks for reading and I hope you have an inspiring, productive September! -Shauna
Photos: 1. Loving all white manicures these days. New book from Bluestockings and tray from the Fred Segal x CB2 collection. 2. Iced chais at The Wing. 3. Summer vacation snapshot in New York. 4. Chubs loves climbing the curtains! 5. More cute views at The Wing.