those months

04.27.2015

observant nomad | moving

You know how people say moving is one of the most stressful things you can do? I’m feeling that.

We’re moving at the end of the week, and honestly I’m beyond excited to start building a home with Rus, cooking together, long movie nights, and sharing a new space all our own. But all of the energy it takes to get to that point that has made this month absolutely exhausting. No one really mentions what a blur your life becomes when you’re attempting to balance a real life, the stresses of full-time work, a side-hustle, and moving on top of that!

Sorry if this is also stressing you out reading about it, I just had to get it out there. Ya know, catharsis.

The last few weeks have been extra nail-biting. At first we found a place we absolutely loved thinking there was no way we’d get lucky enough to land it, but then a while later we found out they wanted to go with us. We were so excited!

Well, that quickly disappeared when the process was taking much longer than we thought it should. We supplied all the info and items needed, but didn’t hear back for long stretches of time, which was killing me inside. I started to become more annoyed/disappointed/stressed with the whole situation. All the way up until last week when we signed a lease. Finally.

While now I can finally rest easy knowing we have a place, my mind is still a little foggy. Like a stress hangover. Probably because this has just been one of those months. The kind where your focus is on something else at all times, and you’re never 100% present. Where I’m finding it nearly impossible to get jazzed about work, finishing a to-do list, or tackling a hard project.

The kind of month where your brain is on the fritz. It’s little things. Forgetting my laptop at home, or putting things down and losing them entirely, or when you open a bin and can’t remember what you were looking for in the first place. I think my brain is trying to tell me it’s just a bit exhausted.

Thankfully Rus has been stepping in a lot which has been such a blessing. We’ve already planned an upcoming trip with some friends to get out of town, so that should really help me decompress a bit after what’s been a whirlwind. Even so, once we move in and get unpacked, you can sure as hell bet I’m booking some spa time, take a few days off of work, and unplugging to really recharge my batteries.

In the meantime… I guess a glass of wine will have to do.

 

passagem gastronômica

04.22.2015

observant nomad | passagem gastronomica website design

I don’t want to sound like I’m bragging, but I’m head-over-heels in love with my client, Passagem Gastronômica’s, new website design. Passagem Gastronômica is a passionate food and travel blog run by Patricia, a Le Cordon Bleu trained chef, and her husband Alex, who takes all of their gorgeous photos. Isn’t it so sweet that they get to share this space together and share both of their passions? Oh, and they are the sweetest, kindest people I’ve probably ever met.

Yea, I’m kinda of gushing about them. Well, they deserve it! Working with them felt very natural and we had a lot of skype sessions tackling brainstorms and ways to organize the huge amount of content they had. So I’ve gotten to know them quite well over the last year or so.

When we first started the project they wanted a much more feminine look. Think peaches, pinks, and flowers. But I knew right away that they needed a design that not only pleased their taste, but that also attracted the readers they wanted and matched their content. So we went back through the worksheets and found new elements that could achieve a lovely balance between the traditional, sophisticated, foodie look and the soft feminine style Patricia wanted (check out the original moodboard).

We knew right away that a feminine illustrated header would be the best option and help bring in the soft look they wanted. So we reached out to the amazingly talented illustrator, Maria Costa, who was able to create the perfect piece of artwork to compliment the design.

observant nomad | passagem gastronomica website design

The largest challenge of the work, besides finding cohesion in two different styles, was organizing all the content and establishing new categorizations for 200+ posts. Throughout the last few years Patricia and Alex have traveled and eaten a ton! It was a lot of fun looking through all their content and finding ways to simplify and streamline it all.

We also came up with some custom sorting tools for the Recipes and Restaurant pages, that Dara Skolnick was kind enough to help us figure out how to develop. She also tackled the big challenge of applying translation plugins to the site so that they no longer had to update two separate websites.

I have to say, that I am beyond happy with the end result. In the beginning, I wasn’t really sure how it would all turn out. Balancing feminine with modern and throw in some food?! It was a little confusing at first—but hey, that’s when I thrive. I love taking a really difficult ask from a client and trying to find a solution that is not only designed well, but also shows my clients that each of their websites are truly one of a kind.

observant nomad | passagem gastronomica website design

 

rebrand 02: ah-ha moments

04.16.2015

observant nomad | redesign thoughts 01

 

I’m going to be honest.

When I started blogging 3 years ago I didn’t go into it expecting to gain a single follower. Let alone attract the eyes of small business owners who wanted to work with me. In the beginning all I was concerned with was how I could use the blog a creative outlet for myself. I tried to blog as often as I could. Using each and every post as an excuse to experiment with my personal style.

Working for agencies has it’s pros and cons. One of the cons being that I’m not always able to truly express my personal taste, and often have to stick to hard-set rules of already established branding. I look back on old work and laugh a bit. I had no direction for myself and explored so many different looks. Naturally when I first started, my aesthetic was undefined, insecure, and unpredictable. But I had to go through that to even understand what I wanted my work to become.

Transforming my look into what it is now, something refined, polished, and clear wasn’t easy. It took time, hard work, and consistent self-awareness. Throughout my evolution I’ve actively worked to align myself to the style I have now. And I’m so proud of how far I’ve come as a designer. Over these last few years my style has successfully helped make my clients’ goals come true.

But that’s the irony about a designer’s style. It evolves.

Over time the experiences of our life slowly shape our outlook, and naturally it alters our artistic vision. I’m a couple months into the rebranding of Observant Nomad and I am feeling this sentiment throughout every part of me.

As I’ve begun to delve deep into the purpose of my blog (and part-business) and I’ve realized that my own taste has shifted. Don’t get me wrong, I will always have a natural affinity for minimalism. It’s a part of who I am as a person. It drives me in so many ways. I’m continuously striving for less clutter, more purpose, and always refining the absolute needs in my life.

But there’s a whole other side to my taste that might go unnoticed because it’s never been consciously expressed in my work. It’s the side of me that lives adventurously… you know, the Nomad part? The side of me that left her ‘safe’ life behind to travel the globe. The loud, confident, straight forward, and passionate voice I often am in real life.

Like the principals of minimalism, I’ve been exploring what this new viewpoint looks like for my brand.

Living passionately and fully, isn’t the absence of color, it’s full of it. The world is saturated in gorgeous natural palettes of soft blues, deep greens, subtle tans and more. The most beautiful places I’ve ever been too aren’t perfectly aligned or polished. They can be found in the crackling stone of a colosseum or in the wild and overgrown depths of a rainforest. The world isn’t perfect, and that’s what inspires me.

Maybe this isn’t new to you. Maybe this is something you’ve been able to subconsciously gleam. And to be fair, I think it’s something I always knew. I just had no idea how to express it into my brand. But right now, I’m having a bit of an ‘ah-ha’ moment. It’s the first time I’ve been able to consciously articulate to myself what I want my style, self, and blog to visually express. It’s absolutely freeing.

Some of the images above are the latest in what has been aligning to my newest vision. A vision where my taste for minimalism meets a more imperfect and richer crossroads of my world viewpoint. I’m beyond ecstatic to have hit this break through. For the first time, in maybe forever, I have discovered a vision that feels unique and different from the rest. It feels 100% like me and I can’t wait to share more as I explore how this comes to life.

If you missed my post about starting to rebrand myself, here’s rebrand 01: rebranding and next steps.

 

leadville, co

04.13.2015

leadville, co / observant nomad

I hope you had a wonderful weekend no matter where you were. Contrary to this post title, we actually spent this weekend in town enjoying the weather and family which was great. However just a couple weekends ago, Rus and I made the short trip up to Leadville, CO to spend the weekend with his family.

They have a small home up there that they spend most weekends in the summer enjoying as well as a few in the winter, so we always have a free place to stay which is an extra bonus. We rolled up on a Friday morning and enjoyed a long weekend of mid 50’s sunny weather. When we got into town we headed straight over Tennessee Pass Cafe for some lunch and brews to set our mini-vacation off right.

leadville, co / observant nomad

leadville, co / observant nomad

I love Tennessee Pass Cafe because it has a ton of fresh vegetarian options as well as some classic comfort foods like burgers, pizzas, and sandwiches. We enjoyed our long lunch in the warm sunlight of the window watching as people walked and biked past along. Following lunch we decided to slowly mosey our way down the main street to Doc’s for some libations and large Jenga on the patio.

That first night we decided to call it early and stay in to watch some standup specials on Netflix. Leadville doesn’t have a ton of local haunts to hang out in at night which can be both a pro and a con. We found that most locals make the 30-40min trip to Breckenridge if they really want to go out.

Starting early the next day, Rus and his mom spent the morning on Ski Cooper ridge for some late season skiing. While they were out, Rus’s stepdad and I decided to take their two malamutes out into the gorgeous hiking areas right behind Leadville, CO.

leadville, co / observant nomad

leadville, co / observant nomad

Taking the dogs out was a great excuse to enjoy the gorgeous weather and tour some local old mining settlements. Leadville has a fascinating history, full of wild west characters, mining, striking it rich, and historical celebrities. Much like a episode of Deadwood. There are plenty of coffee table books and local museums that showcase the compelling black and white images and history of the old mining camps.

read more

 

modern country kitchen

04.06.2015

/ modern country kitchen / observant nomad

So big news guys — my man and I are taking the plunge and moving in together! We’ve been dating for a while and doing the whole commuting back and forth thing, which has slowly transformed to basically living together in my 500 sq ft apartment. Talk about cramped! So we decided let’s just do this for real and get a bigger place together. I’m really excited to start building a place we call ‘home’ together.

With that said though, searching for a new rental is the absolute pits right now. So while we endure the at-times-disheartening process, I’m keeping my spirits high by daydreaming about all of the new decorating opportunities. Last night I stumbled on Dot&Bo which had me going ga-ga over all their gorgeous goods. I think I went a little crazy bookmarking all the decor and art I wanted.

But on that note, I’m actually really puzzled about how to make our vastly different styles cohesively come together. But I am looking forward to taking on the challenge and create a style and mood that pleases the both of us. We will be building a pinterest board with inspiration to make it easier to visualize how we can combine our styles, but if you have any other tips, let me know!

| 01 | Antiqued Gold Sunburst Wall Mirror | 02 | Bistro Arm Chair In White – Set Of 2 | 03 | Mudhut™ Beaded Flatwoven Stripe Area Rug | 04 | Organic Cotton Towels in Navy and White | 05 | 2-Pc. Antique Copper Fruta Bowls | 06 | Minimal Wood Wall Hooks