process and growth


observant nomad | process and growth

original image from jeff sheldon

When I first started freelancing, I was like a lot of business-owning-newbies. I knew how to do the work; design, solve business problems, and bring big-picture thinking to the table. What I wasn’t exactly sure of, was how to establish a process that would set up the work for success. While my years of big name-brand experience helped shape my first ideas of running projects, it all felt too large and impersonal for my one-on-one clientele.

So naturally I began to look to other freelance designers and bloggers, whom had all written posts about their ups & downs with project processes. I was so grateful that there were people out there sharing their knowledge so I could learn from them. I found that a lot of designers had the similar steps to their processes, which felt like a solid foundation to start from.

I really enjoyed having a clear structure to guide my clients throughout their project. We both knew what steps to expect and what the deliverables were along the way. It even got some pretty great results. Fast-forward to two years later and lately I’ve been reflecting a lot on my freelance process and how it functions across many levels.

And what I’ve come to realize is that my process isn’t like everyone else’s. I recently enrolled in a Braid eCourse that focused on helping creative entrepreneurs to define their communication and clarify their content. It was eye-opening. That course revealed to me that my own creative process is unique to my business. How I solve business problems for clients is different than how any other designer might solve them. And how awesome is that?!

In that same thought, why would I be using a process that might not 100% reflect how I create my best work? For one, having a foundation to start from was essential. Not only have I learned what works well for me, but I’ve also identified my pain points, or how I would approach areas differently. It’s forced me to take a step back and look at what I’m building for my clients on a more holistic level.

With all this experience, I’m really excited to start clarifying my process from scratch. Taking the best of what I’ve learned, and inventing solutions for the weaker spots. Not only am I eager to evolve my process, but I’m also interested in taking some risks and exploring solutions or steps that I’ve never tried, as a way to learn more about refining my work.

And in an effort to blend the personal and professional more (a la Braid style) I’ll make sure to share more about how that unfolds along the way. Also, I highly suggest checking out any of the Braid eCourses if you’re inclined. I’ve taken two so far, and planning on rounding out the third soon.


observant nomad 2015 calendar


observant nomad | free 2015 calendar

Guess what? It’s free calendar time. Last year a lot of people really enjoyed my free 2014 calendar that showcased a lot of my travel photography from around the world. This year I wanted to make another calendar, but I decided to focus on one particular locale from this last year of travels… Seattle.

I really enjoyed my trip to Seattle about a year ago and often wish Rusty and I could whisk away there again. While we were there we ate too much seafood, laid eyes on some gorgeous art work, and floated across the water. I hope you get to visit Seattle when you have a chance. It’s such a great place.

This free 2015 calendar is made for a 6.5″ x 8″ cardstock but you can print it on regular 8.5″ x 11″ paper if you like. I printed mine on thicker card stock sheets and then trimmed it down. Either way – enjoy!


All photos by Observant Nomad and copyrighted 2015. Please be courteous – this calendar is not for resale, and only for personal use. If you’d like to share this calendar – please credit Observant Nomad and use this page url.
Thanks, It’s much appreciated!

DOWNLOAD FREE 2015 Observant Nomad Calendar .PDF (5.7 mb)


fresh start


observant nomad | 2015 fresh starts

2015. Another fresh start to a new year.
I’ve been pondering lately what direction I want my life to take this year, and I find myself returning to the idea or thought of…


When I look back on the last several years of my life, I see that I’ve spent them in pursuit of traditional life ‘success’. Graduate college, get an apartment, get a job, support yourself, save money, get good at that job, and settle down. Unfortunately that’s not my spirit. I’m not a traditional kind of gal. My heart is pulled to where the wind blows and I find myself daydreaming of possible adventures more than how I’m going to land the next promotion.

For a long time, maybe for most of my life, I’ve pushed down my free-spirit and tried to please everyone else in my life who wasn’t me. I’ve realized, over the last year or so, that this path hasn’t really fulfilled my soul. Always making the responsible choice for other people is just that, it’s for them – not for me.

Which brings me back to 2015. Right away I know this year is going to be an important one for me. I know there will be tears, fear, risk, hard decisions, and sometimes hurt feelings. Other times there will be smiles, excitement, possibility, independence and possibly absolute pure joy.

I’m hoping for all of it.
And it will all come with EXPLORATION…

… of my creative path. After I came to the realization that a creative’s success is not defined by what job they do, but by how much they love to create what they do, I’ve known that I need to discover the same passion for myself. This year is going to be the start of a new exploration of my path and hopefully will push me to grow wildly abundant in the expression of my creative gifts.

… of my world. This corner of the internet isn’t named ‘nomad’ without reason. The world is a big beautiful place and it’s been far far too long since I’ve seen a new and foreign place. I’ve been very blessed to be able to travel across the US as much as I do, but travel to me is more than simply a change of scenery. It’s also about pushing myself outside my comfort zones and into exotically different places. So I’m planning on starting to get out into the world more this year, and really explore places both near and far.

… of my relationships. I’m going to be honest with you, I have room for improvement in my relationships. I’m hitting a place in my life where old friends are growing apart and new friends are harder to find and keep. It’s an awkward growing period, and one that I could do myself a service to learn from. Not only friends, but my relationships with family and special someones all need some more thought and consideration this year. I want to explore how I can become a more patient, nurturing and forgiving person.

… of my spirit. I’m not a religious person, and have no judgement those who are. I believe spirituality is important for the human soul. Whether you’re Buddhist, Christian, or find spiritually when you’re hiking the great trails of the wild unknown (like I do), I know that it can bring peace, happiness and enrich community in our lives. I’ve been a little disconnected from deeper places within myself and this year I’d like to cultivate more balance for myself. More exploration of what spirituality means to me.

My intentions for this year are going to take hard work and a lot of courage. Thankfully I have the support of many loved ones, and the belief that I can accomplish so much more than even I can imagine.


2014 in review


observant nomad | 2014 in review

What a year! I tried some new hobbies, different features on the blog, did some traveling (a necessary in my book) as well as a bunch of freelance work. I even adopted a fur baby! Overall, I feel like this year I really pushed myself to try new things.

I love taking a few moments to review the past 12 months and truly appreciate all that I’ve been blessed to experience. So let’s take a quick look back on 2014.


observant nomad | 2014 in review

Probably the most important moment from this last year has been adopting my tuxedo cat, Toro. Sorry I haven’t posted an update about the little guy since the first one, but if you’ve been following my instagram you’ll see I’m still quite in love with the little guy and we’ve overcome a lot of the issues I was dealing with at the beginning.

Besides my little fur baby, I also tried some new hobbies. My guy taught me how to golf and we golfed for most the spring & summer, which was really fun. I also took a few pottery classes and made several things with holes in the middle (yay!). Somehow between working and such I made time to stay connected to friends and do fun things over the summer as well.

observant nomad | 2014 in review

Right now I’m working on getting my portfolio site up and running so I can showcase all the work I’ve done over the last 2 years or so. But as far as this year goes, I’ve made some really exciting steps with my freelance clients and developing work I’m happy with. Some of my favorite projects this year include; The Effortless Chic website and her media kit, The Storyboard Wedding website redesign, and finally all of the Mischo Beauty branding, website and packaging design projects.

I even tried a new opportunity to work with an event planner client, with my friend Breanna Rose under her studio, Rowan Made. So I can’t wait until I can show the final branding and website work.

See more of my work from this year under Design Work.
Stay tuned for new work coming out very soon!

observant nomad | 2014 in review

I got to hop around the US a little bit this year, and wow – I had vastly different experiences everywhere I went. That’s the beauty of adventure. At the start of the year, my guy and I visited Seattle (part one & part two) to stuff ourselves on gourmet seafood and see a new place. PS I fell in love with it.

We also went to Keystone, CO for our birthdays and had a little getaway just to enjoy some downtime and each other’s company. We’re planning on doing something similar in Steamboat Springs, CO before winter is out. Our mutual couple-friends invited us to Hot Springs, AR for a lake trip on 4th of july. It was balmy and the water was perfect.

I found some last minute cheap tickets to Austin, TX and even though the trip didn’t go according to plan, I still had the opportunity to catch up with old college friends and meet some new ones too. Let’s hope next year has some exciting travel experiences as well!

observant nomad | 2014 in review

Lastly I wanted to showcase some of my favorite blog posts from the year. More recently I posted a longer thoughtful post about my career and the direction it’s heading towards, you can read about it here.  I also did a little post giving first time Designer Vaca goers some advice on how to get the most out of their experience. I think it’s handy for most people heading to conferences or when they have to meet groups of new people.

This year, I also wrote a series centered around lessons learned from living abroad. I found these 5 posts really special ways to share what I’ve learned with others and take a broader view of my experiences abroad. I also heard that these lessons apply to people who moved to another city state-side.


Wow – what a year! But I can’t wait to see what 2015 brings.
Should be one full of adventure, risk, and new journeys.


happy holidays


happy holidays | observant nomad

happy holidays | observant nomad

happy holidays | observant nomad

happy holidays | observant nomad

Happy holidays! I hope you had a nice time with family and friends. I know I’ve really enjoyed the time away from it all. This Christmas my mom rented a cabin in the mountains for the family to come and visit. The cabin was really gorgeous, full of mountainy knick-knacks and fireplaces. It snowed the whole time, which was perfect to get us in the mood. We watched christmas movies, played board games, drank too much hot cocoa, and relaxed in the hot tub.

On Christmas Eve we made a tapas bar full of some of my favorite snacks from Spain including stuffed piquillo peppers, traditional tortilla, and patatas bravas. We also had plenty of olives and spanish cheeses to keep a girl happy for some time. Mom made me a basket of travel items which was really thoughtful and I enjoyed my Christmas Eve slippers. All in all it was a nice little trip for the holidays.