a year later


observant nomad | designervaca a year later

It’s that time again and I can’t believe it’s already been a year for me. Some talented and awesome women are packing up, getting ready, and heading down to Palm Springs, CA for a little retreat called Designer Vaca.

At Designer Vaca last year, I was able to strengthen existing online relationships, meet some bloggie crushes, as well as discover new creative gals and their talents. It was a great opportunity to listen, learn, and nurture my own dreams & goals.

observant nomad | designervaca a year later

I’m so happy that I was lucky enough to go last year, and sad that I won’t make it this time. But I thought it would be (hopefully) useful to write about my advice for those who are going this year. So here it is:

Don’t worry about ‘fitting in’
When I first arrived at the retreat (alone), I didn’t really know anyone that well. I either followed their blogs or had glanced at their sites once. But honestly, I wasn’t sure I’d meet someone who got me. Well, I was wrong. I met all different kinds of personalities and made some true friends there. From geeky creatives, to quirky fun types, budding entrepreneurial mammas, and even sophisticated city gals. There’s a little bit of everyone there – which made the experience that much more enriching. So don’t worry about ‘fitting in’, you’ll find your tribe!

Everyone has a story
But what was truly amazing about the variety of women there, was the breadth of experience that came with it. It didn’t matter how similar or different someone’s story was from mine, I was thoroughly inspired or learned something from each and every one. You’d be surprised, the most shy and reserved girl there can sometimes be your creative soulmate, or inspire you to shake things up in your life. So reach out and…

Try to mingle
Don’t be afraid to reach out! I’m a bit of an introvert in large groups and do better with smaller ones, so retreats can sometimes leave me feeling uneasy or awkward. But I was always rewarded when I forced myself outside my comfort zone or relieved when someone else would reach out to me to get to know me better. I’m so glad I spent my time with different ladies. It allowed me to get to know a lot of people and be inspired in ways I wouldn’t have expected.

Come with a purpose
Ask yourself ‘What do I want to receive from this experience?‘ For me I wanted to learn more about full-time freelancing. How these women did it? What it took? Was it worth it? And ultimately if it would be something I could be interested in. And going into that experience with a mindset really helped me soak up the most pertinent information I needed. It also helped fuel my questions and thoughts on the panels and in discussions with other creative gals, so no awkward silences.

Remember, everyone’s just a regular gal
Confession time: When I went to Designer Vaca I was a little star struck the first night. I mean some of these women were bloggers I’d followed online before I even started thinking about a blog. So I was unsure at how to approach some people at first. But after I got settled in, I just reminded myself “Hey, they’re all just regular gals like me.” That allowed me to find the courage to have brunch with Kathleen, hang out with Sarah at the pool, and ask Megan questions about how she built her ideal life (and she provided this great response above) - and guess what, we all hit it off, like real people.

I hope this helps you settle in and feel ready for this awesome weekend! Oh, I almost forgot the best piece of advice I had…
Get a tasty slushy cocktail. Delish.

If you’re interested in my experience, you can read about my post from last year.


kristin vermilya


observant nomad | kristin vermilya

I’m very proud to show off some of my latest work today. This is a logo and branding project that I worked on with Kristin Vermilya, who is a young photographer building up her style and portfolio. Kristin just recently made the jump into the post-college career world and wanted to get her photography branding feeling more professional, put together, and just more like her. 

PS I love this photo she took of her friend, Marlinda – I think it captures everything about her style.

observant nomad | kristin vermilya

This project was one-of-a-kind from all the way around. When we started, Kristin was inspired by dreamy film-like photography and already drawn to hunter greens. Which was an exciting variation from most most projects I work on. In the end we built a palette with these quirky fun pops of green, as well as some more understated monochromatic tones too. And we threw in a pop of icy blue to break up the palette.

Kristin also wanted a more loose and playful handwriting style to her logo (which I was soooo on board with) and I had a lot of fun sketching out different ideas with a ton of different pens and markers. It was nice not having to be so controlled or careful with my lettering, and I love that it has a rough obvious hand to it.

Hopefully we’ll start her portfolio website next year, so I can’t wait to build out this palette and her branding a bit more. It’s so much fun to see a brand start and where it goes from there. In the meantime check out some of her current work.


Are you interested in working together? Let’s get in touch


austin, tx


observant nomad | austin, tx

Howdy! If you’ve been following me on instagram, then you know I just got back from Austin, Texas earlier this week. Overall I had a really great time on this trip! Unfortunately on the second day my wallet was stolen! When I realized what had happened my stomach dropped and stress overwhelmed me for a bit.

But in the end it worked out, and I even grew a little bit from the experience. I know something like that can usually ruin your trip and damper your mood, but I found that everyone around me really rallied to help out. Their support and kindness made me fall in love with the city just that much more. And I promise to post more about it another time, but for now, let’s move onto the cactus & queso!

observant nomad | austin, tx

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life lately


observant nomad | life lately 05

observant nomad | life lately 05

observant nomad | life lately 05

observant nomad | life lately 05

Here are three snippets into my life lately…

01 This summer has flown by quickly, but I’ve luckily managed to get out into the world a little bit.  This gorgeous pink drink above is from when I met up with a friend for happy hour at a new taco joint, and sampled their spicy hibiscus margarita. Delicious! Some friends and I also got to partake in the annual Denver Film Society Summer Scream at Lakeside amusement park – which was a blast. I’ve managed to hit up some new hot spots in Denver, get outside for golfing (almost every weekend) and even get a few camping trips in. Summer…check.

02 Making my first capsule wardrobe has taken more time and planning than I thought. In Colorado, fall can range from 80 degree sunny days to a full on snow storm, so layers are key. The whole capsule thing is very new to me so I struggled a bit with trying to find a good balance of weather clothes within the 37 item limit. But one of my favorite pieces I decided on, were these cute Steve Madden leopard slip-ons I found at Nordstrom Rack. Yay for leopard! So far I’m liking being able to throw outfits together very quickly in the morning and the mix-and-match concept.

03 For some reason I’ve been a little conflicted lately about being a creative and getting paid for all my creative work. Don’t get me wrong, getting paid for something you like to do is a blessing and I am so lucky to be able to do so, but I also miss the simpler days of being creative for my-own-creative-sake. More learning, more risk, and less rules. So I decided to sign up for a local pottery class, just to get in there and get messy and make mistakes. So far I am really loving it and still excited about it. Can’t wait to learn all about glazes and throwing techniques.

if you’d like to see more of my life as it happens, follow me @observantnomad


fall favorites


observant nomad | fall favorites
Right now it’s dreary, raining, and cold outside and I’m loving it. I enjoy the cold misty mornings as much as the temperate sunny days of fall. So in preparation for the upcoming season, I’ve been planning my fall capsule wardrobe, following some of Unfancy‘s methods and strategies. Since my last post about re-visiting the wardrobe project, I’ve made a lot of progress and have almost completely finished my fall wardrobe.

I landed on about 38 pieces for fall ranging from t-shirts, to sweaters, skirts to boyfriend jeans. But instead of going in-depth into the full wardrobe I thought I’d show you some of my fall favorites for now.

Every woman needs her perfect leather jacket. And I love this no-lapel look and the nice quilting details. I also diy distressed an old pair of baggy j. crew jeans into my version of a boyfriend jean. If you don’t want to bother, I like this pair from rag & bone. Graphic tops are such an easy way to feel cool – I like this NY suede pullover from Madewell.

I’m also gonna be riding the military and sporty style wave this season. With my much-loved graphic nike sweater and this satin baseball cap, I’ll be channeling my inner tomboy. I also just bought these trusa military boots from aldo. They’re the perfect mix of casual look with a tall heel, and they feel both masculine and feminine.


Oasis Sophie Faux Leather Biker Jacket via ASOS | Satin Baseball Cap by H&M | NY Suede Pullover by Madewell | Zipper Faux-Leather Tote by Forever 21 | Open-Knit Tassel Scarf in Burgundy by Forever 21 | Trusa Military Boots by ALDO | Rag & Bone Boyfriend Jean via Revolve