Our Big News: Mom-Mode.

I've been hinting at some "news" for the past week that I've been eager to share with y'all. It wasn't until yesterday that we felt we were in a place that we could actually speak freely about the situation. A couple of close friends knew what was going, and of course our family, but everyone else was left in the dark. To finally spoil the surprise for you... we now have custody of Mike's 3 year old son, Toby! We are over the moon excited about it! Things started falling in place on Friday, much much sooner than we expected. We weren't expecting to bring him home with us until today, but we found ourselves in front of a judge on Friday and we were so very tickled to bring him back with us (after a few hours at Chuck E. Cheese, of course!)
Many of you were readers back when Toby would visit us every other weekend, and you may remember seeing him make some guest appearances on my blog as a wee lil' lad! I haven't written about him in a long time because things weren't going very well. We weren't able to see him for a long time and it really did break our hearts. We weren't sure we were going to ever see him again, so when we got the call saying we may be able to have him come live with us we were pretty stoked. And stressed. So many people have asked me (both politely, and not so) about Toby since his last mention on the blog, and eventually I stopped responding to anything regarding the situation. It quickly became one of my "no go topics," meaning I didn't speak of it... well... ever. We decided to keep that part of our life private. It was a painful thing to go through for both of us and we didn't need to air any dirty laundry. 

I won't go into details about how or why this situation came to be. Honestly it isn't a happy story in terms of the details. It's also not my story to tell. What I will say is that although we were caught completely off guard, no kids clothes, carseat, or bed/room for him, we are making the most of it and we're making it work!

I was able to take off of work on Friday to spend time with Mike and Toby, helping him get acquainted with our new house. The timing is quite amazing honestly. We had no idea something like this could/would happen when we decided to move and get a house, but it's almost like fate. We got the first phone call over a week and a half ago... just 2 days after we moved in. Since getting him on Friday we've bought (and built!) Toby a bed, in his very own room, and acquired lots of fun, educational toys and cute button-up shirts to match Dad's. He's 3! He's talking, trying to potty train, and he's basically a big kid now. It's incredible. 

We know we are able to provide him with a stable and caring environment, full of love and laughter. Lots of cuddles and bedtime stories, too. Trips to the zoo, museums, aquariums and the Adventure Science Center! We're going to be able to help him grow and learn, and basically mold him into a stellar member of society. Like I mentioned above, we're both elated and positively terrified... but this is our new life! I don't know the first thing about kids but step-momma mode has to kick in and make it work! We're really excited to see what the future holds for our little family!

Long gone are the solo coffee date nights Mike and I had daily, and the jetting off on random roadtrips for a week or more. Here come the sick days, naptimes, and endless changes of clothes thanks to little man's insatiable desire to wipe his mouth on his shirt sleeves. We're trading daily NCIS marathons for Power Rangers and Dora the Explorer (and currently on our tv: Toy Story 3). Kind of sounds like a fair trade to me! 

I didn't feel right not sharing this part of our lives on here simply because it is just that: our life. The biggest part of it. We're having to push some stuff around and give up a little free time and productivity, but he's our top priority. I apologize to everyone waiting to hear from me about blog designs and Honeybean designers... I promise they're coming! This sort of hit us all of a sudden and I still don't think we've quite caught up. The past 72 hours have been so totally crazy and exhausting. I guess we better get used to that!

With that being said, I'll be taking on slightly fewer design clients per month, simply so my clients are able to get the best experience and treatment possible. Every few minutes he's hungry or needs changing or wants to play with his blocks of flash cards... I can't help but step away and partake with him and Mike. I knew I really really wanted kids with Mike... and I won't lie, I've had baby fever for a while now! But the past few days have done nothing short of solidify that feeling... like we're the perfect team to raise a kid. I guess we'll hold off on baby makin' for a little bit, just to ensure Toby gets lots and lots of attention, and that we retain our sanity. But I know he'll make the very best big brother.

When sharing Toby in the past, I received a few not-so-nice comments saying things like "You'll never be his mother" and "You're not his step mom" etc. Whether Toby is my biological son or not, I will (and do) love him with every fiber of my being. I will always treat him just as if he were my own flesh and blood. Nothing will ever change that. I don't know what it's like for other people to all of a sudden come in possession of a 3 year old toddler, but I just know we're going to do the best we can. And that we're excited. That's really what he needs right now. (The best part? He's totally into us decorating his room in sharks! Thatta boy!) Whether he's with us for the next 15 years, 3 years, or 3 months... we're going to cherish every moment we have. I'm excited to share this new chapter of our lives with all of y'all. Thanks for sticking around <3

On The Hunt for Art! Suggestions?

1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5

We're really trying to work on finishing up our house, so it doesn't go months and months with bare walls and windows. It always seems like we run at full steam the first few days and then the energy tapers off and we're left with half-way done projects and lots of places to "fill in". We didn't have a lot of wall real estate at the loft (2 full walls of brick does that!) but now we have ample room for prints and posters and we want to brighten the place up with some color! All of our walls have neutral paint (a pretty beige and sage), so we need some pop of excitement. Susannah recently did a cool post about the art hanging in her living room, and we've been on the hunt for some great pieces to add over our mantle, in our bathroom, and all 3 bedrooms. 

I really love the idea of continuing our "Nashville/city" theme prints in the living room. We have 3 full size Anderson Design Group pieces that we have yet to hang. 1 of them commemorates the 2010 flood where we lost our house, and 1 is the 2011 anniversary of the flood. They're really beautiful pieces. We'd like to get our hands on the 3rd piece that goes with that set, but until then we've settled on another Nashville poster. (We love our city!) We also really love sharks and we've got something special planned for our back/third bedroom. 

So I've come to ask the all-knowing, best-design-eye readers around -- Who are some of your favorite illustrators or artists online? I'd love to take a peek and purchase some prints! Are you an artist/illustrator? If so, feel free to link me to your work! I'd really love to find someone to do some fun family portrait type stuff too!

We really want to make our house a home as we'd like to stay here as long as possible (I say that about everywhere!). Really the only thing lacking right now is character on the walls! I promise to share with y'all our picks and progress! We'd like to get varying sizes (4x6, 5x7, 8x10, and poster size (18x24 and even larger!)) to help collage some stuff together. I'd love to see what y'all could suggest! 

Just A Little Reminder...

Just a little reminder while we try to make it through this stressful day! xo

FunkOff! presents Little Chief Honeybee!

The past few months I've been working with the lovely Michelle and Chad of Funk Off! to produce a new limited edition scent called Little Chief Honeybee! If you know anything about Funk Off! (or Michelle and Chad!) you'll know it's a rad homemade (vegan) brand of scents and soaps hailing from Arizona. I've worked with the FO! crew before and they are total sweethearts. (Every time they send me a package, they send little pup treats for the girls! Ah!) When Michelle asked me if I'd be interested in taking part in this new project, I jumped at the chance. They've released one blogger feature scent already (Sometimes Sweet, after the always adorable Danielle!) and I was tickled pink to be the first distance-based blogger! 

What makes this project so super special is that a portion of the proceeds from each and every LCH item sold through FO! goes to benefit Oceana. If you read yesterday's post then you'll know I'm very passionate about sharks, our oceans, and conservation! It was totally inevitable that I'd pick that as my organization.
If you're curious what the LCH scent smells like, it's like... citrus infused flowers! There's an undeniable floral scent to it, but with a punch of orange and lemon, too! It's heavenly! I have the lotion, spray and soap and love love love them! A little spritz totally gives me a pep in my step (as I've become totally into perfume as of late!). Each item is only $7 so it's totally affordable, eco-friendly, and ocean-friendly, too!

CLICK HERE to check out Michelle's blog post about the collaboration, or HERE to shop the goodies on Etsy! You can find the items here: Soap, Body Spray, Lotion.

Every little bit counts when it comes to saving our oceans and it's creatures! If you decide to scoop some up, please let me know! The cause is very near and dear to me.

Mega thanks to Michelle + Chad for asking me to take part! It's been so fun to sample the scents and chat about how to make it more "Bee" ;) xo

11 Things

This morning I woke up to a @mention from the lovely Miss Danielle and was tagged for the "11 Things" meme. Normally I say thanks for being included and never really partake, but this one seemed fun and I didn't have anything else planned for the blog today so I said why not! Thanks for tagging me, Danielle!

There are five rules:
1. Post these rules.
2. Post a photo of yourself and 11 random things.
3. Answer the questions set for you in the original post.
4. Create 11 new questions and tag people to answer them.
5. Go to their blog/twitter and tell them you've tagged them.

Let's go!

11 Random Things:
1. My absolute favorite cities in the world are Budapest and Amsterdam. I'd pack up my little family and move to central Europe in a heartbeat if I felt I could adequately learn the language. The architecture and story of Budapest is truly remarkable. And Amsterdam has the most beautiful canals, bridges, and row houses. 

2. I'm blind in my left eye, and I have been ever since I was a little bebe. I don't know what it's like to see out of both eyes so I just make the best of it! The hardest thing in the world: winged eyeliner! Gah, someone needs to come up with "The half-blind girl's guide to winged liner". Oh! And being up to bat in softball! My depth perception is a bit off haha! (But yes, I still have a driver's license and the only restriction I have is that I have to have both outside mirrors on my car. I have perfect vision in my right eye!)

3. Speaking of softball, going to the batting cages and go karts is my idea of the perfect date. I miss playing softball (and volleyball) every day. It'd be really fun to get in on a Jack and Jill league (my mom played up until she was pregnant with me!)

4. I cannot, for the life of me, say "Indianapolis" correctly on the first go unless I consciously think about it. I always pronounce it "Indiana-apolis".

5. Pickle-sickles are where it's at! If you don't know what that is, it's frozen pickle juice popsicles. Basically like sodium + vinegar in a frozen shape... and it's awesome. Susannah (and Mike) are making the most disgusting faces reading this, I just know it!

6. In high school I really really wanted to row crew for sport (just at an intramural/club level though). I think it's the ultimate sport/workout and it's just neat to watch.

7. I collect novelty salt and pepper shakers. This is kind of a new one, but I already have a ridiculous assortment. Ranging from stackable burgers, ice creams, giraffes, sharks and a plethora of mushrooms, I like anything cute or kitschy.

8. I was a tomboy for most of my life. The thought of wearing a dress disgusted me until I was a senior in high school, or maybe even college. I was a jeans + shirt kind of gal, but I wore mostly Hollister + Abercrombie type stuff (I know. Whoa.) One day I just decided to like dresses and that was that. Now I own one pair of jeans and basically zero shirts. It's all about the easy to manage dresses! (But for real -- My room was decorated in totally UT Vols stuff at one point... like, football. I wanted to play football. Sometimes I wonder if my frontal lobe was swapped in my sleep.)

9. My favorite author is Anna Maxted. She writes funny Brit-chick novels and I have every single one. I also love Sophie Kinsella of the Shopaholic Series (and more!). Please don't let the movie adaptation of "Confessions of a Shopaholic" ruin the series for you. They are seriously so much better in book form. (I know lighthearted fiction isn't the most noteworthy to be reading, but I guess it's better to read something as opposed to nothing!)

10. My first job was at the Elephant Sanctuary of Tennessee. It's a non-profit elephant refuge that provides sanctuary and 2,700 acres of land for sick and old elephants that have been confiscated or retired from circuses, zoos and private owners. I worked up in the office starting when I was 15 or 16 and stayed there for a year and a half (I think?). Delhi was my favorite ele and it was the most incredible experience working there. I would've rerouted my college plans to go to school for zoology, emphasis on pachyderms, if the sanctuary were anywhere other than my hometown. (You can check out more about the Sanctuary here, and even watch a live feed of the elephants! It's closed to the public though, so you can't go see them. There is a new Education center in town though!)

11. My second favorite animal is the Octopus. I started reading about them in the 6th grade and I think they're fascinating. They're so incredible intelligent, agile, and interesting. Did you know they have 3 hearts? And can squeeze through holes as tiny as a quarter? The only hard part of their body is their beak! (My absolute favorite animal is the Great White Shark of course!) 

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ 

Here are Danielle's 11 questions she tagged me for:
1. If money, schooling or time was no obstacle, what career would you choose?
Without a doubt: Marine Biology with an emphasis on Great White Sharks (or just sharks + rays (and maybe cephalopods, too!) in general). I'd love to work in the field, studying, tagging and documenting the migrating and mating patterns of Great Whites. So very little is known about them and they're in danger of extinction due to the finning of fishermen. I'd love to work in conservation.

2. What's the one thing you look forward to every day?
A bubble bath. Sounds silly, but it's a nice half hour break from the hustle and bustle, and I get to enjoy it all to myself. Candles, smelly good stuff and a book are the highlight of my evening.

3. What is your number one, all-time, favorite blog?
This one is hard... I'm going to say Susannah's because she's my best friend and I like to keep tabs on what she's doing since she lives 600 miles away! (Totes not creepy, right?!)

4. Biggest online pet peeve?
Passive aggression. Especially on Twitter. We're all guilty of it, I know, but I strive to not be "that girl" with the passive remarks and attitude. It just causes you to alienate yourself.

5. What is your all-time favorite book?
Getting Over it by Anna Maxted. Funny, but sincere, reading at it's best!

6. What would your "last meal" be?
Ooooh this is tough! It's a toss up between my mom's chocolate gravy + biscuits or Mike's brown rice + veggie skillet casserole (with an Olive Garden salad on the side!) and sweet tea. Home cookin' all the way! (You know, OG aside)

7. Do you believe in love at first sight?
I'm not sure. I don't think so, no. Maybe interest/infatuation/lust, but not love. However I've never experienced it so maybe it takes seeing to believe!

8. What would your ideal Sunday morning consist of?
Sleeping in just a little bit (since I get home from work around 3:45am), waking up to a fresh pot of coffee, and Mike's French toast. Lounging in our pjs to catch up on our week's worth of DVR recordings. 

9. Why do you blog?
Originally it was to share my adventures living in NYC with my family and friends, but it's since become a way for me to meet likeminded people and share my little piece of the world. It's fun!

10. If you had to choose one color to wear forever, what would you pick?
Oh man, I instantly want to say a blushy/peachy/light pink because it's my favorite color. I'm not quite sure it's the *most* flattering on me, but I don't think I could ever tire of it! As long as I could mix and match the fabrics... lace and chiffon, bring it on!

And here are my 11 questions for the gals I tag!
1. Do you believe in astrology? Why or why not?
2. If you could teleport to any time and place, where would you go and why?
3. What are the three closest items to you right now?
4. If you had a spirit animal, what would it be?
5. What is your earliest childhood memory?
6. Where do you hope to see yourself in 5 years?
7. Have you kept in touch with your childhood best friend(s)?
8. If you had to describe yourself in 5 words, what would they be?
9. Describe your idea of a perfect day: Where would you go, what would you do, who would you do it with?
10. What kind of "weird" foods do you like? (They could just be weird to your friends/family, kind of like my pickle sickles!)
11. Do you collect anything? If so, what? 

I tag: Susannah, Kate, Moorea, Mandy, Diana, Elycia, Beca and Kaylah! (and YOU if you're up for it!)

Hope you enjoyed learning a little bit more about me! Happy Sunday!

February Sponsored Giveaway!

This month's sponsor giveaway is kind of a doozy! It's chock full of awesome store credits, gift cards and gift sets! Kinda wishing I could win! I'm so blessed to have so many wonderful, sweet, and talented sponsors each and every month, and this month is definitely no exception! I love getting to know these girls and I'm sure you will, too! Be sure to click through to their blogs and shops because you might just find some new favorites! Below you'll find that one lucky winner will walk away with $200 worth of goodies!

blog // shop // twitter // facebook

blog // shop // twitter // facebook

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ 

To enter to win, drop by the sponsors above then leave a comment below telling me your favorite piece in each of their shops (or something you like about their blog)(Be sure to leave your email or twitter name with your comment so I can contact you if you win! You can spell it out like kaelahbee at gmail dot com to avoid spam!) This is just one entry. Please include all 5 "favorites" in one comment!

If you'd like additional entries you can.... 
+ Follow the blogs above/leave a sweet comment (one entry per blog followed, up to 5!)
+ Follow the sponsors on Twitter (one per follow, up to 4!)

If you kept tally then you'll notice that is up to TEN entries! (I know, ridiculous) Please be sure all additional entries are in separate comments so they can be properly counted! Entries not left separately will not count, sorry! A winner will be drawn next week and contacted shortly thereafter! Good luck! xo

Things I Love Thursday

Happy Thursday, friends! This week is both flying by and creepin', as if that were even possible! I'm getting ready to saddle up and head over to the tattoo shop to have some color put on my shins! I've been putting off color since I started my shins back in September because I'm terrified that I won't like them, and the outlines are so pretty, but it'll be nice to wrap them up and move onto the next piece. Anyway, here's my lovely list of wonderful things! Extra long this week since last week's was so brief! xo

this gif! ♥

♥ this looks like the best breakfast in the world. ♥

this is our bed every night.

♥ this. i can't even... ♥

♥ this shirt. (i'm not the only person who despises nicholas cage, right? :P) ♥

♥ this made me chuckle just a little!

♥ these pretty lattes. ♥

♥ this is seriously what mike + i talk about daily ♥

♥ this pug kissy gif! ♥

♥ this is my life. ♥

♥ this is my favorite movie. ♥

♥ this oscar wilde quote. ♥

♥ this pretty vintage photo ♥

Other Awesome Things:

// I really love Dottie Angel's entire Flickr photostream. Seriously. Love.

// Beca and Doug of Tumbleweeds are having a Spring Pre-sale right now! Check out how you can save 20% on your favorite wooden sunnies! I love having such talented friends!

// Elyse never ceases to inspire me with her outfits! This one is no exception... except, well, my hips would never fit! haha Such a beautiful dress!

// You'd be surprised how much my hair is in a nappy top knot bun, so I love finding easy to do hair tutorials that make being "presentable" less of a hassle. Christen of Two Happy Hearts has two rad how-tos! Here's a Beehive Ponytail and a Messy Bun w/ headscarf!

// Amber of The Sofisticate blogged about some pretty unreal tights the other day! Oh my stars, they're neat!

// Roxy shared some Instagrams from her week spent snowboarding in Colorado. Check out the first picture! It's really really beautiful! I've never been snowboarding (or seen more than a couple inches of snow!) so I'd be kind of wonderstruck!

// Monika at Today I... is giving away a really pretty headband! The giveaway is open until the 26th and there's only 2 entries so far! Your chances are high to win if you head over and enter!

// Aileen is feeling a little under the weather right now (Get well soon, lady!) but she did recently share her birthday spent at Disneyland! Oh how I wish I could spend my birthday next month with Mickey and Minnie!

// Ever wondered what you might wear if you were to do a bellydance performance?! This rad pink-haired gal clues you in!

// Metallic gold sweater? Navy pants? Bright red socks? Leopard platforms? YES YES YES and YES! Virginie is basically the most adorable girl in the world.

// Charlie styled up a chambray shirtdress 5 different ways by tucking it into various skirts! The outcome is super adorable (all 5 ways!) and definitely different! 

// Can we talk about things I want in my closet now?! Ugh! THESE amazing leopard print SPIKY loafers! Swoon! -- These very very Flintstones shoes! -- This tartan BJ dress (+ I'd pair it with my tartan JC Litas, too. Just kidding. That's too tacky! Pfft. Yeah right.) -- A few perfumes to round out my vanity: Marc Jacobs Lola, Marc Jacobs Daisy, and Burberry Touch.

// And now some sweet eats: Buttermilk Blueberry Breakfast Cake (say that 5 times fast!) -- Orecchiette with Greens, Mozarella + Chickpeas! -- I have died and gone to sweet potato heaven with these Roasted Sweet Potato Skewers with a Cilantro-Jalapeno Aioli Dip. OMG. -- and everything about these Roasted Baby Spring Veggies looks duhhhhlish! 

// If you're feeling crafty: Make your own tiny envelopes (perfect for giftcards!) -- This upcycled furniture into kid's toys! Soooo cute! -- Felt food tutorials! Eep! -- and lastly, DIY Striped Drapes... these are especially gorgeous!

// Normally I would've posted this with the other recipes, but Kasey's cupcakes in a jar (with CARAMEL!) were entirely too good to group with something else! It's almost midnight right now and I think my hunger is showing... Oops!

// And Jacqueline made heart shaped three cheese RAVIOLI! Seriously, all things are better when in the shape of a heart. All things. 

// I meant to share these two weeks ago but Amy had some free Valentine's printables over on her blog! I say print them out and give them away year round! Love is too precious to save for one day! 

Is your brain blown by all of the awesome yet!?
What are you loving this week?

Reader Asks: Getting Into Design

I received a lot of questions on Twitter, in comments and email, in reply to yesterday's design post. I thought this morning would be a great way to touch base on a few of them and to fill you in on what I know (which isn't much!). 

I received several questions in the area of "How did you get into design?" and the answer for that one is simple, yet not short: I started blogging (on LiveJourmal, hayyy!) when I was 14. I spent a few years "customizing" my layouts and even moving my very basic HTML skills to MySpace. In 9th grade I took a basic HTML class at my high school and I already knew everything he was teaching. My teacher moved me to the Library to help work on the student Yearbook, even though you needed to be in 11th grade to do that. I was excited because it gave me an opportunity to branch out and learn more. For the next 4 years I basically lived and breathed that yearbook. I loved it. That's where I first learned InDesign (yeah... before CS2 or anything like that existed!) We had moved away from Quark and I was ecstatic to design almost half of the senior yearbook in 2006. I feel like you should know this though: my work was AWFUL! All capital letters awful! While it was "cute",  I put strokes (outlines) on EVERYTHING! Every piece of text had a stroke. Oh my stars. So embarrassing! Anyway, I went to college for Fashion Design + Merchandising to begin with, but after my first year of classes I wasn't feeling inspired. I woke up one summer morning, went to the administration building of my school, and switched majors. Just like that. I didn't give it any thought or reason, I just did it. Best decision ever. While I loved fashion design + all that it entailed, I had never felt so challenged and motivated by it like I did graphic design. I spent the next 3 and a half years making things I wasn't totally proud of, but I'm glad to have finally found my footing post graduation. While I do have a formal education and Bachelor's degree under my belt, I absolutely do not think you have to have a degree in order to be a brilliant designer. So many of my favorite designers are self taught people. You just have to have the drive to pursue it!

Another one asked in the comments was: "How did you get into freelance design?" As I mentioned in yesterday's post, I never thought I'd do well with freelance. I was always a procrastinator and if it was due tomorrow, I'd do it tomorrow haha That never helped me, by the way! A lot of people wonder how on earth you solicit clients and wrangle them in. Honestly, I don't do a whole lot of that. I think I'm really fortunate that my blog brings me a lot of my business so I don't have to cold call anyone or anything. This little blog has brought a lot of opportunities to me, not just work related, but people and places, too! I definitely wouldn't have the clientele that I do if it weren't for LCH!
An email from a sweet gal named Amanda said: "I want to do graphic design and go to college for it, but how do I know I'll enjoy it?" Answer: Honestly, there's no fool proof way to say you'll still enjoy it in college. Formal education changes a lot of things... You don't really learn at your own pace, and you don't get to choose your curriculum. Even if you do go to college for it, don't let that stop you from learning everything you can now! Even after college I'm still Googling things I don't know or have forgotten! There are so many resources out there at your disposal! You can also get a Lynda.com account if you are really hardcore into learning! YouTube videos, blog posts galore... you can theoretically teach yourself anything you want to know! As much as I loved fashion design, college made me not want to pursue a higher education degree for it. Don't stress... most people change their majors. It's life! It happens! Just take the classes you can and try to get a feel for it as early as possible!

Another email asks: "Where did you get your design style? Did it come naturally or has it changed over time?" Oh boy, it's changed! Has it ever! I can't even begin to tell you some of the fugly stuff I've dreamt up! My current designs still aren't world changing or award winning, but I really enjoy them. My aesthetic is very reflective of my personality. I've always wanted to design things I enjoy (that's the designer's dream!). I'm lucky enough that I can pick and choose clients and if their aesthetic is too far of a departure from mine then I just decide if I feel like I can still successfully pull it off. I will admit I've basically backed myself into a corner with my "style" and I kind of like it. I don't have any shortage of clients right now so I don't see any reason to go changing it! I think like everything else, aesthetic evolves with time. There are things I designed last year that I cringe when I see now. However -- at the end of the day, the customer is always right! If they want something and you think it's totally crazy but they won't budge, let them have it! Sometimes you have to pick and choose want to put your name on :) That's design for ya!

Someone asked: "Do I need certain programs to design things? Photoshop costs a lot of money and I can't afford it." I personally think Adobe Creative Suite is the best thing to have. It's the industry standard and I've honestly never used anything else. I don't know if you can get similar results with other programs or not so I can't say. I personally use Adobe CS5.5 and I think it was worth every penny. Yeah, it's super expensive, but I am able to accomplish so much more because of those programs. When it comes to blog layouts, I use Adobe Illustrator to build them, Photoshop to slice and tweak (I don't like the slice feature in Ai!), and DreamWeaver to construct and manually code them. It's not rocketscience, but it's not super simple either. There are a ton of video tutorials though, like I mentioned a few questions ago! If you want to be serious about design, definitely think about investing in an Adobe Creative Suite! There are also several package options through Adobe so check those out! 
A Tumblr ask was submitted that said: "I want to start designing blog layouts like you, but I don't know how to get any work. Do you have any suggestions?" Since I think blogging has been the best (free) advertising for me, I honestly suggest having your own blog. If you do, have a really cool layout that you've designed. This next advice is a little questionable among freelance designers so be sure to ere on the side of caution: Find some blogging friends and offer to do a layout for them. It's free advertising. Try and get some sort of compensation from them (even if it's someone with several hundred/thousand followers... the more eyes on your designs, the better) THEN -- please please please make sure you charge a fair amount! I'm constantly undercut by other designers because my prices are "too high". I still make less than half of what I should per layout with a BFA. I know my hourly worth and I definitely don't make it on blog commissions. Still, it's stable and fun work usually so I enjoy it. There are some people out there only charging $50 or $100 for an entire site redesign and to me, that's kind of crazy! Start off with a low, but fair, price, sure. But don't try to undercut everyone else just to land a job. It's not fair to other designers and all it does is hurt our industry! :) Build a portfolio, even if they're just mockups in Photoshop or Illustrator! Create a PDF portfolio and send it out to anyone who might be interested. The options are limitless!

And one final question: "Are you ever scared of the instability of being a freelance designer?" My answer: of course. I think harsh realities like that are things that need to always be kept in mind... even if it's in a far, back, distant corner of your mind! Freelance work is incredible fickle and it usually comes in waves. I could go months without any (be it my own personal choice or lack of interest among others) and then all of a sudden I have fifty emails a day about reserving a spot. I think it's a little bit different for people who don't have a steady source of clientele (like a blog), but I can't speak for them honestly! I also don't do solely design as my bread and butter. It's definitely up there, but I also bartend, run this blog, and a million and seven online shoppes (with two more in the works)! I have really really busy days, and then really lazy ones. I'm lucky to be doing something I love, but it doesn't come without the work, that's for sure!

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I think designing your own stuff (be it blog designs, business cards, or whatever) really helps you appreciate your achievements. I don't think it's for everyone though! There are many things in my life that would be fulfilling to do on my own, but I'd rather pay someone to do it (i.e: change the oil in my car, pressure wash the house, etc). There's no shame in outsourcing things that you're not crazy for, but if you are interested in doing your own design, I totally urge each and every one of you to get out there and learn what you can! You don't have to get crazy with HTML or CSS, or be the world's best photo manipulator! But if you have a sincere interest in something, don't wait until college to explore! Use your free time and learn everything you can! Then you can be the smartest one in the class! ;)

I think the biggest thing is that you should really love what you're doing. Love designing even if no one is paying you. Love designing things in your free time. Be passionate for the things you're creating!

Sorry for the giant walls of text, but I thought a post like this might be the slightest bit helpful to anyone looking to get into design themselves! It's a flooded market, without a doubt, but it can also be an exciting one to be in!

With that I want to ask, What are YOU passionate about? What makes you tick? I love hearing people's answers to this question!

Some Recent Blog Design Work

I don't share my design work on LCH all that often. I'm not sure why. It could be my shy tendencies or not feeling "on par" with others at times. I think we can be our own worst critics. But it's such a huge part of my day. It's easy to get the impression that all I do is sit home and blog all day, but 90% of my time is devoted to freelance design work and rounding up clients. If you would have told me 2 years ago (or 1 even!) if I'd be doing freelance 100% of the time, I would've scoffed aloud and kept on with my day. I've never felt like I had the drive to do freelance. One of my best gal pals, Elle, is one of the most hardworking, self-motivated people I know. I never felt like I could bring myself to do that. But I have. Even if only recently, I've started and ended my day with client emails and mock ups... and I'm kind of loving it. It's especially nice being in the new house in my office with all of this natural light. It makes me feel good and productive. Here's to hoping it lasts!

I figured I'd share a few blog designs I've launched recently. Some date back a few months (whoops!) but a lot of my workload has been identity packages + websites which aren't ready to share yet. In fact, even Grace's blog below will be getting a new makeover in the coming month. Still, here's a little glimpse into how I spend my days! (and maybe some fun new blogs to read!)
I absolutely loved designing this layout! It was "me" to a T! I love that Melanie and I have so very much in common when it comes to aesthetics. Peach + gold glitter!? Count me in! And scallops, too! I felt like I was channeling Honeybean the whole time and I want to paint everything gold! She was such a sweetheart, too. Would you believe me if I told you we knocked this entire design out in just a matter of hours? Seriously. I woke up and worked until it was ready to install just a few hours later. I love when that happens!
This is Susannah's new layout. You might remember the old one (HERE!)... well, that one will be making it's way to my new template shop I'll be opening up in the (very) near future (I hope!). Keep your eyes peeled if you'd like to snag it up for your blog! This time we went with a very Strawberry Banana Milkshake color palette and I love love love it. I did a simple background pattern and let the colors do the talking. Hope she likes it as much as I do!
This one was a departure from what I'm used to. I tend to surround myself with solid pastel colors, a air of feminimity, but I loved working on this with Nicole. The bright red + teal with the harsh charcoal + graffiti style type. It was really fun and I'm glad she was able to look paste the otherwise feminine nature of my "portfolio" when she hired me!
Oh Grace! She's become one of my favorite gals to talk to via the interweb and creating a bright and fun space for her blog was a pleasure! We'll be capping it off with something fresh and new soon, so pop on over and take a peek before it disappears! (She's the sweet gal who did the now famous Ron Swanson coffee mug!)
Another departure from my norm, but a fun black and white look with a bright bright pop of fuschia! Love! Kem is such a doll, too! She's way into rockabilly and I always pop over to her blog to see what fun pin-up stuff she's posting and all that jazz. Definitely worth a visit!

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My aesthetic is a strong in the sense that I like having the ability to design things I like. I was always scared of designing too much stuff that I hated when I was in college. I don't want to look back on what I've done and absolutely recoil in disgust, ya know? I do love simple, bold sets of color, and anything feminine, but I'm also eager to break out of that box and do some different things, too. I'm hoping to do a lot of simple two-color designs with handwritten/illustrated embellishments... even if that means I design it and put it in my shop! 

I'm excited to already have quite the waiting list for March, but if you're interested in booking a spot for late March or early April, feel free to shoot me an email (kaelahbee at gmail dot com) and we can chat about what I offer! I currently only offer a full redesign package for Blogger based blogs, but I also have an a la carte menu option for any platform! Off I go to work on this website! xo

PR + Marketing E-book Sale! 20% off!

Just popping in to let y'all know that my PR + Marketing E-book can be picked up on the Honeybean shoppe for 20% off currently! (You can read the introduction here!) It's 44 pages worth of first hand experience and information on how to make the most out of your blog. It's never too late/early to start thinking about how to ensure your blogging experience is a positive one. This e-book is full of anecdotes, candid mistakes that I've made, and advice on how to handle somewhat sticky situations that may arise. It even covers the topics of monetizing your blog for profit, reaching out to fellow bloggers, and the always dreaded self promo vs. spam debate. It's not a fool proof "get rich quick" guide but I promise you it's packed with loads of information and no irrelevant pictures of yours truly. ;) You can snag a copy for $20 until the end of February! Click here if you'd like to grab a copy of your own! No coupon code needed! I'll be back in a bit with an outfit post. Happy Monday! xo

Honest To Blog -- Proud vs. Boastful

This week's Honest To Blog is probably going to be a scattered one. I've had this topic in mind for over a month already and I just can't seem to find the words to communicate what I'm thinking when I sit down to type it. Anyway, this one is about sharing your life online and the thin line between being proud (but in a sincere way) and being "braggy" and boastful. We all share these sides of our lives for different reasons. There isn't a questionnaire that deems you acceptable for the internet (though sometimes I think that'd be really helpful!). But as a blogger, do you ever feel like you're "showing off" sometimes? 

I do. And it makes me very uncomfortable. It's never my intention, of course. But sometimes I'll share something and then go back and read/see it a little while later and cringe, so I delete it. Obviously everything on the internet is forever (Seriously. Be mindful before you post things!) but sometimes things I say/do just irk me and I feel like I need to retract the entire situation. I'll give you an example...
Around Christmas I received several pairs of Jeffrey Campbell shoes... I was elated! My blog tagline says it right there... "ugly shoes" and I love 'em! We all have our collections! Anyway, I shared a picture on Instagram of the shoes I got for Christmas with the tagline saying something like "Looks like Santa is a shoe man!" It received several "likes" and no negative comments luckily, but not even 10 minutes after posting it I instantly felt a pang of shame at boasting about something so trivial and silly. I deleted it from every platform that IG posts to. I felt so strange, and so naive honestly! It could be just that I'm ultra sensitive sometimes or that I'm manic, but still. The current economic climate doesn't exactly lend itself to hoards of expensive, totally unnecessary and inappropriate shoes. How could I honestly sit there and post that so openly?! I've said it once and I'll say it again, I'm a huge fan of sales. I buy mostly everything on discount and I try to be a smart shopper, but my habits probably still come off as "excessive" to some. While we can never really know what life is like for other bloggers (this is a topic for another day!), we all try to piece the puzzle together to figure it out. (C'mon. I know I'm not the only one who speculates!) That's getting off on a tangent but still, I all of a sudden felt like I was sharing my shoe haul for the wrong reason. I think that's my one concern with "haul videos" that became popular on YouTube some years ago. So many people in your audience may genuinely be interested in what you picked out and added to your personal wardrobe, but how do you stay on the right side of the line between sharing and boasting? I suppose outfit posts could fall into the same category as well. Granted I don't wear high end, designer duds so I don't feel like my wardrobe is out of reach for the majority of my readers, but I still second-guess myself when I post them. I've been asked countless times to share haul videos or a video/blog post of my Jeffrey collection and I'd be more than happy to, but I'm so afraid I'd come off as insincere or like I'm just bragging. As I said earlier, that's never my intention with my blog. I'm this shy Nashvillian who spends more than her fair share of time in a UTC sweatshirt and leggings (and furry houseboots. Are you rethinking following me for my fashion posts yet?!) I love finding more gals who "get" the JC hype and don't mind my often repetitive outfits. 

I've also received my fair share of (both sincere and straight up accusatory) questions like "How do you afford all of that? Do you feel like you're a compulsive shopper? How does Mike feel about all of your shopping?" That' is still another topic for another day, but it helps put it into perspective for me as a blogger. A lot of my dresses in my closet are less than $10 and picked straight off the rack at Ross. I am so not ashamed to admit that. I have a slightly extravagant looking closet only because I'm cheap cheap cheap and I keep things for years! It doesn't feel weird for me to look over and see that hanging in my office but I understand that it can be so far fetched for others. They may not know my shopping habits or how I love wear and tear on items. They just see lots of "stuff" and may think I acquired it overnight. Is it our duty as bloggers to reign in the consumerism or "I can wear something new everyday" attitude of a lot of blogs, or is it normal and does it provide a sense of escapism for readers? Ah, escapism! I use that to describe my love affair for a lot of blogs... Not just ones who wear designer details top to bottom (that's really not my style anyway), but also for mom blogs, gals who blog about their world travel, etc. Things that aren't exactly pertinent to my life right now, but I still aspire to. It absolutely does provide me with an escape from my day. But with that being said, I have a hard time discerning my personal feelings toward my blog being seen as an escape for some. What I mean by that is I don't feel like I have/do anything that is outside the realm of possible for any other girl. Guys, I am as basic/normal as they come. Okay, big hair, really ugly shoes and some tattoos too (tagline!), but I'm no superhero haha I just want to share bits and pieces of my life without coming off as some uppity shoe hoarder! haha And yes, these are things that I actively think about. Though I suppose if you're more reserved/conservative with your "look" then you may like to see someone who is a little more out there. Sometimes I wonder if maybe I just think about blogging too much (but if I didn't, Honest to Blog wouldn't exist!). Instead of over-analyzing everything I do (along with the actions of others), maybe I should just write and go with it. I've definitely always fancied myself as someone who isn't too terribly wrapped up in what others think, but I absolutely hate the feeling of being misunderstood. Someone might read something on my blog and take it the wrong way and I hate that feeling of failure while trying to convey something (much like this blog post!) 

I've read blogs in the past that are nothing but "c/o" outfits and partnership schpiels and honestly, those weren't the blogs for me. I did feel a sense of entitlement coming from the blog author and I decided to just purge them from my reader. Life seems like one big competition and the blog world is no exception. I just strive to be sincere in everything I do and I hope y'all understand where I'm coming from. I definitely do some things that warrant me a side eye and maybe even an audible scoff, but I promise my intentions always come from the best of places. I guess this is just a thought that has been plaguing my mind since around the holidays and even more so now that we've moved into a new house. I want to show y'all absolutely everything we've picked out for it and how I've organized all of those ugly shoes, but I don't want to be perceived as a giant ego. It's so easy to interpret things in a way they weren't meant but hopefully y'all kind of get where I'm coming from and I don't sound like a total crazy lady!

Anyway, this is a much longer than intended post but I'm glad I was able to get (most of) it off of my chest. I definitely didn't deliver it in a way that I had hoped for but I'm at a loss for how to make sentences on most Sunday mornings! Work wears me out! Alright... what are your thoughts? How do you draw the line between being proud and being boastful? What do you do, as a blogger, to stay on the right side? Or how do you feel, as a reader, when you see bloggers post things like I mentioned? All discussion is welcome!

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Honest To Blog is a weekly free-writing series on LCH where I share my thoughts, feelings and frustrations with all of my readers. 100% unedited, unbiased, and sometimes unpopular, you can often find a boatload of typos just by glancing at it. Click here to read the rest of the series!

Featured Sponsor: Saturated Canary

Hello friends!  My name is Krista.  I'm popping over from Saturated Canary today to guest post on Little Chief Honeybee... one of my all time favorite fashion blogs!  So excited to be back here sponsoring Kaelah!  Love this chica! 

When I started to think about what topic to write about, instantly 'dresses' came to mind.  Which is kinda appropriate, seeing how Kaelah loves them so.  (And rocks them, like, so perfectly!)  My style is a little more boho/hippie.  I love.love. long skirts and layers.  Patterns.  Maxi dresses. Skirts worn over dresses.  Dresses worn over skirts.  You name it, I've probably tried it:).  While I love short and sweet dresses on others, I'm not always comfortable in them.  So I usually opt for the longer variety.  

So.  That being said. 

Have you ever seen a dress and just HAD TO HAVE it?  Like.  Without looking at the price tag or size or length-- because they really didn't matter-- you just knew this dress is made for me? I literally got chills when I saw Modcloth's new Cartography dress for sale on their new arrivals page.  I love maps...love old world style...This dress was made for me! (I think I broke out into a sweat as I went through the various payment screens...hoping it wouldn't sell out before I claimed my size!)  It's a bit shorter than I like...and I don't know that I'm a big "shift" style dress fan.  (I prefer something fitted or completely flowy.)  But it didn't matter.  I needed it.  (Yes.  needed it.  to survive.)  I think it appealed to me because the print was different and so eye catching.  The shape was a nice silhouette. And the price.  Well, like I said.  It was a matter of life and death-- so I bought it.:)

It is versatile enough to add a layering skirt underneath.  I think it would be perfect under a cardigan with tights, too. Or, even layered over a pair of flare jeans.  It's my *most* favorite dress ever. I'm officially in love :)
Have you ever had one of those moments with a dress?  Where your world stopped and you just knew it was made for *you.*  It sounds kinda silly, but the 'dress girls' out there will know what I mean.  I'd love for you to stop by my blog and leave your dress links!  I feel a pretty dress post coming on!  (I'll post my favorites and link back to you!)...So, please stop over and say hello!  I love making new friends!:)

And my dear Kaelah, thank you for having me again.  You are my blog crush;).  I love everything about your style and personality.  You're gorgeous, lady!!

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It's always a pleasure having Miss Krista over here on the LCH blog! She has this zest for life and a total sweetness that is so genuine and sincere. And would you be wowed at the fact her 6 year old son took these photos?! I know! I die. Love love love her. Pay her a little visit and say hello! (You can read her other outfit post + a guest post about her dreads, too!)

Calling All March Sponsors!

I know this is a little late to be posting the sponsor call, but better late than never right? Just letting y'all know that I'm accepting sponsors for March (and beyond!) and I'd be thrilled to have you if you think you're a good fit for the LCH crowd! There's a discount running until the 20th for all ads in March! Feel free to peep the traffic + stats, then give me a shout at kaelahbee at gmail dot com! I'd love to talk to you about how to make our partnership awesome for everyone involved! I'd tell you March is my ~*birthday month (ha!) if I had any intention to celebrate all 4 weeks (but I don't, so I won't! :P) but I do have some things up my sleeve! Any Aries gals in the house?! March 30th here! ;)

Thanks for being so patient with me throughout this move! I'm excited to get back to a regular schedule! xo

Things I Love Thursday

This week I thought I'd take it easy for the TiLT and post something that I thought was absolutely amazing... far beyond the typical "Oh I love this" air of my Thursday feature. I think you might like it, too!
♥ christians showed up at the chicago gay pride parade to apologize for how the church has treated them ♥
The guy you see in the black hugging the fella in his undewear wrote a blog post about the event and this was definitely the most capturing sentence:
"I hugged a man in his underwear. I think Jesus would have too."

I first saw the photo floating around Tumblr and then stumbled across this blog. All photos are sourced from there so please click over if you'd like to read more about it! It's truly so incredibly heartwarming. I think it speaks volumes. No matter what your faith is (or lack thereof), I think we can all agree that the level of humanity and respect shown at the Chicago Pride parade was incredible. Ahh, I love it!

Happy Thursday, friends! We just got internet at our new place so I'll be catching up on emails starting Monday! If it's super urgent, tweet me + then I'll try to sort through my email to reply asap!