Category Archives: My Illustrated Life

Mother

Mothers+DayYesterday was Mother’s Day in The States.  I didn’t call my mom because I’m a terrible person, but I did send her a card (handmade, so there) and I’m pretty sure it even got to her on time.  (Did it?)

Remember when I said I was crap at watercolour painting?  See, I wasn’t lying.  BUT, I’m pretty confident that you can at least tell that the flowers are lupines.  I love lupines!  Lupines remind me of one of my favourite childhood literary heros, Miss Rumphius, who strove to make the world a more beautiful place.  Like Miss Rumphius, my mother makes the world around her more beautiful, too, and that’s just one of the many reasons why I love her so much. She also makes really great food and gives good shoulder rubs.  She’s really great, my mom!

So happy belated Mother’s Day to my mother and all the mothers out there.  But especially to my mother.  I love you.  Thanks for making the world beautiful and thanks for making ME.  xx

ONE YEAR

Dearest Reader,

This time last year, David and I downed a couple glasses of wine, boarded a flight to the UK, and accidentally put Le Chat through the most traumatising experience of her little feline life. Yes, it was a whole year ago that I voyaged to this country and became an American in England, and oh what a year it has been!

One+Year+American+In+EnglandThere have been times where I hated this year, moments where I stamped my feet and cried from a place of despair that I’d never before known, I want out.  I came here thinking I had my life all figured out and then hit rock bottom as those plans crumbled around me, around us.  Those moments sucked but they’ve forced me to grow enormously and I’ve learned to better accept uncertainty. After all, some of the best moments of my life have been spent in the English countryside, aimlessly following footpaths and marvelling at where my own two feet carry me.

It’s also been a year of trust and patience.  It’s been difficult to be this far from my nearest and dearest, but I’ve been blessed to start a new family with David and find a new tribe of friends whose kindness and camaraderie literally moves me to tears (seriously, you guys, I just wept typing this).  I’ve also learned that the bonds of friendship and family easily stretch the length of an ocean and that sometimes, a simple Skype call can cure the worst case of homesickness.

It’s been a year of sacrifice and simplicity, bravery and action.  An exciting year, a humbling year, the worst year, but the best year, and I thank you from the very bottom of the well that is my heart for sharing this it with me. The world is a tremendously beautiful place and I’m thrilled to see what this next year holds.

Onward and upward,
Kate.

Things I Believe About Open Hearts & Open Minds

sadtimes

#Sadtimes
There isn’t a Tuesday With Vous today, again.  Maybe this project is turning into a failure (oh, that word!, it makes me sad) or maybe I just need to reassess my expectations and re-think the turn-around time for contributors.  Probably the latter.  No, definitely the latter.  Either way, I’m sorry for letting you down.

That being said, my lovely contributor and friend who was scheduled to post today is simply having one of those days.  You know, one of those days where everything at work feels really urgent and you hardly have time to refill your coffee cup, much less send Kate Sims an email full of Tuesday snapshots.  So, I get it.  I’m bummed, but life happens, so please bear with me and I will post the photos when I have them later in the week.

#Happytimes
This lack of a TWV allows me to tell you about my goal for May today, at the very beginning of the month, so really it’s quite serendipitous the way this has unfolded.  As some of you may have noticed, I’m not always great about taking my own business advice. I mean, I love coming up with creative and authentic ways for my clients to toot their own horns, but when it comes to my own self-promotion, I’m kind of shy.  Even silly things like sending an email to an acquaintence I’d like to have coffee with or leaving a comment on a blog whose author I’m totally girl-crushing on can leave my fingers a little tongue-tied.  No bueno, so this month, I’m going to reach out in a way that scares me every. single. day.

How?  Well, I’m going to send emails to people I admire, I’m going to contact dream clients, and pick the brains of my peers.  I’m going to be bold and stop worrying about the whats and the ifs.  I believe that open hearts open doors and open minds are keen to grow but I also believe that we often have to take the first step to develop opportunities, that we have to reach for what we want.  I believe this is true in all aspects of life– our careers, love lives, spirituality and friendships are all contingent on the fact that we reach out and connect, engage, grow.

I’m not one to subscribe to the idea that ‘If you build it, they will come,’ instead, I believe that we need to build it, promote the hell out of it, and then, if we’re genuine and enthusiastic, if we have something valuable to offer, maybe they will come.  And that promoting, that connecting, it can be scary.  But it can be a lot of fun, too, and I’m excited to see where it leads. xx

One Year

oneyearSunday is our one year wedding anniversary.  The two of us are going to celebrate quietly and simply.  We’re going to eat well, we’re going to drink Manhattans, and we’re going to say “I love you” more often than we already do.  It’s going to be a lot of fun!

I hope you say “I love you” to someone and have a fun weekend, too.  Kisses!

 

Make Yourself Relevant

Make+Yourself+Relevant

“There is a reason, after all, that Gen. Y–which is only becoming more important as we get older and begin pushing and stimulating our economy–has been dubbed the entrepreneurial generation. Many of us couldn’t land the jobs we wanted, so we just made our own. Sure, the training isn’t traditional but my generation is brilliant; we are over-educated and often over-qualified for the jobs that we do take. Tradition and innovation have little to do with one another and in the battle of success and relevance between the former and latter, the latter has proven itself quite victorious.”

I was catching up on some très important blog reading last night when I came across the above quote in this post by Leandra Medine, the genius behind the Man Repeller.  The sentiment of her post had me nodding my head and saying yes, emphatically, yes!  We are an entrepreneurial generation, we have been blessed with the ability to pull ourselves up by our fetching bootstraps, and we’ve had to make a name for ourselves because no one was there to do it for us; but it’s not just Gen. Y that has felt the need to innovate and make themselves relevant, it’s every entrepreneur.  Whether you’re opening a cafe, starting a fashion line or branching out as a freelancer for the first time, one thing is true- if you build it, they will not come.  Not necessarily, anyway, not unless you entice them.  You can do this by making yourself relevant.

So, how do you do that?  Easy!  Here are 3 Simple Ideas for Making Yourself Relevant by creating something, sharing it with your people (whomever they may be), and growing your tribe.  Let the drum-banging begin!

  1. Respond to something already relevant.  If you’ve recently read an article that made you fist-pump the air and yell, “Yes!”, or, conversely, made your hands start to shake as you muttered, “No, no, no, NO!”, then take a page from Leandra’s book blog and passionately respond to that piece.  Your response could be a blog post, a video, a song– anything that allows you to share your point of view in a shareable and articulate way.  It doesn’t have to be long, but be sure you make a claim and succinctly support it.  Share your piece via social media and encourage others to join the conversation, too.  Sure, some people will disagree with you, but the ones who don’t, the ones who share your feelings, they’re going to become allies, clients, supporters.
  2. Join or start a movement.  Perhaps you’re passionate about clothing designers paying their employees a liveable wage, perhaps it’s recycling to-go coffee cups, or saving the seals– whatever it is, join-up and start sharing your experience.  Not only will you have just joined a ready-made tribe, you’ll also be attracting others who think like you, too.  (Nudie Jeans has done an excellent job of building a tribe of like-minded customers around their economic and environmental initiatives; you can read my post about it here.)
  3. Host an event.  A tea party, picnic, gallery tour or themed walk– anything that will get a group of awesome people together for something out of the ordinary.  Invite everyone: friends, local business partners, mentors, and clients, then share snippets of the day online (via Twitter, Instagram, Facebook or Vine).  Encourage others to do the same and BAM, you’ve allowed your tribe to multiply, your message to spread, and your existing clients to see you in a new light.  Fun!

Of course, there are a bijillion other ways to make yourself relevant, to spark a dialogue and better connect with, and grow, your tribe, but I hope these three suggestions helped to plant some seeds.  I firmly believe there’s more than enough business for everyone out there, it’s just that we need to think creatively to find it, sometimes.