One day

One day

(via thegiftsoflife)


Bare Necessities

About 3 weeks ago, I was getting a package together to send off and I decided to forego a manufactured, albeit wonderfully designed card from Papyrus or Hallmark or whatever else is out there. Instead, I opted for a blank sheet of paper. 


As I was writing, I thought about how simplistically beautiful it is to just write on a blank sheet of paper. The absence of design didn’t make it any less attractive, it actually made it less distracting. Instead of something that came pre-made, I was the one who was making the letter with my words. 


That got me thinking about how much we crave simplicity and yet, we oversimplify (I’m not using this word to mean simplifying too much, but rather over simplifying, basically complicating things, which I see I am doing by using this word). So I took a look through some style blogs I follow and noticed how I focused on pieces that were simple. Pieces that honed in on craft. What I hear all the time in advertising school is, “simple always wins.” Plain and simple. But simple, is also hard. 


I think we as consumers like things to be simplistic, but we as creators love to oversimplify. It’s not too shocking considering the self-centered mindset humanity tends to have. But let’s think about it.


The iPhone. When it first came out, everyone’s eyes started salivating. It was clean, chic, modern, and simple. They got rid of all the buttons and the extra step of having to flip your phone open. It was beautiful. Now, the latest innovations are all about the bigger screens. Yes, the main reason people find a bigger screen so enticing is because well, there’s just some innate desire for large screens. Just think about your t.v.’s. But I think there’s another reason. When we bought our new iPhones, we started crowding it with apps and data. There were little squares all over the place, which visually signifies oversimplification. Hence, a larger screen with more space for our little squares, visually signifies simplification.


Now, as creators we are just dying to get everything out. I’ll use the example of writing because it’s something I can personally relate to. When I write, I want to convey all my thoughts no matter how small or large. You may have noticed that when reading my posts. Even when I write for school, I want to make sure I am capturing the voice, the tone, and absolutely the message. I have a hard time letting some words go because I have this feeling that saying “I wouldn’t regret a single thing” is enormously different than “I wouldn’t regret a thing.” Now, one can of course argue that it is mightily different, but for the sake of communicating in the advertising world the difference is miniscule. And yet, it kills me to have to cross that one word out. I feel like I’m being cheated out of my art and my work. In my mind, I’m a worse writer for having to leave out the word “single.” And it’s funny because as I have previously stated, I think we as consumers want things to be simple. So you would think that being in an industry where it’s really about getting into the minds of the consumer, I would of course want to be as simple as I can possibly be. 


But I think what makes that task so hard is our fear of emptiness. That particular fear can manifest into different things depending on the situation: The fear of the blank page. The fear of negative space. The fear of silence. I think we’re afraid of exposing ourselves when we choose to be simple.  When we choose to become simpler, whether in lifestyle or in our work, there leaves much more room for someone to think, see, hear, and taste. A simple sentence without a bunch of fluff constructing it will lead the reader to the end of it much faster and clearer, which means they have time to really digest what you have just stated. And that can be extremely frightening. A chef who doesn’t over complicate his dishes is much more likely to be critiqued on his fundamental skills and talents. I think people who create simple work are willing to be vulnerable. They’ve stripped down anything and everything that’s unnecessary and are exposing the bare bones of something to the world. It makes sense why so many things are oversimplified. It’s not just because it’s easier, but it’s safer. 


So what I’ll leave to you is something you’ll never hear in a sex ed session: Don’t be safe.


Be bold. Be daring. Be vulnerable. Don’t add anything whose sole purpose is to provide your work with a shield of distraction. Your work should be able to stand alone. And above all, be simple. 




Omg, this looks delicious 
S’more Ice Cream Sandwiches | Paper N Stitch

Omg, this looks delicious 

S’more Ice Cream Sandwiches | Paper N Stitch

(via themountainlaurel)



If I ever get another dog

If I ever get another dog

(via themountainlaurel)


Getting something off the menu

I just came back from dinner with my brother. It was good overall, but towards the end I had a harsh realization about how different we are. I have always known that we’re very different individuals, but I don’t think I knew to what extent. 


My brother is a very content individual. He is not ambitious, he is apathetic, he is a realist. He lives in a small world and is okay with being comfortable. His life basically sums up to 3 things: games, football, and food. Not even food, he’s not passionate about it, he just likes to eat. 


On the other hand, I’m ambitious. I have high hopes and dreams and I figure out ways to attain them. I am rarely satisfied with the status quo and am constantly looking for the next thing. It’s a big world and I want all parts of it. 


Clearly, we’re different. But today, I realized how our small world vs. big world mentality has affected our principles and beliefs. I was taken aback by his views as we moved on from topics about the name of the Washington Redskins, Ferguson, and society in general. He took on a very pessimistic and passive approach. Basically with all issues, he doesn’t see a resolution so he chooses to ignore it. He doesn’t inform himself about these various topics because it doesn’t apply to his small world. It doesn’t affect his video games or his daily gym workouts or SportsCenter. Yeah, I guess the issue around the name of the Redskins will be discussed on sports channels, but like my brother even mentioned, he hasn’t seen anything recently about the topic .

So I’m sitting across the table, listening to his apathy and his lack of interest to inform himself and I am becoming extremely frustrated. I think about how he needs to read more. How he needs to go out and surround himself with people who have different views. I think about how he is so small minded. I think about how he is pathetic. I think about how dumb he is. I try my hardest to restrain myself from sounding patronizing, but hiding my emotions has never been my strong suit. I’m sure my muffled scoffs and passive correction of his grammar got the point across that I thought I was on a higher caliber than him. 

But so many things went through my head during the conversation and after. One, how open-minded and liberal am I really? I have always felt a bit hypocritical when it comes to this issue. I tout how open-minded I am. How I am willing to hear arguments on all sides, assess, and then make an informed opinion. But here I was, sitting across someone who had a different perspective, a different view from myself and all I could think about was how wrong he was. Yet, my brother never made me feel patronized. He never talked down to me. He expressed his own thoughts and his views, but never made me feel like I was wrong. So what does that say about myself? Am I as open-minded as I always like to believe? 


Two, is this difference between my brother and me a result of pure genetics or education? My brother went to Georgia State and commuted. He never really had the typical “college experience” and I feel bad that he didn’t. I really think he was cheated out of something in his life and I think it would’ve been very beneficial for him if he had that experience. And there’s me. I went to Emory University, a liberal arts college and had a great experience. Again, small world vs. big world. After my brother went to classes, he came back home to his family, the same place and same world that he grew up in. After I went to classes, I went to who knows where. It was constantly different and filled with new experiences. I’d be naive to think that our education didn’t have an effect on how we lead our lives now, but I also wonder if from the beginning we’ve been on two separate planes. At one point during dinner, I just asked my brother if he was always like this. If he was always so hands-off and he said he was. I think about how powerful education and knowledge really is. I think about how much I’ve learned and changed the way I think because I became more educated, because I was exposed to just more. But I also wonder how much education can impact someone who really only wants to be educated on a small number of things. 


Three, where do we go from here? I realized after dinner that my struggles with my brother isn’t just with him. Sometimes it’s with my parents as well, although we are similar in terms of our ambition and wanting to experience new things. I remember coming back home from my second year of college and realizing how basic and not stimulating my conversations were with my family. I began to resent them and feel angry that they weren’t oh so highly educated as myself. I can be such a douchebag sometimes. I think overtime though, I have come to understand that I need to adapt to my family and not expect them to adapt to me. I talked about things that interested them so it could be a conversation rather than a lecture. Maybe that sounds like I’m just taking the easy way out, but I see it as taking an empathetic way. Maybe I’m reading too much into it, but I have observed a slight pain in my mom’s eyes when I rattle off on some intellectual topic and see that my parents don’t have much to contribute. It’s a strange irony for first generation college kids. Our parents work hard to give us an education and have grand ideas for us, but once we start climbing and reach these goal, I think they see that we’re climbing away and without them. So I choose to lessen that pain. I choose to let my family know that just because I’m climbing up, doesn’t mean I can’t climb back down. 


It’s funny how all these thoughts took about 15 minutes in my head, but it took so much longer to type out. I can’t wait for the technology to be invented where my thoughts can just be streamed live…maybe that won’t be as great as I thought. Anyway, this was quite a lengthy one, but it really encompassed a lot of different touch points. As always, with any issue it’s really about being conscious and assessing what is truly going on. 


Probably my favorite dessert of all time

Probably my favorite dessert of all time

(via elegant-autumn)


I love seeing places that have no end

I love seeing places that have no end

(via elegant-autumn)


I’d get one if I weren’t so afraid of it killing me 

I’d get one if I weren’t so afraid of it killing me 

(via amoderngent)