To all the ladies out there—the empowering forces, beautiful souls, and amazing humans. May we continue this momentum of standing up stronger than ever. I’m so thankful for each and every one of you. This community makes me feel lucky to have such inspirational people surrounding us all to continuously lift each other up. Let’s keep rocking the world by showing our power and worth. Happy International Women’s Day!
Just about a week ago I had the pleasure of joining the Creating For Good team to teach a hand lettering workshop in their first ever creative conference here in London. Creating For Good came together earlier this year and has been making ground in their mission to give back to the word. The London-based collective combines their creative forces to use their skills to improve the lives of the less fortunate. 100% of the proceeds from the conference and other events that they put on, are donated to a good cause. This conference teamed up with Women for Women International, an organization that runs year long programs to support women in eight different countries affected by conflict and war. All of this—the conference, the people, the organization—are helping to continue to move our world into a positive space in a somewhat shakey time.
Having never taught a hand lettering workshop before, I was a little hesitant to jump in but with this being my year of having grit, I knew I needed to say yes. I have taught in other capacities before. Some facts about younger me, I used to volunteer at an after-school art program for little kids to help them embrace their creative side. I also worked at a summer camp for years in various positions from teaching sailing to heading the department of arts and crafts. Those roles have given me experience leading and teaching so I felt I had a good base to go off of combined with my love of lettering. So, I ultimately agreed to jump in and teach the workshop, ready to tackle a new obstacle in order to grow.
First off—I'm super grateful for Jo and Jess. They answered the many questions I had—everything from class numbers, space set up, and allotted time. It was great to have them to ease my nerves and allow my planning to go smoothly. It was important to me to give each individual the best first go at hand lettering. I put together tote bags full of notes, pens, paper, rulers—everything they would need—so they could just focus on relaxing and getting into their creative flow. While I enjoyed talking about hand lettering and walking the class through the process, the best part was weaving through the rows of chairs to chat with everyone individually. I loved to see how each one of them was interpreting what they were learning and how they were putting their own individual twist on it. Honestly, they all blew me away with their talent. It was awesome to be in a room with such love and energy!
The whole conference was beautifully put together. And while I do mean that in a heart eyes kind of way—WeWork was the perfect space, London Flower School provided gorgeous flowers to fill it, West Elm donated beautiful plates, and The Social Kitchen laid out the most stunning (and delicious) spread of food. What really made the day special were the people though—the Creating For Good team, the instructors, Women for Women, and the attendees. I met so many lovely people that I have already been staying in touch with and feel so blessed to have crossed paths with. They have filled me with a new found creative energy and direction.
I left the conference feeling so full. My heart was truly happy and I felt like I had a super clear vision of where I was heading with my own creative path. Having the opportunity to share and chat with so many fellow creatives was really wonderful. I hope to have many more of these creative burst of energy! London is an amazing place to be for that.
And now, to end this recap of my workshop, I will leave you with this beautiful video the oh-so talented Daria Shevchenkocreated of the day. Enjoy!
Over the past few months I have had the pleasure of teaming up with Mahabis to collaborate on some social content creation through photography and video. Let me just tell you—collaboration aside—these slippers are seriously amazing. I've had my eye on them for quite some time. They are perfect for my lifestyle of working from home and the occasional errand running during the week. If you have yet to hear about Mahabis the shortest and easiest explanation is that they are slippers with detachable outer soles. When you are walking around the house enjoying a cozy day in, keep the sole off—but as soon as need to walk the dog or head out, snap on these well designed soles and you have yourself a pair of versatile shoes. I also love that by having these two options, you can change the slippers look from comfy to sleek.
For our first collaboration we worked with the Mahabis classic, lined with a soft wool perfect for the cooler months. They are designed right here in London and made in one of my favorite countries—Portugal. It was so tough to decide which pair I wanted to go with but I ultimately chose a light grey with a cream sole to keep with my love of neutrals. While I love that I can head out the door in these in an instant, I really love how warm they keep my feet will I'm working.
After creating the photos for the winter content and Springs arrival, we decided to team up again to show of the Mahabis summer collection as a part of their video campaign. I thought it would be fun to show I used the slippers in my day to day. I can just pop them on, put the soles in place, and quickly be out the door to either run errands or go for a walk in the park. It was an especially dreamy London day when we were shooting this and Primrose Hill was the perfect location to head to and end the video. You can get a glimpse of London's skyline in some of the shots.
It's been a blast working with Mahabis and I have appreciated how much they let my creativity take over in the content I am creating. I am so thankful for this opportunity to show what I can do in a unique way and step into more of an art director role. So I will end with a a huge thanks to the Mahabis team for letting creativity breathe and flourish through your own work and your partners.
And seriously folks...if you are looking for a go-to durable pair of slippers—these are screaming at you!
The word I came up with to define my goals for the year ahead was grit. I've spent the past five years trying to navigate my way through my art and design path. When I graduated college I wasn't sure what I wanted to do so I fell into the apply for jobs and hope it works scenario. I hopped around in-house freelance gigs content—even happy—but still ultimately unsatisfied as a creative free spirit. Those jobs taught me valuable lessons and helped me strengthen my skills but I needed room to breathe. I needed space to just be—if that makes any sense.
After a year, I started to explore the idea of opening an Etsy shop to sell greeting cards and prints. That point in time was where things started to make sense to me. Within months I launched my first line for the holidays under Light Rust Studio and was on my way to figuring out just who I wanted to be as a creative. What I thought would turn into my career is now just a step in my journey as I look back, though. As time went on, people started connecting with my style and I was being hired to do more and more custom work. I lived to get that custom work. Working one on one with clients began the transformation of my paper goods studio into a custom design studio. When we moved abroad from Boston to London, I finally took the leap full force and removed the paper goods side of the company.
Things were looking good and I was feeling so happy about where I had landed as a designer. I was working on projects that fulfilled my creative needs. I even went through a name change from Light Rust Studio to Sea of Atlas to reflect my journey better. Under Sea of Atlas, I allowed myself to strengthen my own connection to my company and create a strong brand to tie into that. I started selling my own artwork to allow myself even more room to breathe. And, my client work was finally at a point where I was getting dream projects that fully embraced my unique style. I had my best year yet as a company and I was feeling so proud of what I have accomplished. When you pour so much of your heart and soul into something then you see it pay off...well, it's a really emotional feeling that I'm not sure I can even put into words.
Now, as I came into this year and I looked back then ahead, I realized something—I have been suppressing my inner artist. If you met me after 2010 then you probably would define me as a designer—maybe with a more artsy side. But if you knew me before that, you would know that art was always my number one passion. I studied studio art for two years—bouncing around mediums such as painting, ceramics, and screen printing. If I'm honest, I barely knew what graphic design was until a college friend began talking about it with me one day. I saw it as a path that gave me some security as an artist. I could design as my career but produce the art I wanted on the side. But this never really happened. Once I started studying graphic design, I loved it and it took over. It came easy to me and it was less scary to me. Maybe this is harsh to say—but I played it safe by staying in the design world.
As a designer, I tried every way possible to let my artist speak through the medium. I don't think I could be the artist I am today without the design knowledge and the different paths I have been able to explore because of it. Design will always be a part of me and I will continue to use it as a tool. I have absolutely no regrets about my path so far. But I am ready. So SOready to finally embrace myself as an artist again. To let myself get lost in my work and to create freely. This year is about grit—it's about not being afraid and letting myself be vulnerable to grow.
So with that, as I've hinted to here and on social media, there are changes coming this way. Now that we are a month into the new year, it's time to making these moves more permanent and letting you all in a little more. I've outlined somethings so you can get an understanding of what is going to be happening and I will be sure to continue sharing about it along the way.
The studio side of Sea of Atlas is moving under my own name, Britt Fabello.
For so long I have been trying to find ways to connect as deeply as possible to the work I create. I finally realized that the best way to do this is to simplify and work under my own name. For the path I am on, this is what makes the most sense. Having a company name felt like I was putting a wall up and stopping a real connection from happening. This is all making it as least complicated as possible and removing the unnecessary clutter.
Sea of Atlas will remain alive as a blog.
The idea here is that through moving my work under my own name, I am giving Sea of Atlas room to breathe as a blog. It has grown and taken on a path of its own so I want to allow it the space to let it continue to expand. My work and the blog will still be linked to each other since they have similar intentions, though. I will still continue to share my art and design work on here to keep the transparency and discussion flowing. Ultimately, Sea of Atlas will be a space for building community as well as sharing more about the larger picture of my life journey such as travels, wanderings, things I like, recipes, thoughts, and more. So, not much is changing—though expect a nice facelift to the site soon!
Website URL shifting is real and is happening (ha).
You will find all my studio work over at brittfabello.com now (it's live—check it out!) and seaofatlas.com has become the URL for the blog. This means blog.seaofatlas.com is no longer where the blog hangs out but redirects and site links will make it easy for you to adjust to these changes. If you come across any confusion, feel free to reach out!
Social Media changes to look out for.
All social media has already been adjusted for these changes. I hang out the most on Instagram so if you would like to follow along with the ins and outs of my life, join me over on @seaofatlas. For my art and design work as well as my creative journey follow along on @brittfabello. Easy as that! Here's a quick guide to the new social links:
Things might be a little scattered as the changes fall into the place so I ask you to please bear with me. I am so thankful for your patience this far in this wild journey and am hopeful that this will be the breath of fresh air that was needed to allow myself space to grow as a creative free spirit. Do not hesitate to reach out if you have any questions of the changes ahead! I will be sure to continue to share on here as things get adjusted so we can celebrate and enjoy it all together! Sending so much love to you all.
Today my heart is still a little heavy. I'll distract myself with friends and people who believe in embracing differences but I won't forget what this means. While I don't want to get into politics too much on here—it isn't the place—I can't help but take a second to open up a bit for something I feel so strongly towards. I don't believe in shying away from it and hiding it as if it were wrong to speak out about how we feel or what we believe. As we continue to process the changes occurring and ahead, please remember your power as an individual. It is so important to stay kind today and spread love to others. This may be an easy day for some but there's no doubt in my mind that it is an extremely painful day for others. Don't forget that.
Throughout the past few months, I had hoped for a sign that what is ahead might not be so bad but instead, I got reassured that we have a lot of work to continue to do to better our country and world. It is crucial, just as I said back in November, that we take our own actions to educate ourselves and stand behind what we believe—that we transform our sadness, our anger, our anxieties into something that pushes positive change in the world. Keep on top of that fire you feel and don't let that slip away.
Above all and through everything, life should be about kindness. When we are able to open our hearts to have empathy and compassion towards others, we allow ourselves to connect—to understand. We should embrace differences, learn from each other, share love, and exchange stories. I wholeheartedly believe that communities should foster and thrive within that. So today, I will continue to fight for what I believe in, fight alongside those who need me, and remember that love trumps hate. Always.
We've entered the new year—hello there 2017! During the last few months of 2016 I was reflecting on my personal growth as well as the studio. My path has taken lots of turns. There have been bumps and tough hikes as well as clear meaningful roads to journey down. While I strongly believe that any time of the year is a good time to reflect, adjust, and remind ourselves how to be our best versions, I also love that bringing in the new year is a huge smack in the face to do so. It is so important that we do whatever feels right for our souls. If having resolutions, words, ideas, lists for the new year aligns with that—then good! If not, that is totally fine too. We all have our own way of building upon ourselves.
While reading my old 2015 reflection, it was clear how much our move from Boston to London had changed me. That one decision has been such a focus during my journey these past few years. It took every part of my life and challenged it as we started a new one practically from scratch. Now we're happily settled in just about two years later and it's still teaching me lessons and giving me tools to grow further. Living in such a large city has pushed me so far outside my comfort zone. I grew up in a town with a population of roughly 11,000—just moving to Boston (~650,000) was scary to me—now I'm in a city of just over 8.6 million. If that isn't a jump and push, I don't know what is.
London has shown me that I am stronger and smarter than I give myself credit for which makes me take that reflection to other parts of my life. This brings me to the word I have settled on to define 2017 for me—grit. Grit is defined as courage and resolve; strength of character. It instantly came to me as I was working on my goals for the new year and now has stuck in my head with a powerful meaning. As I reflected on the past year—on my business, on who I am, my relationships, my art—I realized how much deeper I wanted to dig into each. I want to strengthen and bolden my life and who I am. Surface level has never worked for me and while I am confident I am beyond that in most aspects of my life, I know that there is another level that I haven't yet reached. I've always been someone who wanted to work hard, give meaning to things, and have strong relationships. My soul is craving to push myself even further than that. I want to be fully immersed in life—to truly give it my all.
Grit will mean diving into each aspect of my life and pushing myself to make it deeper, to connect further, and to keep gaining ground past my comfort zone. It means clearing out the parts that hold me back and strengthening the ones that help me grow. I will no longer give my time to any thought, thing, or person who tries to stand in the way of my path. This year is about taking the realization that we are only guaranteed this one life to give our all to and making sure that I do nothing but that. I want to continue to define who I am while also fostering a community of people who believe in one another—who understand that we each have a dream we are after and what it takes to pursue it.
I believe that we all have this inner part of us that if we let out, we can't be stopped. When I started my company, I believe I let mine out but now this year is about pushing it further with every ounce of strength that I have. I can only hope at the end of the year when I look back on 2017, I can say I had grit.
When I decided to start my own business, I knew I had a lot to learn and I knew that it wasn't going to be perfect right from the start. I was willing to take that chance in order to do something different—something that fit who I was as a person. Taking this path has proven to not be easy but I know from deep within my soul that this is what I am meant to be doing. For me, life is about working passionately for something you believe wholeheartedly in. I believe in the way art can transform the world, open our eyes to different ways of life, and how it teaches us to appreciate our surroundings.
If you have been following along since my beginning, you know I began by selling greeting cards. When I decided that wasn't what was right for me anymore, I made the switch to a custom handmade design studio. Going down the path of creating more freely has opened so many new doors and has deepened my understanding of who I am as an artist. At this point, I have been a custom studio for just about two years. By allowing myself to embrace my natural organic style and way of working, I have been able to really give myself room to breath and grow. I feel more confident than ever than where I am going as an artist.
Over the past year, working in the realm of a design studio has been so rewarding. I had the pleasure of crossing paths with other talented creatives and lovely human beings. Whether it was working on small business branding or wedding invitations, it was always a new adventure and challenge. Getting to help bring someone else's vision to life is something I appreciate and love doing. The trust, understanding, and energy that has to come together for things to work smoothly, is what makes that work so unique.
I love being a design studio and I see some changes coming in the future to take the next step to align with my soul. I am not quite ready to dive into this here just yet but I appreciate your always uplifting support that continues to allow me to grow. I've always chosen to be as open as I can be on this journey so you can all come along for the ride. While the bigger picture still has some kinks to be worked out before we can start flipping through the process, I am excited to announce that the studio and blog website's will have some fresh new looks in the next coming months. Adjustments, changes, and tweaks are being made in order to get everything as cohesive and beautiful as possible. It is important to me that these spaces always feel fresh. I want each of you to have the most pleasant experience whenever you come on by for a visit.
With 2016 coming to a close, I am really thankful for a year that has given me some love as a business owner. I'm proud to say that Sea of Atlas has had it's best year yet and I am hopeful that 2017 will do the same. Working for myself can have its up and downs. It is risky and scary at times but I always remind myself to continue to work as hard as I can and believe in the good fight. Nothing gets anywhere without that and this past year has been full of that energy. I can only hope that it pays off as I align myself into what's next.
So with that, I cheers to 2016! May 2017 be another good year for all small businesses to keep showing the world that what you are passionate about can also be what you do for a living!
Love to you all!
Are you all aware of what happened yesterday? The news swooped through the design community fast and here we are looking at 2017's color of the year. Pantone is the ultimate authority on color and last year they hit us with a curve ball announcing two colors for 2016. While it was truly a beautiful way to show what was ahead for us this past year, this year called for just one bold color—Greenery.
“A symbolic color selection; a color snapshot of what we see taking place in our global culture that serves as an expression of a mood and an attitude.”
As a fan of earth tones (and neutrals), I'm definitely vibing with this one. It's vibrant, bold, oh-so-beautiful, and takes you right where you want to be—in nature. While I was looking around for inspiration on how this color will play into my life over the next year, I found myself drawn to subtle pops or, on a larger spaces, a more textural approach. I've chosen some select pins to share with you all for your own inspiration on incorporating Greenery into your work and every day life.
My favorite part of this color is what is stands for in the particular time. Green is a strong color and symbol for protecting our earth. There is no color more fitting for that role. As we move into some potentially bumpy times with our environmental impact, I think it is really fitting that Greenery will take it's stance as we create. Let it be a constant reminder what we should be working towards.
Read more about the colors of the year on Pantone's website here.
When I first started working from home, I typically (no shame) wore pajamas or baggy sweats. There's no stress to doll yourself up when you are working from the comfort of your own home. I'm not really one for make-up or glam either so this no getting ready stuff is my jam and I own it. Comfy clothes all day every day. I'm at the point now where I barely own any office style clothes. You may find a pair of pants and a skirt that could make due but other than that, this girl's closet consists of mostly leggings and the ultimate cozy sweaters.
Over the years, the more I worked from home the more I started to build up a more casual wardrobe. Once I went full time working from home, no office to go into any day—I have to admit that things started to feel a little too lazy. I started to realize the days that I put on nicer clothes to meet clients or even when I was home sporting more structured casual wear, I felt better. I was more alert, motivated, and active.
Now I'm focused on building a wardrobe that combines comfort and style. Leggings are my definite go to pair of pants—yes leggings ARE pants in my world. I'm constantly searching for high quality pairs to add to my collection. Back in May, I stumbled upon a (well targeted) Facebook ad for Girlfriend Collective leggings which I wrote about here. Short story—they were gearing up to launch and all you had to do was pay for shipping. I figured it was worth a shot to get a pair. They finally arrived in September and I must admit to being weary at first because they felt unlike any other leggings I have ever known. But now...I really have to admit to how much I love these leggings!
After writing my post about finding these bad boys, I have received countless emails asking if I liked them so I figured I'd post it up on here for you all to see. The simple answer is a yes! I really love them and they have become my go-to pair. My favorite part of these leggings is they keep their structure extremely well. You don't get saggy knees (you know what I'm talking about!) and they provide an overall nice fitted feeling that gives you confidence to rock them in and outside of the house. While I tend to lean towards saying these leggings have a more athletic look, they do well as a regular pair of every day clothes as well. I also love that they are high waisted so I can wear anything from a cropped top to a long sweater.
These leggings feel comfortable all day long—whether I'm sitting at my desk illustrating, lounging around, or running around the city doing errands. Going out, I've paired them with my trainers but I usually have to roll the leg up a little bit which I don't mind at all. I'm pretty average height (just under 5'6) but my legs are long so I usually have trouble finding leggings and pants that aren't short. When I find ones that are long, I don't mind one bit. They work well with just about all of my boots too!
I have had no problem with how easily they have fit into every part of my lifestyle and for that I am so happy. These may just be my favorite addition to my working from home workday wear!
Digging more into the story of the Girlfriend Collective and what the stand for will only make you love them more. The best part—what the company is all about, aligns with what I look for in a brand. A brand truly stand out when they hold themselves socially and environmentally accountable. These leggings are fair-trade, use recycled fabric, and their factories are safe, pay well, and do not use child labor. All very VERY good things! You can read more about them here on their website.
A constant question Rico and I asked each other is "how did we get here?". We look around and feel grateful for the life we've built together, our loving families that have guided and supported us, the uplifting friends we surround ourselves with, and the energy we have to poured into our own passions. How did we get here? is our reminder to be thankful. The question makes us stop in our tracks and reflect back on what it has taken to get us to where we are today. While it has become a bit of a running joke to ask, it truly is important to us to keep asking and living within that.
This year as Thanksgiving is upon us, we have so much to be thankful for. When I look back at how our lives looked through the years of our relationship (coming up on 8 baby!) a comforting love fills me. Meeting each other in those early college years and building a life from there is strange. As lost souls unsure of what we wanted to do or be, we came together and helped one another without stifling our growth as individuals. It was a balancing act like much of how our relationship works. I'm grateful to have had him in my life during key moments that have shaped who I am and that we have been able to stick together to create a life that both of us could only dream of back then. When we ask how did we get here? We think back to those college days. I see us sitting in his dorm room having one of our long life talks. I can say with certainty our life now isn't what we pictured then because it is truly so much more than we could have ever imagined.
As we grew together and each found our way, our families were always there supporting both of us. I grew up with a close family. They instilled in me important manors and lessons to guide me throughout the years. They helped me to become a strong person early on in life so that when I was on my own figuring things out, I had the right tools to do so. Once I met Rico, I was lucky enough to have this double. To have two loving families on either side cheering you on is a magical feeling. They aren't in-laws to me, they are family—plain and simple.
The next best thing to family is friends. I feel lucky to have met a lot of beautiful souls in all the different stages and parts of my life. Each one has taught me so much and I am forever grateful to have souls that open my mind and teach me new things—"if you're the smartest person in the room, you're in the wrong room." Throughout life's transitions, I have carried along the best of friends who have shown unconditional love and support not only to me but to all the people who cross their paths as well. It's safe to say that some times the friendship road can be bumpy but what's important to me is that the right people always remain. A sign of a good soul is empathy, compassion, understanding, and love to all— through the good and the bad.
Without the support of my husband, family, and friends, pursuing Sea of Atlas wouldn't be half as fun. The continued support guides me and pushes me to do the best I can every day. I am forever grateful to have people in my life that understand my passion and want to help me in my journey. Sea of Atlas has come to mean so much to me. It is who I am. It lives and breathes straight from my soul. I could not imagine doing anything else. The best part of waking up in the morning is knowing I can sit down and freely create. Thank you to all who have supported me throughout the years and have helped make this a realty. It means the world to me.
I believe that we should always reflect back on where we came from, what we have been through, the struggles, the highlights, who we used to be and who we are now. It helps us be reminded of our path. It takes a lot to get through life especially in a way that you are proud of. To surround yourself with loving people and accomplish dreams. No matter where you are at in your stage of life, the past is what will help remind you of what you need for today and tomorrow. Continue being thankful and humble along the way.
Happy (early) Thanksgiving everyone!
This week has been a tough one. We are all working on trying to take in what has happened with and after the US 2016 Presidential Election. My heart is heavy and my body aches. There are a lot of points and topics I want to talk about that surround the recent events but I want to make sure I keep focused on what truly matters here—the points that are at the core of it all. First and foremost, know that I believe that everyone deserves equal opportunities and happiness. So all of you struggling with the feeling of uncertainty and fear as we transition, please know that you are loved and welcomed here. Know that many people are fighting with and for you. It should not matter where you come from, how you identify, who you love, or what you believe in. What matters is that you have a unique beautiful soul that deserves so much love and to live in peace. I stand to be here for you today, tomorrow, and always.
I'm still processing. I'm going to be processing for awhile. It's in my nature to reflect and then reflect some more. There's a lot out there telling us how we should feel, how we should react, and what we should do. Even that we need to move on from grieving and start acting. I want you to know that it's okay to feel however you are feeling. It's okay to take whatever time you need to in order to get through this. But please do not let it silence or break you forever. Do what you need to do to make yourself understand this, understand the rest of America (minus anything that hurts others), and be able to move on with strength. Keep your own peace or use your voice loud, come together with your community or take your space, go for a run or relax. It does not matter. We all are all different and we each have our own process we go through to navigate tough times.
At the end of the day, we must move towards coming together and understanding each other. One of the reasons we are so upset is the divisions we see in front of us and ahead. Let's not widen or increase those. All of us come from different backgrounds and have our own stories but that doesn't take away from the fact that we are all human beings trying to do the best that we can do. Someone else's best might not look so great to you but it is important to remember that we all have had different experiences throughout our lives. Those who confuse us may not have had the same opportunities to gain the awareness and empathy needed in this election. It is important that instead of getting angry, we teach. We use our voices and our actions to spread our message in ways that will deeply root it.
As we teach, we also must be sure we are educating ourselves. Find reputable unbiased news sources to stay up on current events. Question everything and use fact checkers—especially with things on social media. Go back and study historic events so you can have the best understanding of our path as a country and the world as a whole. What it has taken to get us here, the set backs we have already faced and pushed through. History can teach us so much. Let's use it. Work to find experts in the fields you are passionate about and follow them, listen to them, support them. Research causes that have made a difference, that have resources for you to dig in, and have a positive influence and impact.
When you are ready, please let this ignite you. If you feel that you can no longer rely on the government to stand behind you or the causes you strongly care about, take action yourself. I'll be looking for ways to support the people who have been targeted by this ugly election. The last thing I want is for anyone to feel alone. I'll be continuing my research on climate change, limiting my carbon footprint, volunteering, and working to protect our planet. I will stand behind women's rights and do whatever I can to keep control over my own body. If something or someone matters to you, you owe it or them your fight. And most importantly, you owe it to yourself to contribute to a society you can believe in. As you move forward with your passion, do not let anyone silence you or make you feel guilty for speaking up for what you believe in.
I hope in the coming days, weeks, months, and years, that we can come together as a whole and do what is best for our country. This may be tough to take in for awhile. Perhaps it always will. But please use your voice, use your actions, and give it all you got. We have the right to be who we want to be. I will continue to push positive vibes out to the world, send my love to those who need it, and hope that peace is what we are all ultimately striving for. Keep up the good fight. The fight that doesn't attack others. The fight that uses education as a strength, that shows empathy, support, and love. The fight that will prove that we can move forward, that our world can change without hate, and that love will win in the end.
November 2013 was when I first opened the doors (figuratively speaking, of course) to this small business of mine and invited you all inside. Light Rust Studio was my first venture out into entrepreneurship. I remember being timid and unsure but after months of hard work, it felt like it was the moment to launch. I put out a collection of holiday cards on Etsy and kept an anxious eye waiting for customers to roll in. While that first batch was mostly family and friends supporting this crazy person right here, it felt good to finally have my foot in the door and truly begin my journey. I will always be grateful for those very important people who showed nothing but love during that time.
Owning my own business has been tough. There's a constant pressure to make it work, do the right thing for the business, take the correct forward steps, make enough money, and—at the same time—be sure it's still what I love and am passionate about. Having a support group of family and friends is what makes all that not feel so scary. I also learned over time how important it is to have a community of fellow small business owners to turn to, exchange advise with, brainstorm, support, and who you feel just wholeheartedly understand everything you are going through during this wild adventure. Because of this path I have chosen, I have found some unique, loving, caring, kind souls who have become some of the greatest friends.
Over these past three years, it has become clear to me just what I want my business to stand for. Through that I have be able to better understand who I am as a person as well as an artist. Sea of Atlas has become a place that embodies individuality, contains a need for adventure, supports a safe place to build community, and is the creative outlet I am continuously pleased to have. As each turning point comes and goes, as things evolve and continue to do so, I've come to realize that while you can plan for your future, you can't predict it. When I first started out as Light Rust Studio, I had no idea that I would move to London. I had no intention of becoming a custom design studio. All I knew was that I was trying to make things work in my 300 sq ft Boston apartment. These are all changes, that as life shifted and I grew, came to the forefront. At each and every moment of our lives, we know nothing more than what is in our past and present. As things come our way, we must grow. Our wants, desires, inspirations, and needs change. It's so important to embrace this—to not let outdated dreams hold us back. If I had continued down the path of paper goods, I can say with certainty I would not be as happy as I am now. Allowing myself to move away from that dream and jump into custom work did some serious good for my soul. It was what was right for me.
Building a business takes time. It is hard work but good work and I recommend it to anyone that has the patience for that. Nothing that sticks around and has solid footing was built overnight. It is easy to get discouraged and feel uncertain but if you let that warped reality control your future, you will soon become stagnant. I've found that no matter how hard you work and how successful you become, there will always be lows. Maybe those lows are the business is slow, money isn't as good as you want it to be, or you aren't sure about your next step. In those times, take a step back and evaluate. Those lows are where you grow the most and where you can find yourself again so you can get on the best path possible for you.
Where Sea of Atlas is right now feels pretty darn good. When I look back at these past three years at the lesson I have learned, the loving and supportive people in my life, the new friends I have met along the way, and the growth of the studio, I can't help but smile. In 2013 when I returned from my first European adventure in Italy, my life had changed. I knew I needed to create my own path and begin that journey right then and there. From that point on, I have worked hard and poured so much into this business of mine. As we move forward, I can proudly say I still have the love and passion that I had back then for what I do now. I'm excited to see where this journey continues to take me in the many years ahead.
Thank you to all my family, friends, and supporters during these years. I could not have done any of this without you and for that I am forever grateful!
When we moved to London back in February 2015, we were lucky enough to have corporate housing while we searched high and low to rent our own London flat. It took longer than we hopped to find the right space for us but we eventually did. We found the place that would be ours during our time abroad. A place we could make our home and find comfort in. It took time and patience to get this space where we wanted it to be. As much as you could do for what you knew was a rental and a temporary home—one we didn't want to pour lots of money into (that is for traveling right now). We never expected to leave this flat—as long as we were in London, this is where we would be.
In August while we were visiting back home in the States, in our last few days of the trip we got an email that stated we could no longer stay in our flat. Without diving into details, it's far too complicated and tiring to talk about, let's just say we got screwed over by a large estate agent. One of the last things we wanted to do while we were living abroad was to move flats. Besides not wanting to deal with the costs and burden of moving, it just didn't make sense for us since we don't plan to stay across the pond forever. The neighborhood of Angel has been our home now for about 18 months and had proven to be a great spot for us at this time in our lives.
It felt like as soon as we landed back in London near the end of August, okay—maybe even before that, we were glued to our computers trying to frantically find a new flat. We felt upset and were anxious to figure out where we would be spending (hopefully) the remainder of our London years. Anyone who has flat hunted in London knows how fast, crazy, and weird the market can be but after seeing some promising flats and having the initial shock wear off, our excitement finally took over. We started to be able to look on the bright side of this move even if it wasn't what we had originally planned to be doing. We saw this as our chance to live somewhere we could only dream of living before. Our chance to change neighborhoods and let ourselves search for flats in some of our favorite areas of London.
After a few weeks of flat searching and going to many viewings, a flat became available in Primrose Hill. It was some how in our budget and was the perfect fit for what we were looking for. We could not believe it. After luckily snagging the first viewing and putting our offer in, the flat was ours! We have had some weeks of waiting since then but are excited to finally be making our big move this coming weekend.
While we are excited to enter a new chapter of our expat life in London, it is also bittersweet. Our first flat wasn't necessarily a dream home (I'm not sure anyone dreams of living in a basement) but it was our home and we loved it. It gave us our space to relax as we found our footing in a new city. We brought items in to cozy it up—from a rug I bartered with a street vendor for to coffee table we trekked across London to find and to our souvenirs we have picked up from all of our travels. It also gave me my first ever separate office space to create and re-establish myself as a business here. This flat has so much sentimental meaning with it and it is going to be hard to say goodbye to.
Over our years here we have gone on trips and come home to this space. We have had some peaceful beautiful moments here and also some major major lows (don't ever ask me about the bathroom renovation—ha). I guess this is how you always feel leaving a place that you've spent any part of your life in though. I felt the a similar way leaving both of our Boston apartments. It didn't hit me really until last week when I posted some of our furniture to giveaway. Then I quickly realized soon this flat is going to be disassembled, filled with boxes, and then ultimately empty. I'm going to miss even the awful parts—like having to the climb out the window to leave when it was a hot humid day and our door was stuck shut. It's been quite the quirky flat.
This place has meant so much to us. We loved it for what is was. and for what we made it to be. And we will always remember it as our first London flat. It was a place that welcomed us at our first step inside and continued to throughout the years. But we feel fully ready to close this chapter—to close the red (some times sticky) door one last time—and to move onto the next. We are looking forward to making our new home, learning a different neighborhood, and settling in again. Cheers to London chapter two!
Rug from Camden Passage Market
Lamp from Ikea
Pouffes from Amazon
Coffee Table from New Vintage
Side table from Ikea
Sheepskin rug from Amazon
Small trunk from New Vintage
Guitar stand by Kinsman
Photo prints from Artifact Uprising
You may remember back earlier this year when we revealed the Travels with Quigley illustrative logo created for Briana Moore to brand the road trip that she is embarking on this fall. Briana is heading out to follow the travels from John Steinbeck's Travels with Charley (a highly recommended read) on Oct 1st. Her journey will continue on for three months while she navigates America in a campervan during a pivotal election year, just as Steinbeck did. Throughout her time, she will be creating imagery and essays comparing and contrasting his experience and observations with contemporary America. In the end, this work will include prints, a book, and—if all goes to plan—an exhibit.
I know from working closely with Briana on her logo just how deeply this trip, and travel in general, sits in her soul. It's a beautiful thing to be able to hear so much passion in her voice and see the excitement in her mannerisms (and Quigley's as well) as she talks through the project. It is true when she says that hopping in her campervan to take on this experience combines everything she is passionate about—photography, literature, travel, sociology, and community engagement. And as its hinted at in the title and above, riding along in the passenger seat will be her furry friend, Quigley. One of the cutest pups you'll ever see. If that isn't enough to get your heart attached this project, I don't know what is!
Together they will travel through 31 states, 14 National Parks, and 11 of America's most diverse and iconic cities. She will be taking her time in each to meet with local people—and this is where she's inviting people in for the journey! Along the way she'll be conducting interviews and portrait sessions—so be sure to check out her route to give her shout if she is coming your way.
Being such a fan of Steinbeck's work, and particularly Travels with Charley, Briana made the connections of how America isn't fighting much different of a fight today as it was back then. Steinbeck took his journey through the States because he felt like he didn't know his own country anymore and Briana is now connecting with just that. This trip will allow her to reconnect and take a deeper look into the hearts and minds of Americans today. Traveling across American, she hopes to reveal just how much we still need each other. I couldn't think of a more beautiful path to want to embark on today as we so much confusion and chaos happening in America.
I am honored to have been a part of this project with Briana and am so proud and excited for her to be jumping into this full force. When you see someone really chasing after their passions and looking to transform our world, you can't help but want to help out in any way possible.
Currently, Briana is looking for fellow passionate people to understand her journey and get behind it on kickstarter. You can hop over to back her project this month to help send her off on her way and follow along with her and Quigley's progress on instagram. We can't wait to see where Briana takes us all!
Our wedding day is a day that is engrained in my memory. I remember getting ready in the bridal suite with my family and friends. All sorts of feelings running through me—happy and excited. But I also remember having a weird mix of nervousness paired with an wonderful feeling of content. I'm not one for being the center of attention so walking down a slopping grassy hill through the isle and later dancing in front of everyone was a bit daunting. But, that content feeling overpowered all of those silly thoughts. I knew I was marrying exactly who I was supposed to be with for the rest of my life. I couldn't wait to get to him and read our vows, put on our wedding bands, dance the night away, eat cake, laugh, and smile until my face hurt.
The day and night felt like a dream. I remember feeling like the room was spinning. Not in a dizzy way but that feeling you get when you spin around with your arms open wide, face to the sun, and a big smile on your face. That was what it felt like (but without actually having to do those motions). It was crazy to look around and realize that everyone you love is in one room. Everyone that matters is there because you matter to them too. And that might just be one of the most important parts of that day and of marriage.
Rico and I have always been each others rock. I am forever thankful to have such a strong, compassionate, intelligent, loving man. Through our seven and a half years, we always knew we could count on each other. We've never doubted each others intentions or love and that provided a very powerful foundation for us to grow together on. But as the years go on, you realize how important it is to also surround yourself with the right people—family and friends. We've been lucky enough to find people who support us and understand our love. Without them—especially our families—we wouldn't be the people we are today.
Besides my obvious love for my husband and reflecting back on the day of our wedding, I also always think about how important it has been for us to love and be loved by each others families. Since the moment I met my in-laws, they welcomed me, loved and respected me, and took me in as their own. I gained a second family—a mom, a dad, and a sister (and given that they're Italian, a whole lot more...many cousins, aunts, uncles, and, of course, a Noni). These are people I can turn to no matter what and who I enjoy being around. And while I don't want to speak for Rico, I believe he can say the same thing about entering into my family (though there's a lot less people—ha).
There are so many important factors into building a solid relationship and marriage. I only touch on a few here but I am so happy to be with Rico every day. When you find the one that is just right—all the cliches and poems, love stories, songs—they all make sense. I wouldn't want to be loved or give my love to anyone else but him. He's my best friend and the greatest husband a girl could ask for.
Tomorrow we will celebrate two years of being married back in our very beloved New England. We are beyond happy to be home for a couple weeks surrounding ourselves with those we love and love us! And on that note, I'll leave you with this beauty...
Tomorrow is my 26th birthday. I've never written about my birthday on the blog before but as a sit in a hotel room in Berlin, I can't help but to feel the need to reflect on the past year—heck, the past 26 years.
Maybe this is crazy to say or maybe even an obvious statement but life is so precious. And that is one reason I have strayed away from ever reflecting about my personal life—the real inner workings of my brain—on the blog. Not because it is something I want to keep to myself but because I've never been sure how to put it into words—my life and how I've changed, grown (not in height...though I'm convinced I grew an inch recently), and found my way over the years. But I think its time, on the eve of my 26th birthday (did that sound too dramatic?), to chat a little bit about it.
Getting older is something that used to really bother me. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE my birthday (ask anyone close to me...its more like a birthday month). I just didn't like the idea of years slipping away and moving further away from the ease of childhood. What I didn't realize were those fears had nothing to do with actually getting older but more about making sure I was living the life I wanted to live. Maybe saying I was scared to let go of childhood sounds well...strangebut I always knew deep down that I didn't belong in the typically defined adult world. I wasn't meant to go to a 9-5 job. I wasn't meant to roll through the stages of settling in, buying a house, having children right away, and so on. There is absolutely nothing wrong with doing any of those things. Like my girl Amy Poehler says "good for you, not for me."
I think most creatives can relate to wanting to carve your own unique path. And, I was lucky enough to have parents who encouraged this and to then find someone that supported my wild ways (yeah, I'm talking about my main man Ricardo). So here I am, just about 26 and looking back on all the curves, bumps, and smooth parts along the road that have got me to where I am today and I can honestly say I am happy. The happiest I have ever been. Just true and pure happiness running right through me.
People like to tell me I'm lucky but I don't think it has anything to do with luck. I've worked hard and kept my determination in order to get myself where I am today. When I couldn't land a job out of college, I hopped around in-house freelance gigs to help build my skills. When I wasn't creatively satisfied just being a graphic designer any longer, I started my own company to reflect what my creative soul was after and built it from the ground up. When my husband and I decided we wanted to live abroad and travel through Europe, we found a way to get sponsored and move to London. Whenever we felt unhappy, we pushed ourselves to define what happiness was for us to work hard towards it.
So, here is what I've learned through all of that. I've learned that its important to set goals for yourself and its okay if they change while you are working for them. That things take time to build, work, and evolve to be where you want them to be deep down. Hard work and determination are two of the key components to success and conquering our goals. What you want (most likely) will not just fall into your hands. You must continue to push yourself even when things seem too hard or too much. And lastly, I've found that I am stronger and more capable than I have ever thought.
While there are some major points throughout my youth and teenage years that shaped who I am today, I feel like my life really started when I got out of college and moved to Boston with Rico. Relocating to Boston was scary to me. Laugh all you want (I'll join you) but I had never lived in a city before. I was nervous to take the T by myself and to leave our cozy neighborhood. But once I did it. I felt empowered. There were points that you would have found me commuting to work using two trains and a bus (I know...skillz). Living in Boston helped me realize what I was personally capable of doing. Now living in London, Boston seems harmless and easy. London is, after all, basically a billion times larger than Boston. Living in both these cities though made me tough, they've made me step outside my comfort zone constantly, push my limits, and most importantly they have shown me a larger picture of the world.
Cities and traveling really make you realize how small you really are. And maybe that sounds sad but that is something key to grasp (especially in todays world) in order for us to understand each others differences. This is one of the greatest lessons I have learned in my 26 years of life—that I am small. That there are much larger and greater things in the world. So be kind to others, love with all your heart, explore new places, define your own meaning of happiness and success because whats important is we all be our true best selves so that as a whole, we can bring more peace to this wild world.
Cheers to 26!
As we move through life we grow and change as individuals. Our souls find new and different ways to guide us. Life shifts. It gives us challenges and changes us (hopefully for the better). Some times we have peaceful periods of calm easiness and other times it seems like everything is exploding in each corner as we try to navigate our way through. As I've gone through my path in life, one thing I always hold onto is working towards keeping a loving heart—whether that is towards myself or others, friends or strangers, people close by or far away.
While we grow, the people who surround us are doing the same—growing. Some times you grow in the same direction and other times you've each found your own sun to grab the light from to continue your forward momentum. It is a natural part of life.
A few months back, I came across this interview with Brené Brown by The Work of the People. In it she talks about her therapist telling her this one line: "What if everyone is doing the best that they can?" ...I paused right there and couldn't help but to be in awe of that one line. So many times we find ourselves jumping to conclusions about people. I think its safe to say we are all guilty of this. Its easy to gather your own thoughts off of first impressions of someone or let our own emotions get in the way. You don't know what challenges people face day to day. I see this happening a lot and as I said, I'm guilty of it too. It can be as simple as thinking someone is rudely ignoring a text you sent when in reality they've been on a train underground without service or they're out on their daily run. The world doesn't revolve around what we need in every given moment or how we think someone's life is or should be.
Keeping an open loving heart and remembering that most people are doing the best that they can helps bring clarity and happiness into our lives. The love and grace that we have to give to one another goes a long way in making this world a better place to live in. To know that while we all work to become the best version of ourselves, people are giving us ease to do so—space to be the people we strive to be. That's the bottom line here. We are all working through this wild life individually and together.
Britt FabelloMay 20, 2016
Lately I have been doing a lot of reflection on how I've built my business and talking with other small business owners about their unique paths. It's clear when you search around that everyone has their own way that has worked for them—believe me when I tell you that there is no guide out there that is going to magically lead you to having the income of your dreams through doing what you love. I encourage each and every person who wants to take that leap to making their passion their job to do so—this isn't about not doing that. But I want you to know that it takes much much more than just being passionate about something. Understand that there's no such thing as instant success. It takes hard work. It takes rolling up your sleeves and really digging into the how and the why. It takes time, love, and energy to continuously pour out.
There are so many false promises being thrown around through marketed guaranteed success paths. When you are first starting out, it is very easy to grab on to those and then feel the defeat when they don't work for you. Let me tell you that it has taken me years to find my spot where things finally started to flow into a full time business for me. It might take someone less or more time and that is okay. I grew each aspect of Sea of Atlas organically and with only good intention. I never went after quick solutions and invested in education for parts I felt weak in. I put a strong focus on building a community of beautiful souls to mentor me and my plan so that I can constantly be assured that my business is built on a solid foundation.
This is why I'm sitting here writing this right now and why this Rumi quote is what I encourage you all to grasp onto and root it deep inside. Listen to what you soul tells you and allow it to guide you. If you are following your dreams and your passion, then know that things can take time and most importantly they take a lot of dedication. Find a path that clicks with your work flow, your passion, your heart. The points that my business has grown the most is when I stopped listening to everyone else and listened to my own gut to figure out my business needs. The best thing you can do for yourself is take your joy within and keep letting it shine through. Let your passion run through your veins and be your driving force to the hard work that is needed. Show and prove why you are chasing what you are after. The energy you put into the world and the hard work you do will create a longer lasting structure will pay off in the end.
On February 25, 2015, Rico and I said good by to our Boston apartment and boarded a plane to London to start the next chapter of our lives. Before we went through security and waited for take off, we met up with our our parents and my sister for dinner one last time. It was an incredibly strange feeling to sit there knowing we wouldn't see them until September and we would be across the ocean—many miles, many hours apart. Looking around felt like I was in a weird dream with the mixture of excitement and nerves swirling around inside of me. I don't think it hit me until that meal that we were actually moving away. It was tough to say good bye. There were lots of tears and not wanting to let go.
The next morning, we landed in London and took a cab straight to our temporary housing. It was pouring and we had barely slept. We couldn't get into our housing until later in the day but we had no idea where we were supposed to go with six bags of luggage. Rico ran and grabbed us some food and I took shelter with our bags in the entry way to the building where we would wait it out. I remember feeling scared out of my mind and incredibly anxious to get inside to burrow inside a bed, rest, and calm down. Everything was new; nothing was familiar. I honestly don't remember much else from that day. We must have just slept and made sure to let everyone know we were safely in our new place.
Fast forward a couple weeks and we were on an intense hunt for a flat to call home during our years here. It was no easy task in London—one of the most expensive places to live. It's also just so darn big especially compared to Boston. We had no idea where to start and scattered ourselves all over the map while we searched high and low for what would fit our needs. We had to of seen 50 different places (okay, I'm exaggerating but it sure felt like it) until we found the one. There were times during the search that I felt we would have to settle for something in an unsafe area or smelled of cat pee (yeah...). We had realtors taking advantage of our lack of London knowledge and our time crunch. I felt like I couldn't trust a soul to lead us to the right home. Then one day, thankfully, our flat popped up in my constant online searching and it was meant to be. I quickly got in touch with the realtor to schedule a showing and within a week, it was ours. We moved in officially in early April and have been (still) slowly but surely making the place our own.
Our first year abroad was challenging in many ways. From navigating a new city, missing our families, and learning to be each others everything while we didn't have anyone else to turn to. Now I look back on the start of this adventure—all the way back to when Rico asked me what I thought of the idea—and I laugh at how naive I was to just say "yeah, sounds good to me!" I tend to be a go with the flow person when it comes to moving and traveling. Rico's the planner and I trust him to be making the right moves for us. After reflecting back on the past year, I can safely say he did more than just make the right move here. He pushed us outside of our comfort zone—to be better versions of us, to understand more about ourselves, each other, people, and the world as a whole.
I'm forever thankful for this move as I know it will be one of those times we look back on later in life and say "remember that!?" It's something that has shaped us and changed our lives forever and for the better. And, I have to say just how much of a blessing it is to be with a man that has such large goals and doesn't let anything stop him from achieving them. Without him, this wouldn't be real life.
Looking forward at the year ahead of us, what we're most looking forward to is having our families over this year to let them see a peak into our London lives. I don't realize how much we've adapted and grown with this city until I have to reflect or talk about it. Planning time with people coming over is almost overwhelming. I feel like there is so much I want to show them all or have them experience too.
I'm proud, humbled, and excited about our first year milestone. Time feels like it flew but crawled at the same time but it's exciting to know that there's still more ahead to keep living this chapter of our lives. While we have a plan for when we would like to go back home or at least move on from London, I can't say we have anything set in stone that we are definite about. We're going to continue to let our hearts and adventurous souls guide us to where we should be. London is that right place right now in this moment in time.
Jill, Thank you for taking such lovely pictures of us celebrating our new life in London during your stop over on your European adventure. We'll always look back at these when we reflect on our time here! Your talent is outstanding and your passion for your work is admirable. We wish you the best of luck on your international photography journey.
JILLIAN ROLLINS PHOTOGRAPHY
When I first started my own company, every single day I worked towards creating and building an Etsy shop full of paper goods from greetings cards to calendars. It was my first real step into the small business world. I learned so much from maintaining the shop and gained tools to grow my business to the next level. Over time, my business (which was then named Light Rust Studio—throw back!) evolved into a creative studio where custom work was put at the forefront of everything. That is where I found my true passion—creating unique branding, hand lettering, illustration, and stationery for people who were bold and adventurous like myself.
It has been a heck of a journey and one that I am darn proud of. During a recent reflection and evaluation of my path, I realized that it was time for the Etsy shop to have a new beginning. It deserved some love and I want it to continue to exist as a part of the ride. So, when I started to sketching and drawing more as a part of my new morning routine, it naturally shifted to sharing my illustration with all of you and then making the shop be a place where my one-of-a-kind art work can have a home. I'm slowly but surely working on refilling it with pieces like these that truly mean something to me—and hopefully to you. These four drawings are a start and are surely not the end.
It's been a fun month getting this back up and running. I have felt really grateful to have all of you along by my side. The love and support given has meant so much to me—not just for motivation to get the shop going but it's an amazing display of community, something our world continues to need more of each and every day.
So, thank you from the bottom of my heart <3