Kitties in a Rocketship!

Howdy friends! I've been working on a little personal piece, and thought I'd share some of the progress so far. These babies will eventually be sent out as postcards.

What are you working on? Leave a comment and let me know!

Hope you have a happy weekend!

Freelance | Year One

My First Year of Freelance | High Fives for Everyone
My First Year of Freelance | High Fives for Everyone

A year ago yesterday, I walked out the doors of my day job for the last time and jumped into my dreams of a full time freelance life. I can hardly believe all that has transpired in that time: I've learned countless new skills, taught some classes, and even got to work with one of my dream clients. This past year has been all at once terrifying, exhausting, exciting and just all around crazy. It has also been the most exhilarating. There were a lot (a LOT) of times I wondered if I'm capable of handling it all, if I have what it takes, if I really want to do this for the rest of my life. Then I remember that beyond the haze of doubt and confusion, I have total ownership of my life. Every single triumph and every single failure, they are mine. More than anything, at the end of the day I feel accomplished and proud, and that's worth all those moments that test your spirit. The theme of the last 4 years of my life has been “pursuit” and now it’s starting to be “achieve”. I always kind of imagined I’d be stuck in the pursuit, so it all feels a little surreal that some of my dreams are coming to fruition. All the things I’ve done, all the things I perceived to be failures or setbacks helped me to get to this place right now, which is the place I’ve been dreaming about for a long time. It feels pretty awesome, and just makes me believe more than ever that you’re always where you’re supposed to be, even when it seems like you’re not - the key is to keep the eyes on the prize because eventually that big break will come through. It won’t come without a lot of questions and self doubt and frustration and, yes, failure.

I can hardly believe all that I've accomplished, professionally and personally. The hurdles of self-doubt and the floods of questions have only served to make me a better business owner, a more intentional and skilled artist. I am certainly still learning the ropes, I still have so many skills to improve and goals that are waiting to be accomplished. I am still learning the seasons of the business, and the seasons of my creativity, how to make them live in harmony. This journey has been all at once exciting, liberating and empowering. There were more scary moments than I was prepared to handle. And despite the many times I've asked myself "Can I really handle this? Am I totally insane for doing this?" I have never once regretted my decision to pursue life as a freelancer. I still have many moments of discomfort with the uncertainty about the future, but I cannot help but feel one thing: I am so ready to take on year two. Ultimately, this year has given me a strong sense of accomplishment, a deeper clarity on my goals for the future, a stronger focus on where I want to direct my business in the future, all of which I could never have predicted a year ago.

In the year to come, I hope to dedicate more time to teaching (something I discovered I really enjoy), to push my work and skills to higher levels, to travel more, to connect and collaborate with other creatives, to open a new online shop, to write and reflect more often, and to continue going after those dream clients/projects. Cheers to year two. Let's do this!

Life Lately | Holidays

Life Lately January 14 2013 | High Fives for Everyone  

One of the reasons I adore Instagram so much is because - as a photographer - it allows me to see on an overall scale what I'm subconsciously attracted to when I'm not on a specific assignment. Photography has always been a way for me to find the extraordinary in the everyday, in the little details that often go overlooked. That is always the challenge (and the blessing), to find something beautiful and exciting every single day; whether it's the way the light hits a scene, or a beautiful combination of colors or, if you're exceptionally lucky, a moment where everything lines up just how you'd hoped. As I try to reconnect with photography, one of the things I've been focusing on is finding ways to see my surroundings in a new light, rather than waiting for rare extraordinary moments; I can only hope I find more ways to make that happen! There is always something exhilarating about that moment of recognition.

Of course I still find myself obsessed with the sky, especially while flying, but I've also managed to find those happy moments just outside my bedroom window (like in the first photo above).

Looking at these photos, I realize how wonderful the last few weeks have been, celebrating unexpected moments - and golden light, which I can never resist. Cheers to building a new vision!

If you're on Instagram, you can follow me @highfivesforeveryone. What's inspiring you lately?

Bright and New | 2014

Happy New Year Type by Bryna Shields
Happy New Year Type by Bryna Shields

Happy New Year friends! Although I think that every day is an opportunity to make changes in life, I still love the feeling of starting fresh in a new year. 2013 threw a lot of crazy things my way, but ultimately I'm walking into this new year feeling ready to take on whatever this crazy world offers me. I've never felt more like myself, or more sure of the direction I'm headed. No resolutions in particular this year, just hopes of exciting creative challenges, lots of adventures, collaborations, new clients, a deeper yoga practice, more reading and quiet moments, more teaching, less time on my phone and most importantly, less time worrying.

May your year be full of the highs and lows that make us all human. New friendships and a closer familiarity and love for yourself. Deeper connection. May it be full of mistakes, experiments, and of course happy accidents. Delicious new recipes and timeless classics. And most importantly, I hope it is filled with the energy needed to pursue your wildest fancies!


Ever So Thankful

Gratitude has played a large role in my day-to-day life as I grow older. Finding any small reason to feel thankful every day has undoubtedly gotten me through one of the toughest years of my life.

The list of things I am thankful for is pretty endless, but in no particular order here are just a few noteworthy things that make my life just a bit brighter.

Cheers to travel and adventure, no matter the distance. To cheese. Lots and lots of cheese. And wine. New recipes. A family that never ceases to be supportive. Friends that are hilarious and brilliant. Sunlight bursting through white curtains. The scent of garlic cooking, and sharing meals with friends. I'm even thankful for the dark, sad, shitty days - because they've helped me grow and evolve in ways I never could have otherwise. The ability to keep in touch with friends living halfway around the world. Those elusive moments of stillness. Warm blankets and cat snuggles. A career that challenges and fulfills me and allows me to dream big.

I hope you dream big, too.

And Happy Thanksgiving, wherever you may be in life, it is all beautiful.

2013 Wishes

So I know I said I wasn't planning on making any resolutions, but I did want to set some tangible goals. There's a few more that aren't included in this sketch, including boring things like pay off my credit card bills and be more organized for tax season. I'm excited to see what 2013 holds in store but the fact is, there's a delicate balance between wanting more from your life and appreciating what's already there and wonderful. And while we must have goals to propel us forward, perhaps we lose sight of the bigger picture in the process. Why do we wait for a new year to finally pursue the things we want to accomplish? Every day is a new year, even if there's only one day we actually celebrate it. So in the midst of setting and achieving new goals, let's also remember to love what's right in front of us.

Slow Down, Smell the Roses, Relish in the Moment

Okay, so I'm supposed to be on vacation right now, but I just wanted to take a minute and remind you to make it a point to slow down every once in a while. It's really easy to lose perspective and forget to appreciate everything when your life feels like it's going a million miles an hour (which mine has the last few weeks). Even if it's something small, treat yourself to some good quality time for yourself. Me? I'm spending the weekend with my favorite girls in Michigan. We don't get to see each other all that often these days, or even really talk on the phone as much as we'd like, but sometimes you just have to squeeze in whatever time you can get together and be ok with that. It doesn't take a whole lot to regain perspective. As I sit in this coffee shop and wait for my friend to pick me up, I already feel a million times more focused and calm and it's only been a few hours since I got into vacation mode.

The last few weeks have been pretty crazy (in mostly good ways) as I start to work on projects I've always dreamed of. At the same time, I've been sitting in front of a computer screen for many many hours working away and it's made me realize something: I need to get away from my computer more. Not only will it inspire my work in new ways, but well, I also won't feel like such a blob. I'm taking more initiative to take my design efforts away from the computer as much as possible, and back into hand-rendered work, which is where I started.

Whatever you may be doing with your life, don't forget to slow down every once in a while. Even if it's for a few hours. It will do wonders, I promise.


Playing Catchup

So, I was a little MIA during the month of June. I cannot believe how quickly it went by! My parents were in town, which was really exciting since I don't get to see them a whole lot. We took an architectural boat tour (highly recommended, even if you live in Chicago), saw the Red Sox/Cubs game, and celebrated Father's Day/my birthday. Mark's parents joined us for the celebrations, and all in all it was pretty perfect. Lots of laughter and delicious food from Gene's Sausage shop (I'm crazy about the wild boar sausage!). Plus, how gorgeous is their branding?! Anyway, things haven't exactly calmed down around here, but I'm getting back into the groove of things, and working on lots of new projects, including updates on my website and some other surprises I cannot wait to share.

As always, you can follow me on Instagram at @highfivesforeveryone