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Summer Roadtrip: Charleston, SC

This past week, Clayton and I took a little roadtrip to Charleston, South Carolina! Clayton lived in the area a few years back, and it became one of his favorite spots! I had never been, so naturally, we decided to do a road trip! It was the perfect time since I had a few weeks before my Europe trip, and the best part was that we had friends and families to stay with along the way!

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Our first stop was Nashville, TN! Since my first visit last year, I have been aching to get back to this wonderful city. We were lucky enough to spend a day exploring! We hit up Mas Tacos (delicious!) for lunch, the Nashville sign, Imogene + Willie, Barista Parlor, and then a double date at Pinewood Social + Jeni’s Ice Cream with our hosts!

Good ‘ol Charleston, South Carolina. It was my first time to visit this charming place, and it sure did leave an impression on me! From the friendly people to the historic homes, I loved seeing a new city that has old roots. We had about 3 days there and stayed with some of Clayton’s friends who hosted us so generously. From coffee shops to beach time to dressin’ up for a fancy dinner, it was absolutely a memorable trip.


We ended our trip with a double date in Atlanta with my college roommate Danielle and her boyfriend. We went to our favorite pizzeria, Antico’s! The next day, we made the 12 hour drive home to Fayetteville just in time for a wedding. I’d say it was a pretty successful trip, and a great last week together before our six weeks apart. To see a full video recap of our trip, click here!

Back From Hiatus!

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Hellooooo online world! What in the world. Days passed, then weeks, and a month later I realized that I have not kept up with this little online journal at all. Maybe it’s the stress of graduating and trying to find a job, maybe it’s planning for my Europe vacation, maybe it’s being distracted by a relationship, but at the end of the day, I’ve missed this little space and decided to come back from my month long hiatus.

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So, what in the world have I been doing this past month?

1. I graduated. Yikes. It’s an exciting, but scary time, full of leads and applications and rejections and wondering what in the world I’ll be doing for work. It’s hard to not let fear of the unknown shadow your expectations, hopes, and dreams. It’s a fine line trying to balance dreams and reality. It’s not natural to dream big but have to start small. I’m doing my best to embrace the process and trust Jesus in the meantime.

2. I decided to stick around in Fayetteville. Yup. If you would’ve told me I would stay in Fayetteville post grad, I wouldn’t have believed you. It’s a wonderful town, full of creatives, close knit community, and the best Farmers Market around, but I just always thought my time here would end after college. Meeting a Jesus-lovin, car-door-opening, sweet-as-can-be guy kinda changes plans, doesn’t it?

3. I got my wisdom teeth out. Yikes. Chimpmunk cheeks for days.

4. I went on a road trip! That’s what summer is for, right? Clayton and I took a week long roadtrip through Nashville to Charleston, SC. We got to stay with so many new and old friends, and it was a trip to remember. I’ll be posting a little recap of our trip tomorrow, so check back on the blog for photos + a little recap video.

5. Europe is fast approaching. Yesterday I drove back to my hometown, Dallas, TX to prepare for my four week trip to Europe with my two best friends, Hannah & Kristie. We will be traveling to Barcelona, Florence, Rome, Venice, London, Amsterdam, and Paris. To say we are excited is an understatement. With only a week before we leave, we are using this week to prep our packing lists, grab last minute items, and combine three wardrobes into one. Wish us luck!

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Currently: May 2015

Hey, friends! Where in the world did the time go? It’s currently the first of may, and it’s been a bit since I’ve had activity on this little space. Rightly, so, I must say. It’s been a crazy couple months. I’m graduating.

I’m graduating.

It’s hard for me to believe it. I just had to say it twice for effect. From job searching, to portfolio reviews, to follow-up emails, to finishing classes, to finals, to wanting to give up, to realizing it’s way too late in the game to give up, to leads, and non-returned emails. Man. Can I just say it’s exhausting trying to ‘get your life figured out’?

The pending graduation date is slowly creeping around the corner, reminding me ‘Hey! You still don’t know what you’re doing with your life!’. It’s scary. And slightly depressing. But you know what, it’s also exciting, and I’m trying my best to stay positive, and realizing that there really is an incredible life and future awaiting me that doesn’t consist of semesters or grades, or part-time jobs. It’s exciting and unknown and I’m having to push through and believe that the future is bright.

Who know’s where I’ll end up or what I’ll be doing. Honestly, who knows. But, ya know, I gotta trust that there’s purpose in this little life of mine, and I’m going to hold fast to the truth that I’m here for people more than I am a job or myself. It’s hard to remember that, when my thought life seems to only be ‘me, me, me’ but that reality keeps it all in perspective. And it let’s me breathe a little bit easier. And helps me see a little bit clearer. And thats the place I want to be in.

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Dreamers + Achievers: Kevin Frey of Puritan Brew Co.

Puritan Brew Company, though new to the town, has already made a heavy impact on the community of Fayetteville. As a coffee and beer destination, Puritan continues to be a gathering place both day and night for meetings, studying, conversation, a morning caffeine boost or a local beer spot to end your day. Personally, I have loved the addition of Puritan to our little town. I’m always welcomed by familiar faces when I step in the door, and have loved seeing the community that Puritan has cultivated. Kevin Frey, owner of Puritan Brew Company, has taken the time to share a little about his journey in opening up his own coffee + beer shop, the ups and downs of owning your own business, and fears he has conquered along the way.


1. Where did the idea for Puritan come from?

Ultimately Puritan came from the love of people. We wanted to see people come together over a quality drink and in a space that encouraged conversation.

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2. Have you always wanted to be a business owner?
I always wanted to do something that Im passionate about and that pushed me to be creative. I grew up with an entrepreneurial father who instilled a lot of wisdom and knowledge when it comes to the business world, so when dreaming about what I would do “when I grew up” the idea of being my own boss and making my own schedule didn’t sound too bad. So, I think in a way, I’ve always wanted to be a business owner.

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3. What are some things in your past, big and small, that helped you in the process of opening Puritan?
Watching important people in my life fail, get back up, and try again. I grew up watching my father truly believe in his businesses and put everything he had on the line to start them. There is a big step between dreaming and then actually doing. Im a dreamer, and by watching my father I saw first hand the courage it takes to actually step out and pursue your dreams.

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4. What are the most difficult and rewarding things about being a business owner?
I think those go hand-in-hand. There is nothing like the feeling of walking into a place that is “yours” or taking home a paycheck that comes from a place that you love and worked hard to build but on the flip side you have to make the tough calls, you have to fire people, you have to take the risks.

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5. What has been the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Every time I see my grandfather he says, “Do the best you can with what you have everyday and leave the outcome to the Lord.” – I don’t think there is a better piece of advice.

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6. What encouragement or advice would you give to others who have dreams of opening up their own business?
Surround yourself with people that are smarter, older, wiser and more blunt than you. If I wasn’t surrounded by people that know more than me and that have more life experience than I do then Puritan would not exist.

Also, it’s so important that failure is acknowledged as an outcome but that can’t get in the way of your dreams. We had to see it through, even if we fell straight on our faces, because we believe in it. We believe that people enjoying conversation, a quiet corner, a cold beer, a good book, a delicious cappuccino, whatever, is worth the risk. Don’t let fear of failure hold you back.

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7. Best memory of Puritan so far?
We are surrounded by an incredible group of friends and family and without them Puritan would not have been possible, but seeing strangers catch the vision of Puritan has been the most rewarding thing. I remember about three weeks after we opened looking around and realizing that I only knew 1 of the 40 or 50 people inside. That was an amazing feeling.

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8. What is your definition of success? Success is getting to do what I love. I know that may be cliche but that’s the truth. There is nothing better than getting to do what you are passionate about.
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Website Launch!

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Yay! The day is finally here! Blake Reynolds Creative has finally launched! On my website you’ll find a little information about my background and education, samples from my portfolio, photo galleries, and more! Super excited to get my ‘career’ going (job searching now, cough cough), so feel free to share with friends who need a little help in their creative department! Woo!

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Dreamers + Achievers: Maura Griesse of Maura Dawn Photography

Born & raised in Fayetteville, Arkansas, Maura Griesse has made her mark on Northwest Arkansas, both as a photographer and an active member in the community. From a young age, Maura has been passionate about photography, and is using that passion to fuel her business, Maura Dawn Photography. Maura has roots in NWA, specializing in family, portrait, wedding, and fashion photography, but has recently expanded her territory and influence globally, shooting for Dubai Fashion Week and Judith & James in Kenya. Maura has an incredible gift, and has stewarded it exceptionally well, impacting the lives of the people she works with every day. Today, she’s here to share some of her experiences in running her own business.

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1. When did you first know you wanted to be a photographer?
When I was in the 9th grade. I became the photo editor of the Ramay Jr. High yearbook staff. Haha. But seriously. Ever since then it was my dream to become a professional photographer.

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2. What we’re some of the small, difficult steps that you had to walk in order to get to where you are today?
Goodness. I’m not the most business minded or administratively gifted person. So that has been a struggle and HUGE sharpening experience for me to learn to do it well.

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3. What are the main ways you have changed as a photographer from the first time you started your business until now?
My style has changed and evolved into something I am completely proud of. For the beginning of most amateur photographers “careers” it’s incredibly hard to not copy or compare yourselves to other successful professionals. It was so important to me even as a 19 year old to not copy another artist. It made it harder at the start but I love that I can proudly say I started my business honestly. My style wasn’t the cleanest, pretty posey and very saturated. As I grew I became more confident in how to work my camera and with that my individual style blossomed.

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4. What are some of the most difficult and rewarding things about working for yourself?
One of the most rewarding things about working for myself is having the freedom to shoot whenever I want. Whether it’s just for fun by myself or a shoot for a client. I’m the one that makes my schedule. So much freedom. It is an amazing blessing to get to run your own dream job, especially at my age. Trying my hardest to not take it for granted. One of the most difficult things about working for myself has been time management. See how those both go hand in hand? Vicious cycles can ensue if I’m not careful. Still learning how to do this better.

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5. What do you love about photography?
I love capturing that one magical perfect moment.. Over and over. I LOVE meeting new people and hearing their stories. I just love people in general. And love talking. I love that feeling knowing I have helped make my client comfortable and confident in front of the camera. I also love Jesus and He is truly the reason my business is successful and my clients are comfortable.

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6. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Pray before each and every shoot. Helps calm me down and focus on the One who gave me this gift. This helps me be less prideful by placing The Lord before myself. He guides me on shoots. Thank goodness.

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7. What advice would you give to others wanting to do freelance work full-time?
This is the hardest job to have if you are wanting a perfectly consistent salary. Especially starting out. Keep your mind open and money managed to help get you through the slower months. If this is something you feel called to do then be bold and tackle it head on. Don’t do it halfway. If you’re making this your full-time job then put in the full-time hours. It is really easy to let the day slip into nothingness when you don’t have the accountability to punch a clock. Own it and do it well.

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*Side Note
: I must say, I’m a big fan of Mrs. Maura Griesse. She’s my boss, and one of the sweetest, selfless, intentional people I’ve ever worked with & known. Thanks for being great, Maura. I’m continually learning from the way you do life, faith, and business. Love ya x

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Dreamers + Achievers: Trisha Logan of Shindig Paperie

Trisha Logan is a wife, mom, designer, and small-business owner out of Fayetteville, Arkansas. Her store, Shindig Paperie is an eclectic shop filled with beautiful prints, stationery, and various paper goods. In addition, Shindig offers a variety of invitation design services for brides, events, and more. Trisha and her shop have made a beautiful mark on downtown Fayetteville (and Bentonville!), and today she is here to share her story.

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1. How did Shindig Paperie begin? I was working as a designer/creative director for a paper company that was experiencing a lot of change. My good friend, a sales rep in the paper/gift industry, and I sat around and talked into the wee hours of the evening several times about opening a dreamy little paper shop in Fayetteville until we finally decided to bring our ideas into reality. A great little affordable space off Dickson Street came open and we had 48 hours to decide if we wanted to take it, and we did. Thus, Shindig was born.

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2. What were some jobs you had before deciding to open Shindig, and how did they aid you in the process of opening up the store? I worked in apparel product development for a big box retailer, which was my first job out of graduate school. After taking maternity leave with my first child, I really didn’t relish the notion of returning to the corporate grind, and I lucked into a job working from home as a pattern/print designer for a paper company. I spent nine years with that company before opening Shindig. 

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3. How has the store evolved over the past couple years? Firstly, my business partner moved away 7 months after we opened and sold her interest in the store back to me, which was a major change. At that time I decided to leave my job and focus on Shindig full time. We also moved from our original tiny location to our current one on Block Street. Currently, we’re opening our second location in Bentonville. We are opening that shop on April 3rd and are super excited about it! 

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4. What are the most difficult and rewarding things about being a business owner? Time management is the most difficult, without a doubt. I wear so many different hats, just as a business owner, and that’s not even touching on my responsibilities to my family. It’s extremely hard to juggle all of the different roles. Conversely, that’s also probably one of the most rewarding aspects: juggling all those roles, being my own boss, and getting to shape the vision for Shindig.

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5. Best memory with Shindig so far? Being a part of so many people’s momentous occasions. Weddings, births, birthdays and celebrations are awesome events that lead to a lot of excitement. It’s an honor to get to hear their life and love stories, which are all so different.  

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6. What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? A friend of mine recently told me, “Just focus on the excitement and it will drive the success.” That’s really helped me to get through the process of growing the business. There’s a lot of self doubt and stress and worry that comes with growth and change, but so much of that doubt is unproductive. It’s way more productive to stay positive and enthusiastic.

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7. What are some of your favorite things to do in your free time? Free time? What’s that? Okay, that was a totally cliche answer, but I seriously don’t get a whole lot of free time. When I do, of course I spend time with my family. We try to leave town on weekends that I don’t work. My boys both love music, art and anything involving the outdoors so our weekends usually involve those activities. If we stay in town and at our house, work tends to find me. I also love design research through print/magazines, online or popping in shops and galleries/museums whenever I am on the road. 

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8. How do you stay creatively inspired and motivated? I’m not always creatively inspired or motivated. There’s a natural ebb and flow for creativity, and I think that recognizing that cycle is healthy. I’d like to say there’s a perfect way to stay motivated and creative, but there’s really not. I guess the important thing is to really embrace the times when you’re feeling motivated and creative. Maximize the potential of those times. The other times, just slog away at it. You never know when inspiration might strike, but it’s not going to strike if you’re not open to it.

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9. What is some encouragement or advice that you would give to others who are thinking of one day opening up their own small business? Stay true to your vision. Don’t get wrapped up in competition and what other businesses are doing. Also, be honest with yourself about your strengths and weaknesses and develop a plan to address those deficiencies.

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