What NOT to do in Venice

Ciao!

We spent less than 24 hours in Venice. So, the reality is, it’s impossible for me to come up with a blog post telling you what you should do while in the City of Bridges and frankly, just inadequate. I wouldn’t be doing the beautiful city justice. Instead I’ve decided to cover what NOT to do when visiting Venice, Italy.

First things first, do NOT spend less than 24 hours there. Set aside at least 1-2 full days to enjoy the beauty and romance that Venice offers. Two day’s will give you plenty of time to see all there is to see, and experience all there is to experience. Make sure to hop on a gondola for a ride down The Grand Canal, load up on allll the coconut gelato, and for the love of all things Italian, get in your last helping of caprese salad because you never know when you’ll enjoy the real deal again. They just don’t taste the same at home!

Do NOT stay in the San Marco district. Inevitably you’re going to start to notice a trend with my travel blogs. You’ll get a feel for what I value and what I think is overrated. Staying in the tourist hub is something I definitely think is overrated and more often than not I’ll avoid it by all means necessary. Venice is over saturated with tourists as is, but staying in the San Marco district would be like setting up camp in the lawn in front of The Eiffel Tower. Just don’t. Stay some place a bit off the beaten path to see parts of Venice that aren’t swarming with people. I suggest looking into each district to discover what they’re known for so you can decide on the type of experience that best suites your travel desires. We stayed in an Airbnb(it was simple, inexpensive and exactly what we needed for the few hours we’d be sleeping in it, HELLO 2 A.M wake up call!) in the Cannaregio district, a mostly quiet residential area that provided a quiet setting to wander around and get lost in. Kyle and I love walking aimlessly in a new city. It allows us the opportunity to discover parts of a place we may not have, had we planned every step we took. The colorful buildings and charming bridges of Venice are around every corner; make sure to spend time experiencing them organically.

Next up, do NOT eat at one of the dozens of restaurants along the main drag. I know it seems tempting, especially when you just spent hours on a plane and the hanger is getting the best of you, but please, learn from my mistake and don’t do it. Kyle and I would agree that eating the local cuisine is easily our favorite things about traveling. If you eat well, and by well I mean authentic food, while traveling, you’re able to experience a country’s culture on such a deeper level. Spend a few extra minutes on Trip Advisor to seek out the top rated restaurants or, even better, when you get a super rad AirBnB host take advantage of their knowledge to find out where the locals eat. You can never go wrong dining where the natives do and more often than not those restaurants come with everlasting experiences.

Lastly, do NOT forget to stop and relish in every opportunity that presents itself. It’s so easy to get caught up in the logistics of travel that sometimes we forget to enjoy the everyday moments that, in my opinion, end up making some of the very best memories. And with that I present to you the sad excuse I have for photos from a 16-hour trip to Venice, Italy. Enjoy.

Basilica di San Marco is Venice’s signature church, the present basilica being recorded as constructed in 1094 (!) and it was the only tourist sight we visited. Pretty amazing, right? I always have high hopes of checking out all the most gawked at sights in each city I visit but, some how food always takes precedence. When there’s endless amounts of prosciutto + melon, pizza margharita , pasta, caprese salad and bread with olive oil and vinegar, can you blame me? Nope, didn’t think so. GAW, can I go back, like, yesterday?

If I see Dachshunds it’s only natural for me to snap a picture. 

I’ll leave you with my favorite memory from our time in this magical city.

For whatever reason the storm always follows Kyle and I to Italy, and we just so happen to be totally cool with it. On our first trip to the Amalfi Coast, Italy we experienced an insane thunder and lightning storm, during dinner over looking the ocean. It was UNREAL. This time around it happened in Venice. The whole day felt like it could start storming any second. The sky would switch between a dark cloud cover to intermittent burst of sun-rays. And just like our time in Amalfi, the sky unleashed as we made our way back to our AirBnB. Running hand in hand with Kyle over bridges, and through the secret passageway’s of Venice, as the sky lit up with bolts of lightening, was an experience I will never forget.

Grazie for reading! & arrivederci!

xoxo,

Kalen

Adventure Collection Launch

If anyone is guilty of looking at the entirety of an idea and deciding its intangible before even beginning, it’s me. I’m guilty. Case closed. Now let me tell you about the launch of my Adventure Collection, and why I believe that no dream, no matter how out of reach it may seem, is too big.

Let me start by saying, the things I’ve been successful at aren’t things that began as a challenge to me. Sure, there were struggles along the way, but my success came as a result of me doing something that I love. Starting my business wasn’t some well thought out plan I chose to execute one day. I didn’t think to myself “I’m going to start painting furniture, and wood signs, and then sell them”. No. Art has always been a part of who I am. So when people, aka my friends, took interest in me slapping paint on furniture I rolled with it.

When we bought a home I started up cycling furniture because our budget was practically non-existent, and it was easier then robbing a bank. Eventually, furniture turned into home décor signs and home décor signs turned into, well, calligraphy; because who the hell wants their own, not-so-good looking, handwriting on their walls? Not me. My business was the product of me being a 23-year-old homeowner, on a seriously tight budget. It was a hobby, not a job, and definitely not a business. But, eventually it just kind of turned into one.

That’s not to say I didn’t work hard to get here. Like, really hard. I didn’t just wake up one day and suddenly know calligraphy. I’ve spent hours upon hour, years even, practicing my lettering. It’s a never ending learning process that I truly love. My point is to say that I never, until this point, pursued something so wildly out of my comfort zone.

Can we talk Adobe Illustrator for a minute? I didn’t even know what it was until a little over a year ago. You could say I’m, uh, not so computer savvy. But I am diligent. So, I watched countless hours of Ai tutorials on YouTube and somewhat got the basics down. So, step one complete… kind of. Did I mention this was terrifying?

I wanted to create designs and put them on things, because that’s super cool, right? Well yeah, I do think it’s super cool, but that wasn’t the problem. The problem was realizing that I had a gigantic list of things I had to do before that was even possible. Now, here’s the point where I probably looked at the entirety of this vision and in any other case would have thrown in the towel, but I didn’t. I didn’t because, for the first time ever my desire to purposefully and passionately pursue a dream outweighed the fear I had of failing at it. I was all in.

To sum it up I had to learn a program I’d never even heard of before, I had to reach out to local companies, something I’m not so comfortable with (not the working with other companies- the talking to strangers part – YIKES!). I had to front a large sum of money to something that could likely fail, not to mention it could, quite possibly, end up hanging in my closet, haunting me, accumulating dust for the rest of time! Ok, that’s probably a bit of an exaggeration, but still, worst case scenario people. The biggest obstacle I faced was myself. I had to believe in my design and MYSELF enough to put it out there for the world to judge. Oh, did I forget to mention the fact that up until this point my business was focused solely on wedding and event signage? If that doesn’t throw a wrench in the works I don’t know what does.

I can’t fully articulate all of the feelings I’ve had going through this process, but there is one crucial thing I learned. The moment I realized my vision was actually becoming a reality I had this distinct Ah Ha moment. For the first time since starting my business, I truly believed that no dream of mine is, or will ever be, too big. I wanted, more than anything, to create apparel for people, like me, who love the outdoors, and I did that. I am doing that!

Whatever your dream is, chase it. Chase is wildly, with reckless abandon, and when the sum of all its parts seems like too much, stop. Stop the worrying and the what if’s that are racing around in your brain, and just put one foot in front of the other. Even if you only do one thing each day to bring you closer to your dream, it’s still one less stair you have to climb tomorrow. By the time you reach the top of your mountain you’ll forget why you ever doubted yourself in the first place. Climb that mountain. Chase that dream. If I can, you can, trust me.

“There will be a few times in your life when all your instincts will tell you to do something, something that defies logic, upsets your plans, and may seem crazy to others. When that happens, you do it. Listen to your instincts and ignore everything else. Ignore logic, ignore the odds, ignore the complications, and just go for it.” – Judith McNaught

 

HUGE shout out to my babe http://moniqueserraphotography.com Monique, for capturing the T’s so perfectly. She’s a serious gem and a true magician behind the camera!

Still haven’t grabbed your own 7 Wonders T? Don’t fret, they’re right here waiting for ya!

New Years Resolutions

Since it’s January 30th I figure, there’s really no better time then now to post a blog about New Years resolutions, right? Well regardless, I’m doing it and it feels damn good. Better late then never!

I’ve never been someone who believed in the idea of setting a New Year’s resolutions. It always seemed like an aggrandized task that would, in little time, diminish. But, after the year I had, well, I decided it was time to set a damn resolution and commit to it. I tend to jot down ideas for my business all over the place. From the notepad in my phone to the notepad in my office, there were ideas coming out my earholes. But there was only one idea that seemed overwhelmingly obvious because it was popping up everywhere- blog. I desperately wanted to share my travel tips and painting advice, my business lessons and life experiences. I knew I wanted to share all of this, the problem was actually doing it. So, here I am, doing it. I’m blogging!

2016 was a rough year, business wise, to say the least. When I returned home from Europe in August 2015 I lost all motivation to keep pursuing my business. That’s not to say that I wasn’t thrilled about my upcoming wedding season, I just wasn’t putting forth any effort until then. For roughly 6 months I spent most weekends chasing waterfalls, hiking mountains and spending time with my people. It was incredible and I don’t regret it for a second, but my business suffered because of it.

Six months off combined with the, I hate to say it, Instagram algorithm, took a serious toll on me. I had basically lost 80% of the following that I gained over the year since I’d started Clink & Kiss. Side note: for anyone that thinks the number of followers you have directly correlates to how successful you are, you’re wrong, seriously wrong. So, please don’t ever let a number define your worth! I felt like I was yelling out into oblivion every time I posted a new photo. I was lost, I had no clue who it was that I was speaking to any more, and quite frankly I had no idea what my audience wanted from me. The connection I had worked so hard to build was destroyed. I spent months wondering if I should just throw in the towel. I was certain no one would notice I was gone anyways. It wasn’t until recently that it dawned on me I needed to reevaluate who I was as an artist and what I wanted for my business in order for anything to change. So, here I am back at square one and, can I just say, it’s refreshing!

I realized that this is my chance to make my mark in a new way, to pursue different opportunities and to show everyone another side of Clink & Kiss. I’m not just a girl who likes to paint pretty signs for weddings. In fact, 50% of the time I’m probably wearing muddy hiking boots and a baseball hat. I love hiking, traveling, kayaking, camping, and basically anything that has to do with exploring this beautiful world that we live in. Which is why I decided to incorporate this part of my life into my business. Beats me why didn’t I think of it sooner, it’s not like I’d never heard the saying “follow your dreams”- but anyways. If you haven’t heard already I’m launching a product line based on my love for adventure and it’s due out next month, which is like in a day, more on that later though.

If there’s one thing I truly believe in, with every ounce of my being, it’s that everything happens for a reason. Even if I’m unable to make sense of the circumstance in the moment, the reasoning always becomes transparent eventually. Case and point, the shitty slump that was 2016 lead me to the rebirth that will be 2017. So, to sum it up, following my dreams is my New Years resolution, plain and simple (but not). This will be the year I leap without hesitation, the year I chase my dreams with reckless abandon, the year I intentionally and courageously pursue my passion. After all, there’s no better time then now!

“You’ve got to follow your passion. You’ve got to figure out what it is you love – who you are. And have the courage to do that. I believe that the only courage anybody ever needs is the courage to follow your own dreams.” -Oprah

Galileo

Let me preface with, I’ve never blogged in my life, so please, for my dignity bare with me on this.

A few months ago I was asked to be a part of an incredible styled shoot with a local photographer who just so happens to be super talented. Win, win? Definitely. Dawn, from Dawn photography came to me with a vision for a Galileo inspired mock wedding. Less twinkle more astrology, so we did just that.

When working with Dawn she always comes to me with an idea and lets me run wild with it, which I love. For the shoot I hand-painted a few globes, a sign with the famous Galileo quote “I have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night” and my first ever backdrop, which I was only a little excited about.

It was my first styled shoot and most certainly not my last. Although I had never done a styled wedding before I had seen a plethora of them via social media, welcome to the wedding world am I right? Any who, I knew I wanted a piece of it for myself. There’s something about letting your creative juices flow as an artist that put’s you on a high. I love it. Not only that but you get to meet and work with some of the best in the biz. Megan, at Megan Renee Makeup happens to be one of my closest friends so naturally I was stoked that she was a part of the magic as well. Not to mention she’s a wizard with a make-up brush and totally rocked it! I had previously met the florist, Taylor, one half of the Good Seed Floral duo, and the stylist Shauna from Stepping Stone Wedding Rentals and Events, and was so excited to work with them. They are some of the most talented, kind hearted people. Real gems. Now to the good stuff, here’s some eye candy to feed your cravings.

p.s did I mention I was the model? Where’s the hiding monkey face emoji when you need it?

Photography: Dawn Photography

Make-up Artist: Megan Renee Makeup

Floral Design: Good Seed Floral

Styling and rentals: Stepping Stone Wedding Rentals and Events

Invitation suite: Sunshine and Ravioli

Dress: Blush Bridal Boutique

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