Creative Insights

Creative Insights: Jamie Starcevich

CreativeInsights_Jamie

Happy Wednesday, friends! I’ve been MIA on the blog this week, I have been feeling a bit of burnout lately. Thankfully I have Creative Insights to jump back into the swing of things. This week I’m incredibly excited to have Jamie from Spruce Rd. on the blog. This girl has talent. I discovered her on Twitter and have been a huge fan since. She recently launched her new website and once you have a look for yourself you’ll know what I’m talking about.  Continue Reading


 Tell us a little bit about your business and what it means to you?

I am the blogger, graphic + web designer behind Spruce Rd., an independently run boutique design studio! I love working with small businesses developing their brand into something that is unique to them, and takes them to the next level. Branding is my absolute favorite part of the process, I love starting fresh! The idea behind the name Spruce Rd. is that when collaborating with businesses, we journey together to develop a solution that freshens up their visual identity.

Spruce: Neat, smart, stylish, dapper. To freshen up appearances.
Road: The journey from the old to the new.
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What is one daily ritual you can’t live without?

Over the past few months I have began working out more, and investing in my health. This is a fairly new daily ritual, so I hope it sticks! I alternate between running about 3 miles on the treadmill and doing Jillian Michael’s 30 Day Shred home videos. When I know my body needs a break so I don’t get injured, I like to do Yoga with Adriene on YouTube! It is important that I work out since I am sitting at my computer throughout most of the day!

When you’re not creating where can we find you?

I love trying new coffee shops or restaurants with my husband! We make an effort to go on at least one date night per week, and trying out a new place keeps it fresh and interesting. I also love visiting with friends, watching movies or TV shows, and getting to know new people in our city.

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What do you struggle with most when it comes to running your own business?

Patience! I just opened up my studio in January of this year, so it has taken a lot of patience regarding attracting the clients + projects that I would most like to work with! I created Spruce Rd. with the intention on working only with a selective group of clients, that are the right fit for my vision + values. I know, I know, good things take time… but this has been a tough lesson to learn!

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What’s one business goal you hope to achieve in 2015?

Since I started my business at the beginning of 2015, I have a plethora of business goals! One main goal is to post consistently to my blog. I have really enjoyed blogging so far, and it has been such a great outlet to meet other creatives in my industry, as well as help them with any tips + resources that I can offer. I also hope to attract new clients that value the work I do, as well as are in line with the vision behind my business. I have longer term goals too, that I am making steps toward in 2015!

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How do you treat yourself?

Business-wise: Fonts! I know… nerdy. But I get so giddy when I purchase a great font, and can’t wait to use it! Personally: Starbucks! I don’t drink coffee or tea, so a vanilla steamer is my drink of choice. Basically a hot “vanilla” instead of chocolate. Also: chocolate.

Any tips for staying organized? Do you have any project management tools you can’t live without?

Basecamp is hands down the best project management system out there. I have tried several free + simplified sites that are similar, but they just feel incomplete. I also use Evernote like nobody’s business! It is great for brainstorming ideas, writing blog posts, and saving your favorite articles. Can’t recommend these products enough!

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Favourite part of living in San Antonio, TX. Any favourite coffee shops / restaurants?

I have only lived in San Antonio for a couple of years, but I love the culture here! We are pretty close to Mexico, so the Mexican food is awesome. The former Pearl Brewery has been converted to lofts + restaurants with renowned chefs. The culinary institute is there as well. Some of my favs are: La Gloria, Il Sogno, and The Granary. Everything in the Pearl is so beautifully curated. The architecture is industrial + modern, and each shop and restaurant incorporate great branding, so I am appreciative of that aspect as well! It is located next to the river, so it is a beautiful place to walk down to the river walk, and enjoy the outdoors.

A genie grants you 3 wishes for your business, what are they?

01.  A steady stream of *perfect* clients. I send them a proof, and they have no revisions! They love it! They tell their friends, who happen to also be *perfect* clients. The cycle continues.
02.  Make friends with a few fellow awesome blogger/designers out there.
03. Collaborate with said awesome designers on a fun + exciting project!

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Do you have any tips for someone wanting to get into graphic design?

Yes I do! In fact I just posted an in-depth blog post about this topic not too long ago. I would recommend to focus on concept + typography first and foremost. These are the two critical elements across every design discipline: web, print, branding, stationery, etc. A good sense of typography sets you apart from designers without as much experience. I would also suggest researching a ton, and find out what you are drawn to in particular. If there is a certain designer or aesthetic you enjoy, find out what it is referencing historically in graphic design. Aim to create with depth and authenticity. Through understanding graphic design history, and the meaning behind certain design aesthetics, you can achieve a design that has depth, rather than mimicking a current designer’s work.

Also, understand that it takes time to get to really hone in on your graphic design skills. While in school, and the first few years working professionally as a designer, you will most likely not be where you want to be visually. You just have to be persistent, and you will get there! Humility will take you a long way, so embrace this struggle and learn from other designers, co-workers and mentors to help push you further. Invest in your education through college classes, e-courses and books about graphic design.

Make sure to check out Jamie’s links below!
Friday 5

Friday 5

Friday5

Happy Friday, friends! Can you believe it’s almost March? I’m not complaining at all! March means spring is just a few weeks away and the snow will eventually melt. I’m extremely jealous of all those California photos I see on Instagram, so over this cold and snow.

01- Would you eat your coffee cup?
02- A great post on balancing your blog and full-time job.
03- Promote your work without feeling uncomfortable.
04- Charge what you’re worth. A free course!
05- A few good tips for running a business.

Have a nice weekend!

M.

Creative Insights

Creative Insights: Liz White

CreativeInsights_LizWhite

Happy Wednesday, friends! Today I’m excited to have Liz White from, Linea Mae sharing her creative journey on this weeks, Creative Insights. I met her through the Be Free-Lance course and found myself immediately drawn in after visiting her website. Her work is inspiring and her creative style is fresh, clean, and beautiful, perfect for anyone looking to hire someone for their wedding needs. Plus she is always offering up some great advice on her blog.


Continue Reading

Tell us a little bit about your business and what it means to you?

Linea Mae has grown from my love for working directly with couples and creative businesses. I’ve always wanted to work for myself, so when the opportunity presented itself to take my business full time I made the leap. It’s been quite the whirlwind, complete with unexpected challenges, but I am excited to see what the next few months will bring.

Owning my own business also means being supportive of other creatives, even if they could be seen as my “competition.” Besides being involved in my local creative community, I’m finding joy in growing my blog and being active in online creative groups as well. My aim is to create content that other creatives can learn from and enjoy reading. There is a tendency to want to keep what we learn to ourselves, and it is eye opening to think about what the driving force behind that is. I’m discovering that transparency and willingness to help others is extremely important to me.


What is one daily ritual you can’t live without?

To be perfectly honest, I don’t have one at the moment. I am in the process of beginning a 12-week fitness program that I discovered from browsing instagram. Maybe that will become my “thing.” Though, the thought of a daily workout becoming a ritual that I can’t live without tickles me to no end.

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When you’re not creating where can we find you?

You can usually find me hanging out at home with my pup Max, watching Netflix, and dreaming of my next weekend getaway. There’s nothing that I love more than taking a short trip to spend time with someone that I don’t get to see nearly enough. Lately I’ve been wanting to visit a rose farm, so I may have to see how I can work that in with what I already have planned for this year!

What do you struggle with most when it comes to running your own business?

There is definitely a balancing act that I’m still getting the hang of as far as working from home is concerned. I’m so used to working on my business late into the night since that’s what I did for the first two years. I still find myself working after dinner and falling back into that routine, even though it’s not something that I need to be doing.

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What’s one business goal you hope to achieve in 2015?

My main business goal for 2015 is to participate in a bridal show. I will actually be doing that in March and I’m really excited about it! I’m documenting the whole process on my blog as well, which I hope will be helpful for other small businesses thinking about doing their first bridal show. I’ll be covering the planning stages, the actual building of my booth, and a recap of how successful it ends up being.

How do you treat yourself?

I love to pick up seasonal flowers from Trader Joes or Whole Foods and create arrangements for myself. There’s something so satisfying about creating something pretty just because you enjoy it. Attending yoga classes is another way. My favorite studio is Lotus House of Yoga and I can’t wait for Yoga Rocks the Park to start back up this Spring! I get so much out of attending an actual class instead of just practicing on my own. It helps me focus on being present and mindful of where I place my energy, without the distractions that come from being at home.

Any tips for staying organized? Do you have any project management tools you can’t live without

I started using Emily Leys Simplified Planner this year and I love it! It’s been great to keep track of everything in one place and list out my daily tasks. I think it’s really important to break down bigger projects so that you can see exactly what needs to be completed in order to finish something. Plus the planner is so cute, I can’t help but make sure I use it!

I also use the Sunrise Calendar app religiously, I have it on my iPhone and all my computers. I started using this because I like the interface better than the Apple calendar and I like how you can schedule out reminders for things. I would be lost without this app and its scheduled reminders! If it’s not in my calendar, it’s not on my radar.

Dropbox has been a lifesaver, so I can’t forget to mention that! It lets me keep all my files in sync so switching from my desktop and laptop is a total breeze. Coming up with an organized way of filing everything was a real pain to do, but has been really important to maintain so I know where everything is.

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Favourite part of living in Omaha. Any favourite coffee shops / restaurants?

The best part about living in Omaha is the creative community. Everyone is supportive of one another and it’s super encouraging. Not to mention, Omaha is full of amazingly talented individuals who are just nice people that you want to hang out and chat with.

My favorite coffee shop in Omaha is Aromas. I joke that my personal instagram account is a love letter to them, but it’s kind of true. I always enjoy spending a day at Aromas, sipping on soy lattes, and getting work done. Their location in Benson is great because it has a lot of natural light, which I’ve discovered really helps with my productivity. I simply can’t work as efficiently in a dark space, am I the only one?

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A genie grants you 3 wishes for your business, what are they?

01. Being able to work on exciting and challenging projects/collaborations with passionate creatives and business owners.
02. A consistent stream of clients so that I’m booked out 3-6 months at any given point.
03. A studio space (outside of my home) with an abundance of natural light, hardwood flooring, white walls, and high ceilings.

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Do you have any tips for someone wanting to get into graphic design?

I would say that beyond technical skill, it’s imperative to put yourself out there and get involved in your community. Attend industry events, introduce yourself to people who work for companies that you admire, ask if organizations are looking for volunteers (AIGA chapters always are), and email local design studios to see if you can job shadow for a day. When you show up, put your phone away and don’t forget to slap a smile on your face!

I would also say that you need to understand that graphic design isn’t just making things look better. Graphic design is about problem solving. The best design solution may not always be something that you personally like, but it should always focus on how to achieve your client’s business goals. I highly recommend reading Design is a Job, by Mike Monteiro. Then after you finish it, read it again (and check out the rest of the A Book Apart collection).

Make sure to check out her links below!

WEBSITE / INSTAGRAM / PINTEREST / DRIBBBLE 

 

Insta Favs

Insta Fav: Matt Crump

Matt Crump

When I came across Matt’s Instagram I had two questions:
1. Why haven’t I discovered this earlier?
2. How does someone’s Instagram look so good?

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His feed is pure eye candy and so inspiring. I could stare at it all day long.

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I highly suggest checking out his whole Instagram. He also has a website where you can purchase prints and canvases. And even better a wallpaper section to jazz up your tech.

M.

Creative Insights

Creative Insights: Lisa Lok

CreativeInsights_LisaLok

Happy Wednesday, friends! Aren’t short weeks the best weeks? I’m so excited to feature Lisa Lok this week on Creative Insights. I was immediately drawn to her icon/illustration style, this girl has talent! Grab your morning coffee, sit back, and enjoy the interview. She has some great advice, and must see places while in NY. Enjoy! Continue Reading


 

 Tell us a little bit about your business and what it means to you?

I started my business in college but I didn’t really turn full time until about two months ago; I was working a 9-5 job that wasn’t creatively challenging me anymore. I received an e-mail that a client wanted to take a chance on me for a project, and since then every day has been an inspiration. I’m constantly seeing what I can do to improve myself – learning from people I admire, and getting outside of my comfort zone.

What is one daily ritual you can’t live without?

I always take the time to go outside and breathe in the fresh air. It helps me clear my mind and get things in focus again. Working from home can make it easy to not leave your studio, but even just going out to get lunch helps.

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When you’re not creating where can we find you?

You’ll most likely find me at a concert. Seeing musicians play for the first time, or the hundredth time. When I go to concerts I tend to observe the crowd and watch their reactions. It’s a blissful experience. I was at a show recently where it was the artists’ first gig in the states and they were so stunned to see such a huge crowd. Moments like that spark creativity and inspire me to keep working hard.

What do you struggle with most when it comes to running your own business?

Like most freelancers, finding clients or having the exposure for clients to find me. I’ve been able to work with a client for the duration since I have been freelancing and have been grateful for that. I want to be able to work comfortably without having to worry about whether or not I’ll have clients from month to month

Lisa Lok

What’s one business goal you hope to achieve in 2015?

One of my main goals is to be able to find my niche in design. I feel like I’ve tried a lot of different design techniques and have yet to fall in love with one thing. In doing so, I would like to be more confident with what I do and have that reflect in my work.

How do you treat yourself?

I don’t treat myself as often as I should…but occasionally I do like to treat myself with a manicure and pedicure! After finishing up a longer project, I’ll head to my favorite salon and relax without checking my e-mails and being technology free for the entire time I’m there.

Any tips for staying organized? Do you have any project management tools you can’t live without?

Staying organized is key. It’s important for me to write things down so I’ll have lists in the corner of a page in my sketchbook. I always have a few dozen stickies and reminders on screen while I’m working as well. I was introduced to Trello, a project management tool, and though I’ve only used it once it’s very helpful to show where you are in your process with clients and have all the information stored in one place

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Favourite part of living in New York City. Any favourite coffee shops / restaurants?

My favorite part of living in New York City is that there is always something to do! Every corner you turn you discover something new and that is the beauty of New York. There is something for everyone from the cafes, to the night life, and even some places to get away. It’s the city that never sleeps and I’ve been fortunate enough to experience New York in its various forms. With so many creatives living here, you can catch Milton Glaser or Stefan Sagmeister walking the streets! There’s a great shop in the lower east side, El Rey. It’s a quaint little shop where they have great coffee and brownie hot chocolate! As far as restaurants go, New York has everything. One of my favorite places is Dinosaur BBQ, I’m a sucker for good barbecue and it’s right by Brooklyn Boulders.

A genie grants you 3 wishes for your business, what are they?

01- To be able to expand my studio.
02- Never-ending supply of guacamole for brain fuel.
03- To have the experience to travel to different countries to work.

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Do you have any tips for someone wanting to get into graphic design?

Yes, do it! It’s going to take a lot of work. Read everything you can get your hands on and be proud of what you’re making. Don’t be afraid and don’t give up If you’re not getting where you want to be. It takes time and practice. Find out what you like and what you don’t – and why. Soon enough your heart will be in the work and people will see that. Always hustle hard!

Make sure to check out her links below!

PORTFOLIO / INSTAGRAM / TWITTER

M.

Design

Design: New Personal Project

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Hi friends! I hope you all had a nice and relaxing looong weekend.

Today I’m sharing a moodboard for a personal project that I have in the works. Without giving away too much it will be a valuable resource for other creatives. I love working on personal projects when I have the time. It’s nice to put your energy into something you’re 100% passionate about. I’ll have more on this project in the near future, stay tuned!

All images from Pinterest, literally couldn’t find the original source for any of the images :l If you know any of them let me know and I’m happy to credit :)

M.

Friday 5

Friday 5

Friday 5 Valentines Day

 

I hope you all have a nice weekend, whether you’re celebrating with your loved one, or out with your friends, or simply staying at home.

01- Emojis designed specifically for introverts.
02- I’m guilty of ALL of these, you?
03- How to say “I love you” in different languages
04- Photos of abandoned malls are the creepiest.
05- Currently swooning over this.

See you all on Monday!

M.

Creative Insights

Creative Insights: Jennifer Hail

Creative Insights, Freelance, Jennifer Hail

You guys, I’m SO excited Creative Insights is back this week after taking a short break last week. This week I’m happy to have Jennifer Hail answering my questions about her creative journey so far. I stumbled upon her portfolio a little while back and instantly fell in love with her work. Her creative style is clean, timeless, and absolutely beautiful. Plus her calligraphy skills are on point. Be prepared to fall into a soothing, eye candy interview with some really amazing advice and a look into her daily life.  Continue Reading


 

Tell us a little bit about your business and what it means to you

I recently finished my BFA in design over winter break, so I’m just now devoting solid time and planning to start my freelance design business, Pine. This is the fun part–being able to map out exactly what my dream job looks like, figuring out how I can offer those services to clients, and how I want to present my business to the world. I want Pine to be a studio that partners with passionate creatives, whether they only have an idea, or are already making something amazing, and helps them make their vision a reality through art direction, photography, branding, and crafting a beautiful web presence. To me, this means living each day doing something that I love, even when I have to do the hard work that isn’t so fun.

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What is one daily ritual you can’t live without?

Although I can live without it, I absolutely love making a pourover coffee every morning. I use a kitchen scale to measure 21 grams of beans, drop them into my grinder, and fill my electric kettle up with filtered water. When everything is ready to go, I start the timer on my iPhone and slowly pour the hot water in circles until I’ve reached 350 grams. It’s a precise process that I learned while I was a barista at my local coffee shop (I’ll mention that later), but I find it so calming.

When you’re not creating where can we find you?

You can find me reading articles about running a business, playing with my fluffy white cat, Theodore, or spending time with my boyfriend.

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What do you struggle with most when it comes to running your own business?

I struggle the most with the transition from college to dictating my own schedule and sticking to it. I have never been a morning person, but I truly hope to change that this year. There are so many benefits to getting started earlier in the day, and I think this is the key to maintaining a regular schedule. The article Meagen linked to has a lot of great ideas that I’m going to start implementing.

What’s one business goal you hope to achieve in 2015?

Since I am just starting a real, registered with the state, tax-paying business, I have a ton of goals, but I don’t want to put a huge amount of pressure on myself to achieve everything I have set out to do. I know that freelancing usually starts out as a side business for most people, so I want to focus on laying a solid foundation and slowly growing the number of projects I work on and the income I’m generating. I currently have one freelance client, so working with more people would be a blessing.

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How do you treat yourself?

I indulge in my all-time-favorite ice cream: Graeter’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough. Their excellent vanilla ice cream is the key to everything, and I have seriously considered serving it at my future wedding.

Any tips for staying organized? Do you have any project management tools you can’t live without?

Staying organized is one of my favorite things, so I use and love these tools every day.

Password is an app that I don’t know how I ever lived without. It stores all of my passwords into vaults and helps me generate hard-to-break new ones. Luckily, I was able to snag the iPhone app when it was free for a day, so I don’t have to worry about being away from my computer, or reading my passwords and trying to type them in one character at a time.

Workflowy is my go to app for storing everything in a list. I’m a natural list maker with paper and pen, but I’ve found that I want to save things for later and doing so with lots of PostIts just adds clutter. With Workflowy, my lists start with five main categories: Freelance, Personal, Work, Portfolio, and Job Search, and grow infinitely larger from there, but the amazing thing is that I can select one little bullet point and only view that sublist. Mega list-making coupled with insane simplicity. You need to check it out.

I recently started using the Cushion App designed and created by Jonnie Hallman, a designer/developer living in Brooklyn who freelances out of Studiomates. The design is really simple and it helps me to clearly see what projects I have going on, how long the project lasts on average, how quickly (or slowly) a client pays their invoices, and more. Cushion is currently in beta, so you can help suggest things to make it better before it launches.

I’ve recently started to embrace the Calendar on the Mac to schedule in blocks of time for my projects, part-time job, meals, and other things that I deem important. I really like seeing how I’m spending my time, so it helps to keep my accountable while still staying flexible if I need to move things around. My goal is to start scheduling a day in advance and then move to a general idea for the coming week.

Last, but not least is my favorite Moleskine squared notebook. I use it to write daily tasks because I love the satisfaction of crossing things off when they’re finished. I also love the sound that pages make when you’ve written on them front-and-back with pen. Anyone else?

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Favourite part of living in Bowling Green & Louisville? Any favourite coffee shops / restaurants?

I’m actually about to move from Bowling Green to Louisville in the next two weeks, but my favorite thing has been how close I am to everything. I can be downtown in less than a five minute walk here, but now I’m getting excited to explore a new city!

My favorite coffee shop in Bowling Green is Spencer’s Coffeehouse, one of the few besides Starbucks. I actually worked there as a barista and later as a baker a few years ago, so I’m a little biased, but they really do make the best coffee around. For Louisville, Quill’s has the best coffee and The Irish Rover is my favorite restaurant! I always order the fish and chips.

I also have to mention Nord’s Bakery because they make the best doughnuts in the world (and my boyfriend currently works there). If you’re ever in the city, making a stop is a must!

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A genie grants you 3 wishes for your business, what are they?

01- A new MacBook Pro! I bought my current MacBook back in 2008 when Apple first started making the aluminum models, so things have gotten a bit slower over time. Plus, having a lighter computer would be nice for traveling and taking my backpack to coffee shops.

02- A mentor, like Kathleen Shannon from Braid, who has experience starting a business and can help guide me along the way.

03- Dream clients who are on a waitlist to work with me! That would be so wonderful for financial peace-of-mind, although I would miss out on the struggle of earning my way into the biz.

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Do you have any tips for someone wanting to get into the graphic design field?

For anyone wanting to become a designer, my advice is to soak in as much about design as you can. Become familiar with designers in the industry and figure out what you’re drawn to. Start using Twitter to share what you love and connect with other people. It may not make sense now, but making friends with your “competition” can help you find work or a new job, and will help create your community of fellow designers.  I absolutely love this quote by Ira Glass and find it to be 100% correct.

“Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”

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Make sure to check out Jennifer’s accounts below!

PORTFOLIO / TWITTER / INSTAGRAM