Strong is the New Pretty

I’m the oldest of three girls—three very loud, very independent, very pigheaded strong, very passionate girls. I mean not that I’m proud of my sisters or anything (they’re pretty special).

This summer marks my one-year anniversary of college graduation (read: one-year anniversary of flying the coop for real and actually needing to function as a real adult who spends her paychecks on boring things like water and electricity while still somehow managing to avoid doing laundry as much as she did in high school), and the thing I find myself thinking about the most is how grateful I am to my parents for raising me and my sisters to be this way.

I don’t think I could have managed all the change, the pressure, the overwhelming shifts in the earth that come with moving out without the confidence my parents gave me and my sisters to know deep in our bones that being kind and being bold and being ourselves is not only a noble pursuit, but enough, worthy of love. I’m lucky.

I saw this photo series by Kate Parker this week and I’m blown away by how well she captures this idea. It’s called Strong is the New Pretty, and it is stunning. Truly.

From her artist's statement:

My girls know that who they are is just perfect. Being themselves is enough for us. And ultimately, for them too. We love them just as they are, loud, dirty, competitive…just like my parents loved me for being, um, the exact same way. I wanted this series of images to show their boldness, their strength, and the beauty in them, as they are. Strong is the new pretty.

All images © Kate T. Parker

'Sea Fever' Custom Lettering

Fun fact about me: during the day I masquerade as an advisory consultant, which basically means that I have to dress up every day, I get to boss corporations around, and I have to travel. A lot. Here’s how it works:

I get up at 3 AM every Monday morning, sleepily throw on a pair of heels and a dress, and rush out the door to the airport for the first flight out. I’m somewhere different every week, depending on the client, and don’t return home until late on Thursday nights, leaving me the weekend to do laundry catch up with friends before starting it all over again on Monday.

Yes, it’s exhausting. Yes, I am more caffeine than person 98.9% of the time.

The great part about this whole scenario, though, is that I am able to keep up with so many people I love without worrying about distance. I spent the majority of this year in New York City and was supremely lucky to see many of my dearest friends from high school and college every week, even though I technically live hundreds of miles away. It’s insane to me that I could be grabbing coffee with a friend at Jane NYC one morning and dinner with another friend that same night at the Publican Chicago. Technology, man. The Jetsons weren’t far off.

One of my New York friends asked me to write this poem by John Masefield for her a few weeks ago. What beautiful words. When I started my job I felt this deeply, the wild and clear call to go, see, move. But Masefield got it right. A quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick’s over. I can ask for nothing more.



I’m so glad you’re here. I have much to show and even more to tell but for now we’ll stick with what I’ve been working on lately and what I know to be true: that words are meaningful and the written word has power. I hope the power stories is clear in my work, from the smallest place card to the ramblingest blog post.

Here are some things you can do here: you can take a look at some of my work, scratch you head and wonder what I’ll be putting up in the shop, get to know me a little bit better, and ask me to work with you.

And there’s more in store (hopefully), all for the low price of free ninety-nine plus shipping and handing! You can’t pass up a deal like that (I’m Dutch, I should know). So stick with me! I’m excited to show you what’s next.