Paris in color, a friendship, and a little guy named Digger

May 23, 2012 |  Category:   friends happy purchases

Do you know about my friend Nichole‘s book, Paris in Color yet? Yes, her Paris photos from her blog and Etsy shop have culminated into this beautiful book. You can find it at various places including your local Anthropologie or Amazon, but this post isn’t really about the book, though you most certainly should check it out. This post is about a friendship (apparently it’s friends week on the blog!)


Nichole was one of the very first people I met online in 2008 through our respective new Etsy shops and on Twitter, who became my friend in real life. Since then, she has become one of my closest friends. It’s common for us to send short emails to each other throughout the day, all day long, to comment on this, vent on that. The point is, she was the very first person who really understood the craziness of my life because it was her life too. In a lot of ways, Nichole and Evan’s life mirrored ours in a way that nobody else I knew did – a completely self employed household, running a small business while working a totally separate freelance career, all while raising 2 kids around the same age. We even freelanced at the same big ad agency 2 years ago for 6 months working as a copywriter/art director team on the same accounts. It was the first experience at an ad agency for either of us and working together made the crazy experience bearable and dare I say it, even a little fun. While we both had beauty product experience that made our work for Aveeno comfortable and familiar, we were tossed into uncharted waters when we were assigned to redesign a site for fungal cream. I remember sitting at the first meeting thinking, “this is so out of my design aesthetic”. HOW THE HELL am I going to do this?! Athlete’s foot? Ringworm?? Jock itch??? The product has A MASCOT? The project had little creative supervision so Nichole and I were left to brainstorm and come up with concepts pretty much on our own. In time, we grew to become fond of the little mascot called digger. He’s totally gross, but when you have to storyboard his movements and write copy in his voice, well…he kind of grows on you. We even spoofed Brady Bunch theme song lyrics and the opening credit graphics late one night because we found the whole thing so amusing. I remember when she emailed me months after we left the agency to tell me that the site went live. We nearly peed in our pants crying because we had forgotten about it and it was so funny to see it out in the world and animated with our words and our art direction. This site is so out of the realm of anything either of us do, copy-wise, design-wise, and content-wise that it’s pretty hilarious. On a more serious note, it did prove to me that I could meet the challenge of designing something kind of ugly, but fitting for the industry that is completely out of my comfort zone (if you look at my outdated portfolio, you can see what I mean).

Aside from our work experiences, Nichole is one of the most generous people I know. She’s shared so many business-related tips, news and strategies with me and isn’t afraid to share what she knows. We’ve talked endless hours about the industry, small business challenges, growing our companies, and everything in between (in fact, she was the one to turn me on to Currently Obsessed, so you can blame Nichole for that). Over the years during our talks, we’ve brainstormed dozens of new business ideas. We haven’t actively pursued any of them as the reality of taking on another venture is a little crazy given our schedules, but it’s been an important part of our relationship. It keeps us thinking creatively, makes us laugh at ourselves, and gives us hope when the stress of work and life become too much. I hope that we’re still brainstorming get-rich-quick schemes together when we’re both old and dreaming of retirement!

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  • nichole May 23, 2012 at 4:18 pm

    Jenna – Next time put a “this-post-may-make-you-cry-at-work” warning at the beginning of the text. Where do I start?

    This was a pleasure to read, and the digger memories were a pleasure to relive. Makes me wish we were currently on a project together.

    And you know what? One day, we’ll have the time to collaborate and then what? Total awesomeness, that’s what.


  • Elle May 23, 2012 at 4:20 pm

    This is a very sweet shout out to a bestie.
    I found her blog a while back and it’s awesome~

  • Anna @ D16 May 23, 2012 at 4:30 pm

    Well, I think both of you are great! I love this post, and it’s yet another reminder to me of how capable we really are of making new friends as we get older (and more late-night internet-social).

    (Digger forever!)

  • Susan May 23, 2012 at 5:05 pm

    Very sweet…you guys are so lucky to have found each other! When you guys do get time to collaborate, it will be CRAZY good, whatever it is. Here’s to online turned real life friendships!!

  • Susan May 23, 2012 at 5:06 pm

    Oh…and I cannot believe you two are behind Digger!! I actually have to look away when he dives under a toe, my husband laughs at me. I can see how he could get cute when getting to know him though. 😉

  • jacqueline @ thehourglassfiles May 23, 2012 at 5:23 pm

    I’m always amazed at the way the internet can connect people in ways in-person life can’t. I too have met some of my closest friend online because we share like experiences and values, as opposed to close proximity.

  • Diane May 23, 2012 at 11:33 pm

    beautiful, beautiful post and friendship – and you are both SO talented!

  • Pink Ronnie May 24, 2012 at 12:00 am

    This was the sweetest post to read. Thanks for sharing, it’s always lovely to read about great friendships.
    Ronnie xo

  • Atsuko May 24, 2012 at 11:47 am

    It was so nice to hear how you can make a great friendship from blog; you never know what leads to a friendship. I clicked on “site went live.” I knew it! It was so awesome to know you both created that. I felt so thrilled.

  • Rentia May 24, 2012 at 11:52 am

    It’s early, I know … but any thoughts on 2013 calendars?

  • Jenna May 24, 2012 at 1:26 pm

    @Renita – oh my, calendars already?! I don’t think I’ve shot enough photos yet to even think about it!

  • kathy pilato May 24, 2012 at 2:23 pm

    I was in anthropologie the other week, sitting on the leather couch, looking at that book…cover to cover. I can’t tell you how much it inspired me to look for colors in my own backyard! Thank you, ladies for your great insights and blogs and books. I am enjoying them. I am even going back to purchase that book!

  • Margaret May 24, 2012 at 4:08 pm

    I really enjoyed reading this post, thank you for sharing. Hope you have a lovely, joyful weekend : ) Now, off to look at that Paris book…

  • l o v e l y t h i n g s May 29, 2012 at 11:48 am

    I love your blog and have just been catching up on your last few posts when I saw this one! I have read Little Brown Pen and it was her blog that actually inspired me to start a blog and I am amazed at the “real” friendships that have come of it. It’s funny to think that two of my favorite bloggers are friends…and I’m not even a bit surprised.

  • Justine June 8, 2012 at 2:23 pm

    I just bought one of your conversion posters for our new house in Scottsdale and can’t wait for it to come in the mail! I’m thinking of pairing it with the poster above in our kitchen. Without your blog, I would have never stumbled upon your brilliant designs and I hope you’ll soon be profiting (as much as you want or need) from your personal website.