Handwriting has been a passion of mine ever since I can remember. I never thought it would end up being such a large part of my career, but I am so glad that it is!

One of my favorite things about lettering is that it's something we all do almost every day. Writing has become second nature to so many of us that we don't even have to think about doing it. And each person's handwriting is as unique as they are. It seems to be a dying practice due to technology, but I'm so excited about the interest so many people have had in learning a more traditional script in our Brush Lettering class.

I have had so much fun teaching and sharing my love for lettering with so many awesome people. If you're interested in signing up for one of our upcoming classes, go to the "workshops" tab at the top of our website. We'd love to meet you!

:: Kate Z. ::

Instagram: your go-to social media platform to get lost in beautiful, curated photos. Foodies, crafters, animal-lovers and fashionistas alike can all get their fix. So many photos are uploaded per day that it seems like you could scroll forever and never run out! So how does Instagram decide in what order you see the photos?

Until June of 2016, photos would appear chronologically, according to the time and date they were posted. But now things have changed a little. Here’s the low-down on the new algorithm:

The new Instagram algorithm personalizes your feed by monitoring how often you interact with certain accounts. For example, if you like and comment on 1canoe2 posts every day, our posts will pop up sooner than those of an account you rarely check, even if that other account posted more recently than us. When the change was announced, a lot of bloggers and business owners flipped out, thinking that they would get lost in the feed and you’d forget all about them! So, they started asking people to turn on notifications for their feed, so that every time they uploaded a photo, you would get an alert. Either directly interacting with your favorite brands and bloggers or turning on notifications works! It’s all about preference.

Now that you know how it works, take control of your Instagram profile and make sure you're seeing all of our posts @1canoe2!

:: Claire The Intern ::

Let's face it...life can be hard. And confusing. And, at times, just downright intimidating. Everyone needs an encouraging word from time to time, so we decided we'd take a stab at giving some of our best business and life advice. Enjoy!

"It took me a long time to figure out that you shouldn't wait to be yourself around people and coworkers -- it is too exhausting to hide your true colors. It is also good to remember that you are not always going to agree with everyone. It is important to be respectful of others' beliefs and sometimes just agree to disagree and continue to have open dialogue. It is not worth fighting over things just to be able to say you are right." – Kate G.

"My voice is important, and I don't think I knew that when I was younger, so I feel a lot more confident saying what I think, but making sure to couch it in a way that is more gentle, rather than just word vomit. Have confidence in your ideas and your thoughts because they're important.

Wear whatever you want. If you are uncomfortable, you will lose that confidence, and that's the thing that makes people kind of go "huh?". Instead of how you look it's what you're projecting, so if you feel good and confident, you will look good and confident." – Kelsey

"Don't worry about what other people think. If you're so hung up on what everybody else thinks, it's gonna distract you from being yourself, and you'll kind of float around for a while, worrying about making everybody else happy in the world, in the environment around you, and you'll lose touch with who you are and it'll take longer to find out who you are. So just truly be yourself, especially if you're on the road to being a good, positive person, and that will give you self-confidence that will naturally come about. Don't be afraid to poke fun at yourself a little bit for your insecurities, because that also lets everybody know that you're not a threat when you talk to them. That drops people's walls down and they'll open up to you to a whole world of conversation." – Jake (honorary 1canoe2er, pro beard-grower and stellar carpenter!)

"The most important thing that I missed is that I should be confident in who I am in and my skills, because that will take you further than anything. Don't let the fear of failing dull your life or hold you back. Don't always be the nice guy and let others seize those opportunities that come along. Believe in yourself and know that you are just as important and worth it and you should not hold back. Try to go after what you want in life. Go after what makes you happy and completely disregard whatever people will think or might say because what is most important is your own happiness and self worth, and I would just say at the end to challenge yourself every day. Challenge yourself to learn, to be a better person, and live life to the fullest." – Crystal

"I think that my best life advice is to not worry about being weird. Just be comfortable in your own skin. Embrace it and take the things that make you unique and just run with it." – Beth 

"I think it's really important to take the time to decide what you want to do. I think that whenever you first graduate college you're like "I am a Psych major. That means I can do this, and only this." But I think it's really important to not box yourself in and explore other options that you might think better suit your interest because you might be surprised. A good life skill is how to market yourself so make sure that when you interview for whatever job make sure you do your homework, your research, and tailor yourself to that company to make yourself appealing." – Angela

"I'd tell myself to be good to the people around you. No one has it all figured out and it's better to be lost together than alone. And an act of kindness goes a long way." –Liz

"I have three main points: the first is to be willing to be surprised. I was always very adamant on life looking a certain way and it had to be my way and I didn't allow possibility for any other options. I really wish I would've been more open to multiple possibilities even if it doesn't always seem like it's amazing at the forefront. You're not supposed to peak whenever you're 21, 22, and I just thought I would, and whenever I didn't I was so ashamed and I felt like such a failure and that's not how it should be at all. Enjoy the journey, let life be life, and be willing to be surprised because that's so much more fun and so much more fluid and organic anyway.

2. Kindness matters so much. One thing I noticed through different employers I had is that kindness is actually really hard to find and it's all about how you treat people. That's what matters -- that's what people will remember is how you made them feel and did you go above and beyond in treating them like people, or were you just in a hurry to get your work done?

3. Work hard, but not at the expense of losing yourself. Working hard is very important. You should always give your all in whatever you're doing. But I think there were times when I definitely lost myself in what I was doing and I let it takeover my life. I know where I was coming from. I was very driven and I wanted to do my best and this was my best but I didn't make many memories along the way. There were times when I became a shell of a person because I was just so stressed with what I was doing rather than having a proper balance in life." – Gretchen

"I wish that I would have started to get to know not only the business world and how the people around me function best, but also myself and how I function best. I wish I would have realized at a younger age that when I go into a job I have a lot of control over how I'm managed and how others around the office interact with me. You don't just have to go in and your manager treats you one way and one way only -- you kind of get to shape that relationship. But the catch is, you can't start to shape it until you realize: this is how I work, this is when I'm most productive. Do I really like being around people or do I like being by myself? Do I respond best to bullet points or paragraphs of details? Answering questions like these will help you define your boundaries, which is super important. No one will respect your boundaries unless you know and respect them.

When I was an intern, I was really eager to please everybody, which is great. Work hard and please the people that you're working for. But now being on the flip side of that where I'm the one doing the managing, I think I would tell my younger self to not let that desire to please interfere with taking risks and being a self-starter. Present an idea to your manager before they even realize that they need it. That's a huge help. Doing what your told is great, but creating work without being told is what will really make you stand out against the rest." – Haley

"I feel like a lot of my advice has to do with being afraid. DON'T be afraid. Don't be afraid to be different. Everybody's different. I tend to be an introvert, and so I always felt like there was something wrong with me. But along the way you learn that everybody has different personalities and that's okay. Be who you are and work to your strengths.

Also, don't be afraid to make mistakes. Everybody screws up. Don't try to be a perfectionist. If you make a mistake, own it, fix it, and then it'll be good. Don't be afraid to do different things just because you have an education in this or this is what your degree is in. Don't be afraid to learn something or do something different if you feel lead to go that way. Work hard and be nice to people." – Janel

What life advice would you give to your past self? Comment and let us know!

:: Claire the Intern ::

Five of my all-time favorite podcast episodes/TED talks for a little motivation and inspiration. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do! If you're stashing away your own favorites...send them my way in a comment!

How simple ideas lead to scientific discoveries
We are all explorers. The people that made discoveries just thought a little bit harder about what they were looking at and they were a little bit more curious. And their curiosity changed the way people thought about the world and thus it changed the world. They changed the world. And so can you. - Adam Savage

Why should we look at the clouds more often
Paying attention to something outside yourself is just enough to find yourself centered again. - Gavin Pretor-Pinney

Listen, learn...then lead
Leaders can let you fail without letting you be a failure. - Stanley McChrystal

Why it's time to forget the pecking order at work
No idea is born fully formed. It emerges a little bit as a child is born. Kind of messy and confused but full of possibilities - Margaret Heffernan

The source of creativity
Fear and creativity are conjoined twins - Elizabeth Gilbert

:: Haley ::

As a creative person, it’s so important to take time to recharge the source of your energy and inspiration. For a couple of years now, I’ve been seeing some of the creative entrepreneurs I admire most going to and posting about Inspired Retreat. After living vicariously through Instagram, and meeting the incredible Amber Housley at the National Stationery Show a couple of years ago, I finally got up the courage to reach out to her and send her a proposal to speak at the 2015 Fall Inspired.

Photo credit: Sarah Frenzel

Inspired is all about creative women entrepreneurs gathering together to learn, listen, and encourage one another. I learned so much from the sessions with amazing women, but I learned so much more from chatting with my dinner partners, roommates, and while hiking to a huge waterfall in the middle of a glorious Tennessee Autumn.

Amber took good care of us, including styling every meal with beautiful tablescapes. I came home with so much swag from washi tape to new socks to inspirational mugs, coozies, and art prints.

We also had some hands-on activities like flower crown making (!!) and a late-night planner session with the incredible Christy Tomlinson.

Photo credit: Sarah Frenzel

I spoke about a topic close to my heart: hiring. One of my closest held beliefs about running a business is that people make all the difference. At 1canoe2, we have an absolutely incredible team of people who make the business GO. It’s truly my proudest accomplishment to have selected and developed a team of people who require very little micro-management, and who continue to achieve great things everyday in the name of 1canoe2. It’s also a huge responsibility to manage them in a helpful, not authoritarian way, and to make sure when adding other team members that I don’t introduce someone to the mix that will make trouble. So I talked about that and had great conversation with some of the folks in that session.

Photo credit:
Sarah Frenzel

Aside from the immense about of positive energy going around amongst these amazing ladies, the retreat was chock full of content, from encouragement sessions with Heather Crabtree and Leah Remillet to technical info like photo styling with the amazing Kim Stoegbauer (also my roomie!) and Periscope lessons with Cathy Olson.

Photo credit: Sarah Frenzel

I think the most meaningful thing I left with is this: no matter if you are an enterprise of one, sewing tote bags in your dining room, or you have 70 employees, we all have something to share with one another, and we’re all in the struggle together. What an amazing feeling!

On the last full day of the retreat, Amber handed us posterboard and big markers, and asked us to write a love note of sorts to our younger selves. What would you like to tell yourself 5 years ago to help smooth out the journey from starting out to success?  Here’s a video with some words of advice for all you out there trying to get your creative self to shine. Take a look at this quick clip:

Video Credit: Nicole V. Cole

:: Beth ::