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Today’s The Day!!! Introducing the EHD Mentee… The Very Talented Keyanna Bowen

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Today is the day! We launched our first mentorship program this year and while there were many great candidates (seriously), there was one that really stood out. Keyanna. Simply because she is extremely talented in design, has a great voice, and lots of solid on-camera and production skills. We want to be part of changing the landscape of the design world and frankly, she is too talented not to have a larger audience to follow, watch, listen, and be inspired by. So today I’m introducing you to Key and publishing a slightly updated version of her application essay (so you can see why she was the choice for our first mentee) and she’ll show you the first project that she will be documenting on here and on her blog. Welcome, Keyanna!!! (and don’t forget to follow her on blog, East and Lane and her Instagram).

Hi, I’m Keyanna, but friends (ie. you guys) call me Key! I can’t even express how thrilled, honored, excited, nervous, humbled, etc. etc. etc. I am to be the first EHD mentee and can’t wait to share this journey with you all! 

So here’s a little bit about me/my blog. And by “little bit” I mean a lot a bit. Because if you’re going to divulge your life and dreams to millions of EHD readers, you minus well go all in…

But first, a little video I made with the EHD team (just wait for the ad to play)!

Ok now let’s get into it.

I live in a very small, rural town on the Eastern Shore of Maryland (shout out to all the small-town dwellers out there). After graduation (I have a degree in Broadcast Journalism from Howard University), I moved back home and quickly realized the lack of creative opportunities in my small town. I had two options: 1. move to a big city with more opportunities, or 2. create my own. I chose the latter. And that’s how the blog started…

In 2015, I purchased a DSLR camera, put back on my journalism/storytelling hat, and launched East & Lane as a creative outlet to share my passion for home, design, wellness/lifestyle, and small-town living. At its core, East & Lane is about cherishing the love of home, wherever that may be. As the girl who opted to dream big in a small town, my motto has always been “bloom where you are planted.” My hope is that readers leave my site feeling inspired to curate a home and a life they love — no matter where they live. Because I believe, living your “best life” starts, at home.

So what have I been doing with my blog these last 5 years? 

Well, let’s just say I have an on-again, off-again (mostly off) relationship with my blog. I haven’t posted on my blog for a while for a myriad of reasons (mostly self-sabotage). From imposter syndrome to the mere overwhelm of trying to figure out a content marketing strategy paralyzed me from pursuing my dream of full-time blogging. Not to mention, the lack of diversity in the design blogosphere made me question if a Black (small-town) gal like myself can be successful in an industry that happens to be very White-washed. 

However, despite the recent tragedies in the world, I’m grateful for movements that have taken place to help #AmplifyMelanatedVoices and create more diversity and inclusion. Finally seeing BIPOC design bloggers and creatives getting the recognition and exposure they deserved gave me hope and determination for my own blog. Although creating inspiring content has always been my mission, I feel like I’ve found a new purpose for blogging–one that is much bigger than me or design… It’s no longer about the money or success (although getting paid for blogging would be AWESOME), but I truly just want to be a hope and inspiration for my community and for girls (young and old alike) who look like me — because representation matters!

They say before you start any endeavor, you need to know your “WHY”. You guys, are my “why”. My community is my “why”. Representation, diversity, and inclusion are my “why”!

I now have a fire burning inside of me like never before to turn my blogging dreams into reality. But in all honesty, even though I’m clear on my “why”, I am completely clueless on the “how”. So having the support and guidance of the EHD team on an upcoming project is truly a dream come true.

Oh, and if you’re thinking, that’s great you found your “calling”, but what do you actually do for a living? Well, teaching myself how to use a camera to take pictures for my blog actually lead to a career in interior photography (Sara Tramp you’re my idol). So freelance photography is how I “pay my bills” (with the help of the hubs, of course). But I’ve also dabbled in everything from design, to styling, to real estate, to construction project management, and I recently graduated from carpentry training school! Any other multi-passionate creatives out there who want to do/be more than just one thing? So yea, I’m a bit of a Jill of all trades, but I know I can merge all these passions/skillsets to create some inspiring and resourceful content for my blog. 

I’m very lucky to have a uber-talented husband. His name is Daniel, but friends (ie. you guys) can call him D. He’s a musician but also does videography on the side and shoots/edits videos for me in exchange for hugs & kisses! (it’s almost like an Emily and Brian situation;))

Now, let me tell you about the project I pitched for my EHD Mentorship application… 

D and I recently moved into a new rental. I say “recently”, but it’s actually been 2.5 years…time flies when you’re having fun in a pandemic. The home is an adorable 1950s cape cod. We love the neighborhood and all the charm and character of the exterior, but the interior is very dated! I’ve always wanted to buy a fixer-upper to makeover, but we aren’t ready to buy. So when we found a dated rental I saw it as a chance for me to flex my design muscle, and make some blog content. I’ve partnered with my landlord, and he’s agreed to give me a small (read: tiny) budget to update some rooms. I’ve already tackled the kitchen, which I documented on my blog and YouTube (here and here), and my home office is next on the project list.

Warning: What I am about to show you may be disturbing…

HERE IT IS.

My home office. The space where I spend 99.9% of my day. The space that I’m supposed to be creative in and produce inspiring content. Perhaps this is why I haven’t been able to get my blog off the ground — how can anyone be creative in a space that looks like this? The plan is to transform it into a dual purpose space. I need it to function as an office/creative space, but also serve as a guest room if/when this pandemic ever ends. Even though the room is hideous right now, it has lots of potential. So stay tuned for more.

(Hoping my cute pup will distract from the hot mess of a room.)

So there ya have it! My life and dreams summed up for you guys to judge get to know me 😉 I can’t wait to share this project and mentee journey with you guys. Like Em, I’m an open book (and sometimes long-winded) so be sure to follow along on my personal blog and social media where I’ll be sharing all the nitty-gritty details, updates, behind the scenes, etc. 

Blog: www.eastandlane.com

Youtube: www.youtube.com/eastandlane

IG/FB/Pinterest: @eastandlane 

I’d be remiss if I didn’t end this with a huge THANK YOU to the EHD team for this opportunity. And to all of you for welcoming me with open arms… and making it to the end of this post.  

Talk to you guys soon!

xx Key

Fin Mark

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Angelika

How exciting! Can’t wait to read more from you!
Your kitchen turned out lovely and I’m looking forward to your home- office redo.
Best wishes from a fellow small-town-gal (albeit in Austria)

Hi!!! Love meeting fellow small-town-gals and the fact that you’re from Austria makes it even better!!! Can’t wait to share this journey with you. Thank you so much for following along!

RB Brown

Welcome Key, so glad to have you here and can’t wait to see what your creative space will become!! The kitchen is gorgeous!

I’m SO glad to be here! The kitchen was definitely a labor of love, but so happy with how it turned out! Can’t wait to start on the office. Thank you so much for following along!

Leigh H

So excited to follow your journey! All the best to you.

Thank you so much!!

Emily

Welcome Key! I’m looking forward to following your office project. Your kitchen makeover is gorgeous and inspiring and I can already tell that I love your voice and writing style!

Thank you so much for your kind words! I can’t wait to share the office project with you!

Herselfindublin

Welcome Key, really looking forward to seeing what you do with your home office. That kitchen transformation is stunning!

Hi!!! So excited to start working on the office. Thank you so much!

Kiana

Congratulations on the internship and the new house… Such possibilities! Is your name pronounced Kee-ahna? If so, mine too! Never met someone with my name 🙂

Thank you!!! Yes, we have the same name! I like your spelling better though 😉

Amy

Hi Key! That one pic of you and D looks like downtown Berlin, MD. Congrats on the mentorship, I just checked out your kitchen re-do and it is super cute! Looking forward to hearing and seeing more from you. Take care!
Amy

Hi!!! Thank you so much! It’s actually downtown Salisbury, MD, but we used to live in Berlin! Are you from the area??

Catherine

Hi, Key! What you did with that kitchen is nothing short of amazing… I LOVE the floor! I’m very much looking forward to following along with your office makeover. I think in this current age of WFH, many of us could use home office inspiration. I love your personal style, too. I’m glad you were selected for the EHD mentorship!

Hi!!! Thank you so much! The floor is one of my favorite updates— the previous floor was hideous! I’m so excited to start on my office. I don’t think I realize how much having an office that represents me/my style is going to improve my creativity. Can’t wait!

Karen T.

Awesome and congratulations! I just checked out your blog–it’s beautiful! As a former Baltimore resident who still travels monthly (pre-COVID)to the area for work, I’m so excited to follow a blog with a fresh perspective.

Thank you so much! I am actually in the process of updating my website, so hopefully you’ll like the new one when it launches! and LOVE that you’re from Baltimore– love meeting fellow Marylander’s. Thank you for following along!

WOW! How did your landlord get so lucky? Can’t wait to see your next redo. And by the way, your current home office is NOT a hot mess – you are too neat to let that happen.

Haha! My landlord is one pretty lucky dude, if I must say! My office is an “organized” hot mess, how bout that? lol Thanks so much for following along!

nancy m

So so so into this! As a renter I use this blog as inspiration, but Key will give me REAL possibilities! Thank you!!!!

YESSS!! Love meeting fellow renters <3 I feel like so much content is focused on homeowner renovations, so excited to bring some inspiring content for renters. Thanks so much for following along!

K

I’m so excited to follow along with Key! I live in Maryland too and used to work at Howard! 🙂

Omg, no way! Love it! Thank you so much for following along!

Suzanne

I love this already! I’m looking forward to your content!

Thank you so much!!

Molly

So excited to meet you and take a look at your blog. Your kitchen transformation is incredible and really inspiring too. I have countertops that I hate and you have me REALLY considering making the switch to butcher block. Welcome aboard! And congrats on being selected for the mentorship. Can’t wait to see what you do in your home office, which is far from a hot mess by the way!

Deb

Check out the butcher block at IKEA. We used in our laundry room reno and it has worked out well.

Yes, a lot of people use the IKEA butcher block! Mine are from Lumber Liquidators.

Hi!!! Thank you so much! I was leary about butcher block at first because of the maintenance, but I love it! It so durable and easy to maintain, and you can’t beat how affordable it is! There are levels to “hot mess”, my office is more of an “organized hot mess” lol

Kelly

So happy for you, Key! Can’t wait to see what you do with that room!

Thank you so much!!

Olivia

Nice to meet you Key!! Just before the pandemic we moved to St. Mary’s County for my husbands work (I’m sure you can guess what he does). It has been definitely interesting moving from Southern California to small town Maryland. So excited to see more from your rental makeover… that kitchen is beautiful!!

Welcome to Maryland! (I’ve actually always wanted to live in Southern California). Small town living is definitely a change of pace, but can’t beat the peace and tranquility that comes with it. Thanks so much for following along!

Patricia

You already have all the skills you need. All you need is the platform. I’m looking forward to seeing more great ideas. I need ideas on how to make our apartment the forever home of our dreams. We downsized almost four years ago. I can do better. I’m hoping you’ll inspire me.

Thank you so much!! That is currently what I’m trying to do as well– trying to make my rental feel like a dream home. Can’t wait to share this journey and projects with you!

Liz

Welcome! So excited to see you here!

Hi!! So happy to be here!

Welcome! It’s going to be fun!

Hi!!! I can’t wait!

Kimberly

Love that kitchen update! Really enjoy the content that shows what’s possible without a full gut reno.

Thank you so much! I actually surprised myself by how a few little changes here and there can make a BIG impact. One day I hope to buy a fixer upper and do a full gut reno…

Welcome! So happy to meet you and follow along your journey and learning experience! Congratulations!!!

Thank you for following along! Looking forward to sharing all the nitty gritty details with ya!

Karen

So exciting! Love that you are doing a small budget reno on a rental! I am a fellow renter and always want to make changes without breaking the bank.

Thank you! Yes, its definitely a challenge working on a small budget but its been fun finding creative ways to make this rental feel more like home! Excited to share more!

Hey Key! I stumbled upon your blog last month when I was watching kitchen makeovers on YouTube. I’m sure that your landlord was over-the-moon ecstatic with the update you did. It’s stunning! I know that you’ll bring so much value to the EHD site. Pumped to see your office makeover, and get to know you better on all your social platforms.

Hi!!! So happy you found me! Yes, my landlord says he hit the “tenant jackpot” lol. Thanks so much for following along, and can’t wait to share more makeover with ya!

Rusty

Key! Hello 😃 from Australia!

This is so good.
Your landlord is so lucky.
You won the EHD jackpot!!!

But, we won too, coz we get to share the goodies that await us through your (and the EHD Team’s) work and dedication.

Um, we need to know your scruffy dawg’s name. All furkids have names.
Whatzit???

Emily and team… good choice! Walkin’ that talk! Yaaay! 👍

Hugz,
Rusty xx

So cool that you’re from Austrailia! I’ve always wanted to travel there! I feel so lucky to be the first EHD mentee and I’m so grateful for this opportunity! I can’t wait to really dive in and start to share this journey with you guys and everything I learn along the way! Thank you so much for following along. And the pups name is Sophie (and I have a Cat, named Bear).

Lesley

Super excited for this content. I love her voice!

Thank you so much!

Lucy

Welcome, Key! Can’t wait to see more of your work. We just bought a home in teeny-tiny Oxford, MD, so just down the road. It’s a beautiful part of the country and we’re excited to get to know the surrounding area.

Hi Neighbor!! I’ve traveled through Oxford, and it’s absolutely beautiful! Congrats on your new home! I know you’ll love small-town living <3

fancy seeing you here!!! can’t wait to work on more projects together AHHH!

Who is this new mentee girl everyone is talking about!?! 🙃 Can’t wait either!! xoxo

Tyan Taubner

I’m so glad you’re here! I just checked out your kitchen videos on your blog and I’m really impressed! I’m a home owner, but my favorite makeovers involve the creativity required to transform a space on a budget. You also have a lovely presence. Can’t wait to see where this takes you!

I’m thrilled to be here! Thank you so much! I have to give kudos to my husband for making my videos look so good lol. Excited to share more with ya!

Yay! It looks like Keyanna is the perfect choice!

Thank you so much!!

Debraj76

Congratulations on winning the EHD mentorship! It surely will be a great springboard for your creativity. The arrangement with your landlord is brilliant – a true “win-win”. After seeing what value you bring to his property, perhaps that tiny budget will expand a wee bit! The kitchen looks fabulous. Can’t wait to see more!

Thank you!! I’m so grateful for this opportunity and can’t wait to share this journey with you! Yes, it’s definitely a win-win. Hoping to tackle the bathrooms soon so fingers crossed that the budget expands a wee bit! Thanks for following along!

Kristine C.

Hi Key! Wow…you sure are multi-talented! Can’t wait to see more of your inspiring design work (and your photos are beautiful) on EHD, plus I’ll be sure to follow your blog and insta. Congrats on the mentee win!

Haha, Thank you!! I definitely have a lot of passions, but can’t wait to merge them all on my blog! Thank you so much for following along on this journey with me <3

Heather

Your kitchen turned out beautiful!! Can’t wait to follow along ❤️

Thank you so much for following along!!

Suzanne

Welcome, Key! I love the transformation you did on your kitchen and can’t wait to see your treatment of a multifunctional space. I put a Murphy bed in my guest room, which allows to put away when we don’t have guests. We went with a custom built in, because we own our home, but maybe you can do something portable to take with you when it’s time for your next home. Looking forward to hearing more of your voice!

Hi!! That’s such a good idea! Especially now, since we can’t have guests (because of the pandemic) it would be nice to have a murphy bed that can be concealed when not in use. I’ll have to give that some thought… Can’t wait to share more with ya! Thanks so much for following along!

PK

Yay! Your blog is beautiful and the kitchen makeover is inspiring Key! So great to see diverse voices on the EHD site! Welcome and looking forward to seeing future posts from you.

Thank you so much!!

No way! Though I now live in Victoria, British Columbia, I was born in the teeny, rural Eastern Shore, MD, town of Centreville. My dad lives in Annapolis and the rest of my family is still out that way. Such a treat to meet you, Key! Excited to follow you here and on your blog! Thank you for sharing and inspiring!

And looks like maybe, from your insta, you’re in Salisbury? My aunt lives there:). So funny, the excitement and connection I feel over finding you’re in that corner of the world!

OMG, how cool! Yes, I live in Salisbury! What a small world <3

Yay!

alexa

Congrats and best of luck with the mentorship!

Thank you!!

Elise

Welcome, Key. And congratulations on the mentorship. You did an amazing job on your kitchen renovation. Looking forward to seeing/reading more from you.

Thank you so much! Can’t wait to share more with ya! Thank you for following along <3

Jeanne

Excited to see your work. Your rental is absolutely adorable!!

Thank you!!

LouAnn

Welcome. Very happy to see an East Coast, small town designer featured here. Looking forward to seeing how you tackle your office. 😉

Hi! So happy to be here! Can’t wait to share the project with ya!

Heidi

I love the yoga pup! Looking forward to your posts.

Haha thanks! Her name is Sophie. Excited to share more <3

Maureen

Hi Key! Welcome. I can’t wait to see what you do with your office. The kitchen looks beautiful! What a transformation.

Thank you so much! Can’t wait to share with ya!

Mikiel

Key, your voice comes through clearly, and I can’t wait to read and see more from you. I’m glad you got this opportunity to grow your platform and showcase your talent.

Thank you so much! I’m so grateful for this opportunity and excited to share this journey with you <3

Paula

Welcome, Key! Love your personal style (and your hubby is a hottie!). Looking forward to seeing lots of content from you.

Hi! Thank you so much! And yes, the hubs is quite the hottie, lol. Can’t wait to share this project with ya!

Marci Lambert

so excited to watch you transform your space! i grew up in easton but moved after college. the Shore is a great place to live!

I LOOOVVEE Easton! I thought about moving away after college, but the Shore stole my heart <3 Thanks so much for following along!

Janean

Oooo, my kind of design! The tiny-budget renting kind. I’m here for this project, Key!

Haha, Exactly! Thanks so much for following along!

Kelly

Very exciting! I’m looking forward to following Key’s journey, and I’m glad that Emily and team are making this investment that I’m certain will pay off.

So grateful for this opportunity! Thanks so much for following along!

Elaine

Hi Key…from West Cork, Ireland (also small town country…probably teeny tiny town country by US standards!). You have a beautiful aesthetic and from your video it seems you have a great attitude and beautiful personality too. Wishing you continued success and looking forward to seeing more from you.

Hi!!! The smaller, the better, in my opinion– I’m sure your town is absolutely beautiful! Thank you so much for your kind words and for following along!

What a cliffhanger!! Can’t wait to see the transformation of your office/creative haven! 🙂

Hehe! Stay tuned…

So excited to meet you! Love your work AND your message. Thanks for sharing your world with us. Can’t wait to see more!!

So nice to meet you!! Thank you so much. Can’t wait to share this journey with ya!

Melody Christensen

Welcome Key! Em is right, beautiful voice, beautiful you. Your kitchen is amazing given what little budget you had to work with. Great job!

You’re too sweet! Thank you so much!!

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