Saying Goodbye to Little Brown Pen

Nichole Robertson, Paris, Rue Montorgueil

For the past few months, we toyed with the idea of changing the name of our studio from Little Brown Pen to Obvious State. Evan and I have some very exciting projects planned for 2013 that will take us in new directions, and felt that the legacy of Little Brown Pen was limiting how we saw the future. But inertia kept us from changing, and we put off the decision.

Well the universe gave us a big kick in the pants this past weekend when our website, littlebrownpen.com, suddenly stopped working. A quick investigation revealed an unauthorized transfer of our domain. Without boring you with the details, we no longer own the domain, and we’re not sure we’ll get it back.

Now that the initial shock is over, however,  we’ve found the silver lining. We inadvertently got what we wanted! And now 48 hours later, we have our new site, our new name, and we’re ready to get back to work on all the great projects we have planned for 2013 (fear not, Francophiles, there’s more Paris-related fun on the way).

We would really appreciate it if you update your bookmarks and spread the word. The one real loss is our inbound links. We hope people can find us!

We both want to thank you for your support over the years, and hope you’ll enjoy coming along for the ride this year.

- Nichole


  • Some decisions we make, and some are made for us. Either way, I have found it is my approach to that change, my ability to adapt and handle it with grace and enthusiasm, that has turned those decisions into a positive thing. Change is an opportunity for growth, and I’m so excited for you that the foundation for your new growth is one you’ve longed for. Of course you’ll miss the old name, but who you will be come… ahh, that perhaps will soon be Obvious State. Good luck!

  • Hi Karen.

    Thanks so much! You are right. Sometimes abrupt change can push us in the right direction. I’ve certainly had moments in life that pushed me (abrupt move to Paris in 2009 was one of them).

  • New year, new chapter! Albeit uncomfortable, change is good. We all know this. And I have to say, I really like this change! Hope you’re settling in nicely to your new digs!

  • Such is life. I think you’re right though, it was all for the best. I just had a snafu that sent all 35000 of my photos into ONE giant event in my Iphoto library. It took me days to divide them all back up but in the process I got rid of about 10,000 duplicates and junk photos. Now that I look back on it, it too was for the best. I’m more organized and smarter…I hope.

    Good luck and I can’t wait to see what you two cook up this year. I’ll spread the word.

  • I wish you all the best with your new adventure! Life is about the ride. Change is good, it keeps the ride exciting and fun! I look forward to seeing where your new path takes you!

  • I like the new name! Good luck with the new site, I’m sure it will be a great succes. Look forward to keeping up with you guys!

  • Yes, I logged on yesterday and found LBP was gone…stopped my heart, so I am glad to find this post. Amazing that this could happen…happy for the new direction, but not sure what Obvious State is telling us.

    • Hi Gayle!

      Thank you. We’ll definitely be posting more about our name and direction in the near future. My projects are still very much related to Paris, so not much will change on my end. It’s where we’re going together and my husband’s work that’s rather new and exciting (well to us, anyway – ha!).

  • Talk about the universe giving you a huge sign! I am sure you’ve just gone though a SUPER stressful weekend, though. Hope you guys enjoyed a glass of wine (or three) after you got this all up and running. It looks amazing and I can’t wait to see what’s next.

    Thanks for the memories, LBP. And heLLO there, Obvious State!

  • Hi Nicole. gotta admit I freaked a little when I checked LBP this a.m. and YIKES! you weren’t there. But I found you and that’s the important thing. Glad you’re happy. Good luck to you and Evan in your new endeavors. I’ll be watching :)

  • In as much as we angst- sometimes a push (yes, the one that knocks us over the edge) is just what we need to move us closer to our dreams… Obvious State [of being in Paris] … hmm, I cannot think of a better one. Good luck with your new site and best wishes for an adventurous 2013!

  • So sorry to hear about all your website troubles, Nichole! That stuff is SO not fun to deal with. But I’m excited for this rebirth of your website and your brand. Looking forward to what 2013 has in store for you!

  • good for you for looking at it positively. Change is not always easy (so much more simple just to keep doing the same thing) but it’s usually for the better – so looking forward to seeing what kind of new things you have in store.


    Oh, I was so worried when I did my usual blog rounds at the end of the day and you weren’t there. An etsy search turned up your ParisPrintShop, which led me to the words “formerly Little Brown Pen” and my heart just sank! Thankfully, I kept reading to find you here.

    Bookmark is now updated, and I look forward to seeing all that’s new in 2013.

  • Hi Nichole, Wishing you and Evan the very best, which I know will come your way as you two are golden! Been so pleased that Obvious State has been so successful and very much looking forward to your new endeavors. Well done on turning the unwanted motion to your advantage!

    You’ve got me a bit terrified though about the domain loss. Can it happen so whimsically? Oh, dear (said the owner of many domains and websites)!

    Anyway, I’m sure this new direction will be brilliant. :)


  • Thank goodness I found you. I hope you will continue to write and inspire readers as you did in Little Brown pen. I love that site.

    • Hi Sylvana,

      In fact, I hope to write more. I was so busy with client work last year, that Little Brown Pen took a back seat. Client work is behind me (no more this year!), so I plan to get back to my own creative pursuits. Thanks for following along and for your kind words!

  • Like the saying goes ‘change is the only constant’… a bit rude of the peson(s) responsible for the unauthorised transfer of your domain… but you landed on your feet and like you said… the universe gave you the nudge. Needless to say I’m sure your success will continue.

  • Funny (well actually not funny at all) the same thing just happened to me. I’ve been morning over the loss of my web identity but in the back of my mind thinking about how I’ve growing apart from it for some time. You’ve just motivated me to let it go for good (not that o think I could actually get it back) and move on to something new.

    I’m looking forward to seeing what you and Evan are working on since it’s always awesome.

    • Oh no, Michelle! Sorry to hear it.

      Embrace the chance, though. We definitely felt like we needed a new outlook, and as annoying and horrible as this ordeal was, we are better off for it now.

      Still sorting through what happened and stumped.

  • oh…I feel like I’ve been stalking you because I kept checking and clicking and could not understand why I was being re-directed…I’m sure this must have caused you much frustration, but it looks like you have it all figured out. I love your work…both of you!

    • Thank you Annie! I was so annoyed thinking about all those people clicking and loading a blank page. The good news is, looks like we may be able to “purchase” our domain back. A waiting game, I guess, but eventually, we will be able to redirect.

      Thanks for your kind words!

  • Considering I don’t do Twitter or Facebook, it’s really lucky I found you again – I was one of those perplexed people when LBP didn’t show up anymore. A push is sometimes really good, even if one does not necessarily think so at the time. I’ll be looking forward to following your work here.


  • Congrats on your big move. I can just imagine how ticked I would have been if I were you, upon discovering what happened with your littlebrownpen.com domain. Here’s to great things for your new digs! I will definitely continue to follow your adventures and journey.

  • Yay – I thought for a second when I first read the subject line that it was going to be bad news! But I agree with Karen’s comment: some decisions we make, other decisions are made for us. What matters is how we react to them, and it looks like you have taken all of this into an amazing new direction for you! I’m excited to see what 2013 holds in store for you. In the meantime, I shall be updating my links with your new site! :)



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