Browsing Tag

web design

Love a la Carte

Great Things and Gratefulness

1 July, 2011

A list of great things and things I’m grateful for:

♥ sunny days ♥ Great Big Sea ♥ learning my way around a new part of the country ♥ Dirty Gold’s EP – Roar (pretty much obsessed – I play it at least once a day) ♥ Bodoni font face ♥ researching best practices for small businesses ♥ all the little things we usually take for granted (fresh water and food, a roof over my head) ♥ my awesome friends made through social media ♥ reading awesome material, like the Dark Wife (a revisionist retelling of the myth of Persephone),  the Adventures in Manifesting course materials, and Danielle LaPorte’s Spark Kit (affiliate link) ♥ Ghostly International ♥ Gala Darling’s Body Pressure in the Blogosphere: Bloggers Speak Up ♥ updating, editing, and reworking our family cookbook ♥ registering domain names ♥ big sunglasses ♥ getting out the first 500 words of fiction in what seems like forever ♥ large, dangly earrings ♥ Chocolat ♥ 30 Rock ♥ gin & tonic ♥ Google+ ♥ learning PHP coding language while finding my way around the back end of WordPress (Thanks, Smashing WordPress!) ♥ getting up with the sun ♥ looking at pictures that remind me of great times with great friends ♥ cups of coffee in every shape, size, and variation ♥

 

Blog

Wired for Success in 2010

2 June, 2010

I wrote this post back in January, but considering it’s been almost 6 months since then (oh, MY GOODNESS it’s flown by!), I thought I should post it again as both a reminder to myself what I want to accomplish and a means of checking in on my progress.

The other day, I read a great article on Chris Brogan‘s blog about Wiring Yourself for Success in 2010. He suggests that, instead of making the traditional New Year’s Resolutions and following them up with endless to-do lists, a better alternative is to set goals and lay out mind maps or frameworks for how to accomplish those goals with multiple paths to the same end result. So, instead of laying out resolutions like “lose 30 pounds”, he says he chooses to set a fitness goal and focuses on one word (in this case, active). He then writes out multiple ways, or paths, to achieve this goal and any distractions or obstacles that might prevent him from accomplishing it, then lists out a few steps to take on his path to success, what the “finish line” looks like (3-5 activities a week, looser jeans, a need to go shopping), and ultimately what comes after he has achieved this goal (step up activity level, try something challenging).

Rather than static goals and infinite to-do lists, this approach is accessible and fluid. If you slip up, there’s no need to start over, simply reassess and redirect, keep working your way to that goal. It’s encouraging, motivating, and makes so much sense.

Chris suggests picking three words for the year to start with. Mine will be: Learn, Create, Invest.

Learn

study

  • Goal word: LEARN
  • Path 1 to the goal: formal classes (I’m in the process of signing up for graphic design classes)
  • Path 2 to the goal: utilize free time
  • Path 3 to the goal: integrate into work life
  • Distractions: work, other goals, social and leisure activities
  • Steps to the path: sign up, work hard in, and excel at online graphic design classes; find free or inexpensive photography tutorials and practice with both digital and 35mm film cameras; read, read, read; observe professionals online and reach out to ask for guidance; work closely with my boss on creative projects and professional development opportunities
  • The finish line: working knowledge and understanding of typography and layout in print and online media, five photography sets each with a different concentration (aperture, focus, f-stop, filter, flash, etc.); enough knowledge to push forth and create my own website.
  • What’s next: use new knowledge to complete own website, portfolio.

Create

paintbrush

  • Goal word: CREATE
  • Path 1 to the goal: build own website
  • Path 2 to the goal: continue blogging
  • Path 3 to the goal: create my own style look
  • Distractions/obstacles: time management, lack of patience
  • Steps to the path: create a logo for my new online identity/website, layout and design of site, code it, update it; post to blog at least twice each week, keep new and exciting features coming and continue with features which I have already started, keep it fresh and relevant; add at least three home-sewn pieces of clothing to my wardrobe; make at least three pieces of jewelry; clean out any old or outdated pieces and donate to charity; take photos to document looks
  • The finish line: a comprehensive, cohesive style and look in person and online; a brand I am proud to push forth in the world
  • What’s next: continue to refine look, organize and style home spaces and document with photos, label, periodically refresh look online and in person

Invest

piggy bank

  • Goal word: INVEST (I had originally picked “Smart”, but changed it to a verb – I like “doing” words and investing sounds smart, doesn’t it?)
  • Path 1 to the goal: invest financially
  • Path 2 to the goal: invest my time
  • Path 3 to the goal: invest in myself
  • Distractions: cash flow, time management, the usual social and leisure distractions
  • Steps to the path: eat well (no nitrates, chemicals, preservatives, or hormones, eating a balanced diet, eating often but not lots at once), exercise (walking, biking, and getting out more), learning to view spending money on myself as an investment and not wasteful, do something every week that I can be proud of – whether that’s creating a piece of artwork or excelling at a project at work or donating time or money to a charity I support, spend money and time on quality and not quantity
  • The finish line: owning only things that are quality and useful and nothing that can be considered clutter, visible results in health improvement via physical appearance and in hormone test results, a savings account not linked to a checking account that has a small amount in it only used in cases of emergency, a list of accomplishments at the end of 2010 that will challenge me to do even better in 2011
  • What’s next: paying down debt on student loans, investing money, a list of equally challenging goals for 2011

Image credits: Learn – Dubio; Create – Thanushyan; Invest – Jordan Liang.

Analysis on my progress with these goals coming soon. In the meantime, I’d love to know what challenges and goals you set out for yourself in 2010. How are you doing with them?

Blog

Wired for Success in 2010

13 January, 2010

The other day, I read a great article on Chris Brogan‘s blog about Wiring Yourself for Success in 2010. He suggests that, instead of making the traditional New Year’s Resolutions and following them up with endless to-do lists, a better alternative is to set goals and lay out mind maps or frameworks for how to accomplish those goals with multiple paths to the same end result. So, instead of laying out resolutions like “lose 30 pounds”, he says he chooses to set a fitness goal and focuses on one word (in this case, active). He then writes out multiple ways, or paths, to achieve this goal and any distractions or obstacles that might prevent him from accomplishing it, then lists out a few steps to take on his path to success, what the “finish line” looks like (3-5 activities a week, looser jeans, a need to go shopping), and ultimately what comes after he has achieved this goal (step up activity level, try something challenging).

Rather than static goals and infinite to-do lists, this approach is accessible and fluid. If you slip up, there’s no need to start over, simply reassess and redirect, keep working your way to that goal. It’s encouraging, motivating, and makes so much sense.

Chris suggests picking three words for the year to start with. Mine will be: Learn, Create, Smart.

Learn

study

  • Goal word: LEARN
  • Path 1 to the goal: formal classes (I’m in the process of signing up for graphic design classes)
  • Path 2 to the goal: utilize free time
  • Path 3 to the goal: integrate into work life
  • Distractions: work, other goals, social and leisure activities
  • Steps to the path: sign up, work hard in, and excel at online graphic design classes; find free or inexpensive photography tutorials and practice with both digital and 35mm film cameras; read, read, read; observe professionals online and reach out to ask for guidance; work closely with my boss on creative projects and professional development opportunities
  • The finish line: working knowledge and understanding of typography and layout in print and online media, five photography sets each with a different concentration (aperture, focus, f-stop, filter, flash, etc.); enough knowledge to push forth and create my own website.
  • What’s next: use new knowledge to complete own website, portfolio.

Create

paintbrush

  • Goal word: CREATE
  • Path 1 to the goal: build own website
  • Path 2 to the goal: continue blogging
  • Path 3 to the goal: create my own style look
  • Distractions/obstacles: time management, lack of patience
  • Steps to the path: create a logo for my new online identity/website, layout and design of site, code it, update it; post to blog at least twice each week, keep new and exciting features coming and continue with features which I have already started, keep it fresh and relevant; add at least three home-sewn pieces of clothing to my wardrobe; make at least three pieces of jewelry; clean out any old or outdated pieces and donate to charity; take photos to document looks
  • The finish line: a comprehensive, cohesive style and look in person and online; a brand I am proud to push forth in the world
  • What’s next: continue to refine look, organize and style home spaces and document with photos, label,  periodically refresh look online and in person

Invest

piggy bank

  • Goal word: INVEST (I had originally picked “Smart”, but changed it to a verb – I like “doing” words and investing sounds smart, doesn’t it?)
  • Path 1 to the goal: invest financially
  • Path 2 to the goal: invest my time
  • Path 3 to the goal: invest in myself
  • Distractions: cash flow, time management, the usual social and leisure distractions
  • Steps to the path: eat well (no nitrates, chemicals, preservatives, or hormones, eating a balanced diet, eating often but not lots at once), exercise (walking, biking, and getting out more), learning to view spending money on myself as an investment and not wasteful, do something every week that I can be proud of – whether that’s creating a piece of artwork or excelling at a project at work or donating time or money to a charity I support, spend money and time on quality and not quantity
  • The finish line: owning only things that are quality and useful and nothing that can be considered clutter, visible results in health improvement via physical appearance and in hormone test results, a savings account not linked to a checking account that has a small amount in it only used in cases of emergency, a list of accomplishments at the end of 2010 that will challenge me to do even better in 2011
  • What’s next: paying down debt on student loans, investing money, a list of equally challenging goals for 2011

Image credits: Learn – Dubio; Create – Thanushyan; Invest – Jordan Liang.

Blog

The Bold Adventure

7 July, 2009

I decided that adventure was the best way to learn…
Lloyd Alexander

In the spirit of adventure, I begin this blog post with butterflies in my stomach and a firm sense of determination to succeed. I recently volunteered to completely redesign and develop my organization’s website, a feat I have yet to accomplish in any kind of amateur experiment and one which I hope to accomplish in just the next six months. Not only will this be my first ever website of any significant size, but it will reflect my own drive, creativity, and perfectionist nature.

By allowing myself virtually no margin for error, I’ve ensured two things: 1) I will do my absolute best on this project, beginning to end, and 2) I will not be pleased with the outcome at launch.

There are good things and bad about both of those things, especially since this is my first project of this volume and depth. (And, while I may not be 100% pleased with the outcome of the site at its launch, because websites are live and can be edited, I will have the opportunity to improve upon it after its unveiling.) However, it is a grand adventure and I look forward to both the extreme highs and the inevitable pitfalls of such a project. It is my understanding that most people, when first learning how to design and develop websites, start off with one piece of the process, master it, then add another piece and repeat until they have fully mastered how to organize, develop, design, code, and launch a website gradually.

Due to the financial restrictions of working in a non-profit and my desire to learn the entire process, I volunteered to take on the complete redesign, beginning to end, as a solo endeavor. It both scares me and excites me.  It is the best of experiments and the most humbling of challenges. I look forward to sharing my experiences, both the frustrating and uplifting, on this blog and welcome any advice or encouragement from its readers.

And so, I look forward to this and embrace the challenges before me. For, as Ovid once wrote, “The bold adventurer succeeds the best.”

Follow Friday Recommendations

Follow Friday: Genuinely Awesome Guys

26 June, 2009

This week’s edition of Twitter #followfriday recommendations includes some great men who provide helpful links, engage with their followers, and are genuinely awesome, as well as awesomely genuine:

christopherscot Christopher Scott (@christopherscot): Not only a great web designer, but also friendly and helpful. He’s a self-professed hipster technocrat and Apple fanboy, as well as animal lover, husband, and home owner. (Check out his site.)
Peter Kobel (@TheEcoist): Peter sends out many helpful green links, his Twitstream is full of interesting articles, blogs, features, and talking points. If you’re into greening the environment, you should also check out his webpage and blog at www.peterkobel.com.
Brian Cray (@briancray): Brian is has a wide variety of interests and skills, which include just about anything and everything to do with the internet and posts really great resources on all of them. If you want to know more about web development or social media, he’s your man.
Blog

My Invaluable Online Education

4 June, 2009

This post was inspired by my evolving online education in social media, public relations, graphic design and web development and this content-rich blog entry by Arik Hanson, who outlines his free and easily accessible online Social Media MBA.

apple

When I started college, I put my love for fine art on the back burner in order to educate myself in something I thought would be both more lucrative and more worthwhile. Toward the end of my four years at my university, I found myself applying to many jobs, thinking I would get some experience and likely need to go back to school in order to finally get into mediation, teaching, or professional research. I observed my friends who had studied crafts and trades, who had received practical, hands-on experience in their respective fields, producing amazing things. I had shied away from studying art because what could be practical in that? I didn’t want to be a starving artist forever.

Ironically, my friends who studied in arts and design, communications, journalism, audio production, and media arts had full portfolios and were able to market themselves well. It was those friends who were accepted easily into graduate schools or found themselves employed with full potential for a long and exciting career in their fields.

In the years since my graduation, I have felt that I lack a creative outlet. Everything leading up to this point in my life is now pointing in the directionof learning graphic design and website development, so I decided (at least for now) to ignore traditional means of studying this field and to get my (mostly) FREE education online.

Here’s an outline of what my invaluable online education looks like:

Instructors: VeerleGrace Smith. Chad Engle. Cameron Senior. Jacob Cass. Chris Spooner, among others.

Required Reading: NetTuts+. PsdTuts+. MyInkBlog. SixRevisions. Minervity. Web Design Ledger. Smashing Magazine. You the Designer. Web Designer Wall. Web Designer Depot.

Syllabus: The syllabus is fluid and fits to my schedule, because I decide when I have time, when I don’t, and when I should finish any projects I might be working on. This could include anything from the importance of writing clean code to manipulating photographs or working on a mock-up of a layout for a new website.

Labwork & Homework: Reading up on new blogs, following links on Twitter, finding websites that speak to me and viewing the page source, sketching in my Moleskine. I do a lot of work in Dreamweaver and Photoshop, but you could just as easily use minimalist text editor like WordPad or TextEdit and a free image editing software like Gimp if you wanted to save the money on those programs.

 It’s such a great way to learn and I have gained a lot of knowledge and exponentially increased my skill set in just the past couple of months since I have made this decision to seek out my own education rather than enroll in a program. I look forward to learning more in the area as I add to all the lists above. Once I have sufficiently mastered html, CSS, and converting a PS layout into html for a website, I can move on to learn other coding languages. I plan on furthering my hobby in photography and teaching myself how to use Illustrator to round out my graphics skills.

This version of education may not exactly be orthodox, but it is certainly time- and cost-effective!

If you have suggestions on other blogs or websites to read or programs to use, please feel free to leave comments. I’m always looking to learn more and appreciate input from friends and colleagues.