Friday, May 20, 2011

A house is not a home

When I first moved into this apartment, I was so excited about finally having a place that is totally my own.  But I had no emotional connection to the apartment.  In college I was very attached to my apartment.  I feel attached to everything in here but not the apartment itself.  I love the massive amounts of organizational furniture, my giant red couch, my expandable kitchen table, my new bed, it truly feels like mine.  But the apartment, is apartment.  I had originally debated between a 1 bedroom and 2 bedroom apartment...simply, the cost of living here is astronomical so I figured a 1 bedroom would work.  Its not small by any means, just simple.  The list of damages when I moved in was huge.  I learned after a large sum due at the end of colleges to make a comprehensive list of damages when moving into a new space.  There's nothing major wrong, but let's just say, I won't cry when I move out of here in a year or so. I also won't miss whatever little critter likes to make scratchy noise over my bedroom at night in the roof crawl space.

Yet this space is still mine.  Even if its only for a short while.  It still feels like a home.  I cook dinner here, I sleep here, I layout on the giant chaise part of my couch when I want to relax, or do homework or blog.  So here's a sneak peek, hopefully a camera cord will find its way into my apartment for better pictures, but here's a piece of me.

That includes my lovely red couch with my laptop open, my purse dumped everywhere, my bike ready to roll despite the impending rain, my coffee table with all my wedding magazines under it.  This is where I am mostly me.  This is where my "house" is a home, because I've made it...mine.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Oh fudge

Things have certainly wound down a bit since my last post.  My weight sadly has been paying the price for my stress but things are a lot better.  Our wedding is officially set!  So far we have the church booked (Sept 15, 2012) the rehearsal booked the day before and the hall booked for that weekend.  It really is exciting.

So some of you may not know this but I'm a little obsessed with cooking.  If you haven't discovered Tasteologie or Tastespotting I highly recommend them both (if you want more links, let me know and I have many many others).  This past Friday I had a dinner party and met the item that certainly didn't help for my diet catastrophe this week.  Are you ready?  Despite the graininess I think you'll appreciate this (I'm sorry but I have no idea where my camera cable is in my unpacking madness...somewhere in the storage closet)

Hoooooooooly fudge.  That right there is key lime pie fudge ...also known as diet destructor. If you want to see what it looks like, click the link because its waaaay better than my kitchen counter picture.  Also, if you want to make it, I highly recommend reducing the  butter, maybe from 1/3 of a cup to 1/4 since the graham cracker/butter mixture never solidifies in the baking process.  So yes I whipped up that, some bbq (reserve a few tablespoons of bbq sauce for the last half hour and ketchup if it needs thickening), and key lime pudding (very good and low cal but be warned that since its sugar free jello, it doesn't dissolve completely, leaving some disgustingly gooey chunks).  A few friends brought drinks, chips and dip, potato salad, coleslaw (which I must get the recipe for) and amazing mini cheesecakes.  The smorgasbord was delicious.

The fiance and I are on a weight loss challenge to lose 5% of our current weight, loser buys the winner an UnderArmour workout outfit.  I was in the lead as of last week, however this week, he may take me with my gorging several times this week.

Also I bought a bike!  I bought a Magna Great Divide needed quite the tune up before it was rideable but seems to be working fine now.  I would like to upgrade eventually but I couldn't beat the $84 to get me through my 2 mile work commute.  Now to get some accessories for it...

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Now I'm no Bridezilla...

I'm still adjusting to the whole engagement process and what an adjustment it is!  For those of you who haven't ever been engaged (or if you have and you're a guy because trust me... its not the same) its kind of like taking every emotion, your life, and all your thoughts, pour them in a blender and crank it on high speed.  Don't even bother with a lid because there's going to be such a mess its not worth trying to save at all.  I have gone from extreme happiness to pure anger and everywhere in between!  EVERYONE seems to have an opinion on where the wedding should be, how large the wedding should be, what I should wear, what my colors should be and everything else!  We've quickly managed to limit our reception venues from nearly 100 to 3 due to size limits, poor lighting, potential bad weather for an outdoor reception and general pickiness.  Plus to top it all off one of the top three has refused to get back to me this week, yet my fiance was able to set up a tour date for us this Friday with one phone call (after my calling 3 times and emailing 4).  The whole process makes me feel like this:

image courtesy of sxc user sundstrom

Yeah that good.  But there are good pieces.  I have a theme (top secret for now), we know the church although we may have to change the date depending on a venue, we have our wedding party selected, our first dance song chosen.  In fact after we get through the next few weeks and finally solidify the date and reception, the rest should be smooth sailing.  Until then, I'm just trying to enjoy the ride and get life somewhat back to normal.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Bigger news

So I know I mentioned before that I was moving. Well I'm mostly settled in now...(ok that isn't entirely true...there are about 20 more boxes to go through but I certainly have a clear walking path around the apartment) and my boyfriend gave me the best housewarming gift ever...

An engagement ring!! After over three and a half years of dating, my future hubster, Mr. T (for his privacy's sake) proposed.  I was so delighted (still am...) soooo here's the story.

Friday last week was my day off work.  I had planned on scrubbing down the apartment walls (which smelled like smoke from the last tenant when it started to rain...ick) and finish unpacking furniture and a few other things.  Mr. T has every Friday off (he's self-employed) and was supposed to help me for about 6 hrs or so in the afternoon.  So I called him after running errands in the morning, only to find out rather than getting him for the afternoon/evening, I had his help for a grand whole two hours before he had to do some shuffling around to get his mom's car taken care of (back and forth between our county and the next one over).  Now I know its purely ironic, however almost everytime I let Mr. T know in advance that I need his help with something, something goes very wrong.  For example, it threatened to rain off and on.  When I lived 2 hours away from him, if I made dinner reservations, he would almost be almost 3 or 4 hours late.  So I was trying not to be angry but really I only have so much strength and I don't drive a cool pickup truck so I'm really only capable of doing so much.  So I spent my day scrubbing the walls and not even getting a quarter of the other stuff done.  I was so disappointed (and tired of living out of boxes to say the least).  So life goes on, what can you do right?  Well we did get together for dinner (almost 2 hours late) and at some point in dinner wedding stuff came up (keep in mind we've been dating more than 3 and a half is something we've been talking about) and I told him I thought I knew how he was going to do it.  To which he responded, and I quote, "Really?  I haven't thought about it at all."

Now I'm no hot head, but I was ticked.  Here I'd been scrubbing all day, working so hard on this apartment and all I get at the end of my long tough day is that he hadn't thought about it.  Awesome.

So the next morning we got together with my friend Miss A and her boyfriend Mr. J.  We took a tour of this topiary garden and when we got in the garden, A realized that she lost her necklace so she and J went to look for it.  So T was walking REALLY painfully slowly (granted that I'm constantly being told that I walk too quickly) and so I made some comment about it and he said he just didn't want to get too far ahead of A & J.  Ok fine.  So I spotted a bench and said "Hey lets sit and wait for them!" and was about to sit when he's like "Wait..." so I was totally stuck in this awkward half sit-half standing squat pose and he's just standing there.  And he says something like "So I love you so much (my eyes got super huge) and I love being here again with you and the last 3 and a half years have been amazing (I think I gasped noooooooo?!?! at that point and kinda froze with my hand on my mouth) and (I can't remember the rest honestly because I was going omg is this happening?!?!)..." but then he dropped to one knee, pulled the ring out and proposed and I teared up a little and said yes...I feel like I may have sort of snatched the ring out of his hand and put it on.

So after we were done smooching I felt SO BAD for being so mean Friday...especially when he told me his mom's car hadn't died...he was stuck in Annapolis traffic coming back with my ring!  And A (obviously) hadn't lost her necklace and was in on the whole thing.  Those turds.  :-D

So that's the story.  Also I was right.  I thought he was going to propse at the gardens but him saying that he hadn't thought about it totally threw me off.   

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


Ok so I know every time that I post I feel like I say something like "no really guys, I'm going to post more!  Promise!"  Well I'm actually not going to say that at all because today I have some big news.  That's right!  I'm accomplishing one HUGE goal that I set for the company for this year...

I'm Moving!

Yep that's right I am SO moving on April 1st!  This is my last full work week and then I'm leaving work next Wednesday afternoon to finish boxing up my life, Thursday I'll buy furniture and Friday I will officially be moving into a new apartment!  Lots of pictures to come.  I have a top secret livingroom theme and some awesome furniture selected so I'm VERY excited to pick it all up (not so excited about footing the bill but hey...its worth it).  Tomorrow the current tenant is being kind enough to let me measure for furniture (to make sure it all fits) and then maybe I'll do a quicky sketch of what it will look like :)

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Thirty six

Thirty six.  That is the number of exercises I have left to complete for school.  In...I believe 28 weeks (don't quote me on that though).  Holy crap.  My new plan seems to being well so far...(basically to do hw before watching tv for those of you tuning in) minus the fact that today I was performing my best impression of a zombie while alternating doubling over with cramps and playing mind numbing Facebook games (look I told you before, I am all about honesty here).  I meant to do schoolwork.  It just didn't happen.  Which is actually probably a good thing since it would be a wise idea to wait for a grade on my most recent assignment before handing in the next one.  Good in theory right?  Yeah not so much when my braaaaaains feel like they're going to pop out of my head at any given second.

I'm sorry.  That was graphic.  But really, I feel plain awful today.

So I was sitting here thinking about perhaps another blog since I can't go to bed at 8:30 on a work night... that's lame.  Even for me.  It occurred to me that I never really talk about school.  Sure, you know I'm in school, that I'm behind, what program it is and what not but I never really talk about it.  So now I will!

I'm currently in 2 classes, which is a great balance for me since I have a VERY limited attention span when it comes to school work at the end of the day.  So usually what happens is on a work night, I'll do more designed based stuff (since I generally code at work) and then on the weekends I'll code those parts and submit assignments.  Right now I'm taking Flash Web Design (something totally new) and Dreamweaver II (which I thought I rocked at Dreamweaver but man, I didn't know what I didn't know).  I hate to say this but I had the same teacher with Dreamweaver I and I'm not very creative with this class.  Its not for lack of effort on the work, trust me I certainly put plenty of time into the assignments. Its more that I'm so not used to doing things within Dreamweaver's design side (other than make sure that everything looks right) that I feel like I fixate more on getting things to be technically correct than artistic like most of my other work.  Don't worry, if I lost you, I have a perfect example.

This is my most recent Dreamweaver project that I submitted.  I realize that it looks rather plain, however there are some features that I tend to neglect such as borders, spry menus, overlaid background, etc that I really put time and effort into setting up correctly.  And then there's this:

My current Flash project (yes that's Latin, can explain Lorem Ipsum way better than I can).  You really can't compare the two!  Boring, plain yet technically proficient compared to fun, textured, loud and proud and exciting (btw the menu "signs" also drop down and change colors).

I'm having a hard time with this because I feel like I'm learning SO much great information in Dreamweaver II, yet my work comes out so blah!  Meanwhile, I really am having to work my butt off at Flash and it always turns out nicer than I expect.  UGH!

So yes, thirty-six assignments to go.  Plus the rest of life.  For now, since it is officially after nine o'clock which makes me not lame, this zombie is going to call it a night.

You say spoiled, I say selective

For those of you that may not know, I have recently started the great apartment hunt of 2011.  (side note:  now that I've typed that out three times it seems to be sticking despite blogger obviously not wanting me to post)  Apartment hunting in this area is...simply awful.  As a single (well dating but as far as Uncle Sam and my living situations are concerned...single) twenty some year old female that graduated in one of the worst economies possible, simply put, my dayjob certainly does not afford me a "cushy" lifestyle.  I'm happy at my job, don't get me wrong.  However a hefty raise would make looking for an apartment MUCH better!  Of course, that is also part of the reason why I started freelancing as well.  So I've started scouring the local advertisements and its a mess.  I have my eye on one particular community (also the most highly priced community I might add) which literally surrounds the area where I work, making my commute bike rideable if I so choose (YES PLEASE) but there are two other nearby areas that would be fine as well.  I'm quickly realizing that I need to make a list of my "MUST HAVES" vs my wants.  For example I came across a great ad tonight...reasonably priced, not in my preferred area but that was ok because its close enough, EVERYTHING included (super awesome), basement apartment (which is now on my list of things I probably don't want since I have no windows in my office and just not seeing light at all during the day would be so depressing) but there was one thing that made it a definite no for me.  Tell you what, let's make this a game.  I'll insert an image of the ad below and give you a chance to guess what isn't perfect about it for me.  Are you ready?  Here we go.
Normally I'll add credit from a site, but not this, but its a local site

Time's up.  Did you figure it out?  No?  Its the fact that there's no dishwasher.

Yes.  I am serious.  I'm sure that makes me sound awful but it is the truth.  I need a dishwasher where I live.  Not because I don't know how to wash dishes.  I do.  I hate hand-washing but I certainly know how to.  Its the fact that most days I work 9 hours, plus homework for an hour or two a night and 5 or 6 hrs each day of the weekend.  I'm sorry but if I have free time in the evening, I am NOT spending it washing dishes when I could have a machine do it for me.  Call it selfish, call it spoiled, call it lazy.  I don't care!  IT IS NOT HAPPENING.

So back to looking again and hoping I'll find a steal*

*sadly a steal is usually $800-850 not including electric, cable, internet etc for a 1 bed/1 bath

Saturday, March 5, 2011

There are two sides to every story

I ended up watching the Lifetime movie about the Amanda Knox trial last night.  Don't judge me, none of my shows that I would usually catch up on  weren't on this week apparently so my Hulu options were... lacking.  The movie wasn't bad.  It was relatively well written.  The actors didn't really wasn't bad.

But talk about a way to convict a girl.  I don't know if anyone followed the trial or not, I remember watching it on Good Morning America when it first started (my only news source in college other than the semi-weekly Towson University paper) and wondering how it all really played out.  It might sound silly but I was kind of hoping that the movie would shed some light or new evidence or something to make the whole thing a little more understandable... but it really didn't.  All it truly did was made Amanda Knox look really strange and in her own little world.  And guilty.  Now don't get me wrong, I definitely don't know the full background nor does anyone else.  Plus she was convicted as guilty but I really feel there are two sides to every story.  Lifetime..."Television for Women" is generally known for their "YAY THE WOMEN WIN AGAIN" consistent theme (plus the rare "this woman is bananas" movie).  But this movie just straight up convicted her.  With the current appeal, I really felt like this movie damaged Amanda's chance of an early release heavily with a bad spin in the media!  I really felt as though they truly could have done a better job at perhaps showing Amanda's side of the story more.  Just a thought!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Catching up

So I am slowly catching up on schoolwork, although its certainly taken me long enough!  Spring in the near future certainly helps with getting me motivated.  Remember my little article about getting organized?  Guess I should be the one paying attention to it.  I took Tuesday off which was a semi-smart idea.  On one hand, I got caught up on one school lesson and I'm hoping to get mostly through another tonight.  I think I found the problem to my being

It seems like I've been having a hard time hitting  my 15 hours of homework each week, yet I've managed to watch almost 13 hours a week.  See the same problem that I do?  So now I'm banking tv time by doing homework first, then watching "my shows."  So far its helped a ton!  I've already done almost 10 hours this week and right now I'm hoping to get at least 5 hours done each day tomorrow and Saturday.

I finally ordered supplies for my friend's baby announcements.  The envelopes came in today, now I just have to wait for all the other stuff!  Good thing I'm a bit ahead of time because she found out today she's due in 8-9weeks.  YIKES!  I better get cracking!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Back to catch up

I'm definitely over my my off week that I had a bit ago.  I've steadily been working on catching up on homework and I'm taking off work the first to catch up while taking a webinar with school.  Added bonus, its my Friday off this week soooo that leaves lots of time for potential schoolwork.  Of course this week is insane anyhow.  I have normal work through tomorrow, then as I mentioned Friday I'm off.  I love that my job gives me the opportunity to have every other Friday off, however I hate that I spend most of them running around catching up on errands.  This Friday will consist of a little homework, some errands, etc.  Then Saturday is another Annapolis shopping trip (while I know its only been 2 months since the last trip, believe it or not I don't think I've been in a couple years before then) and perhaps another Paper Source trip while we're out!  I certainly am going to have to stop at Franklin Covey to get some refills for my organizer!

One exciting project coming announcements for my friend's baby.  I'll be ordering paper and such this weekend, its really exciting!  Of course, I can't figure out how much work there is to do in advance, but I can do certain things like design the layout and start making the envelope lines so thats exciting!

Other than that, there really hasn't been much else new in the last little bit.  Tax time was a bit of a killer, but that's another post for another night!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

On being in a bit of a rut

Hey everyone.  So I am having an off week.  I feel like for every 2 great weeks I have, I have an off week.  I'm there.  I'm doing something at work that takes a lot more focus than what I'm used to, which means I've brought my ipod in and while it does help me crank out some epic documents, I think I would die of embarrassment if anyone caught me rocking out to The Phantom of the Opera or Moulin Rouge (who knows what I'll listen to tomorrow...) and it does make for some very long days.  I've hardly gotten any hw done this week and its just weighing on me.  Its silly but I do Weight Watchers (13.6 pounds to go) and if I don't eat right, I feel guilty.  If I don't work out, I feel worse.  If I do work out, I feel like I should have spent the time doing hw (and vice versa) and then I eat poorly from the stress and we're back to square one.  It may seem silly but that is simply how I work.  I'm starting to look for an apartment to lease starting this summer and the combination of things is weighing heavily on me (literally and figuratively speaking).  I'm looking forward to a bit of homework catch up on Friday since it seems like I'm simply not able to get anything done in the evenings here.  Hopefully I can get lots done this weekend since its free and I have a date day planned next Saturday.

I have to say a bit on twitter tonight.  Now I've used Twitter since...well before most of my friends knew what Twitter was.  Let me see that would be....summer 2007?  I think.  Anyhow, I have a personal twitter account which I really don't update too much anymore, and then there's the lineily one, which I honestly set up to get the company more established, network with other designers and artists and just really get the most of it.  Which is weird because with the personal one, I was a bit of a snob with who I allowed to follow me and who I followed and what not.  That's not to say I'm still not a snob about it, I am very selective of who I follow although Joe Blow can follow me and I won't stop him.  On the other hand tweeting at some people, I'll look at my comment later and its like "was that really necessary" and then other days there will be this great back and forth or I'll be able to helps someone with my limited web knowledge and its like "this is it, this is why I do what I do."  And I love every minute of it.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Shaking things up!

I have officially decided that this is no longer just the company blog.  This is officially now my personal blog.  The title for the blog has been renamed to "Confessions of a Designer", which is what this will be...there's a lot more to life just about goals, mistakes, learning experiences etc of my design firm.  Therefor, this will now be somewhat a mix of personal and business blogging.  I'm finding that without really expressing what's going on, while my bits on the company are informational, it really doesn't give much of a grip  Since this is my blog, I feel like unless you know me as a person, you certainly can't understand me as a designer.  So that's that.  Starting over from here.

So here is the whole story behind me.  I'm a 24 year old designer that has been designing for 5 years.  My background is a mix of information arena and advertising.  I usually have way too much on my plate and yet at the end of the day I still manage to pull it all together.  I have an amazing guy in my life, we'll call him T (since I'm not sure he'd appreciate me blogging about him much) who I've been dating for almost three and a half years.  I work full time as a designer, part time for my freelance company and about 15 hours a week on homework for my certificate in Advanced Web and Flash Design with Sessions College.  Consider this as the beginning of my blog, with my take on life, lessons, cooking, design and so much more!  I'll only be posting the links to design related blog posts on my twitter, but stay tuned for all of them!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

I was so wrong

So do you remember how a while ago I was like "blah blah blah you don't need to spend money to make money"...yeah...

I was wrong.

So wrong.  Well, not entirely long.  I mean if you make far more than you spend, you're probably ok to not have to invest in your own business.  If you're a start up, not so much.  Or at least, don't plan on buying anything.  This is the first time I've done business stuff at tax time and I'm not going to lie, its not pretty so far.  I mean its not bad, I thought I had done a good job of balancing everything (I have a positive balance in the business account) however I just got a lovely form in the mail called a personal properties assessment that is $300 just to file it!  It doesn't matter if the business doesn't have any property, as a LLC it still has to be filed.

I should really rename this blog confessions of a newbie design firm (hmmmm....maybe i will still...) but this blog isn't just to be about designing, its really sort of the documentation of this company growing.  Plus if there are any other startups reading this, I really feel like this is super important information!

So my dear audience, I have a question to pose...I originally intended for this to be a semi-weekly blog about the company/progress/etc.  However, there's really not a lot going on now, so I'm thinking of making this blog a little personal and a little business.  Otherwise, it will be a bit of unsteady flow since right now my main focus is getting ahead on school more than the company sooooo I'm thinking a bit of a mixup may be in order.  Thoughts?

Monday, February 7, 2011

Something New

So in case you haven't visited the blog or the website recently, I did a full revamp of the site!  There are some old things, some new things and a few things missing!  I thought it was time to break out of the monotone scheme and add in a little bit of color!  Granted that I am talking about super muted minimal color because really, the focus should be on the content, not on the design.  I've decided to take down the link to my Etsy until I actually have time to put some stuff up there, it just seemed logical.  But I didn't really want to talk about my website, I wanted to talk about building it!  I always had kind of wondered how to get from a concept to a site and while it seems like "duh just build it..." there's really more to it than that.  So here is my personal process:

1.  Get a clue

No have to have some sort of idea of what you want before you try to do anything else.  If you need some inspiration, check out Smashing Magazine for some terrific examples!  Sketch out some ideas, write out what you need to do, this is the time to do it!

2.  Pick your colors & images

Sometimes I find that the images you choose can completely change the design of the site.  Usually I like to have some sort of a theme first before matching images OR I gather all my images first and then customize the theme around it.

3.  Make a mockup

For me this is usually a 2 step process.  First I'll sketch out everything exactly how I want it layed out and then I'll translate it into a functioning wireframe of the site(with place holder images and text).

4.  Pull it all together

This is the point where I put all the content where it actually goes.  Make sure everything lines up like it should and all the images are formatted correctly.

5.  Break it!

Well actually, its probably already broken.  Unless you test a site as you go along, chances are pretty goof that there's something wrong with the code.  Sometimes you can just look at the site and realize that an image is out of whack or your code suddenly is showing up within the text...a good way to test is using the W3C Validator (they have a great CSS validator too).

6.  Publish it

I usually save this part for last.  Generally I'll put as much information the site I'm making in a hidden subsection where I post the site for testing and then publish the site on the actual page as the last piece.

I could be a lot more technical and tell you my full process but then I'd be out of a job, right?  But if you have any questions or want anything to add, I'd love to hear it!

Friday, January 28, 2011

On getting stuff straight

There are people that are super organized, always on the ball, have the super organized lives.  Well I'm not one of them.  Most people are a little too busy to worry about organization.  So I've developed a few tactics for getting organized and getting a little bit ahead.  I'm not necessarily talking about your office, just life in general.

Illustration via sxc user sraburton

1.  Find 15 minutes a day to get organized.

Whether its a matter of filing papers, picking up clothes off the floor or organizing your inbox, it all helps.

2.  Don't add to the mess.

When you bring new items into a cluttered area, take the time to put them away.  Even if you aren't done working through the old mess, it helps not to make it bigger.

3.  Once the area is straight, do something to clean it.

Dust off a desk, vacuum a floor, do something to clean a little.  If you do something to really clean more than just clear clutter, you'll be more likely to keep the area clean longer.

4.  Work on getting ahead.

One thing that I've found is that you have to be interested in being organized.  If you're behind, try to set aside 15 hours a week to work on catching yourself up on whatever it is.  Online classes, cleaning up clutter, anything!  Yes, this might tap into your "personal time" but your "personal time" is probably what got you behind to begin with.

5.  Go shopping!

While that may sound silly, it really is important!  This a two step process.  I find the easiest way to stay organized is to buy things that keep you interested in being organized.  If binders work, get them.  If its pretty folders, hanging tabs, whatever.  Buy it.  Sure, some of it may seem expensive, unnecessary, etc but if you think it will help in the long run, do it.

The second part is to reward yourself.  When the job is done, its important to reward yourself for the progress.  Go out for a nice dinner, get a manicure, something special.  I'm a firm believer in rewarding yourself when you do something well, otherwise you're likely to slip into old habits because there's no reason to preform the good habits.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

The smartest ad I've ever seen

Ok so first off let me say that this will most likely shatter any image of me being a responsible, mature adult.  I mean I truly am, but this will be an exception.

One hard part about marketing (which is honestly a whole new world for me) is knowing your target audience.  The obvious first reaction when considering your target audience is going "Well I want everyone to buy my product!" you really don't.  Just trust me.

So the back story behind this is that I was eating at Wegman's yesterday with some friends and we started discussing this new Diet Dr. Pepper ad where they apparently say...Enis.  No really.  That's what they said.  I didn't drop off a P.  But it totally sounds like it.  The link is below (please let me know if it dies and I'll try to find another), please know that this is not my video and I don't recommend anyone under 13 or with highly sensitive ears watching it ok here it is:

Doesn't it sound like they say p....?!  I'm trying to keep this G-rated but seriously!  But talk about knowing your target audience!  That commercial will make anyone with a slightly immature sense of humor laugh and replay it several times and then pass it onto their friends.  Hello...viral videos are one of the BEST ways to spread information about your marketing!  Not to mention that gets "Have you seen that DIET DR. PEPPER ad?" buzzing around in everyday conversations...great product placement!  Well done.  Even though its so wrong.

Also, I'm still aiming for 2 blog posts a week, but I think I'm revising my goal to be 110 posts this year total, which should beat the 2 a week average by just a few.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

I'm back!

I truly never meant to not blog this long.  Actually it was a goal of mine to blog twice a week every week this year and the second week in, BAM I got an awful cold.  Which led me to realize that the best tissues are in really ugly packages and that the medicines that I pick, I associate by color (red=for coughing, orange=for congestion, purple=tastes good but isn't really that effective...) which makes for a bit of a hard time when trying to get someone to pick you up the right medicine from the store.  The cold is mostly gone and I believe that I'll be adjusting that resolution to be blogging twice a week for 50/52 of the weeks of the year.  Let's get real.  Stuff happens.

Which is what today's post is about.  Stuff happens.  Life gets in the way sometime.  With freelancing, its not as easy to have a fluke as a normal day job (which btw I was fortunate enough to have some paid time off to cover the time I was off for my cold).  In all honesty, Sunday was the first time I thought in a week.  I'm sure you're going "What does that mean?!"  Well I'll tell you.  The Sunday before this past one, I was very groggy after waking up from a nap which either means that I A. overslept or B. am getting a cold.  Of course I didn't realize this until Monday when I started making my "I'm sick" face at people, getting told I looked awful and all around felt like that.  In fact that's what my loving boyfriend (we'll call him T.) started calling me and asking lovely things like "How is Death doing today?"  But I digress.

As a freelancer, when life gets in the way there's only so many options that you have when things come up.  You can be honest with the client and say that you really can't do your job due to X, you can lie to them, or you can just hope that they don't notice something is wrong.

I had a fantastic teacher in college who made it clear that it was important to follow through with your clients and meet deadlines no matter what and that the only time she hadn't met one was when she was in the hospital and she had another designer finish the project.  That my friends is the type of work ethic I would love to be known for.

I'm not there yet though.  That might not be the best thing to admit, but I pride myself in being honest about my work.  Its hard for me to manage school, full time work and freelance work.  I have this theory that only 75% of your life can go correctly at a time, the other 25% slips over time.  For example, if your love life rocks, your work rocks and you're balancing all your relationships might be hard to manage getting to the gym because you're spending all your time balancing everything else.  The same certainly applies to me.  I'll admit that I'm playing catch up on some schoolwork that I had loosened my timeline on to make time for freelance work.  It will be a lot easier once I only have work and freelancing but right now I feel like a bit of a circus doing all this juggling.  So when a client asked last month if I had time to work on a project the next week I said no.  I explained I didn't have any openings until mid-January but if he got in a pinch, I recommended a few freelance bidding sites.  Why?  I guess I wanted to be honest and even though I was hoping he wouldn't jump to a bidding site (which he didn't) when life gets in your way and you have a client, you need to not through a rock in their way too.

So yeah, here's my first post of the week, which means that I need to either do one tomorrow or Saturday to hit my goal.  I've totally got this!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Truth

The truth isn't always the easiest thing to explain but it does certainly leave a good foundation if nothing else.  This is not the usual style of my blog to admit something that I'd rather not admit but here it goes.

The truth is that I never meant to start a freelancing company.  There.  I said it.

I'm sure you're thinking one of three things.  Either:
1.  Who cares (well you're the one reading this, aren't you)?
2.  Why would you admit that (it goes to the foundation laying...just go with it)?
3.  How did you "accidentally" start a freelancing company?

The third answer is a little more complicated.  I had no intention at all of starting up a company but it more or less ended up being a bit of a necessity.  I have a friend that works with a furniture company who called up in summer 2010 and asked if I would be interested in some freelancing work.  The answer I should have given would have been no, I'm swamped with schoolwork and adjusting to my fabulous new job.  But this is me, little Miss Entrepreneur, so I had to say yes.  Its like I enjoy not having free time or something.  So the first meeting something came up making the meeting relatively unproductive. The second meeting was better until the owner was saying that he would need my EIN.  My who?  Fortunately, I have an acquaintance who is an accountant and was able to inform me all about getting your EIN (also known as a business tax ID number...if you want to know how, just ask) and on my way to deciding between a LLC or a sole proprietorship.  Again...note the dumbfounded stare.  So before I made my choice, I did a bit of research online and basically here's the difference (please note I'm not a lawyer or do I know all the little details...this is simply the blog of a graphic designer):

If you get sued by your customer (let's hope not but just in case)...
...a LLC license (in Maryland at least) will cost about $100 and the suer can only go after your business assets.  Mine are still at a laughable amount, although I'm a big believer of the "better safe than sorry" theory.
...a sole proprietorship costs you nothing but the suer can go after all your belongings...personal or business.

Now there are some instances where you might not need that protection.  I personally prefer it though because while I have an iron clad contract with my clients and am very careful of copyright laws, I don't always know that they will be.  Not everyone is familiar with copyright laws and attributions on images for example, so while I make a best effort to find out the licensing on provided image, nothing is there to stop a client from simply pulling a picture off Google and saying its legit!  Like I said, better safe than sorry.

So that is the story of how Line-ily LLC was born.  Not the most romantic story in the world, however I had always thought about becoming a freelancer on the side of my full time work (I love working with a group of people more than by myself so I will always have a full time job outside of freelancing), I just didn't expect it to fall into my lap so suddenly.  There is obviously a far longer story than this of the start up of Line-ily LLC, but that is another story for another night.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Oooo la la how French!

No, I don't mean those French...I mean these French!  I ordered what I thought would just simply be a swatch book or two, but no!  I actually got 8 books full of delicious colors and some of the most wonderful papers I have seen!  Now for those of you who may not know, I am a bit of a paper junkie.  Ok that has to be the understatement of the year.  I have 3 filing boxes of paper swatch books that I have collected during/after college...none of them are duplicates.  I'm dead serious... French Paper has to seriously be one of my favorites though, since I saw a sample of their paper in an issue of How magazine, way back when in 2006.  So I believe that I've figured out exactly which colors and what not I'll be using on my friend's baby announcements in the near future!  Really, it will be super fantastic!  Especially when my new styling paper trimmer/cutter comes in.  I should probably start thinking about where thats going to live!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

New Year's Resolutions

Happy New Year everyone!  I know that everyone is blogging about their New Year's resolutions, so I thought I would throw my hat in the ring.  Instead of telling you all the personal ones (really there are only so many times one should have to read "I want to lose weight" or "I'll go to the gym more"), I've broken this into 20 goals for the business and 11 items I would like to purchase with business funds in 2011.  I'll do my best to keep this updated as I go through the list.  Are you ready?  Here we go!

To Do:
1.   Redesign (done 2/3/11)
2.   Finish classes with all A/A+grades...this one is semi personal but will GREATLY benefit the business
3.   Post a blog at least twice a week for 50 weeks (1/50 complete) 110 times this year (13/110)
4.   Order business cards
5.   Set up a Facebook account for Line-ily
6.   Relocate
7.   Buy a PO box
8.   Gross $2000 minimum
9.   Avoid purchasing unnecessary items with business funds
10. Make custom thank you and holiday cards
11. Improve the Website Grader rating to at least a 70 and be in the top 35% with Alexa rankings (current ratings are 58 and 23.41% respectively 3/5/11)
12. Get Etsy shop up and running
13. Participate more actively in the design community
14. Figure out how SEO works and attempt to implement strategies
15. Do at least one "fun" project
16. Take more (good) pictures
17. Attend a design conference or lecture OR make serious plans to attend one in 2012
18. Tweet at least 3 times a week, without tweeting too much (10/52)
19. Attend at least one paper show
20. Organize work area and keep it that way

To Buy (or build):
1.   A magazine subscription to How (I miss reading it)
2.   A drying rack for screen printing projects
3.   A paper organizer of sorts for the mass amounts of paper I've collected over the years
4.   A new desk
5.   A new desk chair
6.   Several work related books
7.   A bookshelf for the massive quantity of books that I already have
8.   A new Mac
9.   CS6 (if it comes out in 2011)
10. Inks, emulsion, other supplies for the Yudu
11. A stock photography subscription