An Event Apart: Key Takeaways from a Web Designer

Conferences. I love conferences.

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Compared to Seattle Interactive Conference, from a design perspective, I loved the format of this one. About 12 speakers over the course of two days, in one room, so there was no running between rooms or going to a dull session and feeling like you may have missed out on something better. This is a conference for people who make websites so it is pretty specific. I dig it.

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I always come out of these type of events feeling JAZZED, EXCITED, BURSTING AT THE SEAMS WITH CREATIVITY.

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And then comes the slow decline after realizing maybe only half of what I learned, I can actually take back and use in my design process. Because that’s just how it goes.

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1. Writing and articulating your thoughts is key to a successful career.
Dare to speak! Unlock your inner voice! It doesn’t matter how you do it, just do it.

2. Responsive Design is changing the way teams work together in an organization.
Teams should be working together throughout an entire project. The practice of just handing off tasks between teams & not touching the project again is dying.

3. Designers need to start surfacing conflict.
If we ignore any issues that we’ve identified before starting a project, we’re setting ourself up for bigger conflict down the road. So get that shit out of the way. Tackle it head on. Nothing good comes from burying it and ignoring it. It is our job as creatives to handle those problems. We are problem solvers!

4. Act like the expert the client hired you to be.
You were not hired to be the client’s friend. *cue Liam Neeson voice* You were hired because you possess a particular set of skills, skills you have acquired over a very long career. Skills the client does not have. They trust you. Don’t blow it.
Confidence isn’t about you either. It’s about the client. If you don’t act like the expert, you’re going to freak your client out & they’ll question your abilities to complete their project and no one wants that.

At the end of the second day, I left with a handful of new tools for my design toolbox, but also with a new perspective on things. I had a project with a client recently and the website part went really well. Looking back, its because my manager and I sat down one afternoon, developed our plan, and came in confident that our approach was the right one. And in the end, it was. It really is all about the confidence you exude. And right now, I’m feeling pretty good.

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Interface Design Tools – UI Stencils

A fellow coworker directed me to this website UI Stencils and I got SUPER EXCITED and ordered two notepads right off the bat.

I already do a lot of mobile design & I do web design on the side, so I thought these would be super handy since I like to sketch things out, even if they are super rough. It is nice to have something that is measured out.

The stencils are next on my to buy list. I especially love the mobile stencil sets (The little Android character is going to end up in many a doodles, that is for sure)!

I think it is important to get away from sitting in front of a screen and drawing digitially and utilizing those real drawing skills, even if they’re not so great.

With that being said, I’ve been in front of a screen since noon & launched a website this evening. So I need to exercise some skills that don’t involve a computer (But may involve a Wii controller and the new Legend of Zelda game….oh I’m awful).

Hope everyone is enjoying their weekend!

find yourself

It is the new year and I am feeling refreshed but also full of ideas. I will be starting a new project soon and once I get the first one done I will post all about it, but for now it is a secret! 😉 I really hope the execution is as beautiful in real life as it is in my head. I am still trying to figure out exactly the best way to go about it, and what kind of materials to use. I am in the process of researching it all, but experimentation seems the best approach to finding what will work the best.

I will share some of the images that have inspired me to go in the direction I am planning with this project.

I am excited, and hoping if I take my time with this it will lead somewhere good! My only concern is money for materials but once I get this first product done I am going to try and promote, promote, promote and go from there.

The first sunset of the year was absolutely beautiful, so many colors! It was intense! This photo was in no way enhanced…that is exactly as I took the picture.

I did splurge a little bit when I got back to Bellingham. I got two belts and a cute top that I don’t have a picture of right now. I wore the belt the other day with this outfit and really liked how it looked. (And check out that new bag!! 😀 Burberry…many thanks to Mama D, the boyfriend’s mother, for that cherry on top of my Christmas/whole year!)

Sorry for the terrible photo, I really would like to get a better camera this year….and find someone who will photograph me in my outfits instead of having to set it up myself.

OH YEAH! GUESS WHAT???? THE MANUAL I LAID OUT IS ALL PRINTED AND IN FINISHED FORM!!

WOOT. Maybe I’ll frame it……….Probably not.

I made a couple resolutions this year. I’ve never really followed through in the past, but this year I feel different. Maybe it is because I am no longer a student, and its been 6 months since I graduated already.
I just want to be me this year. I feel as though I have been caught up in wanting something else…not being content with what I have…envying other people’s situations. I am not saying I want to settle, I think I am trying to say I need to spend time making the best out of the situation I am in.

I just want to approach this year differently….with a new attitude and outlook.

Anyway. I really didn’t post any pictures from before the new year, so here they are.

Part of Ryan’s Gift…YSL L’Homme Cologne…he didn’t want the deodorant…so I took it, I looooove the way it smells. lol.

It was Bath and Body Works year in terms of gifts…my mom bought me a bunch of stuff then I got a $50 gift card to spend as well.

The shower gel makes a really good substitute for shaving cream….my legs have never felt so soft.

Barn on Highway 2 that collapsed in the recent past

One happy Christmas Weiner Dog

A little Twilight Princess on Christmas Eve

And then this cuteness to start the new year.

Luna’s two friends, Oliver and Spencer. They’re adorable.

That’s all for now. I’m going to go take a hot bath, then turn on GHOST ADVENTURES (I have a crush on Zak Bagans…ssshhhh Ryan doesn’t know. Except now he does :P)

Night all!

call on me


Saturday was a good day. I went out and saw a few fellow design mates at the Copper Hog and had some drinks, and headed to the Royal for some dancing. Specifically wanting to dance to some GAGA, but it was getting late, so I headed with boyfriend and 2 other friends in tow to Rumors, ready to foam pit party it up.

While at drinks with my friends, one of the guys asked if I would go down to Seattle and help him pick out a new wardrobe.  I died for a moment.  I got way too excited!  I definitely established myself as the fashion fiend among my classmates this past year 🙂  And I do not mind that one bit.  People have been asking for my input on clothing and I am happy to give advice.  Now someone wants me to be a personal shopper for the day. That will be a fun day, I’m pretty excited. But back to the evening…

I was so happy to see Ryan’s old roommate. I knew he was down for a foam pit party, and that’s what was going on at the gay bar. And as the same as before, it was fun and slippery and I got to dance to GAGA and Madonna.  It was a good night all around that ended at 5 in the morning with a fire in our fire pit out back.

Ah, summer nights.

Sunday was a lazy day.

You stay up until 5 in the morning and see how you feel! Not something I do often, but there are those nights where you just wish the night would never end and when dawn comes, it’s almost a dreadful feeling.  I suppose it would have been helpful if I had Monday off like I normally do, but I didn’t so I’m sure that didn’t help that feeling.

Last night we had the shock of walking out our front porch to the sight of about 6 cop cars in front of our house. We didn’t know what was going on. I checked the police log this morning and one of the neighbors had a sword and was threatening harm to himself. We thought it was a burglary because they all ditched their cars and started running down the street.  So that was an interesting end to our evening.

My “office”. I’ve made the Lavender Room my office.  I’m in need of a chair, I can’t stand hunching over on the bed. But this is my little escape from the guys. I come in here and watch episodes of Real Housewives and the Hills….it’s my downfall, lol.


As for design, I’ve been trying to keep myself busy at least 4 nights a week with something. I’m in the process of redesigning my portfolio website. I like the way it’s coming along…it’s just a lot cleaner and I’m finally locking in an identity for myself. So it’s progressing nicely.  I’ve also started a series of postcards (above) that I want to feature creatures from the northwest on and have animal facts.  It started with otters because 1) I love them and 2) they’re all over Puget Sound.  That’s another personal ongoing project, and I’ve been working on a memorial tattoo for a friend’s family who lost their 71 day old niece.

So I’m doing good with trying to keep my creative energy in check, and I’m trying to read every day, but this biography about Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire is taking me forever. I used to whiz through 800 page fantasy novels, and they were fairly complex books for my age.

Well that’s it for now. I will try to take more pictures, I’ve been slacking.

On a solemn note, RIP Captain Phil.  I watched the final episodes of Deadliest Catch and watching the scenes with Phil and his sons and then when the captains found out he had passed were such sad scenes.  I did like the Time Bandit’s crew lighting off Fireworks. God bless you Phil, many people respected and still respect you. Peace, Captain.

baby loves to dance, dance in the dark

****Beginning is semi-rant/stress/emotional word vomit that just needed to be put down*****

I don’t know if it was because I just couldn’t focus on the lecture in Design 312 today, but I worked myself up into such a swirling aura of stress that I had to leave during break. Normally I can calm myself down, but I have become so stressed over finding a job these past few weeks it just kind of hit and off I went running into the sunset dropping off applications and resumes left and right. I’ve probably put in 10 applications the past 2 days.

My problem is I haven’t known life without a job since I graduated high school. I had a summer job as a camp counselor, followed by a brief stint at Toys R Us before I got hired at Hastings a week later. I was there for a year…I think it was almost exactly a year…I think it even may have been exactly a year, my last day was the same date I had been hired. I spent three months without a job when I moved, but when I went home for break I worked at Hastings for the Holidays until I had to go back. Then I was immediately hired by Blockbuster and was there for a year and half. Then I went on to a better job, that ended up kind of leaving me on the curb last month. I need work, I need a job, it’s driving me crazy. And this is why I have a giant stomach ache and haven’t been able to stomach much this evening.

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I just had to get that out there.

So. I know Heidi Montag is the story of the moment in Reality TV world & I guess I’ll throw my 2 cents in with the rest of the world. I did watch the Hills until about 2 episodes into the last season and was done with it. To see this girl, about my age, plastered on the front of People, with a blank & altered face, and the headline, Addicted to Plastic Surgery, made me cringe. I am happy she is pleased with the results, but the reason behind it? Partly due to what people said about her on the internet…well most the people on here so far have said she didn’t need to change…is she going to go back and try and get fixed up again? I understand her insecurities, I was teased constantly growing up. I wasn’t exactly the most aware when it came to stuff like makeup and doing your hair. I remember being mortified when I went to a friend’s house when I was in grade school and we went to go swimming and I had to wear one of her swimsuits. I was so self conscious because it was a bikini and I’d always had those boy short swimsuits. It just freaked me out. But I definitely have taken a few giant steps since then and high school. End of junior year, and senior year it kind of started to fall into place.

I’m not against plastic surgery, it depends on the procedure. Breast augmentation, if you want em bigger well then make em bigger. But for a 23 year old to have as much plastic surgery as she had done, and what she had done…is totally horrifying to me. And that she was also driven by the fact she thought this would help her music career breaks my heart. Chances are girls who do listen to her music, won’t be my age, they will be pre-teens and teens. What message does she think she will be sending to those young fans. Not a good one.

But if it makes her happy, it makes her happy, but I still think she looks like completely void of emotion…botox injections, really? She was beautiful before, she is just a plastic now.

perfect? no such thing.

There is no such thing as perfect either. When it comes to looks and people liking you, my boyfriend told me, when I was upset over how I looked one day, “All that matters is what I think,” he said, probably about ______% of people don’t like you just because of the way you look, and not everyone is going to find you attractive, you are not perfect. Not everyone will be attracted to your traits.

And I think I may have grown a little in self confidence since that day. I’m finding myself more happy with the way I look, and I know I have a good little figure. And I am, I’m little. My friends rag on me all the time. I’m not a stick though, and I’m healthy. I have a little pudge on the side, and I’m proud of it. Who wants to be model thin anyway? I like my food.

Anyway.

Speaking of food, I hate buying stuff on campus anymore. I feel like I’m being robbed every time I go in there which is why I’ve been avoiding it unless I absolutely didn’t bring anything filling enough to eat. I’ve been slacking on my healthy diet…had McDonald’s yesterday, made it about halfway through the cheeseburger then couldn’t eat anymore. Gross.

I was snacking on toasted sourdough bread the other day. Just barely toasted so its not hard & crispy but soft & crispy and then smothered it in butter. I had like 5 pieces. It’s too good. Apparently I made a bunch of people on Facebook want some too. Haha.

I have been loving my make up the past few days. Sunday was a relaxed day, had partied the night before so I was going more casual. Just headed over to the boyfriend’s to chill for the day. I love dressing up for school. I don’t go over the top, but I like to look nice. I rarely go in sweat pants and if I do, its probably 10 PM and I’m on my way to the new media lab to work on stuff. Or I’m sick and can’t afford missing another class, so I have to go to class but just don’t have the energy.

My boots that Ry got me are freaking amazing. I love them to death. I need to wear them to class more, or heels at least, its quite a workout to walk to class in heels from my place.

Sunday. Tuesday. Wednesday. Loved my make up today. Sunday was my relaxed day. Tuesday, walked to class in those boots, I freaking love them.

Classes this quarter are coming along. I really do not enjoy actionscript 3.0, but the fact that I have comprehension of what I’m writing out is an achievement in itself for me. It’s interesting working in Flash, like the exercise we just did. Add a Button to Section 1 that then makes something play So the giant purple button is the one I added. Having to go into the timeline in flash and keep going into sub timelines makes you sit there and think. It’s real problem solving for me, like I have to sit there and think it out, I need to click A to get into Timeline B, where I have to click B, to get into Timeline C, where this movieclip goes and this is where I tween it.

It gets confusing but I kind of enjoy that problem solving. I am not looking forward to diving into making our travel app functional. I am having such a creative block, I couldn’t even refine my initial comps. I feel like I had a good idea and now my vision is lost somewhere. It sucks. I know it can be great, just gotta find that inspiration.

So instead of revising comps, I ended up playing around in Illustrator. I like using text when I design. I think its the hours upon hours I spent making icons for livejournal when I was in high school. But anyway, I ended up playing around and made this, which initially was just pink and then I ended up adding purple and that’s where the text came from…Chesire. Chesire cat colors, and it was all abstract and I’ve been anticipating Alice in Wonderland, so it became Chesire Acid.

It’s nothing amazing, but I like my concept. That would be fun to play around with some more…Chesire Acid.

I also really want the Urban Decay Alice in Wonderland palette…so that may have been my subconscious poking out.

The music video for digital video is coming along swimmingly…it just sucks with using videos from 40+ years ago. But they’re copyright free and it really forces you to zero in on a given idea and mold it into something else. The song I’m using is actually matching up really well with the video now, and its kind of weird how I go back to pick a clip out of original video and then hear the actual sound instead of my music. It’s neat.

Madonna Timeline & Stats

Random Design Project of the Day. Enjoy. And good night. I’ve been writing for a long time, its bed time.

the hangover and more

I am recently obsessed with the Hangover at the moment, its my comedy movie of the moment. And it makes me want to get up and go to Vegas on a whim…which could happen since we’ve got direct flights out of Bellingham everyday to Vegas.

But oh the last 5 days have been a big blur + recovery time and I’ve been asleep most days. New Year’s Eve was eventful. I went to the Skylark’s Cafe with Liz and had some of the best biscuits & gravy ever, but it was so heavy & filling I couldn’t finish it.

Alley By Skylark Cafe

Skylark Cafe-Through Car Window

Biscuits & Gravy--the Heart Attack

It’s a neat little place, they serve breakfast and by night turn into a wine bar. It’s very antique inside with the wall paper and there are old mirrors on the walls. Most of the area where it is, is still original and is called Fairhaven. I can’t wait to go back though, it was tasty.

In the evening we went out to one bar and then went back to the house for midnight. The bar was the Royal, which I’ve never been to before, kind of a cool setup but the people there are not my type of crowd. We stayed home the rest of the night but it was much more eventful than it sounds & that night will forever be seared into my memory. It was crazy.

Not much happened Friday, it was recovery day and as we didn’t go to bed until 6 AM, we didn’t get up until about 3.

Sunday I woke up dizzy and was having a hard time functioning. The same happened today but not quite as intense but I still went over to the health center to get checked out. I’m hoping by tomorrow I’m feeling better because:

a) Classes resume tomorrow
b) Sitting in front of a computer for 6 hours probably won’t help
c) It’s just ridiculously uncomfortable to deal with all day

Ugh, and so ends the break, that went by way too fast. But I’ve got Digital Video, Interactive Design and Graphic Design in the 21st Century, should be a good quarter.

Design Project of the Day: 3 Sides of Ireland, photoshop/found object collage

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The 3 Sides of Ireland
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The political & rebellious side; Lisbon Treaty had just been rejected (around June 2008)-that rejection has just been overturned as of October 2009. The street art and the signs all over Ireland were in opposition to Lisbon. You could feel a passive rebellion within such displays.

The Historic Side; Sitting in a pub with a pint of Guinness in Dublin in the evening was the best experience & most fun I have ever had period. The chatter & the football game on tv & stumbling through Temple Bar’s cobblestone streets.

A Traveler’s View; the lush, green countryside with a town settled into the rolling hills, such a simple view but one of the most beautiful you will ever see.

I miss Ireland.

Alright and finally I wanted to do a What’s In Your Purse thing, except What’s In Your Cosmetic Bag/Pouch That is In Your Purse

What's In Your Purse

chanel mascara, miss dior cherie mini perfume, insane amount of lip stick/balm/gloss, contact case & drops, sherlock holmes movie ticket

cheers!

Christmas Wrap Up

Well yesterday I finally cleaned up my disaster area of a room, the whole apartment was trashed though from the other 2 girls getting back from the holiday too. After running out the door to leave, I luckily checked the mailbox and found this wonderful game waiting for me.

Spirit Tracks

I am not a huge gamer, but the Legend of Zelda series will always be my downfall. The games are classic fantasy adventure & I am always down for a good adventure game. But as far as Spirit Tracks, I’m going to have to wait to play because I need to finish the Phantom Hourglass…still. So I’ve been playing that the past two days.

I’m on an iTunes quest for music at the moment. I’ve been in a music funk for a while, haven’t been able to find anything new that I want to listen to but I’m getting so bored of what I have. I guess I just haven’t snagged a lot of the music that I listen to with Ryan from him yet, and so none of its on my iPod.

Madonna’s Revolver remixes are out and I bought that. I love the Madonna vs. David Guetta One Love Remixes, really good beats. Feel It In My Bones – Tiesto featuring Tegan & Sara is another song I found, that I looove. Love Tegan & Sara ever since I saw them open for the Killers on their tour for Hot Fuss. Viva La Vida /Domino Dancing – Pet Shop Boys is a bomb remix of Coldplay’s Viva La Vida, and I’ve been waiting and waiting for someone to cover this song. And then Carry Out – Timbaland featuring Justin Timberlake has a good beat & good vocals especially from Timberlake.

Albums of the Moment - Dec. 09

Nearly 5 months after the show & this showed up in the mail the day after Christmas. Finally!

Depeche Mode - Live in Seattle 08/10/2009

depeche mode

loved their video treatments for the screen. classic dm.

The disco ball emptied of the gumballs the more they fell down

So with that, the rest of the Christmas goodies.

OPI Mini Reds Set

Presents from Boyfriend-yay playboy whiskey glasses!

LuLu's Jewels-from my mom, a woman she works with made these.

Random Goodies-mostly from Ryan's mom & the gift exchange with his family

Sweater and Leggings

Homemade Candy from Ryan's dad---sooo good

I also got a new camera, woo hoo but the flash is funky on it, so hopefully I can figure that out. Got a new flash drive, or a replacement one for my one I use for print files. The other one was infected with a Trojan Horse. Which was awesome to find that out. And then I got a few other clothing items that have been pictured here, except for the plaid corset-like top my friend got me. It’s cute.

Mini Skirt

I bought this skirt at Macys while doing the after Christmas shopping run. I love it, I don’t have many skirts, but I’m so glad I decided to get it. I love the way it fits on me.

While browsing Nordstrom’s site, I found this Robert Rodriguez Twist Knot Pencil Skirt.

Robert Rodriguez

Robert Rodriguez

I am totally in love with it, but can so not afford it at this point in time. Maybe if I knew whether or not I have a job coming into January I would buy it but it sucks when they tell you you’re not fired we just don’t have any work for you this month. Moving on.

I am so fried, I need to go to bed. I did not feel well at all today, didn’t get out of bed until 3, which is waaay late for me. 11 is normally late for me so 3 PM was just ridiculous. But tomorrow is New Year’s Eve. Josh & Alisha are already here, they surprised Ryan but I’d already left before they arrived.

I’m going to start posting my design projects & inspiration & random design ideas; so for today’s project, How to Pick a Pub in Dublin, Ireland. It’s a flash file.

Cheers everyone and have a safe New Year’s Eve/Day—> Remember don’t drink & drive. It’s just not worth the risk.