Monday, April 30, 2007

Why You Shouldn't Wait Until The Last Minute

Daniel and I always seem to put things off until the last minute. I don't think it is because we are total procrastinators, it is more that there is always so much to do and so little time.

In Charlotte, we have to get our vehicles inspected yearly and we had been putting off getting the Altima inspected b/c Daniel needed to swap the tires out. Well on Saturday I remembered that April was the month for the Altima and I reminded Daniel and he swapped the tires.

Anyways, this morning I ran by a Valvoline that is close to us and their machine was down. So I have to get the car inspected TODAY or we will get fined electronically. Hopefully the machine will be working by lunch time OR I can find another place before the end of the day.

Waiting until the last minute brings unwanted stress.

Paralyzed by Fear

Have you ever been paralyzed by fear? You know, the kind of fear that keeps you awake at night. The kind that makes you feel numb, like you are unable to move forward or breathe? I used to think that I was immune to this kind of fear. 

The first time that I truly experienced and owned this fear was when I learned how to rock climb. I remember being about half way through my climb and not being sure where to go next. My husband was below me belaying and I was terrified of falling. Even though I knew that the ropes were secure. I was so afraid that I could not move forward. I also could not come down. I was petrified of falling. In the end I did fall. It was such an intense relief to fall. When I started to lose control and the ropes held me, I had this incredible sense of freedom from my fear. Once I fell I was able to conquer my fear and move on. I knew that I was safe and that the fear was unwarranted. In rock climbing you have to fall in order to learn.

Sometimes I feel this fear in life. I wake up and I am not sure how to proceed. My self-confidence dwindles and I feel an overwhelming urge to do nothing. Somehow my mind tricks me into thinking that in doing nothing I am safe. When the truth is that to do nothing is to be stuck. Like being stuck on the side of a mountain. You can't stay hugging the rock forever. You have to move. You may fall but you must always keep going.

What are your fears? Are they keeping you from achieving something great with your life?

Friday, April 27, 2007

My Top 10 List of Magazines

Here is a Top 10 List of Magazines I love:
10) Real Simple - This magazine provides handy tips for organizing your life. It also offers design and organization ideas for the home.

9) National Geographic ADVENTURE - I dream of far off places, exotic destinations and future trips that I hope to one day embark on.

8) Kraft Food & Family - I am easily bored, and new recipes at my fingertips 4 times a year with beautiful pictures are just what the doctor ordered for me.

7) Creativity - An inspiring magazine about what the design community is up to.

6) PRINT - One of several design magazines I make a regular effort to read.

5) ID (International Design) - I love to see design in products. The newest and freshest designs from around the world always amaze me.

4) HOW - This magazine always has wonderful articles about the graphic design profession. It offers a personal perspective from people who have been there and done that.

3) WIRED - I suppose that I am a geek at heart. I love this magazine and the crazy stories they share. Where else can you learn about someone who came up with the idea to create a machine to cut down submerged trees (at a depth of more than 60 feet) in order to harvest the wood. When his idea was turned down by his company he quit his job and started his own company. (Reservoir Logs, February Issue, 2007)

2) Communication Arts - Their design annuals are fabulous, I dream about one day gracing their pages with a stellar project.

1) Backpacker - This magazine gets the number one spot for a couple of reasons: A) I LOVE to backpack and spend as much time outside as possible. If I can't be outside all of the time, at least I can read about other people's adventures. B) The great photos and simple layout is fresh and clean. This magazine is easy to navigate and shares good information about a topic I love.
What are your favorite magazines?

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Where Do Ideas Come From?

Have you ever wondered where your ideas come from? I have the best ideas pop into my head when I am in the shower or when I wake up for a nap.

Sometimes they are relevant to something I have currently seen or read, but they always come to me at strange moments. I keep a notebook by my bed and one with me at all times for the sole purpose of recording these great ideas at any time.


Yesterday I was at Barnes & Noble, waiting in line for my coffee at Starbucks and I noticed the magazine Fast Company on the rack. I picked it up, flipped through it and came to an article about Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook. It turns out Mark Zuckerberg is a hacker turned dropout turned CEO. Being a young entrepreneur myself, it doesn't get any more inspirational than that. 
What amazed me the most about Mark's story was that it has been reported that Yahoo! came calling with a $1 BILLION offer and Mark turned it down. The article quotes Mark as saying, "I'm here to build something for the long term. Anything else is a distraction." Is he just crazy or does he actually have some character? Or maybe he is holding out for the really big money. I'm a just amazed that a guy in his early 20's would be able to turn down an offer of this magnitude! 

I am an avid Facebook user. It keeps me connected to friends and colleagues. In this busy world, it is refreshing to be able to be a few clicks away from friends. I encourage you to read the entire article by clicking here.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Bugs In My Eyes

I just got back from riding my bike on the greenway with Daniel. The evening was perfect for a ride, but we soon found that the bugs were on the greenway were very obnoxious.

I don't wear glasses so I ended up with bugs in my eyes. So now after a 10 mile bike ride I have very angry, red eyes. Other than that I feel good. In the future, I think we will stick to riding in the neighborhood and avoid the greenway that follows a creek...

Sunday, April 22, 2007

sore wrist

I have no idea what I did to my left hand yesterday but last night I was in severe pain and could not move my wrist or hold anything in my hand without excruciating pain. I put ice on it for a while, took some tylenol and then tried to sleep without moving it. Today it seems fine... strange.

Saturday, April 21, 2007


This is a quote that a friend shared with me several months ago: 

Passion, it lies in all of us, sleeping... waiting... and though unwanted... unbidden... it will stir... open its jaws and howl. It speaks to us... guides us... passion rules us all, and we obey. What other choice do we have? Passion is the source of our finest moments. The joy of love... the clarity of hatred... and the ecstasy of grief. It hurts sometimes more than we can bear. If we could live without passion maybe we'd know some kind of peace... but we would be hollow... Empty rooms shuttered and dank. Without passion we'd be truly dead.” - Joss Whedon

Friday, April 20, 2007

Old Pictures

I just found some old pictures on our computer from my college days. For some reason we have a folder called Digital Pics From Bryan 2000-01 and boy do they bring back memories. Pictures of functions, the Big O cook out, sports, spring sing, hanging out, etc. We all look so young!

Easter weekend I saw Julie & Luke and Luke mentioned that we are getting old b/c we are almost 30! Well I never really feel old, but looking at old pictures definitely makes me feel older and nostalgic.

I made some really good friends during those years and even though I don't keep up with everyone, I definitely had a good time in college and would not trade those relationships or memories for anything in the world!

Here is a sampling of the pictures:

Queens imitating ATE guys at Big 'O' Cook Off
Gata Basketball
Gata girls
Bryan caving
Roller Skating
Justin and SOMA
Mark in leather pants
Jenn & Daniel (spring sing)
Lisa & Amanda
ATE baseball
Cheree, Lisa & Jenn
Gata Beaux

In A Fix

This is in reference to the TLC show In A Fix. There are days that I feel that I am in a fix and need some magic team of people to come in and finish my renovation in a weekend.

The problem with being young, impetuous and naive is that you launch into renovating your house 20 months ago (was it really that long ago?) and now you find yourself still putting the pieces back together.

I feel in like I am in limbo. I want to spend my weekends backpacking and mountain biking. I need to be spending my weekends renovating but I find myself actually doing things like going to the movies, yard and house work. While my hobbies and renovations lay untouched.

It is amazing how your view of normal can change. Currently my normal is a house without baseboards, with exposed electric sockets, a gutted master bathroom and an unfinished basement.

If only a 60-minute tv show were the real cure...

Brand Gap

This powerpoint presentation, produced by Neutron LLC in partnership with New Riders Publishing and the American Institute of Graphic Arts, is an powerful overview of branding. Take a look at SlideShare.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Mac vs PC

I love these Mac commercials and I definitely understand them first hand. In some ways, these commercials show the dynamics between me (a graphic designer) and my husband (a civil engineer).

This is my personal overview of Macs vs PCs.

Here is a little history about me: I started out on a Mac in college (I could go back further but for the purpose of this comparison I will stick with the last 10 years of my life).

While studying graphic design in college, I used a Mac. I worked predominantly with Quark, Photoshop & Illustrator and Macs were the way to go.

At my first job I was introduced to the PC. I actually worked simutaneously on the 2 platforms for about 2 years. This experience taught me a lot about trouble shooting PCs and to love the ease of use of the Mac. During this period I began using a lot of different types of software programs (Quark, InDesign, PageMaker, Photoshop, Illustrator, Corel, Publisher and more). Mostly I would end up frustrated with the PC. I was constantly dealing with the blue screen of death (BSD) and my computer freezing. But to make my job work, I had to adapt so I learned to fix the problems and move on.

For the last 3 years I worked almost exclusively on PCs. This was not by choice but I managed. Most of the time I struggled with trying to convince my IT department (or anyone who was listening) that my problem was not necessarily the PC but the fact that my hard drive space was NOT BIG ENOUGH to run the programs I was working with. Also for about a year I worked out of Pagemaker (ugh) and once we upgraded to InDesign I was much happier.

In January I began freelancing out of my home office. I have a PC for my desktop computer and a Mac for a laptop. Here are a couple of thing I have learned along the way: Macs are definitely "friendlier" but if you know how to deal with the PC problems, they aren't too bad. To be honest, my home PC rarely freezes and I never get the BSD. However I have had to reformat my PC a couple of times due to viruses and that has never happened with any Mac I have worked on.

This may sound strange coming from a graphic designer, but for me it is more about the software than the platform. I work almost exclusively with Adobe Creative Suite and Microsoft Office and these companies have made working between both platforms pretty effortless. I am very comfortable floating back and forth between my PC and Mac.

Maybe I am just and oddball, but it works for me. My biggest struggle would be hot keys, but even then I make it work.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

drunken chicken

i was grocery shopping today and needed to buy a bottle of beer to make drunken chicken and i got carded at the checkout. i am not sure if i should be annoyed or flattered that they felt the need to card me... or maybe they were doing their job and carding everyone...

Saturday, April 14, 2007

confused fingers

i used to only use macs (you know, back in the college days when i had access to a computer lab when i couldn't afford my own computer). and then my first couple of jobs i was blessed with macs as my main computer.

but over time i had to adapt to pcs. this is not b/c i wanted to, but more out of necessity. to have the corporate type jobs that i have had, i have been relegated to pcs. i have adapted and longed for my mac days, but i have managed to work fine on a pc.

however i recently got a mac powerbook and i am back in the land of macs - which is awesome. the problem is this: i still use a pc (almost as much as my mac). actually that is not even the problem - the problem is that i use hot keys for practically everything. so when you switch back and forth between a mac and pc you end up doing all sorts of fun things to your computer b/c for a mac you hit the apple key for everything (which is the alt key on a pc) and on a pc you use the control key for everything (which is practically useless on a mac).

so by the time my fingers adapt to using the correct buttons on whatever platform i am working from, i then switch over to another platform and my fingers wreak havoc once again...

i see this to be a continuing problem in my immediate future. my fingers need to get smarter to automatically know the difference between my mac & pc.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Disappointed with FedEx

Generally I am pretty happy with shipping things via FedEx. I even have a local FedEx-Kinkos that I really love and use regularly. Unfortunately I just had a pretty bad experience with FedEx and I need to vent about it.

I was supposed to receive a package overnight from Nashville. It was supposed to get here today by 2 p.m. Well the delivery guy read the address wrong and delivered the package across the street. Somehow we figured out the mistake, but by the time we asked the neighbor, he had taken it to my beloved FedEx-Kinkos that is less than 5 minutes away.

So I just called that FedEx-Kinkos to see if they had it and when it would be delivered or if I could run out and pick it up. They were totally clueless and said to call the 1-800 number.

I called that number and talked to a Roberto and he said that since it had been delivered and accepted by the recipient that they could not re-deliver it and I would have to go pick it up. Well where the heck is the package? Somehow it is now in Pineville, NC which is a good 30 minute drive for me.

Do I have any guarantee that it will be there tomorrow? Well NO you just have to show up with a photo ID and tracking number. Why can't they redeliver since THEY screwed up? Because policy is that they only deliver once.

Do you have any idea how FedEx delivers? They drop it at your door, they don't even knock. You are not even given the chance to tell them it is wrong in the first place! So now I may or may not get a package that I really needed by TODAY!!!


This weekend I felt like a nomad. On four consecutive nights we slept in four different beds. It was good to go home and to see family and so many friends but it is nice to be back in my own bed.

Thinking Outside of the Box

As a whole, graphic designers are problem solvers and critical thinkers - I am one of them. I am currently reading the book Thinkertoys by Micahel Michalko. It is a book about applying creative thinking to business. The goal of this book it to help you think outside of the box. There are many what I would call brain-teasers in this book. Here are some examples: 

Can you take away 3 matches to leave 4?

Or this one: How many cubes to you see?

And finally, what do you notice about this sentence?

Thinkertoys is all about helping you to shift your way of thinking. If you work in a design field, you hopefully already see the world in a different way than those around you. Shifting your thinking is something that everyone can achieve if they take the time to look at everything around them from a different perspective.
ANSWERS: If you are creative thinker you would see that to get 4, remove the top, bottom and right and you get the roman numeral for 4 (IX). For the cubes you see either 6 cubes or 7 cubes depending on whether you see the black squares as the top or bottom of the cube. And finally the triangle with the text I love Paris in the springtime has the word THE printed twice.

Family Hike at Fiery Gizzard

On Saturday we had originally planned to go on a group hike on the Fiery Gizzard Trail , but it was cancelled at the last minutes. So...