Monday, December 31, 2012

My New Year's Goals for 2013

I suppose this is the day to be making goals, no?  So let's see... in no particular order...

1. Learn French (basic conversational French, at least).
2. Complete year 2 of my graphic design program.
3. Try 10 new vegetables.
4. Finish 48 books.
5. Create a passive stream of income.
6. Pray and listen to God for at least 20 minutes a day.
7. Build my Etsy knitting inventory up to 300 before next fall.
8. Learn how to make linocut prints.
9. Build my powers of concentration.

And just for curiosity's sake... here's how my goals last year went.

First off, I plan to finish my first year in graphic design school!
Yup! Did that with a 4.0! This year won't be quite that good, but I'm still plugging along!

Secondly, I hope to build my Etsy shop bigger and better.
My shop is definitely bigger and better, and made slightly more money than last year, but not by much. I think I'll have to add this one to my list again!

Third, I have plans to unveil a graphic design Etsy shop as well!
This shop did get started but I ran out of time to work on in about halfway through the year. Designing all day AND all night can be a bit too much cake to eat in one day. I'm now trying to figure out some items for this shop that won't require as much immediate work every time they are purchased.

Lastly, I plan to read 48 books this year!
I actually read 26 books this past year (according to my GoodReads account, where I try to list every book I've read), so I completed just over half my goal. I'm finding that focusing on reading has been difficult since my concentration is completely shot, which I contribute to the over-internet-ifying of my brain. Sigh... I think I'll add fixing that to this year's goals too...

INFP Series - Part 2 - What is my purpose in life?

In case you missed it Friday, I'm studying up on my personality type: INFP. This is the second day in this series! Enjoy!

INFPs, more than other iNtuitive Feeling types, are focused on making the world a better place for people. Their primary goal is to find out their meaning in life. What is their purpose? How can they best serve humanity in their lives? They are idealists and perfectionists, who drive themselves hard in their quest for achieving the goals they have identified for themselves.

Yeah this is definitely true of me. While I don't generally prefer the company of others, I am very aware of wanting to make a contribution to the world with my life. It's probably why I keep striving to find something better to do with my life than be a receptionist. Not that that's a bad job, but it never felt like one that really meant something in the greater scheme of things.

Doing a job, for me, is more about making a difference in some way than it is about getting a paycheck (although that's nice, too). It is often speculated in INFP forums that life would be best if money weren't even an issue and people could just do what they're best at doing and enjoy doing most without needing to worry about whether or not it made enough money to live on.

So what is my specific purpose in life? My gut instinct tells me it has to do with being creative, so that's the direction I'm flinging myself in. I continually check in with my gut and with God to make sure I'm flinging myself in the right direction, but so long as I keep feeling confirmation about that, it's not as important to me that I know my end destination in life, so long as I'm pursuing the direction that feels like it'll be able to get me to a place where I'm able to use my talents and passions for a greater purpose. Make sense? ;)

Saturday, December 29, 2012

5 Etsy Tips & Tricks

Tip #1:

Have as many listings as possible. Preferably over 100.

Tip #2:

If you have multiples of an item and are trying to get your numbers over 100, go ahead and list them as separate listings... just make sure to change the titles slightly from each other so Etsy search engines recognize them as different items.

Tip #3:

Learn how to use a camera.

Tip #4:

Keep track of what colors & styles sell best and make more of those.

Tip #5:

Keep trying new colors and styles whether or not you think they'll sell. It'll help pull more people into your shop and you never know when a new item will catch on!

Friday, December 28, 2012

INFP Series - Part 1 - Trusting my gut.

Since I'm always talking about my personality, I thought it'd be interesting to investigate my INFP personality a little closer and talk about how it relates to me and my experiences.

If you've never taken a Meyers-Briggs personality test, this is a super short version of it that I've found to be surprisingly accurate. I'd love to hear what your personality type is and if you've ever done a more in-depth study on it! The "real" test is hundreds of questions long, if I remember right, so finding a short version that is accurate is great! Here's the other website that I'm using as a guide to spelling out exactly what my personality type is like. I'd like to go through it one paragraph at a time, so hopefully this won't be boring to anyone else.

Here goes!

As an INFP, your primary mode of living is focused internally, where you deal with things according to how you feel about them, or how they fit into your personal value system. Your secondary mode is external, where you take things in primarily via your intuition.

I can really see how this is true in me. I spend so much time daydreaming it's ridiculous. Also if a situation particularly feels threatening or wrong, I can spend days or weeks mulling it over and devising ideas about how the situation should be. I guess you could say I'm an idealistic. I like to think that life operates according to a higher purpose and when things don't always add up to that, my internal monologue gets very frustrated.

According to Wikipedia, "intuition is the ability to acquire knowledge without inference (aka: the process of deriving logical conclusions) and/or the use of reason". Which is not to say that I'm a highly illogical person. Lol. It's more that I tend to make decisions about things based on a gut reaction to a situation rather than on a logically thought out position on something. "Hard" decisions, for me, are generally ones that I've let my head get too much in control of. Once I let my gut decide, it's pretty much a split-second thing.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Keeping in Touch... Musings of an Introverted Introvert

I don't know if this is just me, but I never really feel the need to keep in touch with people. And I don't mean that in a bad way, but just like... say, from high school, for example. Or even college, for that matter. I mean, they were nice people. I enjoyed them while I was there. But then I moved on and never really looked back. I'm just not sure if that's a bad thing or a good thing.

Usually I don't really think about stuff like this, but then I'll run across someone who still hangs out with their high school buddies or who has get-togethers with people they knew 20 years ago, and it makes me wonder if they're odd or if I'm the odd one for it never having occurred to me to do the same thing.

Granted, I'm an introverted introvert, so perhaps that has a lot to do with it. I've also moved over 20 times in my short life, so maybe moving on and not looking back is in my blood.

Facebook has added an odd layer to this puzzle in recent years, as I've been able to artificially keep in touch with people that I don't live near anymore. It's actually funny how sometimes I can finally get to know the introverted people better online once we aren't in a social situation together, and sometimes the extroverted people I remember better I discover that I wasn't actually that close with in the first place.

It's not even really that I want to keep in close contact with everyone I've ever met. That would definitely wear this little introvert out. But I sometimes wonder if I should by trying harder than I'm naturally inclined to do. Or maybe they've all moved on too and keeping in touch doesn't matter as much as I sometimes think it should.

It's also possible I'm paying too much attention to what American society says I should value. From what I can tell, extroverted tendencies are generally praised much more than introverted ones are. Sad, but true. Some of the best artists, writers, and thinkers are introverts though, so people should take note!

What about you? Do you keep in touch with people you knew 20 years ago? Why or why not? Are you more of an introvert or an extrovert, in general?

Monday, December 17, 2012

Portland Art Museum

Sorry to be such a slacker in the blogging department. I have not yet figured out how to blog consistently when busy with school! Anyway, about a month ago we took a field trip up to Portland to visit the Portland Art Museum. Even though I used to live there, I'd never gotten around to visiting the museum before, so it was so fun to get this opportunity! (Funny how you take for granted the things to do/see that you live around until you no longer live around them!)

Here are a select few images that I took. (I probably have over a hundred photos from this day!)

Sunday, December 16, 2012

More baby pictures for you!

We got back from Southern California last night from a great visit with my sister's family. New little baby Rachel is so cute and already growing so much!

And now for a photo of my sister's other baby, Cinnamon! ;) She's not really a people-kitty, but by the end of our visit she was relaxed enough to sleep near us on the couch!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Finals Week & A New Addition

I wish you could see our graphics lab this week. Normally we're messy but somewhat orderly in our mess. This week, everyone's practically moved in. Papers are everywhere, blankets and pillows abound, food and lots of coffee clutter the kitchen in the corner. Finals week is upon us and everyone is walking around in a sort of zombie-like, half-asleep state, cutting, pasting, matting, drawing, and stippling (okay actually that project is done). Our normally talkative group is huddled over their drawing boards in a hushed panic as each deadline looms over our heads. If I wasn't right there with them, it'd almost be a little comical! ;)

Oh, also... I have a new niece! Rachel Joy. Born this morning, happy and healthy! So adorable, isn't she?

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Customer Service Nightmare: Utrecht Art

Oh my goodness. Don't ever buy online from Utrecht Art Supplies. I don't think I've met such poor customer service in a long time.

So back on October 15th, I ordered some tech pens that were on sale from them for a project at school. I figured it'd take a week or two to receive, and since our project wasn't starting for about another month, that'd be plenty of time. They're having a great sale and the item states that it's in stock, so... perfect!

About three weeks go by, classes are busy, time flies by, and as everyone else in my class is showing off their new pens, I suddenly realize mine have never come. How strange.

I go online to check the status of my order... it says "Processing". Processing? Was my card bad? What's the deal? And more importantly, why hadn't they told me about this sooner? I'd expected to receive my item by now and it still hasn't left their warehouse? What's going on?

So I email them and inquire. The response back was that these are backordered indefinitely and that I can call this number to cancel if I want. What? This couldn't have been told to me three weeks ago?

I called the number and tried to cancel. I was planning on heading into the city that Friday so figured if I could get my money back in time that I could just walk into an art store there and purchase a set.

Well, the nice lady on the phone told me that they weren't really back-ordered, they had just run out and the truck delivering them had gotten stuck in the hurricane. Okay, I can understand that. She said they were expecting the truck to get through on Friday and would ship this out to me immediately. My project was starting the following Wednesday, but I figured that I could borrow some pens for a couple days if need be. I said okay.

Another week goes by. My order still says, "Processing", so I email again, explaining that I'd just talked to someone who had told me they were going to be shipped out soon and what was the status of my order please? The email response was that they'd probably be yet another week. *facepalm*

So what could I do? I waited. School got busy again. By this point I had some permanent loaners from another student, so I didn't really think about it again for awhile as this project went on. About another week goes by and one of my classmates asks how the saga of getting my pens was going. Oh! I think. And go back online to check. I'm sure you can guess what my order status was... "Processing".

This time I emailed them and ripped them a new one. I told them I couldn't believe they STILL had me in processing a good month and a half after I'd originally ordered these pens. Why hadn't they contacted me sooner? Why had they repeatedly told me it'd just be another week? Why had they listed this item for sale in the first place if they knew it wasn't available for sale? I told them I wanted my money back and would never order from them again because I couldn't believe how horrible this experience had been.

Another week goes by... I heard nothing from them.

I go back in to check my order status. This time it's actually changed to, "Cancelled Order... Due to Customer changing their mind." Can you see steam coming out of my ears? Changing my mind?? NO! I did NOT change my mind! I wanted these a month and a half ago and they never sent them!! And not for my lack of trying to get them. But I told myself to take a deep breath and remember that they probably just clicked a drop-down menu choice to fill that spot in. Yelling at them for a stupid filled-in reason won't help anything, even though it feels like insult added to injury.

I emailed them again for a refund since I'd never seen one come through my account. I inquired also as to why I hadn't heard from them since requesting my order be cancelled. To their credit, they actually responded within 24 hours this time, telling me, "Valued Customer", that they could not do a refund because they'd never charged my card in the first place.


I don't know whether to be relieved or angry. I mean, seriously? They never charged my card? It's been nearly two months since I placed my order. I had financial aid then, which I used to order all my school supplies. Now my bank account's almost dry. What if that $75 had suddenly popped out of my account months after I'd ordered this? I realize I should've probably paid closer attention to my bank account to realize that it'd never come out, but I'd just sort of assumed it had, since I placed this order so long ago! Sigh...

In any case, the saga is over, and I'm never ordering from them again. I have no idea if this is typical of their customer service or not, but it sure left a sour taste in my mouth being a first-time customer and being treated so dismissively. COMMUNICATION, people! They should've been straight with me from the beginning and told me the item was unavailable, that they hadn't charged my card yet, and would I like to order something new or cancel my request? Why did it take me calling about my order a month later to start the (albeit misleading) customer service train? That was absolutely the wrong way to deal with a backordered item.


Don't list something's for sale if it's not. Let your customer know immediately if there's a problem with the order... not three weeks later when they finally realize it themselves. Don't just tell them it'll be another week if it's not going to be. Don't blame it on a hurricane if that's not the reason, since that only makes the customer feel like they're being too pushy when it's really your problem, not theirs. And please, oh please, don't wait until they contact you to start communication with them, because they're probably already mad by that point. Be proactive about these things, please.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Stocking Stuffers!

I just introduced a new line of iPhone cozies to my Etsy shop! These are the colors I've got made up so far, but I'll probably be adding a few more this weekend. I thought it'd be fun to have a quick and easy item people could buy for stocking stuffers!

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