Saturday, April 27, 2013

What's on my iPhone: Podcast Edition

I was reading my blog subscriptions today and ran across a great post over on Alicia's blog about what podcasts she listens to. Which made me think... I listen to podcasts all the time! Why have I never shared about them?

Here are five podcasts that I listen to that you just may like too! Do you listen to podcasts? Leave a comment below with your favorites!

Subscribe to this podcast in iTunes.

The Deeply Graphic Design Cast

I love the generally laid-back nature of this podcast, along with the great advice from working designers. They talk about trends in the industry, tips on dealing with clients, and just general advice on running a graphic design business. Even if you're not a designer, you could probably glean from the great small business tips in here. They also have a great blog with more design and business tips, if that's something you're interested in.

Subscribe to this podcast in iTunes.

MacBreak Weekly

I have listened to many podcasts in the Twit universe (including it's flagship podcast, This Week In Tech (Twit)), although right now I'm just listening to MacBreak Weekly. They all tend to be looooong podcasts (ranging from 1-2 hours a week), so I've found that I can't subscribe to very many of them at a time or I'll never have time to listen to any of them. Leo Laporte is a generally likable podcast host though and always has pretty interesting guests on his show. Every podcast has a general focus (this one is on Mac news), but all tend to be rather laid back and chit-chatty, which I like. It's a great way to stay up on current tech trends, Mac product news, and general web/tech/computer news that might be important.

Subscribe to this podcast in iTunes.

The Trending Show

This show pretty much cracks me up every time. Again it's a pretty laid back format (which seems to be what I look for most in a podcast). They take a look each week at the top trending topics on Google and Twitter and try to figure out why they were trending. The hosts generally don't know about or appreciate sports or politics so they avoid those two topics (which I also am grateful for) unless it's something super duper important that no one can miss. Generally speaking though, it's a fun way to hear about random topics and events that you may or may not have known were happening.

Subscribe to this podcast in iTunes.

You Need a Budget.

I recently discovered this podcast and went back and listened to all of them iTunes had available (back to like episode 18 or so - the archives didn't go back further than that). Each episode is usually about 5 minutes long and is basically just this guy talking about his experience budgeting for his family (he sounds about 30-35 years old and is married with a young family). He also has a great budgeting software that I'm trying out (which is a topic for another blog post), but he rarely, if ever, mentions that on the podcast. He definitely is more about educating people on budgeting than he is on selling his software, which I appreciate. Even if you never buy his software (although actually, I highly recommend it), you will still learn a LOT from this podcast).

Subscribe to this podcast in iTunes.

Stuff Mom Never Told You

Here's another podcast I discovered recently that's pretty interesting. It's a general knowledge podcast where they tackle a new subject each time (it publishes about twice a week). I don't always listen to every episode (I've been going through the archives listening to the ones that sound interesting) and sometimes I think they are a little biased in their points of view, but generally speaking they do seem to do their research. They tackle pretty much any interesting topic, from romance to boy bands to New Years resolutions to sleepwalking. Some topics they cover may be considered controversial, so keep that in mind when listening, but generally I've found them to have a respectful attitude about everything, no matter how neutral or charged the topic of the day is.

Do you listen to podcasts? What are your favorite podcast topics? Do you have any recommendations you'd like to share with me? Comment below!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Etsy Research View

Etsy recently implemented a new feature in their search section called Research View. I've found that it can really speed up the process of market research when deciding on what to price your items, as well as how to decide on relevant tags to use for each item.

Using Etsy's Research View

  1. Type in your search criteria as you normally would. Try to pay attention to the suggestions it gives you, as these are commonly searched phrases by actual customers. If you can use common terms when titling your items, you're more likely to be found by your target customers!
  2. Click on the third option for ways to view your search results. This is the Research View! Unless your search returns little to no results, this screen will display a graph of other items on Etsy that used your searched term in their listing, as well as what prices and tags they used.
  3. Study the data to determine what might be an optimal price range for your item. Decide if you want to be near the lower or higher end of the price range or somewhere right in the middle! Often results will display in a sort of bell curve, so it can be pretty easy to determine what most shops on Etsy are charging for items similar to yours.
This is a great tool that can help you decide how to price your items in relation to how everyone else on Etsy prices similar items. In can help to try a variety of related search terms to get a broader sense of what general price range items in your category are selling for. Of course, as with any pricing tool, remember to keep in mind that your individual situation is unique. When pricing your work, always keep in mind your overhead costs, price of supplies, and number of years of experience that you personally offer to your field.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013


I have come to the realization that I may have been mis-typed. I have often taken personality tests and generally come up with the result that I am INFP. I recently took a test that said I was INFJ actually, and the more I have been researching, the more that actually sounds like me.

What it really comes down to is the external/internal focus of the different functions (a topic that I'm still trying to wrap my head around, so I apologize if I don't explain it right). The I--J tends to actually function more as a "Perceiver" than a "Judger", contrary to what you might think (and vice versa for the I--P), which is a common reason these two types are mistaken for each other. How it actually plays out though is quite distinctive, which is why once I started reading more about INFJ's, I realized how much more like me it sounded. Basically, there are...
"...two broad and fundamental options for approaching life and information: Judging and Perceiving. Perceiving involves a more passive and receptive approach to life. The first tendency of types with a dominant Perceiving function is not to control, but to allow. Judging, in contrast, involves a desire to control, order, and predict." (source here)

Learn more about personality theory.
Available on Kindle: $6.99
Basically an INFJ has these basic functions:
Internal Intuition (Ni)
External Feeling (Fe)
Internal Thinking (Ti)
External Sensing (Se)

An INFP, on the other hand, has these functions:
Internal Feeling (Fi)
External Intuition (Ne)
Internal Sensing (Si)
External Thinking (Te)

And yes, the order of these functions is important (functions higher up on the list are more dominantly seen in a person's personality). More explanation of these stacking orders can be found here. To sum up this article, an Introvert's dominant (or top of the stack) function is always internally focused (whereas an Extrovert's dominant function is externally focused). Next, the types who last letter is "J" tend to extrovert their "Judging" function, which is actually the T/F part of the equation (confusing, no?). So in the case of an INFJ, my "Feeling" function is extroverted. For an ISTJ, for example, their "Thinking" function is extroverted.

For "P"s, they tend to extrovert their "Perceiving" function, which is the N/S part of the equation. So an INFP would extrovert their "iNtuition" function, and an ISFP, for example, would extrovert their "Sensing" function.

I haven't entirely figured out what goes into determining the order of these functions, but apparently the last function on the list is your least developed function and the functional opposite of your dominant function.

It's funny but a lot of the typical explanations for the INFP personality still sound a lot like me, but considering it from the point of view of whether my functions are external or internal makes it more clear that I am actually INFJ. Extroverted Intuition (Ne) for example (which is a trait of INFP) tends to cause someone to ramble aloud when they're processing something until they come to their conclusion. They may be seen as scatterbrained as they circle around clarifying in their mind what they're trying to say. An Introverted Intuition (Ni - a trait of the INFJ) tends to absorb the possibilities and then build on one singular idea inside their head before saying it out loud. They can often seem mystical or like a prophet when they say something because they can "jump" to a conclusion before other types, since they have done all their processing internally before speaking.

Internal Feeling (Fi - a trait of the INFP) tends to mean that a person's internal feelings are unswayed by external factors. So like, they may feel deeply about a certain topic or situation, but the fact that their feeling isn't shared by the others in the room is irrelevant. How they feel about a topic is deeply held and isn't likely to sway by external opinions and situations. For the trait of External Feeling (Fe - a trait of the INFJ), we tend to be like cold-blooded animals, in the sense that we absorb &/or mimic the feeling of a room. If I walk into a room of people that are angry, for example, I will instantly feel angry. If I walk into a room of people that are very excited, I'll tend to feel that way as well. It also works to where if I'm talking to someone, I can very easily put myself in their shoes and feel what they're feeling. I also tend to change my emotions based on what I see will help others in the room - I will exude calmness if someone needs calming down, for example, or exude anger if everyone around me seems overly lackadaisical about something that needs to be responded to more emotionally (this is largely an unconscious trait, not something I do purposefully). An Internal Feeler, on the other hand, is less concerned with cultivating the feeling in the room, but more concerned with helping people individually. They tend to be rescuers and also have a highly developed sense of their own worldview. They tend to take up causes that personally move them.

Internal Sensing (Si - a trait of the INFP) means that a person may fail to factor in external details as much. They tend to rely on past data to determine their current course of action, rather than taking into account current circumstances. They tend to avoid new sensations and experiences. An External Sensing person (Se - a trait of the INFJ) relishes new tastes, smells, etc, and are pretty in tuned to the world around them. They may notice a bird chirping outside the window before someone else might, for example. Their preferences for trends (in clothing, music, etc) also seem to be more dependent on what's trendy at the moment, whereas an Internal Sensor tends to stick with what's already tried and true (classic styles in clothing, for example).

External Thinking (Te - a trait of the INFP) tend to think out loud more than an Internal Thinking person. They may be more fact oriented, seeing things in black and white. They also tend to backtrack and try to clarify the question and underlying assumptions of something before actually trying to come up with an answer or solution. Someone with the Introverted Thinking function (Ti - a trait of the INFJ) tends to be pretty self-disciplined (able to resist eating an entire carton of ice cream in one sitting, for example) and tends to not express their opinions until they are a bit more fully formed. They are constantly pulling in new information to try to build up the theories in their minds on certain subjects. For example, I have running theories on personality types, birth order, learning styles, etc, and am constantly pulling in information to hone my viewpoint. An External Thinker would tend to already have a black and white idea of how something is, regardless of new information. While an External Thinker thinks more out loud, once they come to a conclusion, it tends to stay that way.

Anyway, sorry if this post is long (<-- an INFJ trait - I'm concerned about your feelings here, Lol). I guess it's an INFJ trait to want to teach people things (hence all my posts about blogging tips, small business tips, etc). Lol. I guess teaching you about personality traits is no different. I don't claim to be an expert here, but found all this research rather interesting and it's definitely changing how I'm viewing personality typing in general (<-- another INFJ trait - pulling in new information has morphed my opinions on something). Hopefully you've found this all rather interesting!

Freebie: Los Angeles Skyline

I had an idea recently to make skyline images in Adobe Illustrator. In honor of my upcoming move to Los Angeles, I decided to start with that skyline. It's strange, I don't generally think of LA as having a skyline, but it does. I don't think I've actually ever been to the downtown, skyscraper area of the city yet, even though I've been there many times. This is one spread out city, let me tell you! Lol.

Anyway... I decided to give you this skyline for free as a desktop background! I made it in the resolution of my MacBook screen (1280x800), so if you need a different size, let me know and I can tweak it for you.

Download FULL version here.

Download FULL version here.

Do you have a specific city that you'd like me to make next? List your requests below! I prefer making actual skyscraper cities, but you're free to try to sneak in other suggestions as well. Who knows, I just might make your cute little small town for you! ;)

If I do make your request, I will email you to let you know when it'll be available on the blog. Otherwise, just check back periodically and see what else I've created!

(PS: if you're a "no-reply" blogger, I won't be able to email you to let you know I've worked on your idea. Sad! You can read here on how to fix this problem, if that's something you want to know how to do).

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Celebrities Doing Their Thing

Yesterday when I was scouring my YouTube history for some of my favorite Photoshop tutorials, I ran across this great video of Justin Timberlake and Jimmy Fallon doing the History of Rap. You probably have seen this before, but it was my first time seeing it and I found it pretty entertaining.

This made me reminiscent for some of the other videos I've seen of celebrities doing their thing a little more informally, which I always find quite fascinating. When someone's in a movie or doing a concert, they're performing in a different way than when they're just hamming it for the camera, and those slightly more down-to-earth moments are very interesting to me.

Here's one that I've found recently, but realized I hadn't shared yet. This trick can also be found in the movie Pitch Perfect. Yes, it really was her doing this in the film!

(cut to about 1 minute on this one if you want)

You've probably seen this one of JayZ also, as it was going viral a few months ago, but I thought it'd be fun to share anyway. There's some controversy regarding whether or not it was a publicity stunt or genuine, but regardless, I found it pretty endearing how "normal" a big deal celebrity can be sometimes.

(the original video was blocked, but this CNN clip shows most of it)

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Re-Organizing My Blog

Today I was inspired to finally wade through all the tags on my blog (some leftover from when I brought this blog over here from Squarespace three years ago!). I cleaned them up considerably, narrowing things down to 20 tags (which you can now find both in the sidebar and in the footer). Should make browsing my blog easier for both me and you! ;)

It was pretty interesting going back through my blog though. I skimmed through every... single... post. (Yes, it took forever). Even way back before I applied for school, I was dreaming about being creative, traveling, and doing something more with my life than answering phones all day. If my self from three years ago could only see me now!! ;)

Also in conjunction with the tag revamp, I completely redesigning my blog. (Yes, again). I suppose I should be designing my school projects instead, but we all need a day of procrastination now and then, right?

Monday, April 8, 2013

Decluttering your time

I was thinking about time spent today and what's considered "downtime" as opposed to what's being "lazy". I am reminded every so often (on various blogs and podcasts) that downtime is actually a very necessary ingredient for creativity, simply because our brain needs room to ponder before it can come up with ideas. I think in general too, our brains are less stressed when we don't jam pack our day full of busyness and stuff. For an introverted person, especially, I find I also need that space to just be in my head and let the thoughts rumble around a bit. Without that time to breathe, I always feel rushed and hurried and unable to focus when I'm actually at work/school.

We live in a super busy society, so it's really easy to feel guilty for not constantly filling up every day with commitments. But ask yourself if you really love each of those things you're committed to do. Are they necessary to get you to the next stage in your goals or are they just time-fillers so you have something on your schedule? Do you stress over feeling like you never have a minute to catch your breath? Sometimes it's hard to know what to cut, but asking some of these types of questions really help. It may just come down to the fact that you don't want to have to be somewhere every evening of the week. Maybe you can ax the commitment on a couple nights and relax at home instead?

Or maybe you always feel like you're treading water and barely able to offer the minimum amount of effort to your commitments because you're always tired and cranky. I know that's how I've felt about my school schedule this year. I think a large reason for that is with my introverted nature, having commitments every day of the week was not healthy for me. I realized that if I cut out a couple classes this term, I could schedule the rest to only fall on two days a week, giving me the space and time to both relax and to brainstorm on my school projects a little more thoroughly. For me, that downtime is necessary to feel sane and unstressed and to give my best effort on the days I do go in. For someone else, their priorities may be different so their schedule would lay out differently.

Anyway, what do you think? Do you ever stop to analyze your time commitments and/or purposefully schedule do-nothing time?

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Do you remember the Babysitters club books or the Linda series?

I have been looking for the name of a certain book series for quite some time that I read back in junior high. Unfortunately the only thing I could remember was that it was about a girl who lived in NYC and each book was one year of her school life - going from late grade school through the end of high school. Yesterday I ran across a group on Goodreads called "What's the name of that book?" So of course I had to submit my request!

Here's the link - I'd link to the group properly but I'm writing this on my iPhone so linking doesn't work the same way:

Anyway, I kid you not, by the time I woke up this morning, I had the answer to my search! I've been trying to remember the name of this series for 5-10 years now! Turns out it was the Linda series by Linda Lewis, with the first book called "2 Young 2 Go 4 Boys". It looks like she also later wrote some prequels as well, which I haven't read.

I also discovered today a site called where you can actually check out scanned versions of books just like you would get a real book from any library. They're mainly older books, although I did find some newer ones on there (the Gossip Girl series, for example). But yeah, they're literally scanned pages of actual books, so less good quality than you'd get from an actual Kindle book, but still... it beats buying the book on eBay! You can check out 5 at a time for up to 2 weeks each. And guess what? They had "2 Young 2 Go 4 Boys"! He he!! So I checked it out today and finished it. (I'd forgotten how short the books were in the YA section. Maybe I haven't gotten slower at reading with age - the books have just gotten longer. Lol.)

I also found many of the BSC books! Did you know they kept writing those well into the late 90's?? I read them mostly in the 80's and early 90's. I started high school in 1993 and probably stopped reading them right around then. Now I'm really kind of curious to go back and read the ones I've missed! Is that weird? Lol.

I must confess, I did check out the first BSC book today: "Kristy's Big Idea" (and finished it) and am now reading the second one: "Claudia and the Phantom Phone Calls". Boy do these sure bring back memories! ;)

Thursday, April 4, 2013

As cute as a button

Carlita has taken to sitting on my dresser or in the window ledge behind. I found her there again this afternoon!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Daily Life

Due to my MacBook cord deciding it didn't want to charge my MacBook anymore and also due to my school schedule, I thought it might be fun to do a series of quick posts from my iPhone for awhile. I'll try to post a photo a day and give a brief synopsis of what I've been up to. What do you think?

So my first day of my last term of school was yesterday. So far so good! I'm only taking 3 classes instead of the 5 that I should be taking, but I know I made the right decision. Having too busy of a schedule totally stressed me out and these three classes that I am taking are going to be insanely tough as it is. We're working on our graduating portfolio, personal identity and branding, and personal website (to be used for our online portfolio). Needless to say all these are all very important projects and very time consuming as well!

Which brings me to another topic I'd like to discuss. Well two really... (did I say this was going to be a quick post? oops). So since my portfolio site will be done in Wordpress, I most likely will move my blog over there this summer to keep everything together. Ordinarily I've liked Blogger just fine, but with their doing away with Google Reader and Friend Connect it's not nearly as easy and convenient of a blogging system as it used to be.

Which brings up my second point... I was testing out Google+ as an alternate means of letting people subscribe in lieu of using Google Reader or Friend Connect. Turns out GR is just as unusable as it was when I first tried it. Apparently there is still no (free) way to automatically publish my blog feed on there, which is the biggest downside for me. I have enough to do in my life without regressing to 2001 and manually submitting my blog feed every single time I write a post. Get with the program, Google!

Anyway... long story short. Probably going to pull the plug on my G+ account soon. Unless you really want it. Speak now or forever hold your peace.

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