Saturday, May 18, 2013

Fresh & Clean Blogger Templates for Sale

I've been working on some clean, minimal Blogger templates this weekend! I have toyed with selling templates in the past but didn't really know what I was doing yet. I think I'm starting to wrap my head around CSS though, so that definitely helps a LOT when designing templates! Both are available for purchase on my Etsy shop for $40. You can expect a lot more templates coming this summer, so get ready!

Fresh & Clean Template - Available in my Shop

These two templates are very similar to each other - both are two-column templates with the same coloring. The one is 1110 pixels wide, allowing for an x-large sized photo in the post area. The "skinny" version is 900 pixels wide, allowing for a medium sized photo in the post area. Both also have mouse-over effects in the navbar and links! That was really fun to figure out how to do - it's one of my new favorite CSS tricks! ;)

Fresh & Clean Skinny Template - Available in my Shop

What does your ideal Blogger template look like?
2-column? 3-column? Light? Dark? Highly illustrated? Minimal?

Friday, May 17, 2013

Folded Brim Knit Hats

I've been making a ton more of those cable knit watchcaps over the last couple months. They're super cute and VERY fun to make! I have enough of the "normal" length hats to last my shop a lifetime, so I've been having fun stocking up on this more versatile style! Get your own today while supplies last!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Overcoming my lot in life... or not...

Today's prompt kind of cracks me up. I'm sure some people have a "lot in life" that is no joking matter, but for me, myself, I don't feel like there's any great experience/situation hanging over my head that I'm constantly trying to overcome. I am who I am and what I've been through has made me who I am today, so... Maybe it's just me, but I don't really think about life's circumstances like they're something to overcome. I work towards goals and move on from things that didn't work. I don't dwell a lot on the past, other than to try to learn from my mistakes.

Sometimes I think our "lot in life" can really be a mental thing. You either have it in your head that you do do/be anything, or you don't. Not that everyone has the ability to do anything they want, but just that a lot of people needlessly censor their ideas and dreams because they think they're not worthy of them or that somehow they're unable to fulfill them due to growing up in the poor side of town, etc.

I've grown up with the idea that I can/should go to college or that if I dream to move to NYC or Sydney, Australia, that I can/should try that. I don't feel like there really have been many obstacles in my life hindering me from trying new things, other than perhaps money (we've always been pretty poor). We may not have always been able to buy new clothes growing up, but going to college was always a given in my family, for which I am grateful (even if I complain about the student loans now). I feel like, overall, my life has been pretty blessed. We may not ever have had a lot materially, but the attitude of my parents gave me the confidence to try new things, which is probably one of the best gifts any parent can give their children!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Photo of my Life

The bad part of posting blog posts late is that when you're trying to follow a prompt that has you taking photos of your day... it's already too late because that day has passed! Lol. I checked my iPhone for any recent photos that I've taken though and ran across this one.

My apologies for the fuzzy photo.
I was taking this more to remember the quote
and less to blog about it, but...
you can see how well that turned out. Lol.

This photo is of a quote from one of the fliers for our gallery opening (if you know who said this, please let me know!). Anyway, this gallery opening has pretty much been consuming my life lately, so I haven't had time to take personal photos lately! Sad, but true. ;) So you get a glimpse into my design life instead. ;)

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

10 Things That Make Me Really Happy

In no particular order...

Walking around downtown Portland

walking downtown Portland Oregon

Watching iPod commericals

My cat, Carlita

cute cat photos



Going to the movies alone

going to the movies alone

Figuring out a new trick in CSS

via: puglypixel

Watching a new episode of Grimm w/ my family


Eating Cheetos


Going to the Oregon coast

Newport oregon sea lion

Starbucks Christmas coffees

Starbucks Christmas coffee

Sunday, May 12, 2013

My Ode to Portland

Today's prompt is to talk about something that I miss. The first thing that came to mind for me was living in Portland. I love the city atmosphere, where there are always things to do, places to go, etc. I don't mean necessarily going to parties every night (I'm definitely not the type of personality that enjoys being super social), but I loved having the opportunity to go to the ballet, for example, or the opera, or to a pro basketball game, even. It's just fun having those types of things within the city you live in, so you can do that rather easily in an evening if the fancy strikes you.

I also loved having public transportation at my fingertips. Portland has a particularly good system for that, which fascinated me endlessly when I lived there. It would always amaze me that I could literally get from one end of the city to the other merely by walking/busing/taking a train. I lived there about 5 years before I even got a car... and even then, I would leave it at home most days to travel downtown to work. It was just faster to take the train... plus you can't read a book while driving yourself somewhere! Lol.

The other thing I miss about Portland was it's awesome sense of "team spirit", if you will. People who live in Portland love living in Portland, and it shows. The annual Rose Festival is a town event and it's quite common to visit the festival grounds several times a week while it's going on (whether for a parade, dragonboat race, or for the carvnival itself). People also tend to congregate in Pioneer Square, especially in the summer, for free concerts, sandcastle-building exhibitions, etc. There's a definite sense of group identity in Portland that makes you really excited to be there and see what's going on!

Downtown is always really fun too. I loved walking around down there, seeing the tall buildings, visiting the awesome stores. If you've never been, you should go see Powell's Books. It's literally so big that they have a map you can grab at the door to help you navigate your way around! I got in the habit of only taking in the amount of money I wanted to spend because it's really easy to justify buying way too many books! They've got pretty much any book you can think of and usually at a really great (used bookstore) price.

In the 10-20-year plan for my life, I probably won't end up back in Portland anytime soon, but hopefully I can retire there! I want to see other great cities in the meanwhile, but I think Portland will always be my first love. ;)

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Myself... in 10 words or less

I'm an introvert who loves designing, reading, & learning!

On a sidenote... if you've been paying attention, you'll know that I haven't posted in about a week! School's been majorly busy so I put blogging on the back burner for awhile - this post will be dated for the date is was supposed to be posted, for example, since I'm trying to do the Blog Every Day in May challenge. ;)

We put up a gallery exhibit this weekend, showcasing our graduating class' design projects from the last 2-3 years. It's crazy how much work goes into a show like that! I probably put in 50-60 hours of time over the last week and a half getting ready for the show. Needless to say I've been playing hooky part of this week so I can rest up. ;)

Friday, May 10, 2013

Most Embarrassing Moment

I can't for the life of me remember a recent embarrassing moment. Either I've blocked them out or I'm just too old to get embarrassed anymore. Lol. Today's post topic reminds me of the go-to answer I've always used for this question in the past though, so that's what I'll share with you.

So I think it was 8th grade or so... I was on an overnight retreat with my classmates. We stayed in some barn in the middle of nowhere that had bunk-beds and a tv in it - that's pretty much all I remember about the setting. Oh, and we watched The Cutting Edge (remember that movie?).

So I had been sick that week but still really wanted to go on the retreat anyway. I had been feeling better, but apparently not fully better, because at one of our group inspirational talks, I ended up throwing up all over myself... and the girl sitting next to me... in front of probably 30-40 of my classmates. Awesome...

Everyone was really nice about it, of course, but being an eighth-grader, and a very SHY eighth-grader at that, it was pretty mortifying.

What about you? What's your most embarrassing moment?

Thursday, May 9, 2013

My Pillows are Calling Me

This week we've been getting ready for a gallery opening to show off some of our graduating portfolios. We've all been working late every night in the lab: designing, printing, proof-reading, re-designing, re-printing... well you get the idea. ;)

So, since today's post was supposed to be a glimpse of my day and I've been too busy to remember to take a photo... you get to see a photo of my pillow instead! ;) Because that is where I'm headed now. I've been designing all day and now it's time to rest my weary eyes!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Do one thing every day that scares you.

Image credit: The Maven Circle
Day 8 has us sharing one piece of advice with our readers. My advice (which I actually stole from Eleanor Roosevelt) is to do one thing every day that scares you. I can't say I actually follow this advice religiously, so take my advice with a grain of salt, but it does make me think about how easy it can be to stay stuck in our comfort zones.

While there's nothing inherently wrong comfort zones... after all, they are comfortable... they do tend to be places where years pass by without our noticing. Making a point to do something today that scares you means that you'll be actively stepping forward with your dreams rather than just sitting back and letting life pass you by!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

What I am most afraid of.

Today was interesting blog prompt - "What are you most afraid of?" - because I couldn't really think of anything off the top of my head. I tend to be rather optimistic about life, generally speaking, but I guess one thing that lingers in the back of my mind some days is that I'll never actually reach my larger goals in life (become financially stable, become a graphic designer, move to NYC, travel the world... in no particular order).

One of the tendencies I've noticed about myself is that I tend to perpetually daydream but never actually act on anything (maybe this is an INFJ thing?). So I fear sometimes that my daydreams will stay just that... daydreams... forever, instead of actually being realized. I think my stepping out of my comfort zone and actually going back to school is a huge step of actualization though, as will moving 1000 miles away to Los Angeles (something about a change in scenery makes everything seem more real).

I'm not really sure if this qualifies as something that I'm afraid of, but it was still an interesting thing to think about, and it gave me something to write today! ;)

Monday, May 6, 2013

What do I do?

"If you couldn't answer with your job, how would you answer the question, 'what do you do'?"

This is today's blogging prompt and it's a pretty interesting one! When people ask that question, normally the first thing that pops into my head is my job/career. So let's see... what do I do... not in relation to my job (or in my case... school)?

I ...

think a lot...
read about new ideas and theories...
knit hats...
pet my cat, Carlita...
browse YouTube to learn new Photoshop techniques...
get lost on watching movie trailers...
"walk" around new cities on Google Maps Street View...
start new families on The Sims 3...
organize my iTunes library... again...
redesign my blog template... again...
think about taking a walk...
sit in public places and people-watch...
take myself to the movies alone...
browse want-ads online and feel instantly disqualified for every job...
contribute to forums on various topics that interest me...
take photographs of flowers...
play mindless games on my iPhone...
listen to podcasts for hours on end...

What do YOU do? (not in relation to your job).

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Meet One of My Blog Friends!

Day 5 of the Blog Every Day in May challenge is to declare how great one of my blogging friends is! I have "met" many great women over the years, all who share a love of blogging, but one great blogger I've more recently gotten to know is Kristen from KV's Confessions. She's a very sweet girl from Utah who recently graduated from graphic design school! I've enjoyed our chats about the design world, being an introvert, and other such things we have in common, and it's been inspiring to see my near future in the design world lived out through her (no pressure, Kristen!)

Kristen writes a great blog, where she talks about blog designs she's recently finished, illustrations she's working on, or just general life adventures with her husband! So if you're looking for a great, friendly, graphic designer to follow, hop on over to Kristen's blog and subscribe!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Make Unsubscribing from Mailing Lists Easy!

Because of my recent post about de-cluttering your email inbox, I've been thinking more about the process of unsubscribing in general. I mean, it's not particularly hard, but it got me to wondering how many lists I'm actually subscribed to. I could think of a few off the top of my head, because I actually enjoy those newsletters, but every so often I'll get a random email catalog and be like, "When did I sign up for this?" Lol.

I stumbled across a very interesting app today that helps clarify this question of "What am I subscribed to?" and makes it very easily to both unsubscribe from them and also to combine all of the subscriptions you do want into one post (instead of the dozen or so posts that you may normally receive from all the various places you've subscribed to). is a free website to sign up for. It scans your (Gmail or Yahoo) inbox in about 20 seconds and then lists out all the subscription lists you're on. It actually found about fifty subscription lists that I was on! I had no idea! I ended up unsubscribing from 35 of them and then "rolled up" the remaining 17 of them into one daily digest. Since I just did this today, I haven't actually read the daily digest version of my subscriptions yet, but the idea of having all my newsletter/catalog mail in one tidy email really appeals to me.

Here's to the Crazy Ones

Here's the Crazy Ones, The Misfits, the Rebels - Steve Jobs Think Different Quote
I love this quote by Steve Jobs. Great innovators, designers, and inventors aren't usually the people content to live life the same way it's always been lived. They question, wonder, and daydream about the possibilities, and then they make things happen!

Friday, May 3, 2013

5 Things That Make Me Uncomfortable

In no particular order...

1. Wet socks. I'd rather go barefoot than have wet socks on!
2. Drivers that drive directly parallel to my car. Unless we're in stop-and-go traffic, why must you drive directly next to me? Move forwards or backwards, please!
3. Having someone hovering behind me while I'm trying to work. For some reason this makes me extremely self-conscious and I suddenly forget how to do basic things like move the mouse around or spell things correctly.
4. When I tell someone my weekend was quiet and they respond with, "Oh I'm sorry." Um... thank you? I actually loved that my weekend was quiet, so I'm not sure why you're apologizing. #MomentOfAwkwardSilence
5. Watching my favorite movie with someone new. I always end up so distracted, hoping that they'll love it as much as I do, that I have a hard time actually enjoying the movie myself! Lol.

What about you? What makes you uncomfortable?

Thursday, May 2, 2013

How to Keep Your Email Inbox at Zero

For today's Blog Every Day in May post, I have to teach you something that I'm good at. I've noticed that for some reason a lot of people have an overflowing email Inbox and I've never really had that problem, so... here's how I accomplish that!

Step One: Unsubscribe to Catalogs, Email Newsletters, Etc.

Now unless you actually read said catalogs or newsletters, having these clutter your inbox is just pointless. It creates stress by creating extra junk to wade through and it also tempts you to buy things that you may not have been intending to buy. Get rid of all unnecessary mailers like this by clicking on the "Unsubscribe" button at the bottom of the email (which they are required by law to have).

Step Two: Banish Spam to the Spam Folder

One type of email that you actually don't want to try to "Unsubscribe" to is Spam email. Spam is nothing that you've signed up for and usually takes the form of a chain letter promising good/bad luck or an advertisement for a product that you've never heard of. Responding to these, even to Unsubscribe can actually backfire on you because it let's their spam-bots know you're alive, and you'll end up triggering even MORE spam.

Instead, what you want to do is leave them unopened and unread and send them to your Spam folder. The more you do this, the better your email's Spam filter will be about filtering them out before they ever hit your Inbox.

Step Three: Answer Emails Immediately

So now that you've got your Inbox free of any incoming catalogs or spam, the only messages you should be receiving in your Inbox are going to be either personal or business emails, both of which you should respond to in a timely manner anyway (no more than a day, preferably). You don't need to pounce on them within the first five seconds of them being in your inbox, but don't let them sit there for five weeks either. I usually try to check my email 2-3 times a day, just to make sure I catch any client inquiries, respond to emails from friends, etc.

Since I have an iPhone, I actually get new email notifications anywhere I am, so if I see one that I really don't have the time/energy to respond to when I'm on the road, I will keep it as "Unread" until I get home and can deal with it then. Otherwise I open and respond to everything, every time I go into my email. Never leave anything un-dealt-with.

Step Four: Use the Archive Feature

Now I don't know how other email systems work, but Gmail has this awesome feature called Archive. Generally about once a week, I will select EVERYTHING in my InBox and "Archive" it. This is like virtually cleaning off your desk and putting everything into a big filing cabinet. You wouldn't let every piece of paper you've ever touched pile up on your real desk would you? Why do it at your virtual desk then?

Since Gmail is powered by Google, they have a very good Search feature that does very well at retrieving those Archived emails when you need them. You can search a person's name, email address, or even just a phrase that you remember talking about in the email. It's like having your own personal file clerk! Your Inbox will be clean and you'll still be able to quickly find what you're looking for in no time flat!

Have you ever tried to keep your inbox at zero? Would these steps work for you?

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Story of My Life (in 250 words or less)

Due to my being a total slacker on blogging lately (on not really feeling guilty about it... sorry), I thought it might be fun to go completely in the other direction this month and participate in the Blog Every Day In May trend started by Jenni over at the Story Of My Life blog. I don't actually follow this blog, but my blog-friend Angie post about it on her blog, and I thought it was an interesting idea. Jenni has a topic lined up for every day, so I will attempt to follow and we'll see how that goes!


Story of My Life (in 250 words or less)

(That's me on the right. Approximately age 2.)

I was born at home in 1979 in a small rural area of Oregon. In fact being born at home was so rare in those days that I actually made the local papers (no joke). Since then we've moved around a LOT (but always in Oregon). I used to joke that I had lived in more houses than the number of years old I was, but I'm not sure that's still true (it's well over 20 different houses though). I have always loved reading, writing, and daydreaming, and that probably won't change anytime soon. I have gone to school for Bible & Theology, Psychology & Counseling, and now Graphic Design. One day I hope to have the time and money to travel outside the Pacific NW and see more of the world!

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