Sunday, December 1, 2013

Christmas Photography Tips and Tricks

With Christmas right around the corner, I thought I would share some tips and tricks to ensure you get some great pictures to remember Christmas 2013 for years to come!

Tip 1: Take pictures when people aren't paying attention.

You get the most genuine expressions when people aren't trying to look good in front of the camera. The pictures I have when people aren't looking become some of my favorites.

Tip 2: Take pictures of the ornaments that are important or sentimental to you.

Take pictures of ornaments that mean the most to you, and write down why they are important. For example, in the top picture, the ornament with the white lace? My grandma made that before she died. And it was on my mom's tree. My first Christmas in my new house my mom gave it to me to put onto my tree. Someday, I want my children to know why it is so special to me.

Tip 3: Take pictures of your tree.

This may be an obvious one, but I think its very important. I have started taking pictures of our tree every year to see how it changes. My boyfriend and I don't have children, but when we do I expect that our tree will change very much. Right now it is a lot of store bought ornaments with a few sentimental ones. I expect that ratio will change after we have children. I think the tree is a good indicator of how your life has changed Christmas to Christmas. 

I hope you can utilize these tips to capture some of your Christmas on film (err.. on memory? What do we say now that we use digital cameras?!) whether you use a DSLR or a point and shoot.  And I hope you have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!


Wednesday, June 5, 2013

5 Reasons To Use StumbleUpon

Okay, so don't kill me, internet, but I actually haven't been pinning a lot lately.
Don't get me wrong. I love to glance at the app every now and then, but I haven't been hardcore like on-the-actual-computer pinning.

(That's the technical term. You know what I'm talking about.)

I have been using StumbleUpon. Have you heard of it? It's kinda like Pinterest. Except, more men use it. And me, apparently. 

Reasons Why I Think You Should Use StumbleUpon

1. (Better) Creative Content. Pinterest has a Design section, yes, but to me, it just feels like an awful lot of inspiration, rather than tutorials. I can Stumble through the Graphic Design interest (my favorite) and see TONS of tutorials, freebies, and other articles that aren't available on Pinterest. I think the reason that some aren't on there is some just don't have pinnable images. (I try to keep my favorites on both, if possible.)

2. You actually read the articles. I don't know about you, but I rarely click through on Pinterest. And when I do, I'm often disappointed that it is linked to a picture, or worse, to a website that just  repins things and doesn't give the source. Or worstest, TUMBLR. Ahhh. I love StumbleUpon because I actually read the articles. And comment. And give love to the original writer.

3. You find the best stuff from all over the internet. Stumble all of your interests. It will find you some awesome, funny, and sometimes weird things from all edges of the internet. Because you aren't limited to using pictures, like you are on Pinterest, you can find some really cool articles. Or Javascript games. Like this one called Incredibox that lead to Dakota and I fighting over who could be the better mixer.

4. Lots more interests to choose from. 512! :) And if you "Like" (or Thumbs Up) enough pages from a website, SU will ask if you want to see more pages from this page, essentially adding it to your interests list!

5. Channels. Channels are like Stumbling a certain website. For example, recently, Dakota and I have been very into watching TEDTalks. They are very interesting, and make you think. TED has a channel on StumbleUpon. So I can stumble through TEDTalks and learn some new things! Some other channels I follow: The Beauty Department, DeviantArt, Food Network, and Cosmo. I just recently got into using the channels feature and can see how it will be VERY ADDICTING. Have you tried reading The Beauty Department? That is one of those websites that I can just keep clicking links all day long. 

I know StumbleUpon won't replace Pinterest in the blogging world, but at least give it a chance. You never know what kind of fun, interesting stuff you will come across!


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Graduation Photo Dump

I am officially a college graduate! Well, not officially, because I have to wait until AUGUST for my diploma, but whatever. I participated in the ceremony, therefore, in my eyes, I am a college graduate.

It makes me kind of sad to be done, now that it's over. I feel like a whole part of my life is over. Most of mine and Dakota's relationship took place in college. Now that it's over, we will be spending far less time together. But really, we aren't one of those couples that are together 24/7. I will admit that I like to be home when he's home.. but I usually do my own thing. Anyways.

My graduation day started with lots of being lazy. We were both off  for the day, so we slept in. We went shopping. And then, I got my hair done. First time dying (erm, bleaching) in four years! My appointment was made for 1 PM to allow time to do everything, but my stylist didn't realize I didn't have any dye in my hair. The bleaching took like 20 minutes. Also, I didn't realize my hair was soooo long until Christina posted these pictures on Instagram later. I love her. If you are ever in the area, stop by and see her! She is seriously the best.Check out her Instagram of all the cool stuff she does! I really want some bright colors in my hair already. And its been blonde less than a week haha.

And what is really cool is she just left my natural hair the color it was.. so that it will grow out better than if she had dyed my hair darker. 

(Image Credit: Christina Steelman)

And she curled it for my graduation.. these curls lasted til after I got home.. like 10 PM. My hair is notorious for letting go of curls. But those stuck. Now I need to figure out how to use a curling iron.. Dakota loved it curled. (I use it and nothing happens. No curl. Tutorials, anyone, for dummies??) 

(Image Credit: Christina Steelman)

Close up of the color transition.. this is Ombre, folks! I love it!

And after waiting TWO HOURS for instructions, the graduation commenced, and I managed to find my parents afterward... (it was a MADHOUSE!) Forgive the cheesy smiles that will commence.....

My dad pretending to be short like us...

I obviously did NOT get the tall gene.

My mom wanted a picture with just us... :)

And of course one of my man and me.... First picture together in a long, long time. I definitely need to get in front of the camera more!

And here I am with my big smile..officially a college graduate!

Well, that's all folks. I'm done with college. Time to be an adult I guess.
But what if all I really want is a Capri-Sun and a fort with some coloring books?

Growing up is scary. But so exciting to start a new phase in my life!


Thursday, May 23, 2013

10 Things I LOVE About Being A Designer

I figured that yesterday's post was a little too depressing. I didn't want ya'll to think that graphic design is a bad job to have.

It isn't. It's just one of those jobs that people don't see as a job. You would be surprised at how many people are taken back when I say I went to school to be a designer.

But in light of the fact that I am accomplishing my childhood dream of being a (monetize able) artist today, I thought I would give you some things that I personally LOVE about being a designer, and why I think it is the best job in the world. I am going to TRY and keep it to ten, because I think of new things I love every day, and this list could get long.

1) I get to make artwork. Every single day.

2) I get to hear "OMG. I love it!" when I finish a job.

3) Time goes by fast when you are doing something you enjoy doing.

4) I get to see my work on the side of trucks, on the side of buildings, on t-shirts
.... (kinda vain, but it's still pretty cool.)
5) I get to solve problems in creative ways.
6)  People think I can do anything with a design. I see it as a challenge. A lot at my old job I would say, "I've never done it before, but I can certainly try!"
7) I get to learn something new almost every day.
8) There is a world of inspiration out there on the internet. Some days I feel like there are so many others out there better than me, but there always will be. But I can learn from them. And maybe, someday, somehow, someone will learn from me.

9) I get to communicate in non-verbal ways. Design is communication. I am not always good at the whole small talk thing. I don't make friends easily. But I can get my message across in design.

10) My job is also my hobby. I like to come home and talk about design here.  I like to play on Illustrator in my spare time. I get to love what I do, and still separate work from play. That's pretty awesome.

I hope this list doesn't make you too jealous. :P
But really,  I'm sure any profession you love will have a list like this. You just have to see the good parts. 

I am very glad to be graduating today. I have many people to thank for getting me here. More on that later. 

But now, now we celebrate!
Congrats to all the graduates from COS and other colleges! 


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Graphic Design Pet Peeves

In honor of my impending graduation, I figured I should enlighten you all about the joys of being a graphic designer. I love being a designer. I really do. But like any other job, certain things get really annoying.
*Disclaimer: I don't mean this to be offensive. I don't care if you like Comic Sans. Personal preference. This is just from my experience in the four-ish years I've been doing this, professionally and in school.
Using periods in phone numbers instead of dashes.
Not using the oxford comma.
Photoshop Error: "Not enough ram".
Linked files with no source file to be found.
Papyrus / Comic Sans.
Lens flares.
Not outlining your freaking fonts.
Flat black. (100% K. Read more on this post.)
Designers that rasterize their PDFs before sending them to me.
Things not lining up with things.
Widows and orphans.
Looking through so many fonts that words look like random letters put together. Seriously. Stare at the word together for a while.
"Make it POP!"
Almost having a heart attack when Illustrator is saving and I haven't saved in like 3 HOURS and it says "NOT RESPONDING". And then it saves and I'm like OMG. GIVE ME OXYGEN.
Corel Draw. I hate you. Please go away. 
Working on a design and forgetting to do things like use the restroom, eat, breathe...
"Can you teach me to be a designer?" "Can you teach me Illustrator?" No. 
Logos that have ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with the company.
Clients that don't know what they want. But know what they don't want when they see it.
Having people watch my screen over my shoulder.
As you can tell... I could go on and on.
I love being a graphic designer, don't get me wrong, but sometimes things are just irritating.

Do you have pet peeves with your job?

 “Make it blue. Make it red. Make it a pony.” - Art Director’s Club. Absolutely hilarious.  




Literary Junkies: ECard Edition

1) What are you currently reading? Tell us about it.


Well I've been flipping back and forth between books a great deal these days. But mostly I've been reading In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto, because I am a nutrition nerd these days. And Freakonomics.

I am currently reading Diamond in the Rough by Shawn Colvin. I've been trying to finish it but I think I'm just not a fan of memoirs. I will finish it but in the words of Emily "Its not my taste but I appreciate the attempt." Gilmore girls? Anyone? :)


2) Summer is just ahead and my fav thing to fantasize is laying in a hammock with a good book. What are your top 3 fav "summer" reads?



First of all, in California summer is already HERE. I don't really have "summer" books. I would be able to sit in a hammock and read a murder mystery or something, because I am a total block out the world kind of reader. And I would get sunburned. But, for a good book, it would be totally worth it.

Top "Summer" reads? Hmmm...I don't think I have any designated summer books but I love to just relax and read new books back to back every chance I get.

3) What are your top 3 summer "to-reads"?

I actually need to reevaluate my to-read list as I have been downloading hella (Can you tell I'm from California.. ha!) books lately.. and I just finished my two big "To-Reads" (Warm Zombies and Silver Linings Playbook) this week. Now I am not sure what to do with my life.

At the moment, Silver Linings Playbook, Beautiful Creatures, and Widow of the South. Although I have so many to-read books that if you ask me next week this list will be different.

4) What book do you wish they'd make it a movie of?



Abby mentioned in a previous Literary Junkies post, but her mom wrote a book called Dutiful Daughter (and a sequel called Baby Broker or Dedicated Doctor?). I would love to see that be in a movie! I think it would be as mind blowing as The Sixth Sense. (Seriously. You need to read it.)


Oh so many to choose from. Ok The Magician's Nephew by C. S. Lewis, The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor (Well the whole trilogy would make good movies), The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, The Monster of Florence by Douglas Preston, and Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. I could go on and on but I'll leave it at that. Ha

Jessica note: I second Gone Girl!

5) Has your favorite author published a book lately or going to publish a book soon? Tell us about it.


I don't really pay attention to this stuff. I find books on Good Reads. I read books Abigail tells me to. I just read books as they come to me. Except for when the Harry Potter books came out. I waited for that shit. 

Favorite author...I have a hard time just picking a favorite genre when asked. Well since I'm writing this kinda last minute, I think I'm going to pass on this question :P 

Abigail would like to add: 
Oh and CONGRATS to my bestest friend on graduating college!!! I'm so proud of you hun. I'm very blessed to have you in my life and I know you will go big places! Just don't forget about me when you become a hot shot designer. ;)

Jessica would like to add:
This reminds me of Abigail. She totally does this.

Pink Heels Pink Truck


Friday, May 17, 2013

Friday Findings

Happy Friday everybody! :)
I hope you had a great week. I had a great week. I am graduating college NEXT WEEK. How can I not be totally and completely stoked?

I feel like I've had a great couple of blogging weeks. I mean, I'm still not up to the content level I want to be at, but I'm definitely improving on posting more! :)

Oh, and random, but.. I want to do this to my hair next week.

So I figure since everyone else does something like this in the blogging world.. I would try it out too! This week I have been on StumbleUpon a great deal (as opposed to Pinterest) because StumbleUpon has a lot more Graphic Design content.. like actual tutorials and stuff, rather than just inspiration, which is something I feel Pinterest lacks. I was going to keep it design based.. but I got bored. So I have some nutritional ones for you too, because nutrition is a major interest for me. 

Friday Findings

Check out these great movie fonts. Mock movie posters?  I see something like this in the future.
This is a great article about finding logo inspiration.
Some great free Photoshop textures, which I can never feel I can get enough of.
A great list of graphic design interview tips. I especially like the one about bringing paper and a pen!
Superfoods for the win!
50 Snacks under 50 calories for when I feel like I need to eat all day!
Custom Yoga workouts... I might need to try this!

Simple nutrition tips.. My favorite is "Eat less, enjoy more."

What is in 4 lbs of food.. This kinda blew my mind.
Facts about foods.. Made me rethink my love for bananas for me. 

In Case You Missed It...

I shared my first ever JULEP box. Such pretty colors!
I showed you my final graphic design project..that includes ZOMBIES. (My favorite creature.)

I talked about how I have sucked at goals lately. And how I plan to get back on track.

Have a great weekend loves! 
I'm going to spend this weekend cleaning out my garage. For reals this time!
What are you up to this weekend?


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

May Goals - Middle of the Month Check In

I, for one, cannot believe it is already halfway through May. Can you believe it?
I'm graduating NEXT WEEK. I'm totally freaking out.
We have not heard anything about practice. I haven't done Dakota's announcements.

To make matters worse, I am also totally failing at my goals I set for myself.

I feel like I have been working so hard, and yet, I haven't been getting anything done! You ever feel like that? 

To make myself feel worse, and get back on track, I figured I would check in on my goals for this month. And I had perfect timing because today is the 15th! That never happens. It's like the planets aligned for me to get something done today. 

Blog more often, and with better content. Well. You answer this. I have been blogging more. I have been trying to give you better content. But what I had in mind was actual tutorials, or sharing my knowledge with you. Not that you want my knowledge. I know random things. Seriously. 

Drink more water. I have a bottle of water with me right now! I am trying. But I am still drinking soda. I fails. But I have been drinking water all day since I am usually too lazy to go buy a soda. (I don't usually keep soda at home.) And I do have a rule for eating out. I may get a soda, but I don't refill it when I leave. It's a simple thing, but it saves me SOOO many calories. But I need to cut out the soda all together! 

Be more active! I haven't been running like I should be. But I didn't know that May would turn into the month from hell. Seriously. Last week, it was in the 70s-80s. Beautiful California weather. Since Saturday, it has been in the 90s. I don't even mind the 90s. It is the going back and forth that bothers me. It makes me ill. Anyways, excuses aside, I have been really bad. But I have been swimming with the hot weather. Maybe I'll finally get some color. Ha. Like that will happen

Lose 10 lbs. We'll see. I've lost a few pounds.  Okay, so like 1.something since the beginning of this month. But I have been bad. I doubt I will, but I'm going to try harder for the next two weeks and try to lose more.

Get Dakota's invites done. Failed. I got him to let me take pictures of him finally. I just can't seem to design anything that doesn't look too plain or too girly. And if I design something I like, he doesn't like it. Ideas?

How are you doing on your goals this month? Any tips to keep me on track?


Ruffles and Thread

Have you entered the giveaway yet for Pick Your Plum? If not, you totally should!
$75 worth of products is an awesome snag! 

Anyway, I just wanted to show you the awesome deal they have today! Ruffles and Thread! 
They have 10 spools of thread, and three different ribbons! For 65% off!

To check it out and take advantage of the deal, click the banner below.


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

If it weren't for the last minute, I would never get anything done.

I have been a bad design blogger. I don't talk much about design, I don't do tutorials anymore, and overall I just suck.

But today, today I turned in my final project for Integrated Graphics. I literally started it like last week. And the majority of it I did over the weekend.

The project was that we had to come up with an original game idea, and make a case, a cartridge or disc (depending on the system, obvi.) and a manual to go along with it. 

Procrastination is like my worst trait, but it's hard not to when I know I do well under pressure. ;)

My worst problem with this project was that I couldn't figure out what game to make. And then it came to me.. Just Dance with zombies! We all know how I feel about zombies

This project was done exclusively in Illustrator. I'm kind of an Illustrator nerd. I was going to do the manual in InDesign, but at the last minute, it was just easier to it in Illustrator. I'm lazy like that.

I feel so much better that this project is now turned in. Now all I have left is a couple of performance tests in the programs (Illustrator, InDesign, and Photoshop) on Thursday, and another next Thursday, and then I graduate next Thursday night (May 23rd). So much excitement!

I have another class that I am in this semester, but this project beats my other final project. Maybe I'll show that one too. But I like zombies. Let me know what you think! I'd love to see what you guys think.

Zombie Dance Party



Monday, May 13, 2013

Pick Your Plum Giveaway!

Have you heard of Pick Your Plum? You can find great deals at their site every day! They have a lot of supplies for all sorts of hobbies and interest.

Check them out, I know you will LOVE all their fabulous products ;)

But wait, there's something I know you will love the most: A GIVEAWAY!!

I've teamed up with an awesome group of bloggers to bring you a $75 Pick Your Plum box Giveaway!  This amazing box is full of crafting, fashion, baking, and home decor swag! We know you are excited about this giveaway, but before giving you more details about it, I want you all to meet the lovely group of bloggers who came up with this.

Melissa @ Dancing For Food
Heather @ Hezzi-D's Books and Cooks

All of these women are very dear to me and are kind of like a blogging support group at times. I hope you read their blogs! They are wonderful women!

Take a look at what you could get in the Pick Your Plum box!

Don't miss the chance of getting awesome products from Pick Your Plum! Enter the Rafflecopter below.
Open to legal residents of USA and Canada, who are 18 years or older. 

Thanks so much for entering! Good luck!

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