Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Playlist #27: Guitar Instrumentals

I've been so busy lately, between last weekend's craft fair and working, that what I've found is I really need good background music to my life. I need music that can provide that background noise without taking my focus away from what I'm doing. You know, I always love to sing along with music, but sometimes I just need to do my own thing. This playlist is all about that--play it while you work, read, cook, etc. Save the singalong songs for the car.

P.S. Muriel Anderson is phenomenal--she plays the harp guitar and composes her own music. I first heard her at a local concert in Charlotte. If you like this playlist, you should definitely listen to more of her stuff!

What have you been listening to lately?

(photo by Death to the Stock Photo)

Monday, July 28, 2014

Weekly Goals #37

Helloooo! How was your weekend? Mine was pretty fun, between the craft fair and shopping with friends, except for this crazy weather! It's been insanely windy + cool (think low 60s!) + we haven't had a good beach day in a week! Oh well. This week is pretty routine. Other than working, my only real plans are hanging out with the gal pals tonight, potentially dying my hair turquoise/purple (whaaaa?! just the tips!). 

What are your plans for the week? 

Last Week's Goals:

+ Exercise 120 minutes. Rocked this. As of Friday, I had only put in 40 minutes and got discouraged. But then I remembered that I still had three days to go! In the end, I finished the week with 135 minutes, mostly of walk/runs and conditioning. Yay!

+ Read for 30 minutes a day. I came fairly close to this one. It would have been a lot easier to get the reading in if I had had good beach days, but I just had to read inside most days. I finished Ender's Game and surprisingly, hated it. It was awful. Speaking of awful, I'm reading a Jon Sharpe western book (I think called Desert Death or something like that) and I just can't take it seriously. Also: too many sex scenes. 

This Week's Goals:

I want to do something a little different this week, maybe for the future as well. I'm going to separate my goals into categories (body, mind and blog) so that I make sure I'm working on different areas of myself. Hopefully this means my goals will be more interesting and varied!

+ Body Love: exercise 120 minutes and run the 5k race. My town hosts a Summerfest every year and I'm pretty sure I saw a sign somewhere that there's a 5k race? I probably won't be able to run it all, but that's okay. But, I'm giving myself permission to wuss out if it's expensive/conflicts with my schedule, since I'm not sure when it is.

+ Mind Love: find a new podcast to keep my mind going during the summer. My favorite podcast to listen to during walks is True Murder because it's like watching SVU while exercising, but it's not exactly the most mentally stimulating. Anyone know of a good science/easy French language podcast? 

+ Blog Love: comment on three blog posts every day. It's really low, I know. But I am so guilty of being that silent lurking blog reader. If you comment on my blog regularly, I probably read your blog. I am just awful about commenting. But, I will say. If you don't have disqus, I don't bother. Get that installed, yo.

What are your goals this week?

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Craft Fairs + My Future In Paper Goods

Yesterday, I participated in my town's annual craft fair and sold stationery/greeting cards that I've made. (If you want to see them, here's my instagram video of my table.) I've been making my own cards since I was a grubby eight-year-old who wanted stationery so I could write down all the names of my imaginary friends. My mom let me use clear ink and embossing powder to let me put my name in puffy gold on old pieces of her scrapbooking paper. And I've loved paper and stationery ever since!

Of course it helps that I'm a big letter writer + go through cards like none other. For a long time, I made cards myself, just because I was picky about the designs on my cards and disliked so many of the cutesy fluffy hallmark designs. But for the first time, this weekend, I decided to see what other people thought! 


At the fair (which is very small as far as fairs go), I set up a table, which I shared with a friend who paints canvas shoes. On my half, I set up a board with samples of my cards and stationery options, along with my prices--$3/1, $5/2 and $6 for a set of four personalized notecards.

Overall, I found it to be a very fun experience--though I don't quite have the process down enough to really make much of a profit on the cards. With all the time that I put into them, I made about $8 for every hour I spent on them.

I'll admit. I'm not a professional. I don't really know what I'm doing. I just printed the cards at my house, with my plain-old printer, on plain-old cardstock and cut it up with an x-acto knife and a ruler. There are many ways in which my paper goods need to improve and lots and lots of room to grow. 

But what I did learn was that I want to continue doing this in the future. I have potential. People's comments were honestly the nicest. "You are so freaking talented." "I can't believe you made these yourself." "I don't even want to write a letter on this, can I just frame it?" and "When these are on etsy, I want them. All of them." (That one was my dear Victoria on my instagram.)

As I'm thinking about the future, I know I want design to stay a part of it, along with a career in science. I was talking to H the other day about my dream of opening a brick-and-mortar stationery store and I realized that this is the first step. I can't wait until I'm a total professional to start designing and selling and marketing this. 

I don't know how it'll work, living in a very small dorm, with a very low-quality printer in the fall. I'm looking into using a professional printer rather than printing myself. If any of you are more knowledgeable at this than I am (which doesn't take much), your advice would be appreciated. In the meantime, I plan to continue designing cards. 

So this isn't an official announcement, just know, there are more paper goods in the CMS future. 

Thanks for being so supportive, you guys. I love this blog and this community and you. 

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Catching My Eye [links I like]

+Free, bold and fun fonts from Holly Marie Designs. I'm digging Oxalis.

Worldometers shows real-time statistics for approximately everything. From the population to the number of cell phones bought to hectares of forest loss, it's interesting to literally see our world in numbers. Interesting: there are almost 900 million undernourished people and yet, today there has already been 90 million dollars spent on weight loss programs in the USA.

70 of the most useful sites on the internet. Most are for fun, but some really are useful. Plus it's a fun list to read! I'm a total appaholic but I'm also always on the lookout for cool new websites. Lists like these help me find new tools for the most random things.

+ This set of infographics on lakes and oceans blows my mind. The best quote: "Sperm whales dive about this deep (2800m ish). They come up covered in wounds and sucker marks so presumably there are big squid down here? Man we know nothing about the ocean."

+ Take fifteen minutes to improve your blog with this mini-project from Elembee. Definitely something I need to do soon!

+I'm always interested in hearing about how other people spend their mornings (here's my morning!), so I love this series from Yes and Yes about mornings in different countries.

+So interesting--a photographic series on how kids change in their first year of college.

+I've shared this at least five times, but this video of whale sharks swimming peacefully in an aquarium in Japan makes me feel like I'm going to tear up every time. These are my favorite creatures on earth for their beauty and grace.

+Because I'm always a sucker for all things organized, I love these tips on keeping an organized editorial calendar on Elah Tree.

+The Dress Your Tech series on DesignLoveFest always offers gorgeous desktop backgrounds, but I'm especially in love with these blue watercolor dots by Jessica Stevens.