MEANWHILE…

Well, hello again! I’m really bad at the whole regular updates thing, but oh well! I’m a busy gal! I’ve been lucky enough to have a lot of design projects on my plate lately. Ones that have thoroughly entertained me and haven’t at all been a total burden, which is awesome! I think part of that has to do with the fact that I feel like my creative energy has been completely reinvigorated (hooray!). I think I’ve discovered that the trick to being able to pump up the creative juice, at least for me, is to work on each and every project like it’s your personal passion project, wake up super early, and (this is the biggest one), take advantage of sites like Creative Market, Graphic Burger, and other designer’s tools sites. I’ve spent way too much money at Creative Market lately, but it has been 100% worth it because my designs look more polished and put together now.

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When I haven’t been developing an ad campaign or a magazine cover or logos for local businesses, I’ve been working on a personal project. It’s been a way to play around with new tools I’ve downloaded from the aforementioned sites,  and it’s been a way of keeping me sane. If I ever got just overwhelmed with a client’s project, I would take a break to work on this t-shirt design (and some other works in progress that I have up my sleeve). I’m extremely excited about this shirt, though, guys. It’s a little in-joke from the town I grew up in and currently live in. In 1882, the USPS unintentionally misspelled “Arad” (as in Arad Thompson, the founder of my town) as “Arab”, and we just kind of… accepted it, and we’ve been Arab (pronounced Ay-rab), Alabama ever since. So, yeah, we’ve embraced that typo since 1882. I’m getting the shirts printed on American Apparel unisex tri-blend t-shirts (because they’re the best t-shirts ever and I’m not getting my design put on cheap, uncomfortable Gildan shirts that aren’t flattering or good quality) and selling them for $25 apiece. The money I make is going to go toward my next big purchase, an iMac. My MacBook just isn’t cutting it for all the design stuff I have to do anymore and I need a desktop. So, I’m really pushing these sales! It’s been pretty successful so far, and I’m hoping once the first batch arrives, people will see others wearing the shirts and ask where they got them, and maybe I’ll have more orders to make! It’s been a really fun project, and people seem to like it, so I’m happy.

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I decided I wanted to start tending my own plants. My dad has always had plants around our house and he’s definitely got a green thumb, and I wanted to try my hand at it. I took it EXTREMELY easy and got a little cacti and a jade plant. I put the cacti in a plain white concrete planter by Threshold for Target, and I put the jade in the dog domesticated trinket dish by Marta Turowska from Anthropologie. I’m really into it right now, and I can’t wait to take care of these plants!

I’m considering opening an Etsy shop, I’m teaching myself to make woven wall hangings, I’m going to start making my own brooches, and I’m designing all the time. I’ve been very happy lately, and I hope you have too! What’s been going on in everyone’s world? Fill me in!

COMING TO A CLOSE

We all know how this goes. People everywhere start making lists in December- all kinds of lists! Favorite films of 2014, favorite television shows of 2014, favorite songs of 2014, favorite albums of 2014, and of course, the most famous list (apart from the bucket list), a list of New Year’s resolutions. My New Year’s resolutions always seem to be the same things, which probably says a lot about what kind of person I am (procrastinator; lazy). BUT, I’m not here to talk about resolutions. Not yet. I  want to talk about something I’ve been working on since February of this year. Do you remember when Brooks Wheelan, the unfortunately short-lived SNL writer-turned-cast member, made a video-a-day of his life for a year? In case you don’t, you can watch it now so you’ll know what I’m talking about.

In case you didn’t watch it (you’re a moron if you didn’t), it’s a seven minute long video composed entirely of one-second clips from all 365 days in 2013. It’s set to Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains) by Arcade Fire and Maps by Yeah Yeah Yeahs. It’s genius, and it makes you want to get out and make the most of your life. I decided that I would do the same thing in 2014. However, I started in February (because I didn’t see this video until February) and I kind of stopped recording every single day sometime in the summer. I had a really good record going and I broke it one day completely by accident, beat myself up about it (because that’s the kind of person I am), and decided that from then on, I would just record moments when I saw fit. So I’ve been working on this video, and I’ve been editing it all in AfterEffects, and I’m hoping to have it done by New Years Eve so I can have it completed and start a true video-a-day for 2015.

Have you ever attempted the video-a-day/second-a-day? If so, post yours in the comments, I’d love to watch them!

Here’s a link to what I’ve done so far (kind of a trailer because I was really amped about the whole concept of this in the beginning)

ONE LOVELY BLOG

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There’s a thing in the “blogosphere” called the One Lovely Blog Award, and a great human person, Joseph nominated me for it. I’m honored, and honestly just surprised that someone likes the words I type enough to make a post talking about it. So thanks, Joseph, you’re too kind and I’m so flattered that you like my blog!

There are some rules that come with this award, and those are that I have to nominate 15 other bloggers that I follow and I have to state seven facts about myself. However, I could not come up with 15 blogs, so I went with a rounded 10. And, since I only posted 10 blogs, I decided to only post 5 facts. So. Let’s get to it, shall we?

A FEW FACTS ABOUT ME

1. I broke my back in August of 2010. It involved a grappling hook and a 12 foot tall sloped wall. One day, maybe, I’ll tell y’all about it 😉

2. Unlike a lot of people I know, I have very fond memories of high school, including being captain of the danceline and a part of the musical theatre program.

3. My lucky number is 3.

4. I have a very profound interest in the darker side of psychology. I realize some may think it crazy, but I find things that are so completely foreign to me to be some of the most interesting, albeit terrifying and horrendous, things in the world.

5. I have been with my boyfriend for three and a half years and I love him more everyday. He introduced me to Lost, among many other superb shows and movies, and has really helped me develop better taste and opinions concerning film, music, television, and literature. He’s pretty okay, I guess. 🙂

MY NOMINEES

Joseph Mwamba
My nominator, the ridiculously sweet Joseph Mwamba, writes a blog about television, and we all know how much I like television. Reading his reviews are like reading thoughts that come from my own mind. He’s excellent, and did I mention that he’s so kind??

Lillian & Dot
My friend Hanna, whom I know ~irl~ is absolutely adorable, fashionable, and knowledgeable. Her blog, Lillian and Dot, is what made me decide to start blogging again.

Darling Chay
I’ve recently been corresponding with Chay of Darling Chay through comments on our respective blogs. She is so sweet and so encouraging. Her blog is tremendous, as well.

ccpopculture
One of my favorite media review sites. Dave reviews films old and new, and I know if I ever need a suggestion for what film to watch, I’ll find a plethora of options at ccpopculture.

The Belle Jar
This feminist blog is spectacular and full of brilliant reads for men and women who support equality of the sexes.

Scene A Lot Of Films
Another great film blog! It’s a writing portfolio for the author, Rachel, but it doesn’t read like a student writing research papers (the nice way of saying “it isn’t boring”). It’s entertaining and witty.

JayJayne
JayJayne is a blog of DIYs, fashion, beauty, and miscellany that I absolutely adore.

Bullsh!t Wiki
A sometimes dark and highly engaging blog full of information from any and everyone.

Angry Pear
I love these comics. Look at these comics. You’ll love them, too.

The Honking Goose
I just recently followed The Honking Goose, but I quickly understood that the blog was funny, and full of very blatant opinions that are compelling to read.

I CAN HAVE IT ALL

You know those movies where there’s this woman, usually a twenty-something, who’s endearingly and frustratingly doing everything wrong in her life and just can’t seem to catch a break? This is the direction my life is heading toward. However, in those movies, the girl usually finds her footing and everything ties itself up into pretty little bows and it’s eluded that our affable protagonist lives a life full of happiness and success. You see, this is where we differ. I know that life isn’t like the movies, of course I do. But I’m so afraid that my life isn’t going to be what I want it to be. Part of it is because I feel directionless and stuck, currently. I just can’t seem to figure out what exactly I’m doing or what I’m supposed to be doing. It’s horrifying. My self confidence isn’t the greatest and that’s a serious problem that I’ve dealt with my whole life. You can read all the inspirational quotes you want and your mother can tell you how wonderful you are and you can have little successes and all these things that are meant to build up your self-confidence, but they don’t last when you’re perpetually unsure of yourself. My whole life I’ve undermined my ability. I’ve made myself less than so I wouldn’t have to face disappointment. Things got particularly bad in college. I was pursuing something that I absolutely loved and was so excited about, but after a semester with a couple demeaning and hateful professors, I lost any ounce of confidence and motivation I had to excel in my chosen degree. Those particular professors went on to make my remaining semesters in college hell. I felt targeted and bullied. I started taking a lackadaisical attitude toward my schoolwork and projects. The situation I was in was completely foreign to me. From kindergarten to senior year of high school I had been a successful student and a teacher’s pet. I felt as though there was no pleasing them, even if I did try. Being on the bottom of the totem pole was shattering, and I crumbled. I developed a distaste for authority and challenged them in any way I knew how. I’ve always had a passion for typography. When I asked my printmaking professor (one of the professors I felt detested me) if I could do a type study in printmaking, she told me no, that it wasn’t an art form, which is ludicrous. Type is a beautiful study of shape and form, light and shadow. It incorporates everything traditional drawing teaches you. To this professor, it “wasn’t art”. I was outraged. It was like artistic oppression, and I honestly believed had one of her favorite students asked, she would have agreed to let them pursue anything they wanted. I know she would have. I mean, y’all, I’m not making this stuff up. That same printmaking teacher told my parents she was “surprised that my graduation exhibition was successful”, talked about me, my grades, and my artwork to another student, and insulted me and my work in class on numerous occasions. She was the absolute worst and I thank my lucky stars every single day that I don’t ever have to deal with her again.

I would have loved to have done something like this stunning Dana Tanamachi chalk art typography for printmaking, but it’s not art, according to my professor.

I studied current graphic designers. I studied trends and was up to date on all the latest design news, but I was never lauded or made to feel like I was a successful designer. I was always inadequate. In my time at college, there were only two art professors that I felt made my time spent there worthwhile. Two that encouraged and supported me and made me feel like I wasn’t a worthless designer, and I’m so thankful for them. One was an art history professor and one of the smartest people I’ve ever met, and the other an adjunct drawing professor who was interested in contemporary art and exploring what was going on in the art world today and allowing students to find their own distinct voice, unlike the other professors. When I graduated from college, I was so excited to get my life going. To become a successful designer, to make a name for myself and prove the idiot professors wrong. Jump ahead, and not even a year later I’m going back to school to be a teacher. It feels like failure, and it makes me sick to my stomach. I am excited to become a high school english teacher, don’t get me wrong. I love reading and writing and learning, but there’s something about abandoning my dreams and doing something more feasible that just doesn’t sit right with me. After submitting a paper in my psychology class about perception, my teacher pulled me aside before class one night and told me that I was a very successful writer and I should consider teaching college instead of high school. This was just the stroke my confidence needed. Liz Lemon’s mantra soon became my mantra. “I can have it all!”

College professor… I could do that. What if I didn’t teach english… what if I taught a film studies class? What if I taught a film studies class and had a graphic design business on the side? What if I was a film studies professor with a graphic design business and a successful, popular blog? I can do it! I can have it all!

Of course, it’s still taking some serious brain power to make myself fully believe all this. One compliment about my writing isn’t going to pull me out of this funk, though it was just the push I needed to start believing in myself. Eleanor Roosevelt really struck gold with her quote, “no one can make you feel inferior without your consent”. It’s so true, and it’s going to take some time, but I’m learning to live by that.

TO PORTLAND: I’VE LOVED YOU FROM AFAR

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I crave the Pacific Northwest. I’ve never been there. In fact, I’ve never set foot on land farther west than Mississippi. For some odd reason, though, still, I have a crush on the Pacific Northwest. 

It started when I was a sophomore in high school and I discovered Nirvana. 

“Kurt Cobain is from Seattle. It’s usually cold and rainy there. I need to be in Seattle” were sentences that ran through my mind on a regular basis. I thought Seattle to be awfully romantic, and I, of course, romanticize Kurt Cobain, it’s hard not to. Keep in mind, I was chin-deep in teen angst at the time and I thought the idea of sublime artistic suffering while watching the rain fall with a coffee mug in hand and blanket wrapped around my cold, frail (I say frail because in this particular daydream, I was a starving artist. I am by no means frail, mind you) body, listening to the emotional strain of Kurt Cobain singing over and over again, Something in the way… Something in the way… was the direction my life needed to be heading toward. I decided I wanted to be a music producer and after college, I would work for SubPop records. Easy as that. 

The teen-angst ended, luckily it didn’t involve me doing anything my parents would disapprove of- I basically just listened to a lot of 90s grunge and discovered the indie scene and art house films. While I still love Nirvana, the complete obsession died out, too. I forgot about the PNW for a while and focused on other things, like boys, high school melodrama, and my budding music production career. Once in college, I realized music production was not for me and I pursued graphic design, which was very much for me. I graduated from high school in 2010, and then, in 2011, Portlandia premiered.

There’s something about the name, Portland. The syllables hit hard, almost like a staccato, before exiting the mouth. Port-land. Elliott Smith was from Portland. Mark Rothko was from Portland. Gus van Sant is from Portland. Portland. I developed an idealistic perception of this dream land where I wanted so badly to be. In Portland, I would be free to be a liberal without having to explain myself and argue with anyone who asked my opinions on political and social issues. In Portland, I could say proudly that I’m a feminist and support gay rights without being accused of being a lesbian- the two don’t coincide, guys! Straight people can support gays and lesbians, too! Look at me, I’m straight, I think everyone should be able to get married! In Portland, I would never be more than 5 minutes from a record store. In Portland, I could dye my hair lilac and receive compliments instead of dirty looks. In Portland, my boyfriend and I could ride bikes everywhere and have an adorable Siberian Husky named Ripper and a gray cat named Tattletail. In Portland, I could do anything I wanted and succeed, because I would be in Portland. 

It’s strange, isn’t it? It’s almost like I’ve become Jay Gatsby and Portland is my green light; my Daisy. The truth is, I know nothing about Portland. I’ve invented my idea of Portland. I’ve conjured it up completely on my own. Sure, I’ve done research and read PDX Blogs- I think I follow more Portland-area twitter accounts than I do Huntsville-area twitter accounts- but I’m okay with that. Because as long as I’m in Alabama, I’m going to continue dreaming about Portland, and maybe one day, I’ll get myself there. 

 

 

ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: MARC JOHNS

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Marc Johns’ illustrations are, and I’m not afraid to say it because it’s completely true, the best. I adore them so much that I ordered a signed 8×10 of Marc Johns’ Orange Reading David Foster Wallace (pictured after the break below) and I’m anxiously awaiting its arrival. If you’re looking for art that makes you giggle and feel inspired and possibly revives the flame of creativity inside you that is slowly flickering out, Marc Johns is the way to go.

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THE BLOGMOPOLITAN QUIZ

The Blogmopolitan Quiz

Two Thirds Hazel, one of my favorite blogs, posts these really fun Cosmopolitan-style surveys every few months, and I figured since I have my own blog now, I’d post my responses to her quiz! I hope you all don’t have any trouble reading it (you’ll have to click on the image to enlarge it, sorry about that!). You can download this Blogmopolitan Quiz here, and you should! Post yours with your answers to your blog and leave a link in the comments. I would just love to read them all!