All Posts2019-03-28T13:47:57-05:00

All of the posts about all of the things

Are you a boss or a leader?

Leadership skills are a part of your character. Character is what you repeatedly do. Self discipline is when you have enough courage to work on yourself and keep yourself pointed toward your goals and integrity. Alignment is when your efforts are in harmony with your highest values. A hot mess express is when all of those things go out the window. You are frustrated. You are angry. Your feelings are hurt. You forget that you are a leader and have a tantrum and maybe start bossing everyone around a bit. Then you go on Pinterest to self soothe a little with feel good quotes, and the universe shows you the image above. You get reminded. You are human. This is called being human. You apologize when you make these mistakes. You don’t have time to shame yourself and drown in your guilt. You can feel bad for a bit, but [...]

Elements of Aviation

It's been quite a while, so I thought I would come back with a bang! After our relocation, we did some room switching. Our new house no longer has a nursery in it, since our kids were both mature enough to retire the crib ::tear::.  The crib converted to a full sized bed, and our daughter moved on into that space. Our son took over the dual-twin bedroom situation. Most of Girl's decor made the switch to the full-sized version of her room, but Boy was left in the cold. The nursery stuff was too baby-baby, and we didn't have big BOY stuff yet. I was on a mission to make a mini-man cave! My husband is a pilot. BOTH of his parents are pilots. We live beside an Air Force training base with constant fly-overs. It was a no brainer. Aviation was going to be our theme. [...]

Parenting Olympics • Potty Train Edition

Parenting can be like an olympic sport sometimes. You have to train your butt off, prepare for your events, and then give it your best shot when the time comes in hopes that you will come up with gold. Walking, talking, potty training, school, or whatever the phase of life you are going through, the process isn't necessarily easy. I like to keep a sense of humor about it whenever possible. That place of humor is where the following Potty Train Edition of the Parenting Olympics was born. The premise is simple. Move all of your bodily function relief from your pants to the bathroom. It is just not that easy, especially when you are two. When we were preparing to train Boy, we took care to reserve a long weekend with both parents home for the big kick-off. We cancelled all other plans, stretched our parenting muscles, [...]

self care vs selfish

Alright. The more I read and look at mainstream American media, the more it seems that marketing is overrunning reality. In the effort to sell products, corporations are out to make mothers feel guilty regardless of what they do. You spank your kids? You're heartless. You don't spank your kids? You're too easy on them. You cloth diaper? Hippie. You don't cloth diaper? Why don't you love Mother Nature?! You homeschool? Your kids are going to be weirdos, and it's going to be YOUR fault. You send your kids to public school? You clearly have no regard for their future, and they are destined to a life of crime. Private school?! Now you're just a snob... Mommy. Can't. Win. I could go on, but you get my point. In one area, that I think is the most detrimental, Mommies are told that taking care of themselves somehow [...]

Sunset

“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.” Ralph Waldo Emerson I took this shot less than a mile from my home tonight. The darkness at the bottom is the crest of a hill by my daughter's soccer field. The weather in Oklahoma has been producing some spectacular sunrises and sunsets recently. In fact, I'd begun riding around with my camera in the car, just in case a sky like this presented itself. I did not change the colors of this picture in editing. I didn't alter it. I just simply captured God's artwork. In life, sunsets and sunrises take place more than in the sky [...]

Finding Balance

I started a tradition last year on New Year's. Each year, I choose a word, or phrase, to become that year's theme. Last year it was "simple values". I spent the year pursuing a life with less clutter, both mentally and physically. More on that in a post to come... This year, my annual theme is going to be "finding balance". All of my life, I have been somewhat of an extremist. Go big or go home. Fully "on" or fully "off", like a light switch. Black or white in my motivation levels, but shades of grey in my thinking, which created CHAOS. What I've come to realize, after 32 years (on Feb 9th. Stop the clock, people. I'm starting to think I'm in the range little kids call a "grown up" and I am NOT ready...), is that life is more about balance than it is about being [...]

passionate worklife

Dear Kids,I hope that when it comes time for you to choose your path in the working world, you choose something that you are passionate about doing. You will spend most of your adult life in the workplace. Please choose that place to be one of passion and motivation, that makes you wake up each day ready to go. Of course, I would like the path to be fruitful for you and provide for both you and the families that you choose to build for yourselves. At the same time, I pray that you may be as fortunate as your father and I in that you find fields in which you excel, and that you are both proud and passionate of what you choose to do. Do the best you can every day in your work. Never stop learning and improving. There will be days that are hard, [...]

monster bath • a real big smash!

Each time we move, I attempt to create a space using the items from the previous location. I do this to ease the transition from one location to another, and to save money (in lieu of buying new). Our Oklahoma house includes the monster bath that we used to have in our Washington house, but with a few new twists. Want a peek? Here it is! Our tour begins at the doorway where you are greeted by our long cabinet, mirror, and overhead lighting. Then you get an eye-full of color! We used bold basic colors to create a playful-yet-unisex feel for this room. Since we have both a boy and a girl, I didn't want this room to lean in either direction.  If you look on the counter, you will see the monster cup that came with the towels (also in this shot), the shower curtain (see below), shower curtain [...]

Resilience

Sometimes I find myself faced with a puzzle in life without the box that gives me a clear picture as to my final goal. I think I have it figured out and then BOOM, a squiggly piece with an unexpected corner. What the heck is this piece?! Who put this bump in my otherwise smooth road?! Blah. It can come in the form of a change-up in schedule, a blown-out diaper, a delayed delivery, or even just stepping on a lego (I'm serious, those things are crippling!), but whatever form it takes, it stops me in my tracks. From that position, I have a few choices: cry, get mad, get motivated, let it go, or just change perspective. Turn the piece around and it looks completely different from another angle. One step at a time is the only way to achieve your goal, and as in the cha-cha, [...]

paper pom-poms

When we were decorating my daughter's room in Oklahoma after our move from Washington, I decided to incorporate several of the characteristics of her previous room. The twin-size ladybug blanket would no longer work, as she was upgraded to a full size. I purchased the same blanket in the larger size, because both she and I loved it that much. Then the canopy went up, but this time it was against the wall to prevent pulling it down on herself (which she did several times in WA). The pom-poms would be repeated, but I decided to put up three separate bunches as opposed to the one giant bouquet, and to use smaller paper to make smaller flowers. I went to the store, and I saw these polka dotted party napkins, and thought "those might work!". Those were cheaper than their tissue paper counterparts, and already spotted, so away we [...]

Launched • Danielle’s Save the Date

One of the big thrills I get as a graphic designer, is picking up the final product after it is printed to send it to the client. This week, I picked up these postcards, and mailed them to a bride in Massachusetts named Danielle. Their wedding colors (black, white, and red), a layout that incorporated lots of "inspiration" photos from the couple, and a splash of glamour, came together to help me create this post card that will be sent to their guests. They were so happy with this design that we have agreed to work together to create a wedding invitation suite, too! A super big thanks to Danielle's wedding planner, Rachael of lolagraceEVENTS, for introducing us, and Nicole for introducing me to Rachael! 🙂 Oh, and if you're interested in having custom save the date cards designed for YOUR big day, head over to PageLauncher. I'd be [...]

Photocopies for Hanging Things

First I saw this on Pinterest, then Hubs saw it on Lifehacker. We were hanging a new gadget in our garage, and I thought of this. Why not, right?! Hubs thought I was nuttier than a Payday, but went along with me for the sake of my good mood. Afterward, we talked about it, and decided that this method works for anything with a FIXED hanging apparatus. It would be more difficult to use on, say, a wire-hung device like some portraits we own. Hubs also made the point that the object has to be small enough to fit on the flatbed of your scanner/copier/printer. All in all, the idea worked for its purpose. In fact, we used it again the next week to hang some stars in the kiddos' playroom. As long as it fits the criteria, it worked for us! Here is the original pin that PINspired [...]

I was PINspired!

In case you haven't heard, Pinterest is kind of a big deal. It is an online resource for inspiration and information of all types. It is a virtual inspiration pinboard for you to collect links to sites that you want to use later for creative or do-it-yourself purposes. Your ideas can be sorted into self-titled boards that organize your pins in whichever way works best for you. You can make boards for a given project, event, or general inspiration. You can search for something specific, or peruse around the generally categorized boards of popular pins provided by the Pinterest gods. You can share ideas with your friends/family/strangers by "following" their boards and re-pinning their ideas (over 80% of pins are re-pins), and allow them to do the same to yours. You can pin something from online using a plug-in for your browser, or even take photos of something you see [...]

Messy

This photo captures Girl playing "throw the sand on the floor" in her sand table area of our patio, while wearing her princess pajamas. If you'd put my pre-motherhood self before the same situation, I'd probably have had a stroke. Sand was going everywhere. Now, I ran inside and got my camera. It is ridiculous how much parenting alters the way you look at the world. It would have bothered me that she was making a mess. It would have killed me that the sand we purchased wasn't being used for it's intended purpose. Today, I realize that she WAS using it for her intended purpose: To play. She wasn't playing my way, but its just sand, and it can be replaced. She wasn't hurting anyone, and it made her smile. That was the whole point, after all. I am finally learning to relax and ask myself [...]

No Monkey Diets

There is a difference between nutrition and dieting, as the word is used today. Don't just cut corners and go the easy way by eating empty calories, or none at all. Choose appropriate foods, in appropriate amounts, that you enjoy. Couple those with exercise, and your body will thank you. Enjoy the taste of real food, and make your calories count. That's more important than actually counting your calories. The hard way may be a challenge, but it is the way that actually works. Do the work. I have been half-heartedly working through WeightWatchers online, and I've come to a conclusion: half-hearted leaves you full-bottomed. Growing up, I was a beanpole through no effort of my own. I am one of those crazies who love salads, and often don't even add dressing to it at all. My kids love veggies too (I know, right?!). WW was working for me [...]

5 EASY Ways to Prevent Clutter!

One of the very best ways to kick clutter out of your life, is to prevent it from ever appearing. Here are five easy steps you can take to get on the road to a less-cluttered life! Do It Now & Do It Right! There is a whole blog post waiting in my head to be written about the pursuit of perfection and how it creates clutter in our lives. Give me a little bit, and you'll get one doozie of a read. Until then, I am going to say the following on the topic: Do the little things now, and do them right. In the moment, procrastinating on smaller parts of a project may feel like relief, but really you're just starting an avalanche of clutter. When you are done eating, put your dishes in the dishwasher, or wash them and put them away, instead of leaving them [...]

launched • postcard for In The Heights Tour

When my friend Nicole's National Tour of In The Heights was ending, she knew she wanted a very special gift for her fellow cast-and-crew members. She contacted me to see if I could make a vintage postcard of the likes of this famous one from New York City, since their play was set there. I went ahead and created the text for the card, then thought about where I could add in the background or images of the set that she provided to me. I tried behind the letters, as they are in the original, but there are too many characters in Washington Heights, and it simply made a mess. We decided that it was better to put it in the background. I then went to the official tour website to look for inspiration. I took the color overlay scheme from the site and recreated it with the image [...]

Attention

 In the midst of the big events of our lives, there are thousands of little ones. If we pay attention, I believe that God speaks in the whispers of the little things. I am in the midst of a move from Washington state to Oklahoma, but I am proud to say that I am not at all stressed. Our family has taken the opportunity to make a road trip out of this relocation. Upcoming posts will share some awesome pictures and adventures that we encounter on this journey. For now, I am spending the time soaking up the quality family memory-making time. I do look at the photos that I take each and every night though, and this one was one that made me laugh out loud.We were driving down Route 101 in Oregon when cars began pulling onto a side road in multiples. My curiosity compelled me [...]

Home

Home is where your heart lives. It is where your mind wanders when you daydream. It can move, it can change, but the feeling is always the same. The feeling of coming home is the feeling of acceptance. It is the relief of knowing you are safe, loved, and appreciated. As a military spouse, I move just about every 3.5 years. We have been in New England, Colorado, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Washington, and are facing an imminent move back to Oklahoma. This is what I have learned about home: If you fight adjusting to a new location, it just takes longer to do so. If you arrive excited and looking for opportunities, you will find them. If you arrive with resentment in your heart, you will miss out on those opportunities. Friends are your chosen family. Get involved in your chosen activities, make friends, and be worthy of their [...]

Maternity Photography • Keep it Real

When people take maternity photographs, they want to capture more than just a snapshot. They want to freeze a moment in their lives to remember and to celebrate that experience. Often these pictures have standard poses and beautiful backdrops. I have my maternity photos of that kind, but I also have the ones my photographer took of me in my daughter's nursery getting ready for her arrival. I have the ones another photographer took of me taking a walk with my husband and Girl before Boy arrived. In some ways, these are more precious to me than the other kind. They keep it real. They remind me that I survived and made the best of the situation I was faced with at the time. They make me proud. They make me feel strong. They make me laugh. When my friend Abby asked me to take her maternity photographs for her, [...]

Listen

When people talk to you, listen. Recently, my almost-four-year-old started talking about her friend the woodpecker that lives in our yard. Her imagination is WILD lately, so I just let it go in one ear and out the other. She would talk about how she woke up and saw it, or yell hello at random times during the day. I ignored it figuring her "woodpecker" would eventually go away. After all, how would my pre-preschooler know what a woodpecker looks like?! Every time she went to show him to me, he was "on the other side of the tree". She asked me to "just wait" several times, but life got in the way of my waiting for an imaginary bird. Last week, I woke up feeling sick. Girl asked me if she could just stay home, which she never does. I decided it was a sign and declared a [...]

Start Monkeying Around

True friends are your chosen family. If you let them, they will save you from yourself. They will help you to remember who you are when you lose direction, because they know you, sometimes better than yourself. They will show you the best and worst of yourself. Draw from your friend's strengths, and help them using your own. Forgive them when they make mistakes, and let them go when it comes time to move on. Friends are angels sent to help us on our journey. Let them do their job, and be sure to do yours for them in return. Orangutan. Woodland Park Zoo. A quiet confidence is the result of accepting yourself for who you are and who you are not. It is a willingness to stand in your own truth. It comes from a place of strength. It is not arrogant. It doesn't have [...]

Dare

Life does not always have a clear path. Sometimes it leads us in a direction that only our heart knows to be right for us. Trusting your instincts, using your intuition, and having a little faith, will empower you to achieve your dreams. On a recent trip to a park local to my in-law's house, we found this turtle. He was out at the end of a downed limb sunning himself. He seemed happy and relaxed to me, even though that's anthropomorphizing (vocab word! go me!), and I snapped a photo. I almost deleted it, but then I went ahead and edited, and it made me smile. I submit that this turtle is a great example of "going out on a limb". How he got up there and why, were both up for debate. In either case, it seemed perfectly natural and a wonderful sign of spring. It [...]

Launched • Harley’s Angels

After completing JP and Nicole's Wedding Site, I was contacted by their friend Carol. She wanted to work on her director's profile site, but first wanted to see herself in cartoon form, like the ones JP and Nicole's site showed I am able to produce.  Carol is pursuing her Masters in Directing from UMass. She, along with four other graduate students, are being advised by a man named Harley. They  affectionately call themselves "Harley's Angels".  She emailed me asking whether or not I could produce an image of herself and her co-advisees in a spoof of the Charlie's Angels graphic. It sounded like fun, so we gave it a go! Carol assembled and sent me quality headshots of each of her friends. I took them, and created a cartoon head of their likeness. Separately, I assembled the typography, drew the legs, and illustrated the bodies. I sent the lower part of [...]