Still Learning (Really)

Photo and design(ery) progress has stalled. Partly because I’ve caught some strain of the winter blues (seriously, is it spring yet?), but mostly because I am moving in two weeks (TWO WEEKS!) so my time has been consumed with doing everything in my power to not be productive (it’s this talent I have). So while I haven’t started packing, you’ll be happy to know that my Pinterest boards are up-to-snuff and I’ve been reading a fantastic book.

Despite this, I still move forward. I know, shocking! I’m just that brilliant. This is what progress looks like right now:

  1. I’ve achieved a teetering bakasana/crow pose in yoga. It’s exciting mostly because I didn’t even think I had the arm strength to open the average jar of pickles, let alone awkwardly prop myself up.
  2. Remember how I keep talking about taking free online courses because, um, they’re free and that’s awesome? I’ve written into my performance agreement at work that I have to complete a marketing-related MOOC for professional development, so brace yourselves kiddos — it’s actually happening. Behavioral Economics, here I come! Please don’t be boring.
  3. I finished the roll of film that was inside my fisheye camera. On my to-do list is to get it developed, but considering my propensity for losing things and the mysterious way personal belongings tend to disappear during moves, it might be best if I left this task until after I’ve relocated.

That’s it. Meatier stuff in a few weeks once the crazy has died down (really!).

Subliminal Messaging: SPEED UP

I’m not sure why, but lately I have been strangely aware of the ads on my morning commute. Maybe I’m paying extra attention because all of the brand development we’re doing at work sends my strategic messaging antennae all a-twitter? In any case, every morning I find myself dissecting pictures of attractive young professionals proclaiming their success thanks to their MBA from University X (at least 60% of ads on the metro are for master’s degrees, no exaggeration) and trying to understand the marketing thought process behind the finished ads. However, one ad in particular always leaves me a bit perplexed.

It’s a picture of a young woman cheerfully clutching a half-eaten pastry and to-go cup from a coffee shop, presumably proclaiming the benefits of a new housing development. Above her in plain white letters reads “Walk Home in the time it takes to finish your caramel macchiato.”

EYA coffee advertisement

I apologize for the quality of the image, all I had is my dinosaur-era dumb phone

Okay. I understand the convenience of walking to shops and restaurants and all that — that’s why I live in the city. And even though my days in this city are numbered (sad but true), my soon-t0-be-new digs in suburbia are only a leisurely stroll away from at least three different grocery stores and five times as many bars (obviously the bars are the important part). So I completely get the appeal of nearby cafés.

BUT. Why can’t the poor girl just enjoy her fancy drink at the café instead of rushing home? Why is there a race between how long it takes her to power-walk back to her apartment and the rate at which she consumes her caffeine? Look at her trying to balance her cup and her cookie — why can’t she sit? You know, eat. Drink. People watch. Relish the moment. Breathe. Why must we always be on the go? Why is there so much pressure to speed through life?

It bothers me.

Playing With Fonts: a Beginning

Things I did this week:

  1. Eat ice cream and Kahlua for dinner
  2. Snack on grated cheese straight out of the bag
  3. Reheat a leftover grilled cheese and bacon sandwich for breakfast

As you might guess, these eating habits are not only indicative of my unhealthy fondness for dairy products, but also that this week’s been ROUGH. For a multitude of reasons. Which is why I’m extra-proud of myself for taking the time to dabble in design-y stuff to share with you.

Because they seem — at the surface — fairly straightforward, I thought it might be good to start my design-y endeavors playing with fonts. Well guess what? Fonts are overwhelming. There are so many! How do I choose? How do I know what goes and what doesn’t? Why am I so indecisive? Thankfully, my internet sleuthing skills led me to this helpful beginner’s guide to pairing fonts, although admittedly www.dafont.com’s myriad choices still left me uncertain.

And what did I learn from this fun with fonts?

  1. If you play long enough with any word, it loses all meaning. I know everyone’s said that at least once. I’m going to say it again. WEIRD.
  2. Inkscape (like Adobe Illustrator, but FREE!) has a steep learning curve.
  3. The numerous Inkscape tutorials floating about the internet help soften the learning curve, but only a teensy bit.
  4. I feel like my n00b-ness and complete cluelessness in regards to all things design means I can’t actually use the word “design,” which is why I’ve coined “design-y” instead. Do you think it’ll catch on?
  5. I am slowly realizing that this — not just the fonts, but this entire blog — is not only an exercise in learning new skills (photography or design-y or otherwise), but also about learning how to share things that aren’t perfect. This is a big deal for me. I obsess over things being just so; it’s an issue I’m (honestly) working on.

So, without further ado, here is (in all of its imperfect, flawed glory) my first stab at pairing fonts. What do you think?

marketing is not magic

On Funks and Naps

I started writing a blog post apologizing about not posting last week because I was in a funk, and I was going to cleverly transform it into a “lesson learned” and dole out advice about getting out of a funk, and then the post deleted itself. I’m too lazy to rewrite it.

So. All you really need to know is this:

  1. I’ve been in a funk. And therefore not progressing or learning much. I know. It’s disappointing.
  2. I’ve snapped out of aforementioned funk (HOORAY!).
  3. What got me back to my regular, cheerful, farting-sunshine-and-sparkles-self is realizing that I actually don’t have anything to complain about. It’s a tough situation to live with, really (insert sarcasm here). Someone who cares about me had the sense to (figuratively) smack me upside the head and (nicely) tell me I was acting like an idiot, since feeling sorry for yourself when nothing is wrong is both stupid and borderline CRAZY.

That’s it. No photos or new design-y things to share this week. Just some parting words of advice, and some good intentions about doing better next week…

nap quote

Image via littleynna.tumblr.com — found on Pinterest

The France Photos

As promised, here are the photos from my trip to France. All shot in auto-mode, which I know is disappointing considering this blog supposedly revolves around how I’m trying to not shoot in auto-mode. The upside is I also snapped some photos with my fisheye lens camera, which I will also share with you as soon as I finish the roll, get it developed, and secure access to a scanner. Until then you’re stuck browsing through the products of my camera’s automatic settings… ENJOY.