Monthly Archives: October 2009

The Alchemist

Many years ago, I received The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho as a gift. Admittedly, I was aprehensive about reading it since I am not a fan of fiction. Usually, I much prefer titles that revolve around the topics of business and self help that I can directly apply to improving myself and my career.

Yet, I picked up The Alchemist and began reading. And, I realized that there was magic locked inside the pages, just waiting to get out. If you’re struggling with your life’s purpose and holding onto a safety net instead of following the signs that have been set out before you, this book can help you break free.

In the introduction of The Alchemist, Coelho states that “We who fight for our dream suffer far more when it doesn’t work out, because we cannot fall back on the old excuse: “Oh well, I really didn’t want it anyway.” We do want it and know that we have staked everything on it and that the path of personal calling is no easier than any other path, except that our whole heart is in this journey. Then, we warriors of light must be prepared to have patience in difficult times and to know that that the Universe is conspiring in our favor, even though we may not understand how.” Coelho continues on and asks aloud:

You may be wondering, as Coelho does why it is so important to live out our personal calling if we are going to suffer more than other people. He explains that “Because, once we have overcome the defeats – and we always do – we are filled with a greater sense of euphoria and confidence. In the silence of our hearts, we are proving ourselves worthy of the miracle of life. Each day, each hour is part of the good fight. We start to live with enthusiasm and pleasure. Intense, unexpected suffering passes more quickly than suffering that is apparently bearable.”

Santiago, a young shepherd boy has everything he needs; a loyal herd of sheep along with enough food and water. And, he has a fairly consistent existence. But, he feels like there is more out there to discover; there is more to explore in the world. He keeps having a recurring dream of finding treasure near the pyramids but right before finding the exact location, he always wakes up.

So begins a journey full of chance encounters, omens, and meetings with a king, gypsy, monk, an alchemist and more as he tries to uncover a deeper purpose and meaning in his life; his Personal Legend. These signs from the universe come often and he always listens. And, by listening, he sometimes loses everything he owns but quickly gains back more than he started with. He gets robbed, works in a crystal shop, crosses the desert, discovers the love of his life in an oasis and nearly loses his life multiple times but his life is so much richer than the predictable existence he had before.

As he crosses the desert, the boy strikes up a conversation with one of the camel drivers. He relays that “People need not fear the unknown if they are capable of achieving what they need and want. We are afraid of losing what we have, whether it’s our life or our possessions and property. But this fear evaporates when we understand that our life stories and the history of the world were written by the same hand.”

Sometimes in our lives, we get signs; things happen that we cannot explain. We can choose to listen or to ignore them. In the last few weeks, I have received many signs and instead of brushing them off as I normally would, I am keeping myself open. Events have happened that I cannot fully explain and by accepting them, I am searching for clarity and a deeper meaning.

In life, we are faced with many obstacles and road blocks but one thing I’ve learned is to never shut yourself off. Keep an open mind and an open heart. Have hope even when everything seems hopeless. The power of positive thought can do amazing things.

Allow yourself to find your purpose. Along the way, the journey you will encounter will remind you of why you’re alive in the first place. As the Alchemist says, “If a person is living out his Personal Legend, he knows everything he needs to know. There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.”

We all have a Personal Legend that is waiting to be discovered. Paulo Coelho, the author of The Alchemist didn’t write his first book until the age of 38. Hold on, have faith and see where life takes you.

Readers: Have you received signs in the past and followed them? What was the outcome?




My Feet Have Found Their Soulmates

nubby twiglet camilla skovgaard wedge booties shoes avant garde fashion

nubby twiglet camilla skovgaard wedge booties shoes avant garde fashion

These wedge ankle booties truly are my dream shoes come to life. And even better, they remind me of something a female version of Marilyn Manson would wear. Black, lug soled, wedged to the extreme and fairly comfortable considering the height, I doubt that I will be taking these off any time soon.

nubby twiglet camilla skovgaard wedge booties shoes avant garde fashion

nubby twiglet camilla skovgaard wedge booties shoes avant garde fashion

nubby twiglet camilla skovgaard wedge booties shoes avant garde fashion

nubby twiglet camilla skovgaard wedge booties shoes avant garde fashion

nubby twiglet camilla skovgaard wedge booties shoes avant garde fashion

nubby twiglet camilla skovgaard wedge booties shoes avant garde fashion

nubby twiglet camilla skovgaard wedge booties shoes avant garde fashion

nubby twiglet camilla skovgaard wedge booties shoes avant garde fashion

Readers: What are your current favorite shoes?

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Jay Floyd: Nubby Collages

nubby twiglet collage nemo design nemo hq jay floyd

nubby twiglet collage nemo design nemo hq jay floyd

nubby twiglet collage nemo design nemo hq jay floyd

week in pictures

My friend Jay at Nemo HQ made these two awesome Nubby spreads and I thought I’d share. I love seeing how other designers interpret my work. Thanks to Jay’s mad design skills and hard partying ways, there is never a dull moment at the office.

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The Week in Pictures: 10.16.09

week in pictures

week in pictures

week in pictures

Fall is in the air. When two shirts, a sweater, jacket, two pairs of socks, boots and a scarf just isn’t enough, you know it’s getting cold. In reality, it probably is close to average for this time of year, but considering that it reached 106 degrees in Portland this summer, the adjustment is hard!

week in pictures

week in pictures

week in pictures

Amelia Arsenic. On Tuesday night, I took my friend Tyler to the KMFDM show where Angelspit opened. I feel like Amelia Arsenic is a kindred spirit. We are the same height and shoe size, share a love of the red cross, heraldry, red, black and white, typography and design. I had such a good time backstage with her and Zoog talking about their tour and experiences so far in the U.S. And, she made me that amazing dripping lips necklace; close-ups coming soon!

week in pictures

week in pictures

Do You Know What Day It Is? I never know the date so when I spotted this tiny vintage desktop calendar for a dollar at an estate sale this weekend, I was sold.

week in pictures

week in pictures

week in pictures

Thrifting Insanity. My brother is a thrifting addict and on the way through Portland last weekend, he spotted a run down building with a sale sign in the front yard. When we walked in, this is what we found. He was in heaven, but with my OCD virgo tendencies, I was obviously in hell.

week in pictures

week in pictures

Coffee and Friends. Over the past few weeks, I’ve had nonstop meetings and nights out with friends. It’s been a welcome distraction from stressful times and I’m so happy to be reconnecting with people I haven’t seen in ages. I have such a diverse, amazing group of friends including Star’s BFF, Myrrh who met me for coffee yesterday.

week in pictures

week in pictures

week in pictures

Capes and Cardboard Alphabets. Late nights at Nemo call for donning a cape to throw paint and cut out cardboard letters. In reality, I was wearing the cape to keep my dirndl paint-free, but still. I believe that it does possess magical powers.

week in pictures

week in pictures

Keep America Beautiful. And, keep Portland weird.

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Link Love: 10.15.09

link love typography

mcqueen shoes

Alexander McQueen is a genius.

Keeping it short and sweet this week!

The value of taking time off: Every seven years, Stefan Sagmeister closes his design studio and takes a year-long sabbatical (via kottke).

You vs. The Cubicle is one of the best pieces Steve Pavlina has ever written. If you’re spending your days in corporate hell and see no end in sight, read this inspirational piece.

Airlines are nickel and diming themselves to death: The airlines that added the most fees (for food and checking in bags) in the past few months saw their revenues decline the most.

• Darren Rowse of Problogger shares the #1 reason his blogging grew into a full time business. Listen up and learn from the best!

• Kate Lanphear always looks good, even when dressed down. One of the highlights during my New York stay was spotting her at Ruff Club.

• Smashing Magazine teaches us how to identify and deal with different type of clients.

Negative space in logo design will help you think about design in a fresh way.

What are your favorite links of the week?

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Advice #23: Sharing Work Online



As creatives, this is something that we all ponder. It is scary putting your work on a platform that can be instantly viewed and accessed by the entire world. It takes a level of trust and confidence in yourself and your work as well because not everyone is going to like or to appreciate what you do. To contrast this, a few people will like your work so much that they will want to steal it.


My 2009 Design Portfolio

But remember that you aren’t doing yourself any favors by staying hidden in the shadows. Consistent exposure will help people remember who you are and what you do the next time they’re in the market for a designer. My motto has always been “It doesn’t matter how good you are if nobody knows how to find you.” At some point, you have to let go of the reigns and show the world what you’re all about.

It all of this makes you highly uncomfortable, that’s okay. Aim for an agency, in-house or print shop job instead and stay away from the internet.

I have a unique stance on sharing work on the internet because as a freelancer, I am very much dependent on showing what I do with the hopes of gaining new clients. My client list, reputation and portfolio are all important factors that weigh heavily with me earning their trust. Potential clients need visual proof that I am proficient in the areas that I claim to be. The only way to get this point across is through openly sharing my work. And, the more new work I do, the more I have to share. The more I share, the stronger my portfolio and reputation become. The stronger my portfolio and reputation become, the more clients I gain. Staying positive and focused on creation really does pay off.

To me, there are very few negatives associated with sharing my work online. Sure, people may want to steal my work. But, I am constantly working on new projects (though many have yet to be be seen because they are client-sensitive or in production). The bottom line is this; only share what you personally feel comfortable with. If you are confident with what you do, having people pilfer your work from years ago seems downright laughable because you’re always moving forward. You’re onto bigger and better things, refusing to live off your past successes alone.

Sharing is almost always positive. We all learn new things from viewing others’ work. Embrace it and chances are, great things will transpire.

Readers: What is your view on sharing your work online? Have you had your work stolen?