Monthly Archives: March 2012

Link Love: 3.22.12

link love

link love

90s era Versace? Yes, please!

• Kat’s post about the art of self-confidence is downright awesome and inspiring.

• Karl Lagerfeld’s daily routine is just as eccentric as you might imagine.

• As a creative, how do you deal with those moments when your mind goes blank?

• Forget Mad Men. Now is the golden age of advertising!

• I just came across Backyard Bill’s photos and love the way he documents personal style.

• Starbucks is opening a concept store in Amsterdam and it looks pretty rad.

• Gala’s article about the merging of feminism and fashion in her life is a thought-provoking look into how we all need to make our own choices and embrace what makes us happy.

• Twitter just turned six years old.

• Why is Pinterest so addictive? This infographic shares the cold, hard facts.

• Oh Joy! rounds up the 20 best bites in LA The accompanying photos will leave your mouth watering.

• Hipster Branding is pretty entertaining.

The Dark Side Of Schooling: Debt and Student Loans

the love shop etsy

Print: The Love Shop

Student loans are one of those things that most of us will have to deal with at some point in our lifetimes but nobody likes to talk about. And, I can see why. Money is a touchy subject for many of us, especially when the conversation shifts to debt and admitting how much we owe. Student loans can be a huge source of anxiety, shadowing us as we begin our post-college careers.

This weekend, after much focus and planning, I hit a personal goal: I paid off my student loan. In my case, the reason this was possible was because I made the choice to do my entire design program at a community college. Post-graduation, when I had a good month, I would double, triple and sometimes quadruple my payments. I wanted it to go away, badly. I don’t even use a credit card, yet the high interest rate on my student loan made me feel like I had one.

In 2010, total outstanding student loan debt exceeded total outstanding credit card debt in America for the first time ever. —

Society places so much emphasis on getting into the top schools and students feel the brunt of this pressure. If you have the chance, by all means, go for it and relish the opportunity. If you can’t though, please don’t compare yourself to your peers; this is your journey. School really is what you make of it, whether you have a top name splashed across your diploma or not. The truth is, if you are determined, you’ll find a way to carve out your path.

When I went back to school in 2006, my top three choices for graphic design programs were at well known art schools and universities but there was no way I could afford them. And when I tallied up the total cost of these programs in my head, I knew the only way I could take this route was by racking up massive student loan debt. Honestly, I just couldn’t stomach it. So, I enrolled in a two-year limited entry graphic design program. Looking back, it was one of the best decisions I made. I still got a great education, a great internship and I still found a great job post-graduation. What I didn’t have a chance to learn in school (two years goes by fast), I eventually learned on the job.

If I’d had the opportunity, you bet I would have chosen a top art school. But because I knew it wasn’t an option at that moment, I made a choice. Everything turned out okay. I loved my teacher, I loved my program and I loved my college. And in comparison, the debt I incurred was minimal. Just because a school is expensive and well regarded doesn’t mean that it’s the best fit for you — for your learning style, for your goals or for your budget. No matter where you choose to go, your heart has to be in it.

I’ve heard so many students say, “I’ll worry about my loans once I finish. Right now, I just want to have fun.” That out of sight, out of mind mentality can really come back to haunt you, though. Remember, that’s real money with real interest you’re borrowing. Read the fine print; those interest rates on private loans are high. It adds up fast. And forking over a huge payment every month post-graduation is a harsh reality.

Since 1999, average student loan debt has increased by 511%. —

To me, it’s really upsetting when you’ve done everything right, earned an education and are left with mounting debt with an interest rate as high as some credit cards tacked on. There’s something really wrong with this country and the predatory lending practices when it comes to student loans.

All I’m tying to say is, give your choices some thought. Weigh what feels right for you when it comes to your education. Know what the interest rates are on your loans. Be aware. And always remember that If you want something out of life, you’ll find a way.

• Are you or someone you know struggling to pay back your student loans? Please consider supporting this petition. You can make a difference.

• Learn more about the student loan debt crisis through these infographics: The Roadmap to Repayment and The New Deal for Student Loans.

Avedon Fashion

avedon book

I first locked eyes on the Avedon Fashion 1944-2000 book earlier this year because it featured my favorite Avedon photo of all time, Jean Shrimpton from the cover of the April 1965 issue of Bazaar. But beyond that, I couldn’t put this book down. Avedon is considered one of the top fashion photographers of all time but I was curious to know more about the stories behind his most iconic images and how he got his start. I learned that Avedon was a merchant marine in World War II, where he was assigned with taking identity photographs of fellow sailors. This book does a meticulous job of showcasing some of his more rare, early work from the 1940s mixed in alongside his most famous photos and ad campaigns.

avedon book

Avedon was at Harper’s Bazaar (1944 – 1965), then Vogue (1966 – 1990) and finally, at The New Yorker (1992 – 2004) and this book covers all those stints as well as work he produced for other clients including some of his most memorable Versace campaigns, which he shot for two decades. At over 350 pages long, I had a hard time choosing just a handful of images to share. If you get the chance, check this book out, winking holographic eye cover and all.

avedon book

The Latest & Greatest #3: Spring-Inspired Brights

latest and greatest

latest and greatest

Happy first day of Spring! This month I’ve been drawn to a palette of juicy hues including tangerine, coral and purple. In the photo above, I paired a BITNB SUMI tee with a tangerine J.Crew cardigan I picked up at Buffalo Exchange.

latest and greatest

1. Supernova Suspension Lamp, 2. Fang Jun Zi Xu by Pelagio Armenta, 3. Brighten The Corners Poster, 4. Opening Ceremony Glastonbury, 5. Source Unknown, 6. Heidi Merrick Huntington Dress and 7. Hermes Marcelina Scarf (this color is no longer available).

Readers, what’s inspiring you this week?

It’s Not How Good You Are…

las vegas 2012

One of my all-time favorite books that I’ve been referring back to lately is It’s Not How Good You Are, Its How Good You Want to Be by Paul Arden. The book opens with, “Nearly all rich and powerful people are not notably talented, educated, charming or good-looking. They become rich and powerful by wanting to be rich and powerful.” That statement sets tone for the rest of the book which uses the principles of good advertising as a metaphor for running a successful business.

The beauty of It’s Not How Good You Are… is that it’s smart and clever in its execution but not brimming with business jargon. This book makes you think of that one boss who guided you through the jungle of corporate America by day and then took you out for a stiff drink and an inspirational pep talk at night. It leaves you feeling empowered, motivated and ready to take on the world.

las vegas 2012

Early in the book, Arden sets forth his first challenge: “So how good do you want to be?” Most of us usually set a goal of wanting to be good, or, if we’re really confident, perhaps the best in our field. But why not aim higher? A few years back, I was talking to another designer, saying that I wanted to be a really good at what I did. I was naming off the people I really admired. The designer thought for a second and said, “You’re comparing your work to the top 10% of designers in the world. That’s why you feel like you’re never good enough.” They had a point but if you want to improve in an area of your life, aim high. Push yourself harder to get to that level. Otherwise, it’s too easy to settle for just being ‘good.’

On this subject, Arden says that, “Talent helps but it won’t take you as far as ambition. Everybody wants to be good but not many are willing to make the sacrifices it takes to be great. You will become whoever you want to be.” It’s a simple statement yet consider the power of what he’s saying. What you put forth in effort is what you will get back.

One point that really hit home for me personally is, “Don’t look for the next opportunity. The one you have in hand is the opportunity.” We are always waiting for that perfect project. That perfect collaboration. I’ve been on design teams where we loathe the client to the point that we just give in to mediocracy to get the project out the door. It’s easy to lose sight of the potential when you’re full of disdain (and sometimes, rightly so!) But, back up. Arden says, “Whatever is on your desk right now, that’s the one. Make it the best you possibly can. It may not be great, but at least you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing you did the best you possibly could, and you may learn something from it.” I love this.

las vegas 2012

I’ve kept this page in mind ever since I first saw it when designing business cards for both myself and clients. Often, less really is more. “The person in the left column is the same as the one in the right column. But we regard them very differently,” Arden says. The person in the left column is saying what he is. The person in the right column is more ambitious. It’s how he wants others to perceive him. How you perceive yourself is how others will perceive you.”

Another powerful sentiment that seems to evaporate as we get older is, “When it can’t be done, do it. If you don’t do it, it doesn’t exist.” Follow through on that crazy idea. Arden says, “A new idea can be either unfamiliar, or silly, or both. It can’t be judged by description. It needs to be done (made) to exist.” The next time you have that brilliant idea that pops into your head at 2 am, write it down, run with it and make it happen.

las vegas 2012

Finally, the book ends with a list of famous quotes. My personal favorite?

“It’s better to fail in originality, than succeed in imitation.” -Herman Melville

I distinctly remember picking this book up on a lunch break in 2004 when I was working at a shoe store in the mall. I was looking for guidance for my next big move and I remember this book being a breath of fresh air. Arden proclaims that, “Your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have. Without having a goal it’s difficult to score.” It’s Not How Good You Are… is there to help you make the most of yourself. Are you ready for the challenge?