Monthly Archives: April 2013

Tools of the Trade #2: DesignersMX

Tools of the Trade

Tools of the Trade


It’s necessary to have good tunes to work along to and these days, Spotify is where it’s at for me. If you don’t have it, download it now (the basic service is free). You can search for any artist or album and listen to it on the spot and even better, it’s a cinch to save your favorite songs in your personal library.

But even with the endless album recommendations and apps Spotify offers up, sometimes I just want a great playlist. That’s where DesignersMX comes in. Featuring custom mixes submitted by creatives, it’s a fun way to discover new music. The best part is that they each design album artwork to represent their mix and that alone really helps convey the mood.

Most DesignersMX mixes open directly in Spotify and I love that because I can then star my faves for my collection. The mixes are so eclectic and they have both ratings and comments so you can get a feel for what’s good.

Check out DesignersMX, I know you’ll discover some tunes (and album artwork) you love! And let me know what your favorite mixes are — trust me, there’s lot to get through and I’ve just scratched the surface.


Check out more Tools of the Trade posts here.

What I Wore | The Hangout: 4.28.13

The Hangout Slingshot S.E. Portland


When I’m in town, the place you’ll most commonly find me hanging out at after a long day of work is Slingshot Lounge. The food is good, the service is great, the music is awesome and did I mention that there’s an old school photo booth?! Everyone has a neighborhood hangout and this is mine.

The Hangout Slingshot S.E. Portland

Over the weekend I realized that it’s been a long time since I did a straight up “this is what I wore” post that wasn’t shot by a professional photographer and featured something I wore out and about on an average day. While I love working with new photographers and engaging in a game of dress-up is one of my favorite outlets, I also believe in balance. So while I’m thankful to have had the opportunity to get photographed dancing through the Louvre, visiting Disneyland and chillin’ in the in the English countryside this year, I also love just hanging out in my neighborhood in S.E. Portland.

The Hangout Slingshot S.E. Portland

While visiting LA earlier this month, I popped into a vintage store and spotted this very 90s white leather DKNY skirt — it’s a little much for Portland style so I dressed it down with my Y-3 sneaker wedges (from 2010). Unlike me, Rocky shops a lot less. He’s had that same striped sweater since he was a baby…and he’s 6 now!

I Wore:
Chain-trim Jacket, Forever 21
T-Shirt, Mossimo for Target
Buckle Bag, Vesus
Skirt, Vintage
Wedge Sneakers, Y-3
Tights, H&M


The Hangout Slingshot S.E. Portland

What’s your go-to neighborhood hangout? And what makes it special?

The Week In Pictures: 4.26.13

The Week In Pictures


It’s been a long, interesting week and I feel like every corner I turn, I’m faced with new opportunities to grow, mainly on the work front. It’s beautiful in Portland right now — I’m relishing wearing dresses and skirts with bare legs and walking to coffee shops with friends. I feel like I’m faced with a lot of self-imposed challenges right now but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel towards the end of the year and that big picture is exactly where I want to get.

The Week In Pictures

On Wednesday, I crossed the border for a business class — one of my closest friends, Joey bought me a spot in the course best summed up as “So you’re the owner of a Million Dollar company and you don’t even know it!”. And it was mind-blowingly awesome. After city-hopping over the last few months to teach The Blogcademy, it was nice to just sit back and absorb. I scribbled page after page of notes to apply to the business I’m launching later this year. The advice Stephanie Lynn dispensed was so honest, heartfelt and applicable and reminded me of why our personal stories are so powerful — we’ve each taken our own path to entrepreneurship but there are key threads we all share.

The Week In Pictures

When I’m feeling really stressed out, I sit down on my office floor and read a few magazines (I’ve lost count of how many subscriptions I have). Kinda silly but I always find a few visuals that get my mind racing and excited to tackle new projects.

The Week In Pictures

Over the weekend, I was hand-lettering a client’s logo but it just wasn’t coming together. A few hours in, I remembered that I had my calligraphy set tucked away from when I was in the sixth grade. We had a calligraphy segment in our art class and I remember practicing and practicing and how much I loved it! I’ve noticed a few other designer friends pulling out their kits, too — it’s harder than it looks but I love the results.

The Week In Pictures

I flipped to a page of quotes in an issue of Marie Claire and froze when I got to this one. It’s now next to my desk. Everyone wants a quick fix to get to where they want to go. But its true that there’s no secret to unlock, it’s just a lot of hard work. I’m glad someone on Michelle Obama’s level is affirming this.

The Week In Pictures

Ah, the oranges! Can’t stop, won’t stop wearing this shirt. Haha. The orange tones tie into a bigger project I’m working on and my friend pointed out that maybe after staring at it so long, it’s entered my subconscious. Either way, I love it. Have a great weekend — I’m looking forward to a lot of walks in the sun, hanging out with my dad and chatting with my brother about his adventures in China (he just got home from a 3 week trip yesterday!) Oh, and visiting friends who are exhibiting at Stumptown! Lots of love. xo

Link Love: 4.25.13

link love

link love


Daphne Groenvald by Txema Yeste for Bazaar Spain


• Fast Company did a massive profile on Jenna Lyons and my biggest takeaway is to stick to your guns and follow your gut while being empathetic to those who are part of the creactive process. A really inspiring read!

• I loved Anna’s honesty when it comes to the fear of doing something wrong, in this case art. When that fear overtakes us, it’s easier to procrastinate and make excuses than dive in but what’s the worse thing that can happen?

• How to Work with Creative People features original quotes from designers, managers and more on how to work more effectively with creative types.

• If you want to actually stick to your goals this year, read this.

• Anna Lucylle is a designer with a penchant for fonts and photography and her latest project is jaw-droopingly good! 10 hours of makeup and a lot of research later, her first installment has come to life.

• In sad but true news, hotel minibars are fading away.

• Breanna Rose has some helpful tips when it comes to resumes and cover letters.

• Looking for a laugh? Check out the To Do Cat!

• If you want to look better in photos (and really, who doesn’t?!), Garance Doré has compiled seven tips and really, she should know!

• I love The Everygirl because they give difficult issues a voice including this first-hand account of escaping an arranged marriage.

• Think your computer is old? It has nothing on this IBM that has been running strong since 1948!

• When we’re first starting out in business, it’s easy to forget how important it is to reinvest in order to grow.

• What aspiring designers need to know when it comes to strategy.


View more Link Love columns right here.

In The Beginning: My First Design Project

In The Beginning


In The Beginning

Last night I dug deep into the design catacombs — I actually dug so deep that the work I was looking for wasn’t even archived on a hard drive. Going back in time a full decade meant that I was sitting on my office floor, digging through a pile of hand-labeled CDs. Finally, one spool in, I got lucky.

There are many posts I’m working on that flow easier, that look much prettier and that focus on my life in the present. Honestly, I’d rather be working on those. But I do see the value in looking back sometimes. When we look back, we have those moments where those murky times in our lives finally make sense and by sharing these experiences, we can help others in similar situations.

Today, we’re taking a trip down memory lane to my first ever design project. Trust me, I’d much rather keep my overzealous use of Photoshop brushes during 2003 locked in the vault but we all have to start somewhere! This is where my path into design first began (though I didn’t know it at the time).

In The Beginning

In The Beginning

Ten years ago, I was in school for business. My courses were dry and I struggled (hard) through subjects like pre-calculus and biology. A few days a week, I worked in a shoe store at the mall. And sometimes on the weekends, I took accelerated marketing courses. As you can imagine, I wasn’t having a whole lot of fun!

I’d always wanted to be an artist but my style was more collage-based and I didn’t see a clear path to making a living so I went the so-called practical route. Though looking back, I’m so thankful I did business courses before design, it wasn’t where I wanted to be. It didn’t feel like the right fit but at that point, there was nobody around to convince me to follow a more creative route — I didn’t know any designers in real life (and just a handful online) and I’d never set foot in an ad agency. My only exposure had been an old George Lois book in my high school library and witnessing some crudely made business cards and CD artwork (with one too many Photoshop effects) in high school.

In The Beginning

In The Beginning

In my free time, I worked on a self-initiated project on my laptop. I admittedly knew nothing about design. I had a dream to design an autobiographical magazine (the powerful blogging software and beautiful, editorial-inspired themes I completely take for granted now were a ways off) and I had so much fun putting these pages together. Even though I had no clue what I was doing, I just went for it. Using a 2 megapixel digital camera and a bootleg version of Photoshop, I stayed up late piecing together images and stories. Looking back, a lot of it is cringe-worthy but what I realize now is that doing these layouts along with other projects outside of professional confines helped me find my style and explore ideas freely.

I finally had the chance to go back to school and major in design in 2006 and never looked back. Now as a full-time designer my focus now is 95% on client work but I still think back fondly on those days in 2003 where I tested out new sets of Photoshop brushes because I was curious. There was nobody to tell me otherwise and I just did what I wanted when I wanted, for better or worse!

In The Beginning

In The Beginning

I’m sharing this today in an effort to encourage you to just go for what you want. There are always going to be roadblocks in your life. Even if you’re in school for something else, even if you have very little time, even if you have very little money, never let that hold you back. Explore the path you’re interested right now, even if it’s 10 minutes a day. Dream up self-initiated projects and learn all you can — relish your freedom and soak up the inspiration around you. You’ll be that much more prepared when it’s finally time to make your move.

I wasn’t able to make my move until three years after I started this project but it was worth the wait. And this time, I’d already done enough exploration to know that it was the right fit.

Tools of the Trade #1: Designers Toolbox

Tools of the Trade


Tools of the Trade


Welcome to Tools of the Trade, a column where I’ll be dropping in to share some of my favorite go-to design resources!

Over the weekend, while putting together a custom envelope design for a client, I needed a dieline for a very particular set of dimensions. I was instantly reminded of a great resource I’ve been using for years, Designers Toolbox.

Designers Toolbox is a comprehensive collection of design resources including envelope, business card and postcard sizes and most sections have accompanying dimensions along with downloadable dielines! This is especially helpful if you’re producing items for a client in another country since these measurements aren’t standardized worldwide.

The web resources are fantastic as well. A web banner chart with dimensions, a compilation of basic HTML characters and visuals of web safe areas are just some of the free resources you’ll find.

I hope you’ll enjoy this fantastic resource as much as I do!


Check out more Tools of the Trade posts here.

Orange Obsessed

Orange Obsessed

I’m on a big ol’ citrus kick. For the last few months, I’ve been consuming mandarins nonstop (my favorites are from Trader Joe’s and still have the stems). Beyond that, I have a new appreciation for all shades of orange — in a lot of ways, to me it feels a lot more modern and inviting than red.

When I spotted this orange-covered shirt at J. Crew while in LA, images of sunny orange groves and flashbacks of Tragic Kingdom danced through my head. The button-up shirt is a departure from my normal style but this was just so much fun and I love the airy silk blend. Every time I wear it, it’s a great conversation starter; the orange one-liners never stop (orange you glad…).


Orange Obsessed

Here’s some of my favorite citrusy-hued items at the moment:

1. Nars Polish, 2. Givenchy Medium Pandora, 3. Kate Spade Gingham Phone Case, 4. Stella McCartney Slingback Wedge and 5. J. Crew Perfect Shirt in Citrus.

P.S. After some digging around, it appears that both the orange shirt and matching phone case have nearly sold out from J. Crew online but I bet they still have some in-store!