Monday, October 14, 2013

BFA holder, bad with art.

So there was this little illustration about how to look at art floating around tumblr, and I... reblogged, and got a little carried away. Enough writing on it that I figured moving it over here would be okay. It's sort of a rant/brain-dump. Cheers.

Confession: I'm kinda the worst at looking at art. Thank goodness for art history class helping me some. I feel like I could probably use to take some AH course yearly to keep it in perspective. 
But, I am usually most interested in the how first; and second maaaaybe the why. And almost exclusively most interested in functional pieces. Things that solve. Maybe everything solves, but maybe I'm not interested in what it's solving. Context is super helpful.

I feel really weird when I'm referred to as an artist. I guess I probably make some art, but I'm certainly not comfortable putting that title after my name. I don't think I'm trying to make statements. Maybe I am, and I just don't know it yet (as was suggested to me in the only "fine" arts printmaking elective class I ever took, where I constantly struggled through critiques [note: I typically LOVE crits] because I didn't have much to say about what I was making, and I was constantly lacking a 'why'.  Learning a new technique/process/medium was plenty for me.   ).

I like making things, and making things work. Physical involvement in the making is a definite plus. I have experience in making things aesthetically pleasing. Often enough, making it pretty isn't the right answer though.

In a somewhat recent discussion with an engineer friend, I felt like how he was describing his process and projects felt more on par with what I do than how what I do is typically perceived*.

Giving me open-ended free reign is pretty much the opposite of asking me to solve a problem. I even like the part about finding out what the actual thing that needs solving is.  What's not working? What could be better? What needs help? Where is clarity lacking? How can this communicate more effectively? How will people use this? Or will they at all? What have people been using up until now for this? What limits and/or constraints are in places? What guidelines exist?
Wow, this turned in to a brain-dump/rant. Hm. 

BFA holder, bad with art. 

*obviously, he uses all sorts of math & other magical engineering things that I know little about, but at the same time I use lots of weird designer-y things that are not super common knowledge. Talking about the overall scope of things rather than the execution details. 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Fourteen days in... August daily project recap

I DID SO WELL. For like, a week...


And, then I started getting caught up on finished perfection. Not wanting to half-ass things. Well, I still don't want to half-ass things, but I think I've got to make a few modifications to my rules. For all of the days that aren't represented above (I'm looking at you, August 9, 10, 11, 12) I do have some starts/sketches that just aren't complete. So for yesterday, I decided to keep it small and simple. The colors are fancy because of lighting and phone camera, which I then inversed, and that's kinda what I got. Keeping it small is a good idea for me as I can't get as burnt out on coloring in when I've got a structure I like, but I want the finishing to be tight. Simple, well, I guess I mean less overthinking/planning. So far I've got a few favorites, and some I'd totally already revisit, so why not just dive in and do all quickly rather than work on finishing up something that I'd already re-do? As a daily thing, I don't think I had the intent of putting more than an hour per day in to it. Hopefully much less. I think I can get as much out of producing something every day as producing something finished feeling on some to most days. Let's make. 

Everything, a little less. 

Friday, August 2, 2013

Where this is all going.

You know that song that you can’t hear without recalling a particular moment/feeling/memory EVERY time?

I’ve collected a playlist worth of those songs. And I’m in process of writing about the moment/feeling/memory that each song conjures.
Rules to follow.

In the meantime, August has turned in to a fun-a-day sort of month, and following in the ambition of Mike, I’m committing to doing some one thing every day for August.
Aug. 1 : Great Expectations

Since I’ve been dabbling with hand-lettering lately, and most often of song lyrics, to make the jump to lettering out a line of lyrics daily was a logical one. And with this writing project as the driving force, I’ve already got a playlist full of songs that mean something to me as fodder. 
I’m committing to the crazy. For a month at least. I’m pushing to try other materials and styles of letters (honestly I’ve begun to default to a very narrow range).

I don’t know where this is going and what will happen, but I do ask that you all keep me accountable, push me, comment, “like", tell me why you hate it, tell me why it’s working, throw some feedback at me, and whatever else.

You in?

Follow along on instagram & my tumblr blog, that's where the daily updates will be happening! 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Taking and giving and giving back

I've been asking some ridiculous things lately. Making outrageous requests, if you will. My thoughts on asking are that when you ask, you don't have an expected answer. Maybe a hopeful one, but not expected, so it doesn't hurt to ask, worst case you're in the same spot that you started in, and at least you won't wonder what if you had asked. I partially credit this TED talk that, among other points, encourages making use of your weak ties.

Everyone has been so awesome lately, and pretty much everything I've been asking for I've gotten in some degree. (Numerous helpers with my basement flooding including getting the water out and offering me hot showers while the water heater was out of commission, being offered places to stay out of town (with excessive hospitality), dog sitting while I was gone, borrowing of equipment, giving/sending me excellent mixes, and so on.)

So it's my turn.
In the past week I've signed up for a couple volunteering opportunities at upcoming events, one this weekend and one in August. I'm really excited to be a little part of a bigger machine and give back a bit to lots of people at once, even though it's really just little stuff in the big picture. I'm not exactly saving the world by passing out water to runners or pouring beer for festival-goers, but if I can put a smile on their faces, that works for me.

I've also had this big Gratitude Postcard project on my mind's back burner for literally years (I'm pretty sure I discussed it with Katie soon after meeting her at The Fest 9), and I think this is my push to start it going. It's going to be different than originally thought (current lack of letterpress access and all), but I think it'll be better this way, a lot more personal. I also think I'm not going to figure it out completely ahead of time. Start anywhere, right?

Friday, July 5, 2013

When I dip, you dip, we dip

I was invited to a barbecue and fireworks party by friends, and I asked if I could bring anything. The consensus was that something pre-meal would be best, as the main & dessert were pretty well covered. Chips, dips, whatever. So I snagged a party size bag of tortilla chips, and figured I'd make some guac. But alas, looking for avocados the day I needed them left that option out (ripe ones nowhere to be found).  I had one ripe avocado at home already, and had snagged a bunch of produce at the Public Market over the weekend, fully intending to make some gazpacho (as I had fully been intending to do for maybe at least a month running). Yeah, that still hasn't happened.

What I did make, however, was two chip-dippables, that both went over well: Black Bean Avocado Hummus, and Mango Basil Nectarine Salsa. The hummus was G-O-N-E before fireworks, and there was just a small bit of salsa left at the end of the night. I'm recording these vague recipes here for future prosperity, especially as I'd like to make the salsa again. They're both pretty food-processor intensive, but could probably happen with whatever blending apparatus you have handy. Disclaimer: I'm not a usual recipe-writer, so I apologize that this is more past-tense, first-person narrative than recipes tend to be, but I think you'll get the idea. And, of course please let me know if you have any questions or feel there could be some clarification in any of the below. And the photos, I'm sorry. I didn't think they were going to go anywhere other than Instagram.

Black Bean Avocado Hummus

Not enough avocados for guacamole, but not letting that stop me. 

  • 1 Can garbanzo beans/chickpeas, drained
  • 1 can Wegmans Caribbean Black Beans, mostly drained
  • 1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and cut in to some pieces
  • ~1tsp-1Tbs minced /~1 clove Garlic, to taste
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • Lemon juice
Basically, blend all that in your food processor until desired consistency. I didn't have any tahini on hand so I skipped it, but I'm sure you could add it in and it would be good! I considered adding some sesame oil instead, and then forgot.

I started with the garbanzo beans, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper in the food processor, then added the black beans slowly as I wasn't sure how much black bean I'd want in there. It ended up being the whole can. After I'd gotten the bean mixture to a pretty smooth texture, I added in the avocado pieces, and processed some more. This came out super tasty. I would even consider perhaps adding more avocado, but I was out. Next round I'll give it a try. I scooped out this hummus, put it in a container, and stuck it in the freezer to cool it down quickly. Not that it was hot, but most of the components were at room temperature at the start.


Mango Basil Nectarine Salsa

I really wanted to get some basil + nectarine flavors together. 

And I also had most produce needed for salsa.
  • 1 med-large sweet (vidalia, mayan, etc) onion (mostly processed but maybe 1/4 of it left chunky)
  • 2 jalepeño peppers, processed to oblivion
  • 4 tomatoes (2.5 diced-ish, 1.5 processed to oblivion, too)
  • ~1tsp-1Tbs minced /~1 clove Garlic, to taste
  • 2 nectarines (sliced thin, or diced)
  • handful of fresh basil leaves, pulsed
  • 1 mango, diced
I started this one out quartering the onion, and throwing 3 of those quarters in to the food processor. Processed until pretty small, but not quite pureed. The last quarter diced by hand, and all of this thrown in to a bowl after done with. Next up, I cut off the tops of the jalepeños, removed the seeds, and processed them until they were pretty small as well, then transferred the now pepper sludge to the bowl as well. Tomatoes next, diced up about 2.5 medium tomatoes, and the last 1.5 I thew in to the food processor and processed until it was saucy. I think at this point, I put the spoonful of diced garlic into my receiving bowl, stirred that all up, gave it a taste test, and moved forward. 
For the nectarines, I cut them in to wedges, changed the processor to have the slicing blade, and fed the slices through the chute at the top to get dainty slices. I suppose you could just dice up the nectarines as well. Next, I put the usual processing blade back in, grabbed a handful of fresh basil, processed that until small, and added to the bowl again. I gave the mixed up bowl a taste test, and (of course) decided it could use more sweet, as it was leaning towards very spicy. Thankfully, I had a couple mangos on hand, diced up one mango, added it to the bowl, stirred, and was quite pleased with the balance of flavors at that point. 

Monday, July 1, 2013

Half way there. This is my year, for sure.

This year I'll try to only listen to myself. (Start this going as your blog-reading soundtrack, ok? Ok, good talk.)

So suddenly it's July, and 2013 which has only recently become habit is halfway over (you know, writing down '13 on things instead of '12). I started this year off with some sort of ambitious game plan to be a bit more purposeful in my moments. I put together a list which turned in to a spreadsheet of goals or resolutions, and I was inputting updates to that chart for the first three months of the year. I took April off from a lot of things that were becoming time sucks for me, and I guess one casualty was updating this blog, as well as updating that list/chart. It's still there. I did take a look the other week and update where I'd gotten with some things. The real goal wasn't to do everything 100% of the time, but to do pieces when they made sense and not get let down by breaking a streak and then knowing I'd never be at 100%. I have formed some habits, and made some real progress in some places. Some things are laughable. You can do anything but you can't do everything. I certainly can't do everything.

Back in Orientation Assistant training (2004? 2005?), we had one big session that was focused on our strengths, the thinking being that if everyone played up what they were awesome at, we wouldn't need to worry about where we might fall short and how to make up for that. I'm usually intrigued and amused by any sort of personality test, and this one seemed somewhat more legit than most, or at least appeared that way. It spit back my five main strengths, which I'd agree make sense for me for sure (perhaps some change in almost ten years?).

My five themes were as follows: Includer, Strategic, Input, Woo (Winning Others Over), & Connectedness. I've got the write-ups & descriptions of these all handy if anyone wants to read further. The perhaps more interesting part of this training, however, was when we discussed these themes, about ourselves and the interplay of these themes. How, me with a big Strategic badge could approach a situation incredibly different than one of the others in the room, though we both were championing strategy. It was eye opening in little ways, I found myself getting thoroughly upset (about how others would approach situations I guess?), and then realizing that that's what this was about, really digging in and feeling out the different approaches and seeing that there's no one best way.

Back to goals. Some have gone well. Like these.
  • cook 3+ dinners/week [Well, maybe not three every week but certainly not going out three nights per week for dinner. Sometimes it's cooking and remixing, or just lots of planning.]
  • run semi-regularly [been going 4x per week since February, that totally counts]
  • run a 5k [I've ran 2! April 28 at 31:23 & June 8 at 28:54. Longer races coming up soon soon too. I'm hooked.]
  • lose about 15 more pounds [I'm at about 10 less than January now, works for me]
  • KEEP OFF the above 15 lbs and the 20 lbs lost in 2012. [Doin' it.]
  • stay more hydrated [Totally have been. Strategy!]
  • Gauge my ears bigger (0?) [I'm at a 4 now, I might just stick here but it's a step up from the 6!]
  • Open a ‘hidden’ emergency account that I really do not touch [Yup, did it.]
  • explore! try new stores, new routes, etc. [All over the place. Less ruts, more explore.]
  • install CS6 (what have I been waiting for? :I ) [Did it. Love it.]
  • learn more about letters (general) [This has been more practicing and observing rather than traditional study, but I think it counts since I've been thinking about letters a lot]
  • organize my twitter in to lists to be more useful (friends/design/ROC/etc.) [Yeah I made some lists! Those of you who I bother most often are probably on one of them. Still in progress sorting further though]
  • be more social (at least 1 purely social encounter per week, whether over beer/coffee, or phone/skype/hangouts) [Maybe not every week, but I've had some great ones lately]
  • Visit Nashville - and sister&bro-in-law&pups [Did it!]
  • Cleveland visit [Did it very slightly on the way back from Nashville, so that counts a bit. Planning to be back for WMC fest in August]
  • paint my dining room [Done in February, much thanks to my folks for coming up for a couple days to help get that done!]
  • SAVE things less -- use as soon as makes sense to, and replenish when needed [Yes, totally. Been especially better at working through my cabinets eating weird things that I bought once, or just kind of making dinner happen out of whatever is there]

And then there's all those others that maybe I'm doing ok with, or maybe I'm not doing anything at all with. It's ok. I've got the above to show for the first half of 2013, and I can't wait to see what's next. Focusing on the strengths, you know?

I feel like I used a lot of qualifying language in this post. Yup.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Taking April Off... Week 1 Recap

One week in, this is how I'm doing on my Taking April Off... #spendingdiet and better allotment of my time as all outlined previously. I'm thinking that maybe I should have started with a month of just tracking every dollar to see where it went before jumping in to this. Too late now! I did not do amazing this past week, but not too horrible I guess either. Come on Laura, get it together!
(I'm taking applications for budget cheerleaders & accountability buddies... comment below?)


  • $5 — beer out with an old friend that was visiting
  • $50 donation for my Pinups for Pitbulls calendar model application. I'd had this in my queue to do for weeks, and with the deadline approaching, I had to get my application in. Hey, at least it's going toward a good cause. (This is not counting toward that running total since the only reason it happened this week was because of lots of procrastination on my part.) 
  • Stayed up late. 1AM? No good. 


  • ~$9 for a chicken soulvaki (food+tip) at a diner when my groupon dinner plans got squashed by not finding the place after supposedly driving by twice, and not feeling comfortable enough in that area at that time of night to park and wander. 
  • Consequence of staying up late was not running before work, which left my homework run til after work. After the run, showering, and then being so starved for dinner led to the above haste and plan fail. Yep.
  • Skipped going to either of two shows I was interested in, one in Buffalo, one in Syracuse. Never committed to either, wanted to go to both, and realizing that no matter what I'd be disappointed from missing one, why not miss both and be disappointed anyway? I hate my logic sometimes, but at least I didn't spend a couple hours in the car on a weeknight. 


  • Planned dinner ahead of time went well. Though, pretty exhausted after my run & shower. I guess I can't do as much on run days now as I was doing before. Perhaps hitting the 3 mile mark is my ceiling for being functional afterward. 


  • Somehow dinner tv programming still happened, and that was bad for my time budget. Though dinner of leftover Easter ham went well.
    And then of course after that I start feeling like I'm having an allergic reaction and start popping allegra, taking puffs of albuterol and feeling like crap. I spent the rest of the night on the couch until bedtime. These allergy effects need to stop. Glad I'm seeing my allergist soon.


  • $2.25 for a coffee. Running early and trying to start the day off with treating my self a bit. Plus, no need to be the one person doing the dishes/making the coffee at the office EVERY day this week. 


  • Bagel breakfast sandwich & a coffee at Balsam Bagels. Too good, I could eat there every day. ~$7
  • Genesee Brewhouse tasting flight: $2. Decided to walk across the bridge at High Falls before the game, and the flight was kind of a no-brainer.
  • Red Wings Baseball game — The season opener, I'd planned on going to this for months. I bought a special pack of tickets that give me a discount on the price by buying a bunch together. So, I didn't buy the ticket that day, it happened a couple weeks ago. Got a fried dough & a turkey crepe and a hot chocolate, ~ $ 17 ? Kept it under $20!
  • Poster show at 1975. One night only. Old friend in town with this poster tour. Another friend in town that I don't see too often either. Or two. Really hard to skip seeing folks I see maybe once a year because of the spending diet & time diet. And I maybe bought a Tara McPherson poster. $60. Which now looking at her site, this ish isn't available until May! Winning? EDIT: Probably meant last May.
    Current room below, and new poster on right. They're going to be on opposite walls, staring at each other while I sleep. Creepy? It was too good of a fit to pass up. 
  • Dinner with same friends from the poster show at Pomodoro. $17 including tip. I feel like I'm back in college, getting just a water with dinner.
  • Everything Saturday took longer than it could/should have. Totally wiped me out, and I didn't even get to everything I was supposed to. Bleh.
Art for my room... the Gaslight zombie girl is getting a friend!


  • ~$4 for a  Belgian Waffle Latte at Equal Grounds. Needed that after training with the foster and before I plunged in to a huge day of getting stuff done. 
  • $8 for 2 drinks at Lux... went for a meeting, stayed for a hot cider and chat with a few seldom-seen friends.
  • ~$5.50 for a burger at Five Guys. Did a quick grocery run and hadn't had dinner so...

Week 1 Total $ spent on non-essentials: $136.75 (+$50 donation for P4P)

Eeek. If you don't include the TM poster, $76.75... which is ok! But, the TM poster happened. I also need to de-grossify my french press so I don't blow so much on coffee this week. So, for the next three weeks, I've got what's in my wallet + $40 left to take from the ATM to keep on track.

Can I do it? 

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Operation Hydration : A mini-case study

If you've been following along with me this year, you may have noticed that I've been working toward getting/being healthier all around. One big thing I knew I wanted to work on that was probably pretty attainable was to stay hydrated/drink more water.

As a designer, I often find myself approaching seemingly small things as full-blown problems to solve. I found that as much as I knew I should be drinking water throughout the day, sometimes the only thing I'd have before dinner was my morning coffee. No good.

So, I took a closer look at what small things may have been impeding my thirst quenching, or what alterations might increase my hydration.

During the workweek, I find myself sitting at a desk, mindlessly reaching for whatever is easily accessible—candy, gum, coffee, whatever I've left on my desk. If I could put a glass of water there, I'd probably drink it. The second part of access has to do with where I'd be getting water. I tried in the fall to bring in a pack of bottled waters, so I could easily grab one whenever I felt like it. This somewhat worked, but then there was dealing with the empties that I of course wanted to collect the deposit on, and the weird feeling of bothering to open a new bottle, or just hold out if I was a little thirsty but it was nearing the end of the day. Plus, the small action of unscrewing the cap made a tiny barrier to drinking, versus just grabbing the coffee mug. 

So, the bottled water was kind of out. My previous job had one of those water cooler things that I could fill up with crisp, cold, filtered water whenever I'd like. It was in the break room, so a small walk from my desk, but totally doable. We've got an assortment of various mugs and cups in our breakroom, so I've given the rather large teal ones a go. They're plasticky, sort of like what you'd expect to be marketed for summer entertaining on your deck. Maybe I'll bring in a pint glass of my own at some point. I also got a water bottle that has a space on the bottom for *infusing* a piece of fruit or whatever in to it. This is good, if I remember it, and if I feel like washing out all the different pieces...

The water itself.
My current job has no such water cooler, at least in my building, so I'm stuck with our break room sink. Which, the water is ... okay. It's not the best I've had but certainly not the worst (sorry Florida, not a fan of your tap water). How could I be more enticed to fill up on a large glass of this stuff? Ice cubes? Maybe, we have some in the freezer in the break room. Citrus? Ooh! I do quite like a lemon or lime in my water, but man, leaving a partial piece of fruit in the fridge for more than a couple days can leave the fruit not so great, and I hate wasting something. 

So ok, even if I do keep a lemon in the fridge wrapped in plastic wrap or a baggie, and then just hack off a piece whenever I'm filling up? Do I feel like washing a knife & plate/cutting board every time I get a glass of water? No, not really. Maybe I can just cut the whole thing up at once... but, would that get kind of gross still if I'm only using one piece or so per day?

Waste prevention.
I don't want to be throwing out half a piece of fruit, nor having to replace my stock of limes/lemons constantly. What is a way to prevent this?

When life gives you lemons...

Making my way through all of that, I figured I needed a way to have portion-sized pieces of lemon ready to go whenever, easily accessible, and that wouldn't spoil or have to be thrown away. Pair that with a good-sized cup or glass to hold it all. Enter my friend, the freezer... With the help of a quart-size freezer bag, and a tiny bit of forethought, I realized I could slice up an entire lemon or two in to the size pieces I'd like, throw those all in that freezer bag, and into the freezer to give myself what I've been looking for. I'd have pre-cut slices of lemon, and they'd double as ice cubes. Win! 

After cutting up a few lemons and freezing the pieces this way, I started exploring methods of cutting the lemon to get the most out of it. I tried quartering it, but that was too big of a piece at a time, and half-ing those didn't seem to leave much of a citrus-y impression. I tried rings, which seemed to work better but were harder to cut because the lemon would roll around a bit. Then I got to the half-rings! These have the advantages of the full ring, but easier to cut, and you can get more separate pieces out of one lemon. 

The illustrations bordering this post chronicle how I am, and recommend, cutting a lemon for these freezing purposes.  Start by halving your lemon through its bellybutton, or in technical terms *hot dog* way. Then, place your lemon halves flat-side down, and proceed to make slices going the opposite direction, technical term *hamburger* way.  This leaves you with a bunch of small half-circle lemon pieces that are perfect to throw in to a freezer bag to freeze. When you do freeze them, try to lay the bag flat if possible and avoid having the pieces stack up on each other, so you won't have to work on prying them apart at a later time. 

So, there you have it—a fairly lengthy blog post about putting a lemon in your water. I hope you enjoyed it, and perhaps have gained some insight in to the inner workings of my mind. 

All illustrations in this post are my own and may not be reproduced without written consent.

Monday, April 1, 2013

I'm taking April off.

(pssst... hi! I know it's April 1st, but this is not an April Fools Day joke...just wanted to get that out of the way. Also, hello & welcome to my new followers from the Coach bag giveaway! I hope you enjoy things here, and stick around. Please say hi in the comments section so I can get to know you, too!)

I'm taking April off.
Not from work. Not from commitments.
But from too much.

Sticking with a budget, a schedule, and listing all the things that I'm holding back that have been holding me back:

  • TV/Netflix/Hulu. Great for background noise, but also great for making small tasks take much longer because of the distraction. Mailing out etsy orders? Eating dinner? These do not take 30-60 minutes.
  • Eating on the couch. This leads to/stems from the above.  And also makes the dogs super jealous of what's on my plate. How about that dining room table, yeah?
  • Going out for meals. Yep. Unless there's a groupon, dining card, gift card or similar involved, it's not happening in April.  
  • Staying up too late to finish things. Face it, I'm never going to finish everything I *could* do. Might as well get myself in bed and give tomorrow a fighting chance. In deadline situations, I'll give myself one late night per week. 
  • Falling asleep on the couch. Direct result of a few of the above—*watching* something while I'm getting tired (staying up too late?!) and then falling asleep on the couch, waking up at 4AM and then going to bed for another hour or two... yeah let's not do that. 
  • Shopping. Not sure I need to even explain this one but shopping costs money and takes time, and gives me more things. I could use more money and time, and less things. Groceries & household supplies will be on a *list only* basis, as well as dog food/treats/etc. 
  • Work distractions. Because when I let myself get distracted at work, I guilt myself in to staying later to *make up* for my distracted time. I'd rather just get my work done and go get distracted at home or at least out in the sunshine.  
  • Cara Box. Yes these are fun, but I end up stressing about them at the last minute, and this falls under acquiring more things and having less money. So I'll be sitting out this month for the Cara Box exchange, no matter how amazing the theme idea is. 
  • Being Overwhelmed. So this is more of the goal rather than a specific action item, but I'd like to be less overwhelmed.
  • Being Social. Sorry, I'm not sorry. I love you all and everything but this is one thing that's going to have to take a back seat this month. Unless, of course, you want to join in on any of the MORE list items below (cooking, dog walking). 
  • Keeping chocolate/candy in reach at my desk. Unnecessary, but so good. So, that can hide across the room or in a cabinet or nowhere. Don't need it. 
Those things are getting cut out or cut back.

And here's the things I will be doing more of in April. 
  • Dog Time. More walks, more training & practice, more fun. Guilty of expecting that the puppy will just want to snuggle up on the couch with me when I'm tired even though she's had quiet time the entire time I've been at work. And the more practice/training I do with the foster, the more adoptable he is! (not that he isn't already super-adoptable, but better manners and more training are only going to make him even more irresistable.)
  • Cooking/Meal Prep/Planning. I'm hit or miss on this sometimes, and if I miss the planning/shopping over the weekend, the whole week ends up a big mess of last minute solutions. I did some good pre-planning this week and I've been eating healthier & cheaper for the most part because of it. 
  • In bed by 11, up and out of bed by 6. Because the sun is getting up earlier, and so should I. 7 hours is plenty of sleep.  
  • Cooking from the cabinets. I could probably live a month off the stuff in my cabinets. So maybe I will. Aiming to empty out much of these, enough so that I don't have any straggler items that live permanently on the countertop.
  • Read books. I don't even know how many books I own that I have yet to read. I was aiming for at least one book per month, which I've hit in January, but not since then this year. Maybe I can read two in April.
  • Getting rid of stuff. I have a lot of stuff. I'd rather have a lot of space, but when the space is taken up by the stuff, both are useless. The plan is to go through boxes, totes, random piles and fill my garbage container that goes to the curb every week. Also a box for selling, and donating items. 
  • Baking. Muffins, bread, whatever. I have a lot of the ingredients on hand, and me making my own is pretty cost-efficient.
  • Setting aside specific time for specific things AND downtime.  Like working on etsy orders. Or grocery shopping. Or meal prep. My google calendar is going to be crazy this month. I've already added Office Hours to my calendar bi-weekly to take care of bills, paperwork, emails, whatever.
  • Make bigger payments on things. I like to keep a cushion in my checking account just *in case* but I don't really need it there, especially when I have savings for *in case*, so taking that cushion lower and making bigger payments on things. Would LOVE to get my car paid off sooner.
  • Keeping flat surfaces clear. Counters, tables, dresses. Clearing these off and not just putting something down because I can. I don't need my life to be a game of Jenga.
  • Pomodoro Method. Using My Tomatoes to work in 25 minute intervals. I've tried it a little and excited to utilize this method going forward. 

As March progressed, I realized I didn't go nearly as cold-turkey on my #nospend as much as I probably should have and wanted to.

On the other side of things, I've also realized that there were lots of likeminded thinkers on board with this idea, I came across Betsy's post Spend Less for March.

and leading me to... The Spending Fast.  Or, The Spending Diet. Both from Anna at And then We Saved, who paid off ~$24,000 in FIFTEEN MONTHS. Holy Cow.

I don't have $24k to pay off (well, not including a mortgage but that's a different story) but could certainly use to catch up on payments, bills, savings, whatever.

I'll go with the spending diet, and giving myself $200 cash for the month for incidentals and *wants*. Credit/debit cards are for needs—gas, groceries, pet supplies, household goods. I know I've already got a few things on the calendar that will be demanding my time, talent, and treasure so it'll be best to work with that budget.

So here goes...

Friday, March 29, 2013

Physical Inbox #2

This edition of Physical Inbox is showcasing TWO goodie boxes that I've received recently.

First off... the March Cara Box from Melissa from After We Tied the Knott ...

Cara Box

(What's a Cara Box? See here!)
This month's theme was "Hello my name is..." which translated to, the box would be full of things starting with the first letter of the recipient's first name! My match up, Katie, from Unwritten  is getting a box full of K things, and I, being Laura, got a box full of L! I'll link up Katie when she gets her box, and posts it.

Melissa was SO on top of this, and got my box sent out to me almost instantly! I'm not so good at that--I tend to try to think things out for awhile, and since there isn't much of a turnaround (two weeks between finding out your match and the shipping out deadline--not that long when you've got to figure out a person you've never met and then shop/make for them on a limited budget!) I always find myself at the post office on the last day.

Anyway, what I received went a little something like this:
The box came filled with bright pink tinsel-packing. So sparkly. And so much like quick-sand. I tried to put the items on top of the tinsel to photograph them, but they kept drowning in it, haha!
First off above, was a Lion toy for Remi. She loves her plushies, and this one had a squeaker too! I gave it to her right away, and you might notice that the tail is already missing by the time I snapped the photo. Good puppy!

LED Flashlight, in green! I let on that I'm a big fan of mint & seafoam greens, so Melissa sure took that green to heart as you'll see from the rest of the box. March is a great month for green, right?

Loofas! Also in "laurcolor" as I refer to mint/seafoam in casual conversation.

Lucky Clover grow kit! I could always use a little bit of Luck.

Lifesaver Jelly Beans... yep, these are Long-gone by now. Super tasty, Melissa noticed my sweet tooth and included this sweet treat!

Last but not least, Lingerie! Melissa found me a bra once again in the favorite color! Just the explosion of mint and seafoam when I opened this box put a huge smile on my face.

Definitely a great birthday-month box, Melissa did such an amazing job at figuring out things that were so me and fit in nicely with the theme too! <3 Make sure you check out her blog, After We Tied the Knott, and on instagram and twitter too!

Make sure to check out ALL of the March Cara Box exchanges, posted/hosted through Wifessionals.

Next up, the Sugar & Spice VoxBox from Influenster...

Awhile back I'd signed up for Influenster, as it seemed interesting, kinda like Klout but with more product/brand reviews. Apparently I've contributed enough to qualify for this VoxBox, and a box showed up at my house full of many things, including Colgate Optic White toothpaste & goodies, Vaseline Spray & Go moisturizer, Dickinson's Original Witch Hazel towelettes, belVita Breakfast Biscuits, and Nectresse no calorie sweetener.

I'm still making my way through giving all of these products a good try, so I'll be sure to update my thoughts on them soon! Make sure you're following me on twitter and instagram to keep up to date!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Coach Bag giveaway!

I've teamed up with a wonderful group of ladies to be able to offer quite the giveaway, I think Samantha said it best herself, so I'll let her go over the details:

Spring is in the air and so are the cutest Coach bags EVER! I wanted to thank you all for being such great friends by teaming up with some of my favorite bloggers and giving y'all the chance to win one!

Here are some of my faves:

A new Coach handbag up to $275... all YOURS!

 photo coachgiveawaycollage_zps4fe92efa.png

None of the entries are mandatory, but please take a minute to get to know these ladies. They have been such a big part of my bloggy life and I know you'll love them too!
All you have to do is enter the Rafflecopter below and cross your fingers! Giveaway will run from today, March 25th until Friday, March 29th. 
Winner will get to choose their choice of bag up to $275 dollars.
 Open to US residents only. 
Winning entry will be verified so please, play nice :)
 Good luck! Xoxo!

Friday, March 22, 2013



My 5k training. Starting to really feel better about running, and seeing progress in my distances/pace. There's a nice social aspect too, if I go on a run with a friend, we can chat/catch up, and yet still get our run in...seems easier to fit in than catching up over a drink. 


A dog through a local pitbull rescue, about 1.5 years old. He's super sweet, happy, bouncy, and at the same time laid back. Like, if we're outside, his ears will perk up if he hears something interesting, but he won't suddenly run to the fence and start barking. Same thing with seeing passerby's  he takes a look, then goes back to whatever he was doing, be it sniffing around, or playing. We've got a very structured transition process for him being at the house, and with coexisting with my own pup. Which honestly hasn't been the easiest, as the dogs appear eager to play and want to check out each other up close, but definitely for the best as I'd rather have a slow-n-steady introduction and they both get to practice patience rather than a too-fast one and one or both of them is uncomfortable, leaving us with some counter-work to get everybody happy together. again. Bringing me to...

Looking forward to:

Being able to fully integrate foster pup into the daily routines. So excited for Remi to likely have a playmate at home, and I know Socks is dying to be done with his transitioning.


The lunch I had. Might have been a little big and I feel like I've got a huge food coma/tummy unhappy right now.

Listening to:

This playlist that I made on my birthday-eve last week. Full of somewhat odd pairings of Lesley Gore, Smoking Popes, Jimmy Eat World, Damien Rice, and Brand New. Give it a listen!


about, well being inspired by the people and work around me. I attended the Rochester ADDY Awards last week and was witness to many great advertising spots and campaigns, as well as being surrounded by the Rochester advertising community. Hundreds of people at the convention center. I didn't have anything in the show this year, so there was no pressure or worrying about whether I'd take home an award or not this time around.
Then, last night I made the trek to Utica with my friend Sarah for an AIGA event "Will Work for Work" with Mikey Burton. I had worked with Mikey while in Philly, and it was great to see him again!  He gave his talk to a packed room of designers, design students and the like, and was gracious enough to stick around for some Q&A time too. Afterward, we found the smallest ottoman (below).

Currently format ever-so-thankfully borrowed from Dani at SometimesSweet! <3

Monday, March 18, 2013

Another Google Death

So with the news that googlereader is on the out, and taking GFC along with it, I've joined Bloglovin. Follow along! Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Mentoring Notes II

Industry, creativity, inspiration, and interesting stuff...from your favorite AIGA UPSTNY SPARK Co-Coordinator & Mentor

There seems to be somewhat a pair of themes this time around for the mentoring notes— Love & Money. Take this as you will. 


  • WMC Fest Kick-off Podcast — Weapons of Mass Creation Fest is going in to its 4th year, I went last year and had a great experience there and in Cleveland. Loved all the speakers, the bands, the neighborhood, and probably spent too much in the gallery on screen prints! If you love design, music, and awesomeness all for a very fair ticket price, this festival is for you. If you watch the video on the site's landing page closely, you can catch a glimpse of me crossing the street in slow-mo around 0:23-0:27
  • Two Hand Fools — Been really digging this band, especially the split with Ridgemont, which, coincidentally is available for streaming or free download here






What notable stuff have you found lately?

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Physical Inbox

I'd like to share some of the lovely things I get in the mail... sometimes it's for content, and sometimes it's for delivery...

First one comes from Kristin! She was sweet enough to think to send me a thank you card for teaming up with Michele (from Short Girl, Long Island) for a giveaway a little bit back (which, she won!). Wax seals are awesome, I think I need to look in to getting one of my own. I *LOVE* getting mail (non-bills, non-spam), and even more so when it's stamped with my creation on its return, I just seriously love seeing these things in the wild... so if you've gotten a stamp from me, you've got my address—send a message back, it'll probably make my day!

Next up, this lovely print by Lea Rizzo. It was a perk for the IndieGoGo campaign from The Yards last Fall, where I opted for the Lea print with my donation. The Yards does amazing art shows and events and are truly a great addition to our community in Rochester. They're located at the Rochester Public Market, in a great, versatile space.

What have you gotten in the mail recently that's put a smile on your face?

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

No Spend March!

It's that time again... the time where I look at my checking account(s) and go "...oh."

In keeping with some of my #100resolutions from earlier this year, I've decided to join up on this No Spend March... presented by Mallory (From California to Kansas) and Jess (Tooth N Nails) .

My rules are as follows:

  • Credit Card is for Gas, Groceries, and other essentials
  • No online shopping (time to ignore all of the 'daily deal' emails I get)
  • Groceries are strictly by list (with planned meals), with one <$5 "treat" item
  • Regulated cash allowance weekly for incidentals (convenience items, beers, door cover for dances or shows, etc.)
  • Use the giftcards! But don't go more than 25% over their value
  • Two meals out per week tops (this will probably be a weekend brunch & a dinner)
  • NO clothing or makeup (unless something is broken/ran out and needs replacement)
  • <$20 of chews/treats for puppy on pet store visits, and hold off on new toys until April (she chews a lot, and I'd rather her be chomping on an elk antler or bully stick rather than the coffee table, so there needs to be some allowance here)
  • Sleep on it for at least one night for any larger purchases that might need to happen
  • Redirect my impulses (OMG let's order pizza >>> at home pasta night. and so on.) 
This is my birthday month, so it might be a bit tough in some regards to not #treatyoself , but hopefully any of that treating I can take care of with giftcards and groupons that I already have. Obviously there might be an exception or two in there

Want to join in? Or just offer some support for this? Head on over to Mallory & Jess's blogs and chime in in the comments!

I'm thinking of posting updates of #Nospend/#badspend incidents throughout the month. Large list update? Spend-shaming photos? Love to hear your thoughts and have you join in on this #NoSpendMarch!

Friday, March 1, 2013

February Cara Box reveal!

Cara Box

I took part in my first Cara Box exchange last month, and it was buckets of fun as well as inspiring. More about that here. This month, our theme was #ClubSexy(ClubSexy = vaguely date night supplies for creating your own awesome night, whatever that might be!), and we were also paired off within our state to potential exchange boxes in person. Granted the state of New York is a big one, so I wasn't sure if I'd be able to do so depending on locations of those I was paired off with. It didn't work out to meet up yet, but after 'meeting' these two women, we've got hopes to try for this summer!

My match that I assembled a Cara Box for was Samantha of Hooah and Hiccups. You can see her post about what I sent her here. It was a blast to make a personalized set of #clubsexy cards and supporting materials. Check it out on her blog!

Now, for my Cara Box's reveal -- I was paired with Traci from Dear Miss Traci. She's in the middle of fine tuning details for her upcoming wedding, and still did a stellar job of sending me a little cardboard box of joy.

First things first, the second I got through the tape, this box just smelled sooo fantastic! I dug in to find a tasty scented candle, and some body lotion (mango! yess!) to be the culprits. Love it. Also, really cute attention to detail in the packaging -- pink and red packing materials, card, and the black packing paper made it feel so luxurious.

Also among the candle and lotion, she had picked out a few eyeshadows from her favorite etsy shops and nailpolish to really summer-up our grey winters here in upstate NY.  Perfect colors too!

And, after reading her note, I realized that I TOTALLY MISSED one item! She'd sent a little cookbook for tapas--perfect for the ATE dinners I've been running, and also fun cooking inspiration for the everyday.

Thanks SO much, Traci! Great Cara Box, and so happy to have made a blog friend that's not too far away. <3

Make sure to check out ALL of the February Cara Box exchanges, posted through Wifessionals.

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