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catching up

Absence makes the heart grow fonder.  So I know you must have missed my posts!

We have a lot to catch up on.  But where to begin?

Michigan peonies

The last time I blogged was before the official start of Summer…. and now it’s August.  Insanity.

I’m not going to give you some lame-o reason why I have been so silent.  Like, “oh I was busy”.  We all are busy.  We all have commitments, families, responsibilities, unexpected life events – and we all have the same hours in the day as Beyonce.   It’s all how you prioritize and manage your time.  And it’s safe to say that I’ve sucked at that lately.  A lot of times I find it extremely hard for me to just write, draw, or do anything random that I enjoy in my free time.  But as with anything you love, you pick back up where you left off.  So here it goes.

June flew by. We made our yearly vacation back up to the Mitten.  We spent a week trekking across the state – hitting Chicago, Detroit and everywhere in between.

Chicago Riverfront

I swear, there is never a dull moment on these Michigan trips.  Every year I bring a book along with me and am lucky to crack it once. Sure, it’s a little ironic because you go on vacation to relax, and we do get some down time, but it’s more like relaxed chaos.  Everyday of our trip seems to get booked up with commitments as we try to cram a year’s worth of hangout time into 1 week.   It always seems to feel hectic when we go home.  You’d think being there for a whole week would be long enough to see everyone we know and love, but it’s amazing how each time I go up there are people we miss.  I guess it’s one of the hard things about having family and friends spread out.  And you know, deciding to live about 1,500 miles away from your hometown.  But really, there’s no other feeling like being back at the place you will always call home….that place that takes you back to your roots.

Pure Michigan - Hidden Lake Gardens

And by the way, I had the best freakin’ time in Detroit.  Being downtown was absolutely phenomenal.  There’s revival in the air and I’m proud to see it coming back.  I just had to shout that out to the world.

Oh and if you find yourself there, do yourself a favor and hit up Detroit Institute of Bagels.  I bought one… and then followed that up with a whole dozen for the road.

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Our summer in Texas has consisted of lots of river tubing and picking back up with what seems like the endless list of renovating and maintaining an old house.  Don’t get me wrong, I love our 1954 ranch and would not trade it for anything.  Okay, mayyyybbbeee an oceanfront home on 30A, but that’s about it.  I can’t wait to share some of the details and some other new things happening around here in some future posts.

It’s good to be back to blogging after my sabbatical.   Hope you are enjoying your summer too!

Texas Sunset

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7 essential iPhone apps for the creative professional

7 Essential iPhone Apps for the Creative Professional

We are in the days where technology is in the forefront of all that we  do – and it can either make or break our creative process.  Here are some intuitive and inspiring apps I’ve worked with that will help to keep you up and running.

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PAPER –  news geared toward your interests

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Price: Free

Why It’s great:  Released merely 2 days ago, Facebook has done it again.  Imagine your FB Feed and news articles all in one pretty package.  The news stories displayed are in categories hand-picked by you.  The best part is just how easy it is to navigate through.

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30/30 – fun timed to do list

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Price: Free

Why It’s Great:  With 30/30 you can prioritize and time your to-do list to make sure you’re staying productive and on schedule.  I love this app because when I set it up, it actually keeps me focused and wanting to achieve the goal.  The simple design and quick functions make adding and editing tasks so easy and fun.

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WATERLOGUE –  turn your photos into watercolor paintings

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Price:  $2.99

Why It’s Great:   Because it’s a simple concept – turn a photo into an instant work of art.   As a person who never pays for apps, I will say I think it’s worth it.

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PRODUCTEEV-  project management

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Price: Free

Why It’s great:  Personally I think this project management app blows all the others out of the water.  You can assign tasks to specific projects and set alerts so you are on top of deadlines.  Have your other coworkers join in so everyone is on the same page, and you can even chat about tasks and assign them to users.  An  iPad app is available as well, and it all syncs to the website too if you want to pull it up on your computer.

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VSCOcam –  professional style photo editing at your fingertips

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Price: Free

Why It’s Great:  While I do love Instagram, the filters on VSCO give you much more options.  You can enhance the brightness, contrast, exposure, and color temperature to create exactly the effect you desire.  Bonus:  You are not forced into doing a square picture.

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OVER –  add artistic texts to your photos

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Price: $1.99

Why It’s great:  Now you have the ability to add text quickly over any picture.  You decide the font, color, size, and placement.  Great for creating graphics for your blog, website, or digital presentation.  The free version, Overgram, is pretty good too, but with fewer font options and a lovely watermark in the corner.

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EVEREST – an accomplishment and goal based social network

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Price: Free

Why It’s Great:  Finally! A social network app created with the purpose to motivate others and work together to achieve goals.  Now sharing thoughts is for a common purpose, and you can link up with friends and peers to make things happen.   We creative types often need some type of inspiration to get going, so having a support system is essential, and this app can help fuel the fire.

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{Bonus awesome iPad app}

Paper by FiftyThree 

Price: Free (upgraded add-on features available for purchase)

Why It’s great:  Turn your iPad into a sketch book.   Great for client meetings, brainstorm sessions, doodles, or even beautiful professional renderings.

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(Disclaimer: I am in no way solicited or paid to advertise these apps.  They just truely make my life easier, and I hope will do the same for you.  The pictures are all screenshots of my phone, so please ask permission if you are looking to post elsewhere. )

love it or hate it: Sherwin Williams new numbering system

So I recently learned that Sherwin Williams entire numbering system is in the process of changing!  Many of you familiar with the system know it was a 4 number system, and now they’re going to a 5 number system.  And the numbers are not similar at all.  For example, Pure White was SW 7005, and now is SW 30008.

Translation:  I’m gonna have to relearn all of my most favorite numbers again!  EEEKKK. Oh well.  I GUESS I’ll adapt.

The silver lining?  Word is there is about a 100 new colors in this new system.

Oh and these are what the new swatch cards look like:

sherwin williams paint colors 2014

They remind me of trading cards.  I think I kinda like them.

How do you other designers/home renovator/Sherwin Williams paint lovers feel about this?  Love it or hate it??

PS. TGIF! 🙂

3 life tips from an unlikely source

Okay so who saw the Teen Choice Awards the other night??   I’m unsure of the teeny bopper population that reads this blog, but I think it’s safe to assume most of you didn’t catch it live.  I didn’t even realize it was on that night, or even if I did, I probably still wouldn’t have cared.  The days of my obsessions with musical crushes and idolized actresses is long gone.  The 90’s were amazing. Now we’re left with One Direction. Ehh.

But I woke up the next day and found out via Facebook News Feed that I missed a very special, important moment.  From who else but Ashton Kutcher himself. (Which, by the way, makes me feel immensely old when he’s essentially receiving a LIFETIME achievement award) I love Ashton but honestly, I was a little skeptical.  What could he have said in an acceptance speech that could be so amazing???

Ashton Kutcher Teen Choice Awards Speech

Prepare to be blown away.  It was genius.  I swear you can hear Steve Jobs clapping all the way from the afterlife.  I mean yes I’ve heard better speeches in my life, but I loved it and had to share.

If you’ve already seen it, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Inspirational or overrated?? If you haven’t seen it, watch it below:

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Happy Friday!! Go out there and give life your best shot today – and always. 🙂