I don’t usually make New Year resolutions, making instead a list of things I want to learn (see this year’s list here). But this year, I also decided to choose a word for the year: FOCUS.
Choosing a word for the year can be powerful. It can help guide your decisions and keep you on track, both personally and professionally. I chose focus because I want to focus on working on specific areas of my businesses—as well as being fully present in time spent with my son. I also want to narrow down my list of creative side projects (and believe me, there are a lot!)
Alternatively, some people choose a phrase or theme for the year, like “Think big.” Get your family or friends involved too. For example, I chose a word for my toddler: learn (though since he is 2 years old, maybe it should have been “patience”!)
See Gretchen Rubin’s tips for choosing a word for the year here.
What’s your word (or phrase) for the year?
My friend and fellow Biz Mama and graphic designer Crystal Reynolds invited me to a web chat for her awesome blog Creatives’ Cupboard.
On Creatives’ Cupboard, Crystal connects one-on-one with fellow creatives. She recently chatted with fellow designer/Illinois-dweller, Justin Ahrens of Rule 29.
In our fun and insightful chat, Crystal and I talked about running a business when you have kids (which we both do), tactile design (which we both love), blogging strategies, connecting at conferences, and the “old-school interactive” element of typebaby, my new line of typographic infant apparel.
While reading the book Mom, Inc. by Meg Mateo Ilasco and Cat Seto, I came across a term I thought was brilliant: creative “slashie.” The authors talked about how they consider themselves creative slashies, i.e. artist/designer/writer. I thought to myself: Yes! Finally someone has come up with a term to describe me.
It turns out I’ve always been a creative slashie. Yes, I’m a graphic designer, but I also pursue many other creative outlets. So, now you can call me a graphic designer/blogger/bookbinder/artist. How’s that for a creative slashie?
Some people may make it seem like pursuing varied creative interests makes you scattered or flighty. However, I’ve always felt that by pursuing all of my creative inspirations, I am honoring and showing gratitude for my unique talents.
And I find that it’s a common trait among creatives. In fact, HOW Magazine regularly features creatives with side businesses in their Sidelines column. (I was lucky enough to be featured in the inaugural column!)
And as Mom, Inc. authors Meg and Cat so eloquently put it, “Once you tap into your inner creative and project your talents to the world, you won’t always know what your next act is going to be—and that’s the beauty of it.” I couldn’t have put it better myself.
Read my book review of Mom, Inc. here.
What kind of creative slashie are you?
The 4 principles of the unConference, the DIY session board, and session-in-progress by Big Cartel
You may be wondering: what the heck is the Creative unConference? It’s a conference with a theme, but without any agendas. The day’s sessions are created by the participants. Someone has a session idea, they write it down and post it on the session board.
Hosted by The One Club (a New York organization that promotes excellence in advertising), I happened to stumble upon Creative unConference through a twitter mention. I was hooked once I found out my alma mater Columbia College Chicago was hosting.
Thinking like a start-up.
This year’s theme was “Thinking like a start-up.” Being a first-timer, I wasn’t quite ready to lead a session (though I would consider it next year) but I found the sessions to be relaxed and open. It was easy to ask questions or chime in.
A recap of the sessions I attended:
- Kevin Willer of 1871 gave an overview of how their co-working space helps digital start-ups.
- Jim Coudal of Coudal Partners spoke about how their business grew and evolved to include products (Field Notes) and a premier ad network (The Deck).
- Dave Reidy from closer look gave a lunchtime session to a variety of aspiring book-creators about writing your book.
- Leo Burnett Farmhouse led an interactive idea session that resulted in an audience-created idea.
- Dan Kristofferson of Big Cartel gave an inspiring session that made me want to follow all of my creative aspirations—and open up a Big Cartel shop!
My former stomping grounds: the Art & Design Department at Columbia College. Some of my professors are still there!
I left the Creative unConference with a notebook full of ideas for my design business, as well as my new “start-up” (my baby goods business).
Reminiscing…and seeing the future
It’s been, ahem, a few years since I attended Columbia College. So after the conference, a fellow CCC alumna and I took the opportunity to tour the Art & Design floors and reminisce about how much had changed.
I also browsed ShopColumbia, the fantastic student art store on campus. A great opportunity to see “what the kids are making” and get some cool art. I applaud Columbia for helping these up-and-coming artists get their work out there, even before graduation.
Did you attend the Creative unConference? What did you think?
Illustration by Stefan G. Bucher of The Daily Monster
Monster illustration by Stefan G. Bucher of The Daily Monster. Stefan was nice enough to create special #GoVote monsters for everyone to share. (he’s even created specially-sized images for Facebook-using folks)
Panda roaming the halls. Urban trick-or-treating. Taking a much-needed break.
Yesterday was my son’s 2nd Halloween. I left work early to get him decked out in his costume and buy candy for the trick-or-treaters.
Because we live in a condo building in the city, trick-or-treating consists of: 1) stopping by the local restaurants and shops for goodies, and 2) trick-or-treating in our condo building (frankly, I like the latter tradition as you don’t have to wear a coat!) The local businesses were very generous, with plenty of candy and smiles for the kiddos. Our local wine bar even had mulled wine samples for the adults!
MyChronicleBooks race car growth chart
As a Chronicle Books affiliate, I’m pleased to share this special MyChronicleBooks.com offer with my readers:
One week only! 40% off Personalized Books and Gifts at MyChronicleBooks.com with code MYCB40. Ends 10/30/12
Click the link and make sure to enter the code.
MyChronicleBooks.com offers personalized Books, Growth Charts, Lunch Boxes, Placemats, Wall Art, and paper goods based on their beloved book titles.
Get those kids’ holiday gifts early!
Images © Chronicle Books (top) and © Janine Vangool, UPPERCASE magazine (bottom)
If you’re like me and regularly fantasize about having your work published by Chronicle Books, here are two opportunities that might make this a reality.
This is happening – Instagram book
Chronicle Books and Instagram are teaming up on a new book featuring Instagram users’ photos.
The assignment: send your favorite Instagram that captures a fleeting moment that made your day.
“This is Happening” page with submission details and entry form.
Janine Vangool, editor of the lovely UPPERCASE magazine is designing/curating a set of notecards featuring vintage typewriters, also to be published by Chronicle Books (spring 2014).
She is seeking Polaroid or lo-fi/retro-inspired photographs of vintage typewriters, taken by UPPERCASE readers.
Submission details can be found on the UPPERCASE website.
Crate & Barrel Holiday Inspirations catalog
As much as I love browsing retail catalogs (and this Forbes.com article says I’m not alone), my busy biz mama schedule sometimes forces me to recycle them before I get the chance.
I’m glad I took the time to peek into the Crate & Barrel Holiday Inspirations catalog because it was a unique departure for the company.
Telling stories through products
The Holiday Inspirations catalog revolves around storytelling—a recurring theme for me lately.
The first story is about a grandson and grandfather sharing memories in Grandpa’s study. The page spreads tell the story by highlighting related Crate & Barrel products, such as old-fashioned glasses, decanters and a fine leather couch.
Other stories in the catalog include a mother and daughter baking cookies and a newly-engaged couple celebrating with friends. I liked their new approach of showing products while engaging their audience in the stories.
Other unique elements of the catalog
The catalog includes a link to a special (free) iTunes holiday playlist. I was also pleasantly surprised to see a page spread featuring Pop Chart Lab‘s The Very Many Varieties of Beer poster along with a selection of Crate & Barrel beer glasses.
I think Crate & Barrel got it right on this one. What do you think?
How do you feel about storytelling in retail catalogs?
Personalized goodies from Chronicle Books…and my little one’s current Chronicle fave (not available personalized though!)
Being a huge Chronicle Books fan and mama of a 1-year old, I was thrilled to hear about MyChronicleBooks.com: Chronicle Books’ new personalized products for kids. As someone who grew up with with an uncommon name, I would have loved to have one of these books!
Personalized Books are available, of course, but also Growth Charts, Lunch Boxes, Placemats, Wall Art, and paper goods, oh my!
I can’t wait to order personalized goodies for my little one—who is already a book lover, or should I say, book eater.
As a Chronicle Books affiliate, I am pleased to share this special offer!
25% off + Free Shipping on New Personalized Books and Gifts from MyChronicleBooks.com! Enter discount Code MyCB25 at checkout.