Me draw pretty one day

DeathtoStock_Desk4

Remember that one time I woke up and decided to go to grad school? Well let’s just consider this the sequel.

No, I’m not going back to school for a PH’D, but I AM going back to school – kind of: I decided to self-teach myself graphic design.

What started as a passing thought (so passing that I even Googled “Do you have to know how to draw to be a graphic designer?”) quickly caught my imagination. Originally I had thought about learning how to code and do web design but after talking to the hubby, decided to focus on graphic design. I know it seems like a pretty radical turn but it’s not. I’ve always appreciated good design, especially logos and packaging (as evidenced by my crazy attention to details Christmas gift packages and pretty much every party I’ve hosted and the wedding). As of now, I had been hacking away making magic with nothing more than Microsoft Word and PowerPoint (and borrowed designs) but I don’t want to be a hack anymore. I want to actually know what I’m doing! I used Photoshop to design all the signage and stationery for the wedding and I really enjoyed doing that so much so that I entertained the idea of opening an Etsy shop for invitations and other designs (like only a million other people). Basically, I was officially hooked and it only makes sense to develop the rudimentary skills I do have into something more substantial.

I had been looking around at design courses at some extension programs at Berkeley and SFSU but I just couldn’t stomach the cost of another several thousands dollars on top if my current loans. I even looked into courses at the local junior college but even that came with a hefty price tag. The hubby recommended checking out Lynda.com and I even looked at a few other online design courses before settling on SkillShare. While they both don’t offer a structured graphic design course, SkillShare was a lot more affordable for me ($10/month versus a minimum of $25/month for Lynda.com – more if I want access to the project files that the instructors use).

I’ve been using SkillShare for about a month now and so far I have really enjoyed myself. I’ve completed I’ve learned a few cool tricks already (like  masking layers) and I’m excited to learn more. I do plan on creating a sort of portfolio here to document my progress and give me an opportunity to practice explaining what I’ve done. I’m not the best at explaining things since I’m usually so focused on following the directions that I can’t really explain why I did something outside of “that’s what they told me to do.”  Plus I want to show off my pretty pictures. No lie. So be prepared for the occasional “This is what I did in school today” posts and don’t forget to ooh and ahh.

And if that isn’t enough, I do still plan on learning web design. The hubby found a promotion that got me a free membership to Treehouse for a year so I can start learning how to code as well. I haven’t started those classes yet but when I do, I’ll let you know how those are going as well.

If you’re interested in learning more about SkillShare or just want to try it out for free for a month, sign up through my referral link!

Confessions of a not very good blogger

You guys! You guys! So much has happened since my last post in…uh…January? Really? January? I didn’t realize it’s been that long since my last post. Well, uh, at least it was from this year. It IS from this year right? Right.

So, what’s been going on since January? Things. Things like planning a wedding (that blog hasn’t been updated either. I suck), honeymooning in Vegas, traipsing around Napa Valley with family, trying new recipes, general lounging and acclimating to life as a newlywed, working out (more often than not – kinda), video game playing, Netflix watching, Game of Thrones reading, Graphic Design and web design/development learning, and contemplating life. In short, it’s been a little busy around these parts.

However, I am looking forward to getting back to writing! I know you’ve heard it all before so I won’t even waste the breath or words to say that I’m serious this time; that I changed. Because, let’s be realistic: there are only so many hours in the day and if it comes down to writing a blog post or spending quality time with the husband (or napping), I’m going to spend the time with him (or nap). But that isn’t to say that I’m any less dedicated. It’s just to say that my priorities have changed slightly.

But I’m rambling. I have a mess of thoughts in my head just waiting to be organized into coherent sentences for blogs so stuff will be coming.  So for now I’ll leave you with this (and don’t worry; I’ll be back!)

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WeVerb14 – Day 12: Savor

Day 12: savor

What was your favorite food item/ingredient in 2013? What do you want to eat more and less of in 2014?

I’ve got one (overused) word for you…no, I’ve got a song for you:


Bacon.

Oh how do I love thee, Bacon. Let me count the ways. You make everything amazing. Cheeseburgers. Potatoes. Pancakes. Macaroni and cheese. Brussels sprouts. Ice cream. Is there anything you can’t do? I know bacon has been the ingredient du jour this past year but it is just simply delicious. If there’s bacon in it, I’ll want to eat it. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t thinking about bacon right now.

Because I am.

Something I want to eat more of in 2014 is more vegetables. I don’t hate vegetables, I just don’t go out of my way to eat them. If they’re there I’ll probably eat a little bit of them, but I’m perfectly happy eating a plate full of proteins, starches, and carbs with an itty bitty amount of vegetables. Maybe. Basically I’m disinterested in vegetables even though I enjoy them roasted or grilled. And I’ll eat salads. I’m just really kind of weird about the whole thing. But I’m hoping this year I can start turning my overall disinterest into mild, simmering interest.

Maybe I should add bacon.

WeVerb14: Day 5 – Sing

Sing: What song or lyrics will be forever tied to 2013 in your mind? What songs are you excited to keep with you through 2014?

There were two songs that will forever tie my mind to 2013, both of which, incidentally featured Pharrell (was 2013 the Year of Pharrell or something?): Daft Punk’s Get Lucky and Pharrell’s Happy.

I don’t really listen to the radio anymore, outside of the 70s and 80s station I occasionally listen to but these two songs managed to reach me. I’ve been a fan of Daft Punk for a while now and have been looking forward to their latest album and I came across ‘Happy’ through Despicable Me 2. Both songs just make me ridiculously…happy and want to dance. Even in the car. Which I’ve done. I know they were definitely “songs of the moment” with plenty of radio airplay but when a song makes you smile, dance, and sing along then it’s a good song despite the conditions.

At the moment, I’ll probably carry both those songs with me into 2014. They still make me smile and dancey whenever I hear them and I do look forward to having them played at our wedding because they make me happy.

WeVerb14: Day 4 – Rebuild

Rebuild: What do you plan to pick up or rebuild this year?

health-quotes-sayings-being-healthy-lifestyle

[source]

We can rebuild her. We have the technology. We can make her better than she was before. Better…stronger…faster.

Our work is never over.

Ahem. Sorry, Daft Punk has that kind of effect on me.

So in 2014, my plan is to rebuild myself. I won’t lie – I’m not in a very happy place with my weight at the moment. Even though I carry my weight well, I’m extremely self-conscious about my waistline. I alternate between grabbing and trying to conceal the extra bulge. I get nervous and anxious when the mister hugs me and rubs my back because “The Bulge!” This is not a good way of living.

My goal is not to become skinny but to simply be healthy. I miss the confidence I had in myself when I was healthier, I miss not worrying about “The Bulge,” and I definitely miss the energy I had. My plan is simple two-step process: snack less and move more. Genius, right?

Part 1: Snack less. Since I started working from home, I noticed  my snacking grew exponentially. When I was at an office, I only ate what I had on hand in my desk so often I’d just suck it up and push through any slight craving. But now that I’m home and have access to the kitchen, if I feel even slightly hungry, I head to the kitchen for something. While I’m not sure if I can reduce the amount of snacking I do, I can at least swap my snacks of whatever’s on hand (usually toast) for fruit or small servings of cheese. Also, I’d like to inject some more vegetables into my diet just because.

Part 2: Move more. I always feel better when I’m being active, whether through sports or working out. I always run into trouble during the winter months when I don’t run and I need to find some outlet for movement. That was why I started going to the gym. But then I realized that I’m not accountable to the gym and because it was just a “weight and machine” only gym (which was why it was only $10 a month!) I became bored quickly and didn’t want to go anymore. So I quit the gym (thankfully it was less painful than that) in favor of classes where the routine changes and I’m held accountable for attending. The barre classes I’m taking are amazing and I always feel pumped after class. It’s surprisingly tough (especially on the thighs!) but I feel so accomplished when I manage hold a plank longer than before.

My plan isn’t revolutionary but it will hopefully lead to healthier habits and a lifetime of feeling fabulous.

WeVerb 14: Day 1 – Compose

 

Creating new habits can be tedious but rewarding (unless they’re bad habits; then they are easy and not really rewarding). And while I’ve treated my blog like a neglected new year’s resolution, the desire to write is still present so I’m hoping that through encouragement, I can get myself back in that writer’s saddle. In another effort to restart my writing, I’m going to participate in WeVerb14 this year.

The first prompt is: Compose. Here are my haiku for 2013 and 2014:

2013

Now after 8 years

The distance finally bridged

He’s here by my side

2014

A new year is here

We become husband and wife

May will soon be here

 

You can’t outrun pancakes and bacon

It’s been a long time, I shouldn’t have left you. Without a dope post to read through.

Sorry, I couldn’t help myself.

You remember my last attempt at running the Healdsburg Half last year and how I spent the majority of the race alternating between being pumped and being miserable while pretending to run and then ultimately walking? To make up for that laughable experience, I was determined to turn in a better race this year (that competitive nature of mine strikes again) and spent the summer training. I was serious about it: I signed up for 2 races (a 5k and a 10k) and set up personal mileage goals to keep me motivated, bought a new pair of running shoes to reduce blisters (my other shoes were too tight) and even accidentally picked up fancy custom insoles (yes, accidentally). See, serious. I hit a good stride with my training and was well on the way of meeting my goal of 13 miles by the end of September, leaving me with enough time to hit 14 miles before the race. Needless to say that didn’t happen.

Even though my last month of training stalled due to weird weather systems, weddings, birthday parties, visitors, and general oversleeping, I still felt pretty good that I would be able to deliver a decent performance this time around. The morning of the race soon came and I dragged the mister out of his warm bed so he could stand around in a random vineyard too early in the cold, dark morning with a bunch of strangers. That’s love.

Trentadue Winery - Healdsburg Half

The calm before the storm.

I was very awake very early in the morning.

Soon we were off and I was feeling really good. The race directors created a new route so I couldn’t really gauge where I was in reference to the end of the race, but we did run through parts of last year’s course so that was fun. Aside from seeing what other people dressed up as, one of my favorite things about this race are the girls from Girls on the Run at the aid stations throughout the course. They were always ready with cheers, smiles, and encouragement. I looked forward to seeing them while passing an aid station and was a bit bummed when I passed a station and they weren’t there. Those cheers does wonders to a runner’s soul. At the last one, some of the girls gave out stickers to runners so I stopped to get some (also, it gave me a great excuse to walk).

hbh 2013 - stickersEnjoying my new stickers
[Source: Finishers Pix]

Overall, while my time was longer than last year (my official time was 3:16:03), this was a much better experience. I was in such a good mood and feeling my music so much that I wanted to stop for a dance break in the middle of the race. Instead, I ended up singing along to a few of the songs, but not too loudly since  I can’t carry a tune in a bucket. Anywho, since I wasn’t busy bemoaning how miserable I felt, I spent my time thinking about food. Around mile four, I started thinking about how amazing bacon would be. Then somewhere around mile six I started obsessing over pancakes. Bacon. Pancakes. Pancakes. Bacon. OMGIWANTBACONPANCAKES!

Then I started singing the Bacon Pancakes song:

Do you know how distracting it is trying to run while thinking about pancakes and bacon? I was so hungry that the race felt like it was never going to end. Each step brought me closer to pancakes and bacon. I started counting down the miles separating me from pancakes and bacon around mile nine. Four miles until pancakes and bacon. Three miles until bacon and pancakes. Two miles until pancakes and bacon. I nearly lost my mind when I passed the 13 mile marker.

hbh 2013 - finishI’m excited for two reasons: 1: I’m done and 2: PANCAKES AND BACON!
[Source: Finisher Pix]

My phone promptly died shortly after crossing the finish line so I don’t have my customary post-race photo, or one of my stickers, or of my plate of pancakes and bacon from IHop. Yes, we stopped at IHop on the way home because when you’ve been thinking about pancakes and bacon for almost 10 miles, you get pancakes and bacon.

And they were the best pancakes and bacon ever.