my life in my words



Have you ever seen something that was so horrific that you just needed to

1) take a cold shower,
2) hug a kitten,
3) watch a happy movie that restored your faith and hope in goodness?

Well, it happened for me with something I’m very passionate about: Graphic Design.

I recently received an e-mail with a graphic design piece and I was so disheartened by the ineffective and unimaginative waste of design potential. For me, it was the equivalent of watching a horror film and since what I had seen could not be unseen, my little designer heart set out on a search for hope in a “may-as-well-have-been-made-in-MS Paint” situation. I’m pretty sure God was watching over me because just as I embarked on my search, I saw that Jack’s Mannequin had posted another promo video for their upcoming album, PEOPLE AND THINGS, and my hope in quality graphic design was RESTORED!! I know that I talk about bands a lot, and I talk about design a lot, but there is just something wonderful about a band (and their label, creative directors, etc.) when they can get the design RIGHT!

Throughout the past month, Jack’s Mannequin has been releasing TRACK-BY-TRACK videos explaining the writing process and inspiration for the songs on PEOPLE AND THINGS and each video has featured artwork to illustrate the song. What I love about the design series is that it illustrates each song in such a clever, creative, and attention-grabbing way, all the while keeping things simple and attractive. That is what I feel that all design pieces should do: inspire, entice, promote creativity, and make the person who has to use it feel completely proud of the finished product. So to celebrate this beautiful discovery, I am featuring the artwork here. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you, PEOPLE AND THINGS:

People and Things by Jack's Mannequin | This is the general album front cover. You'll notice the asterisk throughout the design series. The asterisk is a symbol that has been used in branding for Jack's Mannequin. As Andrew McMahon (the lead singer) has said, it is a representation of the "idea that everything passes through some central location. I love the asterisk in that sense, that it’s like the lines are reaching out everywhere, but they all pass through, you know, one nucleus."

PLATFORM FIRE | ♫ Stories stacked up so tall And you don’t talk me down You’ll talk me through ♫

AMY, I — ♫ Amy I, I never felt this kind of cold before... another long winter trying to fight this freeze ♫

CASTING LINES | ♫ And all the time that’s past held us together, and all the lines we cast will bring us home. ♫

TELEVISION | ♫ What if you could move the needle to a more forgiving song. What if it was never really broken all along. But for tonight, I’m sleeping with my television on. ♫

AMELIA JEAN | ♫ Drove 84 to the grave of Buddy Holly. Arm out the sunroof. hand full of Texas wind. ♫

PEOPLE, RUNNING | ♫ Yeah, we are just like oceans running aground in search of water. ♫

HEY HEY HEY (We're All Gonna Die) | ♫ And New England turned gray, found the old TLA, through the lens of my Polaroid camera. ♫

MY RACING THOUGHTS | ♫ She's a black cat hanging 'round my doorstep. ♫

RELEASE ME | ♫ My fuse is set, I'm pressing go. Your match is lit but it's burning slow. Release me. Take another piece of me and there won't be another left unless you let go. ♫

RESTLESS DREAM | ♫ I write you from this grounded aeroplane. I wonder how you’ve been and where you are. A letter for the one that got away. A letter for the things that never start. ♫

HOSTAGE | ♫ But I won’t hold you hostage, and I won’t set you free. I always leave the lights on and you return to me. Please don’t lose the keys, I won’t hold you hostage. ♫

I love that the artwork is very conceptual and it easily flows as one piece.
When you set them all up together, they form this beautiful array of vibrant whimsy:

And this, my friends, makes my little graphic designer heart SO happy! 

The artwork for TELEVISION and PLATFORM FIRE are my favorites.
Which ones do you like best?


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God Save The Queen

This past Friday I got to take the Victoria Clipper to Victoria, B.C. with two of my amazing friends, Elizabeth and Alisa! We had such a fun time shopping and taking in the sights, and we got in a lot of great quality time. Here are some of my favorite photos from our trip:

♥ Me, Elizabeth, and Alisa ♥

Free Willy Shrubbery

Cat Woman

Flowers for Algernon

The Empress has spoken

My very first Crème Brûlée—yummo!

Embracing the Dark Side . . .

♫ It's me and the Moose, she said ♫

These were amazeballs

Love. Take as much as you need.

Like ships in the night

I’m so thankful for Elizabeth and Alisa. They were the perfect travel buddies for the day and it felt so good to escape the work week and just surround myself with such wise, encouraging women. I hope I get to go back to the VBC soon—it was a blast and a half!


Late Night Rendezvous

Making your way in the world today
takes everything you’ve got.
Taking a break from all your worries,
sure would help a lot.
Wouldn’t you like to get away?
Sometimes you want to go

Where everybody knows your name,
and they’re always glad you came.
You wanna be where you can see,
our troubles are all the same
You wanna be where everybody knows your name.

It’s okay, we’re all singing it. It’s such a familiar tune, how could you not? Oh, well I mean, of course if you’ve never seen Cheers, you’re definitely off the hook, but you catch my drift. 😉

Do you have a special place, like Cheers, where you go and it’s “your place?” You pretty much live there. You know what to expect when you get there, and you know that if you ever leave late at night in a half-zombie state and accidentally leave behind your external hard drive, they’ll hold it for you until you get there after your Saturday morning workout? Well fancy that! So do I!

There’s a magical little place where I like to spend the majority of my time. It is pretty much a castle of wonder and sweet caffeine. And in this castle there is a special little dragon. Now you should know, this dragon is both sparkly and venomous. But it cries out from behind the shadows in the walls asking to be held, to be loved, and to love you right back. That’s right, boys and squirrels, it is the frequent buyer stamp card!

I finally filled up my stamp card at Hogwarts!

Yes, my friends, that sucker is finally filled up—thanks to any and all of my best buddies who helped me with that! The venom is that my wallet is that many cups of coffee lighter. The sparkle is that it represents so much more—encouraging conversations, cry sessions, laughing fits, intelligent debates, chick chat, counseling moments, projects completed, business meetings, and of course, the delicious taste of a chai latte!

In fact, last night is a prime example of just how magical this castle and its stamp card is. I showed up after work to the Jewel Box Cafe (which I call Hogwarts because the inside looks like it jumped out of the pages of Harry Potter) and saw my friend Korin sitting at a nearby table. Naturally, I set up camp at her table and we chatted for a bit before getting to our projects. She is studying to be a nurse and I was doing research for 2 projects I’m working on. We love getting to chat before getting down to business, and for some reason, just being in each others’ company motivates us to get things done.

As the night drew on, and I moved on to my 2nd cup of coffee, we took a break from working for a quick trip to Facebook Land. Taking into account the fact that I had just started in on tasty caffeine buzz #2 and was nearing the late night stage of borderline delirium, Facebook Land quickly became an even more dangerous territory. Well, I’ll just let you see for yourself. I will tell you to keep 2 things in mind: (1) I’m not pregnant, and have NEVER gone through child labor, (2) Korin was sitting right across the table from me while this was all going down.

That said, let’s all gather round ye olde computer screen
for a different take on A Baby Story . . .

(click images to enlarge)

It all started with this simple status update from my friend J—

And this my friends, is why Facebook is both my best friend and my worst enemy. 😉

Chalk it up to another win for fun times at Hogwarts! And the best news is . . .

There’s a back side to my frequent buyer stamp card!

C’mon baby, let the good times roll!




This seems to be the talk of the week.

  • My friend Jessica shared some great fashion finds on her blog
  • b*spoke posted a new blog about a SUPER cute outfit that I like
  • Parachute is in NYC tonight for Fashion’s Night Out
  • My friend Elaine posted a blog about the nightmare that is Static Cling
  • Plain Jane tweeted an article that her friend wrote about how to wear trends
  • During last night’s Fueled by Ramen 15th Anniversary Concert, Paramore’s Hayley Williams added her little zinger about fashion:

With Fashion Week being here and all,
I’d just like to point out that I found these at a very fancy store,
and I’ve been wearing red pants since 2007
so stick that where the sun don’t shine, Fashion Week.
But anyways, it’s much easier to just
find white pants and dye them red.
Dont’ spend the money. It’s not worth it. 

— Hayley Williams

So I figured I may as well jump on the train and ride it!
Growing up with a love for punk and hard rock music and the fashion it promotes, my sense of fashion tends to be a bit different than my fellow “young professional” peers. The fact that I’m sitting at my desk on my lunch break, typing this out, while wearing a gray tank top with black sweat pants and my trademark black & white cons can attest to that. I’m not one for frills and lace and feathers. I prefer to take a more simplistic and comfortable approach. In fact, I’m pretty sure that if you saw me right now, you’d click away from this browser window, and start filling out an application for me to be on What Not To Wear. Let me save you some time and share some photos with you so you can submit them to King Clinton and Queen Stacy:

Touristy look or everyday wear? You be the judge. Please be gentle. 😉

Maybe if Elle Magazine does an INTO THE WILD spread . . .

Please note that I'm the ONLY one in a T-shirt.

The bottom line is that I realize I won’t be gracing the cover of Elle Magazine, and I’m okay with that. Fashions come and fashions go—and though you’ll never catch me in a pair of Jeggings, I’m not completely shut out to trying on new finds on the clothing racks. Of course, that might mean I need to take a few more trips TO the shopping racks. I think my aversion to large crowds of people fighting over material things* keeps me away most of the time. Also, that I just don’t find shopping as fun as most do.
When it comes to styles and trends, I tend to march to the beat of a different drum. I tend to think of myself as a female Seely Booth in that respect. . . . Just go with me here. There was an episode of BONES where Booth, in all his business suited hotness is talking with a psychiatrist friend and that friend points out that the fact that Booth ALWAYS wears his “COCKY” belt buckle with his suits is attributed to his inner defiance and need for individuality. I feel ya on that one, Booth.
Like Seely, I will do what I need to do to conform to the attire that’s required, but I gotta add my own little flair. I don’t really enjoy dressing up in heels and sequined tops. I also don’t really enjoy painting my nails or curling my hair. Dont’ get me wrong—I will DO all of those things if I think the occasion (or invitation) calls for it, but if we’re talking personal preference, the answer is jeans and a vintage t-shirt. In fact, one of my favorite articles of clothing I ever owned (and wore ALLLLLL the time as a teen) was a Harvard crest T-shirt that I found at a garage sale for 50 cents when I was in Junior High. I loaned it out at some point in High School and now it’s gone, but that shirt was wonderful while it lasted! I realize that my lack of high-class fashion sense would send Miranda Priestly into a tailspin and might make me single for life, but I’m crossing my fingers that it doesn’t. Don’t worry, I’m already planning to invest in one of those mannequins that you can dress up to ride as the passenger in your car on road trips** just in case.

No. Just. No.

I'll pass.

Uh uh.

Alright, so by now you get the point. I will say, however, that if I got the chance to have 2 people take me out shopping, I would choose HAYLEY WILLIAMS from Paramore and SHERRI DUPREE BEMIS from Eisley. I really like their fashion sense and that they use their creativity to pull off some great looks. For instance:

Hayley Williams

Notice the Elmo button she adds to this simple and fun outfit.

Such a fun piece. I wish my skin tone would lend itself to a print like this.

Pretty in Punk

From Paramore’s performance on Jimmy Fallon

Sherri DuPree Bemis

Sweet and simple

Cute in Cons

I love the color and little accents

I know it's a busier pattern, but she really pulls it off well

I also REALLY like Hayley’s bright orange and Sherri’s bright pink hair. I’ve always wanted to color my hair with something extreme and with the next haircut I get, I’m planning to get an under layer of either electric purple or gold color. I’m looking forward to it. I was able to go shopping on Labor Day with 2 of my close friends and I got a chance to update my wardrobe! Since I lost a lot of weight, all of my fall clothes are 2 sizes too big. Now I have new cute clothes to wear this fall and I’m planning on going shopping this weekend for some more!
* See what I did there? 😉
** Actually, that’s not true and I hope to God I never actually have to resort to that.


For The Summer

Saturday was the first day of the annual Seattle Arts & Music Festival, BUMBERSHOOT. I had the chance to go for the first time last year, and liked it so much that I decided to hit it up again—this time to see Ray LaMontagne! The day was full of live music, art shows, and meeting new people. I even treated myself to a delicious elephant ear! It’s always so interesting going to any Seattle events because you never know what you’re going to see or overhear. Coming from Austin, I’ve grown familiar with the motto, Keep Austin Weird. And I think it’s safe to say that Austin DEFINITELY has some competition from Seattleites. Overall, it was a beautiful day down at Seattle Center and it was such a great experience for me. Out of all the groups I checked out at Bumbershoot, my favorites were:


Their live show was incredible and so full of energy. They performed at the Experience Music Project 3rd floor stage and the line to see them was already massive 45 minutes prior to their set. People kept walking by us asking who we were in line for because there were so many people. Pickwick packed out the house, and rightly so, because they are just that great at what they do! They really know how to get a crowd moving, and with their awesome interjections of Star Wars references, they also got everyone cheering and laughing. They are definitely one of my new faves.


Singer/songwriters have a special place in my heart and Shelby and her crew reminded me why. There is something so wonderful about a stripped down, simple set built around beautiful vocals and a calming tune. It felt like I was sitting around a campfire with a bunch of friends, listening to someone serenade us through the evening . . . you know, at like 3 in the afternoon. 😉

and of course, RAY LAMONTAGNE.

I got to the mainstage about an hour before start time and managed to weasel my way to the 2nd row. As we all waited not-so-patiently for Ray to take the stage, I got to talk to a couple of other fans next to me and we were cracking jokes at some of the drunk people around us, talking about some of our favorite songs, and crossing our fingers that all the threats of crowd surfing and moshing coming from the incredibly wasted people next to us was just a joke. When Ray and his Pariah Dogs took the stage, a loud roar of cheers rang over the crowd, followed by a contrasting hush right as Ray began to strum his guitar. It was a beautiful set (though poorly lit), and the hour-long wait proved to be completely worth it!

A Glimpse Into Bumbershoot 2011:

Recycled Bikes Interactive Exhibit

Wagons performing at the Starbucks Stage

Ray LaMontagne

Anna-Lisa Notter, Background vocals for Shelby Earl

Bumber by Number interactive art exhibit


My . . . doesn't that sound . . . tasty . . . :-/

Shelby Earl

Creative gig posters at the Flatstock exhibit

If you’re in the area and you’ve never been,
I think it’s worth checking out—even just for one day.

And now I’ll leave you with a fun little bonus—
Pickwick doing a rad cover of GIMME SOME LOVIN’: