Winter Cabins

496d4217b8f2ab56dfd18bc74204cb11Winter hasn’t totally defeated me yet, and I’ve found myself daydreaming about winter cabining. Alison’s post the other day about going with her adorable family to their friends’ cabin over the weekend put me over the edge. I wonder if it’s too late to find a cabin to rent in time for cozy campfires, ice-cold beers and rustic wood smells.

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I was also quite enchanted by Joanna’s insanely dreamy cabin weekend getaway a few weeks ago. Friends of mine, let’s do this!

Snapshots: The Last Few Weeks

SNAPSHOTS-1[click to enlarge]

Grateful to keep finding stuff to do even though it’s cold as balls outside.

As always, you can follow me on Instagram and be in on all my super duper fun times all the time.

House Tour! The Kitchen

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I have a love/hate relationship with the kitchen. On the one hand, I spend a ton of time in there, and it’s very bright and efficient and it’s fun to clean. On the other hand, it is UGLY AS HELL. I’ve added as many graphic touches as I can so far but they’re all just overwhelmed by the ugliness of the kitchen. The cabinets are original to the house, we think, but the backsplash, the counters, and the floor are ALL new, and it’s a mess. It’s going to be a long, long time until we can make it over, if ever. Anyway..

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The kitchen is, however, *huge*. So there’s this whole other space that we’re still not sure what to do with. As of the moment, it’s kind of a smaller dining room, with all our recycling and trash and huge empty walls, unfinished curtains, and ugly brown carpets. Ugh! I can’t wait until I start making more money so I can rework the shit out of this room. Still, when it’s clean, it’s a really nice place to be. Like I said, love/hate.kitchen-3

Unemployment & The Ego

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Inspired by this recent post on The Tangential, I decided to talk about my own experiences with unemployment and what that does to a person– not just the money aspect, but in how it makes you question your own self worth.

I’ll mention off the bat that I have a history of depression. I was diagnosed in 2007 when I started Therapy (that was unsuccessful at first; I didn’t have a connection with my doctor. A year later I started with a new one and that was much more positive) and started taking antidepressants. I’d say generally, I can be pretty upbeat. I have a tight network of friends but for the most part, find it difficult to talk to people. When I get down, I get really down. I question everything in my life, and feel like a failure. These spells don’t usually last longer than a day or two. I wallow, indulge myself in some treats (like, getting Chipotle or watching my favorite show) and get over it. The ability to reason with myself has probably been my saving grace.

How does this relate to unemployment? Well, in my case, it relates greatly.

I’ve been unemployed off and on most of the last year. My first real job, which I got out of college, was fine, and it paid the bills, and it was a design job. I liked it, and the people, and the flexibility that came with it. The company shut down in March of last year, and even though I was sad, I felt like I had a real opportunity to explore what else was out there. Maybe start some projects, revel in the FUNemployment, and everything would be peachy. Quickly I realized that was not how it was going to be, and I got some serious ennui.

My summer was lost to me. I had decent money every week, not so much that I could put a substantial dent in the house bills, but I got to have fun. I went out all the time, stayed out late and slept in until noon. The tension in this house was thick. I wasn’t doing anything productive. I wasn’t even cleaning the house or taking out the trash. I went to some informational interviews, some of which made me feel good, some of which made me feel hopeless. And I think I applied to some jobs, but the whole period is a blur.

For years, people were telling me how great I was. I do these posters for this popular dance night. Thousands of people see them every month. The DJ is super well known throughout the cities. I should’ve been in high demand. Like an idiot, I let the hype [about me] go to my head. I thought I was as great as everyone said. And when I didn’t get any jobs, I was resentful and angry at everyone who’d ever said something nice about me. What the hell did they know about this industry? If they think I should be getting a great job, why don’t they find me one? Sometimes I even thought that I wasn’t even that good and they were stupid for thinking I was.

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In the late Summer, I found a job that started out great and it paid well but after about 6 weeks the project went in a different direction. I was again unemployed, and now I had no real money to sustain me; I couldn’t reapply for unemployment based on those new wages. So I had to wait a month before I could start requesting again. I tasted desperation for the first time. I looked for the deals everywhere. I managed to get a $6 haircut at Great Clips. I started a personal design project for myself to stay sharp and give myself something to do, but also with the hope that someone out there would notice it and give me work.

My unemployment was due to run out on December 29, and there was no way out of that. Everyday was now a difficult task I had to face, frantically sending my resume out to anyone and everyone I could find. I don’t know how many places my resume is on file now. Inside, I was feeling crushed. I didn’t know what more I could do. Only a few friends knew of my predicament, and those ones would be absolutely wonderful to me. Inviting me out and buying me drinks, listening to me vent. But everyone else I secretly resented. I would go out and be moody and silent, feeling close to tears because everyone was having such a great time and they didn’t care that I was going through a tough time. This is where the depression set in. Sometimes I thought about the death, and it almost felt like a relief. If I went away, all my problems would disappear. I would never have to worry about getting a job, or paying for things. I even began to envy my cat, because she doesn’t have to do anything, and nothing’s expected of her. I wanted out.

I was always working. Working at finding a job, working at giving my designs away for free because I wanted to build up my network and get recognition. Being as accommodating as possible. I wanted to please everyone because if I did, maybe they’d give me some money. But that didn’t really help my self-esteem problem, and ended up feeling worse that I was selling myself so short. If my work wasn’t worth anything to the people who genuinely like me and my designs, then I’d never find a job. Ever. I contemplated giving up Graphic Design altogether. I didn’t think I could do it anymore. Quitting seemed like the easiest way.

But as I said, I have the ability to reason with myself at times. And reminded myself that I knew what I was doing when I agreed to it and that if I really didn’t want to be giving my work away, then I didn’t have to.

Finally I ran out of money, and after frantic searching I got a paid freelance gig. It was heaven sent. I worked a week but soon after was told that they might need someone with more experience. The weight settled in again, and on top of that, another potential client couldn’t hire me because I didn’t have web experience. It was a low point in my life. And it was only last week. 3 days later I had sat in a group interview where people seemed to genuinely like me and what I do. I felt validation. Finally.

But then, like a fool, I realized I had validation the whole time, and despite myself, I was ignoring it. How many people went to bat for me when someone was looking for a designer? How many people would still? How many people would tell me they liked my work? More than I can count. They weren’t stupid for thinking I was great. I blamed everyone for my unemployment instead of me. And, maybe even I’m not to blame. Maybe the market is really shitty. Maybe I’m just not the right person right now, but I will be. I’m good enough to get hired in this town, and it really sucks that I haven’t been yet, but it doesn’t mean it can’t happen soon.

I think the best thing anyone can have is a good support system. My friends and family keep me going, keep me constantly striving for greatness. It’s the type of thing that I never thought I’d have.

Advertising and “The Feels”

thefeelsDisclaimer: I am not being paid by Subaru

Advertising is tricky. You really have to find the best way to connect with your audience and trigger the right emotions that will make them want to buy something. I could cover a wide range of topics here but first I just want to talk about the commercials that are supposed to get you teary eyed. They hit you right “in the feels.”

Ads That Do This in Spades:

Subaru – “Best Friend”

Oh my GOD, this commercial! I think this is the first commercial that ever made me cry, and it still does, pretty consistently (sometimes I have to LEAVE THE ROOM). You start out with a single guy and his puppy, then his wife and now the puppy is a dog, and then they have a kid! And the dog is super old! What a way to succinctly paint the idea that life is fleeting, and it’s fragile. It also plays with the notion of loyalty, and how your Subaru will be around forever, just like your dog (spoiler alert: that dog is going to die someday though). So suddenly there’s a toddler in the backseat, and you think about your own life, and how it’s really blink-and-you-miss-it. Also, the music. The music is just devastating. Watch this and I DARE you not to get a little choked up.

Subaru – “Cut the Cord”

Another Subaru. I should just mention right now that all the commercials that are “wins” for me are for Subaru. They must have a helluva ad department over there. Anyway, this commercial got me too. It was almost competing with the dog commercial but the music just isn’t as heart-wrenching. That little girl’s face is perfect. How many of us have been there? The very first day of school; we don’t know what’s ahead. We’re scared and our mom or dad is about to send us away. The look on the dad’s face is equally as precious, because he’s just as scared as his daughter. It deals those big moments that everyone faces in life, and how hard it can be to do so (see below). I will say though, this ad misses the mark in making the connection between The Feels and The Car.

Subaru – “Baby Driver”

BLINK AND YOU MISS IT, AMIRITE? The message here is that you can trust this car, and it’s so safe that your daughter–who is still just your little girl–can drive it and you can feel assured. Ah, fragility of life. There may come a day soon where I’ll be in the market for a new car, and dammit, Subaru, it just might be you. I’ll use skepticism and caution when picking out a car, but just the fact that they are so good at advertising, they’re worth a look.

Ads That Suck Beyond Belief:

Open Hearts

Without a doubt, the commercials for “Open Hearts”, the actress Jane Seymour’s jewelry collection with Kay Jewelers is the absolute worst example of connecting with people. “The Feels” it has none. I find these commercials unnatural and contrived. Such wooden acting, with no real trigger or true emotion and no real effort of connecting with people. Here’s a bonus commercial which is equally vomit-inducing. And what a shitty thing to advertise for, too. Ugly, gaudy necklace, and the idea that you can use jewelry to thank or show affection for people. Ugh!

Folgers – “Christmas 2009”

I’ve been forced to watch this one a couple times on Hulu. Just terrible, and Folgers is already not coffee I want to contemplate buying. Who is this rugged, manly guy who is such a softie for his family? Must be the ideal son. And his sister and he have a tender moment on Christmas Morning. AWWW? Totally manufactured in its delivery, and these people are almost robot-like.

Budweiser – “Clydesdales”

This is the most recent commercial, which was aired on Super Bowl Sunday. I think it was my least favorite of the night. I mean, try harder, Budweiser? Their use of the song “Landslide” almost puts this one down the middle for me, but what ultimately puts me over the edge is the ending. It’s like a bad romantic comedy – OR – romantic drama, I can go either way. How am I supposed to relate to this? This guy doesn’t show me anything that makes me believe he really loves that horse. It was also spoiled for me half-way through when I thought the horse was being shipped off to be turned into glue, which made me laugh [NOTE: Animal Cruelty isn’t funny, but the perceived notion of a beloved, majestic creature have an Animal Farm-like end is hi-larious].

So there you go. This is obviously a small sampling, where I have the only commercials that really get me, and the worst commercials I’ve ever seen. But advertising is tricky like that isn’t it? In the future, I’ll touch upon commercials that get you in “The Funnies”. x

note: I thought about commercials that’ll get you super down, like anti-drug ads, but those seemed a bit easy and therefore were not mentioned.

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