Saturday, May 30, 2009

Date With the Night

I meant for this to be a short post, but alas, that didn't work out at all. If I could bottle the energy and excitement that I have right now, you'd have to get it from "the guy" and hide in secret hollowed out books.

I'm moving. As in, right now, my walls are bare and boxes are loaded. I worked on it for 4+ hours yesterday and I'm about to take over another car load today. I had to do quite a bit of cleaning (the "ew" face made several appearances), but I got to know all of the little quirks of the place and still feel good about it becoming my home. I also realized just how much smaller the new place is. The "toss list" is getting much, much longer.

Between moving, I'm about to head out to the tattoo festival going on today. It's going to be a test of self control. I've been working on a design for a while, and I'm still trying to figure out the placement. Basically, I want to go in one of the two most painful spots (ribs, spine), so I really need to work myself up for it. My third option is the wrist, which I love, but is also the most visible.

And now, the real reason for the giddy excitement that is still coursing through my veins: the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and the amazing Karen O. I've seen a lot of shows, and I'm not going to say that it was the best, but I can't currently think of any that I enjoyed more.

The show:
The Grand Ole Party opened and played a decent opener set. They were good, but the crowd was hyped up and ready for the real show. The weather cooperated until about 15 minutes before the YYYs went on. Five good minutes of rain and everyone was drenched. Personally, I think that made it a little more fun. No one cared when the lights went down, anyway. The crowd was great, singing along and dancing the whole time. It really had the feel of a giant party, and a lot of people were just talking to whoever was next to them. I think that was a huge part of what made this such a great show. There was only one technical issue, during Shame and Fortune, and the song suffered despite their attempts to work through it. Everything else went really smoothly and they sounded great. The encore was possibly the highlight of the night. They started off with Heads Will Roll and everyone went crazy. The pit turned into a giant dance party that went right on through the next two songs (you can't even imagine Art Star live - she held the microphone in her mouth). The set list:


Karen O.
Let's be honest. Karen O is what makes them amazing. She bends, drops, whips, flirts, screeches, belts, stretches,'s part dance, part breakdown, and it's all respectable. I won't gush, but wow. I don't know if there was a single person there who wasn't smitten with her that night. She started off in a kimono, which was taken off ("I'm takin' takin' takin' takin' takin' it off") to reveal a jumpsuit, tights, and awesome feathered bracelet/band. During Gold Lion she wore a shiny gold necklace/"mane". For Heads Will Roll, she came out in a hood that also covered her face (had a whole mummy vibe to it). The lights went out and the hood lit up. The crowd went crazy accordingly. They put on a show.

There's a great video here, and here are some pictures via Indie Columbus:

Monday, May 25, 2009

Don't worry, I didn't forget

With my move around the corner, I've been packing, purging, and planning. I've also been wishing my leases didn't run out right when the temperatures start to rise. Packing is significantly less fun when it is above 80.

After moving quite a bit in the past few years, I've learned that you have to decide to either love or hate the process. I've decided to embrace it, and even anticipate certain aspects. One of my favorite parts is the purging stage. This move has required a bit more since my new place is smaller (side note: you know you're moving up when you are paying more for a smaller space - irony). So far, I've thrown away five bags and donated four. I'm not even one to hold on to stuff, so this is really getting down to the bare bones at this point. It's amazingly refreshing.

I've spent hours going through things - even things that I have skipped over in the past. I've found letters, pictures, cards, and gifts. I came across the magazine I bought for my mom while she was in the waiting room during my tests last year. I found a note from a friend that I haven't spoken to in almost two years, with an inside joke I had forgotten about. Pictures with old roommates, old life-long friends. All of them have been reminders of people I have known and a person I have been at one time. Some have been great surprises, some have been bittersweet. All of them have been helpful as I prepare for a few giant transitions in my life.

I took a break and spent my Memorial Day with some pretty awesome people. The weather was beautiful and I needed a break and some social interaction. We grilled out (so much fresh and delicious food!), played an intense game of backyard volleyball, went through a few rounds of corn hole, and then ended the evening with a bonfire. These events aren't that unusual or spectacular. I'm guessing that millions of people had a very similar day. What was most interesting to me was the group that ended up together.

At the end of the day, having sorted through so much of my life, I couldn't help but notice that the people who have stayed around are pretty surprising. When I was younger, I always tried to find people that were like me. I looked for similar interests or beliefs. Now, I have this whole jumbled group of people who all believe different things and may or may not have a single interest in common with me. And it works beautifully. Some of my current closest friends are people I didn't even like at first, and now, I can't imagine not having them around. Some people that I had counted as "old friends" have also re-entered the picture and I couldn't be happier. Never close the door, folks.

I have a little box city forming in my dining room right now. These are all of the things that will go with me this time. This apartment holds very few memories, but I'm already excited about the new place. A housewarming party is in the works, people are volunteering to help paint, and I have friends in the neighborhood who will be spending many an evening there. I will never, ever say that past relationships have been wrong, but this time in life feels amazingly right. Thanks for the memories, guys!

Friday, May 22, 2009

That went well

Exciting news! I will now be a social media intern here, working with the amazing people of the Columbus Social Media Network. I start the same week I move. This all takes place after the Yeah Yeah Yeahs show, which is going to rock my world. So, yeah, things are going well.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Movin, shakin

It's been another crazybusy week over here, with most of the excitement happening yesterday. I've met a ton of new people this week and have some really exciting things underway.

I turned in my lease yesterday. I have a new home! Wood floors, lots of windows, original built-in shelves, and my favorite part: trees in the yard! My current place is kind of like an island. It's convenient when it comes to driving around, but I can't go outside or walk anywhere. The new place is in a real, live neighborhood and I'm blocks from a few of my favorite places downtown. Ah, love. I believe this place is housewarming party worthy...

I'm still meeting people from my Guest DJ gig a week ago. People are just now finding me on Facebook or Twitter and sending me messages. I've met a couple of really cool people who have some of the best music I've never heard of. I'm working on reducing the file size of the show so that I can post it on here. Never thought I'd be learning about Wordpress and Hz reduction in one day.

In other news, I've also received playlist requests (new project alert!). If you're interested, let me know. I'm writing actual, old school letters and mailing the letters and playlists out to people who are interested. Can't promise it will be fast, but you will get it!

I've also met a ton of new people via Twitter this week. Say what you want, but it's been an amazing tool. Interestingly, it's no longer taboo to meet up with people you meet online (Friend: "As long as it's not someone from Craigslist who spells please as "plz" and is "OMG SO xcited 2 meet u."). Most of the people I've met have been higher level professionals or really creative entrepreneur types, so it's been pretty cool. I'm actually planning on doing an entry soon (on my new, redesigned site!) about Twitter and how to use it. Still skeptical? Read this.

I haven't shared any music or videos for a while, but I have a few good things for you today:
:: Blogotheque Takeaway shows (check out: Elvis Perkins, Arcade Fire, the National, Fleet Foxes, St. Vincent, I'm From Barcelona)
:: Black Cab Sessions (Check out Lykke Li, Spoon, My Morning Jacket, Bon Iver)
:: The Blisslist: Awesome music. I am also a little partial, being a tall brunette.
:: Joy to the World Wide Web: Met this lovely lady last week and have enjoyed her blog ever since. Nice mix of photography, music, lyrics.
*Correction: The second band that I liked at Agora was Wing and Tusk, not Pretty Mighty Mighty. Apparently, the set list was thrown off at some point. Please go check out their site and support some good local music!

Enjoy, and have a fantastic Friday!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Part II: Pretty Mighty Fine

After passing out (literally, I think) on my couch for a while Saturday afternoon, I was ready for my night at Agora. Agora is an annual event put on by Junctionview Studios and does a great job of showing that yes, Columbus does have a respectable art scene. This was my third year attending and this was easily the best.

We arrived to find every lot in the area full. We didn't even make it to the door before realizing that we had stumbled into a hipster hot spot. We counted 26 different colors of American Apparel hoodies that night alongside the faux flannels, skinny jeans, and vintage geek glasses that have yet to do anyone any favors. The variety of people there was amazing - from lowbrow artist to lil' black dress wearing art connoisseur. I personally think that half of the draw for this event is the people watching opportunities.

Inside, the walls were lined with more new art than in previous years, and this year, there were vendors and stages set up outside. TOMS Shoes was even there this year and several artists customized shoes (so sorry I missed that!). I was really impressed with the variety and talent, and excited to see how far this event/Columbus has grown in the past three years. A few highlights:

Mike Miller - While a lot of the art was more modern, this guy went traditional and put a lot of the modern stuff to shame with pure talent (opinion). He also adjusted his gallery lighting to match the lighting in his paintings, given them a surreal, 3D effect. Bravo.
Jennifer Rospert
Pamela Skehan
Megan Delphia Alexander
Michael Litzau
Laura Alexander - this girl always has some great, detailed pieces.
Jen Adrion
and of course, Adam Brouilette, who makes me smile

Couch Forts - These guys almost completely stopped traffic while they played the inside stage. Not what we expected to hear, but still great.

Wing and Tusk - These guys were into their music, which made you want to be into it, too. I wouldn't say that they were sloppy, but they do need to tighten up a bit. Interesting instrument choices really made the live set. I'm excited to see where they go.

*On a side note, I've seen a number of arrogant local bands lately. One went as far as refusing to get off stage after going over their time. If you decide to be arrogant, you'd better leave us stunned. Just sayin'.*

We wrapped up the night by checking out the dance party and hip-hop showcase. Lots of flailing plaid, not a lot of great dancing (and, the lights were on...). The artists were pretty good, but it was a little painful to watch. Still, I think it was great to see the variety in artwork and music, and I was happy to see the place completely packed. If you missed Agora this year, I would suggest you check out other Junctionview Studio events because they have great stuff going on all year. A huge congrats to everyone who participated and put this together, and thanks for another great year!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Part I: Tough and Lovely

It was a busy weekend, with both the Race for the Cure and Agora 6 taking place on Saturday. These are two of my favorite annual events here in Columbus and I was still pleasantly surprised. Both provided an interesting look into what Columbus has to offer - from dramatically different perspectives.

Part I: Race for the Cure
My morning started at 5:00 a.m. It was my second year volunteering in "SurvivorPalooza" and I can't imagine working in any other place. I must not be alone, because at least half of us were returning volunteers from last year. It was fun to see people a year later and it made it even more exciting. I'm not a very emotional person, but Race for the Cure is one of the most emotional and humbling things I've ever experienced. Having my own cancer scare two years ago, I understand what it's like to get that call. I can't imagine what these survivors and their families have been through. You can't spend the day with them, hear their stories, read their "In Memory of" cards and not be changed.

There's such a feeling of unity and hope mixed in with the sadness in the survivor area. I asked one woman how her day was going and she got choked up. She said she had no idea that this day would be so emotional - she was only six months into her treatments. Other women would proudly boast their remission times, and everyone would cheer for them. We opened water bottles and peeled bananas for women too weak from treatments and surgeries. These are things most of us never have to think twice about. A well-known doctor was volunteering in our tent and women were running over to her all day, screaming, showing off their newly grown hair. She knew every single one of them by name and told them how great they looked. There's a good chance that I'll never see most of the people I talked to that day. The fact that I did get to meet them, cheer for them, or even open a bottle of water for is a huge honor.

None of us saw the race, but I'm sure it was pretty amazing, too. We heard a lot about the bikers who had lined up, wearing pink wigs, and revved their engines while the runners passed. I saw a lot of men in pink wigs that day. Last year, Heather's Team had a small tent next to us. This year, it wasn't there but the members of her original team stopped by for a while. You could tell it was an emotional day for them. From what I was told, there were more than 45,00o people there that day and 4,200 were wearing a pink wig.

After the event was over and everything was packed up, I went to grab my sweatshirt and keys only to find that both were missing. It was one of those moments where everything seems to stop for a few seconds. I had left everything, including my phone, I.D., and money, in my locked car. This left me trapped downtown with a pack of gum and $5. The people I had volunteered with, who I only knew from this event, were checking the area and making phone calls within minutes. Several phone calls and half an hour later, we found my keys (someone had accidentally taken my stuff when they packed up) and the whole group cheered. I don't even know most of their names, but I worked with some really awesome people that day.

If any of you are reading this, thanks to everyone who put this event together, ran the race, volunteered, and made an appearance as a survivor. Congratulations and good luck.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Let's get a few things straight

When I tell people that I am a designer and work from home, they typically respond with envy and ecstasy as they imagine sleeping in, unlimited creativity, and the freedom to casually work from coffee shops every day. Even when I try to explain that it is, in fact, hard work, I think most people still tend to glamorize the late nights and deadline rushes. So, this is for everyone who has considered freelancing or going out on their own. Let's get a few things straight:

Yes, you can work in your pajamas.
You can work in sweatpants, or the jeans you've worn for three days and it never matters. Right now, it is almost 1:00 in the afternoon and I have yet to change. The catch: it's not always by choice. I've been working steadily since 6:30 this morning, coordinating with clients, preparing documents, and sending out proofs. Wearing sweatpants is comfortable and makes sense, but I personally miss getting ready for the day sometimes. And, it's awkward if anyone comes to the door.

Yes, you can sleep in as late as you want.
But you're still on a deadline. Your clients, for the most part, are still going to be working normal business hours. While I personally work better late at night, it isn't always the best option for my clients. If they need to contact me, or I have a question, it helps to be on similar schedules. If I ever sleep in, it is usually during a stage of the project that involves little client communication, or after working a 12 hour day. Sometimes you get up early and stay up late - for days at a time. This isn't the art school, "those were the days" late nights, either. These are the nights where your eyes and back hurt, your creativity has been zapped, and the deadline is getting closer and closer. Working as a freelancer involves serious commitment, discipline, and sometimes, sacrifice.

You work whenever you want.
Much like the previous statement, this can be completely true. And it can hurt your business. Clients want people that they can contact easily. That has occasionally meant taking phone calls earlier or later than normal business hours, or even on the weekends. I would definitely suggest setting up contact hours and enforcing them (holding both yourself and your client to them). If you want to work into the night, great, but it's also good to be available when your client has a question the next morning. My schedule is typically fairly flexible, so I enjoy grabbing coffee or running errands in the afternoon. I've had some really cool opportunities that I wouldn't have had with other jobs. One of the most important things you can learn is time management.

It is so fun.
Finally, I get to run projects. I get to concept them, meet with clients, research cool concepts, and learn new things every single day. I actually get to be creative! I have the freedom to try new things and experiment. That said, I have also had to learn about the financial aspect of owning a small business. I literally fell asleep reading about it all. I've had some amazing opportunities and met some great people, but I'm also the one who has to deal with the difficult clients and any problems that might come up. If there is a computer problem, file issue, difficult client, printing issue, or lack of creativity, I have to deal with it. I've had more fun in the past few months than I've had in years of working for other people, but, I've been through more stress, too.

You get to do whatever you want!
You have complete creative freedom over the projects that come your way. Until your client has an idea. As a designer, I feel like my most important responsibility is to create something that the client feels good about. That has meant that some of my favorite designs have never gone beyond the concept stage. As a designer, I have certain standards that I stick it to. I have a lot more freedom than I have previously had, but it doesn't mean that the clients aren't going to express their opinions and have requests as well. Some of the best advice I've received was to "Fall in love with your client". You have to know them, be their biggest supporter, and really want their brand to show through. That definitely doesn't mean that you can let a client walk all over you, but you have to remember who you're doing the work for.

I didn't write any of this trying to discourage someone from trying their hand at freelancing or going out on their own. My goal here was to be really honest about what it actually means to work on your own. It's one of the most educational and enjoyable things I've done thus far. It is also one of the toughest, most challenging, and most stressful. It isn't for the lazy, uninspired, shy, or weak. If you are considering going out on your own, there are tons of useful programs and sites out there to help. I'd be happy to answer any questions or send along any tips. One of the biggest favors you can do for yourself is to network - both offering and accepting help. Good luck!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Make you sweat

I just finished my second yoga class of the day, I am sore all over, I have a deadline tomorrow, and I now smell like a coffee house. This might just be one of those nights where I just sleep in what I'm wearing...

My time as guest DJ completely rocked, and it's been really cool to hear from people who listened. I'm hearing from people I haven't talked to since high school, and people are sending me their addresses, requesting playlists. The time in the studio was great, and the DJ was really cool. There was a wreck on the way there, so I just made it in time despite the fact that I had given myself an extra 20 minutes. That definitely distracted me enough to get rid of any remaining nerves, so I was pretty calm when I walked in. I was taken back to the studio about 5 minutes before we went on, and the only things I had were verbal instructions, some notes I scribbled, and my playlist. Luckily, the DJ was great about explaining everything and getting me ready to go back on. When I was finished, I had so many messages. I think one of the best parts of it all was sharing the excitement of it with everyone. Thanks again, folks!

I ended the day with one of my favorite people. We had sushi at this great place right by her apartment, then we got Jeni's ice cream (Dark Chocolate + Sweet Buttermint for me, Berries and Bergundy + Dark Chocolate for her) and ate it in her kitchen while her cat ran around us. It was nice to just end the day relaxing and laughing, catching up. I'm kind of doubting it's going to work out, but I'm really hoping to move down there soon!

Life returned to normal today, with lessons and deadlines. After this deadline, I'm going to revisit my own site and do some redesign over there. I did it a while ago and have learned some great new stuff. Yesterday was really good for me in a lot of ways, which I may/may not go into later, but I'm excited now. I've found a new drive, a new direction. I may/may not have a photo shoot on Friday, but I definitely have Race for the Cure, a wedding, and Agora on Saturday. Never, ever sit still.

Monday, May 11, 2009

My 15 (60) Minutes

I just finished up another round of deadlines and one intense yoga class. Tonight, we did "angry yoga" complete with a mix of angry music. The mix was strangely satisfying to create. We're both going to be sore tomorrow, but I think the class was good for both of us.

Tomorrow, I will be the guest DJ on CD101. I've been alternating between completely calm and totally stressed out all day. I put together a playlist about a month ago, and I figure it's a good sign that I still feel good about it. I had some amazing friends who helped me out and gave me some tough but good feedback. The list (ahem):

1. Menomena: Wet and Rusting
2: Psychotic Girl: The Black Keys
3: Debaser: The Pixies
4: Son's Gonna Rise: Citizen Cope
5: Dull Life
6: 23: Blonde Redhead
7: Look Up: Mirah
8: Penelope: Pinback
9: Sleep Tonight: Stars
10: Italo: Anathallo
11: You Can Have It All: Yo La Tengo
12: Little Bit: Lykke Li
13: 1901: Phoenix

My friend helped me pick out a few outfits tonight (gotta have options) and I'm feeling pretty good about it. I've done speeches and TV stuff before, and I was the designer for a radio station, so it's not completely foreign to me. While a small bit of stress lingers, I am thankful that my voice never quivers or changes pitch with my nerves, and I don't break out in hives. I have friends who do both, and it seems unusually cruel. I think my face went numb earlier, though...

On a side note, Bob Marley's Three Little Birds just came on shuffle and he is ever-so-calmly telling me not to worry. Ah, timing.

If you feel like hearing my voice, tune in (101.1FM) or log on ( to CD101 from 1-2pm, on Tuesday. It will either go really well and you can be like, "Hey, I know her!" or it will be really awkward and you can be like, "Oh. My gosh. Listen to this train wreck." Either way, you will be entertained, right?

Friday, May 8, 2009

Got me a movie, I want you to know

It's been such a busy week. This is the first time I haven't been working furiously, researching, or studying for one of my projects. I launched a website earlier in the week, had a big deadline on Wednesday, launched a new project on Thursday, and had three deadlines today. I have two deadlines on Monday, and then will be working throughout the week on a pretty big project. Staying busy is great, but it is also stressful when everything is due at the same time. I've barely slept, eaten, or left this chair all week.

The stress really hit me on Wednesday. First, I mailed a letter. Without a stamp. Yep. It was an important letter, so I'm really hoping that it somehow comes back to me. That was after I completely misread an email and got a little hurt/offended by what I thought a client was saying. It took me an hour and four more run-throughs to realize that my tired eyes were jumbling the text, and that the client was actually being really, really nice. I wanted to drive an hour and hug her after that. My other clients loved my concepts today, and after hearing my voice on the phone and thinking I was sick or sleeping, my contact ended her final email with "now get some rest". I appreciated their kindness more than they realized.

After spending so much time in my apartment, I was more than ready to go out. There was a show in a small venue that seemed like a decent option. Unfortunately, my friends are as tired as I am and weren't up for it. I realize that going out alone is an option, and one that I am fine with, but my mind ran through the various uncomfortable possible scenarios. For instance, you could run into someone you kind of know, and then you have to explain that you're just, you know, chillin' alone. I'm too tired to deal with that tonight. I ended up in the candy aisle, with every intention of renting a movie (ice cream + movie = way too single girl night, but candy somehow seemed better?). I ended up with Welch's fruit chews and no movie. It's going to be me and Mr. Darko tonight.

Tomorrow, I am going to yoga (finally!) and then going to the Crew game. It's a big anniversary for the stadium and the weather is supposed to be great.

Oh. And. Hair: did.
And: I go on the radio on Tuesday. I replaced TV on the Radio with the Pixies in one final move today. I already respect myself slightly more. I will try to focus on the music and not on the fact that my stomach goes numb when I think about going on the air...

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Doesn't make sense, but it works

If you were to put all of the people in my life into one line, I don't think the line would make much sense. I am friends with people who could not be more opposite of each other or even me. The one common factor: they are all really, really great people.

It has been a pretty crazy and weird week. I have a lot to deal with, and two really big (life altering) decisions to make. Throw in killer allergies and you have me, simply hoping to balance it all. It would be an understatement to say that my friends have really stepped up and been there for me. They have really taught me what the definition of a friend is, what friendship means, and how to make it work.

I've re-written this three times now, trying to find the best way to describe what my friends have done and meant this week. It sounds too Hallmark-y and runs on too long for anyone to really read. In short, my friends have shown me that friendship is about putting each other first, supporting one another, and showing each other grace. They have protected me, taken care of me while I was sick, cheered me on, talked me through some tough decisions, shared important parts of their lives with me, shared concerts, dinners, cats, and back yards, and told me I was okay when I needed to hear it.

And really, if you think about it, things are okay. Thanks, guys.
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