Fun Updates

For a few months over the summer I had the opportunity to work on The Picture Book Project with local group Young Richmond Writers. I collaborated with a young writer and illustrated their story, The Artist's Dream. Now available for purchase as well as other talented authors and illustrator's collaborations.

Walden Hubbard & April L. Kelly  Have you ever struggled with being at the beginning of an endeavor and feeling like you'll never be as talented as the people you admire? So has Jamie. But some surprises come her way that change her mind.

Walden Hubbard & April L. Kelly

Have you ever struggled with being at the beginning of an endeavor and feeling like you'll never be as talented as the people you admire? So has Jamie. But some surprises come her way that change her mind.

I've also been uploading artwork to RedBubble on some great products- Stationery, apparel, tapestries, mugs and much more.

Adventures with Html Email Coding!

Html email coding= kind of a bitch. What seems like such a simple task.... actually made me want to rip my hair out. Luckily, I am not the only one that feels this way. A web developer friend sent me an article from A List Apart "Can Email Be Responsive?" after I had vented my frustrations. I'd personally like to quote:

"Still, email design is an outrageously outdated practice. Remember coding before web standards became… standards? Welcome to the living hell of email design."

 Things I learned:

  • Do not use JSBIN for coding this. (In a previous class "Coding for Designers" we had used JSBIN, I assume for novice purposes)
  • Difficult to find solid tutorials that aren't completely outdated.
  • See how the code looks in html, test in Litmus email testing program, note that it does not look the same, google issues, fix code, look in html, test in Litmus email testing program, note that it does not look the same, fix code, lather, rinse, repeat.
  • Patience with email coding and knowing there are talented people trying to make updated best practices.
  • And holy crap, how did I finally get that to look decent?!
Mock up for my html email coding project.

Mock up for my html email coding project.

Screen Shot of how it looks in my Chrome browser

Screen Shot of how it looks in my Chrome browser

And finally, screenshot of how it looks in my gmail after litmus test. 

And finally, screenshot of how it looks in my gmail after litmus test. 

Unfortunately, It is not as beautiful yet in mobile. Just patting myself on the back for having gotten this far!

New items added to Society6!

I took an amazing class on Skillshare recently called Watercolor Meets Surface Pattern Design for fun and try something a little fun with my illustrations. I have two other patterns I need to add to the "Sweet Tooth" series. Feeling pretty excited about the result especially adding more products to my Society6 Shop 

Oh nature puns....

A reference to Wutang Clan's song C.R.E.A.M. with a lobster claw Wu symbol.

Still Learning/Always Learning!

Woo! I have had so much logo design work lately.. It's taken over! but happy to share, always continuing to learn and beef up skills... 

 

 

Definitely needed more direction as far as learning UX design, luckily had a fantastic class with Aquent to get down and dirty.  Do I like design better? DUH! However, I completely benefited from this class by learning the backbone and muscles to what makes the final design possible

 

Edits and Moving forward. UX, UI, Web Design

So far I have been thinking simple, I've created some sketches.

home page based on site map.

home page based on site map.

About page based on site map

About page based on site map

reservation page based on site map.

reservation page based on site map.

BRAKE SCREECH! STOP. So though these I feel are properly drawn. There has been a misstep here. Yes, these are laid out nicely, but I've moved away from thinking about the user. So far my "vision" was critiqued by Tony (the front end developer) and it's gone in the wrong direction. Things to think about, especially for a restaurant website, what is the most important thing a restaurant has? What is the key player in all of this? What does a user want to know first and foremost when checking out a restaurant website?! The menu! At first I was researching and gathering inspiration for multiple page layouts. I found fantastic examples, but the best decision and practice is to think about a one page layout. We are thinking simple, so really this is the most beneficial way to present this specific website.

Back to the drawing board, research, inspiration. I checked out the usual suspects, Google, Pinterest (check out my web inspiration board), and a glorious website OnePageLove which offered fantastic restaurant one page layout examples. A few to mention, Rosebud Kitchen, Pitch Bar and Eatery and The Bancroft, were definitely my favorites. I felt these websites were in the correct direction to move towards for the best user experience. 

Wireframe sketch based on new revelations.

Wireframe sketch based on new revelations.

I'm feeling this is simple, yet will translate well responsively, effectively using the one page format. Stay tuned for more details.

 

UX, UI, Web Design: The Quest Begins!

I mentioned in my previous post, ways I will be learning and expanding my skill set. One example was to create a website for a fake restaurant. My friend, Tony, the front end developer, is collaborating with me through the process, as he is my fake business partner. This will also present, my approach to web design and brand identity. There is no coincidence that we chose a fake restaurant for this project. We both have previously served before, and pretty damn good at it too. And if you are awesome, you've pretty much earned marketing skills right there. A few days ago, I had a revelation thinking about the differences between user experience, user interface, and web designers and what they entail. UX designers are servers, reading a customers needs and personality, making them comfortable for the best experience possible. User interface/graphic designers are the flavor, the recipe, the taste of what to expect. Developers are the chefs, the cooks that make the recipe actually come together. Just a thought.

IDEA:

CAVEAT EMPTOR (translation: Buyer Beware) The concept of the restaurant is to entice a different approach to dining. The customer has no idea what meal they will be served with the exception of "sneak peeks" of certain locally grown ingredients that we will reveal. The restaurant will serve a full course meal consisting of an appetizer, entree and dessert. 

Initial process:

User experience is very much like brainstorming for any design project, logo, even illustration. I approach a design project by asking a client multiple questions that will help my research and gauge the personality of what the client wants for a successful finished product. In this case, we are the client, creating an imaginary restaurant and brand identity for real people. As a designer, I want to jump right into the visual aspect. I am thinking colors! Styles! design! design! design! Patience. I tell myself, patience. User experience first! Finding out who the customer is, discovering user stories, will help me build the most efficient site map.

What is the brand personality? Sufficiency, surprise, fresh, fun

Who is our audience? Restaurant, foodies, adventurous people! People who want to try something new. This restaurant does not cater to all, allergies and vegan/vegetarian options are a concern.  A user story has all ready developed! " I live in Richmond, VA, I am looking for a new restaurant to try, but I have a shellfish allergy" Solution: incorporate this in the about page, answering potential questions, include a clickable food allergy box in the reservation section. Not only will this help the customer, this will save time for the restaurant.

Reputation? A new restaurant with no reputation yet, need to gain clientele through word of mouth, website, and social media. 

How is the business run? Using local, seasonal ingredients, local breweries, etc.

Latest in the industry? The business will be located in Richmond, Virginia, which is a highly populated with restaurants. This is a very competitive market but this restaurant has a different edge. Craft breweries are popping up more and more as well. 

sketching out ideas... a lil sloppy...

sketching out ideas... a lil sloppy...

We want to keep the website simple and straightforward. I typically always start with a sketchbook but if I had a more extensive site I will additionally use the post-it method.

Using google drawings to create a clean site map.

Using google drawings to create a clean site map.

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Wireframe sketches.

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Getting Closer, about page layout.

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Reservation layout.

I am feeling pretty good about how this is organically coming together. I will report back soon with more detailed and hopefully clickable wireframes.

Thoughts: User Interface and User Experience

As a freelance graphic designer, I take a strict approach on projects that are predominately brand identity, advertising, or layout design. Though I have basic working knowledge of HTML and CSS, I haven't fully jumped into the web design world. More often then not I constantly see job listings that combine a graphic designer and a web designer but also the greater of demand of User Interface and User Experience designers. The time has come to expand my skill set towards UI/UX, which is incredibly daunting. I have many web developer friends who utilize my graphic design skills, but to constantly hear "developer speak" of functions and programs, how this is becoming useless and that is crap or this is moving towards this direction... angular, jquery, boot strap, It's a panic attack of "I have no idea what you are saying." 

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I have been talking about expanding more towards the web for some time now... overwhelmed and behind is how I feel in this game. So many things... Where do I get started? What's the difference between user interface and user experience? How does one even present UI/UX in a portfolio to show a potential employer "hey I know what I'm doing"? 

A fantastic metaphor from a Usertesting.com guest post, Craig Morrison (founder of Usabilityhour.com)

"Why You Shouldn't Hire a UI/UX Designer" :

"If we’re talking about delicious cake (and why wouldn’t we be?), UI is the icing, the plates, the flavour, the utensils, and the presentation. UX is the reason we’re serving cake in the first place, and why people would rather eat it than hamburgers."

Of my research, this is the most succinct explanation I have come across. 

Now what?

Where do we go from here? 

Tony, one of my front end developer friend (check out his website and new one in progress), described user experience as a door and a doorknob. Why would a doorknob be located where it's located? Obviously, it wouldn't make sense for it to be placed at the top of the door where no one could reach. The door knob position helps the person (user) reach the end goal which is to open the door and go inside. 

He suggested a few exercises (I look forward to presenting in future blog posts). First, find user experience examples in everyday situations. Second, find websites to assess and critique, take notes, sketch and redesign. Third, we create a website for a fake restaurant we invented, I will be focusing on the user experience, user interface and design, he will focus on developing it.

Mini Getaway and Sign Inspiration

Popping out for a vacation has been rare the past couple years. I am very grateful that I recently got the chance to travel up to Ocean City, MD with my dad to visit my Aunt Sharon's condo (just a block from the beach!). The last time I visited in Ocean City I was five years old on a family vacation and can only recall little snippets. 

Anywhere and anything has the potential for inspiration, whether it's stepping out on your porch or 250 miles away. Ocean City inspired the crap out of me! Oh what a place! The signs! The signs! The signs! The type! The kitschy-ness! It all must be shared!

 

First sign I got the chance to take a picture of, I drooled. 

First sign I got the chance to take a picture of, I drooled. 

Happiest alcohol bottles I've seen! 

Happiest alcohol bottles I've seen! 

My aunt's condo just near this guy. 

My aunt's condo just near this guy. 

This is just the beginning. 

So, my dad recently retired and conveniently one of his old co-workers has a condo two blocks away from my aunt's. Within 15 minutes of our arrival and no time to change into lighter beachware (I'm in tights because I'm insane) we ventured over to say hi, and scored this majestic owl painting chilling out against a fence. 

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Spied this pristene gem along the way. I love the lines, the blue on white, the monotony.

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My dad's coworker Bill and his wife joined us on our boardwalk adventure, as we would be indulging and catching up we took the beach bus. Now the beach bus is fricken awesome, only 3 bucks for an all day pass. We have got to get an express bus like this in Richmond. The only horrifying thing is the bus lane is also the bike lane, and the drivers there are pretty aggressive, multiple cut offs, veering into the other lanes to avoid cyclists. Ah! Stress! Other than that..3 bucks?! I accept.

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Our first vital decision at the boardwalk was FOOD, Tony's pizza has an amazing rooftop deck, which of course, was closed until dinner. Dang. 

 

Fantastic

Fantastic

Above Ripley's Believe it or not. Glorious! Love sharks! 

Above Ripley's Believe it or not. Glorious! Love sharks! 

This was my granddaddy Kelly's spot! 

This was my granddaddy Kelly's spot! 

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The gorgeous toile wall paper in the Atlantic Hotel, the smell of teek wafts at you as soon as you open the doors. My aunt shared stories of when they stayed there as kids and a couple ghost stories YES.  

The gorgeous toile wall paper in the Atlantic Hotel, the smell of teek wafts at you as soon as you open the doors. My aunt shared stories of when they stayed there as kids and a couple ghost stories YES.  

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We went here for breakfast the next morning at a location closer to the condo. Pizza and Pancakes are their specialty. Prepare for feeling food comatose in a great way. 

We went here for breakfast the next morning at a location closer to the condo. Pizza and Pancakes are their specialty. Prepare for feeling food comatose in a great way. 

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My aunt Sharon and I

My aunt Sharon and I

View from the Frog Bar, I absolutely love this place, fantastic jerk wings. 

View from the Frog Bar, I absolutely love this place, fantastic jerk wings. 

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Cheese-in

Cheese-in

My aunt insisted we take pictures with the pirate, he made fun of my short arms and the three of us scuffled 180 degrees to not have the sun in our eyes. He was kind of creepy, but it was hilarious. 

My aunt insisted we take pictures with the pirate, he made fun of my short arms and the three of us scuffled 180 degrees to not have the sun in our eyes. He was kind of creepy, but it was hilarious. 

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Next day more signs! 

Next day more signs! 

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Outside of Seacrets. I can't even explain how insane that place is. Recommended by many and went in with no clue what to expect. I won't spoil it for you. 

Outside of Seacrets. I can't even explain how insane that place is. Recommended by many and went in with no clue what to expect. I won't spoil it for you. 

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Off the pier

Off the pier

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Last sign, last stop for breakfast before heading back to Richmond. 

Last sign, last stop for breakfast before heading back to Richmond. 

Refreshed. And back to work. 

Where have I been?

The past few months I have been engulfed in an exciting children's book project, unfortunately I'm unable to divulge any details or process pictures until its printed *Coming Soon!* In the meantime, I've been lucky enough to work on a plethora of freelance, so upon completion they will be posted including process! 

New Year, New Goals: A welcome to 2014

Wow. I feel like I was lost for the last few months! The holidays this season, swept me up I felt like I couldn't catch up. 2014, a brand new start, and with a new year most people put forth their one big *New Year's Resolution!* ... I don't particularly like that word resolution... I do however believe in goals and boy I have a lot this year. I hope to: experiment more with my process and work...really push what I am working on. update blog posts more often. research, research, research. have set correspondence for promoting my work. attend more drawing sessions.. if not create some. have my children's book completed! manage time better, somewhere in 2013 I stopped using my planner...not cool. My planner was ALWAYS attached to me. go on more adventures, even if by myself. try out some new activities, I'd really like to test myself physically more..climb more mountains, rocks, kayak. enjoy more music outings.

Cheers!

Cross Country Road Trip: Part 4 -"and back"

Oh yes. The final stretch and about 4 hours we would reach San Diego at around 10 o'clock at night. But not without the horrifying experience of reaching 3000 feet and a dangerously low tank of gas respectably on empty. Tensions were high....very high! And not without the standard border patrol stop. We finally! found a gas station somewhere on that impossibly brisk mountain top. Back down the mountain and through the lights of twinkling houses plopped throughout the hills. Hello there San Diego! And hello Kellie's new temporary apartment right by ocean beach! We were welcomed or perhaps we interrupted her friends staining trim. By this point we wanted to throw all of our bags down and just drop. To. The. Floor. But of course we didn't, the tired levels flipped to adrenaline and we might as well pop to the new neighboring hot spots as my time is very limited. I can't remember the exact name of the Irish bar we stopped in but I do remember running into my old neighbor and friend randomly! East coast to west it's still a small lil world. View from Kellie's temporary yard.

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We awoke by cawking sounds of parrots..probably about a billion parrots...and jets from the naval base. It was a hazy morning so hazy you couldn't even see the jets zooming loudly in the sky. Now for ourselves to search for our own fuel in town. Finding parking was about as easy as finding parking in Carytown for a busy Saturday brunch time. We chose the most hopping place. So driving up and down a few blocks for a space allowed us to check out the views.

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And fantastic color palettes everywhere!

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And building signage!

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I appreciated the multiple painted electrical boxes. Love.

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Finally a parking space! And a humble 30 minute wait at the Mission Restaurant.

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Well worth it too! Most amazing chicken apple sausage I've ever had!

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Still a bit dreary looking after brunch... After brunch, why not head on over to.... IKEA! Ha! I love ikea, even if there is a location very close to Richmond,

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But wait. The sun rays burst the the clouds suddenly... As we approach...... IKEA! Ha! I love ikea, even if there is a close location to Richmond, I will never pass up the chance to an ikea, especially to help make a temporary home more cozy.

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A quick stop at the apartment to drop off the goods. I noticed a nice little shout out to Richmond's own Gwar on the grill in front!

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Sunny sunny San Diego, off to the beach.

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The beach location was beautiful! But to get there... We needed to troll down a noted dangerously steep cliff!

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I'll bounce around James River rocks all day, barefoot even, because I am used to those rocks, these rocks were pretty scary! It was so rewarding when this is where you'd be posting up!

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Very rewarding!

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It was a dog friendly beach. These pups were amazing and nuts!

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I love the Pacific Ocean. Love it. Wooo was that water cold! A couple hours of the beach and the unfortunate neglect of sunscreen we still had much to do, our goal was to see the seals in La Jolla. We missed them, or they didn't show.

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I can't imagine living on those hills, the houses were ridiculous and expensive looking.

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And we were starving. We did some more touristy things in search of dinner in Old Town, where they make their own tortillas in the window. So much in one day, we were insanely exhausted and we both needed to wake up around 4 in the morning to get to the airport for my send off. (Before sunrise in San Diego)

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It was such a sad good bye. We were so tired after such a long trip. After all the tears before we left. The road took so much out of us. [I am still bummed I don't have my partner in crime, roll dog, best gal friend here in Richmond with me :( ] I was ready to be back home and terrified of not only my first flight in about 10 years, my first flight ever by myself.

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Thank goodness for five minutes of free in flight video. Thank you shark week.

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Bye bye California, hello in flight snacks.

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And funky weird circles which I later learned were irrigation systems... Not crop circles.

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And in flight doodling.

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The worst was the couple hour layover in La Guardia Airport in New Jersey... So close yet so far away!!

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It was an express flight to Richmond, in the teensiest plane I've ever been in, luckily I was in a singular row by the window.

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Home. Finally home, where my dad drove down from D.C. to pick me up.

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Best trip ever. Back to business as usual.

Cross Country Road Trip: Part 3

20130918-113526.jpgAfter calling it an early night to start early mornings we said our goodbyes to Austin, with a coffee shop stop at Austin Java, a honey nut latte and a seven layer bar to go... The driving again commenced.

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20130918-114428.jpg We were advised to keep a close eye on gas while driving through Texas and the remaining states as gas stations run scarce. Our first stop of the day we finally found our road trip totem: Peace Monkey. The perfect addition for any drive, really.

20130918-114727.jpg Along the way we saw a lot of... This.

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20130918-115514.jpg Very straight through roads but the mountains and hills were just out of this world. Not like driving north and south on I95. Glorious!

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20130918-120104.jpg The clouds. The big open sky. Just beautiful.

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20130918-120349.jpg A billion miles later and the next necessary gas station. In the middle of nowhere. Literally. We did our good deed of giving water and food to a homeless man.

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20130918-121043.jpg Noted again, maps or google maps do not always provide the best of routes. The latter half of the drive was a bit back roady along the border and farm areas.

20130918-121400.jpg New Mexico was exciting for the opportunity to stay at a hotel. To actually shower.. And sleep in a comfortable pillow top bed for a night and a break.

20130918-121632.jpg Oh Ramada. You are too kind.

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20130918-122041.jpg We popped over to Tokyo Sushi, to well... Get some "local" food and to fend off a craving.

20130918-122156.jpg I spied some lovely signage.

20130918-122253.jpg Of course I needed to capture a Wiener schnitzel!

20130918-122631.jpg Cable indulgence a well rested dreamland blur of New Mexico and onward! Checkout time was a very exceptional noon.

20130918-122823.jpg It was quite lovely to leave so refreshed for the last "bit" of the drive to San Diego. A border patrol stop.

20130918-123029.jpg And you guessed it! More driving. With one of my favorite random stops at this roadside store.

20130918-123255.jpg Oh the amazing treasures inside...

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20130918-123513.jpg These perfect moccasins!

20130918-123557.jpg Funds were dwindling, I needed to focus on more important luxuries like hydration.

20130918-123719.jpg Though I did splurge on two dream catchers, one for myself and one as a gift for my friend.

20130918-124137.jpg More desert and some doodling.

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20130918-124720.jpg Desert and mountains and hidden towns.

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20130918-124903.jpg Arizona!

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20130918-125119.jpg More doodling.

20130918-125447.jpg And driving :) it was a a very quiet stretch. Too much to take in also the realization that the vacation was almost over.

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20130918-152425.jpg We even saw a few dust storm formations.

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20130918-152619.jpg By this point it was around dusk, pretty exhausted and still a ways to go til San Diego.

Cross Country Road Trip: Part 2

My friend and I left New Orleans quite early in the morning, but not before a quick coffee, croissant, donut and the cheapest, largest baguette ever purchase for another long day of driving to Austin, Texas!!!! Another destination I have never visited! Most of the day was driving through the bayou on 10, playing the game "let's see if we can spot an alligator or an armadillo!" For the record, we saw none! Driving, driving, more driving, trading off driving, traffic, radiolab, shows on the iphone, driving, pandora. A quick pit stop at a cute little BBQ spot...Though I passed on BBQ (the baguette filled me up) I more so was dying of thirst, the Texas heat hits you like a brick. We arrived in Austin in the evening around 6 o'clock.

20130908-131909.jpgWe were grateful to stay at one of our friend's Tyler's apartment and so excited to finally be there! Oh hello Schwinn at Tyler's building.

20130908-132221.jpg My first thoughts on Austin were how clean it is! So clean! I also loved seeing so many solar panels! I really wish Richmond would have more natural energy efforts. So after catching up with Tyler, we were very anxious to try some of Austin's finest food. A key staple in Austin is food trucks...everywhere!! But these food trucks are not like Richmond's food trucks that you know.... move around...which baffled Tyler's mind. Austin's food trucks are stationary. there were thrice as many if not more food trucks then Richmond. The recommended dinner choice was...Tacos! Why not?! At Torchy's

20130908-133725.jpg This place was incredibly dangerous=best tacos ever. I got the Baja shrimp, chicken fajita, and the Brush Fire=Jamaican jerk chicken, grilled jalapeños, mango, sour cream & cilantro. w/DIABLO SAUCE on a flour tortilla. My new favorite. It had the cutest gravel patio

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20130908-134324.jpg I caught my first glimpse of many, the Grackle bird vulturing on the outdoor bus station. We drove around the downtown area and found a night spot that looked straight out of Richmond!

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20130909-132747.jpg Cheers Austin!

20130909-132838.jpg And then we ventured a little closer to the college area and found another fantastic gem, Shangri La. Another spot that seemed right out of Richmond.

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20130909-133350.jpg Good morning Austin! Wooo! The heat was blasting early.

20130909-133601.jpg We went to brunch at a fantastic spot called the Magnolia Cafe. Greatly appreciated the sign

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20130909-134145.jpg Magnolia Cafe also had awesome murals.

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20130909-134459.jpg Flamingos and all. Probably licked the plate of enchiladas... Best decision ever.

20130909-134525.jpg Our next activity on the itinerary was to check out the Barton Springs Pool Unfortunately, this was closed for cleaning on Thursday's.

20130909-135446.jpg But! To the left, the "free" side was open. Thank goodness. I'm fairly certain the temperature was about 106 degrees. The temperature of the spring was about 70 degrees. It took my breath away! That was one of the coolest free things to do in Austin. A little grackle bird friend.

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20130909-141508.jpg Afterwards, we trolled around Congress avenue to check out some of the shops and fell so hard in love with the store Parts & Labour I would love to sell my jewelry there. I almost died walking around there attached screen print section.

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20130909-142446.jpg We started to get loopy and dehydrated from the heat so we swung by Shady Grove restaurant for water and a snack.

20130909-143134.jpg And why not, pomegranate frozen sangria

20130909-143253.jpg Later, we decided to go a little out of the way to check out Lala's "The Christmas Bar" per Anthony Bourdain's recommendation.

20130909-143747.jpg Lala's was just that... A Christmas bar. Unfortunately, we were starving! No food service at Lala's but a heck of a lot of Christmas decor! Off to Stubb's instead.

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20130909-144146.jpg The barbecue was lacking, though we paid for the experience and saw great gig posters of previous shows. :) Onto one of my favorite stops, the Jeremiah the innocent mural.

20130909-144448.jpg Painted by Daniel Johnston. It was such a long day. We were pooped. On the way back to our friend's apartment, we saw massive amounts of people along the Congress bridge, watching... swarms of birds?? We circled around once more, we were so confused, because clearly this was a thing. We later found out that the flock of birds were actually bats! The great free-tailed Mexican bat migration of the Congress avenue bridge occurs every year so the bats can birth. An aha! moment, that is why there are so many bat references! Below a beautiful bird mural on the side of a residence.

20130909-145837.jpg Called it an early night. The next morning we would be making a long stretch to New Mexico.

Cross Country Road Trip: Part 1

Wooo! July ended with a bang! And its literally been so crazy this August I haven't had the chance to share! I had the honor and privilege to accompany one of my best friends on a bittersweet road trip to move her across the country. End point = San Diego within a seven day time period! The 8th day for me was spent flying all day back to good old RVA. The trip started out fruitful and exciting and nervous with the first stop towards the end of South Carolina, in an extremely rural town of Fair Play. And I mean rural! no stop light rural... Predominately inhabited by a Mennonite community and also where my friend's parents live. We crushed considerable time, got a chance to start reading The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho (an amazing story circulating around my friends, an absolute must read!) We arrived around Sevenish on Sunday evening. 20130814-140543.jpg (Where the sidewalk ends just below) This was taken off massive Lake Hartwell 20130814-140650.jpg Breakfast at the local general store, just next to the John Deere rider mower shop. 20130814-140731.jpg

20130814-140800.jpg It was crickets all night long! Or rather every single insect in the universe could be heard and thats it ...but eerily quiet if that makes sense. The calm and relaxation was great especially after a full days drive because the next stop... New Orleans!

We left South Carolina on Monday mid morning... With a Lunch pitstop in Atlanta, Georgia

20130826-135248.jpg .... Where we got lost....for about an hour off track.

20130830-123830.jpg 20130814-151240.jpg We arrived in New Orleans late night at our friend Janet's building to stay, formerly The Friendly Touch bar and soon to be The Friendly Touch Fabric Store. Though this was in renovation state it was a quite cool spot to crash. What perfect timing it was to show up to experience night life shenanigans. We walked around the French Quarter, had a man write poems for us who was from Northern Virginia and! lived in Richmond! Super fun.

20130814-151608.jpg ( I requested inspiration for my poem) 20130814-151726.jpg Popped around some local bars and Cafe du monde for my friend's late night beignet cravings.

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(View from the Friendly Touch in the morning) 20130814-152117.jpg

20130814-152143.jpg First destination of the day Buffa's pronounced Boo-fahs...

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We popped about and around local shops

20130830-122707.jpg Found this little guy...

20130830-122911.jpg And the most amazing scarf ever from Pop City

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20130830-124248.jpg A sweet tooth break for my friends

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20130830-124612.jpg Whatever sweet things they ate.... Apparently mind blowing!

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20130830-125002.jpg We later drove around the 9th Ward where Katrina had hit. It was insane to see so many empty grass covered lots. And quite humbling to see what nature can do. But there was so much rebuilding.

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20130830-125248.jpg I had tried to snap some photos of the newly built modular homes equipped with solar panels and awesome architecture shapes but I did not get the chance :( We had hoped to venture to a few cemeteries but time constraints didn't allow such (save for next time!) after walking around in the Louisiana humidity, a nap was extremely vital. A few hours later we stopped by Coop's Place for some local New Orleans eats. I had ordered the Chicken Tchoupitoulas which I still.... Cannot pronounce. Amazing! Amazing amazing amazing! Super pleased that my friends had extreme food envy, so of course I shared, I hate wasting food I am unable to finish.

20130830-130658.jpg After dinner we had to do one of the most touristy things while we were in New Orleans: the haunted ghost tour. It left out of Flabagan's Irish Pub such a great spot! It reminded me so much of Richmond... And Andy out bartender told us stories of how Nicolas Cage would come in there all the time. Our tour guide Tessy was seriously fantastic and I'd like to note our friend Janet was such a sport for coming with us on such a tourist event. The haunted tour was creepy. Really creepy. I enjoyed hearing some historical information, though I absolutely tried to fact check a considerable amount. One of the more chilling houses, where interestingly Nicolas Cage had once lived, the LaLaurie House originally owned by Delpine LaLaurie was by far the most disturbing stories of the entire route. I have linked information above if you are curious. Perfect end for our last night in New Orleans. In the morning we would hop back in the car towards our next location: Austin, Texas!

"First Friday" July edition

Super happy to sell some of my jewelry in the Backseat Gallery owned by my friend Daniel Johnson. His work is awesome!! Please do check it out!

20130705-191008.jpg We are currently posted up with the VACLAA (Virginia Center for Latin American Art). Now that the sun is slowly going down and we aren't melting in the concrete...there is a soft summer breeze, chill music, and wonderful hint of empanadas from the happy empanada food truck next to usAh and I met my future dog that I shall name Harvey Keitel Kelly

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20130705-192450.jpg Daniel's work above!

20130705-192023.jpg lil shot of my jewelry above

Doing things differently today!

Oh hey there! Doing things a bit differently today enjoying a nice work day breakfast at the ever so scrumptious Lamplighter Coffee. Needed to pop put of my office today. I've recently been messing around with screen printing WHICH! I probably have not done since 2005-06. No not probably literally. I recently purchased a starter screen printing kit from DIY printshop and embarked on the photo emulsion process.

20130612-114956.jpg oh hey there buffalogo.After multiple print tests I've come to the conclusion that I need to redo the screen little bits were not exposed long enough. This set back is okay. And as far as not having done this in almost 10 years I'll give myself a pat on the back. I had set the project aside briefly as a move to a bigger office was vital.

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20130612-115629.jpg My bigger little warehouse. So on top of that and making some fun little jewelry pieces. See below.

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Screen printing has been itching the back of my brains. I wasn't quite ready to dark room proof my new office but wanted to get on a t shirt design I had been thinking about this involving a scavenger hunt around Richmond town to build some screens and try out the "positive method" of screen printing. Made some pretty impressive screens! Still got it! First drawing fluid attempt

20130612-120519.jpg Which led to this first print attempt

20130612-120604.jpg Gaaah! Literally the same issue I had with the emulsion method.. Little bits missing. I want this print to be great. So I had to strip the screen and start over. Attempt two:

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20130612-120836.jpg And now I wait at the Lamplighter for the screen filler to dry. Certainly not complaining about it