Saturday, November 20, 2010

On a somewhat related note ... The Daily Prophet

One of the things I have always been intrigued by regarding the world of Harry Potter is the Daily Prophet and the way it works and looks on the page. Upon exploring newspaper designs on, I found a newspaper that has taken on the design three times. It seems all over the place (the fact that the people in the photos move doesn't help), but they are just trying to fill the space in an intriguing way, right? It is also really cool how the newspaper kind of ties together events in the series. Whether it be true or not, the characters in the series look to the newspaper to find out what's going on. I guess they don't have Internet in Harry Potter land.

Here are some examples of the Victoria Prophet's take on the series' newspaper.

Find more images like this on NewsPageDesigner at

Day 21 – Something that makes me happy

I have decided to finish this challenge on arbitrary days. So today is Day 21.

Harry Freaking Potter. Courtesy of Google images.

Harry Potter makes me happy. I have read all of the books at least 3 times each, I have seen most of the movies at their midnight premiers and I adore the magical story. Of course, I'm not as crazy as this guy, but I could challenge anyone to Harry Potter trivia. My friends and I even read the seventh book out loud to each other on a a roadtrip from San Antonio to Columbia, Mo. Not only did it keep us awake, but it also made for an entertaining ride home.

This is even a newsworthy post because I went to the midnight showing of HP Thursday night. I loved being in a theater with hundreds of people that also love the franchise as much as I do. Being there with some of my besties would have been even better, but I'll take what I can get. I ended up going with one of my co-workers and his girlfriend, and it was actually pretty fun.

It's crazy that the story is almost over. When I finished the book, it kind of felt like the end, but not really because there were still movies to be made. Now, though, is really is nearing the end. It's bittersweet, just like the ending of Toy Story 3. I have grown up with these characters, and seeing the ending come to life will be exhilarating. I will see the last movie with Jayme if it kills me.

I love Harry Potter. It makes me happy.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Day 20 –- What you really want to know

One of the biggest questions I have gotten about my blog is what it means in the first place: "My life in CMYK." I feel like this could be a good design lesson, too. So, here goes.

Most people get the "My life in" part; it's kind of a no-brainer. CMYK throws them for a loop, though. In television and Web, only three colors are used to make any color you see. Those colors are red, blue and green -- RGB. However, in publishing, the colors are cyan, magenta, yellow and black -- CMYK (the K standing for black). All photos, colors and text for print has to be formatted to CMYK because the printers only use those tones.

Have you deciphered it yet? So what my blog name really means is "My life in color" or something along the lines of "My life in the publishing world." Clever kind of, right? Although, I have gotten some flack about the name closing me of to the Web side of things ... It's just a name, people!

For a more in-depth description, go here.

Courtesy of

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Killing three birds with one ... blog post.

I am not really good at these daily blog offerings, am I? Two jobs, Harry Potter and my newly foster kittens have been taking my attention. But fret no more! I am almost done with this thingamabob, and I am not going to quit now!

Day 17: A photo of your family

It is kind of hard to get a picture of my whole family. My parents are divorced and don't exactly get along at all times — not to mention the fact that we all live in different states now. The last photo that would have been taken of my immediate family was at my college graduation, which, miraculously, went by without any major tears. However, I found no pictures of my mom, dad, brother and I, and I don't feel like photoshopping anymore today. So, here are two pictures that you can imagine together.

And just because I love this picniked photo of my college family, here it is!

Day 18: Something you crave a lot

See Day 2. (This is probably a cop out.)

Day 19:  Another picture of yourself

This is a picture of me after a day full of designing data pages. Still alive!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Days 15 & 16 — If only I could call Paul Rudd on my phone...

Since I am so far behind on this blog challenge thing, I have decided to combine days 15 and 16. Deal with it.

Day 15: Something you don't leave the house without

These days, it is definitely my HTC Hero phone. It is my link to all the people I love back in Missouri and wherever else they are. Plus, I have other cool things on the phone, too: Facebook, Twitter, games, music, Internets. I really feel disconnected without it, which is kind of sad to say about this society. It's a good thing that people can have information when they want it, but I think it's easy to develop a dependency on the technology.

Day 16: Your celebrity crush

NAME THAT MOVIE! Courtesy of Google images

I have been known to start sentences with, "If there was one man," and end them with, "it would be Paul Rudd." No, it doesn't make much sense, but it was funny at the time. I adore Paul Rudd, though. I think is comedy is brilliant and subtle, and I like that he seems like (and I have read that he is) a down-to-earth, nice guy. So, it's not really an "OMG he's so hot" kind of crush (I have Joshua Jackson for that), more of an "OMG this guy just made me pee my pants from laughing" kind of crush.

Day 14 — High School Musical for big kids

Courtesy of Google images.

Glee is by far my favorite show on TV.  I love that a singing and dancing television show on FOX has taken the world by storm, and what is funny about it is that one of the few differences it has from the Disney original High School Musical movies is that they use popular songs. And more adult themes, I guess.

Anyway,  I love everything about this show. I love that I recognize the songs the characters sing, I love that the producers re-hash old classics, and I love that Glee has taken on all forms of media. Not only are they on TV, but they also sell their songs on iTunes, perform concerts and have released several public service announcements as seen from the characters' perspectives. If you haven't seen Glee, I suggest you check it out on Hulu.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Day 13 – Let me hold your crown, babe

Courtesy of

Sara Bareilles has been one of my favorite singers/artists for a long time. I love the way she sings; she puts so much emotion into her songs, and I love to sing along. She is kind of like my new-age Kelly Clarkson only less poppy. In case you haven't heard from Sara, here's a video of one of her latest singles:

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Day 12 – Home sweet home ... kinda

Today, I am to post a few photos of the town in which I live. These photos are from the first time I visited the city, on my interview for the paper. I really liked the atmosphere of the Historic District, and I don't think you can take a bad photo from that area.

This is one of the theaters I have yet to visit.

And this is Forsyth Park. Gorgeous.

The beauty of the city aside, I still have very mixed feelings about living here. It has been a lot harder to meet people than I thought it would be, and I am having a hard time relating to people at work now that one of my friends has left. I'm going to stick it out for a while, but I miss having close friends nearby more than I can even explain. I tried to fill the void by those silly dating sites, but I haven't found anyone worthwhile (or who has thought I am worthwhile). I'm just kind of sick of it. At least I have Maia!

Day 11 – Make-up bag? Really?

Yesterday, I was supposed to write a blog about what is in my make-up bag, but how freaking lame is that? So, I am going to brainstorm a bit by blogging about my upcoming Jimmy Carter Flash project. It was my idea to come up with something to present to the world either before he dies or in the wake of his death. Carter is a former governor of Georgia, and he even announced his bid for presidency at a local restaurant in Savannah. I wanted to do something that would honor his memory, and we have been collecting a lot of things pertaining to him.
  • More than 100 AP and local photos of him throughout his life and political career.
  • A timeline of the books he has published along with book covers. (He has actually written a lot of books.)
  • A general timeline of his life
  • And a lot of back issues and archived stories the Savannah Morning News has written about him.
My job, now, is to figure out how to organize the material in a cohesive, yet aesthetic, way. I don't know if I should make the project HTML- or Flash-based, and I am at a loss of how to even start this huge thing. I know I want a timeline of events – with photos included – but I think the book timeline is a little much. I want a way to view the photos at pretty decent size and be able to scroll through them, too. It looks like this is going to be a huge project.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Day 10 – Zunzi's or bust!

Courtesy of

If Savannah is good at one thing, it is definitely food. Don't get me wrong, Savannah is good at a lot of things. Food just stands at the top in my opinion. One of the coolest places I have found to eat here has been this place called Zunzi's. It is a little hole-in-the-wall take-out place that serves a combination of South African and Italian flavors, and it has the best chicken I have ever tasted. Literally melt-in-your-mouth chicken. Now, don't get turned off by the South African flair on the food. It gives it just enough of an exotic flavor to make it really unique, but it's not like you're eating pigs feet or anything. If you are ever in Savannah, I would highly suggest taking a trip to Zunzi's. (After seeing me, of course.)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Day 9 — The stuff of life.

Courtesy of Google images
The only thing I bought today was coffee this morning. If you want to get specific, I got a grande skinny vanilla latte. It was amazing. Coffee really is one of my favorite things in life. It might even have to compete with cheese for my favorite ever.

Day 8 – It's game time!

So, I realize that this post was supposed to be yesterday, but yesterday was insane. (Election day, people.) If you have never been in a newsroom on election day, you are definitely missing out. At the paper, we have five times the amount of people in the newsroom until deadline, 12 a.m. There are so many people doing so many different things, and I am sure it is entertaining to watch. Everyone is pumped up, and thankfully it was all decided last night. (No runoffs!) The song that I would have picked yesterday, though, definitely would have been this one:

(You might not recognize it until 43 seconds ... Also, what a strange video ...)

Monday, November 1, 2010

Day 7 — My dream wedding

Short, sweet and simple.

(This is not a cop-out. It's irony. Get it?)

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Day 6 — I wanna puppy!

Today, my charge is to talk about an animal I want as a pet. I'm not going to go obscure and want a koala or anything (though that would be awesome), but I really do want a puppy. Right now, I have Maia, and she is really all I can take care of, so I am happy. But if I ever settle down somewhere and have a yard and more cash, I really want to get a dog. I'll get it from a shelter, and it will probably be a mutt of some kind because of the great experience I had with my childhood dog, Chrle (spelled that way, my spelling has since improved, but his name stuck). He was recently put to sleep at the age of 15. He was really the best dog ever.

Here's my younger brother, Erik, myself and a very young Chrle.

This photo was taken last year. Isn't he handsome?

Day 5 — Be profound!

For Day 5 of the 30-day blog challenge, I am to post a picture of me two years ago. This was as not a challenge because I was in a very cool place in 2008. I went to the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games (read my Beijing blog here) as a volunteer. I lived in China for two months, and it was one of the most life-changing experiences I have had. Not only did I get to help out and make connections with people for the Olympic Games, but I also got to live in China and experience a culture that is so different than my own.

The picture is from my solitary adventure through the Olympic Green, where the Bird's Nest and Water Cube were located. I was taking my own photos of the Bird's Nest, and this guy walked up to me and wanted a photo with me. I gave his friend my camera to take the same. (Yeah, I had black hair, get over it.)

The peace sign became a staple of pictures from China ...

I have been wanting to get a tattoo with my name in Chinese for a long time. Some of the Chinese volunteers taught me how to write it, and I think it would be a good commemoration of my trip. I just have to suck it up and do it. Also, sometime after I got back from China in August 2008, I set myself an e-mail to be received in 2010. I had completely forgotten about it, but I got it a few weeks ago. I told myself to not forget what I learned in China and to be profound. I think I might incorporate that into the tattoo, too.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Days 3 and 4

Hello, friends. Time for another round of the 30-day blog challenge. Because I missed yesterday's posts (in my defense, I posted design-related things, so I am fine.), I am going to double up tonight.

Day 3 – Thwarted by the rain
I could have seen this yesterday!
(Courtesy of Coastal Empire Fair)
On Day 3, I was supposed to describe my idea of the perfect first date. The truth is, I had every intention of posting this blog yesterday complete with a photo of my own. The Coastal Empire Fair began yesterday, and I wanted to go on a photo adventure on my day off. Then, it started to rain. Oh well. That pretty much answers the question though. A carnival or fair would be an awesome first date. It's not (too) corny and it's not a cliche dinner and a movie. Its fun. There is always something exciting happening, and it's a great way to get to know people. Take it from someone who has gone on MANY first dates these past few months. It's gotta be fun to be memorable. You also have to not suck at life.

Day 4 – One of the best nights of my life
I didn't even have to think twice about the photo I would pick for Day 4's blog: my favorite photo of my best friend. She had I both gone through some hard things our senior year, and we deicded that our senior prom would be ours. Needlesstosay, we had a lot of fun.

That's me, my friend Sarah and my friend Hannah.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

'Union,' a typography assignment

About a month ago, one of my best friends asked me to design a poem for one of the pages in her wedding guest book. She is designing her own book (awesome idea, right?) with her engagement pictures and other things, and she wanted this poem to take up one of the pages. I got free reign on typography, color, etc., but I chose to not stray too much from her original color scheme for the sake of consistency. So, without further ado, my finished products!

Type choices: Bickham Script Pro; Champagne and Limousines (my favorite ever!)

This is the first one I created. I decided to draw emphasis to certain words in the this one and the third one, but in different ways. It was a lot harder than it seemed in the beginning because the poem is so long. I also needed to find a way to travel seamlessly from one segment to the other.

Type choices: Bickham Script Pro; Champagne and Limousines

After seeing some of the pages my friend had created, I felt compelled to also use one of her engagement photos as the background for the poem. This is a simpler version, but I feel that the emotion in the photo also supports the context of the poem.

Type choices: Orial; Champagne and Limousines

I realized that every time I designed a new version of the poem, I liked the newer one better than the others, so I stopped after this one. This one was completely inspired by the typeface. It's called Orial and I thought it was really elegant. I used the font to come up with my own pattern for the crossing bars, and I also used it to call attention to some of the more important words. This one, I feel, is the most contemporary, but probably not the most romantic.

My client (best friend haha) hasn't gotten back to me on which one she likes the best, but I also just e-mailed her the PDFs, so no rush. In the mean time, what do you guys think?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Day 2 – You can't go wrong with cheese

So, for my second installment of the 30-day blog challenge, I am supposed to post a photo of something that I ate today. Well, I eat this food almost every day: cheese. I always tell people that if I were trapped on a desert island, and I could only choose one food, I would pick cheese. It is by far the most compatible and versitile food out there, and it tastes AWESOME! So here is my picture of cheese:

Courtesy of Google images

BONUS! In my search for a cheesy picture, I also found this sweet website. separates cheese into countries, textures and milks and even offers CHEESE FACTS. More than you wanted to know about cheese? Probably. But isn't it awesome?

Just the facts: no mud

Remember when I got the chance to design the Savannah Morning News' primary election guide? Well, because I already had experience with things like this, I was dubbed the general election guide designer, too. I got to come up with a whole new concept for a whole new tab, which published Oct. 24, but this time I was a little more informed. I knew exactly how to format the inside, and I even had half as many pages the second time around.

For the cover, I came up with a concept of  "clearing the mud away" from all of the candidates' mudsluging. My initial idea was to shoot mud cleared away by wipers on the windshield of a car, but after talking to one of the photographers, we decided that a piece of Plexiglas would work just as well. And he came up with having a squeegee wiping the mud away so there would be a reason for the clean space.

The best part? We got to make the mud, play in the mud and figure out the right consistency for the perfect shot. Who would have though that we would be playing with mud a professional journalists? Anyway, so here are some before and after shots courtesy of Richard Burkhart and myself.

Here is before I wiped away the desired amount of mud.

The raw image before all the Photoshopping happened.

And the finished product.

To get a dirty effect on the text as well, I duplicated the original photo, then cut out the "clean" part of the photo so I had three photo layers. I placed the text on top of the original photo but behind the "dirty" and "clean" layers. Then, I duplicated the "clean" part several times. On each of the "clean" layers, I used the magic wand tool at differing strengths to delete sections of the photo so that different parts would shot up on different layers. Finally, I set most of the "clean" layers to different opacities so the black letters could be seen beneath them. Overal, I reall like the effect, and I have gotten many praises on the cover. The best part is that from beginning to end, this was my baby, and I took full ownership of it this time.

What do you think?

Day 1 — The experience of a lifetime

I promised to start this blog challenge after my awesome weekend, and I need to tell you guys about my awesome weekend, so we are killing two birds with one stone. I am also sorry about the run-on. Technically, I am supposed to post a picture of me today and tell you how my day was, but I am going to post a picture of me this weekend and tell you how that was. It's similar enough that I'll accept it.

That's me! Thanks Allie for taking this photo!
I went back to Columbia, Mo., this weekend for Homecoming. I did so much while I was there, so I am going to bullet point it for you.

  • On Thursday, I made my long journey from Savannah, Ga., to Jacksonville to Dallas to St. Louis and then to Columbia, Mo. I took several planes and several cars, but I managed to make it to Columbia before band practice. At practice, I was tackle-hugged by many of my favorite people, not to mention the two favorite people I was staying with. It felt really awesome to be known by people. Seeing my friends was unbelievable, and that was only the beginning.
  • I hung out on campus and at the J-school on Friday, which was another form of catching up with people. I went back to some of my journalism professors, and they were all so proud of me. We talked journalism, which is kind of all I talk about besides football these days. Friday night was rally night, where the Missouri Band Bunch plays at bars downtown and has a generally amazing time. 
  • The next morning, I went with some of my best friends to the live broadcast of College Gameday on the Francis Quadrangle with the columns and Jesse Hall in the background. It was the first time the program had come to MU. We had roughly 18,000 people there, and we broke the Gameday record of participants. 
  • I participated in the Marching Mizzou Alumni Band for the football game, and it was incredible to be back on the field even though the practice was unbelievably long and all I wanted to do was tailgate. It's OK though, because the football game was totally worth it. 
  • Just in case you have been living in a box or you don't follow college football, we beat the No. 1-ranked Oklahoma team. It was the first time in 40 years that MU has done that, and it was well deserved. The crowd rushed the field, the goal posts came down and the whole town partied. It was one of the best football games I have ever been to!

    So that was an extremely shortened version of the major events of the weekend. I was so lucky to have been there! I will definitely remember this weekend for years to come. Next year is the 100th homecoming celebration. Could it get even better?

    On a more serious note, though, I am still happy to be back in Savannah. I didn't think I would feel this way at all. I really have left the college lifestyle. I live on my own, with my own responsibilities, apartment and  my own bills. As much as I love my friends back in Columbia, I can feel myself moving on from that part of my life. I won't move on from the people, just the lifestyle. I'm glad to be home. In Savannah, that is.

    Sunday, October 17, 2010

    30 day blog challenge

    In an effort to update my blog more often, I have decided to steal this challenge from someone I went to high school with, who keeps a blog of her family. I figure that not only will I have a reason to post here every day, but I can also give the general public a little info about me. Tomorrow is Day 1.
    Day 1 – A photo of yourself and a description of how your day was.
    Day 2 – A photo of something you ate today.

    Day 3 – Your idea of the perfect first date. 
    Day 4 – Your favorite photograph of your best friend.
    Day 5 – A photo of yourself two years ago.
    Day 6 – A photo of an animal you’d love to keep as a pet.
    Day 7 – Your dream wedding.
    Day 8 – A song to match your mood.
    Day 9 – A photo of the item you last purchased.
    Day 10 – A photo of your favorite place to eat.

    Day 11 – What’s in your makeup bag?
    Day 12 – A photograph of the town you live in.
    Day 13 – Your favorite musician and why?
    Day 14 – A TV show you’re currently addicted to.
    Day 15 – Something you don’t leave the house without.
    Day 16 – Your celebrity crush.
    Day 17 – A photo of you and your family.
    Day 18 – Something you crave a lot.
    Day 19 – Another picture of yourself.
    Day 20 – The meaning behind your blog name.
    Day 21 – A photo of something that makes you happy.
    Day 22 – A letter to someone who has hurt you recently.
    Day 23 – 15 facts about you.
    Day 24 – A photo of something that means a lot to you.
    Day 25 – What’s in your purse?
    Day 26 – A photo of somewhere you’ve been to.
    Day 27 – A picture of you last year and now and how have you changed since then?
    Day 28 – Your favorite movie.
    Day 29 – Something you could never get tired of doing.
    Day 30 – A photograph of yourself today + three good things that have happened in the past.

    I actually do have a few design-related posts to put up eventually. I have a few projects that are coming to a close. Stay tuned!

    Wednesday, October 6, 2010

    Living the American dream ... kind of

    When I was 17, I decided to change my life. At first, it wasn't my choice. I was kind of thrust into it when all the plans I had for the future suddenly disappeared. I went from planning to stay in Missouri my whole life with a boyfriend that loved me to a single, prospective journalism student at the University of Missouri. I decided to live my life for me, follow my dreams and work at a place that I really loved. I wanted to move. I (still) want to see the world. I don't want to be stuck in a boring job that I hate.

    After college, I was lucky enough to do just that. I moved to Savannah, Ga., to work at a newspaper that I got a great impression of when I visited. I love my job. I am doing what I love, and I don't dread coming into work every day. However, like most other journalists in today's world, an awesome journalism job doesn't actually pay all the bills. I decided to take up a second job about a week ago and began the rigorous application processes. Since I am working nights, I have all day off. I don't have high hopes for my second job, but I really do draw the line at fast food places (maybe Sonic ...  I can fuel the habit that way).

    However, when filling out the copious amount of applications, I found that I am ridiculously underqualified for a simple customer-service-based job. I worked for Dierbergs for 4 years in high school and college; I have a short 6-month blip at a coffee shop, but no other actual menial job experience.  My hope is that I will pick up some type of seasonal job somewhere to tie me over until next year.

    I have applied to: JoAnns, Bed Bath & Beyond, Starbucks(es), Barnes & Noble, Target, Kroger, Walgreens, JCPenney, Michael's and Best Buy. Wow, that's a lot. So far, I've gotten zero calls back.

    But does anyone else find it absolutely ridiculous that I have a bachelor's degree, full-time job and I still can't make due? Or that I have a bachelor's degree and department stores would rather hire kids in high school over me? (I don't really know if the second part is true, but go with it, OK?)

    Basically what it comes down to is that my dream isn't enough. Not for now at least.

    Pink papers, preparing for the worst and prancing puppies

    It's been at least a week since I have blogged, but that definitely doesn't mean that nothing has been going on. Welcome to my bulleted list.

    • Newspapers preparing for the worst

    Last week, former President Jimmy Carter was hospitalized for a viral infection in his stomach. That day at my newspaper's budget meeting, we held a short "what if" session mainly focusing on if the former president were to die. What would we do in the paper? How would we treat it? Would we go poster-size on his photo? In case you didn't know, Carter is also a former governor of Georgia, and he announced his bid for presidency at a local restaurant in Savannah. Since that conversation, we have started to compile photos the paper has taken as well as AP photos for the inevitable day when he passes. I actually might create a multimedia project to go along with it ... That could be exciting!

    • Wiener dog races

    The starting gates for the wiener dog races.

    The Savannah Morning News helps to sponsor the wiener dog races for Oktoberfest, which I volunteered for this year. I know what you're thinking: If you're not absolutely disgusted, you are absolutely confused. Yes. Wiener dogs. Racing. Adorableness. We raced about 150 dogs Oct. 2, and the fastest dog of the day, "Frankie" of Savannah, made the 50-foot trek in 2.3 seconds. Not all the dogs came running when the gates were lifted though. Some were too scared to leave, some just wanted to play with the other dogs. It was super entertaining.

    I was in charge of getting the dogs ready at the starting line. I handed each owner a bandanna, and I made sure that all the correct dogs were racing in their correct heat. I tried to at least. People were crowding and confused, and I tried to make everyone happy. After all, this event is about Dachshunds! How could it not be happy?

    • Breast cancer awareness in Savannah

    Courtesy of Savannah Morning News

    I never knew how incredibly HUGE Breast Cancer Awareness month was in this town! SMN and St. Joseph's/Candler hospital team up every October to "Paint the town Pink." The SMN building was "flocked" for the event (see the photo), there's a large ribbon in our main window and a bright pink golf cart in our foyer (Apparently it's a prize for a raffle of some sort at the end of the month), and the paper sports a pink ribbon on its masthead the entire month of October.

    One of the more interesting things the paper does, though, is it publishes a pink newspaper. On Oct. 3, the newspaper that people bought at the grocery store or had delivered to their home was entirely pink. So, this is my pink 1A. Thankfully I didn't have to design on a pink computer screen that night.

    I think what the community does for breast cancer awareness is really cool -- especially when several big organizations in the community come together for a common cause.

    Saturday, September 25, 2010

    A new typography assignment!

    So my lovely engaged friend, Amanda, asked me last week if I wanted to design a page of her wedding guest book, which will be similar to this one. She had this poem that she had really fallen in love with, and she wanted me to design it for her. The poem, which is perfect for her and Sean by the way, is all about the progression of a relationship and how it is in its beginning stages of husband and wife.

    She already has a color scheme and font choices for the invites and other wedding things, but she said she wanted this one to be a little different. "More contemporary," I think is how she phrased it. It's on an 11" by 11" page in the book, and it is completely open to any color. I'm not really going to veer from her originals though. I'm excited about it! I had lived with her for about 3 years and didn't get to help nearly as much with wedding stuff as I would have liked. Although, that might be because we both led hectic insane college lives and had no time ... I am really happy to help her, though.

    Sadly, I don't have a finished product yet, but I was given a long deadline ;) The poem is a lot longer than I thought it was, and I have been having some trouble getting it all to fit. Ultimately, I want to create a few designs, so that she can pick and choose what she likes. It is her wedding after all, right? I'm almost done with my first prototype, though, and it looks awesome! I'll post the final copies on here when I am completely finished.

    Thursday, September 23, 2010

    I'm not quite the savvy shopper, but...

    The Savannah Morning News has a weekly columnist called the Savvy Shopper. This woman uses sales, clearances and coupons to buy a crap-ton of stuff for really low prices. Not only does she have the column, but she also holds coupon classes and has a huge following in Savannah. While I don't understand why one would need 15 boxes of cereal at a time, she still definitely knows how to shop. Well, I'm not her, but I have been raised with a thrifty eye, which could be good and bad, I guess.

    I flock to the clearance racks at JCPenney; I browse the end caps at Target, and I am now clipping coupons weekly. Sometimes I get really good deals. For example, today I went a clothes shopping. I went to JCPenney, Old Navy and Payless, and if I would have bought everything at full price (3 dressy shirts, a cardigan, 3 dresses and a pair of flats), I would have spent $240. Because of the clearance racks, my $10 off coupon and good eyes, I got it all for a little under $61. That's a savings of $179, people! Can I also add that I was doing all this while sipping on my pumpkin spice frappuccino that I got for free for filling out a survey for Starbucks?

    What are the bad parts, then, you ask? Well, because I get such good deals on everything, I feel like I can't pay normal prices for anything, and I won't do it. A $40 pair of shoes? Nope. $50 pair of jeans? No way. I feel bad paying that much money for things that I might be able to get cheaper either at a different store or at the end of the season. I don't like to call it frugal, but I don't know what else to call it.

    On days like this, though, I can definitely call it freaking awesome.

    Tuesday, September 14, 2010

    I found something cool.

    It's a website. I feel like it would work really well on an iPad because it is a simple click-and-drag navigation. Even though it took a long time for me to go through it on a normal computer, the content was exciting enough to continue through all the pages. I won't be attempting this level of awesome on my new website, though. I'll just sit and admire. Welcome to

    Sunday, September 12, 2010

    Kitten shop's closed

    I took back my recent batch of foster kittens last Thursday. I'm glad I did because Maia was starting to get sick. She couldn't keep food or water down, and she had pain in her abdomen. First, I took her to the emergency vet because this all started on Labor Day weekend, and normal vets weren't opened. They took X-rays, called it a gastrointestinal something and sent me home with some drugs and a $364 bill. They had given her some fluids, so she was feeling better and ate as soon as we got home — only to puke it all up plus the expensive medication I was giving her.

    I took her back to the vet on Wednesday, and they decided to keep her for observation for a few days because all the tests they were performing were inconclusive. I took the kittens back to the Humane Society on Thursday, and I picked Maia up on Friday (and paid MORE $$). She is confused about the lack of kittens, but she is also a lot happier. She's eating, taking medicine and — most importantly — not puking it up.

    I was really worried it was something I wouldn't be able to afford. Yes, I am getting paid, but that doesn't mean I can afford to drop thousands of dollars on a kitty surgery. I don't know what I would have done. I love Maia, and she is like my best friend here. I was really upset about losing her, and I am thankful that she is getting better.

    No one can really tell me what was wrong with her, either. I'm thinking it was stress-related from the furry monster kittens I had for a few weeks, if that even makes sense. In any case, Maia is much more important than taking care of kittens for other people. So, the kitten shop is closed indefinitely.

    For now, I am going to love me some Maia.

    Tuesday, September 7, 2010

    A new website is in the works

    With all this new-found time on my hands, I have decided that I should re-vamp my website. I want to make it look professional and have a theme, but most importantly, I want to beef up on my CSS and HTML knowledge. Every time I re-do my site, it gets a little better. For example, this is my first website. Definitely not as cool, but something can be said about the inner navigation of my portfolio pages. Another one of my goals is to do things the right way instead of coming up with work-arounds for what I want the CSS or HTML to do. I also need to not showcase as many things on the site, I think.

    So, the first step is to come up with a theme and a style of navigation. Basically, I need to be inspired. This article I found on Smashing Magazine (actually via a friend on Twitter. Go go social networking!) is a step in the right direction. It is all about interesting means of website navigation. It caught my eye at least.

    Saturday, September 4, 2010

    My own personal content aware feature

    When CS5 was released, one of the major selling points of Photoshop was the "content aware" feature. It made erasing blemishes or unwanted elements from a photo a two-click process. No more clone stamping the hell out of things, no more masking, erasing, painting and replicating. Sounds nice right? Well, it does all come for a price, and I already have CS4. So, I make due.

    I found a photo on the AP Saturday night that I wanted to use in the skybox of Sunday's 1A (See above, and courtesy of The Associated Press), but I knew I would have to alter it a bit to fit it how I wanted it. Queue Photoshop. I managed to find an easy way to extend the left part of the photograph that #1 didn't look photoshopped (at least for what I used it for) and #2 didn't take me forever. And guess what? You get a step-by-step tutorial of how I did it! It's not going to be super specific, but if you need any other direction, just ask.

    1. Extend the Canvas: I extended the canvas of my image by selecting Image > Canvas Size. You can save a step by anchoring the image to a corner or a side so you don't have to move things around afterward.

    2. Layering it on: I made two more layers of the original image in the layers palette (Ctrl [apple] + J). Then I used the pen tool to trace around the football player on one of my copy layers. After I closed the path and saved it in the paths palette (double click and name, just like the layers), I clicked the "Load path as a selection" button on the bottom of the palette. It is the one that looks like a dotted-line circle. Then, I cut the player out of one of my copies, and by selecting the inverse (ctrl [apple] + I), I cut the background out of the second copy.

    3. Blurring the image: From there, I made another copy of the original image and used a motion blur on it. You can do this by selecting Filter > Blur > Motion Blur. I set the distance at 268 pixels, but all you need to know is that the higher the number, the more blur you get. You can also set the blur to an angle, but I kept mine on 0 degrees for logic's sake. I used the same motion blur on the layer that is the exact copy of the original and the layer that had the football player cut out of it. To extend the image, I simply stretched the background cutout layer (ctrl [apple] + t) to fit the entire canvas.

    4. Finishing touches: I re-organized my layers so that I had the football player cutout on top, then the motion blurred copy, then the motion blurred cutout. From there, all I had to do was erase and blend a little bit of the edge of the motion blurred copy so that the two layers looked like they belonged on top of one another. As it ended up, I only really needed the top part of my image, but the experience was worth it. It only took me about 15 minutes to do. (It actually took me longer than that to type this blog.

    Here is how it was used in print:

    Friday, August 27, 2010

    Illustrator fears have been dashed

    I was tasked with an economic project last week. Every year, a monitor is released on how the local economy is doing. Depending on the results, the paper will either centerpiece the story or play it up in some way, usually with file art or a good concept or something. Guess who got the project this year? Me!

    The initial idea of this year's monitor was that the two industries of ports and tourism were really the driving force behind the economy's upturn in Savannah. There is a quote in the story about the two industries being "tentacles" that reach out and assist other industries with things such as jobs and other opportunities. So we thought that maybe we could illustrate these two tentacles reaching out for things. Several editors, the writer and myself were all gung-ho on this idea, so this is what I came up with:

    The response overall was pretty "eh." It looked cartoony, I thought, and new readers of the story didn't get the whole "tentacles" feel from the story at all. So, it was back to the drawing board. The headline for the story was "Savannah economy turns corner," and the real overarching theme was the uptick of the economy in general. After some brainstorming with a few co-workers, we developed a road sign idea. You know, actually turning a corner. I had to dive into Illustrator for this project, something I tended to avoid because of general lack of knowledge. That definitely changed. Here is what we came up with, which executed with some help:

    I created a traffic sign using vector graphics and and a bit of gradients. I am really proud of the result, and the overall response from editors was good, too. What do you think?

    After all of that craziness, I decided I should really focus on my Illustrator skills. I shouldn't be that intimidated by a program. So, when I had some time on my hands tonight, I tried an Illustrator tutorial this time. Through this tutorial, I learned how to manipulate gradients with both the gradient tool and the layer overlay function. Here's what I made:

    It might be a little early for Halloween, but I thought it was good practice!

    Monday, August 23, 2010

    Foster kittens, take two

    I took my Midsummer Night's Dream kittens back to the Humane Society about a week ago. It was really sad for me, but I didn't keep any of them. I think one of the reasons is that after I handed them off, I agreed to take another litter. So I traded in a litter of five kittens for a litter of two. Five was a lot.

    These new kittens' names are Jackie and Jamie. They have wiry hair and are part tabby. They both have blue eyes, which I think is absolutely adorable, and stripes. I tend to call Jackie Jackson when I am angry at him, and that leads me to thinking about Josh Jackson from Fringe, which makes me want to call the other kitten Olivia. Maybe one day I will actually accept the Humane Society's naming of animals.

    I had to take the new kittens back to the Humane Society last week for a checkup, and I wandered into the cat room. I saw all five of my Shakespeare kittens, and they had gotten so big! It was really sad to see them again, and if any of them are there when I go back in a week or two, I might have to adopt them. I am finding myself not getting nearly as attached to the Fringe kittens as I did the other ones ...

    Anyway, in case you want video evidence of new cute kittens, here you go!

    And here is Maia sunbathing on my little deck. She's continuously angry at me.

    Tuesday, August 17, 2010

    Journalists have a thing for drama

    It's funny how the things I love about journalism are also the things that drive us crazy if they happen all in one night. I have always been intrigued by journalists' pessimism. We get excited over car wrecks, shootings, house explosions, you name it. We do this because we then get a chance to be the first people to tell you (the general public) things. It's also a race with the different media organizations to see who will have the first story about something. Last night was no exception.

    I was designing 1A for the paper, and the centerpiece story was about the high number of jellyfish stings on Tybee Island. Now, if you know anything about me, you know that I have a ridiculous fear of jellyfish. I can deal, but they make me all squirmy. So I was dealing with the jellyfish when, all of a sudden, two people died in a car wreck on I-516. The three-photo, 20-inch package on the front page was bumped (Buh-bye jellyfish!), and the one-photo, 6-inch story was to replace it. This happened at 10:15 p.m. Our deadline for pages is 11:30 p.m. I had a little over an hour to re-arrange the front and its two subsequent jump pages, which both needed more stories because the text was heavily shifted.

    It was an exhilarating and stressful experience at the same time. I had help from the two other people on the desk, and we ended up sending the last page at 11:31 p.m. INCREDIBLE.

    The conclusion? Journalists have a thing for drama, but you already knew that about me, didn't you?

    Sunday, August 15, 2010

    So far from home

    Marching Mizzou band camp has started in Columbia, Mo., and I am not there. It's good and bad. I don't have to re-learn (or teach) pregame and marching fundamentals in the scorching heat, but I also don't get to spend a whole week with 300 of my bestest friends -- especially my color guard girls and boys. Bittersweet doesn't even begin to describe the extreme pros and cons of this situation. Marching Band was about 70 percent my life; now it's not, and I have that much of a hole in my heart where it used to be. I realize that life goes on, but this is my first year away (far, far away) so give me a little break.

    So I am trying to move on and be a grown up. I am doing pretty well: making money, paying my bills, making new friends and contributing to society. But just when I think that I might survive this growing up thing, something pulls me back down.

    My friends have been getting engaged left and right, and that has been freaking awesome, but I found out today that one of my exes is doing the same thing -- with the very reason we broke up to begin with. A friend of mine put it plainly and truthfully: "For some reason you can never forget the assholes in life." She's right. I can never forget him or how he shaped who I am. I can also never forget his promises to me before he cheated. I should be happy for him and his 4-year-old, but I just feel sick. My only respite is that I am so far from home that I don't have to deal with any of this in person.

    I guess this post is more on the "life" part of my life than the "design" part, but it is what I have been thinking about. I can't just ignore it.

    Saturday, August 7, 2010

    Photoshop tutorial: The scream

    I was inspried by a coworker to practice my Photoshop skills during downtime at work. I consider it honing my skills while waiting for pages to proof. So last night, I looked up Photoshop tutorials and took a crack at one involving smoke and a human protrait.

    Instead of going with a woman's face for the image, I decided to replicate something I had seen on Fringe, one of TV's coolest sci-fi shows on right now. The show has certain recurring symbols, and the scream above is one of them. Changing up the steps a bit in the tutorial, I found a man's angry profile on Google images to work from.

    From there, I cut out the guy's background and stylized the image so that I was just using the edges of this face as a guide. You can find the full instructions here. I used Photoshop smoke brushes provided by the same webiste, and I manipulated them into the outline of the man's face. After adding a couple filters (clouds, blurs), I overlaid an angry-looking gradiant that reminds me of the colors of fire. The colors are colder when the fire is the hottest. Here is my final project. What do you think? Kind of scary right?

    It also kind of reminds me of when Voldemort leaves Professor Quirrel's body in the Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone movie... Yep, I went there.

    You can't miss: Double-meaning logos

    You thought I was done with those blog posts didn't you? Well, I am, but I found this entry on, and I thought I would share it with y'all. I like these because they make you think a little. There is more to each logo than meets the eye at first glance.