My Kitchen

Yesterday my office was closed because of snow/ice, so I spent two hours cleaning my kitchen. I’m pretty sure it was cleaner than it’s ever been. I know I have some friends who are curious to see my house, so I figured I’d take pictures while it was sparkling clean.

I’ll eventually share pictures of the rest of my house, but the other rooms are much more still works-in-progress.

I’ve got a doggy door! The previous tenant had a rat terrior. Bert’s a bit too big to fit.  IMG_5802 sm

Most everything in my kitchen came from yard sales, Goodwill, or was given to me. IMG_5805 sm2

The number of appliances in this kitchen is rather ridiculous. Half of them are my roommates, though. I could get along with just a toaster and blender (and in a dream world, a KitchenAid mixer). When my sister moves in, I’m hoping the countertops will be taken up with fewer unsightly appliances. The previous tenant left several slabs of pegboard in the shed, so I painted one red and had my dad help put it up. The spice racks are IKEA, painted red, and the pendant light is also IKEA. It really bugs me that the bottom edge of the pegboard and the lowest spice shelf aren’t aligned. I put the spice shelves up several weeks before the pegboard, but I could’t put the pegboard that low because of an outlet. One day perhaps I’ll shift the spice shelves up six inches. My teacups are souvenirs from my travels and gifts from friends. IMG_5803 sm

A coworker gave me the toaster. The fact that I needed a toaster randomly came up in conversation my first month at my job and she had a toaster she didn’t need. How cool is it that it just happened to be red so it matches the rest of my kitchen? I love the open shelves above my sink. It gives me a way to decorate my tiny kitchen, since there’s not much wall space for hanging art. I lined the back with red contact paper. The tins on the top shelf are yard sale finds, the recipe box is from an antique store, and the tea cup is from Ireland. The paper towel holder was just an ugly thing from Goodwill. I painted it red and now it’s much prettier.
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So the kitchen floor is an ugly, stained vinyl, and part of it is missing in front of the cabinets on the left side of the room (you can kinda see in the first picture). I bought the striped runner rug from IKEA. I like it a lot, but with Bert, it’s always soiled and covered in white dog fur. Oh well.
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These are a couple photos I took on my trip to Ireland in 2012. Because who doesn’t want to look and cute cows and chickens while cooking beef or chicken?
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24 Years

animated_24

 © Maggie Josey 2014

“Our anxiety does not come from thinking about the future, but from wanting to control it.” – Kahlil Gibran

I turn 24 in 22 days.

For some reason, 24 is more daunting than 23. I don’t remember 23 seeming any more daunting than 22. And 22 no more than 21. Getting older has never caused me to feel anything but excitement or nonchalance. Never scary. Perhaps trifling, but never unfortunate.

Anyone reading this who’s, say 26 or 28 or 32 or some other age older than 24 is probably sniggering at how I fret over 24.

I’ve been working a wonderful new job for three months now. I live in a nice little house that I’ve decorated to my liking. I have an adorable, well-behaved dog (I insist I can’t live without a dog). I have friends both near and far I treasure. My family is close by. I live in a beautiful state with plenty of geographical and cultural diversity.

I’m in a good place, so why be bothered about getting a bit older? (Older, not old. I’m well-aware most people consider 24 a youthful age.)

I’m not the most patient person. In fact, I’m very impatient. I don’t let it show often. I internalize it, as I also internalize most of my feelings. My tendency to stay silent (and I refer to more than just my introversion) is a weakness. A weakness I strive to overcome. I fear judgment, rejection, criticism, so I don’t share much. I overanalyze everything. I assume judgment and rejection where there likely is none. And what that has to do with impatience—well, let’s hope I figure that out as I continue to write.

Impatience…internalizing…fears. I suppose my fear of judgment and rejection stems from a fear of lack of control. I’m impatient because I want to be in control. I still have dreams that have yet to be fulfilled. I am a dreamer if there ever was a dreamer. I live in my head (Remember I said I internalize everything?). I’m a thinker, I’m a listener, I’m a processor, I’m an analyzer; I’m not a talker. That seemingly mundane ‘conversation’ we had three weeks ago, when I didn’t say much of anything? I remember it in greater detail than you probably think. My silence is rarely apathy. I think I oftentimes feel more connected, closer to people than they feel to me because I listen much, yet share little.

So now that I’ve gotten rather off-topic, expounding an analysis of my psyche, let me get back to 24.

I think 24 makes me anxious because I’m impatient and I still have so many dreams that seem out-of–reach. And I’m getting oooold(er)! I want control. I want to just make things happen. I don’t want to wait. I fear my dreams not coming to fruition. And why 24? Why didn’t this hit me at 23 or wait until 25? Beats me, but I suddenly feel as if I need to utilize every moment in a way that will get me closer to my dreams, and that stresses me. Stress is no good!

Really, my purpose for writing this is to put some of my dreams on paper, so to speak. (I guess…on screen?) Writing, in addition to art, has always been cathartic for me. While putting my dreams in writing doesn’t expel some magic into the cosmos that speeds up the dream-to-fruition process, it does make me feel better, and when I feel better I’m more motivated. So, writing –> happy Maggie –> motivated Maggie –> dream-achieving Maggie! Writing is also a way for me to dump all those internalized feelings without speaking to anyone directly, and I need that sometimes (cathartic!). Talking to people is hard for me, as I’ve already made clear.

So here we go. These are some of my dreams. Some are more lofty than others. Some, people may find silly or naïve. Some may require money, some openness, some courage, and some time. Most probably require me to overcome those fears I talked about earlier. I don’t really know yet, as I haven’t thought out what dreams I’m going to list, and I won’t until I’m done typing this paragraph. Which is now. So let the list-making commence! In no particular order…

1. Have my own letterpress studio.
The very last class I took before leaving JMU was a letterpress printing class, and I discovered a new passion. Problem: the equipment I need to pursue the passion isn’t readily available. I’d love to buy a press and all the equipment I need to operate it. Unfortunately, presses are expensive and require a lot of expensive equipment and accessories. My best bet would be to find someone selling all of their equipment for a bundle price. Regardless of how I obtain it, though, I’m far from being able to afford it right now. Unless I happen upon someone giving a press away (anyone?). Time to start saving!

“The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.”- Steve Jobs

“Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway.” – Earl Nightingale

“The sky’s the limit. Your sky. Your limit. Now. Let’s Dance” – Tom Hiddleston (Hiddleston, I would happily dance with you!)

2. Travel.
I have an incurable travel bug. Travel is invigorating. Travel doesn’t burn me out like it does some people. In 2012, a week after I moved home from college, I went on a road trip to St. Louis. I returned home from the road trip at midnight, got up again at three in the morning, drove three hours to the airport, then went to Ireland for two weeks. My mom didn’t think I’d want to do the St. Louis trip because it’d be to stressful fitting that in between moving home and going overseas. HA. No. It was wonderful and I’d do it again in a heartbeat. I get antsy like a three-year-old at an opera if I try to be a homebody for too long. I want to get to know North Carolina (yes, I work for a N.C. magazine, but I actually want to get out and explore, not just read about it). I want travel through the states and see everything, off the beaten path and on. I want to travel abroad. I want to visit places I’ve been; pick up where I left off (Ireland, Italy). I want to experience as many cultures and see as many natural wonders as I can. I want to eat things, weird and wonderful.

“…be a traveler, not a tourist. Try new things, meet new people, and look beyond what’s right in front of you. Those are the keys to understanding this amazing world we live in.” – Andrew Zimmern

“I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view…” – F. Scott Fitzgerald

3. Saturate my life with arts and culture.
I love ballets, I love theater, I love music of all sorts, I love art, I love history and science, I love literature. I could go on. I go to performances and museums when I get the chance, but there was this three month span in my life when I fed that love every day. I think back on that time fondly, and it makes me realize I need to make more time for that again . When I studied abroad in London, I went to West End (and more avant-garde) productions every week. I went to museums and cafes and markets and new places every day. Of course, my London experience was expensive and I can’t afford to live like that. But going to one concert, ballet, opera, or theatrical production a month won’t empty my pockets. I’m sure there are plenty of museums nearby enough to make day trips of, and books and documentaries are readily available. I just need to make time.

“Be curious. Read widely. Try new things. What people call intelligence just boils down to curiosity.”?- Aaron Swartz

“I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.” – Albert Einstein

4. Be 100% satisfied with my career.
I love my job. I should make that clear. But I know I’m not going to be an editorial production assistant for the rest of my life. It’s an entry-level job. I hope to work my way up (and over and around, if necessary) to a “this is it!” job. If that’s within the company I’m currently with, then awesome. If not, oh well. I’ve been very confused for the past several years about what I truly am passionate about and enjoy doing. There are things I’ve decided I don’t actually like, and there are things I’ve discovered I do enjoy doing. Honestly, these discovery years have been tough—painful even. And I’m still learning about myself. Sometimes I’m crazy confident and excited about what I’m doing, and sometimes I’m discouraged to the point of tears. But I’m definitely in a better spot emotionally—a much better spot—than I was six months ago. God has showed me that he has a plan for me—a far better plan than what I can fathom. I have to keep reminding myself of that and trust Him completely.

“Relax. You will become an adult. You will figure out your career…You have a whole lifetime; time takes time. The only way to fail at life is to abstain.” – Johanna de Silentio

“I don’t want to earn my living; I want to live.” – Oscar Wilde

5. See the stars.
I want to go somewhere hundreds of miles from civilization, someplace untouched by the hands of man, someplace where the sky is minimally obstructed by light pollution. I want to lie down and just watch the sky…the stars. Stars are beautiful, formidable, mesmerizing, miraculous, romantic, mysterious, omniscient, indispensable, ageless. It saddens me that there are so few places left on earth where we can really see even a fraction of what there is to see. I want to see as many stars as I can. I want to truly experience the night sky, no matter how far I have to go.

“I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of the stars makes me dream.” – Vincent Van Gogh

“For the moon never beams, without bringing me dreams…”
– Edgar Allen Poe

6. Have a family.
Yes, I’m admitting it. I don’t want to be single the rest of my life. And by saying family, I’m not implying kids. And by saying I’m not implying kids, I’m not implying no kids. Am I being clear? I have no idea what my future holds in terms of family. I want to love someone and to be loved. I want someone to talk to, to travel with, to cozy up at home with, to experience life with, to grow old with. Basically, I want to get married someday. I say “have a family” rather than “get married” because the latter makes me think of weddings and rings and bridesmaids and flowers and receptions…and honestly, I don’t care a great deal about that. I care about having a wonderful, life-long, godly relationship, not necessarily the material stuff that’s traditionally tacked onto officializing it.

“Oh, the comfort, the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person, having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but pouring them all out, just as they are, chaff and grain together, certain that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and with a breath of kindness blow the rest away.” – George Eliot

“Life’s greatest happiness is to be convinced we are loved.” – Victor Hugo

“I’m looking for someone to share in an adventure that I am arranging, and it’s very difficult to find anyone.” – J.R.R. Tolkien

7. Let go. Open up. Be more self-assured.
I’m an introvert, yes. Nothing wrong with that. But I’m also very shy. I don’t need to go into detail here. Just go read the fifth paragraph above about my tendency to stay silent. I’ve never made friends easily, and in fact, I’m quite certain my reservedness has caused me to be misinterpreted as egotistical and insensitive many times in my life. I hope that those people who truly know me would, without hesitation, deny that. I’m not one to start a conversation with someone I don’t know well, but that’s because I get really anxious. It’s not because I’m judging. It’s because I’m scared of being judged. I enjoy getting to know people (I really, really enjoy getting to know people. I’m a rather affectionate person. I value relationships immensely.), but it’s not easy for me to allow people to get to know me. There are many times I’ve avoided social situations, and there are many wonderful relationships that could have been if I would just stop being so scared of people. Easier said than done.

“Be Fearlessly Authentic.” – Megan Gilger

“I live my life as straight-forward as possible. …We never know the magic that can arise between ourselves and other humans.” – Rachel C. Lewis

“You cannot live when you are untouchable. Life is vulnerability. – Édouard Boubat

You probably just learned quite a bit about me. Sorry. That was long. If you actually made it this far, though, you must have been at least somewhat interested. And hopefully you don’t see writing a 2300 word blog post about myself as egotistical. If you want, you can go write a 2300 word blog post about yourself on your blog now. I’ll happily read it and not think you conceited.

So. Let’s end this thing. Next time you see me, give me a hug and tell me 24 will be fantastic. I’d like that.

“Remember how far you’ve come, not just how far you have to go. You are not where you want to be, but neither are you where you used to be.” – Rick Warren

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Danville Concert Association Website

I recently finished up a website! The website is for Danville Concert Association. They came to me this summer wanting a website designed in time for the 2013-2014 season. This was a fun project to work on, as I love the performing arts. I’ve always enjoyed going to musical performances, ballets, theatre productions, etc. It was cool to get a glimpse at the performances that are going to be happening in the area in coming months.

This project was also a step away from the types of projects I typically seem to attract – “green” I guess is the best way to describe them. Have a look at my portfolio and I’m sure you’ll see what I’m talking about. I loved doing every one of those projects and they fit well with my interests. I hope to get more like them in the future, but it’s nice to diversify my portfolio and design for other things I’m passionate about, and I’m passionate about the arts.

Danville Concert Association wanted a sleek, modern website. They emphasized they they didn’t want it to look busy or cluttered, and they wanted to put a lot of emphasis on photos of performers. The website is based in WordPress, so members of the association board can go in and make updates themselves.

Information architecture for this project was fun. Yes, fun. I have a penchant for organizing and optimizing, so figuring out how to best present all the information they wanted on the website was a process I enjoyed.

This was the first website project I’ve done that I didn’t actually develop myself. I recently decided to focus on design, outsourcing development. I contacted a friend from college to do the development – Chiedo Labs. They do fantastic work and are very amiable and easy to communicate with.

Here is a screenshot. Visit http://danvilleconcert.org/ to see the full, functional website!

DCA

 © Maggie Josey 2013

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Typographic Tees

What do you get when a type foundry and a clothing company team up? Some pretty cool tees. Check out these House Industries + Uniqlo designs.

House Industries + UniqloHouse Industries + UniqloHouse Industries + UniqloHouse Industries + Uniqlo

See more HERE!

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Focus on your Strengths

I’ve been catching up on blog reading over the past few days. I follow a gazillion blogs – design blogs, lifestyle blogs, fashion blogs, crafty blogs, food blogs – and due to travel, work…life, I haven’t been keeping up with them. Three days ago, I had over 900 unread posts in my feed reader. I’m now down to about 20 (yay!).

I just finished reading an interview with creative director Joy Thigpen on Design*Sponge. She’s a wedding stylist, so not quite the same career as me, but I still enjoyed reading her interview and found her to be very relatable. Some of the advice she gives and personal lessons she learned are very reassuring to me as an artist because they are things I’m just now learning, implementing, or experiencing.

Here’s a quote that stuck out to me most:

“You have to focus on your strengths and learn to manage your weaknesses. Every market is competitive. You’re only going to pull ahead if you are able to work in your sweet spot. It’s nice because it’s your best shot at both success and happiness. I work to enrich my life as much as others. I love doing what I do…and it helps others achieve their dreams — even better. When I have to spend too much time doing the parts I don’t like everything suffers — the work, my attitude, etc. And me, struggling to work in my weaknesses cannot compete with another person who is rocking it in their zone. At the beginning you have to do everything yourself and that’s fine and good. You need to learn a basic understanding of how every part works. But at the very earliest moment possible start outsourcing the things you don’t like so that those things can be done better and you will be freed up to do the things you do best.”

I recently made the decision to start outsourcing web development. My college degree is in interactive design, so yes, I can code a website. It’s not necessarily what I enjoy doing, though, and it’s not my strength. My joy comes from designing. I value my knowledge about development because it’s a huge help in designing user interfaces…understanding how it all works and what’s possible, but I’d rather pass along my design to a passionate developer rather than code it myself. I feel that by outsourcing, I can put my all into design. I can design things that maybe I couldn’t code, but a “real” developer certainly could. I’m also more confident delivering the final product, knowing that it will have integrity — a developer who is an expert in development, as opposed to a designer who has some development skills, is likely going to create a more structurally sound, neatly coded website. Yes, I’m personally earning less money per project than I did when I did the development myself, but I’m happier in my work, and I can take on more projects since I have that extra time that would be spend doing development.

Be sure to head over to Design*Sponge to read the rest of her interview!

**edit: The next article I read following the one I posted about here also discussed outsourcing so you can focus on your strengths. The interview is with Lucy Feagins of The Design Files. Here’s a quote:

“There is plenty of stuff I am not great at (book keeping, photography, graphic design) and I have found it is SO much better to outsource those things. The end result is always better when I do.”

Perhaps a sign that I’m making the right decision? :D

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Old College Video Project

I was looking through some old videos on my computer, and I found this. In 2010, I took a HD video production class in college. We learned everything from using lighting and sound equipment to editing in Final Cut Pro. This video was part of an earlier project intended to help us get comfortable using lighting equipment. We had to create two versions of a short scene – one with regular lighting and the other with dramatic lighting.

I still remember the critique for our “non-dramatic” scene. Same actress (Hannah) is making a PB&J sandwich while watching TV. The process was pretty dragged out, with close-ups of facial expressions, opening the peanut butter, closing the peanut butter, etc. Our classmates and teacher weren’t sure she’d ever finish making that sandwich. :D

This is the dramatic lighting scene my friend Molly and I put together. It was totally unintentional, but we really like all the talk coming from the TV about an “evil lair” and having “one hour to get out of the room.” It fits the mood of the scene surprisingly well. Actresses are our friends Hannah & Eliza. Molly, who majored in digital video and cinema, has gone on to create some pretty spectacular work since. I couldn’t resist sharing. Silliness.

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Current Interactive Projects

I’m working on several projects right now that I’m so anxious to share, but they’re still in development phase. To sate my desire to go ahead and reveal the projects, I’m sharing a few sneak-peek screenshots.

Project: T-Lok

These are a few screenshots of the home page of a website I designed for a Rockingham, Virginia-based company. I’m a subcontractor for the project, so my roll was information architecture and design. A friend of mine is doing the development. I’m also currently working on designing a new logo for the product (T-Lok).

T-Lok_ss1 T-Lok_ss

Project: The Wisdomkeepers Project

This is a website I’m doing pro bono. The purpose of The Wisdomkeepers Project is to document, through a collective of writers, artists, photographers, musicians, and filmmakers, the wisdom of elders from all nations, religions, and people for current and future generations to see, hear, and feel. The project was founded by Harvey Arden (author, lecturer, former staff writer at National Geographic Magazine).

I’m doing both design and development for this project. This website is going to be responsive, and I’m excited because it’s my first experience actually developing a responsive website. These screenshots are of an interactive navigation feature and the bookstore page.

wisdomkeepers_ss1 wisdomkeepers_ss

© Maggie Josey 2013

 

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Design Salute: Websites

Once again, my web design bookmarks folder is getting overcrowded. Here are some beautiful and intriguing sites. Check out my previous websites post for more!

Rivers & Robots – This website is just very much my taste. This is a website I’d love to have for myself if, say, I were an indie musician or owned a little online boutique selling artsy apparel. It’s beautiful…and responsive!

Bitfoundry - I love the retro-inspred design of this website. It’s clean, it has lovely typography, it’s responsive, it’s easy to navigate, yet it still has personality – all great characteristics for a website to have.

Richard Photo Lab - Another retro-inspired design. I was on a retro kick for a bit.

Knock Knock Factory - I love how interactive this website is! The way the content loads as you scroll down is a neat feature, and I love the rollover effect on the logo. I also really like the navigation for the projects pages.

Sputnik – I love the interactive “Process” infographic – great example of how awesome HTML5 is. This is another website that responds to the user scrolling – peripheral content is faded out.

Dan Edwards – I just really like the design of his “recent work” – a sleek, eye-catching layout. It’s easy to look through.

The Creative Parasol – I just think it’s cute. The design fits the business.

52 Weeks of UX - This is something a friend showed me. Each week, a new tidbit about user experience design, or “designing for real people” is published. A cool resource, though considering it’s week 51 and I just learned about it a couple weeks ago, I have some catching up to do. I like the navigation – very straightforward.

PTARMAK – I bookmarked this because it’s so unique. It’s like no other blog I’ve seen. The feed scrolls vertically while the individual posts scroll horizontally, and the logo is fixed (and has four rotating images…are they all logos?). I’m not sure if I like it, but it is unique.

Jardan – LOVE! So sleek and sophisticated. I love websites that successfully implement photography on such a large scale. The website design doesn’t detract from the product, but rather it serves as a spotlight that lets the beauty of the furniture shine.

Gather – Another website that implements photography beautifully.

Every Last Drop – This website utilizes parallax scrolling really well. The purpose of the website is to teach about water conservation. It’s so fun to scroll through, it probably is a pretty successful mechanism for getting a point across.

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