Refuel Your Creativity

So this past Wednesday I attended a Lunch+Learn for Crosspoint's Creative Team. I volunteer with them and they wanted the opportunity to give back to the people that help serve to make them great. It was an incredible experience because sometimes you just need that creative "recharge" or for someone to tell you.. 

"HEY! How 'bout you try something new today?!" 

No matter what role you are in, we are all creative humans in our own way. We all have our own outlets outside of work that keep us creative... some being: knitting, wall-murals in our garage, coffee connoisseurs, volunteering with a non-profit, typography and even karate. 

Sometimes though, when we are in the work flow go-go-go mode, we begin to feel like our creativity is stagnant and/or gone. Good news: your creativity IS NOT GONE - it's just used up for the moment so here are some pointers from Stephen Brewster, Cross Point Creative Director, to help you refuel :) 

Tips from Brewster

+ Stay Alert
There is inspiration flying at you 100mph EVERY day. Stay alert and just soak it in.

+ Read / Write Everyday
You might not have time to sit and read a novel every night, but pick up a magazine or open a new article and read until you're inspired. Also write down all your inspiration - come back to it later to see where your mind was going and see if it relates to anything in your projects / life currently.

+ Scrapbook Your Creativity
Not literally - unless you can... then that's awesome. There is inspiration everywhere - airports, restaurants, nature - take pictures of cool creative things you see/like and create an album in your phone, Evernote or Niice to keep it all organized.

+ Take a Picture EVERYDAY
Taking a picture everyday FORCES you to be creative. You can only take so many pictures of your cat before your friends and family start to silently recognize you as the crazy cat lady. One. A. Day.

+ Communicate*** [My Favorite]
In order to communicate and exercise your creativity - you need two type of people in your life: 

Champions: (aka your cheerleader) People that inspire you by raving about your talent, complimenting you on a job well done or just praising their love for your work! These people will lift you up and inspire you to do better work, knowing people look up to you.

Challengers: These people are pushing you to do better. Always giving you feedback or encouraging you to try new things or a different approach. Pushing your design, code or spreadsheets to the next level :)

Side note: Whoever your Champions / Challengers are, I encourage you to tell them how they inspire you and thank them today! :) They will be more alert to hold you accountable - AND - you'll totally make their day!

+ Remove Routine
Routine kills creativity. If you work from home every day, change the location of your desk or hang up some different artwork. If you work at the same coffeeshop every week, try a new one. Drive a different way to the grocery store... take a backroad instead of the highway. Mix up your life! You will always find new ideas in the beauty of adventure.

+ Find Yo' Jam
Listen to the music that helps you with what you are working on and focus! These are my two go-to playlists but depending what I'm working on - Spotify Mood Searcher helps with that!! Working from Home playlist and Peaceful Piano.

+ Catch a Movie
If a picture is worth a thousand words, how many is a movie worth? Go catch a movie! It will always fire up your creativity and get your mind wondering about the branding, collateral, music soundtrack, costumes and how they accomplished all those dare-devil stunts.

+ Take a Walk
The hardest part about being creative is walking away and realizing it is time to forfeit for the time-being and go clear your head. You are not helping anyone by staring at your computer screen - deadlines and time crunching included - taking a 10 minute walk will help your focus more than trying to pound it out on "E".

+ Create Unnecessarily
For some reason when there is a dollar amount tied to your passion... no matter what, it becomes work. You go with what you know creatively, because you know it works. But every time you do that, you are always cramming yourself inside of a box and never trying new things! Create unnecessarily and work with your hands for FREE... but for YOURSELF! It will open outlets for your design and creativity you didn't know were there. 

+ Be Intentional to be Alone
Your best ideas are found when you are driving alone, in the shower and right when you wake-up / falling-asleep. Be sure to cherish that time and allow the ideas to flow - keep a notebook by your bed! 

+ Dont Quit
You will never succeed if you quit - try the different outlets to test your creativity and see what works best for you!

 

I hope you enjoyed these pointers as much as I did! 

Stay Creative
+A

 

 

Drinking Swag

Sometimes, my clients like to party.

It was a blast working with the Team Cocktail crew to get these rollin' into their store! They are such a wild and fun group of people - never a dull moment with them! They claim themselves as a drinking company with a clothing problem :) You can find them online or at large music festivals!

Dierks Bentley and Team Cocktail Owner, Lyndsey Higgins, totally dig my design for Team Cocktail's swag :)   

Dierks Bentley and Team Cocktail Owner, Lyndsey Higgins, totally dig my design for Team Cocktail's swag :)   

Coffee Shop Etiquette

I had the opportunity to write a blog post for my employer, Uptrending. If you would like to view the original post, please visit Uptrending.com.

Here it goes... 


Coffee shops can be amazing. They can also become the bane of a remote worker’s existence.
 

Working remotely allows for a ton of freedom from where you can be creative. You can work practically anywhere with Wi-Fi (and caffeine), which makes the concept of coffee shops amazing. You can leave the house, grab a good cup of coffee, sit outside on a beautiful day, and enjoy conversations with people other than your dog.

On the other hand, coffee shops can be a pain sometimes – usually not due to the actual coffee shop, but the people around you.

Our remote team frequents coffee shops all over the United States. So it’s easy to say that we have experienced some frustrating and hilarious moments at them. We have compiled a list to make sure you’re not “that guy” at coffee shops.

Warning: If you do all of these things, we secretly hate you.

 

1. SEATING

giphy.com

giphy.com

 

Don’t sit in a bad location.
Entering a coffee shop, you have a very awkward 1-5 minutes immediately after you step in the front door. Find a table, quick. Oh, and everyone is watching you.

Your hunt needs to be quick and effective. Here are the things to look for:

• Near outlets
• Not right beside the cash register line
• Not blinded by the sun
• Not near the bathroom (Remember, coffee is a natural laxative)
• Not where ‘creepy people’ can approach you (Personal experience…)
• Not next to a huge table of women (Run away! It’s a Mary-Kay party and they will be there all day)

Don’t sit at a stranger’s table.
It’s not an open seat. Personal space says, “You can’t sit here, this seat’s taken.” You wouldn’t sit at an occupied booth at Chili’s – don’t do it at a coffee shop.

Don’t set your laptop down and then go order.
Swiper, no swiping!” doesn’t work in the real world. Instead of setting down your expensive laptop to claim that empty table, throw a couple of notebooks and pens down to save your seat while you order. If those get taken or moved, your life will go on. Not so much for your laptop.

Don’t sit at a large table or take up two tables.
Other people are trying to find places to sit. When there is one of you versus a group of five people trying to find seats, you will look like the jerk that took the six-person table. If it is not a large single seater “community” table, don’t sit there…it’s a trap.

Don’t make an obstacle course with your stuff. 
No one wants to Double Dutch jump rope with your laptop cord. Also, obstacles + steaming hot coffee = disaster.

Don’t hog all of the power outlets.
Go the extra mile and bring your own power strip. We promise you will be popular.

 

2. VOLUME

gifrific.com

gifrific.com

 

Don’t use your outside voice inside. 
We can hear you loud and clear…meaning, we know for a fact that the person on the other end of the phone can, too.

Don’t forget to bring your headphones. 
The best way to block out noise is by adding your own. (It might not be the peace and quiet you want, but you went to a coffee shop.) Come prepared. Buy 2-3 cheap extra ear buds and put them in your car, laptop bag, or purse/man-bag…just in case.

Don’t “forget” to plug your headphones in. 
We don’t want to hear your techno music. If you didn’t listen to the advice above and forgot them, don’t try to listen to your own music out loud.

Don’t give parents with loud/crying kids the death stare. 
It sucks. I get it. Their kids are running around and screaming while you are trying to work…but I promise, the parents need coffee more than you do. Take a deep breath. It won’t last long. They will order and leave.

 

3. COMMON SENSE

reddit.com

reddit.com

 

Don’t camp out and not buy anything.
FYI, ordering water doesn’t count.

Don’t forget your manners. 
Tip the barista. Say “please” and “thank you.” Clean up your space when you’re done.

Don’t take someone else’s coffee.
Duh. That’s not how you make friends on the playground.

Don’t complain to the barista if the Wi-Fi is awful. 
They are not the IT guy. People go there for the coffee, not the Wi-Fi. Cross it off your coffee shop list and move on. Also, be careful, because some coffee shops’ Wi-Fi will “time out” during peak hours (usually only if they also serve lunch and dinner). Be aware of this before you order and get comfortable. Checking Yelp before going to a new coffee shop helps to avoid hindrances like that.

Don’t stay until they kick you out. 
Don’t stay until someone has to come tap you on the shoulder and ask you to leave. The polite thing to do is leave 15 minutes or earlier before closing time.


(Yes, that’s actually me, in my favorite brew house, The Well Coffeehouse. If you’re ever in Nashville, check them out!)

Sidenote: If you realize coffee shops are not your “thing,” and prefer to work from home, try the Coffitivity app to get the background noise of a coffee shop without the pain points of actually being there. Great for white noise and productivity for a quiet day at home (and you can turn down the volume if it is too loud).

Hello Beautiful

"DRUMROLL PLEASE"

*Oooooh-Ahhhhhh-Ohhhhhh*
 

I am beyond ecstatic to finally say goodbye to the macbook-sourus. We spend 5 long years together. We made it through all of design college, my first big girl jobs and my first couple of big freelance clients. Moments happy and sad, from those "Ah-Ha" moments to some not so happy tears (usually due to the color-wheel and photoshop crashing without saving.... womp womp). We've been through it all. 

BUT - now that I am working remotely and living on my macbook more and more, it was time for an upgrade! Say hello to my "Lightning MacQueen Pro" (see what I did there). Just working on it the past couple of days - I forgot that computers can run this fast and efficient! It has been an interesting adventure learning how to work on a retina display while designing pixel perfect for websites... I'll get the hang of it soon :)  

I found some articles while researching web design on retinas:
Smashing Magazine // Towards Retina Web
Smashing Magazine // A Better Way To Design For Retina
Design Mag // Pixel Perfect Design 

A huge thank you to Uptrending for making this possible :) 
Y'all are the best!