Sales and design aren’t polar opposites. However, with design, we’re not selling things, or even services necessarily–we’re selling ideas.
I’m Trying to Make this Sales Class More Applicable July 14, 2011
Tags: advertising, boring, college, design, Graphic Design, idea, marketing, online classes, sales, self-promotion
Design ≠ Art March 27, 2011
Design is NOT merely art. Design is NEVER just “making things look pretty”. Design requires an exciting process between the client and designer upon which the final project stands. The process is your foundation. How you choose to build that foundation determines how strong the final project will communicate to your intended audience. Take your time, communicate, and innovate.
Sorry. I got mad because nobody gets this. Design is art with a purpose. But I feel better now. :)
Rewinding 2010 :: July (A mini-rant about homeschooling and that crazy “socialization” issue) January 31, 2011
Tags: 2010, communication, education, homeschooled, homeschoolers, homeschooling, HSLDA, july, public, public school system, rant, socialization
Cara’s officially graduated! WOW! It was exciting for her, and me too… we were both homeschooled, and to have our family and friends there was a huge thing. A lot of people have their doubts about homeschooling, so to see my mom, sister, and dad get up and say what they did in front of so many people, is always encouraging to other homeschoolers. Most of all, it’s a testament to yet another homeschooler accomplishing something. It was a statement to our family members that we take things seriously.
You know, the most vocal, but in my opinion, most shallow argument people use against homeschooling is….(you ready?)…”What about socialization?”
My answer: “What about it?”
“Well… what do you do about socialization?”
Of course, I know this isn’t something they just thought of asking out of concern. It’s something they’ve been taught to ask. They don’t know anything else, so I don’t fault those that ask. Apparently, they must not get out much themselves, otherwise they would have learned homeschoolers really *don’t* have an issue with socialization. Besides, if they really thought I wasn’t “socialized”, why would they waste their time asking me, since I’m most likely not “socialized” enough to answer.
So it continues..
“Well… what about proms? I mean, you can’t go to proms. What about, like, well… boyfriends… dances…”
And they usually stump themselves before I can even answer. Really. Ohh! Socialization! You mean, the bullying? The suicide attempts? Bomb threats? Breakups? That’s what you call “socialization”? First of all, we *do* have homeschool proms. I still wouldn’t want to go to a prom if I had the chance. And see? That’s where I get to be proud of my decisions. If I was in a basic highschool, I know I’d feel pressured or obligated to go.
Sheesh, you talk about “socialization”: “Oh look! So-and-so is with so-and-so now? Ohmygossssh that is SO lame! I can’t believe it. He SO totally should of gone out with HER!” And so on. Or the parties afterwards. Why would I want that, why would I (should I) care? Is that really the kind of socialization I want? I think I’d rather consider how my actions may affect my future and start planning for that now.
You see, the “issue with socialization” doesn’t lie among the homeschoolers. The issue is in the general public that have lost so much common sense to the point that common sense isn’t common anymore, so they don’t understand common social issues that homeschoolers are usually the first to demonstrate (yes, the run-on was intentional).
The “issue” with us homeschoolers really isn’t an issue at all. Granted, we aren’t perfect all the time. But when it comes to handling professional situations, engaging in intelligent conversations, and being leaders–well, we’ve got that pretty well under control. It’s not surprising that the ones with the finger pointing at them getting asked, “What about socialization!?” are the ones the finger-pointers are working for. Look it up, I dare ya. Google the research, statistics, charts, and graphs comparing the work ethics, social skills, overall positive countenance, and contentment of homeschoolers vs. their non-homeschooled peers.
We’re happy with who we are. We do well academically. We’re leaders. We’re confident, courageous, and competent. We have lasting family relationships. We’re not perfect–but we aren’t afraid to admit that. We’re honest and down-to-earth. Oh, and we win spelling bees.
So what about socialization, now? I’d say, don’t waste your time.
Rewinding 2010 :: September January 21, 2011
Tags: Birmingham, business, catering, dining, Dr. Brownstein, expo, food, food expo, gourmet, Growing Connections Conference and Organic Harvest Expo, health, Healthy, healthy living, holistic, Inn Season, Jordan Rubin, Maple Creek Farm, marketing, michigan, Mind Body & Spirits, natural, nature, organic, Pure Food 2 U, salts, sea salt, table salts, the Maker's Diet, vegan, vegetarian
Food. Food food and more food.
But not just food… like fast food, or out-to-eat food, or food that isn’t food, or stuff that looks like food, or food with tons of ingredients…
Nope. This is the real stuff. Natural. Organic. Real.
September is the prime harvest season. I got to enjoy it in full swing…and not just because I work at an orchard:
An old friend of mine emailed me on Facebook, asking if I was interested in volunteering at an organic expo in Birmingham. Sure I was! My summer break goal was to take advantages of sporadic fun activities… so this fit right in. It was not only for fellow foodies, but for organic foodies, natural nerds, vegetarians…and it was in Birmingham to top it all off (Birminham, MI is an old, upper-class area…very wooded, very classy).
The day started off with Jordan Rubin, author of the book “The Maker’s Diet”, as the keynote speaker. He was followed by Dr. Brownstein, a popular holistic doctor. He spoke about iodine in our diets and touched on table salts vs sea salts. Another holistic doctor lectured about Vitamin D.
However, that wasn’t the most fun part. The speakers were only a small percentage of the event. The rest seemed more like a natural-themed flea market. Seriously cool. From soap-making, roasted corn cobs, and seasonings… to mushroom coffee, baby and pet products, to one awesome catering company—which is where Mom and I volunteered.
That had to be the best part. “Pure Food 2 U“, a local Michigan caterer, is dedicated to supporting other local farms…AND they actually make great food. Mom and I just started out by handing out the pre-paid lunches to the customers bringing their tickets. But—I got into it, asking the customers questions and trying to answer their questions. Of course, this made me go through a crash-course of Pure Food 2 U knowledge. They even had gluten-free brownies…and since it was an organic expo, of course those were a popular seller.
We ventured around some more, and I couldn’t resist snapping a few picts of the produce displays. My favorite business of the day, however, was the Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) program from Yale, “Maple Creek Farm“.
Maple Creek Farms has come a long way and established quite a following, thanks to the hardworking team of Michelle Lutz and her husband, as well as their weekly organic food program. For 18 weeks during the summer, Maple Creek puts together a variety of their fresh produce and provides them to their many members. They’ve done so well that they’re now providing produce in season to Mind, Body, Spirits (a gourmet organic restaurant in Rochester), Inn Season (a fabulous vegan cafe in Royal Oak), and various farm markets. It was exciting to see them at this event, considering they’re all the way from Yale.
The best part of the day (apologies to the speakers) was actually having the lunch we were passing out half the day:
Check that out! Spring Mix salad with fresh chicken…and a natural brownie, fruit salad, and chili. Seriously the best.
So despite taking a busy Sunday in September off work, it was a great day. I talked to a lot of local business owners and I’m even thinking of doing it again next year–but with the intentions of getting some design work done for the businesses. Either way, that was my highlight from September.
Just a note: If you’re in Michigan, and are interested in volunteering for the organic expo (I’d recommend it!) Check out the facebook page for Growing Connections Conference and Organic Harvest Expo!
Rewinding 2010 :: October January 7, 2011
Tags: apple orchard, apples, Armada, Blake Farms, Blake's Cider Mill, Blake's Orchard, Blakes Big Apple, business, busy, college life, drama, farm, homework, michigan, October, school, teamwork, Time Management
OH… you mean OCTOBER. October is spelled with four letters: “B-U-S-Y”. Busiest month of the year.
Okay, really…not much happened in October. I just went to school full time and worked overtime. Not bad, right?
It was our *busy* season at work. Yeah, I’m sure you’ve seen it! It’s when swarms of people line up outside at the orchard for their annual cider and donuts. Literally, thousands of people come through in one weekend alone. The fall colors attract the city people, and they leave happy with their arms filled with pumpkins, apples, cider, donuts, caramel apples, and really tired kids. It’s fun, though… we love it.
The weekdays, on the contrast, consist of quiet mornings.. that is, until the school groups arrive. “Organized Chaos” is what Becky calls it. It is. She does an impressive job keeping all the groups in order. The frenzied teachers arrive, check in, all the while trying to keep their groups together. They board the wagon before the students get impatient (they’re usually preschool-3rd graders). When they’re done picking apples, it’s off to the petting farm. In the meantime, those of us in the store stock up like it’s Y2K with hot dogs, nacho trays lined up all over the counter, cider back on the shelves, whatever we think we need for the group that comes in. The last stop for the fieldtrip is to the store for cider, donuts, and lunch (which is a huge ordeal and the reason why we need to stock up while the group is outside)—and when they’re done—well—it’s like a whirlwind went through! We take a breath and set up all over again, just in time for the next group.
I worked so much this year, that when I came home and tried to relax, I’d close my eyes for a split second and saw THIS:
I have to mention one fabulous weekend. The highlight was when we ran out of donuts. Customers were pretty confused as to why Blakes Orchard didn’t have donuts. We have a pretty good team, though. My manager came up with a plan that kept everyone at least momentarily sane. It’s crazy. One day we’re doing retail, the next day…crowd control.
Answering the phone is a blast, too.
“Blake’s Big Apple, can I help you?”
“Hi! This is Blakes?”
“Um… how do I get there?”
“Well…where are you coming from?”
“Okay, where do you live?”
When we’re actually *not* busy for a moment, we find ways to *look* busy (and this is the fun part). Cheryl has some mad display skills, so helping her out with that is something I always enjoy. If you come into the store this year and see two people randomly staring at certain spots of the store from different angles… now you know what we’re doing—trying to imagine something that isn’t there—yet. Once we (er, Cheryl) has an idea, things just go together, and they usually turn out pretty nice. I was pretty pleased with the turnout one day, and when no one was looking, I grabbed my iPod and ran up to the loft:
On top of working overtime there, I was in school three days per week, 4 hours each day, driving 6 hours each week, doing homework, and trying to get comfortable at a new campus–OH and working on a few logos here-and-there. Thank God for my family who picked up my slack at home, my co-workers who dealt with my lack of energy and a little bit of grouchiness, and my friends, who didn’t mind that I neglected them (sorry guys, I still love ya!). SO glad October is over. Can’t wait for the next time it comes around.
What I learned in October: Sleep is overrated, drink MORE COFFEE!
Okay okay on a more serious note, I learned how much I’m capable of if I put my mind to it. It wasn’t easy, but that’s because I wasn’t certain of the outcome (i.e. my GPA turnout, haha if people still liked me at work, if I’d get my friends’ design jobs done on time). Now that I know I can do it, I think I’m more equipped handle it this coming fall. Granted, I always manage to take on a lot more than I think I can handle, but with God’s help, I think I’ve got a pretty good chance at winning again.
Rewinding 2010 :: November January 6, 2011
Tags: antiques, Art, art stores, buying local, coffee, coffee house, coffee shop, Dorothy Hamill, family, Local, local business, Marshall, michigan, Serenity, skating
My grandparents love antiques. Antique pictures, typewriters, cups, silverware, even mechanical things—you name it. They probably have it… either that or they’ve auctioned it off already. My grandma has a little spot in an antique shop in a cute little town called Marshall. She’s always talked about it, but I’d never really seen it in person. Well finally, we all drove out together and visited Marshall. Cute town!
We met the owner of the antique shop, and he told us all about how Dorothy Hamill–a celebrity figure skater–stopped in to visit his shop. He was so excited; I guess she bought a christmas tree pin. While Grandma and mom worked with the antique display a bit, Cara and I walked down the street to a local coffee shop called “Serenity”. The coffee was good, however I think they could just use a bit of music and lighting. It was rather dark and quiet, I felt like I had to whisper the whole time I was there–almost like a library. But it was definitely a cute place with lots of potential.
After that, we went a bit further to the art gallery that showcases a number of local Michigan artists. We had actually stopped here before on the way home from a camping trip…but it was such a quick stop I didn’t think it counted as an actual “visit to Marshall”. Anyhow, we stopped in, and actually had a bit more time to look around. A friend of ours loves artistic, vintage, and occasional whimsical piece of jewelry, so we found the perfect gift for her.
Grandma’s birthday was at the end of September, but I was in school and didn’t get to spend much time with her. For a late birthday gift we took her out to eat at the popular restaurant there called “Schulers”—known for their wine and cheese. The weather was perfect, the food was great—we had an awesome time.
Rewinding 2010 :: December January 2, 2011
Tags: 2010, banner, business, buying local, coffee, coffee shop, December, family, Graphic Design, logo, michigan, Pellston, Photography, procrastination
It’s 2011. Already. I thought about 2010, and to be honest, it wasn’t much of an eventful year…or so I thought. It didn’t seem like “a year to remember”, and—blame it on my awful Italian memory—I couldn’t remember much from 2010. Of course the recent happenings were still fresh in my memory, and I was still flying high on the last semester’s turnout (considering I’d worked overtime, commuted, and went to school full time). Other than that, however, I was stumped about what I did during that last 12 months. That’s pretty bad!!
I had an idea.
I opened iPhoto and picked out one really memorable event from each month. I enjoyed reviewing my year backwards, as it brought a lot of those “Oh yeah!” moments for me. I’m doing one month each day. Here we go:
That was just yesterday, right? Not hard. I’d say the most exciting thing for me, was probably just as exciting for my aunt. Remember the logo I made for the Coffee Cottage? Well the Coffee Cottage is now officially open! Now let me back up. Alyssa loves coffee, and Alyssa loves design—especially designing logos. So designing a logo for a coffee shop was perfect. I loved the whole process. But see, usually… when the design process is over, it’s over! I forget about things, and move on. I don’t often see my designs put to work (not that I’ve done many), but I don’t do much local work. The logo I designed for the Coffee Cottage was finished, and I only saw it here-and-there, and only in a small, digital format. BUT—Mom, Cara, and I drove up north to go visit my aunt. Our first stop when we arrived in Pellston, was the infamous Coffee Cottage—a name that was burned in my mind, but I hadn’t actually seen it live. When we drove up and I saw this:
…you can imagine how excited I was. Of course, it’s not on a lighted sign, or in flashing lights. But it was there…for everyone to see! My logo… my aunt’s coffee shop. My logo ON her coffee shop. Well now it’s my aunt’s logo. But I still made it. It was weird. But boy was I motivated. So motivated, my sister and I went made her a fun facebook page for her Coffee Cottage. Definitely go “like” it, and support a Michigan business!
What I learned from December:
Don’t put things off until tomorrow. Tomorrow will be here and gone before you know it. By then, it might be too late. If you really want something, do it…today. Tomorrow is when you get to enjoy what you did today.