Firsts & Lasts

Throughout the course of our lives, we all experience a large variety of ‘firsts and lasts’. With these ‘firsts’, we begin new and sometimes incredibly exciting adventures. With these ‘lasts’, we end these adventures and close these stories.

Without these ‘lasts’, we cannot begin another ‘first’.

I think this simple fact brings upon the biggest challenges all of us have to face in life. There is a drastic change brought on by every closing of one story and the beginning of a new one. It’s amazing to me sometimes, how one singular choice has the potential to radically change the course of your entire life.

Over the past two weeks, I have experienced a large amount of ‘lasts’. Having been in a stable, steady job for the past five years, my life had admittedly become quite routine and rather uneventful. Very few things changed, and opportunities for personal and career growth were few and far in between. After receiving and accepting the Production Design position I mentioned in my previous post, I have had to quickly close down any residual storylines from my previous job and in some sense, my previous life. I have had to say good-bye to some really amazing friends (most of whom I hope to keep in contact with!), and I have had to say good-bye to every tiny part of the routine of which I had become so accustomed. Even something as minute as turning left instead of the right turn I’ll be taking from now on, or setting my alarm to 5:55 instead of the new 6:15, all of these things are now in my past.

Beginning tomorrow, a new chapter of my life is starting to be written, and it is scary as hell.

I keep reminding myself, though, that without these risks and bold choices, I would potentially be blocking out anything new and wonderful from occurring. I feel like most of my options were worn out at my previous job, and with the new job, there is so much untapped potential. It is terrifying, but at the same time it is truly amazing. I’m really trying to go into it with a positive and hopeful mindset, which is overall quite different from the way I have reacted towards drastic changes in my past. I am hopeful that this decision could help bring me closer to some of the best days of my life. I will make new friends, try new things, and get the fresh start that I have needed, but been afraid of, for so long. This fresh start is very much overdue, and even though I am hesitant and honestly still scared, I am excited.

This time last year, I was in the exact same place as I was this year.
This time next year, essentially everything has the potential to be different.

If any of you feel like there are things in your lives that are stale or old, make a single bold choice, and see where it could lead. Routine will continue to be routine, until we take the power to change it and mix it up. If there is something you’ve always wanted to try, or somewhere you’ve always wanted to go, do what it takes to get there. All it takes is one choice to change your entire life.

So, here’s to new chapters, new stories, and a whole bunch of new ‘firsts’.
Here we go! 😀


Radio Silence

Like radio silence, even when there is very little information being tossed around, things are always moving and silently progressing.

It’s obviously been awhile since my last post, and there finally has been some forward progress made. I’ve been working hard in preparing an updated portfolio, chock full of Photoshop photo-correcting (yes, I actually can learn new things!) and Illustrator type-setting samples. I’ve been studying, practicing, printing, and keeping busy. All of this work has been produced in the hopes of being offered a Production Design position at a rather large and well-known company in the Twin Cities.

And I’ve been offered the position.


I filled out the paperwork online tonight, and now have to figure out a way to tell my boss tomorrow that after five years at my current job, I have to move on. I don’t want to burn any bridges along the way, as (most of) the time I had spent there was pretty great. I’m also a little unsure of the long-term prospects of the new position, so I’m really hoping that if worst comes to worst, I’ll have something to fall back on.

This is definitely one of the biggest risks I have taken in my life. Since moving out to Minnesota, I haven’t had much to fall back on, so this could be super, super risky. Now it just comes down to me being able to prove my worth to the company and get hired on as a regular full-time staff member.

But really, what fun is life without a little risk? I think it’s time that I step outside of my little comfort zone and try something new. I just hope it pans out, and can lead to something really great. I guess we’ll have to see!

YouTube is Cool.

This week has been pretty dreadful so far, in the way that the second I get home from work, all I want to do is go immediately to bed. I guess that’s what long hours in a tense setting will do to a person, but I think that’s just work in general.

In the spirit of wanting to kick myself into gear with designing, I spent a few hours tonight just browsing informational videos on YouTube. I started by looking for advice on breaking into freelancing, and what I found was actually kind of helpful. One of the videos explained that a lot of getting started is just changing your mindset. Focus on your set of skills and what you’re best at, and work hard towards just that. Also, instead of saying you’re trying to be a designer, take power and proclaim to the world that you are a designer. So, world:

My name is Jessica, and I am a professional screen printer and graphic designer.

Feels kind of nice! 🙂 I also watched a few videos on techniques in Illustrator, which were surprisingly easy to follow along with. I suppose if I had any doubt in my level of knowledge, I really shouldn’t because most of it I either knew how to already do, or at least understood what was happening. Photoshop, however… I think that’s another story. But that’s for another day!

Then, as YouTube tends to do, I got sidetracked by other videos. If you’re into Jenna Marbles and goofy-looking computer effects, I highly recommend the Photo Booth Tag video. I was actually laughing out loud throughout most of it, and I think it might be a go-to video for when I need to be cheered up. Check it out if you need a giggle!

So that’s about it for now. Until next time! 😀

Honesty Hour!

I’ll just get this out of the way, first and foremost: I’ve been really sucky at maintaining this blog and at staying focused.

I’ve been too easily distracted, and once again have let myself get caught up in the muddle of routine. I know I say I’m trying to refocus and plan for the future, but I’ve done a shitty job at it as of late. So, now that’s out of the way, and we move forward. I’m completely in charge of what I do with my life, and where I end up, so it’s time to take control of that and actually do something. So here we go (again!).

The day job has been alright lately, besides the regular hiccups that you would come across anywhere. It’s still not that satisfying or where I want to be, so it’s up to me to change the routine. I’ve been working in a different area of the department, which has actually been great. I’ve been working a little more closely with someone who has his own photography studio, so he’s been really fantastic to bounce ideas off of every now and then. It’s nice to have someone to talk to, who actually has relevant advice and similar interests.

Another coworker recently decided to start his own photography studio as well, and asked me to design a logo for him. He had some pretty well-defined ideas to start with, and it was a real pleasure for me to work on something that will actually be used. I ended up with three complete and different ideas, and he ended up choosing one that had a good blend of both his initial vision, as well as a bit of my clean design style. For your viewing pleasure, here’s his final choice:

It was a relatively quick and easy project, and I’m pretty pleased with the outcome. It’ll be really fun to see him use it for his business once it gets going and turns into something. And it’s good practice for me, so I can’t complain! 😀 I’ll be sure to link to his website and work, as it becomes available.

As for me, I’ve been spending some time working on calligraphy. I bought some books, which have both been fantastic resources for hand-lettering tips and advice. If you’re interested, check out Modern Calligraphy, by Molly Suber Thorpe, and Creative Lettering, by Jenny Doh. I’ve always had an interest in hand-lettering, and I think it would be a fun skill to really master and utilize in my future career. I think back to when I was a kid, and made my mom buy me so many gel pens and hand-lettering books, and I just sat and played around with them. Even when going into certain stores, I would always make a beeline to the writing aisle. I think it’s kind of funny when I look back at things like that, and realize how much of an impact design and creativity have actually always had on my life. It’s what I’m meant to do! 😀

I’m going to make an honest effort to squeeze in at least a little bit of time for Ruby July every week. Whether it’s a blog update or just working through ideas in the sketchbook, it’s about time I actually get back in gear and do it. Wish me luck! 🙂

The Fine Art of Being Rejected & Other Non-Sensical Mumblings

So guys, rejection sucks.

But obviously, that’s not really news to anyone. Here’s the deal. I’ve been applying for a few graphic design jobs here and there, and I seem to keep running into the same final result: rejection. Now, it’s one thing if it’s for a position you know you’re under-qualified for from the beginning, but you figured “Hey, why not?”. It’s another thing entirely if it’s for a company you already work for, and it’s an internal position. Now try that twice. Super fun, right?!

It seems like so many of the jobs available in my area demand more experience than most people would consider entry-level. Maybe it’s just me, but when I hear entry-level, I think “straight out of college” or “we’ll train you on what you don’t already know”. Apparently, that’s not the case, and it makes for a really difficult time in landing a new job. As always, I’m doing my best to remain positive, and am trying to see the best in things. So I didn’t get the internal position(s) at my current job. It does suck, yes, but it also frees me up from having to continue to work there. I can be completely away from all of the things that don’t work well with me, and that alone is enough to be happy about.

It still is hard though, when it feels like being in a stable job for a good chunk of time, actually seems to backfire on you. It’s almost like the time I’ve spent at the job where I’m at now is working against me, mostly because I’m getting farther and farther away from recent design experience. It’s kind of turning into a horrible spiral of bad things. It’s making it a lot harder to land an actual design job now, than it would have been just waiting for one straight out of college.

So, I’ve still been looking into going back to school, which I’m excited about and nervous about at the same time. I don’t think I’m going to aim for MCAD, because I think that would be too much of a burden on my finances, and wouldn’t even guarantee any actual success.  There are a few programs at another local school that are much cheaper, and I feel would still be beneficial. I’m looking a little more into the web design aspect of things, because many of the jobs I see posted require more of those skills than actual graphic skills. Hopefully that will all work out for the best.

Since I’m stubborn as heck, I’m obviously not letting a little (or a lot) of rejection get in my way. I know what I want, and I’m still working towards that. I may have to revise and edit my path, but I’m still not giving up. I have absolutely no idea where I’ll be or what I’ll be doing in even a year’s time. I guess I’ve always thought you graduate college, land a job, and go with it. I graduated college, and now am in some kind of weird perma-limbo which is getting harder and harder to crawl out of. Yikes. Life really does throw some curve balls at us sometimes, doesn’t it?

On a more positive note, my hours at work have changed so I actually have more time in the evenings to enjoy life a little bit. This also means that I have oodles more time for Ruby July related things, so I think it’s safe to say you’ll be hearing from me more frequently. Maybe my Pinterest Find of the Week may make a return in the next few weeks, too!

Hooray! (Right? …RIGHT?!)

Happy All of the Holidays!

Hey all! I just wanted to get in one final, quick post before the majestic 2013 comes to an end.

This year has brought a lot of laughter, a lot of loss, and a lot of everything in between.
Overall, it was a year of complete personal growth and change.

I’ve learned who my true friends really are, as well as those who just ended up being there when they wanted to be. While that circle of friends has gotten quite a bit smaller, I’m still very satisfied and I have no regrets about those who have fallen behind. I’ve definitely gotten more into the mindset of thinking for myself, and also in finding a better balance in spending effort on myself and on others.

Career-wise, I feel like things still have a long way to go. Having goals is a great thing, and even though I haven’t quite reached mine yet, it just gives me something to continue to strive for. As I had mentioned earlier, I think 2013 was more of a preparation year of sorts, and I’m definitely ready for what the future has in store. The things that used to hold me back, don’t anymore, and the future is completely wide open and I’m ready for it. I’m just ready. I made it through the busy season at work, and now have more time available to prepare for bigger and better things. I’m a little nervous, but very excited.

My Christmas was great. I’ve had some vacation time away from work, which I am continuing to enjoy. I was able to spend time with my family, my pets, and my wonderful friends whom I haven’t seen in quite some time. And unlike last year, if you recall, I am not actually spending New Year’s alone! Hooray for friend! (Yes, just one. One is all you need!)

I hope everyone had a fantastic Christmas, and an even better New Year’s. Let’s all leave 2013 in the past, and look forward to what 2014 will bring. I’ll be sure to update more frequently, as I am able to get back into the swing of things. Have a great night, and Happy New Year’s! 😀

Another Holiday!

Alright, here’s another standard holiday post.
Seems like that’s all I’ve been doing as of late. Better than nothing, though, right?! Sure!

So this time, it’s Thanksgiving!

I hope all of you are enjoying time with your wonderful families, and filling up on loads and loads of delicious turkey. I get to enjoy my Thanksgiving on Saturday, as five years ago I made the not-so-smart-sometimes decision to move five hours away from home. Since I have to be in the cities for work tomorrow, my family tends to push our “holidays” around a little bit. So I spent today cleaning, as is my Thanksgiving tradition (fun, right?), and packing up to go home for the first time in over two months.

Thanksgiving is also that one day a year where everyone is supposed to say what they’re thankful for. While this is a good thing, I don’t really understand why people don’t do this every day. It’s like Valentine’s Day- is that the only day you should be showing love for your significant other and your family? I don’t think it should be, but maybe that’s just me. 🙂

Anyway, to fall into this tradition, I do hope everyone takes a moment of time today to be thankful for what they have. Even though life sometimes deals us a shitty hand, there are always things to be thankful for. It’s as simple as being thankful for the roof over your head, and the food on your table. Things like that, that so many of us forget are actually something to be thankful for, are things that some people don’t even have. I know I sometimes get caught up in life too much to remember that I do have a lot to be thankful for, and I suppose it is nice to step back and see that every now and then. Maybe we should all try to get in the habit of doing that more than once a year, huh? 😉

Hope you all had a great day!

Happy Thanksgiving!