Design

Blog Upgrade 2k18

Four or five years ago, I overheard my cousin [whose a freakin’ techie (you guys, he literally designed the “thumbs up” symbol on Facebook)] talking about blogs. He was talking about their origin [web log = blog] and how they were really starting to take off and give people career opportunities as bloggers. At a time where I was working in a restaurant and hating my “professional” life, and knowing that I’m a great writer, I thought, Hey, I could do that.

Easier said than done.

Well, I definitely started my blog, if you can call it that. I barely had an About Me, and I think I had one post about certain design elements I’d spotted while on campus at Sac State. Yeah, some real gripping material there, I’ll tell ya.

Fast forward to today, and I’m still really not going places. Granted, I don’t really advertise myself [ie: let my social media followers know I’m blogging], and I’m not active on other people’s blogs. Honestly, immersing yourself in the blog world is hard and extremely time consuming. I totally get how people have made a career out of blogging – it’s literally a full-time job!

As we near the end of 2017, I want to start making some goals and really set a precedent to make a name for myself in the blogging world in the next year. Because let’s be honest, as much as I love my job and the fact that because of it I have a paycheck and affordable healthcare [which is a HUGE benefit these days], I hate how much it limits my life. If I want to work out, I have to be at the gym by 5 am! My window of opportunity to exercise the dogs is a teeny one after work. And if I want to run errands, I am limited to my lunch breaks and weekends, [assuming I have no other prior commitments, which, more often than not, I do].

This past weekend, I made a decision to start transforming my blog into a more streamlined and professional website. It’s pretty easy to maneuver right now, but as far as blogs go, it’s still pretty clunky. I did hours of research on custom logo designs, importing templates, and trying to customize a template on my own. I had no idea there were so many layers to web design! It was truly overwhelming. Here I am using WordPress thinking I’m a pro, only to discover there’s a deeper, more complex version that runs via a web host and is the version that can be customized using outside templates. Mind. Blown.

Something else I learned amongst all this research? Having a blog is f*cking expensive. Nobody tells you that when you get started. It costs money to have a custom domain name. It costs money to have a custom email address with your domain name. It costs money to use a web host, and to tack on the mandatory [in my opinion] spam and malware blocker. It costs money to convert your old domain to your new one. It costs money to have a good lookin’ website! And we’re not talking small bucks here – we’re talking beaucoup bucks, people! BUT, if I stay consistent with my posts, brand myself, market myself, and [fingers crossed] eventually take off and making a living from this, I can write all of that off. #murica

There could be ways around all of that, and probably are, like teaching yourself web design and how to convert domains, but due to a full-time job, I don’t have the time [or, let’s be honest, patience] for that. I am extremely tech savvy until it gets into the coding aspect of things – that stuff I am just not good at. And hey, gotta support the other people out there whose jobs are to do the things that I don’t know how to do. Pay others to do things for you #noshame.

Here’s my tip to you if you want to attempt a career at blogging like I am: research, research, RESEARCH. Find a blog site that works for you and you’re comfortable with, and go from there. Don’t throw money at the first thing you see, and read reviews! Reviews are amazing.

Keep an eye out for my blog rebrand! I am proudly paying other people to transfer domains, design a logo, design a web page and host my new site [same domain bellaandtheblonde.com], hopefully launching in the next week or so!

Thank you all for being diligent and loyal readers. I know I write a lot of random crap and there’s really no theme to my blog, but I appreciate each and every one of you who follows me and puts up with the topic roulette.

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What Does Technology Do For You?

As far as technology goes, I’ll be one of the first to argue that it is, in many ways, hurting our culture. I, for one, prefer the relaxation and conjuring of imagination that only a book can bring to the human mind. I despise television – in my opinion it doesn’t teach us anything of value, and, these days, is just thousands of channels of mindless drivel. Have Americans really become so bored with life that we have resorted to filming penniless rednecks whose only form of entertainment is drinking too much moonshine and passing out? Ahh.. but I digress…

I do, however, believe that some technology has become extremely beneficial, and, in fact, helpful, to many of us and our ways of life.

The camera, for one. I never truly appreciated its value until this semester. I am enrolled in a photography and Photoshop class – I am one month into the semester and have already learned a hundred more things about a digital camera that I never knew before. As a creative-minded individual, I am soaking up every tidbit of information like a sponge. And as a design student, I am even more appreciative of having a camera in my phone – and a good camera, at that!

One of the things that I’m learning in my design classes is that we can (and must!) draw inspiration from everywhere and everything. That means pulling out your sketchbook and roughly outlining what’s caught your eye. OR.. Pulling out your camera phone and snapping a photo that can be uploaded to your computer and saved into your archives. *Sidenote: I hate to put down sketching, because as old-school as it is, and as modern as design has become (we now use CAD and other design programs to draw out future homes, gardens, and commercial spaces), it is so much more fulfilling to hand-draw something on paper. I actually prefer this method, myself.

That said, it sure is a lot easier to remember what something looks like when you can pull up the image of it.

The beauty of digital archives is the ability it gives us to see different forms of design right next to each other. As an interior design student in today’s society, the curriculum we learn in school is heavily contemporary. I tend to balk when it comes to designing something that I feel is cold and lifeless, but there are aspects of modern design that can be warm and inviting if done the correct way. I am more appreciative of the traditional look, but I do love a good mix of the two.

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Take the two light fixtures above, for example. They are both visually appealing and yet completely different from each other. The chandelier is bright red and really draws the eye. It is whimsical and traditional, and yet modern in its own way. The lantern below it almost has an Asian flair, and is much less eye-catching. But it still draws enough attention and does its job in a visually appealing way. I love the challenge of finding a way to incorporate both into the same space.

So the next time you’re out-and-about and you see something that you feel is just fantastic, don’t hesitate to document it. The other great thing about digital photography, is your ability to delete it.

ImageAbove: the Mont Bleu Hotel & Casino in South Lake Tahoe, Nevada

ImageAbove: An outdoor seating area on campus at Sacramento State