Scenes from Fermentation Fest

I went to Fermentation Fest yesterday and it was wonderful. I didn't really know what I was getting into when I drove up to Reedsburg at 9am. I had a vinegar making class at 3pm so I had lots of time to meander. So I decided to do their Art/Farm/Food DTour around the Reedsburg area (which I've never really been to before) and it was beautiful! It was a pretty chilly day. Windy. But it was really nice to drive around the countryside looking at really lovely art and eating really tasty pickled and fermented things along the way. I highly recommend going (still happening this coming weekend). 

All photos taken with my iPhone + Instagram/Hipstamatic filters

Autodidact. n: a self-taught person

Lately my brain has been wandering. There's this whole other aspect of my personality that does not involve computers (a shock, I know). 

So starting in September I am going to schedule learning time for myself. I'm not exactly sure what the schedule will look like yet, but I want to learn:

  • Bellydance - for fun!
  • Canning/Fermentation
  • How to crotchet more than scarves
  • Mead brewing
  • How to sit still/meditation
  • Penmanship - somewhere after 9th grade I stopped being able to write letter forms properly

Any other suggestions, friends? 

Saying goodbye to Shakti Bookstore

In an hour I am starting my last shift at Shakti. 

When I was 19 I moved to Wisconsin. It was a hard time period for me. I'd just left Connecticut. I didn't have one single friend (aside from my two sisters and my mom) and I was pretty freaked out about leaving UCONN and my hometown for some place I'd only visited a handful of times. 

But, I remember the first time I walked down State Street, resume and references in hand trying to find a job. Any job, honestly. At the time I was living at with my mom. I didn't feel too picky. And I remember walking into Shakti and thinking that it was the COOLEST store I'd ever seen. In high school, in my World Civilizations class, I remember being introduced to the Hindu gods and for whatever reason, really felt a connection to those stories. I sculpted a statue of Ganesh for that class too. I'd named my cat, Kaumari, after a Hindu goddess. My significant other in high school was also into taoism, so I happened to know a lot about that too. I think these were things that I wrote on the back of my application to Shakti. Just that I felt a connection to Hinduism. And knew about a handful of other eastern religions. They were the only store on State St to call me back and luckily for me, I turned in my application a few days before Maxwell St and they just happened to really need someone. 

I've been working at Shakti ever since. I remember my first shift. I helped Allie put up those glass balls in the window. I remember that it was kinda rainy out and my throat was hurting a bit because of all the incense. I remember Nick behind the counter. I've taken breaks from Shakti here and there. A year off or so, usually returning to just work during December (one of the busiest months) and Maxwell St. But I always came back. When I was hard up and needed a little extra income the manager, Sara, gladly put me on the schedule for a few shifts here and there. I could depend on Shakti. 

The people who work at Shakti are the nicest people you will ever meet. I mean this literally. You will not find any other humans in Madison who are as intelligent and sweet as them. Over the years you learn about your coworkers, but I think that we can safely say that we all became each others best friends. We loved the place we worked (you know, most of the time) but we really loved each other. I am going to miss getting to know new people and miss spending time with best friends. 

I am really fucking sad its closing. I think it really says something about a place where its retail and all the employees have been there for years and years. I'm really grateful for all the memories I have there. All the weirdo customers, all the interesting customers, all the cool knowledge about the earth and the universe, all those amazing conversations with my coworkers, and all the time I spent feeling like I could be myself. Just in some funny little new age bookstore.

Madison's Northside


Sometime earlier in the year, I was lucky enough to be picked by the Northside Planning Council to work on a library of images. The first implementation of which are 7 bus shelters! I think only one is up right now (on Sherman Ave. across from Walgreens) and I'm so excited that its hard to process how totally grateful I am. They are also making the images into t-shirts and other fundraising efforts for the Northside. 

If you'd like to read more about the project check out the press release and this article on (of course, I will always forever kick myself for saying "jazz it up a bit" in a moment of nervousness. I swear, I was way more eloquent then that... ha.)

Design Madison MakeSh!t Conference


Put this under the category of shit I will not forget about for a long time.  Last week I went to Design Madison's first conference, MakeSh!t, and I had such a great time. I spent most of it hanging with creative people who do awesome things.

From my notebook (mix of a bunch of speaker quotes, misquotes, re-interpretations, and thoughts):

  • With  rock solid branding you can create variety. 
  • Build your own reality.
  • Don't Wait.
  • It's only a fucking sign.
  • Greatest sin is sitting on your ass.
  • Take the time to get it right. 
  • Hear: Listen to customers, See: get out from behind your desk - immerse, Think: creative spark, Talk: collaborate. 
  • Think outside your current job. 
  • The magic of science and empathy.
  • True to form. 
  • Communicate that you're a maker.
  • Define yourself as an authority. 
  • Avoid using the word "like".
  • Pleasure of recognition and the promise of meaning. 
  • What happens when there's no money. 

Thanks guys! 

Digital Imaging, the year 2000.

I've been going through my apartment cleaning things and I found a gem. I guess I kept some homework from high school. Specifically my Digital Imaging class, which was the class about Photoshop! Ha. Some of these assignments are... well... you decide. 


This one I solidly recall as the first ever thing I ever did in Photoshop.


Lets play a game. Can you name all the filters?


Its kinda like graphic design, right? At least its not comic sans?? ( ::cough cough:: I am totally not showing you guys the one I did in comic sans... ::cough:: )


But obviously I was destined for greatness. A++, bitches! And I got me some holographic pumpkin stickers.


Who knew these silly projects would turn out to be the thing I decided to do with my life. Glad I got over the Mac thing.


Back in February of 2011 Liz Danzico came to speak at a Design Madison event. During that talk she touched on this really cool organization called Bedsider. I've been subscribed to their "Frisky Friday" newsletter for years now. And I really liked the last one that came out on May 24th. The list was meant to make for a "hot" Summer, but honestly, I think there are some great things on this list that will just make you happier in general. I shared the list with my significant other, who suggested we print out the list to put up in our apartment. Of course I had to design it, ha. So here's something fun to put up and print if you'd like. 


MoxieCon 2013


Last Saturday Glynnis and I headed down to Chicago to the 2nd MoxieCon. The conference was in the the coolest co-working space I’ve ever seen, 1871.

We decided to go after seeing Quite Strong at Design Madison back in February. These ladies seriously kick some butt so when they talked about MoxieCon I knew that I wanted to be there.

The conference description “MoxieCon is a day–long crash course on the business side of design and technology. Practical talks and workshops on how to be more assertive, how to self-promote, how to sell your ideas, and how to protect yourself legally.” is somewhat misleading in that most of the talks were totally impractical. But I mean that in a really good way.

Imma summarize/talk about my own reactions to each of the speakers.

Jen Myers – How to Change the World with a Girl and a Computer
Book recommendations: Unlocking the Clubhouse by Jane Margolis and Allan Fisher

Most of Jen’s talk was about the shared experience of lack of females in the programming community. She helped start a chapter of Girl Develop It which is an organization that aims to teach the ladies how to code/be confident in their coding abilities. Its not that women are incapable, but they often lack an accepting community who are willing to assist them.

Elle Luna – Here, I made this.
Book recommendations: The Icarus Deception by Seth Godin, Joseph Campbell

Girl can tell a story. Elle’s talk was intense. Not just in what she said but the way that it was said. She has a way of speaking that makes you really hear it. I just saw that they will be posting videos from the talks, so hopefully you guys will be able to see what I mean.

Elle has had several dream jobs. She was at IDEO, then at Mailbox. And she left both of those dream jobs. Because she was being called to do another thing.

Some notes I wrote down:

All the structure is gone, but we’re all waiting in line for our prize.

The Calling. Work you can do vs. work you must do. What do you burn for? What are you being called to do? Are you working a job? A career? A calling?
The Leap. Jumping off a cliff is not fun. Its scary. Snakes shed their skin to make room for new growth and go blind at the same time.
The Gift. Your work touches others.

I totally understand/respect Elle’s decision to make the leap and do the scary thing and open her painting studio. My brain keeps returning to the practical “How can Elle afford this? In CA for that matter.” I have no idea how she manages. But after hearing her talk, I can see how blissed out she is making her calling a reality. And I think thats a fine thing to strive for.

Rob Loukotka – Jumping off a cliff without a parachute


Rob’s talk was similar and also not similar to Elle’s. He also talked about taking the leap. I think the best thing he said the whole time was... if you take the leap, what’s the worst that can happen? Death. Yup. But the good thing about death is that we all know we are going to die someday and so we can go ahead and cross that off of the list of things to worry about. Because its true. We all die. Thats a certainty. So stop worrying about that. Most likely, the biggest risk we take is negatively affecting the relationships we have with the people who are the most important to us. His risk was starting his own business. Twice over. And he’s successful in it. Take the risk. Find your boundaries. Invite others to risk with you. Bet on yourself.

Risk early, risk often, fail quickly.

Max Shapiro – Strategy in the Service of Design

Not going to lie. At this point in the day I was just too hangry to listen to much of anything. Max’s talk was good but I really didn’t write anything down in my notes because mostly I was thinking about all the things I could be eating. Sorry for spacing out, Max. I’m a jerk.

Susan Betteridge – Why Words Matter

Again. Mostly just hangry. I did manage to write down “We are all writers. We are all storytellers.” And told myself to watch Sir Ken Robinson’s TED talk, “Schools kill creativity

Lisa Congdon – Build It and They Will Come: Getting and Sustaining the Work of Your Dreams

I was pretty jazzed about getting to see Lisa’s talk. Her talk was pretty much what the title said. How to get/maintain work. Very practical advice.

  1. Be you. Embrace your own path.

  2. Be prolific. The more work you make, the more work you get.

  3. Be brave. Share your work.

  4. Be communal. Surround yourself with good people.

  5. Be adaptable. Learn not to be rigid.

  6. Be firm. Know your boundaries and speak openly.

  7. Be adventurous. Pursue your “crazy” ideas.

  8. Be dependable. Answer emails and meet deadlines.

  9. Be Gracious. Treat everyone with kindness.

  10. Be (occasionally) disentangled. Relax & refuel

Travis Life – Lawyer Up! Practical Legal Tips for the Creative Business

Travis’ talk was basically a run down of the types of companies a person can be, the difference between them, why you should become one of them, and I feel like it could be summed up with: get a lawyer.

Mare Swallow – Present Yourself with Clarity and Confidence

Mare had some practical tips on how to get a person to call you back. Basically: get a business card (that isn’t free), get a website (that looks good), pay attention to details (reread emails), communicate well (don’t swear/bad mouth), and know the business you’re trying to get an interview with (read up, cyberstalk).  

Max Temkin – 30 Power Tips to Synergize Your Cloud Based Revenue Community/Making Things on the Internet and Giving Them Away for Free
Book Recommendations: David Foster Wallace

**If anyone can find the youtube clip that Max Temkin played at the beginning of the talk of the girl playing ukulele and singing about the Mars rover, please send it to me. I wanted to include it here but no amount of googling is helping me find it.

I was THRILLED to get to see Max Temkin speak. Last Winter my friends introduced me to the most messed up version of Apples to Apples that ever existed. Its called Cards Against Humanity. And Max was one of the founders. So when I saw he was going to be at this conference I was excited. Honestly. I’m not totally sure what I was expecting. I thought it would be funny or goofy. But his talk was not necessarily that.

Max discussed his experience getting Humans vs Zombies started at his college campus. Basically, its a game where people chase each other around and some have nerf guns/socks. It sounds like a lot of fun. It started out small, just a dozen or so players, but its grown to involve up to 500 students over the span of a week. He talked about how they got together and established their values and were able to scale the game without ruining it.

CAH is similar in a lot of ways. Its a game that subverts power structures (which is why its so funny) and is also free. You can purchase the cards, but you can also go to the website and download a pdf of the game and print them out yourself. Which is pretty rad!

What sorts of things can you accomplish if your goal isn’t to make money? This is something that came up in a few of the talks (especially Elle and Rob’s). If money isn’t the object, what is? What do you do in your day to connect people together? “Better to fail than to suck.” Do your thing.

Ann Friedman – Bye, Hater: How to Use Criticism of All Kinds to Improve Your Work Instead of Hinder It

Ann was hilarious. I don’t think I’ve read anything by her but I definitely plan on it now. To sum up her talk: haters gonna hate. Listen to critics who respect you. Listen to people who want to see you succeed. Don’t listen to people who aren’t invested in you. Don’t listen to people who are irrational in their hate. If you’re getting hate, it means someone is paying attention to you. And thats good. If nothing else, its a motivation to improve.

Thanks again to Quite Strong for making MoxieCon happen! I had so much fun. 

AIGA WI: Small Business Panel Discussion

I'm really excited for this panel discussion being put on by AIGA Wisconsin. Making the business part of design happen is still something I'm navigating through and I'm really jazzed about all the talent that will be on this panel. These dudes 100% know whats up so I'm really interested in what they have to talk about. Yeah! Super!

Design Madison 2012/2013 Season

Jolby & Friends [Josh Kenyon & Colby Nichols] November 15, 2012

Sonnenzimmer [Nadine Nakanishi & Nick Butcher] January 31, 2013

Quite Strong [Elaine Chernov, Jana Kinsman, Victoria Pater, Jennifer Sisson, & Katherine Walker] February 21, 2013

Fuzzco [Jon Yarian with Josh Nissenboim & Helen Rice] March 14, 2013

Chen Design Associates [Joshua Chen] April 25, 2013

Young Jerks [Dan Cassaro] May 09, 2013