The end & the beginning

And so, friends, another year comes to an end. I'm not big on reflecting on the past year (if you've ever met me then you know my brain can only hold so much. So pretty much the first 3/4 of the year have already been wiped clear).

I would like to share my 2010 "to do" list with you. I'm hesitant to call it resolutions, because I feel like it's really easy to break resolutions, whereas I'm always happy to cross stuff off my to do list. So, here goes:

1. Blog more. I think I say this about every 3 months, or whenever I get really busy and can't keep up with things. The problem is, I need to practice what I preach; I'm always telling my clients if they want a blog, or to be on Facebook, they have to be consistent. I need a dose of my own medicine.

This year I am going to make a conscious effort to blog on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. If I make it a part of my routine on those days, then I feel like I'll be more likely to do it. And readers? Don't hesitate to call me on it. If I skip a day, send me a note, write me a comment, do something to make me feel bad for letting you down.

2. Update my website. This is a long time overdue. I actually came up with a redesign in July (July, people!), and have yet to find the time to implement it. That has to change.

I actually came up with a really great idea a few weeks back, and I was really hoping to implement it January 1, but unfortunately (or fortunately, if you're my husband and you like checks coming in) I ended up getting a wave of business the past few weeks and again, have been unable to find the time to get my own stuff done.

This January, I want to make better use of late nights and get my own stuff going. I don't want to let these great ideas go to waste.

3. In non-design related news, I'd like to lose about 10 pounds. I did over the summer, and then ate my way through the fall, only to have gained most of it back. I'm fairly active, it's really all about the food. I actually started this on December 26th, and so far, it's going pretty well.

4. In more health-not-design-related news, I'd also like to be more consistent in a running routine. Again, I started over the summer, and kind of fell off in the fall. I try and get on the treadmill for 45 minutes at least once a week, but sometimes that doesn't even happen. If I could incorporate some kind of 2x per week running routine into my schedule, I think that would be good for me, and completely doable.

5. Work more efficiently. This is a biggie. Because it's just me, and because the children need to be picked up, dropped off, and everything in between, my work day gets pretty spread out. I'm usually good until about 2:30, and that's when it slowly unravels. I jump back on once the little ones are in bed, and that seems to work out fine... but I don't want to spend my nights--and, let's face it, weekends--working.

I've had a taste of time off these past few weeks and it's nice. I'd like that to happen a little (a little, guys, not a lot) more often. I love what I do, but I also love my family. To make that happen I have to start working more efficiently to maximize the time I do have working sans children, so I can spend more time with them when I don't have to be working.

6. Keep my sanity. That's more of a wish than an actual item to be crossed off of a list.

We're adding a second floor onto our house, and I'm sure that during the construction, tensions will be high (we'll all be living on the first floor--all 800 square feet of it). I'm just hoping that I can remain relatively sane throughout the entire process. My big saying regarding the construction is "big picture." As in, we have to look at the big picture, here. The finished product is going to be great. We just have to concentrate on that end result to get through the not-so-glamourous part.

I think that's it for now. I'm sure goals will come up throughout the year, but those are the biggies.

Thank you all so much for continuing to read the blog, for continuing to come back (especially when I don't always have fresh content) and for your support. I wish you all nothing but a safe, happy and healthy 2010!



Merry Merry

Have I mentioned that I love forced time off?

It's been a long Autumn; work has kept me insanely busy, so much so that I found myself working many, many more nights and weekends than I would have liked. Don't get me wrong, I love what I do, so work for me really isn't work--but at the same time, a day off from the computer every once in a while is nice. Three days off is vacation!

Christmas here was great; the Snuggie--of all things--was a big hit. The kids seem pretty happy with what Santa gave them, as was I. Santa was nice enough to bring me some cool Pantone mugs, Adobe coasters, really awesome woodcut type (!!!), and a season ski pass to a mountain we like up in Massachusetts. Good Santa.

Christmas also brought a trip to the Apple Store; not for anything fun and good mind you, but some routine computer maintenance. Unfortunately, the Genius I got wasn't so smart, as he was unable to fix any of my problems (to be fair, most were, as he put it, "third-party applications," and he told me about 17 times that he was not licensed in those "third-party applications." However, he was licensed to fix my Mac problems, which he couldn't even do). But the trip did give me a chance to play with the new Magic Mouse--hello, awesome!--however the store had none in stock--hello, letdown!--so I guess I have to order it online.

This short week brings lots more work, but also lots more cleaning. We are about to embark on major home renovations (so major that traciedesigns HQ has to move for a few months--more on that to come)--they're actually starting to take walls down this week. I'll be blogging about the whole process, so you too, can experience all the fun and excitement (and tears). When all is said and done, our new space will be fantastic. Living through it all, I am convinced, will not be.

I hope all of you had a Merry Merry as well, and wish you nothing but health and happiness in 2010 (Whoa. I just typed that out and it sounds like I won't be blogging again until after the new year--which certainly isn't the case).


A Festivus for the restofus

Today, my friends, is Festivus. My grievances have been aired here, here and here (there was even a Festivus miracle!). Our Festivus dinner will be take out (yahoo!), and the Feats of Strength will be celebrated by a trip to the grocery store tonight. Yeah, I'ma definitely need some Feats of Strength for that trip.

No aluminum pole, but the tree is up, and if I haven't mentioned it yet, I think it's my favorite tree thus far--ironic, due to the fact that we bought it when we were grocery shopping (we're normally cut-your-own folk), and we'll be taking it down within days after Christmas, due to major home renovations (more on that to come).

We both might take a much needed break tonight, and since there are no Festivus movies (why is that?), we might just watch Elf.

Happy Festivus!


Holiday cheer

I love this time of year--I love buying and giving gifts, love sending out cards, love baking cookies. I love the lights on our tree--actually, I really, really love our tree this year. I love the fact that it's completely and totally eclectic--I think the old school lights really do it for me.

I think my most favorite thing over the holiday season is giving gifts, though. I love shopping for other people, and I love the really good feeling I get when I make someone else happy.

Which is why, when this arrived in my inbox this morning, courtesy of the always awesome Debbie Fay, I couldn't ignore it. I love stories like this:

A Victim Treats His Mugger Right
(listen to Diaz tell his story here)

Morning Edition, March 28, 2008 · Julio Diaz has a daily routine. Every night, the 31-year-old social worker ends his hour-long subway commute to the Bronx one stop early, just so he can eat at his favorite diner.

But one night last month, as Diaz stepped off the No. 6 train and onto a nearly empty platform, his evening took an unexpected turn.

He was walking toward the stairs when a teenage boy approached and pulled out a knife.

"He wants my money, so I just gave him my wallet and told him, 'Here you go,'" Diaz says.

As the teen began to walk away, Diaz told him, "Hey, wait a minute. You forgot something. If you're going to be robbing people for the rest of the night, you might as well take my coat to keep you warm."

The would-be robber looked at his would-be victim, "like what's going on here?" Diaz says. "He asked me, 'Why are you doing this?'"

Diaz replied: "If you're willing to risk your freedom for a few dollars, then I guess you must really need the money. I mean, all I wanted to do was get dinner and if you really want to join me ... hey, you're more than welcome.

"You know, I just felt maybe he really needs help," Diaz says.

Diaz says he and the teen went into the diner and sat in a booth.

"The manager comes by, the dishwashers come by, the waiters come by to say hi," Diaz says. "The kid was like, 'You know everybody here. Do you own this place?'"

"No, I just eat here a lot," Diaz says he told the teen. "He says, 'But you're even nice to the dishwasher.'"

Diaz replied, "Well, haven't you been taught you should be nice to everybody?"

"Yea, but I didn't think people actually behaved that way," the teen said.

Diaz asked him what he wanted out of life. "He just had almost a sad face," Diaz says.

The teen couldn't answer Diaz - or he didn't want to.

When the bill arrived, Diaz told the teen, "Look, I guess you're going to have to pay for this bill 'cause you have my money and I can't pay for this. So if you give me my wallet back, I'll gladly treat you."

The teen "didn't even think about it" and returned the wallet, Diaz says. "I gave him $20 ... I figure maybe it'll help him. I don't know."

Diaz says he asked for something in return - the teen's knife - "and he gave it to me."

Afterward, when Diaz told his mother what happened, she said, "You're the type of kid that if someone asked you for the time, you gave them your watch."

"I figure, you know, if you treat people right, you can only hope that they treat you right. It's as simple as it gets in this complicated world."

Produced for Morning Edition by Michael Garofalo.


Designers Gift Guide

So, I know what you're thinking: what on earth does traciedesigns want for Christmas (other than shoes--c'mon, that was WAY too easy)? Well, I'm glad you asked, because I've scoured the internet (OK, not really) and I came up with what I think are some pretty cool gift ideas for the designer in your life. Here we go:

Remember Carrie Bradshaw's "Carrie" necklace? Well, Survival of the Hippest has taken the name necklace to this decade. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you, the Social St@tus collection. Twitter handles, hashtags... if it's on Twitter, it can be around your neck.

Because the Apple logo is cool, but let's face it: all alone, on the back of that laptop? That thing can be bo-ring! Why not incorporate it into some sort of design; say, space invaders, or Snow White. C'mon people, let's get creative here!

So they don't have 167, so 716 will just have to do: Pantone Flash Drives. Geek, meet art.

Photoshop Magnet Kit. Now, when I go to the fridge, it'll be like I never left my screen! Seriously, if there is one thing I want from this list, this is it.

Or maybe it's this: The Ampersandwich tshirt. I just finished up a logo using an ampersand, which I though would be the most awesomest logo project ever, until I realized the multitude of awesome ampersands out there. This shirt wouldn't have made my decision any easier, but it would definitely make me giggle.

Oh and by the way? The client ended up going with a custom made (by yours truly) ampersand. Holla!

Type soap. Now I completely understand all those stupid little soaps my mother had in the bathroom when I was a kid, that we weren't allowed to use. "But why not?" "Because they're just decoration!" "Why is soap a decoration??!" Ahhh, now I get it.

So there's your 2009 designer/geek gift guide. Use it wisely, you know, for your favorite designer/blogger/all around fun gal named Tracie... or anyone else creative in your life. Be merry!