Patience is my Biggest Struggle

Author: Kissa  :  Category: advice, Personal

Well hello, Internet. It’s been a while. Let’s cut to the chase, I don’t really feel much like beating around the bush.

Ever since I started this blog, I’ve been going through a personal journey. At times things were good, at times they were a struggle. At times I felt like I found “IT” and then at other times I felt lost. This personal journey has effected every aspect of my life. Personally (of course), professionally, and spiritually. So, why am I saying this? What makes this post different from every other post I’ve written since they’ve all been about struggle, balance, busy work, personal triumph…

Today I realized 2 things - something life changing. 1: Patience is my biggest struggle. It’s something I don’t have, but something I need. I can’t have all the answers right now, it doesn’t work that way. I understand that now. And before today, I demanded those answers. I needed those answers. But now, I see that I don’t. Those answers will reveal themselves to me when it’s the right time. And until then, I will pray for those answers and try to continue to remind myself that patience truly is a virtue.

2: I realized that this journey I am on will never end. And now I’m okay with that. There may be victories and defeats throughout the  journey, but it’s going to continue. The puzzle will only continue to grow bigger with more pieces to add to the final product. And before today, I thought that once I reached the short and long term goals I set for myself then this journey for me will end. Why? Because then I’ve arrived. But no. It isn’t going to end. It isn’t going to end because I know when I get there, I’m going to push for more. I not going to settle for my goals because I know God knows where I am supposed to end up. The goals that I set for myself are only within the hopes and dreams I am capable of understanding. But He knows more, He knows all. And He is what I want to live for. Because He will help me become what I was meant to be, and help me to discover my full potential.

So what are my hopes in sharing this on my blog today? I hope that others will also realize this for themselves. Those that struggle as I do with anything in their life, I hope this helps them some how. And for those that do, don’t be afraid. We’re not alone, we’re in it together. And though our struggles may be different, we all struggle together. Your journey makes you unique, as does mine. And I hope that you find that special instead of a burden.

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My Opinion on Websites

Author: Kissa  :  Category: advice, Career, Web Design

A lot has changed since I started coding websites. From what started as a hobby doing Geocities and Angelfire sites turned into an area of study and now a career. I am by no means an expert in all things web (which makes me want to brush up on different branches of web design)but I know what I like and don’t like. Working with small business owners, a lot of people are looking for a good central website that is an online representation of their business. But not just that anymore. They want websites to do much more now. They want it to generate traffic, bring in new customers, sell items, be a resource…they want it to shoot through a hoop of flames! And the best part is websites CAN do it. It’s absolutely amazing!

A lot of clients ask me what my take is with all the options out there for web. And my advice is simple – we need to figure out what you want to accomplish with your website. Do you want to have a blog? Do you want it to be interactive? Do you want it to be informational? Do you want to be able to edit the site yourself? Do you have time to stay up to date? Do you want to sell items on your site?

As a web designer here are my takes on the most common types of websites:

Exhibit A: Flash. I needed to put this first and say that I. DON’T. LIKE. FLASH. Yes, I know, hate me now. But I just think that a site made only on flash is hindering to any business’s internet potential for 1 simple reason: it is HORRIBLE for SEO. I think flash is great to implement on a regular site but otherwise, it’s just not logical for business. Flash sites are image based, search engines can’t pick up key words from images. They can be beautiful for personal sites, but if you’re trying to promote something or you want to have unique visitors come to your site, I just don’t recommend it because it’ll be harder for them to find you.

Ok, enough with the rant. :) Let’s move on.

Exhibit B: HTML. Geez, it has grown so much since I started working with websites. From tables to CSS to DHTML to XHTML to Java to PHP to HTML5…. It’s actually growing much faster than many can keep up with, including me. But, needless to say, the possibilities are practically endless. The great thing, in my opinion, is that HTML is the most basic form of language on the web. Why is this great? Because whatever your preference from the options of coding from above, it all starts with this language and grows from there. It’s like a tree with branches. As technology soars and more and more innovation is created with web-based development there is so much to choose from. Ok, so the main question probably is, “So what does this have to do with my business?”

As I said at the top of the post, it all comes down to 1 thing: what do you want to accomplish with your online presence? Simple. As. That. Based on the wants and needs of your company, your web designer should know what best suits your budget, time constraint, and goals.

A huge trend that I am seeing now in small business is many people wanting to edit their own sites after someone makes the initial template for them and publish it. My suggestion for this: WordPress. WordPress sums it up into 3 letters for me, w-o-w. There is so much that can be done with this platform. But the best thing that clients find so appealing is that they can log in and edit content, pictures, etc. as they see fit. Many end users are now using WordPress for not only blogging but their main sites as well. They’re able to create pages, link to their social media, and share information in an easy way.

So, you might be asking, “What type of websites do you use?” I love the flexibility and ease that WordPress provides (PHP based). I use this for 2 of my sites, this blog and He Said She Wed. Though these are both blog based websites, I have used WordPress in integration of actual websites as well which worked out nicely. I also love to stick with what I know, CSS. These 2 platforms have proven well for me, while I throw in a little Java here and there. This can be seen implemented on both my Inked websites, www.inkedprint.com and invite.inkedprint.com. But I do know that being in this industry sticking with what I know is never good enough. So we’ll see where the industry takes me in the next few months and years. :)

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Speaking Loudly

Author: Kissa  :  Category: advice, Personal

“Actions speak louder than words.” -Aisling

What an understatement. Simple and true.  It’s unbelievable how the most simple things seem to be the most profound.

Source

The thing that baffles me sometimes is that we want to talk the talk..actually…we want to do A LOT of talking. But we never want to walk the walk. We want to tell everyone what our goals in life are, about this great idea we have, how unhappy we are about something, what someone else needs to do to make something better, etc. To be honest, I don’t really want to hear about it unless I know that something is happening behind the scenes to make the statement come to life. It’s as if you’re screaming at the top of your lungs getting someone to listen to you. They probably will the first time, but once they see you have no substance to reinforce your point you lose.

I believe words have life to it. It has a past, present, and future. It has expression, action, feeling, and substance. Things that you say to people, reflect the things you do to people. At least, they should. If you’re positive with your words, you will have a positive effect. If you’re negative with your words, you will have a negative effect. Just as words have life, so do actions. It takes a living being to portray those actions, both positive and negative.

What do you surround yourself with? What vibe do you give off to others? Negativity or positivity?And what do you do with it? Do you do nothing? Or do you actually take it and make something happen?

Maybe it’s just me, but the ones that speak loudly might as well stay quiet unless they’ve got actions to back it up.

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Perceptions

Author: Kissa  :  Category: advice, Personal

Normal? What’s normal?! The perception of the world as we see it isn’t necessarily the same. Through emotions, our experiences, our shortcomings, our achievements, and our perceptions on situations is all subjective. The only things that are concrete are facts. I might be getting too theological here, but I’m starting to think almost everything is subjective except the very core of an object or being.

Example: I have a few friends that are color blind (you know who you guys are, love ya!) What I know is blue may not be the same blue to them, yes? Maybe my royal blue is their baby blue. We all know it’s blue, because society told us it is. But our perception of it could be completely different.

I’m starting to find that this same scenario can be translated to many other things. The way things taste can be very good to one person and completely atrocious to another. The way a person dresses can look good to one person and out of style to another. You get the idea.

I guess my point is, regardless of the way I see it versus another person’s perception, is subjective. It’s up to the individual’s actions, life experiences, and personality that fit in to why people are the way they are. I’ve come to learn and accept it, even brave enough to say that I embrace it.

Fact of the matter is, that’s what makes our world turn. If everyone agreed on everything or saw the world in the same way we would all be out of luck. All of us would want to pursue the same things in life, achieve the same things, and do the same things. The competition would be pretty fierce, don’t you think? If everyone wanted to become an accountant there would be no need for one. But if 1 person wants to be a doctor out of the world of accountants, you can bet that person would never have a free moment.

I know I’m different, and I perceive life in a different way from everyone else. I used to think that what I wanted was to fit into society, blend in. I’m learning to embrace who I am, not be afraid to show people what I’ve got, and not be ashamed of my faults. In fact, accept my faults and readily admit that I have them instead of trying to pretend they don’t exist. Because of that, I’ve learned to lean on others who are strong in the things I am weak in. Give them a chance to shine in what they excel at. I believe…actually, I know…that it makes me appreciate the people I have in my life every single day. Without their strength, I wouldn’t have been able to reach where I am today. If I didn’t rely on my doctor when I was sick, I’d never get better.  One of my goals in life is to do that exact same thing for others. Pay it forward, return the favor, without expecting anything in return.

It’s those moments in life that make me sit back and smile. Knowing that there are still genuinely good people out there. Those that might not see the world exactly the way I do, but are willing to share their experiences just as I am. If there weren’t those people out there, I’d lose all hope. So thank you, people of the world that strive to make the world a little brighter.

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A Dreamer’s Guide to Life: Business pt. I

Author: Kissa  :  Category: advice, business, DG2L

Yet another topic I can write (and talk) about forever…yes, EVER! Business. After all, it’s the “American Dream” right?! Well, I don’t know if it’s the “American” dream, but it’s definitely a dream of mine and many other people. Business is what makes the world operate. Meaning it’s what provides people with jobs, education, items that we need to survive, and more.

Business: n. the practice of making one’s living by engaging in commerce

I’m all about business. I live, think, breath, and dream about business. I love talking to business-minded people, hearing what they have to say, their ideas, it’s all very exciting. I own 2 and help operate a third. I’ve even got another one on the way! Why do I love it so much? Because possibilities are endless. You can make anything a business. As long as there is a need, you’ve got a business. And that fact with such an open ended answer is something that drives me. Crazy? Yes, some times. Actually, many times. But in my opinion, all of it is worth it. So, you interested? How do you get started?

1. Have a concept. Believe in that concept. As long as there is a need, your business can thrive.
2. Name your business. It can be straight forward, it can have hidden meaning. As long as it’s not too difficult to pronounce, you’re good. :)
3. Write a business plan. This is a very, very important step to your business’s success. Many people think that writing a business plan isn’t necessary because their business is “small” or they’ll figure it out when they get started. WRONG. Having a plan for your business, no matter how small or large, will spearhead you into the right direction. Sure, I’ll admit, the unexpected can (and probably will) happen. You might even fall off track or need to update your plan, that’s okay. Hire a business consultant to write it for you if you have to. Just make sure you read it. :P But outlining your goals for the start-up of your business will be a key component to your success. Trust me on this one.

Okay, let’s stop there. That’s enough to keep an entrepreneur busy for a while. Really think it through, take it seriously right from the get-go. Don’t “see how it goes.” Put yourself on the track for success. Think big in the beginning and push hard to achieve it. It starts with believing in yourself and what you have to offer the world. And believe me, you have a lot to offer. I know, I know. I sound cliche and over-positive, but I’m not lying.

For more information, a great resource is the Small Business Administration website.

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Yay I’m Engaged! Now What?!

Author: Kissa  :  Category: advice

Congratulations to all the fellow engaged couples! Welcome to the engagement club, it’s going to be a fun and memorable ride! Your fiance proposed, you said yes, you’ve told your parents…now what?! So for those that are in the beginning stages of their engagement, here are a few tips to get you started.

1. Choose your wedding date. Maybe not necessarily a specific date, but a time of year/month is good. When you’re ready to shop for locations you can give the catering/venue manager your ideal dates.
2. Throw an engagement party. Let the festivities begin! Celebrating is the funnest part of getting engaged/married. Sharing this momentous occasion with the ones you love will create lasting memories of togetherness and joy.
3. Send an announcement. Not many people do this on its own anymore, but many people usually combine this with the Save the Date card or use social networking (Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, etc.) to spread the news.
4. Discuss your budget. Or in my case, lack there of (haha!). This may be difficult, but putting the numbers together will be one of the most important parts of a successful wedding (and successful planning). Ask/discuss your families (if this applies) how much they will be contributing.
5. Hire your Wedding Consultant. It takes a lot of time to plan a wedding, having a planner there to help you will help you feel at ease. Even if it’s just for the day-of.
6. Start thinking about your wedding party. Best Man, Maid/Matron of Honor, Groomsmen, Bridesmaids…who are you choosing to play a special role? Make sure it’s someone that you can trust, depend on, and knows you best. They’ll be helping not only on the wedding day, but maybe even before that.

Overwhelmed yet? :P Don’t be, taking it step by step is key. Good luck everyone and happy planning!

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Fancy Friday: Creating an Identity

Author: Kissa  :  Category: advice, Design, Weddings

The 2 year mark has passed for Charlie and I. It’s official, we’ve set a date and have started talking about wedding/future related things. Charlie and I had a conversation last night and he told me that he’s seen me in this mode before, “wedding mode.” He says I always get this way when I start planning a wedding. Normally he doesn’t care much, he knows it’s just my job. But this time, I guess he wanted to get in wedding mode too since it’s our wedding this time. So he decided to design our logo for the wedding to get into “wedding mode” himself. Thank goodness he’s a talented graphic designer. :)

I’m not sure if it’s because I have a graphic design background, but I think it’s so important to have a logo identity or “symbol” that represents you as a couple. Why? Because not only can it be used throughout your design for the wedding, but it will give guests, family, and friends eye candy to remember you by. A well designed logo or monogram will make it easy for you to identify all aspects of your special day and tie in a design throughout the wedding. Here are some examples:

Our logo is still in development as far as color goes, but this is the final design.
Our initials (C and O) created the heart and the ring design that is the main focal point. The serif font creates the diamond on the ring and the bow tie at the bottom.
Debbie and George, my D&G couple, is a wonderful example of how you can take a concept from a logo design and use it as the running piece throughout your wedding.
Their Dolce and Gabana inspired monogram not only was a beautiful design that reflected their modern/chic style, but also gave them inspiration to use a fashion forward/hollywood theme to their wedding. Not only in their invitations and stationery but also a press wall for photo ops:
For their place cards and table numbers, they used body forms/mannequins:
And that’s just the beginning!
Here are some suggestions to a good wedding logo:
1. Think outside the box. Great design happens when you go beyond what you’ve already seen.
2. Be yourself. Let the logo speak about you and your style.
3. Don’t try too hard. Let the design come to you.
4. Don’t be afraid to play around with concepts.
5. Hire a professional. Someone that has a graphic design background can get your point across effectively.
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Fancy Fridays: Green Wedding Ideas

Author: Kissa  :  Category: advice, ideas

One of my good friends, Heather, is one of the main peeps in charge of a great non-profit organization called Tech Go Green. Check ‘em out, they’re pretty amazing. She e-mailed me this week about getting involved with the organization in a little way, and I couldn’t be more thrilled to help. Hopefully I’ll be able to contribute somehow.

There are more and more services and products available for couples getting married that are Earth friendly. I’m a believer of trying to preserve our Earth and to do what we can, no matter how small, to help the environment. Here are some great “Green” wedding ideas:
1. 100% recycled paper for stationary. There are many options for recycled paper at your local paper store. Or, ask your printer/invitation designer for their recommendations for effective Green options. Check out these invitations from MewPaperArts on Etsy.
2. Eco-friendly party favors. I’ve coordinated events with great Earth-friendly favors. Personalized-planted thank you cards (check these out form Beau-Coup) or lucky bamboo favors (sold by DE for $5.00 each)
3. Venue selection. Hold your ceremony in a beautiful outdoor setting, at 4:00 when the light is beautiful (and not too hot!). Try to hold your ceremony and reception in the same venue so your guests won’t have to drive to 2 locations. Use candles to set the mood and save on electricity. Check out this beautiful photo from Elings Park in Santa Barbara. This is a beautiful location! I’ve made many site visits there and it’s a wonderful place to have a wedding!
More to come on “Green” weddings. Stay tuned!
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Fancy Friday: The Big Picture

Author: Kissa  :  Category: advice, Weddings

Things aren’t always as complicated as they seem. Including weddings. Yes, there are many tiny steps to achieve what I like to call the big picture and yes, it’s a long road with hard work to get there. But as long as those steps are taken properly it’s smooth sailing. I bring this up because I think the chemistry of vendors has a direct effect of the success of any event. Without the proper communication between vendors and clients (as well as vendors and vendors), the big picture is difficult to achieve.

There are a lot of gray areas where vendors will overlap. Maybe your florist will be placing a fresh-flower cake topper on your cake: overlapping. Maybe your videographer needs to plug into your DJ or band’s sound: overlapping. Maybe your photographer needs a certain amount of lighting from your venue to capture good quality photos: you get the idea. The list can go on and on.
Word of advice, when considering vendors, do not just think about their chemistry with you but with your other vendors. I love meeting new people so I enjoy working with new vendors. Most of the people I’ve met in the wedding business are the same way – maybe I’ve just been lucky that I haven’t really ran into anyone I wouldn’t be willing to work with again.
Bottom line, remember the big picture. It’s the direct result to the hard work and dedication you AND your vendors put in.
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Fancy Friday: Inspiration Boards

Author: Kissa  :  Category: advice, ideas, Weddings

Inspiration boards are the best idea! Not only does it help everyone see the big picture, but it helps professionals distinguish your personal style and what appeals to you. Here are some inspiration boards I’ve created:

Planning is a process and the initial inspiration board that you create isn’t necessarily going to be what the end product will be. Life comes in, spices things up, gives you another great idea and things change. I love the evolution of ideas and how far we can push the bar to create something unique for every event.
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