July: Free Monthly Wallpapers

It’s July 1st and the halfway point of the year - did you see that coming?  We have another half year ahead of us and I'm pretty sure, like me, you have many more goals you are looking forward to accomplishing before 2018. 

Sometimes though, I think we spend so much time looking ahead that we forget to reflect on all the good things that have already happened or even forget to live in the present.  I find that the idea of practicing daily gratitude is way to reflect and remind yourself of all the good things that are happening everyday.

To some, it may sound silly, but there is research that shows that people who practice gratitude are more optimistic, have more energy, and even have stronger immune systems.  I started practicing daily gratitude in April this year, but I didn't start randomly.  I only started because a doctor told me to. January through March was a dark place for me.  I have an autoimmune disease that affects my kidneys and my body was in a downward spiral at the start of this year.  (I have a feeling I know why, but that's another story.)  I spent 3 months not feeling like myself, my entire body was swollen with edema, and lab tests just kept getting worse and worse.  I felt like I had no control of my body.  A friend recommend this book written by Dr. Wahls, so I decided to try and take back control of the only thing I could: what I put into my body and how I treated it.  So I followed her advice: I changed my diet, started sleeping more, reduced stress, and even started a journal where I recorded what I ate, symptoms, daily gratitude, and one good thing that happened everyday.  

In her book, she emphasizes how stress and mental health play a big part in our overall physical health and now I am a firm believer.  And also because I am imperfect, I get lazy and there are days I forget or just don't take the time to sit down and journal.  But now I can tell a difference when I don't journal for a few days.  I feel more anxious and less focused, sometimes more negative.  By consistently thinking about all the good things happening in my life, I really do believe it has played a part in resetting my mental state and in turn, it is only helping the rest of my body.  The blood work and lab results don't lie and how I actually feel doesn't lie, either!

So for those of you out there that may need to hear this, I encourage you to try practicing daily gratitude.  Or at the very least, reflect on all the good things that have happened so far this year. Celebrate the victories, however small, from the past 6 months.  What are you grateful for, happy about, or proud of?

Thanks for reading and have a wonderful month of July!  I hope you enjoy this summer-y wallpaper! Subscribe below to get it!

Getting Organized

Getting Organized

Stuff.  We all have it.  Some of us have more and some of us have less.  But no matter if you have a little or a lot, I strongly believe that finding a way to organize it and put it away is one of the secrets to making your space feel and look more beautiful.  An organized and clutter-free space just feels more comfortable.  You don't really even need to buy all the candles, flowers, decor and other pinterest-y accessories to make a space nice.  That's really just like adding sprinkles on top of your ice cream: looks cute, but the ice cream was already delicious without them.

June: Free Monthly Wallpapers

June: Free Monthly Wallpapers

Hello and happy (almost) June from Iceland!  I had enough foresight to create the June monthly wallpaper prior to leaving for our trip and you know what?  I’m not afraid to say that I’m proud of myself for planning ahead!  Because hopefully that means for those of you who look forward to updating your screens every month, I did not disappoint!  

How to digitize watercolor paintings

How to digitize watercolor paintings

One of the skillsets that I acquired in my career as an architect includes knowing my way around a bunch of software programs, including the Adobe Creative Suite.  So when it came to digitizing watercolor paintings for my free monthly wallpapers, figuring out a process was pretty straightforward.  I got a few questions on instagram about how I digitize watercolor paintings.  For those people that are just figuring this out and are less familiar with the software programs - I hope this is helpful!

This blog post will cover the process for how I digitize a simple watercolor painting.  Please note that the following instructions assume you know the basics of getting around in Adobe Photoshop (like the essential tools and user interface).  Alright, let’s get started!

Navy and Blush Wedding Invitations

Navy and Blush Wedding Invitations

Towards the end of 2016, I started working with Jamie and Will on paper goods, signage and other design details for their upcoming wedding.  It’s been fun working with Jamie since she is a DIYer and planned to stay involved in creating details for her wedding.  I wanted to share the process of these invitations because it is a blend of bride DIY and custom digital work.

Custom Digital + Bride DIY Invitations

Jamie knew that she wanted to print and assemble the invitation suite herself, so I designed this custom invitation (in English and Chinese), a matching envelope liner, and delivered it digitally.  Jamie was then able to DIY the whole wedding suite at home.

May: Free Monthly Wallpapers

May: Free Monthly Wallpapers

And just like that, it’s May.  Which means the free monthly wallpaper is available!  I have got to stop being amazed at how fast time goes, because it never slows down.  But honestly, I feel like I blinked and April was almost over! If you’ve been following along on instagram, you probably know I started this 100 day project in April where I create a watercolor piece everyday for 100 days.  If that’s the case, you’ll recognize this abstract floral. It looked very May-ish to me, so I digitized it for this month’s desktop and phone wallpaper.

Learning Calligraphy: 3 Things I Used to Start + 3 Things I Wish I Knew When I Started

Learning Calligraphy: 3 Things I Used to Start + 3 Things I Wish I Knew When I Started

I finally had a good reason to learn calligraphy after we got engaged in January 2015. That way I could address our invitation envelopes and letter some small paper goods for our wedding day. I had some notes I had taken from a friend with suggestions on how to learn on my own so I dug them out and that’s where I started. After completing all the calligraphy for our wedding day (which looking back at it now was definitely NOT great - see photo above!) I didn’t pick up the pointed pen again until the start of 2016.

After stepping away for more than 6 months, it was almost like I was starting over again. Except this time, I started a new instagram account just for calligraphy and discovered so many resources! I thought it would be helpful to share what resources I used when I first started learning compared to what I wish I knew when I started. Now, this doesn’t mean that the tools I used when I started were bad, I just think there are BETTER resources for someone that is just starting out.

Keep Going

Keep Going

It’s been years since I first heard Ira Glass talk about creativity in his interview on the art of storytelling and for some reason it’s been on my mind lately and I wanted to share it here. Perhaps it’s also because I just finished listening to S-Town (for which Ira Glass is the Editorial Advisor so I kept hearing his name on the episode credits).

Nobody tells people who are beginners — and I really wish somebody had told this to me — is that all of us who do creative work … we get into it because we have good taste. But it’s like there’s a gap, that for the first couple years that you’re making stuff, what you’re making isn’t so good, OK? It’s not that great. It’s really not that great. It’s trying to be good, it has ambition to be good, but it’s not quite that good. But your taste — the thing that got you into the game — your taste is still killer, and your taste is good enough that you can tell that what you’re making is kind of a disappointment to you, you know what I mean?