Wise Words


“You may be one brave decision from the most important step in your destiny.” — Beth Moore

Phone Photo Friday


Customs House in downtown Nashville as I was driving by.

Advice for Fresh Graphic Designers


(Me at work approx. 3 years ago)

We have a new graphic design intern at my office. She’s still in school but preparing for the job market. It got me thinking about ome valuable advice I got from my professors and some things I wish I had known 3 years ago. Maybe this advice will be worth something to someone out there:

• Learn the keyboard shortcuts. Over time this will make you much more efficient. Added benefit: someone looking over your shoulder will have no idea what you’re doing and be completely impressed.

• Stay organized. Files. Deadlines. Emails. Meetings. Don’t let things pile up.

• Seek out inspiration. When you have free time peruse websites, blogs, magazines, your competitors publications. Become familiar with the things your target market loves.

• Say yes. When someone asks if you have time for a side project say yes. It’s OK to say, “Can it wait until tomorrow?” or “When do you need this? I have a lot going on today.” Don’t roll your eyes, let out a stressed-out sigh, say “maybe” and for-crying-out-loud DO NOT say no!

• Do a good job and work effiiciently. Turn things around quickly, especially unexpected requests, like above. Before long you will the everyone’s favorite designer and the go-to problem solver. Welcome this. It’s job security.

• Volunteer and have a service attitude. When you’re not busy help someone else with their work load. (You may learn some new skills.) When your boss asks if anyone has time to help him move boxes from the storage unit to the new office building. Say yes. And then make the time. Your helpful attitude and hard-work will not go unnoticed.

• Say hi and smile at your co-workers when they walk past your desk. Be friendly. Say yes to lunch offers as often as you can afford. It’s important and useful to know—really know—your co-workers; they’re people with families and full lives, too.

• Look for tutorials for design techniques and new software. Know the free resources for stock art, textures, action sets, fonts. Valuable inspiration and also saves your company money. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Challenge yourself. Never stop learning.

• Pray for your company; without it’s success you have no job*. Pray for your co-workers. Pray for your bosses. Pray for yourself—for creativity, for inspiration, for efficiency, for a good attitude, for peace, for energy, for raises (doesn’t hurt!).
*By all means, DO NOT curse your company! Do not say “This job is going nowhere.” “This company is going down the tubes.” “I’m on a sinking ship.” I’ve been guilty of saying all these things in the past. Take authority and bless your company, do not speak negativity over it. Speak what you want to happen, not what you do not want to happen. Your words have power.

• The ideal graphic designer is a combination of creative, efficient, organized and cool (enthusiastic, pleasant, stylish, trendy, fun).

Guitar-Shaped Cake


A rockin’ baby party needs a rockin’ guitar cake, right? I drove home from Michaels with this guitar shaped cake pan wondering how in the world I was going to do this – bake the cake, get it out of the pan and onto a plate in one piece, and decorate it. I was afraid it would stick in the pan and be a crumbly mess. I wished I could have called Granny. She used to make all sorts of fancy cakes after taking cake decorating classes back in the 70’s.

Thankfully it came with detailed instructions to grease the pan with shortening and sprinkle with flour to make sure no shiny spots show through. It took some retouching on the tuning pegs but I eventually had it thoroughly greased and floured.

Granny used to always gently drop the cake pan onto the oven rack a few times. I’m not sure why … maybe to get rid of air pockets? I do it sometimes just because she did.

One regular cake mix completely filled the pan. I made funfetti cake.

After it cooled a few minutes, I cut off the rounded top … and ate most of it. Because why waste perfectly good cake?

The instructions said to flip the cake onto a wire rack, then, once cooled, flip it onto the serving plate. I had no interest in flipping the cake twice so it went straight onto the serving plate. It didn’t come right out. I ended up sliding a knife along the edges to make sure everything was loose and then tried again.

Success!!! Thank you Jesus! Look at that bridge and sound hole and those frets. How funny! Do you really think they’ll be visible after I frost it?

Nope. But I suppose maybe the purpose is just a template for decorating. Considering I’m an ill-equiped*, inexperienced cake decorator, I think it turned out OK. Colored sugars certainly help.

*I used a butter knife and a ziplock bag with the corner snipped off.

I used Martha Stewart’s vanilla frosting recipe. (By the way, I recently discovered the wonder of homemade frosting. Why have I been buying it out of a can all these years?!) It was very sugary sweet but thankfully the cake was not so it was a nice balance.

I’m looking forward to many more guitar cakes in the future!

Eating Out: Zumi Sushi


Introducing … a new blog column called Eating Out: modern dining with a mid-century budget! Jason and I love a good date night, however we don’t like to spend a lot of money on such things. The idea of Eating Out is to report on a new-to-us or trusted favorite Nashville restaurants and share how we made it fit a budget that would make our grandparents proud.

Zumi Sushi
2119 Belcourt Avenue
Nashville, TN 37212

Dinner for two: $21.30 + tip

Cuisine: 2 waters with lemon, 2 house salads, 2 miso soups, a Black & Gold Roll, and a Pacific Queen Roll.

Impression: I was pleasantly surprised after reading a mediocre review several months ago. Order at the counter and wait at your table with a number a la Pei Wei or Jason’s Deli. The servers were friendly and checked on us frequently, taking away dishes as soon as we finished our soups and salads. The rolls were quite delicious. We especially like the Black and Gold (named for Vanderbilt U. I’m assuming?) which was a white tuna roll lightly fried in tempura (so it’s warm) topped with crab salad that—despite looking exactly like fancy shredded cheddar—was delightful! The Pacific Queen was a very interesting pairing of yellow fin tuna, avocado, mango and cucumber. We didn’t care too much for the sweet poke´ sauce but it was lovely with soy sauce. Each roll came with 8 hearty pieces. Soup and salad were both inexpensive and generous portions. Presentation was beautiful!

Cost Saving Tips: Drinking water saved us $4 right off the bat. If you’re buying alcohol when you go out, there’s an obvious money sucker. Don’t be a sucker. Part of our reason for checking out Zumi was a bogo (buy one get one) coupon from a fundraiser book I purchased last fall. The book cost $20 and we’ve already saved at least $60 using it.

Come again? We’ll definitely be back for more of that Black & Gold roll.

Bathroom Renovation Stage 10


My husband is amazing! (But you knew that already if you’ve been following my blog.) We’ve both been quite busy lately which is nothing but a blessing when you’re self-employed (Jason) or do freelance in addition to your day job (me). And our weekends have been filled up with fun, work and social obligations lately. Also a blessing.

However, the bathroom renovation had almost come to a complete standstill since we (mostly) finished the shower. We’ve both be itching to get the renovation wrapped up but most of the remaining things I have no idea how to do and/or I’d rather trust Jason to do. This past week he has been working hard to find time through the night or during a gap in his daytime work.

Here are some things that have happened (though not very interesting by photograph):

The shower fan & light was installed in the shower. (More adventures of being wedged into a tiny space in the attic. But we do love our low-slung roof.)

Electricity has been run to the shower light, shower  fan, and the light above the vanity. Check out this sweet 3 switches in 1 thing. (What’s it called again!?) Saved us (Jason) from having to cut out a bigger hole in the wall for a new electrical work box.

Electricity has been run to a light in the laundry room (I still can’t believe I have a laundry ROOM!), an outlet in the laundry room and an outlet by the sink in the bathroom.

Lights installed … almost. The ceiling light that was formerly in the bathroom, which was once a bedroom, is now dangling a foot from the ceiling in the laundry room. So helpful when I’m doing laundry at night! Also, there is a light in the bathroom now, above the vanity, but it’s essentially just a light bulb hanging out of the wall. Better than the floor lamp we’ve been using!

Holes in the ceiling have been patched up. Moving lights around and taking down walls created several big holes in the ceiling. Jason’s been patching and matching the lovely (not) spiky texture.

Ahhh … progress feels good! Next up we’ll be installing the second shower head and setting up the plumbing for when it will be connected to the water lines (later…) and finishing up the drywall. Once that is done and all patched up (all Jason here again) we can prime and paint. THEN tile the floors. (Not decided on or purchased yet.) THEN install the vanity. THEN install a sink. (Not decided on or purchased yet.)

Again, MY HUSBAND IS AMAZING! We haven’t had to hire help for any step of the process so far. He’s quite the electrician! Soon we’ll find out how much of a plumber he is!

Background Reading:

Catch up with our bathroom renovation progress:

Bathroom Renovation Stage 1

Bathroom Renovation Stage 2

Bathroom Renovation Stage 3

Bathroom Renovation Stage 4

Bathroom Renovation: Tiling!

Bathroom Renovation Stage 5

Bathroom Renovation Stage 6

Bathroom Renovation Stage 7

Bathroom Renovation Stage 8

Concrete Shower Pan Goes Down Smooth

Bathroom Renovation Stage 9

Phone Photo Friday


I ripped my pants. 😦  Can I get new jeans now?