Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Progress and settling in for colder climates

It's getting colder here. I'm relishing in whatever warmth I can soak up before winter creeps in. Last week, we took a picnic in Morton's Arboretum just south of the city. We took along our friends, Kara and Presley and Rachel (from R.Hanel Photography). These are some photos from that day.

Speaking of Rachel Hanel, I just completed her new website. This website is especially spectacular because Rachel has administrative functions. She can update her own photo galleries and text BUT also she can change out the background image for any page. This allows her to give her site a brand new look and feel whenever she feels like it. Check it out:

Monday, October 6, 2008 Updated with new work!

Happy Fall, my favorite time of year! I have finally updated with my newest work. After a summer pseudo break from working full-time chained to my computer, I decided that updating my website should include my creative designs as well as my fully developed projects. A lot of the time, companies will hire me to do the purely creative side of web design. I enjoy these projects just as much if not more than full development. Visit

Also, one of the most recent projects that I am proud to showcase is Thompson Brooks, INC is a premium building company in San Francisco. When Joe and I lived there, we not only shared a house with their office manager, Nicole Vetzmadian but Joe did some contract work for TBI. At the time, I would have begged to get their website design. So, needless to say when they contacted me this sprint - I jumped on the chance. This website features a fairly simple flash design that showcases photos of their work but also includes a content management system built in PHP 5 that allows them to update their portfolio and text.

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more exciting developments.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Sharing the Love ... Spreading some "good" around.

In a world full of challenges ... I wanted to comment on being grateful and take a minute to share some links.

But first - - - a bit about my blogging spurts.
I know it's a good thing I'm not a professional blogger because I'm not exactly consistent on posting regularly. I love to write but typically my writing is dark often times helping me get through something or find a new solution. For a perfect example, check out this piece that I wrote in December 2007. My step mom calls it "depressing" but I think it's probably one of my best yet. Upon reading it, I'm sure you will wonder how in the world I contribute to a moms blog. I wonder that myself sometimes when I'm having trouble writing my next post. But somehow I manage - although I have to work on writing more than just one a month.

I am a firm believer in having many outlets for our creativity, our frustrations ... you name it. My outlets include blogging and most recently, a freelance artists group that I started with my friends, Will and Rachel. I love creating things whether it is a website or a well-thought out Lego castle. But as my business grows and my responsibilities grow, I find the need to create something that has nothing to do with money. So far, our venture is doing well - so in exchange, I'd like to share some links of friends, colleagues, clients, etc.

Will McCarty Freelance Graphic Artist and Friend

Ben Asaykwee Fabulous Musician and Friend

Rachel Hanel Fashion Photographer and Confidant

Steve Samler Musician Specializing in Digital Music for commercials and more (also a member of our group)

Christopher Ciesielski Fellow Graphic Designer and new to Chicago (also a member of our group)

Emily DeWan A freelance portrait & wedding photographer and member of our group

Juana Ryan awesome photographer and owner of Stella Lily Studio 1 (and friend)

Jennifer Khatchatrian self-employed mom and Friend

Diana Adams Portrait Photographer in Fairfax, VA (and client)

MJ Tam super-mom and blogger (and friend)

Makeba Waller owner of Ultraview Imaging in Arlington, TX and also a client of mine


Chicago Freelance Artists Group and Blog

Freelancers Union

Chicago Smart Green Families

Post Secret ( one of my favorite sites )

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Who needs "please" when we've got guns?

As most professional moms do ... I juggle A LOT! I've added one more task to my plate these days and that is blogging for "Chicago Moms Blog". I love to write and I love blogging because I don't necessarily have to tell a story - I can be opinionated, personal and even weird if I want to. The Moms Blog fits well with my lifestyle ... I work at home and most of my day is spent balancing my work load, my kids' schedule, my family's demands and lastly my own personal needs. My new found interest revolves around anything that helps me make this world a better place for my children.

I recently had my friend (and professional photographer), Rachel Hanel take these photos of my beautiful children wearing political tee shirts for one of my clients. I took it a step further and created a political family portrait. (**please note, my husband says he is not a republican but also note that he supports Bush so what should we call him? let's blame it on his military upbringing and move on.)

Thus my new found political expression spawned my first blog entry to Chicago Moms Blog. Coupled with a toy gun Jazper received as a gift ... I felt the need to read about how other moms felt about violence and at the same time try and justify my "no guns" policy.


Ralphie: “I want an official Red Ryder, carbine-action, 200-shot range model air rifle, with a compass in the stock and this thing that tells time.”

Mom: “You’ll shoot your eye out.”

We all know Ralphie Parker, the quintessential toy gun owner from “A Christmas Story”. In the world of hot parenting topics, boys and imaginary gunplay ranks at the top. And I became personally affected when my four year old was recently given the gift of a toy gun; which I politely rejected. Even though I don’t allow it, my boys will go to great lengths to make a gun out of anything: their finger, a stack of legos, even a sandwich. In a culture already filled with toy soldiers, armed pirates, violent video games and images of real war, I find it unnerving to see an innocent child pretending to kill someone. I keep asking myself if I’m giving it far more power by forbidding it.

I think children see guns and weapons as “hero worship” and along with that they also witness the power they possess. Rarely, if ever do we see the hero defeating the villain by “talking”, more often we see the hero defeating the villain with violence. Sadly, our children see that violence works. Violence is power. It becomes stylized and children are more likely to look at the violent solutions they see as a “real” alternative. How can we allow this natural boyish behavior of playing with guns and still educate them that violence is not an answer? How can we explain the difference between their pretend play and the fact that real violence can not be retracted?

My grandparents argue that imaginary games of cowboys and Indians or cops and robbers did not turn them into violent adults. This may be true, but as children “real” violence was not pumped into homes with quite the regularity it is now. So, it is a stance I take to not encourage gun play and violence. I will not provide toy guns for them nor will I allow them to receive them as gifts. But on the other hand, I can not forbid their creative methods either. I will continue my crusade to make it clear that I do not approve of play that involves hurting others, even if it is only pretend play.

**thanks to Jack Johnson for this post's title ... inspiring and empowering my want for non-violence, peace and change.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

New Work / New Lease on Blogging

Isn't that saying, "a new lease on life"? I had to google it to be sure. I realized the other day that not only was it February 20th ALREADY, but it had also been 2 months since my last blog. Wow, time flies when you are busy and I think I also find it hard to blog about work. But it recently came to my attention that I could blog about not only my new work but my new learning experiences, and my life in general. If you have been to my myspace page and read any of those blogs, you know that I love to write. Those blogs always seem to take a lot of myself to complete them ... I suppose putting them out in public makes me spend more time polishing the phrases with a certain poise. But then again, that's my job, to make things look pretty whether it's graphic design or just words.

I recently started a Freelance Artist's Group (in collaboration with fellow designer, Will McCarty and fashion photographer, Rachel Hanel) here in Chicago in the hopes of creating an artistic outlet for myself and my peers and hopefully developing a good network of talented folks. If you are local and interested, please visit our site and contribute some ideas to the cause.

In the spirit of "new lease on blogging", it is my goal to develop a more wide-spread topic range for future blogging. But on the same notion, I also need to share my recent work with you.

A good friend of mine,
Jennifer Khatchatrian has recently started a new organizing business. Like me, she wanted to find something she could do from home so she could be with her kids more and still make a living. She came to me for a logo and we are soon to get started on the website.

And my blogging spirit is now cut short by the 5pm bell and the sound of my children coming home from a day of play. I have much more to share with you ... as always stay tuned!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


It was recently brought to my attention that designer children's web pages might be a well-sought out niche for me. I was recently designing a web page for my 4 year old. He's started playing on the computer more and more and I wanted to have more control over what he was viewing as well as give him an easy tool for getting where he needed to go on the world wide web. My husband called me an over-achiever but my friends said they would pay me to design one for their kids. Hmmmmm... my wheels are turning / What do you think?

Here's the page I designed for Jazper: