Mismatched Mess

of life, love, fashion, & forgetting to update


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Loss of Focus

The Office Jim Falls Asleep

A dull throbbing pain at my temple. The sound of a nearby wall clock ticking away the seconds. The steady hum of a computer fan. The rhythm of the office.

I blink my way out of a dazed expression and re-enter reality. I was just thinking about that one scene in The Office where Jim dies of boredom.

“No, not just thinking about,”as I look down at my to-do list,”living it.”

I adjust in my chair, realizing I had slumped over.

“What’ll it be today? A quick run to the store for a coffee? Or just go all the way and take a quick 15 minute nap right on the keyboard?”

I ponder where I’d go to get coffee…that 10 minute walk into town doesn’t sound too fun. But the 5 minute trip to the grocery store to check out their snacks and drink aisle wouldn’t satisfy my desire for a nice, hot latte. Better skip it.

“Need. To. Focus.”

I look up to my computer screen and see Facebook.

“Ugh. Oh yeah. I came here to update the pages for work and ended up scrolling nonstop through the most uninteresting news feed ever and why did I do that to myself? Facebook has me trained. Enough of that.”

Exiting the page the next Tab open is an article about ’10 Ways to Wow On Social Media.’ Scrolling down, I see an ad for another article: ‘When Baby Kittens Attack.’

“Yes!”

The first .gif of an adorable kitten lunging for a sleeping dog loads and, “Ugh when are the rest of these going to load I want to see kitt…”

“Focus!”…exits article.

“Yes…back to Photoshop. I need these retail banners finished before next Christmas. If that could be accomplished that’d be greeeat. Ha! An Office Space reference. This is my life right now. Alright, now what font would look best here?”

Changing the font on ‘SALE ENDS MONDAY!’ what seems like 100 times, I give up and delete the text.

“That was way too clichéd to write anyway. Back to square one. Ughhh this is hard. ”

Takes out phone and scrolls through Instagram. Stopping at an ad for a retail store, I’m struck by an idea.

“Wait. What if I created something like this for the store?…What if I create a whole theme?!”

I put the phone aside and open a new file in Photoshop. Product photos. Style. Colors. Arrange. A whirlwind of clicking as ideas pop into my head one after the other. My to-do list carries onto a second page as more ideas fill my mind. A mere hour passes and I’m emailing my boss the marketing strategy for the next month along with five example graphics.

I spend the rest of the work day excitedly carrying out the rest of my tasks. Energized, accomplished, and excited to begin the next day, I shut off my computer and leave the office. I walk 10 minutes to a cafe for a celebratory latte.


ISFP-active

This scenario happens to me all the time. I understand having mid-day lulls and the importance of taking breaks, but I’m learning that this lack of focus has a lot to do with my personality type. I hope to explore my ISFP personality and find ways to use it to my advantage! When I’m excited, I’m focused and determined. Otherwise I can really lose track. I hope to report back with some tricks and tips so that inner dialogues like the above happen way less often!

Want to learn your personality type? I used this site.
Also, sorry I made up the article about kittens. But here’s one just as good.


 

This was part of the Writing 101’s Blogging University. The prompt: Write about a loss: something (or someone) that was part of your life, and isn’t anymore. (I’m making a habit of not sticking to the prompt…but I don’t think it’s so necessary as long as I’m writing and learning…is that just me?)


 

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I Was A Band Roadie

Modern Miracle Crammed in the third row of a vehicle hooked up to a trailer of music equipment, I rode the miles of open highway to our first destination. It was time to tour. Get out. Stretch. Divvy up hotel room beds. Then back in the third row, travelling to the gig.

It was usually a small church, or an outside venue. Sometimes we performed to a massive crowd, other times…not. Get out. Set up. Cables and guitars, drum kits and sound checks. And me. T-shirts and stickers, SD cards and tripods. I was a roadie. Girlfriend to a guitarist and absolutely crazy in love with this band.

When I became part of the Modern Miracle family, I was immediately enamored. The energy and excitement to hear their music, to see my boyfriend perform…I was inspired.

38102_412366495669_3548101_nRight out of high school with a new laptop and Photoshop Elements, just beginning my college courses on multimedia, I had the desire to create something beautiful for this band. I sat in my dorm room listening to their music on repeat attempting to create something that expressed the emotion of the lyrics. I don’t think I’d look back at my first attempts to use Photoshop without training and call it a masterpiece…but I learned to use it through my passion for this Christian band.

As my place in the family grew, I started photographing them in concerts and photo shoots. Then I started creating t-shirts and posters and banners. I became interested in re-designing their Myspace page. If anyone remembers, the classic Myspace had a lot of really great features, if you knew html. So I learned html. I spent hours perfecting their page, creating a beautiful aesthetic. I eventually began creating Myspace page layouts for several bands. I had, perhaps, a year of html experience under my belt before I first took a class on it. Through the beauty of music, I had come into my calling.

Modern Miracle

Modern Miracle was a constant source of inspiration for me. The lyrics were poetic stories ready to be unraveled, the music was a strong force to be reckoned with, the band members were a multi-talented family willing to do what it took to get their music out there. For me, the songs were worship. I felt connected to God by listening to them. And I knew my work was worship, too. I worked to create beautiful pieces of art and I worshiped God while doing it. By art, I mean Myspace layouts and t-shirt designs…but it was all for God.

Let our dancing feet set fire with the powers of your Holy Spirit.
We are anointing every word we say. Let it resonate.

I’ve never been so connected to music before or after this band. I appreciate music; the talent, the energy, the effort. There are a few bands I love. But there’s a difference.

With Modern Miracle, there was a raw passion that went straight through me. All the hours spent at band practices and concerts. The time forming bonds with each of them. The late night work sitting on my dorm bed creating. The connection my boyfriend (now husband–plot twist!) and I made when we talked about this group.

Seasons change, life happens. I wouldn’t trade anything to go back, but I do miss that time of my life. I miss the people, especially. Perhaps that’s what caused such an emotional response—having the band members there, laughing and joking; creating unique, original music. Music that held their talents and skill; their pain and joy. I didn’t just listen or watch, they didn’t just play and sing, we grew into who we are now…and we did it together.

Turn from the world. Double portion for shame.
Suffer your own cross for spiritual gain.


This was part of theWriting 101’s Blogging University. The prompt: Write about the three most important songs in your life — what do they mean to you? – (No. hehe)
All photos by me. ‘Diamond Palace’ video credit to D2S Records. Quoted lyrics are from the videos that follow them. Listen to one more song they never got to record!


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April Fool’s Day! | Office Pranks

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April Fool’s day has ALWAYS been my favorite day of the year. All the way back to elementary school, I was fascinated with the day. Being so clever as to prank someone? Gold.

My ‘best’ (*cough dumbest? silliest?*) prank ever dates back to Junior High. Cue pre-teen angst swirled together with a slew of boy-related rejections and a dollop of ‘still finding myself’ and you get the basic inspiration for this scheme. With a little planning (very little) and some basic acting skills, I successfully fed several boys diarrhea-inducing chocolate bars. (Pathetic, right?) My friends and I had such fun ‘luring’ boys to eat this chocolate despite the prank having ZERO GRATIFICATION TO US. It’s not like we asked them the following day if they had any “issues.”  I guess it’s the journey that matters, not the destination?

Sometimes the stars align so perfectly that you just know something was meant for you. I recently found out that one of the first mentions of April Fools’ Day  was written in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. Oh Canterbury, I was meant to live here. In The Nun’s Priest Tale the character is tricked by a fox on “Syn March bigan thritty dayes and two…”  —March 32nd—or…April 1st. pranks

Last year, I had the best day at work full of pranks and laughter. It was my last day of working in that particular office, and at the end of the day I literally packed away my computer and belongings and moved to a different office building in a different city. It was really special to make my last day full of fun. A coworker, with a penchant for pranking, and I schemed and prepped a long time to come up with as many pranks as possible. You can see them listed below. (I know I posted this video a few posts ago, but really, I couldn’t leave it out)

This year, I’m living in the UK, but I just couldn’t let the spirit of pranking be cast aside! (Although rumor has it that my coworker partner-in-crime has some pranks up her sleeve…can’t wait to find out!) I decided to keep it really simple and civil this time with a care package from Britain, filled with snacks. I thought they’d get a kick out of the novelty of the different name brands.

The ‘prank’ is just a small letter included in the package. The sentences are completely non-sensical using many British phrases. Considering that I created these sentences myself with only the help of my experience and some Google searching, I doubt many of these sentences even make sense to local Britains! (Especially because many phrases are from different regions of England, as well as different time periods.) I included ‘clues’ on tiny slips of paper that ‘translate’ the words into American English. They’ll have to do some digging and rearranging to figure out what I wrote!

If anyone has any pranks to share, I’d love to see! I hope everyone has a fun day and that none of you get fooled by any of the media’s inevitable pranks!

Unfortunately their package hasn’t arrived yet, so I’ll update this post with the letter and decipher once they receive it!


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Lately


Things are slow and sleepy these days. With the rain and cold creeping back into Canterbury after a few weeks of warmth, it’s hard to be motivated to do anything but bundle up.
I’m currently:
Designing: Logos
Writing: Letters to my little brothers
Playing: Faster Than Light
Prepping: Packages to be sent to the states
Learning: How to take photos in bright lights
Celebrating: Taylor being accepted into a 2 week summer course in Paris
Planning: A game night at our flat for the students of CBC
Painting: With acrylics for more wall art (still haven’t mastered water color)
Scheming: Something secret for a certain 4-1-2015
Dreaming: Of blonde hair (ombre again??)
Watching: The Office (of course)

Enjoying: Snapchat. <-See my latest videos. And add me if you so please! UN: lyssssabeth

 


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25 Things | An Update

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These winter months are flying past us.

Moving to the UK, I did fret just a little about the weather, however it really hasn’t been a problem. On a daily basis, yes, it’s much colder than Texas, and it rains so much more. But so far Texas has had more snow than Canterbury, so the cold is not so bad. I think you just learn to acclimate to wherever you are. In Texas I never would have wanted to walk in the rain… with cars so readily available and absolutely necessary to get around most places, walking wasn’t an option. With no car and every store imaginable right in the vicinity…we have no choice but to bundle up, grab an umbrella and go. It’s not bad at all, it’s just the norm.

That being said, whether rainy and cold are normal or not, it’s certainly hard to stay motivated when all I really want to do is watch Netflix bundled in a blanket. Everyday is a decision to give in to that laziness or continue on with my list of 25 things. And sometimes I choose the TV marathon. I won’t lie. But, as long as the end goal can be the same, then this will be a productive, satisfying year. I’d say I’m off to a good start in accomplishing that!

Let’s talk details: Most of what’s on my list isn’t something just the check off and be done with, but as a way to learn from and add to my life. Here are some updates to a few things.

1. Learn basic French | Learning another language is no joke. I’ve really enjoyed learning simple phrases. I can recognize about 50 phrases or words and write most of those correctly (I struggle with the punctuation).  Speaking is more difficult, but I’m happy with the progress so far.

2. Take better photos | I don’t know about better, but I am learning more about my digital camera. I love taking photos around the city!

4. Visit all the countries in the UK | Check Scotland off that list

8. Learn to be | This one is usually easy for me, but lately I’ve been working until midnight some nights, just not wanting to stop being productive.

16. Become more involved in church | Taylor and I  have just been added to the Canterbury Baptist Church Student Volunteer Team. We will be working with university students, helping plan activities and meals and growing the students church community. We have been getting to know the leaders and students of this group for quite some time now, so I’m very happy to work with them. We’re cooking Tex-Mex for them this Sunday! We’ll see what they think of some of our favorite foods.

20. Send more snail mail | Yay! My request for pen pals was a large success! I just sent out a handful of postcards and plan on sending more once I get everyone’s address.

I’m excited about this year. The weather is warming up, I’m learning new things all the time. (Like, I had no idea mother’s day is celebrated on a different day in many countries. It’s March 15th here). I’m looking forward to March!


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Happy Valentine’s Day!

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I had the most fun making these little punny valentines cards! I wanted them cheesy, colorful, and to match a personality, interest or job description! Each card took about 5 minutes to make (not including the tiresome job of searching for puns!) I mailed these out a couple weeks ago and I hope everyone thought they were as great as I did!

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Valentine’s Things
Valentine Puns
Coworker Valentine

 


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We Got the New Flat!

I’m so excited that we were able to get this lovely flat! There have been quite a few hurdles, but we got the keys and had a look around today!

If you missed why we’re so excited about this place, you can read about our experience with the first flat here.

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The first flat was not what we saw online and about five times smaller than we thought it was going to be. It was just a small, narrow room with a bed in one corner, a couch in the other and a counter with all the necessary kitchen appliances, and a small bathroom with sliding door. I don’t want to complain about it–it’s a nice looking place and ideal for a student or single professional on a budget. However they advertise it for two people because the bed is a double bed, so technically large enough for two. We have been living decently here; only unpacking the essentials and limiting what we attempted to cook. But when it comes down to it, there would be no way we could each work full time out of it.

Admittedly we felt like true stereotypical Texans when we discussed the issues with the landlady. Of course the Texans would want everything bigger. But, for us to comfortably work, live and research, we needed space and made the decision to search for a larger place. We just got SUPER lucky to find a place as large as the new flat is in our price range.   

These first photos are horrible. Perhaps I was cold from walking in the mist, or maybe I was too excited to actually focus the camera!

This flat is a short and pleasant 9 minute walk to the city centre, compared to the 15 minute walk on a major road from the first flat. It is a nice 15 minute walk through a pedestrian-only walkway to the University of Kent, compared to the 30 minute walk uphill on a major road.

I feel like we’ve just moved up in the world because of this upgraded flat. Yes, we’ve had bigger apartments in America, but it’s really been like starting our lives over in the UK (relearning money, reading Universal time, learning which side of the road to be on—I mean, we haven’t had to think about these things since elementary school!) , so this flat is a giant step for us. This is why I’m so excited to share this little place! And we’ll be moved in tomorrow!


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Happy Blog-iversary!

Today is my ‘8 year’ blog-iversary. I wish I could say I had 8 years of riveting posts, but I can’t say that I do.

I’ve used this blog (under two different names) as a means to journal and share creativity. I haven’t always needed that outward form of expressing myself, so there are many empty moments through the archives. However, I thought I’d share some interesting times in my life as I go through college, marriage and career changes in the span of 8 (more like 5-6) years.

2009: One year into college, 2009 is the year I really start blogging!

I discover my love of Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen’s fashion and get my first non-restaurant job. 

I am faced with the horrible choice of being forced to get my first touch screen and data-mandatory phone! (Back when phones were phones)

I realize I want graphic design to be my career.

I made many, many t-shirt d.i.y.’s. This one is a dress from a 4XL t-shirt. 

I get engaged in a surprise photoshoot.

2010: The year I decided to link my Tumblr and Twitter to my blog and almost all my posts have NO TITLE. What an archiving nightmare.

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I realize what a hoarder I am

I get super into Photoshop (some more)

I made my brother this adorable Max from Where the Wild Things Are costume

I get into photography.

I get obsessed with fashion photography and move to Chictopia for. a. while.

2011: I graduated college (mid-2010) and move somewhere with no Internet until I got married so I

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Post about my bridal portraits

Self-designed wedding invitations

Getting Ready

My awesome wedding party

A beautiful ceremony

And the reception (that I starved at)

2012: Working at an exhausting daycare job and feeling so creatively unfulfilled, I began blogging again!

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I opened an etsy store selling vintage purses. This later turned into designing flyers

I tried blogging something more meaningful for the first time on the blog. (I’m still struggling with this, but I have so much to say these days that the hard topics must be given a voice!)

I got a job as a secretary which quickly moved into managing websites! 

I started noticing some sad realities in my life. Mainly the gradual decline of friendships and relationships. 

I tried my hand at d.i.y. journals!

2013: The year I blog fairly consistently! 

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I start (and fail to finish) and 365 day Photo Challenge

I tried (and fail to succeed) to organize my blog

I hint at all the friendship struggles I was having (but still try to remain positive and not get too deep)

I try my hand at recipes! Yum! & Coffee

I “win” a fun blogging award and answer questions about myself!

My husband graduates with his Master’s degree and I realize what that means for us

I finally get promoted from managing websites to managing and designing websites! Finally using that college degree to the fullest extent! Except, my creativity for blogging leaves me. 

I learn the hard way about friendships. And, of course, give a vague nondescript version of the story.

2014: After a short lull (only like 6 months, no big deal!) I decide to start blogging again! 

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I’m trying to find my focus for 2014. I love d.i.y. and photography projects, but I really want to try my hand at writing more serious posts. I’m a quiet person and have let that affect my opinions on topics, so as not to offend or hurt feelings, but I don’t think that’s a good reason to keep quiet anymore. I hope I can find my path as I begin this blogging thing over again. Every year seems like I’m starting over, because I’m just trying to find my way. Here’s the beginning: 1, 2, 3


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Shirt Designs

I wanted to post a few of the t-shirt designs I’ve created lately! I don’t take many custom orders because I do graphic design full time, but I love doing some just-for-fun designs occasionally!

shirtMy company put together a team for Relay for Life. We hosted a volleyball tournament to raise money for the American Cancer Society. In true Texas fashion, it was ‘cowboy’ themed.

shirt2I designed this volleyball shirt for the same American Cancer Society fundraiser tournament. The winners received this as a prize!

shirt1I created this shirt after my family asked for a Family Reunion shirt! The ‘roots’ are the names of my grandfather and great aunts and uncles and their parents.
shirt3A witty friend and her women’s softball team came up with this Miley Cyrus/Softball pun of a design. I was more than happy to bring their vision to life.


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Change Time

Things have not slowed down.

And I’m starting to think that’s okay.

My husband has officially been accepted to his first doctoral program. Edinburgh’s school of Divinity in Scotland sent him an acceptance letter last week and we’ve been celebrating ever since! He will continue to apply to other schools, but we are so excited to think that in 10 or so months, we’ll be traveling a very long distance to a new school and home.

Tonight we looked up one-way plane tickets to Edinburgh, just for fun. Yikes. There’s nothing like looking at price tags to really make you realize the big picture.

We’ve set up a decent budget for ourselves to help us save more money. We have a comfortable amount of money in the bank, but it sure would be nice to leave for (insert UK school here) with our normal amount of  money PLUS plane ticket money.

I’m beginning to wonder if I should brain-storm ways to make extra money, but I’m not sure what I can do. I’d love to try adding free-lance design, but as a full time designer at work I fear that will be too much stress on me. I also considered investing in those boxes of chocolate that children use to fund-raise for band concerts and field trips, but I doubt taking children’s customers is the best option. We’ll see. 😉

This will be a great time for us. So much planning, saving and preparation will be made this year, but I think we’re going to enjoy this learning experience. We’ll see!