His & Hers: Our Reads of the Moment

his and hers

Once upon a time I met my match. A rock star artist, attractive man, best friend, beautiful person, wonderful father. I found that he brought an abundance of light into my life just by being a friend and mentor to me as a young adult. 9 years later the friendship grew into something unbelievable and now we are a completely inseparable and happy family.

We usually means us, as in this website and our community, but in the case of these new features it actually means Mister and Miss. Educated. This article is about the books we have nearby for reading and the blogs we catch up on often.

Her Books

Good Energy Book

I got this book for free during a promotion at the perfect timing because I was changing my life and my world. After reading it I became really addicted and got rid of the negative energy in my home and life. I knew most of the techniques from my past but this book explains everything in a very attractive way and is a great read even when you’re just feeling negative and hopeless. I highly recommend it if you’re into energy healing.

Blog Inc.

Mom Inc.

Renegade Writer

Achieve Anything In Just One Year

His Books

Surviving the Economic Collapse

I got this book as I was hoping for the best but studying and preparing for the worst. I have a lot to lose and I feel it is my job as a man to be sure everyone will be taken care of. The book is self-published so it’s a little brash and of course there are errors but I couldn’t put it down. It’s the actual account of a man who survived economic collapse in Argentina so it’s not a hypothetic response. It was very informative and I recommend it to anyone who wants to be prepared when the shit hits the fan.

Art and Fear

Rich Dad Poor Dad

The Way of the Superior Man

Think and Grow Rich

Blogs

And while books are rad, blogs are like the newest imagery-stuffed zines, you can visit millions of them over every delicious topic you can imagine. You can even find some not-so-delicious topics if that’s your fancy and with that we’d also love to leave some of our current favorite blogs~

Her Blogs

1. puglypixel
2. Design*Sponge
3. Independent Fashion Bloggers
4. Thompson Family Life
5. A Beautiful Mess

His Blogs

1. Lines and Colors
2. Art21 Blog
3. Design For Mankind
4. The Jealous Curator
5. Co.Design

Make sure you’ve added your blog in the comments if you aren’t listed in the link directory! We’re beginning to get very serious about blogging and active within the community again, now that life has been settling down, and we’d love to see your blog and get to know you, too!

Hints for Creating Realistic Fictional Characters

Fictional characters are mysterious beings. They have no real life but to us, they can be very real. People talk about them as if they were real and the things they did actually happened. To make a character that will live in the imaginations of other people, they first need to mean a lot to you as their creator. It’s true that a great character is what keeps a story going (and keeps you reading) so if you want to tell a memorable story, you will need to think up a great character. How do you do that?

Combine things you love to make a character you care about. If you’re interested in the Victorian era, maybe your hero/heroine is from this age in history? Be prepared to do some research to make your character believable. If you’re into science fiction or fantasy, you will have more creative freedom, but you will need to do some “world building”, and create your own setting around your character.

Name your character. The name of your character is more important than you might initially think. It gives your reader the very first impression of their age, personality and where, or when, they are from. A character that goes by a nickname like “Chip” or “Bruiser” already gives you a pretty clear idea of what they’re like.

Give them physical characteristics. Not only looks like eye color or height, but individual mannerisms, how they move and how they talk. Look at real life examples that you’ve noticed in other people. Maybe they overuse certain words or phrases or maybe they walk with a shuffle?

What are their strengths? Memorable characters have a lot of inner strength, a saving grace or a talent or two. Make your characters determined in the face of opposition, sad but still strong when they feel unloved. Give them a sense of humor or a need to help others.

What are their shadows? To understand shadows, it helps to look at yourself and the not-so-lovely things about your personality. Don’t make your character a carbon copy of yourself or someone else, but it helps to build ideas from real life. What are your character’s shortcomings and include some quirks. Its important to make your characters saving grace/s outweigh their shadow… unless you’re coming up with a villain. Still they need some part of their personality, a very small one, to be sympathetic.

Give your character loved ones and foes. Most of the time, your story wouldn’t be much without at least a few other characters. Give them a best friend, a mentor, an ex that dragged them through the mud, someone that stands in the way of their goals, or a love interest. These other characters should have a great influence on your main character.

How will they evolve? No character should stay the same throughout the course of a story. Your hero or heroine needs to have learned something and changed for the better, even after you put them through hell.

Get Started Blogging and Have More Success

So blogging is quite a huge trend these days, it’s a hobby many creatives and non-creatives alike can get into. It opens up communication and discussion online, offers anyone the ability to make their own specialty of knowledge accessable to everyone. A new way to share inspirations and ideas alike. (I love blogging.)

If you’re getting into blogging (or are already into blogging) for the business aspect, this is not that kind of website. (I’m sure you noticed when you first looked around!) There are many great websites and blogs online devoted to business advice however, the information highway is in your hands.

We, as you may have guessed, are more of an artistic/personal expression and lifestyle blog — business is not the purpose here but is becoming a large chunk of time — we simply love sharing and creating.

bloggingsm

Comments

As you know, comments do not mean good content but they are a great encouragement to new and seasoned bloggers alike. Readers may contact you using a variety of the methods that you have available and the one that most bloggers obsess about is, you guessed it, comments. Comments do not mean quality or share-worthy content, they simply mean your post has started a discussion for a variety of reasons.

A great way to encourage comments in posts is to ask your readers questions and invite discussion into the topic you are writing about. The great thing about the blogosphere is that there are so many different bloggers and readers alike that opening up discussion is always a great idea.

The Best Way to Generate Lots of Comments on Your Next Blog Post via Problogger

Subscribers

Itching for more subscribers? Make sure that a subscription button is in a highly-visible area and create good content. Encourage your readers to subscribe at the end of your posts if you like, give them a reason to subscribe.

bloglovin

Bookmark and Share

Content Ideas

This is my absolute favorite topic of blogging! I have this endless list of silly content rolling through my mind all the time, I have a ton of drafts waiting to be finished and even articles I’m too afraid to post. Now that I’ve forced myself to add a post a day, I save a lot of content, ideas and drafts. I often give our writers article ideas and always have a list of inspirations available on demand for all of our contributers.

Content is what is MOST important about your blog, how much people search for it, visit it, read it, like it, share it. That is what makes and breaks blogs because essentially that’s what they are, logs of content. Who wants to read a droning, slow, uninformative article very often?

Create an exciting, visual post of your inspirations or even your day.
Write about a topic people are invested in and offer a new perspective.
Write about a topic you are passionate and knowledgeable about, teach your readers about something or how to make something.
Write a valuable review.

Layout and Imagery

This is something I am often emailed about from visitors and something I really felt should be addressed. By using Google search you can search for free themes available for a variety of blogging platforms, myspace, etc. Customize the theme to suit your taste and don’t forget to give credit to the designer.

Keep it simple, the content is what’s most important and you’ll more than likely pick up skills for customizing your blog further along the way.

..and Remember

Success in Blogging is made of Little Victories also via Problogger

Design Your Own Career: Part Four

“Starting out to make money is the greatest mistake in life. Do what you feel you have a flair for doing, and if you are good enough at it, the money will come.”
– Greer Garson

money
We’ve identified our passion, worked out the skills we will need to pursue it, and found that we must keep learning in any creative career. Now the tricky bit, the question of the ‘M’ word, the point when we realise just how difficult the creative career is to achieve, and why so many abandon it or never even try: how do we make money? Firstly, there are two vital points to keep in mind when embarking on or living the creative career, if you want it to work financially.

Two Principles for Making Your Passion Pay

Not only do you have to love doing it, you have to have a certain amount of love for the work involved in doing it. For example, I would really like to be a property developer; I’m interested in buildings, interior design and the pleasure that comes from renewing something tired and old. However, I’m not one for physical labour – a bit here and there, sure, but stripping walls, plastering, painting – it just isn’t for me; I’m an ideas person. Therefore, I would either need a great deal of start-up money to outsource this work, or I’d need to partner up with someone who wants the challenge – it’s just logic. Whereas, when it comes to writing, I love the concept, the materials, the result and the work involved – it’s win win.

You have to think about who will pay you, and tailor your work for them. Making money always involves someone else; you don’t make money as an individual unless you have a licence to print it yourself. Now, if you know you won’t get paid as an isolated entity, then you need to quit thinking of your ‘working self’ as an isolated entity – you need to start thinking about your customer: the person who will pay you to do what you love. When you think about them, you bring yourself closer to making money, because you can see things from their point of view, and know why they would or wouldn’t part with their cash on your behalf. For example, if I wrote articles purely for myself, made them all about me and only relevant to my life, it’s pretty unlikely that anyone would ever pay me for them. Whereas, if I wrote them, yes out of a love for the craft, but also with a target audience in mind (publishers as well as readers) then I’ve tailored my work and I invite payment.

What about money now?

This is all well and good, but I’d be lying if I said these principles alone will make you a living from your passion: there are many more sides to the coin. Firstly, it is an elite few who have the resources to start a business from scratch and live off of it, and I’m going to assume you are not one of them. So how do you get a financial head start with a creative career?

Start early. If you want a lucrative, independent career, you must be prepared to walk a long, toll-taking road to success. Because you are not relying on anyone else for that ‘big break’, you have to build up all the things that separate entity would offer you: reputation, credibility, contacts, experience, knowledge etc. The sooner you start, the better.

Do it alongside study. Study, particularly undergraduate study, is probably one of the best times you could start working out a creative career, whilst still feeling grounded. You have plenty of free time, you might have a student loan, and you are surrounded by other creative, young individuals to join forces with.

Do it alongside other work. Many creatives assume an ‘all or nothing’ mentality, refusing conventional work altogether – but you don’t have to be one of them. A part time job can fund your creative endeavours if you want it to, and work doesn’t always have to be a 9-5 desk job. Do something that keeps you fit like being a kids water sports instructor; do something in a creative environment like work at an independent cinema; or even do something that you can do whilst working on your career, like evening babysitting.

Research possible creative grants and/or young person’s business loans. These exist, and they are actually far more plentiful than you might think. Whilst I wouldn’t recommend commercial debt, there are many government-backed schemes to help the entrepreneurs of the future: after all, it is in the interest of any economy that you make money. In terms of grants, if you’ve got the talent, show people – they may be willing to fund your potential success. Type ‘creative grants’ or ‘arts grants’ or whatever is relevant to your dream career, plus the area you live in into Google and see what you find.

…Ask parents or investors? For some of you this will be the obvious choice, for some it will be unthinkable, but we’ll leave that debate for another day. If you think your parents (or other members of your family) will be willing to invest in you, make it worth their while. Like I’ve said, think about the person attached to that fistful of cash and ask yourself ‘what’s in it for them?’ Draw up a business plan and approach them like any other lender, and, of course, pay them back when you are in the position to do so.

Want to know just what you could be doing that’s creative and will earn you a crust?

Here are some examples of possible creative careers: Writer, Blogger, Graphic/Web Designer, Cabinet Maker, Painter, Interior Designer, Fashion Designer, Textile Designer, Property Developer, Musician, Life Coach, Personal Stylist, Photographer, Potter, Illustrator, Chef, Baker, Landscape Gardener, Florist, Window Dresser, Advertising Creative, Copywriter, Thespian, Director, Set Designer, Dancer, Greetings Card Maker, Knitter etc.

You can follow just one of these paths, you could weave several of them together, or you could carve out a new career especially for yourself. There are people in every one of these careers making good money, why not pick your guru and research how they did it? And, more appropriately, how they made it pay. Don’t be disheartened if you’re not abundantly rich in your chosen career immediately, it can take several years to get on your feet – the point is to get there and, if you give up, you never will.

Where to go next

Don’t let this series be a waste of your precious reading minutes; get started on your dream creative career now. However old/young/ prepared/unprepared you might be – there’s something you could be doing to make the mission of earning money one that is fun, fulfilling and freeing.

That’s it for designing your own career.

Please let me know your thoughts on the series and ask any questions/request follow up articles. Remember – you’re my customer and I’m here to tailor my work to your needs 😉 If you want to throw a tip my way, well, that’s up to you!

20 Design & Style Blogs I’m Loving

memo

The wonderful thing about the blog-o-sphere is the amazing amount of creative dames that publish posts full of eye candy and insight.

Can’t Get Enough

These are in no particular order.
1. LOLITA – She displays inspirations from a style I adore so I can’t help but inhale all of the eye candy.

2. notebookdoodles – Cute and refreshing in the many blogs that reuse images from other websites. Adorable.

3. Fleur Avenue – Blog and jewelry shop ran by a very sweet and inspired girl. Her style feels reminiscent to me of a zakka magazine and I love it.

4. Oh, Hello Friend. – The sweet style of this blog makes me feel warm inside, positive people make the world go round.

5. NubbyTwiglet – A delicious design blog, old friend and favorite and was reminded to us by a sweet visitor.

6. SHRINKLE – Watch what color and creativity do when they rule your life and your business. Amy conquers everything she takes on with cuteness.

7. Creature Comforts – Soft and comfortable, this blog is full of cute decor and style.

8. The Paris Apartment – A decadent and delicious blog reminiscent of Marie Antoinette and vintage France. On top of it all she’s sweet, very inspired and a dear friend.

9. Modish – A very cute lifestyle blog.

10. Black Eiffel – A design and lifestyle blog with delicious and clean color.

11. Pimp and Pomme – My crafty friend in France’s little jewelry and style blog that is absolutely adorable.

12. Bored and Beautiful – Lots of delicious fashion and backstage art and fashion shows.

13. Hidden in France – French inspired design and frilly decor.

14. MerMag – Lifestyle and DIY blog with delicious personal photos and a peek into the life of a sweet family.

15. Print & Pattern – A really inspiring log of cute and colorful patterns and illustrations.

16. Poppytalk – Delicious, minimal, modern design and lifestyle blog.

17. Sanctuary – A sweet inspiration blog filled with decor ideas and personality.

18. Design Milk – Modern design for your home that is destined to make you drool.

19. Delish – Cute and clean inspiration blog filled with delish-iousness!

20. Design*Sponge – A very inspiring home decor and DIY interior design blog. My absolute favorite.

What about my blog?

Want us to look at your blog? Be sure to leave your url when you comment.