• Shop Talk

    I didn’t even know I was in a slump.

    info-graphic1 I like to say that I never run out of creativity. People can steal my images and my ideas and that’s okay because I’ll always have more. It sucks more to be them. But lately, I have to admit my never-ending well of creativity hasn’t been flowing as much as it used to. I thought maybe I was just getting old and that feeling of excitement and endless energy was just something that fades with age like a bikini body and the ability to bound up stairs without losing your breath.

    But then it came back! I just woke up one day and felt on fire again. I’m feeling creative again! Woo Hoo! I don’t want to jinx it by writing about it but…pft!  Whatever. I have to write about something! I can’t help myself. It’s so good to be feeling like work is fun again.

    I can attribute it to two things. Three really.

    The first thing is I have discovered infographics! I’ve landed a few jobs making them and they are so fun. It’s the perfect balance of illustration, clip-art tweaking and graphic design for me.

    Even though I like to say I’m right-brained (to cover up my all-out suckiness when it comes to math), I’m really not. I like organization. I like clean lines and I abhor messiness. There is something very satisfying to me when I can take a long boring word document of data and facts (and maybe even a spread sheet or two–gasp!) and condense/expand it  into images and illustrations that convey a point. I love it! I love reading infographics and I love making them. Bring them on!

    I’ve only made a few (my favorite one isn’t public yet but I’ll let you know when it is) but I hope to land more of these so if you know someone who needs one, put the word out.

    The second thing is: I’ve changed my laptop’s password. I read this article about this guy who changed his password and changed his life.  So I decided to try it out. This seems like a really simple thing but it has WORKED!!!

    I changed my old password from some variation of Bug’s name to a phrase that basically says in code: GET YOUR LAZY BUTT IN GEAR! Every day when my laptop goes to sleep and I want to log back in to google something or check up on my many social media sites, I am reminded that it wouldn’t hurt my bottom line if I just sat in my chair and worked for a change. What a concept.

    As a work-at-home-mom, it’s really easy to fall into the trap of not working as hard as I should. When I’m not under any really big deadlines I often attend to life’s many other requests.  Ahem. Like making pancakes with the kids and going to the pool and fixing that Zhu Zhu pet that needs new batteries etc etc etc… the list goes on and on. It especially goes on when you aren’t feeling inspired.  It’s a whole lot easier to empty the dishwasher (or go out to coffee with a friend) than it is to write and answer emails that could generate work. I often think I’m free and I don’t have any work to do because I don’t have any deadlines looming but that’s not the case. I still need to put the time in at my desk even when I’m not deadlining.

    Enter the wrist-snapping password trick and I’ve kind of gotten myself back on track. If I sit at my desk and read my emails, work will come. There is always something to do. And if there isn’t well, then there are blogs to be written and self promotions to be thought up. There is always work as a freelancer. Sometimes you just have to look harder. And you’re not going to find it when you are not at your desk. At least I don’t.info-graphic2The third thing is related to my books and my crazy relationship with deadlines.  I drag my feet working on my books because my publisher is my friend and she doesn’t really give me any hard deadlines. (It’s all HER fault! Hah!) I get to make books whenever I want to. If I blow by a soft deadline by two or three months (or half a year!) she doesn’t even kill me.

    She’s a busy mom too and usually when I come sheepishly back to her with my head hung in shame, she just laughs at me because she’s behind too. Everybody is always behind. That’s part of being a mom. Somebody’s gotta change those Zhu Zhu pet batteries.

    But I need those royalty checks. No workee = no payee.

    Enter my third trick: I asked my boyfriend to give me a hard deadline. Heh! This is the trick: You have to pick the right person to give you a deadline. Someone who you really don’t want to let down and who might intimidate you a tiny bit.

    My boyfriend used to work in management and he’s one of those powerhouse types who likes to talk about “synergy” and crap. Don’t mess with him.  Actually, I’m not afraid of him but it was just enough of a push having him reminding me all the time that got my butt in gear. I finished a summer book (that won’t release until next year because I lagged so bad) and I’ve started on a Christmas one. We’ll see. I have high expectations!

    In other news: Did you see our ninja party?

  • 15 minute posts,  coffee!coffee!coffee!,  instagram

    Latte Art is for the Birds


    If you follow me on Instagram (Because instagramming is the new blogging!! Don’t ya know?) you already know that I am on a serious quest to teach myself how to create latte art AND I AM FAILING!!! I am flopping like a dying fish on my counter with eyes bulging out. It’s just pathetic. I feel like I’m back in college trying to pass statistics all over again. I just will not learn. This brain of mine, it doesn’t like numbers. And my latte machine, it doesn’t like making perfect foam.

    I’ve watched about a thousand youtube videos and none of them have helped me out. I’m thinking maybe it’s just not possible with a Mr. Coffee Espresso maker. It doesn’t really make that crema, you know, the rich golden stuff that sits on top of espresso when you pull it from one of those big fancy Italian espresso makers that they have in coffee shops? And then half the time I make too much foam or not enough…the milk never really incorporates properly with the foam making that glossy foam that they say makes the best latte art… It’s just a never-ending rabbit hole of possible variables to go wrong. Go ahead and google it. You’ll get enough reading material for the next six months.

    BUT you know what? I’m not giving up!!! NO! Because even my flops taste great. So everyday I get to try again. And I take pictures of my flops and name them like Rorschach art and all my instagram friends (oh, won’t you be mine?) chime in. It’s kinda been a fun game.


    Now my latte art is sort of turning into how-can-I-take-a-picture-of-my-latte-with-different-backgrounds to create art since there’s no real art going on in the cup. Maybe it will be the new Gumball and I’ll start taking over the world with my latte flops. You already know how good I am at driving with a coffee cup in one hand. Imagine the possibilities! Can you latte on a stick? Can you latte on a brick? With a fox in a box? Try it, try it, Mr. Knox, sir!

Secret Agent Josephine
Creative Agency
© Brenda Ponnay