TMI is probably an understatement

Have you ever walked up to someone and just verbally exploded all over them? You know, when you’re not really paying attention to how much you’re actually talking and the moment you walk away you get that flush of shame realizing that the conversation was definitely 95% you and 5% them?

Yeah, that totally just happened to me. I know my obsession with this house selling/buying process is pretty bad. I mean, I talk about it with my husband, my friends, my parents, on my blog, etc. on a pretty regular basis. I actually would love to NOT think about it for a while because it’s totally stressing me out.

However, without my brain’s consent, my mouth detonated a verbal ninja which jumped out and beat the crap out of an acquaintance. Within the space of about 10 minutes, I had told him about my experiences trying to sell our townhouse, what we’re looking for in a new house, the prices of houses in the area’s we’re looking, how much cheaper the taxes are in different counties, what the neighborhood was like at my favorite house (so far), and how I already decorated the house in my head and have made friends with the neighbors. Oh yeah, and I might have said something about how in my head my imaginary child is best friends with the neighbors kids.

Oh my god. Mortified doesn’t cover it!

Okay, I know I’m full of crazy but I typically don’t let that crazy out on unsuspecting people! I’m pretty sure that this super nice guy didn’t give a crap about my rambling conversation, but he was kind enough to smile and nod. He didn’t even turn around and run for the hills the second I shut my mouth, so he deserves an award for that.

Why do we do this? And come on, I know it’s not just me…right?

I guess my point is that even though we may ‘know better’ about something, everyone makes mistakes. Of course, I like to laugh at my mistakes and share them with strangers so they can laugh at me to. So, there’s that.

Anyways, if you have a story about when you trapped someone with your verbal diarrhea please share!

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Creating a flyer in Microsoft Word does not make you a graphic designer… no matter how many fonts and colors you use!

Most everyone has heard of instances of photoshop mistakes where a model somehow loses a leg or finger due to an overzealous graphic designer airbrushing away her ‘imperfections’. If you haven’t, please do yourself a favor and google “Photoshop Fail” to see what images come up. It’s so bad it’s good.

I can’t believe how many times these examples of what NOT to do appear in the mainstream media. They took a chunk out of Demi Moore’s hip on the cover of W Magazine, they over-thinned the thighs of a model in a Victoria’s Secret catalogue so that she looks like she’s standing on toothpicks, and they stretched a Ralph Lauren model so much she looks like she’s part giraffe. As a consumer you think ‘rookie mistakes’ and laugh at how stupid it is that someone was paid to do such a bad job.

Well, I really wish everyone would start paying a bit more attention to another kind of bad design, which I’m going to call ‘desktop publisher fail’.

Now, before you get angry at me, I’m not saying that everyone who takes on the task of desktop publishing sucks at it. I’m also not saying that you need to have a degree in graphic design to create something attractive. What I am saying is that just because you put together a flyer in Microsoft Word it does not make you a graphic designer.

Can I please scream that from the rooftops??? Microsoft Word is NOT a design tool! I don’t care if it has lots of fonts, clip art and borders!

Deep breaths…. Anyways, I admit that I am a little bit of a design snob. I’ve found it helpful as a marketing guru to learn and use graphic design programs over the past 12ish years. I’ve also found it worthwhile to take a few graphic design classes and collect a stash of books and magazines that inspire me.

It is so very important that your business has a cohesive look with your branding materials. Think about it, if you see a photography company that has a terribly designed brochure, website or business cards, are you going to trust them to do the photography for your wedding?  If you walk into a law firm that uses 15 different fonts on its newsletter and a mess of colors on each page, do you feel like they’re a professional firm to deal with?


Just as the packaging to a food helps you decide whether you want to purchase it, the packaging of your company influences people to buy your products or services.

Here are the top 5 easily fixable mistakes I see in graphic design:

  1. Using too many words and not leaving any white space. When you have a page of nothing but words (as in a newsletter or on an advertisement) there is nowhere for your eyes to rest. White space actually makes your pages more attractive and easier to read. If you must be super heavy on text, adjust the line spacing and margins.


  1. Including too many accent colors in one design. Just because you can use every color in the rainbow doesn’t mean that you should! Colors should complement your message content, not draw attention away from it.


  1. Too many fonts on one page. I’ve seen over 10 fonts on a normal four-page newsletter before. I know it’s exciting to have a lot of font choices, but please don’t use more than 3 – 4 at the most. Too many makes your design look messy and immature.


  1. Playing with font effects. Many amateurs excessively capitalize or play with underlines, strikethroughs, italics, shadows and other special character effects. An excessive use of these effects makes a page look cluttered and unprofessional, so please don’t use them unless absolutely necessary. And then, only sparingly.


  1. Image scale mistakes. Often it is necessary to change the size of an image or logo that is incorporated into your design. Please, please, please make sure that when you change the width of an image you also change the height. I can’t tell you how many squished logos I’ve seen lately!


Pull out a sample of everything you have that represents your company. Are you making some of these mistakes right now?

* There are instances that a graphic designer will use any of these tips to their benefit in their design.  For example, using 50 different fonts purposefully in an advertisement could end up as a masterpiece. However, for the typical inexperienced desktop designer you’re going to want to heed these tips.

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Ants in My Pants

I’m having a grumpy kind of day. Part of it has to do with the constant waiting when it comes to anticipating a house contract. I feel very jumpy and edgy because even though right now we have to sit tight and twiddle our thumbs, as soon as we hear about the contract we’ll have to hurry up and do something about it. We’ll need to make a decision about whether to accept their offer, or take the chance of counter-offering whatever they send through. We also get to finally start touring the houses on our own “top 5” list that we’ve been stalking.

Actually, stalking is almost putting it mildly. We’ve kept a favorites list for the past few months, created a spreadsheet of our top 18 and then spent this last weekend driving around to each of them to check out the neighborhoods. We now have a final eight houses on our list, with a top five that we can’t wait to see. Well, my husband has a top one that he can’t wait to see, but I’ve been begging him to be more open minded. Which is something else that’s been making me stressed, I hate to be a bad guy but I really want us to end up with a house that we can live in for the next 20+ years. All of the possible ‘what ifs’ run through my mind 24/7, affecting not only my waking hours but making my dreams even weirder than usual. If there was any question of whether I was really “type A” I think this paragraph pretty much proves it.

In addition to my house selling/buying obsession, Maryland’s annual allergies have also caused me to be a bit crankier than usual. Nobody feels that attractive with itchy eyes and throat. There’s usually a week or two that is just the most horrible for me, so I’m hoping that this is one of them so that I can see the light at the end of the hazy, pollen-filled tunnel.

Last (and keep in mind, this is only Tuesday), we’ve had an unexpected expense this week that is kind of bumming me out. Fortunately, we also received an unexpected check for almost the exact amount of the expense, but still I feel like we’re throwing $500 in the trash. Which I would definitely categorize as Not Awesome.

Anyways, that’s all my complaining that I’m allowing myself to do. In true Joules-fashion, I’m spinning this around back to positive to get out of my head and over it. That and I’m kind of sick of listening to my complaining. It drives me nuts to hear people just whine and complain about things that they can’t do anything about. Of course, it’s equally annoying to hear complaining about something that’s changeable but the person doesn’t actually make the change.

So it’s time to shut my yap (or silence my typing fingers) and go through my bin o’ positive stuff for the day:

  • I’m wearing a super cute dress that makes me want to tell people that I’m a pretty princess while spinning around to show them my swirly skirt.
  • This is going to be an extremely busy and fun month at work with some upcoming events that we’ve planned.
  • My husband is really cute and pretty awesome.
  • If we take the people at what they said to their agent, we will be receiving a contract on our house (most likely) this week.
  • On my list of stuff to do is to give my dog a haircut and he always looks super adorable when he’s freshly shaven.
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