Cragmont Park climbing |

Rock Climbing Granny Part 2

A while back, I first posted about my rock climbing passion here. Since then, I had a birthday and realized “I ain’t gettin’ no youngah.” After climbing for over 10 years and admittedly being too chicken to get into lead climbing before, something just clicked when I hit a certain double digit number, and I thought, “It’s now or never.” Rock climbing can be a grueling sport, and it only gets harder as you get older. So I finally decided to take a lead climbing class and work on getting certified to lead climb in the next few months.

Cragmont Park climbing |

Starting a climb at Cragmont Park in Berkeley.


Jeans 2 |

White Jeans Styled Two Ways

Hello World! It has been some time since my last post. House buying, moving in and setting up a new home, and life getting in the way! Finally, getting back, and as an additional incentive, the NaBloPoMo for May involves photography. I have loved photography from an early age and miss being in the darkroom, winding a spool of B&W film and developing it; making my own prints. But I am slowly getting to know my iPhone, the various apps for editing photos taken with it, and learning how to use Instagram.

So the first topic for NaBloPoMo May is “You” and “Selfies.” Me, I’m not a big selfie fan. At least not yet. I haven’t practiced enough to really know. But I’m at a disadvantage right off the bat because I’m not tall. Which means I don’t have long arms. Which makes it a lot more difficult to put the phone a good distance or angle to take a decent photo of yourself. I’ve been looking into selfie sticks and remote/tripod setups for the iPhone.

In the meantime, I did need some photos of myself last week to submit styling ideas for the “How I Wear My…” feature of Adrienne Shubin’s blog The Rich Life on a Budget. This month’s theme is White Jeans. I’ve styled my white jeans with flats and heels. These were selfies taken with a regular point-and-shoot using the camera’s self-timer and a tripod.

1) With Cricket-style H&M sweater, Coach sneakers and H&M straw hat.

H&M Cricket style sweater, Gap straight cut slim fit white jeans, Coach kicks. |

H&M Cricket style sweater, Gap straight cut slim fit white jeans, Coach kicks.


Reformation Llama Skirt |

On the Fringe

Yay! I get to do another Holiday Fashion post! I finally completed my portfolio re-do–for the time being (more changes planned, but I can’t get to my data storage right now.) Now for some fun!

I had a dilemma about what to call this post, as I came up with several fun ones: Fringe Benefits, Holiday Fringe, All In Fringe, All About Fringe. I finally settled on “On the Fringe” as it denotes “being on the edge,” which just sounded more interesting!

I’ve gathered up a nice collection of fringe! Skirts, dresses, tops and accessories. And I’ll tell you a little about my new favorite clothing line, which has several fringed pieces. Check my Pinterest for shopping info!

On The Fringe |

Reformation Aurelie Skirt $198



How I Updated My Portfolio

So I’ve been talking a lot about this design portfolio re-do, but being new to blogging, I didn’t realize I need to tell you how I did it. So here’s the how-to. I use Cargo Collective, “…a personal publishing platform aimed at creating accessible tools and a networked context to enhance the exposure of talented individuals on the Internet.” I’m using the “Polaris” template, very spare and clean, much like this blog.

I mentioned my portfolio was formerly rather anemic. In my defense, I’ve actually had this portfolio site for about a year or so, and I could swear when I first started using it, it was much more limiting. You were only allowed to post very few things for free before you had to upgrade. So I only posted a few things, more than I thought was the limit, and thought I would just wait to see if they asked me to upgrade. They never did. Then when I went to update it last week, it now says I can have up to 12 “projects” and 100MB of image storage.

I wanted to add new samples of my web design work first and foremost, since the last ones I did were 2-3 years old. The first thing I did was create templates in Photoshop to drop each kind of media into so they would all be the same size. This keeps the flow from one sample to the next smooth so your images are not “jumping” all over because of size changes from one to the next.



How I Revamped My Blog Today

Today I’m excited to tell you all about the new things I did to my blog. Wow! A day of blog format learning! OMG! I learned so much from Jeni of The Blog Maven.

I followed her on video tutorial “How To Feature Your Most Pinterest-Worthy Posts In Your Sidebar.” She also offers a free PDF guide, “5 things you can fix on your blog in the next week to get more subscribers” when you sign up for emails, that was also extremely helpful.

Speaking of signing up for emails, I also figured out how to add a MailChimp widget to have people sign up for email newsletters. Please do sign up so my hard work was not wasted! (I sure hope I did it right!) The sign up is super-easy and right under my photo at the top of the sidebar, which I also learned how to do today! I even added the requisite MailChimp icon/link under the sign up area, in case you need MailChimp too!

Yes, I was very busy!

Again, please sign up for the newsletter, and share your in the comments about the Pinterest sidebar feature! Thanks!

Ciao! Paula


Portfolio Update Completed!

Hooray! My portfolio / LinkedIn update is done! I’m still working on the “branding” thing, but I’m not sure how much the “personality tests” will help. In fact, there’s an article from the New York Times here that says these kinds of tests are basically worthless.

So I’m still a bit stymied for the “branding” thing. Nonetheless, that does not keep me from feeling a huge sense of accomplishment for having done a complete overhaul on my formerly anemic portfolio. I had gotten so far behind on updating it, that the mere thought of how much work it would be was overwhelming. I thanked the person who gave me the wake up call this evening; she will receive the email in the morning.

I spent a week editing the projects and preparing the Photoshop files and uploading them, sometimes several times to get the size of the image just the right to make a good page layout. The flow from one project to the next needed to be right as well, so there was a lot of shuffling the projects around. But now I can feel proud of what’s there, and it will give potential clients a much greater sense of the depth of my work. Yay!

I’ll keep working on the “branding.”

What do you think about the need for everyone and everything to be “branded?” Do share in the comments.

Ciao! Paula


Even More Progress!

Woohoo! I am plugging right along with the portfolio update! And it’s paying off already. I had a phone interview today that went very well. Because I had loaded up so many more samples and organized things so well, I was able to point out specific samples to illustrate my expertise, and walk the interviewer through my concepting process. For the first time in a long time, I felt like I had control of the interview and truly made a good impression.

I have a couple more samples I want to prepare and put up, then onto re-writing my resumé, the final step of what I need. I’ve gone through my design sample folder and organized my files so I can find things easily as well.

I’m trying to get this done in the next day or so, as I’m dying to do another Holiday Fashion post that I’ve done the research for, but haven’t had time to write. It’s coming, I promise!

How are you coming along with any of your personal projects? What are you working on? Do share in the comments.

Ciao! Paula


Progress on Upping My Game

So I’m getting there. I’m making progress on Upping My Game. The first thing I’m doing is revamping my portfolio website. I’ve added tons of new samples and have a list for more. It’s taken a while going through so many projects and deciding which are useful and which are not. You can’t (and shouldn’t) put everything up.

It’s not going as quickly as I’d hoped. Part of the problem is creating web-ready images from other formats, and the other part is the website itself. It’s through Cargo Collective, one of those sites where you can upload stuff and hit the ground running to have at least a simple site up fast. But it’s not perfect and it has its limitations.

Several times after uploading an image, I didn’t like it and wanted to change it. But for some reason, no matter how many times I changed and saved the image in Photoshop, it reverted to the original version uploaded. Aaaarrrrgh! It also would not hold a 1 pixel border on some of the images, even though I could clearly see it on the file, and re-saved and re-uploaded it several times. Some kind of glitch in the system. I hope it looks fine tomorrow.

I’ve been working on it for several days now, and I’m getting closer to a stopping point–for now–there’s always new projects to include and old ones to remove. After I get the images up, I need to re-do my resumé and “About” page for the site. Then I’ll re-link everything and re-write some stuff on LinkedIn. I might also have the person responsible who pointed out the need for better representation of my work take another look and also thank her.

What are you working on for self-improvement? Please share in the comments.

Ciao! Paula


Upping My Game

Recently, I was told my LinkedIn profile could use some work. So in an effort to improve it, I took several different “personality tests,” all similar to the Myers-Briggs type.

What Type Am I?
I got: ESFJ, ENFP, EIFP, and BEOGD. The most consistent evaluations were the Extrovert and Feeling, with some Intuitive and Perceiving. One considered me to be a “Sentinel” (ESFJ) and another a “Commander” (BEOGD). Then there was the “Spontaneous Idealist” (EIFP), and ENFPs are “idea” and “people” people. From all this, I’m supposed to figure out the best way to write a bio, profile, summary, “mission statement” or, I suppose, an “About” page.

It’s All About Branding
As luck would have it, More magazine has an outstanding feature this month on this very subject, titled “Personal Branding for the Image Impaired” (p.88 — you’re welcome). Yes, we’ve all heard that word for a while now, and I fully admit I’ve been trying my best to ignore it.

But the time has come for me to face it full on, not the least because I’ve started this blog. The exercises are very good and I know in the end I will benefit greatly from it, if only to improve my profile and resumé, and therefore avail myself to more job opportunities (see my post about Freelancing here). Maybe the real reason I hate job interviews is I don’t have my brand together…. I only wish I could add the tagline “New and Improved!” when I’m done (with this iteration).

Branding is the New Black
These days, everyone has a brand, one of the biggest being Kim Kardasian’s booty (pun intended). But say what you will, the girl’s got name recognition, whether you want to know it or not.

If each of us can figure out how to get just a little of that, we could all get further ahead than we think. So here I go. I’ll meet you on the other side.

Please do share tips and experiences in the comments!

Ciao! Paula