Monday, November 30, 2009

Diving Into The Wreck.

I don't have my diver's certification but it doesn't stop me from diving while I'm in Mexico. The hour pool lesson you get is enough, I suppose, to put your life in the hands of a 2 foot tube with the lines of my favorite poem "Diving Into The Wreck" by Adrienne Rich running through my head the whole time.
"I put on the body armor of black rubber
the absurd flippers
the grave and awkward mask"

"I am having to do this not like Cousteau with his assiduous team aboard the sun flooded schooner but here alone."

You can't talk to anyone else while you are diving. The world goes on blue mute and thoughts from the very back of your mind can come floating in. Thousands of miles from Madison, Wi. and 35 feet below the ocean with sea turtles and eels I run into myself at age 21.

At the ripe old age of 21 I had decided that Mexico would be a great place to write, drove down to Juarez and paid a woman at the Mexican border $80 to watch my car for a month. I hopped a bus not knowing its destination and hoped my truck would still be there when I got back. I don't know if I would have the balls to do it now. I read the news too much or have grown out of my recklessness.
"My flippers cripple me"

I had come up with this idea of writing in Mexico not because I am a brave and adventurous soul. I was there because I was fresh off of my unceremonious departure from the Iowa Writer's Workshop where I had written for hours a day to get them to let an undergrad like me in. When they finally relented to my constant badgering and agreed to let me attend the classes, I showed up expecting adoration from my writer peers like I had received in my undergrad classes. Most of them didn't like my writing and one guy who already had a book deal (he tells us this within the first 5 minutes of the class) showed up and said that he refused to read my entry. It was quote really a piece of crap end quote.
That made me go all the way to Mexico.
"I came to explore the wreck."

I ended up in a tiny town late at night hoping that the small hotel in my Mexico book would be open and when it wasn't (It had been closed for years) I asked the last shop owner who was just closing up what I should do in my terrible spanish. He tells me his friend can rent me an apartment if I go knock on her door. This leads to my beachfront apartment writing about sharks for a week which never sees the light of day in my writing workshops. It is years before I show any writing to a living soul again.

How funny that my sister's gorgeous wedding brings me face to face with this. She is moving forward into a new part of her life and I am moving backward to Iowa City and poems I haven't read in years. The trip surprised me and now that I'm back, I'm not too sure what to do with it.
You know how when you come home from a long trip you want to just give up everything and open a taco stand somewhere?

Friday, November 20, 2009

She Sells Seashells By The Seashore....Learning To Relax

Pic from Kitsune Noir
I head to Mexico on Saturday for my sister's wedding and 8 laptop-free days. Except I really don't know if I can even do 8 laptop-free days. I don't think I've ever tried before and that's kind of sick I know.
Here are some great sites to teach us to relax or go on a virtual vacation.... and be happy. Much like my margarita's will do.
The Happiness Project
Color Me Katie

Change Your Thoughts Change Your Life
Zen Habits
Matador Travel

Threadless And Griffin Collaborate And Become An Artist Platform.

Threadless + Griffin = one awesome case! from on Vimeo.

So Threadless is venturing outside of the T-shirt world and into the world of the Jam Jacket. If you don't know what those are, they're iPhone cases (also I plan to use that word a lot more liberally like as in "you're such a Jam Jacket")
What I like is that Threadless is saying they want to be a platform for artists to get their work onto products and they certainly are well on their way to that goal.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Wait... Is The Internet The New Art?

Miltos Manetas has a ton of websites. This is one of them. Just this page. How will we categorize this type of art?

If You Are Being Paid To Be An Expert, Don't Be Afraid To Give Your Opinion.

I went to get my haircut a few weeks ago and when I made the appointment, I was asked what level of hair designer I wanted.
"What levels do you have?" I asked
"6. Level 1 is for recently graduated students all the way up to our top designers at level 6." The receptionist told me.
I didn't understand that. Basically, she wants to know if I want someone who knows what they are doing to do my haircut or not right? So, I go for the highest level because I want a good haircut even though it was really expensive.
When I show up for the appointment, the "hair designer" comes out and asks me 800 questions about my hair, if I color it, when I cut it last,etc. Fine. Great. Then she starts asking me what kind of haircut I want. She asks me how long my layers should be and what to do around my face. She asks me within an inch how long the layers should be and if I wanted the back to be longer or an inch shorter and this went on and on for about 30 minutes.
Finally I just said "look, I'm paying you $180 to do my haircut! I came to you because you are supposed to be good at this. Shouldn't you be telling me what will look good?"
Perhaps that was a little abrasive but I was paying for an expert. I expected one that had some opinion of what I should do. I didn't learn how to do hair, how should I know how long my layers should be?
I also see this in client meetings all the time. Teams of people who are being paid as experts that don't give any kind of expertise. Guiding I can certainly understand but by giving a client (of any kind from hair to advertising to landscaping) a thousand questions so that there is no real thought work being done by the expert is not good work.
Clients want to feel like they are in good hands when they choose any kind of expert and the people that have confidence in their work enough to tell a client that going platinum blonde is an awful idea or that their marketing campaign is actually turning people off is part of that expertise.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Blu Dot Puts Free Chairs All Over NYC.

Blu Dot has placed designer chairs free for the taking all over NYC, some with GPS installed so you can follow the chairs via Twitter. Really cool idea, wonder if it will work or if people will take out the GPS? Follow the chairs.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Anya Marina Covers TI's Whatever You Like... Awesome.

Tellin' Time: Cassette Watch

Cassette Watch by Asos.


An Interesting Video About The Future Of Computing.

Trillions from MAYAnMAYA on Vimeo.

Cool video with an interesting theory about what's ahead in the world of computing. Geeky but cool.

Monday, November 16, 2009

EBay's Blogger Christmas.... A Company Doing It Right.

Photo by LifeLovePaper
I help a lot of companies determine which bloggers they should work with and I'm always a bit surprised by which writers companies decide will work best with them. Some pick the best writers they can find, some choose people that will write whatever they want them to, some choose mommy bloggers because.... well.... they are popular right now.
So this Christmas Ebay is pairing up with Martha Stewart and has asked a few bloggers to shop on their site and write about their experiences for Christmas. This is one of the first blogger outreaches that I've seen by a really commercial company that has actually chosen good bloggers. In fact, some of them are bloggers that I read almost every day.
Black Eiffel
Desire To Inspire
Charles and Hudson

This is why they did this correctly:
They chose 3 good bloggers that are an amazing fit instead of sending a mass email to 100 bloggers to try to get them to say that Ebay has great stuff for sale.
They chose bloggers with great potential. These bloggers have a great following so they know how to write with a company and (hopefully) won't let the attention ruin their blogs. On the flip side, these blogs have probably not gotten as big as they are going to so they likely will be able to capitalize on their growth. Lots of companies choose bloggers that are already as big as they are going to get and don't get as much benefit from them plus those bloggers charge a lot more to work with them.
They chose niche bloggers. These bloggers all write about the design of home, products, and projects. All three have an amazing eye for design so they will likely choose really cool objects to review.
Bravo Ebay and Martha Stewart.

Travel Much?

For anyone who has to travel a lot, you may know about the annoying-ness at the security line when you try to get through with your toiletries. You may also know about the slight weirdness at seeing a stranger's entire bathroom collection jammed into a plastic bag. 3.38 has made some pretty cool looking and travel friendly items (3.38 fl. oz. is the amount you are allowed to carry on hence they named the company).
Since I am in packing mode for my sister's wedding in Tulum, Mexico next week I have been looking at a lot of travel friendly gear. These win, because they are designed nicely.

Is Apple About To Get Really Irritating, Pop Up Style?

I read a really disturbing article in the New York Times over the weekend that says that Apple is seeking a patent on some really awful software.
Here's the basics on the software. Apple has figured out a way for pop ups to basically freeze any machine your are watching or listening to unless you interact with a pop up ad. Now, some sites already have pop ups that you have to click the x in the corner of the ad to get rid of but these would force the person to answer a question or interact with the ad in some way so that the marketers can tell the client that people have "noticed" their ad.
Seems that there are actually some people that think that the reason people don't interact with ads is because they don't notice them. Hmmmm, back me up here but my thought is that people don't interact with ads because they are probably irrelevant to them, boring, poorly designed, or have the wrong messaging.
How about instead of making pop up ads that we can't get rid of and "have to interact with", people just make better and more relevant online messaging?
Additionally, I think this software will have some pretty negative feedback. for example, if I had to answer a question about dish soap on a favorite site before I could move to the next page I would probably be annoyed to the point that I would NOT buy that dish soap.
Any thoughts on this?

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Go See it: Coco Avant Chanel

"In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different. " ~ Coco Chanel

I desperately needed some girl time this afternoon so I went and saw Coco Avant Chanel with my friend B. I love Chanel but never really knew that much about her - like that she was very comfortable not getting married (it's totally one of those "do your own thing" movies that entrepreneurs should all watch). Anyway, the fashion is great too so go have a watch when it's raining or cold this week.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Nothing But Simple Clean Lines - Chair

by Lucie Koldova

"Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication" ~Leonardo da Vinci

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Marketing Yourself Online As A Creative: Topic For The Show Today.

Today on my 4th video debut we're going to talk about how to market yourself as a creative online. I have artists and designers ask me lots of questions about it so I'm really excited to be able to give some tips to get your work out there. you can watch it through this link - it's under the On Demand button (I come in at about 17:25)

I like the above poster because it's really a big part of the creative's life to have that freedom at work to think about ideas, cultivate them, and inevitably carry them out. However, I am always shocked at the lack of training creatives get when it comes to marketing themselves, particularly online. No one actually wants to be a starving artist so it's imperative for creatives to learn some basics about online presence.
Lots of creatives want to know if LinkedIn is really a good place for an artist or designer to be. Where else should they be and how should they be interacting there?
1) Get a website. You need one. ALL businesses need a web site because that's how people find you. The great thing is, there are tons of free website companies that basically do all of the work for you.
2) Start a newsletter. Constant Contact is pretty inexpensive and easy to use so that you can keep track of your fans and update them on your shows, new work, successes, etc. You are a creative and some people will not expect a professional newsletter but it is very important that you present yourself as being on top of your business.
3) Ask for Feedback and give feedback. If you are on the Behance Network or a similar art community, make sure and give your feedback and listen to the feedback you are given. This helps you expand your network and increase the liklihood that you will get referral work.
4) Don't just talk about your work!! This one is important. You can start providing industry education to start gaining a following. If you're a painter, you could do a video about selecting the right brushes. If you are a graphic designer, you could submit an article about how you created a website.
5) Know who likes you. If you do more urban inspired work you should go make friends on sites that cater to those individuals while you might spend some time on travel communities if you are a photographer that takes travel photography.

If you're interested in this topic, catch the show or watch it later. Also, here are some other great resources to visit.

The Abundant Artist
Krop - job search
Behance Network
Etsy - sell work
Imagekind - sell work
The Dieline - if you are a packaging designer
Also, here's a really great article on how artists can use Twitter

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Want A Lesson In Personal Branding? Look At Bravo.

Lots of people in Madison "don't watch TV" and they like to tell me this when I ask them if they've seen the entire season of Top Chef or the Rachel Zoe Show. I probably watch entirely too much TV but I have an educational reason (sort of) and it's that Bravo has genius personal branding skills. Every single show turns out new stars from virtual obscurity and I've started paying attention to how they are branding these people and promoting them online to create this huge awareness for...well... semi regular people.
Maybe its because they don't want to pay celebrities huge amounts of money to be on their shows that they started creating their own but they've got a great method. Tips from the Bravo process of celeb creating:
1) They have a place to showcase them - this is the show in their case but for bloggers, businesses, etc. this could be videos on your blog, writing articles for an online publication, etc. Make your content available.
2) They showcase personality - Granted some of the "stars" of these shows have personalities we'd rather not be known for but ALL of them have a unique personality that doesn't get covered by the substance of the show. Don't let your content be all you put out there. Let your quirks, your observations, and your views come out as well. Bethany from Real Housewives of New York is snarky as hell (she got book deals), Tim Gunn has a signature saying, look, and cadence of speech (he has book deals, spinoff shows, appearances), and Rachel Zoe has passion for clothing that is almost palpable on her show (book deal, appearances, cartoon). You get the idea.
P.S I know that the personality part is really hard especially if you want to have a professional blog or video. I often don't want to write about when I screw things up or am drowning in self doubt because who will want to work with me if I'm going on and on about those topics? It's a fine line but without any personality to establish context it's tough for people to connect with you.
3) They cross promote. I've seen Rachel Zoe judging Project Runway and the Housewives all over the place so Bravo clearly knows what its audience wants to see. Think about other online personalities that might be talking to the same people you are.

Next time someone tells you that you can't learn anything from TV.

Listening To: Apparat

Found this from my friend Kira - good stuff.

When Tom Ford And The Mad Men Production Team Make A Movie: A Single Man

If you love Mad Men and you love men with style this looks like it's going to be a good one. Tom Ford (ex Gucci creative), Mad Men creatives, and Julianne Moore? I'll see this the minute it comes out.

Today, We Should Notice Our Ideas.

“You get ideas from daydreaming. You get ideas from being bored. You get ideas all the time. The only difference between writers and other people is we notice when we're doing it.”
Neil Gaiman

Let's notice our ideas today if for no other reason than Neil Gaiman says we should. He's an amazing storyteller and if you haven't read anything of his you should strongly consider it. It's not historical, not autobiographical, you might not learn something you can use in a meeting but stories are great idea generators for your brain and he really is a master at it.

Monday, November 9, 2009

I Knew That Once I Saw The Jellyfish, Anything Goes

Vases at Fort's Etsy shop. I have been obsessed with Jellyfish for years and am planning an arm tattoo of one. Not this exact one, but still I love this vase.

When To Do Things For Free... And When Not To.

With the ever expanding world of social media, blogs, video and online journalism it's obvious that the "personal brand" is really important these days. It's important for your career and it's REALLY important if you want to be a freelancer, location independent worker, or if you want to open your own business because people find you online, so you'll need to have good content out there for visitors to determine if they want to know you, work with you, or meet you. We all agree on this.
I started my company and decided that I would do as much as I could to get my work out there and in front of people. This is probably where a lot of you are right now. So I wrote every guest post that anyone asked me to do, spoke at every event I was invited to, helped on every project, took every call. Let me tell you something though: This is going to make you really busy and stressed out.
I remember having a conversation with a more financially minded person several months ago and I was losing my mind because I was so busy. I wanted my company to be writing interesting articles about social media and I wanted to be doing lots of speeches so that people would know that we knew what we were talking about and want to work with us.
"That sounds like a lot of content to write." My financially minded friend said.
"It is. I can't think of something smart to say all the time. Sometimes I want to write about clothes and I feel like I can't." I told her.
"Well, you need to prioritize this better, which ones are paying you?"
"One of them." I answered and immediately realized how ridiculous it sounded.
"You have got to stop doing so many things for free." She told me.

She was right, I needed to stop doing so many things for free but I still needed to do enough to keep moving forward with my company's online presence. Here are my rules to help you decide what to do and what to turn down.

Do It For Free If:
It's for something that is well marketed on its own. Like a speech or a really large online publication. If the event has a marketing department of it's own and you will be included on the roster it's probably a good idea.
It's something that's exactly the topic you generally talk about. I will guest write about social media, entrepreneurship, work clothing, innovation and inspiration, being creative, and a few other topics. Writing and posting about the topics you want to explore further will introduce you to other like minded people and their audience will appreciate your view (or at least understand the topic). Anything outside of that isn't going to be worth your time.
It's something that's really fun. I have a few really time intensive projects that are currently making me zero dollars but are so much fun that the end is definitely worth the means. Having fun can be a reason to post on a friend's blog or participate in a speech for students, or create a video you just have to keep those in check or you won't make rent.
It could turn profitable at some point. Putting in the time for reward later is also a reason to do something for free. Don't take this as "I'll do every guest blog post I'm asked to do because someone might pay me for it some time." This is more that you should be willing to write content or posts to support your company's podcast series that someone might sponsor at a later date. The difference is, nebulous guest writing doesn't necessarily lead back to a success for you.

Don't Do It For Free If:
It's too small. You need to choose the guest posts, speeches, and videos that you do with care. Blogs and organizations that are the same size or smaller than you should be done in smaller doses. This sounds mean but I used to say yes to everything and I was exhausted from developing content for so many places. Make a rule like: I will do a guest post for a smaller blog or site twice a month. You can book for the next month then once you fill your quota.
It costs you money to help. A speech might seem like a good opportunity but if the organization isn't willing to pay for the flight, hotel, and expenses (as they sometimes aren't) then the speech will cost you money to give. If the speech is for 75 people and it's 7 states away you could end up paying $50 per person to give that speech when all is said and done.
It's ongoing. A friend just told me recently that she'd been writing once a week for a prominent web site for several months and was not being paid to do so. Beware of companies asking you to provide recurring services in exchange for "exposure". Unless of course you really are seeing huge returns on it. Generally, "exposure" just means "please write and work for free".

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Learn Something New Every Day: Cool Site Alert

Love this UK site with crazy facts every day. You can also upload your own if you know any....
I'm not sure what their qualification process is.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

A Company Doing It Right: Scotch Tape

I'm not sure why office supply brands like Sharpie, Post-It, and now Scotch Tape are doing so well online.... they are office supplies after all. Yet here's Scotch Tape doing the Off The Roll Contest which is a tape sculpture contest. What's cooler than tape sculptures?
Here's Why It's So Good:
The contest is something that already happens, Scotch just got in on the action. Street art is huge right now (when isn't it?) and Scotch Tape has created a contest using its product. They didn't ask people to come up with something FOR Scotch Tape like a jingle, product design, or video about why people love Scotch Tape. Instead, they lightly branded a really cool and creative contest.
Their second good idea was to create videos about how to make a tape sculpture using their tape. Notice the LACK of straight up tape commercials... the videos are tailored to the contest.
Social Media Notes:
They have links to their Twitter page, Facebook page, and YouTube right on the site. Plus they have a downloadable poster which is cool because the brand is giving people a way to promote the contest for them. Lots of companies screw this up. If you want people to promote your contest then you have to give them the collateral to do so (posters, images, text, etc.).
The only minus points are that the Facebook is covered in really boring tape packaging images... they should add more examples of the Tape sculptures (I couldn't even find a good one for this post).

A Long Drive: Or Otherwise Titled How To Deal With A Small City.

Everything is 3 hours away or more.
When I lived in Santa Fe, I could take a 45 minute plane ride to Las Vegas and when I lived in Colorado, Denver was nearby. In the Midwest everything is at least 3 hours away (and that's assuming you want to go to Columbus, OH or Nebraska). This makes me feel really far away from the places where things are going on and I can really feel it when I'm driving through hours of farmland from Madison to Chicago once a week because I work mostly with people that live in Chicago. "What's so great about these broken down barns that I'm still here?" I argue with myself.
When I go and visit places like New York or L.A. I come home and talk about moving for a month (at least). In my mind, those are better places to live because there is more opportunity there for my career. There are more people mingling around that have larger companies and groups that I'd love to work with that are doing really interesting, progressive things. Then I look at rental prices and I realize I've been spoiled horribly by the low cost of living in Madison.
What? No laundry in-unit? No 2nd bedroom? No walk in closets? I can see that what I can spend on rent would hold approximately 1/9 of my stuff...maybe less.
So I generally spend my 3 hours driving to and from Chicago deciding where I should live. So lately, I'm averaging 6 hours of uninterrupted "where should I live" time a week. Probably not that healthy... but that's what I do.
It's also not that easy. My girlfriend in New York cannot for the life of her figure out why I don't just pack up all my stuff (as I have done many times before) and move to NY already. The truth is, I would have to take a major step down in my lifestyle, my family would be far away, the New Jersey-ite can't leave, and I have some really good friends here.
Here's how I am working around it right now.
Living in a small place is the life equivalent of working from home because there are less chances to meet people and see weird things. I have to make sure that I travel regularly. This is probably important for everyone but especially for people living in a small city. Every time I go to a conference in New York I come home and freak out because I feel like we are behind here in Madison. Whether we actually are or not doesn't matter because those types of conferences make me work really hard to stay current and that is really important.
The great thing is, you can watch this stuff online (the TED videos are amazing) when you can't get out of the state.
The time I spend in the car and at airports is ridiculous but I'm willing to do it so that I can see new things at least once a month. My Dad often calls me up and says "where in the world are you now?" and my grandfather says things like "you sure don't let any moss grow under your feet" but this semi allows me to have the lifestyle I want.
Setting myself up as a "location independent business" means that I can travel Wed. through next Tuesday and not mess up my work schedule. I get to work from remote coffeeshops and pretend I live there. Can I have my cake and eat it too? Will I ever figure out how to simultaneously live in a city and also Madison, Wi.? Unknown, but I have a lot of Chicago driving hours ahead of me to figure it out.

Listening To: Pagan Angels And A Borrowed Car

It's not new, just perfect for today. Have a listen.


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Sooshi Ice Cream? Thanks New Zealand!

It looks like sushi, but it's natural ice cream Sooshi. On the outside roll part, Sooshi has a green apple flavored strip. Rice is replaced with vanilla or fruit ice cream, and the center’s is lemon or apricot.


Overheard: An Actual Conversation

Last night I went to a talk at Monona Terrace with Modite. It was 10 designers with 20 slides to talk about their inspiration. My favorite quote was from Planet Propaganda.

"If you came to the race to see a crash, get ready"

He said Evel Knievel inspired him. His speech inspired me.


Tuesday, November 3, 2009

How To Fake Being Organized

I am not nor have I ever been an organized person. It's not like I ever set out to simply ignore the rules of being organized..... it's just not something that comes naturally to me. For example: remember "clean out your cubby day" when you were in 4th grade? That was my nightmare. I was the kid with 100,000 papers jammed into their cubby so that they had to start a "clean your cubby day" to get the kid to take it all home. I'm not proud of it, it just is.
The worst part is I don't really want to be organized I just want it to be ok. I just want it to look like I am the type of person that doesn't have 100,000 papers jammed somewhere.
Over the years I have learned enough tricks to seem like I'm organized enough that people actually tell me "you're such an organized person" which makes me chuckle because it's worked. I have enough tricks now to make it seem like I'm not the "clean out your cubby day" kid.
I'm not endorsing being unorganized but here are a few tips in a pinch.
1) Be on time. I can't stress this enough. Being on time for a meeting sets the tone that people's time is valuable and you respect that. My trick for this is to set every clock in my house and my car clock ahead at least 10 min. The person who is late always looks unorganized even if they aren't. Forewarning: No one else in your household will enjoy the clock trick but you.
2) Send follow ups. People who send an email after a meeting with a client, interview, whatever will look well put together. Bonus points if you write the deliverables or next steps in the e-mail.
3) Carry your things in a nice folder. I like those folders that are leather and have pockets for business cards and a notebook. Don't carry a junk notebook unless you take really good notes otherwise it will look sloppy. If you take few notes (I have a really good memory and I don't take notes because I can't pay attention and take notes) you'll need something more professional.
4) Use Google calendar. I have been beaten by so many calendars I've lost count. Not writing them down means you'll miss appointments so if you go into Google Calendar you can set up a million reminders for each appointment. I usually have at least 2 emails and 1 pop up and have managed to miss no calls or meetings in the last 6 months.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Thinking Of Starting Your Own Thing? Create A Workspace.

This is Lisa Congdon's space via ShareSomeCandy
A comment on a post I recently did about working from home made me really start thinking about the home office and what should go in it. I have actually failed at several home offices because I made them like I thought I should make them instead of what worked for me.
This is a pitfall of the freelancer, location independent, and avid blogger. I have this idea in my mind about what the home office should be like and then I don't really use it because it's not my space it's just an idea of a workspace come to life. Artists are great at creating studios to work in so I took a note from them:
Build your dream workspace, but get some ideas first.
Take a few minutes and look at these and these and decide which of these places makes you feel inspired.
For me, I like to have tons of cool pictures, articles, and toys around me when I work. I dislike living in a cluttered place but for my workspace I don't mind at all.
Throw out ideas like "I have to have a desk" or "There must be a file cabinet". Your workspace should reflect not only the type of work you do but also how you like to feel while you come up with ideas. I love the feel of an artists studio so I have lots of art magazine pages ripped out and around me when I work. A desk doesn't do anything for me so I don't use one.
Some good things to consider are:
Corkboard. I love corkboard because you can put things up and take things down however frequently you want to. You can also spray paint them to look more interesting if you want.
There are magnet boards that do much the same thing - IKEA has some great ones for $12. You could potentially cover an entire wall in these and have a mood board that you can change and design every day if you wanted to.
If you are a traveler, you could put up pictures of your next dream trip location. Does having a mood board increase productivity? I can't prove it but I'm pretty sure you'll enjoy having a cup of coffee and working next to things that make you feel inspired more than a cubicle wall.
Create your "office" in a room you use. This part was really important for me. I hate going into a room and closing the door to work. It's why I work so well in coffeeshops, background noise helps me concentrate. If you set up your space in a room you use you can make your office part of the scenery. There's going to be work/life blend with location independent work
so I just embrace it and work in a room where I can work and live.
The bottom line to creating a good workspace is to have all of the tools you will need plus an environment that keeps you motivated and inspired. If anyone's got any other good home office tips post them in the comments!

Next Time You're In New York: Stanton Social

Over the weekend I had a chance to get together with an old girlfriend and we had dinner at Stanton Social. Completely worth going to! Their music was amazing, their food was amazing, and the staff was incredibly hospitable. Their food is small plate (tapas style) so you order a whole bunch of plates to share. Milwaukee has a great small plate style restaurant too called La Merenda .
My favorite thing about the menu was that every item was well thought out and incredibly creative. You could try some of their ideas for a dinner party as well. My favorites were the Chicken and Waffles, the Onion Soup Dumplings (these were really cool bite sized dumplings with the soup inside), and the Kobe beef sliders.

Netflix It: Lymelife

When I got home from the airport last night (New York) I couldn't think of doing anything but relaxing with a movie. If you like the Culkin kids (and I do) you'll probably like this movie.
It's the kind of a dark coming of age movie that the Culkins are doing a lot these days so I was pleasantly surprised.
Watch it if you liked:
Igby Goes Down
The Secret Life of Alter Boys
The Ice Storm