Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Time Out

I was going to post my inspiring five women, but I want to help some of you first. I feel really bad for those of you who come to this site directly, without subscribing to it (and all the other blogs you read). Use RSS! It's powerful! I promise your life will change. Just ask my husband.

Read this.

Let me know if you have any questions.

Help me, help you.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince

Trailer's out. See it here!

5 Inspiring Men

Here are five men who have been inspiring and/or guiding my work as of late (whether they know it or not). I shouldn't hog them. Check them out:
  1. Matt Donovan: logos/identity, creative process, photography, and for leading me to the next name on my list
  2. Joshua Blankenship: brand, strategy, taking an entire organization through a huge transition and living to tell about it
  3. Abraham Piper: words, blogging
  4. Seth Godin: communications, marketing
  5. David Choate: design, fun with type, pushing limits

Tomorrow? You guessed it: the women.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Macs Make Everything Look Awesome

My number one design issue is that my MacBook Pro makes everything look beautiful. Pretty big problems, right? Something happens when I look at my work on a PC (u-g-l-y you ain't got no alibi, you're ugly, yeah, yeah, you're ugly). It's ridiculous.

If graphic design were a dressing room, Mac monitors would be the skinny mirror.

There, I said it.

(Flipping gamma).

Thursday, July 24, 2008

8 Ways to Save Money on Event Stationery

(this is a re-post and adaptation from my old beautiful papers blog)

Of course I am biased here, but I would say that paper goods for your event are one of the most important investments you can make. Whether it's a wedding or baby shower, a well thought-out invitation design will do a great job to set the stage for your celebration. The downside is that it can be expensive to get invitations, place cards, etc. custom designed and printed. Oh but people, there is an upside. Here are some tricks to making it more affordable:

  1. Budget, Budget, Budget: When you talk or email with your designer, make sure to give her a price range that you have in mind. This will help when designing the piece, and you won't fall in love with something that is too expensive for your budget.
  2. Use one color, and use it well: Some of the best invitations I have seen have only incorporated one color. If done well, it creates a very bold and dramatic look.
  3. Size DOES matter: Ask your designer to figure out the most economical size for your particular design. A good designer will know the methods of the print shops she works with.
  4. Envelopes Shmenvelopes: Skip the inner envelope and use specific names on the outer envelope. This could also save weight on postage.
  5. Google Maps is the best: instead of a separate piece with detailed directions, include a small card that leads to an online map.
  6. Dancing Queen: For a wedding, you can include a line about the reception right on the invitation (unless it's a majorly formal event).
  7. Addressing: instead of hiring a calligrapher, have a friend with good handwriting help you out (or, GASP, use labels. News flash: not many people care. How many wedding ENVELOPES do you see hanging on the fridge?)
  8. Return Address: Your designer should be able to make a file for you that can be made into a rubber stamp, using your font. Just take it to a place like Copy Max or Kinkos. The stamp can be used on the actual invitation and the reply card, if there is one. Or, ask your designer to create an address label that includes your return address.

I guarantee that you will be glad you set aside a little bit of extra money in your budget for this. At least promise me that you won't dismiss the idea without talking it over with a designer first. Most of us just want to make beautiful things. I know for me, that if I can work within a pre-existing budget, it makes the whole process easier.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Movie and Marketing Mayhem

That title is weak, I get it.

Within one week, Dave and I have seen two movies and are now going to see a third on Saturday. I assure you, this is not typical behavior. Here are the three:
  1. Dark Knight: I hated this movie. It was awful. Don't believe the hype. Um...yeah right. This movie rocked my face off.
  2. Mamma Mia!: Molly and I saw this show together in NYC a while back and I was really curious and excited to see how it was captured on film. They did a decent job. If you haven't seen the live show, you probably won't fully understand it, but it's worth a view. Cheap theater if you haven't seen the show (unless, of course, you love Abba...then spend the full amount, baby!).
  3. X-Files: This one might seem strange. The X-Files was the TV show that got me on my kick of watching series in an obsessive manner (Alias, 24, etc.). Every week, without fail, Mike would come over and watch it at our house. Some of my funniest memories of my family are from those times.
I have a lot going on for both church and r.s.v.p.designs in the way of marketing and identity. As far as church is concerned, here's what's in the works:
  • Logo: I am very excited to make some much needed tweaks to our logo. Elliot is about to get a wake up call.
  • Web: I'm in the process of cleaning up, re-designing, and re-writing a large amount of things on our site. I'm excited to simplify. It's like cleaning out a closet. I feel like I can breathe better.
  • Graphics Standards: Basically, this "manual" would outline how we use (and don't use) our identity items, along with some grammar and writing guidelines. I was supposed to do this about...five years ago. It makes sense to tackle it now that we're in the new building and I'm in the process of changing some things anyway.
  • Ministries: there are too many projects to list here, but it's a lot.
  • Team: My goal is to have a fully functioning Communications Team in the fall. Any of you Grace peeps want to join? It's a great volunteer opportunity, and I provide awesome snacks! (We need: web content editor, mailing/bulletin editor, graphic designers, marketing people, web designers and programmers, videographers, writers, and just plain old creative thinkers.) Seriously, let me know, because so far it's me, Rachel and Dave. We need help.

Monday, July 21, 2008

10 Reasons I Loved Camping

Dave decided we should go tent camping (yes...that says "tent"). I would not have come to that decision on my own. Ever.

Here's my list:
  1. Dave did everything. I mean, I ASKED what I could do to help. I also happened to pray that he would refuse my offer. Prayer is powerful and effective. W00t!
  2. It's relatively cheap. I would rather camp than go to Cedar Point or something like that. Whenever I have to spend a lot of money, the fun factor goes down for me.
  3. I pushed my limits (with a two year old on my hip). We crossed a bog on a floating bridge made of plastic with no railings. The muck seeped in as we walked and I had to pretend to be excited to see a slithering salamander at my feet.
  4. The food is fun. Candace had her first s'more, I had a cherry "mountain pie," and we made smith's hot dogs and blueberry pancakes.
  5. Campfires are wonderful things. How is it that it can be 90% humidity, but people still sit around campfires? I don't know, but I did it. It's mesmerizing. Also, I think the fire has a secret power to bring out good conversation.
  6. Our camp chairs rock. We bought them randomly while on our honeymoon. I'm glad we did. I could sit in one for three days straight.
  7. It's peaceful. Our particular campsite didn't even have the sound of crickets. It was amazingly silent.
  8. Air mattress. Enough said, I think.
  9. Our tent doesn't have a roof. It has a fine netting, but you can see the stars. The rain protector is put on separately.
  10. It was another mini-adventure with Dave. He's really great at creating experiences and making memories. Our kids are going to love him for that.
I'm sure Dave will post pics and details over at his blog.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Doner Wedding Photography

I just finished weeding through almost 1000 photos from a wedding I shot in June. I've had some requests for more, so here they are (in a completely random order)!

Bryan, Jamie, and the kids who were in the wedding:

These two were hilarious. They wanted their pic taken really bad:

Place cards (made by yours truly):

Look out Baptists, there's dancing a foot:

Jamie's Dad has the most photogenic face:

Just after the kiss:

I LOVE this one:

Quiet moment together during the reception:

Their first dance rocked. It was so much fun:

During the message:

Doesn't this look like an old movie marquee or something?:

This shot brought back memories of my wedding (it was in the same room):

The guys:

Nervous (and beautiful) bride:

Flower girl:

When their friends and family are done viewing and ordering, I'll make the flickr set public so you can see all of them. Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Random Church Tour of '08

On the way back from Molly and Aber's, Dave and I decided to stop at Willow Creek Community Church right outside of Chicago. Dave had never been there, and I hadn't been since before their new building campaign. 

  • It's big - TOO big. When your church is in its design phase and you start talking about escalators, you need to back that truck up and re-evaluate your situation. Escalators?
  • They're proactive with guests. We had people saying hello in the lobby and a very friendly usher talk to us at length.
  • They're obsessed with growth. The main pastor talked about filling their new place to capacity. They also planted a church in downtown Chicago.
  • They put on a MAJOR production. I can't even describe it. It makes Grace seem like a Sunday service at the local monastery.
  • They have multiple campuses, even with that huge facility. It was probably 80% full at at the 5:30pm Saturday service.
Then, we stopped at Granger Community Church in Granger (South Bend), Indiana. 

  • They don't pressure guests. Heck, they don't even acknowledge them. I stood in the lobby looking up at the ceiling with a confused face for literally five minutes while Dave was getting coffee and no one said a word to me. When we tried to turn in a guest card at the end of the service, the info desk guy looked as though we had handed him a live grenade. "Ummm...sure...I guess...yeah...I can take this."
  • They value the younger generation. I knew it as soon as I saw the tube slides for kids to enter their lower level classrooms. I fully believed it after I read it in the bulletin and heard the pastor talk about it.
  • They believe in innovation, but not for it's own sake. They innovate so people will be able to understand that Jesus loves them. I know that because the Pastor said it in his sermon.
  • They value creativity. Everything from their building design to the double projectors pointed at each screen told me that they let their people dream.
  • They want people to love Jesus. That is the #1 thing I took away from the service.

What does this mean for me, as a Christ follower, and my church? I don't fully know, but I have some thoughts:
  • Jesus' renown needs to be our #1 priority (and people need to KNOW that).
  • We need to value the younger generations. They might be the future, but the future is now. We need to get on it. 
  • It's OK to be creative and use different art forms to connect with God. 
  • I've always struggled with my quality of work, but honestly, visiting both of these churches made me realize that I am actually a contender. I know that's a weird way to put it. I felt encouraged that I didn't see anything that I didn't already do, or couldn't do.  The same God who gives these people inspiration is available to us. Why wouldn't it be just as good?
  • Every community is different. Each community is made up of people who are different. We can't (and shouldn't) try to duplicate something being done without making sure it fits "us."

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Road Trip + Minneapolis + Chicago =

A LOT to blog about!

(and a lot of photos to edit)

Dave and I left on July 5th for Minneapolis. I'll let him tell you about the road trip experience (he already started) and Chi-Town. I'll say this though: it was a really fun drive and we didn't listen to the radio, CDs, or iPod at all. I was shocked. We talked and laughed a ton. We needed it a ton.

The week at the Piper complex (that's what I'm calling it from now on) was awesome and just what I needed. I loved waking up at 9am and just going slowly about the day with no real schedule. We did fun things, but it wasn't action packed insanity (as per our usual, which I do love). Here's a quick run down of some favorite moments with pics following:
  • Experiencing Orison: holy cow, hilarious.
  • Meeting Molly's doctor.
  • IKEA run.
  • Mini golf.
  • Making "the cake" (and taking pics of every step, ahem).
  • Paper Source run with Molly, and being assaulted by the rain.
  • Dinner with Karla.
  • Upwords.
  • Making our own, mac only, internet cafe.
  • Fogo de Logo.
  • Visiting the cemetery.
  • Bowling at the U of M (St.Paul).
  • Ice cream overload.
  • Dinner at Pastor John and Noel's house.
  • Successful Pineapple Mojito making. 
  • Helping Molly finish up Felicity's scrapbook.
  • Breakfast before we left.
  • Stopping by to say an impromptu goodbye to Orison on the way out.

Tomorrow I'll tell you about the two churches we visited on the way home and how the experience changed my outlook on ministry. 

Thursday, July 3, 2008


Hi Friends. I am so sorry for not blogging this past week. Buuuut, this isn't a post, either. It's been a crazy time. I'll write something up this weekend. I have much to share!