Tales of a Happy Designer : The Stand Up Desk

designer-standing-desk

The first few years of designing full time I sat at a traditional desk. And sat, and sat, and sat.
8+ hours a day sitting with terrible posture while staring intensely at a bright screen. I’d come home feeling exhausted, crumpled, and with lots of back and neck pain. In my third year of sitting at my full-time design job, I was lucky enough to run across an article about how sitting all day was slowly killing office workers (something like this). AND MY WORLD CHANGED.

My boss had an old medical office desk that could adjust to standing or sitting height, so I gave it a whirl. It took almost a month, but I finally found myself standing up, stretching, and moving for around 6ish hours a work day – which left me feeling more wonderful than ever at work. I felt more creative, vibrant, and healthy. Here’s my non-medical advice if you’re interested in trying it out :

Quick tips for using a standing desk :
1. Start in small increments. Something like 15 minutes standing, 45 minutes sitting could be a nice place to begin.
2. Train your legs! It’s important to keep them active and to not lock out your knees, or lean on the desk.
3. A standing mat (anti-fatigue mat) is a solid investment. A mat like this one is a great choice to keep your legs, feet, and knees on a comfortable plane. If you can, take your shoes off, too!
4. Take breaks. Grab a stool and sit (yes, sit!) while eating, taking notes, answering emails – or any tasks where you’d like to feel more at ease. Even with all the healthy benefits of standing – everything in moderation! This will help break up your day and add little boosts of concentration.

Benefits I’ve found from my standing desk :
1. My legs, feet, neck, and back feel wonderful – no more crumply pain! Plus, I swear my legs are stronger than they ever have been. In the beginning they were sore, but the endurance increased every day.
2. I’m energized! I’m up and about pretty much all day, and I rarely ever get the sleepy put-my-head-down-on-my-desk feeling around 3pm.
3. I’m more actively inspired and have more of what I like to call “brain energy”. When I sat for hours I began to feel stuck – and that physical feeling translated to my creativity. Standing up just feels free and open to me – more space and movement translates to trying and feeling new things.
4. My circulation has improved incredibly. Before my standing days if I got up too fast I’d feel dizzy, but those days are long gone!

Please note, I’m definitely not a medical professional. Feel free to talk to your doc about trying a standing regimen, as it does come with rave reviews, and some necessary limitations! Here are some handy articles for more research :
This article from The Smithsonian explains 5 huge health benefits backed by studies, including reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, and cancer – woohoo!
Everything Science Knows Right Now About Standing Desks from Fast Co »
And 5 ways you can actually screw up the standing desk from US News »

 

 

It’s Going Down For Real – This Gun’s for Hire

It's Going Down For Real - I Just Went Freelance! This gun's for hire - Design Wine Sunshine


Y’all….
I just went freelance.

Even as I typed those four words I’m like, whaaat? But it’s true! After 8 years of full-time fun working as an in-house graphic designer I’ve spread my wings and joined the DIY boss community. Crazy? YES. But I had it coming as soon as I unwrapped this tea fortune one very wintry Colorado day. In the future, I hope to document my journey into the deep abyss of freelancing on this blog. Stay tuned!

Looking for a happy graphic designer? I’d LOVE to hear about your project! Contact me & send your details. Here’s a link to my official portfolio, hurray!

Cheers to independence!
Court

Oh, hai…

bunny-with-grass-on-its-head

This has been on of my most-loved pins lately, and it kinda speaks to how I’m feeling these days – ideas hopping all around, and my hair has been NUTS due to Florida’s humidity. But endless mind+city traveling & bad hair days aside… I’ve been finally able to come back around to creating content for this little project.
See you soon, {although not in a few days sorta soon}…

Wink, wink.

Moving & Shaking – The Wearing of Too Many Hats

dreamer

Y’all. . .
Have you heard the crickets chirping on this little blog? Simply put, I’ve been wearing way too many hats lately. Between my full-time career, home renovations / home searching, spending lovely time with my lovelies, & sketching a few plans for dreams & big things to come, blogging’s been on the back burner. I just wanted to keep y’all in the loop : the post-roll might be on a hiatus, but I’ll be back soon.

‘Til I can get back on a roll, here are a few posts to hop around to :
1. Top 5 Hot Teas for Creativity »
2. Scratch & Sniff Wine Guide by Richard Betts »
3. Gift Ideas for Wine Lovers » 
4. Studio Plants : A Gathered Guide for Happy Indoor Flora »
5. Getaway : Sail from Athens to Santorini »

Cheers,
—Court

Studio Plants : A Gathered Guide to Happy Indoor Flora

creative-studio-plants-for-brown-thumbs

Woo! It’s been a while, yes? We’re house hunting, painting, completing phase 1 of our fab condo renovation, & social marathoning galore! Crazy days over here, so thanks for keeping in touch.
Lately, as spring grows near, I keep unearthing my love for plants – & all the new green fluffy leaves to come! I so enjoy the crisp, fresh neon, almost fluorescent green spring leaves around Colorado, that I wish I knew how to keep that magic alive all year in my sunny studio. Enter, a full-force of designerly indoor plant guides to help brown thumbs {like me} enjoy leafy terrain in their creative spaces throughout the seasons.
Side Note : Did you know, research suggests having plants in your workplace can give you magical powers? “Powers” of increased retention, productivity, concentration, + overall happiness! Check out this article from FastCompany »

1. All pictures above gathered from this article via the amazing Domaine’s THE BEST LOW LIGHT PLANTS FOR YOUR DESK » A guide including the ZZ Plant, Snake Plant, Pothos, Jade, & Peperomia. 

guide62. Another post I’ve loved lately is this guest post for DesignLoveFest on HOUSE PLANTS 101 » Including the Fern, Calathea, Rubber Tree, Succulent, & Fiddle Leaf Fig. Plant care guide by: mehreen qudosi – see more floral posts here! Photography by: sheila gim

Screen Shot 2014-03-13 at 8.05.07 AM

3. & lastly, a quick version from Justina Blakeney. An illustrated guide of happy plants, 9-ways to bring nature indoors for brown thumbs. Check out her quick synopsis on the Jade Plant, Eternity Plant, Spider Plant, Billy Balls, Bamboo, Snake Plant, Heartleaf Philodendron, Eucalyptus Branches, & A Fishhook Succulent. 

Enjoy & Cheers,
Court

Designer Loves : Hally’s in Parsons Green

Hally's Parsons Green - xo Design Wine Sunshine

Looking for some light-hearted interior design inspiration? I just fell in love with this little cafe/diner/hangout, Hally’s in Parsons Green. The look and feel completely embodies California, what a bright, airy, uplifting joy for such a rainy area! It’s such a quirky, fun little bistro. I’m stoked about the mixed media baths, dip-painted chairs, & the curiosities that hop along the shelves. All images found via their beautiful site »
Cheers,
Court

5 Fave Hot Teas for Creatives

Design Wine Sunshine | 5 Fave Hot Teas for Creatives, Artists, Designers

I drink my weight in tea every day. Every new design starts with a new cup, it’s my ritual! So I wanted to quickly share 5 I’m loving right now, for all phases of my creative day. I won’t say they’re a cure-all, but they’re definitely a great companion for the happy artistic mind.
P.S. They’re also a great antioxidant for winos!

1. Tazo’s Cucumber White Tea is the most delicious, relaxing, luxurious tea! I love it when I’m cruising along on designs & crave a spa-like retreat of White Tea, Real Cucumber and Lime flavor to keep rollin’. It’s also great when you need to recover from bad vibes of some sort. It’s like teleportation tea! When I first discovered the tea, they had me by the box :
Where do cucumbers go to unwind? A spa carved in the crevice of an iceberg, with blue cooling pools, white tea saunas and a swim-up bar lined with lime peel mugs filled with piping hot tea.

2. Celestial Seasonings is Boulder, Colorado’s very own! Blaise and I have taken the tour of their tea factory, & love the story of their hippie roots picking herbs in the Boulder foothills during the 60’s. For days when creative ideas aren’t flowing as freely, I can’t LIVE without this green tea. It helps to keep me energized without going sky-high, & boosts happiness to help get me through a long day of designing.

3. Don’t let the crazy creative world get the best of you! Information overload? As a Pair of Pears says, does your brain have too many tabs open? Perhaps your latest design proposal was cut in half and burned at critique? This is a time for a loving, nurturing cup of Lavender and Chamomile Tea from Traditional Medicinals. It won’t put you to sleep, but it will calm + gently rock away the negativity & tension to usher in peaceful feelings. Great for meditation, too!

4. All out of creativity-whack? Creatives know the days in the studio where we’re simply “OFF”. I usually long for a cup of this Yogi Detox Tea when I can’t focus on my designs, I’m struggling with designer’s block, or if everything I design is looking like “designer doo-doo”. It’s my go-to, all-powerful cleanser when I need to start fresh, & think like a champion. It’s also wonderful when combined with yoga after too much wine the night before (wink, wink).

5. Most designers reading this will have had a cup of coffee {or two}  by now. Most of us also know there are days when morning & afternoon coffee just won’t cut it. That’s when black tea shall save us all! The high from black tea is a little more easy-going than strong coffee to me, but it’s very high-electricity. I love many bold black teas for that reason, but one of my faves lately has been Golden Chai by Numi Organic Teas. It’s very spicy and I LOVE that kick when I need a huge dose of get-up-&-go!

Which teas are your faves for creative energies? Lemme know, I’d love to try!
Cheers,
Court

Designer Loves : Antiquaria Modern Calligraphy

One of my most-loved resolutions this year was to write more beautifully packaged, calligraphed letters.

I love to write, love to send little hellos, & most of all, love the design of the letterforms, envelope, & stamp combinations – is that the crazy designer in me? Yep, I’m mesmerized by calligraphy & was just recently overjoyed to find that my hand-written world will be forever changed. Enter, Antiquaria Design Studio. A beautiful collective that is dedicated to fine stationery, modern calligraphy, & beautifully designed tutorials stroke by stroke. In other words, the exact resource I’ve been dreaming of during my swashy-letter excursion. Speaking of which, here’s their post on getting started with calligraphy »

a-z

Below you’ll find a beautiful video of these lowercase letterforms being calligraphed by one of the founders. Isn’t this stunnnnnning? Check out their blog for more details and tutorials. They’re currently cycling through capital letters!

IMG_5860

If you’re in love with them (as much as I am) by this point in the post, check out their shop for calligraphy supplies, stationery, & more. Enjoy & cheers!

calligraphy_kit2__78016.1382538062.1280.1280

A Designer’s At Home Try-On Marathon with Warby Parker, Rivet & Sway, & Fetch Eyewear

“The main thing is to
have personal integrity.

Oh, & traditional graphic design
ruined my 
eyesight.”
— Neville Brody in How to be a Graphic Designer Without Losing Your Soul

at-home-try-on-warby-parker-fetch-rivet-sway

My “designer eyes” are burning! Any other designer out there who leaves work at the end of the day & feels like your contacts have affixed to your eyes with a permanent, stinging, toxic glue? That’s this girl. This designer. Especially living in Colorado, the dry air mixed with staring intensely (on a teeny pixel-grid level) at a 27 inch iMac for 8+ hours is really tough on the eyes.
Enter, the quest to find the perfect pair of !designer approved! specs. 
I’ve recently endured a whirlwind of a marathon trying on 17 different pairs of frames from three different stylishly hipster eyewear companies. Warby Parker, Rivet & Sway, & Fetch Eyewear.
Here’s a quick glance and synopsis of my trial with each company :

compare-at-home-try-on-warby-rivet-fetch

photo-strip-glasses-design-wine-sunshine

Warby Parker has this at home try-on packaging, shipping, & style thing down. I love their site’s design, even their cart & email design, as well as their perfectly packaged shipping box. The frames all fit wonderfully, I was thrilled! Next to wonderful eyeglass designs, I love that they support sight & proper vision care in communities around the world who can’t afford prescription glasses. A win-win!

I love that Rivet & Sway has a direct sense of design for women, a beautiful site & package design, plus a discount program. However, it was hard for me to get excited to shop with them over the other two companies who give back to charity. When I received my at home try on, the frames weren’t labeled, so I had to go back to my online order to decipher which frames carried which names, a little frustrating, but not too bad. The fit wasn’t for me either, but I also have a very unusual face – & that’s most certainly not their fault, ha!.

I was initially super, super excited about Fetch. Since animals are my heart, I was really hoping to be able to find my perfect pair & help support the Pixie Project. I also love their design, and friendliness! Awesome logo, btw. Unfortunately, 6 of the 8 frames I took interest in on their site weren’t available for an at home try-on. I went ahead and ordered some not-so loved frames to see if I could wiggle my way into a pair I never would’ve known I liked – but to no success. Some of the frames were a little thicker than I prefer, and the proportions felt a little awkward for my awkward face (wink, wink). I still love everything about them! Maybe after a while I’ll check back in to see if I can snag my fave frames for a try on after all.

So which won the battle? Dadadadrrrrumroll please … after 17 pairs….
Here’s the winner below… it’s Begley, from Warby Parker! I love the ginormous round shape – perfect for scanning all areas of my gigantic computer screens without the confines of tightly built frames. Plus, they somehow work with my huge cheeks. See how excited I am? Woo!

design-wine-sunshine-warby-parker-glasses

Phew! Hope this helps other designers with burning eyes – a little insider info. Are there any other eyewear companies out there that designers love?
Cheers! Court