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Showing posts from 2011

Happy Christmas - Greater Gifts (& Hot Artochoke Dip)

I'm not getting any presents this year for Christmas. Well... that's not true, I already got my presents really early. I sit here in the midst of a recession self employed, a new home owner, capable of taking care of myself during a crappy economy.   I owe all this to my Greater Gifts. Nothing tangible or valuable in a monetary sense but gifts of friendship, of family.  Gifts of using my intelligence and showing leadership and openness. Gifts of being able to relate to other human beings. Being able to smile and talk to strangers, or help those in need. Being able to learn something every day is a Great Gift. Being able to apply all these lessons to my world every day is a wonderful life.  I hope other people are realizing that the Greater Gifts matter more than money, or ego, or self.

I make this Hot Artichoke Dip every Christmas Eve... This year I promise I'll add a photo.

- 2 (13 3/4-ounce) cans artichoke hearts (drained & broken into smaller chunks)

Steph's Top 10 Internet Marketing Rules FREE

Many people don't know that I dabble in a little online marketing as well as doing Interface and User Experience Design. This internet marketing helps me observe a much greater view of the people's online landscape. It's making me a better UX designer since I can see all the complex connections that data and people make together. Nowadays many small business people are asking me for help with social networks and social media marketing. They say things like, "I just don't know where to begin," really lost sounding remarks. Groupon scares the crap out of people, it's perceived as a business killer. And Foursquare is confusing, lots of people don't "get it". It seems like regular people are just now getting comfortable with Facebook. Anyway... here are my top 10 web marketing rules designed to help you use social media like a pro. 
Marketing Rule #1 - Reciprocate!  The social web is … social. People don’t want to talk, they want to converse, e…

Being Thankful

I am very very thankful that I have a very short commute to work.I am thankful that I'm not paying for some stupid stranger's property investment.I'm so grateful everyday that the food I make tastes good.I am thankful for Baltimore, home of real - and real awesome - people.I am grateful that I work for myself.I am thankful that people want to work with me, even though the economy is in the tank.I am thankful that I can connect with, and stay in touch with so may people, all of the time, on the internet.I am grateful that I know how to communicate like a rational adult. Despite my Bachelors of Fine Art. I'm thankful for my incredible family - without all of their help in this recession I would be homeless, broke, and likely insane right now. I am grateful that my big mouth hasn't messed up too many things.Happy Thanksgiving Everybody!

FACETS Annual Art & Jewelry Sale - This Weekend in Baltimore

Please join FACETS for their annual sale  this Saturday and Sunday November 19 and 20 10am - 5pm. 
This year in addition to fabulous unique jewelry, there are ceramics, glassware and paintings.  Get a gift or shop for yourself.  Tell a friend and bring them too!

The Radisson at Cross Keys
5100 Falls Road
Baltimore, MD

*In the Woodland Room

Why is it OK for Men to be Critical, but not Women?

Let it be known that this blog here is just a social media sandbox. This blog is NOT to be taken seriously, I am not to be taken that seriously... seriously.  Well not until I redesign my whole website and stuff which will happen eventually, hopefully pretty soon.

I just got a call from my brother, the cop. He was complaining about this site saying how I'm too negative and I complain too much. How many times have I told him my blog is just a kind of test? He was saying how they were going to hire some guy and then they looked him up online and he was tweeting all this negative, derogatory stuff and they didn't hire him. Am I derogatory? Probably only to the Republican and Tea "parties", maybe also to technology recruiters who we all know I don't think highly of.  I had to remind my brother that I am a User Experience Designer, and a Creative Director, and that it's kinda my job to criticize the world. But why do I need to remind people of this? I mean seriou…

Trying Communications - If You Want to Talk to Me...

I had an awkward conversation in a bar the other day. My friend showed me the litany of text messages she received over the weekend - a weekend when she was supposed to be "off" relaxing. Since I am Little Miss Know-It-All I proceeded to tell her that she needed to "set boundaries" with people so that her iPhone doesn't become - actual words - "a form of slavery". My friend, having a PHD in something relating to mental health started evaluating my statement and probing me with questions after I announced that I needed to publish a set of rules for people to use to contact me. "Well, don't you like to talk to your friends on the phone?" Me, "No. Well, sometimes. Well I prefer Skype because my cell signal isn't that good half the time". Friend, "But don't you think it's important to have a real conversation with people?" Me, "Of course, but calls come at weird times, most of my friends are in California…

A Big Late Summer Birthday Bitch to Tech Recruiters

Every year in August my Gmail starts lighting up with inquiries from recruiters, and hiring managers for contract work, or full time jobs.

Every year, I do this diplomatic dance for the prospect of work, I feel like I'll get black listed if I don't.

Every year I am incredibly frustrated, because as I try to be ever so awesomely accommodating for these positions... I know, just like they know, that EVERYBODY goes on vacation in late August. In fact, everybody knows that half the entire San Francisco Bay Area (including all those recruiters) are off to Burning Man at the end of August.

We ALL KNOW, so why does this silliness continue?

Recruiters - please stop asking us to drop everything for the carrot on the end of your stick. Please try to be open and honest. All you have to do is simply communicate better. It's not difficult.  Other people have lives too, please start acknowledging that!

I thought I'd post this screen grab I took of a tech recruiter I've had the …

Living Out Loud Online

This week I finally took the plunge into the deep end of Social Media. I'm designing an iPhone App for a client and up until last weekend I had been an avowed hater of Foursquare, and a bit of a  Facebook cynic. What is the point of Foursquare to an independent person like me? Up until last week all of these social applications loomed in my mind as "un-billable work", just more ceaseless internet research, both are pretty much the same. But it all came to a head last week since, obviously, I can't design a social app unless I know all about how user's interact with them. So my client got me a beautiful new white iPhone (Thanks!) and assigned me a lot of homework. (note: this is how to treat a designer!) 5 days into this social media thing, I am proud to announce my mayorship of Studioroom, and I'm really enjoying Jamie Oliver's photos via Instagram. Foodspotting is alluding me  (I'm just not in the right city to take good food photos). GetGlue - I don…

US Government, BUY LOCAL DESIGN! - Stop the US Department of Interior from Crowdsourcing a Logo

I personally live in the DC area and have friends and family who work for the Federal Government. And I design logos, make fabulous websites, and create great interfaces. It breaks my heart that I can't get more work locally from the biggest employer in the area, the Fed. And I am a minority small business person. So I must protest this the abuse of crowd sourcing as much as possible.

Crowd sourced design is evil so please sign this petition to Stop the US Department of Interior from Crowdsourcing a Logo.

Why is crowd sourced design evil? It undermines design professionals by enabling non-professionals, untrained ameratuers, and foreigners overseas to TAKE WORK FROM Professional Designers. Of course a designer overseas will be less expensive than a designer anywhere in the US.  Overseas designers do not pay taxes here in the US. Normally it's illegal to employ foreign workers without the right documentation from the government, but because this work is conducted on the…


Doesn't everybody like to eat? Aren't we already talking about the meals we make and enjoy? And who doesn't like food porn?  I am very pleased to announce the launch - a new social website where people can save any recipe to a magic recipe box in the cloud.

You know you would rather browse this site
than stare at your email! 
I have never in my life worked on a web project which has been this much fun, or came together this easily. I'd like to take credit for the ease at which this product was designed, but the vision belongs to my client Phil Michaelson.  Phil put a lot of research, time and testing into his first web business, and had struck upon a genius plan for Finally a way for millions of people to share what they are already doing every day, their dinner...or lunch... or desert!

KeepRecipes is launching with a charity event - KeepRecipes for Recovery - Get a special Japanese inspired digital cookbook with a just a …

Throwing Under The Bus!

Everything here in studio land is delayed. I had to switch hosting for myself and three other clients this week and, since I have a breakaway deadline - I made my own web hosting last priority! Studioroom is going to be down (temporarily) because I waited too long to switch... oh well. My emails especially won't work. But everybody knows about my gmail and Google (kinda) never fails.

AND our move has been delayed another week due to all the mayhem. So next week, I really mean it this time, we are CLOSED.  We will re-open for business Monday March, 28.

Big News - We're Moving! (closed Feb. 14 - 28)

Big News - We're Moving!

Finally happy 2011, happy new decade... We have some big announcements for things which have been in the works for over a year... we are moving!

First of all, thank you to our clients from 2010, Barber Lounge, Xobni, SF School of Massage, Alaska Urological, and Aquent for helping make 2010 a great year. You guys rock.

2011 has already gotten off to a huge start and momentum is building for us to do more great interactive work this year. I already completed a design for a really cool new start-up which I hope to be announcing soon. But I have an ugly secret which nobody really knows about and now I'm gonna come clean. For over a year I have been living and working out of my sister's crowded home in Baltimore and unfortunately dealing with way too much personal drama. A sick and now passed away beloved dog, and a nightmarish house shopping experience (which is a whole other blog post). We FINALLY closed on a new house on New Years Eve (our offer was …

Internet Privacy vs. Openess and A Congresswoman's Attempted Murder

I didn't think the shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Gifford had anything to do with internet security until I saw an image from her twitter profile in this Washington Post article today:

The image I saw was in the print edition of the Washington Post, so I took a screen shot of the congresswoman's twitter page and posted it here. 

Her last tweet "My 1st Congress on Your Corner starts now. Please stop by to let me know what is on your mind or tweet me later." announced to the world where she was going to be, conveniently around just down the road from the shooter.

I am not saying that Twitter spawned this attack on Congresswoman Gifford. I am just pointing out that is is a likely "point of weakness" in ones security. I also want to point out something about the internet industry's role here...

The problem I see is an industry that is pushing people to be more open when it's not really appropriate. The internet industry gives this impression tha…