5 Things worth sharing – The “Aprisolation” Edition (EXPANDED)

Exploring

As this unpredicted but not so unexpected event caused by COVID-19 has us all experiencing all kind of emotions, from home and away from home, like grounded adults, I’m coming back to share my favourite explorations of the first months of this year 2020.

You’ll find it’s a very “fashion”-able post, but your girl has some interests that must be shared. At the end, as usual, some of my favourite techy/geeky and random stuff.

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Let’s dive into the fashion world!

You may recall that I mentioned I was reading a biography about Diana Vreeland – Empress of Fashion: A Life of Diana Vreeland – , the great and famous Vogue editor (let’s say a predecessor of the more known today Anne Wintour) when I started exploring more of the fashion world on my reading. I’m not a great fan of Vogue magazine – or any fashion magazine, for that matter – as there’s so much marketing on them… But I do enjoy the photography and essays they publish.So, from time to time, I do explore them. Now, reading about the life of Vreeland makes it a lot more interesting. And by the way, she started at Haper’s Bazaar.

There’s actually a lot of fashion history in those pages and I would totally recommend it to anyone interested in the fashion of the last century. At least for other folks that aren’t yet so familiar with the origins of the great fashion brands of today, but also those interested in fashion communication and how this world came to be how we know it. From the Parisian Haute-couture to today’s fashion walks. I’m pending to read her autobiography though! Looking forward to it.

Now, there’s a lot that I got from Vreeland in that book which goes beyond fashion. It is her philosophy in life and how deeply she believed that one can make herself up – that really stands out for me. We are not what we’ve been told we are, but who we believe we can be. That’s a great power, my dears. And you’ll see how she made herself up if you read the book 😉

Wanna know more about fashion brands and keep reading? Well, there are two more books on my shelf that have been entertaining me for a while.

  • Always in Fashion: From Clerk to CEO — Lessons for Success in Business and in Life. Kind of a memoir of a man who started out as a designer and built his way up to LVMH (you know, the luxury group to which Louis Vuitton and so many other brands belong to. My key take-away? His philosophy too, the passion he put in his every role, the drive to learn, become better and make the business work, not as a way to only get personal profit but to make the company and one’s work greater. There’s much more to learn in the book though, as there are plenty of behind the scenes in the fashion industry, closer to our days than those in the Vreeland biography.

  • Third, the book I’m reading right now, The End of Fashion: How Marketing Changed the Clothing Business Forever . This book does go brand by brand, which is sooo …. nice? It feels very educational while still entertaining, as it analyses the big names in fashion, the luxury brands, how they came to be and where they are headed, while going from designer to designer. I still have a long way to go before I finish this book, so I may add some new thoughts on it in the future.

So, now that I’m so deep into the fashion world… Let me add another recommendation – The Coursera course created by the MOMA which is called Fashion as Design. It’s a very different approach to fashion from the books above. Instead of focusing so much on the big names and shiny brands, it talks pure fashion. The design, the purpose… They explore different themes during the course, while teaching about different clothes and why they are how they are. It’s a must even if you are not interested in fashion (as seen in the media) if you like the design side of things. I totally loved the approach of those lessons and it’s a way to understand fashion that aligns better with my own vision.

Something else. Did you know that there’s a TV program showcasing what’s inside the V&A Museum (Victoria’s & Albert Museum in London)? Well, it started some weeks ago on BBC2 and it’s quite interesting. It shows the work of the museum focusing on various pieces of different kinds in each episode ( p.e. jewellery – painting – costume). It’s called The Secrets of The Museum and you can watch it here (if you’re not in the UK you may want to use a VPN – keep scrolling down, I’ll talk about it later).

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Now, let’s travel!

So, not really. You know why, the whole world knows. BUT. If you need a moment to get your mind off everything and fill the weekend with some new, different memories… well, there are a thousand things you could do. The want I’d like to check on today, though, is… VR travelling!

The world is going digital (ughh… hello black mirror nightmares), so there are lots of digital alternatives to anything right now. From the digital online fashion shows to Google earth in VR to shopping in 3d scenarios . Check out this recent article by the Independent about places you could visit digitally that I recently found (or this other one). And I’m quite sure there are many, many more similar opportunities. Think of any museum you’ve ever wanted to visit and look at their website for digital tours and exhibitions. Think about it: sometimes, even just a well structured article to be read on the sofa could be better than 4 hours of standing in front of pieces and looking for the small captions. At least, you can get some previous knowledge about the great pieces in display. For example, I found that the museums of Edinburgh have this Mode article in which to discover 30 pieces of fashion – and you can see them in 180º!

Another possibility is to check the outdoors online, and not only by a webcam – which is not such a bad option after a whole week spent looking through the same window to a boring view – but you can go on a dreamy vacation instead. Not a bad way to visualize a future destination, right? It’s as easy as going to Youtube and searching for “virtual tour” of your destination of choice. Or let the suggestions get on the way and visit things like “The Titanic” or a million dollar home. Would you like to fly over a particular place ? We can do that too! See! And this! What about entering the worlds of Dali?

Just found my place on Youtube now. I’ll be spending all my remaining internet data here. I’m doomed.

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Let’s get techie!

Lately, everywhere on the internet there are references and ads about VPNs. They are important to surf more safely, adding a layer of privacy, to access sites restricted by geography, trick apps and games that depend on your location and even recommended if you download software in not a very legal way.

I personally feel very much against the restrictions of location. The internet is a door to the whole world, from my point of view, and I have always loved it for that. Finding I can’t read articles or watch a video because I live in Europe terribly disappoints, so sometimes I use Windscribe. It’s free up to 2gb with an account, no credit card needed. I had used Tor in the past as a way to navigate privately, but it’s a browser and it changes the experience. As you see, I have no experience in VPNs but if you don’t need much, that one can be useful. I also downloaded an app for my phone, which I haven’t used really but looks fine enough : it’s Tunnel Bear, also free for about 500 mb and options to get more by sharing the app (or upgrading).

If you’ve seen my post My commitment to creativity in these lock-down days, you may remember that the first day I had a break down with my computer. I had to erase the whole hard drive and so I lost all my apps. As a consequence, I had to quickly get the ones I needed the most to start working. So when it comes to 3D software, I went straight for Blender. I had been using other apps, but it’s been a while anyway, so I figured it wouldn’t be so bad to use Blender. By the way, they have now plenty of lives everyday in here.

Well, it has surprised me in a very good way. The first time I used Blender I may have been 14 years old, maybe a bit older. I remember having the instructions printed at home for ages. I never followed all of them. I like modeling and 3D scenarios but I’ve never given it enough time to learn them. Now, I do intend to be able to do some basic things, as I have a purpose on mind. Blender has improved so much since then! And it’s free and there are plenty of resources and tutorials about it. I’ll show you how I’m planning to use it soon!

Refreshing my knowledge and skill doing a donuts tutorial! I still have a long way to go but it’s been a fun ride!

Now that we are spending so much time at home, working from home, what about monitoring the time you spend on your computer? I recently installed RescueTime, so I can get a register of the hours I’m on the computer. Not that I needed to know what I’ve done and what I haven’t, but it’s nice to see it in graphics and numbers. I’m a very visual person, so it helps me to know I have to focus. And it clearly states I spend too much time on Firefox. Maybe I’m blogging too much??

BONUS!

Oh my girl! I’m dying to watch these documentaries : “5 Design World Documentaries to Stream For Free” ! I’ve seen “Helvetica”, of course, but I just wish I got more time to kill (and more gb of Internet). Now that I’m thinking about it, I still have some episodes of Abstract to watch… 😁

We’ll stay in “touch”! 🔗🥂☎️

xx Lena

spring lettering

Spring and other exciting things

Creating

Just a generic intro

We are well into Spring and we’ve been able to start feeling the season. Warmer temperatures and much longer days. It seems like we are ready for summer. I can even smell it, don’t you?

I’m so happy I’ve been able to go surfing a couple of times already. The water is still so cold (I’m not a fan of cold) but the softer weather is very welcoming.

 

What’s new?!

So it’s time for new things to see the light!!  Today I’m bringing you a couple of freebies, the announcement of what’s to come in the shop (new products, follow along to see which) and some behind the scenes.

Here one of the packages I’ve received to test the new additions to the shop!

 

 

Now a drumroll, please! Because the first products I have to present you are something really new! So…

 

Summer dresses!!! Sleek, elastic and as wonderfully comfortable as all the other clothes I have in the shop 😄

I’m so excited! They fit so well and the colours are amazing, as always.

Also, I have a long sleeve shirt that we’ll go up in the Stargazing category next month! Wanna know a bit more? I can’t stop myself from telling you! It’s white with a graphic in the front, super soft and feminine.

Where are the photos, you’ll ask!

I know, an image will tell best but I’m still working on preparing the photo shooting. But it will happen soon. I’m so excited! I have many ideas and want to prepare the best presentation for you guys.

 

 

In the meantime though, let me give you something!

My sister just got a new bright amazing phone and you know what you need time and time again for your pocket friend? Beautiful wallpapers. (also a matching case… would you like me to design you some phone cases?)

So here they go, I bring you not two but four phone wallpapers ready to download in the shop (for FREE! 🤩)

Click on your favourite one below to go to the product page.

~ Fun Small Waves

~ Shells and Tans

~ Welcome Spring

~ Goodbye Winter

 

Some behind the scenes

Here some process images (I apologize for the quality… you know I’m not a fan of shooting while working).

When doing the letterings I like to start with a very rough sketch, vectorize the letters in the computer, print and redraw it and add all the illustration and decorations. Then I trace it all and paint it in watercolours. And then I edit it as needed to get to the desired final result.

 

See you soon with new beautiful things to brighten the season! 🌟💙

 

xx

Lena

 

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Books for the girl boss – UPDATE

Creating

girl boss books

Do you remember my last post about books? Well, it’s this one .

So maybe it’s time to update you on my reading list.

I’ll start with the books I haven’t finished reading yet.

My so-called freelance life

 It’s a wonderful guide for the wannabe freelancer that has never been in that situation before, is starting now or in need of a bit of help. There’s plenty of good and practical advice. I haven’t been through it all though because I feel like I already know the theory and I don’t need to go over it (again). In my case, I should be working the path instead of informing myself. But if you’re considering going freelance, this book could be the prefect reading for you.

Design is my job

I only started it. It is nice but it’s not a great guide like the one above. It gives you the author’s advice on everything he considers necessary. And even though I appreciate the tone of it, very close to the reader, it won’t help me feel good about my job…so I said Next!

The Power

I’m 30 pages away from the end. It’s a good read to start feeling better about your life and spreading the love. A read I’d recommend. But I must add, I’ve been working on The Magic book for the last month too. And it is incredibly good. If you liked The Secret I would totally recommend it. It’s a great way to really put some gratitude into your daily life, with daily exercises. And it’s awesome how it really works. 

Also, if that’s not enough and you liked everything about The Secret, I would also recommend you the book “The Science of Getting Rich”, which is the one that Rhonda received and inspired all The Secret series. It’s a very short read, you can find it free online (because it’s 100 years old!) and gets you to the point in a straightforward way. I’ll be rereading it, for sure!

Books that I did finish reading

Girl code

I had a bit of trouble getting hooked by this book at first, because I couldn’t align with the author’s voice or tone at first. But as I got further I started liking it more and more. It may not become my favourite book but it is inspirational and motivational for all women in business and will empower your dreams (which I’ll always be grateful for). Let me show you some of my favourite quotes – the ones that speak the most to me.

“You must find the place inside of you where everything is possible.”

“You must envision your world through the eyes of positivity and possibility. The moment you do that, you open up a world of endless abundance.”

“Her success is not your failure.”

Leave your mark

As I told you in the previous post, I skipped the first part, because it was mostly about how to get a job. Now, the social media chapters and branding are good stuff. It’s a nice read because it feels like a different way to learn about what to do and what not to do on social media, along with some stories and advice. Who knew it that it could be so entertaining and helpful!

Want more books for the girl boss in you?

Find more on my pinterest board here.

Also, you can subscribe to receive new posts like this. Thank you!

5 Books I want to read before Christmas, for girlbosses

Creating
books for christmas

Have you ever read an article of books recommendations of books that the critic haven’t yet read?

Well, lucky me, I’m just a designer and not a critic!

A post on books again… just because they’re one of my loves!

Well, it is for a few reasons in fact:  I enjoyed reading and learning this way since my early school years and because I need to do something to relax and avoid loosing my mind on the internet in these cosy too-cold-for-my-taste winters. Also, my boyfriend likes to watch an episode before sleeping and not of one my favourite series… so it’s perfect to have an engaging book to read at the same time.

So, one afternoon I went to dive into the deepness of the Internet to make a selection of some books. I had just finished reading #Girlboss by Sophia Amouroso so I started from there to find similar products. To do so, I usually go to goodreads or just amazon. There I look up for similar titles and themes or make a new search. If I find something that sound interesting I’ll add the book to my wishlist or want-to read list. That way, when I feel like buying a book I just have to go to those lists and shop, knowing exactly what I want.

For today’s selection, I chose mainly books written by women who happen to be entrepreneurs too.

 

My So-Called Freelance Life

A few pages in and I’m completely hooked up on this. The author has a clear and engaging voice with a nice sense of humour. I’m devouring it. This book is written to help any freelancer or wannabe in any industry. Even though, Michelle Goodman is a freelance writer (a fact usually present on books about x, you know, because they have to be written by someone… who usually happens to write). But it looks good, very good.

 

Girl Code

As the title says, a book for women entrepreneurs. The author started out writing a blog and from there published several books and became a coach. This book is still in the business side but with a focus on the mindset that will be useful for women in business.

“ it will teach you how to build confidence in yourself, reconnect with your “why,” eradicate jealousy, and ultimately learn the power of connection”

What else can I say? I’ve only read the introduction 😅

 

Leave your mark

I don’t know if you’ve heard about #Girlboss or read it, but if you do, this one is kind of similar… To where I’ve read. In the fashion industry, very focused on techniques and advice to get a job. In Girlboss it seemed that Amouroso would teach about how to make your own empire, but she more accurately advise on how to be and apply to become part of Nasty Gal, her business. In Leave your mark, the goal is not to get into a business in particular but more about landing your job.

Though, there is more to it. The author got some amazing results from using social media and she will share her secrets with you. So I’m skipping some chapters of how to land the job of your life (because I prefer freelancing and I’ve read enough about the standard way to get a job) and jumping into social media. More I can’t tell you, I’m on it, but I promise to make a follow up post or just update this one.( So keep your eyes peeled for it! ).

 

Design is a job

I must confess, looking at the outside, this one seems kind of boring. The foreword is by Erik Spiekerman so it kind of gives me some reference and hope. From this early part of the book I would like to share the following sentences :

“Clients need to understand that they’ve hired us to do something they are not good at. And that they need to pay us for our knowledge, skills, experience and, yes: attitude. ”  Erik Spiekerman

Getting to the index, I notice that it may not be a boring book about the fundamentals of design at all. In fact, is the “formal” guide to being a graphic designer in freelance mode. Will it share some new perspective on my job? I do expect it to do so, and specially, what the author tells in the introduction:

“You will have more confidence in yourself and a deeper understanding of your craft.” Mike Monteiro

 

The power

I know I know… This recommendation doesn’t go much on line with the other books… But it’s always good to get some help that motivates you and not just gives you advice. So a bit of self-help to make the path to solopreneur sweeter.

I’m sure you’ve heard about The Secret. I saw the movie when it came out and have rewatched it several times. I have read the last book, Hero, which I love. But have pending the Power, which I’ll be reading right away, and The Magic, which I’ll try to get for Christmas! 😉🎄 This book comes to be an extension and progression of The Secret, adding stories and knowledge.

What are some books in your want-to-read list? Let me know in the comments!

Also, check out this post (and this one) for more book recommendations


And if you liked the post, let me send you a recap of all links at the end of every month.


Experimentation as Exploration

Creating

Creativity isn’t an easy friend. It is important to be flexible in mind to be creative. But, how to do that? What does it really mean?

Let’s remember what creativity really is: to make connections and see relationships were others haven’t.  When we use creativity, it is usually using a process. We need a solution for a problem (may it be a painting, a design, whatever). To get there, you can go through a number of steps in which you recognise the problem, look for references, collect ideas, etc.

One of the methods to come up with solutions or creative ideas is …. (guess it…) EXPERIMENTATION! (that’s right, you knew it!) And it’s what I consider the funniest part of the process. Kind of difficult, not too serious, blurred rules… But the most rewarding and playful part. That’s why I needed to write this post: it’s not always easy to accept that you need time to go through the experimenting phase.

7 Reasons to experiment in your creative process

1- To practice creativity and become better at it

We can’t think that we already are at the top of our abilities and just keep doing the same again and again. Experimenting will stretch your creative muscles and skills to reach new heights. Also, creativity is about making connections, and the only way to get better at it is practising. You’ll get used at doing it and sooner you’ll be getting more original ideas.

2-  To find new ways to express yourself

We have a medium in which we are comfortable, we have a style that defines us and topics we like to talk about. Well, that’s ok and right but, what about adding something else? Our works may be new and top (or not) at some point, but that doesn’t mean they can change. Maybe one day you’ll need to make them different. Just for you, nor for your audience. Or maybe you feel something is missing. Experimenting will allow you to keep growing and finding those things to add ( or subtract) and will give you new tools or expand your comfort zone, so your goals could grow too.

3- Discover styles or techniques that fit you

When you have to experiment, you have to try new things. And you have to do some research to find those. You’ll come up with new information, medium, materials and exciting possibilities. You may even try new arts, hobbies and crafts that could help you in your current creative problems. You’ll find out about other artists and inspirations too that can help you see your work under another light. Remember that a style is never fully defined and finished.

4 – Find out new things to blend into your work

Experimenting could be part of a journey. Or maybe just a trip downstairs into the closet of the forgotten stuff. Stories are part of our lives and can live through the work we do. When we live new adventures, they can become part of the solution.

5 – Have fun for the sake of it

No explanation needed. Enjoy it? Then do it!

6 – Become the next trend

Ok, this is not 100% realistic. Not because you experiment you’ll become popular. But maybe you will. Better experiment and be yourself than to spend the rest of your life just copying those who are popular.

7- Differentiate yourself from the competition

As I was saying, not to go with fashion can make you different, and at some point, some people will get tired of trends… And you’ll be shining in your corner of rarity. Be ready to sing your song.

Now that you know how good can it be for you to incorporate experimenting into your creative process, let’s find some ways to convince yourself (or others) that what you’re doing is for the best.