Posts by Allison

The Year of Habits

Paintings _ Collage

I’ve decided that this year is the year of forming habits. I turn 29 years old in four days so it seems fitting. I’ve been on the candida diet for 118 days now and I’ve been painting every day for the past 17 days. When #the100dayproject is over on July 27, what will I choose next? Actually blog?

I’ve learned a few things while trying to become a habitual badass and thought I’d share some advice:

  1. It gets better after day 12 (for me, at least).
  2. Have a close support system.
  3. Share! I created a Candida-specific Instagram account to learn, share and connect with others. I’m also sharing every painting I create during this 100 Day Project.
  4. Plan. I plan out my meals and I have food prepped constantly. I have my painting supplies out and ready for me to dive right in. Don’t make it harder for yourself!
  5. Understand why you’re doing it. I’m on this diet so I can live a fuller (less painful) life. I don’t want to sabotage all the work I’ve put forth so I don’t cheat! Someday I won’t have to eat this way but right now I’m pushing through.
  6. Allow yourself to change (even if it’s uncomfortable). While painting, I’ll need to challenge myself or be okay with hating something I create. When I first started this diet, I HATED eggs. Now I love them. My tastes change. We evolve.
  7. If you love it, it’s not difficult. I look forward to painting every. single. day. Sure, sometimes I have no idea what to paint but it’s still fun.

Thoughts? Complaints? Just kidding, I don’t give a crap about your complaints!

My (so far) cohesive review of buying glasses online

I wore glasses from ages seven through fourteen. Then I got to switch to contacts and I wore them up until last August. I have a degenerative issue called pinguecula. It’s a slightly raised thickening of the conjunctiva on the white part of the eye, close to the edge of the cornea. I’m not sure why I got it, honestly. It could be genetic but triggered by UV rays or wind. Either way, wearing contacts can irritate it so I now wear glasses all the time!

collage

After learning that I’d probably have to kiss contacts goodbye, I ordered way too many glasses. Like, 10-12 pairs. Don’t worry, I returned most of them. But I figured I could start a series on my blog since I’ll most likely to trying out new companies all the time. Keep in mind that I don’t really care if any of these companies have virtual try-on because it just isn’t the same for me. Virtual try-on never really seems to give me the confidence to spend $130+ so I didn’t include that in any of my pros or cons.

So here we go:

1. Warby Parker

I had always ordered my glasses from Warby (before I wore them constantly) and so I obviously was going to try them out again. I’ve ordered Durand ($125), Reilly Sunglasses ($150), Chamberlain, and Beckett.

PROS:

  • Their frames start at around $95.
  • They have multiple locations so you can try ALL the ones you want!
  • They offer free home try-on. You can select 5 frames that will get sent directly to your house for you to try out (with clear, non-RX lenses).
  • The home try-ons arrive quickly!
  • Shipping and returns are free.
  • You can return within 30 days of receiving. Their shipping process is very easy.

CONS:

  • This isn’t a big deal but just so you know, if you have a RX like me (aka I’m pretty blind), then you will want to pay another $30 for 1.67 High Index Lenses so the lens isn’t super thick.
  • You can’t choose rushed or expedited shipping. Their site says that it takes 7-10 days to process a single vision pair (progressive takes longer).
  • Sometimes I can’t remember which ones I’ve tried on at home. And then I worry I’m just constantly trying on the same pairs over and over and over.
  • A lot of people use Warby for glasses so if you’re looking for a pair of really unique glasses, maybe use one of the companies below!

2. Classic Specs

I found Classic Specs via Instagram and really love this company. Their Waverley frames are the ones that I wear every day and constantly get compliments! Here’s a photo of me wearing them.

PROS:

  • Their frames start at around $89.
  • They are retro inspired but to me they just seem timeless and classy.
  • They offer free home try-on. You can select 6 frames that will get sent directly to your house for you to try out (with clear, non-RX lenses).
  • They list all the frames you’ve tried on at home under your account settings. I often can’t remember if I’ve already tried a pair on so this is very helpful.
  • Free shipping and returns. I’ve never had to return a pair of glasses with Classic Specs so I can’t speak to the return process!

CONS:

  • They aren’t as mainstream as Warby which means there aren’t any stand alone locations but there are some pop-up/in-store locations if you’re nearby!
  • This isn’t a big deal but just so you know, if you have a RX like me (aka I’m pretty blind), then you will want to pay another $30 for 1.67 High Index Lenses so the lens isn’t super thick.
  • You can’t choose rushed or expedited shipping. Their site says that it takes 5-7 days to process a single vision pair (progressive takes longer) and 3-5 days to ship.

3. Fetch Eyewear

I think I discovered Fetch eyewear on Instagram as well! I own a pair of their Tracy in Bittersweet frames and really love the color + style. Here’s a photo of me wearing them.

PROS:

  • 100% of Profits to Animal Rescue !! I love this.
  • They offer free home try-on. You can select 6 frames that will get sent directly to your house for you to try out (with clear, non-RX lenses).
  • Fetch also lists all of the “home try-ons” you’ve ordered so you can see which ones you’ve tried, loved or didn’t like.
  • According to their website, you can contact them for rushed shipping (I have not done this). Their regular shipping is free.
  • They offer a lot of pop-ups where you can try on some of their frames but they do note that they might not have the exact pair you’re looking for so call ahead! They need to come to Ohio!

CONS:

  • I did have to return a pair of sunglasses to Fetch. It’s not that it was difficult but every other company that I had to return glasses to felt a bit more professional. I believe I just packaged it up myself and included a note to them (I didn’t have to request a return form or notify them) but returns are free.
  • No easy way to choose rushed or expedited shipping. Prescription lenses take 7-12 days to fulfill and ship.

4. BonLook

I found out about BonLook from Diana! I have ordered many frames from BonLook (but unfortunately my RX was wrong so I’ve had to return them all). I do plan to order more in the future!

PROS:

  • They seem a bit higher quality than the first three companies above.
  • Queen of the cat eye frame, BonLook also has a lot more personality. Their feminine lenses are to die for.
  • Lenses start at around $99.
  • Very responsive via email + updates about your order.
  • Free shipping + 30-day returns for orders over $60.
  • You can expedite or rush your order.
  • They have a wishlist feature in your account settings which is AWESOME.
  • They often have sales so keep your eye out!

CONS:

  • You can’t try these on at home. unfortunately. It made me nervous but if you have the cash flow, order a few pairs and return the ones you don’t want.
  • No locations in the US (only Canada) but maybe that’s a “pro” if you’re in Canada!

5. Glasses.com

I specifically order glasses from Glasses.com when I need them fast or when they’re having an amazing sale! Both of my RX sunglasses are from Glasses.com: Armani and Armani.

PROS:

  • Generally the prices are all over the place but you can find frames for $60-$75 (not including lenses).
  • Glasses.com, however, does run sales for “free lenses” pretty regularly. That is when I order classes from them! It’s so cheap and even the High Index Lens fee is void. Amazing.
  • They offer free home try-on with your prescription lens for two weeks on some frames. This is great because you can actually try out a pair (and see out of them) for awhile. Either ship back or keep and get charged!
  • It obviously depends on the brand but the quality is the best of any place I’ve ordered.
  • They allow you to rush or expedite your frames (2-3 or 1-2 business days). Just remember that this is shipping (not processing). They will need to fulfill your order and then ship.
  • Free shipping and returns.
  • They accept insurance.
  • They offer many, many designer brands.

CONS:

  • No traditional “home try-on.”
  • Generally their prices can be more expensive.

 

Phew, that’s a lot! Hopefully it’s helpful or maybe you’ll discover a new eyeglasses brand to check out! I really love the flexibility, low pressure and variety. I tried getting a pair of RX sunglasses at Lenscrafters and it just doesn’t compare. My options were limited and I’d end up paying $400+!

My next reviews will be for: Clearly, Black Optical, Oliver Peoples, EyeBuy Direct + any other requests you might have or want!

Products That I Use Daily

I’ve had this blog since 2009. It’s transformed a lot. From a place where I started sharing my design work to a place where I introduced advertisers (that was the worst)…and I’ve simplified it yet again. I am designing + taking photos every single day and I needed to stretch another muscle: writing and sharing. Knowing me, I’ll transform this place again someday where I share more personal artwork, design and photography. For now, thanks for reading my words!

I used to do a lot of “current favorites” or “good goods” posts back in the day. Since I’m trying to get into the habit of writing, I decided to simplify it with a simple list. Here are some products that I love and use daily:

  • Bite Beauty products. I’m allergic to petroleum based ingredients which means when I wear most lip products, it usually swells, becomes extremely chapped and then I develop a rash. So awesome, right? I can wear Bite Beauty lip products. They use a lot of food grade ingredients (including wine). You can’t go wrong. Their new Amuse Bouche line feels, looks and smells amazing. I bought Gingersnap, Fig and Sorbet. Can’t wait to swatch more in Sephora.
  • La Croix. I probably drink 4-5 cans of La Croix everyday. When you can’t have sugar (or fruit, grains, legumes, dairy, alcohol or caffeine), an orange La Croix is like God’s gift to you…personally.
  • Yes To Facial Wipes. I use the cucumber and the grapefruit wipes to take off all my makeup (and then I still use a facial cleanser and lotion). I don’t know how people take their makeup off without a wipe. You amaze me, people.
  • LL Bean Wicked Good Slippers. These slippers keep your feet so warm! It’s insane. I got them for Christmas a few years ago and people always say I look like an Elf. Whatever. A very warm Elf.

Riveting blog post, I know. But sometimes it’s the little things in life that make you smile.

The Balance of Confidence and Insecurity

I’m at the point in my career where I can charge a decent amount of money for the creative services that I provide. I’m usually the one generating proposals and quotes. I’m trying to figure out how to be profitable while still serving our perfect client (not corporations).

But I get bored really fast when it becomes a formula or when I’m working on “safe” design or photography work. I need a good balance of confidence and insecurity. I need to take on work that scares me and challenges me. When I do that, I actually end up challenging myself in the “safer” projects. It’s like a cycle. A really good cycle.

I’m in that stage right now and it feels good in a “oh shit I hope I can do this” sort of way.

Habits

We’re 60 days into 2016. For me, the year has been about creating and kicking habits. Doing things every day until it becomes second nature. Here are a few ways I’ve changed:

  • I cook every meal at home since being on the candida diet. And yes! I am so anti-social! I need to start hosting more dinner parties I suppose.
  • I seek out podcasts while I run errands in the car, clean our house or get ready. I don’t mind listening to them a few minutes at a time.
  • No more caffeine or alcohol. Oddly, I don’t miss either.

Habits that I’m hoping to create this month:

  • Go to sleep earlier. I’m typing this at 1am while watching Law & Order: SVU. Tomorrow is a new day. I need to figure out HOW to start falling asleep earlier. Slowly work towards it? Melatonin?
  • Create something every day. Even if it’s a sketch, a doodle, a painting or a vector in Illustrator or a client website.

*PS: If you are interested in the candida diet – I created an Instagram just to log meals, share tips or advice! Follow along.

A Client’s Client

Adam and I have been working together, building The Wonder Jam for three years now. I freelanced full-time for the year prior. Since then I’ve probably worked with over 150 clients. We’ve aged a bit in the process but as I’m sitting here typing…I’m smiling. 2016 has brought about the most “work/life balance” yet.

Over the past four years, I’ve struggled with becoming a client’s client. First of all, I always fully support our clients. Also, I will always try to experience my clients’ services or products or space. When you become a client’s client, lots of different scenarios can occur. 65% of our clients become our friends. 30% of our clients are still awesome but it stays professional. Everyone has that 5% where things just don’t click.

Often times clients offer their service or product for free but I don’t like to take advantage of that perk. If a client wants to invest thousands of dollars in collaborating with The Wonder Jam, then I can support them financially too! I just can’t do that for everyone we work with. I’m left feeling bad or awkward or guilty.

I have a new policy for myself that while we work with someone, I don’t become their client (or a member). I experience what they have to offer for researching purposes and then I choose to become their client after the project is over. I love supporting a past client because I genuinely have the time, the funds and the heart.

I still struggle with the fact that I can’t always become every client’s client. How do you handle supporting your own clients? Am I overlooking another option? 

6 Weeks Without Caffeine

I have a vivid memory (and if you know me well then you know I don’t remember anything). I’m lying on my parents’ couch. My head is pounding. I’m supposed to go camping with my friends because we’re finally seniors in high school but I can’t sit up without feeling like I might faint. I could hear my mom making dinner. It seemed s o  l o u d.

True story: I wasn’t hungover. I just didn’t drink coffee. That’s what happens to me when I don’t have any caffeine before 4pm. Well, not anymore. I haven’t had coffee since February 8th. I’m starting my 6th week on the candida diet and so I’ve been without caffeine, refined sugar, legumes, grains, alcohol, fruit and dairy the entire time. More on that later.

So what was it like quitting caffeine? I’ll tell you:

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On Beauty

I listened to a TED Radio Hour podcast on Sunday while I was driving with my sister. It was about beauty and brought up the idea that maybe there are beautiful things in this world so we don’t destroy it all. I can’t stop thinking about it.

Interestingly enough, I feel like I avoid creating beautiful things because don’t want to ruin a blank canvas with something subpar. I avoid immersing myself in the 50 amazing novels sitting on my bookshelf because I’m afraid that it will change me (in the best way).

Maybe beautiful things really can force us to keep our distance. I’m determined to push through.

You can listen to the podcast here.

Thank You, But I’ll Pass

Two things sparked this post.

  1. A video of Lady Gaga talking about how she almost quit music two years ago. But she took a step back and decided to stop doing things she didn’t want to do. Not more selling perfume. No more rubbing shoulders with people she didn’t like. Creativity was getting the backseat while she felt overworked. You can watch it here.
  2. Paul Jarvis’ tweet : “my answer to most requests: that sounds like an amazing opportunity, but I’m a hermit and am passing on it right now”

Both of these things soaked into my brain and I started following their lead. I started passing on things that our (very connected) society says are great opportunities. But are the opportunities really that great if you don’t enjoy doing them? Probably not.

So this winter I’ve passed on being a mentor. That was difficult as I’ve participated as a mentor at both OSU and CCAD for the past few years.

I’ve passed on a lot of photography opportunities with amazing companies. Sadly, I’ve fallen out of love with photography. But I hope it doesn’t last too much longer. I believe that passing on these shoots will actually help rekindle the flame.

I’m passing on sponsorship/brand relationships here in this space because it feels weird. I have never been paid money to post my opinion about anything on the internet. Free product? Yes. I like free things.

But it’s not all about saying no. Like they say, for every no…there is a yes! (And vice versa.) Here’s what I’ve been saying “yes” to:

  • When Adam says, “Let’s set up an area in the warehouse for you to start painting again!”
  • When I get an idea or inspired to get people gifts (for no reason)
  • When The Wonder Jam is asked to sponsor amazing events this winter
  • When I have the chance to collaborate with my friend Kelli on UX
  • When we have the chance to take more than two weeks off for the holidays and see our families!
  • When the Columbus community wants to use our studio space to spread the love

So all-in-all, I totally dig passing on stuff that doesn’t wake me up in the morning. Or passing on the things that make me say, “Hmmmm.” Cause as my friend Val says to me…

It should be a “HELL YES!”

My Odd Fear of Intense or Interesting Fiction

I’ve had this weird fear lately. I fear movies, new tv shows, and fiction literature. I know, right? I told you it was weird. Most people assume it’s because I think it’s stupid, silly or a waste of time. I started to believe them! But that’s false because I finally figured out it.

Like you read in my previous post, I’m in the market for some hobbies. The reality is is that I do have free time (most nights and weekends) but I fill it with shows and movies that I’ve already seen a million times. For example:

  • Gilmore Girls: Not only have I watched that show in real time back in the early 2000’s, but I’ve owned the DVDs as they got released and have since watched the entire series probably 20 times.
  • Seinfeld: I bought the DVD set on Amazon two years ago and now that it’s on Hulu, my DVDs just sit on a shelf. But damn I love that show.
  • You’ve Got Mail: Why haven’t I bought this movie yet? I always rent it on Amazon Prime. I rented it last weekend and watched it twice in 24 hours. WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME? I am something really depressing, like a Baby Gap.
  • That Thing You Do: Again, I always rent it. I know the entire movie line by line.
  • My Best Friend’s Wedding: Cry every time. PS the only thing that repulses me about my husband is that he doesn’t think Julia Roberts is beautiful.
  • Arrested Development: Currently watching through the series, again. 100th time.

As you can see, this isn’t riveting cinematography. Nothing dramatic. Nothing epic. Nothing new.

And that’s why I think I love it. I know what’s coming. I’m in control. It sounds messed up, but I actually fear losing control and getting sucked into an entire tv series or book. Or the opposite scares me. What if I go to a movie and I hate it? Two hours lost. I mean, c’mon Allie. GET A GRIP. THIS IS FOR FUN!

To be fair, I did watch the entire Game of Thrones series (so far) on HBO Go earlier this summer. Like, 50 episodes in three weeks. This is why I fear great storytelling. It’s hard to have a life, see the light of day and work when you’re consumed with a fictional world.

Perhaps I should be grateful that I can be swept up into these worlds. Books were my best friends in grade school. I sobbed when my mom finished reading the Little House on the Prairie novels. But I’m going to start embracing the gift. Being consumed by the art of storytelling is pretty awesome. No more resisting.

PS: I still won’t watch shows like Breaking Bad or Sons of Anarchy. To me, there’s a difference between a thrilling book and a show that causes excessive sweating and anxiety. I just can’t do it.

Where do you like to live, fictionally? How has film + literature affected your adult life? Any movie or book recommendations?