For the month of March, I’m taking part in the awesome Positivity Challenge over at the Personal Excellence blog and thought I would share my thoughts here. Please go and join and do this as well. The more who take part, the more positive energy is put into the world. And the world could always use more positive people.


My new Vibram FiveFingers!

Day 03 Question

What is One Thing That Has Been Frustrating You Lately? How Can You Overcome It?

I’m going to make this short. I’m currently frustrated by several things. One being the state of our house. We moved into this current house last May (almost a year ago), and we’re still not completely unpacked. This is partly my fault since I hate unpacking and I generally don’t get home until it’s time for dinner and freelance work anyway so I procrastinate on it. But it needs to get done and it’s one of my resolutions. Which leads into another resolution. ORGANIZATION! I mentioned a few entries back that my co-worker is helping me get organized. I’m hoping to take what I learn from her and turn it around on my house and try to get it organized as well. It’ll get there. Slowly but surely. One step at a time.

Another thing I’m frustrated with is my inability to pick up a pencil and draw. I get all excited to and then as soon as I open a blank page in my sketchbook, WHAM. Nothing. It’s frustrating. Anyone have any tips on how to get past artist’s block? So far, I’m failing miserably. I’d love some input.

One Positive Thing from Today

The whole day today was kind of wasted because I had a run-in with some shrimp in the early afternoon as we wandered around Sam’s Club trying samples. This wouldn’t be a problem if I was allergic. Which I am. While this absolutely sucks and made me want to shoot myself in the head because of the pain and the whole I-Can’t-Breath issues I was having, it did lead to several positive things.

1) We remembered to pick up Benadryl at the store. We’ve been out for awhile.
2) Because I’m sensitive to Benadryl and its sleepy side effects, I took a 17 hour nap. I think I’m FINALLY caught up on my sleep.
…and…
3) It reminded me how absolutely wonderful my girlfriend is. As soon as she realized what was happening, she grabbed my hand, got a big bottle of Benadryl, had it open and made me take some before we even got out of the store. As soon as we got home, I was already mostly out of it, so she put me to bed and took care of all the chores for the day and fed all the animals by herself (which is a huge feat by itself considering all the mouths we feed every night). She is just amazing, that girl.

So while I was pretty much out of it, good things came out of the whole ordeal. That’s positivity.

Oh, and before all that happened, I got to go to REI and pick up my brand new Vibram FiveFingers. Hell yes. So happy to start running again.

Be well!

Positivity Challenge! Day 02: Friends & Paper Birds

For the month of March, I’m taking part in the awesome Positivity Challenge over at the Personal Excellence blog and thought I would share my thoughts here. Please go and join and do this as well. The more who take part, the more positive energy is put into the world. And the world could always use more positive people.


Someone just got married.

Day 02 Question

Who is One Friend You Appreciate Having? And Why?

So I have two answers for this question and I don’t think either of them will be considered cheating. My girlfriend is not only the love of my life, but she’s my best friend. And Ash isn’t just my best friend, she’s my motivation, my inspiration, and the one who, no matter what, stands besides me. She is a mentor to me, a resource of knowledge, and more often than not, makes sure my sanity stays in tact as I attempt to push myself to my limits. I appreciate her more than she knows – I have a horrible habit of not talking about how I’m feeling and so I think she sometimes feels a little invisible and under appreciated. I don’t know what I would do without her though. She makes life whole. She keeps the house in check, the furry kids in check, and me and my work in check. She watches out for me and saves me from myself more often than I can count. She is my other half.

My second answer is Emily, my middle sister. She’s 18 now (we’re 7 years apart), and we are now in that incredible timeframe of being not just sisters, but good friends. I talk to her as much as I can and her opinions and thoughts mean more to me than anyone else’s. She’s got my back and I have hers. And she makes me laugh more than anyone else. When I’m feeling down, I know I can call her up or video chat with her and my whole world is brighter because of it. She’s an incredible person too and has this wonderful talent of lighting up a room when she enters and make everyone feel happier just for talking with her. She has a gift for making others smile.

My task for today is to let both of these amazing people in my life know what they mean to me. So Ash and Emi, this post is for you. I love you both so much. <3

One Positive Thing from Today

My boss’ birthday is tomorrow. Our team went out to lunch today to celebrate him and had pizza at this really awesome little pizza and deli I had never been to. It was great and I love out-of-office bonding moments like that. When we got back, I made him a little origami crane because it’s my traditional gift to give friends for their birthdays. His sincere delight in the little paper bird made me, in turn, delighted.

I also spent part of my afternoon “decorating” my friend (and Ash’s cousin) David’s cube (we work together). He got married last Friday and spent the week on his honeymoon. As a coming-home-yay-you’re-married type of surprise, I made a “Just Married” sign and tied some cans to his chair (see image above). I’m excited to see his response come Monday.

Be well!

Positivity Challenge! Day 01: Happiness & Skirts

For the month of March, I’m taking part in the awesome Positivity Challenge over at the Personal Excellence blog and thought I would share my thoughts here. Please go and join and do this as well. The more who take part, the more positive energy is put into the world. And the world could always use more positive people.


Pretty pattern on my new skirt!

Day 01 Question

On a Scale of 1-10, How Happy Are You? And Why?

This question is harder to answer than I would think. I shy from giving an actual score because my happiness is on a sliding scale – every day is different. It’s hard to even pinpoint an average, though I do see myself as more of a glass-half full type of person. I am usually happy, but am I happy with where I am in life or am I just happy because that’s the type of person I am? The answer is different for both.

I’m actually more excited to look at this question at the end of the month. Right now, I hesitantly give myself a 6 or 7 on the happy scale. Higher up because of my family and friends and the beautiful moments of life that I experience. But lower than I’d wish because of things like my house, my organizational struggles, money, etc. At the end of the month, I hope to see this number higher and myself not so hesitant to exuberantly shout “10!”

One Positive Thing from Today

My friend and co-worker took the time out of her busy schedule to sit down with me today and help me begin to organize all my to-do lists and daily schedules. I’m excited because I already feel relieved and not as overwhelmed as I did yesterday. Definitely a good thing. Also, I bought an awesome new skirt that I can’t wait to wear tomorrow. Happy day!

Be well!

I’m just going to say it. I want to go to SXSW Interactive this year. No. I really really REALLY want to go to SXSW Interactive this year. I was fortunate enough that last year I was able to attend through my day job, and I met so many amazing people and learned SO MUCH. So much that I’m pretty positive that I learned more in 5 days at SXSWi than I did in my 4.5 years of college. I thought for sure I would be going again this year, but it looks like if that’s going to happen, I’ll need your help. So I’ve come up with a deal for all of my awesome readers, family, and friends.

The SXSWi Snailbird Proposal

If you help to send me to SXSWi, I promise you I will bring to you all the latest, greatest news and education from the most awesome conference ever hosted in Austin, Texas. I will create a separate SXSWi page where I will write up all my notes, post all my pictures, and share all the downloads, tweets (both on designcoyote and rescueanimals), and resources I find. I’m even going to create a special #hashtag for Twitter usage so all you have to do is follow it to see my SXSWi tweets.

Some of the sessions I hope to go to (which is also all the things you get to learn about as well!) include: Storytelling Beyond Words: New Forms of Journalism, Security and Privacy in Social Networks, Taking Your Brand Back from Your Customers, Voices Carry: Why Authentic Brand Voices Matter, Social Media Boundaries: Personal/Personnel Policy, The State of Social Marketing, The Promise and Pitfalls of Real-Time Marketing, Social Media in the Underground World of B2B, Epic Battle: Creativity vs. Discipline in Social, Sparking Real World Action with Social Media, How Comics Journalism is Saving Your Media, Can Gaming Make the World Better?, How to Raise Awareness Through Blogger Outreach, Tech Superwomen: Mentors and Mentees FTW, and oh so much more that are on my list but I don’t have room to post.

OH! And don’t forget I would totally take pictures and share notes from speakers like Kevin Smith and Joss Whedon. Because hell yes, you know you want to hear from the two of them.

We all love learning. And you already know that I love sharing knowledge – on here, on @designcoyote, on I Love Rescue Animals, and on @rescueanimals – so you know that I’m only going to be bring you the best quality and create a stellar resource for those of you who can’t make it to SXSWi yourself. This is your chance to be a part of SXSWi for just a small donation (and some fantastic incentives). I will be sharing a ton of resources for social media, sharing positive causes, utilizing the internet and social media to raise donations, and how to market yourselves online, as well as design tips I learn, the newest technology for artsy folks, and other great education resources.

There’s even an entire session devoted to social apps and charitable giving using social media and how philanthropy utilizing Twitter and Facebook is on the rise. There’s just so much good going on at SXSWi this year that I don’t want to miss it. And there’s so much that I can bring back and teach others. I feel that animal folks in particular would get a lot out of the sessions I want to go to because we work so hard to raise money online and social media has changed the way we’re able to share messages – whether it’s about finding a forever home for a stray dog or it’s asking for donations for a sick cat. This is all knowledge that needs to be shared to our community – it can help so much and I don’t think many animal folks know how invaluable SXSWi is to our cause.

How Much Will This Be?

I didn’t find out until today that I would have to come up with creative ways to get myself there, so the total amount of money I’m trying to raise is $950 – which is JUST the price of one SXSWi ticket. Since I live in Austin, all the lodging expenses are taken care of, and I’ll pay for my own food and goodies. I just need help getting the ticket.

What You Get For Helping!

Don’t worry. You won’t be walking away empty-handed either. Besides the shared knowledge of all I learn, you will also get an awesome incentive depending on what level you donate to. These are as follows:

$1-$15: Join the list of other donors on my SXSW page.*
$16-$29: The above and an individual shout-out on the designcoyote twitter (1,700+ followers).
$30-$49: The above and a pencil sketch of your pet/favorite animal (in The Family Menagerie style).
$50-$74: The above and the pencil sketch gets inked and colored with marker.
$75-$99: The above plus a 100×100 pixels digitally colored avatar of your choice (in TFM style), as well as a shout-out on the rescueanimals twitter (17,800+ followers).
$100-$199: Be included on the donors page, receive a twitter shout-out (on both), a sketch of a pet/favorite animal, and a 100×100 pixel digitally colored avatar, and 1 month of advertising on the blog*.
$200-$349: Mention on donors page and twitter accounts, marker-colored image of pet/favorite animal, 100×100 avatar, 2 months of advertising on the blog*.
$350-$474: The above AND a full-colored digital illustration of your choice.

$475: SPONSORSHIP LEVEL 1! You will have a large prominent THANK YOU at the top of the SXSWi resource page, thanks on both Twitter and Facebook (for both Snailbird and I Love Rescue Animals), PLUS 6 months of advertising on the blog and a full blog post thanking you on Snailbird*.
$950: SPONSORSHIP LEVEL 2! You will have a large prominent THANK YOU at the top of the SXSWi resource page, thanks on both Twitter and Facebook (for both Snailbird and I Love Rescue Animals), PLUS 12 months of advertising on the blog and a full blog post thanking you on Snailbird AND I Love Rescue Animals (and if you or your company has a blog, I will also write up a guest post about everything I learned because of your generosity that you can use on your website)*.

Interested in donating but looking for some other prize/incentive? Feel free to comment or email me and we can talk! I’m open to hearing your ideas.

*Being included on the donors page, as well as getting posted on Snailbird and I Love Rescue Animals websites, means getting your name and link seen by artsy folks, nature-lovers, and lots of animal advocates, pet bloggers, and other activists. Snailbrd gets on average 5,000 unique visitors a month with 80-90k hits a month. I Love Rescue Animals receives an average of 6,000 unique visitors a month and 100-150k hits a month.

ChipIn to the Send-Nikki-to-SXSWi Fund!

So you can all help keep track of where I am in donations, I’ve set up this nifty ChipIn that’s connected to my PayPal account. Once you donate, you will receive an email from me confirming the amount and the prizes you will receive. Just click on the ChipIn widget below to donate or go straight to the ChipIn page.

What If The Goal Isn’t Reached?

Good question. If I don’t receive the goal of $950** by March 9th, all of the donations will be fully refunded. That’s right, you’ll get all of your money back and I’ll just have to wait to go to SXSWi next year. If however, it IS funded, as soon as SXSWi is over (March 13th is the last day), I will begin work on all of your prizes. It’s a win-win situation (the very best kind)!

**Note the ChipIn has been lowered to $900 because I received $50 in donations outside the ChipIn. – Updated 3.5.12.

The Final Plea

I want to go to SXSWi so much. It was an incredible experience last year and I don’t want to miss out again. I learned so much, and I feel that this year will be even better. So for just one donation, you can help send me to this awesome conference full of great opportunities and in return you get to learn all that I learn and some (you know those incentives are pretty awesome). Pretty great deal, yeah?

So please please help, and share with your family and friends! I will be forever grateful to you and so very honored. Thank you! You guys rock!

Some Resolutions and a Chickadee

Chickadee-dee-dee-dee.

Happy New Year! Resolutions? Sure. Why not. 1. More Art. 2. Less candy (crap, failing this already). 3. Be more fit (got kicked out of bootcamp on the first day because of a hurt disc but I’m joining a yoga/stretching class so we’re doing good on this one). 4. Bring back The Family Menagerie. 5. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes (agh). 6. DANCE MORE.

I don’t think any of those need elaborate explanations. Mainly, my focus this year will be on health and personal growth. I want to be healthier both in mind and body and so I’m turning to things that make me happy. Drawing of course is good for the soul, as is dancing (and singing – which I’m quietly going to try to do more of – Ash got me a ukelele for Christmas so I’m teaching myself to play), and making mistakes is important for growing (I’m horrible at allowing myself mistakes). I have a horrible reputation for not taking care of myself physically so I’m making that a priority this year. Get healthy. Eat more veggies. Treat my body with respect. Be Good. And all of that jazz. Excitement!

I’m slightly less excited about the whole “less candy” thing.

My favorite part of the resolution is drawing more. Keep an eye on this space as it’ll be updated again in the very near future with more sketches. For now though, since really this post is about my favorite things and being happy, you should all check out my tumblr since that’s my virtual happy place. It’s full of shiny, happy things.

FYI

Oh! And before I forget. My other resolution is to join my co-editor Rondal in bringing you all awesome new content on Fuel Your Illustration. We’ve already done a great job for January and it’s only the start. Do you have ideas for content or want to contribute? Contact me or Rondal – we’d love to include you and your work! Also follow us on twitter for more artsy-fartsy updates.

And that, ladies and gents, concludes this first “life” post of the year. How have you been? Have any resolutions you can’t wait to kick into gear?