Balance, Design, Products, Technology
April 13, 2011
She may have a degree from The French Culinary Institute, but these days, Nicole Hill Gerulat spends her time specializing in lifestyle photography. Check out our newest playlist from this San Francisco-based commercial photographer and founder of Nicole’s Classes.
What do you listen to while you work? I have several Pandora stations I go through, but it really depends on my mood! I like everything from Priscilla Ahn to Reba McIntire to En Vogue.
How do you listen? I don’t have to be quiet for anyone, so I listen through the computer’s speakers. When I’m on set, I have an iPhone speaker system.
Do you have any favorite music websites/providers? Yes—Pandora, all the way!
Does music influence your work? It definitely influences my work. When on set, I usually let the client choose. But there have been two times where I couldn’t take it anymore (one of those times they played Dave Matthews), so I would change it to something in my style. I do feed off music when I shoot, so when I’m shooting tabletop, it tends to be softer, quieter music versus photographing children/teens, where the music becomes more teeny-bopper and upbeat. Even though that isn’t my taste in music, it helps create a more exciting atmosphere for the kiddos.
Where do you find music recommendations? Who influences your musical taste? My sisters know a LOT more about music than I do. I think I’ve shared two or three new artists with them first; otherwise, I rely on them to keep me current. I also used to have an assistant who created amazing CDs for me with all new-to-me artists. She was definitely more in the music scene.
What song or artist best represents the work you create? I don’t really think my personal music style reflects my work. I listen to happy music, but I think my work is even more sickly happy—like the song “Lollipop.”
Big Jumps, Emiliana Torrini
He Wasn’t There, Lily Allen
Ma Jeunesse, Carla Bruni
Walkin’ After Midnight, Madeleine Peyroux
Brandy Alexander, Feist
Sweet Pea, Amos Lee
BossaCucaNova, Aguas de Março
My Baby Just Cares for Me, Nina Simone
This is Not a Love Song, Nouvelle Vague
That’s It, I Quit, I’m Moving On, Adele
Dream, Priscilla Ahn
La Vénus Du Mélo, Stacey Kent
Images: Nicole Hill Gerulat
April 12, 2011
I work from home, so I love “going into the office.” I grab my water bottle, computer and phone and make my way out to my usually sunny and warm backyard (as I live in L.A.). I get comfy and then I’m ready to take calls from my life coaching clients. I love the work I do and could coach clients for hours on end (all over the phone).
What I absolutely dread, however, is invoicing my clients. It takes so much time and effort for me. And, I have to think about numbers. This is definitely not my strong suit.
We all have parts of our business and work/life that we dread. What do you dread in your work/life? What would be possible for you in your work/life if you could shift the dread to joy? The four relatively easy steps below will help you do just that – turn your work/life dread into work/life joy.
1. List all the things in your work/life that you dread on a daily weekly or monthly basis on one side of a sheet of paper.
2. On the other side shift your perspective and find an aspect of that task that brings you some joy or lights up your heart – even just a tiny bit. Here’s an example:
Dread: I have to send out invoices to clients.
Joy: I get to remind people of the amazing value that I offer them. I get to collect money for work I am passionate about. I’ll receive money to help me better live my life.
3. When you engage in that task repeat the “Joy Perspective” to yourself over and over even if it doesn’t quite feel totally true for you yet. Over time it will feel more and more natural.
4. Post up sticky notes with your “Joy Perspectives” on them everywhere. Post them in your fridge, in your glove compartment, on your computer screen, on your bedpost – any place that you will see them. Remind yourself often of the joy that is yours to have!
Have a great month. I’m off to joyfully (and thankfully) go invoice my clients.
llustrations by Jordan Awan
April 12, 2011
A few months back we showed you how to make a your own screen saver in iPhoto using other people’s pictures from photo blogging sites (like Flickr) with an RSS feed. I tried making a more personal screen saver using my Flickr favorites, but unfortunately when I followed these steps I found that the pictures weren’t high-resolution (which didn’t work well with my 27” monitor). With just one extra step, you can turn those low quality Flickr photos into a high-res feed for your screen saver.
1. Copy your Flickr favorites RSS feed. Go to your Flickr favorites page: http://www.flickr.com/photos/(USERNAME)/favorites/. On the bottom left, you will find a “Subscribe to your favorites” link. Right-click the link and select “Copy Link Location.”
2. Create a high quality RSS feed of your favorite Flickr images by going to Flickr Feed Image Re-Sizer. Paste the RSS feed you just copied into the first field, then select a resolution by typing “Large” or “Original” into the next box. Click “Run Pipe.”
3. Right-click “Get as RSS” and select “Copy Link Location.”
4. Subscribe to RSS in iPhoto. Open up iPhone and press (command + U) to open the subscribe window. Paste your new high-res RSS feed by pressing (command + V).
5. Set the Screen Saver in System Preferences. Once it’s all loaded up, go to your System Preferences and select “Flickr Feed Image Re-sizer.” And you’re done!
By Vivian Kim
This story appears in partnership with Unplggd, a site for people who embrace technology and design in their home.
Design, Products, Technology
April 11, 2011
1. Bamboo Puzzle Laptop Stand, €68,00 Create extra space under your laptop and keep your computer cooler with this sustainable bamboo design. Get it: Etsy
2. Monster Monster Notebook Stand, £26.99 Add some spidey sense to your desk with arachnid-like acrylic legs. Arachnid Get it: Monster Monster
3. ECOFANPRO Bamboo Laptop Stand with Fan, $39.99 Two 2.5″ fans in this sleek stand help keep down the heat of a hard-working laptop. Get it: macally.com
4. Pipe Laptop Stand, $54.00 Plumbing tubes served as inspiration for the playful shape of this wrist-saving stand. Get it: Uncommon Goods
5. mStand, $49.90 Made to match an Apple Macbook Pros’s silver finish, the mStand raises your screen to eye level (and hopefully helps with better posture). Get it: raindesigninc.com
Images linked to their sources within the numbered text.
April 11, 2011
Herman Miller’s SAYL chair won another green nod, this time in Treehugger’s annual Best of Green awards. It scooped the Design and Architecture category with 46% of the votes. Check out the other winners here. It’s heartening for us at Herman Miller to see our commitment to environment honored in this way. A big thank you to Treehugger and their readers!
Balance, Design, Products
April 8, 2011
Where we’ve been this week…
1. Geeksugar for their 10 Ways to Green Your Home Office post.
2. Dezeen for their story on Moroso’s amazing new wooden chair that looks like it’s made from ribbons.
3. Core 77 for its Milan design week sneak peeks. Check out Studio NOCC’s work.
4. Home Sweet Home is an interiors blog loaded with great eye candy.
5. Brain Picker for Kirstin Butler’s Five Manifestos for Life post.
6. TED for its incredible list of talks. I don’t know where to start here - just check it out.
7. Inside Out magazine’s blog for their home office storage solutions post.
8. Mocoloco for their elegant eco coverage.
9. Design Milk for the post on The Rise of the Backyard Office.
10. Door Sixteen for its gorgeous interiors.
Balance, Design, Products
April 8, 2011
Artist and blogger Jason Dean takes us on a tour of his Orlando, Florida workspace.
How long have you worked from home? And where is home? I finally took the leap and began working from home in January after ten years of working as a graphic designer in several ad agencies and design firms, and it’s the best decision I’ve ever made! Home is Orlando, Florida, where I live with my wife and dogs, making prints and writing my blog, The Best Part.
2. Describe your style? How would you define your aesthetic? My aesthetic is utilitarian/minimal. After working in cubicles and other ineffective work environments, I’m primarily concerned with utilizing the space I have (13′x13′) to make every aspect of my workspace as functional as possible. Since my time is split between writing my blog, creating prints and fulfilling orders my space has to serve several purposes at once as an office/studio/warehouse.
How do you keep your work space organized? Tons of shelving and closet space helps keep the potential mess from creeping out, and a touch of minimalist compulsion keeps me on top of things. God forbid my pens aren’t perfectly aligned.
When you set up your home office what did you have to keep in mind? Were there any particular obstacles to overcome? Like I mentioned, my space has to serve several functions in a fairly small area. Everything was set up to make it easy to switch from working on the computer to working by hand, and even to packaging and shipping orders. The top of the metal cabinet where I store my finished prints doubles as a workspace for drawing, cutting and creating things by hand as well as a flat surface for packaging orders. My computer desk also has plenty of free space when needed to work by hand, and shipping materials are always within reach on open-air shelving above my desk.
Is there any piece of home office furniture you covet right now? Actually I think I’m pretty well set up at the moment, if anything I would add a small chair for visiting guests, perhaps an Eames molded plastic or plywood side chair?
What desk accessory can’t you do without? Music is a necessity for me, and it’s pretty amazing to have a record player on my desk, especially when listening to anything created before 1980. It just doesn’t seem right to listen to Otis Redding on a computer. My Aeron chair was also one of the first things I purchased for my home office, you don’t realize how amazing it is to have one until you’ve spent a day sitting in a cheap office chair.
What would you change about your work space? I love our wood floors, but in a perfect world I would have concrete flooring with a drain and a shop sink. Although something tells me that may affect the resale value of our home.
What inspires you? Wow. So many things. Road trips. Empty airports. Foggy mornings. Late-night walks. Quaint country towns. New places. Radiohead/old soul music. Basically anywhere I can be alone in an amazing setting with some good music is my perfect setting for creation.
April 7, 2011
Mishele Vieira, Los Angeles based Certified Professional Organizer® helps business owners and individuals who are overscheduled, overwhelmed and under-organized. She founded Away With Chaos in 2002 where she provides hands on custom solutions that help people to get organized, through setting up systems, optimizing space and work flows, and letting go of things to make room for what matters most in their home, work and life. We asked her to think about tax season and the particular demands of this time. Mishele offers three key tips that should help all of us keep track of that never ending pile of papers.
1. Create a System to keep track of all the paper. As an independent contractor or small business owner, your taxes are probably a more complex than in days gone by as an employee working at a company. Rather than the “shoebox” approach, create a filing system that is unique to your specific working/tax situation. Use hanging folders to easily drop in the documents that you will accumulate for the year such as receipts, credit card and bank statements, deposit slips, 1099 and/or W-2 forms and all of the items you will use to complete your taxes. Use one folder for each category and label it clearly to avoid misfiling. Statistics show that the easier something is, the more likely it is to get done – locate the system in a file drawer in your desk, or a file box conveniently located in your home office. It will be helpful to have everything together and in one place.
April 7, 2011
For most people, email is a form of communication that is used all day, every day of the week. Hopefully that means your inbox is in good condition and organized with each email in its right place, clearly labeled. If that’s not the case (which is more likely than not!), here are some easy habits and helpful tools to keep in mind when it comes to maintaining an efficient inbox.
Although we’re not a user of Gmail’s Priority Inbox, they recently rolled out “smart labels,” which we’ve tested out and concluded that for certain users it can be very helpful, depending on the type of emails you receive. However, it is also easy to stay organized without the help of a smart system, here’s how:
Sort as emails come: The best way to stay organized is to start from the get-go. Don’t let emails pile up throughout the week only to try and find rhyme and reason over the weekend. As emails start to flow in, organize them with labels.
Labels: If you choose to, you can go into the Labs tab in Gmail settings and activate “smart labels” which will automatically label incoming bulk, notification and forum messages as such. Just as how we felt with Priority Inbox, we don’t feel the need to activate smart labels because we like to label our emails ourselves, but for those of you who receive mass mail newsletters or personally statements, smart labels could be helpful.
Color Categorization: Another simple way to organize but is extremely helpful is color categorization with labels. If you’re someone who works different gigs or have different groups of friends, oftentimes each gig or group you have can be associated with a color. We find categorizing labels with an associated color definitely helps in quick association.
Filters: After you’ve created labels, you can then assign emails to go directly into each label with filters. In the Settings menu, select Filters and click on “Create a new filter.” Here you’ll have to input the sender’s email address you want to filter, for example Chase Banking or LivingSocial.
Assign Actions: Next step is to direct these emails to the right labels. To avoid an inbox filled with unread messages, select both “Skip the Inbox” and “Mark as read,” and then click “Apply the label” to select the appropriate folder.
Gmail offers a wide range of tools that help you stay organized and efficient with your emails. Here is the top four we find most useful:
“Got the Wrong Bob:” We probably all know at least two people that have the same name. In order to avoid confusion, activating this trick will prompt Gmail to make sure you’ve got the right person.
Drag and Drop files: Instead of manually clicking “Attach a file” simply drag and drop files directly into the message.
Apps search: By activating “Apps search” you can extend your searches beyond the inbox into Google Docs and Sites.
Offline Gmail: Compose emails even without internet connection.
If you’re not a user of Gmail, OtherInbox, taskforce, mailPro and xobni are email efficiency tools worth checking out.
By Julienne Lin
This story appears in partnership with Unplggd, a site for people who embrace technology and design in their home.
April 6, 2011
We’re pretty sure you won’t be able to pass up this week’s Playlist—especially since it’s from the brains behind the music blog and SIRIUS satellite radio show Aquarium Drunkard, founder of indie music label Autumn Tone Records, co-author of “Memphis And The Delta Blues Trail,” and music supervisor for “Natural Selection,” the film that just swept the 2011 SXSW film awards. (Does it get much better?) Check out this new compilation from music mastermind Justin Gage.
What do you listen to while you work? This can really vary from day to day depending on what I am working on. While everything I do is in the realm of music, the elements are at times pretty disparate. For example, working on my weekly show for SIRIUS XM radio is something akin to putting together a two-hour audio puzzle. Connecting the dots from, say, Sonic Youth to Lower Dens is easy, but what is more difficult (and personally more interesting and entertaining) is how you then get to something like Dr. John and WITCH in two or three moves (songs). It’s more chess than checkers.
Lately, when editing or working on the blog’s visual aesthetics, I’ve been listening to a lot of my dad’s old Coltrane and Thelonius Monk on vinyl. While I am certainly not a slave to wax, there are some artists/genres that intrinsically feel tied to the medium. Same goes for old soul and R&B.
How do you listen? Living in Los Angeles, the epitome of urban sprawl, I find myself listening to a lot of music on the road; mostly CDs, promo or otherwise, but also a few of the cities remaining independent radio stations. I’m also listening to a lot of music via my iPhone these days, mostly outside when running, but also plugged into a dock when cooking in the kitchen. Though considerably smaller, in terms of storage, the iPhone has really replaced my use of the iPod as I suppose it has most “single use” items.
In terms of sheer preference I would rather listen exclusively to vinyl through my stereo, but more often than not find myself listening via my Macbook when surfing the web, reading blogs, checking email, etc. Having said that, I do make point to use headphones as you just lose so much through a laptop’s tinny built in speakers.
Do you have any favorite music websites/providers? Obviously, as a music blogger, I try make a point to see what others are writing about, but most of the ones I really enjoy/respect are small outfits focusing on out-of-print and obscure records—many of which have yet to see a release on compact disc, let alone digitally. It’s these bloggers—the ones doing it for the sheer love of the music— that I get the most out of.
In terms of physical stores, in college, living in Athens, GA, it was Wuxtry Records; but now hitting up Amoeba Records in Hollywood feels something like Mecca. It’s literally the size of a large warehouse. I get so much out of just talking with the clerks in the various sections, from blues and soul to the carefully curated “world” section. We’re record nerds; we speak one another’s coded language. As often as the marketing machine tries to sell the public on automated services like Pandora and the like, you simply cannot beat human recommendations. Ditto goes for human-programmed radio.
Does music influence your work? Yes, absolutely, every day. It can be anything: from someone plugging a jukebox full of quarters in a Memphis dive bar pumping out Lou Reed’s “Dirty Blvd,” to an old French-language cover of The Cryan Shames’ “Rainmaker,” to getting goosebumps while listing to an Iggy and The Stooges bootleg. This goes for the label side, too, as in, does the artist we’re looking at evoke a physical response? If not, it’s probably not the right move for us.
Where do you find music recommendations? Who influences your musical taste? I think one’s taste is formed very early on. While your palette certainly expands with time, it’s the seeds sewn at an early age that tend to drive this. At least for me. With music, people often use the metaphor of “the rabbit hole,” meaning that once you get turned on to a certain album, band, or genre, you tend to dig deeper, which opens up a whole new world. Mostly due to my dad’s intense (and vast) love/knowledge of music, my own “rabbit hole” experience occurred at a very young age and my curiosity has been driving my tastes and interests ever since. Due to the Internet, the possibilities of discovery seem almost infinite now.
What song or artist best represents the work you create? I’m not sure I quite know how to answer this one, but I suppose any artist with a varied career arc touching on a lot of different kinds of music.
He’s Alright, Kurt Vile
I’m Not A Young Man Anymore, The Velvet Underground
Gone The Bells, Cotton Jones
Tea Lights, Lower Dens
My Rival, Alex Chilton
Big Tears, Elvis Costello
The World (Is Going Up In Flames), Charles Bradley
La De Da, Link Wray
Walking Spanish, Tom Waits
I Still Love You, Ann Peebles
My Adorable One, Lee Moses
Super Lover, Eddie Hinton
Hello L.A., Bye Bye Birmingham, Nancy Sinatra
I Got Soul, Tony Owens