Posted on Thursday 23 June 2011
First let me say I’m sorry for letting so much time pass before posting. As you will read I’ve been busy, but that’s no excuse and I promise to post more frequently. Now let me get you up to speed… the first half of the year has flown by. I’m calling 2011 “the year of firsts” because due to world economic woes, disasters, political turmoil, etc., I have taken more of a “why not? what have I got to lose?” attitude when confronted with new challenges and experiences. Here are some examples:
JANUARY: FIRST STAND-UP ACT IN FRONT OF A LARGE AUDIENCE
Over the years I’ve dabbled in writing comedy in the form of jokes and limericks, and usually end up reciting them at holidays and family gatherings. I did my first stand-up act in a holiday talent show with about 10 family members, and have done a few others for small parties since then. But this year, one of my dear friends who’s a professional event planner, asked me to do a stand-up act for her birthday event, which was on a whole other level, including professional stage, lighting, sound, and 200+ guests! My style is a little “blue” as we call it in the biz, so I decided to write my routine like a roast for my friend and the event planning industry (which I’m also connected to through my graphic design business and volunteerism). Long story short I got a lot of laughs and some big gasps—the latter came when I poked fun at some of Santa Barbara’s best known events—Fiesta (Old Spanish Days) and the Summer Solstice Parade. My friend took the roast extremely well and several people told me later they enjoyed my 10 minute act immensely. Would I do it again? SURE!
FEBRUARY-APRIL: FIRST TIME WORKING FOR ANOTHER DESIGN FIRM
It’s not exactly the first time I’ve ever worked for another design firm, before I started my own business I worked for Davies Communications, but it’s the first time I’ve worked in someone else’s office since the late 90s! What I’m speaking of is a full-time temporary contract I took from February through April at Redbeard Communications. As a business owner, one tends to wonder what it would be like to work for someone else and not have to deal with all the minutia that can be overwhelming at times when you wear so many hats. This opportunity came along at a time when I was in that mindset, and my clients were in a low maintenance phase, so I said “why not?” In reflection, I think the phrase “the grass is always greener” applies pretty well here. Don’t get me wrong, Redbeard is wonderful. They do incredible work with great copy writing and concept for clients on a national level, and their office is a super-cool space with polished concrete floors, brick and wrought iron accents and vintage Vegas signs. But the commute really got to me (45 min each way) and the lack of time for friends, family, my clients and volunteer commitments really took a toll. I hadn’t realized how I manage to squeeze those things in during my normal work day in my own office and can still be extremely productive. Overall it was a great experience in taking on a challenge and learning new techniques, and it energized me to take a fresh new look at Stensland Design. Would I do it again? Maybe.
MAY: FIRST TIME AT CITY CENTER & THE ARIA, LAS VEGAS
It certainly wasn’t my first time in Las Vegas, but I wanted to mention the trip because I always think of my trips there as inspiration for all things designed by humans. There truly is a treasure trove of artwork, sculpture, architecture, interior & exterior design, lighting, sound, performance art and more to marvel at. I always take a ton of photos of things that inspire me and broaden my mind. On this trip—a get together with my sisters and brothers-in-law to watch family friend Andy Cooney perform at the new Irish pub “Rí Rá” at Mandalay Bay—I got inspiration from City Center and the Aria. What an amazing feat of architecture and design! You truly “feel” the space as you walk through. Aroma-therapeutic essence of vanilla floats through the expansive lobby, coupled with scintillating lighting and decor elements. The exterior buildings frame works by Moore, Oldenburg and many others with their enormous stainless steel and glass towers, brushed aluminum diagonal walls, and dancing fountains. This is a must-see for anyone who is interested in experiencing the latest creations from some the best artists, designers and craftspeople in the world. Would I go there again? Definitely.
MAY: FIRST RIVER ROAD WINE TRAIL TASTING PARTY
The wine tasting club I’m in requires all members to host one party per year. So though this wasn’t the first time I tasted wine this year, it was the first tasting I’ve hosted! My husband Jay and I have taken an interest in the River Road wineries, because they are so close—River Road is an extension of Reservation Road, the main road in our town, so this wine corridor is literally right down the street. Plus, the Santa Lucia Highlands AVA where the River Road wines are grown, is renown for reds, particularly Pinot but a whole host of other varietals as well. For our tasting we asked that each person or couple bring a River Road Wine Trail red or white for a blind tasting in which tasters would select their favorite red and white, and then the wines would be revealed. There was some magnificent wine! It was complemented by artisan grilled-cheese sandwiches made by chefs Jay and Steve, as well as other complimentary snacks brought by guests. The winning wines were: Red—Luli Pinot Noir and White—Talbott Chardonnay. Would I do it again? Not likely, because there are so many other wines to taste!
MISC: JUST A FEW THINGS I’VE BEEN WORKING ON…
These are samples of some of the designs I’ve done over the past months. I’m working on a few exciting projects now that I’ll blog about in the coming weeks and months. I’m looking forward to more firsts and more fun in 2011, so stay tuned!