Wolff Designs

If only the joy of traveling paid enough to keep a roof over my head, but since I haven’t found a way it will, I’ve been working on developing my graphic design skills.

I really enjoy graphic design. This past year I have improved immensely on a range of print graphics and I am continuing to pursue website design. Unfortunately the college only offers one course in web design. While I did make some decent websites, there is so much more to learn. Dreamweaver, which requires a greater knowledge of coding is not my favorite method to design websites.

However here are links to a few I made for class. I’m most impressed with how much I improved throughout the semester. These are in progression from most basic to most complex websites.

http://www.fuchaiwolff.x10host.com/Single%20Page%20Creation/fuchai_wolff.html.html
http://www.fuchaiwolff.x10host.com/Div/div.html
http://www.fuchaiwolff.x10host.com/Final%20Portfolio/
http://www.fuchaiwolff.x10host.com/Club/club.html
http://www.fuchaiwolff.x10host.com/Gallery/index.html
http://www.fuchaiwolff.x10host.com/Java/java.html
http://www.fuchaiwolff.x10host.com/houses/

This year I plan on using a few different programs to design websites. I will be posting my new portfolio website something this year.

Last semester I took a 3D animation class, which wasn’t by choice, however I did work on some really cool things.

3Ds Max Scene

Here I created a bouncing ball breaking glass.

Fish Stamp

This was one of the coolest projects. I designed this on the computer and then it was 3D printed.

Milk Bottle

Not the most fun program to use, but it is really cool to create something from nothing.

I can’t believe I will graduate with my associate’s degree this year. Last year I spent more time working in Photoshop. I don’t consider myself the best at Photoshop, but here is some stuff I worked on. The poster and logo were made in other programs.

 

logo

I designed this logo, and it was picked as the favorite, so I got a $25 gift card.

poster

Just worked on various posters. The more projects I work on the better.

wolff_masks copy

Just an advertisement. Looking at it now, it looks a bit unprofessional. I have learned a lot about design just in the past year.

I really enjoyed working on this one.

I really enjoyed working on this one.

So the more I look at my past Photoshop work, the more I cringe. These are photoshop assignments from my first year in the program and they don't have the polished look I would like.

So the more I look at my past Photoshop work, the more I cringe. These are photoshop assignments from my first year in the program and they don’t have the polished look I would like.

This one did end up decent I will admit.

This one did end up decent I will admit.

 

My favorite class by far has been my Indesign class. Here are several projects I’ve created. Portfolio

Book Cover

I redesigned a book cover.

Business Card

I spent a good amount of time designing this card as well as the logo. This semester I will probably design something completely different. The website and email on this card are made up.

Here is the back of the business card.

Here is the back of the business card.

So that’s it. That’s the kind of stuff I’ve been working on at San Juan College. I have enjoyed it more than I thought. Since I’m such an independent person, this degree seems to be the right fit. My internship at Piñon Hills Community Church is helping immensely. I work a lot in print design and continue to see how I can apply my skills. I really would like to pursue web design and am working on developing some websites for free.

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Welcome 2016

Where should I even begin? Obviously I’ve been slacking in writing. I’ve been slacking in giving myself enough me time. But it’s a new year, and I plan on changing some things. Starting a new year makes me reflect on my past year and think about my continuing future goals.

I’m going to start with where I left off. I finished my third semester of school, began an internship at Piñon Hills Community Church with the marketing director working on graphics, improved immensely on all my graphic design skills and website creation, and of course stayed on top of workouts, having a boyfriend, and doing various projects (mostly cooking related).

I like to tell my story through pictures, so here’s yet another gallery.

As you can see I had quite a full semester. Will do a separate post about my graphics work and school, as well as what I plan on doing this year. I have made it a goal to blog once a week this year (or a minimum of twice per month). I really enjoy sharing parts of my life with you and writing. I hope that you are inspired to do more and to enjoy life. I need to take my own advice and slow down enough to stop and write every once in a while. 🙂

Welcome to the Real World: Marketing yourself for success

Congratulations graduates of 2014! You probably thought you’d never finish school, right? But now that you’ve processed to “Pomp and Circumstance,” heard the names of your peers being called out, moved your tassel from right to left to signify a new chapter of your life, thrown your cap in the air, and now have a diploma in your hand, what are you going to do? 

I graduated high school in 2012 and went through a gamut of feelings. Finally, I am free. I can do what I want to, when I want to. I will go to college and figure out what I want to do with my life. Despite feeling quite optimistic about the future, deep down I was a bit nervous. I didn’t really know what I wanted to do. I was just happy to be out of high school. 

Now it was up to me to decide what to do. This is when I realized that I hadn’t learned much about the real world. Where were courses on how to write a decent resume, how to get a job, how to be successful? I had gone to public school for 11 years and felt like I hadn’t learned anything useful to help me in the “real world.” But, that almost didn’t matter because I was going to go to college, get a degree, and I could worry about the success part later. I already knew how to be successful in college because it was school. In my mind it wasn’t much different from high school, just a new location and more freedom.  

My opinions and ideas about what success was really changed after I completed my first year of college. I still wasn’t sure what I wanted to do and had no major goals, so I took a year off. It was a year off of school, not a year off of learning. In fact, I believe I have learned more in the past year about the “real world” and how to be successful than I would have by attending college for another year. I could write an extensive list of ways to help you be successful, but I will focus on one that will make you stand out above the rest. 

Networking and relationships

In every job, at some point you will have to deal with people. When you apply for a job, it’s a person at the other end who reads the applications. It is the people who are higher up who will promote you. It is essential to learn how to communicate well with everyone at all different levels. 

  • Be honest. Don’t try to pretend you have done something you haven’t. Be yourself. 
  • Use appropriate language. These people aren’t your friends, so you shouldn’t talk to them as if they are. You can be friendly though.
  • Ask about how they are doing. This prevents the whole conversation from being about you. It also shows that you care.
  • Smile, make eye contact, and be aware of your body language. This can help you seem more sincere and confident. 

The initial conversation you have with someone is when you can make a strong impact. What you say depends on the situation and what you are looking for. I have found success in being straightforward and honest. 

Forming relationships and networking may not seem essential to success, but in the long run you will go much farther than those who don’t take the time to do these things. Being able to talk to people and convey your ideas will help you in every aspect of your life. It will make you much more valuable to your employers. Perhaps you want to be your own boss; networking and collaborating are an important part of a successful business. 

I never realized how important forming relationships with people was until I started seriously looking for a job. This year I have tried without much success getting a job with a major corporation. I applied online, got a call for an interview, printed out a resume, had an interview, waited a few days for a call back, and didn’t get the job. This happened twice in the same week. I was a bit disappointed in myself, feeling like I had failed. But then I pursued some jobs with people with whom I had connected previously. I had never intended to work for them, but I had talked to business owners about their jobs. It took almost no effort to speak with them again and ask if I could work for them. I am now happily working as a server in a locally-owned restaurant, housekeeping at a locally-owned bed and breakfast, as well as occasionally housesitting. This balance has worked quite well for my lifestyle. I also am making more an hour than I would have working in a corporate job. 

Most of the jobs I have had are because someone in the business knew me. Jobs began to present themselves, but this is because I have networked, almost unknowingly. People who know people who know people can get you a job too. In some respects when someone speaks up for your work, that’s better than you speaking up for yourself, especially if that person is reputable.

Advantages of networking

  • Get your name out there with many people, which tends to open more doors.
  • You’ll have a higher chance of finding something you love to do.
  • Many people are willing to help you. I have found that older people want to help young people succeed. 
  • You can access a wealth of resources.  

I believe networking should happen throughout your life because it will continually help you to move forward. People can make things happen. You may not have to do things in the conventional sense if someone likes you well enough. 

Advantages of forming relationships

  • Valued more highly by your employers. 
  • More likely to be given a good reference.
  • Job satisfaction and happiness. 
  • Resources. 
  • People who can help you out. 

Of course this doesn’t apply to every situation, but these are things that I have experienced. I believe that this is the way in which I will become most successful in my life. I have never been afraid to talk to people and speak my mind, which for the most part has been to my advantage. I continue to work on building relationships and networking with people who will help me. I seek out people who have more knowledge than I have in a certain area, and I ask for their help. People are one of the greatest resources for learning because people are the ones with experience. Ask questions and you will find answers.

Learning and developing an array of skills will also make you indispensable in the work place. So read, study, and learn. Webucator asked me to write this article as a part of the “Most Marketable Skill” blogging campaign. Currently they are offering a free course in Microsoft Word 2013. Take advantage of the wealth of resources on the web. 

Despite my focus on relationships and networking, there isn’t one “most marketable skill” that’s going to make you successful. Being successful isn’t based on one essential skill, but rather on a collective set of skills. Although I don’t consider myself not successful, I don’t feel I have reached my full potential, and am still striving for success.

Insert Catchy Title

Phase one: work and save money for travel and decide where/what you want to do. Check. I worked full-time for four months saving every penny. I found workaway.info and decided to farm in Costa Rica.

Phase two: live in another country and be a part of the culture. Check. I lived and worked on farms in Costa Rica for three months, learning Spanish along the way.

Phase three: Job shadow, study Chinese, and work part-time for the awkward two and half month period before I go to China in April.

Finding a job proved to be a bit more difficult than I had hoped, but I did manage to get a job before February came. Currently I am working as a receptionist at High Desert Rheumatology and Internal Medicine. (It took me a day to remember what the office was called). It’s a great, low stress job with flexible hours and really nice co-workers.

So after securing a job, things started falling into place. I started feeling more motivated to do stuff. I began searching for people who I could job shadow. I contacted a woman who knows a lot of business people in Farmington and she connected me with a graphic designer at Majestic Media. I interviewed her one day about how she got her job and how happy she was with it. Then I sat and watched what she did for an hour.

I’ve realized that connections and relationships can really get you far in life if only you pursue them. In January, I met a woman who owns a bed and breakfast so I asked if I could see what she does. She showed me around the place and told me about how it got started. Currently it is the low season so I didn’t actually get to see her interact with any guests, but I hope to soon.

The third job shadowing I’ve begun is at San Juan Reproduction. I know one of the graphic designers there. I’ve gotten a quick tour of the place and a peek into what she does. I will continue to go there on a weekly basis and will get to play with the programs that she uses on a computer beside her.

I also have a pending job shadowing at a restaurant, which could even turn into another part-time job…

I plan on writing more in-depth on each of my job shadowing experiences. So if you’re interested in the lessons I’ve learned from each of the jobs I’ve dabbled in, be on the lookout.

In addition to my career exploration, I have been asked to help with a new business. So, not only have I been job shadowing, I also am helping design and maintain a website for this business. (More details about this is March when we launch the website). I have never designed a website before, so I am learning a tiny bit of HTML and a bit more CSS as well as blogging. The woman I am working with (I guess you could call her my business partner?) has over twenty years of advertising and marketing experience, so I am getting to learn that aspect of business as well. We met with a man who owns an internet marketing company called ICT Marketing (Insert Catchy Title…yes I did borrow the name for this blog post). So now I have learned about SEO and how to make a webpage come up in google. And the plan is to continue using his expertise to get people to our website. Being a part of beginning this business has provided me opportunity. An opportunity to learn by doing, to create, to do something for Farmington, to make connections, to form relationships, all of which will help me to get a career(s). I’m learning skills that college just doesn’t provide.

Right now my life is a collage. It seems a bit messy, but it works.

My goal of studying Chinese has been a bit difficult as every time I try to think in Chinese it comes out in Spanish…But I’m working on it.

You’d think that once I got a job and started job shadowing that would be enough, but I also enjoy learning/playing bridge twice a week and I’ve started going back to Tae Kwon Do. And I still have free time. Cool, huh? It’s amazing how many things you can fit into a week.

A New Look

I have wasted five hours attempting to redesign my weblog. I suppose I shouldn’t be too picky about its appearance, but I just can’t help myself (especially because I know a little about digital design). I liked the last theme I was using, but every post required a feature image if I wanted it to look decent, otherwise there was just an empty rectangle.

I’m too cheap at the moment to buy the upgrade customization feature or buy a theme. So, last night I spent several hours scouring through about 40-50 different free themes trying to figure out which one I would like better. I finally have settled on the one I’m currently using (no promises it will stay that way). It’s amazing how time flies when you are trying to solve a problem. Last night I kept myself up far too late trying to figure out how to get the layout just right.  I’ve already been at it for another hour tonight. I’m pretty sure I’ve discovered a glitch with WordPress. Really, I’m just having an issue with the sidebar and widgets. Most of this probably sounds like gibberish, but the point is I’m having trouble with formatting and it’s not my fault! I keep thinking I can fix it though. I have a couple more things to try, and then I’ll probably just give up and leave good enough alone.

Sigh…free themes just aren’t as good as the ones you have to pay for. I guess I’ll make do. I just had to complain a bit because I’ve spent so much time on something that has gotten me nowhere, rather like riding a treadmill. I don’t like treadmills.

 

All Boxed Up

I find myself often searching for specific things online, and then never quite finding what I want. That’s what happened when I went searching for “ways to decorate with shoe boxes” and “how to decorate shoe boxes.” So, I made up my own. I spent a couple hours covering four of my shoe boxes that are filled with owner’s manuals, birthday cards, and craft supplies.

Decorated Boxes I am quite pleased with the way they turned out.The boxes look much improved from the shoe boxes they were. I used  old denim jeans on two of the lids. The patterned blue and white boxes are covered with origami paper. I didn’t have enough to cover all of them the same way, but I think having some solid colored boxes makes the patterned paper stand out.

Covered shoe boxesWhoever invented rubber cement was a genius. It worked very well for this project. When you use regular school glue (such as elmer’s) the paper tends to wrinkle, but not with rubber cement. I pretty much rubber cement for all my gluing needs now. School glue just isn’t as functional.

After I covered these shoe boxes, for some reason, I was  extremely motived to clean. I went in a cleaning frenzy  and ended up making racket until one in the morning. Sorry, mom. I couldn’t help myself. One thing lead to another. I put up the boxes, then I had to rearrange things in certain drawers, then I had to sweep, then I had to put out my tea sets, etc. I’m sure that never happens to any of you…

Where’s Waldo’s Hat

A 14+ hour car ride + two balls of yarn + circular knitting needles = a new hat

knit hat
Yes!! I have knitted my first hat. It’s quite satisfying to finally have finished it, especially after having taken it completely a part about five times. I have never used two colors together in my knitting or used circular needles or decreased. At one point I was almost completely done, but the hat was way too big. Now it’s just the right size. I think this might be a metaphor for life…hmm maybe. At any rate, yet another project I have embarked on and completed. I think I better find some friends soon. There are only so many hats I can knit.

Post-it on the lampshade

Here is a quick project that I thought was pretty fun. I found it in a magazine and decided to give it a try. It was a great way to use up some post-its. I always seem to accumulate more of those than I can actually use. Here’s a picture of the outcome. I attached the post-its with some tape. The sticky part of the post-it wasn’t quite sticky enough to stick to the lampshade. This blue and green combination happens to be a favorite of mine. It has been for awhile. There are so many more patterns that you can make with post-its. Experiment and have some fun redecorating your lampshade! lampshade

Stuff, it’s a big problem.

Bedroom

Here’s a major project right now: cleaning my room. I just moved out of the bigger bedroom in our house into the smaller one.

I’m generally not this messy. Really. I promise. My friend and I were having a conversation about stuff (it’s evident from this picture that I have quite a bit of stuff). We were talking about how it accumulates over time. I may not even be out of my teenage-hood but my perception of stuff has changed drastically. I used to always want to have things I never had. I suppose in some respects I still want things I don’t have; however, it has less to do with stuff and more to do with experiences. When I was younger I would want to have what all the other kids had, like better clothes, a DS, a Playstation, etc. I would go to my friends’ houses and they would all have more things than me. I of course thought I didn’t own that much. Ha. Now I just feel buried in stuff.

It is rather discouraging to think about all the stuff I have to deal with. I am tired of spending so much time dealing with my stuff. I feel like I’m constantly moving it from one storage spot to another or it just collects dust. I would like to just throw it all out sometimes but then I start going through things and think that I’ll need it later. I know this is not a unique problem. I like to do projects so I save supplies for all the different kind of projects I have done at one point in my life. Unfortunately this takes up a lot of space. I have decided that if I ever have my own place that I will work on keeping it simple and minimal. I don’t need to hold onto so much just because it has sentimental value.

A lot of stuff I have is not stuff I bought but rather stuff given to me as gifts. My friend and I decided that a way to solve this problem of too much stuff is to have experiences replace tangible stuff. Memories are much easier to hold onto. Sure, you may not be able to remember what restaurant you went to for you X-number birthday, but you probably don’t remember all the gifts you got for your X-number birthday either. The great thing about memories of experiences is that you don’t have to worry about storage space in your house. Even if the memory isn’t a “good” one it may turn into something you can laugh about one day. I would much rather spend a day with a friend for my birthday than get a bunch of nicknacks. It also saves me the frustration of having to make room for the gifts.

My friend and I continued to talk, and she said that it’s harder to think of experiences than just buying a gift. I think it’s harder to choose a gift that’s useful and something they will like and don’t have yet. I generally like to create something as a gift like drawing or some sort of food. There’s also the easy choice of giving money. There are obvious advantages to this, but at the same time it can feel impersonal or unoriginal. Generally, I think the gift giver tends to feel this way more than the gift receiver. Personally I like receiving money because usually the things I want are expensive (a laptop, a computer, an iPod, a trip somewhere). Perhaps you are tired of giving money and want to do something that’s fun. I can think of so many different experiences that I would thoroughly enjoy doing for a birthday. So here’s a brief list of my own personal liking but be creative. You’ll end up giving a gift that can’t be replaced.

Take your friend to a restaurant.
Give the gift of a massage or a manicure.
Have an adventure! Like going to an amusement park, going paint balling, going zip-lining, etc.
Try something new. For me this might be something like getting my ears pierced. My friend was going to pay for my ears to be pierced…but I wasn’t old enough at the time.
Take your friend to a show, performance, play, musical, concert, movie etc.
Go do something that you both enjoy doing.

Sure some of these are starting to sound like dates. They are in a sense. You are creating memories with a friend and celebrating them. What more could they ask for? Hopefully your friends will start giving you experiences and memories instead of stuff as well.

It’s funny how I got from talking about stuff to buying experiences instead. This idea of replacing stuff with memories and experiences can help you to reduce the amount of stuff you have. I’m trying to be more conscious of what I actually purchase. I try to only buy things that I need or that are useful. Today I spent a good deal of money on my first DSLR camera, but I bought it because it will help me to document my adventures in this coming year. It is something that I will use for years to come. I enjoy saving money, and then spending it on an experience for myself. This year I am working and saving as much as I can so that I can experience living in other countries. I hope that I don’t have to spend too much more on stuff this year, after all I am trying to get rid of more stuff not accumulate it.