Today is great because…

Declutter yourself

Posted: October 12th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: happiness, Nothingness | Tags: , , , , | Comments Off
Gandhi survived happily with this many things.

Gandhi survived happily with this many things.

I once moved all the contents of my apartment in two car loads of a 1991 Toyota Camry (read: small!) That was one of my greatest accomplishment. Six years later I still have my beloved Camry, but there’s no way I’d ever relive such a magnificent moving success.

Because now I have STUFF!

I wanted to title this post ‘More Stuff, More Problems,’ because the more I have, the more I want to get. That’s a serious problem. I have a laptop, an iPad, an iPod, now I want a new iPhone! Are all these things necessary to my life? No. I’m the perpetrator of totally unnecessary accumulation.  The more I accumulate, the more I feel like a shameless consumer, the less I feel good about myself.  I’m not a hoarder, even though it’s so en vogue right now. I’m talking about getting new things. The worst part is that I’m not happier for having more things. I simply HAVE MORE THINGS.

Follow these three simple rules to delutter your life:

  1. Stop getting new things
  2. Get rid of things you no longer use
  3. Stop getting new things

If you’re reading this you probably already have everything you need to survive. You have forks and plates, a bed to sleep in, you own a computer, you’re googling advice on how to declutter your home because you know you already have too much stuff.

I’ve started taking a really strict approach: nothing new comes in unless I neeeeeed it. Even if the thing is nice, or it’s free, if I don’t need it, I won’t take it back to my house.  Getting new things rarely offers sustaining happiness. Like caffeine, you get a rush that lasts a few hours and then it’s gone and you need more.

Also, be good to other people
Another tip for cleaning out your home: donate things to charity. You know those ugly shirts you have that you haven’t worn in two years? Don’t throw them away. The Salvation Army is always available to take things like that off your hands. Someone else will love them. You’ll feel better for having given instead of taking in, and you’ll feel great because your closet will be cleaner.


The Importance of Personality in Web Development

Posted: October 9th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Web Development | Comments Off
Deidre-Bain Web & Graphic Design Website

Deidre Deda Bain Web & Graphic Design Website

I absolutely love the design and information organization on Deidre Bain’s portfolio website. By the look of her website, she’s a quite talented web and graphic designer. It’s simple, beautiful and personal. The design is so effective in giving a sense of Deidre as a person. And when you’re looking to hire a designer from the seemingly endless multitude, personality matters. But personality matters only in so far as it’s backed up by skills and aptitude. Combining the two, explaining your value as a professional designer/developer wrapped in flavors of your personality gives prospective clients a rounded picture of what you offer. Deidre does this perfectly with a mix of personal and skills-related infographics.

Clients are afraid of you
If your prospective clients are small or independent businesses, you must be accessible. Searching for someone to build a new small business website is a big–and, compared to other business marketing expenses, quite expensive–step for many entrepreneurs. For those unfamiliar, the Internet is still a land of magic and mystery. As a designer/developer, make yourself and what you do seem easy, accessible and fun. When you do, people will feel so much more comfortable contacting you.

I’ve shopped for web developers before for large companies. I was always much less impressed by those who stick strictly with trying to impress with their knowledge of complicated web technologies. Of course you need to know your stuff, but the companies I follow up with are those who seem easy to work with and aren’t brown in the eyes from their own bullsh*t.

Be clear, be nice. Make it easy for your prospective clients to say “YES!” to working with you.


The Sweets Mission

Posted: October 9th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Personal, Today | Comments Off
Rock Candy Chadelier at Sugar Sugar Candy in Minneapolis

Rock Candy Chadelier at Sugar Sugar Candy in Minneapolis

Often, it takes having out-of-town company to enjoy things in the city that I take for granted.  Mom, Dad, sister, brother-in-law and nephew came to town this weekend. They had a wedding to attend. But in the extra time we had, we explored a few of my favorite sweets emporiums. My sister is a baker and candy maker. This is a new business she’s starting so, for now, it’s still just a side gig of hers. She’s always doing research. There are so many wonderful places in Minneapolis to find sweet inspiration–we’ve got a longer tour planned for the future of all the new local Minneapolis & St. Paul bakeries popping up–so in the limited time we had I took her to the best candy store in Minneapolis and to try the best chocolate chip cookies.

Sugar Sugar Candy is a cute and unique candy shop. It reminds me of an old-fashioned drug store. But clean and stocked instead with the delicious elixir of hard to find old school candies (think Oh Henry! candy bar), top-shelf chocolate bars (think Rogue Chocolatier) and bulk candies (gummy worms, the best ultimate malted milk balls you’ll ever taste). The selection is broad and often kitchy, but Sugar Sugar really shines in the design of the space and the antique merchandising racks. It’s a destination and an experience. You’ll leave having spent at least $10 on candy. And you’ll be perfectly happy that you did.

For my money, the best chocolate chip cookie in Minneapolis is found at Lucia’s bakery. It’s the perfect amount of crisp outside to soft, chewy middle and packed with as much dark chocolate as any one could ever need. Despite the deliciousness of my sister’s chocolate chip cookies, I want her to try to replicate the Lucia’s recipe so I can bake them at home.