JULY VACAY

boom boom pow Summer has always felt like the best time to reflect, reassess, and revamp. It's a time to work on your side projects. Work on your abs. Sleep more. Eat better. Rest. Play. In honor of summer and its permission slips, I'm spending July doing all of the above...

First, I'll be going on a little road trip to visit one of my very favorite people. Netflix and drinks and dance parties are in my future and I cannot wait. Cue this song.

After that much needed break, my plan is to come back and tackle some artsocial to-dos. You may have noticed a new url (WAHOO!). Legit, yo. I have some other site updates in the works, too, and with site updates come BIG, EXCITING announcements. Hold onto your ban.dos, friends, we're about to take things up a notch. A collaboration has begun that will change artsocial in a big way. *cartwheels* *confetti* I can't wait to tell you everything :)

Starting next month, I'll also be sharing A LOT more of my design work with ya. It's time. And if you're one of my clients, I've got a little surprise for youuu! I'm teaming up with the amazing folks at Minted to create some client thank you packets. Working with my clients is awesome but giving them presents after the work is done to celebrate? Double awesome. So excited to share all the goodies! Here's a hint. Highly recommend Minted for stationery, invites, and the like. Again, LEGIT. Everything is designed by independent artists PLUS they offer gold foil (!) and gorgeous thick paper. I'm in love with it. Okay, Minted gushing over... except they're having some 4th of July sales right now. Definitely worth checking out. Okay, done.

Happy July, friends! And Happy 4th especially. See you in August!

Keep up with my summertime adventures on instagram! Oh there will be 'grams.

Image by artsocial.

As TO YOUR Qs

I love me some Photoshop. I use it for almost every post, either to resize an image...

add some text...

change colors and texture...

or merge images together when I'm feelin real arty like...

I've received a few questions about how I create my images (especially how to make the animated gif in this post!). During my blog post brainstorming sesh yesterday, I thought it could be fun to offer how-tos for all of my Photoshop magic... would you guys be into that? What would you like to know? I'd love to hear all of your Photoshop Qs! and, hopefully, I'll have the As...

image one | two and three | four | five | six

THE BIG QUESTIONS

Guys. I've hit a block... maybe it's a fork. Since starting my blog happiness project, I've noticed that writing the happiness-related posts come so easily. They flow off the keyboard, I have so much to say! But then with the just-for-fun posts, the lighter posts, I've started to feel a little less pumped and a little more wah wahh. No, not the art crushes or the art dranks - I LOVE those. I mean the random silly posts... like the weekend roundups I used to do every Monday. They don't seem fun anymore because they don't really seem to serve a purpose.

I sat down this weekend to write about fall activities and after a few minutes of looking through Pinterest for awesome fall images (love this one btdubs), I suddenly thought ugh who really cares about this? Sure it's fun... but what is it really contributing? I know my blog can't be all serious all the time, but maybe it can be more seriously fun or funnily serious... or something. And if I'm following my Be Happy commandments 4: Keep it Real and 5: Live with Intention, Blog with Intention, then it might be time to reevaluate my content choices.

I'm starting to realize I want this blog to be helpful, inspiring even. Whoa that's a lot of pressure... I would like my readers to get something out of their visits to artsocial, not just pretty images and sassy observations - although those things will still be in there of course. Lately in my blog reading, I'm also drawn to posts where I really learn something. Like this one from Unicorns for Socialism, basically every post from Tiffany Moore, or this whole series from Designlovefest. I like the idea of blogging with a purpose. Oh sure, I do that a little by offering a craft idea here and there, a fall cocktail recipe that is really nom (check back tomorrow!), and introductions to rad artists... but I want to contribute more. How I just don't know... yet.

What are you guys drawn to more? The just-for-fun posts? Or the posts with more thought-provoking juiciness?

Images found here.

FOR SERIOUS

Last week I revealed two important things: 1. I'm in love with The Happiness Project and 2. I'm on a happiness quest/career change. Now I've been on this quest for a while... but nothing was official until I read this line from The Happiness Project: To be happy, I need to think about feeling good, feeling bad, and feeling right, in an atmosphere of growth.

Let's break it down. Feeling good refers to generating more positive emotions, feeling bad refers to removing sources of negative emotions, and growth? Sure! Everyone loves growing. Ok, I gets it. But the feeling right part, that's what really hit home:

"Feeling right" is about living the life that's right for you...

Now that's what I've been missing from my current part time job (and all of my previous jobs), they just didn't feel right. I didn't feel fully myself. What does feel right, then? Welp... this blog. So I'm gonna do it, friends. I'm diving in wholeheartedly and starting my own career-related happiness project all about da bloggin.

My career goal for this next year is to become a legit, professional (kind-of-a-big-deal) blogger, work with brands and artists I love, and slowly but surely (or lightening fast) begin to work for myself. I'm not talking yachts and caviar, but living comfortably doing what I love. Not unreasonable, right? A year is a long time.

So how to achieve this? Gretchen broke her project into 12 mini goals that contributed to the achievement of her overall goal (January was Boost Energy, February was Remember Love, March was Aim Higher, etc). So for me to make progress towards my dream, I'll be exploring the following bloggy areas with the hopes of reaching my goal by September of 2013. And of course I'll be sharing everything with you guys along the way, what works, what doesn't work, what you simply must do too... everything. Eep!

Erin's blog happiness project:

1. September: Collaboration. Find rad ways of engaging with my fellow bloggers and my amaaazing readers. 2. October: Grow. Time to amp up those numbers with more social media funtime. 3. November: Work with artists and other amazing creative folks. Contact several bigger artists about being highlighted and/or interviewed on the blog. 4. December: Blog design + branding. Artsocial's gonna need a professional makeover. I'm waiting until December with the hope of making a new blog design my Christmas present... from everyone. 5. January: Learn from the best. This month I'll be attending the big deal conference Alt Summit SLC. Aww yeeah. 6. February: Work with brands. Contact several brands with some boss collaboration ideas (emphasis on the boss-ness). 7. March: Learn more from the best. Sign up for Blogcademy. Now depending on when the next super awesome Blogcademy is, this might move up on the list... 8. April: Learn even more. Sign up for Designlovefest's Blogshop video class. I've been wanting to take this for a while... no more waiting! Again, this might move depending on dates. 9. May: Guest blogging. Seek out opportunities to write for other, more established blogs. 10. June: Get mentioned on a BIG blog. How I go about achieving this, I'm not sure... but I'll do it. Oh I'll do it. 11. July: Be original. Clearly this is always the goal, but this month I'll be starting the transition to using more of my own photography. 12. August: Time for the next big artsocial project (ie start an online magazine or launch something else equally awesome) This seems big right now :/ but I'll get there.

Holywow. Well it's almost September. Let's do this, collaboration!

 

This little linkup opportunity came about last weekend, and then I unknowingly made September collaboration month! Crazy how things come together sometimes...

Join me, Lisa of Joycreation, and Rita of TOMORROWtoday for a virtual book club of awesomeness! Ok really we just post every Thursday (more or less) about what we're learning from The Happiness Project, as well as other happiness related goodness. Grab the above banner for your happiness posts and join the fun next week, ya hear. If you're interested, just let me know in the comments and I'll get in touch with you with more details... woot! Link up. Be happy.

Check out Rita's posts here and here... and don't miss the fabulous MJ's post on being mindful over on Parscaeli.

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FOR HAPPINESS

I just started reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. I know! How have I not read this already?? I'm only on page 34 and it's already given me soooo much to think about. Lately every bit of advice I receive, any episode of Oprah I see, and/or any fortune cookie I eat relates to one aspect of my life: career. Even my favorite tea that comes with an inspirational saying on the tag seems to be giving me career advice. You are limitless. Gasp! clearly that means I should blog for a living cuz I love it and I'm limitless, no limits means I can do anything I want and that thing is blogging. That was pretty much my thought process...

Dude why so cray about your career?  Wellll after so much school, specializing further and further into a particular field, then bouncing from one contracted but coveted arty job to the next, I think I want out... I don't want out of the art world, but I think I've finally accepted that I don't want to work in a gallery or a museum. Kind of a heavy realization for someone who went to school for museum studies. Seeing some of my friends advance in the museum world and looove what they're doing only confirms it, it's not my steez, my thang, my passion. I wish there was a museum kool-aid I could drink that would make me love it, that would make things so much easier... but prolly boring. Why do I feel so guilty for wanting to change course, it's allowed! Lots of people change direction... and if I'm following my own advice from this post, I'll get out now. No regrets.

SO as of now, I have less than 4 months on my current museum job contract... and for some reason I thought I had 6 months - gah! Good thing I'm not trying to be an accountant or do some other numbers-related job. Anyhoo, I need to figure some things out, do some soul searching, and I think The Happiness Project is the perfect thing for me to be reading right now. If you've read it and disagree, just don't say anything. I'm grasping for advice from tea bags over here. Jokes aside, I'm confident I'm on the right path for me... sometimes the scariest option (ie leaving a "grown-up" job) can be the most rewarding one in the long run. Cuz I don't want to settle for just any job. I know I deserve (we all deserve) a career that makes us happy, one that we really believe in.

How about you? Are you in the midst of a career change? Want to read The Happiness Project with me? Or just get together and drink these and forget all about this career stuff? Ok cool.

More awesome balloons by Inflated/Deflated thisaway.

NEATO GANG

I was pretty sti-zoked (really stoked) when I saw artsocial was included in the series Mondays are for Lovers over on the Passionfruit blog. Their description of artsocial is the best, possibly even better than the one on my about page: "...get ready to be introduced to some new art without feeling like you have to ‘get it’. Still feeling nervous? Start off with Erin’s Art Drank series and mix up some social lubricant with one her cocktail recipes!"

It's true gang. This blog is more like a gallery opening than an art history seminar. There's art, but there's also conversation and drinks... and sometimes snacks... but mostly drinks.

I'm curious, what are some of your favorite posts/topics I've covered on the blog? It would make me sti-zoked (again) to hear your faves!

image one | image two

FOR LOVE

Tomorrow is my boyfriend's birthday, and what does he want to do this week to celebrate? Go camping. Ugh such a boy answer. I'm clearly not the outdoorsy type, I'm just not built for it - I'm pale and small, that's a blogger physique not a hiker/wilderness survivor physique.

But ya know, this guy's a game changer. It seems anything is fun with this one... and that includes camping for 3 days. I'm even looking forward to it! Crazy.

Needless to say, this means I have to say adios to twitter/facebook/my beloved instagram for a few days. But I've gotcha covered on the blog front, including another one of Laid Off Mom's DIY Dates on Thursday! Hope you enjoy, friendies. I'll be eating smores and drinking wine. Great combo, eh? In moderation, always in moderation.

How do you guys feel about camping??

Image one by me | image two found here

The Hell Yes Approach

I recently read an article called The "Hell Yes!" Approach to Better, Bolder Decision Making. Totally and completely life changing. I've always struggled with making decisions to do things I wasn't excited about, but felt I should be excited about. I'd drive myself pretty cray.

This is typically how it'd go down: someone would ask me: Hey, do you want to _____? Me in my head almost immediately: nope, sure don't wanna do that. Me out loud: Oh yeah. Sure, that could be fun. And then I'd start thinking how I should probably do it, I should say yes to all of the opportunities that come my way, blah, blah. Do you guys ever do this??

Truth is, and reading this article affirms this realization, if you have that gut feeling that you don't want to do something, then it's not the right thing for you. Period. You don't even need to know why it's not the right thing. Even when you're on the fence about something, when you have a wellll, yeah maybe feeling, don't do it. You'll know something is right for you when you feel an intuitive Hell Yes! Anything else probably isn't going to get you where you want to be in life. And ya know, I've recently learned that when you say no to things you don't really want to do, even better options and opportunities come your way.

Making decisions really comes down to two options: Hell yes or NO. So listen for those Hell Yes! moments this week and don't feel bad about saying no... you'll feel better, I promise. And if you don't I'll make you this... cuz everyone says Hell Yes! to pie.

Image found here.

Simplify

After much deliberation I've decided to do a little social media housekeeping... Twitter, I'm talking to you. When artsocial first started it made sense to have separate accounts for artsoshy tweets and my personal tweets. But the more I come to realize I looooove this little blog, the more it makes sense to embrace it as an extension of myself & my bloggy brand... just typing that is exciting. So it's time to simplify. I will no longer be tweeting from artsocial's account @artsocialonline. All of my/artsocial's tweets will now be from my account @Erin_artsocial. Eep! Time to take things up a notch :)

image source.

The Art of Storytellin

Recently, the lovely Julia asked me: What made you passionate about studying art history and museum studies?

Guys. I actually had a really hard time answering this. I mean, sure, I could have given the cop out answer - oh I just looove eeeet, blah blah blah. Which is true, but why do I love it? I've devoted 6+ years of my life to studying and writing about art, this question deserves a well-thought-out answer.

Why did I study art? Had I really never thought about this before? The more I thought about it, the more I realized art has always been a constant in my life. I'm definitely an over-analyzer and studying art was the one thing I never questioned. I just did it... weird huh? That must mean that it'll come in handy in this life right??

After days (sadly) of contemplating this question, I finally got it. On a fundamental level, the reason I'm drawn to art is: storytelling. Artwork has an especially unique storytelling ability, one that has the capability to unite the masses and transcend time, cultural differences, and language barriers. Pretty powerful, eh? Going to any big city museum is a testament to this... tourists of alllll kinds are there, in the same place, viewing the artwork and learning its story.

Maaaybe I just never really got over loving story time from my childhood... it was my favorite part of the whole entire day, especially with my Dad's awesome storytelling voices. Art history classes were like nonstop story time for adults... I couldn't get enough insider knowledge about Rauschenberg's bed or de Kooning's women... I loved being able to read a painting. Artwork is like a peephole - or a screenshot for all my tech savvy folks - of a particular time, culture, location, person... art and art history are tools for understanding. And since I looove to think and contemplate and over-analyze, clearly this is appealing to me...

And why museum studies? After 4 years of art history in undergrad, I thought museum studies would be a "practical" move... ohh me.

image found here.