Skip to main content


Showing posts from January, 2016

Designing a Basic Flyer

In my free time, I am the CEO/Grant Writer/Designer for a lovely nonprofit known as Project Books, Inc. It's a 501(c)3 based in Los Angeles that focuses on bringing literacy to underserved populations. I wear a lot of hats, but one of the more fun ones is designer. It can also be the most difficult however.

One of the first things you learn in business class is how essential it is to build your brand. Your brand is who you are, it's how your customers recognize your products, it's what you communicate to your constituents, its multiple layers of subtext that basically advertise who you are, what you represent, and who you serve. If the hat makes the man, then the brand makes the business.
As Project Books is a young nonprofit, at this time we are going through our first proper branding phase. As if that wasn't difficult enough, large portions of our logo, colors, font, etc. were chosen before I came onboard. There was no cohesive vision for our design pieces, for insta…

Sometimes Things Don't Pan Out

Stormy weather only makes droughts better, not feelings. In the last few days I feel like my Fiancee have done a complete 180. We have decided to push back our house hunt for at least 10 months. We will continue looking, but only put down offers on a place that is 95% perfect, which means we 95% will not buy a house.

The bay area is ungodly expensive. It truly is. The cheap areas aren't worth living in, and the meh areas are quickly maxing out in price. The nice areas? Hah. If the economy spirals downward again, and it will, this is capitalism we are talking about here, that $600,000 three bedroom/two bath will be worth maybe half that, but you'll still owe all that money.

Instead, we have decided to look at alternative options, like investing and developing skills to start our own firm. We are also looking into alternative real estate options as well, like buying a 1 bedroom, renting it out, and making money that way.

This last week has been a maelstrom of emotions. The probl…

Getting Away

A week ago, my Fiancee and I decided that we wanted to spend one day, just one, not thinking or doing anything regarding looking for a house to buy. After a stressful week of open houses and meetings and googling, the day came.
We went out to Uvas Canyon Park. It's hidden away in the Santa Cruz Mountains, a twisting labyrinth of trees and rivers. It was raining, but that is the best time to hike around waterfall loop, a mile stretch of downhill river slope. The sound of the river crashing and echoing off the hillsides, the rain splattering in your eyes. There's nothing quite like it, the way the rain drowns out all other noise, leaving you to your own little isolated pocket of existence.  
It was freeing. Luckily I didn't do one of those awful things where you start crying, but it's raining so nobody can tell. Yeah that's only in like...anime. Anyhow, being physically away from the process actually did help to clear my head, and my Fiancee and I have come to a sort…

To Buy or Not to Buy

Houses are expensive. No, scratch that, property is expensive. No wait, living is expensive. Let's be real here, life is expensive, just breathing costs money.

On TV, when people in reality shows (or in sitcoms) buy a house, it's normally a pretty happy affair. It's shiny, bright, and exciting. The scent of possibilities coats your screen. There's the scene of the newly married couple picking out wall colors, the wife smiling angelically at her husband.

Yeah, those rosy scenes lure you in. You can see the kitchen with the island in it, the large living room, the library. Or maybe you're the little cottage type, lost in thoughts of the small space surrounded by trees and a quiet sunny day. Buying a house is the dream, the thing you are meant to shoot for. Having a little plot of land to call your own, a place that is yours, that you can paint whatever way you want, decorate whatever way you want; hell fuck, utterly destroy if you want.

That rosy scene, and the feeli…

Everyday I'm Hustlin'

The house hunt is an all consuming process.

Last November, I successfully completed National Novel Writing Month, which is where you write 50,000 words in the month of November. My novel consumed me. I wrote every day, I brainstormed during work hours and read and reread constantly, revising. My thoughts were in a constant whirl of plot points, character flaws, character designs, world building, dialogue. Some nights I could barely sleep, unable to make my brain go quiet.

The house hunt is more intense than that. I'm a week in, and my life schedule has suddenly started revolving around it. I have to schedule in free time. There's a three day weekend coming up. Instead of going up to Tahoe and having fun in the snow, we are staying home and going to multiple open houses, talking with our lender, checking out neighborhoods, and building our spreadsheet of notes.

What have we learned thus far, after many hours of googling, scheduling appointments, making phone calls, going out an…

The Time has Come the Walrus Said to BUY YOUR FIRST HOME

With the New Year comes a new challenge for me. My fiancee and I decided to look into buying a home. This is the American Dream. Own your own house, be your own man. There is something they don't tell you about this whole process.

According to Dante, there are nine circles of Purgatory. My ninth level is house hunting, only barely beating out being stuck in Rush Hour Traffic on a Friday after a big rig caused a 5 car pile up on a bridge.

No one in my immediate family has ever owned property. I have no idea how the process works, so I have been spending every waking hour of my free time frantically googling everything about the process.

So what have I learned? That there is no clear cut place to go for information. There is a big difference between pre-approval and pre-qualification. Every financial institution under the sun wants your money and isn't entirely clear on what options are best or available to you. Thus, you need a mortgage broker? Or a better lender? And you have …