LIFE: The Past, Present & Future.

Hey guys.  It's been a long while since I've posted.  I also know it has been even longer since I have posted regularly.  This summer was kind of a write-off.  First of all, if you've been following along despite my absence - thank you so much!  You have no idea how much it means to me.  And if you haven't been following along - well, I certainly don't blame you.  I've been about as absentee a blogger as they come.  But I once read that you should never apologize for your absences/lack of posting.  So I won't.  This is my space, and I'm sure you all know how difficult it is to commit to daily blogging.   Though, I thought maybe you all may be wondering what I have been up to, or maybe not.  Either way, I guess I will share.

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1) I was preparing for my interview with Air Canada rouge.  Whle I failed to get the job (I know, sad face), it was an excellent learning experience - and it forced me to set a goal and do my best to make it a reality.  I've been doing that more and more in my life, and it makes me really happy.  I will, without a doubt, take the experiences from the flight attendant interview process, and apply them towards my next attempt (in a few months).  On the plus side of not being asked to the flight attendant training session - I get to go to Brazil in December!

2) I have been trying to learn to speak (Brazilian) Portuguese.   Kind of related to my airline interview, as well as my trip to Brazil.  One of my major disadvantages (at least I thought) at my interview was the fact that I have no second language.  My French skills are barely passable (I know, I'm a horrible Canadian), though I can understand when spoken to in French (and Italian actually).  Learning another language is an idea that's been in my head for years.  It's another thing that I've always talked about but never put into action.  And so, this is me making good on promises to myself.  An honest attempt at learning to converse in a language other than English.

Considering I live with a Brazilian, I thought what better language to learn than Portuguese.  Now, I can annoy him with my terrible pronunciation :)  Haha, but seriously, Pedro has been an excellent tutor.  Thanks for putting up with me Pedro!

3) I started running/training/doing yoga/going to the gym.   This is new for me.  Going to the gym 5x a week is definitely not something I am used to.  I spent the summer trying to change my lifestyle, and it was about time.  I feel about 10 000 000x better these days, with a lot more energy.  Though with all that energy, sometimes the last thing I want to do is sit at my computer after I've finished work and blog.. Sorry guys.  Running wins (sometimes)!

4)  Pedro's parents were visiting from Mozambique.  While Pedro's family is Brazilian, his parents are currently living in Mozambique (a Portuguese speaking country in Africa, which shares a border with South Africa).  They were here for a week, and Pedro and I got to spend a lot of time with them, which was wonderful.  We even went to Niagara on the Lake, and the surrounding wine region (with my parents as well), which was a very nice way to spend a Sunday afternoon.  We spent the week wandering the city, and indulging at some of Toronto's finest restaurants (Momofuku Daisho, and Patria were our favourites).  We even had a chance to catch a film at TIFF (The Toronto International Film Festival - which is on right now), before they jetted off towards home.

5) The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) is on right now!  Pedro and I have been to see 3 films in the last week.  All were fantastic in their respective ways, but my favourite so far was, Brazilian Western.  I don't know, call me old fashioned, but I guess I'm a sucker for a story, and dialogue.  Haha.. which the first two films kind of lack.  I mean, I went to art school, I understand strange, conceptual, and wanting to explore various themes or new techniques.  However, when I go to the movies, I like a story.  Sue me.

6) Client projects, rush projects, big projects, small projects.  Even though the summer was a little slower than the rest of the year, I managed to keep busy with client projects, and a little revamp to my business (though that will probably be changing again quite soon - more on that in a minute).  Hopefully I can share some of what I have been working on with you soon :)

7) This blog needs to change.  I don't really know what I want this blog to be anymore.  I do know, that I don't think my design studio should really be associated with it.  Polka Dotted Pixels will be the blog, and A.K. Pettinato Designs will be my studio (as it was, and pretty much always has been).  It's confusing for my clients, and I don't think the two are related enough to coincide with each other.  I'm ok with this.  While I've made it a practice to not share TOO much of my personal life, I feel that if the blog is going to serve as a business outlet, the personal info needs to be next to nil, and focus mainly on design, photography and culture.  If I want it to be about my life + experiences, well maybe it should be something else entirely.  I don't know, I am very confused at this point.  Hence the lack of posting.  

Sincerely, this blog just hasn't felt right for awhile.  I don't like to commit to doing things, to then only give them half of my energy.  I set a pretty high goal for myself - trying to post everyday, and then 4 times a week, then 3 times a week.  But even that is too much.  I kind of became obsessed - checking my stats all the time, constantly being on social media promoting.  AGH, it's stressing me out just thinking about it.  I have over 1000 blog posts to read on Bloglovin'.  I just can't deal with that - it gives me anxiety.  And I really want to read everything everyone has to say - I really do!  Because I've met some really wonderful people from across the globe through this blog.  BUT, I'm running a one-woman operation here.  Between my design work, dealing with clients, working out, taking care of my dog, taking care of myself, my family/friends/boyfriend, and trying to improve my life - I just don't have time to do everything.  

I needed a break.  Badly.  And I got it.  But just bear with me as I try to find a place for Polka Dotted Pixels in my future. 

Love and polka dots,

Alex

Taking Care of Business

Today, I read a fantastic post on Breanna Rose's blog.  If you don't follow her, you really should!  Breanna's blog has a bevy of beautiful images and inspirations, but what I am really drawn to is her Be Free, Lance series.  

I think it is so wonderful to receive advice from other freelancers, and I love that the internet is such a powerful tool that allows us to connect with our peers across the world (and on a local scale) to share our experiences and knowledge.

Anyways, Breanna's column today was about how as a freelance designer you really have to learn to be confident in your work  and make sure that you are not undervaluing yourself.  I know that I am 100% guilty of this, but I've been taking steps to change and prevent it.  

Her column made me really think about some of my business practices and new processes that I need to implement to allow me to work more and stress less.  So, I will be creating a price list mailer for my clients, as well as a PDF that guides the client through my design/creative process.  I'm actually pretty excited.  I mean, it's more work, but I think it will be super rewarding/beneficial in the long run.

Sighs.. with each completed project I learn something new about business, about people + working with clients, and even about myself.  From writing contracts + invoices, taking deposits, dealing with clients who don't want to pay, or just don't understand  - there has definitely been a bit of a learning curve!  Don't ever let anyone tell you being a freelancer is easy.  It's really not. But you know what, this past year has been a crazy ride, and I am so glad that I got to do it on my own terms.  I wouldn't change being my own boss for the world.

Want more advice on freelancing/design/working for yourself?  Check out Bri & Katie from DESIGNLOVEFEST - their ADVICE series is fab!  Also, Elsie Larson over at, A Beautiful Mess, does a wonderful job shedding some light on what it's like to be your own boss in a creative field!

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