redesign: inspire 2013


i’m hugely excited to announce that i’ll be speaking at the redesign: inspire conference this fall, october 21 – 22, 2013, at the smog shoppe in culver city!

described as equal parts conference, salon and retreat, redesign: inspire is shaping up to be a fantastic creative getaway [or staycation, if you’re local]. i’m already overwhelmed at the company i’m in honor of keeping at this event. as you’ll see the speaker lineup unfold through june and july, it’s a group of truly outstanding design thinkers and industry leaders. this year’s event symposiarch is lawrence azerrad, a fantastic designer i met at aiga’s blueprint: freelance panel discussion.

parlato_2013_150this year’s theme is cross-pollination, “drawing from sources beyond traditional design to enhance, strengthen and inspire our work.” i’ll be talking about my long and winding road in design, moving ever outward from the day-to-day bubble in order to give my work balance and clarity. i love the idea that this is a forum format, because while i have plenty to share from my own experience, i’m equally excited to hear from attendees as well. every speaker will be tackling this topic from a different angle. join us and get in on the conversation!

this conference has an early-bird registration deadline of june 30, 2013, for the best possible rate! register this week, and keep your eyes on the redesign: inspire site for new announcements.

from big sur and back to work

mcway falls
view of mcway falls from cliff trail above

last week i took a much-needed summer vacation in the bay area and big sur. though i’ve had the weekend to get back into the swing and ready to tackle the week, i’m still looking at these photos, smelling marine-layered pine needles and dreaming of a to-do list that only included preparing meals, hiking, lining up a bundle of firewood, and pairing a campfire dinner with camp-friendly wine. here’s a selection of my favorite photos from the trip, and with that, back to work!

andrew molera state park
coastal bluffs along andrew molera state park
riparian forest
riparian forest at pfeiffer beach
creamery meadow trail
creamery meadow trail in andrew molera state park
starfish and sea anemones in tidepools at partington cove
nepenthe view
view of the beach from breakfast at kivah cafe at nepenthe
seaweed and jellyfish
seaweed and jellyfish in partington cove
pfeiffer beach
late afternoon at pfeiffer beach
shelf fungus
shelf fungus on a tree stump in our camp site
partington cove
waves in partington cove

making meaning from wandering for a good cause

desktop wallpaper
desktop wallpaper for colleen wainwright's awesome 50-for-50 project!

i have been away. i’ve been more than away, i’ve been busy, and it’s taken time away from writing here. it’s been quite a summer of helping to get exciting projects wrapped and launched, and once that was all done, i went to help out with the stanford jazz camp’s music marketing panel, and finally off to big sur to decompress. funny about decompression, it sometimes helps you focus on what to do next, even when you think you’re not thinking about it.

i had one assignment, which was to get my contribution for colleen wainwright’s outstanding birthday countdown: the 50-for-50 project [raising $50k in 50 days for her 50th birthday gift donation to]. i made a desktop wallpaper illustrating a quote, one of the many fine things you can get in one of colleen’s cleverly tailored donation packages. lucky for me, i happened to be taking a lot of walks on a trip specifically designed for stopping to smell the flowers, and found this lovely scene in andrew molera state park on the creamery meadow trail. colleen is halfway to her goal and has about 30 days to go. check her list of fantastic perks, pick one and donate to a great cause!

as for me, i am ready to dig in and recommit to more writing and posting and less feeling overwhelmed or too busy. summer vacation is over and i’m refreshed and ready to tackle the daily grind with renewed energy. thanks for sticking around!

event calendar: creative freelancer conference

late afternoon cloud gradient
late afternoon cloud gradient

it’s the start of another week, only this one’s different. for one thing, i’m heading off to the creative freelancer conference in chicago for a few days of networking, re-engaging and connecting with a great group of people. for another, i’ve been feeling ready to change things up around here, and while i’m not sure about how and where to transition, i think it’s best to take the week, get the takeaways from the conference and come out on the other side ready to rock.

other than wrapping up tasks, i’ll be cleaning my office, which has fallen into some level of neglect, since i somehow decided that i needed to overhaul my reference archives, and couldn’t do one single other thing until that daunting task was finished. so i’m doing a big “okay, FINE!” on myself, taking the day, sorting through the archives, streamlining them and then cleaning the office. that way, it will be all refreshed for my return, ready to figure out the next steps.

in the meantime, i’m packing up the camera, favorite pens and notepads, going to soak up what i can of chicago between sessions and dive into CFC, updating daily along the way. i wrote about last year here [day 1] and here [day 2], so i’m looking forward to another year of development and discovery on the veteran designer session track. see you next week!

creative inspiration

los angeles
first look: LA scores a bold new museum by diller scofidio renfro, from

i love this story from about not having access to a green barrel or composting bin, rogue composting, and making a friend who will trade compostables for backyard fruit. this is community when it works: how i started composting and got free grapefruit too.


honey bee infographic
in my travels this week, it seems like it’s an infographic time of year. design-wise, everything cool i found was a display of information, starting with this one above who cares if honey bees are dying, which is quite extensive and can only be excerpted here. another one worth every dead end [and a few green pastures] it leads to is jessica hische’s “should i work for free” flowchart, telling the all-too-true tales of why the answer is almost always NO. and then shares their own round-up this week 8 great infographics which includes a stunning radiant moon phase calendar.

design industry

favorite logos
creative review is asking you to vote on your favorite logos. i haven’t made my picks yet, but it’s all over the design blogosphere. weigh in on your favorites!

this freelancer workout is close to my heart, as i quit the gym last year, citing lovely LA weather and abhorrence of commuting for why i wouldn’t return again unless i return to a regular work-related commute.

since you haven’t heard enough about my retreat yet, i wrote about it for the creative freelancer blog: what a difference a retreat makes, and then i updated my own retreat recap with specifics about last year’s milestones and this year’s goals.


winter root vegetable haystack fritters
get the story on celeriac and a recipe for veggie haystack fritters in my weekly seasonal eats for LAist. then, if you’re really into this whole seasonal thing, but you’re not in LA and aren’t sure how to do it where you live, epicurious has an interactive seasonal map of winter seasonal foods just for you! and hey, if you’re more curious about how different food systems work and can affect you [especially the yous in the colder areas who rely on a delivery system] there’s this really interesting piece: mapping food access on the ecocentric blog. and with that, i’m out!

retreat report: 2010

hope springs resort
the retreat “thinkspace”

what better time to reflect on a warm, sunny retreat than during a week-long los angeles deluge, right? if you can remember as far back as last week, we were having a little december heat wave, which was a great setting for my annual year-end brain storm.

hope springs resort
pinkies in the garden

i chose hope springs resort as i do every year because they offer the perfect setting: no kids, no pets, no tvs. only stereos with ipod hookups, robes & towels, and a fruit-forward continental breakfast every morning as the backdrop to 3 mineral pools ranging from hot to warm, surrounded by a succulent garden.

the resort cat visits our room
the resort cat visits our room

i followed my plan of wind-down the first night, write about the past year the 2nd day, and then plan the future the 3rd day, though i was so busy, i had to break some of my own rules. for one thing, i had to take work with me and keep in touch with clients, though i kept it to a minimum. of course, it’s not a retreat if you ignore the “rest” part of the deal. sometimes you need someone to show you what rest looks like. the resident resort cat visited us the second day we arrived, to test our chair. it worked.

annual planning on retreat
annual planning

in reviewing the previous year’s notes, it was apparent that i was optimistic, but not nearly as established as i am now, so my tone is hopeful but less confident than i remembered. this past year was pretty big for putting myself out into different circles and participating in a lot more than just my business, though still as a means of exploring what else i can do. i decided to format my reflections on the past as follow ups, addressing each one i wrote last year and explaining where those actions, thoughts or concerns have ended up now, and what i plan to do to make progress this year. once i finished the follow up, i added new things i started doing in 2010 and noted what i thought of each one, how i planned to flesh it out in 2011.

in 2010, i…
+ increased blogging from weekly to daily
+ started guest blogging for other blogs and organizations
+ consistently wrote a monthly newsletter all year
+ increased my client base & laid groundwork for more repeat & regular business
+ hosted 1-2 mixers per month through biznik
+ tried group co-working in a few different setups
+ chose and fostered relationships with inspirational mentors and friends
+ worked with educational institutions through the LA chamber
+ started working with the AIGA programming committee
+ stopped seeing other designers as competition
+ streamlined & refined my proposal, contract & work process
+ started offering more web design and content development services
+ opened an online store

i saved a bee
i saved a bee

then i took a swimming break and saved a drowning bee. she clung to me, but i eventually convinced her to join her friends among the rosemary blossoms.

tea and spa water at hope springs resort
floral tea & spa water = double hydration

the following day, i did more of a freeform brainstorm, with far more breaks for clearing my head. i’m at an interesting point where i’ve started a bunch of projects or gotten involved in a few organizations, and i’m ready to analyze how each is working and focus the balance of attention they get. i also have a bunch of projects i want to work on next year, so i wrote about ideas for each of them, and gave myself rough time periods to work on them. it’s surprising, while i was doing all this writing, some new things i hadn’t considered came up, so i talked them over with jason. next year is going to be an exercise in time management if i want to balance professional and personal work with all the extra-curriculars i want to do, but all i can say is that i’ll try it out and assess how it’s going along the way.

in 2011, i plan to…
+ strike a balance of writing for other blogs and orgs that work well for me
+ keep the blogging & newsletter going strong
+ continue to add regular & repeat clients so i can pick & choose the 1-offs
+ collaborate with a few orgs and individuals on programming meaningful design events
+ grow the store with revolving products through the year
+ make more industry-focused promotional pieces
+ revamp and reformat my web site [this has been on the back burner too long!]
+ participate in co-working at least 2 times per month, biznik once per month
+ write, design & self-publish a food projects book

pink spike cactus
this is what my brain felt like

in the end, i wrote 17 pages about what’s been going on, where it’s going, and where i’m directing it in the future. i’m excited and energized for next year, and thankful that we have a holiday season for a little slow down before the big work starts. i’m taking any downtime this week to enjoy where i’m at and get mentally prepared, and then taking downtime next week to do a little more date-charting so i can get a more realistic picture of plans & goals. once i can see it, i can stay aware of it and do it. bring on the new year!

creative inspiration

a cute little video on how paper gets recycled. parlato design studio uses high if not 100% post consumer recycled papers whenever possible. the holiday cards currently for sale were printed on neenah environment PC100!


hatch design wine country posters
[image: designworklife]
i’m loving these wine country travel posters by hatch for the sf moma wine exhibit, available for sale in the museum store. thanks designworklife for the link.

wine packaging

bottle of packaging
[image: thedieline]
beautiful typographic wine packaging for bottle of by swear words. some more nice type-driven pieces i found include adir winery and one-two punch wine.

design industry

so, what’s new this week? i’ve been writing for the creative freelancer blog, and lately i won’t shut up about year-end retreats. only 4 more days till mine starts! planning your year-end retreat, for

need things to incorporate into next year’s planning while you’re sitting by the pool in desert hot springs? see, i did it again. how about 10 reasons to rethink your web site, from [i am totally in need of an overhaul here], or these 2 from parse design your business plan, by doug powell and craft a more effective identity, by peleg top.

if you’re not into holiday cards but don’t want to miss the opportunity to connect with your clients & vendors, consider a transition to new year’s cards, alisa tells you how: do you have your new year’s cards ready?

beyond design

craft a paper star
[image: craft magazine]
the holiday how-tos are rolling in these days, i thought this paper holiday star was particularly cute, and something we could all probably do with some of the paper we’d normally throw into the recycling bin. decorate with it for a few weeks!

if you like baking cookies for the holidays, saveur compiled their 20 best holiday cookie recipes, and boy are they cute!

speaking of food [were we?] i’ve got another piece for LAist: seasonal eats: a little something about sunchokes.

event calendar: december 6 – 12, 2010

raindrops on echeveria
[raindrops on echeveria]

the holiday onslaught is here! it’s going to be a lot of hard work and a lot of socializing!

here’s what i’m up to

monday, december 6, 8:30pm sifr-cipher-zero: cyber-shamanizing at betalevel, FREE!

tuesday, december 7 blood is the new black pop-up shop cocktail party. this cute, tiny storefront has a temporary pop-up shop for the holidays, and i’m gonna go scope it out.

wednesday, december 8, 5:30-8pm biznik happy hour at jerry’s deli in marina del rey. FREE! join myself and colleen wainwright for our last hurrah as the dynamic duo hostesses of LA’s longest-running biznik mixer [i’ll be bringing back the east side mixer in the new year, so this is my last time on the west side].

thursday, december 9, 7-10pm behance/aiga december meetup FREE! behance and aiga bring together creatives from all over the southland for their monthly meetup, this month at my favorite highland park pub, the york!

saturday, december 11 8pm-midnight the love art show FREE at pehrspace.

sunday, december 12 hitting the road bright and early for my year-end retreat!

article of the week

take time to celebrate and dream by justin ahrens for HOW’s parse blog.

i saved this article earlier this week because it looked interesting, but i hadn’t read it until this morning. what a nice surprise to see another voice on the importance of the year-end retreat. i got to see ahrens speak with von glitschka on how africa changed everything at adobe max this year and his approach and philosophy were really inspirational. he suggests some things i hadn’t though of—bringing your design work to review and analyzing clients. good thing my getaway isn’t for another week, i can add these steps into my own process as well.