Getting Serious

Just a note, this post is a duplicate from my new blog at I won’t double post often, but since it’s my first one over there, I figured I could hype it a little extra.

So, here it is, the all new! I’ve been working non-stop to get this site up and running, and I’m very happy with the way it has turned out. I’d love to get feedback on the new look, so feel free to leave a comment.

If you’ve been following my page from the beginning, you know that this site is not the same site that was on a week ago. The look is different, the focus is different, and even the hosting and framework for the page are different. I really liked my last page and the company that I worked with to put it together was great. You can make some really great sites with them, especially if you’re building a site for a church. It was a really difficult decision to leave that site and make this one. I may have even hurt some feelings in the process. So why did I make the change?

It all came down to one question: Do I want to do graphic design/website building as a side business or is it is going to be my real job?

When I built my first site, I knew I wanted to do graphic design, but I didn’t have any real focus. The site was scattered, with links to 100 different project types and the general message seemed to be, “I’m desperate. Please hire me.” Even though I can still work on all types of projects, if I wanted to be serious about graphic design, I had to find my focus.

Since launching, I have been blessed with a pretty steady stream of work and a majority of it has come from small business owners wanting me to build them a website. After investigating my options for site building and trying a lot of possibilities, I’ve fallen in love with building sites using WordPress and the Headway Theme. (See why here.) After working on six or seven sites this way and getting completely sold on the idea, I realized that if I was serious about selling this to clients, I had to get on board myself.

If graphic design was just going to be my hobby or side business, I could keep my old site. If I was serious about making sites for living, I had to make some hard decisions and build a new site.

I chose to start getting serious.

I am now a full time freelance graphic designer making websites mainly for small businesses. I love my new WordPress site and the control I have over every element. I love working with clients and delivering websites and graphics that make them happy and help their businesses. I love learning new ways to customize the sites I build with CSS and HTML. I love the freedom that freelancing offers. I’m serious about graphic design now and I’m seriously happy about it.

Customize Your Desktop with Rainmeter

I just finished completely redoing my and Alanna’s desktops using Rainmeter and a skin called Omnimo UI. If you’ve never used Rainmeter, it’s very easy to install and set up (step-by-step instructions are on the Omnimo link) and makes your desktop endlessly customizable. There are tons of skins out there providing tons of functionality. Give it a try sometime!

Click here to view on my deviantART page.

I’ve made a few changes to my desktop since putting it on my dA, so I wanted to add a screenshot of that one too…

After putting Alanna’s together, I was a little disappointed because I liked hers better. (So did most of the deviantART community apparently.) But now that I’ve updated, I’m pretty happy with mine as well.

Trick Out Your Internet Experience

Have you switched from Internet Explorer to Firefox yet? If not, why not? Firefox is faster, more secure, and, through add-ons, completely customizable. These extensions can change the look of the browser, increase performance, and just do some cool tricks. I switched a while back, and I just keep finding more and more to like about it. I’ve spent the last few days tweaking my toolbar to make it streamlined for my daily use.

I’ve got a few basic navigational buttons, my address bar, Google search, a few favorite bookmark icons, and a drop down menu containing all the elements of the “Menus Toolbar.” This was done through a variety of add-ons. Here are a few of my favorites

  • Adblock Plus – Absolutely essential! Adblock makes browsing the Internet an almost ad free experience. More than a pop-up blocker, Adblock gets rid of pretty much all the junk that clutters up most webpages. After getting used to AdBlock Plus, you forget what the internet truly looks like until you turn this extension off.
  • Boost for Facebook – If you’re a Facebook junkie like me, you’re going to want this one. It automatically logs you in, allows you to poke with just one click (no annoying confirmation pop-up), and when you point your mouse at a picture, it shows you a full size preview without having to click. You can even adjust the look of the pages if you feel the need.
  • Fasterfox Lite – Firefox is already a fast browser, but Fasterfox speeds up your browsing even more. I prefer the Lite version because it doesn’t have the bandwidth eating prefetching feature.
  • Personal Menu – This extension moves the big “Menus Toolbar” to a small button. Great for saving space on the toolbar!
  • Tab Mix Plus – Tab Mix Plus enhances Firefox’s tab browsing capabilities. You are able to undo closed tabs and windows, duplicate tabs, monitor activity in loading tabs,
  • Webmail Notifier – Does exactly what you would expect. I use Gmail as my primary email client, and this handy litttle extention puts an icon in the right-hand corner of the status bar that lets me know whenever I have a new message.

So, are you a Firefox convert yet? I resisted for a long time, but after making the switch, I can’t imagine surfing any other way. Download it here. If you’re already using Firefox, what are your favorite add-ons?