Monday, October 29, 2012

The Story In Numbers


Between my research class, an account planning class, and trying to re-work past projects, I have been unable to escape numbers this semester. I have to admit, I have been pretty excited for finally feeling like I am enrolled in an legitimate academic institution. With all the numbers and data I have been finding, I have also been figuring out how to decipher what is important, relevant, and/or compelling and how to construct it into neat and tidy story that is inspiring to others.

I found this infographic on AirBnB's growth from their start up to January 2012. I love me a good infographic, when done right they make numbers easily digestible, like this...
 Mmmmmmmm, green monster smoothie, you make it so easy to 
consume three pounds of kale and broccoli

Unfortunately, infographics done wrong can be less like an easily digestible smoothie and more like this
 Nothing says love like chewing the food before you feed it to your toddler

The AirBnB infographic fell somewhere around here
Hope you don't have diverticulitis

It looked good and made all those numbers really easy to understand while telling a compelling story with them. They didn't do anything ground breaking with this infographic; it looks good, shares some data, and is formatted in the ridiculously long column format that seems as if it was meant to takeover Pinterest. The story of the company's growth was told in an interesting, and very clear to see way from start to finish and they even gave multiple types of graphics to re-iterate the point they were trying to make.
This is probably my favorite graphic out of the whole bunch because they didn't even give numbers (besides the date.) They had the numbers, they knew exactly how many listings there were/are and they could have just written them out but who ever digested those stats realized that showing a block by block graphic told a far more compelling story than just giving straight numbers. 
The above graphic is my least favorite in the story. This is an example of design hindering, rather than helping, the story. My issue with it is that they are trying to show how many offices they have and point out that they are all over the world, but with the map being oriented away from us and being rectangular as opposed to circular or oval, there is a lot of the southern hemisphere that is looking neglected and making their offices in 9 countries seem less impressive than it should, or could.

Overall, I really like this infographic because it has so many examples of ways to digest numbers while telling a story with them. I appreciate the individual graphics that are not as successful as some of the others because they demonstrate the importance of being able to edit yourself in order to tell a well crafted story.

Infographic found here
Smoothie found here
Alicia Silverstone found here
LaraBar found here

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Dining Table Chronicles Vol. 3

Right now the dining table is looking like dark walnuty goodness. I had to put four coats of stain on it because the top looked stripey, it still does (especially in the photo) but it looks much much better. Actually it looks good. I am giving the stain a couple days to fully dry and I am going to spend some time dusting the apartment before I apply poly. Next time I post about the table it will be done and I will give a full how-to on the whole process.

In other news, because I am restless and have a million different projects I want to tackle I am already started on the next one. Here's a hint

Monday, July 16, 2012

Sit On It

As the table re-finishing project moves along I can't help but think about how badly I want some new chairs to go with it, and of course how I would like to (re)decorate the whole dining/office area. I am dreaming after these beauties but unfortunately being fun-employed means I don't have enough pennies to buy these =[
They are of course the Eiffel Tower Wire Chairs if you happen to have four sitting around your house that you want to donate to charity me then I will think you are the most awesome person in the world and I want to raid your house for whatever other awesome treasures you have but until then I will just be oogling over them through my computer screen and thinking how good they would look with my table every time I walk to the kitchen.

Up next on my wish list is a card catalog, I have been looking for an awesomely priced one for years with no luck but I am hopeful. I especially like how they used this card catalog to store the booze–perfect for my dining/office area. I mean drinking is appropriate while dining and it is sometimes necessary while doing homework.
Image via apartment therapy

So there you go, what my greedy consumerist mind is coveting right now. I am insatiable I tell ya....JK (sorry for typing JK but it seemed appropriate)

Friday, July 13, 2012

The Dining Table Chronicles Vol. 2

I have been sanding the table like a crazy person. Actually, I think that sanding the table has in many ways kept me from becoming a crazy person. School has been really stressful and I have literally been dreaming about my projects, but the little relief I have is when I work on the table. It gives me a chance to step away from my work, let my thoughts marinate, and get re-energized for homework. I really wanted to work on this project alone but since I was sanding by hand I felt limited and really like I lacked the strength and power to fully sand down a few spots on the table so I had to bring in Patrick to sand for about an hour or two. I was so grateful to have him help because the stain was not coming out and I had sanded for several hours and seemed to not make a dent but Patrick came in and almost sanded through the table, I had to keep a close eye on him and he actually over sanded in a spot but hopefully no one notices.

Monday, July 2, 2012

We Went To The Fair

On Saturday evening Patrick and I headed to the Alameda County Fair. It was our second time going and it did not disappoint. Even though we went because I wanted to take some pictures of the rides at night we couldn't help but indulge in all the fair food. In between checking out the landscape exhibits, the baby ducks, and the miniature train setup we managed to gorge on fried twinkies, a giant turkey leg, corn on the cob, chocolate dipped ice cream cone, fresh squeezed lemonade, and of course, funnel cake. Despite putting myself into a sugar coma I think I still got some pretty decent shots, what do you think?

Friday, June 29, 2012

Tunes To Commute To

Here is a playlist of the tunes I have been listening to on my walk/BART ride to school. It is a little random but I hope you enjoy! Is there any music I should be listening to?

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Dining Table Chronicles vol. 1

Recently I wrote about how I ruined something that I got from Patrick's parents and unfortunately I have to tell you that I have ruined more than one thing. Well, I guess I didn't ruin the dining table but I didn't make it much better. Let me start from the beginning, we got a table that belonged to Patrick's grandmother, the table was awesome but at nearly 100 years old the finish had seen better days. We (mostly Patrick) sanded the table as best we could but at the time we were cold because it was in the middle of winter and we were in a rush because we were working on it at Patrick's parents house and we needed to go home (with the table) we ended up getting rid of the old cracked stain and then washing it with some black paint, it looked pretty good but we used a really crappy sealer and that has not held up. In the year and a half since we redid the table, the table has gotten cup rings and scuffs and it looks baaaad and this table deserves to look good.

On my first day of school, June 18th, I got busy applying the first coat of stripper. I started small and did one panel of the table top at a time. This project is going to be slow going and I am not planning on completing it until my last day of school, August 8th, so look forward to a few progress posts. Oh, and in case you are curious as to why I am planning on taking so long to finish this project it is because I am busy with school and don't have tons of time to commit to it and because I get impatient and bored with things and that usually leads to half-assed crappy projects so I am hoping that by working on it for just a little bit every few days that I will not get tired of inhaling stripper and will make for a beautiful finished table.
 I forgot to take a proper before shot but at least here you can see half of the before and half of in-progress
The stripper is working its magic
Halfway through stripping the top

Monday, June 25, 2012

The Long Long Hike

Last March I registered for the Summer session, I was ambitious and I signed up for three normally difficult classes but as time creeped on and it neared time to actually take those classes I realized that those normally difficult classes were going to drain me mentally and physically because summer session means that all the hard work happens in half the time. I made the wise choice to drop a class and switch a class. And that is the long-ish story of how I ended up in a photography class.

So the reason I decided on taking a photography class is because 1) I wanted to practice taking pictures (that is also one of the reasons I started a blog) and 2) I knew that taking a class that forced me to get out of the house was the only way I was going to have a fun summer and not stay inside feeling consumed by homework. My first photo adventure took Patrick and me to Mt. Diablo State Park. It took us only about a 30 minute drive further into the East Bay and then 12 hours to conquer the mountain. At 18 miles this was the most difficult hike I have ever been on–mentally and physically, and despite climbing over 3,500 feet to reach the summit, it was coming down that was really the challenge. I had assumed that coming down would be difficult– down is difficult for me because I have bad knees and the the pressure of downhill hikes can get really intense but going down Mt. Diablo was super duper difficult because the trails we followed down were super gravelly and that meant super slippery. I fell down numerous times and got the bruises on my butt to prove it. I am pretty sure that at one stretch it took us nearly an hour to walk one mile (downhill!) Anyways, it was definitely worth all the hard work and I had a great time so if you are ever in the area I recommend you check it out. P.S. the pictures below are a few I showed to my photography class

Friday, June 22, 2012

Restoring a Sewing Box

A few years ago I got this awesome sewing box from Patrick's parents, I loved that I finally had a place to store all my sewing supplies but I was not a fan of the reddish stain that it had so Patrick and I spray painted it light blue. What a mistake. I was not super crazy about the blue because it was too blue and I like a blue with a little green AND we tried spray painting in Arcata. For those of you who have never been to the lovely town of Arcata, CA let me fill you in– it is a tiny town located in Humboldt County on the Northern California coast. It is almost always foggy, damp, and cold...this is not the place you want to be spray painting. But, that is where we were living and I wanted the box painted so we tried. and failed. The paint was peeling and crackled and looked HORRIBLE. I was sad that I had ruined the box but I left it alone until a few days ago. Something got into me and I decided that I had to rectify the wrong I had committed so I whipped out the stripper and got to work. I stripped. I sanded. I stained. Stained. And stained some more. Three coats of poly later and I was ready to tackle the inside. I mod podged some fabric scraps on the inside and finally the project was finished. I am soo happy that I made this box beautiful again, especially because while I was working on it I noticed a tag taped to the bottom saying that it was made by a student of Garfield High in 1952!