Climate Matters

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Let me begin by saying that I usually don’t talk about political issues here on Joycreation. But in the case of climate change I feel strongly that it’s more than a political matter – it’s a global issue that is effecting us all right here and now.

Last weekend we took the bus from Madison, WI to Washington, D.C. to join a group of approximately 50 000 people in urging Obama to reject the XL Keystone Pipeline that would deliver oil from the Canadian Tar Sands to the U.S.  36 hours on the bus. 7 hours in D.C. It was a whirlwind to say the least!

I joined the rally with very little knowledge. In fact, my first reaction to a 36 hour bus ride in the midst of our busy lives was: “insanity!” But being a part of this enthusiastic and diverse crowd, hearing the devastating stories from those directly affected by tar sands, and learning so much more about climate change, was an experience I wouldn’t have wanted to miss. I can see more trips to D.C. in my future.

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Tar Sands Oil is known to have detrimental effects on the environment, animals and human beings. It consists of heavy crude oil, sand, clay and bitumen, a mix that can cause illnesses such as asthma, various forms of cancer, and cardiovascular diseases. According to the Sierra Club “Greenhouse gas emissions from tar sands production are three times those of conventional oil and gas production, and producing synthetic crude oil emits up to 20% more greenhouse gas emissions than low-sulfur, light crude oils,” making it the worst type of oil for the climate.

Obama has the executive power to say “NO” to say no to all of this.

As Chief Jackie Thomas so poignantly said in her speech: “When we take care of the land, we take care of us. If we destroy this land, we destroy ourselves.” To me that’s common sense, not a question about right or wrong. I believe it is incredibly ignorant (and arrogant) to think, we can do anything to this planet without facing further consequences.

No matter our ethnicity, class or political views, we’re all in this together. It’s time to get moving – if not for the earth, then at least for ourselves and the ones we love.

To end this on a lighter note, here is one of my favorite quotes (it was actually one of the jokes told on the bus ride back):

“So what IF climate change is just a hoax? Just think, we’d be creating a better world for NOTHING!”

You can find more information on the topic – and ways to support the cause – on 350.org and the Sierra Club. Both did an exceptional job organizing this!

Have a wonderful weekend!

xoxo

top photo via 350.org

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In The Moment

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“You know, I’m just really happy with where things are at right now,” a friend of mine told me in a recent phone conversation.

As I was preparing for today’s post, I couldn’t help but think of her words. She was right – for years both of us had been working hard to achieve happiness, to find the right partner, choose the best place to live, a career we’d find fulfillment in. And although we haven’t quite completed our goals in all areas, we certainly have gotten much closer to them. There will always be things we can do to increase our overall happiness (e.g. I know my body would really thank me for a work-out at the gym!), but rather than thinking about the next big challenge or change, maybe it’s OK to stay in one place, just for a little while.

Currently, for me that place is learning and improving my craft, while also getting some practical experience in the field of web and graphic design. And I’m really digging that place! Yesterday one of the students in our Design Fundamentals class shouted out with glee: “I’m loving this! I’m so happy!” As I was sitting across from her, carefully cutting out my little shapes for our abstract art piece, I had to smile. I too felt happy. And so lucky! Happy to be right there in the moment. Lucky to be sitting in this class, working across from someone like her, who was just as giddy as I was about the all things we were learning (after all, how often do you get to work with rubber cement? I’ll be sharing more on that next week).

But as I was mounting my shapes to the white vellum paper, I realized something else. My happiness wasn’t solely effected by what I was doing, but also by how I was doing it. Having found something I’m truly interested in has enabled me to commit to it wholeheartedly. But in the end, it’s the genuine commitment that has made me feel better about myself and more confident in what I am doing. I can tell it by the way I move, and by the way I talk to others and to myself. I’m think I may have detected a new level of confidence – not only through my accomplishments, but who I’m becoming as a person.

As I continue to learn, I’m curious to see where things will be at in six months. But for now life IS just really good as it is.

Wishing you all a happy Valentine’s Day!

Much love,

Lisa

 

 

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How To Add A Pin It Button to Your Images in WordPress

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One of the things I wanted to integrate in my redesign of Joycreation was a “pin it” button for images – the kind that pops up, when you hover over an image. And thanks to WordPress plugins it turned out to be an easy add-on (note: this only works with a self-hosted WordPress account!)

Of course there are tons of plugins to choose from, but the one most people use and recommend is the jQuery Pin It Button For Images. The nice thing about it: it’s easy to install, AND you can easily swap the standard Pin It button for your very customized one.

So, how did I go about this? Here’s a step by step tutorial that will get you set up quick:

1. If you want to use your own Pin It button, all you need to do is create it in Photoshop or Illustrator. My button has a height of 41px and a width of 83px. You can make yours larger or smaller.

Note: prefer Illustrator for most of my graphic work, because vector based images are scalable and hence resolution independent, which means you get a nice and crisp look (no matter the size), rather than the blurry look we so often see with pixel based images.

2. Once you have designed your button, go to your WordPress dashboard and upload it to your Media panel. Go to “edit image” and copy the url of your image.

3. Now, let install the plugin. Go to Plugins (see left sidebar, underneath “Appearance”.

4. In the Plugins drop-down menu go to “add new” and search for “pin it button for images”. Choose “jQuery Pin It Button For Images” (it should come up as one of the first ones). Click “Install Now”.

5. Return to your plugins panel and go to “Installed Plugins”. Find your “jQuery Pin It Button for Images” plugin and click “activate”.

Yay! Your plugin is now activated – you can test it one of your posts by hovering over the image – the pin it button will come up.

6. Now we’re going to customize the look a little more. Go to Settings (dashboard, left sidebar) and choose your Pin It plugin. A “Plugin Settings” window will come up, and this is where you can make your adjustments.

Under “Transparency” set your desired opacity settings. How transparent would you like your image to be when you hover over it? I set mine at 0.3 for a fairly transparent look. Just play with it, and see what you like best!

7. If you want to use the standard Pin it button, all you need to do now, is save your settings and you’re done. Want to use your own button? Easy peasy! Continue on to step 8.

USING YOUR OWN BUTTON:

8. Remember, earlier we copied the url of your image. All you need to do now is check the “Use Custom Image” box (underneath the transparency settings) and paste your url into the URL Address box. Set the height and width.

9. Decide on which pages the Pin It button should be shown (by checking according boxes). Personally, I’ve chosen all except for “pages”. However, it’s also possible to disable this feature on single pages and posts. To do this go to “edit post” (or page) and simply disable the Pin It button (right sidebar bottom). I do this for my Happiness Linkup, because if I don’t, all avatars end up with a Pin It button, which is not the idea.

That’s it! Enjoy your Pin It button! And let me know, if you have any questions – I’m always happy to help!

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On Finding Your Rhythm

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A few years back, I was listening to a podcast on the topic of finding and honoring your own rhythm. I remember Jamie Ridler’s words particularly well, because hearing them felt like an epiphany at the time. While I’m sure I knew about individual rhythms on an intellectual level, it was the first time I truly opened myself up to the idea that it’s OK to have a different rhythm. Continue reading

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HOW TO BE A HIPSTER

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I had to laugh out loud, when I stumbled upon this Berlin based Etsy shop The Hipstery. If you’ve ever wondered how to be a true hipster, you’ve come to the right place!

hipsterguideThe Hipstery equips you with all the hipster essentials and provides some education too: each kit comes with an Informative Guide on How to be a Hipster (and there is one exclusively for Berlin!).

berlinkitBut my absolute favorite: the Denglish print! (I actually own one now, and they generously sent me the matching tote bag as a bonus!).  It’s rare that I buy the things I curate online (not because I don’t want to, but because I’d be completely broke by now!). However, when I came across this poster, the temptation was too big. For non-German speakers: it translates common German sayings into English – literally word for word. I have translated a few for you below.

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Denglish*: It’s me sausage. > German: Das ist mir Wurst. > English: I don’t care.

Denglish*: Over liquid. > German: überflüssig. > English: superfluous.

Denglish*: Donkey Bridge. > German: Eselsbrücke > English: Memory hook.

Denglish*: You can not reach me the water. > German: Du kannst mir nicht das Wasser reichen. > English: You’re not able to hold a candle to me.

Denglish*: You’re a joke cookie. > German: Du bist ein Witzkeks. > English: You’re a jokester.

Denglish*: I believe I spider. > German: Ich glaub’ ich spinne. > English: This is nuts.

Denglish*: With me is not good cherry eating. > German: Mir mir ist nicht gut Kirschen essen. > English: It’s best not to tangle with me.

* literal translation from German to English

See more here and here.

Have a great day!

xoxo

photos via The Hipstery

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