tumblr_mh666j8NFI1qdgauwo1_500It’s been just over a year since I took a leap and quit my clock in and clock out job. I worked there for over five years and the work was becoming less and less satisfying. My hours were continuing to get cut, the work I was handed was intended for the brainless and those who just wanted to skim by to get a paycheck, and my confidence was dwindling by the second. I missed trying to come up with something amazing instead of something just to get the job done. My creative soul was being extinguished and it hurt bad!

I can remember moving here from Los Angeles to be with the man who is now my husband. In LA, I had a two hour commute there and two hours back. I worked as a graphic designer, creating hangtags, labels, and other little tidbits that you find on clothing. It was a blast working long hours, putting together over the top presentations to wow the customers, and to see the Los Angeles skyline glimmer in the sunrise as I took that turn off the 10 freeway. It was exciting and I felt that I had made it, but I needed to follow a different part of my heart. So, I moved here.

First couple of days of being here I landed a job as a graphic designer for a man who ran a small local coupon book. It was good for about a week until I had someone over my shoulder every time my hands hit the keyboard. Designing for the coupon book was fine, but then I started designing for his new printing company, car magazines, and the list goes on, all while he was over my shoulder. The paycheck was what kept me there, until six month later I asked for a raise and got the response, “You will get a raise when you can read my mind.” I left that moment and called my boyfriend balling. I had no back up plan.

Every day I checked to see if jobs were posted online and each one I contacted. One interview I went to, I was told that there was going to be some manual labor and I was actually excited about that! Putting together signage that you designed seemed like an awesome job. But, I was told, “Well, you’re a pretty girl and we don’t know if you can do that”.  Another interview came months later and I was told, “I don’t look like a typical designer”.

Finally the job I stayed 5 years at came along. I was beyond excited to work at a print shop and learn the ins and outs of printing. I worked so hard, coming up with ideas every week, but was shot down. I didn’t let it get me down, and I continued working 150%. In June of 2009, I got married, went on a honeymoon, and came back to a job that had cut my hours. I received one raise 9 months from when I started working there, and my hours were continuing to get cut back. The work was not challenging, the environment was toxic, and my fire was going out. Freelance graphic design work was coming in sporadically, and it was always fun. I just felt that it wasn’t enough for me to continue to pay the bills.

The search had started again for a job, while working for the print shop. I went to a job interview and was asked more questions about what my husband did than about my qualifications. Unless, you would count one of my qualifications as not having kids, because “kids get sick and then you have to take time off”. Several months later I went to another job interview and didn’t get the job because I had too much experience, so they hired a kid straight out of college.

It wasn’t until one night I woke up next to my bedroom door screaming at the top of my lungs. My heart was pounding, I felt like I was going to pass out, and I was terrified. I felt completely cornered, depressed, and hopeless. My health, mentally and physically, was hurting and I was in a very bad place. What was I going to do? I decided I was the only person in charge of my life so the next day I quit my job.

Now, I own my graphic design business and I am happy. No, I am not rolling in dough by any means, but I do have electricity and food, a wonderful relationship, and creative ideas flowing. There is still so much for me to learn and I am scared but more excited. The biggest hurdle for me is to continue to believe in myself and to grow that confidence back to where it used to be. Thanks to the wonderful support I have, I am able to do what I love.

Sending happiness out to everyone!

Jenny

Motivating the Mundane Monday

Oh my oh my….it’s been quite a while. I feel horrible for not posting in such a long time, but life has been happening, and it is happening in a good way. Let’s change this Mundane Monday into a Motivating Monday, shall we?

6a0115705a75a1970b017d4209390d970c-800wi

tumblr_mnb1cqNZxK1qz4d4bo1_500

tumblr_mney5lw2Mc1qz4d4bo1_500

tumblr_mnl7saot6b1qz4d4bo1_500

tumblr_mnl247IiNJ1qz4d4bo1_500

tumblr_mney8jtedI1qz4d4bo1_500

Walk, Bike, Pogo This Way!

IMG_4008

Last week I walked to work and it felt great. Yesterday, I rode my bike to work  and I could not stop smiling! I felt like a kid again! What I am trying to get at, is this Things To Do Thursday, try getting somewhere, anywhere, differently.

Here are some options:

Walk - The great part about walking is that you only need a decent pair of shoes, which makes it completely cost-efficient.

Bike – You will get there much more quickly than walking, but cost does go up a little (unless you’re into fancy walking shoes). It’s easier and easier to find a bike at a yard sale or Target!

Skate – Rollerblades or the traditional quad skates are amazing. I know rollerblades may not be the coolest right now, but if you grew up in the 80′s & 90′s like I did, you know you still want to use them.

Carpool – When I lived in Los Angeles I only dreamed of having a co-worker or someone that worked around LA that I could carpool with. I even thought of putting a car seat in my car, but that would have been completely horrible and not to mention illegal. Even if your commute does not take two hours to get there, carpooling is fabulous for your mind and your wallet.

Public Transportation – I am envious of New York or countries where public transportation is king! I would love to hop on a subway or grab the “whatever it may be” into town. To be able to mingle with different people, aromas, and sights on a daily basis would be such a mind massage!

These were the only options I could come up with…besides Pogo, which I do not need to elaborate on. If you have any other ideas in mind, please let Polka Dot Tango know!!!!

All Hail Kale!!!!

cdbff7b9e778cb24143a6e9003052fbd

Maybe Pantone had in mind the crazy kale and juicing craze when they called out Emerald 17-5641 as 2013′s color of the year. Kale is such a hot commodity anymore. Trader Joe’s has a beautiful organic and chopped bag of kale that flies off the shelves. If you’re not there on truck day, you better wait until next week to get your hands on some! This last Saturday, I went to the Farmer’s Market thinking I could grab some up, but of course I got there two minutes too late, every vendor was sold out. So what’s the deal with this crunchy leafy cousin of your garden weed?

The Top 10 Benefits of Kale

1. Kale is low in calorie, high in fiber and has zero fat. One cup of kale has only 36 calories, 5 grams of fiber and 0 grams of fat. It is great for aiding in digestion and elimination with its great fiber content. It’s also filled with so many nutrients, vitamins, folate and magnesium as well as those listed below.

2. Kale is high in iron. Per calorie, kale has more iron than beef. Iron is essential for good health, such as the formation of hemoglobin and enzymes, transporting oxygen to various parts of the body, cell growth, proper liver function and more.
3. Kale is high in Vitamin K. Eating a diet high in Vitamin K can help protect against various cancers. It is also necessary for a wide variety of bodily functions including normal bone health and the prevention of blood clotting. Also increased levels of vitamin K can help people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.
4. Kale is filled with powerful antioxidants. Antioxidants, such as carotenoids and flavonoids help protect against various cancers.
5. Kale is a great anti-inflammatory food. One cup of kale is filled with 10% of the RDA of omega-3 fatty acids, which help, fight against arthritis, asthma and autoimmune disorders.
6. Kale is great for cardiovascular support. Eating more kale can help lower cholesterol levels.
 
7. Kale is high in Vitamin A. Vitamin A is great for your vision, your skin as well as helping to prevent lung and oral cavity cancers.
8. Kale is high in Vitamin C. This is very helpful for your immune system, your metabolism and your hydration.
9. Kale is high in calcium. Per calorie, kale has more calcium than milk, which aids in preventing bone loss, preventing osteoporosis and maintaining a healthy metabolism. Vitamin C is also helpful to maintain cartilage and joint flexibility
10. Kale is a great detox food. Kale is filled with fiber and sulfur, both great for detoxifying your body and keeping your liver healthy.
Now that you have that knowledge…what do you do with it?

Easy Ways to Prepare Kale

Quick cooking preserves kale’s nutrients, texture, color, and flavor. Rinse kale, chop it finely, and add it soups, stews, stir-frys, salads, egg dishes, or casseroles. Or top pizzas with kale for added nutritional goodness. Steam kale for five minutes to make it more tender or eat it raw. You can also substitute it for spinach or collard greens in recipes.

Other fast and easy ways to prepare kale:

  • Make a simple salad with a bunch of thinly sliced kale, red pepper, onion, raisins, and your favorite salad dressing.
  • Braise chopped kale and apples, garnish with chopped walnuts, and add a splash of balsamic vinegar.
  • Toss whole-grain pasta with chopped kale, pine nuts, feta cheese, and a little olive oil.
  • Cover and cook a pound of chopped kale with a few garlic cloves and 2 tablespoons olive oil for 5 minutes; season with salt, pepper, and a tablespoon of red wine vinegar.
  • Make kale chips by slicing kale into bite-size pieces, toss with a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt, and bake for 10-15 minutes at 350 degrees in the oven.

I juice kale!

There you have it! Best of luck on incorporating some kale into your life!!

Valentine’s FREEBIE!!!! FREE LOVE!

LoveYou_PDT_Freebie

With Valentine’s Day being this Thursday and everyone seems to be sick, why not download this cute little freebie courtesy of Jenny M. Diaz and Polka Dot Tango! It’s perfect for any of your loved ones who may be feeling a little under the weather. You can either color it in yourself or give it to them as is just so they have a “sickly” activity they can do. Hope you guys like it!

LoveYou_PDT_Freebie

If You Thought You Couldn’t, Think Again.

I know that this video has been shown just about everywhere, but sometimes it’s necessary to watch it more than once. So for Motivational Monday, take a couple minutes to watch Arthur Boorman take a hold of his life and beat the odds!!! You’re never too late to start doing what you want. :)

DIY Valentine Mobile!

start

This Valentine’s DIY is inspired by crafts I used to do with my Mom and at school. I had been struggling with a Valentine DIY idea that was simple, fun, and cheap, and so my Mom reminded me of this. Yes, it is a simple craft and some may say it is juvenile, but I still get the same enjoyment out of it as I did years ago! Most everyone already has the supplies in their home and have the know how to create a gorgeous Valentine Mobile! Keep on reading for some simple instructions.

Mobile_Supplies

You will need:

Wax Paper

Crayons

Dowel

Paint

Pencil Sharpener

Embroidery Floss

Paint Brush

Newspaper

PantDowel

Step One:

Begin to paint your dowel. I like to do this first because paint can take a while to dry. I wanted to paint my dowel gold and pink stripes so to achieve this I used painters tape and painted each color one at a time. This step can easily be continued throughout the other steps, this way, you are not left anxiously awaiting for a dowel to dry once all the other steps have been completed.

ShaveCrayons

Step Two:

Begin by peeling the paper off of your crayons. When you start to shave your crayons, make sure the peels are landing onto the wax paper. I chose to break up my crayon shavings so that there would be more color variation throughout. Apply a second layer of wax paper on top of your crayon shavings and first layer of wax paper. Then you will place the newspaper over all of it and iron. Please note that when you are using your iron it is not set on a very high heat. A high heat will cause the crayon to melt tremendously, possibly making your crayon shavings and wax paper look somewhat like a weird blood sample. Better to use a lower heat continuously.

CutHearts

Step Three:

Cut out your hearts. You can use a self made template or be gutsy and cut them out as you go along. I also hole punched a hole in the top center of the heart. It would also be cute to have them hang from the corner as well.

StringHearts

Step Four:

String your hearts with the embroidery floss. I didn’t knot them because the wax paper is kind of fragile and I didn’t want too much tension on them. I also used embroidery floss to hang the mobile.

AddLove

Step Five:

Add some love, otherwise known as photos. This step is completely optional, but if you wanted to make your mobile even more lovey-dovey then add some photos of your loved ones! Your kids, significant other, friends, pets, family, dentist, whoever!!! I think it adds a little something special. :)

end

The Finished Product!

This was a great DIY that was easy to do and fun at the same time. Pop in a movie, get out your supplies and get to it! Let Polka Dot Tango know if you remember doing the old wax paper and crayon trick, or if you are going to try and make yourself a mobile! Have fun!!!

 

It’s Not That Serious!

Change Your View On Things

Change Your View On Things

These days there are so many ways to get motivation that sometimes you can’t help but wonder, “Do these motivators know what they are talking about?” I for one, am not an expert on motivating people. I am not a life coach, a therapist, or everyone’s best friend…I am just me, who in turn, is just like you. :) There are those days where I am frantically searching for “that quote”. You know, the one with the pretty type and the inspiring image in the background that is supposed to give you that “ah-ha!” moment. I am a sucker for those quotes because they are a quick fix, but at the end of the day, can I really even remember what it said? Even after saying all of this, I am going to continue to post quotes, images, stories and other motivation mementos for those who follow Polka Dot Tango. Why? Because everyone is motivated differently and I hope that someday, a little Motivational Monday post will give someone even a glimpse of inspiration! So this Motivational Monday, I am writing a simple list as to what gets me inspired, happy and motivated!

Just wear it!

Just Wear It!

Wear Something Different

If I am feeling like I am in a rut, I try and wear something different. It could be a mix of old clothes you already have that could make a completely awesome outfit! Maybe there’s a piece of clothing you bought and have never worn. Been there done that! Wear it and feel good about it. I often find that I save clothes for a special occasion, but it’s not like I have a plethora of ball gowns in my closet (or even one), so why not wear something that you have been saving. I like to try and remind myself that each day is special and you should dress for you! Not only will you see the difference, but amazingly so will others. You will glow on the inside and out!

I Work Out!

I Work Out!

Move Your Body

Just move your body. This is the old stand by trick that works for most everyone to get a little motivation running through your veins. If you already “move your body”, then try moving your body in a different way. If you are usually lifting weights, try and go for a hike. Changing up your workout can be a challenge, but in the end, it proves to yourself that you can do more than you thought and it feels good!

Get Out!

Get Out!

Mix Up Your Surroundings

Just this weekend, I went to the Los Angeles Farmer’s Market with my family. It was like a detox/workout/massage for my brain and I LOVED IT! Being around new aromas, people, clothing, colors, foods was totally what I needed for some motivation for starting a business. Being immersed in a different scene can be exhausting, but your brain is taking in new information and it’s most likely waking up. The Farmer’s Market made me smile from ear to ear the entire time I was there, motivating me to push myself harder than I ever have before! Thank you LA, once again!

b3ecfc8eba5d1aa247c9e7adffbfc512

Pop Open A Can of Creativity

Be Creative

This may seem like a daunting task to a lot of readers, but it is a relaxing and fun way (for me at least) to get motivated. You don’t have to be Warhol or Martha Stewart to be creative, so take it easy on yourself. Just doodle if that’s what it takes. Having fun and creating things is very inspiring and the great part is that everyone can do it. Once you’re done, you can either laugh and throw it in the trash or be proud and display your work!

Let Polka Dot Tango know what motivates and inspires you! We would love to hear all about it!!!

 

 

 

Threadflip

tumblr-logo-2

Why wait till spring to get started on your Spring Cleaning?

Jumpstart your yearly cleaning/organizing by targeting your closet first. We all complain about how we have NOTHING to wear, but one look inside any girl’s closet, and you know that’s not completely true. We all tend to hoard clothes we never plan to wear again, just in case the right day comes to wear it. But that “just in case” day never comes and it’s time to rid yourself of all those articles of clothing (or accessories) that are just collecting dust. It’s time to flip them!

Threadflip is a fairly new website where you can “Flip” your clothes, shoes, jewelry, bags, etc. You can either cash out or use your credits to purchase other seller’s items.  I personally have sold a few items already and all within a week or so of placing them up for sale. It’s very simple to use and all you need to do is print out a label and box the item up into one of the FREE boxes provided by the US Post Office. They even offer the option for you to send your items to Threadflip and let them do all the work.

Here’s some information from their about page to help you get more of an idea about the site:

Vision

Threadflip is pioneering a new social shopping experience by offering women a simple way to convert their closets into a dynamic boutique-like experience, connecting buyers with sellers, and capturing the collaborative energy of shopping with friends. We hope to revolutionize the world of online shopping by providing a new way to discover, buy and sell fashion.

Story

Threadflip was inspired by CEO Manik’s wife Tea, who was having trouble parting ways with a pricey pair of boots that she no longer wore. When he asked her why she kept them, she said because they were beautiful and unique and reminded her of a certain moment in time, and that she would only want to give them up to someone who would appreciate them as much. Existing options like eBay or a consignment store were very impersonal and not easy to use. The boots eventually found a good home with Threadflip co-founder Jeff’s girlfriend Kim, who adores them just as much as Tea does but is actually wearing them. We realized the boots represented the tremendous potential of unused items in the average woman’s closet, and an idea was born.

Investors

Threadflip is backed by top-tier angel and venture investment firms including Shasta Ventures, First Round Capital, Baseline Ventures, Slow Ventures, Forerunner Ventures, Greylock Discovery Fund, and Andreessen Horowitz Seed Fund. Threadflip is also fortunate to have the support of a wide range of advisors, from successful tech entrepreneurs to high-fashion tastemakers.

How It Works

Threadflip is a social marketplace for buying, selling, and discovering new, unique, and pre-loved fashion. With a few clicks, users can upload images of pieces straight from their closet, and sell clothing, shoes, bags, and jewelry they no longer wear, creating a treasure trove of thousands of new pieces every day.

Threadflip is also launching a special white glove concierge service, which allows women to receive a box to send in their unused and pre-loved items and Threadflip takes care of the rest.

Watch the Sunrise or Sunset!!!

IMG_2183

Reflect on your day by watching the sunset.

This Things to do Thursday, why not make an effort to take some time out of your day and simply watch the sunset. I would say watch the sunrise, but you will have to wait until tomorrow for that. Watching the sunrise and sunset always leaves me feeling a sense of calm but excitement. Each resemble a new beginning and an end, which either one can be refreshing depending on the kind of day you had. What’s also great about sunrise and sunset is that EVERYONE can watch them. You can walk out your front door and view its beauty.

Every blue moon I catch the sunrise, I kick myself in the butt because I can’t stand the fact that I don’t take the time to see that many of them. They are so serene and completely different than a sunset. As the sun comes up I feel like I am ultimately taking the day in my hands from the very beginning and not taking advantage of it. It is empowering to see the day unfold right before my eyes.

To give you some reasons to catch the sunset this evening, or many other evenings from now, I have collected some personal photos of mine. Enjoy and let Polka Dot Tango know if you are going to try and catch the sunrise tomorrow!

DSC_0038

DSC_0081

DSC_0091

DSC_0228

DSC_0450

DSC_0471

DSC_0618

IMG_2268