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?

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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!

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DIY Valentine Mobile!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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. 🙂

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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!

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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!!!

 

 

 

DIY Heart Charms

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This Tuesday Tutorial is all about Valentine’s Day coming up. What better way to show someone you love, or show yourself some love, by making a heart charm. This little charm can be placed on a necklace, a key chain, or one of my favorites, my dog’s collar. These were really fun to make and you don’t need to have an arsenal of artist media such as acrylic paints, nifty paintbrushes, or a degree in clay modeling.

Here’s What You Need:

Heart_Needed1. A Block of White Sculpey Clay

2. Lots of Nail Polish

3. Preferably something to make a Heart form out of. I used a Tablespoon measurement.

4. Something to make a hole in your Clay Heart. I used these little Key Rings from Target.

5. Rhinestones, Sequins, any sort of Bling you may want to add.

Step One:

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Knead your clay so that it becomes very soft and pliable. This will make it much easier for you form it even if you are using a cookie cutter or any other type of form. It will make blending out any flaws much less difficult.

Step 3:

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Poke holes in your hearts. Some of them I placed the holes in the center and others in the top corner. It’s just preference. Be sure to make your holes big enough for a chain or key ring to go through, but be careful not to distort the shape of your heart while doing so.

Step 4:

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Bake your hearts at 275 degrees for 15 minutes and then let them cool for about another 15 minutes. These get hot!!!

Step 5:

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Get out your nail polish and go crazy! I love how candy coated they look with the nail polish, rather than a more dull tone with a true acrylic paint. You will have to do at least two coats of paint due to the clay absorbing the paint. The drying time in between coats is very fast though! The back side of my hearts are not painted because I plan on writing a little word or note just for the person (or dog) I give it to.

Step 6:

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Adorn your hearts with rhinestones or anything else to top it off! Most of all, have fun with it!!

Post It Note Packaging!!!

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I love to buy presents for people whether it’s for a special occasion or not. What I don’t love is the part where I am supposed to buy wrapping paper. The cost of wrapping paper is ridiculous anymore and the designs don’t seem to be anything exciting. The other day I received my Everyday with Rachel Ray magazine and noticed that she had an entire section on decorating with Post It notes. The highlight of my work day, more often than not, is the product I create out of a Post It note. It can be tacked to my head with a witty comment written on it, write a “hello” and take a photo of it for a friend, and my memory is not my companion, making Post It notes my ultimate companion. Alas, we create phenomenal and personal gifting for friends and family. I am sure they will smile if you create a Post It note montage on their lovely gift.

What you will need:

Post It Notes

Scissors

Brown Paper Bag, Inside Out (Mine is from the wonderful Trader Joes)

What you may also need:

Pencil, marker, crayon
These are used for either curling of paper or for actual detail on Post It Note paper.

Glitter just because glitter is pretty amazing

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Idea 1:This flower was the simplest to create out of all of Polka Dot Tango’s ideas. If you are going to be creating a shape that can be used multiple times, simply un-stick however many Post Its you need in a group and cut them out all at once. This makes a task, such as a flower, easy to make as well as making the outcome very clean looking.

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Idea 2: I used the similar strategy as the flower for the waves by grouping Post Its together and cutting the waves out. To create a very 3-D look I bent the entire sticky part of the Post Its down to create a solid base for them to stand up right.

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Idea 3: This little bookworm is created by strips of Post Its. I’m not going to lie, this little bookworm was a little bit of a pain. It took me a while to figure it out, but make sure you make a solid bend on the sticky part and a small bend on the other end. When doing these Post It decorations, there needs to be enough sticky part directly onto the paper or else it will pop off easily.

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Idea 4: For the butterflies, you can fold over one Post It note with the sticky side out (that way it doesn’t stick to itself) and cut out a butterfly shape with the sticky area where the thorax would be on the butterfly. For the larger butterfly, I did have to stick two Post Its (face to face) so that I created the same shape for each wing.

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Idea 5: The piñata packaging wasn’t the most difficult but definitely the most tedious. All I have to say for this one is that if you have the time, do it! It looks even better in person.

It’s pretty neat to think that just a brown paper bag and some Post Its can create some fun ideas and endless possibilities. The next time you have a gift to wrap, stop and think if you have these items before you go out to the store. You will have a fun time creating it and saving the cha-ching!!

Everyone’s Nailing It!!!

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Fingernails are THE fashion accessory right now. Whether you are topping them with “caviar”, edging them with sparkle, or painting them fluorescent, your fingernails can be your statement piece for any occasion. The options are endless and there are many resources for you to use in order to give yourself a DIY manicure that goes well beyond applying two coats of polish. Polka Dot Tango has collected some inspiration for you to take a look at, going from extreme harajuku nails to simply stated. There is a look for everyone and that’s what makes this fashion trend so fun and possible! Let us know what fashion you like to show on your fingernails! You can tweet us @polkadottango, let us know on Facebook, or leave a comment below!

Caviar Nails are one of the newer trends out there. Customer reviews stated that these manicures are tons of fun for not so much a ton of time….if you catch my drift. Also, rumor is that you can create this look by getting a little creative using products from your local craft store. Here’s a wonderful tutorial I found on creating this same effect on YouTube.

Click on the photo above to view more of Ciatè's products.

Click on the photo above to view more of Ciatè’s products.

 

Glitter, Glitter, GLITTER!!!! So thankful that I have a reason to keep glitter in my adult life. Glitter nail polish is the easiest way to dress up your nails and make them look fabulous without having the talent of a professional manicurist. What’s even better is that if you feel that having glitter on all of your fingernails is too much, now it is acceptable to only paint one of your nails to the max with glitter and such. See photo directly below.

One glitter nail coming up!

One glitter nail coming up!

Glitter nails for those a little more reserved.

Glitter nails for those a little more reserved.

It's like a party on your nails!!!

It’s like a party on your nails!!!

 

Matte nail polish is H…O…T… right now.  It really gives your nails drama and sophistication and having matte nail polish alone will make an impact. Here’s another rumor for you: If you don’t want to spend money on matte nail polish, a little birdie told me you can add just a bit of cornstarch to your top coat, mix it in, paint and PRESTO!!! You have matte nails! Now how cool are you?

Click on this image to go to one of Polka Dot Tango's favorite nail blogs. It's in french, but it's definite eye candy.

Click on this image to go to one of Polka Dot Tango’s favorite nail blogs. It’s in french, but it’s definite eye candy.

How cute is this?

How cute is this?

Never Too Much Glitter posted this fabulous DIY on how to make COLORED matte nail polish. GENIUS!!! Click on the image to see how.

Never Too Much Glitter posted this fabulous DIY on how to make COLORED matte nail polish. GENIUS!!! Click on the image to see how.

 

Pointed nails are a hit right now, but I have noticed that only the brave (or ferocious) have the courage to rock them. They definitely give the wearer a fiercer look and for some reason, the more muted ones seem very mature to me. Maybe this style kind of reminds me of women in the 80’s who were magazine editors or villians who had power.

Love that the middle nail has no white on it. Makes the design not overpower the shape of the nail.

Love that the middle nail has no white on it. Makes the design not overpower the shape of the nail.

ROAR!

ROAR!

 

Patterns, pansies, and prints oh my! I’m not too sure how many people have the steady hand, the eye site, or the patience for these lovely nails, but more power to those that do! How much fun they are! Now that Sally Hansen has come out with the press on nail polish, designs like these are a little more realistic to the average nail polisher.

Reminds me of some Betsey Johnson prints.

Reminds me of some Betsey Johnson prints.

School punk?

School punk?

Tribal 90's inspired. Ahhh, the good old days. ;)

Tribal 90’s inspired. Ahhh, the good old days. 😉

 

Really, the possibilities are endless with what you can paint onto your fingernails! Don’t forget about these types of nail polishes that can make your DIY manicure go from eh to ahhhhhh: Crackle, Opalescent, Magnetic, Gel Strips, Metallic, Fluorescent, and more! So, to tie things off with the post, Polka Dot Tango would like to leave you with some of the most amazing nail trends we could find. These images just go to show you that painting your nails is a true art form. :}

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New Week, New Outlook!

Poster by Jay Graham

Hello all and welcome to Monday! How was the weekend and how do you think your week is going to go? Lately my weeks have been blending in with my weekends, creating a sort of dream-like (or nightmare-like) state. Working countless hours on the computer and countless hours on renovating a house can feel so overwhelming and leaves me exhausted, but in the end, I know that all of this work will result in something to smile at. Everyone knows that infamous quote, the one that I often roll my eyes at. Something about the journey, not the destination? Anyhow, I am on quite a journey as of lately and there better be some mai tai’s when I get to my destination! 😉

If you have any quotes, images, or motivational tips, let Polka Dot Tango know! We love those kinds of things!

It’s a Good Morning for Good Motivation

Good Morning! It’s Monday and so it’s time for some motivation! Today we have a collection of quotes we have gathered up from FromUpNorth.com and we would love for you to visit GalaDarling.com because she has an awesome article on how to be the BEST possible version of yourself! We hope you enjoy your Monday and check in with us throughout the week for a tutorial, some info on health, a little bit of fashion, and if you’re bored…we have an idea of something you can do!