The New + Improved Positively Present!

  2016-Site-Launch

As some of you may have noticed, Positively Present got a little an makeover this weekend!

One of my work goals this year was to make the brand more personal with hand-lettering, a meaningful logo, and some tweaks to the colors. It's taken me seven months, but it's finally ready and I couldn't be more excited about how it turned out! :)

I know it can be unsettling when a brand you've been following changes its look (just think back to how people reacted when Instagram changed its logo!), so I wanted to dedicate a post to explaining the new look. Plus, I spent a ton of time thinking about and working on this update (and I know some of you love the behind-the-scenes bits!) so I thought it would be fun to share the process. 

 

Positively-Present-Brand-Board
Positively Present's Brand Board


A lot of what you're used to will be the same -- this isn't a crazy overall of the site -- but there are some new things die-hard Positively Present fans will pick up on. Most of the website tweaks are a result of suggestions you made in the recent Positively Present Reader Survey (thank you so much for your feedback!) so I have a feeling you're going to like them! The ultimate goal is to have an inspiring, easy-to-use site that allows you to have quick access to inspiration. 

 

WHY THE REFRESH?


While talking to a friend a few weeks ago about my work-in-progress refresh, he asked, "Why do you need to change the branding? Don't you like what you have?" It was a great question because it really made me stop and think -- and explain to him -- exactly why I'm making changes to the brand. 

Because I work on other people's brands over at Twenty3, it's hard for me not to constantly think about changing Positively Present. I'm always researching and coming up with creative ideas for client logos, and it's a constant internal struggle for me not to change Positively Present regularly. But I know how important consistency is so, over the past few years, I've tried to make minimal changes. Even as I've brightened the colors or tweaked the icon, I've tried to keep the brand relatively the same for consistency's sake. 

Continuing to work as a graphic designer has expanded my knowledge and skill set and, while looking at the logo over the past year or so,  I realized it  just didn't feel like something I designed. The icon, while I've grown to love it, doesn't have clear meaning for my audience and, as someone who does a lot of hand-lettering for a living, it somehow feels wrong not to have a personally hand-lettered logo. So, from a design perspective, I felt like it was time to step up my game and bring more personal touches to the branding. 

Also, from an emotional point of view, it felt like I achieved some sort of milestone when Positively Present turned seven in February. I've always been fascinated by the concept of the seven year cycle. Apparently every cell in our bodies is changed over a period of seven years, and research has also shown that we change mentally and emotionally every seven years as well. With February 2016 marking the seven year anniversary of the site's launch, it seemed like a fitting time to revamp the brand. Over the past seven years, a lot has changed for me -- and for Positively Present -- and it feels right to update the brand to reflect that. 

That being said, I didn't want to make drastic changes to Positively Present. I love what I've created and I know how much people get attached to brands (I always have a mini-freak out when a brand I love changes its look!). I knew I wanted to make changes -- make it more personal and more me -- without isolating loyal fans or taking away from the essence of the brand. 

 

THE BRAND : WHAT'S NEW

  • LOGO : One of the first things you probably noticed is that the logo is different. It's a bit darker and bolder and, rather than using traditional fonts, it features hand-lettering done by yours truly. ;) I spend a lot of time working on hand-lettering and illustration in my design studio, Twenty3, so I knew I wanted to include those two elements in the updated look. I ultimately ended up with something similar in feel to the old logo, just a bit more personal.

  • ICON : The icon might look like a mashup of simple shapes, but this aspect of the rebrand is extremely important to me. When I was a kid, I created a logo (see below) and I told myself, "Someday when I have my own business, this is going to be my logo." I actually still love that little sun/moon logo, but it wasn't quite the right fit for Positively Present. I did, however, use it as inspiration to create the new icon.


    Logo-Explanation
    Explanation of the new icon! Click to enlarge.


  • TAGLINE : You might have noticed that Positively Present has a new tagline! The old tagline -- "Inspiration, advice, & tips for making the most out of life" -- was created mostly as a way to convey the site's content to new readers. I thought long and hard about what I wanted the new tagline to be, and I ended up with three words that sum up the essence of Positively Present -- "Positivity. Awareness. Self-love." Self-love is such a huge part of the brand and I really wanted to incorporate it somehow. The tagline was the perfect place to do that! 

  • COLORS : Though I was initially contemplating the incorporation of black into the new look, I ended up going with a much darker gray and more saturated hues of orange, yellow, and teal. To me, everything looks more vibrant and colorful, but still stays true to the brand colors that I've been using for years. 

 

THE WEBSITE : WHAT'S NEW

  • BANNER : The updated banner, now centered, features the new logo and icon and gives it a lot more breathing room with lots of clean white space. You'll also notice that there's a beautiful teal-colored bar above the banner with easy-access to links you might need to find more info or do a little shopping! 

  • FONT : After many years of requests, I've finally made the font larger so hopefully it'll be much easier to read. I've also changed it to match the new Positively Present tagline's font so there's consistency throughout the brand and the actual website. 

  • SIDEBAR : The sidebar got a bit of a makeover, which includes lots more white space and new images. Hopefully the less-cluttered look will make it super easy to find what you're looking for. And, speaking of finding what you're looking for, I moved the Search bar up, as many of you suggested in the survey. Now it's extra-easy to find blog posts on any topic. I've also added Categories and Archive sections in the sidebar so you can check out all of the articles related to a specific topic or time period. 

  • SHOP : I'm still in the process of updating the shop so that'll be easier to find and purchase Positively Present products. Stay tuned for a refreshed shopping experience soon, but in the meantime you can still check out books, ebooks, and products here

  • HOMEPAGE : I'm also in the process of considering a static homepage for Positively Present, making it look more like a traditional website and less like a blog, but that's still a work-in-progress (and I'm still not certain I want to do that...), but it's possible that might be coming in the future. 

 

I really hope you guys like the new look! I've been working hard on it and, though it might not be drastically different, I'm really proud of the changes I've made and the time I took to carefully identify why I was making changes. If you have any questions about the branding process or want to know more about my design work, feel free to leave comments, email me, or check out my design studio, Twenty3.

 

 

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positively present picks : july 15, 2016


Beginning
Source

 

Quote-of-the-week

“Progress is impossible without change, and those
who cannot change their minds cannot change anything."

George Bernard Shaw

 

Links-I-Love    

NEW YouTube Video : ICYMI -- 6 lessons from 6 years sober!

8 Gratitude Habits That'll Transform Your Life : gratitude is everything

On Being Yourself : a great video from the hilarious Jenna Marbles

Star and Crescent Necklace* : obsessed with this pretty pendant!

Feeling Guilty : it's going to happen sometimes + it's okay if it does

5 Inspiring Reads to Boost Your Creativity : really appreciate this round-up

Less Hate, More Love : we need more love right now. a lot more. 

Plated* : sent me delish food + you can get a discount with your first order here!

12 Ways to Make Your Work Meaningful : even if you don't love it

Uncover the Gems of Waiting While Dream Chasing : patience is key

I Am / You Are* : loving this cute little inspirational book

When Your Project Doesn't Take Off : absolutely loved this article

Concrete Ways to Be an Ally : if you're white, you should read this

25 Ways to Kill the Toxic Ego : we all have an ego + we need to manage it

How to Do Anything : amazing round-up of how-to articles

 

Listening

Listen to this playlist on YouTube.

"Touch" — Shura
"Endless Grace" — Royaume
"Now Is the Start" — A Fine Frenzy
"Close" (Cover) — Sonna Rele
"Once in a While" — Timeflies
"Backyard"— Of Monsters & Men
"I Never Told Her" — Ryan O'Reilly
"Six Feet Under" — Billie Eilish
"Angels" — French 79
"You Want the Sun" — Niki & the Dove

 

Reading

Check out my reading list on GoodReads.
 

Harry Potter and the
Order of the Phoenix*
J.K. Rowling

I Am / You Are*
Rosemary Gallagher

  

I write books too! Check it out...

The Positively Present Guide to Life*
Dani DiPirro

Stay Positive: Daily Reminders
from Positively Present*
Dani DiPirro 

 

Links marked with asterisks are affiliate links. If you click on them and purchase something, I receive a commission. There is no additional cost to you if you use these links, and I will never share links for products I haven't or wouldn't purchase myself. For more information on affiliate links, please visit the Terms of Use page. 


6 lessons I learned from 6 years sober


Sober


Today I have been sober for six years! I should be used this word -- sober -- by now, but sometimes it still shocks me that I'm the one saying it. That I've been saying it for six years. Over the past six years, I've taken away some pretty big life lessons from living sober. Here are the top six lessons I've learned. Even if you're not sober or trying to get sober, I hope they'll inspire you!  

 

LESSON #1
YOU HAVE TO WANT IT 

It took me a long time to get and stay sober because there wasn't anything I wanted more than the rush of going out and drinking. It wasn't until I started Positively Present and started seeing a wonderful therapist that I realized that my alcohol-fueled behavior wasn't at all in line with the kind of life I wanted to be living: a positive, present one.

Once I had something that mattered more to me than drinking and the exciting possibility of having a wild night, I realized I had to change. I wanted to be more at peace with who I was and I wanted to make positive choices. With that at the forefront of my mind, I was able to begin making changes and, ultimately, was able to quit drinking. 

 

LESSON #2
YOU HAVE TO TAKE IT ONE DAY AT A TIME

Cliche? Yep! But it's a oft-repeated phrase for a reason: it's true. What scared me most about the thought of sobriety was that I'd never, ever drink again. Telling me I can't do something is one of the quickest ways to get me to want to do it. So instead of focusing on the never, ever, ever part of sobriety, I choose to focus on a single day.

Whenever I'm struggling, I tell myself, "I'm not going to drink today." Today seems much more manageable than thinking I'll never drink again. This present-focused trick works for any negative behavior. If you're struggling to stay on track, tell yourself, "I'm not going to drink today" or "I'm not going to text him today" or "I'm not going to eat a whole bag of junk food today." If you're still struggling (as I sometimes am), break it down further and promise yourself not to drink, etc. for an hour. 

 

LESSON #3
YOU HAVE TO ACCEPT LONELINESS

Sobriety comes with a variety of level of loneliness. First, there will be people who don't get why you're getting sober. Because you're not waking up in a gutter or destroying your life, sometimes people will have trouble grasping just how negatively alcohol has impacted your life.

There will be people struggling with their own addiction issues. Admitting you have a problem means they might have to take a look at their own actions, and this might be difficult for them. Rather than do this, they'll simply shrug off your sobriety as something dramatic rather than necessary. 

Also, being the only one at the party not drinking can be lonely at times. No one seems to care that I'm sober (people I know well are used to it and new people are usually impressed or curious), but it's still isolating, particularly when drinking used to be my go-to resource for easing my social anxiety. But, for me, the little bit of loneliness is worth the positive benefits of being sober. 

 

LESSON #4
YOU HAVE TO GET IN TOUCH WITH YOURSELF

By far the hardest lesson I've had to learn is getting to know who I truly am without alcohol. When I drank, I became a lot of things I'm normal not: brave, social, adventurous. Through sobriety I've had to learn which traits are truly me and which were fueled by alcohol. And, in some cases (like socializing), I've had to learn how to cope with my anxiety sans alcohol, which has been challenging at times. 

Also, without alcohol to numb emotions, sobriety requires that you really get in touch with your emotions. Sobriety is scarily real. There is no escape from who you are or how you feel. My flaws and my feelings are glaringly obvious (as are my mistakes, which now can no longer hide behind the words, "Sorry! I was so drunk!"). 

Feeling all the feelings and being who you truly are is hard, but it's made me stronger than I ever was before. I'm more self-aware and much more in control of my choices than I was six years ago and no amount of partying could ever feel better than that. 

 

LESSON #5
YOU HAVE TO LEARN YOUR TRIGGERS

Triggers sounds like a word that should be reserved for hard-core drug addicts, but was all have triggers -- situations, people, or things that prompt us to behave in ways we'd rather not. Sobriety has taught me how important it is to recognize those triggers and avoid them if possible. 

Some triggers -- like a wine tasting -- are avoidable for me. Others, like a stressful day or a beautiful summer afternoon, are not. I do my best to avoid situations that will be difficult for me. And, for those that I can't avoid, I do what I can to make it easier on myself. For example, I know Saturday nights are hard for me so I'll make plans to keep my mind off of drinking or, if I have to attend a triggering event, like a wedding, I might leave a bit early if I feel heightened temptation. 

I'm not sure why this is, but simply being aware of a trigger makes it easier to cope with. Maybe it's because you have an idea of why you're feeling the way you are and, with a solid explanation in hand, you can better choose how to react rather than impulsively responding. For example, let's say when you're really stressed at work, you're more likely to snap at your children when you get home. If you're aware of this, you can do a few things to make it better: try to lessen the stress at work, try to minimize stressful feelings by calming yourself on the ride home, or explain to your children that you've had a bad day and you might need a little less interaction that night.

Knowing your triggers is incredibly helpful, even if you can't always avoid them. And this goes for all kinds of situations -- what triggers you to feel angry at your partner, what triggers you to feel extra stressed out, what triggers you to eat an entire gallon of ice cream. So often we're impulsively reacting instead of thinking about why we're making the choices we are. 

 

LESSON #6
YOU HAVE TO ACCEPT - NOT FORGET - THE PAST

Wallowing in the past does absolutely no good. You cannot go back and change it (no matter how much you might like to!). To be truly present, you have to accept what's past. But accepting isn't the same as forgetting. And, when it comes to sobriety, it's critical not to forget the bad things.

Yes, that sounds exactly opposite of saying positively present -- focusing on the negative aspect of past -- but romanticizing the past, especially if you're trying to get or stay sober, is dangerous. It's hard sometimes not to long for the days when I was laughing with friends, a cold beer in hand, or hitting the dance floor with my Red Bull-and-vodka-fueled confidence, but I have to remind myself that it wasn't all laughter and dancing. 

Drinking had serious consequences for me and, while I certainly don't want to dwell on the past, sometimes I have to recall some of the negative situations I encountered as a reminder to myself that I am better -- and safer -- when I'm sober. 

 

I also made a YouTube video (warning: it's a long one) about why I chose to get sober and I go into more detail about these six lessons. You can watch it below or click this link.  

 

 

 

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positively present picks : july 8, 2016


Inhale Exhale
 

Quote-of-the-week

“Remember there’s no such thing as a small act of kindness.
Every act creates a ripple with no logical end.”

Scott Adams

 

Links-I-Love   

June Favorites! : my new YouTube video on things I'm loving this month

In Praise of Short-Term Love : wow. this video really made me think...

Unicorn Paperclip Holder* : do I need this? yes, yes I definitely do.

5 Tips to Deal with Insomnia : great advice for sleepless nights

The Mana Journal : I love the concept + layout of this beautiful journal

10 Ways to Increase Your Concentration : really motivating tips here

Happy Socks Summer Sale!* : I absolutely love these cute socks

Less Hate, More Love Pins : get yours now + support a great cause! 

The Difficulty of Being Present : it's so, so hard sometimes, isn't it? 

Increase the Power of the Law of Attraction : focus on what you want

Irregular Choice Shoes* : OMG. how crazy / cool are these shoes?!

You Don't Have to Do It All : yes, it's okay to say no + focus on you 

 

Listening

Listen to this playlist on YouTube.

"What's It Gonna Be?" — Shura
"Stone Cold" (Cover) — Mackenzie Johnson
"Silver & Gold" — WILD
"Sincerely" — Stephen
"Sledgehammer" — Rihanna
"New Start"— Jole
"I Love the USA" — Weezer
"Let It Go" — James Bay
"Sit Still Look Pretty" — Daya
"You Don't Think You Like People Like Me" — Alex Lahey

 

Reading

Check out my reading list on GoodReads.
 

The Year We Left Home*
Jean Thompson

A Certain Age*
Beatriz Williams

  

I write books too! Check it out...

The Positively Present Guide to Life
Dani DiPirro

Stay Positive: Daily Reminders
from Positively Present
Dani DiPirro 

 

Links marked with asterisks are affiliate links. If you click on them and purchase something, I receive a commission. There is no additional cost to you if you use these links, and I will never share links for products I haven't or wouldn't purchase myself. For more information on affiliate links, please visit the Terms of Use page. 


reaching rainbows: an interview with dallas clayton

  Powerful questionsAll images via Dallas Clayton

 

You know that feeling when you get the chance to interview one of your favorite artists? Yeah, I didn't either... until last week! I had the wonderful opportunity to interview the brilliant and talented Dallas Clayton on positivity and his work and I'm so excited to share our little Q&A with you. If you're not familiar with him, you should be! He's an amazing author, illustrator, public speaker, mural painter, and adventure seeker. Check him out at DallasClayton.com.


DallasYour work always seems to come from a positive place. Have you always been a positive person? If not, how did you acquire such an optimistic outlook? 

It takes effort, I feel, to want to be better and to want to make things better. I don't know that my goal is positivity so much as an honest attempt at celebrating that which I find beautiful.

There are plenty of people who find chaos and destruction and tumult and distress beautiful. In many ways this is because the traditional standards of beauty seem foreign and unrelatable to them.

If everyone arounds you thinks the color blue is beautiful and you think everyone around you is terrible and oppressive it can be easy to see the color blue as terrible and oppressive too.

My teenage years felt a lot like that, looking around at everything that was blue and calling it stupid. Since then, I've grown and explored and met people and raised a child and fallen in love many times over with the world, so the most honest thing I can do is to say "I too have hated the color blue, but have you ever looked at the color blue from this angle, it's pretty rad - also colors don't actually exist in the real world, just in your brain, so if you don't like the way a color looks, make up your own." That's what I'm trying to do most of the time. 


You have so many wonderfully inspiring works of art. Do you have a favorite piece? Why do you like that one the best?  

I like to live in a world where favorites and ranks don't matter so much. Sometimes the feeling of a brush on a page or a stick of chalk on the sidewalk is reward enough.

The things I like about making work will no doubt be different than the things you like about taking it in. A nice feeling is when someone else takes my work and makes it their favorite, and then turns it in to work of their own. I like that. 


Rainbow Dallas ClaytonYour "Reaching Rainbows" design is one of my favorites. What inspired you to create that? What does it mean for you? 

It's been a slow evolution, like most ideas. Just sketches that become more defined with each iteration.

I like the thought of people lifting, reaching, celebrating. Nothing in their hands but potential. This is the core of it. Where it lands, I have no idea.  


What inspired or encouraged you to pursue life as an author, artist, and illustrator? Did you always know this would be the path for you? 

The longer I live, the less of a choice it seems. Like asking someone why they chose to be a person.

Author and illustrator and artist are just titles to make it easier to have conversations, but what we are really saying is "why aren't you doing what everyone else is doing?" The answer to this is because "I am not everyone else, just as they are not me." 


If you could tell your past self one thing, what would it be? What would you tell your future self? 

I think my past self and my future self talk all the time when I'm not around. Mostly, I imagine they are having a real laugh. 

What's one thing (creative or otherwise) you'd recommend that Positively Present readers do today to help spread positivity in the world around them? 

Right NowFind someone who seems like they are all alone and talk to them. 

 

Thank you so much to Dallas for taking the time to answer these questions! He's such an inspiration to me -- his artwork, his lifestyle, his attitude -- and I'm so grateful to have had a chance to connect with him. I hope you enjoyed learning more about him. Check out his work at DallasClayton.com, where you can visit his beautiful shop, pick up one of his books, and learn more about his illustration. And I highly recommend following him on Instagram. His work brightens up my days and it's also so inspiring to see people around the world sharing his inspiration and spreading positivity! 

 

 

 

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