One Simple Trick for Optimizing Images

One of the biggest reasons why a web page loads slowly is because of images (the other is video, but let’s not get into that…). Big, beautiful images make absolutely stunning website designs, but they can really kill your performance stats when you try to download large image files over a slow connection.

Obviously there are ways to get around using image assets, such as font-icons, CSS3 shapes, and SVG sprites. But if nothing but a jpeg will do, there are still a few ways to reduce the file size.

One way is to simply reduce the image quality. Of course, we want to hit that sweet spot between reducing the file size yet still having a crisp image. One of my coworkers reminded me of a great trick that’s a little non-intuitive but is dead-simple, so I thought I’d share it.

Continue reading

Posted in Tech, Tutorials | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

20 of my Favorite Science Fiction Books

I am an absolutely voracious reader and have been since I was little. At the moment I have the (dubious) pleasure of an hour long commute both ways, so I spend a lot of time reading. While I’ll give any book a chance, if I’m not into the story after a few chapters, I’ll just put it down. I never quite understood the people who feel like they need to finish every book they start, reading is supposed to be fun!

Anyway, while I’ll read just about anything, my favorite genre is definitely science fiction. I’ve had a few people new to the genre ask me for recommendations and usually I just point them to this list. I always make a point to check out the new releases for the year, but these are the books that I consider “classic” science fiction and that I wind up reading again and again.

Continue reading

Posted in Books | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Style Remix: Culottes

I’ve been pretty serious around here for the past couple of weeks, so let’s take a break and talk about clothes shall we?

Even though I haven’t continued posting about my FPFW, that doesn’t mean that I’ve completely abandoned it. One of the pieces that I want to try out for the winter is a pair of culottes. While they won’t be very usable until the temperature is above freezing, it looks like the trend will still be going strong this spring.

I absolutely love it when a trend is also very practical. I wasn’t sure about culottes when I first saw them on the runways last year, but then I realized that with the right cut they look just like my trusty knee-length skirts but they still have all the practicality of pants. While I love wearing skirts and dresses, but they don’t really go well with sitting on the ground, climbing on top of or under desks to wrangle cords and electronics, subway grates when the train passes by, or those creaky metal stairs (aka permanent ladders) in NYC buildings. I run into all of these situations surprisingly often for some reason.

I’ve been eyeing a cheap pair of culottes from ASOS to try out this trend before I invest in a pricier pair. Here are a few ways that I’m planning on wearing them:

Continue reading

Posted in Fashion | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

How to Accomplish your Resolutions

PlEgx5PSoiiJOmnE2izQ_NYC skyline empire-1

One of my favorite New Year’s Eve traditions is writing a letter to my future self and reading  my letter from the previous year. This mini time-capsule tradition is a great way to see how much things have changed and to reflect on my goals for the upcoming year.

Of course, it’s not enough to just write down our goals and resolutions for this year. It also takes some work to make them a reality. So if you’re making resolutions on January 1st (or anytime really!) here are a few ways to make sure that they aren’t abandoned by February.

My method for tackling goals borrows heavily from how I handle projects at work. I know some people see this process as “too serious” for personal goals, but why shouldn’t we be as serious about our personal development as we are about our careers? Besides, if this process can get a bunch of designers and developers to complete a project on time (which is basically like herding cats) it can definitely help out the rest of us with our own goals and resolutions!

Continue reading

Posted in Ranting & Raving | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Why Designers Should Know How to Code

DeathtoStock_Creative Community3

Whether or not designers should know how to code is an argument that’s been raging for the past few years. While there are lots of articles and posts that vehemently support both sides of the argument, I figured I’d add in my two cents since I’ve not only taught members of our UX and design team how to program, but have also worked on projects with both coding designers and non-coding designers. I’ve had a chance to really appreciate both sides of the argument, with all other variables being equal, and I’m afraid that I’m firmly in the pro-coding designers camp.

Continue reading

Posted in Ranting & Raving, Tech | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Style Remix: Holiday Dress

I have a few holiday parties coming up, with dress codes running the gamut from a Sunday afternoon brunch to a cocktail hour party. I did a quick scan through my closet to make sure I had everything I needed, and soon realized that all of my outfits involved the same Karina dress. So if you have holiday parties coming up and really don’t want to go shopping, here are three ways of remixing one dress for three different dress codes.

Continue reading

Posted in Style Remix | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

8 Minimalist Holiday Gift Ideas

gifts

The holidays are here, which means spending time with family and friends, indulging in traditions and (for most of us) lots of food and gifts. I’ll take that second helping of pecan pie, please and thank you, but I usually try to avoid most of the “stuff” that comes with the holidays.

Unfortunately, I don’t feel comfortable enough to suggest a “no gifting” policy for the holidays. My own family isn’t very big on presents either and my extended family doesn’t expect any, since we would all go bankrupt getting presents for my forty cousins. However, a few of my friends and my boyfriend’s family show their affection through gifts, and would be very upset by a ban on presents.

So if you’re in a similar situation, here are eight ideas for minimalist gifts that my own family has enjoyed in the past and that the gift-givers in my circle love as well.

Continue reading

Posted in Minimalism | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Minimalism is a Catalyst

6108b580

A common misconception people have about minimalism is that it’s all about stuff.

I actually don’t blame them for this opinion, since most of the minimalist blogs out there seem to preoccupy themselves with minimizing their stuff. Which I’m certainly not knocking! It’s a great first step that creates immediate positive feedback, and my inner neat-freak loves a good decluttering post as much as the next person.

However, sometimes people get stalled at this physical level. Sometimes they look around at their newly minimized space and ask, “okay, what now?” I certainly have. The thing about minimalism is that it’s not an end in itself. Minimalism is supposed to be a catalyst for improving everything else in your life.

Continue reading

Posted in Minimalism, Ranting & Raving | Tagged , , | 3 Comments