I Designed the Grand View Site!

More proof that i am in fact a designer: Grand View University’s new web site went up earlier this week, and the original design was done by none other than yours truly.

On this project i was temporarily filling in for the other designer here at Spindustry, Jeff, and so once i completed a home page design it was handed off to him and he’s the one who built the site and fleshed out the design. So, to be fair, here are both screenshots:

Grand View - Conservative
The original design, as it looked when it left my hands

The New Grand View.edu
The new live site!

Go check it out! 🙂


California 2010

Earlier this month Nathan and i journeyed to California to visit my family. It turned out to be quite the Adamo reunion, although we didn’t get everybody in the same house at the same time for various reasons. First of all, my grandparents and my two great aunts live in Corona. My cousin-once-removed, Jo, also lives in southern California. She has a friend who sold her All-Star game tickets to my dad, who was down there for a few days with his buddy Andy. My brother, currently something of a nomad, stopped by for the last couple days of our trip as well. And finally, four of my distant relatives from Belgium began a month-long road trip around the Western U.S. in California, on the same night that we arrived there.

It was great to see everyone, but unfortunately all of the portraits that were taken are on other people’s cameras, so i can’t share them here.

Here are some photos that i took:

Grandpa’s Oranges

We stayed at my grandparents’ house, which is awesome because they make some really tasty European dishes and they insist on feeding their guests as much as possible. Every morning Grandpa makes fresh-squeezed orange juice from the tree in his own back yard. He explained to me that they have two different orange trees; one that produces fruit in the warmer months and one that prefers the cooler months, and this way he gets oranges all year long. If you’ve never squeezed an orange to make your own juice, you really must try it.

Weird flower-looking cactus things

We walked around the neighborhood and i photographed a bunch of the plants in people’s yards because they were just so weird. I told this to Jo and she didn’t understand what kind of world i was used to. I told her “leafy trees,” but i probably should have just said “corn.”

...And we're crawling toward the coast.

We drove out to the coast on day 2, and we of course experienced a lot of traffic despite having departed in the late morning. When we got there it was cloudy and breezy and cool, and thus i was cranky. When is it EVER not beautiful in California?! We got some In-N-Out burger and then decided to lay on the beach anyway until we could check into our hotel. Gradually it got sunnier, and when we retreated to the hotel we discovered that we had gotten burned something fierce. Tip for living: if you’re a pasty Iowan, don’t just sprawl out on the beach in the middle of the day for two hours and expect not to get roasted, no matter how cloudy you think it is.

The view from our hotel room

This was the view from our hotel balcony. Did i say hotel? I meant resort. That was a surprise that came with several unexpected and incontestable fees. But what’s worse is that we were too sore to even take advantage of the amenities. We made it to Karl Strauss in Costa Mesa and the beer numbed our pain slightly, but we still turned in early and headed back inland right away the following morning.

Side note: it’s been two weeks now since we got burned and i’m still a little bit peely and itchy. I don’t even want to express what a humiliating, guilt-inducing and uncomfortable situation that was. But! We still had a really nice time in California. We wrapped up our trip by exploring the Huntington Library in Pasadena, which was huge and fascinating and could have occupied us for an extra day, easily.

Nathan getting a shot of Pinky. The original.


The bonsai trees were one of the most lovely & interesting things. How do they do that?

Proof That I’m a Web Designer

Today marks the first time since i became a professional web designer THREE YEARS AGO that a website i designed and don’t dislike has gone live. I created the design of maybe half a dozen websites that are out there already, but this is the first one i’m proud enough of to actually put a link to on this blog.

I give you IowaCASA:


Check it out! This is one of Spindustry’s less-customized sites, so it isn’t my absolute best work but i think it looks pretty nice.

Des Moines Arts Festival ’10

Yesterday Mom, Nathan and i braved the sweltering heat to visit the The Des Moines Arts Festival. As you may know, it’s an event i like to attend every year and have blogged about before. Last year we were able to walk to the festival from our loft, which was pretty nice. This year we drove, and it was well worth the ride and the heat.

I was drawn to some of the same artists this year that i have enjoyed in years past, which means that if i had, say, and extra $1,300 lying around it would be well worth it to invest in a painting since my taste isn’t changing too rapidly. If only! Anyway, here are some of my faves:

Bruce Holwerda
Bruce Holwerda

I posted about this artist last time, but i was very happy to see him return to the festival this year because i think his paintings are so lovely and interesting.

<a href="http://www.artfairinsiders.com/photo/photo/listForContributor?screenName=0wbb7034mvc2w&page=2&quot; target="_blank"Rick Preston
Rick Preston

I’m always drawn to the photography, as you can see…

Andrew Sofjani
Andrew Sofjani

David Powers
David Powers

It seems that strong, simple forms are what i enjoy the most. There were a couple of other painters that i enjoyed a lot but they have crap for websites so i couldn’t find good images to post. I also wanted to mention Keith Grace‘s work again but i couldn’t find images of his new object-on-gray pieces.

Check ’em out, and if you missed the festival this year, i highly recommend that you not miss out again next year!

Transitions & Adventures

Happy Monday, everybody! This weekend was marked by some fun new experiences. At the end of the day on Friday my workplace bid adieu to one of our designers by having a happy hour drink with him on the company’s dime. Gotta love that – especially because it means my job security just increased a fair amount. That’s a feeling i’ve been waiting for for years.*

Saturday we celebrated my friend Calee‘s move back to Ames from Des Moines by hitting the town with her. We got barbecue at Uncle Wendel’s and then went to see the Des Moines Derby Dames‘ roller-derby bout. We lost to the Old Capital City Roller Girls, but it was a fun experience despite the fact that i had to sit on a concrete floor in my short skirt. Hopefully next time they’ll do it in a venue with more seating.


After that we headed to The Lift where i had a grand total of 3.25 drinks and ended up drunk enough to say quite a few silly things, but unfortunately not so wasted that i couldn’t remember them. That Bradie was trying to kill me. I don’t really want to talk about it except to say that i’m sorry if i offended anyone but i had a good time. 🙂

Yesterday evening we went over to my grandpa’s house where my mother had been seeing barred owls in the trees for the past few nights. At first we didn’t see them, but Mom was sure they were around because of the commotion from the smaller birds. Sure enough, we spotted one just as we were about to leave. There are four of them hanging around; two adults and two nearly-full-sized babies. We watched all four fly from branch to branch, saw them get pecked by the smaller birds, made noises at the juveniles who made noises back at us and bobbed their heads, and saw one adult feed her babies a small animal.

As it was getting dark, one of the younger owls perched on a post right in the backyard. I got about five paces away from it to try to take photos. It didn’t really work out because of the darkness, but it was amazing to just watch her calmly examine the ground for mice and occasionally swivel her head around to look at us.

This is how i wish my photos had turned out.

It’s been hot and humid here the past couple of days, and that will probably continue for the rest of the week. I’ve been working out several times a week in preparation for dress shopping, but i’m not sure how i’m going to run outside now. I don’t do hot & muggy.

*EDIT: Oh man, i forgot to write about our awesome waitress on Friday night! We went to a place called Paradise Pizza in WDM that we’d never been to, and we had a waitress who was probably just starting out. And had probably never been to a restaurant before. She brought us our beers with straws in them, and brought the check out to us before asking how the meal was or if we wanted any dessert. She wandered around looking bored when she wasn’t helping us. It was an all-around hilarious thing to see. 😆

I took photos!

How could i resist? Everything is so beautiful right now with spring in full bloom.

Our Daffodils

We had one little bunch of daffodils in the back yard about two weeks ago.

Our Tulip 2

Now we have a single tulip in the front yard.


…And we have a bunch of these little bluebells in the front & back.

Tree Blossoms

The trees down at the park are starting to bloom. It’s really a nice little park, though the waterfowl are few and far between at the pond.

Tree Buds

Happy spring!! 🙂

Decoratively Challenged

I need some help deciding what to do with a couple of spots in the new place. A few things are literally nailed into the walls so i just have to work around them. One was the giant mirror above the fireplace, which i’ve complimented by placing every metallic object i own on the mantle. I’m a little more clueless about these two spots though:


Number one is these shelves. I like them, i just don’t really have anything to put on them since all of our books just fill up the bookcase. I thought of buying some random decorative books to fill up at least one shelf, but i’m not really into useless decorative things, as a rule. Any better ideas?

Number two is this …thing in the bathroom:


This is a pretty poor picture, but there are five wooden pegs protruding from that panel (there should be six; one is missing). I feel like there’s something out there that would look really cute hanging from odd wooden pegs in the bathroom, but i can’t put my finger on it. What do you guys think?