graphics for shirts · Onesies · Small Business · Toledo, OH

Toledo Pride Festival This Weekend

This weekend is the Pride Festival at Levis Square in downtown Toledo (on the corner of Madison and St. Clair). Jason and I attended the event two years ago and we’re happy that this year Karly can come along, too. I’m sure she’ll love the parade. That’s happening Saturday at noon. There are so many organizations involved in the parade, and the energy is so high in the crowd as they pass by. Besides the parade there will be vendors and live performances. Come check it out! I’m making a onesie for Karly to wear.

love-onesie

Toledo, OH

Our Favorite Toledo Restaurants

Another great reason for living in Toledo is that we have a ton of great restaurants! Here are ten of my family’s favorites.

  1. JoJo’s

4336 Monroe St.

JoJo’s has great pizza, but I really think the lasagna is amazing!

  1. Mancy’s

953 Phillips Ave.

This is an awesome steakhouse that my family sometimes visits for special occasions. My graduation dinner was at Mancy’s.

  1. Hot Sizzling Wok

2333 W. Laskey Rd.

This is a Chinese restaurant very close to our house. We visited Hot Sizzling Wok a lot while I was pregnant. I really like the beef with broccoli.

  1. Golden Phoenix

5201 Monroe St. #3

Golden Phoenix is a Chinese restaurant close to where I work, and they have the most amazing egg rolls. I sometimes get a couple to go for lunch.

  1. Gyro’s

2942 W. Sylvania Ave.

Mr. Gyro’s has a huge menu and they deliver. I love the chicken gyro.

  1. Vito’s

4235 Douglas Rd.

My husband loves the pizza at Vito’s, but I really like the subs. My favorite is the pizza sub.

  1. El Camino Real

2500 W. Sylvania Ave.

This one is also close to our house. El Camino Real has awesome Mexican food with amazing margaritas.

  1. Backyard BBQ

2600 W. Sylvania Ave. #1

This restaurant has great BBQ, and some really unique drinks.

  1. Netty’s

4672 Monroe St.

Netty’s is our favorite ice cream place. I love the watermelon slush.

  1. Nick and Jimmy’s

4956 Monroe St.

This restaurant has great sandwiches. My favorite is the caesar steak wrap.

Have a favorite restaurant in Toledo? Let me know in the comments.

graphic design · Owens Community College · Toledo, OH

The Fifth Major is a Charm: Owens Commercial Art Technology Program

In May of 2014, I graduated from the Owens Commercial Art Technology (CRT) Program. College was a long, bumpy road, not only because I was dealing with schizoaffective disorder, but I had also gone through 5 different majors. The CRT Program was really different for me. The classes were practical and hands-on, the instructors were professionals working in the field, and everything just clicked for me.

One of my first classes was vector graphic design, and I had no clue what I was doing. I had never touched a design program before, and on that first day it was clear that many of the other students had. I can’t believe that was me! With practice I picked it up, and now Adobe Illustrator is my favorite program.

I learned so much from all of my classes. Other coursework for the CRT Program included drawing, 2D design, photography, photo manipulation, animation, video editing, typography and more. I felt the classes moved at a good pace – quickly, but not too quickly. As long as you stayed focused you had enough time to finish your work.

I love creating art, and the CRT Program showed me how to channel that creativity into something practical.

After I graduated, I slowed down a little, but once I became interested in running my own business, my motivation returned. It’s important to keep up, so I watch online tutorials. Learning even after graduation is crucial to my success.

I would recommend the CRT Program to anyone who is visually creative looking to add some practical skills. The curriculum is versatile and gives a great overview to a very broad field. The CRT Program gave my life and career some direction, something I had been longing for.

Two class projects.

mental health · Toledo, OH · Uncategorized

Volunteering at NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness)

One of the first organizations I reached out to after being diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder was NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness. NAMI is a national grassroots organization with a network of state and local chapters. They’re all about support from people who’ve been there. NAMI focuses on consumers and families.

I was introduced to the organization through an Internet search. Type in “mental illness” to Google and nami.org is at the top of the search results. I spent time reading all the information and lurking in the forums.

At the time I was living in Bowling Green, OH and I found out there was a local chapter, NAMI Wood County, right in my town. I spent a few years volunteering there. I even became their Community Educator intern and went to a national conference in San Diego.

When I moved to Toledo, I connected with NAMI of Greater Toledo, and they really have a lot going on – lots of support groups and classes. I got to combine my interests of art and mental health and became an art support group facilitator. We would work on a variety of projects in different media, each with a theme related to mental health and wellness. Many people came to socialize and get support; the art was just the cherry on top.

Every May, NAMI of Greater Toledo holds their annual walk, which draws several hundred people. Lots of other organizations are on hand with tons of information and resources. Local news media always cover the event. This is when NAMI of Greater Toledo is most visible to the community, and they really make the most of it.

Today I don’t get time to volunteer because I am busy with my family and business, but I thought it was important to share this blog post. NAMI is an amazing organization, and if you’re looking for information and support, you’ll definitely want to check them out.

GeneralMHFacts

Infographic from nami.org.

 

 

Library · SCORE · Small Business · Toledo, OH

10 Things I Learned at the SCORE Marketing Training

Placeholder ImageOn May 4th I attended SCORE’s marketing training at the Kent Branch Library. Lately I have been reading just about any marketing book I can get my hands on. It’s now very clear to me that marketing is crucial to success as a small business owner. Marketing is everything! Here are 10 things I took away from the training.

  1. Marketing is such a broad topic. There’s so much to it and my hand hurt from taking so many notes!
  2. You must have the courage to ASK for the sale.
  3. Have an elevator speech prepared, and remember KISS.
  4. If your prices are too low you’ll disturb the market. New businesses suffer the most in price wars.
  5. Remember, “Who’s going to write the check?” That’s whom you are really selling to.
  6. Don’t coast. Once you are making sales, you have to stay on top of your game.
  7. Know your strengths.
  8. Know your competitor’s strengths.
  9. Engagement is important for keeping customers and gaining new ones.
  10. And finally, SCORE is popular! The training was well attended!

 

Library · Toledo, OH

Discovering the Toledo Lucas County Public Library

I am learning so much more about the Toledo Lucas County Public Library through my involvement with SCORE. We have all of our one-on-one mentoring sessions at the main branch downtown, and we utilize many of the resources available there. They have a great selection of business books. They also have business technology specialists on hand ready to blow your mind with the library’s research databases. They’re such a valuable resource for all small businesses.

I can’t wait until our daughter is a little older and we can take her to the library more often. We took her to the children’s floor at the main branch and got some adorable pictures. In one of them she is sitting at a computer in the toddler room.

We also get children’s books from the nearby Washington and Sanger branches. The Sanger branch children’s section is beautifully decorated with the work of local illustrator and author Denise Fleming. We also got a picture of Karly at the Sanger branch.

sanger branch

I also learn about the library’s events through their Facebook page. The last event we went to was the Glass City Black Comix Fest. There were a lot of kids running around, playing games, and having a good time. The artwork was amazing, and Jason and I both bought comics.

I am attending a marketing training with SCORE at the Kent branch on May 4th, and I’m excited to see what that will be like. I look forward to continue using SCORE and the library as resources for my business, but I’m even more excited to see my daughter’s future involvement with the library.

Toledo, OH

10 Reasons Why I Love Toledo, OH

  1. Collingwood Arts Center

This is one of the most amazing buildings I have ever seen! Jason and I were lucky enough to get a 2-hour long tour during one of the Thursday Art Walks. I don’t know if it’s actually haunted like everyone says, but the staff are very friendly and it’s definitely something you will remember!

  1. That view from Northbound I-75

Do you know what I’m talking about? I love when I’m driving on 75, and right before you get to the downtown exits there’s this curve and an amazing view of downtown. I have to check it out every time! It’s especially beautiful at sunrise.

  1. The Art Museum

I feel so lucky to live in a city with a museum like this. It’s beautiful, and general admission is free!

  1. The Restaurants

Toledo has a ton of restaurants, and Jason and I have a habit of eating out all the time. My favorites include El Camino Real, Jo Jo’s, and Hot Sizzling Wok.

  1. The Zoo

We are also very fortunate to have an amazing zoo! We have already made many memories with Karly there, and we can’t wait to take her there for years to come!

  1. The Mud Hens and Walleye

I’m not a big sports fan, but the games are fun. Plus the team names are great!

  1. The Metroparks

Toledo has some wonderful parks! I think my favorite is Wildwood.

  1. The architecture in the Old West End

The old homes are beautiful and don’t forget the Collingwood Arts Center and Rosary Cathedral.

  1. Driving on Shoreland Ave. on a foggy morning

I think Point Place is a really neat neighborhood, and I love driving along the water.

  1. The exciting weather!

I know a lot of people complain about our weather, but I love it! I think it’s exciting that we often have drastic changes from one day to the next. I love the storms in the spring and summer, and I have to admit it’s great to wake up to a level 3 snow emergency and get an unexpected day off!