Aug 102016
 

About a week and a half ago, I was in NYC with my family and we stopped at the Metropolitan Museum of Art for a day of fun. While there, we saw the exhibit, “Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology.” It is about the place where old-school fashion techniques meet technology. It is also about how one technique isn’t better than the other, rather, how both traditional fashion techniques and new techniques in fashion using technology can complement each other. What I found most fascinating about the exhibit was watching the production of the pieces, the hand-beading and stitching, and the intention behind each piece. Great stuff!

Here are some of the most striking pieces I saw:


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If in NYC, I urge you to check this exhibit out. It is quite beautiful.

I find that viewing beautiful things inspires me to not only find the beauty in life, but also to bring this beauty into my writing and other creative projects.

Happy creating!

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Nov 062014
 

I just had a piece published by Chicago Literary Map.

If you haven’t heard of Chicago Literary Map, you should check it out. Here’s what it’s all about:

“Beyond the bright lights and cityscapes, stories unfold. Some are true, others are fiction, showing you a side of the city that often goes untold. Chicago Literary Map is charting the text and putting it in the palm of your literary-loving hand.

Navigate Chicago on a new level, guided by the voices who have been, where updates bring new vignettes from around the city.”

Rad, huh?

Please check out my piece called Ohio Street.

If you’d like to more about the creator of CLM, Stephanie Plenner, please follow her on Twitter: @splenner. You can also follow Chicago Literary Map here: @literarymap.

Your turn. What was it like where you grew up in Chicago?

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Apr 022014
 

When I began freelancing, I didn’t have a computer. I’d write out all of my short stories and novel ideas in notebooks. Then, I’d take them to the nearest computer/coffee shop where I’d spend hours transcribing. I thought I was spending my time and energy wisely, but looking back, I wasn’t as productive as I should’ve been.

I should’ve been writing, not transcribing, but I didn’t have a proper tools or workspace. It’s easy to talk yourself out of being productive when you don’t have either.

It took me a few years, but I now have what I need: space, a laptop, software, books, a coffee maker, a routine, and the ability to say no.

This works for me, but every once in a while I dig a change of scenery. Unfortunately, I get easily distracted at coffee shops and bookstores. This leaves me with my current workspaces. I have three desk areas, but they are all very small.

Here’s what I need: space, light, color, and convenience.

Here’s what I need to do: purge and purchase new matching supplies.

When my workspace is unorganized, I find that I am mentally unorganized. I am going to fix my workspaces. My timeline to get these workspaces complete is in 1 month.

I will show before and after photos of my workspace on Monday, May 5th. Stay tuned.

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Jul 162013
 

30. Moisturize. Enough said.

29. Recognize your part in everything and take responsibility for your action and inaction.

28. Exercise is a necessity. If you work your body, you will work your mind.

27. Fun is essential.

26. There are a lot of bullies in adulthood. Don’t let people treat and talk to you any old way and don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself. Remember, if you don’t, who will?

25. Fresh foods are the key to healthy living.

Fruit Bowl

24. Go to the doctor and the dentist regularly.

stethoscope

23. Don’t say you’re sorry unless you mean it. It comes off as disingenuous and everybody knows that a phony apology is worse than no apology at all.

22. Having good friends is important.

21. ABL. Always be laughing.

20. Don’t talk to people any old way. They’ll always remember the way you made them feel – disrespected and insignificant.

19. Sometimes it’s better said with a look. Remember the folks from The Office?

18. Take a moment for yourself during the day and go to bed on time to ensure that you’ll always be and feel your best.

17. Travel and make photo books.

16. Some people will disagree with the decisions you’ve made and are making in your life. This is okay.

15. Love yourself.

14. Sometimes you’ll go through a rough patch. Just remember – it’s temporary.

13. Splurge on good coffee. Trust me, you will not regret it.

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12. Believe in yourself. Now take a chance.

11. It is okay to indulge sometimes.

10. Listen to what people are saying and not what you think they are saying.

9. Your spouse/partner/significant other is one of the only people you’ve chosen to have in your life. Remember that and treat them as such.

8. Your body tells you everything. Pay attention to it when it’s shouting at you.

7. There are many young, brilliant minds. Respect the youth.

6. If somebody hurts your feelings, be confident and tell them straight away. Under no circumstances should you let those feelings fester.

5. Your tongue can be just as cutting as a knife. Choose your words wisely.

4. Always be in control of your emotions.

3. Life plans are amazing.

2. Have a running list of nouns that make you happy and refer to it often.

1. When you love the people in your life, love them hard because they won’t be around forever and chances are you’ll miss them when they’re gone.

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That’s what I’ve learned in the past five years. What about you? What did you learn in your 30’s or are learning?

 

*Note: all images were created by me – Janina R. Williams. Please contact me for permission before using.

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Nov 192012
 

Why does living life seem to take up so much time? There are twenty-four hours in a day to spend however we’d like, which seems like a lot, but it’s not. Not when you have to spend eight of those hours recharging. Not when you’re getting ready for work, commuting, actually working, commuting again, eating dinner, spending time with family, cleaning up, decompressing, and getting ready for bed. In that case, twenty-four hours may as well be one.

I think the lack of time is getting to people. Well, it’s getting to me. There are way too many distractions. I’ve noticed that I’m happier when I spend time doing the things I love. Don’t people seem to be happier when they’re spending time doing the things they love? It’s like a personal road map to happy.

What would happen if we took a few moments during the day for ourselves? How awesome would you feel if you did something you truly enjoyed? Now how often do you do that for yourself?

I vow to spend a few moments of each day on myself and you should too.

I made a short video about this very thing. Take a look.

Thanks for watching!

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Nov 172012
 

Hey all,

I’ve finally completed some projects. Yea! Check out my projects page to see what’s new.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve also added some new photos to my Chicago Picture Project, which is seven years strong. Enjoy!

What projects do you have in the works?

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Jun 012012
 

Chicago summers are fabulous and this year’s Kite Festival at Montrose Harbor added to the fabulousness. It was that fun. Check out my video below.

Being at the Kite Fest reminded me of how much I missed being a kid and just having fun for the sake of having fun. It reminded me of late night soft serve from the ice cream truck, biking around the neighborhood, and playing those games like “It” and “Red light, green light,” and those awesome “hand games.” Remember those? Being a kid was fun.

Here are some of the songs we used to sing that accompanied those “hand games” I was talking about.

Uno Dos Siesta
To the East, the West
I met my boyfriend at the candy store.
He bought me ice cream, he bought me cake.
He took me home with a belly ache.
Mama, mama, I’m so sick. Call the doctor, quick, quick, quick.
Doctor, doctor, will I die? Count to five and you’ll be alive.
One, two, three, four, five.
I’m alive on channel five.

Mrs. Marry Mack, Mack, Mack
All dressed in black, black, black
With silver buttons, buttons, buttons all down her back, back, back
She asked her mother, mother, mother
For 15 cents, cents, cents
To see the elephants, elephants, elephants
She jumped the fence, fence, fence
She jumped so high, high, high
She touched the sky, sky, sky
And she never came back, back, back
Till the 4th of july, lie, lie

Here’s how we picked “It.” We made everybody put in a single foot and used our pointer finger to go around in a circle and for each word of the song or rhyme, we moved our finger one shoe over until one person was singled out. (Yes, these rules were very intricate.) Here is some of what we said:

My mother punched your mother in the nose, what color was the blood?
“Blue.”
B-L-U-E
And you are out of this entirely game
Not because you’re ugly, not because you’re clean
Just because you kissed a dirty man behind a dirty magazine

Then there would be three of us left and we’d say something like:

Eeny, meeny, miny, moe, Catch a tiger by the toe. If he hollers, let him go, Eeny, meeny, miny, moe.

Whomever was in the last “moe” position was out. Then there’d be two people left so we’d say something like this:

Bubble gum, bubble gum in a dish, how many pieces do you wish?
“five.”
One, two, three, four, five
and the whole, and you are out of this entirely game rhyme would start.
And whoever was left was “It.”

Do you remember any of these? Do you know a different version? Did you sing completely different songs? If so, what were they? What awesome memories do you have from childhood?

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 Posted by at 7:18 pm
Feb 132012
 

One of the best things about living in Chicago or any big city is having access to a plethora of restaurants, live theater shows, concerts, literary readings, sporting events, art installations, transportation, cultural events, and shopping among other things.

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve seen some pretty fascinating stuff that has blown my mind. I’d like to share two of those things with you.

At the Bulls vs. Nets game, I got to see one of the funniest shorts put on by Big Ben and Benji the bull. Check them out below:

To learn more about Benny, Big Ben, Benji and the entire Bulls family, check out this site: iwantbenny.com.

Another cool thing I got to see was this incredible light sculpture at the Chicago Auto Show. I’ve never seen anything like it and I had to get it on video. Turns out, it was created by Chuck Hoberman, of the Chuck Hoberman Sphere. Check out what it does and be amazed:

Well folks, there you have it.

If I find any other cool things around Chi-town, (and I’m sure I will) I’ll be sure to post a video.

Stay tuned for more awesomeness and in the meantime, peace and happiness.

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Dec 042011
 

It’s holiday time: time for eggnog, coquito, for bowls of chili, for snow and of course presents. If you have a writer friend, why not hook them up with a gift for the holidays?

Here are some ideas…

 

  • A well made journal. 
  • A five in one Pen. What writer wouldn’t want one of these?! 
  • A portable scanner, which is a dream come true for any paper hoarder. 
  • The Storymatic game just because it’s fun.
  • A yearly planner with lots of room to write.

 

  • Bookmarks. I don’t care what anybody says, bookmarks will always be in style.
  • A classic book collection like this:
  • This shirt because it’s hilarious:
  • This mug because sometimes you need a little inspiration. 
  • And last, but not least, the real secret to happiness (Just kidding… kinda).  🙂 

Well folks, there you have it. Numbers eight and nine were gifts ideas I learned about from the Writerland blog. Check out Meghan Ward’s post for more gift ideas for writers.

If you need even more gift ideas then look no further than Design Sponge’s 2011 $25 and Under Gift Guide. It’s not geared towards writers, but it’s a pretty cool list nonetheless.

Good luck with your holiday purchases and please remember that the best gift is an unexpected one. Am I right? I think I am.

Happy holidays!

*All images link back to the original photo source.

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Oct 262011
 

This is the true tale of one Wii’s survival against all odds.

Call me Wii. I was developed by Nintendo back in 2006. Wii’s come in many colors; I am white, classic, original. Over my lifetime, I have been touched, poked, and pushed by many hands, but most dangerously, a few weeks ago by a three-year-old. He found a jar of pennies and decided that I was a piggybank. He stuffed the coins inside and his parents did not notice. So there it sat; the copper coin destroying my insides like a cancer. For some reason my agonizing pain wasn’t apparent. A few days later, they caught their son red-handed, stuffing pennies inside of me again! They picked me up and shook. The newly inserted coins fell out. Woo-hoo! It felt good until they stuck it in – a disk! I felt it grind against my bones. Ahhhhhhhhhhhh! You should’ve seen the looks on their faces when I made that sound. They were frightened, scared of the repair fees. They ejected the disk and contemplated what it could be: a scratched eye, a twisted piece of metal? And then it hit them, what if there were more coins stuck inside?! Bingo. They shook me again. I rattled and they knew.

Let’s fast forward to two weeks later when a package of tri-screw drivers arrived in the mail.

Yes, I was saved! With the mom’s laptop on hand showing her how to open and repair a Wii, she went to work on me like a surgeon removing a tumor. To view the youtube video she used, please click here.


For two hours, I watched her every move: a screw here, a screw there, a pad lifted, my insides opened.

Under the metal, in the drive was a lone penny trapped inside. She maneuvered it out and I was saved. She put me back together again and turned me on. I worked!

It was worth the painful two-hour surgery just to be able to work again.

Parents: protect us Wii’s. We are a fragile bunch. Put us somewhere high where three-year-olds can’t reach. Thank you.

This cautionary tale was brought to you by electronics everywhere. Please protect them, even from your own children, especially from your children.

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