2u Creative — Amy Morelli — Illustration — Branding — Graphic Design


Music — It’s so much more than just the soundtrack to our lives…

#memyselfandi, Blogging, Inspiration, Knowledge, Lifestyle, MusicAmy MorelliComment
image courtesy of http://all-free-download.com

image courtesy of http://all-free-download.com

I know, I know the title of this blog is nothing new to anyone. But recently I've been engrossed in a few songs that I feel speak to my soul and the changes happening in my life. Which made me realize that music really is the consistent background to all of our lives. 

Whether we know it or not, music guides us through life, it connects cultures, it motivates us, it's the universal language that all understand. Powerful melodies, harmonies and lyrics can flood you with memories of the special moments of your past, while narrating your present. It has even been know to shake creative block loose! (at least in my case)

One good thing about music, is when it hits you, you feel no pain.
— Bob Marley

We listen in joy & celebration, in sadness & remembrance...I'm even listening to my favorite tunes as I write now. Research suggests that music not only helps us cope with pain — it can also benefit our physical and mental health in numerous other ways. Various scientific studies have shown that music can relieve stress, alter brain wave speed, motivate you during workouts, treat depression, help in surgical recovery and so much more.  and so much more.  (source: http://greatist.com/happiness/unexpected-health-benefits-music) Be sure to read the source article for all the amazing benefits music provides both medically and motivationally. 

Here's to all the wonderful musicians out there connecting us through their amazing talent.

A Creative Life — Finding the Passion Again.

#memyselfandi, Blogging, Books, BrandingAmy Morelli1 Comment

This post is LOOOOONNNNNGGGG overdue! I know I've been not as active on social media lately as in the past. Well today it all gets explained! I've been going through some changes and transitions both personally and professionally. So here we are, the day I spill the beans. (it's really not that dramatic...but I am a Leo after all!)

Last year was a challenging year for me, not because it was the last year of my 30s, but because as I've grown and matured in my life, I was beginning to realize my life didn't fit anymore. What does that mean you ask? Yea- good question. It took me months to figure it out myself.

As I slowly approach 40, I found myself questioning...everything. How did I get here, what was the path, where did the time go...you know all those midlife questions. Now don't get me wrong, by no means do I feel that 40 is OLD, or my life if over. But I do find myself remembering things in my life, that I feel like were yesterday — then I realize — those memories from yesterday, were really 10, 15 even 20 years ago.  Where did all that time go? I don't feel old enough to have 20 year old friendships and stories. And I know this is laughable to all of you 20 years older than me..

I've had some friends turn 40- and loose it. I mean. . . LOOSE IT, implode their lives. Like, leave their families, cheat on their wives/husbands, leave their own birthday celebrations in "40 year old panic". And all this last year of being 39- I kept thinking, what is the big deal- who cares you are only as young as you feel, and blah blah blah.

And then, as I sit here enjoying the last few months of my 30s- I realize I did have my own way of "loosing it." And it began 6 months ago.  I began to feel uncomfortable in my own skin,  In my drive for success, I forgot who I was and what was really important in life.  I had abandoned and forgotten some of the things I loved about life, and about myself. It wasn't conscious, it wasn't deliberate, but it happened. Slowly, day by day, without me even realizing it, it became about acquiring stuff instead of living. Until suddenly, one day I suffocating. 

Then as I really started to evaluate myself and my life, and all the experiences that brought me here, then suddenly- just like that... CLARITY. (and let me just say this didn't happen on it's own - some wonderful friends, colleagues and mentors of my life dropped little seeds of wisdom and knowledge to me along the way.. which Is what led to the clarity...it takes a village people...we don't grown on our own, we pick up knowledge and experiences from those around us that push us closer to the sun.) Usually the signs are always there leading us in the right direction if we choose to see them. 

From this point on, I will longer waste energy and time on those who don't do the same for me. I will no longer let my life energy be sucked out by the "Takers" in life, I will no longer put "living" aside for work. I will live in balance and will enjoy life for what it is...a series of moments that are best experienced without expectation.

You may have seen my announcement earlier this year, that I would no longer be designing and producing stationery. Well, now I can tell you what I've been doing. And this will probably come as NO surprise to those who know me well. I have gone back to my roots of illustration and book layout and design.  Early in my career, I worked in publishing and loved it.  I never really made a decision to stop doing this, but slowly overtime my career and life choices led me away from it. 

As I started to feel restless in my life/business, opportunities arose for me to dip my foot back into the publishing world. And yes, I heard Angels singing.. HA! No seriously, the more I illustrate and design book covers and interiors, the more excited and passionate I become. One thing I've learned about having a business is it's a marathon, not a sprint. And all good runners know, sometimes you have to change course to win the race. And whatever you do, as long as you do it with joy, I considerate it winning!

So if you haven't gotten bored yet with the rhetoric, here's the meat and potatoes of it.  After a decline in my stationery business due to sites such as etsy, and the like. And the fact that I just didn't feel the love and passion that once I felt for events- so I decided to turn things upside down! To transition from stationery to focus more on my branding division 2u Creative and move into illustration and publishing work.

Let this be a lesson to us all, you can have a mid--life freak out, without being destructive to your life. LOL :)

Check out below some of the work I've been doing lately below, and stay tuned I will soon be offering templates and custom book cover and interior design for authors, as well as packages of everything they need to promote and sell their book. I've been working on illustrations for children's k-5 English and Science Books, as well as interior design an layout of the books, you can see some of both of that work below!

In addition to the change in direction my design career will take, I will also be blogging on a regular basis and it will no longer be about events and stationery. It will be about life in general, my experiences, my struggles and yes...sometimes my polarizing opinions! Everything I'm interested in (reading, cooking, gardening), as well the uncomfortable things in life that push us forward (politics, philosophy, etc).

Follow me, Read me, and join me on all the moments that make up life.

Social Media: Are you Sharing too much?

2u Creative, Blogging, Social MediaAmy MorelliComment
image purchased at  istockphoto.com

image purchased at istockphoto.com

In today's world, we are more increasingly living in a space where everything about our lives is made public. There was once a time in our history when paper and printing were such rare commodities, that in society we were more discriminate in what words were actually put out there for public consumption. Writings, statements, etc were scrutinized-- is this information important enough to share with the masses-- do we use our rare resources to convey "this message" (whatever it may be), or should we further think it through to make sure "this message" is worthy of the use of rare resources, and the time involved to produce it for the masses. As our society changes and grows and as our technology evolves, this idea is becoming lost.

These days, with social media, internet news sources, mobile devices, etc. it seems this idea has become lost all together, which is what prompted me to write this post. Are we sharing too much information these days- and are we sometimes spreading misinformation, because we don't spend the proper time verifying and vetting the information we do put out there.  Has social media and the internet made it so we don't take responsibility for our words? Should we use "free speech" as a crutch to post any message we want for the world to see? Shouldn't we have a social responsibility to make sure the words we put out in the world are accurate and true? Journalist are held to this standard, why aren't the rest of us. A Journalist can't write whatever they want about any topic or person without consequences. They have to work within ethical guidelines, because they can be held responsible for their words - due to libel and slander laws. 

As a marketing professional and designer I am often asked to manage my clients social media forums. And as a business owner myself with my own social life I've come to the conclusion that although we shouldn't be judged based on what we choose to do with our social lives and social media there's no controlling that we still are. Business professionals especially should be even more careful when it comes to what they post on their social media outlets. Although we do live in a society where we are free to speak our minds that doesn't necessarily mean we always should. Sometimes posting your opinion on something will cause people to judge you unfairly or jump to conclusions about the "underlying message" you are conveying.

Yes, we live in a wonderful time where we do have free speech and we can speak our minds, but should we always? This is something each of us has to decide for ourselves. But here are some things to keep in mind. You don't want to alienate a future employer, college admissions, client, friend, in-law etc. because they have inferred "what you mean" by a statement, photo, video, etc that you have shared with the world. Should we be able to post whatever we want with no judgement? Yes. But unfortunately in the world we live in today, it's just not that simple. The FACT IS, YOU ARE JUDGED ON WHAT YOU POST.

It is endless what you can share on social media for the world to see, but before you do you should think about the possible consequences. Posts and photos regarding....

1. Posting Digs, Jokes, or Statements "meant to be funny"

When you post something vague on your blog, twitter, Facebook, myspace, etc there is no TONE.  Sometimes you may write something that you think is funny- but could offend others. And since there is no voice inflection, or mischievous glint in your eye, the audience may have no idea that you were trying to be funny or make a joke. This recently has become an issue in the Tyler Clementi trial as well as in schools where students are being bullied via electronic means.  REMEMBER: the people reading your posts are not in your head. You may think you are being harmless with your posts, but they may be harmful and hurtful to others. 

2. Partying too hard. Posting the innappropriate.

It is great to have fun with your friends, and post pics of these escapades. But think about what is appopriate not for the NOW, but for your future. Do you want to become very successful in your career to only have your past come back and haunt you? This happens all the time, especially in politics. For Example: Bill Clinton.. "I didn't inhale." Would he have been elected if there was video of him on Facebook actually inhaling? Who knows, but do you want to go to a job interview and NOT get the job because 5 years ago a friend of your posted a pic of you on the internet "praying to the porcelain god?"  It was funny at the time, right?

3. Getting too emotional...do you post TMI?

Do you post your life's ups and downs? When you are fighting with a friend, boyfriend, co-worker etc. Do you intentionally post things to "get a rise from them"? Do you share your intimate moments on a public forum. If you do, that is your choice, but remember YOU ARE BEING JUDGED. Have you lost out on potential clients, job opportunities, etc because you are viewed as Volatile or Emotionally unstable? You probably don't think you are viewed this way. But if you post all of your Personal Ups and Downs- then someone out there probably views you as an "emotional mess". Believe it or not this translates, and if a potential employer thinks this of you, they start to think, do I want to hire this person— will their dramatic emotional moments affect their ability to do their job. Should they make a decision about you based only on your merits, and not what you put out there? YES-- but is this how it works? NO! What you post is a reflection of your character, and colleges and business owners have started checking Facebook and social media to see what kind of character you have. So be careful what and how you post. 

4. Venting about co-workers and clients....

This is a huge NO NO.. People have been fired for venting about their boss or place of employment on Facebook. It is never smart to post negative things relating to your job, employer, vendors, co-workers, friends, acquaintances etc. This is a bell you can't un-ring! Public forums ARE NOT the place for venting about people in your life.  Call a friend, get a cocktail and vent.  Or better yet, sit face to face with the person you have a problem with and work it out! We all need to vent sometimes, but posting things in the heat of frustration and anger, only leads to REGRET. And once it's out there you can't take it back! Yes, you can delete it, but you can never delete it from the mind of those who read it before you do.

5. Professing your political and religious views.....

We are lucky to live in a society where we have freedom in these areas. But always be aware, these types of posts can be hot-button issues for lots of people, so be careful what you post. You may have potential clients and/or opportunities with people that have very different views. This is what makes America great, everyone has the right to their own opinion. Remember though, just as you have the "freedom to post these things"- others have the "freedom to judge you or not do business with you because of your views". As a business professional you have to check your personal thoughts on these topics at the door. You don't want to alienate anyone in the business arena because you passionately post your thoughts and views. Although you are completely entitled to your own political and religious views just be prepared that sharing them could turn around and hurt your image or brand. And the same goes for all the topics I mentioned above. 

All of the above are topics that can possibly give your clients, vendors, friends, etc an unfavorable perception of you. All of us are individuals and that is nothing to be ashamed of or hide, however if you use your social media outlets for your company or the professional side of your life, you need to watch your personal posts. You can't be promoting your business or professional skills at 9am and then bashing your boyfriend or coworker at 2pm, without it effecting how your followers and/or clients view you.  When it comes to business, especially with our economy the way it is people want to spend money with trust-worthy, capable and consistent individuals. If you portray yourself to be anything but that, rest assured eventually your business/professional life will suffer. 

There are several Facebook privacy settings you can change to prevent people from seeing anything on your page you don't want them to see. Photo tagging privacy policies, sharing with only certain groups of people your posts and so on. Check all of your other social media sites for these same settings. It could help you limit what potential employers, clients, etc see.

It's true, your personal life should not dictate the way you are in business, but unfortunately it absolutely does. So be sure you are monitoring what your social media sites are saying about you. Think about what you are posting, be responsible with your words. And if you are trying to be informational in your posts, make sure that you research, and that you are putting accurate information out there.