My Life is Good

So good, I’d hazard to say it’s practically perfect.

I have an amazing home with a boyfriend I love. I have a cat of 12 years who I know as well as I know myself. I have a new kitten (still nameless!) to work in some excitement. And yesterday I exercised for the first time in weeks.

The #1 reason that my life is awesome: it’s 10:33 on a Monday and I’m lying in bed with my coffee and the kitten working on this website,

This site has been a labor of love for many years. Whatever my passion du jour (mosaics, pet portraits, wood carving), I never stop wishing for more time and energy to devote to this site. I wished for so much time to work on this site (and other silly projects) that I threw caution to the wind and quit a full-time job I’d had for years on March 31st, 2009.

Since then, I’ve been forced to overcome many challenges. My perfectionist instincts, for one. And the realization that my dreams change almost daily, for another. The first dream I followed was a failed attempt at a pet portraiture business, Van Gogh My Pet.

Hangoverville was even less of a success. Lushes in Love caught on, but never proved profitable.

But these attempts were not without their lessons. I learned that “If you build it, they will come” is frankly not true. No, if you build it and promote it AND it’s brilliant, then they will come.

I launched Artsy Geek to capitalize on the web development and marketing skills I’d been building since I built my first website in 1996. Artsy Geek, I thought, would pay the bills and then, finally, I’d have the time and energy to work on this site (and other silly projects).

This year has been particularly trying. Artsy Geek has tripled its business since January.

Tripled! I didn’t see it coming.

That growth has brought with it more challenges than I ever expected. I regularly bemoan our success, saying “If I’d known it would be this hard to grow a business, I never would have launched it.”

I wonder at this moment if I still mean that. With a team in place that I can trust, I can scale back the 60+ hour work weeks. With the confidence to charge higher prices, I don’t have to work as hard for every dollar we earn. With a great reputation, we have enough business coming in that I don’t feel the need to jump at very last dollar. (Knock on wood!!)

And having survived on practically no income for many months, I can truly appreciate every dollar in my wallet.

With this new found breathing room, my sister suggested that I take my mornings to myself. With my mornings to myself, I can be sure to exercise more often and — perhaps most importantly — to pursue my long-term dreams of being a writer, a blogger and a talk show host.

So here I am. My head sings the Randy Newman song, My Life is Good:

Sure, I don’t have a housekeeper to write my songs for me or Bruce Springsteen asking me to be boss for awhile. But I do have a purring kitten, a stack of blog entries I’ve been dying to write and infinite appreciation for what I’ve built.

Ching ching!

Why would anyone put a QR code in a commercial??

I’m seriously confused.  I posted this on Facebook and Al (who I find to be a reliable and informed source for tech news) said that a TV was as a good a surface as any for a QR code.

So, really, here in this Duncan Hines commercial, when all the cupcakes turn into a QR code, we’re going to pause our DVR and take a photo with our smart phone?


I think the Japanese have it right.  Put QR codes on stuff like headstones where it’s stationary.  Duh.

Continue Reading Sounds like, appropriately enough.

I received a stuffed envelope addressed to “MS. Jenniffer Heller” in the mail last week. Ms. Jenniffer Heller of “Artsy Greek Designs.”

OK, so it’s a promotional letter from some people who managed to get both the spelling of my first name and the name of my company wrong. It’s not the first time it’s happened, though it is the first time I’ve caught wind of “Artsy Greek.” Normally it’s “Artsy Geeky” or some such.

I open up the package and double over with laughter.

“Dear Ms. Heller,”

Yes!  They got that part right!

“Surprised to see the Artsy Greek Designs name on the enclosed Regatta Horizons Duo Diary sample?  Looks impressive, does it?”

I inspected the sample more closely.

Wait, that's not our name or our phone number!

I was definitely impressed.  The letter went on…

“Why just send a pocket calendar when you can make a really big impression?  The Duo Diary is two gifts in one – a pocket calendar and notepad.”

The question they didn’t address that’s worth asking…why send a pocket calendar at all??

But, you know, these pocket calendars are printed with erroneous information in gold.  I do like gold.

I received this letter dated "August 2011" with its limited time offer in October.

Only $1.99 each??  What a steal.  What do you think?  Essential tax-deductible purchase or the most essential tax-deductible purchase ever??

The Art of Online Portraiture

My dad saved me this article on “The Art of Online Portraiture” in social media from the Wall Street Journal the other day. He clipped it out and sent it with my sister when she came to visit last Thursday. Do you realize that in fifty years no one will ever think of clipping something out of the newspaper? That perhaps there won’t be newspapers at all??

Anyway, this article (which you can read here in the Wall Street Journal online) is about how important your photos are to your social media presence. Especially when using social media professionally as we all ought to. The right picture strikes the right one, the article advises.

I read through it bragging inwardly about how awesome and professional my photo is. Even if it doesn’t capture me in action working at the computer or walking down the street as the article suggests one ought. I recognized that was pretty good advice, but still was feeling mighty good about this shot littering the internet:

And then I remembered how just last week I sent professional messages to potential attendees of my E-commerce seminar from my Facebook account.

With this as my profile pic:

Dammit. No wonder they didn’t come.

WTF?? A Pop Up Greeting Cards Collectors’ Club?

My mom got my dad one of those pop up greeting cards for his birthday today.

Now you remember these cards right?  They’re thick and square, and you open them up and a whole world pops up.  It’s like a pop up children’s book only it’s a greeting card.  Obviously.

The one my mom got for my dad featured a 3-dimensional grill and the title “Happy Birthday Grillmaster”.  My dad was reasonably impressed which is a pretty good reaction from my dad.

The card came with an awesome ad for their Collectors’ Club.

I remember being very enamored with these cards as a kid and I’m sure I wasn’t alone.  But would I really want to collect them all?

Up With Paper (really? you named your company that??) certainly thinks I would.  They offer a monthly club where for only $22.00 a month plus $4.00 shipping and handling a month — wait…what does that make it…um…hold on a second…okay got it — so for only $26 a month — I can be delivered four (4!!!) different pop-up greeting cards each month!

Oh my god.  My life is complete!

But wait, there’s more.

Card designs range from traditional to funky, including all types of art, characters and s ending occasions.

Oh thank goodness, finally there is a way for me to celebrate all of those “s ending occasions”! Of which I can’t think of a single one.*

And finally I can fill those shelves that have been sitting vacant and gathering dust waiting for the collection of a lifetime.

For those of you who would like to join this club and are offended by my heavily sarcastic tone, I’m sure you can do so at the Up With Paper website. Oh no, I just checked their website and you can’t. It seems that this idea only warranted a paper ad. Well, that’s the first good judgment I’ve noticed from them.

*Omg. I was just rereading this post for the THIRD time before publishing it and I realized that’s a typo. It’s supposed to be “sending occasions.” Now who’s the fool? Me for taking so long to realize that? Or them for having such a perplexing typo and club to begin with? I need your help. Weigh in in the comments.

Best Copy Ever

Weeks ago I mentioned how much I love the selection of office supplies over at and about how I was going to buy myself a new tape dispenser.  Well, I finally broke down and decided to get one today, and as I was perusing their other products to make sure I didn’t miss anything awesome, I stumbled on this fantastic copy.

Black Retro Ballpoint Pens

Perfect for writing on paper at your desk.

What more is there to say?

Get yours here.