Occupation: Web Designer, WebsyDaisy
Number of Children: 2
Current Projects: I am currently doing web sites for a jewelry designer, automotive repair shop, and a public relations firm
Tell us about yourself:
You have an amazing portfolio! How and where did you learn to design websites?
THANKS! Over 10 years ago, I was doing print page layout for a software company (where I actually still work). There were not very many web sites back then, so when the company decided it needed a web site, it felt like uncharted waters. I was the closest thing they had to a designer on staff, so they bought a copy of Adobe GoLive, plunked it on my desk, and said, “Here, make a web site.” I also became the company’s graphic designer kind of by default – it was me or the guys who wrote software code. But I found that it was really a great niche for me. About 4 years ago, we were needing to bring in some extra money, so I just emailed everyone I knew asking if they needed help with a web site. Kathie Sever of Ramonster children’s clothing hired me, her site led to other sites, and all of a sudden I had a freelance business. It has satisfied a creative side of me that had been pretty buried for years.
How do you manage a hectic life on a daily basis?
Schedule, schedule, schedule, and TRY NOT TO PANIC!
From 7:30 in the morning, when the kids head out for school, till 2:30 in the afternoon, when I leave to pick them up, I have my day job, which I am fortunate enough to do from home. Then the afternoon and evening are family time. Once the kids go to bed and over the weekend, I finish up any loose ends from my day job and work on my web sites. It is always just a juggling act making sure I work enough to keep up but not so much that I burn out.
When I start to get that “Lord-please-let-us-win-the-lottery-I-can’t-do-this-any-more” feeling, I know I need to slow down for a few weeks and regroup. Then I start to get restless and itch to design something again.
What do you like to do to unwind at the end of the day?
Read a book, take a bath, watch terrible TV. But honestly, I frequently have to skip the “unwind” portion of the day and go straight from panic to sleep.
Where are you from? If you’re not from Austin, how did you end up here?
I am originally from Arlington, came to UT for school, moved back to Arlington, then to Seattle for 4 years, and finally landed back here in 1996. I’m done moving.
What are some challenges that you face when trying to juggle a business and family?
Mostly guilt. Since I work from home, the “family or work” decision is constant. When the kids are at school, clearly it is work time. But in the afternoon, which I have declared family time, the computer is always tugging at me. I feel guilty that people are waiting for me to finish working on something. If I sit and work, I feel guilty that I am not playing with the kids. If I stay up late working, I feel guilty that my work the next morning will be less than stellar and I will probably be grumpy with the kids. If I go to bed early, I lay awake and think about the work I should be doing. So I feel stretched a little thin, like probably every mom on the planet.
Tell us one of your secret indulgences.
Nutella on bananas. I rarely buy the stuff because I can’t. stop. eating it.
If you were portrayed in a movie, who would play your character?
I have been told many times now that I look like Maggie Gyllenhaal. I don’t see the resemblance at all, but now whenever I see Jake Gyllenhaal on screen, I say “My BRUTHA!” Which come to think of it is probably pretty annoying.
What would your theme song be?
I always picture the music from Breakfast at Tiffany’s following me around like it did Holly GoLightly. I think I would be much more upbeat.
If you could live anywhere other than Austin, where would it be?
France. After seeing the Michael Moore documentary, Sicko, I wished I could go back in time and have my kids in France. Free health care, amazing maternity leave, affordable childcare, a mother’s helper that comes to your house and does laundry, makes meals, whatever after you have a child – it just seems like such a dream.
But barring that, I’ll keep Austin. It’s home.
Why do you like living in Austin? What do you dislike about the city?
There is something so comfortable and low-stress about Austin. I don’t feel judged if I check the mail in my pajamas. I love that I can go to a really nice restaurant, wear a skirt, and be overdressed. For the most part I think people here appreciate diversity and natural beauty and are really supportive of local businesses. I do hate how things have been changing – I feel like we have been sold out to developers. Our local flavor is being eaten up by condos and box chain stores. How many Old Navy’s do we really need?
I saw someone with a bumper sticker that said “Make Austin Normal” and I just wondered – you have the whole state of Texas to live in, why did you choose Austin, the one city in the whole state that really celebrates being unique? But those people seem to be taking over, and it makes me nostalgic.
What are some of your favorite things to do in your downtime?
Downtime? HAHAHAHAHAH. But seriously. When I can, I love to hang out with my friends, have a drink (or 2) and laugh as loudly as possible. I also enjoy torturing my husband by watching the most ridiculous reality TV imaginable.
Are you married? How did you meet your husband? How long have you been married?
Dirk and I have been married for almost 12 years. We met while I was still at UT, and he was working with my best friend’s husband as a bartender.
What’s your favorite flower? Why?
Well, the Daisy of course. The gerbera daisy specifically, because it looks like a cartoon flower. But my garden is full of nice, hearty Texas native plants, because this Mama doesn’t have time to water.