My career goals (and how I keep track of them)

Posted on in Blog, Updates

People ask me how I keep track of time and make sure I’m going in a good direction while navigating through the hot mess that is life. My secret is pretty simple: I write lists. Since 2009, I’ve been keeping bulleted lists of what I consider to be important goals. These lists are split into months and separated by years. Each year, I look back at the previous years and see what I’ve accomplished. Some things, like a few cosplay ideas, are still not crossed-out. Some things, like going to France and speaking at conferences I agreed to, are. These annual lists help me to keep track of time, prioritize goals, and stay focused while also enjoying my life. Lists… Read More

Life Update: May 2014 Edition

Posted on in Blog, Updates

Hey y’all, it’s been a while since I wrote my last update. A lot has been has happened in the past few months — it’s kind of hard to believe how much I’ve managed to do in so little time. I think having so much to do feels natural to me now. The only reason I’m not losing my mind is because I have a calendar and to-do list that help me keep track of things. However, because of my introverted nature, I’ve found myself hibernating more than I used to. We’ll see how long I can keep things going, but I’m definitely planning on slowing down by the fall. Anyway, onto the monstrous list of things I’ve been doing!… Read More

Advice for New UX Designers

Posted on in Advice, Tips & Tricks, Art, Design, & Development, Web/UX Design & Development

I was recently contacted by a young person who’s trying to figure out their career path. The conversation started about games, but soon transitioned to the topic of user experience. After about the question about UX, I thought it might be good to share my answers online. Here’s the advice I gave to this potential UXer: What is your normal day like in this role? Every day is different. You can read about what a UX designer does here since it’s kind of complicated. Do you have to stay in the office late? No, my creativity dies if I stay in the office longer than 8 hours. This is great since it allows me to work on games or anything… Read More

Using AngularJS, SCSS and Twitter Bootstrap to rapidly prototype user experiences (Part 1)

Posted on in Advice, Tips & Tricks, Web/UX Design & Development

AngularJS, commonly referred to as Angular, is a very powerful framework that allows you to create web apps using static HTML templates. Angular allows you to choose what appears on the screen depending on different conditions. Due to its dynamic nature and ease-of-use, Angular can be seen as a replacement for traditional wireframing software. It also helps you to understand data structures and better communicate with developers, which will make you a more well-rounded designer. In this tutorial, I will share the way I rapidly prototype using Angular, SCSS, and the Twitter Bootstrap framework. You can view/fork the project on GitHub and follow along OR build it from scratch using the instructions given throughout the post. I hope that you… Read More

Advice from Andy Hull, Programmer for Spelunky XBLA

Posted on in Advice, Tips & Tricks, Blog

Good morrow, y’all! Last night I attended a wonderful Babycastles talk by Andy Hull. Andy worked on the XBLA version of Spelunky and also helped to take the game to the next level design-wise. I’m a big fan of Spelunky and was really excited to gain knowledge from a person who worked on such a great game. Andy was very down-to-earth and had a lot of great advice to share for programmers. Here are some of the knowledge bombs he dropped on us in no particular order. Life Advice If you’re a creative programmer, you probably won’t be happy with a job that isn’t creative. Long-term connections are so crucial to finding new opportunities. Finishing what you’ve started is more… Read More

What it’s like to be a woman of color in the tech industry

Posted on in Blog, Rants

A few weeks ago, a friend of mine tweeted that he wondered what being a woman of color in any industry was like. I sent him two 140-character answers, but kept thinking about his tweet for a long time. Since it’s International Women’s Day and I’m too sick to celebrate, I’ve decided to expand my thoughts on the subject. The following is my experience and doesn’t speak for all women of color (or all Black women) in tech. Being a Black woman in tech is hard. You feel even more out out-of-place than other women and try to tone down your personality in order to fit in. You work twice as hard just to feel like you’re doing a good job, then… Read More

On Poverty and Dream Jobs

Posted on in Blog, Rants

The rise of unpaid internships and the fall of entry-level jobs is in the news again. This has been a growing problem for a long time, and it continues to rise due to a multitude of factors that include the recession, its aftermath, and the American Dream. As a millennial, I heavily identify with those who are going through the never-ending circle of internships. I know what it’s like to have a dream and want to give anything to achieve it. However, I also know what poverty feels like, and because of it, I can’t personally sacrifice my well-being for my artistic craft. To sum up my experience quickly: my parents divorced when I was a kid. My mom lost her job during… Read More

Sparkle life, sparkle strife

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Oh hey internet! I’m still alive, I’ve just been busy. I’m going to attempt to write here more often so that people know what the heck I’m up to. Apparently people kinda care about the stuff I do and get mad when I don’t mention that things are happening. As a kid, I was told that bragging was bad. Now people seem to want me to brag. Go figure. I’ve had a couple of speaking appearances and am doing some outreach to women in tech and underpriveleged students in who are interested in making games. I’ve spoken at the NYC Games Forum, CUNY Games Fest, and ConveyUX. I’ll be speaking on behalf of Code Liberation at IndieCade East this Saturday… Read More

Environmental UX for Introverts – Building a Creative Space for Less Social Designers

Posted on in Advice, Tips & Tricks

The environment in which you work strongly affects your ability to be creative and solve problems in innovative ways. This rings especially true for introverts, who begin to feel drained by overcommunication and overstimulation in loud, open places. In a society that encourages open office layouts and constant interaction, how can we help introverts find ways to be productive? As an introverted product designer, I have long battled with noise generated by socializing in workplaces. I’ve been subjected to loud hourlong phone calls, rambunctious sales teams, bosses with a penchant for loud pranks, and more. I would attempt to zone out via loud music, but my playlists weren’t always enough. Eventually Pandora and Turntable no longer did the job, so… Read More

Write: my experience at the first Write/Speak/Code conference for women developers

Posted on in Advice, Tips & Tricks, Blog, Updates

I am a woman designer & developer with over a decade of experience in several programming languages and almost a decade of design experience, so you’d think I would be more confident in my abilities. You’d be wrong. More than ever, I find myself omitting or overtly denying how much I’ve accomplished out of embarrassment or humility. Like many women in our culture, I am a living example of a person with Impostor Syndrome. In other words, I can’t internalize my accomplishments. When I mention my years of experience and accolades, I feel like I’m bragging because deep behind my drive to do great things is a force that compares my accomplishments to others’. This comparison makes me feel like… Read More

What’s wrong with Google’s new Hangouts app?

Posted on in Blog, Web/UX Design & Development

Last week at Google I/O, a new app called Hangouts was released. It was the long-needed conglomeration of Google Talk and Google+ everyone expected long ago, it’s available across devices, and it looks great. But underneath that initial sheen, problems have started to appear — there are several inconsistencies across the Hangouts apps. Online/offline status problems The hangouts app shows who’s online on the web and Chrome apps, but not on the iPad or Android ones. Displaying online users is a pretty crucial function, as it determines who people attempt to talk to and who they ignore. It makes Hangouts less of an instant messaging app and more of a service similar to email or Twitter DMs, which definitely wasn’t the purpose… Read More

How’s your culture?

Posted on in Advice, Tips & Tricks, Blog

Culture matters. It’s the bond that keeps a country from war. It’s a source of pride. It makes history. Culture affects whether your coworkers are productive or disgruntled. It’s what many companies lack. Beer, ping pong, and shiny iMacs are not culture. So what is? Having lunch together, laughing with each other, being honest, supporting one another, and working together as a team are all parts of a positive culture. Stifling ideas, insulting coworkers behind others’ backs, being secretive, and getting drunk on a weekday because work sucks is also culture — negative culture. What keeps us working? Positive company culture. How do people who work at companies with a positive culture differ mentally and physically from their counterparts? Let’s… Read More

My Life as a Product Designer + General Updateage

Posted on in Blog, Updates

I was going to write about how awesome product design is for Valentine’s Day, but I had a lot of work to do and that idea got scrapped fast. It’s been about a year [of my second term] at NASDAQ, and I’ve learned how much I really enjoy product design. It’s the perfect combination of visual design, UX, and code. I was at first hired as more of a straight-up web designer, but with time I absorbed information about research, user interviews, new frameworks, plugins, and best practices from my coworkers. I grew from a person with the possibility of being something into someone who designs products that are utilized by (hundreds of?) thousands of people in a short 12 months…. Read More

New year, new look; plus, a new group – Tech Under Thirty

Posted on in Blog, Updates

It’s been a long while since I last blogged. I’ve been crazy busy, working my ass off at NASDAQ as a Product Designer. I tackle big UX problems daily; our team is redesigning a ton of NASDAQ’s web apps. I’ve learned that UX really fulfills my needs. I’ve always enjoyed designing and coding, but I also love designing the perfect application that affirms the target users’ mental models. Therefore, this year, I’m going to try to focus on becoming a great Product Designer.

Is it time for you to switch jobs?

Posted on in Advice, Tips & Tricks, Blog

Hello everyone! It’s been the usual long time, and I’m back with more life experience for you to partake in! In June of 2011, I was hired as an Interactive Designer at a small startup. After working there as a freelance contractor for about nine months, I decided it was time to find a new workplace. My decision wasn’t truly necessary if you just look at the hard facts: my salary was acceptable for the average entry-level American designer, I had flexible hours, a good computer, a steady workload filled with interesting projects, friendly workers, and guaranteed a full-time position whenever the company was able to switch its workers from freelance to permanent. However, behind each of these facts was… Read More

Moving Out: Maximize the Space in Your First Apartment

Posted on in Blog, Interior Design

Hello, dear internet! I’m back again after a lengthy amount of business! I’ve been occupied with work and other projects such as designing sprites for a game that should be out early next year. I have also been taking on website design work when possible. I’m always open to new projects, so if you need a new website designed and/or coded, feel free to contact me! I also moved to a new apartment last week! It’s very small, but fits within my budget and provides me with a great challenge: how do I fill 275 sq ft of space without feeling cramped? I decided to go with red, white, and black as my theme. Incidentally, the very Swiss, incredibly popular designer… Read More

How to Balance your Full-Time Job & Freelance Projects

Posted on in Advice, Tips & Tricks, Blog

Hello again, internet! It’s been a while and I’ve been incredibly busy as of late. In the past month, I ended my time working at NASDAQ and began working at a small app design company. So far it’s been great, but let’s save that topic for another post. I graduated from SVA in May and decided to fill the time previously spent doing homework with freelance work and classes. I took on 3 projects at once and signed up for 2 NYU classes and my usual weekend Japanese class. I soon found myself incredibly tired and overworked. I snapped at people often and lost a lot of sleep. After a month, I decided to work at balancing out my schedule… Read More

Your life after college: what will you do?

Posted on in Advice, Tips & Tricks, Blog

I just graduated and jumped right into the work force. Some people take trips around the world for a year, but I found no need to do so. I don’t like planes, and I definitely don’t like traveling by myself. Many of my friends took one or two years off after finishing high school, so didn’t graduate at the same time as most of my close friends. Even without taking a year off (also known as a gap year), I feel fine. I like to work, learn, and earn money, and unless I had great equipment and a knack for stock photography, my trip would go strongly unfinanced. I also don’t like the idea of leaving my mom & cat… Read More

Site Redesign + Catt Life Update!

Posted on in Blog, Updates

Hello, fine internet. How are you? I’m doing great. As you can see, the new site design is up and things are working pretty well. I’m QA-ing the site all the time to make sure everything works in multiple browsers and OSes. QA is a daunting task, but is definitely worth it. The 100 times you spend checking every page assures that the thousands of by-chance viewers see nothing but beauty. I’m thinking of more ways to make this site interactive, especially with the gallery. Evernote has been my best tool for keeping all of my website ideas organized and visible. I always sketch out my ideas before implementation as well to hash them out before spending an hour or… Read More

It’s time to upgrade my website again!

Posted on in Blog, Updates

It’s been a year, and my style has vastly improved. Because of this, expect a style change soon. I am graduating next month and will have one extra day to myself (plus a lot of free time normally spent doing homework!). I’m very excited. I will soon have a PDF of my portfolio online thanks to Issuu. So far, my portfolio looks great and I feel like I have done well with it. I need to buy paper for the cover, but the inside is mostly finished. In total, it’s 82 pages. I wasn’t expecting to feature so much work, but I found that I liked enough of my old projects to put them in as well. There are still… Read More


Posted on in Blog, Updates

Kyuubei, Kyuubey, or Kyubey. However you spell his (?) name, he has singlepawedly destroyed my idea of magical girls forever. Puella Magi Madoka Magica is a show that starts out so clichéd, but slowly develops into possibly the most intriguing, DEPRESSING magical girl show in the history of anime so far. There’s already a list of theories surrounding the show and it’s only up to nine of 12 episodes. I don’t know what kind of stuff will happen in the last 3 episodes, but so far three girls have died, Kyuubei has gone from Luna-like to what psychologists would label as insane, and magical girls have been defined as soulless shells. Since episode three, there have been crying and sunset… Read More

Site Updates & HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Posted on in Blog, Updates

Happy new year, everyone! I hope you’re all enjoying it so far! I’ve been getting back into the swing of school and catching up on all my projects.  One of these projects is obviously this website! I’ve updated the web design section as well as the graphic design one. The Shop link also finally works! HOORAY! I’ve been changing the way the store looks and hope to update it again soon.  There’s so much work I have to do and not enough time to finish everything I’d like to finish.  I’m graduating in early May, which means I have to start thinking of where I will work next if NASDAQ doesn’t keep me.  I’d love to keep working there as… Read More

Black Friday & Cyber Monday – Why are Commercial Holidays Taking Over?

Posted on in Blog, Rants

When I was six, I remember every Easter being a large event in which we all wore our best clothing and went to church, followed by a wonderful Easter dinner. Thanksgiving was a time to eat turkey and spend time with family; everyone would drive to my grandmother’s house and take part in assisting her with cooking and conversation. Christmas was a time to bring gifts over and once again eat with family and have a wonderful time. However, it seems that modern times have cost us our traditional love of holidays. Now, holidays have become a yearly sale for merchants. Easter brings eggs and rabbit window placements with pastel trimmings, Halloween brings ghosts and pumpkin window displays, Thanksgiving (if… Read More

What has Catt been up to? UPDATE!

Posted on in Blog, Random, Updates

Hello internet! It’s been two months and I’ve decided to update you on my very busy life. Lately I’ve been doing a lot of stuff and haven’t been visiting you. For example, I went to a La Roux concert last week. IT WAS AMAZING. I love La Roux because of their musical influences. Their songs have an 8-bit-synth feel with a bit of English choir mixed in. Elly Jackson sounds just as good live and the rest of the band is great too! Apparently the show I went to was the last one on their two-year tour! It’s nice that they’ll finally get to go home.  The tickets only cost $20-$25 and the show was packed. There was even a… Read More

Is Art School Worth it?

Posted on in Advice, Tips & Tricks, Blog, Rants, Updates

Everyone gets to a point where they wonder whether it’s better to get a degree in graphic design, illustration, or whatever fine art they offer. I’m always going back and forth about whether I’m doing the right thing.  I’ve been in art school for 3 years, working the entire time, and I’ve noticed many things. I work so that I can fund my many art school purchases and eat daily while also saving up a cushion in case I can’t find a full-time job out of college.  While working, I usually have to spend 3 days of my time at the job and 2 days in class.  I become exhausted quickly from working on homework, leaving little time for sleep… Read More

Spam and Other Stuff

Posted on in Blog, Random, Rants, Updates

Spam has become considerably more annoying.  I suppose I should be glad, considering that the more spam I receive, the higher my ranking on Google is.  However,  I still find it insanely annoying.  If you decide to become a blogger and buy your own domain, please remember to install a spam-blocking plugin. In other news, I am still without a new phone.  However, I may be getting a new computer so I can start working on something other than a laptop!  Hooray!  But I don’t know.  I think I need a few weeks to think it over.  A workstation would definitely be awesome for sitting down and getting things done, but there is always a question of placement, as sitting… Read More

Silkscreening & Work Update, New T-Mobile Phone Speculation!

Posted on in Art, Design, & Development, Blog, Illustration & Drawing, Random, Updates

I’ve been very busy as of late with my NASDAQ internship and summer classes.  I’ve been learning how to silkscreen.  If you’re curious about the process, head over to YouTube and pick one of the billion silkscreening tuts. Last week I made my first set of books in class.  The joy of silkscreening is that you can mass-produce your own art.  I made a set of 8 accordion books.  I only needed one, but decided to make more for the heck of it.  No idea what to do with the other 7, though…  Maybe someone is interested in buying one? 😛 Here’s what they look like: The front cover First page The inside I loved making them and will be… Read More

Make the Best Business Card Design

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At my new job, I’ve encountered hundreds of business cards.  I work with a card scanner to enter data into a gigantic database.  I’ve noticed that some cards are much easier to work with than others.  Here are some tips to make your business card great. 1) Make your margin at least ¼ inch wide in each direction. I’ve scanned several cards, only to find that the words were cut off because the margins were too small. 2) Use a clear, thick sans-serif font. If you don’t, your cards become illegible by humans and machines alike.  The less manual entry, the better.  Use strong faces, not thin types that can be easily misread. 3) Write out your company name Don’t… Read More

Alice in Wonderland + Computer Upgrade + Design Books! Catt’s Life Update.

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Hello, fine people!  How have you all been? I’ve been gone for a month or so, but I haven’t been slacking on anything besides homework.  I’ve been working, living, and I even managed to upgrade my MacBook.  I was thinking about buying a new one, but I honestly don’t like the color or the battery of the unibody aluminum MacBooks.  So, I decided to buy a 650GB hard drive and 2GB of ram and upgrade the system myself. It was actually pretty easy.  I did run into a problem replacing the hard drive, though. This is a Torx screw.  You encounter these when you try to replace a hard drive.  I had never seen one before this, and didn’t have… Read More

Looking for Internships

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Even in a normal economy, looking for an internship can be really tough.  Over the past month, I think I’ve sent out nearly 20 resumes and only gotten a response from one company.  That company turned out to be almost 2 hours away by train, so I had to politely decline.  Sad. I found a pretty cool site the other day, One Day, One Internship.  I think it’s nice that they take their time out to research internships in different states for students and those looking for entry-level stuff.  They also have a website for regular jobs.  How sweet! I have a lot of things, such as new sketches and a billion comics, but I’ve been kinda busy, not to… Read More

Global Game Jam, Puppies, and New Subway Art!

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The Global Game Jam is nearly over in many parts of the world, but it will surely not be forgotten.  If you’re wondering what it is, then check out their website.  The basic rules of GGJ are to make a game in 48 hours.  The game will be judged and the creators of the best game will get it published.  Most people enter for the sake of hilarity; there are honorable mentions and recognition for games with hilarious titles and the like. My friend Señor Arturo participated in the NYU group, while my friend Dave was in the FullSail group.  Sadly, Señor Arturo didn’t have up a puppycam, but Dave’s group did. You don’t know about PUPPYCAM?! HOW DARE YOU! In… Read More


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So recently I noticed that there’s a lot of graffiti in random places. I went to my school and checked out graffiti near the toilets and decided to finally take some photos. I think this is something I might continue in the future. Here are some shots: Pretty cool stuff, I think.  Interesting how people choose a place that only part of the world can see (since bathrooms are separated by genders here). While on the subject of bathrooms, what about some bathroom signs that are cool?  This site compiled a list of 96 cool bathroom signs.  Pretty awesome. Alright, gotta bounce and work on that gallery now! ♥