When I Grow Up: Becoming a Graphic Designer

And we're back with a new post in the When I Grow Up series! Today we're hearing from Stephanie Woody, a graphic designer located in the Dallas area. I met Stephanie right after I moved to Dallas back in 2009 and even though we don't see each other often enough, I still count her as a good friend! I watched as she left her first graphic design job to follow her dream and travel the world as a missionary for 11 months. Now she has an adorable baby girl and is back working as a graphic designer. Let's hear all about it now!

Becoming a Graphic Designer || MrsRobbinsSparkles.com

As a child, I wanted to be a ­______ when I grew up. An Olympic gymnast!

 How close (or far) is your current career from that dream? Pretty far off! I didn’t accomplish making it to the Olympics, but I did get pretty close! When it came time to decide if I wanted to home school so I could practice more than the 5 hours a day I already was, I chose my childhood instead. Such a tough decision when you are only 12! To this day I respect my mom for supporting me no matter what I decided and not pushing me one way or the other. Somedays I still think that would have been really neat to stick out, but at the same time I know I wouldn’t have all the wonderful friends and experiences that I have now. That experience also taught me a lot about self discipline at an early age, which is a must for the career I chose.

What is your official job title? Graphic Designer

Ok, now what does that really mean? The boring way of explaining what it means is that I sit in front of a computer all day, haha. And the exciting way of explaining what I do is that I get to take people’s dreams and passions and put a face to them; turning their ideas into something impactful and creative! Whether their dream is to start a non-profit, open up a restaurant, host a concert or announce a new baby, I help put that to paper through designing logos, invitations, packaging, posters, websites, t-shirts, ads, etc.

 What is a typical day like? Graphic designers like their sleep (which oddly we don’t get very often) so I usually don’t get into the office about 9 or 9:30. Some days we have meetings with clients all day long or phone calls with printers and others we have the day free to just design. Depending on the project, some clients are billed by the hour so we have to watch our time and some are open ended! The amount of projects we have at a time changes constantly, we can have 2-5 or 12-15. My company is small; there are only 4 designers, so we will work together and bounce ideas off each other. It’s a very fun environment. I’m supposed to work till 6PM, but most of the time I am there till 8 and if we are on a very tight deadline we will be there till midnight. That is the part that can be very exhausting!

Becoming a Graphic Designer || MrsRobbinSparkles.com

 How did you end up in this career? It was my second semester my freshman year in college and I was undeclared. I had no idea what I wanted to do the rest of my life (who really does at 19 years old?!), but I knew I needed to pick something ASAP to avoid having to go for 5 years and end up with even more debt! I also knew I was not a fan of writing papers or studying all the time and I had a good friend who was majoring in graphic design. I loved art and being creative so I thought “Hmmm, why not? Let’s do this!”

 What kind of education or training did you complete for this career? I have a BFA in Graphic Design that I definitely earned. Art classes are actually double the hours you take so for every 3 hours of class credit you get, you are actually in class 6+ hours. I had many all nighters in college. I recently had a sweet baby girl and when she was only a month old my friend asked me what motherhood was like and I simply said pretty much like college (up all night) only you are taking care of a tiny human! Like many other career fields, you need more than just a degree though. Experience is just as important as the education. Before working where I am now, I worked for American Airlines designing for the American Way magazine. It was a completely different environment, much more corporate, but just as fun and rewarding. I am a firm believer that the people you work with can make or break a job not matter what it is you are doing. I have also done various freelance jobs for friends on the side. Those are always really fun, but very hard to make a consistent living off of.

 What advice would you give to someone who wants a similar career? For anyone who wants to go down this path make sure it is because of your passion and not for the money. It takes a lot of dedication and self discipline to make it far! It also is very fast paced and changing so if you know that going in, it makes it a lot easier to adapt and grow. Don’t let anyone tell you you cannot do it because you can’t draw or you are not creative enough. What do they know! This field is always open to new and fresh ideas. If you put your mind to it, you can accomplish a lot.

Do you have any other career dreams? What do you want to be when you grow up? I do! I have been very fortunate to live overseas in first and third world countries and I have a huge heart for people, traveling, other cultures and mission work. I especially love designing for non-profits. Unfortunately, it is very hard to find a paying graphic design position with a non-profit to be able to solely live off of. My ideal dream job would be to live overseas working with a mission organization, doing life with people while also still being able to do design. What is neat about that, is graphic design transcends all languages!

Any last thoughts or encouragement for others trying to decide what they want to do “when they grow up”? Some of the best advice I was ever given was to “Love God, Love people and just DO.” Meaning there is no right or wrong choice for what you decide to do with your life. College or no college? Business or Art? I think there is a tremendous amount of pressure in our society to choose the right American dream and that once you pick a path you’re stuck doing that forever. I believe that is complete BS. We have so many opportunities here in America and it is okay to have multiple dreams. It is okay to switch paths along the way. Change is good. Change is what grows us and it is experiencing life that matters, not climbing to the top of the career ladder. Loving others can look different in so many ways. Do you want to be known by how much money you make or by how many lives you have made better by simply being you?

Stephanie Woody, Graphic Designer

Thank you so much Stephanie for telling us about your job! And your daughter is so adorable, I need to see her again soon :)

Previously on Mrs Robbins Sparkles...

Send James to NYC for the Firefighter Stair Climb!

Yesterday James texted me a link to the NYC Firefighter Stair Climb and said he wanted to go. I laughed. The climb is on March 16th, there was no way we could go to New York in less than two weeks. Clearly he'd forgotten who he married. I'm the kinda person who plans everything out in advance.

But after I got home last night we talked about it in more detail. That's when I realized how much he really wants to do this. So now we are going to try to make it happen, but we do need a little help!

NYC Firefighter Stair Climb

First, let me tell you what this event is. The NYC Firefighter Stair Climb is New York City's first annual stair climb for firefighters only. 100 firefighters from around the country are going to come together at the World Trade Center site and remember their fallen comrades while raising money for two very important charities (Friends of Firefighters & Hope For The Warriors). The firefighters are going to climb the 72 floors at 4 World Trade Center in memory of the 343 firefighters who gave their lives to try to save others on September 11th.

James has been participating in the 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb here in Oklahoma City since it began three years ago. We'd only been dating a few weeks when I woke up before dawn to head downtown to watch him participate in the very first one. We were engaged by the time the second one rolled around, and we were married by the third. (Read my blog post about it here.) And now, a month before our first wedding anniversary, we are headed to New York City so he can participate in the first ever stair climb at the new World Trade Center.

OKC Stair Climb

Every year he has climbed here in OKC he has carried the names of fallen firefighters with him as he went up each and every flight of stairs. He plans on taking those names with him to NYC and climbing for them there, right next to where these men and women actually gave their lives.

I don't know about him, but I know that I'm sniffling just writing this post. I'm going to be a giant crying mess on the March 16th when I stand there and watch 100 firefighters enter that building to climb in memory of their fallen comrades. And I am so incredibly proud that one of those firefighters will be my husband.

James Robbins, PFD

So here is my tiny little pitch: if you have any desire to help get James to NYC for this, would you visit the GoFundMe page and donate something? Every little bit helps. As of right now we've raised about 20% of the goal.

If you want a little background info on James: He has been a volunteer firefighter with the Piedmont Fire Department for six years. (I wrote more about how important volunteer firefighters are here.)  And at the annual banquet last month James was recognized as Firefighter of the Year! Plus he passed his EMT certification exam back in January, so really y'all, this guy has clearly been working his butt off for the fire department. As his wife who often eats dinner alone because he is off fighting a structure fire or helping pull someone out of a wrecked car, I can attest to that.

You should also know that his friends will probably tease him mercilessly for this post. But hey, he's my husband and I have to brag on him occasionally ;)

And regular readers, don't worry. I will be back to regularly scheduled programming tomorrow!


Previously on Mrs Robbins Sparkles...

DIY Toothpaste for the Kinda Crunchy Guy or Gal

Did you know this…

DIY Toothpaste Ingredients || MrsRobbinsSparkles.com

can become this?

DIY Toothpaste || MrsRobbinsSparkles.com

Yes, friends, I have stepped into a whole new world. A simpler world. A crunchier world.

I made my own toothpaste for the first time almost three years ago, following this recipe at Crunchy Betty. I don't use it all the time now, but this is by far my favorite DIY toothpaste receipe I've tried. No, it doesn’t taste just like store bought toothpaste. But it is pretty amazing.

The details: You need Coconut Oil, Baking Soda, Peppermint Oil, and Stevia.

I bought my supplies at the local natural grocer, mostly because it felt a little crunchier that way. It is a little pricey to make these initial investments (the organic coconut oil was $8, the peppermint oil was around $6, as was the organic stevia) but all of it has other uses. And ultimately, it will end up being cheaper than the store-bought toothpaste. (I used to spend about $4 a tube.)

To make: take 3 tablespoons of coconut oil and 3 tablespoons of baking soda. Using a fork, mash them up until pretty well blended. Then add 20 to 25 drops of peppermint oil and one packet of stevia. Continue to mash and mix until smooth. You could also add 2 teaspoons of vegetable glycerin to add sweetness and reach a more typical toothpaste consistency, but I don’t think it is necessary.

DIY Toothpaste || MrsRobbinsSparkles.com

Et voila! You have made toothpaste. 

As you can see, I put mine in two little jars. One small mason jar and one little jar that used to hold fancy jam. Now to brush my teeth I just dip my toothbrush into the jar. Somehow it seems simpler than having to fight to squeeze toothpaste out of the tube.

So there you go! You are now fully capable of making your own toothpaste. If you have any questions about whether or not coconut oil is good for your teeth, or if you are concerned about the lack of fluoride in this toothpaste, head over to Crunchy Betty’s post. She addresses all of these things, and is probably much more knowledgeable in this area than I am.

Have you ever DIYed your own toothpaste? What is your favorite recipe?

Previously on Mrs Robbins Sparkles...

THE DRESS. It's Black & Blue. Except When It Is White & Gold.

Ok, I don't usually do two posts in one day. But you knew I had to write about that dress, right?

The Internet exploded yesterday. It was a classic battle between right and wrong.

Is this dress black and blue or white and gold?

The Dress

When I saw it last night, I KNOW it was black and blue. I looked at multiple pictures multiple times. My husband and I looked at it together and agreed, black and blue all the way.

And then this morning I looked at an article talking about the dress. And it was WHITE AND GOLD.

At first I thought it was a prank, that they'd played with the colors. I scrolled down to read the article, but they swore it was the same picture. I scrolled back up and it was BLACK AND BLUE again.

Which leads me to wonder: what is wrong with ME? There are two battling armies, and I'm stuck somewhere in between. Because I know it is black and blue (the company that made the dress confirmed it is not available in white and gold). But I have see the white and gold with my own eyes. Haven't I?

There is no real point to this post except to ask that someone else please tell me you saw both colors too. Or am I the only person weird enough to have this happen? All I know for sure is, the brain is definitely a tricky & complicated thing!

Previously on Mrs Robbins Sparkles...

Audible is Awesome *sung to the tune of Everything is Awesome*

*Not a sponsored post. I'm just obsessed with Audible.*

You’ve heard of Audible by now, right? Most of you are probably nodding, but for the one person out there who hasn’t, let me explain.  Audible is a company that produces and sells “spoken word entertainment”. Meaning, it’s the place to go for cheap audiobooks!

Audible is Awesome | MrsRobbinsSparkles.com

How cheap? Well, that depends. The best way to go is to subscribe to Audible. Currently I pay $14.95 a month, which gives me one free credit to use on any audiobook I want, plus a 30% discount on any other audiobook and access to their member-only sales. Most audiobooks that aren’t on sale will cost more than $14.95, so basically you are paying for one book a month plus all the benefits of the membership.

Why is Audible awesome?

  • They offer tons of books. From the classics to the new releases, I promise you will find something you like.
  • They constantly offer deals and discounts. As a member you get 30% off any title, but there are also Daily Deals plus regular sales like their recent First in a Series sale. You could pretty much avoid paying full price for an audiobook forever!
  • You can listen to the book at different speeds. I only recently discovered this feature, and I love it. Some books move too slowly for me, so I like to kick things up a notch :)
  • You can check out reviews of the author & the narrator. The narrator is super important, because they can make or break a book. Always listen to a preview to make sure you can stand the narrator’s voice. But if you happen to buy one that you end up hating…
  • You can return a book if you don’t like it! No questions asked. I did this with two that I bought early on in my Audible experience and it was super easy.

If that sounds like something you are interested in, then you should try out the 30 day trial Audible is offering right now. Because you don’t just get 30 days for free, you also get 2 free audiobooks! I’ve been a fan of Audible for almost a year now, and I’m still loving it. In fact, I barely listen to the radio anymore. As soon as I get in my car, I start Audible so I can jump back into the story. I'm currently listening to The Fiery Cross, but I have about 5 or 6 in my queue. I also have a couple of credits I should use! (Pro tip: when spending your credits, choose wisely. I usually buy an Outlander book with mine, because those books can cost up to $60!)

My favorite audiobook to date has been Yes Please! by Amy Poehler, but I also really enjoyed Unbroken. Amy Poehler narrated her own book (with help from some other celebs) and Edward Herrman narrated unbroken so it was like listening to Rory's grandfather read me a story.

Are you an audiobook listener? Why or why not? And if you are, any amazing recommendations I should know about?


As I said, not a sponsored post. It does include affiliate links, so if you are interested then click on through to support Mrs Robbins Sparkles. Because Squarespace does not accept glitter for payment.

Previously on Mrs Robbins Sparkles...