Help Wanted: Tech Task Master

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ShiftFWD is busy!

We’re on the lookout out for someone who can help with regular small tasks in our studio for us and our clients. These include things like:

  • Updating WordPress and plugins
  • Fixing little bugs and annoyances
  • Making small website text changes
  • Making website backups
  • Light CSS/HTML design changes, etc.
  • Preparing simple graphics in Photoshop based on templates and guidelines
  • Optimizing sites for mobile-readiness

Requirements:

  • Reliability
  • A good handle on WordPress
  • Decent HTML/CSS skills
  • Adobe Photoshop experience
  • Good productivity and self-direction skills
  • A curious mind/openness to learning new things

Nice, but not necessary:

  • Javascript and bug troubleshooting skills
  • Shopify experience
  • Squarespace experience
  • Adobe InDesign experience
  • Adobe Illustrator experience
  • Opportunity-seeking approach (see something that could be better? Let’s see if we can find a way to do it!)

Especially important for us is that you are someone who is reliable and does what they say they will, when they say they’ll do it. We won’t micro-manage and follow you around, but we do need to know what’s happening at all times so that we can relay this info to our clients. This is essential for us and for our clients.

Beyond that, we’re not big fans of  unnecessary meetings or extra face or phone time. If you prefer to get right down to work and get stuff done, you’ll enjoy working with us. You’ll get access to our project management system and we’ll get you what you need to do your work, communicate with you quickly, trust you to do your thing how you know best, and pay you on time. Easy peasy.

As for us, we highly value a constructive approach. We’re not falsely positive, nor are we negative nellies. We like to get stuff done in the easiest and most joyful and flow-y way possible (although we might sometimes say silly things just to make you giggle). We’re also aware that everyone needs their own personal time. We won’t contact you after hours or on the weekends and if you contact us, we won’t be here to answer *smile*.

We expect to have about 10-20 hours of work per month to start. If all goes well and you’d like more hours, we’ll find ways to bring in more of this type of work for you.

All work will be done remotely. Although if you ever visit Bellingham, WA area, we’d love to invite you to some tasty tasty home-made Basque food.

Might this be you or anyone else you know? Let me know by shooting us a message with info including:

  • The best way to reach you or the person you are recommending (website or email)
  • Your own requirements (terms, your rates, etc)
  • What you expect from us (how can we take care of you?)

We look forward to hearing from you!

New Client Work: KristenTimmers.com

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Every once in awhile we’re fortunate enough to get a new client project that is personally meaningful for us too. Such is the case with KristenTimmers.com.

Kristen initially approached us to help her figure out the information architecture of her site. That is, how to organize the content and taxonomy/categories in a logical way and how to make sure the website’s layout is intuitive, meaningful, and easy to use for her readers.

Once that was done, she opted for a full brand look and feel and website design and build.

We couldn’t be any happier with how the project turned out and it’s a joy to see the site already taking off! We wish Kristen and company all the success in the world. They deserve it!

Visit the site here: www.kristentimmers.com

 

Settling in to Our New Space

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As I write this, I’m settling in on our most comfortable sofa drinking my favorite spicy orange tea. The smell of apple cinnamon spices is in the air. And I’m blessed with the feeling of ease that only accompanies deep satisfaction. The kind of satisfaction that only comes after the kind of hard work that pushes you to your limits. The kind that causes you to examine where you are in your life now and discover what’s most meaningful.

Koldo and I have spent the past year on our own internal process of discovery that has taken us to a deeper understanding of ourselves and a deeper understanding of how we could better serve our clients. What we’ve done is not just a superficial re-brand, but a reformation of our approach, our processes, our energy, and just about every single aspect of our business. What is visible to the eye is only a small part of the result. The consequences as a whole ended up being much more than we possibly could have ever imagined.

We’ve learned many lessons. About who we are and the gifts we have developed to help people find the best in themselves. The true beautiful self is often hidden deep inside. Sometimes it’s where we think our weaknesses are. The parts of ourselves we hide from others. Or perhaps the self that’s hidden in a bunch of little things that add up to something tremendous. Something we aren’t capable of seeing in ourselves with our own eyes because we don’t know how to look. Or maybe we just haven’t afforded ourselves the opportunity to submerge ourselves into the type of introspection that brings significant insight and lasting change.

Total submersion means experiencing it all. We’ve learned that when we dive together deep into the waters with our clients, we can share the experience and view the world through their eyes. Call it empathy. Call it intuition. Call it the result of a thorough process. Call it what else you will, but the results are amazing.

When was the last time you felt so understood, you cried tears of joy? Or were just amazed because it all felt so…right? Like if everything locked into it’s place and the tune was pitch perfect. That’s a bit of what’s been happening in our studio and when clients see their results this year. In short, pure magic and full resonance.

That’s not to say that it hasn’t had its challenges. Most things worth doing don’t come easily. These are often the types of challenges that push you further than you think you’re capable of. But, that doesn’t mean the journey can’t be filled with love, joy, and illusion.

And so, we are proud to share this new direction with you. Not just this website, or this blog, or the little glimpses into our studio and daily life and work. We’re also proud to share this worldly space with you and the extraordinary people we’re honored to have the opportunity to work with every single day. See some of them here.  Or, learn more about how this new deep dive/discovery service works.

Growing, connecting, exploring, discovering, creating, experiencing, shifting, and sharing our unique strengths with the universe. Together. This is what it’s all about.

Creative paleo summer days

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Is there any brave soul who would try our ‘Longest Day’ salad? We named it after last Saturday. Koldo also enjoys preparing portrait-dishes trying to capture the personality of our guests, but such strange things come out. shiftfwd-paleo-2 A summer paleo salad: fetuccini shiritaki Konja (to avoid carbs) slowly cooked in oyster sauce, grilled calamari, shrimp and chives, caramelized tomato sauce with dehydrated cherry tomatoes, plus crispy squid tips battered with pork rinds and crispy cheese.

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We found this card on the floor when walking to the lake. It’s supposed to mean good luck!

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Supporting creativity

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It’s been great to have a video chat this morning with Andrea Lewicki, a brave and lovely soul! She’s starting a series of interviews about creativity. It’s a pleasure and honor for Naomi and I to help other people embrace creativity in their lives.

BBQ & Basque Piperrada

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Who wants to join us for an American barbecue and Basque piperrada?

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The colors and smell of peppers make us feel alive

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We decided to try Nopales for the very 1st time.

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A touch of extra virgin Spanish olive oil. Always!

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American, Mexican, Basque, and now… Pineapple & pork skewers for a Hawaiian touch!

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Piperrada is served!

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With so much barbecuing and party nonsense we missed overnight!

Our trip to Keuka College, NY

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We spent 3 days at Keuka College for the restructure of their whole online experience. It was amazing to work with such inspiring group of people who are really passionate and full of love for their work at one of the most innovative colleges in the USA.

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The evening sun entering Keuka College is just magical! But it’s inside the campus where all the miracles happen,

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Listening to and learning about the needs, visions and dreams is one of our favorite parts of our work. We’ve been astonished to find how Keuka College and their brilliant people are full of unique treasures to work with. Best case scenario ever!

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We felt at home in the guest house by the lake where we spent a few days. Most of the meetings where held here and the atmosphere was cozy. Thanks Pete Bekisz and Keuka College!

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The view from the guest house door. Morning coffees were so inspiring!

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After pretty intensive meetings, sitting here, just the two of us, talking about our excitement about the project was the cherry on top.

 

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We have such a beautiful memory of working by the lake early in the morning, before the meetings.

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Penn Yan, a few miles from Keuka College, has a nice East Coast flavor.

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Pastel colors from the old times.

 

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Aged mid-century modern is always so anachronic!

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At the local restaurant, we had the best meat ever!. We didn’t order this roasted garlic but they served it as an appetizer.

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The mid-century modern supercute Clock of Nations at Rochester airport was designed by Gere Kavanaugh in the 60’s. It was a really nice surprise!!

 

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Traveling back home. Detroit Express Tram reminded us of those futuristic trains in Disneyland!

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We were amazed with the Light Tunnel at Detroit’s airport, that connects several concourses at the terminal.

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A very relaxing experience which reminded Koldo to his old days in ambient experimental performances.

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Arriving at Seattle after a long trip coast to coast makes you feel like embracing the Space Needle!

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The beginning of a beautiful creative story with Pete Bekisz and all the amazing people at Keuka College. Thank you guys!

Coast to coast to toast

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Dear diary: I woke up this morning in Rochester; NY with the singing of the birds, then I’m going to bed listening to the cuckoos in Seattle. Today, Naomi and I crossed the US from coast to coast. We have taken two planes, drove two cars, we have seen an anacronic Quaker woman driving a horse cart, a 4 y.o. kid playing piano on a tablet device, two little deer dead on the sides of the roads in New York, a new baby born squirrel in our backyard… all in the same day.

But the image that prevails is this one: Naomi and I, dead tired after such a long trip, toasting and talking on top of each other for hours about all the LOVE that we carry in our luggage. It’s love from an amazing team of people from Keuka college who feel a passion to make our world a little better. Pete Bekisz, a guy with a vision of future from whom we’ve learned so much…Sandra Devaux, our companion designer, such a special artist whose work has been so inspiring… So many stories and individuals full of illusion, proud and passion for their work! Tonight, Naomi and I feel infinitely fortuned because, my friends, there are still so many pretty things to do…

Solutions Not Resolutions

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Here’s the newest book cover we’ve been working on for a lovely client. Theme: Change, resolutions, and transformation! I feel so lucky when clients bring work that invites me to find little sparks of light inside and make them shine. It’s such a joy to work on fun things with great clients like this cover for an amazing upcoming book.

Spanish rice

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Who wants Spanish rice? When the sun is out on Sunday mornings I just cannot resist cooking some rice while listening to Flamenco music. Then Naomi and I sit in the garden, we eat and talk about what could we do next to this crazy world a little happier!

It’s the beginning of a new era for Epokka!

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Last year, we envisioned and brought to life a series of notebook and systems for creative people. At the time, what we wanted most was to experience the journey. So we dove in headfirst and it was a magic time! There were a few difficult moments,  but on the other hand, we were amazed by the enormous and sincere support from so many people who wanted to support us and see our products come to life.

Because our first notebook products didn’t reach the market due to lack of funding and logistical problems with production, by the time we needed to make a decision, we felt it would be better to keep creating new alternative products than get stuck with a product that was very expensive to produce for a startup business like us. Still, we keep hope that there will be a right time for it in the future.

The past few months we’ve brainstorming a lot out in the garden, improvising spontaneous martini meetings to make decisions, dreaming out loud, and refilling our batteries. The last couple of years, I’ve been working on a series of experiments to help myself find motivation and meaning on a daily basis using images, drawings, organizational tools and other stuff. At the same time, Naomi was also working on different ideas for daily planning and organizational tools.

At one stage, all these ideas from both of us seemed to magically click into one. We both felt butterflies in our stomach when the moment was right. And now the ball must roll again. We have a number of different products that we will be producing this year, one at a time. We still believe that analog and working with your hands is as important today as it ever was. So yes, they’ll all be paper tools.

Some of these products will also be very much oriented toward recovering and developing the feminine aspects of everyday life and what it means to be a creative person. Both Naomi and I are very aware that this is a very important moment for the world to embrace the original wisdom of the feminine nature.

Other products will be dedicated to recovering the child within us and giving ourselves permission to feel creative, happy, and full of illusion every day of our lives.

The first product that we’ve been working on for the last few months is a planner system that has a lot to do with feelings and motivations. In fact, we started working on this planner just for ourselves, so we could bring light and energy to our days and be more connected and in tune with our emotions.

From now on,  you’ll be seeing more about our new products and progressions as well as other creative endeavours we’re working on. It’s been a few months of necessary hiatus because we’ve felt we need a secret space for a while to get the most of our creativity. But now it’s time to share and dream together. We look forward to staying in touch with you and appreciate very much your feedback and ideas.

We’re sure this is going to be a wonderful year full of creative adventures! Thank you for being here with us.

Olive oil for ShiftFWD!

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A lovely client sent us this amazing hand-pressed and local olive oil for Christmas. As I help them put together an organizational chart today, I’m reminded how much people in organizations are like branches, connected and dependent on one another. Just like the olive bush. ~Naomi

Congrats Sophia Associates

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Many congratulations on Sophia Associates on their new site! It was an honor for us to work alongside them to help update their website’s look and strategy in order to help bring their business into their next phase.

Sophia Associates provides thought leadership and offerings for leaders, teams, and individuals. Not only doing they do great work for others, they are just amazing people as well.

They deserve everything good coming their way!

Things Best Enjoyed in the Summertime

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Summertime…and the living is easy.

We’re been on temporary hiatus from ShiftFWD’s main endeavors the last few weeks since our Epokka Kickstarter campaign ended so that we can get some rest, recoup, and enjoy the summer. We’re still deciding what the next steps for Epokka will be and what exactly we’ll do next. We’ve got lots of ideas, but they need to simmer and get refined.

In the meantime, I wanted to share with you some of the fun things we’ve been up to outside of work.

The week before last, we bought a pop-up gazebo so that we’d have a place to better enjoy the back yard. We’ve been doing small things like adding lights and making it cozy so that it’s a nice place to hang out. And I have to say, it’s amazing! We’ve pretty much been living in it since we got it. In fact, I don’t remember the last time we ate indoors.

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It’s like a cozy little space where you can chill and have your own little intimate gathering. We’ve used it to eat, to sleep, to work, and to enjoy various nice tasty cocktails.

On Saturday, we decided to take a trip to Birch Bay, WA. We usually go at least once or twice every summer, but somehow we’ve never managed to go this exact time of year before. We were surprised to see the tides so low.

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What you see isn’t just water, it’s sand with puddles of water on top.

When we were coming back, I started to get tired and sun soaked and had a surreal type of feeling like we had been walking a long time in the middle of the desert. It was amazing…and a little odd!

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We took off our sandals and walked far away from the shoreline in the sand from one end of the beach to the other.

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Here’s a stuck little boat taken from where we were walking.

I felt kind of sorry for it. I hope it gets to see water again some day soon!

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Some lovely rainbow sailboats to brighten the day even more.

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If you ever come to the area, it’s definitely worth a visit. If you visit in the right moment, you might even get to experience the sensation of “walking on water” during the low tide.

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Beautiful views of the birds and the San Juan Islands.

 

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On the drive back home, we got a pretty little view of Mt. Baker. Perhaps that’ll be next weekend’s trip!

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Photography: Naomi Niles and Koldo Barroso

Disconnecting, Spanish Cheese, and Gazpacho

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I won’t lie, last week was a little rough. We were pretty sure (although not 100% until the last minute, of course) that our Kickstarter campaign wasn’t going to get funded. We prepared for it mentally as much as we could and we learned a lot along the way, but the week was still full of a lot of hard.

On Friday, Koldo suggested that we go for a good hike Saturday. I’m almost never one to turn down a hike. I mean, I have to be totally exhausted or sick to say no. Something about being in nature makes all of your problems feel far away and insignificant. And the exercise clears the mind too. When we got back home later in the afternoon, I felt like a new person.

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In Spain they call that “changing the chip”.

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We used to go hiking almost every weekend in Spain and got out of the habit when we moved to the Pacific Northwest because we got too busy with work and other stuff.

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On the way back home, we dropped by the post office to pick up a package that contained cheese that Koldo’s mother sent us.

If you asked me what I would eat if I could only eat one thing the rest of my life, I’d pick cheese. To me, a simple and well-selected cheese plate is like the most amazing meal in the world. I especially love very cured sheep cheeses.

One thing I appreciate about Spain is how much the culture revolves around food. It seems like about every other song has a reference to some type of food and each region, city, and village has its own specialties. A lot of people in Spain go on food tours. Basically, what you do is make a driving route and stop to try the different things that are typical to each area and village. One day I’d really love to do this. We’d come back home fat and happy, that’s for sure.

This area is well-known for this type of cheese. It’s made from raw ewe milk and is cured a minimum of four months. It’s so cured that it’s quite hard and almost has a dry texture although it’s not dry when eating it.  It has bit of a nutty flavor that’s a little spicy almost.

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This particular cheese that Koldo’s mother sent is from the Roncal Valley near the Basque Pyrenees.

It’s artisan made, so it’s not cheap. I don’t know how much this cheese cost exactly, but when I tried it I died and went to heaven and then promptly felt nostalgic for Spain. This cheese is really meant to be eaten slowly and savored. I think this one is one of my favorites ever. I thought it was especially tasty paired with Vermouth. The spiciness of the cheese works well with the spiciness of the Vermouth.

I like to think of Gazpacho as a salad you can eat like a soup. The first time I tried Gazpacho, I thought the taste was too strong because it often has a lot of garlic and onion. But, the way Koldo makes it is amazing. He manages to make it taste smooth and just very slightly sweet, which is perfect for me.

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Today Koldo made Gazpacho for lunch, one of the most clever summer dishes ever.

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When we were eating it, Koldo told me that Gazpacho is originally an Arab dish, which I didn’t know.

I always assumed it was Spanish, but given the amount of influence the Moors had on Spain and also the fact that it contains cumin which is native to the Eastern Mediterranean area, it makes sense.

Summer has quickly become my favorite season since we moved here. The clouds the rest of the year make it all the more precious. We have sun, good hiking, and Mediterranean fun. What better way to “change the chip“?