Simulacra – Internet Media Design

Is Cheap Web Design a Cheaper Alternative?

06.07.2016 (7:29 pm) – Filed under: Uncategorized ::

As the internet keeps on expanding, so do the number of cheap web design companies and web designers.

With today’s fast moving market trying to compete with all these new companies and freelance designers is becoming nearly impossible for long established.

The increase of all these new companies is obviously driving prices down that customers are having to pay for new web site projects. Price wars break out with every new technology that hits the internet, and each company has to re-invent the way they promote themselves and their software, to try and win new projects and customers which they need to grow their businesses and essentially pay the bills.

But are all these new web companies and freelancers offering a quality service?

If you are in the market place to find a high quality web designer they should be looking for five key attributes:

Web site Design Skills

Portfolio of Previously Designed Sites

Knowledge of the main scripting languages

Search Engine and Keyword Knowledge

Ability to communicate the customers wishes onto the website

Below I have outlined what each of these attributes consists off.

Web site Design Skills

Any good designer will be able to show you good design skills, you should be showing him or her sites that you like the look of and asking them can they create designs of a similar standard?

Portfolio of Previously Designed Sites

Once you have your shortlist of designers that you prefer to use on your project, ask to see the portfolio of work.

Knowledge of the main scripting languages

When asking any self respecting web development company what languages they understand for creating dynamic websites and bespoke applications, they should at least know the following languages: html, css, php, mysql and javascript, these are the main languages for creating websites.

Search Engine and Keyword Knowledge

What is the point having the best looking website on the internet if no one can find it, this is why we would always recommend asking them what kind of results they get on the search engines and what are the fundamental techniques for optimising a website.

The most important things for optimising a website is make sure they use the correct keywords in the header tag and in the description tag, meta keywords do not hold as much weight as they use to but they still play a role. Once the site is optimised in the background you need to make sure that the content of the site is optimised correctly for the number of keywords to the weight of text on that page. We generally have a rule that you should fit 2 keywords into a paragraph of about two hundred and fifty words.

You should also make sure that they use h1 tags and h2 tags for the headings on the page.

Ability to communicate the customers wishes onto the website

Make sure you think you can have a lasting relationship with the company or individual you choose.

So, any individual or company that is offering cheap web design may not necessarily be the best choice. To many low end websites are still being built and costing businesses and companies thousands because they end up having to pay twice.

5 Simple Ways to Improve Your Web Design

28.06.2016 (6:58 pm) – Filed under: Uncategorized ::

You spent the time and money to get your company on the web. You developed a web plan and now you are ready to put it into action. If your not receiving the results that you expected your web presence could be lacking something, consider the following 5 simple web design ideas to improve your results:

Make sure when you build your online web presence you do not use to many images. Too many images are going to take away from the points you are trying to make with your text. In addition, they are going to cause your website to load slower. Make sure you optimize all your images for the fastest loading possible.

Make sure you set your titles for every single page of your web design. It is not enough to just copy and paste the same title for ever page. You must make sure that each title is reflective of the content on that page. It will help make sure that Google and other search engines put the correct web pages in search results.

Make sure that your web site is easy to navigate. To many web designs have navigation that is not clearly defined and is not in a prominent place within your web pages. Make sure that all navigation links work. Nothing is worse then having broken links within your navigation.

Simple and Professional:
Simplicity is king. All web sites need to have a professional, simple, and clean look. Do not over do it with your web pages. Make sure they are short and to the point, to much text and the chances of you making your point are lost. Do not be afraid of having white space within your website.

Make a plan:
The last step that not many businesses do is make a plan for your web site. How are you going to promote your newly designed web site? Make a marketing plan by deciding your target area and keywords. Research your competitors web sites and find out what you plan to do to help you gain the edge on your competition.

Implement these 5 easy stems into your web design and you are on the way to having a professional web design. Theirs no cutting edges when it comes to effective web design make sure you take the time to get it done correctly the first time.

How to Search a Right Website Designing Company

13.04.2016 (11:47 am) – Filed under: Uncategorized ::

With the increase in advancement and emergence of latest modern techniques in the field of IT, it has now become very difficult to find a Web Design company that can give satisfaction. Apparently it’s really a serious job and rather challenging one. While searching for it, an organization must have a clear idea about their requirements. Like Does the website fulfills the customer needs? Does it have useful features that can attract visitors? Or in other words, are you working with the right website designing company. More often it has been seen that people are generally not aware of goal and objectives for their website and therefore receives less output.

The first thing that comes is to search for the right website designing company. This does not require any special skills but it just requires accurate usage of keywords and thorough scanning of directories. Besides there should be good links with reputed firms that can provide reference. Then there persists short listing and evaluation of selected firms which matter a lot and must be handled by the skilled persons.

Further after short listing there must be an effortless research work for selecting a website firm. Website Company must be consistent as only consistency provides good results in required time. An experienced firm can be considered as more relevant and recommended as it depicts their responsibility and judgment for using correct resources. After selecting a Florida Web Design firm on the basis of above factors, proposals from them must be evaluated this must represent wellness, merits and demerits, fee demanded, and usage of latest techniques or any other services provided by the firm. If still any doubt arises establish communication process between the likely companies to understand their process and commitments. Compare the results and choose the company.

Avoid selecting an individual designer to design and develop your organization’s Web site. It is rare to find a single person capable of handling all technical elements that can impart an effective visibility of the site and hence can lead to loss of investments. If a website is made with effective measures, it will be easily adapted by search engines also to the higher ranks that can make you the winner in this competitive world.

Designing With Creativity is Think Tank for Website Designers

03.04.2016 (5:45 pm) – Filed under: Uncategorized ::

Good content is the necessity of today economical world. The world of competition and willingness framed companies to achieve more and more in a small duration of time. These fundamentals arises web site designing company perpetually hungry while selecting a good content. Web site designing India is one of the selected destinations for the website designing services.

A good website designer professional is very cautious about the presentation of the site. Their look and the events guided by web site designing software and various website designing tools. If you are searching for free web site designing company then you are wasting time and money both. The audience designing every site web is controlled by the viewers and they can be a prospective client. Needless to say client is the best judge for the site and their relevant content.

All the links should be in proper way and designing in a step wise and multi-dimensional approach makes your designing your own web site hygienic and good gaze. Header and footers are in best format with W3C validated and this is full of keywords and data that are actually required by the client. As yesterday was past and the tomorrow is unforeseen, that why concentrate on present to make your future blazing. New-fangled generation is the need for the unsullied perspective to plug the gaps.

The company designing in site uk web has a fundamental for the companies dedicated to UK and designed like UK sites. The designing services site web will not as easy as it seems. A colorado custom designing site web is an example that is furnished through hard Endeavour and determination. The designing outsource site web has various strategies to adopt the similar kinds of mirror. An offshore web site designing services has the greater potential to grab the entire market with fresh perspective.

Proofreading, Writing and editing technical instruction manuals and academic journal are one of skills needed for the content writer. For those with first-rate typing dexterity and tempo, and an ear for the written and spoken words in diverse accents, especially the USA and UK brands, outsourcing medical transcription is a highly lucrative field in the present scenario. Now, legal transcription outsourcing too is easily spreading on, mainly in the metros where lawyers are in great practice.

Web Content Writing is one of the leading outsourcing business that propelled by website designing services who creates content of the web and entails writing in point to point and descriptive articles. Thanks to the internet that paves the way for Internet writers for keep count of mushrooming sites.

Special rudiments that are taken under consideration while making contents that a web content writer should be absolutely eloquent in English expression. Superb command over written phrases and words are indispensable.

No straight jacketed style of writing conventional style does engage the attention. Stick to a brusque, precise and exciting style of writing that attracts the readers. Qualification doesn’t matter if you the writing skills but as far as qualification being concern you should be a degree holder in English Literature or Journalism and humanities or sciences. An additional factor to note would be the scores of other alluring sites and their relevancy factors that are useful in getting readers attention and make sure she/he hang about position. Writing for the web site designing company should give the readers a personalized writing and editing experience even though the web is a mass media. Designing web site tutorial will allow you to know more about designing service site web and web site designing business.

The Differences Between Cheap Website Design And Professional Web Design

24.03.2016 (4:59 pm) – Filed under: Uncategorized ::

Setting up a business can be daunting enough with all the decisions and expenses that are involved. Almost every start-up business and well established business now needs a website, as this is the first place potential customers will look when they are researching the services they require.

If your website does not sell your business or services to the potential customer within the first 10 seconds you run the risk of loosing potential customer leads.

In this article I will explain the differences between hiring a ‘Cheap Web Design Company’ and a ‘Professional Web Design Company’.

Cheap Website Design or Professional Web Design

Just because the word ‘Cheap’ precedes ‘Website Design’, does not mean a web development company that offers ‘cheap web design’, will give you a substandard job. The question you need to ask yourself is can they deliver the project that I am looking for?

Before you decide on which type of company will develop your project, you need to spec out the requirements of your new website. The key factors you need to consider when creating the brief for your project are:

Design: Do the potential companies you are looking at offer the level of design you are looking for? It does not matter how much this costs, if they do not deliver the site you are looking for, you are already wasting your money. Take a look through their portfolio and ask them to give you examples of similar sites they have created for other companies. If they meet your requirements, then you can start asking about the price.

Communication: From your initial conversation with the potential company, whether it is by email, telephone or face to face meetings, make sure you feel you can get along with them. I come across many customers who’s relationships with their previous web companies has become sour due to poor communication. When a relationship breaks down you are potentially wasting money, this is because once your web project has been started, moving it to another web design company will certainly incur extra costs.

Marketing: For me this is the most important part of running a web design company. When you are sourcing which company will develop your project, you must ask them about how they intend to help you market your site. As standard with any web project the company that is developing the site will give you plenty of FREE tips and advice on how to market your site, they should optimise it for the search engines and keywords that relate to your company. There is no point having an awarding winning design if the sites above you always take your traffic, if nobody finds your site you may as well not have one.

In Conclusion

There is no favored route as to how you should decide what type of company you choose to create your new website. You should create a short list of companies that say they can complete your project. Once you have created your shortlist, then start looking at what the companies are quoting you. If you decide to choose the cheapest quote, just be confident that they have a portfolio of previous work that shows they have the skills to complete your project.

Affordable Quality Web Design

09.02.2016 (2:41 am) – Filed under: Uncategorized ::

When getting a website, many will choose to go with a known website design firm. Either referred by a friend or you came across the firm a few times. Popular web design firms tend to be the most expensive ones, because of their status and experience but this does not mean that they offer the best web design services. If you have a small budget and want an affordable website yet professional website; you will need to search around to find the web design firm that will match your needs.

Their are many web design company out there that offer services within your price range, you just need to know where to search for them. Know that many of those firms can be new with a team of young people. Do not let this discourage you as they are definitely going to offer you a website with the latest web technologies.

Use Search Engines

Google is the number one choice when it comes to search engines. It will not take long till you find what you are looking for. Be sure to be as specific as possible when searching for better results. For example if you are going to get a real estate website your best search is “real estate web design”. This way you can come across website design firms that worked on these types of websites before.

Check on Auctions Websites

Many firms offer their services on eBay or similar websites. You can save a lot of money this way. To avoid any problems, it is good to check the portfolio if they have one available.

Contact Various Web Design Firms

If you do not need a website right away, you can spend some time contacting a few website design firms and see which one sends the best quote. Again you should not forget to check the portfolio for previous work.

Earning Profits with Custom Web Design

15.12.2015 (4:57 pm) – Filed under: Uncategorized ::

If you want your web design to stay unique than you can opt for customized website designing. This would give a unique look and identity to your online business, making people remember your brand. When you opt for website design customization, you experiment with higher creativity and uniqueness thus opening newer horizons for the business to succeed the competition. You can also get higher professional look for the website that can be trusted and relied upon.

To get started search online for web design companies who offer such services. You would come across ample of choices for doing such custom designing for your website. Many sites can be found which gives you a pre-made template that compliments the products or services you deal into. Some designing companies also give the opportunity to develop your website by yourself, thus the site designed in such manner is unique and centered on your business. Few designing companies even have custom administration areas for site maintenance. Custom web design proves to be a better way of promoting your company’s products/services in the market.

You would come across several custom web design companies who have an established name in this field and ensure you to provide great services at reasonable prices. You can ask for options related to graphics and related information. Choose the appropriate ones and ask them to put it into your website. It should be able to grab the attention and leave a positive impression of the visitors so that they come again to your site.

See to it that the custom web design company employs good professionals that are trained in their profession and have the ability to increase your customer base and profits by the website designed by them. Also your website should be ahead in terms of design with the competitors. Enquire about the rates and the packages they are offering so that decision can be made accordingly. Convey them your designing needs and expectations and company goal, such information is necessary when it comes to designing.Success through custom web design can be seen in many websites present on World Wide Web. If you know every aspect of designing you can do it by yourself otherwise hire a web design company that are professional and creative in their work. Go through their portfolio and testimonial section to know more about their job and type of work they excel in.

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The Whole Web Design Industry Depends on Ajax in Future

12.11.2015 (7:27 am) – Filed under: Uncategorized ::

AJAX, Asynchronous JavaScript and XML, blasted onto the software industry in the spring of 2005 and still remains the hottest story among the software developers. With its rich combination of technologies, AJAX can be used to create interactive web applications with XML or JSON based web services, using JavaScript in the browser to process the web server response. The software industry is still aiming at improving Ajax to suit the current and future needs. The role of Ajax in web design industry is remarkable that the web design industry plans its future with AJAX.

“Ajax Design Patterns” from O’Reilly provides you with the best practices you need to improve your web development projects. It does so by investigating how others have successfully dealt with conflicting design principles in the past, and then relaying that information directly to you. “Ajax Design Patterns” will also get you up to speed with core Ajax technologies such as XMLHttpRequest, the DOM and JSON.

The trend of Internet applications is toward rich, dynamic, user-friendly, process-relevant and personalized applications. Rich Internet Applications (RIAs) deliver desktop software like functions on the web to enable new kinds of engaging, highly-interactive applications and user experiences.
AJAX   has emerged as an attractive approach for the development of RIAs. AJAX is an essential element of RIA and the technology will offer the potential for considerably more powerful and user-friendly web applications.  With the advent of Web 2.0 standards and RIA-based applications taking on the enterprise world, technologies like JavaFX and AJAX play important role. Two examples of AJAX-based RIAs are pest distribution map and input suggestion, developed at the University of Florida.

Google Web Toolkit and other frameworks have made it easier for a developer to develop and even design intuitive interfaces for the applications. Google popularized a smarter, more responsive and interactive Web experience by using AJAX for its Google Maps, Gmail applications and web designing applications. Synchronous learning environment provides course agent, clear user interface, and interaction mechanism for teachers and learners through AJAX technology. The key features of Web 2.0 are dynamic interaction, knowledge sharing, and collaboration. In order to achieve these features in the proposed synchronous learning environment, we use AJAX technology and YouTube Application Programming Interface (API) to design friendly user interfaces and share the diversity of learning resource.

Want to know the role of AJAX for the future in the web design industry – It is expected that AJAX will be the backbone behind all web design applications in future. Network performance will improve AJAX’s capabilities in the future. AJAX could find various uses especially to build Web-based applications. In the last six months, the OpenAjax Alliance is developing an AJAX industry wishlist for future browsers. AJAX technology is the best for more interactive and smarter web applications in the future.

Java is a key platform being used by software houses the world over for Web development applications. Since there is a lot happening in the Web 2.0, a developer who has knowledge of his own programming environment like VB.NET, ASP.NET or C# or Java server side technologies can also build skills on technologies that enable the next generation web such as AJAX. There is an abundance of opportunities for people who know AJAX. Designers and developers should consider upgrading their skills to win over this opportunity. These technologies are being adopted at a fast pace, which opens a lot of career opportunities for software developers.

Inexpensive Web Design–Why Should We Choose Them

10.11.2015 (7:30 am) – Filed under: Uncategorized ::

Inexpensive web design companies are getting more and more numerous nowadays. Given this huge number of companies to choose from, the need for you to hire a web design company will be much harder. Considering that doing so is very hard, it is still beneficial for you to follow some of the guidelines that are provided by those individuals who have been in to field of business for so many years. Their expertise in the field gave them the knowledge in choosing the best provider and they are merely helping other people who have been facing the same problem.

There are so many ways on how to select the best. The first one is reading on some online reviews. Online reviews served their purpose for so many years already. Making a comparison between different companies is much easier because all of the facts are presented clearly. The main concern why you are exerting effort in searching the most inexpensive website design company is because of budget. We won’t be doing all of these things if we do not consider the price because there are many expensive web design companies out there that offers an excellent service.

The design of your website will often tell you whether or not the person who visits your site will stay or not. It is a powerful tool or determinant in gauging the interest of your visitors. Your website needs to show all necessary information on whatever product or service that you are offering to the general public. In totality, the design should be professionally made so it represents your business accurately. Since you are opting for a custom made website design at an inexpensive rate, whoever visits your website must be convinced the very first time that they see it.

One more feature that should be part of the service that you are getting is SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Do you know what SEO is and its importance in the totality of your online presence? With the right keyword or keyword phrases, SEO is responsible in putting your website on the top rank among different search engines that are available on the Internet. We might not notice its importance but as we do our own research, more often all those on the first page of the searched topic are the only link that we tend to check.

If you want to save on time and money as well, opting for an inexpensive web design service should be your number one priority. Many online companies offer different rates with different packages and different features. You must select the one that is close to what you need or choose a package that suit whatever need your business has. Before you finally make a decision and sign up a contract, read carefully the term and conditions stated so that you will not be misled. You might be expecting another feature that are supposed to be a part of the service but in actuality, such feature is not included in the deal.

On the entire process wherein your website is being created, the communication between you and the web designer or web designing company should have no limit. It is only through constant communication that you are able to achieve an excellent website. The only way for you to tell them what are those things that you like can be achieved through email, chat or phone system. There should be no limit in the communication process. You need to tell them how content, video or anything necessary as a part of your website is placed.

Customer service plays a vital role on the entire process of creating your website. Portfolio on the other hand, gives you an idea how great a certain work is. There are still many tips in choosing a web design company, those are just few examples. In searching for one, choose someone who could offer a true custom web design. See sample websites from Blue Jay Website Design. Check out

Cyndi Roberts…Someone You Should Know

24.10.2015 (6:07 am) – Filed under: Uncategorized ::

Eventually you will come to understand that love heals everything, and love is all there is.
– Gary Zukav

When I asked Cyndi Roberts if she was a religious or spiritual person, she replied, “I consider myself a spiritual being having a human experience”.  It’s no wonder then she lists in her “all about me” section ‘love’ as her religion.

For some, exclaiming love as your religion would be pretentious, in Cyndi’s case it is no doubt as sincere as her intentions.  To see her warm smile and calming nature captured on film and expressed through her words and art is to know this is a person who understands healing.

In a world filled with heaps of anonymous hate and words of dismay served up with public displays of intolerance and ignorance; to cross paths with a person such as Cyndi is a blessing.  She has proven herself to be an advocate of not only self-healing, but of world healing.

I have never met Cyndi or her husband Tim Roberts of web design company Crucial Networking in person.  Cyndi, Tim and I share mutual friends and after years, recently ended up connecting via cyber space.  I have had brief online chats with Tim in the past, a self-confessed “music snob”.

Recently he posted an announcement that he had launched a website for his “amazing and multi-talented wife” called My Zen Art.  I checked out the website and then joined the Facebook page to better understand what it was his “amazing and multi-talented” wife was cooking up.

I soon discovered Cyn not only designed and sewed yoga bags, tapestries,  but painted as well.  In fact she is a multi-mixed-media whirlwind spreading positivity in every direction in which she creates.  Including her daily postings of quotes and lifestyle, nutritional information. My Zen Art is not only about individualized merchandise and art pieces, it’s about healing the mind, body and spirit.

“The most important thing in life is to learn how to give out love and to let it come in.” ~Morrie Schwartz

I believe Cyndi has mastered the task and if we allow her, she’ll show us the way. She possesses that rare quality of being willing to reach out to another human being and connecting while comforting.

I am very pleased to introduce you to the founder of My Zen Art, a member of La Diva Artist Movement and a woman whose words, personal strength and conviction has aided me in my health struggles.  It’s as if I have Yoda on speed dial. :)

Someone You Should Know…Cyndi Roberts

The Basics:

Age: 31
Marital Status: married
Location: Plainville, CT
Children: none
Education: high school grad, 4 years completed at University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT
Hometown: Plainville, CT
Your profession: I have always been an artist at heart.
Nickname: Cyn

Quick Questions (answered) in 5 Seconds:

What is your favorite book?
Echkart Tolle, “The Power of Now”

Is there anything you wouldn’t try or do in life?

What is your biggest fear?

List 5 Random Facts or Habits about yourself that would be classified as weird, strange, or different.

The root of my depression was thinking I was weird, strange or different. Now I feel the little quirks I have make me unique and very common at the same time; these things make me who I am.

1. I have a very powerful sense of smell

2. I have a strange way of solving math problems.

3. I have a very strong connection to birds, nature and the universe.

4. The often chaotic nature of most jazz music seems to make me anxious.

5. I am very meticulous and love-making lists and checking things off.

What is your life’s philosophy?
We all have the power to change our thinking to heal ourselves and each other.

Is there a moment in your life that stands out in your mind as life changing?
The moment I was told by my doctor that diabetes and liver failure were inevitable if something did not change.

Because it’s important to not take one too seriously, what is the most bonehead thing you have done in life?
Every decision and every choice I have made has led me to this point, which is exactly where I need to be. I don’t want to judge my experiences as good or bad, because they have all been a part of the greater good, which is my destiny.

What would you say is your life’s greatest achievement?
Nurturing my mind and body back to health.

What were your childhood dreams and have you achieved them?
As a child, I knew very deeply that I wanted to create art and I wanted to teach. I’d spend hours teaching lessons and giving quizzes to my stuffed animals in my parents’ basement. I hope to one day teach yoga and art.

Who has been the greatest influence in your life and why?
Definitely my husband. He is a remarkable man. He has taught me many things, but most important how to accept, love and support a person unconditionally, and that laughter truly is the best medicine.

What were the determining factors in founding My Zen Art?
Getting off synthetic medication reawakened my creativity. I am able to use art as a healing process and want to share inspiration, my talent and abilities with others.

What do you hope to carry out through My Zen Art?
I’d like to sell enough art to pay for yoga teacher training and share my story to inspire others so they know there is hope.

How many years have you been practicing Yoga?
I have practiced yoga for about a year and a half.

What do you believe is the key to a successful marriage?
Full acceptance of one another and a sense of humor. We try to see who can make the other laugh harder.

How did your interest in art develop?
I was always creative, in every aspect of my life. Art was in everything for me and inspiration was everywhere. It came naturally to me and I expressed it through my school work, photography, painting, sculpting, graphic design, sewing, singing and acting. The process of getting off medication was a very uncertain and painful process and expression through art felt right and natural; it was a huge comfort.

How do you keep up a positive attitude in the face of adversity?
The adversity I have faced has forced me to find my true self. My life has been full of challenges and negativity, yet I see clearly now that none of that stuff matters. The truth is that I matter. I have this one chance, this one experience of life, this one body, this one mind. It is up to me. I can choose to be happy or choose to be sad and it is completely out of my control what others think and what experiences may happen to me, but I know I don’t want to experience a life full of toxic, negative energy.

When did you take up design and sewing?
I have always been interested in sewing and felt as though I was meant to do it. As a child, I would sit and marvel at the way my aunt would sew. My grandmother used to sew for a coat factory, when she first arrived in America from Italy. I fondly remember little random sewing projects over the years. It wasn’t until a year ago, when I was in the midst of getting off medication, that I started sewing seriously. I had the idea and was given an opportunity to create my first tapestry by the owner of the Vital Life Center, a local yoga studio.

You and your husband are avid music lovers, which live performances do you list in the top 5 of your all-time favorites?
I have seen literally hundreds of shows and this was a very difficult question for me! I cherish live music, because it keeps me present. It’s such a profound art form for me.

Brandi Carlile – Infinity Hall, Norfolk, CT – September 2010.
All six times I have seen her become my favorite show at the time. She is my favorite artist and is a tremendous inspiration to me. This show in particular had a great story to go with it. The band was so in love with the venue that they decided to do an impromptu acoustic set, disregard their set list, and take requests from the audience. I had a song in mind but was trying to find the courage to shout it out for much of the show. Finally, at a quiet point in between songs I decided that it was time. I shouted out “Follow,” which is one of my favorite songs. Inexplicably, the complete stranger sitting next to me (out of the 300 people in the venue) also chose this very moment to shout out the same song title! Brandi stopped in her tracks and turned to look at us. She made a joke about how we didn’t have the courage to shout it out, so we decided to team up. I responded and said “that wasn’t planned – we don’t even know each other!” She gasped, grabbed her chest, and took a step back, and said she was really freaked out. Unfortunately she didn’t have time to play “Follow,” but later that night I met her, and she remembered me as “The Follow girl,” and promised to play the song the next time I was at a show.

The Screamin’ Cheetah Wheelies – The Wetlands, NYC – September 8, 2001.
This show took place just days before the travesty of 9/11, and just a few blocks up the street. It was also one of the last shows at the Wetlands, which was one of the best and worst places ever to see a show. I have seen this band dozens of times, including my first date with my husband. Each show left me speechless (and temporarily deaf). On this night, they hit the stage at 12:30am, and played until 4:30am. It is very difficult for me to find words to express the experience of seeing Mike Farris, the lead singer, onstage. After stomping, sweating, and baring his soul onstage for hours, Mike would always finish every show with an a cappella version of “Amazing Grace.” To this day, I have never heard anything like it. It seemed as though time had vanished when I was at one of their shows. They were a celebration of life and music, and there wasn’t a song I couldn’t sing along to or dance with. This band was what live music was all about: when you go to a show and get so caught up in the experience and the intensity of it that all of your troubles melt away and you become fully present in that moment in time. His voice is unlike anyone I have ever heard. It is so pure and captivating whether he’s quietly carrying a melody or rocking out a scream. He could sing the dictionary and move me. Over the years, Mike has also become a good friend.

Metallica – Hartford Civic Center, 1996.
Over 16,000 people and I was in the front row. The show was loud and awesome and they were literally 10 feet away from me; so close that I felt as though I was getting incinerated by the pyrotechnics on stage. They also had a staged portion of the show where the lighting rig fell apart and a roadie came crashing down with it. It was falling toward me (I didn’t know it was a stunt at the time) and all I was thinking was “my parents are going to kill me when they find out I died at a Metallica concert.”

The Gracious Few – Pearl Street Clubroom, Northampton, MA – November 5, 2010.
They are an incredibly talented, high-energy group of artists. They, like all musicians, make incredible sacrifices to play live music almost every night for their fans. You can’t be in front of this band and not be moved by their music, and the passion they have for what they’re doing, it seems to me that they try very hard to make sure everyone there is having the rock experience of a lifetime. They have amazing chemistry and they’re making music for the right reasons. I had trouble hearing for two days after the show, and it was totally worth it.

Ben Harper – Smith College – February 3, 2000.
Ben Harper shows always amazed me. His music taught me how there is beauty in simplicity, that sometimes the space between the notes says as much as the notes themselves. At a Ben Harper show, it didn’t matter where you came from, what your beliefs were, how much money you had, or where you were going, all that mattered was that moment and the unity that was possible among a group of complete strangers.

I saw this show shortly after my grandmother died, and when he performed “I Shall Not Walk Alone” solo acoustic, I truly felt my grandmother’s presence and understood that she would always be with me, I took great comfort in that. My husband and I waited out in a snowstorm after the show hoping to meet the band, and they ultimately had venue staff bring us inside to warm up. The great thing about meeting Ben Harper was that I always felt as though I had his undivided attention for the brief moments I was talking to him. I was able to tell him this story about my grandmother and thank him for playing the song. He paused, stared rather intensely at me for a few seconds, and then offered a sincere and heartfelt “thank you,” and then gave me a big hug.

Obesity in the United States is a major health concern.  In what ways does Yoga combat poor nutrition and other health issues?
I believe yoga can be beneficial to every human being on this Earth. You can use it however you need. Whether you have arthritis or other disabilities, or want a very strong power practice, or just need some gentle stretching. It immediately brings you into your body, aware of your breath, and how movement of the body is connected to feeling in the body. When you are fully in your body and feeling the movement, the mind does not take over any more. This is helpful because most of the suffering we experience is from our own judgmental and critical, negative thoughts. When you are fully in your body, noticing how things feel and move, you will get to a point (any physical activity – it doesn’t have to be yoga) where you care what you put in to your body, because it directly affects the way you feel. There are so many things we do as a human race to suppress feelings and emotions. Yoga will help shed those old habits if you are determined and ready to let go. Getting out of my mind by practicing yoga and other exercises helped me develop a healthy lifestyle and lose weight. Yoga has also helped me tremendously with not wanting to ever smoke again, because it is a practice based on your breath. I would rather take a power yoga class than get drunk or do drugs, because it takes me to that same place of quieting my mind, and it’s actually a way to honor my body, rather than destroy it.

What activities do you take part in outside of art, music and Yoga to recharge your batteries so to speak?
I spend as much time as I can outside, walking with my dog, hiking or sitting. I love baking and inventing new recipes.

What is the one trait you value most in your friends?
Full acceptance to be true to who you are; that’s a rare quality.

Finish this sentence.

On a warm sunny day you’ll find me.…outside enjoying the miracles of nature, with my husband and my camera.
On a cold blustery day you’ll find me….inside, baking and creating something, playing loud music with a ton of lit candles with the company of my husband and dog.

If by magic we could transport you within seconds to any place in the world where would that place be?
Hiking in Muir Woods in Sausalito, California with my husband and my camera.