Professional Creative Gift Guide

Professional creatives can be incredibly hard to buy gifts for. Everything they want is either incredibly expensive, or they’ve already bought it for their business. But creatives can be incredibly fun to buy for too. At least I think so. But I guess I’m a little bias. I hope my creative gift guide makes it a little easier for you this holiday season.

creative gift guide

1) Pantone mug

Every single creative that I know is a die hard coffee addict. If they say they’re not, they’re lying or in caffeine recovery. (But won’t be for long; it never lasts.) This super cute mug comes in many colors and is a cute nod to the Pantone colors that rule the design world. If you’re really nice, get them in every color.

creative gift guide

2) Copper iPad Stand

If there is one thing I’ve learned by working with creatives it’s that we love devices. And often we have to use them for work. The other day I had a MacBook Pro, an iPad Pro, an iPad and an iPhone all working on the same project. It was crazy. But my desk would have been much more organized (and pretty) with this gorgeous copper iPad stand (or 6).

creative gift guide

3) Comic Sans Hat

I am obsessed with fonts and most professional creatives are too. It’s an ongoing joke in the design community that Comic Sans is a pretty unusable font. This hat is perfect for the designer with a sense of humor in your life.

creative gift guide

4) Camera Lens Burrito Wrap

There is an endless supply of cute photography accessories out there, but not all of them are incredibly useful and food related. This burrito wrap is not only super clever, it will actually be useful to any traveling photographer. Plus it’s a cute little burrito so…

creative gift guide

5) Classic Moleskine Notebook

All creatives go through notebooks. You can’t go wrong with a classic, well made Moleskine notebook. They are pricier than other notebooks but you can really feel the quality that goes into them. Support the creative process with a beautiful notebook.

creative gift guide

6) Smart Pen

To go with the notebook, get your artist a smart pen. Anything you write or draw will be transcribed and digitized to an app. It definitely cuts down on an extra step, plus it’s just SO COOL. We are living in the future, and our art should too.

My husband has a lot of trouble figuring out what to get me for any gift. And honestly, I’m not much help. But hopefully this will creative gift guide will help you to choose something the creative in your life will actually use and enjoy. And maybe help them get a job? Who knows.

6 Things to Expect When Choosing A Creative Major

Choosing your major in college is a huge undertaking. Now that I’m older I can’t believe that 18 year olds are expected to pick their career path with no life experience, but that’s another rant. Having gone through college and receiving a BA in Fine Art, I have learned a lot and some of it might be helpful for other aspiring artists before choosing to major in a creative field. Here are 6 things to expect when choosing a creative major.

1) Be ready to fully commit

Not all colleges will be as scattered and frustrating as mine, but all schools run on basically the same ideas: you get what you put in. So if you completely commit yourself to your passion/craft and pour your heart and soul into all projects then you will get a lot more out of your college experience. But just putting in the bare minimum for projects, portfolios and shows will not cut it. You need to stay after class, ask questions, ask for internships, ask for jobs, ask for help. It will pay off but it will take more commitment than you’ve probably committed before. But also commit to having some fun. It is college after all.

2) Be ready to work harder than anyone else

This is true during school and after. Studying for tests is hard and time consuming, but ultimately it is remembering and regurgitating. You know what’s a lot harder? Creating something of substance that will appeal to your professors, brainstorming, first draft, second draft, edits, final draft, and a presentation. Being graded and critiqued on something you’ve worked really hard on and really believe in is brutal, but you’ll grow from it.  Just remember to stay true to yourself and your vision.

It doesn’t get any easier after college. You will be constantly competing for grants, jobs and a space to show off your work. You probably won’t be working in a 9-5 office (and if you’re a creative, you don’t really want to), you won’t have insurance, you’ll have to pay your own taxes and you’ll probably work more hours than all of your friends. But if it’s truly your passion it won’t be easy, but it will be worth it.

3) Be ready to work jobs you hate

I will tell you right now, that you will not exclusively work in your field. Working in a creative field is hard and it’s really really hard to break into. That great unpaid internship you worked so hard for? They’ll ask you to stay (unpaid) for 6 more months. And you’ll probably do it, for the experience. You will work in a coffee shop or a restaurant and resent every single customer. You will probably work for a boss who treats you like shit and you will definitely be the lowest person on the totem pole. But you’ll get through all of these jobs and you will make ends meet and you’ll learn skills you never thought you’d need, but can’t live without. Plus you’ll probably make some long lasting friends along the way.

4) Be ready to answer a lot of well-meaning but annoying questions

Your relatives mean well, I promise, but you’ll probably hear, “Oh! What are you going to do with that when you graduate?” after you tell them your creative major, more times than you can handle. Just smile through it and tell them your dream. Nobody else has to live with your choices except for you. You are living your passion and they are probably not.

5) Be ready to be broke as hell

True life, most creatives are poor as hell. It takes a long time to get established and get to a point where you’re making money (hence the jobs you hate). But as long as you have food in your stomach and a fire in your belly you will make it though. Money isn’t everything. Spend all of your money to further your career. Invest in yourself.

6) Be ready to be fulfilled

This is the best part of choosing a creative major. You have chosen a path of fulfillment. Having a creative soul and not expressing it or being stifled at a desk job will be painful. But if you’ve worked hard, hustled, and persevered it will pay off.

Choosing the path for the rest of your life is incredibly daunting. If you’re thinking about a career in a creative field, I applaud you and wish you the best of luck. But it won’t be easy. (Well, I hope you prove me wrong.) Life is short so do something you love, even if you have to bust your ass to do it. It’s worth it.

Were you a creative major? Do you have anything to add?

|| the chaotic creative

instagram flat lay

5 Instagram Flat Lay Background Ideas

I’m always on the hunt for great backgrounds for my Instagram flat lay photos. I’ve taken photos on nearly every surface in my home. There are definitely some things that work better than others. Here are 5 cheap and easy background ideas for your Instagram flay lay photos.

A photo posted by Christine (@thechaoticcreative) on

1) A painted surface

Any painted surface in your home, or literally anywhere, is a great background for photos. We painted our dining table dark gray last year and it has been one of my go-to spots. The color is such a great neutral so any subject I want to photograph looks good on it, and it has a really cool texture. It also helps when it’s next to a window or another light source. Another idea would be to paint a canvas or a piece of wood to whatever color (or multiple colors) you think would work best with your brand.

2) Foam Board

This is the cheapest and most versatile option if you want a bunch of different colors for your backgrounds. It’s my favorite because I am not hip enough to have any white or marble surfaces in my house (it’s all dark like my soul so…) and it’s also great because you can chase that natural light. I move mine from my front door to my back door depending on the time of day and the type of light. Sometimes I’ll even take it outside. The white ones also work great for light reflectors for all of your photos when those shadows are just a little too intense.

3) The Floor

I’m saving up my money to get one of those fancy backgrounds that are made from gorgeous wood. But until then, I will use one of my favorite tricks – the floor! If you’re lucky enough to have hardwood (or wood looking, or fun tile, or carpet) floors you have a free built in background. And with a lot more space to work with. Plus it makes it SO much easier to get the angle for that perfect flat lay. Rugs also make for fun and funky backdrops for your favorite flat lay subjects.

A photo posted by Christine (@thechaoticcreative) on


4) Contact Paper

So like I mentioned I am so not hip and I don’t have anything marble in my house but I love the look of marble backgrounds. So, I ordered marble contact paper and put it on the back of my white foam board. I’m not going to lie, this takes a little bit of finesse (which I also do not have) to apply to any surface. You have to be really careful to avoid bubbles and ridges. But with contact paper you have a lot more access to textures and patterns you might not otherwise have. Plus it’s very cheap so you can buy a whole bunch of different ones and keep things interesting.

5) Your bed

A really popular and easy background option is your bed (or any bed – whatever you’re into). What could be better than working from bed? (Literally nothing. I would live in bed if I could.) Many of your favorite bloggers and Instagram stars spread out their hauls, make up bags or packing supplies on their favorite comfy blanket or cushy bed. It definitely is a certain type of image but if you’re like me and have a billion blankets you have many options for your perfect Instagram flat lay.

Instagram flat lay backgrounds don’t have to be fancy or expensive. Some of the greatest back drops can be found in your house or for very cheap at a craft store. The possibilities for your gorgeous photos are endless.

What is your favorite spot to take an Instagram flat lay?

|| the chaotic creative

resume template

The Perfect Resume (+ a FREE resume template!)

Your resume is your first impression to a potential employer. You want them to be able to get any information they need off of it quickly and easily. This means it needs to be well organized and easy to read. I am no expert in resume’s but I have gotten almost all of the jobs I have applied and interviewed for and I’ve worked hard to make sure my resume catches their eye. Here are my steps (in order) to perfect your simple and straight forward resume:

1) contact information

On your resume your name, phone number, email address, and city, state (optional) need to be very visible at the very top of the page. They should be 2-4pts larger in font and I almost always do them in bold also. This ensures that the person reviewing your resume does not have to search for any of your basic information. Although it’s optional, I think it’s important to include your location, but not necessarily your address. (Side note: this should be obvious but please use a professional email address like or something. Nobody is going to hire a Trust me.)

2) Education

The next thing that should be on your resume is your education. As you get older it’s not as important, but I still like to include my high school that I graduated from. I think it just helps tell your story about where you’re from and how you got here. I usually put the year I graduated also, but that’s optional. Above your high school information, put the degree or certifications you have, where you received them from and what year you completed them. (Optional: if you’re pretty fresh out of college, and you had a good GPA, I would add it here)

3) Work Experience

Start with your most recent job first and work your way backwards. As time passes, you can drop those first jobs, like at Starbucks or McDonalds in High School unless it’s relevant. But make sure there are no gaps in time that are unaccounted for. Make sure to list your position, name of the company, dates worked (month and year are fine), and location in this section. If you have room, you can list your responsibilities for each in this section.

4) Skills

In this section, list the skills you think are most relevant to the position you are applying for. “Making a bomb PB&J sandwich” is probably not relevant in most situations, but you do you. Some good examples of skills are: Photoshop, Social Media, WordPress, HTML, Customer Service, etc. Anything you want the employer to know that will help them see what a great employee you would be.

5) References

You should have at least 3 references. I think 3 is the perfect number because nobody wants to call more than 3 people. You should list their name, their relationship to you (I always like to put supervisors; it shows that you were a good employee to them.), what company they work for, and their phone number. They should only be people you know will give you a good reference. Otherwise, what’s the point?

These are all things you should for sure have on your resume, but the possibilities are endless. I tend to lean towards a very simple and streamlined resume because I like to really bring it home during the interview. I like to make sure that the person reviewing the resumes knows I’m qualified, but still leave enough to chat about. Plus, the simpler and easier the resume is to read, the more information they will be able to take from it. They won’t get lost in the details. I know this is hotly contested, but I like to keep my resumes at one page. I think at some point in my life I will go to two pages, but for now, I think one page is more effective.

And now, what you actually came here for.

Here is your access to the free fillable resume template:

free resume template

All of the above steps can be put, in order, into the resume template.

Good luck on all your job hunting!

What do you make sure to always have on your resume?

|| the chaotic creative

should i go back to school

Should I Go Back to School?

I asked myself the same question last year and decided that I did want to go back to school. I have been bouncing around from job to job trying to figure out where I fit. I realized that I wasn’t going to be happy unless I made some real changes. I was kind of floating in this purgatory of knowing what I wanted to do but not having the skills I needed to make it happen. That is an extremely frustrating position to be in. So now I’m in a graphic design certificate program and making my way to the future and career that I want. But I know like who the hell cares what you’re doing; what about me, should I go back to school?

There are a couple of questions you should ask yourself before taking the plunge back into education:

1) What kind of debt am I willing to go in?

School is expensive. Even junior college is a couple hundred dollars and if you’re on a tight budget or not working, it could be next to impossible. There are many options out there for scholarships and grants that you should definitely look into before ever going into the realm of student loans. There is nothing wrong with going into student debt (I mean there is, but take that up with the government) if it is a means to an end of you living out your dream. But it’s definitely something you want to think about.

2) Am I dedicated enough?

Are you willing to put the time an effort into your classes that they require? Depending on what kind of classes you’re taking you can essentially expect to do 1-2 hours of work outside of class. It’s a huge time commitment let alone a huge mental commitment.

3) What is my end game?

Is this educational venture going to be worth it for you? Or is it going to be like my undergraduate degree that everyone warned me about? (No I’m not bitter I swear.) You have to weigh your options and decide that the time and effort you put into this is going to be worth it in the end. Your dream doesn’t just happen after you receive the degree or certificate. You still have to keep working at it and be willing to make it happen. It won’t just fall into your lap.

4) Can I do it without traditional school?

There are so many education options now like Lynda or Udemy where you can learn at home. They are, in some cases, much less expensive than traditional schooling. Many of these new types of learning platforms are geared towards creative and computer science areas of study. There are many many successful people that art self taught – but you definitely have to have some serious drive and motivation to do everything on your own.

Nobody can make a big decision, like going back to school, for you. These questions will hopefully give you some insight about where you stand and what you want to do. Make sure you take a good amount of time to decide what you want to do. Maybe even make a pros and cons list. I hope whatever decision you make is the best one for you and that all of your dreams come true.

Are you thinking about going back to school? Why? For what?

|| the chaotic creative