I've Moved On

Good day, lovely people!

I've been putting off making this post since it's really hard for me to do, but I didn't want to leave The Indy Miss without saying a proper goodbye.

Yes, you read it right. The Indy Miss has moved on to another home on the web. Let me explain a little bit more before everyone loses their heads.

The Indy Miss

The Indy Miss has been around as a brand for five years, and those have been amazing for me. It's my personal brand (and I am never letting go of it). A lot of memories, business deals, partnerships, and sponsorships have come about because of The Indy Miss and I'll keep that in mind as I expand my horizons.

When January 2017 came into focus, the thought that had been nagging at the back of my mind for months became too loud to bear. It was begging me to pursue bigger things for bigger opportunities, but it also defined complications if I ever went along with it.

I'd been thinking night and day for months about this big push forward, if this was going to make me start over in building an audience or if I had to stop doing certain things for a while just to get settled... in other words, too much work needed to be put and too much was at stake.

Then, March came, and I could no longer resist. The first quarter of 2017 was almost over, and there I was, still having a private argument with myself over expanding and maturing my brand. I couldn't take it any more. It was a struggle, definitely.

I had to consider some major factors in moving to another home. Some of them included:

  • the cost of a new domain + hosting
  • the cost of a proper, G-Suite account
  • the creation of new articles for the rebrand
  • changing my FB page to its new identity
  • the existing audience and how they'd feel about all this

Like I said, this was no easy decision. I had to think about this for weeks before caving in and letting go of all hesitations. It hurt a little when I realized there was no turning back (when I bought the domain, hosting, and G-Suite from Squarespace), and to think that I would no longer be renewing "theindymiss.com" this September. It still hurts quite a bit when I dwell upon the sacrifice I made to expand. I've come so close to regretting the decision, but I can't turn back.

Olivia Penero

Admittedly, I am still very weirded out when using my own name as a brand. It feels... off to not be using The Indy Miss when talking to potential partnerships and clients, and it's scary to think that I can no longer hide behind my brand name. My name IS my brand, and I have to start getting used to that. But it will take a while.

Now, since I'm using my real name in business transactions, there's more responsibility, more pressure to deliver the best possible output (not that I wasn't giving my best before, but you get the idea).

The reason behind the creation of the new site was for me to be able to create a legit online portfolio for clients to see (giving them "the indy miss" often puts out an unprofessional tone) while still continuing to blog and keep doing "The Indy Miss" things like writing, drawing, and others. Olivia has become a place to share resources and design-related articles that exude expertise in my industry, something I need to show potential future clients. I can't do that with The Indy Miss. It's really a fully-pledged online diary, and it's perfect for its purpose. It just so happens that I need more from now on.

If you go and visit the new home (www.oliviapenero.com), you'll find a few things that don't quite fit the brand yet. One would be the logo which, after a week or so of being created, I am now realizing isn't a good design. It's rectangle, and unattractive when placed inside a circle (great logos should fit). It spells my nickname "via" when my site address is "oliviapenero". IT'S SO IMPERFECT that I'm constantly inside my head, lecturing to my brain about making mistakes and being to rash when deciding.

Don't get me wrong, I'm very happy with the new site and how much I can control it, but do you understand how frustrating it is when you feel like everything's perfect in the moment then when you step back, it's shit? Ugh. That was me a few days ago.

I'll be redesigning the logo for sure, but I'll give myself a few more days to decide. I need to be consistent with everything. Even my Facebook page.

But that's another problem. I've tried changing my page name multiple times the past two weeks, but it's not allowing the change. Facebook sees how much klout The Indy Miss has, and it's not allowing its owner to change it. I was able to change the shortname to something more applicable to the new one, but then decided to change it back to @theindymiss 'cause it wasn't aligning with the page name.

That brings us to the present. I've decided to keep The Indy Miss brand name, but I will no longer be just that. While it's still my handle on most socials, it will now act as an extension of Olivia. The real me, me. So it'll work like this:

Olivia Penero is the main. It's root. My professional design work and studies will be on there, my articles and blog will be there too. Then there's The Indy Miss, sort of like the lighter side, the little sister as I call it, of Olivia.

It's still The Indy Miss, but a little more professional and designed to attract more partnerships and clients. Is this still confusing to you or...? But yeah, that's the core.

What I'll miss most about this blog is the amount of crazy I can put on here and no one would care, haha. It started as my diary, and it is still being maintained as one. The new site is more of me as a Visual Designer and blogger, and not me as a young adult struggling with life. Though I have a blog section up there, nothing will ever beat the freedom I get here. It's a little sad, but the beautiful kind of sad. You realize all the immaturity from your past will have to remain in the past.

We're growing up. This means owning up to responsibilities and promises. This means starting fresh without forgetting the brand we grew up with. :)

While I won't be updating this blog from now on, The Indy Miss branding is still very much alive in the new site. Things are still a little grey for me, but we'll sort this out. I know we will. If you have any suggestions on how to go from here, PLEASE leave them in the comments.

I will always love Blogger since this is where I started and developed my writing skills throughout the years. I will miss the bright orange square icon with the white B in the middle. I've done a lot of "i've moved" over the years but I've always come back to Blogger. Who knew Squarespace would eventually entice me enough to actually move out?

It really might be because I'm maturing, both as Olivia and as a brand.

So, thanks Blogger. It's been an amazing ride.

The Ultimate Goal: To 'Break Free'

In the past few months, I've come close to leaving the 9-5 life and pursuing other things, ones I am more passionate about. Yes, although I enjoy my work and I like interacting with different people everyday, my heart has been at its most depressed state for months. Things like, "I could be earning more money doing this", or "If I had my way, I'd be doing that", or "I know I am destined to be doing more than this" have repeatedly come up, making some days unfortunately unbearable. 
If you're on the same page, you'll be happy to know there's a book out there that is guaranteed to do three things for you:
  1. Acknowledge your situation but encourage change,
  2. Guide you on making better decisions (based on experience), and
  3. Help you gain financial freedom and be your own boss
Interested? Keep reading, as things will only go way up from here. Ready?

The 'How'

A few weeks back, a member of one of the Facebook blogging groups I'm a part of posted about the chance to review a book for free. At that time, I could care less about what kind of book it would be - I just like to read anything I can get my hands on. So, I left my email and blog URL in the hopes of getting selected. Days after, someone messaged me, saying I was selected to be one of the people who would review this mystery book for free. It was the author himself, a certain Mr. Don Soriano.

The 'What'

As we messaged back and forth, I learned more about the book I'd be reviewing. As it turned out, Mr. Soriano's book entitled "Break Free", was about getting financial freedom and transitioning from employee to employer, through lessons he'd gained from personal experience.
I'm all about self-development, and after knowing his purpose for writing the book and what it would mean for me personally, it was a no-brainer decision.

The Book

Just one chapter in, I've already been reprimanded for making BS excuses, scolded for thinking about leaving my job to be a "successful entrepreneur" (without a backup plan), and told that if I really wanted to succeed, I needed to work incessantly for it. These are all valid points, and it was great to read my thoughts and plans (aside from expectations) organized for me into a huge slap-in-the-face chapter. 

“Just because we have a ‘great business idea’ we want to quit or jobs and take the leap.”
As I continued reading into Chapter 2, which dealt with investing on what really matters (ie. yourself), I found myself agreeing with a lot of points. Throughout the years, I've placed more value on learning and gaining knowledge and skills, which, at the time I had begun, wasn't clear as to how I would be using it.  

“The best investment is investing in yourself through continuous self-development.”
I really believe that investing in knowledge is worth more than physical businesses, for a couple of obvious reasons. Anyone can start a business, but keeping it afloat is the real challenge, especially these days that everyone wants to be the boss.

“Self-education is the great equalizer. It doesn’t matter who you are, where you’re from, or what your past is. If you’re willing to study to grow yourself, you can achieve greatness.”
If it isn't obvious yet, I LOVE learning by any means necessary (wow, that sounded dark). I mean that I don't just read books to gain knowledge - I listen to audiobooks, I attend workshops (and am now holding my own), interact with people who may have a different perspective on a given topic than me, and many more. Technology has grown so much that you don't even have to leave the house to get a degree! 
Aside from providing encouragement in developing your skills, Break Free also provides tips on how to save money (I'll be starting Mr. Soriano's tips in the next paycheck I get!), how to get the right mindset that will help your journey in becoming financially free, and more


It took me a while to start reading, because this was something I wanted to focus on. I wanted to have time to reflect on each chapter/principle and take notes as I read them. I now know I did right by taking my time to read Break Free. Although a one-hour read time was guaranteed, its lessons will help beyond the period you stayed inside its pages.  

“Every principle felt thought-out, by a man who’s had much experience in business and failure.”
Nicely written and very organized in how each "Break Free Principle" was presented, it didn't take me long to grasp each principle and compare them to what I've done in the past. There were points where I could only shake my head and reminisce on certain past decisions that may not have been wise. Some were intended to teach and encourage, and that's exactly what I got from the book - encouragement. Helpful guides can only go so far. Encouragement, however, can take you everywhere. 
My approach in reading this book was like any other - I would read it cover to cover and leave my thoughts on this blog afterwards. Reading the first chapter immediately made me rethink my strategy, thus the note-taking. Every principle felt thought-out, by a man who's had much experience in business and failure. I could gush about this book for two more posts or break each principle down (one article each), but nothing beats reading the words right from the book itself. 
Once this hits bookstores (I'm not sure if it's already out), I implore you to BUY YOURSELF A COPY. Please. For your sake. I'm not kidding when I say this book will help change the way you look at money and your goals. I've tried different money management techniques, but jotting down monthly/daily expenses can be such a hassle that I have given up on that entirely. Mr. Soriano's tips in the book are simple, but would ultimately do its job - help you save for the future. 

Wherever you are in life right now, Break Free will definitely teach you a lot in terms of managing yourself, your goals, and your way of living. I am super pumped and motivated to start changing my attitude towards success. (To be honest, I'm still feeling the effects from reading the book, haha.)
You don't have to stay where you are right now. You can act on your future. You can take control. When will you be willing to Break Free?

Timelapse: Watercolor Wednesday (Late Post)

Just got back from a long creative hiatus (in watercolor anyway) and I finally decided to get back at doing watercolor art. Ugh, I've gotten rusty. Since I'm going to Subic-Manila tomorrow evening with the brother, I'll be visiting art shops as my time permits. I have the whole Tuesday afternoon next week to visit Shang and Megamall, so I hope I visit all the places!

You clicked on this post to watch a timelapse, right? Haha, sorry to keep you. Here you go! 

Let me know if you want a more detailed tutorial for this (where I talk and discuss my process) and I'll find time. 

Thanks for visiting!

Addicted to Hand-Lettering

Aaahhh! While my ultimate love is digital illustration, hand-lettering is a hobby where I can just pick up a brush pen and some random paper and write away! This is a very good creative outlet for me, especially at work when I'm feeling swamped and stiff from everything. 

The past two weeks have been very busy for me, and I needed to do something to keep my sanity. So, armed with my Tombow Fudenosuke Pen (Hard tip), my tripod, and a sketchpad I keep at work for these exact purposes, I skipped off to my own little world of hand-lettering.

Here was my little journey:

I want to do a mini-tutorial series about the way I do hand-lettering. Am I being too rushed in thinking I can share anything (still learning)? Hahaha. 

We Happy Few: A Truly Gorgeous Game

Everyone who knows me personally knows that I adore playing first-person games, especially if it's open-world and has very nice graphics. It just so happened that I decided to buy a truly gorgeous game (in its early stages), and now, I'll be sharing my first thoughts with you guys!

The Story

We Happy Few is an action-adventure, indie game that is currently in its Early Access stage on Steam. It was released last July 26, 2016 under Compulsion Games and from that point to now, the reviews have been very positive.

"We Happy Few is the tale of a plucky bunch of moderately terrible people trying to escape from a lifetime of cheerful denial in the city of Wellington Wells. Set in a drug-fuelled, retrofuturistic city in an alternative 1960s England, you’ll have to blend in with its other inhabitants, who don’t take kindly to people who don’t abide by their not-so-normal rules." (Compulsion Games)

While the game is yet to be finished, what's available for play is already pretty good. Stunning graphics, a great crafting system, nice voice acting, and in general just a fun, purposeful gameplay.

© Compulsion Games

The game also plays with the concept of extreme joy and depression, where both might lead to insanity. In the game, people can be classified as "Downers" if they stopped taking their "Joy" pills, a drug regularly given to them by the 1960's British Dystopian England government. Not taking the pill makes you "remember" certain things whereas taking them will mask that depression and make you a generally accepted individual. You blend in, and from what I've played so far, blending in is the key to finishing the game.

© Gearbox Forums

Currently, you get to play as Arthur Hastings, a man who (by the player's choice) chooses not to take his Joy and end up on the wrong side of society - the Downers. He is chased down a tunnel and that's basically where the game starts.

The Numbers

The game is on Steam and retails for Php 759.95 (roughly $15-$16). That's an okay price given the current state of the game. Before buying though, make sure your rig meets the minimum, with more juice to spare (trust me, this will make the game more enjoyable).
The minimum requirement (vs. recommended):
  • OS: 64 bit, Windows 7 and above
  • Processor: Triple-core Intel or AMD, 2.0 GHz or faster (Quad-core Intel or AMD, 2.5 GHz or faster)
  • Memory: 8 GB RAM
  • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce 460 GTX or AMD Radeon 5870 HD series or higher Mobile: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 580M or higher. (NVIDIA GeForce 660 GTX or AMD Radeon 7870 HD series or higher)
  • DirectX: Version 11
  • Storage: 6 GB available space
Get the recommended rig and you'll save yourself from having to turn a few settings down. I've tried playing with reduced settings and it isn't so bad. The feel kind of took me back to Amnesia.

© Coub

The Cons

During my last gameplay, I got a little stressed over the map. It may be because it's on alpha, but there was no panning feature. You could zoom in or out but you couldn't navigate through the map. I also wish they'd put in indicators for the phone booths too like what they did for the water pumps and houses. It would've made it easier. But then I guess that's the point of the game. It's either your memory's really good or you're stupid enough to go around checking booths - which you've probably already opened - all night.

It's also weird how the time in-game shows it's already 8PM but the sky still looks 5PM. It only gets dark when it's 11PM and even then, the nighttime is very short.

The Verdict

I had been waiting to play this since it was announced early last year when they came out with a trailer that blew my mind. It was everything I wanted in a game: stunning graphics, mission-based and free-roaming options, first-person POV, a dark theme to go along with the violence, and a nice enough story line. It was like waiting for Outlast before it officially came out and I hoped it wouldn't disappoint.

It hasn't, so far. For an Early Access Game, everything looks exciting already. As the game develops, we'll get to see the pieces forming together.