BB Design Skills Course: Module 2

BB Design Skills Course: Module 2

BB Design Skills Course: Module 2

This module of the Bucketlist Bombshells’ Design Skills Course introduces students to Adobe InDesign, Illustrator, and Photoshop. I was very much looking forward to this module, and it did not disappoint!

Like the previous module, this one consisted of three videos and nothing else (actual projects will begin later in the course). However, each of these videos last a half hour or longer, giving more than 100 minutes of instruction total!


The first tutorial was InDesign, which I though was odd because most instruction usually starts with Photoshop as it’s the most popular. But, Cassie explains that as a designer, she primarily uses InDesign and Illustrator, and only occasionally uses Photoshop. I didn’t mind starting with InDesign as I had really enjoyed using it within Skillcrush’s Visual Designer Blueprint. As someone who has tried to create newsletters and other projects in Microsoft Word, the ease of formatting with InDesign is amazing and a great time-saver.

Cassie gave a basic overview of the toolbars and layout in InDesign and many of the tools. Even with my previous introduction to InDesign, I learned a lot. Her teaching style, while a bit repetitive when teaching from a slide deck like in the previous module, really shines in these tutorials. She makes using these programs seem fun and easy, and my mind was churning with different ways I could apply the uses of the different tools to my own projects.


Next was Illustrator. I hated Illustrator while using it in Skillcrush – the bezier curves were pure evil and I could never get my drawings to look clean and smooth. As someone who was never good at drawing realistic images, I was hoping it would be easier on the computer, but the Skillcrush Blueprint made me think that wasn’t the case. I don’t think I’ve opened Illustrator since finishing that class.

But Cassie makes Illustrator seem effortless and fun to use. She showed different ways to create and smooth out a design, and introduced Adobe’s library of brushes and other cool tools to use when creating images. I’m excited to try some of them out!

I did notice that Cassie seem to refer to opacity in opposite terms – when an item becomes more opaque, it becomes less see-through, not more. But since you generally only mess with opacity when you are decreasing it for a project, it’s easy to misunderstand the meaning. This is my only criticism on her teaching for the entire module, which says a lot! Very impressed by this module.


The last video was all about Photoshop, with which I am most familiar out of Adobe’s products. Cassie did a run-through of almost every tool in the regular toolbar, explaining their differences and similarities, and saying why you might use one over another. She showed their effects on one image, and gave a bunch of examples of different cases where you might need to use each tool. It was also helpful to see speed vs. accuracy with using different tools over the other, depending on the contrast in an image.

Cassie only briefly touched on layers and organizing your workspace, which was something the Skillcrush Blueprint spent a lot of time on. Since I am taking both, this is giving me a more well-rounded education in Photoshop. I do think Cassie’s design approach fits my style more – I like jumping in with both feet, playing around with a project, and looking up stuff when I get stuck.

This module excites me a lot for the rest of the course. I can’t wait to start working on actual projects!

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BB Design Skills Course: Module 1

BB Design Skills Course: Module 1

BB Design Skills Course: Module 1

This module of the Bucketlist Bombshells‘ Design Skills Course consists of 3 video lessons – Color, Typography, and Layout. The videos are 12-18 minutes long, so you end up with a good 45 minutes’ worth of instruction. It is a very basic introduction to these principles.

I didn’t really learn anything new with this module, but considering that I’ve taken an online college course on Visual Communication as well as Skillcrush’s Visual Designer Blueprint, I expected that at least the first few modules would be mostly review for me.

I did wish that the Color video had some real-life examples to illustrate the principles being taught – especially for the different moods the different types of color schemes invoke. The other two videos did include a few examples, but would have appreciated more.

There were no exercises, tasks, or worksheets with this module. I feel like other students would appreciate at least a cheat sheet for the various things taught, that they could keep close by as they work through the other modules.

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Stockpiling Resources

Stockpiling Resources

Stockpiling Resources

I have a hoarding problem.

During my past two moves, I got rid of SO MUCH STUFF. A friend took a van load to donate. My little brother made two trips. And I took bags and bags out to the garbage. And I still had around 75 boxes I moved to the new place – not counting kitchen and living room stuff like dishes and food and DVDs. (To be fair, some of the boxes were very small – and about 30-40 were solely books.)

Not good for an aspiring digital nomad. Though aside from Avon products (since I sell Avon) all but a handful of boxes contain stuff obtained 5 years ago or more.

During my last move, I analyzed why I was holding onto so much stuff. Several boxes hadn’t been opened in the years between moves, yet I still felt a deep urge to hold onto the contents. There were 2 reasons:

1. Nostalgia. As an INFP, my primary and third functions, Feeling and Sensing, are both internal. My memory connects powerful emotions to things I can see and touch. If I throw away the thing, it feels like I am throwing away the memory.

2. Fear. Growing up in a large family, there was no allowance and very little money to be earned doing extra chores. If something broke or I needed a gift for someone (8 younger siblings = lots of needed gifts), it generally had to come from the stuff I already had. Handcrafted presents and regifted items were the norm. In my twenties, during times of unemployment or tight finances, I had to delve into my resources again. Selling things online sometimes made the difference between a positive and a negative bank account balance.

Realizing those emotions and improved finances helped me to get rid of more during the move. If the memories brought up by an item made me feel frustrated or blah, I let go of the item. If I didn’t see myself using a resource item in the next year or two, I donated it.

Digital Hoarding

Within the last few years, I’ve transitioned to stockpiling digital resources instead of physical ones. Amazon started it, with digital downloads of TV seasons for $5 and ebooks for 99 cents or free. And entering the world of social media, tech, and design brought me a huge range of valuable digital products at all price points.

Unlike physical items, there generally is not a nostalgia component. And while they are resources that I am hoarding, it isn’t due to fear. I see them as building blocks for the life I want to live.

There are other downsides to stockpiling digital items, however, so keep these in mind:

Organization. How do you find what you need when you need it? Right now, I keep everything in folders based on the source of the item (which will also make checking license permissions for fonts, images, etc. easier in the future). But the more you have, the harder things are to find.

Money. While some digital items are free (like Creative Market’s weekly downloadables), others range from cheap ebooks to thousand-dollar courses. If I am not going to use the digital item or service now, my rule of thumb is that it needs to be steeply discounted to outweigh the costs of maybe never using it. AppSumo is excellent at this – offering lifetime deals at unbeatable prices, usually for tech startups’ services.

Procrastination. I am prone to this. Acquiring instead of practicing. Learning instead of doing. One of the key parts of a great career is to keep learning new things, but that knowledge will remain superficial until you start to use it in your work.

What resources do you tend to stockpile?

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BB Skills Course: Module 0

BB Skills Course: Module 0

BB Skills Course: Module 0

It’s a good thing my experience with their Facebook group was so positive, because my first lesson in Bucketlist Bombshells’ Design Skills course was plagued with technical difficulties. I think I hate Asana now, and I’ve definitely learned what not to do when including PDF worksheet downloads on my site!

Module 0 (from what I can tell, it’s identical for both the Design and Tech Skills courses) at least had good, thought-provoking content. It was all about setting goals for the course and your future business. The first video lesson had a worksheet to download and fill out as you followed along. And that is where my troubles began.

This PDF Wasn’t Made For Editing

The ideal practice might have been to print it out and handwrite all your brainstorming. But as much as I love putting pen to paper, my printer is still packed away after my move, and I frankly wasn’t keen to waste ink, especially if future lessons had worksheets as well. Best to just download and save in a folder I created especially for the course. I opened it from the downloads bar in Chrome and started typing merrily away.

I had filled out the first page and was about to head to bed to continue thinking of ideas for the next section, when I had a realization – what if this was one of those awful unable-to-save fillable forms? I hit save, left the form open in Chrome, and tried opening it again in Reader. None of my changes showed up. I made a copy and played around a bit until realized I could edit and the changes would save in Reader. But what about my already-started Chrome version? I went to copy and paste my responses into the Reader copy, only to find out I couldn’t copy from the PDF! After Googling around for alternate keyboard shortcuts, I figured out I could print the Chrome version to PDF, open the printed version in Reader, and copy/paste between the two versions from there. And Reader is not multi-document friendly.

I did some research and it does look like you can save PDFs correctly in Chrome if the PDF is uploaded with the correct permissions. If it’s a read-only copy, expect the same fiery torture above. As a comparison, Skillcrush used Google Docs for their worksheets – you would click the link, and it would invite you to save a copy to your Google Drive. You had to remove the “Copy of” in the filename every single time (which was super annoying), but other than that, it worked very smoothly.

Goals, Sorted

Next snag was realizing all my brainstormed goals now needed to be distributed among 4 time periods – which meant a LOT of copying and pasting (which at least actually worked in Reader). I’d made about 30 goals over 4 different types, and had to scroll over 4 PDF pages, redistributing them over the 4 time periods – on a laptop that isn’t so great with the scrolling.

Then it was onto assigning monthly focuses – which didn’t line up well with either of the two previous sorts and the type of goals I had set. The action step breakdown was more than I wanted to do at the moment, and seemed designed for printing multiple copies instead of filling out on the computer. So I moved on to the second video lesson.

Asana Don’t Wanna

Shay provided a quick run-through of how to set up lists and boards in Asana, and had you put your lesson tasks in a list and your goals in a board and set due dates. Simple, right? Try mindnumbingly dull and repetitive. With more snags.

First, I accidentally set up an organization instead of a workspace since I put in my business email in addition to my personal one. I had already created my projects when I realized this, and while it didn’t take too long to figure out how to add a workspace, apparently there is no easy way to copy or move a project from one to the other.

Second, I had to copy each individual goal into a separate board task from the PDF. So the 30 goals I had already copied once, I had to copy again one by one. Only later on did I realize I could have just copied them all into a list and it wouldd have separated them out for me, then I could have selected all and dragged them to the board, though I would have still had to divvy them up into the 4 time periods.

Third, while I did find site that would help me transfer a project from organization to workspace, it changed my board into a list while doing so. So then I had to divvy up the goals for the THIRD freaking time.

And I don’t even want to think about trying to go through every module and list out the tasks ahead of time and assign due dates. That doesn’t even make any sense. How am I supposed to know how long these will take me at the beginning of the course?

I’m hoping the other modules will be an improvement over this one. As it is, this is a very bad first impression for the courses.

Some Fixes

My suggestions to Cassie and Shay for improving Module 0:

1. Provide better options for saving and editing the worksheets, or at least clearly explain how to open the download in a way where people’s information won’t get lost. I can’t imagine being someone who had filled it out completely, hit save, and then opened it later to realize nothing’s there.

2. Instead of forcing your students to go through every module in the course and manually add the tasks to Asana – why not provide a list they can copy and paste right into their workspace? They can then customize, break down tasks into action items, and add deadlines as much as they need to. It would show Asana’s strengths and eliminate meaningless busywork.

3. Speaking of Asana’s strengths – one of them seems to be dragging and dropping tasks at will. So why not have students take advantage of that by having them brainstorm and categorize goals right in Asana from the start? It would eliminate all the back and forth in the unwieldy PDF and having to copy everything over to Asana later on.

4. I still feel very lost working with Asana, and since I don’t know what all I’ll be doing with it in the course, I don’t know what type of Asana tutorial I should follow. I understand that this course isn’t all about Asana, but what about linking to a good free online tutorial that covers everything students will need for the course?

I’ll update this post if I hear any changes are made to improve the module!

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Bucketlist Bombshells: An Intro

Bucketlist Bombshells: An Intro

Bucketlist Bombshells: An Intro

I just started taking Bucketlist Bombshells’ Design Skills Course! While researching the course, I wasn’t able to find many reviews for it (since it is a newer course, that is to be expected). So I have decided to remedy that fact for other learners!

I’ll be walking you step-by-step through my experience with the Design Skills Course. I’ll be comparing and contrasting it to other courses I’ve taken (primarily Skillcrush‘s blueprints) and discussing its strengths, focus, and areas that need improvement. If this goes well, I’ll do the same with their Tech Skills Course, and maybe even their Work + Travel Course.

Since the Bucketlist Bombshells are all about helping you build digital skills that will allow you to work from anywhere in the world, I feel like they will be a great resource for those who want to Create Wherever! But this blog is all about helping you gain the freedom and confidence to build a passion-fueled life in any place you choose! So comment with your own thoughts, things you’d like to hear more about, topics you want me to address, and questions you have.

In addition, I’ll be sharing my own travel experiences, my journey toward location-independence, reviews of other digital courses and services, and vacation planning tips for fellow free-spirits on a budget!

Want to hire me as a Pinterest Designer and Manager to help you get more traffic, leads, and income for your blog or business? Check out this page to see what I can do to help you grow!