Thursday, December 27, 2012

Interview and Giveaway with Chri from Ink Skies!

We've got a very special guest visiting Books à la Mode today. She's the co-owner of Ink Skies, the genius who helped design my revamped site, and one of the nicest people I've met on the blogosphere! Everyone, help me welcome Chri!

Introduce yourself, girlie!

Hey there :) I'm a high-school book blogger. I'm admittedly one of the quietest people you'll ever meet in real life, but I seem to be talkative enough online. And when I really get talking either online or in real life, I can ramble for hours.

I've always been an avid reader, and when there isn't a book in my hand there'll probably be an iPod or my tablet and laptop. Aside from reading, music and digital art are two of my other hobbies. I love earthy, autumn colors and pale, pastel colors. I love hoodies and jeans and fingerless gloves and beanie hats. I write poetry anonymously for my school magazine, and I play left-wing or defense for my school's field hockey team in the winter when they decide it's too close to Christmas and no one's going to bother buying school magazines when they can save up for presents and Christmas treats. And everyone calls me Chri.

You're superwoman! You make me feel like an underachiever ugh. I love your style, by the way! How would your friends describe you?

Ooh. We had to describe the person sitting next to us in class today in a maximum of ten words, and my best friend had to describe me—can I just steal her ten word description? xD Okay.

"Quiet, artsy, shy, nice, honest, disorganized, OCD, quiet... and quiet."

Bahahah kinda sounds like me... minus the two quiets LOL. Which sites do you run?

I co-blog with a friend, Meg, at Ink Skies—a tribute to Inkpop... any inkies out there?—and it's a place where we talk about out more-than-healthy bookish obsessions, gush over covers and color schemes and fonts, rant and rave about books we've read, and parade the books we wish we could read but that our meager high-school budgets won't allow for. Simply put, it's a book blog.

I also design blogs over at Painting Skies Designs. I design Blogger blogs, but my à la carte items (headers, banners, buttons, signatures, rating systems, etc.) can be purchased and used for blogs with blogs hosted on other sites as well. Hopefully you decide to stop on by for a peek? *bribes* I run custom and pre-made design giveaways often, too. xP

Oh, yes she does!!! Psssssst, readers! Stick around until the end and you'll see what I mean. Scratch what I said earlier. NOW you're making me feel like an underachiever, Chri. How did you come about blogging?

The long answer: "I got a Goodreads account first, wrote a couple crappy, never-to-see-the-light-again reviews for a while, and then I started clicking on all those bright, colorful graphics people add to the top or bottom of their posts. I was a blog lurker for a while before I plucked up the courage to make my own blog. And then after a few false starts and a couple bad experiences, here I am!"

Short and boring: "I just kind of fell into it."

How did you start designing? How did you become so good?!?!? (that last one's more out of my own curiosity, but please bear with me).

Aw, thanks :) Around the time I started my third book blog (first two times were false starts, and I deleted those blogs after a few weeks to retreat back into my lurker's cave), I got a little bored of searching through the same freebie templates all the time. And there's only so many free, book blog-style templates—after a while you notice that they start popping up on loads of blogs and it simply isn't unique and original to yours anymore. So, armed with meager Photoshop skills, I decided to search the all-knowing Google for some HTML tips and make my own design.

The first few were pretty bad, but I found a bunch of tutorials and studied a lot of my favorite blog designs, and I've gone a ways since then. I haven't had any web design training, and though I have had digital art and graphic design classes, I still have a long way to go before becoming, you know, an amazing blog designer, but blog designing's something I love doing. I started out wanting to make my own blog look nice, and now I want to do the same for others. I want to provide people with gorgeous, affordable designs, and so I set up my design blog in an attempt to try to do just that.

Don't worry about not being "amazing" because I guarantee you Painting Skies Designs is pretty pro. I'm serious, everyone. Chri's designs are maaaaahvelous! List your all-time favorite books (because just naming one is toRTURE) and tell us why you love them.

The Catastrophic History of You and Me by Jess Rothenberg: This book is beautiful, sweet, funny, heartbreaking, and full of surprise—right until the very end. What's there not to like?

Angelfall by Susan Ee: Nothing much to say except this? THIS is what the angels are. They kind of 'follow the myths' in a way that's completely original to the story. The post-apocalyptic world is horrifying, mesmerizing, and gritty. I'm in love with this one.

Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma: For one, I'm in love with the writing and the flow of the words. I love how flawed and imperfect the characters are, and the way the bond between Ruby and Chloe's bond is portrayed—never through words, but just actions. And that's enough.

These are just off the top of my head, so I know that the instant this interview is posted, fifty million more titles are going to flood into my head and I'll bang my head agains my desk and wonder why I didn't remember this book and that book and that one amazing book. Happens all the time >___<

I trust your judgment and just added all of those to my never-ending to-read shelf. Why do I do this to myself??? What's the best part about blogging? The worst?

I think the best part is the people—everyone's really nice and supportive and enthusiastic. It's wonderful to be part of a community like this. The worst? The drama. Definitely the drama.

What else do you do when you aren't doing something blog-related?

I'd say sleeping, but lately school's been taking up so much of my time so unfortunately now I'd probably be studying. Or procrastinating by sleeping.

Sounds like my life, ha. What's the secret to being successful and staying sane as a blogger and designer?

Just knowing when enough is enough, and knowing what you're capable of doing and where your limits are. It's so easy to just completely immerse yourself into dozens of blog designs and book bloggy things (reviews, discussion posts, cover reveals, blog tours, etc.), but you can't simply do everything. So yep, the secret to being successful and staying sane would lie in knowing your limits and not overworking yourself.

Excellent advice that I stand by as well. Do any of your friends or family regularly read your content? If not, would you want them to?

GOSH NO.

Two for two! I would DIE if my family found mine... What are some tips you have for new bloggers—some things you wish you had known before you started blogging?

Take your time. Not everything's going to come to you overnight and, you know what? That other blog might be completely amazing and huge and everything you want yours to be, but it isn't your blog. Your blog can be that someday, but if you keep looking at other people's blog's and designs and trying to be like theirs, you're only going to end up looking like a replica of theirs. Focus on your own stuff and doing your own thing. Keep at your own pace. Everything'll work out if you do. Really.

Very, very wise. Is there anything you want to ask bloggers or readers?

Hm... Oh, here's one: what do you think of memes? How much is too much?

Where can readers keep up with you?


Giveaway


Thanks so much for joining us today, ma chérie! Readers, Chri has generously offered ONE superfreakingtastically lucky reader a blog makeover courtesy of Painting Skies Designs. If you want to see her magic in action, you can look through her portfolio here, or... just stay where you are! Books à la Mode is living, breathing proof of her wondrous talent. She took my site, which initially looked like this...
...and sculpted it with her flesh and blood and tears, to this:
I personally adore her minimalist style... it's classy, professional, easy to navigate, and a breath of fresh air!

So. Are you interested? To enter, leave a comment on this interview with your response to Chri's question: what do you think of memes? How much is too much? I personally am not a fan of memes (no surprise there—I complain about shameless posting just for comments and followers all the time). But I do have a (rather undeveloped) meme called Back to the Classics, which is a free no-deadline meme to talk about "classics" in the literary world.
Guess who designed the header? ;)

For additional entries, you can follow Chri's blogs via GFC, follow her on Twitter, friend/follow her on Goodreads, and Tweet about this awesome giveaway for the www to see and marvel at. Fill out the Rafflecopter form below to confirm all your entries:
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Rules and Disclosure:
Giveaway ends 11 January, 2013.
Open INTERNATIONALLY for bloggers who use the Blogger platform. Users of other platforms will receive a blog header, button, and theme consultation as a substitute. Woohooo!
Winners have 48 hours to claim their prize once they are chosen, or else their prizes will be forfeited.
I am in no way responsible for the prize, only for selecting a winner.
As a reminder, you do not have to follow my blog to enter, though it is always very much appreciated ❤
Good luck!