Melissa Balaze

About Melissa Balaze

A chic chick who believes that life is a fashionable fairytale. I’m a passionate foodie, writer, photographer and lover of all things fabulous. I am also the author of chiconthestreet.com.

My iPhone Is Shinier Than Yours

Photo Credit: flattop341

The dos & don’ts of pitching yourself to a web designer

One of the phenomenona that comes with running your own web design firm is frequent inquiries from both wannabe and experienced web designers and programmers.

I love to help out folks getting started in the industry – I always appreciated it myself when I transitioned from working in film and TV production to the web sphere – but it always startles me how many people are completely clueless about the best way to approach me when they’re looking for work. I’m not alone; colleagues complain about the same pitching missteps.

Here are some practical dos & don’ts:

Don’t send me email attachments – especially when my contact page specifically begs you not to. I don’t need a 5-page PDF of your curriculum vitae, buy more about listing a chronology of your work & education; I want to see what you can do.

Do send a link to your online portfolio in the body of your message. If you’re pitching yourself as a web designer, nurse I want to see a minimum of 5 sites you’ve worked on – ideally more – with a clear description of your role in each project. They don’t all have to be live, archived on your portfolio site is fine. (You do have your own domain and online portfolio site, right?)

Don’t call me out of the blue and not ask if I have a moment before launching into a soliloquy so fast and loud that I have to hold the phone away from my ear so I don’t damage my hearing. (Yes, this has actually happened.) The work that web designers and developers do requires focus and concentration. If you’d like to have a phone chat, tell me why in a quick email, and we can schedule a call in advance to make sure I can give you all my attention.

Do have a few people carefully proofread your cover letter before sending it. If you can’t be bothered to spell correctly and use proper punctuation, I assume you’ll be as sloppy with your coding. This is an excerpt from an actual letter I received recently:

After a stint as a pratice lawyer in insurance litigation, I decided to move on and redirect my career in a more creative, dynamic and technological fiel of study.

I’m creative, inventive. I’m also a perfectionnist, with a great sens of job well done. I am very approachable and I have a great listening sense.

I excel in writing, in both English and French.

Don’t write a generic-sounding letter. Address me by name – it’s clearly on my website, take the extra three seconds to find it. Refer to something specific about my company that explains why you want to work with me. Doing these two things alone will make you stand out among the 100 others who’ve sent me job inquiries.

Do tell me what you’re passionate about. Are you a WordPress fanatic? Enthused about e-commerce? Driven by design? Let that excitement shine through your words.

Don’t write a novel. Be brief and get to the point: what specific role are you looking for and what makes you suitable? Do I even need your services? Check out my work first – pitching me your ASP.NET database programming skills wastes both of our time.

Do get to know me first, before even sending that first intro email. Twitter is a fantastic way to get a sense of whether we’re on the same wavelength, which is essential for harmonious collaborations. Start a conversation and see if we click. If you get fed up with my tweets about cats & food and decide you’d rather work with a World of Warcraft enthusiast, I promise I won’t be offended.

Photo Credit: Anton Peck

They say that finding a Praying Mantis in your yard will bring you luck.

I wanted to share this one with all of you, visit
found at a time when I needed a little luck in my own yard.

Photo Credit: Anton Peck

Download now: 2560×1600, 1920×1200, iPad (1024×1024), iPhone 4 (640×940)

In the tech world, it’s not about who has the biggest screen or the most RAM, it’s all about who is the first to own the newest gadget. Techies stand in lines for hours to be the first to buy Apple’s latest device (come on, how many of you in Canada know someone who has crossed the border to be the first to own the iPad).

I remember when I first got my iPhone 3G, I was so proud. I bought a few skins, added a few apps and was just so proud to be a part of the Apple family.  But the next thing I knew the 3GS was out and already I was out of the loop. Now the iPhone 4 is out and… well… I still have my 3G. Well there is a group of chic geeks out there that refuse to be outdone in the gadget department. They work at not only creating the most blinged out gadgets, but also the most expensive. So the next time you’re out and about and someone pulls out their new iPhone 4 (with that fancy plastic cover), take out one of these babies, sit back and bask in all the glory.

The iPad Supreme Gold – blinged out by a man named Stuart Hughes, Apple’s latest must-have is adorned with 22-carat gold and a logo made with 53 flawless diamonds. Want one? You’ll have to pony up $210,000!

The next time someone shows off their iPhone 4, pull out this bad boy and watch the look on their face. At a cool $20,000 it makes the regular iPhone 4 look like it’s worth pennies. White with sparkling diamonds? A chic girl’s best friend!

After the diamond rings and all those pretty things, what do you get the girl who has everything? How ‘bout a diamond iPod Shuffle! It’s only $40,000, I mean, what do you expect from an iPod made of 18-karat pink gold and 430 diamonds. Oh, did I mention that there are another 118 on the earphone.

And in the eventuality that someone at the party does have one of the above, behold the most expensive phone in the world. Another creation of Stuart Hughes, this iPhone 4 is handmade of pink gold and more than 500 individual flawless diamonds around the edges and 53 more to make the iconic Apple logo. The home button is made from one of two interchangeable 8-karat diamonds (‘cause one would just be cheap!). So if you have an extra $8 million lying around, go nuts! I wonder if you still need that plastic case for better reception.

And finally for all you BlackBerry users, even your beloved device was given some love. The BlackBerry Curve 8900 was pimped out with 4,150 diamonds mounted on 18 karats of gold. Not a bad way to spend $200,000.

Who ever said it’s what’s on the inside that counts?

Geek chic done right

Laptop bags get a bad rap. Sure they are functional, illness but fashionable they are not. I have been searching for the perfect laptop bag – practical and oh so chic! – ever since I bought my laptop, implant
and I have been unsuccessful, and ended up settling for a tote that is less than functional (seriously, the zipper doesn’t even close when my laptop is in it). So what’s a chic girl to do? Well luckily for all you fashionistas, designers have embraced chic geeks and designed bags where fashionable meets functional when it comes to carrying all your gadgets.

Badgley Mischka


A beautiful and fabulous Badgley Mischka laptop bag! This chic buttery soft tote is practical enough to carry your gadgets and gizmos, but stylish enough to take with you wherever you need without it screaming “I’m a laptop!” Bonus: wear it across your body for a slouchy look perfect for weekends or when running errands.

Marc Jacobs


If laptop sleeves are more your style, Marc Jacobs has designed a collection of funky cases that are sure to get you noticed. Bonus: they are very affordable (at $80 a pop, you won’t go broke trying to look fab)!

Coach


Dress up your laptop with a splash of colour. The Coach Poppy Laptop Case gives new life to the designer brand, breaking away from the iconic print.

eReaders

When Apple’s latest creation hit the market, it was uncertain what its lifespan would be. But it’s quite obvious now that the iPad is here to stay. With the tech world accepting the new gadget, it was no surprise that the fashion world soon followed.

Salvatore Ferregamo and Louis Vuitton were the first to come out with iPad cases.

Trying to separate itself from the pack, DvF created a collection of cases for the Kindle in her signature funky prints.

So no matter what your gadget of choice, you can seek comfort in the fact that there are plenty of chic options to help you tote them around.