Updating your personal brand doesn’t have to cost a cent

A compilation of various design cards with disparate styles
A compilation of various design cards with disparate styles
My previous branding had no consistency.

A couple of weeks ago, I took a look at my website because I wanted to make an update to the “about” section. But as soon as I landed on the homepage, I had this jarring, immediate reaction, the site felt outdated. “Wait, didn’t I just launch this thing in like, January?”

A part of me wondered if the visceral reaction stemmed from feeling disconnected from what I was seeing on the screen. It’s almost like I was looking at an older version of myself and my work. …

How making small adjustments in the home can help our children deal with the current crisis.

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Awake in the middle of the night — illustration by Randy Tolentino.

It feels like the mornings have finally found a rhythm.

We’re about one week into this modified lifestyle of being home together as a family. With all that’s happening in the world, we find stability in one another. We’re so lucky that we’re close.

For me, each day starts in our family’s home studio; this is the guest-room that we converted into a workspace for times when I need to work remotely.

Current status: WFC (working from cruise)

Photo of a cruise ship with red circles scatter plotted across the photo
Photo of a cruise ship with red circles scatter plotted across the photo
Adapted from photo by Krzysztof Kowalik on Unsplash

Tracking its movement

I’ll be honest, I typically don’t believe in the news. (I know that’s controversial but I’m just keeping it real here). Yet for some reason, when this virus made headlines, something about the way it was being reported made me think, okay, this is different.

Here we are, two months later, and over the past couple of months, we’ve watched this virus quickly sweep across the globe. The people of China suffered a great loss, South Korea ‘declared war’ on the virus, Italy’s on lockdown… it’s wild. Next thing you know:

  • Amazon, Seattle, everyone work from…

From foxtails and couches to goals and dreams, you already own what you seek.

Illustration of boxes delivered to the front door
Illustration of boxes delivered to the front door
Your goals and dreams have arrived. Illustration by Randy Tolentino.

“Wait, Dad, pause it!”

I hit the spacebar.

“What’s that?”, our younger son asked.

“What do you mean, what’s what?”

“That… hanging from his side?”, he wondered, pointing at the screen.

“Hmm, I don’t know, looks like a raccoon or a foxtail, maybe?”

“What!? A foxtail!… wait, Dad, is that a real fox’s tail?”, he laughed.

“Doubt it… Macklemore’s a good guy — he wouldn’t use a real one. You could probably buy those on Amazon”, I said.

“Can we get one?”, he asked, still staring at the screen.

“Oh, dude — I’d wear one, too!”

He’s been into Macklemore lately, specifically the song Downtown”. After watching the video, I grabbed my phone and searched on Amazon. Sure enough, Amazon had them and it only cost $10.99 for two pieces. …

Stop wasting time and find your gift.

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The chicken sandwich that helped me become a writer. Sketch by Randy Tolentino

In recent months, I’ve been fascinated by this idea of personal gifts.

To be clear, I’m not talking about the personalized gifts you buy from Etsy. I’m talking about your gift, your purpose, the thing you were meant to do in this life.

I guess I’m a little behind. Even in my own house, they’re tuned in.

My wife’s been working on her gift for years now, and she’s always mindful of supporting our boys in their search to discover their own — it’s a beautiful thing to witness.

I write code for a living. It’s complicated, but I love the challenge. I also appreciate how my career has allowed me to fulfill my responsibilities as a husband and father. …

If you can’t answer this question, this story is for you.

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Studying late at night, searching for inspiration. Illustration created by Randy Tolentino.

“Who’s your favorite motivational speaker?”

“Mmm, I don’t know? Don’t have one…”, I shrugged.

“What!? Ahhh man — alright, I’ma send you some names to look up.”

For years, Edgar tried to get me into this self-development stuff. He’d invite me to watch someone speak, or every now and then he’d leave a book on my desk for me to read. Each time he’d pass something my way, I’d thank him, but then for some reason, I’d let it slip.

“You check out that link I sent you?”, he’d ask.

“Oh man, not yet. I got caught up… I’ll check it out tonight though!” …

Reflect on your productivity, but also save space for yourselves.

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We strive to understand our customers, but can we do the same for each other?. Lovely photo by Matthew Henry from Burst

“So, we’re almost at the hour… have about five minutes left and I wanted to get to our happiness scores,” Mark announced.

“Jon, seems like yours dropped compared to last time, not sure if you wanna speak on that at all?” I said.

He and I both happened to post the lowest scores in the group, but I already knew my reasons. Normally, Jon’s camera would be on and everyone could see him in meetings, but this time it was off. …

Look, Mom, I made it (behind-the-paywall)

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Shifted the game today, and subscribed. Photo by Samantha Hurley from Burst

I remember back when Medium didn’t have a paywall. It was a platform for people to share their ideas or thoughts, it had (and still does, IMHO) a 🔥 user interface, and the contributor’s experience was super elegant.

Since childhood — that’s how long I’ve loved writing. It’s an enthusiasm that I believe I came into this world with. Because there’s something fascinating behind the challenge of articulation through language, letters, and words. …

Observations on naturally becoming your parents

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When stars connect. Photo by Isaac Mehegan on Unsplash

We got two wolves, a few years apart. They test each other, they explore together, they spar, laugh, build, and grow together. Every day they leverage one another’s strengths as they figure out their worlds and what this life experience is all about.

Last night, we looked up the compatibility of each other’s zodiac signs. They actually made sense: the older wolf and Mom had complimentary signs and the same for me and the young wolf. Looked up me and Mom… match.


She saved the night

I knew that’s why he wouldn’t eat.

I surprised them at the restaurant yesterday, the wolves didn’t know I would be there but I actually showed up before them. Once they walked up, they were shocked and elated to see me, and they both ran up to me to give hugs. It’s a feeling that’s unmatched, and one that I treasure more than anything. I greeted my wife, took them to wash their hands, then came back to sit with Mom at the table. …

How to frame insightful conversations with potential employers in 2020.

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Purposeful dialogue stems from the ability to make a connection with others. Photo by fauxels from Pexels.

When you run a search for the “best interview questions to ask an employer”, the results come back with countless resources that all have fairly similar suggestions:

  • What does a successful new hire look like in the first six months?
  • What’s the company culture like?
  • What do you like about working for this company?

The list goes on.

You’ve probably come across these resources before — they’re everywhere. They all provide questions that work for many situations. At the same time, they’re also very typical questions and oftentimes lead to responses that only scratch the surface of all there is to know about your role and the organization. …


Randy Tolentino

Husband, dad, developer/designer. I write about inner growth, family, career, and selflessness. Feel free to find me at randytolentino.com

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