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This was supposed to be my 300th blog post.

That's what I thought, anyway...
My blogger post counter has been at 299 for days now. I've been putting this post off, waiting for a time when I could be sufficiently introspective to highlight more than 2 years of blog writing. Then I logged in tonight and realized that said counter includes drafts. So really this is post #294 or something like that. (Phew! Pressure's off!)

Still going to take a cruise down memory lane, though. Now is as good a time as ever!

I started Surprise the Designer here on January 7, 2009. It was a school assignment. Possibly the best school assignment ever. Things learned from this first post include the fact that I like to have fun and that I took credit for 5 years of waitressing experience when I really had 3. Whoops.

Post #100 happened on August 1, 2009 and was titled are you an ecofriend? It's all about how someone found my task light on, pseudo interviewed me via email, and wrote about it. I've learned a lot from this blog, not the least of which is the value of having an online presence. 

More recently, a fellow industrial designer wrote about my senior thesis and titled it "Portal to Hell." He did not pseudo interview me. He did use my images (including one of me) without permission, listed all content as © 2011 for, and did not link back to my site or portfolio. Hrm. 

Anyway... post #200, titled "design for me," was penned on July 13, 2010. Less than a month after graduation, I argued against design education—or at least the fact that teachers are always asking you to design for people other than yourself. I still agree with me :)

300 feels like a big number. It's a number I'm proud of, proof that I've stuck with this blog waaaay longer than any journal I've ever kept. And it's had so many benefits. It's a log (for my reference) of the work that I've done and the thoughts that I've had since 2009. It played an invaluable role in my job search. It's given me an outlet to continue writing in the midst of becoming a designer. It has absolutely encouraged me to be more thoughtful, always looking for the subject of my next blog post—similar to how carrying a camera makes you more aware of potential photos all around you.

This post, post #300ish, finds me at the beginning of my career as a creative freelancer. I've officially established Toast Studio (website coming soon—promise), purchased (that's where you are right now, folks!), and joined twitter (holla @carlyhagins :)) I'm thoroughly enjoying my job, where I get to work with people I Respect (that's right—with a capital R!) every single day. Life is good, and I know it.

So here's to 100's of more blog posts! Thanks for sticking with me this long.