Womyn Wednesdays: Sandra Tursi

I’ve been wanting to do this series for a while now, to have the opportunity to speak with other women about what they do (for fun, for work, etc.) and to touch on challenges they face in their careers. I had been thinking about all of the interesting women I know, and how great it would be to be able to delve further into these women’s lives. In this series, these women can share about their current lives, careers, and adventures, and share advice with other women out there, who might be interested in following the same path.

My first guest is beautiful and hilarious, and we had the best time talking, as two creatives who’ve worked together (and been friends for sixteen years)! She runs an independent Graphic Design Studio called InBetween Studio, and her blog can be found here. You can also find her on Instagram @Inbetween_Studio and @smtursi.


Without further ado, here is our interview…

Sandra_profile copy

1) Please briefly introduce yourself. Tell us a little bit about what you do with your days.

My name is Sandra Tursi, and I am a Graphic Designer. I start my day by going to the gym, and then spend about an hour getting inspired by looking at other peoples’ images, reading editorials, and getting updates on what other freelancers are working on. Some days this really motivates me, and others it puts me in a foul mood. I tend to be hard on myself when I see how creative my peers are, but I try to use it as inspiration for what I would like to work on myself.



2) What are you currently working on?

Lately I’ve been wanting to get back to my roots and start making things. Recently, I’ve been designing some wedding invitations for a friend, and I had to send them out to a letterpress to be printed. I might buy myself a tabletop letterpress to work with, because I love being able to go from start to finish — to design something and then print it myself, and see the finished product — it’s very satisfying for me. I am obsessed with the tactile sense of working with paper. I love the feeling of a paper product, as opposed to only working with digital images and layouts. Plus, I’m always nervous about sending stuff to other vendors. I worry that things won’t turn out the way I envision them.


3) How did you get started in Graphic Design?

It’s kind of a funny story. In my first year of college, I did a lot of science courses because I was good at it in High School. I thought about maybe becoming a Dermatologist or something, but I spoke to one of my dad’s friends who is a doctor in the Navy, and he talked me out of it. My dad encouraged me to do art because I have always been artistic; I always drew things, and I won a bunch of awards for my art, even as early as kindergarten. My mom still keeps all of the stuff I created when I was younger. I didn’t take my dad seriously at first; I told him that I didn’t want to be poor and had this image of being a painter under a bridge or something.

I used to watch the Spanish version of the show, Ugly Betty, and one of the guys on that show was a Graphic Designer. I always had a thing for letters and layouts, but I didn’t really know it was a thing before I saw that show. Growing up in Temecula, California, I wasn’t exposed to a lot of artsy lifestyles, the way I might have been if I’d grown up in a city like San Francisco or New York. One of my aunts works in a publishing house with her husband, so I flew out to England to visit, and they told me about what they do, and what kind of courses I could take to explore design. I specialized in graphic design because I love publishing. I’ve always been drawn to magazines and stuff. There aren’t a lot of publishing houses where I live in Omaha, Nebraska, so that’s how I got into branding.


3) What drew you to your current field? 

I’ve always done art. I am always trying new things, like recently, I worked on a bunch of macrame projects, and I did a lot of screen printing for a while. I am all about learning new techniques. But letterpress, print and design, that’s where my soul lies. I get nerdy about paper; I’m an old soul when it comes to stuff like that. I am one of those people who will forever be saying that print will never die. Like, I received a Kindle from my mom for Christmas one year, and I can’t bring myself to use it very often because I love the feel of paper. The convenience of screens can’t take away from the tactile satisfaction people get from paper. I love going to old bookstores, just to buy books for the look of them. I will actually buy books sometimes for the book itself, and not the content! I really appreciate the craftsmanship of a good book, the attention to detail, how the spine is bound, the font that’s used…people don’t realize how much is put into a book to make you want to grab it off the shelf. There are certain things about the design of something where, if you don’t notice it, that means they’ve done a good job. That beautiful craftsmanship is what drew me to design.


4) What does it mean to be a woman in your field? 

Honestly, I’ve been really lucky and haven’t experienced any real issues being a woman in Graphic Design. There was one thing though; you try to just do your best and be on the same level as your male counterparts, but I received an award one time, and it was like, recognizing that I was the first female designer at that company. It bothered me because I don’t want to be recognized for being a woman, I want recognition for being great at my job. To be honest, I’ve felt a lot more tension between female coworkers in my field. Maybe it’s just a competitive thing, but I wish we could all just support each other.

5) What advice do you have for other women interested in your field of work?

Never stop doing what you want to do. If you’re in a creative rut, get inspired by other people. Even if it’s not design — read things by other people, look at other peoples’ art. Don’t be afraid to look at others work, but don’t judge yourself too harshly. Art and design take a lot of self-confidence because you’re putting yourself out there, and it can be so subjective, whether something is “good” or not.

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6) What is the most challenging part of your job?

Not being able to work on the things I want to work on. If someone gives me a brief that is super restrictive, I don’t get to stretch myself at all creatively. Also, admin stuff — invoicing, marketing, and sometimes you have to figure out how to work with clients who you don’t necessarily mesh with.

Thank you so much Sandra! Check out her design website here.

Health · parenthood

I’m just a lady, crawling around after her kid, begging him not to get eczema lotion all over her sheets

We’ve been dealing with eczema. It’s super common nowadays, but why? At least two-thirds of the moms I’ve spoken to about it have said that their kids also have it, with varying degrees of severity. We exchange stories of our own successes and failures with treating it, or just keeping it from becoming too severe.

The general consensus amongst pediatricians and pediatric dermatologists seems to be that best way to “treat” the skin condition is simply to slather some steroid cream on it to take care of the inflammation. Matt and I took the advice of our pediatrician and used the 2% hydrocortisone that was prescribed for our son’s eczema, which at the time was causing the skin on his ankles to crack and bleed. It seemed like every week we continued with the steroid treatment, his skin would become worse and the further the eczema would spread. When it finally covered his chin, chest, back, legs and behind his shoulders, I started looking into different treatment options.

After a lot of trial and error (and a period of what seemed like detox from the steroids where his skin just became more itchy and inflamed), we found a routine that seemed to keep it under control somewhat. About two or three times a month, we will use a 1% hydrocortisone balm (not the cream) if needed, to get the redness and dryness down. On normal days, we make sure to slather on his SkinFix Eczema Balm, rub it in really well, and then top it with Cerave ointment. We then try to cover all the spots with clothing to keep the moisture locked in (socks, pants, long sleeves). Luckily it seems like it tends to flare up in the drier winter months, so more clothing isn’t a real issue. Sometimes when it’s looking really dry, I’ll take Char to the beach and let the ocean heal him (life in San Diego)!

I wish it were as “simple” as removing something from my son’s diet, but we tried removing all the normal things—gluten, soy, corn, dairy, and eggs—to no avail.

Katie over at Wellness Mama also has a great list of natural remedies for eczema. None of these worked in our case, but the sea salt really does seem to calm it down a bit.

I would be interested to hear what other parents are doing for their kids’ eczema.



Corn and Fishing

It was a warmish day back when we lived in the house in Norco, when my father took me fishing. I was four and a half years old and my sister was two. I had blonde, curly-ish hair with bangs that went straight across. My dad was an Ironworker and a welder, and he worked hard and often when work was good. We had matching shirts back then that had peanuts on them. I remember wearing them together one time when he took me to one of his job sites, and I looked up into the sky at one of his buddies who was sitting atop a steel skeleton of a small building, the sun shining brightly around him and right into my eyes. My dad had a belly and a mustache, and I believed that he was the strongest man in the world.

That day we stopped at the gas station, and my dad gave me a ten dollar bill to take inside to the register. “Tell the man to put ten on two”, he said. We walked inside and I told the man with trepidation, “Put ten on two”. He smiled at me and told me I could pick out a popsicle. I picked the red one and then asked my dad if I could have one of the tiny Reese’s cups up on the counter. He said no, but the man at the register said I could take one, and he smiled and winked at me. I thought that it must be because he liked my t-shirt with Ariel from The Little Mermaid on it.

At the lake we backed dad’s red and white truck into the water, and he pushed the boat off of the trailer until it floated cheerily on the green surface. When we were out on the water, I dropped my Barbie and my tiny oar into the water repeatedly, admiring my dad for being so brave and skilled at fishing them out.

On the way home we listened to the Beach Boys and I thought very hard about how sad it would be if someone ate up all of my corn. Dad oscillated between singing vague utterances quietly and belting out snippets of lyrics which he had memorized. We sat in the hot truck in our driveway when we got home, and finished the song before heading inside for dinner.


On Raising a Reader

kid reading a book
little bookworm

When I was pregnant with Charlie, I kept imagining what it would be like to sit on the edge of his bed and read him a chapter of Harry Potter before bedtime. To do all the character voices, and watch his face as he got to experience Hogwarts for the first time. While we are not quite at Harry Potter status yet, Charlie insists on being read some of his favorite board books every night. It’s such a fulfilling thing, to be able to watch him enjoy the same books my mom read to my siblings and I when we were little!

And he loves his books! I wished so hard that my baby would love reading, and he just absorbs it all like a little sponge, asking to be read Caps for Sale for the millionth time (in a day). He gets super involved in the stories too, pointing to things and talking about them, imitating the faces of the characters, and laughing at the silly parts.

I can’t even describe the joy I feel every time Charlie grabs a book to read on his own; he just picks one, sits on his little Thomas the Tank Engine couch, and studies each page as though he were literally sitting there reading a chapter book. It makes me so dang proud, be still my exploding mama heart.

I had posted on my Instagram a few weeks ago about an amazing company, Zoozil, who’s mission is to make learning and reading more accessible through choose-your-own-adventure style e-books for kids. Zoozil has redefined the way kids get to explore the world by putting them in control of the story.

Reading, and making learning exciting for kids is something we are obviously pretty passionate about in our house. Which is why I wanted to share that you can get 50% off any book using the coupon code ChangeTheStory.


Please check them out at, and help kids change the story! You can also connect with them on Instagram and FaceBook (@zoozil).

reflection · Uncategorized

Fall: Yes, I am Basic.

I keep thinking about what a bummer it is that loving Fall and yoga pants equates to being a basic bitch. Because I love yoga pants. And I Really. Love. Fall.

To me, that first day of slightly cooler weather that follows the final heatwave of the summer is like a holiday on its own. I saw this comic the other day that pretty much sums up the way I feel the second the temperature drops below 80. I feel a tingle of excitement and all the energy I’ve saved up through the summer Latin g around bemoaning the heat starts to spark up inside me again. 

Pumpkins! Cinnamon! Leaves! Sweaters! No more shaving! HOW CAN YOU NOT LOVE FALL?!?

The change in season always kind of brings me to reflect on the past eight months or so. Another year almost done? How did I do? Am I heading in the right direction? Am I being the person I want to be or taking steps to get there? It’s a time to slow down a bit and focus on cozying up our home, reading more, burning candles, celebrating family and eating carbs.

Since Charlie’s a little older I am SO looking forward to picking pumpkins, Halloween costumes, learning about menorahs and Santa and all the yummy foods that were choking hazards last year. 

Now, to convince Matt to watch Hocus Pocus with me…

anxiety · baby

Sunday Evening

My body has been flooded with oxytocin for so many months, that I almost forgot what it was like to experience the exhaustion preceded by a few days of heavy anxiety. While I was pregnant, I also avoided those days, where simply existing feels so. freaking. hard. because all of your thoughts are competing for attention at the same time, and everything is happening TO you, and BECAUSE of you, and you are angry at your brain for being so self-centered but can’t get out of it even with the knowledge that it’s going to be over soon and you’re okay, you just think you’re gonna maybe die of panic. While I was pregnant, the hormones were mostly steady, so I forgot about the emotional swing that happens during the different cycles of the moon.

Last week, it hit me hard. I spent a few days being a mild asshole (but it felt much worse than that). I said things prematurely and without stopping to wonder how my words might affect others. I’m a frustratingly sensitive person, so it’s not everyday I storm past people in the office exuding nothing but anger and saying pretty much whatever came into my mind.

Luckily I have a strong support system, and my mom, my sister, my husband and my friends are understanding and forgiving (most of the time). And luckily, I’ve dealt with this for a long time and know how to speak gently to myself, to tell myself that those thoughts going around in my head aren’t truth, and that I am love, even when a little bit of shitty fear creeps in.



Things my husband says

I started this thing a few years ago, after Matt and I first moved in together. My hard working dude wakes up super early, so he’s always falling asleep in random locations around 7pm. When awoken suddenly, he says some pretty funny stuff (and generally has no recollection of it the next day). All of these come straight out of his mouth upon waking, and I have no context whatsoever for what he’s talking about.

So, for your weekend enjoyment, I give you the Matt-isms from my iPhone notes…

April 2015

(On a Wednesday night, around 11pm)

“Get your sweet sugar lumps out of bed and make me some bacon”

June 2015

Matt: *sits up randomly in bed* Oh….mom?

Me: no babe, not mom, it’s me.

Matt: no….mom?

Me: nope.

Matt: *quietly* look at this gentleman, he has poop in his pants.

Me: what??

Matt: *in a fancy, high-pitched, British accent* he has poop in his pants!


Matt: well! Somebody’s gotta get their head cut off!

Me: what?? Why?

Matt: because that’s the way the cookie crumbles *sit up on couch and begins boxing with my thigh*


August 2015

To the cat: “of all the tardises in all the world, you had to walk into mine. You damn shin bone” *boops cat on nose with fingertip*

Matt: this isn’t gonna work

Me: What?

Matt: the TV isn’t gonna work. *points behind him to the wall* The TV chord isn’t gonna go that far.

Me: Oh, yeah you’re right….

Matt: No matter how much you bull jive, it isn’t gonna work. Now who looks stupid?


March 2016

From a text I sent to my sister:

“Just now Matt was dozing off and suddenly he sat straight up and said, “the fuck am I wearing?!?” Then proceeded to grab his phone, turn on the flashlight, and look at his tshirt. Then he turned it off, and just laid back down.


You are all welcome. Happy Saturday!