021 The Year of the Grid

2017 was a pretty awesome year.

Personally, Betty and I worked on a couple of cool projects; the one below by far our (90% her) finest.

She’s taken our sleep breath away.

Professionally, started speaking, mentoring, teaching, and got to work on a ton of fun projects as a freelancer. Will probably write more about that in another post, but for now I want to focus on the one that I enjoyed the most: CSS Grid.

It all started in 2015 at An Event Apart in SF.

Jen Simmons gave a fascinating talk on layouts that spoke to the designer-forced-to-learn-how-to-code in me, the one that had succumbed to floats and taken a sabbatical when Flash died. The next day at that same conference, Rachel Andrew took that spark to the next level by introducing me to CSS Grid.

I was hooked!!

Two years later, with help from one awesome meetup hosted by Jen and THE course on CSS by Rachel and I’ve become confident enough to speak at a couple of conferences about Grid and share my enthusiasm with others.

WordCamp NYC 2017
WordCamp Boston 2017
WordCamp Boston 2017
WordCamp Mexico City
WordCamp Mexico City ’17
Photo: https://goo.gl/othjVi

One of the things that I’ve been wanting to do is put together all of my demos in one place. Anything from actual sites I’m working on, to book covers, to random snippets. If it sounds similar to what Jen Simmons did with labs.jensimmons.com …it is! Her work is my main inspiration and I can’t credit her enough.

I’ll aim to upload one a week so I can get on a schedule (I know.. I know.. me and schedules).

First one is live here!

(Eventually adding the page to the top menu. I’m designing my portfolio on the browser so I have to go back and rethink what I initially *assumed would be a very small menu).

*assumed: last word an UX Mentor should use.

020 Mexico Lindo y Querido

Mom and Dad just had their 40 year anniversary.




My brother (also known as Ficha Azul) and family flew here from California for a surprise party. Here are a couple of photos of them back-in-the-day that we printed for the event:

Mom and Dad
Dad Kid
Mom Kid
Don’t mind the kid wearing a green hat and looking a bit upset.

It was also my 8-year-old nephew’s trip back to NYC after many years, so decided to make it an adventure.

Designed a few quick badges he had to earn for points, the last one being the coolest badge of all: A sleepover under the big blue whale at the American Museum of Natural History. There are times when you do things you don’t enjoy for others. This was not one of those times. 122 fricken’ feet fricken’ Titanosaur!

My nephew documenting an empty Dinosaur Hall

Built him a quick website to have as a souvenir, keep track of badges, and perhaps add or redo at a later time!

Badges, badges everywhere!

And last!

Spoke at my first conference in Spanish, in Mexico City.

The title of the talk was “Llegó CSS Grid” (CSS Grid has arrived). I got super inspired by the work of Jen Simmons and Rachel Andrew that I decided to speak about everything I’ve learned,

Will probably do a full post on the whole experience and content, but overall, it was pretty awesome. Got people excited about CSS Grid, and made a lot of new friends.

If you are reading this and design for the web go go go go learn about CSS Grid

*Just Google anything Jen or Rachel above have done and you’re on a good track.

A couple of Screenshots from the Live Stream
A couple of Screenshots from the Live Stream

And Bonus!

Started working as a Mentor at Bloc, will probably follow up on another post once I get some more experience. So far it has been pretty cool. The curriculum is great and they have built an awesome community around it.

My June has also being pretty hectic, though it started with me googling:
Fix flashing question mark folder when I try to start my mac“…

(╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻

I’m back in good shape, so…

┬─┬ ノ( ゜-゜ノ)

But still, come on Apple, these new MacBook Pros are super buggy…

┻━┻ ︵ヽ(`□´)ノ︵ ┻━┻

But then again, me whining about an expensive laptop is definitely a first world problem.

┬─┬ ︵ /(.□. \)

019 Oh Hai!

The following is a conversation between JP and Jupago. It happened on a chilly Spring morning as the snow from the three previous storms was finally starting to melt.

[JP] So..what’s up, It’s been a while. When are you writing your next post.

[Jupago – JPG] Almost, almost, gotta have something awesome.
I’m working on a few things. My Projects page is almost done. I have two case studies I started writing..

[JP] Cool, so.. when?

[JPG] Soon.

[JP] When?

[JPG] Soon.

[JP] When?

[JPG] Soon!!!

[JP] When?

[JPG] Tomorrow.

[JP] Are you sure?

[JPG] I’ll try.

[JP] Not good enough..

[JPG] I’m busy man..

[JP] I’m just going by what you promised, that you’d write more often.

[JPG] I did, but what if I miss a few, it is not like I have a million readers.

[JP] But you said you are doing this for yourself.

[JPG] Fine… So I’ll write something quick tomorrow then try to go back on a schedule. Fair?

[JP] ಠ_ಠ

[JPG] What?

[JP] Can you create a schedule?

[JPG] Like a publishing schedule? I don’t even know what I’m going to write about tomorrow.

[JP] Yeah. But not just for your posts. For the other things; the case studies, the projects page. etc.

[JPG] I could I guess.

[JP] Could? Guess?

[JPG] I suck at estimating. I think It will take me 20 minutes, it takes me three hours. I think it will take me a day and it takes me one hour. What can I do?

[JP] I suck at estimating too. We all do.
A couple of things I can think of:

  1. The “set big goals” thing is awesome, you’ve managed to learn a lot in the past few months, but I think you need to modify the structure, it feels a little.. vague?
  2. You are too wired man. No need to watch Oz while you work, no need to have pushbullet sending you text messages. Focus!
  3. That daily list thing you started making is working. Get it started the day before if possible
  4. Be honest with your clients. They all love to have their stuff as soon as possible. But, you can’t always do it fast and well.
  5. Going to sleep at 3am..

If you give me 20 minutes I can come up with another 30..

[JPG] Let’s just start with those 5.

[JP] Works for me. So, we have another chat in a week?


[JP] Not convinced? Want more time? Let’s make it 2. Just make sure you follow through.

[JPG] Ok, two is good. Two is great. Thanks for this. Let’s do this!

[JP] Thank YOU

[JPG] No, Thank YOU!

[JP] No, Thank YOU!

*if { another Thank YOU: end loop }

018 I’m on a (mini) art gallery!

I live in a classic prewar New York building with a long history. Sadly, the building was a bit neglected for a few decades up until a few years back—just before we moved in—when a new co-op decided to take more control and do a major overhaul.

Fast–forward to today and we have a new roof, new boilers, new elevators, gardens, energy-saving lights, and soon new lobbies! I’ve helped out a bit with the web/graphics part and last year they asked if I’d be interested in taking some photos for the new lobby.

Can’t remember if I said yes or hell yeah!

This brought me to a topic I’ve been thinking about lately: Side Projects.

On one side I’ve listened to a side of the design community where everything is: Charge for everything! Only do work that pays! Don’t work for family! Don’t work for friends! Hustle all the things! Then hustle more! You are not hustling enough! Be like Gary Vee! Become a millionaire! Don’t do work that will bring more of the same work! Why are we yelling??

On the other side, there are people like Aaron Draplin, and Chris Coyier, and James White, whose message is more in the lines of: Do work, rinse, and repeat. That’s it. Of course, be smart and learn how to run a business but just do what you love, who cares.

The reason I’m going on about this is that I’m not a professional photographer. I did take some photography classes in college and have been taking photos as a hobby and, like millions of people, share a passion to capture moments the way I want to remember them. But I don’t intend to sell my next photo at Christie’s.

If I would’ve had thought like the first group I could have invested those hours doing something else, something that gets me closer to retiring at 40. But I said yes to the project because it sounded exciting because I want the place where I live to be better. Because I still learned a lot just by going all over the city capturing places. Because it made me a better photographer and made me understand a bit more about a fascinating world.

Anyhow, the message is: YES take on side projects. Even if they are for your friend or if you don’t expect to get money in return.

This has to be the longest intro for a set of photos. So without further ado here they are:

*Huge thanks to Melissa Strada for putting so much of her own time into this project!


017 Those who can, do teach

Once upon a few-weeks-back time I attended a Codepen NYC Meetup
Among the talks there was one by @aidanfeldman on what he’s learned teaching JavaScript, and invited the group to the Hacker Hours meetup, which I joined.

A few days later I got an email from them looking for volunteer teachers to join ScriptEd_, and so I applied. And so will be teaching how to build for the web to a group of high schoolers this fall.

This is scary awesome!

Mainly for three reasons:

1. I never had this when in High School.
Although I did have a keyboarding class where we would mostly debate if the PS2 would beat the Dreamcast while playing a Windows 95 speed-typing-spaceship-shooting-letters game. My real intro to making websites really started in my second semester of college. Somewhere in my archives there’s a cool-lookin’ Photoshop-to-table layout website I built on BBEdit.

2. If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough..
I’m glued to my computer everyday and every time I learn something new it is rarely from the same source. It can be while listening to The Web Ahead, or reading CSS Tricks, or good ol’ Stack Overflow. I don’t mean to go full Tim Berners-Lee, but having a curriculum, a structure, will help me get some of those fundamentals down and be able to explain them faster than the attention span of a teenager

3. My students will look at this blog someday and say “He is also not funny in writing“.

And last, if you live in or around New York City and would like to join the team here’s an awesome video to get you started!

016 I stopped blogging

It’s been 2 months since I wrote my last post

Have a couple of posts in my queue but either felt they were not ready or too personal, so I decided to write more about the web and the work I’ve been doing but I missed my first self-imposed Tuesday deadline, then another.. then another.. then another.. then.. oh hai.

This weekend, as I went through my very old notepad, found notes from An Event Apart conference last year in San Francisco. These were my notes from Jeffrey Zeldman’s talk The Fault, Dear Brutus (or: Career Advice From a Cranky Old Man):

Aesthetics are important, but everyone has their own…Attitude trumps work at most companies…Zeldman giving a Shot out to introverts…First impressions are forever…I am what stands between me and my success…If you can’t communicate you can’t sell…Blog like no one is reading

They took me back to one amazing conference, and that last note, the one where I should blog like no one is reading, got me thinking that I overthought my thinking (Who’d a thunk it?). So here I go again, trying to write a bit more and care a little less about getting to it.

Some notes on what I’m currently working on:

1. Got asked to take some B&W photos for my building’s lobby. The prints and the frames are ready and they look awesome! Will post some-color photos of the black and whites-photos when they are up.

2. FC Harlem grows faster every day. And the London Eye keeps on rolling.

3. Arts Everywhere and The Nature of Cities sites keep growing and creating amazing posts like this one in AE and this one in TNOC.

4. NYCFC projects are a lot more fun now that the team is winning. Next week we beat LA. Always a pleasure.

5. Added a contact page and form to my site and it is working great!
*Stole the slider idea from Zeldman’s site. Yes, the same Zeldman above, who I’ll also happen to see at this weeks’ Abstractions conference in Pittsburgh!

015 Dribbbling

Got around to asking for an invite to dribbble last month at Squares Conference.
Thanks Derek Torsani!

I’ve been doing a lot more web stuff lately, and updating my codepen profile is on my list, but figured it would also be nice to have some graphics up on dribbble.

Check out my account!

I don’t have a set schedule for uploading content there yet (overcommitment issues), maybe something like every weekend or two to keep it fresh.

Below are a few of the first shots I uploaded in their original non-dribbble ratio crop.

These are from a set for FC Harlem’s 2016 season kits. The template I used is not exactly the same as adidas’ 2016 template kit but they ended up looking slick! The team is doing great on their first season so that is a big plus. Go Lions!!







–makes note to add a photo of uniforms later.
–makes another note of adding a footer dribble icon.

014 Feliz Cumpleaños!

There are two things I’m pretty excited about this week.

THING 1: Tomorrow is my Birthday!

Have always liked that my birthday is halfway (minus a month) between the new year and mid-year so I get to reassess all of those new year resolutions.

So far it is looking <Larry David> pretty… preeeetty… pretty good </Larry David>

I have been getting steady, exciting projects. Gone to a few conferences. Learned new techniques and got to travel a bit.

I’ve also failed at a few things. One of them is adding that WORK menu button to my website. Still can’t decide how to code it. SO! decided to set the excuses aside and give a quick update of a few things that I’ve worked on lately, some of which I will be writing about soon.


As part of the ongoing growth of FC Harlem, have been working with Irv Smalls on a lot of cool things. Some of them:

New website!


New logo!


Chelsea FC Soccer camps flyers and registration page



Also have been doing a ton of misc stuff for the past two years for NYCFC under the direction of Janine Padilla. One of the things we worked on this year was building a new set of newsletter templates that are responsive and super slim:





The Nature of Cities

Have been working with David Maddox on a few projects based on The Nature of Cities blog.

The Nature of Graffiti


Arts Everywhere for Shawn Van Sluys at Musagetes:


THING 2: This is my 14th post!

Here’s a small bonus gallery of the number that has followed me throughout my soccer years:
*will add some more as I find them/scan them

First row, third from the left.. not sure why I was wearing a hat.

Second row, second from the right. (Or first if you don’t count coach “Profe Pepe”). In the back you can see Azteca Stadium! Didn’t get to visit it but someday.. someday!

College days.

Getting my shirt retired was one of the coolest experiences. To get rewarded for something you just feel lucky to be doing is surreal. In the left is Douey Wright, the best striker I’ve played with and the main reason I got so many assists. In the middle CCNY’s president Gregory H. Williams.

013 Conferencing

Today I’m flying to Texas for Squares Conference. Excited because it is full of workshops on stuff that I’ve taught myself (CSS, PHP, WordPress) and stuff I tried but haven’t taken advantage of (Sass, Version control).

Lately I have been trying to go to more conferences. As a web designer, there is no better cure for the impostor syndrome than to hear your developer/design heroes tell you that we all figure it out as we go. All of us. No exceptions.

A big part of running a business means learning about pricing, and scheduling, and planing, and–one of the most overused words of today–hustling. It gets frustrating. I’m a designer. I love designing. I’m not trying to retire at 40 and have a yacht. I’m trying to do this for as long as I can and with the same passion for a pro bono project than for a 100K one.

This past Friday I finally got to see a talk by James White at Generate Conference. The way he talked about his process was amazing. The kind of amazing that stays with you for a while. Same with listening to Draplin, to Jeffrey Zeldman, to Sarah Drasner, to Chris Coyier, to Sarah Parmenter, to Rachel Andrew, to Jen Simmons, the list goes on… people I admire. When they speak, they share their passion for what they do and are not just telling you what your ROI should be.

Last, If you go to a conference and happen to see me, feel free to say hi, I’ll be in the introverts section.

012 The Travel Bug

Quick Note #1: I’m back after a 3 week hiatus! Long story short: A wedding invitation to Thailand, led to a few days in Bangkok, Ao Nang, Singapore and Dubai!

Quick Note#2: I know, I know, there are a million posts out there about traveling and about how it changed lives, but bear with me here, I’m not telling you to leave everything behind and go.. yet.

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.
—Mark Twain


The quote above is one of my favorite quotes out there. It is also a bit unfair since traveling almost always involves money, money involves access, and access involves privilege. But I love the idea behind it. The idea of learning what’s out there, and by out there I don’t just mean going to your antipode. I mean reading, learning, realizing that the more we learn we are not only becoming more educated, we are becoming less ignorant.

Up to the age of 24 I had travelled to 2 countries. Then I went to South Africa on a sponsored trip by CUNY/CCNY and the awesome Zak Ivkovic. A few trips here and there as I started getting more money from my Room Service job and I caught the travel bug.

I caught it bad.

To the point where in the past 3 years, Bet and I have travelled for 180+ days, to almost 30 countries, and have gone all the way from a World Cup Game at Maracaná to a Champions League final in Berlin. From eating elk hot dogs in Helsinki to eating pizza in Napoli. From the castle at Sazlburg to the castle at Sintra.

(Here’s the part where I humblebrag).

The best part of the travel bug is how ignorant it makes me feel.

New York (voted by me as the best city in the world 17 years in a row) is awesome, but even living here where you are free of ignoring institutions telling people who to love, or what skin color shall rule them all, or at what time should the subway close, we end up getting caught in that bubble we create of the familiar, of the safe, of “the way things should be”.

My Dad (also voted by me as the best dad in the world 33 years in a row), just visited the Louvre last year. For the first time in his life. At 65. I have been there 3 times and he knew more about the layout, about the pieces, about the history than me. Wherever we went in our trip he knew a lot more without ever setting foot there. He grew up not affording to take a plane so he read, and he read, and he read. And that is the reason many people admire him.

So there.
Get out there! or don’t! But read, learn, catch that bug of the unknown.