1.10.2014

Sneak Peek

This week was wonderful, in that we were almost all back where we belong (with the exception of the teenager, who goes back to school tomorrow), and the longest ever, because, well, we were all back where we belong. School, work and activities consumed our days, and before I knew it, it was 5:37 on Friday afternoon and I hadn't blogged a lick.

All week I've actually been elbow-deep in a fun new project that I've been thinking about for a while, and this year I've finally done it. Early next week I hope to be able to announce it, but in the meantime, I thought I'd offer a sneak peek:



Seriously. I'm so excited about it. Until then, happy weekend! 

1.03.2014

Snow Day!

Remember how great a snow day was when you were young? The older you got, and the more work school had become, the better a snow day was. Elementary school snow days were fun (SLEDDING!), middle school snow days were down right awesome (BOSSING YOUNGER KIDS AROUND WHILE SLEDDING!), and high school snow days? Well, they were a category all their own. Especially if you or a friend had lax parents that were OK with driving in it (SKIING!).

But as an adult, the tables have turned. Now I look at a snow day and sigh a big, heaving sigh. I love my kids, and it's not that I don't want them home... it's just that, well, I don't want them home.

For example: today's snow day has arrived after my children have been back to school--after a week and a half off--for exactly 4.5 hours. Yup, the first day back was an early dismissal day, and today brought 6 inches and no school. Today also brings a 2PM conference call, plus a husband who opted to work from home, and his 1:30PM conference call.

Today my children will get whatever they want, in exchange for complete and total silence for an hour. Maybe an hour and a half. That's right, I'm not above paying my kids off for staying quiet--they're loud people.

The rest of the day I'll spend working, not as hard as usual, as I'll also be monitoring Wii and iPod time ("Hey, you kids can play video games as long as you want while I'm on the phone! Any other time and the timer goes on!"), breaking up fights, monitoring snacks and meals ("M&Ms are NOT a mid-morning snack."), and turning down repeated requests for play dates. It's about 11 degrees out there, otherwise we'd fit some sledding into that itinerary.

I'll also steal a moment or two of looking longingly out the window, remembering snow days of yore; when I didn't have kids and conference calls, but instead some good friends, a pair of skis, and just enough money for a 4-hour lift ticket.

1.02.2014

January Second

Last year I made no New Year's resolutions. Instead I opted for a birthday resolution--in October--to start running. Several 5K's, a relay race and a half marathon, I think we can check that as a resolution fulfilled.

This year I was a little busy and feeling uncreative when my birthday rolled around, so I didn't make any birthday resolutions. Which is a shame, because I feel like last year's worked out so well.

But here we are, at January 2nd, and boy, have I made some goals for 2014. One of them, you might have guessed, is to blog again. I have a bunch of others that I'll be sharing as the weeks roll on, including a new exciting direction for traciedesigns.

I hope you'll join me as I restart blogging and use this space to share what it's like to be a work at home mom, as well as new traciedesigns projects, and, of course, all things great design.

Happy New Year!

3.22.2013

Working Girl

I worked at a friend's studio a couple of days this week, and it always throws me off course when I have to leave the house for work. It always amazes me that:

A) People do this ALL THE TIME. And

B) I used to be one of those people (seriously, you guys. How on earth did I used to be so pulled together?? OK, not SO pulled together, but enough that my kids and I got where we needed to be, with what we needed for the day--I'm talking to you, LUNCH--and ON TIME).

Monday might've been the longest day, ever, followed by Tuesday, and then Thursday. Monday there was snow in the forecast, and it was almost like I didn't live in New England, and people were panicking unnecessarily. Case in point: all after school activities were cancelled a half hour before school got out. Oh, and it wasn't snowing at this point, nor was it forecast to start snowing until, oh, 6:00. But whatever, schools. Cancel activities, not like it's going to affect me...

HA.

Yeah, so Monday my middle daughter has math tutoring (after school. Which qualifies as an after school activity. I know, who knew?), and I had arranged for a neighbor to pick up the intern, so I could stay at the office a little later than the norm. I got the text, laughed--literally out loud--at the sheer stupidity of canceling for snow that isn't supposed to start falling for another 4 hours, and kept on working.

Yep, I kept right on working, because my child is going to after school activities disguised as tutoring. It was only 15 minutes later--when my friend texted me asking if I could grab her kids (because I am admitting on the internet I did NOT figure this out on my own)--that I quickly shut down and made the 15 minute drive home in just 8 minutes.

Did I mention that oh, I also sprained my finger over the weekend, and wanted to get to the doctor to make sure it was just a sprain (because OMG sprained fingers hurt)? AND Monday was the one day (ONE DAY) that my middle daughter could make candles for a class project, because Tuesday they were making candle holders. Can you imagine a greater injustice than being in 4th grade and having a candle holder but no homemade candle to put in it? Fortunately, the candle making happened at someone else's house, or that might've just sent me spiraling out of control.

We had take out for dinner Monday night, followed shortly by a slight breakdown on my end. I think I went to bed around 9:30, just to get up and do it all over again on Tuesday.

3.15.2013

Just stuff I see that I like: 3.15.13

Well hey there! I know, it's been a while (I was on a roll, too!). The good news is that it's been a while for a good reason: busy, busy, busy! These past 2 weeks, I've designed, approved, and had 2 stationery suites on press (you'll see them next week, I swear!), designed a website, project-managed another site that's currently with the developer, and designed both Word and Powerpoint templates (which on their own could've taken me 2 weeks. I mean, have you ever tried to make ANYTHING look good in a Microsoft program? It's like the programs are designed on purpose to make things look BAD). Seriously, head. Spinning.

Seen + noted the past 2 weeks (yeah, sorry about last week):

Funniest Home Wifi Network Names: Yup, Mattio's parents definitely need theirs to be renamed to Dad, use this one.

Usually internet comments are literally the worst of the worst. Literally. But this little blurb, about dictionaries are sanctioning the use of the word literally (see what I did there?), has some gems in the comments section. Well played, New York commenters.

What Coke Contains is a bit of a long read, but interesting--it's like a written How It's Made.

LOLZ: Every Fucking Website. A Third Goddamned Header, so true. 

LOLZ: The Soprano Diaries.

The 2012 Feltron Annual Report. If you've never seen one of these, they're really a thing of beauty. Imagine making an annual report for each year of your life. Crazy, right?

Cool: Graffiti Artists Spray Paint a Church Fresco. It wasn't graffiti, though--a priest hired the artists. Pretty cool story, really cool outcome. 

The Great Gatsby, NES-style. I mean, why not?

Instagram of the week:



Late last week we had some snow, so Saturday we took advantage. It melted pretty much 24 hours later (but not on the mountain, WHEW), and ended up being close to 50 degrees all last weekend, so it was great spring skiing weather. Hoping to repeat that tomorrow.

Here's hoping your weekend is springy, too!

3.06.2013

This girl is on FIYAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRE

While I thought that the second book in the Hunger Games trilogy wasn't as great as the first, I am still beside myself excited about the Catching Fire movie (which comes out in November. NOVEMBER, people). 

To ramp up excitement (I mean, really; NOVEMBER), Capitol Couture is releasing a new Capitol portrait a day via their Instagram.



I have to say that I really like them. I loved (loved, loved, LOVED) the original Hunger Games portrait posters--maybe because it was the first look at all of the characters, but I'd also like to think that they're pretty badass design-wise, too.

I like this current crop because they're SO different than the originals. Kudos, movie studio: I'm excited.

3.01.2013

Just stuff I see that I like: 3.1.13

Not a lot of action on the ole blog this week, and I'm sorry for that. I can't even say that I was crazy busy with one big project--just lots of little things. Good news: more stationery files released to printer, and not one, but TWO websites released to developers. That coupled with an awesome logo presentation this morning can keep a girl on her toes.


Seen + noted this week:

If you're all caught up on Downton, you might want to check out a Working Draft for the First Episode of Downton Abbey, Season 4. First, I'm pretty sure this "John Kenny" guy is really Julian Fellows. Second, OHMYGOD that's funny.

If you haven't seen Jennifer Lawrence's post-Oscar win press conference, it's totally adorable (When questioned about her falling up the stairs to accept her award: "What do you mean what happened? Look at my dress. I tried to walk up stairs in this dress, that's what happened.")

Photographer Chris Buck's Isn't series: ordinary people who look like celebrities. In the 90s, people told me I looked like Winona Ryder--but I'm pretty sure most girls in the 90s looked like her--or at least aspired to.

I don't think I could ever be a tattoo artist, because WHAT IF YOU MESS UP? Fortunately, a Turkish tattoo shop came up with a good test to see if tattooing is really for you.

So Jason Kottke and I have something in common:
Because who has two thumbs, disposable income, an interest in excellent films, and is not subscribing to Hulu Plus because it seems like too much money and too much effort? This spoiled idiot right here.
Oh, also, free movies on Hulu.

I'll leave you with this wonderful story of a gay couple, an abandoned baby, and a judge who had a hunch. Goosebumps.

Instagram of the week:



The intern has always loved climbing into our laundry baskets, and don't think because she's 5 now, age is stopping her. She climbed in one over the weekend, playing on her iPod, proclaiming she was bored. I wish I were 5, and my biggest problems were being amused outside of sitting in a laundry basket.

In exciting news, today is the teenager's birthday! She's 18. Yup, 18. Wanna feel old? She was born in 1995. 1995 was 18 years ago. I'll just wait while that settles in.

Seriously, she's a pretty awesome 18 year old (can I say kid? Yeah, I can still say kid). This weekend we're celebrating with pizza, more pizza, cake, and skiing. I can't think of a better way to ring in 18 (other than voting, but, you know, November and all...)

Hope you're celebrating something fun this weekend, too! 


2.26.2013

Derek Jeter's pants

Mattio and I love to watch those How It's made shows--when you buy a pair of running shoes, or a lawnmower, or, I don't know, Christmas ornaments, you don't really think about how many people it takes to make that one object.

The same is true for baseball uniforms; I would love to spend the day in this factory, watching Derek Jeter's pants get made.



Of course this clip immediately reminded me of George Costanza: "Cotton BREATHES."

2.22.2013

Just stuff I see that I like: 2.22.13

I had a crazy week last week, so I really could've used some downtime. Fortunately Monday was a holiday and Zoesmom was off, so we shopped until we dropped. Actually, I could've used a recovery day from all that shopping, but I think that might be borderline ridiculous. Work-wise, I handed off files to my super awesome developer, got these super cool envelopes for a client (can't wait to show you that whole stationery suite once it comes in from the printer), sent out more stationery to be approved, and right now I'm gearing up for a web design kick off next week. Now I definitely need some downtime, and fortunately the Berkshires will provide that to me tomorrow.

Seen + noted this week:

...And this is why the internet is awesome: somebody bought the domain for Guy Fieri's Times Square restaurant, and published a fake menu. I'd like to shake this guy's hand (fake menu guy, not Fieri guy).

This Google Glass thing could be pretty cool. Especially when I'm on my bike and there's like, a thousand pictures I want to take but ohmygod I am not going to stop because what's the point of riding if I'm stopping every thirty seconds to Instagram?

What happens when you give up your cell phone, social media, AND email? This guy didn't go as crazy as one might think.

I'm not sure this is the Worst Logo Ever (caution: you most likely will have a seizure), but the article does contain sound design advice (especially coming from a non-designer): If you are ever thinking of designing an app, or a website, or literally anything, make sure it doesn't look like someone welded 3D glasses to your face and them bombarded you with gamma rays.

I leveraged this article to socialize it on my blog. Or, I used crazy jargon to tell you about the crazy jargon article. Drink the Kool-Aid, kids, and due diligence.

I think Jason Kottke hits the nail on the head when he says that he could watch this compilation of goats yelling like people once a day for the rest of his life.

Instagram of the week:

3 feet of snow doesn't take as long as you think to melt; but you know, it is 3 feet, so there's still plenty left to sled on. And that's just what we did this past Saturday. I'm not sure who had more fun: the kids or the adults. Hope you're having fun this weekend, no matter what you're doing!

2.21.2013

Official calligrapher? Sign me up!

You guys, did you know there is an official White House Calligrapher? Like, that's a real job; to hand letter invitations and certificates FOR THE WHITE HOUSE.

I know, I couldn't believe it either. But it's a real thing, and here's a little C-SPAN video to show you a little more about the White House Graphics and Calligraphy Office (I mean, really. The White House Graphics and Calligraphy Office? How did I not know about this?)

The Graphics and Calligraphy Office (GCO) is a unit of the Social Office at the White House, the official residence of the President of the United States. Located in the East Wing, the Graphics and Calligraphy Office coordinates and produces all non-political social invitations, place cards, presidential proclamationsletters patentmilitary commissions, and official greetings.

I want to work at the GCO. Can you even imagine? "Good morning Mr. President. Can you just approve this presidential proclamation, and I'll have those invitations for you to look at tomorrow?"

Alright, I know that's not really how it works. But I've been watching a lot of the West Wing lately, so that's how I'm imagining it goes. Oh, and by the way, we are of course walking down a hall while I am handing off said files to the president, because everyone in the White House walks and talks. And then Josh Lyman comes by and interrupts us with some witty banter, and... oh, alright. Focus.

Seriously, you guys, carpel tunnel aside (OHMYGOD, THE CARPEL TUNNEL), how awesome would that be: "Today we're working on place cards for the Queen's dinner. Just hand lettering Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge right now..."

Awesome. I'm planning a tour right now, as I type. Because I so want to meet these people (especially the guy who's worked there 27 years. 27 YEARS AND HIS HAND HASN'T FALLEN OFF DUE TO CARPEL TUNNEL) and spend a day in the GCO. Who's coming with me?