Happy New Year!

Well, here it is, the last day of 2007. I can't complain, I had an awesome year--from the growth of my business, to the birth of my third daughter, to all the great people I got to know and work with this past year.

And here's to a great 2008! I am already planning for a bigger and better year: more great clients and projects, a marketing plan I'm really excited about, more blog entries... no more kids, though (we've got our hands full with 3 :)

So to all out there: Happy new year! Have fun, be safe, and I'll see you next year!



6 Degrees of Separation

So, I'm sitting at my computer tonight, reading a couple blogs, and lo and behold, I come across this picture:

Whoop de do... Brad and Angelina shopping. But the pink scarf with the embroidered flowers caught my eye. That looks like--wait a minute, it is!--one of my client's products! And--OMG--there's the tag I designed hanging from the purple scarf! The client is One Kid--they make the most adorable kids clothes--and I've done a decent amount of work for them, including their catalogs, website and clothing tags--which Brad Pitt may or may not be looking at in this picture (He could be saying, "Hey Ang, get this scarf. Not only is it cute and well made, but the tag design is really cool!" OK, a girl can dream).

Of course, this is probably the closest I'll ever get to Brad Pitt...

(Brad and Angelina photo courtesy of Getty Images)

Fresh Air Ideas

So I've had this marketing idea kind of lingering in my head for the past couple of weeks... and unfortunately, I haven't had a moment to myself to really concentrate on turning it into the fantastic idea that it has the potential to be. Until today.

It was a balmy 50 degrees here in Connecticut, so I decided to take a late afternoon walk. All by myself, for one hour. I walked my usual route, which includes a swing through Fairfield U; which was really nice, because the campus is completely empty. And that's when the ideas started to pour in. I couldn't get home fast enough to write it all down.

It was nice to get outside and get some fresh air for an extended period of time, but even nicer to come home with a page's worth of great ideas. If this is what happens when I get fresh air, I definitely have to get out more often!!


I'm back!

Yesterday I got my first new "design" job since having Eleanor. And you know what? After a 2 month design hiatus (I've been working, but it's been on the development side), I am so excited to get back to creatively thinking!


Best Gadgets of 2007

So yesterday I was nytimes.com, trying to find the electronic version of an article I read so I could post it to the blog (it was all about how the gifts from the 12 Days of Christmas would cost thousands upon thousands of dollars--and really, what on earth would anyone do with partridges, calling birds, maids a milking, etc? Give me a pear tree, and --of course--the golden rings, and I'm good); but I found something much more interesting instead: The Pogies.

I don't read David Pogue's column on a regular basis, but I do enjoy it once in a while. And I'm a sucker for all things "best of 2007" so this column was a natural read. So here's what I think is cool, based on Pogue's list:

VISUAL VOICE MAIL, from the iPhone. Well, duh. I don't know who came up with the current voice mail system now (that Pogue argues--and I agree--is meant to eat up your minutes), but it seems awfully archaic to listen to your messages in the order they were received, compared to listening to whatever message you want, in whatever order you want.

T-MOBILE HOTSPOT@HOME. This is the freakin' BOMB. The Hotspot @ Home is just that, except instead of wireless internet access, it's mobile phone access. Which roughly translates into this: all calls made from a T-Mobile Hotspot are free, and don't count against your monthly minutes. Which means that if you have the Hotspot @ Home, all calls you make from home are free. And anywhere else there's a T-Mobile Hotspot (Starbucks, Borders, Kinkos...). Brilliant.

AUDIO-LIMITING EARBUDS. Earbuds for kids that only allow the volume to reach 80 decibals, as opposed to 120 for a standard ipod. Awesome if you've ever been in the position of hearing your child's backseat music--via earbuds--from the front.

MAPPING BREAKTHROUGHS. I love love love google maps. The technology just gets better and better. Over the summer, mapping out a route to Ridgefield, I found that you can take their directions, and modify them by dragging the route line onto another road. If that's not cool enough, there's the live traffic data.

CELLULAR FLASH DRIVE. You know those cell phone modems you can get, so you can have internet access anywhere there's phone service? Well, Novatel's gone one better: they've made a USB antenna that doubles as a flash drive. Awesome.


Merry Christmas!!

Well, it's 9 at night, and Christmas is just about over. The presents have all been opened (and my! How many presents there were!), we ate dinner (and then some!), the kiddies are just about all in bed (no doubt with big plans for tomorrow and all their new toys), and Mattio is at his computer, anticipating the uninstall of Windows Vista.


Yes, Mattio's big gift this year was Windows XP, to replace the version of Vista he is tired of fighting with (he got some other stuff too, but that was the one thing he asked for).

What cracks me up, is the fact that Mattio's PC keeps proving those Apple commercials right, time and time again. Cancel or Allow? We've been there, done that. Now he's actually downgrading to the previous operating system...

Thank goodness he has his Macs to fall back on.

Hope Santa was good to all out there... Merry Christmas!

PS. How freakin AWESOME is this t shirt Mattio got me??! I am SO an original design gangsta, cause I totally rock the white space!!


A Festivus miracle!

Tomorrow is Festivus, and what better way to pay tribute than through a clip of all the festivus scenes in that classic Seinfeld episode (unless you have an aluminum pole).

By the way, do you ever watch an episode of Seinfeld, and forget just how great it really is? I always forget about all the subplots... Watching this particular episode tonight, I completely forgot about the "two face" girl, the H & H bagel strike, and the Human Fund ("money for people"). Classic!


I confess...

OK, so in my last post I proclaimed that I was not a geek (sort of--by the end of the post I 'fessed up). Truth be told, I guess I am a bit of a geek. But not a computer nerd... I'd like to say I'm more of a design geek.

I was sort of laughed at last week, when I was talking with a little too much enthusiasm about an article in the latest HOW Magazine, about Helvetica alternatives (I found the article quite fascinating... I mean, as great as it is, you can't use Helvetica for everything!); and just today--to prove my design geekdom--I got a little giddy over the mail: the biggest issue of Graphic Design: USA came: The Annual Awards issue.

I love this, and other annual awards issues (Comm Arts, Print, etc.) because it's nice to see what else is out there, and what else is judged as "the best." It's also completely inspirational--I keep these issues out in the open, as they have sparked a couple of great ideas. Oh yeah, and I, ahem, won 6 of these awards myself this past year :D

I'm only halfway through the issue, and there's some really great stuff in there. A ton of beautiful designs in the announcements/cards category. I can't wait to get to IDs and stationery!

So there you have it: Confessions of a real life design geek.


No. Freakin. Way.

I am not a geek, I swear. OK, I have been known to get a little over-excited over fonts (and this month's issue of HOW Magazine is the typography issue!! But I digress). But I am a bit of a Mac enthusiast (I don't think I'll ever be able to properly express just how thrilled I was when my PC using, Mac-hating husband asked for a Mac for his birthday a couple of years ago).

Years, years, years ago, one of my first jobs was laying out the MicroWarehouse catalog (God, that is so embarrassing!); and vendors used to send us stupid promotional stuff all the time: Computer Associates magnets, Linksys notepads, Cisco keychains... stupid tchotke garbage that was wasted on me. However, every once in a while the folks over at MacWarehouse--one cubicle row over--would share their promotional booty; I still have T shirts advertising System 7 (now with Sherlock!) and a great "Think Different" baseball cap that I still wear to this day.

So when I just came across RedLightRunner.com, I got a little giddy. It's actually an online reseller of Apple... stuff, I guess would be the right word for it.

A G4 Cube (remember those? Remember how hot they got? You could seriously fry an egg on those things!) T shirt. The original Bondi iMac Mouse yo yo (It glows in the dark!). Nano refrigerator magnets. They even have rainbow Apple Computer stickers (old school, as Apple dropped the "Computer" part of it's name with the launch of the iPhone). And they get new inventory in all the time!! And yes, I totally signed up to be notified. Which I guess makes me a geek.

Blue New Year?

So according to Pantone, not only is 2008 the year of the Rat, but it is also the year of blue... Blue Iris, that is.

I don't know how I missed this, but apparently Pantone has been assigning colors to years for quite some time now. I mean, I know every year there are some colors that are hotter than others (2007 was Chili Pepper Red... interesting it wasn't some form of Green--lord knows that's all anyone talked about), but I was completely unaware that there was a specific color picked for each year.

The Times article goes on to talk about fashion, and how blue has been popping up on the runways of late. Which lead me to think of the great speech Meryl Streep (as Miranda Priestly) gives to a dumbfounded Anne Hathaway in The Devil Wear Prada:

"This... 'stuff'? Oh... ok. I see, you think this has nothing to do with you. You go to your closet and you select out, oh I don't know, that lumpy blue sweater, for instance, because you're trying to tell the world that you take yourself too seriously to care about what you put on your back. But what you don't know is that that sweater is not just blue, it's not turquoise, it's not lapis, it's actually cerulean. You're also blithely unaware of the fact that in 2002, Oscar De La Renta did a collection of cerulean gowns. And then I think it was Yves St Laurent, wasn't it, who showed cerulean military jackets? And then cerulean quickly showed up in the collections of 8 different designers. Then it filtered down through the department stores and then trickled on down into some tragic casual corner where you, no doubt, fished it out of some clearance bin. However, that blue represents millions of dollars and countless jobs and so it's sort of comical how you think that you've made a choice that exempts you from the fashion industry when, in fact, you're wearing the sweater that was selected for you by the people in this room. From a pile of stuff."

Interesting... she's talking about the color blue.


Office Space

I am lucky enough to work in the comfort of my own home; but unfortunately, a lot of people out there can't say that. I have worked in many an office, and sadly, many a cubicle. And they're every bit as drab and depressing as you can imagine. I think the only thing worse than spending the better part of a day in a cold, grey cubicle, is sharing that cold, grey space with someone you dislike (trust me, I've done that before, too).

But with makeovers--especially home makeovers--being all the rage right now, why not makeover your work space to fit your personality? And I don't mean a couple of pictures of your boyfriend/girlfriend/kids/family/pets; I'm talking extremes. Cube Chic: Taking your Office Space from Drab to Fab is a new book by interior designer Kelly Moore, and wow, does she have some great ideas!

I love the cover cube (Zen Cube), but I'm also partial--and who wouldn't be?-- to the Costanza-esque Nap cube (complete with cereal dispenser!). You can view a slideshow of a couple of other great cubes here.

By the way, according to Amazon, customers who bought this book also bought the brilliantly titled Pimp My Cubicle: Take Your Workspace from Boring to Bling! Oh, and the author, in case you're wondering, is Reverend Smoothello G. Debaclous. Sadly, this book is in the bargain bin, but maybe with Kelly's book there'll be a renewed interest.


Merry Xmas (War is Over)

I met with my pal Cyndy, of art + interiors, today, to go over her monthly favorites email. Every month she sends out an email to all of her contacts with a couple of her artists, and a quote to go with it. The December quote she picked is simply amazing, and I really want to share:

“If everyone demanded peace instead of another television set, then there’d be peace.”
— John Lennon

How appropriate, especially at this time of the year. I love Christmas, and I love shopping, and I love giving gifts; but I would happily trade it all in for peace.


Schweaty Balls

As I've posted before, I am in full-on holiday mode: we've had Christmas music on for the past month now (I just wondered what on earth I would listen to come December 26th), the stockings hung and the tree decorated, cards sent, gifts bought and wrapped, and cookies baked. Well, there is one thing I haven't done this Christmas... I haven't purchased any Schweaty Balls:

I just about lose it when Molly Shannon says, "I just can't wait to get my mouth around this ball!" Seriously, I don't know how they can keep a straight face.


I'm away from my desk...

There was an interesting article in the Styles section of today's Times. It was all about how people find inspiration and work better when they're not at their desk. Some companies (beyond Google) have taken the traditional desk/cubical away and replaced it with work areas, lounges, conference rooms, and/or rotating desks.

I don't know about the rotating desk idea (never sitting at the same desk 2 days in a row), but I find that I do tend to get inspired away from my "office". Starbucks is my home away from home (only before school lets out though--then it's only good for making me feel old). The change of scenery is nice, but I think I get more done due to the fact that I won't pony up for internet access, therefore forcing me to complete the task at hand.

The Times refers to the place where work actually gets done as "White Space." I refer to my white space as writing off my $10 coffee :)


I heart Tim Gunn

So Mattio and I are not the biggest TV watchers in the world... We watch the Thursday night NBC line up (except ER, or errrr, as Mattio says), and I'm a big Heroes fan. Other than that (and sports), Mattio will turn on SportCenter at night, or I'll flip on the Today Show in the AM just for background noise; or we'll happen to catch our new favorite: How It's Made (fascinating show, by the way--guarantee you'll be hooked. I have no idea when it's on, but I know it's on the Discovery Channel and Discovery Times). But except for Mondays and Thursdays, we don't make time to watch TV.

But with Eleanor, I've been up at some strange hours and let me tell you, if you think there's nothing on during prime time, you haven't watched TV at 3 AM. Along with a steady stream of Gibbs commercials (seriously, who are these people marketing to airing commercials non-stop at all hours of the night/morning??), there's a whole lot of nothing on.

But sometimes I'm lucky enough to catch a rerun of Project Runway. It holds my interest, but not enough for me to look up when it's actually on (besides, if I did that, what would I watch at 3 AM?). And if I'm truly lucky, I'll catch Tim Gunn's Guide to Style. I ain't gonna lie, there's been times where Eleanor's done eating and back in bed, and I'm still watching Tim and Veronica's latest transformation.

Tim Gunn is fascinating. He makes the worst news a bit more bearable. Seriously, when a contestant gets outed on PR, and he has to tell them to pack their things, he makes it sound not quite as bad as it really is (sometimes he makes himself out to feel just as bad as the recently cut). And as much as he hates some of the clothes on Guide to Style, he tells each makeover-ee with a little more panache than anyone else can muster.

I seriously want Tim Gunn to break bad news to me; I think I would hug him, just to make him feel better about the whole thing.



Wow--it's been a while, huh? Well, I'm back! Since I can't imagine it's very entertaining to keep up with a blog that hasn't been updated in quite some time, I'm making that one of my almost-new-year's resolutions (almost-new-years, because I plan on starting now, rather than on January 1).

Actually, updating the blog more often falls under my biggest almost-new-year's resolution: getting organized. This past year has been a great one, business-wise; however at times I could have been more organized and found myself with a bit more time.

So starting today, I am planning on getting organized: creating task lists and deadlines, so I can keep myself, as well as my clients happy. Of course, my early Christmas present has much to do with that: I got the new Treo, from Palm, so I can check my calendar, task lists, and email on the go.

So now I can check off blog entry off my list--however, I have a ton of other things to do... so I am off to check them off, as well. But let me know some of your resolutions for the new year (or almost new year, if you're like me and want to get a jump on things) in the comments. Maybe I'll be inspired to add to my resolution list!