2008 in pictures

Came across the NY Times Year in Pictures... some are so beautiful, I had to share.

Enjoy. And Happy New Year.

Best/Worst logos of 2008

As 2008 comes to a close, there's a ton of "Best of/Worst of" lists: movies, music, television... everybody has a list. Over on Brand New, they've compiled a list of the best and worst logo redesigns of 2008.

For the most part, I agree with everything they said. I think out of the best category, the 826 Valencia and Mousey logos, and Camel repackaging stand out as the best of the best.

The worst... well, it doesn't get much worse (does it?). 'Nuff said.

In case I don't get a chance to post tomorrow... Happy, happy new year! I'll see you on the flip side.


All I want for Christmas...

Earlier this month, I was asked what I wanted for Christmas (wasn't everybody?). Technically, I never sat on Santa's lap, instead my list was delivered to my pal Amy Graver (of Elements/AIGA CT fame), who was compiling wish lists for an article on conncreatives. And no, I didn't have to sit on her lap.

What We Really Wanted for Christmas! is online now; check out what 7 other Connecticut creatives--along with me--asked for this year. Thanks again to Amy for including me!

And thanks to Chelsea (also of Elements/AIGA CT fame) for pointing out that the article had been published.


Saving this for next year...

I love this idea... but hate that it's A) so late in the game--far too late for me to pull this off; and B) would take much, much longer than writing someone's name on a gift tag.

But still cute.

Actually, I love the idea of using brown craft paper as wrapping paper, with Christmas-themed letters. Hmmm... the more I think about it, the more I think that this might be the way to go next year (provided I start cutting out letters in September).


Christmas countdown

My stockings are not yet hung. My mother in law knit (crocheted? I don't know the difference--but either way they are hand made and I love them) stockings for all of us; and Eleanor's is still up at her house. So one part all of our stockings are not here, one part sheer laziness, I have not hung the stockings yet.

Cookies? Done. Baked, plated, and all but delivered. I even packaged some up for Ashlee's friends at school tomorrow.

Presents are bought and wrapped. The big snowstorm on Friday made me a bit nervous about when we would wrap the kid's gifts--we had plans to do it Friday AM, before the kids got the day off--but we got it done Friday night and this morning. One of my girlfriends even stopped by today with gifts for my kids, which meant that I got to give her the gifts for her kids, so technically you could say that I'm even handing gifts out.

In my errands today, I got tights for the girls, shoes for the girls, and took care of any other Christmas Day outfit finagling that needed to get done.

Cards: personal cards got mailed out weeks ago. Business cards are sitting in a box at my feet. Hmmmm, I should probably do those...

The only other things I have left to do are bake some pies, and make a salad and antipasta for Christmas Day. Oh, and work. Usually around the holidays things tend to slow down for me. Not so much, this year (although, with the current economy, that's just fine by me!).


God, I love Alejandro Paul. For those not in the know, he is the designer of the fabulous Burgues Script font that I love so much (c'mon, who doesn't love a great flourish?). Well, he's gone and done it again, this time, with a little typeface called Compendium.

I know it's a little weird to have reactions like I do over fonts, but man, this typeface really makes me swoon. Such beauty! Such grace! Plus, like it's sister (cousin? friend?) Burges Script, it comes with a ton of swirlies--and God, I love my swirlies.

Says Paul:

Compendium is a sequel to my Burgues font from 2007. Actually it is more like a prequel to Burgues...

...Though Compendium has a naturally more normalized, Spencerian flow, its elegance, expressiveness, movement and precision are no less adventurous than Burgues. Nearing 700 glyphs (ed. note: OMG!!!), its character set contains plenty of variation in each letter, and many ornaments for letter beginnings, endings, and some that can even serve to envelope entire words with swashy calligraphic wonder. Those who love to explore typefaces in detail will be rewarded, thanks to OpenType. I am so in love with the technology now that it’s becoming harder for me to let go of a typeface and call it finished.

OMG, how can you not totally love this guy? To see more of his fonts, visit his site, Sudtipos. To see the rest of Veer's Top 10 of 2008, go here. Actually, there's actually a bunch of fonts I like out of the list... but Compendium was the only one that made me swoon.


Inspire me now!

Being the art-eeest that I am, I'm always looking for inspiration. Sometimes it's obvious, sometimes I have to go searching for it, and sometimes--OK, a lot of times--it's from the internets.

Ladies and gentlemen, inspire me now!

A simple site, with almost no text (save for a link at the bottom of each photo), chock full of interesting things, products, ads and photography.

Very, very cool.


Schweddy balls

Since I was baking Christmas cookies all day today, nothing seemed more appropriate than this Saturday Night Live sketch (Ed. note: boo on Hulu for not letting me embed the video). I'm pretty positive I posted this last December, but sorry folks--it's just that good.

I seriously don't know how they keep such straight faces.



I have a couple of things I *could* post... but, it being December and all, I felt this was a little more appropriate:

Elf is, hands down, one of my favorite holiday movies. Will Farrell gets completely lost in the role of Buddy the Elf. He's fantastic, the concept is incredibly clever, and the movie just all around rocks.


Shameless client/self promotion

One of my more fabulous clients, Jill, came to me way back last winter with an idea that was going to rock people's socks off: gluten free cookies. Yeah, yeah, yeah... There's nothing new about gluten free cookies. But have you tasted a gluten free cookie before? They're pretty awful. Try chewing on a sponge--that's about what they taste like.

That is, until Jill came along. Her cookies are delish! And gluten free! Seriously, my kids--who have no sensitivities to gluten at all--love them. Ashlee actually requests them. We love Jill's cookies in our house! (And no, it's not because of the most awesome packaging. Or the sweet-looking logo. Or the gorgeous website that, ahem, was just launched. Don't get me wrong, I mean, sure... we think EVERYTHING associated with Glow Gluten Free is beautiful. But that in NO WAY affects how we feel about the taste.)

Anyway, Jill is going to be at ShopRite down in Stamford tomorrow (Thursday) promoting her cookies. Stop by, say hi, tell her how much you love the packaging, buy a box (or two) of her cookies, and then immediately go run to the store manager to let him/her know how great these cookies are.

ShopRite of Commerce Street
1990 West Main Street
Stamford, CT 06902
(203) 978-0464


When I was a kid, nothing would thrill me more than coming across a pop up book; it was just. so. cool. I'd amuse myself for hours turning wheels, pulling tabs, and examining the book, wondering how on earth did they do that.

To this day pop-up books still fascinate me; so it shouldn't come as a surprise that one designed by a French graphic designer consisting of nothing but the alphabet would keep me occupied for quite some time; especially, ahem, when I was supposed to be Christmas shopping.


Alrighty, then

Well, that was a little more blogging vacation than I had anticipated... I had taken off all last weekend, with the best intentions to return on Monday.

Then, the baby got sick.

Yep, our little Eleanor has a double ear infection; diagnosed on Wednesday. However, she was home with me most of the week. Which meant that I was taking care of sickie most of the day, catching up on work at night.

I'm not quite caught up, but I am getting there. In the meantime, Thanksgiving was lovely here; we did our annual tour of CT, ending up home (and quite full) by 9 that night. Thanksgiving eve was spend watching Helvetica (finally!) via our new Netflix subscription. I was very wary of giving up HBO for Netflix, but, tired of watching the same 3 movies over and over (and over), Mattio had had enough and put the final nail in the HBO coffin.

I have to say, I'm pleasantly surprised by Netflix. First of all, you can stream a decent amount of stuff (very nice on the 24" monster screen)--which is how we watched Helvetica--and second, you can stream movies while you have a disc out on loan.

So now Eleanor is on the mend (I can't say the same for other members of this household), and life is slowly coming back to normal--well, as normal as it gets for us. Which means that I'm back up and blogging. So apologies for the little hiatus, but I'm back.

For now.


I am thankful for...

... my family and my friends;

... the fact that Mattio found a new job, and that my friends at his old company were able to keep theirs;

... my business, which is (knock wood) doing pretty well, considering the sucky economy;

... the courage to start something new;

... pie!

... and the gym (as a result of all that pie).

This is just a small portion of the many things I'm thankful for. Happy Thanksgiving to everyone out there in the blogoshpere! I'll see you all in December!


Apple + shopping = happy

OK, regular readers can agree that I love to shop. And you'll also agree that I worship at the altar of Steve Jobs. So what, dare I ask, could be better than Black Friday shopping at the Apple Store?

I received an official email today: there's a 1 day sale at the Apple Store (and online, for those who won't be venturing out this Friday). Also, perusing some Black Friday ads the other day, I came across these deals at MacMall. I'm not sure if they're 100% true, but if you're in the market for a laptop, it might be worth it to check it out: the craziest deal is a 15.4" MacBook Pro for only $1399.99 (according to the site, it's a savings of over $1000).

Happy Mac shopping!


Thoughts, musings, oddities, and the like

For lack of a better post...

--Found this funny little site: Let me google that for you. Made me giggle.

--Found another traciedesigns. Except she's Tracie space Designs.

--Also found an Ann Tracie Designs, who designs cakes. Yum. (And, yes, I let me google that for you-ed traciedesigns)

--Why on earth do my children still have Halloween candy? It is a month after the fact, people! That Halloween candy should be long gone! Because next week, let's face it, it's all about how much pie can I eat. And coming off a week of how much candy can I eat; well, that's not too good.

--Looking forward to a much needed, much deserved (I think, anyway) break next week. Even more bizarre? I'm actually--gasp!--looking forward to Black Friday shopping this year! I haven't been shopping on Black Friday in probably a good 8 to 10 years. I don't know why--maybe it's the economy--but I'm kind of really looking forward to it this year.

--The more I think about it, the more I hope Mattio (hint, hint) gets me a Butternut season pass this year. The thought of just taking off and skiing for the day gets more and more appealing as time goes on.


Forget about the red cup...

The other day I noticed that Starbucks has begun using the seasonal "red cup." Everybody knows what the red cup means: it's the holiday cup; Christmas must be coming.

However, across the pond, there's something much more creative going on. At a small coffee chain called Puccino's, instead of a red cup once a year, they rotate cups on an annual basis. Designed by illustrator Jim Smith, every year the chain comes out with a new set of cups like this one:

The clever thing about it is there's a bunch of cups like this in rotation; so you never know what you're going to get. And it's not just coffee cups, it's also their bags, sugar packets, advertising, signage, etc. There's actually a Flickr set of some of the ongoing work. And if that's not enough for you, check out Jim Smith's website, or the short interview on Brand New.

Much better than the red cup.


Gift for geeks...

...or for anyone who loves their iphone (or who wants one really, really bad; but is not willing to commit to AT&T):

iphone coasters!

When Anne Taintor is a bit too girly... perhaps a set of these will do. What would be really cool, is if you could by add ons, the same way you would buy from the app store.


Oh Anne Taintor...

How I heart you.

Anne Taintor's sassy designs are nothing new--we've had her coasters for years now (Madeline's favorite? "Make your own damn dinner!" Recited with all the enthusiasm and gusto a 5 year old can have, minus the profanity). But since I was on a holiday card kick the other day, and there are some cute/funny cards here, I thought it was a nice segue...

Anywho, I think any of Anne's products would be the cat's meow as far as hostess gifts go. Nevermind monogrammed towels, give "medicated and motivated" potholders! And who wouldn't love a little nip from the "She was one cocktail away from proving her mother right" flask?


The "I don't know the title of this meme" meme

For all my pals participating in NaBloPoMo (Sorry kids, I'm not fooling anybody by participating in THAT challenge!), a meme:

favorite artist/designer: Chuck Close

I love to create using: my mind, my mouse, and Adobe Illustrator

what inspires me: my kids, music, my life, the internet

most inspirational city: NYC, hands down

ideal weekend off: one year for my birthday, Mattio surprised me and took me to the city; we started our afternoon at MoMA, did a little shopping, ate dinner at a cozy little Italian place, and ended the night with a play (It was one of the best birthdays!). My ideal weekend would be this, with a hotel to retire to, and room service the next morning, followed by a stroll through the Cloisters, and a little more shopping. And a town car to bring me home--none of this Metro North baloney.

favorite color: PMS166U*

favorite musician: (of all time): Tori Amos

favorite movie: Oh my gosh, so many... I really heart Say Anything, Anchorman, Elf, St. Elmo's Fire... I'm sure I'm leaving a ton out.

favorite song: Again, so many... and it's constantly changing. Right now my favorite, favorite song is You are the Best Thing, by Ray Lamontagne

favorite song lyric: "So please, please, please, let me, let me, let me... let me, get what I want, this time." The Smiths

If I could have any other job it would be: artist (Not graphic designer artist, silly... I'm talking about fine arts. Paint, pastels, and a blank canvas)

I wish: I had more free time. Not more work time, not more hours in the day, but more time to do the things I don't have the time to do now: draw, make cards, learn how to letterpress, learn how to knit, start another blog...

*orange, in layman's terms



OK, kids, I'm not gonna beat around the bush. I'm not gonna lie to you. I'm just going to come out and say it:

I love the holidays.

I love everything, everything! about the holidays. The decorations, the tree, the cookies, the wrapping paper, the shopping (oh, don't act all surprised), the gift-giving, the gift-receiving, the parties... the whole shabang.

But one of the things I love most about the holidays, is the cards.

I love to send holiday cards; I am very anal about the whole thing and insist on hand writing all 8 billion of them out. What can I say? For someone who makes a living sitting in front of a computer most of the day, there's something very soothing about sitting down with pen and paper.

But even more, I love receiving holiday cards. It seriously impacts me in a negative way if a day goes by in December with no holiday card in sight. I don't know, maybe in this age of email and IM and facebook and blogs, there's something quaint about receiving some good ol' fashioned snail mail--that isn't bill-related (because no matter what time of year, I don't love bills).

So when I came across this post of pretty holiday cards over on poppytalk, I just had to share. Getting holiday cards rocks; but oh, dear blog readers, getting adorable cards like these would just make my season (hint, hint).



In my haste to get my super-duper-blog-love post up yesterday, I completely (and foolishly) forgot to mention another blog that I absolutely love, love, love:

Logo Design Love

Logo designer David Airey's blog is right to the point, it's for those who love logo design (or just logos in general). From reader favorites, to logo redesigns, his is the site I consult first when I have a logo design project.

It's updated about once a week (the selfish graphic designer in me wishes it was updated daily, the graphic-designer-turned-blogger in me knows exactly how much time that would consume). One of the best things about the site, aside from the interesting logo designs, is the commenters. Some design blogs I read, the commenters can be downright mean; for whatever reason, the commenters on LDL are much more civilized. And, as an added bonus, David responds to just about every one.

So, Logo Design Love, I love your blog!


Blog love

There are some days, when I check out Analytics, and I think, man, who are all these people reading my blog? Do they really care about shoes, and pretty plates, and Crate and Barrel furniture? Then I check out the particulars and realize that they are all visiting the Shamwow post from ages ago.

But I know that I have a small handful of regular readers; and I give the love right back to the faithful by reading and commenting on their blogs, as well. Yesterday, I was playing blog catch up, and over at Becky's I was given an award! For loving my blog! And then Marcy followed suit! Awwww... you guys... Thanks!!

So, as the rules go, I am passing it on. The envelopes, please:

Becky: I wish I could be so eloquent and British (OK, I'll never be British. But eloquent! I can strive for eloquent!). Her posts are fiercely funny and god, just so well written. And the shoes. I can't forget about the shoes...

Marcy: Another shoe lover (and shopping pal). And mom of Zoƫ, who is only a year older than Madeline, so I feel at times we lead parallel lives. Hysterical, parallel lives.

Elements: I heart my friends at Elements. They have a keen eye for design, and at times, their blog is my daily dose of inspiration (as the description says).

Sara: I'm a little new to Sara's blog, but she's been reading and commenting on mine, so I went and gave her blog a look see. And I'm so glad that I did, because her thoughts on parenting and working and trying to get it all done are very funny (and very true)!

Michelle: I don't live anywhere close to Louisville, KY; but after reading Michelle's blog, I often wish I did. She's always talking about some great restaurant, or bar, or really cool happening. Sometimes I wish she would move up to CT and write Consuming Fairfield (because then I might have a clue about where it's at here in town, and as an added bonus I would get to see her more often).

Justin and Mary: Justin and Mary were one of my first clients; and I am so impressed with how their business has grown over the years! Although, it's really not a surprise, take a look at their photography yourself--it's mind-blowing awesome.

Trent: I have a little secret: I love me some celebrity gossip. I love it even more the way Trent pieces it all together: it's not malicious at all, and he sprinkles tidbits about what's going on in his life, coupled with updates on his favorite TV shows. A lot of times I feel like he's a pal, just updating me on what's going on... in the fabulous life of celebrities.

OK, bloggers, now you do your part (with the exception of Marcy and Becky, without their love this post would not be possible):

1) Add the logo of the award to your blog.
2) Add a link to the person who awarded it to you.
3) Nominate at least seven other blogs.
4) Add links to those blogs on your blog.

And thanks, too, to all the anonymous readers out there. I hope you're loving the blog, too!



I hung out at Elements today (well, not really hung out so much as work... but they're a fun bunch, so it's like hanging out while working), which meant that I had a tricky morning: shower, do hair, look somewhat presentable (read: no child slobber on sweater), load wee ones in car, vote, drop wee ones off at sitter's, and get thee up to New Haven. Fortunately, the time gods were way on my side, because I was able to get out of the house at 7:45 this morning--Mattio and I actually left together.

We vote at our kid's elementary school, which is right up the street, and just beat the crowd. We had to wait about 5 minutes, but on our way out, the line was beginning to snake around corners and down hallways. Also on the way out, I was able to pick up some delish chocolate covered pretzels and pumpkin bread, courtesy of the 5th grade bake sale. Yum, yum.

So... slobber-free sweater, check. Delicious snacks for 3pm munchies, check. Vote, check. And now...

We wait.


Your vote won't just get you a new president this year...

Got one of these?

When you vote on Tuesday, be sure to grab an "I voted!" sticker. Then head on down to Starbucks, and grab a free cup of coffee. After Starbucks, get yourself over to Krispy Kreme, where your sticker will get you a free star-shaped doughnut. And you don't need the sticker (but it's still a cool accessory) to get a free scoop over at Ben and Jerry's Tuesday night.

There are some regional specials, as well: a bar in Pensacola, FL is accepting "I voted" stickers as payment for a beer. Voters in Tulsa, OK who wear their sticker to a participating Chick-Fil-A in the area can use it as payment for their new Chick-n-Strips. I think the most bang for your vote can be found in Dallas, TX: your vote will get you the first session of tattoo removal free (and you don't even need the sticker as proof--they'll take your word).

I'm not sure of any CT area promotions like this, but I certainly don't need a free cup of coffee to motivate me to get to the voting booth this Tuesday. Actually, we vote at our kids' elementary school, where the 5th grade sponsors a bake sale each year to help fund their many activities. So my Tuesday sweets and treats will be purchased from there.

And please, don't forget to vote this Tuesday!


Yum, yum

Oh Pottery Barn... Why do you tempt me with such pretty things?

Last week I was window shopping with Marcy, and we came across this set of plates (which she confessed she already owns):

I love the graphic patterns--so pretty. AND the store we were in had them displayed with the prettiest jade plates. The black/white/jade combination was so striking. Yum, yum.

Then, I head on over to their website, and what is waiting for me on the homepage, but these beauties:

Cool baroque pattern, and they're orange? LOVE them.

Then, because I need new plates like I need a hole in the head (aside from the fact that I've just found 2 very different sets of plates that I love), I stumble across these:

It's like a gorgeous plate bonanza over at the PB! The only problem--for me, not them--is that each one of these sets requires me to buy all new place settings. I suppose the black and white would go with my eggplant/lavender scheme I've got going on now... but I bet they'd go even better with something new.



Excuses, excuses

Ugh. It's been that kind of day. The kind of day, that, no matter what your workload is, you just want to take off and do some serious shoe shopping (and no, that's not everyday for me, thankyouverymuch).

Unfortunately, when you own your own business, you can't just take off (well, you can, however, there's no one else to defer the work to. So sick days, personal days, vacation days, mental health days... they all add up to more time spent catching up. Which, I've found, is not worth the headache). Since I technically have no boss to report to, I don't have to drum up any "mental health day" excuses to use upon calling out. However, today I stumbled across a list of the most ridiculous excuses for missing work (originally from Careerbuilder, via SavvySugar). Now while I have a soft spot in my heart for those who donate blood, I would imagine that donating "too much blood" is probably going to have you missing a lot more than one day of work.

Some other excuses of note:

Employee didn’t want to lose the parking space in front of his house.

Employee hit a turkey while riding a bike (This may have been the above employee, biking tow work due to aforementioned parking issues).

Employee said he had a heart attack early that morning, but that he was “all better now."

Employee contracted mono after kissing a mailroom intern at the company holiday party and suggested the company post some sort of notice to warn others who may have kissed him.

Employee swallowed too much mouthwash.

Employee’s wife burned all his clothes and he had nothing to wear to work (ummm, you SO have bigger problems than calling out of work).

Employee’s toe was injured when a soda can fell out of the refrigerator (I think this is like the episode of the Office when Michael Scott burned his foot on the George Foreman grill. That he keeps--and uses--at the end of his bed. Because he likes to wake up to the smell of fresh cooked bacon. Yeah, this is so Michael Scott).

Employee’s psychic told her to stay home (um, probably because she was going to get fired anyway? Just guessing).

Some more statics for ya:

Nearly one-in-ten workers (9 percent) who played hooky admitted to calling in sick because they wanted to miss a meeting, buy some time to work on a project that was already due or avoid the wrath of a boss or colleague. Others missed work because they just needed to relax and recharge (30 percent), go to a doctor’s appointment (27 percent), catch up on sleep (22 percent), run personal errands (14 percent), catch up on housework (11 percent) or spend time with family and friends (11 percent). Another 34 percent just didn’t feel like going to work that day.

Sigh. So I guess one day if I ever did give up the glamourous life of a freelancer, I would certainly know what NOT to say when calling out. Although, something tells me that telling the boss that "I can't come in, because the shoe sale at Nordstrom cannot be missed!" might not be much better (unless I was working for Marcy or Becky).


Higher Learning (or what I was doing in Hartford last night)

The AIGA is the professional association for graphic designers; and just recently, a Connecticut chapter was started. As their inaugural event, the CT AIGA hosted Sean Adams, the National AIGA president, as well as partner in AdamsMorioka, in a presentation called "Lessons in Fear."

Over the last 10 years at AdamsMorioka, they've made mistakes. Big design mistakes. Some were a collision of events that hit like a train wreck. Some were self-produced. All of the mistakes were motivated by fear. When is fear appropriate in design? Are we on the Love Boat, or a voyage of the damned? How do we know the difference? Where are the lifeboats?

I attended the presentation last night, and it was great. Sean Adams is a wonderful speaker; engaging, witty... the kind of guy you'd so sit down for a cup of coffee--or, say, 10 cups of coffee--with, and not just for the cool factor. I also got to hang with my fine friends from Elements (Amy's the VP of the CT chapter--Holla!)--you can read Chelsea's description of the event and see pics on their blog here.

Here's a couple of things I walked away with:

--Designers wear a lot of black. A lot (I know, who knew?).

--Even though in the back of my mind, I knew this, but it was still nice to hear: other designers don't have all the ideas--or answers for that matter--either. It's especially nice to hear that someone of Sean Adams stature sometimes gets "stuck."

--Change is not always bad; and while some change is scary, other change is good. And sometimes, that scary change, is really good change in disguise.

--Hartford could really use some street signs. And building signs, while we're at it. Hello? A whole room full of graphic designers, and yet no environmental graphics? Oh, the irony.

All kidding aside, the lecture was really inspiring and refreshing. I'm glad I took the time to go (it was either that, or work. I figured both would help my career... but something like this doesn't happen all that often, and work is always there). I'm looking forward to the next event, on November 19th, when William Drentel (co-founder of DesignObserver!) talks about "My So-Called Public Life."


I'm "glowing" with excitement!

So, I've been waiting (and waiting, and waiting) to share this with the blogoshpere...

I finally got my hands on some Glow packaging!

A little background: Last winter, a woman called me up looking for a logo/packaging designer, she made these (delicious!) gluten-free cookies, and was planning on marketing them to upscale grocers. A few days later, Jill and I met, and we've been having fun ever since. From her logo, to the website I'm currently working on, I feel like every project we collaborate on, it's more fun than the last.

I have to give some love to my pals Donna and Bill, down at Silver Creative in Norwalk, they actually sourced the awesome chinese takeout-type container, and were a big help in giving me good package design advice and feedback. Bill also wrote the glow-libs.

So, without further ado, let me introduce you to Glow Gluten Free Cookies!


I love autumn, too!

Over at Elements, they are lovin' autumn. I can't say that I blame them, I love it too--it truly is my favorite time of year (and my birthday being in October has nothing--OK, a little--to do with it!).

Yesterday Madeline and I took advantage of the gorgeous day and went up to the Cascades for a great day of hiking. Apparently half of Southern Connecticut had the same idea, because it was as crowded as I've ever seen it. We had a great time, and Madeline was quite the trooper considering she's 5.

This is how I felt after we came home, too:

The foliage was absolutely gorgeous, the air clean and fresh... I am not a nature girl--by any stretch--but I certainly felt at one with it yesterday!


Twitter is good, too

Twitter, the status-updating website, is most awesome.

It's nice to see what my pals (and my husband!) are up to, or thinking during the day (or cooking, as in the case of one of my friends. From her tweets I have decided that I so want to eat at her house all. the. time. She makes fun things for dinner like pumpkin risotto. I make boring things for dinner like grilled chicken. Again. She also bakes a lot. I learned a lot of this just via her Twitter updates--see how fun?).

I also follow Barack Obama, who is always busy with Change We Need rallies. He's also unveiling tax plans and urging folks to watch the debates. I don't follow John McCain, but judging from his Twitter home page, he does an awful lot of whining.

The most recent person--well, person might exactly not be the right word here... maybe whale. Whale would be a good word in this instance. Anyway, the most recent whale I just started following via Twitter is the Natural History Museum Whale.

Wait, what?

Yes, the whale that hangs from the ceiling of the Natural History Museum twitters. And it's full of fun, insightful wisdom that one can only imagine that a whale hanging from a ceiling could spew:

I hope none of you find out what it's like to hover over a 5 year old while he spins in circles for 5 minutes then pukes up cotton candy.

Things I have in common with the US economy-- stock traders look scared when they see me too.

Some mornings, I just don't feel like entertaining groups of children-- the yelling, the carrying on, the thrown balls of paper. Ugh

Call me cynical, but I won't be surprised when they completely ignore whales' rights in tonight's VP debate.

I'm a meme! I can totally hang with that. After all, hanging is basically all I do. That and tweeting.

This is awesome. I am so looking forward to getting whale tweets.


GOOD is good

A couple of weeks ago, I was at the local Starbucks, when I noticed a little pamphlet called GOOD. It caught my eye not only because it was printed on newsprint, but because the headline was regarding carbon emissions. I picked it up, and have been doing so (and looking forward to it) each Thursday as a new issue comes out.

GOOD is produced by the people who run the website and magazine of the same name. Click on the What is Good link at the top, and you'll see the following description:

GOOD is a collaboration of individuals, businesses, and nonprofits pushing the world forward. Since 2006 we've been making a magazine, videos, and events for people who give a damn. This website is an ongoing exploration of what GOOD is and what it can be.


The pamphlet is neat because each week it takes a theme and expands on it, USA Today chart style (except these charts have much more substance to them). There's no hidden message, no secret agenda (This week: It's the Economy, Stupid! A layout of how the economy works, and how it stands today. Hint: it's not so good).

The website has loads of interesting articles; everthing from reader-designed bumper stickers on voting, to the trials and tribulations of getting boys (and men) to read.

Check it out; I hope you'll agree that GOOD is good.


Our evolving relationship with technology

My friend Michelle, a Louisville, KY-based blogger, was recently on a panel on an NPR show discussing, well... our evolving relationship with technology:

With every new gadget, website, social networking interface, and smart phone, the older things they're replacing fall further from favor. Who keeps up with these tech changes, and who is sticking with the programs they used when they first started computing? Does the difference between Luddites and early adopters fall along age lines, or is it personality? Tune in this Tuesday for a conversation about our evolving relationship with all things digital - and call to tell us how you use technology.

I found it interesting, because one of the other panelists said that his grandmother, of all people, had embraced Twitter as a way to stay in touch with her family. Meanwhile my mother can barely transfer music to her ipod without 12 phone calls to me.

One of the best parts was the 70+ year old caller at the end talking about how he just doesn't understand text messaging. "Why can't people just pick up the phone and call?" Hee hee. He should talk to Ashlee and her friends about that.

Listen to the show here.

OK, I'm off to watch the debates, now... actually, I'll be watching from bed, with my laptop on my lap, and watching twitter at the same time. Right next to my husband with his laptop, doing the same (except he usually tweets along with the debate, I just like to see what others are saying). Talk about embracing technology... I once knew a couple who banned laptops from their bed. We haven't gotten to that point yet, thank goodness!


Cool stuff

Last week in my travels, I came across these funky little Pantone Nesting dolls (seriously, can we appeal to my inner design geek any more?):

Over the weekend, I had a chance to explore Yar Rassadin's site a little further... and wow. The pendulum bookcase? The honeycomb lamp? Angel/devil salt/pepper shakers? Beautiful, beautiful stuff.


Mmmmm, tasty...

I confess: I completely got lost in the internet tonight (I *was* planning on working. I started to, then--I'm not quite sure how--I got completely sidetracked. Completely). The bad thing about getting lost in the internet is that it uses up time that is oh-so-precious to me. The good thing? I find cool stuff like this:

These are actually wall decals, courtesy of Tasty Suite. I am completely in love with Big and Curvy Alphabet--that one will definitely be going up in my office (once I get a real one--stay tuned). I'm also loving the faux lamps, I might have to find a spot for some of those, as well.

So I think the lesson that I've learned is that every time I get lost on the internet, I find yet another way to spend money. I tell ya, if there was no such thing as online shopping, I might be a rich woman!


Speaking of posters...

My pal Amy from Elements emailed me this morning with a link to her latest blog entry, citing AIGA's Get Out the Vote; an invitation "to create nonpartisan posters—and YouTube submissions—that inspire the American public to participate in the electoral process and vote for a presidential candidate in the 2008 general election."

You can see some of the posters here, but there's a 6-odd minute slideshow of about 50 posters that is amazing. While the designs are diverse, the message is the same: get your butt out there and vote on November 4th!


Cool type, cool posters

I was doing some research for a cookie website today... and I came across these most awesome posters:

OK, first of all... I know. These have nothing to do with cookies. But listen, the internet is a big place, and sometimes a girl gets sidetracked. Especially when she comes across a creative use of type and maps, such as this.

According to the website, fellow graphic designer Jenny Beorkrem was searching for a poster of Chicago, and came up empty. So she did what any other poster-loving graphic designer would do: she designed her own. Thus, Ork Posters was born.

Brilliant, just brilliant.


I won! I won!

As recently as a few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to receive an email from a Nigerian fellow looking to free an extraodinarily large sum of money up; as a result of my help, he was willing to share the wealth and pay me millions of dollars! (I know, I can't believe this scam is still going around either.)

Today, I received an email from the WebEx Corporation, actually rewarding me for being an internet user! Go on, then:

So much money is generated from people like you all over the World for using the Information Superhighway (the Internet) without your being aware the enormous sum that go to the stake holders (WWITC). Without your patronage, this would not have been possible. After we conducted a research on the issue, we concluded that Internet users should be compensated (Ed. note: What kind of research, exactly, did they do to come to this conclusion?). As a result, we embarked on a worldwide lottery promotion with a sophisticated automated database to randomly select E-mail accounts that frequently surf the Internet. Consequent upon this, your E-mail address was picked for Category "A" Winners.

The best part about this whole thing--aside from the fact that the Internet is being referred to as the Information Superhighway (Really? This email hasn't been updated at all since 1995?)--is that it was sent to the email address I never give out.

Oh, and it was signed "Congratulations!!! And thank you for being a user of the World Wide Web." No, I'm really not making this up.


Current addictions


* Post at least five current addictions (with some details, please).
* Mention the person who started this meme (Being Brazen) and also the person who just tagged you - Marcy.
* Type your post with the heading “Current addictions”.
* Tag at least two people and pass on the above rules.

OK, here we go... my current addictions:

1. Shopping. I have to side with Marcy on this one... if there's one thing I'm obsessed with, it's shopping. Having just come off a major spree, it'll probably be a while before I spend again (well, that, and other reasons), but I'm happy just browsing, putting a list together for the next time. I like to shop for just about anything, although, like Marcy, I'm not big on the groceries. I love, love, love shopping for gifts for people, and of course, clothes and shoes--which brings me to my next obsession...

2. Shoes.If you've never met me, never read this blog, never talked to my husband and/or kids and mentioned shoes... than this is new to you. But anyone who's basically ever crossed my path knows that I adore shoes. I don't discriminate (too much), I love a sexy heel just as much as sneakers. I own a ton of shoes, they are stashed all over my house, and it definitely one thing I am definitely proud to be obsessed with (although my kids may think otherwise come time for college).

3. kate spade. I am such a girly girl, aren't I? Shopping, shoes, and now this. I am obsessed with kate because I think her designs are timeless. I have ks purses that are embarrassingly old, that I still happily carry around, and are still very much in style. A 10 year old ks purse, in my opinion, does not show it's age. She completely shrugs off trendy and goes for class, and that is why I'm obsessed.

4. Cape Cod potato chips and veggie dip. I can't. stop. eating this. I always keep some form of veggie dip in the house, as well as at least one bag of CC chips. One day, I was snacking on actual vegetables with my dip, and Mattio came out with the chips and tried it. My life hasn't been the same since, and I don't know whether to thank Mattio for that or not.

5. My new iMac. It's fast, it's big, and I love it. Coming from a 15" PowerBook, it'll take quite a while for the novelty of this new beast to wear off, which is just fine by me.

6. Loathing bananas. I am obsessed with bananas in the most negative way you can be. Hate isn't a strong enough word, that's how I feel about bananas. I can't stand the smell, seeing someone peel a banana makes me gag, and the thought of eating one makes me vomit. I am incredibly passionate in my hatred of this fruit. So maybe I'm a little weird, but I'm obsessed with loathing bananas.



I got an email from Coach today (fancy that!), introducing their new Op Art collection:

Hello, beautiful!

I really, really love the black/grey/orange pattern the best. The monochrome patterns aren't really doing it for me as much; but something like this scarf really stands out to me as gorgeous:

Yum, yum, indeed.


Thanks again, Marcy!

Ugh, I've been so neglectful, and I'm so sorry! I've got lots of little things going on, a couple of big things, and major wireless issues (I actually had to--gasp!--connect my laptop to the printer/scanner WITH A CABLE. What on earth is up with that??!) that have been keeping me busy. Then I just happened to stop by Marcy's, and saw this--with my name on it, mind you--and thought... what better way to jump right back into blogging? As usual, Marcy to the rescue!

The Aging Meme
all you have to do is fill in the blanks...

At a certain age women should try not to remember that they are women of a certain age!

At a certain age men should stop combing their hair over--you're not fooling anyone, mister!

When I was a kid I thought I would rule the universe.

Now that I am older I wish I hadn't always wished to be older.

You know you are too old to rock out to Fall Out Boy when your teenager makes fun of you (What? Their songs are catchy!)

You know you are too young to have grey hairs when people look at you like you have five heads when you talk about it

When I was in high school I listened to the music of Alternative: the Cure, the Smiths, Depeche Mode, etc...

Nowadays I find I like the music of "Adult" Alternative. What's up with that name? Geez, nothing like making you feel old...

On my last birthday I was 9 months preggers.

On my next birthday I want to have the cocktail I didn't have last year!

The best birthday present I ever got was my husband--we got married a week after my birthday, so I think of it as a belated gift.

The first time I felt grown up was registering Ashlee for preschool.

The last time I felt like a kid was the last time I jumped on the trampoline.

When I read _________ it changed my life. I don't really have an answer to this one... there are many books I like, many more that I love, but I can't ever say that one of them changed my life. If it did, it couldn't have changed it that much, as I don't remember it!

Last year was a great year.

Next year I hope life continues to get better.


Weekly wrap up

So... This is my second post today, and the second from the rather large computer set up that has taken over our bedroom (I love it. I know, I know, all this computer talk gets old... but humor me. I went from a 15" screen to a 24 in a matter of hours!).

Not much went on this week, to tell you the truth. I have a couple of small things going on:

--The Orthopedic logo sketches I'm working on for the Hospital for Special Surgery got approved. Yay! This means I can move onto implementing them in Illustrator. Once we get close to a finalized design, my logo is going to make it's debut in Zurich (yes, Switzerland!), at some big Orthopedic meeting. Exciting!

--Met with One Kid to discuss future catalog needs. Stay tuned on that...

--worked on some web updates for Tim Coffey

--worked on some new artist updates for art + interiors

--worked on some new scans for Marcy

--oh yeah, I got a bitchin' new computer!

This weekend I am beyond excited: Saturday is field trip day! Marcy, Becky and I have been planning a trip to outlets in NY for about a month now. We have a game plan, and are going to shop until we drop. Sunday is the last game EVER at Yankee Stadium. Mattio is actually lucky enough to be going (I'm trying to convince him to bring my camera--I know it's big and bulky, but for the love! Last game ever! Walking from Monument Park out to home plate! This is huge!!); I will be watching from home.

Hope you enjoy your weekend!

Hello, handsome

This is what my desk is looking like these days... Pretty hot, no?

(I think Dwight is going to get an inferiority complex. It really does dwarf him.)



So I cleaned off my desk this weekend (it was pretty scary... a little like Al Gore's, but much less organization. Or space to put things, for that matter. Or the sweet 3 monitor set up. OK, my desk was just a mess). In doing so, I came across a folder I had created for inspiration. Of course, the folder was buried under so much other stuff, that the last time I was inspired was about 6 months ago.

Getting into artist mode, I realized that I need to be inspired more, find more creativity and beauty everyday. Surely I can't find one thing every day to be inspired by?

So I did it. I challenged myself to find one thing every day that inspires me. And then yesterday I went out and bought this notebook to put together my diary of inspiration:

So I will keep you posted on how it's filling up. I'm sure the "After" picture will be quite different.


Pretty type

Yummmm... I saw this ad in yesterday's Sunday Styles. I love the swirlies in the type--so pretty.


An oldie but goodie

This might be so 5 years ago, but...

The other day I was researching something (I don't even remember what it was! It had to be type-related, though), and came across John Langdon's website. His ambigram work never ceases to amaze me; check out the gallery here. I can't imagine just how long it takes him to craft each letter. For those who aren't in the know, ambigrams are words written so they can be read forwards, and turned upside down to be read backwards the exact same way.

John's work also enjoyed some time in the spotlight many years ago, when the DaVinci Code was the hot book to read. He had worked on some ambigrams for one of Dan Brown's previous books, Angels and Demons. I remember finding his website back then, and being utterly amazed. As I said above, I still think his handiwork is incredible--so cool, in fact, I think it warrants a little more time in the spotlight.


In celebration of Fashion Week...

Walking along Mulberry Street on Saturday, I came across the Malia Mills store. Two things came to mind: remember how ground-breaking Malia Mills was when she first came out? For those that don't know, in the early 90's, Malia Mills pioneered selling bikini pieces separately (a small top doesn't always mean a small bottom). The second thing I thought, was Oh my gosh, I totally love her logo!

That M is so decorative, so pretty, so fun!

This, of course, led me to think of just how much I love the Tory Burch logo as well:

It is honestly, one of my favorite logos out there. It's so graphic, and so striking; and the designer brilliantly made patterns out of it to use for bags, wallpaper, etc. And, thanks to the success of the Riva ballet flat, with the double T medallion on the toes, it's instantly recognizable.

I tried to find other graphic fashion logos, but I couldn't. I resisted putting up classic fashions symbols such as Louis Vuitton, and the Chanel double C's; only because, while I think those logos are certainly iconic (and widely recognized), I feel that the above logos are very distinct in their design.

So... anyone out there want to share? What's your favorite fashion icon (in logo terms, not Marc Jacobs)?


Can I get a Woot! Woot!

Just the other day, I thought to myself, hmmmm... it's early September, the American Graphic Design Awards should be coming out soon...

Well, cut to today, and the bulky white envelope in my mailbox...

(drumroll, please!)

I am very happy to announce that I was the recipient of 4 awards! I don't believe I've shared these on the blog yet (and actually, I wanted to save the Glow logo until the packaging printed--because I'm so WAY excited about it!--but I'm even more excited about winning the awards). Ladies and gentlemen, I present:

art + interiors, monthly favorites:

This is the monthly "e-newsletter" (for lack of better term) from my pal Cyndy. Each month, she sends out an email featuring a couple of her artists, and a quote. It's so simple, yet so graphically powerful. I enjoy sitting down with Cyndy each month as we select artwork (and a quote) for Favorites (and, of course, dish the dirt!).

Glow Gluten Free, logo:

My pal Jill was so much fun to work with. She has such a passion for her product (delicious gluten-free cookies--you'd think that was an oxymoron or something, but so not the case with her cookies). I'm even more excited to feature the packaging, once it prints!

Lush Floral Designs, website:

Zoe's flower arrangements are so breathtaking, it wasn't hard to design her site at all! You can see the site in it's entirety, here.

The Portrait House, pro bono website:

K, so Justin and Mary keep giving me these awesome projects, and I keep winning awards for them. Seriously, this is the third site of theirs that's won (so what's on tap for this year, guys? :) All kidding aside, I was so happy to help out and design the site for this charity they've started, benefitting Habitat for Humanity. Check out the site here, or the blog here.

And as Mary and Justin would say, PHantastic!


Stop! And shop...

When I was a child, the Stop and Shop logo made so. much. sense to me. You stopped, and you shopped. Red light, green light. The 5 year old me thought it was brilliant--just brilliant!--to use a stop light to convey stopping and shopping (Thank God I've moved on).

Well, Stop and Shop has recently rebranded itself (with a logo designed by Interbrand), and I can't decide if I like it or not.

The designer me hates the type--the ampersand and S in shop need to stop flirting and just hook up already. The icon itself has grown on me; at first I was not a fan (looks a lot like TBS, and I'm not an incredible fan of their logo either), but seeing it animated in their new commercials, I'm starting to like it. I really like that it can be interpreted as many different things: food, fruit, a basket...

However, the logo needs to look good and be appealing as a static entity, as well as animated. Had I not seen the animation, I'm not sure I would feel the same way about it.

Brand New has a good post, as well as some interesting comments on it here. You can also see some screenshots of the animation, and see how--in my opinion anyway--it makes the icon more appealing.



Christy Murray's new logo!

Christy is a wedding/baby/family/life photographer (whew! She wears a lot of hats!), and found me through the Portrait House website. Just about her only request for her new logo was that she liked the thought of adding something natural to it; she included the Papyrus logo as an example.

Some butterflies, birds, flowers and dragonflies later, she decided she was leaning towards the lotus. But then she had an "AHA!" moment when she went to look for the meaning behind the lotus:

"...lotus is symbolic of the true soul of an individual."

...which, as she explained, was exactly what she was looking for when photographing her subjects.

Christy is an absolute doll to work with, and her photography is amazing (check out her blog here for some examples of her work)! She was very easygoing throughout her logo design process, and I can't wait to collaborate on more projects with her!


Weekly wrap up

Wow--I can't believe it's Labor Day weekend already. Wasn't it just June? This summer really flew by (for me, anyway), part because of how busy I was, and part was due to lack of vacation (major home renovations put the kebosh on that; and added to my stress--causing me to, you guessed it, need a vacation even more).

Anyway, this week I kind of laid low... not much going on, but I have lots of exciting stuff on the horizon:

--This week I received proof approval on the One Kid catalog. This is usually very, very stressful as the color has to be 100% dead-on, and usually takes several rounds of back and forth to achieve color perfection. Oh, and they usually need the catalog yesterday. This time we only had one back and forth, and the folks over at One Kid are very happy with where we're at. Now, on to printing!

--Worked on One Kid hangtags and advertisements.

--Got some new work from Marcy.

--Received design approval from Kate over at Greenwich Dance Studio. I am so excited about this site; it's not quite a departure from my normal "look", but it's definitely a little different for me.

--Put up a temp site for HB Home; it's not much, but it's keeping in tune with the site design I'm working on. Check it out here: hbhomedesign.com

--Met with my pal Tim Coffey, regarding some website changes and direct mail work.

--Finalized some business card designs for a pal who's opening up her own shop (I can't get into specifics now, but I will brag on and on about her once said shop opens). We were actually supposed to meet this week to go over the designs; however the printer at Kinkos had other ideas; we're meeting next week, instead.

--Sent my middle child, Madeline, to kindergarten. This was probably the hardest thing I did all week (although, she thought it was pretty simple. When it was time to go into the classroom--without me--for the first time, she just grabbed her friend's hand, and walked in). While it breaks my heart just a little to see my baby grow up like that, it is nice having the kids back in school. The house--during the day, at least--is much, much quieter.

This weekend we don't have a lot going on: we laid low today, picnic tomorrow, and no real plans Monday. I'm hoping to get ahead on some projects, so next week I'm not completely overwhelmed.

Enjoy the long weekend!


Eleanor's conquest

Our baby, Eleanor, is 10 months old. As mobile 10 month old babies are wont to do, she gets into EVERYTHING. Her latest thing is trying to get into the refrigerator to grab at the wine housed in a Pellegrino bottle on the bottom shelf of the door. Mind you, there's also a jar of mayonnaise, as well as a tub of maple syrup on that shelf.

But she just heads for the wine. Every time.

Each time she hears the fridge door open, she tears into the kitchen to try and worm her way in before we shut the door. The other day, I just left the door open and caught her on camera:

The wine! She left the door open, and now it's mine! I can't believe my luck!

I'll just grab it and go...

Hmmm, maybe it'll work better if I stand up and take it.

Man, this stuff is heavy!

If I could just bring it to my lips...

Wait--what's that clicking sound? Oh snap! I got caught!

Let me act all innocent and cute--this works every time!


Tracie and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

I woke up this morning to the garbage men and their truck was loud and they made a ton of noise and then I went back to sleep and kind of overslept just enough to have to rush around getting myself and the kids ready for the first day of school and I could tell it was going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

At breakfast Madeline got to have a bowl of Cheerios and Ashlee had a bowl of shredded wheat and Eleanor had half a waffle and Mattio got to eat to but I didn't get to have breakfast this morning because of the aforementioned rushing around.

I think I'll go shoe shopping.

The kids got off to school and Eleanor got off to the babysitters and Mattio got off to work and I went to Kinkos to print some stuff out all nice, but the printer there decided not to cooperate and wouldn't print my files.

I could tell it was going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

At home we needed a new color printer cartridge.

Fed Ex didn't come this morning with the package I was expecting.

At lunch Roly Poly put cucumbers in my wrap.

I hate cucumbers.

It was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

That's what it was, because at Kinkos in Westport my file didn't print either and I made a PDF and that's when I found out that it wasn't the printer, it was the file that I had worked so hard on building and now I was going to have to spend a lot of time rebuilding it in another (printer-friendly) program.

I am having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day, I told Mattio. He said some days are like that.

Even in shoe stores.