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.


Hello, coffee table

In the world's quest to make me poor, fate has gone and opened a Crate and Barrel down the road in Westport. The store actually opened just last week, so we got all kinds of happy inserts/mail/catalogs/etc. saying, "Happy happy joy! Crate and Barrel in Westport! Come visit us! We loooooooooooove you, Ms. Tracie Valentino!"

(I know, who can resist a little CB love?)

I confess: I haven't been yet (Look at me and my willpower!), however, I have a feeling that once I do go to the store, should they have this table in stock, I might just be less $900 or so. You win again, fate.

Oh, what's that? It looks like an ordinary coffee table? Oh, I might have forgotten to mention that it's not just a coffee table, it's the Alpha Coffee Table, "inspired by a Paris flea market find, then designed exclusively for us by a London graphic designer with a penchant for, and a large personal collection of, antique printers' blocks."

God, I love stuff like this (truth be told, I'd love it that much more had I found it somewhere like a Paris flea market. Shhhh, don't tell Crate and Barrel). I love all things to do with printing, the more old-school the better. So a table inspired by antique printers' blocks flies high on my radar.

(Although I think I could do without that hideous rug beneath it.)


Silly Saturday

From Mattio, via Twitter:

3 fonts walk into a bar. The bartender says, "Get out! We don't serve your type in here."

Altogether now: aaaaahhhhhhhhhhh hhhhhhaaaaaaa hhhhhhhaaaaa hhhhhhhaaaaaaa!


Weekly wrap up

Ahhhh... this week was such a break from the madness that was the past few weeks. What's been going on? Let's get to it:

--finished up and sent the One Kid catalog to the printer (this took up a big chunk of my week). Next week I'll be stressing over colors and proofs, as well as working on ads and new hangtags.

--Christy Murray finalized her logo (unveiling next week...)

--Hospital for Special Surgery: worked on some more logo sketches.

On a personal note, back to school fever in my house has reached an all-time high, as this is the first September I am sending two kids to school. We were very busy making school supply purchases, as well as getting new clothes and shoes (Madeline, who's apple did not fall far from her mother's tree, is already after me to wear her new shoes. In her words, she "just. can't. wait.").

This weekend, after having to work the past 5 or 6, I plan on relaxing. We have a birthday party to go to tomorrow, but other than that, not much is on the agenda. Hope you all enjoy your weekend!

Wait, huh?

So remember how I said I was going to be blogging more? Well, this week the blog gods have been generously giving and giving; I've had each post just about gift-wrapped for me.

Case in point, this ad:

Now, one might notice this ad and think, "clever, clever... this agency was being ironic with the whole, Jessica Simpson, be smart thing." Right? I mean, surely, that was their angle... wasn't it?

But then read the copy at the bottom:

"I work out and take care of myself. But I also like a cold beer once in a while. That's why I made the smart choice with a smart beer. Stampede Light, it's beer plus."

Who wrote this??! Clearly this was written circa 1978, because... who writes stuff like this? "I work out and take care of myself. But I also like a cold beer once in a while." That is straight out of, "I'm not a doctor, but I play one on TV."

There was much hype surround Jessica Simpson's decision to be the "face" of Stampede Beer--and quite frankly, in my opinion, anyway--the ad agency could have had a lot of fun with it. Sure Stampede is getting a ton of press no matter what... but this ad could have been executed in at least 10 better ways.


Do YOU suck at Photoshop?

My pal Tia emailed me this link, which is, by far and away, the funniest Photoshop tutorial I have ever watched.

The language is very NSFW, but by God, it is so damn funny that you almost just don't care. If you have about 20 minutes to spare, definitely watch 1-4. 5 is funny, but the first 4 are definitely the funniest.

And, by the way, you totally suck at Photoshop.


Happy Anniversary, 64 box!

When I was a child, there was nothing that could beat the smell of a new box of crayons. Perhaps it's the arteeest in me, but I loved just about anything Crayola (keep in mind, my childhood was during the late 70s, early 80s; back then, Crayola made crayons--maybe markers--and that's it). I loved my crayons--the way the wax would glide along the paper, the names of the colors (periwinkle! maize! burnt sienna!)--and I could spend entire afternoons arranging and rearranging the colors in the box (good God, it's a good thing I went into the arts!).

So this year marks the 50th anniversary of the 64-crayon box (with the built-in sharpener!). As part of the celebration, head on over to Crayola's website, to play the color quizzer game; essentially guess the name of the color x 64 (Which, by the by, I totally nailed--almost).

Hint, to totally rock at this game, you'd best check out the 2008 Kid's Choice colors first--I didn't, and therefore was completely unaware that someone would think up the name "awesome" as a color.

Wait, scratch that. It was probably my kid.


Weekly wrap up

Well my goodness, I've been a little neglectful, haven't I? No weekly wrap up last week, a whole week in between posts... You'd think I was somebody important... somebody who has stuff going on!

Needless to say, it's been a tad busy here at HQ. But it's all good; I've got lots of fun stuff going on. Let's get to it:

--One Kid. What aren't I doing for them? (Just kidding guys! :) Catalog, hang tags, advertisements, posters... You name it, they need it and I design it. Catalog is going to the printer's tomorrow--yipee!

--Christy Murray. Met with her and her hubby last week to go over some logo colors. It was an awesome meeting (I pretty much floated back down to Fairfield). Just waiting to hear on the final colors she chose.

--HB Home. Working on website development.

--Saturnia. Waiting for OK on store signage.

--Greenwich Dance Studio. Had a great phone meeting last week with Kate, she's loving the site thus far and just had a couple of minor changes, so I worked on those and I'll get them to her this afternoon, if all goes well.

--Hospital for Special Surgery. I finished the Activity Guide I was working on, and started sketches for a new orthopedic logo.

Personally, I had an incredibly busy weekend: Friday night I took Ashlee and her friend Molly (see girls, I'm blogging about you!) to see Sara Bareilles, Counting Crows, and Maroon 5 up in Hartford. It was a fun show, the girls had a great time, right up until the end when I lost my phone. Ugh, what a nightmare that was. But my faith in humanity was restored first thing Saturday morning, when Tom from West Hartford called to say that he had my phone, and was even so nice as to charge it for me! Yay!

Saturday I spent the day driving around CT to get my phone. But Saturday night, I went out for drinks with my friend Steph, who found me on Facebook, and Sara, and we. Had. A. Blast. We all used to work together many moons ago, and it was so much fun remembering all of the fun, strange people we worked with/were friends with back then.

By Sunday, I was spent. But I went on, working most the day. This week I plan on finishing up some more projects, and blogging more often, I promise! Have a great week!

Wood is Good

Perhaps it's designers embracing their inner environmentalist, but it seems to me that wood is everywhere these days.

Saturday, I was getting my hair cut, and I noticed that the Aveda men's line uses wood grain as a design element on their packaging.

At first I thought it looked a little familiar, and that I had seen it on a Method product at Target. Turns out I had, but it was for wood floor cleaner. OK, that doesn't count.

But then yesterday, I'm doing my usual Sunday afternoon work-at-Starbucks, when I have to go online to check something. As I'm at Starbucks, I'm immediately redirected to the Starbucks/T-Mobile homepage, which has uses wood grain as a background (I believe the Starbucks homepage had a wood grain background as well, but as of today it's changed).

Later on, doing some research for a business card project, I come across a card that uses wood grain as the entire back of the card. Even more research later, I found CD labels and plates. Cool!

Sidebar: Ummmm, how cool is that Delight website?



This morning, while Eleanor was finishing up breakfast, I took a look at the business section of the Times (yeah, that's right, I'm not 100% shoes and fluff--OK, I mostly am. Read on...). The front page below the fold story that caught my eye is the one titled, Show Skewers Martha Stewart, With Her Blessing.

OK, my interest is piqued.

It's seems there's going to be a whole show built around Martha's daughter Alexis, and her Sirius show partner Jennifer Koppelman Hutt, viewing 1990s-era Martha Stewart Living clips, and providing a running commentary, a la Mystery Science Theater 3000 (sidebar: I LOVE MST3K!!! When it was done right, it was, by far and away, the funniest show on television). The show will be called Whatever, Martha!, and will be on the Fine Living Channel (this is a nice piece of press for that channel, as well--I've never even heard of it).

I am kind of excited for this.

I like Alexis Stewart's Sirius show--unfortunately I don't listen to it much as it's not exactly PG; and when it's on, the passengers in my car usually are.

But I really like the fact that this show was Martha's idea (actually inspired by MST3K), and it really sounds like it could be funny. From the Times:

"Along with their running commentaries, the two women occasionally try to complete tasks that Martha Stewart demonstrates in the old episodes. Predictably, Alexis Stewart has little trouble keeping up, while Ms. Koppelman Hutt, whose skills do not include cooking or cleaning, stumbles along as the everywoman.

“In one episode, Martha is showing people how to properly whittle a twig to roast a marshmallow,” said Ms. Koppelman Hutt. “That is screamingly funny. The woman is actually whittling a twig. I mean, who does that?”

Alexis Stewart, on the other hand, defended her mother. “We always whittled at our house,” she responded. “What’s so unusual about that?”"

'Nuff said.


Getting to know me

Because it's been a while; because I had a long, late night last night, and as a result, my brain/motor skills today are sketchy at best; and because I'm feeling a little goofy… I'm taking the easy way out. As usual, thanks to Marcy. Ladies and gentlemen, the Finish the Forty Sentences Meme:

1. My uncle once owned a Cadillac. It was called the Banana car, due to the unfortunate color.

2. Never in my life have I eaten veal. And I never will, either.

3. When I was five I had a hernia operation. Because I was laid up, I missed the class trip to the circus; so my kindergarten teacher brought me back a really cool circus pencil box filled with all kinds of cool colored pencils. In my five year old artist's mind, that totally made up for missing the trip.

4. High School was long and painful.

5. I will never forget giving birth. Also long and painful. Just kidding, girls!

6. I once met this guy, who was the opposite of me in in oh-so-many ways... so we got married and had some kids. It's worked out rather nicely.

7. There's this girl I know who throws a mean mom's night out.

8. Once, at a bar I got carded. True story.

9. By noon, I'm usually hungry.

10. Last night I had a really great mom's night out at my pal Barb's.

11. If I only had those really great shoes!

12. Next time I go to church will be Christmas.

13. Terry Shiavo is the reason behind so many living wills.

14. What worries me most is my girls growing up in this world.

15. When I turn my head left, I see Ashlee.

16. When I turn my head right, I see the kitchen. Which reminds me, I'm hungry.

17. You Mattio know(s) I'm lying when I say the shoes were 90% off. Sorry baby, they never are.

18. What I miss most about the eighties is everything but the clothes and the hair. And that big hole in the ozone right above my hair.

19. If I was a character in Shakespeare, I would be... I don't know. I don't know enough Shakespeare to answer honestly.

20. By this time next year I will have thought of something to blog about :)

21. A better name for me would be Angelina Jolie. A better paycheck for me would be Angelina Jolie's, as well.

22. I have a hard time understanding mean people.

23. If I ever go back to school, I would learn another language.

24. You know I like you if I talk to you. I'm not a big fan of talking to those I dislike.

25. If I ever won an award, the first person I'd thank would be the Academy. Because naturally the award I'll be winning will be due to my acting talent.

26. Darwin, Mozart, Slim Pickens & Geraldine Ferraro started a rock band. Gerry's on the drums.

27. Take my advice, don't let Geraldine Ferraro play the drums.

28. My ideal breakfast is something I don't have to spend 3 hours at the gym working off.

29. A song I love, but do not have the theme to the Office. Actually, I would like to own it as a ringtone, and then set all my client's rings to that.

30. If you visit my hometown, you'd better stop by and visit me, as I still live here!

31. Tulips, character flaws, microchips & track stars is the name of Darwin, Mozart, Slim Picken's and Geraldine Ferraro's rock band.

32. Why won't people just play nice?

33. If you spend the night at my house you'd better claim your bed early. We don't exactly have enough to go around.

34. I'd stop my wedding for no one. I didn't stop it for terrorists and anthrax, so what makes anyone else so special? (I got married in October, 2001. The headline in the morning's news was that Tom Brokaw's office was sent some anthrax. I saw the headline and immediately blurted out, "There's no anthrax on MY wedding day!!!")

35. The world could do without war.

36. I'd rather lick the belly of a cockroach than vote Republican.

37. My favorite blond(s) is are my girls.

38. Paper clips are more useful than beef jerky.

39. If I do anything well, it's buy shoes. I totally rock at that.

40. And by the way: I was lying about the whole lying thing, Mattio. Of course I only buy shoes that are 90% off!


Weekly wrap up

It's been ever so busy here at traciedesigns HQ, so let's get down to business:

--Got some (really positive--yipee!) feedback from Christy Murray re: her logo. Worked on some minor round 2 some revisions.

--Worked on a site design for my pal Josh.

--Designed some posters for One Kid.

--Mentally prepared myself for laying out the One Kid catalog (see weekly wrap up next week).

--Worked on some changes for the Hospital for Special Surgery Activity Guide.

--Had a pretty cool meeting with a potential new client: a photographer who is switching careers and becoming a stylist.

--Worked on finishing Marcy's American Indian mouseovers (I am now a walking encyclopedia on most things Native American. No, really).

--Worked on site designs for Greenwich Dance Studio.

--I spent a ridiculous amount of time on Facebook, and found 11 or so friends.

--But most importantly, I spent the equivalent of college tuition--private college, mind you--at Starbucks this week. Oh, and by the by, Ashlee has discovered the Frappaccino. So basically I'll be setting up some kind of Paypal donation site, because at the rate we're going, it won't be my shoe habit that brings us down--it'll be $4.00 glorified milkshakes.

This weekend, I've got work plans. Depending on how much I get done, Mattio and I may head on down to Yankee Stadium on Sunday for a date (long overdue!), hopefully to watch the Yanks win! Every time I go to the stadium this year--and I've been fortunate enough to go to several games--I think it's my last time, and I get a little verklempt leaving. That said, I just realized that it will be neither shoes nor coffee does us in, it will be mine and Mattio's quest to purchase some kind of stadium memorabilia (I'd take bleacher seats... ya know, if I had to).

Hope you enjoy your weekend!