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.