Oh, how I heart you, Trader Joe's

I love me some Trader Joe's. It's a little strange--I know--to feel this way about a grocery store, but I just can't help it. I started shopping there when it was dirt cheap (like, 69¢ for a pound of pasta cheap). It still is less expensive than the big chain groceries, but the prices have noticeably gone up. But I keep going back, because, well--they rock. Their customer service is awesome (They laughed and joked about me breaking the door a few weeks back--when they could have been really pissed), the food is delish, and best of all, I'm in and out with 2 weeks worth of groceries in under a half hour (take that, Stop and Shop!).

I must have tweeted about TJ's a few weeks back, because now they're following me on Twitter. So, because I like Trader Joes, I started following them. I can't decide if this is a mistake or not, because they're always tweeting about food. Like I need to hear how great the Wasabi Wow snack mix is at 11:30, while my stomach is rumbling.

But today? Today came the gem of all gems: somebody out there made a TJ's commercial. On their Treo. So yes, the production quality is... well, it sucks. But the commercial is brilliant.

I highly recommend viewing the longer commercial. But be warned: I've been whistling that song all afternoon now.


Nothing super about this bowl

I am soooooo not a football fan. There are far too many rules, too many players, too many positions, the whole offense/defense thing, ways to score, points system... the whole thing confuses me beyond belief. And every time (usually towards the end of the season) I think I'm getting it, I'm introduced to some new inane rule that exists purely to confuse the life out of me.

And, what's up with that whole time system? How is it, that in the world of football, 2 minutes is actually 15?

I will, however, watch the Super Bowl this Sunday--if only for the commercials. Well, that, and The Office is on directly after. Well, that, and the food. Super Bowl food usually rocks. Other than that, my interest in the Super Bowl lays more with the logo designed for this year's game, than the game itself.

The Times has an interesting piece on the history of Super Bowl logo design, as well as a slideshow of alternative logos (my fave is Pentagram's simplicity. Nice. Actually, it totally threw Mattio for a loop when he saw it: "THAT'S the Super Bowl logo?? It's so different!"). And go here to check out the evolution of the Super Bowl logo.

So enjoy the game on Sunday... I will be, if only for the fact that I know football won't be on for another 6 months after that.


This is how old I am

...courtesy of Zoesmom and Becky.

I had the Star Wars soundtrack on vinyl. There were 4 records in all, and the record sleeve opened like a book. I also had the Annie soundtrack, The Grease soundtrack, and the Mary Poppins soundtrack, all on vinyl. Each was played on a pink record player--I believe it was Holly Hobbie.

Every year at Christmas, we decorated our tree listening to the Carpenters' Christmas Portrait (with it's Norman Rockwell-esque cover), and Christmas with the Beach Boys, again, on vinyl. It wasn't Christmas in our house until we heard Karen Carpenter sing "There's No Place like Home for the Holidays," and my mom shook her head and said, "What a waste. Such a beautiful voice." It still isn't Christmas to me until I hear a holiday tune sung by both the Beach Boys and the Carpenters. My husband is deeply bothered by this.

I wanted to be Princess Leia (except when she was chained to Jabba the Hut. Ew). My first crush was Harrison Ford. I used to make my boy neighbors play Star Wars with me, they got to use my baton as a light saber.

My first bedroom was orange. The carpets in the condo we lived in had pea soup green carpets. All of our kitchen appliances were avocado.

The best. thing. ever. growing up was a Monday night "special" airing of the Muppet Show. That meant we got to stay up until 8:30. It also meant the cool spinning "special" graphics CBS used to air right before it.

Anyone who comes from Fairfield will appreciate this: Before Blockbuster ever existed, we used to rent our VHS movies from the grocery store: Fairway Beef on Black Rock Turnpike. That was the only game in town, until it burned down (there's a CVS there now, but it's still called Fairway Plaza).

I went to my first Yankee game when I was 8 years old. Don Mattingly was playing first base, a very young Willie Randolph played second, and Craig Nettles played third (in his last year as a Yankee--I was devastated when he got traded to San Diego. Even more so when my grandfather loyally followed him there). Dave Winfield, my second favorite Yankee (Don Mattingly was my first) played in the outfield.

I, like Zoesmom, remember vividly when Luke and Laura got married. I loved the Christopher Cross song, "Laura" (Thank God my taste in music got much, much better), and thought the whole thing was just so romantic.

I wore black rubber bracelets a la Madonna up both my arms. I could not have enough black rubber bracelets.

I thought Who's the Boss was the. coolest. show. ever. because it took place in Fairfield, and Samantha Micelli and I were the same age. I felt we were living parallel lives (with the exception that my father was not a housekeeper for a rich divorcée).

I grew up on MTV, when they played videos, and only videos. There was no other programming, save for Remote Control, which I tolerated. I looked up to Martha Quinn. I wanted to cut Adam Curry's hair while he was sleeping.

I was in college when Kurt Cobain committed suicide.

In college, I was a "commercial art" major. I had to learn how to operate a stat machine, and had many mishaps with rubylith, xacto knives, and rubber cement (these are all pre-computer layout relics). I owned, and used, a T-square.

When we finally graduated to computer use, I learned Photoshop version 3; this version introduced layers to the world of computer graphics. I could save all of my Photoshop work on one 3.5" floppy (remember the stink Apple cause when it discontinued floppy drives on the iMac?).

There was no internet in college. It was a great event when my school got Zip drives for the computers--after I graduated, of course.

My second "real" job had email. I hated the job itself, but was afraid to leave because email was so new at that time, I was afraid other companies hadn't caught on yet. I lasted a year; and yes, the company I went to after that had email.


Coach has pretty things, fonts

I have to admit, I'm not a big fan of graffiti-inspired fashion. I wasn't a big fan in the early 2000s, when Stephan Sprouse did it for Louis Vuitton (which they have just relaunched); and I can honestly say my reaction was the same when I got this email from Coach yesterday:

Don't get me wrong, I'm sure there's some Carrie-Bradshaw type out there that could totally pull this off. It's just not for me. However, my attention lingered on the bag for only a second, because, hello? What's the gorgeous font there?

Let me just go to Coach's website... Oh my! There is beauty is everywhere! And for once, I'm not talking about the handbags (although, I won't say no to a leather Zoe in silver Or the Carla Sandal in green. Oooooh, yum, yum.). I love, love, love the Bodoni Poster-inspired font. And the colors! Absolutely gorgeous.

Bravo Coach, for not only making pretty things that I covet; but making me see the beauty beyond said pretty things.

PS. I used a version of a very similar font for a client who's opening up her own salon. Her new place should be open in a few short weeks, at which point I will be bursting at the seams to show you her gorgeous letterpress business cards. Stay tuned!


Design we can believe in

In honor of Barack Obama's inauguration tomorrow, I thought it appropriate to present the many ideas that could have been the official Barack Obama campaign logo; the other contenders, besides the iconic "O".

Personally, I think the logos (even the ones that weren't even presented)--much like the campaign itself--were a refreshing change from the norm. Sol Sender, the designer, apparently never worked on a campaign logo before--which I think worked to his advantage. So nice to see a portfolio of ideas that isn't "Candidate's Name/Running Mate's Name" on either a red or blue background, with some stars thrown in for good measure.

Much thanks goes out to David Airey, who compiled this post; and who's logodesignlove website I could not live without.


Tilt a whirl

I love the effects of a tilt-shift photo: you know, those pictures that look as though they're made of teeny-tiny models, but are in fact, real photographs of real settings.

You can check out a gallery of tilt-shift photos here (which are way cooler than mine), or better yet, make your own via tiltshiftmaker.com!

Here's 2 I made from photos of the final game at Yankee Stadium--look at that tiny model Derek Jeter!



Gary Hustwit is at it again: this time, instead of the story behind a font, he's telling the story behind some of the products we use every day in Objectified.

Sounds like it's going to be a way more cool How it's Made--which is one of our favorites (except when their making bacon. Or little baby chicks. But it is pretty cool to see how things like soap, bubble gum, and fluorescent lights are made). Premiering Spring 09--can't wait!


Life is a highway

To compliment yesterday's post, I thought this was pretty cool: a map of all the streets in the lower 48 states. That's it, just the streets. No outlines, no borders, nothing but roads.

I thought this was so beautiful, yet so interesting; the map is divided almost equally in half. The roads are much more sparse on the western half of the US. And they abruptly end--there's no gradual fade or anything.

The major cities almost remind me of the constellations--look south of Chicago and you'll see what I mean. I also love the swirls defining the Appalachian Mountains. Very, very cool.


Environmental graphics

My friend Cyndy, of art + interiors fame, represents an artist who takes these gorgeous ariel photos of environmental waste. To see them, you would have no idea; they are so abstract, so beautiful. I can only imagine what they look like blown up to humongous sizes.

I was immediately reminded of J. Henry Fair's images when I came across these: satellite images of Earth taken from 400 miles away. These photos are stunning; some look like satellite imagery, most look like works of art (and let's face it, when else would Bolivian deforestation be considered a work of art?).

From the toxic landscapes of J. Henry Fair's photography, to the beauty of NASA's satellite pictures, either way it makes me appreciate our planet and it's beauty that much more.


Dear Adobe...

In case you haven't been paying attention all this time, I am a graphic designer (shocking, I know; what with all the shoe and shopping and shoe shopping references). So my livelyhood depends on a few things: Apple Computers (Feel better, Steve Jobs!) and Adobe software. I have unconditional love for the former--in my eyes, Apple can do no wrong (OK, so the hockey puck mouse wasn't such a good idea. But it's a mere hiccup in the Apple timeline, as far as I'm concerned). The latter? Let's just call it a love/hate relationship.

99.9% of what I do depends on Adobe software. And sometimes Adobe software just. doesn't. do. what. I. want. it. to. dammit. Don't get me wrong--Adobe products have gotten their share of love from me... but they're also heard the truck driver/pirate side of me; the one that spews expletives thinking that a couple of swears strung together will get Dreamweaver to do what I want it to (hint: it never, ever works).

So when I found Dear Adobe (thanks, Fathom!), I felt like finally! And whew! (it's not just me!) Some actual gripes:

Dear Adobe, why doesn't Illustrator have a history palette?

Dear Adobe, please ditch this application [Premiere], you are confusing potential Final Cut Pro users from being productive and having spare time to see their children.

Dear Adobe (this one's a favorite), Do you ever get useful comments from people when you ask them to submit a crash report? And, do you ever actually read them??

Dear Adobe, now I can go on loving you... for now.