Friday LOLs

Today's LOLs are brought to you by:

Awkward Stock Photos: How is it that when I am looking for an image of say, a toaster, it's next to impossible to find. Yet a lovely photo of a frozen chicken posing seductively with an egg exists. Huh?

Photoshop Disasters: "Clone out her bellybutton. It's completely useless, and nobody will miss it!" Other disasters include exaggerated body parts, missing body parts and 50 foot women.

Clients from Hell: I hope that some of these stories are made up. They have to be made up. People don't make these requests, right? Right??!


Yummy books

Can we just stop for a second and talk about how much I love, love, love Anthopologie's line of classic books?

Literature's great works ditch their stuffy dust jackets for smartly embossed canvas covers.

Because I don't think I'd ever pick up Great Expectations on my own. However, with this cover? Um, I'll take 2.

And you guys--they've got a ton of them: Sense and Sensibility, Wuthering Heights, Lady Chatterly's Lover... there has to be 15 or so titles. And they are ADORABLE. Seriously. I totally judge books by their covers; and these look great.

Thanks to the always awesome Justin and Mary for keeping me in the know!


Inspire me, Main Street

Last week I was in Westport, doing the very important task of buying make up. In and around Main Street, there was all kinds of crazy inspiration:

Ann Taylor: First of all? Yes, AT, a sale is a girl's best friend. Second, how much do I love these colors? Something about the bright yellow, coupled with the bluish teal dress on the far right (of course the photo isn't doing the color justice at all. You all simply must run down to AT to view it in person. And, perhaps pick yourself up something nice while you're there). These colors scream summer to me. Well played, AT.

Lulu Lemon: There's something wonderfully playful about the handmade letters--especially since LL is a chain, and lord knows how the chains love their helvetica (yeah, I'm talking to you, Gap).

Coach: OK, the only reason I went into Coach is because they sent me a 25% off coupon. And who doesn't love 25% off? Or Coach, for that matter? Or, the colors on this bag?

Seriously, while I don't think I would buy this bag for myself, I do love the pattern, and the colors. I'm a sucker for all things silver and shiny, and the pewter/purple/yellow is just lovely for fall.

J. Crew: J. Crew, on the other hand, did not send me a coupon, but I went in anyways (because that's how much I love J. Crew). More hand cut letter love: the woman in the photo was cutting those letters out as she was hanging them--adorable. What the picture doesn't show all that well is that quite a few letters were cut out of patterned paper. Love. It.

PS. Coach's website says it's time for new fall shoes. Um, OK. If you guys insist...


Political madness

Tuesday, August 10 is primary day here in CT. Since the spring, we've been inundated with political ads on TV and the radio, as well as direct mail, and most offensive--the political phone call. I get the political phone call, I really do. However, as good telemarketers do, they never call at a convenient time. As a matter of fact, if they're not calling at dinner, they're calling at the kids' bedtime. We've had them call after 9, which in my book, is just plain wrong. Is nothing safe from the telemarketer?

But that's not what this post is about. This post is about the political lawn sign. They're not everywhere--yet; but they're out there. And as usual for political lawn signs, they're pretty blah. Or are they?

Rick Torres: As far as political signs go, this one is pretty unoffensive. Sure, you've got your red, white and blue; but the size is not typical, and the lowercase letters feel more relaxed. Also, white space? Yes please. Points taken off, however, for no website--because the url is ricktorres2010.com--not ricktorres.com, as one might think.

Nitzy Cohen: Nitzy has tried to distinguish herself using not red, white or blue, but purple! If anything, it makes her stand out in a sea of political colors. Everything else? Yeah, notsomuch. The atrocious line spacing, fonts... ugh.

Dan Debicella: Again, with the no website! What is up with that? And the shooting star? Ugh. Definitely not my favorite.

Rob Merkle: Rob's got a good thing going with his last name here. Tasteful font, decent layout. I could do without the star and stripes, but whatever. It's not terrible, which is setting the bar pretty high as far as lawn signs go.

Tom Foley: OK, say it with me, people: If your name is not your url--yea, I'm talking to you, Tom Foley--your website should be on your lawn sign. Trust me, it helps. Plus, you've got the room. Like, really--you have the room. This one to me just blends into the background.

Just one more pet peeve to wrap the whole thing up: political candidates--all of you--get a consistent graphic designer, for the love! For every bad lawn sign, there's a somewhat decent website--and vice versa. There's all kinds of font inconsistencies (hint: Futura is not Helvetica--yeah, I'm talking to you, Rob Merkle), it's just painful to look at.


Book fair!

This weekend was the annual Pequot Library Book Fair--all year long, the library takes book donations, and then twice a year, sells them under a tent in a big, book fair extravaganza. I took the teenager, who is a ferocious reader; and while I didn't find much (she found some books that very well might be in our cellar), I had a great time snapping photos of the good, the bad, and the just plain odd.

This series, The Bibleot, was full of poetry and prose, published in 1901. I love the gothic spines all together like this.

Hours at Home: This was a handy reference guide to... pretty much everything. I guess if you had hours at home, you read this series.

In the "Old and Interesting" section, Jim Norton's Happy Endings. I would imagine this falls under the "interesting" heading.

Also in "Old and Interesting" (and definitely a little bit of both). I love the design of the cover; the colors and layout are great. The quote at the top? I could probably do without (I could definitely do without all those em dashes):

Dig you must—this fascinating excursion under the sidewalks of New York—where you will find wires and sewers, stores and subways, men, mains, and even alligators—

Missouri Life: Love the typography on this one:

Love the vintage, retro-y feel of this. Hate the scary scratchboard half face in the upper left:

Record album covers! One of my favorite sections of the book fair! Here we have the good...

...the bad...

...and the ugly. See why I love this section?

Finally, I took a photo of this one because I thought it was interesting, if anything: an unedited copy of Emily's Reasons Why Not. I though the back FPOs were amusing (National Print Advertising! 25-City Radio Campaign!). Sadly, Emily and her (ticking) biological clock did not make it home with me.

Seven years later...

7 years ago today, Madeline decided to grace us with her presence. Happy birthday to the coolest 7 year old I know!


Friday LOLs

I don't get many jokes via email these days. I'm not sure the reason (are people still doing that? Or do we now just tweet the funny stuff?), but my email is looking pretty serious these days, what with projects, and clients, and actual WORK.

However, my mom changed all that last night--she forwarded me a list of "Comments made in the year 1955." The thing that struck me as funny is the way this email is worded. It's title--Comments made in the year 1955--suggests that it might be famous quotations or something along those lines. However, it's much more in the vain of "I walked to school 10 miles everyday, uphill both ways, in the snow, even in August." In other words, 1955 was very culturally different than nowadays, let's all have a laugh. An example:

I read the other day where some scientist thinks it's possible to put a man on the moon by the end of the century. They even have some fellows they call astronauts preparing for it down in Texas.

It's interesting to read how different things were way back when, but what cracks me up the most is the manner in which they're written. I wonder if Don Draper has ever uttered these words:

I'll tell you one thing, if things keep going the way they are, it's going to be impossible to buy a week's groceries for $10.00.

Have you seen the new cars coming out next year? It won't be long before $1,000.00 will only buy a used one.

If cigarettes keep going up in price, I'm going to quit. 20 cents a pack is ridiculous.

Did you hear the post office is thinking about charging 7 cents just to mail a letter?

When I first started driving, who would have thought gas would someday cost 25 cents a gallon. Guess we'd be better off leaving the car in the garage [note: if only we did leave the car in the garage!]

I'm afraid to send my kids to the movies any more ever since they let Clark Gable get by with saying DAMN in GONE WITH THE WIND, it seems every new movie has either HELL or DAMN in it [This one may just be my favorite]

I never thought I'd see the day all our kitchen appliances would be electric. They are even making electric typewriters now.

It's too bad things are so tough nowadays. I see where a few married women are having to work to make ends meet [Scratch that--this one's my favorite]

I'm afraid the Volkswagen car is going to open the door to a whole lot of foreign business.

The drive-in restaurant is convenient in nice weather, but I seriously doubt they will ever catch on.

No one can afford to be sick anymore, at $15.00 a day in the hospital, it's too rich for my blood.

If they think I'll pay 30 cents for a hair cut, forget it.

I can't wait to watch the season premiere of Mad Men Sunday night--for many reasons, but one of which will be if anyone on the show actually says these things.


Lights out!

So if you live in or around the NYC/Fairfield County area, you know that this summer--this week particularly--we've had 2 types of weather: incredibly, unbearably, hot, humid and sticky; or torrential rain, thunder, lightning and tornado warnings. Seriously, there's no in between. Either or, take your pick.

As I mentioned, this week has been particularly bad. Monday night the rain/thunder/lightning combo was so crazy, we ended up losing power for a few hours. No biggie; unlike some of our neighbors, we had ordered take out that night, so dinner wasn't half made; there was enough natural light that we went on doing our normal evening activities--sans electricity of course (OK, almost all of us continued our normal evening activities--the teenager had to suffer through a few hours of no internet access). Power was restored by 9 and all was fine.

Tuesday and Wednesday was a return to hot, humid and disgusting, and then last night, the biblical rain came again--resulting in power outage #2 for the week. Dinner was already made, so again, no problems there, however... the power did not come on a few hours later. 9:00 came and went, and there was no light. No nothing. The worst part is that apparently we live at the very edge of our power grid, because the street next to us and behind us had power--a dirty little tease: "Look at all our lights!"

Fortunately there's no shortage of laptops in our house, so we popped a movie in the one with the most battery life and watched it until the battery ran out. At that point, it was late, and we settled into bed, only to be woken up a few minutes later by every light in our house turning on (along with TVs, radios, appliances... I always forget to turn stuff off in a power outage, so it's always a funny reminder of what we were doing when the lights went out, when they come back on). Ahhh, electricity.

Oh, but the story doesn't end there. We woke up this morning to a cable outage--which means no cable, internet, or landline. Since both Mattio and I work from home... well, the electricity may as well have gone out again. Sigh.

I remain hopeful--today's weather couldn't be more gorgeous: the rain left, and took the humidity with it. It's hot, but not unbearable. Hopefully this is the start of summer weather that I could really get used to. And also the end of the power outages.


Friday LOLs

I love this new feature: Friday LOLs. I think this might become a weekly thing.

So this clip of Louis CK is awesome--I'm sure I've posted it before. It's entirely appropriate for today, because of 2 reasons:

Mattio scored some great seats to see Louis CK in September--he's truly one of our favorites.

The second reason, is that, if you follow me on Twitter, you know that I'm not having a great email day. I can't send email, AT&T is basically being dumb (shocker), and so now I am forced to use webmail. I hate webmail.

So I'm whining a little bit about it, while trying to find a clip of Louis CK to cheer myself up. And what is the first clip that comes up? Everything's amazing... and nobody's happy. Oh, the irony.

Here I am, whining about my poor life and the extra 30 seconds it's going to take me to use webmail... and I come across a clip that reminds me of how awesome it is that I actually have webmail, never mind email.


Sara + David

So, those of you that are following along at home know that my BFF is getting married this summer--in less than 2 weeks! As part of my gift to her, I designed her wedding invitations. However, I've been holding off on posting them--well, because our camera battery died. And I couldn't find the charger.

But never fear, faithful readers! Amazon to the rescue--new battery charger arrived the other day, so let the invitation goodness commence!

Sara is easily the most laid back bride EVER. She had no requests. No colors. Seriously. I am the maid of honor--or what I have rebranded as BFF, because, I'm sorry, maid--and even worse--matron of honor sounds old. Am I right ladies? Anywho, I am the BFF, and she told me to wear whatever I was comfortable in. Like, pretty much pick a dress. Seriously, she's the anti-bridezilla.

So when it came to designing the invitations, there were no guidelines. I wanted to do something wonderfully simple and classy. A few days earlier, she had found some orchids that she really liked and was thinking about using in her bouquet. Finally! A detail I could use!

Her wedding is at a marina in Old Saybrook, right on the water. The orchids she liked were purple, so it made sense to use the combination of blue and purple. The perfect shade of blue paper was found at Kate's Paperie (of course).

Detail of the invitation, directions, and envelope.

Response card and envelope.

The whole shebang.

I'm also going to use this theme for her seating cards, and hopefully a menu or program. I seriously cannot WAIT for this wedding--I am beyond excited for my BFF and so happy that I got to contribute to what will be an awesome day!


Friday LOLs

I don't think Friday likes me very much; as a matter of fact, I'm starting to get a complex about it. Last week, the intern managed to be sick 90% of the long weekend--it started (not well, mind you) on Friday. Today, coincidentally another Friday, the 6 year old gets sick, and I get a flat tire. What up, Friday??

I'm hoping that laughter is a good cure for all this Friday negativity. I've accumulated a bunch of great links that hopefully will make you LOL. I know I did--and I needed it.

I'm Comic Sans, Asshole:
[I know, I know, this one's been floating around the internet for a month now--which is like, FOREVER. But it's funny and it makes me laugh every time I read it, and it will totally make you laugh again, too]

You don't like that your coworker used me on that note about stealing her yogurt from the break room fridge? You don't like that I'm all over your sister-in-law's blog? You don't like that I'm on the sign for that new Thai place? You think I'm pedestrian and tacky? Guess the fuck what, Picasso. We don't all have seventy-three weights of stick-up-my-ass Helvetica sitting on our seventeen-inch MacBook Pros. Sorry the entire world can't all be done in stark Eurotrash Swiss type. Sorry some people like to have fun. Sorry I'm standing in the way of your minimalist Bauhaus-esque fascist snoozefest. Maybe sometime you should take off your black turtleneck, stop compulsively adjusting your Tumblr theme, and lighten the fuck up for once.

Lost Cat:
[This guy cracks me up. I guarantee that you will spend a sickening amount of time on his site, because it's so ridiculous. I'm sorry in advance that I wasted half your Friday with this link]

Dear Shannon,

That is shocking news. Luckily I was sitting down when I read your email and not half way up a ladder or tree. How are you holding up? I am surprised you managed to attend work at all what with thinking about Missy out there cold, frightened and alone... possibly lying on the side of the road, her back legs squashed by a vehicle, calling out "Shannon, where are you?"
Although I have two clients expecting completed work this afternoon, I will, of course, drop everything and do whatever it takes to facilitate the speedy return of Missy.

Regards, David.

The Friend Bar
[I love Apple products, and I think I love things that poke fun at Apple products just as much. See also: What it's like to own an Apple product]

...The Friend Bar is staffed by Apple employees specially trained to carry on lengthy conversations about even the most arcane Apple-related topics...


New logo + new packaging=awesome for Tom's of Maine

Here at the Valentino house, we're all happy Tom's of Maine users. We have been for years. I'm a big fan of chemical free--well, anything, really; and, you know, Tom's has that whole natural thing going on. In short, we think Tom's rocks.

I didn't really think too much of the recently redesigned logo and packaging as I tossed some toothpaste into the Target cart (I know--in my defense, Target can be a little overwhelming. Especially with the children), but I really took note the other morning, when the 6 year old pointed it out:

"Mom, what kind of toothpaste is that?"

"Same kind I've been using for years."

"No it's not."

"Ummm... yes it is."

"It doesn't look the same."

Well thanks for pointing that out, kid.

Here's the new logo vs the old one:

It's kind of... kicky. It's very upbeat--I like the fact that it's rotated just enough, I like the stylized Tom's, and I think my only complaint is that instead of Natural Care, it now says Since 1970 (I guess if they've been around for 40 years, though, people should get that their whole schtick is all natural?)

Here's the old toothpaste packaging:

And the new:

I think overall, I really like it. It's clean (and it's packaging for toothpaste--it should very well be clean). I love that the kicky new logo is front and center--no longer is the focus on a photo of some wintergreen (or whatever the flavor is). But I think my favorite is the white background, vs. the tired off-white of the old. Big improvement. I mean, I never looked at the old packaging and thought that it was terrible, but the more I look at the new packaging, the more I definitely prefer it over the old.

Well played, Tom's of Maine.



Sometimes, I see a great font out there, and it just makes me swoon. And if I'm swooning over fonts, then I am downright fainting over this gorgeous lettering:

This is so far beyond swoon--this is somebody-better-get-me-a-doctor-that's-how-much-I'm-in-love-with-this-type.

Oh, and for the record? Love his music, too.



Back from what I wish was a relaxing 3-day weekend, I figured that a post about workspaces would be appropriate (plus designsponge had a great post about them, so, you know...)

What wasn't relaxing about the long weekend was that I worked about 90% of it. But not work, work. No, this work was roll up your sleeves, get your hands dirty, manual labor work. See, we've been living in this state of... in between for quite some time now. We've moved in upstairs, and are enjoying the new addition and added space immensely. However, we're not done: we had no closet systems, no window treatments, and some furniture. Well, check two of those things off the list, because now we have blinds (on every window!), AND, Mattio and I have really great closet systems that, really? We should have been given awards for every. single. step. of putting those bad boys together. Hence the work part of the weekend.

But let's talk workspaces, shall we?

My office is nowhere near done; and from the looks of things, won't be for a while (I'm getting a new ceiling, and in the grand order of things, the sheetrockers and painters are usually last on the list). But I'm OK with the timeline, because it gives me lots of time to come up with and discuss great ideas with our super awesome interior designer, Catherine Avery.

We're already working with a bookcase from Ikea that we already own. It makes sense in my office, so we're building off of that. Here's a pic of the desk we found (at Ikea): I love the glass top--it's the type that won't make me nervous when the children go tearing through the office.

That's all the sneak peek of my office that I'm giving away for now... but in the meantime, you can drool along with me over at designsponge Best of Offices (part 1!!!). I love the diversity; my faves are Samantha Reitmayer's mirrored desk (love! Or maybe it's all those shoes that are distracting me); wonderfactory's super awesome orange wall; and Susanna's orange chair (swoon).

And if that's not enough workspace love for you, come play over at the Well-Appointed Desk. Peppered in the mix of cool desk accessories and supplies, are awesome workspaces. Their tagline rocks: "For the love of paper, office supplies and a lovely place to work." Love, (and lovely) indeed.

In the meantime, I'll be coming at you with some serious closet updates soon, as well as upcoming project fun. Oh, and I'm always, ALWAYS happy to see more workspace inspiration. Got some? Send it my way!