Friday LOL (font edition):

Comic Sans Criminal.

Recently I had a whole Facebook discussion over Comic Sans. I linked to sites like Ban Comic Sans and the Oatmeal (as well as gave my own opinion, which is that Comic Sans is the official font of the PTA), but today I came across this little gem and think that it is the perfect response to the Comic Sans discussion.

If you ever feel the absolute need to use Comic Sans, I definitely suggest going here first to see if it's entirely appropriate (hint: if you're not 11 or designing a comic--or even dyslexic--it's not OK).


Pillow fight:

So remember a few months back when we recovered our dining room chairs? Being that we recovered each one in a different design, we had quite a bit of fabric left over.

In completely separate news, I was having a hard time finding some throw pillows that I loved for our sofa. Can you see where this is going (because it took me quite some time to figure this one out)?

Yep, I had my mother in law, who is pretty handy with the sewing machine make some throw pillows (I, however, have not used a sewing machine since 6th grade home ec--which, by the by, they don't even call home ec anymore. It's like, consumer science or something like that. Why can't we just call it sewing and cooking? That's what it is, right?)!

Behold, our new pillows, which I love, love, love!

We only had enough of each fabric to do one side (with the exception of one pattern), so I told her to mix and match front and backs. FUN!


Happy birthday:

It's the now-8-year-old's birthday today (hmmm, artist-previously-known-as-the-7-year-old?)! Hard to believe that 8 years have come and gone so fast--as, like most parents, I remember her birth as though it were yesterday.

She's grown into a really cool kid, with a fun personality (see above), and--I might add--pretty decent taste in music (one of her favorite bands is Matt and Kim. Of course, she also likes the Bieber, so let's not go crazy here).

Happy birthday, 8 year old... The past 8 years have been a blast--can't wait to see what the next 8 bring!



This past spring, I've really fallen in love with riding my bike. I've always liked spinning, but there is something about riding on the road that I'm really drawn to. So much so that I signed up for my first long-distance ride (50 miles next Saturday, part of the CT Challenge), and have taken more of an interest in the Tour de France (watching it while sick last week--picking up pointers from the pros, natch--I couldn't believe that these guys were racing down a mountain at 61 mph. Sixty. One. Miles--not kilometers. Per hour. On their bike. Yikes).

So it was with great interest that I read Christian Annyas' series Graphic Design in the Tour de France. From team logos and jerseys, to bicycle logos, to component logos, to saddle and pedal logos, it's all covered here in 4 well-researched posts.

I think my favorite feature is the Components--specifically the evolution of the Shimano and Campagnolo logos (let's just take a second to swoon over that gorgeous Campagnolo typography. Whoa). I also love the bike logos--again, some great typography there (yeah, I'm looking at you, Wilier Triestina). All in all, a nice round up of bicycling-related graphic design.


Fools rush in (RANT):

Friday was July 15th--mid-way through the month. As of Friday, my kids had been out of school for a whopping 3 whole weeks. They don't go back for another 7 weeks (not that I'm counting).

So what better time than now to launch back to school?

Yep, back to school is in FULL effect--last week we got multiple catalogs just about every day; advertising backpacks, supplies, and clothes. FALL clothes. Long sleeves, jeans, tights, and--wait for it--puffer vests.

Puffer vests. On July 15th.

While I hate that school has barely ended, and companies are already shoving back to school down our throats (isn't life rushed enough? Can't we just enjoy the laziness that the summer months bring?), I get that different areas of the country start school at different times. For instance, we happen to start in early September, but I know some areas in the South start in early August.

But you know what? They don't need puffer vests. Nobody needs a puffer vest for back to school (except maybe kids in Alaska. Maybe). Did I mention that the puffer vest had a (faux) fur-lined hood? Grrrr.

So I'm going to continue to toss these catalogs straight into the recycle pile, without a second glance. But if you ask me what puts me over the edge, I'm not going to say the summer back to school push (or Christmas in barely-autumn--or July, as there was a Christmas display in a Hallmark store I went into this weekend--which is also spectacularly annoying).

No, I'm going to say puffer vests in July.


Friday LOL (Don Draper edition):

What Would Don Draper Do?

It's no secret I love me some Mad Men, and I love me some Don Draper even more. Even though he's a womanizing, alcoholic jerk; he looks good whilst doing it, so therefore he is swoon-worthy (take your swoon pause here).

Actually, he is so alcoholic (OK, maybe not this last season) that the Oatmeal has made a comic about him. And--spoiler alert--it all ends with a drink. But the journey to get there is quite funny.



Tattly designy temporary tattoos.

Started by the super-awesome Swiss Miss (aka Tina Roth Eisenberg), Tattly tattoos were born from everyday temporary tattoos looking, well, childish and clip-art-y. So what's a designer to do? Start her own line of temporary tattoos, of course!

If I can't afford to hire Jessica Hische to design me a real tattoo, this is definitely the next best thing.

As Tina says, "Life is too short to drink bad wine and wear ugly temporary tattoos. Right?"



Dress me up:

I saw this dress the other day on the always fab Zooey Deschanel, and thought to myself, adorbs!

Then I found out it was from my fave Kate Spade, and I thought to myself, naturally!

So now, I'm thinking to myself, I just need an extra $500 and a reason to wear it.


Mr. 3000 (or what I did this weekend):

This past spring, we had a plan. See, we're pretty crazy Yankees fans, and every year we try and get to a couple of games. But this year, our plan was to go to 1 game, and spend more money on better seats. The game we chose was this past Saturday, July 9th.

It was kind of a good game to go to.

This is actually hit 2,999. I didn't have my camera/phone on my for hit #3,000. Aw, snap!

In case you live in a cave (or don't follow baseball. But mostly live in a cave), Derek Jeter reached a baseball milestone: 3000 hits in his career. To give you a little perspective, only 27 other players have achieved this milestone. To say the stadium was rocking this past Saturday is putting it mildly.

We sat in the first tier above 3rd base--awesome seats that gave us a clear view of everything (and were right in the shade the entire game. Note to self, sit there from now on). Hit #2,9999 sent people screaming. The energy in that stadium was unbelievable--as was the fact that his at-bats were the quietest I've ever heard.

Hit #3,000 was amazing. The 7 year old and I happened to be across the stadium--over by 1st base--standing in an aisle (we were on a sno-cone quest), and he smacked that ball--a home run--and the stadium erupted. I cried, natch.

So our plan seemed to be a good one. Who knew, back in March, that we'd be purchasing tickets to history?


Friday LOL (food edition):

What's Good at Trader Joe's?

It's no secret that I love me some Trader Joe's. I started shopping there years ago, when their prices were super duper cheap. Nowadays they're still a bargain, but with food costs rising everywhere, it's not quite like the old days. But I continue to go back: the employees are awesome, I can do a week's worth of shopping in 20 minutes, and--best of all--the food? Well, it rocks. And apparently, I'm not the only one who thinks so:

Hello. My name's Nathan, and I love Trader Joe's. My wife Sonia does, too. She's a great shopper, has excellent taste, and knows good value when she comes across it. As many of you know, Trader Joe's is unsurpassed in the world of good-value grocery stores, so we spend a lot of our time and money there. Although the store fairly consistently delivers great taste with its own unique line of food products, there are definitely some big-hits, and unfortunately, there are some misses...

After doing a couple of internet searches for reviews of TJ's food items, Sonia discerned an apparent dearth of good, quality reviews for the store's offerings. So, at her suggestion, we decided to embark on a journey of systematically reviewing every Trader Joe's product, resulting in the blog you are about to read...

It's a great site--obviously much thought and care goes into each review, which is awesome. But I think my most favorite part is that I stumbled upon the site just as they reviewed the Wild Blueberry Vanilla Chèvre, which played a pretty big role in last night's all violet book club! And they gave it 9 out of 10 golden spoons (which I would completely agree with)!

So maybe this site didn't make me laugh out loud... but I think I love it just the same.


Book club:

Last night my book club met, and since I chose the book, I got to host. The book was the Violets of March, by Sarah Jio. Every time we meet we try and do a matching theme to our book (we also have a bottle of whipped cream vodka that comes to every meeting, but more on that later); but this one was challenging. The book itself took place in Seattle, and went back and forth between present day and the 1940s. There wasn't too much food in the book, and save for fish and coffee, I was stumped as far as Seattle foods went. So I got a little creative and decided to have a violet food theme. Blue corn chips, purple grapes, figs (or Fig Newtons in our case)... you get the idea. So I tweeted:

And Oh. Em. Gee. You guys, the author of the book tweeted back!

As my book club gals arrived, I told them the awesome news about my twitter conversation, and you know what? Sarah Jio not only live tweeted with us throughout the meeting, she BLOGGED about our little violet book club meeting(and called us trendsetters! Squeeeee!)! It completely reaffirmed my love of the Twitter.

We promised Sarah that we would tweet some pics to her; here we are toasting her with our blueberry creamcicles (sparkling blueberry juice and whipped cream vodka):

And here is our blue foods spread:

Purple grapes, Washington apples, brie, blueberries and chocolate covered blueberries, Fig Newtons, blue corn chips, hummus (that wasn't blue, but was delish!), and goldfish! Also, red velvet cupcakes for the red velvet diary in the book. Whoever thought of that is the honorary book club rocket scientist.

Cannolis with purple sprinkles? Yes please!

Book club is always a blast--we're such a diverse, fun group of girls--and so far we've picked a bunch of diverse, fun books, so I always look forward to a meeting. The fact that Sarah Jio was conversing with us all meeting long was the icing on the cake. I think the only way the meeting could have been topped is if she was there in real life (her living in Seattle, and having recently had a baby were just a few minor obstacles). But rest assured, next time she does a book tour on the east coast, I am SO there!


Email this:

The last week or so, I've noticed links to an Email Charter floating around the internets. What exactly is an Email Charter, you ask? Well, it might be my new favorite thing:

We're drowning in email. And the many hours we spend on it are generating ever more work for our friends and colleagues. We can reverse this spiral only by mutual agreement. Hence this Charter...

The Charter includes things like respect recipients' time; attack attachments; and slash surplus cc's. There are some days where I do feel like I'm drowning in email. Since I'm the only traciedesigns employee, I can't pass it off to anyone else to answer (or hand my work off so I can devote an entire day to responding to email). An Email Charter might not be the perfect solution, but when you're up to your eyeballs in email, it's a great start.




So last week I told you guys that I had split my days between work and play.

Well, late Friday afternoon, I turned my computer off, and I didn't turn it back on until this morning. And let me tell you--especially coming from someone who is tethered to her computer--it felt great. I'm sitting at my desk first thing Tuesday morning, and I don't feel stressed, I feel calm, and ready to take on my day.

I could have worked this weekend--lord knows I had plenty to do (fortunately no screaming deadlines), but I'm really trying hard to work on my work/life balance, and I think I got it right this weekend. It was a great mix of friends, beer, parties, kids, pools, beach and fireworks--I can't think of a better way to kick off summer.

(last night's gorgeous sunset as we waited for the fireworks)


Week off:

Sorry for the lack of posts this week, internet friends. This was the first full week of no school for my kids, and while the oldest and youngest had enough going on to keep them busy, the 7 year old (almost 8!) had a week of nada. To be fair, camp for her starts next week and continues for the rest of the summer, so I think 1 week of nothing was just fine.

But, she is 7 after all, and so boredom comes quick. We spent most of the week like this: let Mommy work in the morning, and we can do beach/playdates/whatever in the afternoon. She caught on quick.

So I haven't gone very far, friends; and I promise to be back starting next week... this week I just found myself with some sand between my toes (which was just fine by me).