Friday, May 30, 2008

Studio WeekEnd WrapUp

Yea! Thirstystone product samples arrived this week and they look fabulous!

We've got the wine series from their Ambiance collection that could easily transform into wall art -how neat is that? Plus, the paisley can be found on two items: the classic round for your mint julep or as part of Thirstystone's new line, Carsters, inserted in the cup holder of one's automobile. Snaps up! Snaps up!!

I may just host a Giveaway, so check back soon!

Secret Holiday Project Update
Sent images off to partner and she loved them. Stay tuned for details as I may just bring out the marching band during the holidays and host my own ticker tape on Madison avenue. I love how this project is developing.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

MACLove, PC Out, Game Over

I'm feeling a little like Lewis Black these past couple of weeks when it comes to Apple: Mac's in, PC's out, game over (include twitchy index finger pointin' straight atcha).

I've been committed to have my weekly one-to-one sessions at the Apple store and while my head isn't necessarily in the game this month (too much imagery on the gray matter), I'm enamoured with Mac.

There are sooo many nice surprises that reveal themselves to me as I work, that I wish I had someone with whom to share this adventure. Sure, Andrew understands -he initiated this change, but from a designer standpoint, well, it goes much deeper. The everyday way a person connects with the Mac is 'the way it should be.' I think the surprises are small features, but they're not -they're a part of the system. Like peanut butter is with jelly, the fundamentals are no accident, they're planned.

I do have one major complaint: Apple is too darned efficient. Period.

Andrew decided that it would be best if I had my own Shuffle and I agree. After borrowing his on a walk around the neighborhood this week on a most beautiful day, it was an extremely nice supplement. I really try not to fall in love with every gadget on set my hands on but this innocuous, simple tool encouraged me to keep walking -I continued enjoying the day. Miss Design-a-holic did not want to return the studio.

Andrew ordered the Shuffle from the Apple Web site Monday evening; it shipped from China Tuesday. An email encouraged Andrew to sign off on the FedEx slip that he could print out and hang on the front door for Friday's delivery, it arrived a day early. Imagine that.

Tomorrow, my Shuffle arrives (because I didn't answer the door). Now I just need to shuffle my butt back into the gym.

Where Did May Go??

I've been working like a mad dog all month attempting to get imagery out to vendors -specially after Surtex & NSS.

This week much of my time was eaten up helping out Second Chance with all of their last minute collateral needs for the upcoming auction; I'll probably want to initiate a postmortem on that ordeal.

Studio Tip 1: Collateral for any event needs to be planned, devised, and designed well in advance of say 6 months or more. This gives the studio time to source paper, printers, and even ask vendors to consider pro-bono work, otherwise micromanaging the mess at the end is a bad idea -a very bad idea.

Studio Tip 2: When you plan your events out a year in advance, go to the sources at the first of the year (that's January 2nd folks) to be placed on the waiting list. Many services will provide charity work but if you're not on that list, you could be wiped off because they've either made their selections and/or have an exclusive agreement with a similar charity in the neighborhood.

Studio Tip 3: If you're new to an organization and have the opportunity to forge a new path, ask how things were done previously; not because you want to emulate them, but because one needs to know the successes as well as the pitfalls. If you have access to the original designer, get in touch with her -she can outline everything she's done to help make your job easier.

Meanwhile, here's an excerpt from our travels this month that I forgot to post...

ICFF + Surtex
Sunday flew by faster than the speed of sound. Andrew woke feeling like crap so I had to do the thinking for both of us. Luggage got packed, we missed breakfast, taxied ourselves to Javits to check our bags at the luggage corral. Shew!

We managed to walk NSS quickly and efficiently, keeping a close eye on time. We needed to find the people I needed to meet and keep those appointments made prior to the show. Managed to find [most of] my colleagues at Surtex and conducted a small personal trend report. Hey Robin! Hey Andy! Sorry we missed you!

It was great to hear that mfg were receptive to my work and I think that by not exhibiting at Surtex this year forced me to work differently than if I had -preventing me from placing my all marketing/advertising eggs in one basket. Upon returning home, we both surmised that not exhibiting was a smart move on our part.

I have to say that I got as many pre-show inquiries as I would have if I had exhibited at Surtex. While my eyes give away my exhaustion, I'm finally seeing a turnaround in spite of the economy.

Boy, I sure don't miss those overpriced, less than stellar tasting tuna sandwiches at Javits anymore!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Ladies Night at the Wine Merchant - Tonight!

The Brief Scoop:
Wednesday, May 21:
Ladies Night at the Raleigh Wine Merchant.

Tastings from select wineries as well as substantial discounts on wine. Oh, and I'll be there with my art featuring... what else? Wine! A trunkshow with a few surprises, too, so you locals might just want to stop by.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Core77 Party

So, Andrew snagged for us entrance into the coveted Core77 Party during the infamous NYC Design week. Like an overworked travel agent that he is, he left the Secret Decoder Ring Email that was sent by the designstaff on our printer. As we sat helpless in RDU for over 3 hours waiting for our plane, we lamented the fact that we couldn't get secret directions to get to the party... then I remembered Jim.

Jim's a reliable friend who watches our pussycats from time to time and I knew he was scheduled to check in on the free range Saturday afternoon. I sent him a quick FAVOR SOS to his crackberry pleading for him to enjoy the cloak and dagger expedition down into Andrew's dungeon to find the secret directions. After tapping the directions with his wand and aloud he said, "I solemnly swear that I am up to no good", he sent them to my iTouch. Sweet!

Thanks Jim!

We were exhausted today after all the prep work and cool down walking thru ICFF, but I couldn't let Andrew's bum knee prevent us from making an appearance at this party where he scored tickets. After all, Jim went to all that trouble (probably hurting himself in the process) to get us directions...

Look for the huge Ping Pong Ball...

I'll tell ya, this party was a hellava lot more fun than the uptight party at the MOMA last year. This party was free, they had free pizza (although we didn't need it since we just gorging ourselves with warm chocolate cake and a glass of wine) and party tricks for us kids.

You gotta see what we got to do! Too many photos to just paste, so I'll put them into a slide show for you to enjoy.

For more Core77 party aftermath, go here.

Dinner at the Cupping Room

We made plans to hit the CuppingRoom after our ICFF walk to snarf down our favorite sandwiches: The LaPaysan.

It occurred to me the last time we were there, they had a photographer in taking ambient shots of the place. Walking out of the place, we spotted the very photo she took including us!! Naturally, I had to share my lack of sleep giddiness with someone -so I snagged the waitress during her cigarette break to drag her all the way thru the restaurant to the other side to show her this:

"You may not care, but that's okay. You see those people in the back left corner? That's us!!!"

Sure, they misspelled coffee, but I feel like Mike Wyzcowski in Monsters, Inc. when he had that barcode taped across his face on the cover of the magazine.

Check out the Polaroid photo she gave us last year.

Okay, enough narcissism for the day... er, maybe.


For some reason, we were able to get up at a reasonable hour without setting a clock this am and get to Javits. Unfortunately, we couldn't get our entrance badges for NSS because they weren't set up yet.

Travel Tradeshow Tip #1) Watch when shows begin and end at the Javits if they run concurrently. Just because the registration booth is set up doesn't mean it's comprehensive -it was only for exhibitors today.

Travel Tradeshow Tip #2) Make sure to register earlier than 2 weeks prior to the show so that you can have your passes mailed to you; these passes can get you into all 3 shows. We had to cough up $50/ea to get into walk the ICFF today -could have been free if I had been thinking a month ago! The plus side, is that as a visitor/buyer/design firm, other than an exhibitor, one gets a barcode applied to the badge so that you can have exhibitors *ping* you and send you the material you request -one doesn't have to carry it around like a beast of burden.

This show was immensely inspiring and met great product designers with whom I may be partnering in the future -depending on circumstances.

I gave Andrew the camera because he hasn't had a chance to play with it as ICFF is the *only* place folks will allow photos.

As design lovers, we loved the British design aesthetics. However, this piece was very intriguing because it looks like a digital image on the front, it's actually wood ends. We poked our pudgy fingers between the ends to confirm our eyes speculation.

For Jeanne

Bathtub Sightings

I wasn't on the prowl for bathtubs... until my feet started to ache.

Fireplace Sightings

I wasn't on the prowl for fireplaces... until I visualized myself in one of those cool bathtubs with a small inset fireplace frame on the wall... Ohhhhh, man...

Update: Rotating Fireplace Here.

PS. I'm sorry I'm remiss about product credits. We were so tired that it didn't occur to me until late tonight. If you're desperate to learn about these products, go to the site: for more info.

NYC: ICFF, Surtex, & NSS

Hurray! Postcards do work! I received a call from a major mfg Thursday asking to make an appointment while we walk the show this weekend. They are one of those, "Don't call us, we'll call you." Baby, I got the call!

After hours spent in front of the MAC growing my designer's rear, I was finally able to make printouts to toss into a book for appts this weekend only to sit at RDU for 4 hours waiting for our plane to arrive. Weather was bad in NYC last night and evidently, air traffic controllers are hard to come by, so we made friends with a hilarious guy from Microsoft while scoring a sandwich from Jersey Mike's next door.

This was the first time Andrew and I didn't fight over the window seat (yes, we're 12) because he happened upon a former colleague that he hadn't seen in years and we were seated next to her. Being a transplant to NYC, she gave me recommendation for a good nail salon. Yay!

After finally arriving, we decided to head to Penang for a late night dinner (sorry, Kate! but now I know it's on 72, between Amsterdam & Columbus) and enjoy our favorites.

Andrew's Bluesteel Pose at Penang

It was 12:30 by the time we got back to the room to crash. Oy.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Mother's Logic

I sent this to Madam for Mother's Day because I thought it was a scream. Last night I realized just how many new mother's I know and decided to post this just for you! Enjoy!

1. My mother taught me: TO APPRECIATE A JOB WELL DONE
'If you're going to kill each other, do it outside. I just finished cleaning.'

2. My mother taught me: RELIGION.
'You better pray that will come out of the carpet.'

3. My mother taught me: TIME TRAVEL
'If you don't straighten up, I'm going to knock you into the middle of next week!'

4. My mother taught me: LOGIC.
' Because I said so, that's why.'

5. My mother taught me: MORE LOGIC
'If you fall out of that swing and break your neck, you're not going to the store with me.'

6. My mother taught me: FORESIGHT.
'Make sure you wear clean underwear, in case you're in an accident.'

7. My mother taught me: IRONY
'Keep crying, and I'll give you something to cry about.'

8. My mother taught me about the science of OSMOSIS .
'Shut your mouth and eat your supper.'

9. My mother taught me: CONTORTIONISM.
'Will you look at that dirt on the back of your neck!'

10. My mother taught me about STAMINA.
'You'll sit there until all that spinach is gone.'

11. My mother taught me: WEATHER .
'This room of yours looks as if a tornado went through it.'

12. My mother taught me: HYPOCRISY.
'If I told you once, I've told you a million times. Don't exaggerate!'

13. My mother taught me: THE CIRCLE OF LIFE.
'I brought you into this world, and I can take you out.'

14. My mother taught me about BEHAVIOR MODIFICATION.
'Stop acting like your father!'

15. My mother taught me: ENVY.
'There are millions of less fortunate children in this world who don't have wonderful parents like you do.'

16. My mother taught me about ANTICIPATION.
'Just wait until we get home.'

17. My mother taught me: RECEIVING .
'You are going to get it when you get home!'

18. My mother taught me: MEDICAL SCIENCE.
'If you don't stop crossing your eyes, they are going to freeze that way.'

19. My mother taught me: ESP.
'Put your sweater on; don't you think I know when you are cold?'

20. My mother taught me: HUMOR.
'When that lawn mower cuts off your toes, don't come running to me.'

21. My mother taught me: HOW TO BECOME AN ADULT .
'If you don't eat your vegetables, you'll never grow up.'

22. My mother taught me: GENETICS.
'I swear you're just like your father.'

23. My mother taught me about my ROOTS.
'Shut that door behind you. Do you think you were born in a barn?'

24. My mother taught me: WISDOM .
'When you get to be my age, you'll understand.'

'One day you'll have kids, and I hope they turn out just like you!

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Wednesday Woes

While I'm not exhibiting at Surtex this year, Andrew and I are walking the show including NSS & ICFF. As I struggle to get imagery done for client meetings I've set up for Saturday & Sunday, I'm also churning new ideas for the 2nd Ladies Night being held next Wednesday. Man, I wish there were more hours in the day!

Prior to our trip to Vegas, I had one of my favorite charities ask for a logo for their Annual Auction as well as a few pieces of print collateral. How could I say no? Sigh. Well, Spring always seems to be an extremely busy time for me compounded by what else, the common cold -what a nuisance. I've been saddled with a darn chest cold since our return and it has naturally, eaten into my critical design time.

Below, you can enjoy the collateral I designed for the upcoming auction. Hope to see you there -SCPA has got some great raffles this year!

Second Chance Pet Adoption Auction Logo, Raffle Flyer, Wine Tasting

Auction Letters and Sponsor Outline

Sunday, May 04, 2008

MAC + Podcasting: Embracing My New Frontier

Because I want to become intimately familiar with the amenities of my new iMAC PDQ, I have acquiesced to purchasing the one-to-one sessions at the local Apple store.

I had my first session last Friday afternoon with Andrea. Andrea was very good-natured and immensely tolerant of my forcing her to listen to my free-wheelin' intro created in GarageBand. Once she traversed my terrain of spotty MAC knowledge, she was able to provide succinct guidance into the world of 'look like you know what you're doing' within my chosen subject: Podcasting.

I have to say, I'm extreeemly excited to learn this vehicle of marketing and communication.

Another smart product that comes out of Apple are the session guides: this helps Andrea and myself go thru the checklist to identify just how much I don't know. She began to understand my MAC knowledge base and would interject crossover hints from one application to another -thank you for that! Since the one-to-one cost is ~$100 for 52 weeks, I'm getting some pretty hefty knowledge for just $1.92/per session or $8.33/mo or $.27/day.

Now that I'm becoming versed in the new frontier of podcasting, what subject matter would you like to learn from me?

Quiet Thought for the Day: I will learn to love MAC. I will learn to love MAC.