Friday, July 31, 2009

What To Wear?

I'm trying to decide what to wear tonight since I'm in this 1940's mood lately and I just watched La Vie En Rose (amazing, why I didn't see it earlier I have no idea). So anyway, I don't have anything 40's to wear that I like and I spent an hour at Target today and didn't find anything that would work so I'm settling on a high waisted pencil skirt and a sort of Kat von D crossed with a 40's pinup girl hair.
As I was changing purses, I found this little wallet that I got at Urban Outfitters a few years ago, I love finding things I deemed "not cute anymore" and voila, they're cute again.
I also got these sunglasses today, I am so in love with these!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Tub Gin

This gin is from Philadelphia but you can order it from the site to anywhere. The reason I'm posting it is because the site is really, really cool. See it here.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Monster Skin Rug

This monster skin rug (whatever your monster may be) is awesome. via WeCovet

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Stress Relievers I Learned From TV and Old Movies.

Ever noticed how people in old movies are a little.... well..... cheerier than the reality TV of today? I started watching old movies because I found them to be a great escape into a different time, when problems were big but no one really seemed to let it consume them. They still had to have their cup of coffee, and their lovers, and possibly sing about it. I have picked up a few ways to deal with stress from them that I wanted to share:

Give Yourself Some Zen Stress Time: I am finding it hard to admit this but I learned the most recent one on the show Lost, which I finally caved in and started watching from the beginning with the New Jersey-ite. Jack counts to 5 when he gets really stressed out about something and then moves on. He does it because he has to survive and can't sit paralyzed by fear, anger, or stress. Neither can we. I've had some serious "meltdowns" in the last few months and I have started giving myself this advice and it works well. When you have an intense moment of stress, simply give yourself 1 minute to be stressed. During this minute you should focus on your worry, tell yourself it will not be ok, and that the world is in fact over. Really concentrate on what that fear or stress feels like. After the minute is over, you will find it much easier to move on and start figuring out solutions. I think part of what keeps me stressed out is the fact that the moment I feel it, I tell myself that I should not be, thus making it much worse.
Lean On People: Blanche's famous line from A Streetcar Named Desire "I've always depended upon the kindness of strangers" and Holly Golightly's embodiment of leaning on people in Breakfast At Tiffany's can teach us something about stress. Old movies frequently show the type of leaning on people that isn't very popular nowadays: every relationship isn't 100% even between give and take all the time (something that's not easy for a type A like myself to remember). When you're stressed, it's cool to ask your close circle to "be a dear and help".
Fake It: Mad Men's Don Draper (and my personal hero) doesn't mope around with stress. Ever. And everyone thinks he's just amazing, cool, calm and collected. Even when things are really not going well for him at home or at work. Here's an article that gives some tips to creating the appearence of confidence.
Cabaret is another good one for faking it. Liza Minelli struggles with a failing career the entire movie but shows up in a great outfit with a "show must go on" attitude.
Others you should watch when you're stressed:
An American In Paris
Bonjour Tristesse
Seven Year Itch

Want To See Facebook's New Offices?

It's designed by O+A, a firm that has plenty of online start-up office design experience (they did Paypal's office as well as You can do all the usual things that start-ups encourage like moving furniture and writing on the walls. I love that there is a grown up vibe to it and even has some creative touches like the crane table. Bravo Facebook, I was kind of expecting it to look like a McDonald's Playland.

A Stick Man Lamp

Friday, July 24, 2009

A Creative Person You Should Know About: News

She's a female graffiti artist in Mexico that calls herself NEWS and she's collaborated with some really big names on some walls in Mexico City. I love her playful style, you can see her other work here.


Brand New Imogen Heap - First Train Home

I've always really liked her, and twice when she was in Milwaukee I have had the pleasure of hanging out with her and all of her sound crew. They were so much fun, but she does take a long time coming out with new music. This is called First Train Home.

Art Shelves

These are by Maria Yasko and are so brilliant!

I Love Stop Motion: Thanks Audi!

Audi Q5 from on Vimeo.

I didn't even realize this was an Audi commercial till the very end. Well done!

Artist Takes His Money From The Bank, And Why Freelancers Should Be Paying Attention.

If you've haven't read the story yet, the short version is that New Zealand bank Westpac declined to give prominant artist Roger Griffith a loan for a home. despite the fact that he'd been banking there for 25 years. He decided to remove his $190,000 in 20's and move to a local bank.
The interesting part of this story?
The bank wouldn't give Roger a loan because, as an artist, he couldn't show a steady source of income. Even though he made plenty of money and had plenty of assets. Kind of like a freelancer. Kind of exactly like a freelancer actually.
The thing is, every time I turn around I'm meeting a new 20 something self start. They are extremely talented, they understand how to do business, and they know how to work with other freelancers or small businesses to get larger jobs done. Creatives are increasingly "going off on their own".
But we won't be getting home loans if we ask large banks?
It seems to me like those rules are getting just a touch archaic. As business practices change and freelancing loses the stigma of "I work out of my car and make no money", large institutions will have to change as well.
Here's a great Freelancers Union to check out if you're in the New York area. (You can join if you're not in the area too, you just won't be able to participate in as much but it's really nice to know this group is there.)
With the business perks set up mostly for large businesses, it's difficult as a freelancer to navigate these systems but as the numbers of freelancers grow exponentially as layoffs continue and the tech industry continues to boom, it will be interesting to see how the banks will react.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

You Are Going To Love

I know it's not new or anything but if you're using Twitter and not, then your morning is about to get a whole lot better. I just started using it and now I am talking about it constantly. You can track how many clicks your posts are getting and that's a wonderful thing I hadn't been tracking before. Go try it!

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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Rings Right Out Of Alice And Wonderland.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Virgin Mobile Ad In The UK Blows Ours Away.

Commercial in the UK for Virgin mobile by RKCR/Y&R
So much better than what we're showing in the US right?

Help's New Packaging Is Really Good.

via Dieline
I love the simplicity of this packaging!
"Help is a new brand of over-the-counter healthcare products. Our mission is to make solving simple health issues simple. We find the best solution there is, and take away everything else. By stripping away some of the complexity and fear mongering of the health industry, we hope to make the category friendlier and more accessible, and in doing so empower people to make their own health decisions."


The 30's Are In, Even If Most Of Us Don't Remember Them.

I recently had a discussion with a new friend (T) about "sophisticated drinking". We both were over the whole club scene and were looking for places that were sophisticated but not stuffy. I don't want a $16 Cosmo anymore, just a good gin drink. But not a dive bar, someplace you could still kind of dress up. It seems that the New York Times agrees, an article last week pointed out that sales of "bottle service" are way down. In fact, they are so down that some clubs are shutting down only to re-open as a more low-key locale.
Let's face it, flaunting your bling is over, over, over.
So what's in, in, in?
Well, from the look of things:
The 30's. The economical climate wasn't so different than it is now. We're seeing it in our fashion, and especially in our hair. Why? Because you can change your hair and headgear for next to nothing. You don't have to buy a new dress or spend a dime. If you want some 30's hair tips, go here. Topshop
Homemade. Sites with homemade or handmade goods like Etsy are booming and when I was home yesterday, my mom was reading this cool book about making things. Amazon has a load of them here.
If you need some ideas, decorate your fridge like a mood board. Or do it simple, like this one (that butterfly pic in a tiny frame would be so easy to duplicate). I love that simple get togethers are in vs. expensive ventures out. You could even have fun with your dinner parties and have them in a secret locale. I'm planning a "secret dinner party" soon so I'll let you know how it works out and give you a step by step.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Escalator High Five - Improv Everywhere

I love this little scene by Improv Everwhere. Happy Monday!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Things You Can Do With Fake Fish.

I've been buying fake fish for about a year now. I have no idea why or what it means but I did it again this weekend. Maxwell Days is where all of the stores on State Street set up booths to get rid of a lot of inventory. For me, it's a place to pick up things like fake fish and horror movies on the cheap. Got these little guys for 25 cents. What can you do with fake fish you might ask?
You can give them to people you hardly know as a little present.
You can leave them in public sinks to give people a laugh
You can decorate your bathroom or desk with them

Here's one I got a few months ago:

KOZO Lamps. Can I Make This?

Friday, July 17, 2009

Rough Ring

The top is done in a diamond finish - and is done by Israeli designer Artalgal. I don't even want to know how much it is....

Thursday, July 16, 2009

New Starburst Ad

If This Is Camping Then Sign Me Up

I am not a "camper" per say. I have gone camping but it's just not my idea of a great time. That said, I would "camp" any day of the week in this gorgeous "tent". This company builds them custom for weddings, spas, resorts, etc.

I Fired A Client And It Was A Lot Like Going Platinum Blonde

Let me start this out by saying I am in no position to turn work away. In fact, are small businesses ever in a position to do that? I think a lot of smart, sane people would advise that I should be taking everything. Everything I can to get upright, and to get stable but gluing myself to this desk reworking this proposal for the 90th time just wasn't sitting well with me.
It's not that I had other things I wanted to do right at that moment, or that I was sick of working on it. To the contrary I've been known to doggedly work at projects for hours and hours at a time until my eyeballs feel as though they might never go back to normal. This wasn't anything like that.

This was more that I knew this particular client wasn't going to like version 90 of this proposal either. Why? Because they wanted something for a price I wasn't willing to give. They wanted me to return with a quote that just wasn't going to happen. So I shave a deliverable here and there. I tell them that their team has to help me do some things. I tell them that we'll just do one thing at a time. They still want the whole kit and kaboodle for the price they want.
I feel like telling them that I stroll through Neiman Marcus all the time with the same idea. Instead I tell them I'll take a look again.

Eventually I realize that we probably can't work together. This is really scary because I'm pretty sure that they are going to tell the whole world that I have an evil plan to...... make money. Or that I'm unaccommodating. Unhelpful. My other alternative was to take a huge hit on the project which I can't do and I wondered how far I should go to reach an agreement? 90 proposals? 100?

Then I remember back when I wanted to be platinum blonde. My hair is nearly black. I went to a great salon in Las Vegas and after about half an hour of talking to me and brushing my hair, they stylist tells me "I won't do it". I was livid. "I don't think you know what kind of upkeep this is going to involve". I told him I knew just fine and just make it happen. No stylist had ever told me that they simply wouldn't provide what I asked for. I stormed out and vowed to never go to such an "awful salon" again and found a salon that happily took 7 hours and $350 to make me platinum blonde.

The short ending to this story is that my hair had to be cut off very short due to bleach damage and I spent hundreds of dollars keeping it up. I felt like sending a fruit basket to that first stylist for 1) telling me no to something he knew wouldn't work and 2) teaching me to say no to people that I am potentially being paid by.

I don't even speak to the salon that made me blonde.


If There's One Thing I've Learnt: Sustainability Site For Creatives

I like the idea of having creatives and people from all industries weighing in on the idea of sustainability. My favorite obsession is sustainable furniture and used materials as the basis of new design so I went to the site the minute I saw this trailer. One Thing I've Learnt is still working on the community aspect but there's some good video from professionals like Liane Rossler of Dinosaur Designs.

Become A Zombie T-Shirt

This awesome shirt made my morning! Get it at San Diego's Comicon.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Weezer Covers MGMT And Lady Gaga

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

A Twist On The Whole "Keep Calm" Thing.

love this.

Playhouse In The Clouds

When I saw this on Dailyobsessional, I had the overwhelming feeling that if I were to see this in person I would have to climb in there despite any attempts to stop me. It's made by Dietrich Wegner from Australia but has been working all over the US for years.
It really reminds me of this cave I saw in Moab, Utah about 5 years ago. The cave was halfway up a cliff and I climb poorly. Also I'm afraid of heights. Also, my boyfriend at the time thought it would not be a good idea for me to climb up there. A small group of hikers stopped and weighed in as well, we all agreed that it should not be climbed.
An hour later I was scanning the view from the cave which should not be climbed to and it was awesome and totally worth risking death for. Granted it took me at least an hour near tears to get down and a small crowd had gathered with their dogs to watch me plummet but it was still worth it.
Now, this cloud house is not anywhere near as dangerous but how could you not want to hang out in there?

Lawn Chairs Made From Lawn - Thanks Netherlands!

via designboom
These "lawnge charis" made by Lisette Spee and Tim Ven Den Burg are available at Valkenburg Park in the Netherlands and are made from metal and artificial grass.
I love how lately a lot of deisgners are submitting work for public spaces, particularly in the Netherlands.


Monday, July 13, 2009

5 Things You Can Learn From The Service Industry

I waited tables for a lot of years starting in high school and ending well after college. I slung pizza, sushi, sandwiches, Osso Bucco, Veal, $3 mugs of beer and $300 bottles of wine. I did high end and low brow. 3 tables in a night and 30. It turned out to be, in my opinion, as educational as my college degree. In fact, I suspect it might have been even more valuable because I draw on lessons I learned in those kitchens every single day of my career. Here are the top 5.

1) People are there because they want something. It's the same with your business. Everyone is calling you for a reason. It's your job to figure out what that is. You'd think it's easy in a restaurant right? Wrong. Food is just the beginning. Some people are there because they want you to be their tour guide and tell them cool spots in the city, some are there to be waited on hand and foot, some people want to learn about the type of cuisine you're serving. The nature of your relationship with clients will be the same. Some will want complete help, all the time, on call. Some will want to feel like they came up with all the ideas you came up with. You need to know the difference.
2) Learn to make suggestions. This one was big for me and really helped me later in my career. Here's a restaurant secret: most people will order whatever you suggest to them. They want you to take the whole menu and condense it down to your 1 or 2 favorites and they will choose from those. Like a menu, lots of businesses provide too many services and people don't want to choose from all of that. They want you to (from number one) "find out what they want" and suggest something for them. If you are one of those waitresses that can't spot a tired, hungry person that just wants you to tell them what's good, you won't get anywhere.
Learn to do this in business too. Between blogging, video, podcasting, Twitter, and the millions of ways to connect with people online I've found it best to figure out a few that would really work well for them and let them choose among those instead of the whole laundry list.
3) Reading People 101. Part of finding out what your client or even your own boss wants means you'll have to read people quickly. Malcolm Gladwell has a great book called Blink that has some great theories on quickly picking up information about people. People in the service industry are some of the best people readers I've ever seen. Recognizing in 2 seconds that your table is really over-hungry and arriving with a bread basket before you even bring waters can be the difference between a great table and a complete disaster. If food is taking forever and you can see your table becoming frustrated, I'll bring out the best appetizer we've got for free because $10 on the restaurant is nothing compared to a pissed off client. Now that Twitter allows complaints to be national in a moments time, this is even more important.
Learn to read signs of annoyance in your clients or boss and head them off before the explosion.
4) The Sky is the Limit. I was drawn to the restaurant business for 1 simple reason: I could make more money there if I tried than I could getting paid hourly. This set-up always appealed to me (and still does, it's why I have my own company) because I'm the type of person that needs to know that great work will be rewarded. Try this with your employees. Reward great behavior and incentivise them. Entrepreneurial employees are good to have around but they like to know that if they go the extra step, you will as well.
In the service industry, I knew that if I was cranky and did the bare minimum, I wouldn't make much money and on the flip side I could make all sorts of connections and money if I was extroverted and friendly.
5) Taking Care of People. My Service Industry friends and I always talk about this but you'll never see a group of bartenders or restaurant owners squabbling over splitting a bill. Why? Because it's uncomfortable and in an industry that works on tips, uncomfortable is bad. I'm not suggesting you pick up every tab for a client or that this is all about client dinners. The point is, you have to be sensitive to awkwardness at meetings, presentations, etc. and learn to eliminate it.


Rollip: A Site That Says You Can Still Have Polaroids

This site is really cool and super easy to use. It's called Rollip.
All you have to do is upload your photo and choose which kind of old Polaroid effect you want and presto, you have the Polaroid effect. It even comes back with the classic white frame around it.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Cover

Music for your Friday.

A Creative Person You Should Know About:Thomas Bendel

Thomas Bendel is a German architect that makes very simple homes that I have just fallen in love with. It's very difficult to do simple rooms like these and still make them feel warm and he uses books in many of his designs to tone down the museum effect a bit. Great idea!
This is my problem: I spend so much time on these design and architecture sites and now that I am searching for a new place to live in Madison it's difficult to love anything.
Aren't there any German designed warehouses here?