Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Easiest Thing To Make In Fall: Applesauce

I started making my own applesauce last year after a girlfriend made it one night and it was so yummy and easy I made it for the next 9 consecutive nights. It can serve as a snack or a whole meal if you're apple crazy like me.
6 apples (I like a more tart apple variety)
apple pie spice (cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg will do too)
** put about 1/4 cup water and cut each apple into about 8 pieces. Cook covered over medium heat for about 20 min. sprinkle in the spice and 1/4 cup sugar during the process. I like a lot of spice and less sugar but you can put in as much as you want. The apples should basically fall apart when it's done.
Cool Idea If You're Having A Dinner Party: Get several varieties of apples and make a few batches and you can have your own applesauce tasting!


Great Artists Steal: Jeff Veen

I like this video by Jeff Veen (freshcreation) that gives some background to the notion of "stealing" vs. "copying". It's a really relevant concept now that ideas, art, concepts, words, and images can be so freely shared and taken credit for.
Anyone in the creative industry should give this a watch.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Guy Apartment: Tattoo Dishes

Since I'm trying to help several guys design their apartments right now, I've had my eye out there for things that are a little bit more masculine in design. These dishes look like tattoos and are $50 for a set of 4. From Velocity.

The Ting Tings With Wale - Music Goodness!!

I love the Wale addition in this Skeet and Tito remix. Great Friday listen.

Drinking Straw Chair

By Scott Jarvie - not use able but very cool. via Chairblog

Feeling Homeless? Is This The Future?

“There are no foreign lands. It is the traveler only who is foreign.” - Robert Louis Stevenson

I have several places that I routinely sleep these days and it's making me crazy. Since the move in situation, it has taken me approximately 1 week to get sick of lugging my stuff back and forth and I have moved the majority of my stuff into the New Jersey-ite's apartment.
Also in the last few weeks, I started working a few days a week out of Chicago and I have a friend that lets me crash at his place while I'm there. I also stop by my apartment to work, hang out, and watch all the Bravo shows that the New Jersey-ite hates.
As a result, I have clothes in my car, in Chicago, at the New Jersey-ite's, and at my place. It makes me feel homeless but it also feels like this allows me to have my cake and eat it too.
With work environments starting to warm up to the idea of autonomous workers (working from home, less unecessary meetings, etc.) it seems like this type of nomadic-ness could become more and more common, particularly for those of us in the online world.
Another thing I've noticed is that my online dependance has gotten a lot stronger since all of this running around started. I no longer have "my coffee shop", I have 4 (1 by my apartment, 2 by the New Jersey-ite's, and 1 in Chicago). I no longer go to a regular grocery store, I have tons of them. I rarely visit the same restaurant twice anymore. The bottom line is, my comfort zone is no longer existant, which makes my comfort zone the blogs I visit and the sites I go to. Weird huh?
As we become more and more mobile and have more and more friends in different cities, could it be feasible that we have dinner in Cleveland on Friday, drinks in NY on Sat., and show up for work with a new client in Atlanta on Monday? I have noticed a lot of this going on already within the online leaders.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

If You're In Chicago..... Go To Kuma's

I'd read a lot of the press on how amazing Kuma's is before I went there so I was prepared for the let-down of an overhyped restaurant. All of the burgers are named after metal bands and you'll wait a relatively long time for your food but ohhhhhh.... it's worth it! I had the Iron Maiden and couldn't finish it despite a $5 bet that I could.

Overheard: "See, I'm more worried about being squished by the roof."

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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Online World Could Have Saved Me A Trip To Santa Fe.

I stumbled across a really cool site called Traveler's Notebook this afternoon courtesy of an old college friend of mine. This friend knew me during my... err...... somewhat wilder days when I wanted to be a travel writer. I would wait for my FAFSA check to come and immediately book flights with the entire thing. The cost of hotels I would cover by offering to write stories about them that they could use however they wanted. In 2003, this kind of thing actually worked on occasion.
Anyway, this site has a section for travel writer wannabe's and perusing it, I found myself kind of angry that none of this existed when I was trying to break into that field. In fact, it's how I ended up moving to Santa Fe.
See, I found out Santa Fe was where the illustrious Outside Magazine was based (back when things like print media were working a little better) so the minute I graduated college I bought a truck and raced down there where I knew no one at Outside Magazine or otherwise. I was sure they would hire me instantly after seeing my genius.
Long story short, they not only didn't want to hire me but they didn't even want to meet with me and that's how I ended up in Santa Fe for 2 years writing radio ads. This turned out pretty well for me but still, I wish I would have had cool sites of other travel writer wannabe's then.

Monday, August 24, 2009

A Site You Should Know About: Brazen Careerist

I've met some really cool people this year online which is funny because 10 years ago being friends with people online that you'd never met was creepy.
Years later, I made a career out of it and one of the places that helped me meet a lot of those cool people was Brazen Careerist. It's a social community for next gen professionals where you can meet other people at different places in their careers. I've e-mailed back and forth with people helping them ask for a raise or how to start your own business and they have helped me with problems like:
Help, I hate my blog lately.
How to manage your career if you're creative (meaning, I can't manage a calendar).
Is a long distance relationship totally out of the question if you have a demanding career?
How to find a mentor.

They've relaunched today so go meet some people. Here's some of my favorites:
Grace Boyle
Jun Loayza
Matt Cheuvront
Honey and Lance

The Candle Problem And Why Our Incentives At Work Don't Work

This video is great - Dan Pink makes some very heady points about incentives and how they impact performance. Turns out that dangling carrots can actually create poorer performance because. Worth a watch.

Be Nice Or Leave Dishtowl

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Weekend Project: Upcycling A Bookshelf

I have always been really into finding ways to update ugly, cheap / free, or outdated furniture. Fortunately for me, the New Jersey-ite appears to be a collector of this sort of thing. During the move, a lot of this stuff went to the dump but we still have enough left over for a lot of weekends of upcycling. I hadn't heard the term until this year but it seems like it's gaining momentum as the description of choice for updating household items like furniture.
It's a relatively inexpensive way to make something new and cool and if it doesn't work out (which mine sometimes don't) you don't feel so bad about throwing it out. I mean, you tried right?
This weekend we've decided to make over one of the New Jersey-ite's bookshelves and turn it into a spice cabinet for the kitchen.
This is what you'll need:
old, ugly bookshelf
rental sander - we got it from Home Depot for $10 for 24 hours
Sandpaper Rounds - $4
2 paint brushes - $7
plasitc to put on the ground - $4
paint - $12 (high gloss wall paint works great)
hanging brackets - they are triangular $9
Total Cost - $46

The best part about buying the paint was when the Home Depot paint mixer said "wow, anyone buying this color must really know what they are doing."
The New Jersey-ite looks at me sideways since I was the one who picked the color and insisted that it would look good.
This was my inspiration:
I love the white with the bright green, it's different and fresh looking. Out kitchen is white, with white, white cabinets, with a splash of white. It needed a splash of something, ANYTHING colorful.


Thursday, August 20, 2009

Salt Air - Chew Lips

I love this!

Patch Cabinet - Wis Design. Thanks Sweden!

Lisa Widén and Anna Irinarchos are Swedish designers that are making some very cool things under the name Wis design. When I first saw it, I though they were from Wisconsin.....


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A Hilarious Reason Why Robot Cops Are not Going To Work.

The video is introduced by the mayor of Atlanta and it's about "future robot cops" . Ummm.... the problem is, a 3 year old could beat up that robot by tipping it over. It gets stuck for a minute by a curb AND it's controlled by a remote control. Operated by a person. That must be watching..... so actually the "robot cops" will just be our neighbors with a remote control robot. I feel safer already.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Raft Table That I'm Certain I Need

by Andre Joya and made from re purposed beams. The feel of this table is so heavy and sturdy and exactly what I want in coffee table that gets a lot of feet on it. I had a glass topped one in college and I always felt that I couldn't relax around it because I was afraid it would break (it did).


TweetleJuice! Saving Us From Boring Tweets....

This is pretty funny.


Monday, August 17, 2009

A Creative Person You Should Know About: Patrick Dougherty

via Dornob
With over 150 installations worldwide, Dougherty trains trees to grow into inhabitable spaces in fields, forests, or even more urban areas. Aren't they cool?


Tellin' Time: Upcycled Gear Clock

Clocks from old bike gears at her Etsy shop by 1byLiz.


Friday, August 14, 2009

Music For Your Friday - Metric, Sick Muse

I found Metric about 6 months ago and have been listening to them ever since. She's got a great dress that I want in this video.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Love Anna James - Graffiti Cabinet From London

This wardrobe by Love Anna James is just so spectacular, so London and rocker looking.

Popping Edamame Keychain

What better way to combine your love of Japanese food and utilitarian items than the Edamame Keychain! Isn't it adorable? The edamame bean that pops out will have one of 12 random faces and is only $10. I can't wait to give one of these to someone.


Thinking Of "Starting Your Own Thing?" Here's Why I Failed.

My first business failed in 2005. It failed the night of my last fashion show (my business did guerrilla marketing and fashion events) which I thought was the best one I'd ever done. It was artistic, beautiful people were showing up, and I had thought of every detail. Still, that night a model had her purse stolen from the hotel room we had rented for models to change in, the hotel was demanding that I pay for the entire contents of a couple of mini-bars (which was consumed by a combo of models and make-up artists), and the spray tan people had clearly ruined the bathroom which I knew I would probably have to pay for too. I went home that night with a rave review of the show and knew I was going to close my business.

Since then, I've had a lot of time to think about why that business didn't succeed, especially since I have "gone and done my own thing" again this year. (This is either a classic case of perseverance or classic case "doesn't learn from mistakes"). Here are a few lessons I learned from that business that I think could help you if you are thinking of starting your own thing too.

1) Don't Try To Be Nice. This was, I think, the biggest reason my first business failed. Most of the people that you will work with when you first "start your own thing" will be friends and members of your network. You will want to give them a great deal for working with you and won't bother sending them an invoice since you are friends and you know they will pay you on time. When they don't pay you on time you will send them a friendly e-mail asking them to please remit payment. You will continue to work on the project so that you are at least working on something and they will eventually pay you a month late just as they owe you for another billing cycle. Now they are a month behind. You are angry and they are avoiding you.
Lesson: Write a contract. For everything. With everyone. It might feel awkward but it will make things easier for both parties. I am surprised how many small businesses still don't write contracts for services.

2) Don't Underprice. When you "start your own thing" you will be tempted to put yourself out there at a huge bargain because your confidence level will probably be a little low about how great your new business is. This is a huge mistake that I made. I allowed a client to pay me around a quarter of what they should have in my eagerness to work with them and they were very high maintenance. I don't mind high maintenance as long as I'm being compensated for that. If you must give someone a great deal, write the contract for a short time (3 or 6 months) so that you have the option to raise your price later.
Because of the high maintenance client, I didn't have time to search for new business. Not only did they underpay me but they also removed opportunity for new income streams. This was completely my fault because I did not figure out what my bottom line income needed to be.
Lesson: Do the Research. Find out what other professionals are charging and be competitive but not way under market value. If you bill too low, you will be working your butt off and not making ends meet and you won't have time to pick up better projects because you are overwhelmed with business that's not paying you enough.

3) Choose Your Alliances Carefully. Eventually, you will meet other people that want to collaborate or team up. This is tricky because you want to do this. For a while, I insisted that I do everything on my own but my network remained small and everything I learned I had to search out myself.
Then I teamed up with a company that had a cool product but a terrible reputation. I thought their reputation was harsh and decided to work with them anyway which was a huge mistake because I spent a ton of time defending their honor and not enough time working. This cost me a lot of money and people associated me with these people.
Then I teamed up with an even smaller company that I wanted to "help out". Mistake number 2. You can't help another company until you are successful enough to help them.
Lesson: Go With Your Gut. This is a touchy-feely answer I know but it works. If you meet someone a few times and they come off as sleazy, sales-y, insincere, or rude and they want to work with you: don't. Even if they have a huge business that is thriving. Even if the deal seems great. If it seems like they screw other people over a lot believe me, you will not be the exception. Collaborate with people you trust and who can help you. Do not collaborate with people you trust but cannot help you.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

X-Ray Umbrella

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

I'm Glad That Exists has turned one of my favorite games into a site. It's a collection of the most self indulgent Tweets and perfect for your Wed. morning. Do yourself a favor and go check it out.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Let's Take A Moment For Cake! Pie Pops!

I swear that when I saw these, it was like Christmas. I'm not sure it's healthy that sugar and cake can make me as happy as they do. Seriously. It's embarrassing, but I love it. These pie pops are like little nuggets of heaven right? And it appears as though they are make-able.


Now This Is A Brilliant Chair - Thanks Spain!

This is another one of those inventions that everyone should adopt now. Chairs made entirely of pillows. By Marti Guixe


Art & Copy - I Will See This The Minute It Comes Out.

Geek alert, I saw that there's a movie about advertising that's coming out. It actually looks pretty interesting. Already I can tell it's about ideas and where they come from which is one of my absolute favorite topics. Enjoy!

Where Will The Creatives Go When The Arts Classes Are Gone?

I didn't go to school to do anything creative. I thought for a while I'd go to medical school but ended up not really connecting with my bio classes. So I switched to Journalism. It was an easy choice since it seemed like the "grown up answer" to being "a writer", which is what I really wanted to be. Truthfully, I had some classes in the journalism school that I liked but I was always being yelled at for putting in my two cents on every story. My elective classes were what really made my college experience amazing.
I took ballet. Beginners ballet started at 8AM to discourage girls from taking it "just for fun". They wanted serious dancers only and while I ended up there hungover more than once, I loved the classes so much that I never missed even one class. I also befriended the dancers in the high level courses and though I never made it anywhere with dance, I always look back on that short time where I was remotely graceful as a great time in my life.
I also took creative writing classes. In fact, I took every single creative writing class that the school offered and when I ran out, I designed my own classes under the watchful eye of my favorite writing teacher.
The point of all this?
I had choices to take art and dance. I'm worried with colleges cutting arts, theater, and dance that students will have less choices to try out creative classes. The New York Times reported again today that entire arts programs are disappearing from college campuses. While students that intend to be artists (and know it early enough to apply to art school) will not be as affected, what about the people going to school for journalism that have creative leanings? What about the accounting major that might want to get a minor in fine art?
As a result of my art classes (elective), I developed an appreciation for images and words together that led me to the advertising world. I would never have chosen that field on my own. My creative electives were absolutely instrumental in my career development.
And what did ballet bring me? I am as ungraceful as ever but I met some really fun people, learned enough steps that I can watch ballets without being bored, and have a photo of myself in my dance outfit that I love. Well worth the 3 college dance classes that I took.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Chlorophyll Skin

A Birdcage For A Boy House.

Since I'm officially helping 2 guys decorate their apartments (New Jersey and The Burger Guy) so I'm on the lookout for good guy apartment designs. This will likely lead to several posts on the subject but if you have any go-to sites that have cool stuff, let me know.
I like this wall vinyl by Hu2 Designs - they aren't very expensive but have to be shipped from the UK. I also like this kitchen Corkscrew design.

New Little Boots - Remedy

I Love the video. Love her hair in that side bun thingy. I think you could do a normal-ish version pretty easily.
I'm choosing to ignore the obvious Lady Gaga stealing though.....

"I Work On The Internet" Isn't A Good Job Description And Why You'll Need To Make Something Up For Parties.

I work on the Internet. I use the word "blog" all the time and I know when Twitter is down and if Yahoo is trying to hire talent away from other companies. I can work with companies to get themselves to look a little cooler online if they want or tell them if people are complaining about them on Twitter and a lot of other geeky stuff that takes forever to explain.
The problem is we didn't get a one word description over here in online land to describe what we do so I've started dreading people asking me. It kind of goes like this:
"So, what do you do Caitlin?"
"Well, I work on the Internet. I mean, I help companies to use social media to talk to their customers online."
"Oh, like Facebook. I love Facebook but we're not allowed to use it at work."
"sort of." And from there I spiral into what can only be described as a geeky mess of words only 2% of the population knows about and the person is really sorry they even asked me and definitely doesn't want to be friends with me anymore. So I ask them what they do and they can say something simple like banker or pharmaceuticals.

Here's what I've started doing instead:
"So what do you do Caitlin?"
"Well, last night I went and saw 500 Days of Summer. I like to try and see every movie I'm exited about on the first day it comes out."
"I'm really into photography and I'm a hell of an apartment fixer."

Because this is true too and will not lead to a conversation about Facebook use during work time. I've thought of saying "I work in social media", but now it's such a hot topic that it's almost meaningless. The cool thing about this whole predicament is that I realized how often we ask each other "what do you do?" and what it means. We are really asking "how do you want to relate to me?". This can be work but you can answer with a hobby or whatever you want and I've gotten into some pretty cool conversations as a result.
Homework for this weekend: Pay attention to how many people ask "what do you do?" and answer each time with something other than your profession.


Wednesday, August 5, 2009

A Twist On The Whole "Keep Calm" Thing: 2

I can't get enough of these twists on the "Keep Calm and Carry On" theme - Etsy T-shirt.
via Outblush


Not Moving In - Double The Stuff or Lug It Back And Forth?

I have always been the type of girl that likes her own space. I've posted on it, I talk about it, and on date 10 or so I generally bring it up to anyone I'm seeing in case they think that someday I'll be the type of girl that likes to move in.
Not that I won't, just that I don't really like it. For example, I moved in with a boyfriend several years ago and told him that his closet would have to be in another room since all of my clothes were completely filling the one in the bedroom. He took his arm, SHOVED my clothes to the side leaving a foot or so of empty bar space and said "yeah there is, look!" He made it one month after that.
So now, I'm dating the New Jersey-ite and we had talked about moving in but I have a lease that goes for a few more months so he decided to get his own place. Fine. Great.
But it's disrupted the flow of things. It used to be that my place was much nicer so we spent a lot of nights there and he brought a lot of stuff over and everything was all good.
Now, he likes his place a lot so I have to go and buy another set of stuff to put over there.
Girls back me up on this: If you are splitting your time between 2 apartments you are either lugging a huge bag back and forth, sometimes forgetting things you absolutely NEED or you are buying a whole other set of stuff.
The case for back and forth - this is certainly more economical than buying 2 sets of everything. I am a fan of nice hair equipment (straighteners, dryers, etc.) and face products so buying two would be a major investment and if we ever do move in it would also be a major waste.
On a very pessimistic note: less to pack up if you break up.

The case for doubling up - much more convenient and I can have a small purse vs. the massive Urban Outfitter bag (which I love but am sick of now). Also, you have less moments spent looking for an item that you left at the other house.

Not That I Cook But This Silverware Is Amazing

design by : clara del portillo + alejandro selma (Spain)


Monday, August 3, 2009

Monday Music - Whitest Boy Alive's New One, Island

Lamp With A Twist

I'm loving this lightbulb with a twist, it's such a simple way to make your lighting look unique. Get them here.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Criticism: How To Deal

I like this video that interviews artists on how they view criticism.

Design For Mankind - Dialogue Episode 6 from Design For Mankind on Vimeo.

I could probably take some notes on this as my own reactions to criticism range from mature and understanding to.. ummm.... well, not so mature. Maybe it involves yelling, or the occasional slammed door.
But really, criticism is tough no matter how constructive it is and the way I like to deal with it is, the minute I hear it I put it in the back of my mind without reacting at all. After a few days, it's either a: a good idea and something I could consider changing or b: funny because it's ridiculous and spiteful. It's amazing how fast petty criticism gets funny and constructive seems wise and helpful.
When it comes to online criticism, this video is right on. Filters are off because there are no face to face repercussions from putting your opinion out there. You are able to view online and in front of you what would normally take place in the privacy of behind your back and brands seem to be having a particularly hard time coming to terms with it. In fact, it's generally one of the first questions a brand will ask me. For companies worried about online negativity I generally have this rule of thumb: if it's being said once you can forget about it and if it's a widespread complaint about you then it's important to take a look at the product or service that's being criticized.

A Creative Person You Should Know About: Vangelis Paterakis

Vangelis Paterakis (Greece) photographs homes and hotels that made me drool for about an hour this morning. His work is in just about every magazine and he really knows how to make a home or hotel photo look like all it's missing is you. On that gorgeous couch. With a glass of really expensive wine.


Question: Would You Have Asked To Move Tables?

Last night some girlfriends and I went out to grab some sushi and we picked a place that we knew we might have to wait. We picked it because most sushi places have awful drink options (I'm not a huge sake fan and most sushi places for some reason don't appear to have a full bar or a bartender that knows how to make anything).
So anyway, we wait for about 45 minutes and finally get a table and as I'm walking towards it, I know that we are headed for a problem. One of the girls I'm with catches my eye and I know she's thinking it too. The table is situated so that if you sit on one side, you are staring into a noisy kitchen and if you sit on the other, you have a splendid view of the bathroom. Not exactly what we had in mind when we knew we'd be spending quite a bit of money on dinner.
My question is: why would they even HAVE a table like that? I have worked in the service industry, there's always a table like that. Almost everyone hates it the minute you seat them there.
On top of it, the host seemed really put off that I had asked to change tables. He told us we could wait for another one and then proceeded to seat at least 4 groups of people before us and 75 minutes later we finally got an acceptable table. This is Madison. No one waits almost 2 hours for a table at a sushi place in Madison. The host didn't mention it again, apologize for it, or even act remotely pleasant to us.
Is this our fault for daring to reject an awful table, or should the host have tried harder to accommodate us?

Tellin' Time: Liquid Wood

Not only does this watch look good, it's made from Arboform "liquid wood" and it's a byproduct in the paper making process. Here's an article about it. Via Core 77