our texan neighbor: shoveling extraordinaire

Today it is snowing. This was a surprise to everyone, even our meteorologists (who stressed multiple times on the news that this was not the largest missed snow snowstorm, which didn’t seem to be a very strong argument for their skills). Working from home is a major advantage to me when it snows. Today there was an even bigger perk, watching our across the street neighbor. The house across the street is a rental and has provided a good deal of entertainment to me since I moved in. It’s residents have included college students and a very mysterious woman who moved out three months after her arrival in the dead of night. After that the house was abandoned for awhile (unbeknownst to the owner) and finally the city gave multiple warnings of impending fees because their weeds grass was so overgrown.

The newest resident is a Texan. We know this because of his license plate, but even if he had Colorado plates we would know he’s not from here. When I left for Hawaii we received over a foot of snow. Mike left for work one morning and found this note on his car:

If you live in Colorado (or honestly, even if you don’t), you should find this funny. A foot of snow isn’t exactly “digging” your car out and our city-owned street doesn’t exactly have assigned parking. Despite it’s strangeness, the note is very charming in a polite way that probably only a Texan or a southerner could pull off.

Today the Texan was out in full force. He likes to keep his stairs and car shoveled even when it’s still snowing. I snapped this creepy photo because if you’re weird enough to leave my husband a note like that, I think it’s okay I take a photo of you shoveling in the midst of more snow.

I was having a good time just thinking about the fact he was “shoveling out his car” (mind you, he didn’t go anywhere, his car is still here…) and then I see him come across the street. I think to myself, what is he doing? Not kidding, he shovels out the spot Mike’s car was in. I can assume this was done in hopes that Mike would not swoop in and take his own newly “dug out” spot. This is puzzling on many counts. Perhaps he should invest in snow boots instead of spending so much time and worrying about shoveling.

Lovely little snow day. Welcome to Colorado, Texan.

week 1 of 52.18 weeks {365 days} of photos

This is the project I mentioned last week. 365 day projects are a bit tired, but can be really nice when done well and I haven’t done one (and this one would seem to make a nice keepsake). For 365 days I will take at least a photo a day on my iphone (again, much thanks to the creators of Instagram and Hipstamatic for making me seem like a somewhat better photographer than I actually am) and I will lay them out into a book format. I saw this idea on pinterest (thanks again to the greatest time-suck of our era) and thought it would be really cool to have an entire year of photos, each day featuring some aspect of life in 2012. Thanks to Blurb there is an InDesign plugin which will allow me to lay this out and design this as a really nice book. Below is a sample (week 1!), each week will be a spread with seven photos featuring the dates and a small caption for each image. The layout isn’t final yet, I just wanted to go ahead and get started.

Each week, to hold myself accountable, I will post the photos from the previous week. I think because January 1 was on a Sunday I’ll post these typically on Mondays. So, here we go, here’s week 1 and my attempt to capture everyday life from my iphone.

One week down. 51.18 to go!




Steve Jobs Biography

My family and I are longtime Apple fans. I confess, we briefly cheated on them in the 90’s, but there are reasons for that (one of which being Apple’s fall from grace during Steve Jobs’s banishment), all of which are explained in the new Steve Jobs bio. We even owned one of the original Macintosh computers. Over my last visit to Tulsa, I found some of the old disks from our second Mac (strangely hidden in plain site in a trunk in our living room also containing a plethora of troll dolls…).

There were quite a few interesting facts and I’m pretty sure my family would appreciate me never reading another biography as each time I came up for air from the book I recounted several Steve Jobs facts. Here are a few I found most notable:

1. Steve Jobs appreciates graphic design. In his brief stint at Reed for college he took a calligraphy class, which gave him a great appreciation for things such as kerning and leading and all the type goodies. It was largely because of this respect that Apple took the road it did instead of the road Windows and PC’s went. He stressed over details such as the rounded corners of the Macintosh for weeks (making everyone working for him crazy on the way).

He even had the opportunity to work with Paul Rand (one of the most famous and arguably the greatest graphic designer of all time) on a logo for one of his companies, NeXT. Rand was similar to Steve Jobs in the sense that they both knew (or felt) they were the best. He reportedly told Jobs (who asked for a number of options) that he didn’t create options for his clients.

“I will solve your problem, and you will pay me,” he told Jobs. “You can either use what I produce, or not, but I will not do options, and either way you will pay me.”

I was tickled (for lack of a better word) by that, because what graphic designer doesn’t at some point think something along those lines. Perhaps someday I’ll have the clout.

2. A big point to take away from the book (and in fact a point both Jobs and his wife wanted to come across) is that despite his genius, he wasn’t perfect. I would argue to say his work borders on perfect, but his personality was far from it. I’ll say it, he was crazy. A complete asshole. But he was brilliant. When he returned to Apple (after being fired), he knew they needed to set themselves apart by not only their visual aesthetic, but also their ad campaigns. He recognized that the client for Apple wasn’t your average business associate at a law firm, it was the creative type. Their original line was “Here’s to the crazy ones.” Their ad agency (Chiat/Day) came up with this poem (which I’m sure you saw floating around Facebook after Jobs’s death):

Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.

It worked. It was this train of “crazy” thought that revolutionized the music industry, the mobile phone industry, and the notepad as well as personal computers.

3. As a designer, I often get requests that make no sense or that I know won’t work (slash will be hideous). It’s part of my job to interpret what they’re asking for and translate it to something that does work. Jobs took a more radical approach, but shared a similar outlook on interaction with clients. He wrote this for the biography:

Some people say, “give the customers what they want.” But that’s not my approach. Our job is to figure out what they’re going to want before they do. I think Henry Ford once said, “If I’d asked customers what they wanted, they would have told me, ‘A faster horse!’ ” People don’t know what they want until you show them.

I’d highly recommend this book to anyone. I honestly don’t think I know anyone anymore without at least one Apple product (I mean, who hasn’t had an iPod along the way), but even if you don’t, from a business approach this is an excellent read. While I normally stick to a little fluffier novel for the beach, this was with me for 2 solid days (I read quickly, but I confess I toted this book to every meal I was so engrossed) in Hawaii.

Has anyone else read/or started it??

Hawaii in Photos

Back from Hawaii and hitting the ground running! A quick peek of a few of my Hawaii photos (taken strictly on my iphone). Colors are so vivid there, it’s a bit odd looking out the window to the white and brown (it is actually winter someplaces) view of my Colorado yard.

(above is our wedding venue!)

Christmas Eve yule log

(found a bucket full of Simpsons antiquing)

My New Year’s resolutions include blogging more frequently and a really fun new project I’ll tell you about this week (here’s a hint, it involves more photos). Hope everyone is surviving the first work week of the New Year!

Aloha Friday: 2011 Superlatives

Happy Aloha Friday (actually from Hawaii, woo!).

2011 was a year of highs and lows and an emotional rollercoaster to say the least. I’m ready to bid it adieu and start fresh with 2012, but first I thought I’d offer a brief look back over the past year. I saw a similar post on another blog and thought I’d do my own design spin on it.

Best iPhone App: Tie between Instagram and Hipstamatic (you can tell I think this, as around 80% of my photos have been through these)

Best iPad App: Twitter. Never thought I’d “tweet”, but the amazingly clean and functional design of this twitter app literally turned me into a tweeter. Check it out.

Best New (to my collection) Typeface: Museo. Clean lines, modern flow, a nice little, versatile font.

Best New TV Show: Homeland. Hands down. Have you seen it?? I confess I love my CW guilty pleasures, but Homeland is a legitimately great show with staying power. And if Claire Danes doesn’t win an Emmy or Golden Globe, I’ll be shocked.

Best Memory: Our wedding. This was definitely the high point of my year and I’m so fortunate to have so many amazing memories from the entire week with all our friends and family.

Best Book: Steve Jobs bio. A whole post to come on this next week, but if you have some free time, pick up this book.

Best New Website: Pinterest. This site has alleviated my need for the countless amounts of “inspiration” folders I had cluttering my desktop.


Hope everyone has a nice New Year’s and a fabulous start to the New Year!


Happy Holidays from the Simpsons

As it is Christmas Eve Eve, I thought I’d share our 2011 holiday card with you. I had a lot of fun designing them and I think they turned out great! The ribbon up top was actually red grosgrain ribbon (not this particular quick photoshop job) that Mike and I put together by hand. Even little Logan had an appearance on the back though she wasn’t at the wedding last May (I know I’m biased, but I’m pretty sure I have the cutest dog that ever was).

And because we all know I love a good custom stamp:

I know I’ve been somewhat absent on this blog, but will have LOTS of things to show you after the new year, as I’ve been busy. For now, I’m putting the computer away for the next week to enjoy Hawaii. Hope everyone has a fabulous holiday and a Happy New Year!

Santa Stock

While finishing up my second to last day at this financial real estate company (hooray for having my flexibility back!), I was assigned a project requiring some Santa stock photography. It’s a given most Santa stock would be corny, but what I found was unbelievable (all searched from the term “santa”, nothing out of the ordinary). Thought I’d share a few to get you through your Tuesday!

This one is legitimately called yuletide log.

Santa on a tank…

Obligatory weight loss Santa.

Big Daddy Clause.

I can’t fathom what someone would need Santa riding a dragon for, but I like to think it’s something awesome.

In a similar world of “where in the heck would this ever be applicable??”, I give you Egyptian Santas.

Any my personal favorite.
Seriously with this one?! Santa, no!!

The photography is a completely different game, so I’m just going to share one. Nothing says Christmas like a creepy “santa couple”.

I especially like how sweaty the man is. (All images are from istock).

My project eventually featured Santa riding a fork lift in an industrial warehouse. Standard.

Merry Christmas everyone 🙂