Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Brand New

Today's post is brought to you by the letters B and N, as in Brand New, a blog written by designer Armin Vit. Armin created and uses Brand New as an outlet for him to expresses his "opinions on corporate and brand identity work".

I believe most of my graphic designer friends are probably thinking "I've known about Brand New for a while, why is Jessi writing a post on it? It's not new to me." I think this blog is extremely interesting and I think non-designers will find value in the information posted on it, even though it is opinion based.

Armin writes about and posts logos that have been recently redesigned or are new to the industry. His experience in identity work equips him with a credible stance for critiquing a logo's success. The logos he posts are brands we will see and be bombarded with every day of our life, so it's useful to know what will be changing and when the change might occur. Some that I have personally benefitted from were keeping an eye out for the new sweetener, Truvia,

and the new packaging design of Bounce.

When Pepsi Co. released the new look of Tropicana there was a huge negative response to it and since, it has been pulled. Fortunately, Brand New was one of the first blogs to write about it so for those of us who knew of it early, we were ready to look out for it before it was long gone. (It's not every day a major corporation pays tons of money for a rebrand and it bombs.)

In fact, just yesterday, Armin posted the new logo for the Wembley Stadium located in London. Not exactly something you would run into everyday, but for me, currently visiting London, this was great to see. In fact, I may try to go on a tour of the stadium.

So, that is what Brand New is all about. I hope you can see why this blog is in my top 5 and I hope you might find something useful checking in on it too. Cheers!

Friday, September 24, 2010

What's your color personality?

I found another quiz for you to take! This one, by Real Simple magazine, quizzes you on various aspects of your personal life (i.e. how you would like to spend your free time, what type of flower arrangement you prefer, etc.) to determine what color represents your personality the best. They call it What's Your Color Personality?.

After answering the mandatory questions, apparently I am an Air personality and represented by the color yellow. If you can't read the description below, Air personalities are "warmhearted, lively, and cheerful" but "can be perceived as a bit flighty, unserious".

I'm not one to categorize myself with ALL of those adjectives (ahem, flighty!?), but I wonder if you think it fits. Also, I want to know what color personality you are, please share!

As a side note, these results seem far off from HGTV's What color is your personality? quiz, which I posted about in May.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Inheriting Style

A few months ago, Justin's grandma moved in to a mother-in-law suite which had been added on to Justin's aunt's house specifically for Grandma. It was a bittersweet time for many family members and one of the hardest parts was choosing what to keep and what to get rid of. This was no easy task for Justin's aunt, who coaxed Grandma into discarding as much as she could, but even when Justin and I showed up to help on moving day, there were many items that still had a big question mark as to where they were going to end up.

After moving some of the big things out of Grandma's house, Justin's aunt said to us, "if there's anything you want, let me know, because otherwise it's going in the trash." As an advocate of recycling, reusing, or repurposing, I wasn't thrilled with the thought that the excess furniture and belongings would end in a landfill. Therefore, when we saw something we thought could function in our home, we asked Justin's aunt if that was something we could have and almost every single time she responded with Yes! One of these pieces was this really cool mid-century (from the actual mid-century, not a look-a-like), glass-doored, two-shelf bookcase.

I must admit that at first I wasn't sure where we could use it. I thought it might work well in the office (and it still may), but when we brought it home it sat in our front entry for a short time while I pondered it's future placement. Then one day, as I was walking upstairs I found the perfect spot.

The table we had put in our second floor hallway had been there since we moved in. It was a great piece, but it provided no function in the space and I thought it was a lost opportunity since our hallway is quite large and acts more as a landing or foyer for that floor. In a quick 15 minutes, I swapped the table out for our "new" bookshelf and packed it with all of my books that had been hiding out in boxes.

The "staging" of my shelf isn't pretty but I don't care because now this space is functional and looks a bit more lived-in. I love the shelf and I love that all of my books are on display. The best part of this quick change was as I filled it up, I came across books I forgot I owned and enjoyed flipping through them again. (I should really make the task of rearranging or organizing my books a frequent chore because I'm sure I would use them way more.) Nonetheless, now the real question is whether I should refresh the bookshelf with a coat of paint...

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Happy Blogiversary #1

Happy 1st Blogiversary to us!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Less White Space, More Fur Space

A few weekends ago I photographed some stuff, using the back of a large poster my white backdrop (use what you got!). I laid the poster face down on the floor in our entry way so I had plenty of room to move around. I left the room to go grab a prop, which took me no longer than 2 minutes, and came back to this.

Apparently Harley was feeling ready for his closeup and wasn't afraid to bare all. Maybe it's just me, but it looks like he's posing for a centerfold picture, sprawling out across the set.

I know I have shared some crazy things our cats have done in the past (see a few here, here, and here), but this one takes the cake. The room is extremely large (9 X 18 feet) and Harley couldn't help himself but to lay down on this single sheet of paper, which couldn't be larger than 30 X 40 inches. What an odd feline we have.

PS: Tomorrow (September 18) is our blog-iversary, so check back to wish us a happy one!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Shop Flight 001

In preparation for a quickly approaching trip abroad, I visited a little shop called Flight 001 last week in search of some items that might make my trip more comfortable and efficient.

I was looking for disposable pillow cases and collapsible, flexible water bottles, which they were sold out of (go figure!), but as I was perusing, saw some other nicely designed items that would be helpful traveling and could be cool gifts.

The first product that caught my eye was this Pantone swatch wallet. My photo makes it look huge, but in actuality it is a normal size for a men's wallet.

Then I saw these nylon bags that supposedly you buy many of and use them to organize the items in your suitcase. Although I love the colors and the design, I don't see how these would be any better than reusing plastic shopping bags.

These navy and cream striped cases, most likely for makeup or other small toiletries, had a sailor-ish feel but also reminded me of something Kate Spade might have in store.

Of course this shop had plenty of makeup and suitcases of which I also liked these that had vintage international graphics.

The one item that had me reconsider leaving the store empty-handed was this Grid-it Organizer, which I call a gadget and cord wrangler. This thing might actually be a functioning product, but for $22 I decided to pass it up.

I was surprised to see the shop selling flasks, but I guess it is a travel shop and you can put more than just liquor in a flask...right? Anyways, I couldn't help but like this flask in particular.

So, although Flight 001 did not have the items which drove me to visit the store, I still got to look at some good eye candy and will probably check out more of their inventory in their online shop. Cheers! (Yes, that is a hint at where I'm traveling to!)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

It's about time!

After my griping about how my garden seemed to be dying and cursing those darn japanese beetles, I am actually harvesting mounds of produce from my vegetable wild bandit. Just a few days ago, I went out to check on my tomatoes and came back 30 minutes later with a bucket of tomatoes and green beans.

I'm crediting this sudden burst of fruit on the weather change we've experienced in the last couple weeks and boy am I grateful for it (in more ways than one). Look at this glorious pico-de-gallo salsa I made from half of our bucket of tomatoes. Doesn't it look delicious?

Take it from us, it is scrumptious and it will keep us snacking healthy for at least a week and a half. We even steamed a handful of those green beans and partnered them with a nice teriyaki glazed salmon last week, yum! Is anyone else reaping delicious rewards from their gardening efforts? Do share!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Budget Bouquets 1

One of my must-read-every-single-day blogs posts regularly about a cute gift her hubby gave her for Christmas a year or two ago, which they titled Budget Blooms. I've been reading their blog (Young House Love) for sometime now and always think how I would love to experiment more with flowers and arranging flowers. I am by no means a flower artist, but I do own many vases and vessels that I like to dust off every now and again when I receive some blooms from my sweet hubby (or pick them up for myself). So, recently I have decided that I would like to either teach myself or learn-by-practicing how to arrange flowers. Additionally, to piggy back on YHL's Budget Blooms, I'm going to try to stick with bouquest that cost less than $10 a bunch and see how far I can stretch them. Here's my first go at it.

During a typical grocery stop, I picked up a flower bouquet from my local Aldi's store for $3.99. Once home, I took out many vases and jars and strategized. I enjoy arrangements that are either extremely simple, with 2-3 types of flowers, or extremely complex and large. Since I had a small inventory to work with, I determined I could create 5 pieces with my $4 bouquet.

I love having fresh flowers scattered around the house so once I had these babies in vases, I placed one arrangement on a desk around the front entry of our home.

This one on my vanity in our bedroom.

And I lined these three up on our kitchen island

So, for my first attempt at arranging budget bouquets, I think I did a pretty fair job. However, if there are any florists out there who see where I could improve or want to offer me some free advice or tips, please let me know. I'm dying to learn how you work your magic!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Darwin Chair

I hope I'm not terribly late in the blogosphere to be posting about this chair, but when my aunt sent me a link to it a couple days ago, I felt it was my duty to share it with you all for two reasons: 1) because it is designed by Stefan Sagmeister (one of the most celebrated graphic designers); and 2) because it is too funky not to.

Every seven years Sagmeister closes up shop and takes a year-long sabbatical. He does this to allow himself the time to travel and explore creativity outside the graphic design world. As part of his most recent year-long sabbatical, he began exploring furniture design and created this soon-to-be designer collectible titled the Darwin Chair.

It essentially is a formed shape that has a pad of paper attached to the top. As each sheet wears down or as the owner grows bored with the design, he or she can tear off the top layer or flip it to reveal a new sheet.

According to designboom.com, each sheet's pattern abstracts the birthing of the universe, from the creation of the world, from the beginning of plant, animal, and human life, all the way to the digital revolution.

As far as whether I'm loving it or not, I'm on the fence at the moment. While I think it would be a great centerpiece or talking point in a space, I challenge (as many others have as well) its functionality. What do you think? Hit or miss?

Friday, September 3, 2010

Banana Republic Fall Jewelry Displays

During one of my recent lunch stops at the gigantic, 4-floor Banana Republic store on Michigan Avenue, I couldn't help but notice the new fall jewelry displays because they reference two of my loves: home DIY (paint roller covers) and reading (books).  And the jewelry isn't bad either!

If someone is looking for an excellent way to organize bracelets or necklaces, this is the way to do it. Do I see an inventive necklace tree or jewelry stand in the future?

I also loved the way they used stacks of old books and papers, compressed together to post brooches and pins in. This is a great sculptural alternative for a cork board.

Or you could just lay your baubles across a blank or monochromatic book cover.

I think these are very fitting for the fall season, especially with schools welcoming back students and a new wave of fall DIY projects. What do you think?

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Eat Local Art

No no no, I'm not promoting the digestive consumption of art, I'm actually talking about this new piece in our home titled Eat Local. The cool thing is that it is a kitchen dishtowel that has been screen printed with this adorable illustration by Helen Dardik for BlueQ (a great design shop that sells all sorts of knick-knacks and other funky items).

I picked it up during my week at the HOW Design Conference in Denver and I am absolutely enthralled. I saw it in a shop, checked out the price ($12.99!), and snatched up the last one. After returning home, I scoured all of my go-to stores for a frame it would fit in and settled for a black Ikea Ribba frame ($24.99).

Although I'm not pleased the frame's "glass" is plexi (they fooled me!), I am very excited this baby is now on the wall. Justin even likes it!

So for $38 smack-o-las, we got a piece that is not mass produced, semi-inexpensive, and something we think is awesome!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Best of CS Interiors: Summer 2010

As soon as I picked up a copy of the summer 2010 issue of CS Interiors, I plopped down on my couch and started perusing. There is some good eye candy this issue! Here are some of my favorites.

First, this funky, vertical garden. I've seen these in a few magazines and blogs now and they amaze me. How and what can you grow like this? I know certain things can be planted to grow upside down (like my strawberries), but where do the roots of these plants go? Somebody please tell me!

CS Interiors

Next was this home. Although the photo is quite small in the actual magazine, I am enthralled by all of the pink books. My immediate reaction was, who owns that many pink books and then I read the accompanying paragraph explaining that the owner Dave Albin painted a bunch of second-hand books to use as an art installation for his bookshelves. Ingenious!

Photo by Tate Gunnerson, CS Interiors

The article married to these next two beautiful photos describes the design excellence of a Chicago home's three-tiered patio deck. I enjoyed reading the article but more so liked looking at the pictures. I love the space's minimalism with much needed splashes of organic colors, textures, and shapes. Also, the little Yorkie pup was a selling point as well.

Photo by Bob Coscarelli, CS Interiors

Photo by Bob Coscarelli, CS Interiors

I always make sure to take a few extra minutes browsing the Trends! section of CS Interiors. I like to see what is coming around the corner while at the same time scoping out some cool stuff. This issue, the magazine fittingly showcased some cool planters that would be excellent in any home (especially ours). These two were my favorites from the bunch.

Wood grain herb pots by Magenta

CS Interiors

PAD Pod planters at Sprout Home

CS Interiors

Because this glossy is localized (the C in CS stands for Chicago) when I flip through the pages, I am bound to add items to my "To Buy," "To Wish For," or "To Visit" lists, like this shop Marco Polo Antiques. I'll be honest, I'm not a fan of tiptoeing through antique stores so not to break anything and therefore tend to avoid them all together but one that touts its Haute Farm goods, I've got to visit. Just look at this image for example. It looks wonderful.

Photo by Jim White, CS Interiors

And of course, I have to show you images of the amazing featured homes. The first is the Wisconsin weekend retreat of Jay Franke and David Herro. As you can see, it oozes with mid-century-modern lushness

Photo by Tony Soluri, CS Interiors

Photo by Tony Soluri, CS Interiors

But what really makes my heart flutter is the art gallery in their stairwell. I love love love the collectible-kitschy vibe it has going on.

Photo by Tony Soluri, CS Interiors

The second featured home is the Michigan weekend getaway for Jodi and Walt Eckenhoff. They designed, built, and decorated it themselves all with eco-friendly materials. This photo alone convinces the city-girl in me that living in the woods (preferably on a lake) wouldn't be too bad.

Photo by Tony Soluri, CS Interiors

Anybody else lovin' the summer 2010 issue of CS Interiors as much as me? Want to flip through the whole issue? Read it online!

Look at my favorites from past issues of CS Interiors herehere and here.
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