Saturday, November 21, 2009

Google has released a brilliant set of ads called Search Stories. They're quick, clever and we all have them! I love this one:

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

1:10 p.m.

Finally! I love good news e-mails.

Thank you Paper Source. And yes, I'd like these holiday-themed plates as well.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


Everything, she thought, as she marched steadily through unkempt leaves, is darker today.

Only the morning before, sun flared — through patches of life that still clung to the trees — in and out her eyes. Today, though, the maples and the oaks shriveled before her, their trunks darkening as the sky grew a violet tinge of light charcoal. The embellishments on their branches, at one time a study in texture and color, rattled like antique chimes without bells. She jumped at the sight of a man who sat cross-legged at the edge of a yard with his liver-spotted hound leaning against his side. They both stared, unblinkingly, across the street to an invisible object. Distracted, she nearly stepped on the carcass of a squirrel. Except for the wet hide, nothing remained. It looked like a costume, sized perfectly for a fist, that was accidentally dropped on the pavement.

She continued on.

Monday, November 9, 2009

9:52 p.m.

Postcard from Berlin

This train is freezing. We couldn't understand the woman who walked by, shivering through her teeth in coarse German. I'm reading with both pairs of gloves, and the leggings I brought do nothing to dampen the chill that has taken my lungs and squeezed them hard. This place, this train, all of Berlin is desolate and eery in the strange bewitching hour. I understand nothing and can't keep warm. Snow blizzards through the air, dancing on the windows menacingly. My boots have not dried in three days, and I am out of socks. The smell of the station when we get off the train is dank, like a must in an attic that froze years ago. At least it's warmer than the car.

For most of today I have been thinking about Berlin. It might not have been the wisest choice to spend a late-February spring break in a city that darkens at half four and roughens your cheeks rosy and windburned for days after you leave. But we went anyway, and when we managed to find our stop on the S-bahn, we toppled out into a grey and graffiti'd East Berlin.

A harsh wind drove cyclists down the road like frantic geese that are late flying South. We had managed to reserve an inexpensive hostel, and when we turned the key, the door opened to a man snoring on a bunk in only his underwear. We underestimated the amount of wool socks necessary for such a trip. On our first afternoon we walked, bundled in tights under more tights under trousers, to the Jewish Museum. One morning, the icy drizzle was so bad we came home to warm our undergarments on the radiator for an hour or so before going out later.

We drank from jugs of wine and ate pizza, and then Eli took us to a party. There was talk of going to a 24-hour club. We were tired by 1. I stayed quiet as I tried to decide which accent was harsher — my American or their German.

In brief moments of sunshine, we wandered through galleries on Augustrasse, sipped cappuccinos and savored cakes next to cafe windows, and we crept up the huge staircase of Tacheles, a squatter's art paradise.

We also saw Checkpoint Charlie and the Brandenburg Gate and the Reichstag and ran our fingers down the Berlin Wall (there was also a large portion of the wall that was still intact near our hostel). The list goes on. But for me, Berlin was like many visits to unfamiliar places in that the spontaneous moments stand out more than the monuments.

Friday, November 6, 2009

8:55 a.m.

Is it too early to make my semi-Victorian inspired holiday wishlist? In the spirit of 70-degree weather, here is Part 1:

British Design 2010 is released today. Beautifully designed by Taxi Studio, the book's title is pretty self-explanatory.

Perhaps this limited-edition copy of the Pictorial Websters is a bit out of my price range. I don't think the $4,600 price tag is swing-able, but the trade edition is doable ($35!).

John Carrera spent a decade putting the book together, and he made a wonderful video about it. Check it out:

The work of Bernadette Griesemer conjures a mix of the macabre, self-deprecating humor, and natural, dream-like ideas that are brought to life by a variety of textures and materials. I think of her jewelry as sculpture rather than embellishment, and the pieces require interaction. The bird's chest opens up to reveal a scroll of paper that unwinds. It would does wonders for the imagination and a tailored tweed blazer. Griesemer's work can be found at Orr Street Studios, and "Artificial Resuscitation" (seen above) is for sale at the Perlow-Stevens Gallery.

Thanks to jacquard, puffed sleeves, corset waists and high collars, I can fully embrace the tournant du siècle look with a twist of today. I love the adventurous, Robin Hood-esque quality of these boots. I think Little John would approve.

100 classic Penguin covers in postcard form.

10:53 a.m.

Cover design for Jefferson City Magazine:

Thursday, November 5, 2009


Musings from your downstairs neighbor.

You. The girl who lives in the apartment above mine. Number 4, I think. When do you take off your shoes? They're heels, aren't they? Maybe an inch and a half, and kind of a thick base. I understand the pain of having cold feet, but don't you have socks? You pace, all over your apartment. I can hear you. At three in the morning. I can't sleep.

9:14 p.m. aka Thank You, Judith Jones

I'm so excited about Judith Jones' new book, The Pleasures of Cooking for One. Have a look and read her delightful posts. I especially love her notion of recipes as a means of storytelling.

I think I've always liked the idea of cooking. I would watch my mom make the simplest and the most decadent of dinners, and sometimes she would put me in charge of making a salad. As I chopped a carrot, the aroma of buttery garlic sauce, or a slow-cooked roast, or a fresh mango salsa would waft in and out of the corner where I made our starter.

As a freshman in college, I lived in a tiny dorm with an even tinier fridge. My roommate and I usually had enough room for a bag of turkey, carrots and cold M&M's, which meant the dining hall was our main source of (non)nutrition. I didn't cook much then.

When I moved out of the dorms and in with my two friends, we thought we'd always cook beautiful dishes. We didn't. Mostly, I ate toast and made fun of a roommate who made Hamburger Helper to appease his picky girlfriend.

Summer came, and I lived with three other girls for a summer in Washington, D.C. and ate tomato salads, sauteed broccoli and still gained 10 pounds from eating bagels in the NPR cafeteria and too much Chinatown food.

And then I went to London. For four months, I lived with five other girls (probably illegally) in the tiniest flat imaginable. The refrigerator was bigger than the one in my dorm three years before, but not by much. Sometimes someone would forget about the remains of salad. It would go off and leave a rotting vegetable smell that took my breath away every time I opened the door. London is expensive. But at the time, London was very expensive. The pound was worth twice as much as the dollar (the two times I've been back since have been far less painful). I quickly realized that I needed to do a better job of buying and cooking...for one. There was no sense in buying several fillets of fish for them only to go bad. Not all of us had to buy bread. We could split one loaf for the week between three of us.

After work, Kristin and I would pick one of the many shops up or down Hogarth Road and carefully buy exactly what we thought we needed, which usually consisted of lots of cheese, wafer-thin salami and Cadbury eggs. I was getting better at cooking something recognizable, but it was tough. Usually I made some sort of pasta with vegetables. And I figured out how to make it last through the week. But it got kind of old.

Luckily, there was T.

Together, we walked across the bridge to Waitrose, and I followed, like a student, as he whirred through the produce section, choosing an onion and rifling through the tomatoes until he found the right one. Hardly stopping to look, he reached for a loaf of bread, and then he picked up a small but substantive sized block of mature cheddar, and without getting distracted by the long rows of magazines, he got out of there.

T knew how to eat — and cook — for one, and he knew how to do it rather inexpensively. The first meal he made for me was a sandwich with the groceries he bought that day. The cheddar was so rich against the buttered soya and linseed bread. I can still taste the pungent slice of onion. In my memory, it might have been the best sandwich I'd ever tasted.

After that, I watched T closely — what he bought, how he made it. The simplest ingredients tasted so lovely. Gnocchi, leeks, bacon. Toast, cheese, honey, pepper. He cracked a soft-boiled egg over a dollop of mashed potatoes and a crab cake, and it tasted like gold — a melty richness of yolk and garlicky potato skins. He showed me the best way to roast potatoes, and I swaddled the thin slices with onions, Maldon sea salt and a liberal drizzle of olive oil. Maybe these combinations and lessons should have been intuitive, but T was patient with me. He answered all of my stupid questions. And when he saw I'd accidentally turned the gas on instead of the oven, he quickly righted the wrong and kept his sense of humor.

Spring arrived, and I had to go home. In love, but lonely, I cooked my way through the summer until T visited four months later. I moved into a one-bedroom apartment, bought my own box of Maldon salt and halved the dinners we'd made in that London flat. On MSN chat, T talked me through the first made-by-me pasta bolognese. Having made those roasted potatoes so many times, I knew exactly how many it would take for two, so it was easy to figure out how many for just me. Yeah, I missed T, and I certainly missed London, but coming home to my own apartment (especially if it happened to be cozy and clean), lighting the stove and sautéing the garlic became my beautiful routine. There was always a package of gnocchi in my pantry and mature cheddar in my fridge. Little, everday reminders of cooking lessons from London.

I don't cook everyday. Recently, I ate just toast and tea for a week. It can be difficult to find the point to cooking when you're by yourself. Cleaning up isn't much fun. I don't have a kitchen table. I don't always feel particularly inspired. There's no one impress, but perhaps that's a good thing. It's hard for me, sometimes, to find the motivation. I would equate cooking to exercise. It's difficult to start when no one else is around. Who's there to judge? However, there's something wonderful and nurturing about having an hour or so to make a bit of a mess and create something for you. Just for you. If you manage to pick up the chopping board, it gets a little easier. A glass of wine also makes it slightly less painful. By the time you reach your last bite, you're really happy you did it, and you feel good. And then you can go to the gym.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

5:35 p.m.

The young woman ran uphill, her high ponytail bobbing along to the scuffs of her trainers on pavement, dragging behind her a pocketbook-sized cotton fluff of a pup, which one could actually hear panting louder than she.

"What about this dog makes her think it is meant to jog?" I wondered. "Surely she has mistook a leash for a handbag."

3:04 p.m.

La Danse, by Frederick Wiseman

I couldn't be more excited about a film. Here's hoping it makes a grand jeté to a Columbia cinema
A scene from La Danse

Growing up, I didn’t play conventional sports. I faked asthma attacks on the soccer field to avoid being shoved. As an alternative, my parents suggested dance lessons. I jumped at the chance and enrolled in a classical ballet school.

On Christmas morning when I was nine years old, I sat drowsily under the tree, basking in the newness of my presents. As I contemplated if what my (younger) brother had told me about Santa Claus was true, my mother handed me a box wrapped in sparkly red paper. “This is the last one,” she said. I tore through the wrapping and tissue paper until I found, nestled toe-to-heel, heel-to-toe a pair of pearly, satiny pink pointe shoes.

I had taken classical ballet since I was six, and the artistic director of the company maintained the traditional belief that ballet dancers should be “en pointe” before they hit puberty. At the ripe age of nine until I quit seven years later, I bloodied my toes, sweated through six-hour rehearsals and adored every moment as a ballerina-in-training.

Ballet was my first love, but I knew early on that I was not cut out for a professional career. I didn’t have body, and although I possessed the drive, natural talent plays a huge role in a dancer’s life, and I didn’t have that either.

I haven’t danced in six years. The calluses that once battered my feet have softened, and if I point my toes for too long my arch cramps. Few things are better than a night at the ballet, and it is still difficult to forget the steps I memorized years ago. But my perspective has changed. Now I sit in a red-velvet, upholstered balcony seat with a sometimes perfect view of the stage, and no longer wait in the wings for my cue.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

11:54 a.m.

My best friend, Joe, decided to start a zine at the University of Missouri that focuses on sexual awareness and health. When he asked me to design the first issue of BodyTalk, I was thrilled. It was a challenging project. There are so many visual cliches for sex and virginity. I wanted to keep things light, spontaneous and avoid generalizations. I struggled a little with finding the right balance of consistency. I wanted each layout of the zine to maintain a cohesive identity but also be completely different from the one before and after it. It was fun stepping out of the structured comfort zone that comes with editorial design to do something slightly more off-the-wall. I spelled out a title with tampons! It helped that I was collaborating with a great designer: Marcos Roman designed the logo and contributed several illustrations, including the hilarious pink unicorn. Check out the complete zine here, and let me know what you think. Read the stories too — they're short and sweet, and since the issue theme is the "first time," some are quite amusing. Join the Facebook group too!

Illustration by Marcos Roman

Tighty-Whities by Marcos Roman

15 minutes

Happy Halloween.
Andy and Edie