Saturday, November 15, 2008

I'm going to make a Christmas Village.

I've decided. I'll keep you posted on its progress. As I delve ever deeper into this subculture, I'm sure I'll have enough fodder for a Christopher Guest-type of mocumentary by season's end.

I must get an ice rink.


Monday, November 10, 2008

Shameless self-promotion

Ok, people. I'm showing you all my cards and reminding you, if you haven't picked one up yet, that yours truly and my sweet, talented pal LaDonna Willems partnered to create a book of poetry/design that will leave you somewhat depressed (ha!) but ultimately inspired. Over a year or so ago, I was honored to take on the design of LaDonna's collection of poetry, and we scraped together a few bucks and pubished Secrets of Falling. This was definitely a labor of love and one of those projects that you try and make time for between living, working, eating, and sleeping. Peep it here.

ps: Happy Birthday, Lo!

"Gimme a bagel and a coffee regulah"

Today's Can't Miss Great Buy: We Are Happy To Serve You Ceramic Cup.
Got this for New Yorkaphile Lani. Ain't it great? Now I must find a throwing wheel, kiln, and other supplies to create ceramic cups for all our favorite to-go places. Hmm.

Get 'em here, or at your local specialty shop.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Curtain Call

No, I'm not suggesting anything dire. It's been a long while since my last post, and instead of whining about the state of my life/hectic schedule, I shall dig in with a post about the humble...shower curtain!! I didn't know it was so difficult to find a good solution that appeases the modern sensibilities! Forget the economy, find me a good shower curtain! As it turns out, we did find one, but the search was slightly frustrating. Who knew we'd find the winner at the Triple B Ranch (otherwise known as Bed, Bath, and All That Other Shit.) First, the last curtain we had, a brown geometric with orange bottom trim:

We looked at other geometric patterned curtains, but frequently found some that were too heavy-handed, or some that were close, but not quite:

Also, I'm all for representative, kitschy shower curtains--maps, periodic tables, parts of cow, etc. however, it didn't really fit the look we were going for. One of the cons of our bathroom is that it's immediately viewable from the top of the stairs. So it's really one of the first things folks see when they walk in. We needed something a little less edgy. However, it took all my strength not to snatch up these gems, mostly Marimekko designs you can find at CB2 or other:

Finally, we bought this little guy. One of the joys of this curtain is that up close, the printing is very good. In addition to being perfectly registered, there's a slight bleed in the trapping of the shapes, so that it gives the whole design a really calm, dreamy feeling. Perfecto!

Monday, September 15, 2008


My fashion designer cousin, Margeaux, got an Allure centerfold: Victoria Freaking Beckham!!!!! for August's issue. I finally found a photo link since I couldn't buy the back issue. Hello, bigtime! Get it, girl!

Buy her stuff now. Margarita Saplala

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Winners and Losers

Lots of cool stuff to post today. For one, Lani went to the Frida Kahlo exhibit today with our friend A. after our fantastic brunch at Slanted Door with friends J., J., and M. Let's talk first about the insane trio of desserts we had at Slanted Door: Cardamom rice pudding with Bronx grapes, Ruby port poached figs with hazelnuts and spicy chocolate, and last, but DEFINITELY not least...Chilled Ella Bella Farm cherry tomatoes with buttermilk sorbet and mint. O.M.GAWD. Really, I have never been so delightfully surprised by a dessert before. Served in a pool of vanilla-infused simple syrup with the buttermilk sorbet and mint, the tomatoes redefined themselves as a most sublime fruit. The sorbet was subtle, the mint was perfectly paired...I...I can't even. Think for a moment about what you might surmise this dish to taste like, then erase it. The thing was crisp, suprising, subtle, powerful, eye-opening. It's why food snobbery exists. Ha! M. is going to try to recreate this, and I'll hopefully post the recipe sometime soon. Uh-mahh-zing.

Back to Frida Kahlo, Lani had also bought me some gifts from the MOMA store--apparently Rex Ray is the first featured in a new Artists' Series product line for MOMA. I couldn't be more delighted. I've always loved his work from the beginning of his career (paper collages, resin panels) before all the licensing. I feel almost territorial about him, for example I don't want his designs to become mere apartment therapy motifs (see the ubiquitous Warhol), but I support his success. I'm so pleased that he was chosen for this new series. Lani got me a large notebook and a postcard wooden panel with one of his designs. NICE! Thanks!!

In other news, Barry McGee's alter ego, Lydia Fong, is exhibiting at Ratio 3, a gallery in the Mission. The exhibition will be up until mid-October.

Lastly, I unfortunately missed a Bay area showing of the doc Beautiful Losers, featuring artists Barry McGee, Margaret Kilgallen, Geoff McFettridge, et al. Some of the greats from our own "Mission School". Can't wait for wide release, and even better, a DVD release. Good stuff.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

New York's finest

Just came back from a long weekend out yonder, and among the MANY fabulous experiences that were had (not least of which was the US Open, for which I am reserving comment until all finals matches have concluded), some design-centered ones remained top-of-mind. We wandered into Fishs Eddy, a dining/kitchenwares store, and came upon a selection of fantastic glassware and servingware. Peep these:

Ceramic Trays, bowls, cups, and mugs in notebook and graph paper rules. Pale green, blue, cream, and white. YES. Wrap that shit up, now. Just in time for school to start!

Carnival-themed melamine in orange and white.

Floor-plan dinnerware. The bigger the piece, the more square footage. :)

Monday, August 18, 2008

Brett Favre should tear a few ligaments during the next Jets game.

Just came back from a weekend in the heartland: Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, in Milwaukee. Good to see the sis and bro-in-law, and tons of fun seeing the rest of the family on the Schmidt/Phillips side. A few key lessons and takeaways from a weekend in Wisconsin.

1. Do not ever root for a team other than the Packers, especially during a Packer game when in the company of children raised in Packer country. Seems fairly intuitive, no? I guess I just didn't know how deep the well ran where Packer love is concerned. These kids looked at me like I was insane. Not like your garden-variety "oh whatever, (insert opposing team's name here) sucks!" It was like they just could not process how a person who was not a Packer fan was actually let in the house. I hope they weren't too traumatized with my cheering for the 49ers. Note to self: rooting against the Packers is up there between murder and adultery on the tablets. The shit is Real, folks.

2. Cocktails are tasty in the heartland. I loved the Moscow Mule, the Dark n' Stormy, and of course, the Old Fashioned. All very good!! Watch out cuz I've got the recipes.

3. Fish Fry is an important event/dish. It's like a Dishevent. I now basically see it as one of the major food groups.

4. When they say they have had 400 feet of snow, it doesn't really matter if it's cumulative or not, does it?

To little Monroe and Irene:

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Upon reflection of the sabbatical

Those who know me would not describe me as having crunchy tendencies, nor would they know me to indulge in any mind-altering substances (in post-college life, at least). However the phrase "Tune in, turn on, and drop out" has been on my mind of late, humming at the base level (I've successfully ignored the hippy connotations). I have entered a phase that has clarified one thing to me: I need a sabbatical. Not a vacation, no: a true, deliberate, purposeful removal from my present pace. I've been uttering this phrase repeatedly in the last few weeks: "Work is really cramping my lifestyle"--and it's true. A little wikipedia'ing yielded Timothy Leary's definition of TITNDO; very apt, in my case:

"'Turn on' meant go within to activate your neural and genetic equipment. Become sensitive to the many and various levels of consciousness and the specific triggers that engage them. 'Tune in' meant interact harmoniously with the world around you - externalize, materialize, express your new internal perspectives. Drop out suggested an elective, selective, graceful process of detachment from involuntary or unconscious commitments. 'Drop Out' meant self-reliance, a discovery of one's singularity, a commitment to mobility, choice, and change."
(Leary goes on to say "unhappily my explanations of this sequence of personal development were often misinterpreted to mean 'Get stoned and abandon all constructive activity'". I wonder why, Tim?)

I'm not interested in rest from burnout. I'm ready to create new output. Do I need to be a 60 year-old tenured professor to have a sabbatical? Must I have achieved some pre-determined career success or breakdown to earn this? Do I need a desert or a mountain peak to achieve this? I don't think so. So internets, I am going to start "Sabbatical Weekends" in my life, once a month. Unless and until I reach the greatest leverage point, DESPERATION, I shall institute this faithfully, beginning today. Criteria to be determined. When I can get a break.

Here's today's cool thing:
Hug your sorrow plush tears! Woot! Having a bad day? Misery loves company! Plush tears. YES.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Dynamo Donut

Uh, I just had a farking awesome doughnut. No, for realz. I almost can't write about it. The darn thing lived up to the hype.

Before going out to Dillon Beach today, we went to get some fried pieces of goodness at a Dynamo Donut on 24th in the Mission. This is what I had, the chocolate spiced doughnut:

Mmkay. Some of the thoughts that ran through my mind while eating it:

Mexican chocolate.
Chile powder.
Crisp edges.
Not too rich.
Better than cake.
Better than doughnut.
Kitty cats.

LOVED! Go get 'em. Look for the wall-wide, streetfront pickup window. Hip vibe but the counter folks are very sweet. Didn't have the coffee (cuz I was drinking my favorite chai) but I hear it's up there with the best of 'em. Damn good execution, folks!

Dynamo Donut
2760 24th St
(between Hampshire St & York St)

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Thank God for memes

...or I wouldn't have anything to post! I'm in a rut! Or rather, a lull! However, my friends have been saying the darnedest things that every day I want to make them the quote of the day. And then I promptly forget them. I should wear one of those necklace paper pads with pencil a la Holly Hunter in The Piano. But I digress...

My pal Poet With A Day Job's got a list, and my pal LaDonna took it next. Now me:

1. The Last Book I Purchased:
The Food Snob's Dictionary, An Essential Lexicon of Gastronomical Knowledge. Since I'm not in culinary school or apprenticing at Gary Danko, I thought this would help me with some french foodie terms. Or the pronunciation of the names of famous culinary figures. Or for definition of certain menu items ("salsify" and "concasse"). And it does! It is rather tongue-in-cheek though, and is not at all what I would call a comprehensive volume of culinary knowledge. A fun read all the same, perhaps perfect for a certain room in the house...

2. The Last Film I Purchased:
Sarah Silverman's Jesus Is Magic. A live DVD. Does that count? If not then it would have to say "The Birdcage" because shamefully, I never had it on DVD. I know, I know. I couldn't believe it myself. So back to "Jesus Is Magic": I haven't watched it yet but I'm sure my mouth will be left hanging open from laughter and shock. And awe. And shock.

3. The Last Music or Spoken Word I Purchased:
Raising Sand, with Robert Plant and Alison Krauss. Somewhat unlikely but surprisingly good pairing. It smacks of alt country, bits of bluegrass, and a pinch of folk. T Bone Burnett produced it so whaddya expect. It's good I'm-working-on-something-at-3-am kind of music. It's also "hm, yeah, I guess I am thirty-six" kinda music. Sigh. I might as well pack it up and move to Scarsdale.

p.s. Dear Tim Gunn, Michael Kors, Nina Garcia, Heidi Klum, and Natalie Portman:
YOU. ARE. WRONG. Suede's dress was NOT cute. And Suede should have gone home for just being Suede. And on what planet is Terri's blue dress not the winner? You go, Miss Terri. I'm starting to feel a backlash to the backlash to the backlash with Project Runway right now. Don't even get me started.

What the fuck is this shit? From the mind of Suede, ladies and gentlemen. I get it, ok? But the execution is horrible, in my opinion.

Work it out, Terri. Challenge requirements met and exceeded, thank you.

Friday, July 25, 2008

By the skin of my teeth, sweeties

Hello again, blog. It's been a while and I'm trying to get back and it is...difficult. Last weekend's ZineFest just about kicked my ass. Frickin' exhausting. I guess that's what happens when you whore yourself out creatively for 16 hours on the weekend (there's a dangling participle in there somewhere...). The thought of going to work the next day actually made me physically ill, so I took that Monday off, and it worked wonders for my well-being. It was also fun to watch Golden Girls in the morning. "Shady Pines, Ma, Shady Pines!"

RIP, Estelle Getty.

I've also been doing some fun freelance for my sister and her new line. It's very exciting and I'm glad to be a part of it, however I've been pulling 12 hour days this week. Good results tho; perhaps I'll give a sneak peek sometime soon. Can I also say a big shout-out to my writing group sister-wives? Thank god for every other Thursday night. That shit is like wicked good THERAPY.

A'ight. Here's today's cool shizz. Corian rings. That's right. The counter surface material. Nice neutral colors like this graphite and some creamy white ones from these folks.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

This weekend: SF ZineFest!

Be there or be...not there. But really, be there. Because I'll be there, sitting behind a table I'm sharing with my friend LaDonna Willems, poet and writer. We partnered on her book of poetry together last year; I designed the book. We'll be sitting there and I'll be the one looking somewhat awkward and reading magazines whilst drinking cherry cola. My other friend Melissa Fondakowski will also be there, hawking her fantastic recent book of poetry. It should be a great opportunity to pimp out my design services and see some more good shit. So get your buns over to the ZineFest if you can. It promises to be yet another DIY fiesta fantastico!

My promo postcard. Git it.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Renegade Craft Fair: Report from the Field

Yesterday we caught the tail-end of the Renegade Craft Fair's first showing in San Francisco (!) It promises to be an annual event here, and we're long overdue. 'Parently the Fair has been showing in Chicago and Brooklyn for the last 6 or so years (I believe Chicago was its first city). ANYWAY, we had to bootscootboogie through the fair on the last day, as we were due over in the East Bay in the early evening. This meant that our friend L. and Lani and I had about less than hour to spend at the Fair, since we had just come in from SanJo to attend a wedding the night prior. (Congratulations Laurel & Ricardo! Holla!) It was a craft frenzy, and I almost lost my mind trying to ferret out the cool stuff through the crowd of hipsters and crafsters and strollers and the roaming 30 piece band that was playing. It rawked, though, and I did make a purchase: Petit Collage's screenprint of the alphabet in blue/green. Love her stuff; had seen it hanging at Zinc Details many moons ago, and was psyched to get a print of my very own! I also learned that we are Noe Valley neighbors. Fun. Lani also got me a journal with a repurposed cover of an old 1973 Childcraft Annual (Jocelyn, remember those???) Awesome!

What was going on in the East Bay, you ask? Well, we got to milk goats, feed the horses, and harvest eggs from REAL LIVE HENS at Deer Hill Ranch where my friend M. is the Executive Director and farmhand extraordinaire. We were also able to pick some very sweet and luscious plums. I am flush with farm-fresh products. Slow food, ya'll, slow food. Thanks, M.! Can't wait to work on that logo!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

This Is Why I'm Hot

Calling all HipAsianNerdBoys! Straight outta Korea we've got the fashion brand JBROS. And there's not just stuff for guys...the bags kick ass, especially the totes, duffels, and backpacks. Most bags are faux leather/patent, or canvas, or vinyl. Here's a selection of stuff I found insanely appealing.

Korean site (for eye candy)
A U.S. vendor of select products

Sunday, July 6, 2008


(This one's for Lani:) Four hours and forty-eight minutes (and 3 rain delays) of the most heart-pounding of Wimbledon finals, and you owned that shit! Congratulations, Rafa! You rocked that court today. And you're sweet. And you wear capri shorts. And your left arm is more muscularly developed than your right arm. And you Never. Give. Up.

The closest I have ever been to Rafa. He just finished practice at the Indian Wells tournament and I managed to elbow and take out some screaming teenage girls to snap this pic.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Calling all uteruses. Or uterii.

Ok, this is pretty farking cute. What better entertainment can a parent have? All this one needs is a pair of goggles. They call them "helmet hats" and indeed they are. I know, baby hats, shmaby shmats, but come ON! Go get 'em! Your child's head is F-R-EEZING!! Notice below that these cutey hats come in many mod colorways. I also really love the chin strap and ear warmers. The purveyors of this particular piece of fashion fun also offer flowery add-ons to the hats, so that your baby can look like a 20's flapper if'n she wants! Put your money toward this, and not Crocs. Heh.

Etsy strikes again.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Procrastinatory posty

Drumroll: I surfed! I am a surfer! I have achieved surfitude! Estoy surfiando!

And I have the pictures to prove it. Stay tuned. I'm lazy. Still lazy from being lazy, because laziness begets lazy. (side note: I should never order a Java Chip frappucino at 2 in the afternoon. I sound insane.)

So look for a future post on the vacation. Oh how I miss the swimming and sleeping and eating.

Today's cool thing: Custom silhouette portraits by Carter Kustera. You can add a descriptive tag line to each. It's a fun thing for the whole family.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


Dear Readers, I am leaving for a week of sun and fun in Sayulita, Mexico. I am looking forward to:

1. fish tacos
2. icy cold cervezas
3. quiet but for the breeze through the palm fronds
4. beach that isn't 40 degrees in the daytime
5. friends and good timez
6. local food
7. dialing down the tech-no-lo-gy
8. biggest worry: what tank top will i wear today?
9. swim. eat. swim. eat. drink. drink. swim. lay. read. swim. eat. drink. swim. sleep. repeat.

Those who know me know that I've always wanted to learn to surf. But if you live in Northern California, you gotta put on a damn wetsuit, and there are sharks, and it's cold (beaches are NOT SUPPOSED TO BE COLD). Too much, too much. No fun. So going to warm waters is going to RAWK.

Product Alert:
My good friend L. who is going on the trip just bought me the MOST wonderful, profoundly enjoyable, quietly brilliant, beautifully executed book called "Wave". It brought quite a tear to my eye, and would especially delight new and and not so new moms and their daughters. (Especially the ones who love the beach). It's by artist Suzy Lee. Sniffle.

Monday, June 23, 2008


If you listen to me once in your lifetime, please make it now. I'm about to enrich your life threefold. Sit down.

I am about to tell you of the wonders of SLO Chai. Picture it: I'm ambling along in San Luis Obispo at a farmer's market. It's a balmy day, and after perusing handmade rosemary mint soaps and infused vinegars, I look for some liquid refreshment. The next booth promises some iced-cold chai. The situation looks pretty granolafied: dude with a pleasant North-Face-Birkenstock-wearin' demeanor mans the counter. A vaguely Deadhead lookin' van is parked behind. Why not, I say and plop down my $2.50. I'm thirsty. What proceeds is a half hour smile on my face as I drink THE MOST SUBLIME MIX OF FAIR TRADE SPICE AND TEA AND MILK AND ICE EVER TO CROSS MY LIPS.

Fast forward 3 months. Nary a day goes by that I don't drink at least a cup of this life-giving nectar. Buy these jugs. You'd be a fool if you didn't. You say you don't like chai? Well, do you like music? Art? Rainbows? Kitty cats? Then take my advice: 2 parts chai to 1 part soy milk or regular milk. Ice. Your favorite cup. It's transcendent.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Now Testing: Planet Green Network

There's a new channel in town, and its name is Planet Green. Self-described as the only 24-hour eco-lifestyle network on television (tethered also to its online presence), Planet Green is a sister site of the well-known "green" site More interestingly, Planet Green comes to us from Discovery, who has re-branded their Discovery Home network into the new eco-focused channel. WOW.

Last night I watched a show called "Wasted" and the ever-popular Ed Begley reality show "Life With Ed", both pretty awesomely executed. "Wasted" is a how-to show that takes a homeowner and guides them through reducing their ecological footprint. Yawn, right? WRONG! You get how-to tips and advice on specific situations, and the hook is that at the end of 3 week period, they re-measure the footprint and pay you the amount you could save a year IN CASH! Nice touch. "Life With Ed" is basically like watching a Christopher Guest movie for a half hour. Ed has always been a green pioneer, and watching his whole family deal with his eccentricities is comedy gold. I also caught a snippet of a show called "Alter Eco", which is usually hosted by Entourage hottie Adrian Grenier. Alter Eco is an hour-long how-to show hosted and populated by pretty people. It goes down like iced sweet tea on a hot day.

I'll be watching and testing Planet Green. My initial grade based on branding, packaging and execution? B+!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Would you like some fresh ground pepper with that?

One piece of kitchenware that has eluded me is the "modern" pepper grinder. Why must all pepper grinders look like turned wooden canopy bed finials? Ergonomically speaking, it may be the best shape for grinding, but the hourglass-with-bulbous-top-and-little-metal-grinder-screw is tired, ya'll. Yawn. We actually have an ugly-ass boring birch one that malfunctions, and I've had it. So a little search on the interweb yielded some good results. Some criteria for my search:

1. No perfectly cylindrical stainless steel solutions, a la Peugeot. Too masculine.
2. No fussy knobs or anthropomorphic shapes, a la Alessi or Michael Graves. Too cutesy.
3. No little screw parts, or multi-sections. I just want a nice, flowing, organic shape.
4. No ACTUAL midcentury modern grinders. There's a lot of old stuff out there that's really interesting, but for my purposes, I'm not including them here.

So here they are. Feel free to clue me in on any more that you may find! I'm always on the hunt.

Bollard Teak Salt & Pepper Grinder & Plate De Menage
This one's cute and it comes with a handled plate for carrying around. I like that because it catches all the little ground up bits that end up on your counter. This comes in 2 kinds of wood.

iittala - Collective Tools Pepper Mill
I like these for the proportion of the twist handle, and the three handle colors available. I think this one would feel good, and there's less chance of loose parts (a big problem with some conventional grinders).

Birch Salt & Pepper Mills
If you must have a wooden mill, this is a nice solution. Nice, smooth finish. Not too precious. It knows what it is, and it's working it in a quiet way.

Georg Jensen Twist Salt & Pepper Mill
Here's a little somethin' special. Why not? Hopefully it's ergonomically sound. Whatevs. I just wanted to throw something interesting in the pot.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Extra Fancy:

Here's a fantastic collection of cards from Chronicle Books (you know, the folks who bring you the Yoshitomo Nara, Wanderlust, and Cine Mexicano postcard packs): "Uptight All Night". Jordan Crane is a cartoonist/artist whose spare yet powerful use of color is on display in his comic series and books; some snippets of his current "Uptight" quarterly book series are featured in this wonderful package. It's worth the $10 alone for the production of the cards. They're a nice, thick weight, and the printing is first-rate. It has the feel of a limited edition 2- or 3-color screenprint. As it says on his site, they are "tiny, but perfect". Collect 'em all, and share them with friends!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

boom, boom, POP

Here's a little hip-hop flava for yo' ass. Surfing the cable as I often do, I came upon the "Like I Love You" video from JT, and I think we would all agree that the choreography is SICK. I wondered, does JT come up with this stuff himself, or is he directed? A little research yielded some nifty choreography footage from the man responsible: a dancer named Marty Kudelka. Here he is dancing "My Love" with 3 other of JT's backup dancers: Nick Bass, Sky Hoffman, and Eddie Moralez.

Plush toys=pillows

Today's recommended daily dose of plushness comes courtesy of The Container Store. I love The Container Store. Why do I love The Container Store? Because when I want to contain things, I know where to go to purchase such containing products. Used to be I went to Target, and with some certainty, I knew I would find something fairly attractive or at least appealingly generic. I mean, Target owns that angle. But it was a roll of the dice just the same: you never knew if your Des Moines Target Greatland might be out of stainless steel pasta containers with the transparent peephole. And God help us all if they were. Then, with little fanfare, The Container Store entered the arena and they were Clean! Well-ordered! Well-managed! Well-merchandised! and they had the same sense of generic-to-modern style that Target so capably executes. Huzzah! (<--who came up with this exclamation? It's so 18th century.)

So featured above are the Comfort Creature Travel Buddy Pillows. You can also get the Comfort Creature Travel Blankets. These are geared to small children--and me.

Look how cute! These ain't just for travelin'.