Tuesday, August 24, 2010


StoryCorps is an independent nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs with the opportunity to record, share, and preserve the stories of our lives.

NPR brings us touching, funny, and often heartwrenching stories and feature them for about five minutes on morning edition weekly. I hardly ever listen to one of these without tearing up so be warned! Now, animators have taken a couple stories to the next level by animating the recordings through illustration. Check out this sweet one below about a mother and a son who has Aspergers:

Q&A from StoryCorps on Vimeo.

And I will warn you now that this one had me shaking with sobs but personally, it was an important one to watch and I'll admit to you why. I've always been and am still single. Ninety percent of the time these days, I'm really pleased about it and enjoying this time in my life. But 10% I consider that my single friends count is dwindling so I can count them on one hand, my heart swells with happiness as women I've walked through life with say "I Do" and start their own families with little baby bumps. But it's a bit hard not to feel a little like the last one picked in kick ball. So for me, this story along with countless others I've been blessed to witness reminds me that great love exists and how many forms it takes. Watch with a box of Kleenex but leave hopeful in love, single or not:

Danny & Annie from StoryCorps on Vimeo.

Other great stories (they're almost all amazing):
Intertwined Love Story: Twins Who Married Twins
"You're not a fantastic dancer, but you hold me fantastically and I feel it."

After Just 10 Days, 'Best Years' Of Life Begin
"Even if you stop loving me tomorrow, I could never pay you back for all of the love and affection you have given my baby."

Friday, August 20, 2010

MY NEW SERIES, "There's No Place Like This"

I have a new series idea! It's titled "There's no place like this" and I will be offering mental vacations of places near and far I didn't even know (or imagined) existed. Today, we go far far away to...Singapore! Hope you enjoy!

150-Meter Outdoor Infinity Pool at the Marina Bay Sands hotel
Luxury hotel, Marina Bay Sands recently opened the doors of its microcosm to the public and has already wowed tourists with its unique and luxurious design.

The Marina Bay Sands hotel is located in Singapore has been designed with one goal in mind, to be the leading business, leisure and entertainment destination in Asia. It holds the title of the most expensive hotel built till this day, as its investment by the Las Vegas Sands Corporation reaches $5 billion. The Marina Bay Sands hotel is a mixed-use integrated resort with 2,560-rooms, three 55-storey towers, a 150-meters infinity pool on top of the towers, an indoor canal, a museum shaped like a lotus flower, the best shopping mall in Asia and world-class celebrity chef restaurants. Furthermore, it includes theatres, an outdoor event plaza, a convention center and a casino with private gaming rooms for premium players.

To put it coarsely, this is like porn for architects; can you even BELIEVE how imaginative these designs are and how much sheer ingenuity was put into each of them? Ayn Rand would be proud.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Last of the Summer Reading

How it's already the middle of August I'm sure I don't know. I feel like I just got out my summer dresses, just found warm-weather recipes I wanted to try, and just got around to buying sunscreen and already it's nearly September. But I'm not complaining. Unused to the summer heat of Nebraska after living in San Diego for the last two years, I am prepared to welcome fall with open arms.

What I read on vacation:

One Day was a good book, a big one, but a good one. Someone who reviewed the book ont he back cover said it best, "it's the best weird love story since The Time Traveler's Wife." And while The Time Traveler's Wife made a good book and a bad movie, I have a hunch that the opposite is true for One Day which is slated to star Anne Hathaway as the frumpyish love interest, Emma, of the swarthy Dex (Dexter). What sets the book aside is its formatting which, at worst can be called gimicky, at best is a refreshing take on your typical love story. The novel spans a couple of decades but takes place on a single date—15 July, St Swithin's Day, destined to be the anniversary of several key events in the lives of the two principals. So every July 15 we revisit the couple from 1988 to 2005 and witness what happens to them.
Often sad and sometimes anxiety-inducing, overall this book delivered but I would suggest you hold out for the movie before you commit to the 400+ pages.

Currently Finishing:
I have about 25 pages left in Searching for God Knows What, Donald Miller's follow up to his raging success, Blue Like Jazz. Not nearly as good as Blue Like Jazz, Miller still takes the reader on a not-too-uptight journey of Christian philosophy and in his usual comforting way breaks down intimidating parts about being a Christian without taking away from the majesty of God (which makes him comparable to C.S. Lewis in my mind). Much less organized than Blue Like Jazz's lovely topical apologetic prose, I found this book less engrossing but still definitely worthwhile. Commendable job, Mr. Miller; I will be reading your newest release as soon as I get the chance, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years.

Currently Reading:

I've taken on the beast: Anna Karenina. A book club through Grace Chapel is going to review the book in September (they take the summer off and, thus, chose a book bigger than a cinder block) and I didn't want to miss my chance to discuss the heavy read (literally and figuratively) with fellow church goers and book lovers. I've almost completed part one of eight (Russian authors have no reserve—thank you Tolstoy). So far I must admit that it's dense and delightful at the same time. Will keep you posted on this (eternal) process.

Also reading A Separate Peace by John Knowles as I assigned it to my Edgy Bookworms reading group. I was looking for a classic under 200 pages and found this and so far it's wonderful. It's such a seemingly simple story with such big, philosophical implications. What I LOVE about this book is that the author will deliver an emotional blow very subtley and he doesn't, in a literary sense, elbow you in the ribs as if to ask "Did you see what I did there? Did you get it?" and give away his subplot. It's a wonderfully humble way of telling the story and puts confidence in the audience culminating in appreciation from the reader as well as a sense of accomplishment that the meaning was not lost on him/her.

That's all! I've started The Billionaire's Vinegar but won't be finishing any time soon now that Anna K. and I are hanging out. Happy reading!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Inspired—Jessica Hische


have been inspired by Jessica Hische's daily drop cap project for a long time but I didn't admire her for more than her art until I heard this interview with her. I was suprised how wise this young designer was and how well she articulated what I love about graphic design.

Art In The Age Presents... Jessica Hische from Art In The Age on Vimeo.

She talks about how she did the art school thing but that she was less into self-expression and more into design because "it was about solving problems and communication" which is exactly why I love design. I don't desire to free form, I desire to beautify and aesthetically improve the world around me. She also talks about how the "death of print" is really just the death of unnecessary print, which is something I can completely get behind as well.
Enjoy this sampling of her brilliant work!

Describe your design in one sentence.
“Jessica Hische’s work combines equal parts design, typography, illustration, brown sugar, and heavy cream.” (Thanks, Jason from the Heads of State, for that one!)

What other designers / illustrators inspire you?
So many its hard to say. I have a major design crush on Marion Bantjes and a brain/concept crush on Christoph Niemann (you should reread the illustrated article he did for Print a few years back (2005? 2006?) on being an illustrator). I have a really talented group of friends that also keep my motivation high. I see work every day on sites like ffffound, the dieline, etc. that makes me seethe with jealousy. Envy can be a big motivator.

(Now I want to buy Marion Bantjes' book, I Wonder.)