Category Archives: Observations

Oh la la…offensive Weight Watchers France ads?

Trying to decide my stance on the new Weight Watchers France print ad campaign — Treat Yourself Better. They are clearly visually compelling–and not to mention well-conceptualized and beautifully photographed–but also kind of offensive and kind of narrow-minded (geared toward only very feminine, lipstick-wearing women).

Basically, in an effort to compel the French to use their program and services Weight Watchers did a campaign to modernize the brand. I get the concept behind it and I really like how the ads are simplified to just focusing on the mouth, but the way they are being used is very sexually-charged and here in the states, certainly considered offensive. Also, for women with eating disorders and other eating issues this could be taken the wrong way…almost like they are glorifying the problem. Something all seems in consistent with the message since the two mouths have bad foods (candy, fries) and the other has kale…is this about portion control or the times of foods women eat?

I shared these ads with a friend, and he said it reminded him of the PETA “Go Vegetarian” ad which is just downright obnoxious. This takes playing with your food to a whole other level. Oh please, I am a vegetarian and that is certainly not how I interact with my veggies.

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Rock on, Austin… a city of fun, love, and music

I really can’t shut up about Austin.

I do love to brag. But really it’s that I want to share with everyone what a wonderful place it is.

Austin is one of those places I’ve been dying to go to for the last 8 years (jeez, now I sound old). Honestly, I don’t know what took me so long. My time there gave me flashbacks at a point in college when I insisted I wanted to be a hippie nomad who just did art and wandered the world. Clearly, that didn’t happened but it was fun to be free-spirited for five days and just lay in the grass and listen to music.

This trip happened at an interesting point in my life. I’m going through some personal stuff and my heart hurts. The music was truly healing, as was being with my friends. I also randomly met a fella who is in a related field (advertising) and he was a wealth of knowledge about the industry and gave great recommendations about design schools. I can’t help but believe it was fate.

While I was there I took pictures incessantly on my iPhone. I felt inspired and clearly I found a nice photography groove… Enjoy

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Midsummer break in the Hamptons…beaching it and as always, enjoying art

The East Hampton = a great midsummer vacay with more cultural delights to explore than anticipated.

I was just there this time last week with my family and boyfriend. It was truly a great vacation, and even with this little cold I’m fighting, I’m still beaming from all the fun. We stayed in a beautiful house with a pool and perfectly manicure lawn lined with Hydrangeas. Unexpectedly, the vibe was pretty laid back and cool. Other vacationers and the locals didn’t give off the intense New York feeling, except they do get away with charging city prices (20 buckaroos for six-pack Corona Light). It was great and we were able to truly relax. And there was plenty to get into beside beach activities. We hit up two farmers markets, kicked it in town (holy shopping and fun art galleries), visited Sag Harbor, checked out the nightlife (Talkhouse but of course), feasted like kings, caught up on some reading and played with my new Spotify account, and just enjoyed eachother’s company. The house drink for this year was a mango mojito compliments of my big bro who demonstrated its a true labor of love for the proper summer cocktail. Another major bonus — it wasn’t a gazillion degrees like it was in DC. One thing you do have to watch for is the ferocious waves which clobbered be when I couldn’t swim fast enough (recommendation: don’t wear strapless swimsuit tops) which prompted my dad to lecture me like I was 10 years old again.

While in Sag Harbor we checked out some stores (Collette is a crazy cool designer consignment shop which I had no good excuse to splurge on so I didn’t). We found this cool, the real-deal coffee shop which I don’t know if I ever caught its name. Hanging from the walls were recycled coffee bean bags transformed into canvases. I thought they were good-looking and wanted to share them. I can’t imagine it’s easy to paint on this rough texture and get clean forms, so it’s extra impressive. The first one is particularly cool and intricate. It reminds you that many things we use in our every day lives can be turned into art. Think beyond the obvious and you’ll see.

Bloody Brilliant

Talk about stellar design. This bike — I spied while walking home the other night — folds into a fourth of its size. It’s made by a British company, but of course, because Europeans are known for great design.

Too bad I’m only 12.5% French, just enough to sort of brag about. And then an even smaller percentage of Polish which gave me nothing but an awesome last name and my so-called child-bearing-hips. Actually, that’s a lot to be grateful for.

Anyways, it took this lad (aka biker dude) a mere 15 secs or less to fold up the bike while he explained that it’s expensive (the one down side) and “never leaves me.”

Can we say bloody brilliant? Now, try saying that 10 times in a row really fast. I’m just messing with you.

Happy weekend.

Even Coach has a sketchnote style

While working on a fictitious perfume advertising campaign for a group project, I found myself at Sephora doing some heavy “research.” This is the best research a girl could ask for!

Anyways, while perusing the perfume section of the store, I stumbled upon one of Coach’s Poppy perfume packaging design which I really like. Actually not the bottle (it’s sort of boring) but instead the box it comes in. Granted it’s not an earth-shattering design, I enjoy the whimsical, handwritten typeface which is laid out in simply but is still dynamic. I’m not sure if Coach actually had a designer who hand illustrated this. If not, I think it’s a fairly solid attempt at making it appear that way. Plus, I love  the color red – it’s firy and inviting. Sadly, I didn’t find the scent particularly memorable.

One of their Poppy magazine ads which also caught my eye…

 

Only spot in town with cupcakes that are worth waiting for, plus there’s art

I don’t get the whole wait-in-a-line, dish-out-mulah cupcake obsession. I’m fascinated by others’ fascination. Cupcakes have been around since Betty Crocker hit the streets under General Mills in the 1920s, so what’s all the hoopla over these designer cupcakes stores that have cropped up every where I look? And, why do people have enough free time to stand around to wait for them? Come on, people… open your web browser, google a Martha Stewart cupcakes recipe, and get your bake on. SPEND YOUR TIME CREATING SOMETHING.

Don’t get me wrong, I have indulged my sweet tooth at Georgetown Cupcake once or twice, but the more others obsessed the more I was over it. Popularity killed my buzz, it not longer felt special. In terms of my sweet tooth, I heart cupcakes and desserts as much (maybe more) as the next person and I’ve been known for my chocolate binges. So like any sugar fiend I want to know I can get my fix without whipping up a big batch (last time I did this I had red velvet cupcakes for a week, and extra frosting that ended up anything smear-worthy).

So, if you’re going to buy them I have two words for you. BAKED and WIRED. Okay, that’s three. Uhhhmazing.

This bakery/coffee joint has a chill space with generally good music and an art display from local artists (it rotates). Baked and Wired doesn’t orbit around cupcakes, and has so many other handcrafted delights…biscottis, cookies, zucchini bread, HIPPIE CRACK granola (OMMMGGG), delicious coffee, teas, and juices. This place is so unique even their cupcakes have a fun shape. Plus, all the treats have handcrafted signs with attractive, amusing graphics and interesting type.

Inevitably, there can be a line on the weekends but if you try earlier or later in the day it shouldn’t be bad.

Fashionable friday and my love for blogging

It’s getting to the point where I am obsessed with blogging. It’s just so much fun, especially since I already love to write and I, naturally, have a lot to say. If only there were enough time to cover everything.

I think about my blog all the time, making lists about upcoming posts, and agonizing in a good way over the images and words I will use. This is real love. I knew this was the case when I met up with my friend Allie for a shopping date on Friday. We were catching up and suddenly I interjected (bad habit!) to say “You look fabulous, I need pictures of you for my blog.” She gladly complied. I realized that I not only love art and graphic design, but also fashion and interior design.  

So, check out Allie below. She’s by far one of the most fashionable nurses in DC. I am digging the pattern of her dress from J.McLaughlin, which is not a place I would shop.  Her accessories… Kate Spade bag, Tory Burch ballet flats, and matching belt… worked perfectly together. She even has nicely manicured nails, damn girl.

The pattern of her dress reminds me of the pattern of a chair I recently got reupholstered. I found this pattern in one of my favorite magazines of all time – DOMINO – which very sadly stopped publishing a few year ago. To supplement this, I found a blog last year about interior design that I also adore called LA DOLCE VITA, which is created by a very stylish girl named Paloma who lives in Cali. Her blog is one of the first that got me really excited about the blogosphere.

So speaking of fashion, I took a peek at the recent People Magazine – Style Issue. Looks like scarves are in which is great because they are one of my favorite fashion addictions. It’s the perfect accessory for pretty much an outfit and it feels so cozy wearing them (although not in the middle of summer). I’ve got to say I’ve got quite the collection started. So, on our shopping date at Bloomies I picked up this gem. Great pattern, color, and price ($60).

I’m also digging H&M and Forever 21 these days. I mean who can pass up cute, affordable finds particularly during the warm weather seasons. I love this H&M red pattern dress I spotted in another magazine. I also just bought these funky sunglasses for about $6 bucks from Forever 21. Amazing. I don’t think it’s worth spending oodles of mulah on sunglasses. There is too much wear and tear, and it’s easy to misplace them, a big pet peeve of mine. I can’t even begin to tell you the glasses I’ve lost over the years…rose-clored lens Chanels, red aviator Marc Jacobs, etc.

What you’re going to find is that similar patterns and colors will show up in my design work.

This beer is the bomb, literally

Last Saturday we went to Raouls, a delicious and lively French bistro in Soho (their grilled octopus appetizer is to die for). While waiting for our table we made our way to the end of the bar for a bevy, and that’s where I laid my eyes on it. A beautifully adorned beer can. The green, red, and black pattern stared back at me. “What is that?” I said with excitement and curiosity to the guy sitting at the bar. Before I knew it he was offering us a sip which Tom accepted but I declined (not because of germs, just because I was in a vino mindset).  The lady sitting next to this generous beer-drinker chimed in, explaining her husband started a beer company named Bomb Lager which commissions a rotation of artists to “dress” their cans.

According to Tom it was tasty. And, according to me it was beautiful and simply a brilliant idea. What an unbeatable combo. Why don’t more beer companies have art on their cans? Why don’t more companies across industries incorporate art into their business model? It made me think art should more often be celebrated through unexpected channels like this.

I dig the Aztec-esque art featured on this can. Besides that I think the Bomb Lager logo is neat. The type treatment is spot on for what the brand stands for – being itself and not conforming. The Bomb Lager website states the brand’s style is: “Bomb Lager expresses itself unapologetically. Our hope is that it inspires our drinkers to do the same.”

Well said, AMEN.

Art and the city

I spent the weekend with my boyfriend, Tom, in New York City. We went for kicks, an excuse to escape DC for a few days before it gets too hot to enjoy. Per usual, there was an art component…visits to the Guggenheim and the Met. What’s interesting about a city like New York is no matter what you do there is always something to be amused by, just walk down the street or ride the Subway. It can be a visual overload between the advertising, buildings, the store front displays, and all the millions of people. I’ve visited the city a few times a year since I was a kid to see my mom’s family, visit my older brother, and/or just to kick it with friends and have a good time. Every time I go I have a completely new experience, and that’s what I love about NYC as this trip was no different.

Enroute to the Guggenheim Tom snapped this picture of me in front of a sign for the Copper-Hewitt exhibit on Sonia Delaunay, a French artist who has a strong use of color and geometric shapes. We didn’t have time to check it out but based on this design in the ad, I know I’d enjoy her work. At the Guggenheim (the white cylinder-shaped white building) we saw an exhibit called The Great Upheaval which showcased great modern artists overtime. We also checked out some of the permanent collection (Kandinsky during his Bauhaus days, Impressionists, etc.) along the way. I came away from our time there with three new favorites: Blue Mountain by Kandinsky; La Repasseuse by Picasso (blue period); and La Tour Rouge by Delaunay. It crazy how I’ve seen all of these arts before many times but that relationship builds as you see more of their work over time and your perspective/taste change as a person. Also, so many of them have such huge collections it’s impossible to know it.

The museum has also started a series called Intervals, experimental art by Futurefarmers which museum-goers can participate in. We weren’t able to do it but I wanted to share it because it’s a super cool way to make type….by walking! Rightfully named Pedestrain Print, this series involves participants wearing clogs with letters carved on the bottom dipped in ink. Everyone walks across a scroll of paper to print transcripts from various poets, I believe.

After lunch we were off to the Met, one of my favorites. Unfortunately it was packed but we still got to see some great Egyptian, Asian, and Medieval art. Scroll your mouse over each image to get a description.

In addition to the real art, at the Met cafe we saw a very ordinary looking guy sporting a mesh top, tight black pants, and bright yellow stilettos with blue nail polish. Not so ordinary afterall. All I could think is “that’s New York for you/where did he get his nail polish from!?” That moment perfectly symbolizes how in NYC, art (“self expression”) is everywhere in all shapes and forms – whether you like or not. I happen to love it.

Well done, Zara

I popped into Zara, the kick butt Spanish clothing retailer, last week as an after work refuge. I walked into the store and I quickly fell in love with everything they have designed for this season. This may sound strange but I was overcome by this feeling of excitement and I felt the clothes spoke to me. Instead of buying anything I just took it all in and just let myself feel happily inspired.

The colors were sick. Lots of jewel tones and bright colors mixed with more muted and nude tones. There were some funky floral patterns, geometric patterns, and lots of stripes. There were different materials – cotton, satin-like, denim, some lace accents. It seriously made me think of the style I’ve seen on Spanish women when I’ve traveled to Barcelona. Oh, how I miss Europe and crave a glass of sangria by the sea with some Cafe del Mar tunes and my best girlfriend, Billie.

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