Friday, September 30, 2011

Lost Type Co-op

Have you heard of the Lost Type Co-op? Well do you like incredibly well-designed fonts available in a pay-what-you-want distribution model? Yeah, I do too.


Heard a charming interview with Canadian musician Leslie Feist this morning on NPR (there were a lot of "aboots" thrown around), and forgot how much I loved her last two albums. She has a new one (Metals) coming out on Tuesday and it sounds great — I know exactly what I'll be listening to for the next few weeks.

All of her songs are wonderful (I'm sure you've heard of 1234?) but Lonely, Lonely is the song that first introduced me to her, and it's been my favorite ever since. This isn't the official music video — I don't think there is one — but just close your eyes and listen.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

It's Always Funny

I haven't caught up on the new episodes of IASIP (I'm very into acronyms lately, do try and keep up), but the promos for Season 7 are just, perfect.

If you want to know why I love this so much, look no further than the company Christmas card I designed a few years ago. I've never met an awkward family photo that I didn't like.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Must-have Martha

Martha Stewart has released a new book today, Handmade Holiday Crafts. I saw it on Poppytalk this morning and immediately bought it on Amazon (RIP Borders).

I'm sure it's just a compilation of everything I've already seen in her magazines and other books, but I don't care. It looks amazing and it has Martha's name on it, so it has to be.

(inside spread images via Poppytalk)

Monday, September 26, 2011

The Fantastic Mr. Fox

This weekend the man and I took a mini (3 hr.) road trip to visit some friends in Salamanca, NY (and their adorable, albeit bark-y Boston Terrier, Go-Go).

The Allegheny Reservation actually runs right through town, although to be honest, aside from the Casino, a plethora of smoke shops and a few gas stations proclaiming that they were Tribally Owned, you wouldn't really know you were on a Seneca reservation. Yes, we did go to the casino, where we stuffed ourselves with buffet and played roulette like the good Americans we are.

We also toured some local antique/record shops/barns where we picked up some shop treasures (update soon) but most importantly, this fancy fella.

We've been coveting various taxidermy critters for a while and finally happened upon this beaut for a very reasonable price at the expansive Salamanca Antique Mall. He is currently perched atop our bookshelf, frustrating and confusing our two cats, who have yet to figure out why he won't respond to their advances.

Our friends collect vintage monster memorabilia (amongst many other things) — aren't these melted squishy pop-out eye toys incredibly terrifying?

We also became buds with their cat, Slimmy, who is 100% black, including his whiskers. You're no Mozart, Slim, but you're definitely a handsome dude.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Week of Streep (p.8)

In this final (for now) installment of the mini-Streep reviews, I will revisit the last seven releases in Meryl Streep's career. Next in line is the Iron Lady, which is set for release in January — have you seen the teaser? It's been more than a year since my last new Streep fix, and I'm jonesin'. I've got the fever and I've got it bad.

And, in case you missed it, here are parts onetwothreefourfivesix and seven, for your reading pleasure.

2007: Evening

As usual, Streep uses her very minimal screen time to maximum effect in Evening, adapted from Susan Minot's New England-set novel of the same name. Evening is notable in that it was the feature-film debut (in a starring role) of the similarly talented Streep Spawn, Mamie Gummer (relation to the Great One: daughter).

Real-life mother and daughter actually share the on screen role, with Gummer playing a young Lila (in what is basically a flashback) and Streep stepping in as present day Lila. It's not hard to see the similarities, physically, of course, but also in talent. I'm sure it's not easy entering into the same profession in which one of your parents has more than excelled (or rather, defined it altogether), let alone going toe-to-toe with your famous mother in the same film. Gummer holds her own, although (of course) Streep knocks it out of the park.

Side note: I'm about 85% sure that I found the actual house where the majority of Evening was filmed, while on vacation in Newport, Rhode Island. It was set far off from the road and my camera zoom at the time was less than stellar, but I'd like to think my powers of recognition were spot on.

If watching Evening doesn't make you want to book a trip to Newport immediately, you probably accidentally rented the 1999 non-hit of the same name.

2007: Rendition  |  Lions for Lambs

Streep had supporting roles in two political thrillers in 2007, Rendition and Lions for Lambs. Rendition, like so many movies, failed to deliver despite a promising cast including Reese Witherspoon, Jake Gyllenhaal and Alan Aarkin. Streep is powerful in her brief scenes — don't miss her heated confrontation with Witherspoon's character.

Lions, also boasts a noteworthy cast (I'm sure you've heard of Robert Redford? Tom Cruise?) and is the more enjoyable — if you can call debating the political ensnarement that is Afghanistan, entertainment — of the two films. I have a hard time enjoying Tom Cruise in any film that isn't Rainman, but his scenes with Streep are the best parts of Lions, which focuses on three stories told simultaneously in real-time.

2008: Mamma Mia

After a stretch of supporting roles, Streep burst back into the spotlight with the screen adaptation of the ABBA-filled musical, Mamma Mia. Now to be clear, I don't exactly think that Mamma Mia is an Oscar-worthy film of distinction. I did, however, manage to see it thirteen times at the theater — it's campy and ridiculous and gorgeous and fun and everything I needed in the summer of '08.

I went once, on a Monday, and stayed for a repeat showing. I bought the soundtrack and blasted it in my car with the windows down, impervious to embarrassment. I saw the sing-a-long version in a theater containing only two other people (to whom I am related); which is to say, I loved it.

Streep looks like she's having the time of her life frolicking around the Greek Islands, and if you don't have an equally good time watching her do so, than I truly feel sorry for you. Don't rent Mamma Mia expecting to see Casablanca, but do watch it expecting to cringe at Pierce Brosnan's attempt at a singing career, which, in my opinion, is just as enjoyable as watching the vocally-talented Streep.

2008: Doubt

Doubt is another screen adaptation of a stage show, albeit holy (you see what I did there?) different from Mamma Mia. Streep plays Sister Aloysius Beauvier, and you'll wonder why it's taken her this long in her career to play a nun — she's utterly fantastic.

Phillip Seymour Hoffman is equally as wonderful as the priest who's relationship with a 12-year old boy raises the titular "doubt" and Viola Davis was 100% robbed of the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her brief, but powerful scene alongside Streep. From the performances, to the story, to the set design and time period, there is no Doubt (ehhh?) that this film more than earned its Best Picture nomination.

Side note: If you're like me, and fall asleep to any movie you try to watch past 5pm, do try to stay awake for the end of Doubt. Streep's closing scene with Amy Adams is some of her finest acting work to date.

2009: Julie and Julia

If I wasn't such an ardent Streep fan, I might have sworn that I was watching footage of the actual Julia Child during Streep's scenes as the famous chef in 2009's Julie and Julia. Rather than do a caricature of Child, Streep's performance is as fitting a tribute as fans could have ever hoped for. From the voice, to the mannerisms, to the face, to the height (achieved with some particularly enormous shoes — you can spot them in certain scenes) Streep is perfect.

I only wish that the entire movie was about Julia, and wasn't instead forced to split its time between Child's fascinating life in Paris and the present day (more specifically, Julie Powell's so-so memoir, about the time she decided to cook her way through Mastering the Art of French Cooking).

Streep was most certainly — and unfairly — denied the Oscar win for this career highlight and I'm sure my man would agree — upon leaving the theater I immediately cooked Child's famous beouf bourguignon, and it has since become my signature "fancy" dish.

2009: It's Complicated

Streep's last theatrical release to date, was It's Complicated, and was a welcome return to comedy for the Great One. She is hilarious in this breezy, thoroughly enjoyable romantic comedy from Nancy Myers, alongside two old favorites — Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin — and one of my new favorites — John Krasinski ("Harles"). I saw It's Complicated five times in the theater, and would have gone more if it hadn't been winter (i.e. snowy, miserable) and I had been able to find more willing companions.

It's the perfect movie to watch if you're home sick or in the mood to laugh, and if I could have just one day as the gorgeous, bakery-owning, amazing-kitchen-occupying, California-living, Steve Martin-dating Jane Adler, I would be a happy girl.

(all photos from Simply Streep)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Week of Streep (p.7)

I remembered today (about a year and a half late, oopsy) that I never finished reviewing the entire Meryl Streep catalog AND because it's my blog and I can do what I want, I'm going rogue, finishing what I started, and still referring to it as a 'week' even though it's taken me more like 15 months.

And, in case you need a refresher, revisit parts one, two, three, four, five and six before proceeding.

2004: Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events

L.S.A.S.O.U.E. has the distinction of being the first Meryl Streep movie I saw during it's original run in a movie theater. This was in 2004 of course, 2 years before I would be consumed by all things Streep, so I went more to be entertained than wowed by the Great One.

But, wowed I was, and as in most of her supporting roles, Streep stole every scene she was in — not a small feat, considering most of her screen time is opposite a scenery chewing Jim Carrey ("What a Supreeeeese"). She plays the grammar-obsessed, ultra-jittery Aunt Josephine and she's absolutely perfect — in fact, the entire movie is actually great, and able to be enjoyed by kids and adults alike.

2005: Prime

While Prime wasn't a blockbuster by any means, it is certainly worth revisiting on DVD or Netflix. Streep plays Dr. Lisa Metzger, a New York City therapist who finds out that her patient (a very likable Uma Thurman) is dating her son, but can't let on that she knows. The scenes where she tries to keep it together while Uma reveals intimate details about her relationship are pure comic gold.

Nothing is better than watching Streep squirm as Uma declares "his penis is so beautiful I just want to knit it a hat."

2006: A Prairie Home Companion

Ah, 2006: The Summer of Streep. Two Thousand Ought Six was a great summer to be newly obsessed with Streep, as it featured not one, but two theatrical releases prominently featuring the Great One. The first, Robert Altman's last film, A Prairie Home Companion has a stellar ensemble cast — Kevin Kline, John C. Reily, Lily Tomlin, Woody Harrelson, Maya Rudolph, a pre-crack Lindsay Lohan and Mr. Garrison Keillor, as himself.

Streep plays opposite Lily Tomlin as half of the singing duo, The Johnson Sisters. She is adorably ditzy, a little slutty and entirely enjoyable. She also sings (if you like music at all, get the soundtrack, now), which is always a delight.

2006: The Devil Wears Prada

A major highlight to my Summer of Streep was the box office hit, The Devil Wears Prada. One of the highest grossing films of her career, T.D.W.P. also held my personal record for times viewed in a theater: I saw it six times (a record that stood until another Streep film, Mamma Mia, shattered it two years later).

Streep is absolutely perfect as the white-haired, terrifyingly soft-spoken, Miranda Priestly. Everything about her performance is perfection, from her line delivery ("By all means, move at a glacial pace, you knoooow how that thrillllls me") to her emotional, make-up less scene two-thirds through the movie. Just try and get through the "cerulean" monologue without agreeing that she more than deserved the Oscar she didn't end up winning.

2007: Dark Matter

The release of Dark Matter, a 2007 film chronicling the true story of a Chinese student who ends up going on a shooting spree at his college, was delayed for more than a year after real-life events at Virginia Tech mirrored the film a little too closely. I ended up seeing it in a theater in New York City, when it was playing on maybe two screens (in the entire country).

Suffice it to say, it wasn't a hit. Streep is adequate as Joanna Silver, the student's sympathetic benefactor, and the film reunites her with her Music of the Heart costar, Aidan Quinn. I wouldn't drop everything you're doing to run out and grab a copy, but it's an interesting story that was the victim of unfortunate timing.

(all photos from the always-amazing Simply Streep)

Friday, September 16, 2011

RIP Borders

Monday, I bought the very last thing I'll ever buy at a Borders store and Wednesday, the two stores closest to me closed for good.

It would be impossible for me to calculate exactly how much of my life was spent inside of a Borders, but I can approximate that for the last 10 years, I've gone about once a week. Sometimes more, sometimes less, but I never went very long in between visits.

I would almost always sit in the cafe, always with a stack of magazines, a coffee drink and my iPod, occasionally with a friend or a book, but mostly by myself. Those small cafe tables were my sanctuary, the place I went to get away from the computer, from my family, from the noise, from the rest of the world.

I spent one entire summer writing what I thought would one day turn into a memoir, but now reads like an amateur, extended diary entry. I spent two months illustrating song lyrics for what eventually became a Valentine's gift for my man. I did countless school projects and had many wonderful conversations, first at the Chapel Hill store, then Fairlawn and more recently at the North Canton location.

To say I enjoyed Borders is an understatement, and as news broke that the chain was closing for good, I was really, genuinely sad. My friend Emily and I sat in the cafe the last night it was open, drinking sub-par coffee drinks (I never really found a great one there) and reading tabloids, like I had done so many times before. The next day, everything went on sale, the cafe closed and eventually they began disassembling and selling pieces of the actual store.

I was determined to buy a cafe table and two chairs, because it only felt right after spending so much time sitting at one. I had some competition (especially on the chairs), but I eventually secured my own set. We went back this week, after learning that the remaining fixtures had been marked down by half, and bought three rolling library ladders (for Furnace Street), two cardboard sign holders, a set of lockers, an extension cord and a red shopping basket.

When I was cleaning out my purse, I pulled out the receipt and couldn't bring myself to throw it away. The lockers and the sign holders are the last thing I'll ever buy at Borders, and although its a tiny comfort to know that I'll be able to continue to sit at a cafe table, I'll always wish I was back inside a Borders, with a coffee and an enormous stack of tabloids.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

The weather today in Ohio is rainy, with a high of 56 degrees. I'm not complaining. To say I love fall would be an understatement. Fall is one of the (only) things Ohio does best; soon I'll be purchasing cornstalks for my porch, carving pumpkins, guzzling cider and traveling to the Circleville Pumpkin Festival, but in the meantime, I'm enjoying these early fall delights:

Scarves. I would wear a scarf every day if it wasn't weird and sweaty to do so in 90 degree heat. I got this plaid looker from Target and today is its first (of many) outing.

Chai Tea Lattes. But what about that other pumpkiny, spicy latte, you ask? The chai tea latte is like the pumpkin spice latte, but for the fact that it's less sweet, can be ordered year-round, and doesn't look like nuclear waste when left sitting for more than five minutes.

Pro tip: order yours without water for a richer, more delicious, all-around delightful cuppa tea.

Leaves! Okay, so they haven't really started changing yet, but a story on NPR this morning about Leaf Peepers in New England (that term will never, not sound dirty to me) got me in the mood for a road trip to the Berkshires. I doubt we'll take one this year, but Ohio's foliage is usually just as brilliant, and literally, in my own backyard (this pic is actually Central Park — another place I wouldn't mind visiting this fall, or any other time).

The return of Parenthood. If you're not watching the best show currently on tv, then you're doing it wrong.

Halloween party planning. We were robbed of our chance to have a party last year, due to home renovations, so we'll be making up for lost time this year with an extravaganza. There is little I like to do more than plan a party, and Halloween parties are the absolute best.

Thanks to my backlog of Martha Stewart Halloween issues, I already have a great head start (and check out the October issue of Living for a how-to on these awesome 'shards of glass' cupcakes).

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Thermos Shelf

Saw this on Design*Sponge today, and thought it was a great way to repurpose vintage Thermos('s? i?), especially ones where the lids are long gone.

But where can you find a wonderful and interesting vintage, patterned Thermos these days, you ask? These beauts can all be found right this second in Blue Carrot Shop.

Am I MISSing something?

Just to be clear, I am generally quite clueless about fashion. That being said, I am a graphic designer, and fancy myself to be an ok judge when it comes to things being ugly or not. And the new Missoni for Target line? Ugly. In fact, Missoni's entire line in general? Ugly.

I'm sorry but I really fail to see the appeal, not to mention the fact that EVERY. SINGLE. PIECE. LOOKS. EXACTLY. THE. SAME. I know it's their trademark, their signature, their thing, but come on. I just don't get it. And you know (just to make you hate me more) I could have gotten it too  — I went to Target last night (for the much-more-my-style Halloween merchandise), and the shelves were still very well stocked with zig-zag goods of all shapes and sizes.

But, what do I know. Apparently demand for the line was so great that Target's website was down for most of the day, and many pieces sold out entirely (and in some stores, they lasted only minutes). Who knew there were still so many rabid Bill Cosby fans out there?