Saturday, October 28, 2006

suburban dictionary

Kelly Headband [kel-ee hed-band] –noun, plural -s, Slang.
SUV-driving mom

When I heard this nickname from one of my neighbors I had to laugh. We have a private school in our neighborhood and every morning and afternoon are subjected to a long line of SUVs dropping off and picking up kids, often making U-turns illegally in the middle of the street, barely missing pedestrians and other cars as they jockey for position in line. In this classic old Tampa neighborhood with an average 3.07 people per family, fully-paved streets and no off-roading opportunities, I think that’s just a wee bit of overkill, don’t you?

Thursday, October 26, 2006

getting things done in style

I have a new obsession and its name is Circa.

  1. I'm trying to work myself into a GTD system and the Circa seems flexible enough to work for that.
  2. I’ve been salivating over the eye-candy at Levenger for years but have yet to actually purchase anything from them.
  3. I like my organization and I like it pretty.

The decisions:
  1. What size do I really need? Letter-sized would allow me to easily insert documents (like my portfolio) but it's awfully big for carrying around town. A junior-size will fit in most of my bags, including my crumpler 7 million front pocket, but I can't include my resume / portfolio in it (but then again, isn't that what digital media are for these days?).
  2. Do I want leather or the plastic translucent cover? The leather is gorgeous, provides a firm writing surface and has pockets but the plastic weighs less and is bendy which makes it easier to fit in a cramped space (and it's cheaper).
  3. OK, there is no three but you really need at least three items to have a decent list.

Clearly I have a lot to research and think about over the next few days (because I really need to heap one more thing to my already overflowing plate). I’ll keep you posted about my final decision and will include some annotated pics (natch) when my system is fully implemented.

[photo credit: Levenger]

Tuesday, October 24, 2006


Gah! The universe is sorely tempting me. Suddenly all kinds of fabulous totes are parading across my computer screen, magazines and catalogs. Case in point, the latest issue of Metropolis magazine includes a special discount of 15% off any Crypton product. I love this Tuscan Garden Marina tote from the Michael Graves Collection.

Sigh. So many great bags, so little closet space ; )

[Photo credit: Crypton Super Fabrics]

Monday, October 23, 2006

Liora Manné

Oh my goodness, I’m all aflutter over this Horizon Swirl Bouquet Lapis tote from Liora Manné. She integrates art and technology to create truly fabulous textiles, rugs, housewares and accessories. When I’m ready for my next big bag splurge, I’m headed straight for her shop.

[photo credit: Liora Manné]

Friday, October 20, 2006

coffee break: meet up

So Happy Together
So Happy Together
Originally uploaded by Opiliones.
Kimbo, our 10 year old bionic boxer, likes to start her day catching up on the latest neighborhood gossip (i.e. smells - her feline buddies get around to a lot of interesting places).

Sylvester, the cat in the foreground, is what I like to call *aggressively friendly* and goes out of his way to follow you for a little contact - dogs included. Kimbo was pretty freaked out the first time Sylvester tried to rub up against her, having grown up with our cat Maggie, who tolerated her at best and swiped at her at worst.

It didn't take long for Kimbo to settle into a comfortable relationship with this odd little pack of dog-loving cats. Now, instead of jumping away from them, she sniffs and deposits a little trail of drool down their backs as the cats say their hellos.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

pass the handiwipes

Dirty Shoes
Originally uploaded by der_dennis.

You might want to think twice next time you think about putting your handbag on the kitchen counter. According to a report earlier this summer, your purse is equivalent to a pair of dirty shoes in terms of the quantity and variety of germs that hang out there. Ew.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

bare necessities

Two items are staples in my handbag – hand cream and lip balm. Without them I feel naked and parched. Of course, being a maximizer, I’m constantly on the lookout for the perfect product.

Yesterday I picked up a tube of high intensity hand cream from bliss and it has already won me over. It has a light fresh scent that’s not perfumey and you only need a tiny drop to cover both hands. After a full day of use, my hands feel nice and soft but not too greasy. And the full-size container is just the right size to slip into my bag.

For lips, I’ve been using Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment with SPF 15, an important consideration when you’re subjected to the blazing sun 365 days a year. It’s a little pricy but proved its worth to me with quick healing after a painful burn to my lips from a reaction to latex during a root canal. Plus I love the screw on top of the metal container – no worries about a missing cap making a mess in your favorite bag.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

coffee break: life is sweet

Cream Puffs in Venice has my sweet tooth humming once again. Here's a yummy little cake to go with your coffee.

[Photo credit: Cream Puffs in Venice]

Monday, October 16, 2006

Lake Mirror Classic

Originally uploaded by Opiliones.

The Lake Mirror Classic Auto Festival is being held this weekend, October 20th – 22nd in beautiful downtown Lakeland, Florida (between Tampa and Orlando). The folks in charge put on a fantastic show - it’s well worth the drive if you’re in the area. Even if you’re not an aficionado of classic cars you’ll be impressed with the variety on display and how well they’ve been preserved not to mention the sizzling colors and sparkling chrome.

You can check out a slide show of my photos from last year for a taste of what you’re in for. If you click through the photos individually you’ll find information about each of the cars and, if you look closely, you can see my reflection in one or two : )

Marie Ricci

When I finally get around to creating my dream workspace, one of the first things I’m going to order is one of the gorgeous monogram plaques from Marie Ricci to hang above my worktable. I love the illuminated quality of the letters - like the decorated initials of a medieval manuscript - and am in awe of the meticulous detail in her original hand-carved designs.

She also carries designs for clocks, mirrors, garden plaques and ceiling medallions for children's rooms and adult spaces and has recently added this stunning new Mediterranean Vine design to her chandelier medallion collection.

That’s item number two on my list of must haves!

coffee break: misunderstanding

Originally uploaded by snailbooty.

From snailbooty over at flickr:

"the studio photographer misheard Edgar's request to be photographed reading a poem..."
Check out the peanut gallery for more fun and games.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Fall - Florida style

pumpkin patch
Originally uploaded by Opiliones.

There's something about shopping for pumpkins when it's 85 degrees and sunny that doesn't feel right to me. Capris and a t-shirt are just not appropriate garb for manhandling giant squashes - that's the domain of corduroy and sweaters and, at the very least, closed-toe shoes.

It's this time of year in Florida that reminds me how much I miss the chill in the air, the colorful leaves and the hot apple cider of a fall day in Virginia.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

there's no place like home

Where to begin? It all started innocently enough about ten days ago after the purchase of my first digital SLR. Like any new parent, I wanted to protect my baby and give it a beautiful, welcoming home – someplace special, not cheap and generic and boring. Thus began my quest for The Perfect Camera Bag.

If you think this is an easy task, then you obviously haven’t been shopping lately. There are a lot of camera bags on the market in various sizes and configurations – backpacks, holsters, sling bags, messengers, and duffels ranging from minimalist neoprene covers to compartmentalized monstrosities. And if you are a perfectionist bag / organization freak, as I am, deciding on what you really need and then researching the options are time consuming tasks - as in hours and hours of "maximizing".

I cruised forums and flickr and google and quickly realized I was not alone in my compulsion. A lot of people are obsessed with finding the perfect home for their cherished photographic equipment. A LOT. We were all searching for something other than the standard black “I’m a camera bag” container; we wanted the functionality with more chic.

In the end I was won over by the fabulously-designed Crumpler bags - the 7 million dollar home to be exact. It arrived this afternoon and I think it will be the perfect bag for day trips when you need to carry more (e.g. snacks, notebook, wallet, an extra shirt) than just your camera. I loaded it up and took some shots for those poor souls who are just beginning the hunt. Fair winds and following seas my friends.

Crumpler 7 million dollar home:

Fully Loaded (extra shirt goes on top):

In my bag:

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

workspace envy

The folks over at Decor8 and fabulous stationery are in the final stages of their workspace contest.

My studio
Originally uploaded by Geninne.

So far this one from Geninne, a graphic designer/illustrator in Hacienda Jajalpa, Mexico, is my favorite. Great colors and organization (!) and I love the idea of the magnetic wall.

Ten semifinalists are being showcased today and tomorrow – check it out!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

(almost) clutter free

I’ve had another fun-filled week of sorting, filing, shredding, and paring down using the clutter test from Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui by Karen Kingston as my guide:

  • Does it lift my energy when I think about it or look at it?
  • Do I absolutely love it?
  • Is it genuinely useful?

Whenever I go through this process I am astounded / horrified at the amount of stuff I have managed to accumulate and/or hold on to well past its useful life to me. In fact I had a headache most of last week which I attribute to a) inhaling paper fibers, b) increased tension from deciding what to spare and what to tear and c) relief of tension when I finally took three huge bags of trash to the curb on Monday and loaded up my car with:

  • One file cabinet and six large bags of household items, clothes and travel gear that went to The Spring of Tampa Bay.
  • One box filled with eight handbags, one winter jacket and some surprise gifts that should make it to my sister and her family on Thursday
  • Four bags of my reject samples that I donated back to the resource room at school

I still have a bunch of loose ends (i.e. filing) to finish up but can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel and that’s a good feeling.

In celebration, I stopped by the mall on the way home from school and indulged in a chai latte and a slice of yummy lemon cake at the Nordstrom ebar – a nice little reward for a job well done.

Um, and in the spirit of full disclosure, I’m almost embarrassed to admit that I topped off my day with a new Kipling bag (summer clearance – I couldn’t resist). I do have a lot more room in my closet after all ;)

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

respectfully submitted

My husband is on month 10 of a 12 month deployment to Iraq. His ability to maintain a sense of humor helps us, his family, laugh more and worry less. Here’s one of my favorite tales of his Baghdad exploits from an email he sent a couple of weeks ago:

We received a request (Letter of Technical Direction or LOTD) to have someone do an estimate for a grass soccer field in one of the driest (if there is such a thing) parts of Iraq for military folks on base to have a sports field. Always trying to be helpful, I provided my recommendations below:
In accordance with the attached LOTD [deleted], specifically the provision to give a recommendation of the type of grass to use on the XXXX soccer field. After consultation with our horticulture staff, we recommend the soccer field be planted in dirt. Attached is a photo of a similar field planted in dirt.

Advantages of dirt are:

  • Highly drought resistant – dirt can go many seasons without rain or watering and will still make a full recovery.
  • Economical – adequate dirt can be shipped from many European countries and provides all the coverage necessary for a lush brown field.
  • Low seeding rate – the dispersion of dirt seeds can be set to a very low number of dirt seeds per sq meter. After only a short period of time, dirt will expand to fill the area between the seeds and once a strong root bed is initiated, dirt will continue to thrive for many generations.
  • Resistant to high traffic – dirt can withstand the abuse of large amounts of both vehicle and pedestrian traffic prone to many soccer fields. Dirt is unique among the considered options due to the fact that after heavy periods of traffic, only a small amount of neglect is required before dirt returns to its normal state.
  • Discourages grazing from livestock – there are very few cases of stray livestock grazing dirt beyond its ability to repair itself.
  • Low maintenance cost – dirt grows very slowly and as a result, only requires infrequent trimming to maintain a healthy brown color and to prevent it from creeping into neighboring fields.

Disadvantages of dirt are:

  • Under extreme cases, dirt can undergo a chemical change when mixed with ordinary water. The results are a thick, dark, and slippery substance that can be spread to the surrounding area by vehicles, humans or animals. However, this is not a permanent change and the condition can generally be reversed by the application of direct sunlight.

Other viable ground coverings considered were:

  • Gravel
  • Sand
  • Shale

Very Respectfully,

coffee break: cheesy goodness

I’m one of those annoying people who, when they are late for a meal, have to have food, any food, RIGHT NOW or else they will surely perish. If I wait too long to eat I get weak and cranky - a deadly combination for all in my presence. Add a migraine and a little Excedrin to the mix and I start to get the shakes, which is how I found myself inhaling half a bag (2.5 servings) of cheese puffs from Barbara’s Bakery. They’re made with aged cheddar and blue cheese and, in my humble opinion, are the best cheese puffs on the planet. And that’s not just the hunger talking ;)

worth a thousand words

orange line
Originally uploaded by Opiliones.

Wisdom teeth extractions on top of my self-imposed filing torture haven’t left much time or energy for blogging lately. But my new camera, an early Christmas/graduation/birthday gift courtesy of my hubby, has given me a boost and the motivation to get started again. I’ve had time only for a couple of quick shots on full-auto but am excited to get to know the ins and outs – just in time to take some new portfolio shots. Woo hoo!