Tuesday, March 31

the post vacation let down

It is a blur. An 11 day blur of driving, plane flights, bus rides, site seeing, eating, sleeping, shopping, touring, more bus rides and then more plane flights. As our bodies have still not yet adjusted to being back on Chicago time, we awoke in the wee hours of the morning. It should make for an interesting afternoon and evening when our eyes start to feel the lag.

As for the pictures (and the videos) that's going to take me a bit to compile and edit them for you. After living there for 4 months I took a total of about 360 pictures, this time in only 9 days I took 1,755. Film vs digital.

The comforts of being home:
1. A scalding hot shower in my own bathroom, with my own fuzzy towels.
2. Putting my kettle on the stove for my usual morning tea.
3. Clean clothes.
4. Our bed, with our pillows.
5. Living out of my dresser instead of a suitcase.
6. Falling asleep on the couch.
7. My wooden floors.
8. Getting back in touch with friends.

The sighs of leaving behind:
1. Cappuccino every morning.
2. Melon wrapped in prosciutto.
3. Church bells to wake me.
4. Cobblestone roads that date back to BC
5. The quiet that comes with not fully understanding the language around you.
6. GELATO. No need to explain.
7. My feet in the Mediterranean while I search for the right pebble to take home.
8. Sharing Italia with my family.

Thursday, March 19

buon viaggio

I am officially in the last throws of "pre vacation" jitters. Our taxi to the airport comes in an hour and a half! (gasp!) It will basically go like this for the next 48 hours: Fly, drive, sleep, drive, fly (and hopefully sleep), wait, fly, drive, THEN destination! Yes, it will be a bit of an epic journey just to get there.

I can't wait to share with you all the stories and pictures that will come out of the next 12 days. Until then... ciao!

Monday, March 16

featuring : Teri Lyn Fisher and others

Somehow I stumbled upon Teri Lyn Fisher last week and wanted to share her great photography with all of you. She also has a great food blog here. It combines great food with awesome photography... warning it may make you hungry. {Picture credit for above goes to her}

Then I wandered onto this little ditty: A girl and her polaroids. Fun stuff there too.

Friday, March 13

science + design

He knows me so well. This came in an email from him this morning, knowing I'd enjoy typefaces categorized out as if they were elements on a periodic chart. And I do!

Sorry my posts have been a bit infrequent this week. Things are gearing up for Italy and time is running short. I'll try to get a few more in before we leave, but until then, have a great weekend!

Friday, March 6

diy : bookmarks

An easy Friday afternoon project for you!

All you need to make a nice "corner cover" bookmark is: one paper bag, one pair of scissors and a book! I always liked the Paper Source bags I get with each purchase and this is a great way to enjoy them once I bring them home. Now, just to be fair, I can't take full credit for this idea. I saw it somewhere, but for the life me cannot remember where. I've been doing so much "research" lately in the area of design that it's all starting to blur together. So, if you happen to see it else where, let me know so that I can rightfully credit from where it came.

PS: It needs to be a bag that does not have a bottom. A simple bag with just two sides. Then just cut the corners of the bottom off how ever you'd like and slip your "corner" onto a page!

Thursday, March 5

featuring : dogstardesign

| Rodney Davidson DOGSTAR Design |

My visit to the library last Saturday yielded some great books on design. While peering through numerous examples of branding, I came across the image above and thought it genius. Can you see the C and the A that stand for Cigar Aficionado? And yet, it's just a guy with a hat on, puffing away on his cigar. I love the simplicity of it. Clean, simple, clear design. I often strive for this but usually don't hit it on the mark as well as this does. DOGSTAR has some other great examples of design on their site. Like this one for a walk in clinic:

| Rodney Davidson DOGSTAR Design |

This one is amazingly subtle. Walk in. Okay, I get it, there are footprints. But look closer... do you see the "plus" sign in the middle that often stands for "hospital." That's the clinic part. I love how he used the negative space to convey the rest of the meaning. Brilliant!

Ironically enough, I went from reading through this book: "Business Graphics: 500 Designs That Link Graphic Aesthetic and Business Savvy"

to this posting by a friend this morning entitled, "Is Advertising Art?" What an interesting question to ponder. Especially in light of the fact that I'm trying to get ideas for a new brochure design for a client. And while of course I'd like to think of my work as "art" it also has a distinct purpose which is to "sell." In this specific case it's selling a service, hospice care, but it's still consumer based. It's not ars gratia artis (art for art's sake). It's trying to get something done, convey a message, invoke an action (in this instance hopefully choosing to go with this hospice over another). Is that art? I'm really not quite sure. It's hardly on the same lines as a Caravaggio painting or a Brancusi sculpture. But the most successful designs (or branding) make use of aesthetic elements in the best way, just like a good painting does. So maybe in the end they are based on the same set of "rules" but have a different purpose or intent.

Whew! That's enough deep thought for 8 in the morning. Thanks for letting me hash that out a bit with you. Now it is off to start my day!

Wednesday, March 4

{pre} trip glimpses

Okay, only if you promise not to let it spoil the fun, I'll share with you a few glimpses of where we're headed at the end of this month. Hopefully I'll come back with more photographs than I can count and I'll be able to give you your own guided personal tour through central and southern Italy. But for now, here is a little peek at where I studied for a semester, which is also where we'll be staying the first two nights: ORVIETO

| Courtesy of the Hotel Duomo site, where we're staying |

Tuesday, March 3


I have not been back down this road in seven years. I hardly know what to expect. It seems a bit like a dream, getting foggy around the edges as time passes. Four months spent across the seas, away from everyone and everything that was familiar. Those cobblestones in the road and those buildings made of gritty tufa rock, those formed the foundations of my memories. I wonder what it will look like now, through eyes seven years older, seven years wiser. It is only 17 days away and I still struggle to wrap my thoughts around it. Soon I will be counting the days on my fingers, then with only one hand, then packing, then boarding planes, then waiting and waiting. THEN I shall be there again. My feet will touch the cobblestone and my ears will be filled with foreign sounds. I wonder how it will feel this time around.