111 : ikea

Today we took a trip to Ikea to get some stuff for the bf's new pad. Being there reminded me just how much I love that place, and just how long it's been since the Ikea overload we experienced when we first got our office. I can't even tell you the number of times we went there in a matter of a few weeks. We would need more than one hand to count the trips, that I know for sure. We'd buy something, bring it to the office, realize it's too big, then go back and return it for a smaller one. With our bookshelves, we thought there was no way we could fit two in the office, so we returned one. The next day realizing we really did need two, we went back and re-purchased it. Dorks, I know.

We even put everything together ourselves, and I'm very proud to say that two and a half years later, everything is still in one piece.

110 : centered seating

Have you ever gone to a movie theater and noticed that person inching over seat by seat to make sure they are smack in the center of the screen? That's me. Can't help it, there is something that throws off the movie magic if you end up having to sit front row and have to lean back to see the whole screen, or if you are way off to the side.... it just doesn't work. I admit I'm picky, but I love movies or getting out and going to a show and it just doesn't feel right to not be in the center. In a couple months we are going to San Fran to see the Peter Pan performance in the Threesixty Theater at Ferry Park. And guess what? We're smack dab in the middle! Hooray! No worrying about getting there early to get a good seat like in a movie theater. Jen knows me all too well and even counted the seats on each side to make sure. :)

109 : etsy

If you love handmade items (art, jewelry, soaps, clothing, etc) or things vintage, you must check out etsy.com. It's full of independent "shops" were anyone can sell their handmade or vintage goods. A friend even sent us a delish sampler box from Whimsy & Spice that she found on the site. Yum.

I've found some amazing things there myself...and check it daily, in order to grow my current obsession of collecting ampersands.

It truly is addicting once you start browsing through. You won't find many of these items at your local store, and it's nice to know you're helping other small business owners in the process.

One day I may even revive my old jewelry making skills and set up shop on etsy. We'll see.

108 : design{makes me}happy

We've all heard the expression "time flies", and boy is that the truth. We can hardly believe that today marks our third year in business. Our little studio is growing up, and we couldn't be happier.

We'd like to send out a very heartfelt thank you to our family and friends, but most importantly to our clients that have been there and supported us during this time. You mean the absolute world to us. It is because of you that we get to do what we love.

107 : car games

Sometimes we have to make the trek to LA. Be it for a press check, picking something up at the printer, or meeting with a client...sometimes it just has to be done. And with the 405 a parking lot the majority of the times, we tend to get a little bored.

Sure there is the typical game of finding words that begin with each letter of the alphabet, but playing that game with Monique can be a little repetitive. She'll get one letter stuck in her head, and then keep finding that same letter. Or, she'll find letters that we have already passed in the alphabet. So when Monique asked me if I wanted to play a car game, the result was not what she expected. My car game consisted of shouting out the genders of the people in the cars next to us. Why? I haven't a clue. But sometimes randomness is when you have the most fun.

106 : tea forte

We're tea drinkers. Monique is a chai kinda girl, and Jen likes green. But even before we drank tea on a regular basis, we had to have Tea Forte. We fell in love in with the packaging years ago, and bought some based more on the way it looked, than the fact that we actually wanted to drink it. It's the designer side of us. The packaging is simple and clean, and the little leaves on the tea bags are just too cute. A happy surprise was to discover their tea isn't too shabby either.

105 : unique LA

We had a blast today. Where were we? At the....

The Unique LA show had an amazing group of vendors from in and around LA. The booths were filled with anything from art, to jewelry, to clothing/accessories, to gourmet eats, to books/stationery items and more. It was a visual overload. SO much to see! With the complimentary totes in hand we tackled each and every one of the over 300 vendors and by the time we were through we were both happy and dizzy from the swirl of visuals everywhere. Some of the graphic design highlights of the day were the unique business cards including one from a fashion designer printed on khaki fabric and another printed on corrugated cardboard.

We even picked up some fun stuff while we were there. One of the first purchases was a bottle of hand lotion from further soap, whose products are made using the glycerin from biofuel. Eco-friendly and the sent of the products is amazing. From Klean Spa, we picked up a Yuzu scented spray (Jen) and Pomegranate-Fig lotion (Monique). And can't forget the gourmet eats...from Ococoa we picked up gourmet chocolate and then famished from all the walking we stopped off midway at the "cafe" section of the show. There we sat down to a pastrami sandwich and caprese sandwich from fresser's. As we headed back on the last course of the show, we spotted a popsicle cart. From popshop, we grabbed an avocado/vanilla popsicle (Jen) and a lychee popsicle (Monique) for the rest of the journey. We even had a happy ending and ran into one of our old school friends Traci as we were heading out. :)

What a great day.

104 : office walks

Every day we take Gizzard out for a short walk around the office area. It's nice to step away from the computer and get some fresh air. And although there are many gross things that come crawling from the hill, there are also some beautiful things as well.

Each spring, the brown hill we see out our window, becomes alive with color. Usually it's mustard flowers that grow abundant, but this year, these pretty purple flowers were sprouted everywhere.

When the purple flowers died, these lovely little pea pod looking things appeared.

And although, we get our share of creepy crawlies (pincher bugs, black widows, beetles and ants galore), there's something about lady bugs that just say happiness (especially when they have spots).

103 : earth day

Let's face it, everyone is on the "green" bandwagon. And why not? Everyone should do what they can to protect our planet. We try and do little things everyday to reduce, reuse and recycle. From bringing home our recyclable items (since there is no bin at the office), to using reusable bags at the grocery store, or no bags at all when necessary. There are so many things you can do every day to help out.

Good Housekeeping Magazine gives you 25 easy ways to go green. Check it out. And if you're really hardcore about saving the planet, check out Diane Gow McDilda's book, 365 Ways to Live Green.

Image courtesy of NASA Earth Observatory  http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/

102 : fauna pet

It's great when you work with clients that you truly love. Take Renee at Fauna/Knotty Girl for example. She can make me laugh so hard I almost pee in my pants. She's one of the funniest people I have ever met. We redesigned her website for young/teen girls bath products, Knotty Girl, and then the following year, worked with her on the redesign of her line of bath products for pets, Fauna. During the course of working with her she sent us tons of samples; both from Knotty Girl and Fauna. And while I love love love the Drama Queen Marshmallow shampoo and conditioner, I am head over heals for her Fauna Shampoos. 

We've already established that Gizzy is hardcore spoiled. I only want the best for him...food, treats, toys, and of course, bath products. Fauna shampoos make what little fur he has so soft and silky. Plus, he smells so good afterward. You'd be silly to wash your pet with anything other than Fauna. Seriously. We're not just saying that because she's our client. It really is that amazing.

Oh, and look who's Mr. October <3

101 : pure dark packaging

While in New York last summer I stumbled across Pure Dark. A small boutique chocolate shop dedicated to...you guessed it...dark chocolate. In addition to their yummy chocolate, their packaging was so simple and beautiful. I got a few to give as a gift, then went back a few days later to pick some more up.

100 : kids bandages

Not many people like getting wounds. Let's face it, pain isn't all that fun. But there's nothing better than bringing a little bit of happiness to them, by ditching the skin toned bandages and grabbing some brightly colored cartoon ones. Yeah, we know, they're childish. But could really look down at Curious George adorning your finger and not smile? It's ok, you can admit it. We won't judge.

99 : fresh laundry

Having just finished laundry for the week, the smell of detergent and fabric softener is in the air. Although doing and folding laundry is not so fun, there is something refreshing about the site and smell of laundry right out of the dryer. It brings out a comforting sort of happiness that feels like home.

It's the same for our favorite four pound monster, Gizmo, who just can't resist jumping head first into a pile of fresh warm laundry out of the dryer. If there is a pile of clothes out of the dryer, it's safe to assume that a certain someone will be found right in the middle of it all.

98 : ⌘z

Oh the glory of "command z". It is a saving grace at times to be able to undo something you didn't like or didn't intend to do on your computer. We use it ALL THE TIME...it's one of our digital bffs. With ⌘z you are able to go back in time in the blink of an eye... oh, if life were just that simple.

For all the other Mac user "command + z" lovers out there check out etsy.com to find a couple non-digital items that you can put on your neck or decorate your place with...

97 : nosh cafe

 A little gem in downtown San Pedro that we love to go to and grab lunch when we have a little extra time available is Nosh Cafe. We'd like to be able to get down there more often, but maybe its best that our office isn't too close or else we'd be there all the time! Hidden away on Centre St. between 6th and 7th it is a local favorite serving up some simply amazing fresh dishes and baked goods. Today we headed down there and had Curry Chicken Pannini with a side of Israeli Couscous w/ fresh dill (Monique) and a ham, cheese and spicy mustard sandwich (Jen). And we can't forget the amazing mint lemonade to go with it. And ok...not only did we eat there we took dessert to go because we were so full but just couldn't resist. We had fresh baked lemon coconut cookies and homemade bread pudding. Noshing is definitely a guilty pleasure.

96 : spider webs

Spider webs? Yessiree...they make me happy. Well, photographing them that is. Walking into one...that's another story.

You do have to admit, there's something fascinating about webs, especially when you find that perfectly shaped one. I particularly love them when something is stuck in their delicate threads. And no, I'm not talking about flies.

Once and awhile, while photographing spiderwebs you run into something you wish you hadn't. As much as I may like their webs, the thought of spiders make my skin crawl. Especially when there are tons of them. But who can resist photographing more than 25 spider babies and their egg sack? Obviously, not me.

95 : white space

At the studio, we can't help but tend on a clean and modern design style. Doesn't mean thats all we do, we love exploring different design styles, just wait until you see the new teen inspired hand drawn packaging design that's underway. But it just so happens that we tend on simplicity. What adds to it is the use of white space, aka negative space. What the heck is that you say? Its that area in art & design that isn't occupied by subject matter or text, but is whats around and in between subject matter, or whats left unmarked on the page that adds to a more dynamic composition and drama which....ok, so blah blah blah right? It's kind of hard to explain the subject, better to show by example... and what a better way than on some of our work that just wouldn't look the same without the right use of negative space. Take a couple of our identities for example, can you spot the use of white space? (And don't let the name fool you, it isn't always literally "white".)

And not only do each of the logos include an element of white space, but the photos do to. White space within white space, like a play within a play. :)

94 : dinner with clients

There are few times where we get to put business and projects aside for a second and sit down to lunch or dinner with a client. It's nice to take a break and enjoy good food and good company. Tonight was one of those nights... it was good company and good Chinese. It's in these moments that we see the people we work with not only as our clients but our friends.

We're looking forward to the next client lunch/dinner... which in our opinion doesn't happen often enough! Hungry anyone?

93 : weekend getaways

This past weekend I headed out of town and went up to Santa Barbara for some much needed r&r. With a map, reservations at a dog-friendly hotel and my two favorites in tow, it was sure to be one amazing weekend. And boy was it.

It was so amazing in fact, it reminded me that I need to try and get away more often.

Next getaway...San Diego perhaps?

For all of you wondering how Mr. Giz did on the trip...He spent the majority of the time like this...

Spoiled much? Giz? Never.

92 : port cranes

Some people look at the Port of LA and see machines, metal, consumerism, commerce... That may be true, but having grown up here these machines, containers, and ships feel more a part of the landscape than something foreign.

The machines are oddly beautiful filling and towering over the harbor. Like welcoming giants the cranes are the first thing that the trade ships see when coming in to port. I have for so long been enamored with these giants, their silhouettes, and their colossal beauty. During junior year at Otis I did a project on this port town which is where these photos come from.

91 : office socks

On a quick run to the store these cozy socks found their way back to our office. They are made of the softest material and feel like you are wearing clouds on your feet. Now they have become our office socks (Jen:Blue/Pink/Green and Mo:White/Pink/Green). If you stop by the office unexpectedly don't be surprised if you find us at our computers with these beauties on. And it does look pretty funny with these bubble gum striped colors on our feet considering that we are usually dressed all in neutrals.

90 : zero gravity card series

De ja vu? Nope, Zero Gravity greeting cards have done it again. You may recognize this sexy beast from an earlier post on "Funny Valentine's Cards".  If Easter wasn't enjoyable enough, this card makes it even better. I think these jean shorts put a whole new perspective on decorating Easter eggs. By this cameo on Easter cards, chances are you may see this sexy man again... Like "Where's Waldo?" we are wondering what other holiday will be so lucky. Maybe 4th of July? Can't you just see the American Flag jean shorts?

89 : ian bagg

One of our all time favorite comedians to see live is Ian Bagg. We first went to see The Ian Bagg Show years ago, when he would perform late-night talk show style at the Comedy & Magic Club. Let me tell you, we'd laugh so hard our faces would hurt. Surprise guests included Pedro from Napoleon Dynamite, Garry Shandling, Louie Anderson (could have done without him) and tons more.
He's performing tonight at the C&MC, and we're super excited. The last time we went was in September, so it's definitely time for our Bagg fix. Even though the majority of his jokes will probably be the same (with him saying "Holy Sh!t" a lot in between), it's still sure to make us both want to pee our pants.

88 : paris

Both of us have been to Paris once in our lives and we can tell you that once was definitely not enough. It is an intoxicating city full of a beautiful and mysterious character. From the museums, to the people, to the food, down to a simple picnic with bread and cheese what is not to love in the "city of love". We revisit the memories we have of this beautiful city often and long for the day we are there again, which we hope is sooner rather than later. In the office we'll often joke about leaving that night and heading off to the airport to await a standby flight to France... and one day it won't be a joke.

87 : the garden of earthly delights

There is something about Hieronymus Bosch's painting The Garden of Earthly Delights, that has intrigued me since the minute I saw it. The painting is triptych (three panels) and features the biblical scenes of the joining of Adam and Eve (left), the garden (center) and hell (right)...not a subject matter that I would necessarily tend to gravitate towards.

The brightness, complexity, imagery, and immense amounts of symbolism are pretty remarkable...and many of the people depicted are in poses that are rather...interesting.

Like the strange bird headed creature in hell that eats the tormented and then defecates them into the transparent chamber pot on which he sits.

For an indepth analysis of the painting and it's symbolism, check out Wikipedia.

FYI: The painting was featured on The Simpsons as Bart's idea of hell.

86 : fmylife

Ever have one of those days when you feel crappy, and wonder if things could get any worse? Well, check out fmylife.com and see that yes, things can in fact be much, much worse.

One of our guilty pleasures involves the occasional browsing on fmylife. A website where anyone and everyone can post embarrassing, shocking and sometimes down-right disgusting "events" (we use this term loosely, as we don't really know if all these stories have actually happened). Each post starts with "Today..." and ends with "FML".

Whenever we need a good laugh, or to remind ourselves that what we're currently dealing with, just isn't that bad, you know where we come.

Here are some of the top posts of all time... Let's just say, we're glad none of these happened to us.

85 : nervous system

Recently on one of the blogs we frequent, we came across Nervous Systems. Weird name, we know. But we were pleasantly surprised when we saw some amazingly beautiful jewelry inspired by complex natural objects.

The earring above, are part of the new xylem collection, which is based off the vein formations in leaves.

We also love the collection inspired by coral, dendrite. The one-of-a-kind necklaces are absolutely amazingness. If the necklace below wasn't already sold, it would be mine. Simply beautiful.

If you love these as much we do, click here to view more.

84 : old piano

Last week on one of our many dog walking adventures, we stumbled upon an old, thrashed piano behind our office building. It looked as though someone had taken a hammer to it and then left it outside for who knows how long. With camera already in hand, obviously we snapped many pictures.

We have no clue what many of these parts are or do. But they're oh-so-pretty.

83 : wisteria

Color is something that makes us both happy. The colors of leaves during fall, the sky during sunset...we could go on and on. One happy part about spring is that certain seemingly ordinary trees start transforming right before our eyes. For most of the year the giant tree behind our office building looks like any other tree. But in the spring, it becomes full of purple hanging flowers. Yes, we're talking about wisteria. It brings some much needed color to our already "colorful" building.

In addition to the pretty purple flowers, the vines wrap around themselves. <3