If you missed me last week, my lack of blog post can be blamed on the fact that we just got back in town on Sunday from a whirlwind roadtrip from Chicago all the way down to the Gulf of Mexico. It was our first vacation since before Henry was born, and we wanted to go somewhere neither of us had ever been. After some thought, we decided on New Orleans and the Mississippi Gulf Coast region. And though there were definitely Griswald-esque moments, overall it was a wonderful getaway. As Ben said when we finally pulled back onto our street at the end, “You know it was a good vacation when you’re as happy to get back as you were to get out.” Amen to that!

Here are some of the highlights from Mississippi, Louisiana and places in between–

Screen shot 2014-09-29 at 9.58.49 PMScreen shot 2014-09-29 at 10.06.44 PM Screen shot 2014-09-29 at 9.59.57 PMFrom the first photo above you can see that we were all smiles setting out from Chicago. The one next to it shows me (and Henry) getting a little punchy around mile 870. We split the drive to Mississippi into an 8 hour and 5 hour day, though traveling with a tiny person and a whiny dog meant that both days were significantly longer in the end. That said, we tried to make the most of our travel days, including all of our first times seeing a cotton field in person and a stop in Metropolis, IL so Henry could meet “Supe’man.”

15129743088_97f764ceed_z15301200816_46991acd01_c 15169042219_ae48707666_zThis was Henry’s first visit to the ocean, so we spent a good amount of time at the beach. We rented a house in Gulfport, MS, a cute little harbor town with miles and miles of gorgeous white sand beaches. We literally had the entire stretch of beach to ourselves both days that we went, though the weather was gorgeous and warm.

Screen shot 2014-09-29 at 9.56.54 PMScreen shot 2014-09-29 at 9.57.15 PM15314506686_cea3102555_zOne of our sightseeing days was spent around Slidell, where we took a swamp tour. I wasn’t totally sure what to expect, but it ended up being one of the highlights of the trip. The bayous and waterways were gorgeous, and our tour was the perfect mix of information and tourist spectacle. Sure, they feed the alligators hot dogs and marshmallows to attract them to the boat, but what’s a swamp without an alligator sighting! Later that afternoon we checked out the Abita Mystery House/UCM Museum (“You-See-Em”), the kind of kitschy roadside attraction that I’ve always been a sucker for. Rooms upon rooms of weird collections, folk art, antique and salvage ephemera all pasted, nailed and glued together into a total spectacle. Highly recommended.

15346649042_e2ff899631_zScreen shot 2014-09-29 at 9.54.34 PM 15160243129_3656a9bb50_z 15355825425_8038b606cd_zScreen shot 2014-09-29 at 9.39.58 PMFinally, for the main attraction of the trip, we spent two days bumming around New Orleans, taking in the overwhelming number of sights, sounds, colors and layers upon layers of life to be seen in the city. Highlights for me were the great street band we kept running into around Jackson Square on the day we spent in the French Quarter, Hansen’s Sno-Bliz, and the St. Roch Chapel, full of notes of thanks, ex voto offerings in the shape of body parts and items like crutches and prosthetics offered in gratitude for healing.

Screen shot 2014-09-29 at 10.08.22 PM

Though the laundry is still to be done, the car is full of snack crumbs and sand, our feet hurt, we’re sunburned and still a little cranky, give me a day or so and I’ll be ready to do it all over again ; )

P.S. In case this deluge of photos wasn’t enough for you, a whole bunch more pictures are on my Flickr and Instagram.



Everybody’s Got a Newsletter

Just a few years ago, the idea of connecting with someone/some brand you liked via email newsletter seemed old fashioned, but all of a sudden, newsletters have become cool again. Maybe it’s a newly cool branding of newsletter platforms like MailChimp and Tiny Letter, or the difficulty cutting through the chatter on social media to find the folks you actually want to hear from. Not to say that our inboxes aren’t full of other things, but email is always more personal than a Facebook update or Instagram post. Your address is in the to line, after all.

I’m no connoisseur of newsletters (and would love to hear of any others you might recommend), but here are my favorites, so far–

Ann Friedman Weekly

With a tagline like “low-maintenance ladyswagger,” it’s impossible to read Ann Friedman‘s excellent weekly newsletter and not want to be her bff. Ann shares the pieces she’s written that week, pie charts, the best-curated gifs on the internet, and the always-eclectic list of things she’s been reading that week. The arrive of this email every Friday is litterally the highlight of my week. Just sign up. You’ll thank me later.

Austin KleonArtist and writer Austin Kleon’s newsletter is a nice mix of self-promo and other interesting content. Each one features one of the “blackout poems” he’s become known for, and his links are a super well-curated selection of inspiration, both visual and written, from around the web.

A Series of TubesI am not a person who gets very into make-up, but Amanda Mattos’ A Series of Tubes features product reviews written not from one of those Youtube ladies wearing more eyeliner than you’ll use all year, but more like your Cool Girl coworker who always looks put together. The products she mentions are high end and low end, and, if nothing else, becomes my monthly reminder that wearing lipstick is maybe actually worth the effort.

Middle Finger ProjectI recently stumbled upon the Middle Finger Project and am so far enjoying their newsletter quite a bit. It’s a great kick in the pants for makers, entrepreneurs and others who have to sell themselves to new people all the time as part of their gig. And even for those who aren’t regularly trying to convince people to hire them, it’s still nice to get the occasional kick in the pants to remind you that you’re awesome.

Got a favorite newsletter that you look forward to in your inbox each week? I’d love to hear about it!

Back to School

Out of class as long as I’ve been, back to school season is still one of my favorite times of the year. As a kid, I could think of nothing better than a pack of shiny new pencils (one swhose eraser I hadn’t yet destroyed), 64 gleaming new Crayolas, or the endless possibilities contained in a new notebook. So, though I have no classes to attend myself and a youngun’ still too small for such things, I still did a Back to School round-up anyway, just for you.

Eraser Gift Wrap from Oh Happy Day

Vintage Honeybee Chart from Mighty Vintage

Alphabet Stickers from Present and Correct

Picture Day Series by Beat Up Creations

1960’s Industrial Clock from Junk is the New Black

School Gift Tags from Mr. Printables





Hooray Today Brings the Cute

Hooray Today is the stationery brainchild of Allison Black and Alyssa Nassner. Their prints and cards combine nearly all of the visual elements that I love: Bright colors, check. Midcentury-inspired design, check. Overprint and textures, check. Cute animals, starbursts, polka dots, and hand-drawn font motifs, check. See, what’d I tell you– almost everything great. See for yourself–

More in Hooray Today’s shop.

Studio Lately

A few shots of what I’ve been working on over the past several weeks–

Screen shot 2014-09-06 at 8.52.31 PMA new sign I made for the top of my craft fair puppet display.

Screen shot 2014-09-06 at 8.52.15 PMMy newly organized shipping station. Confession: I’m still not very good at using it and have started tearing up my tabletop looking for tape more than once, only to discover it put away here, where it’s supposed to be.

Screen shot 2014-09-06 at 8.51.21 PMTiny ears, waiting to be sewing into a puppet.

Screen shot 2014-09-06 at 8.51.08 PMPacking up restock orders for stores is always a bit of chaos.

 Screen shot 2014-09-06 at 8.50.54 PM Sketches for a recent custom Basset House puppet. Gotta get those sad eyes just right!

Grown Up Bag

I have distinct memories of digging through my mom’s purse as a kid. Usually it was to fish for a piece of gum, or steal quarters to take to the corner store. At the time I couldn’t imagine why on earth she needed all the things she carried, but now, of course, I get it. But does the grown-up purse make you a grown-up lady, or is it the other way around? It’s a chicked or the egg style question, of course. But in the spirit of embracing my grown-lady self, here are a few of the very adult bags and purses I’m coveting lately.

This purple one from Forest Bags is technically a diaper bag, but nobody needs to know that, right? I won’t tell if you won’t.

I especially love the color of this bag from Christy Studio. Mustard yellow goes with everything, is what I always say.

The pattern on this shoulder tote from Year Round Co. is beautiful, and even cooler knowing that the gorgeous fabric is screenprinted by hand.

Does a backpack count as a grown-up accessory? Because I am all about this little square pack from Herschel Supply. So dang cute.

 Everything Made by Hank is to die for, and I love her newer direction with prints combined with the signature leather belt handles.