Mrs. Fancy Pants Propaganda

I ran across Volunteer Traditions on Facebook a few weeks ago.  I fell in love.  Easy for me to do with UA or Southern attire, but none the less, I fell in love.

The tshirts I bought us say “Fall means football in the South”.  I bought the white with maroon text for William and the grey with crimson text for me.  One of these days I’ll take a picture of us both in them–we’ll be cute. 🙂  I also got both of us koozies.  I think I like them because they’re so subtle.  They’re a shout out of state pride but not too overbearing.  The koozies have the Alabama and Mississippi state flags in the outline of the state itself.  I ordered the navy one for William just because I liked it, but it was pointed out to me that it was an Ole Miss koozie (which I didn’t think about) and William wasn’t too happy about that.  Luckily, the amazing folks at Volunteer Traditions threw a red one into our order which is much more MSU than the navy!  (Whew.  Crisis averted.)

Our tshirts! ‘Fall means football in the South’ Sure does, sure does.

Mississippi koozies, Alabama koozies, and my Alabama koozies they threw in for me!

I will also say that I called them to ask about sizing on the tshirts and I have never talked to nicer people.  They were SUPER helpful and we chatted a bit about which SEC schools we’d gone to, etc. etc.  They have a cool story too, if you’re interested you should take a look.  Even though I didn’t grow up in Alabama, my family is from there and so is half of my heritage (my momma’s side o-the-family) so I am always MORE than proud to represent AL wherever I am.  It helps that I went to UA for school…but regardless, I love me some Alabama.

I’ve got my eyes on this grey hat next.  I have two UA caps, both crimson, so I’m needing one that isn’t a shade of red!  Check out Volunteer Traditions, the Bryants are so happy to support them!!!!!

I’ve got my eyes on this next!

Come and get ’em kids!  The Will Bryant Summer Special!  (I feel like I might should be on a radio commercial…I may have just found my true calling in life…)

3 kool hugs for your drank! Everybody loves a good time, increase your chances of fun by keeping your beverages lookin’ primed for summer in these koozies!

– Party Dog, USA (black on neon blue)
– Live A Little (metallic on white)
– Sure, I Like Fun (white on neon pink)

This superior 4mm Collapsible Foam Can Insulator fits 12 oz. cans and bottles. Collapsible to fit easily in pocket or purse. Dense scuba foam provides premium insulation.

Limited quantities available.  See don’t these folks look like they’re having a BLAST!?  Order yours here!

Even pets like them!

Loretta loves the koozie! Not sure if she likes the beer, though!

Theo on the other hand, like both. I mean, his koozie says ‘Party Dog USA’. What do you expect?

I know we all have a little list of “wants” tucked away for a rainy day.  Things that we by NO means need, but if we saved up the money, we might splurge on.  I was thinking about my list today and how comical the price range is.  All the way from things that I probably could buy to things that I never should.  Ah.  I’m a classic female.  Ha!

Just for fun, I thought I’d share my list with you.

1.  Gold Arrow Bracelet

Gold Arrow Bracelet from iadornu on etsy

2. Cuisinart Elite Collection 14-cup Food Processor 

One word. Woooooooow!  This falls into one of those items I shouldn’t buy!

3. James Avery “Rifle” and “Bullet” charms

Only a girl from the South would want a rifle and bullet charm for her charm bracelet. Yes I realize how old I am and yes I do still get charms for my charm bracelet.

I’m going to digress for just a second and talk about the wonder that is my James Avery charm bracelet.  Most girls I knew growing up had a charm bracelet.  Only one I know (other than myself) still gets charms for hers.  And she happens to be my best childhood friend.  She and I might as well be the same person in a lot of ways and I know she will always understand my love for my charm bracelet.

I could walk you through the majority of my life with the charms on the bracelet.  One for most of the momentous (and even not so momentous) occasions in my life.  What makes it even better is my Mom had a James Avery bracelet growing up so I have a lot of her hand me downs.  Those I cherish more than most.

And in case you were wondering, there are 59 charms on that baby and it weighs about 35 lbs.!  (it does not really weigh 35 lbs. but it is heavy as all get out.)

THE bracelet a few months ago. We have a few new additions since this was taken.

4. White Cover Edition of the Wizard of Oz original 14 book series  [Hardbound; Published circa 1965 by Reilly & Lee]

Another example of something I shouldn’t buy. But I have always wanted this version of this series. The illustrations are amazing and the artwork on the covers is my FAVORITE!

 5. Spinning Makeup Organizer

I. Love. This. It’s GENIUS!
Screen shot from my phone of the SFERRA App.

Rarely do I find an iPhone app that I am just crazy about.  I like apps, don’t get me wrong, but I am not one that has 6,000 apps on my iPhone.  My tried and true method is (now make sure you take note of this, it might change your life) if I download it, use it twice, then forget about it, probably isn’t worth my time.  Genius, I know.

All of that said, I have found the most wonderful app!  It is a Southern woman’s DREAM!  Well maybe not all Southern women, but a large majority of us.  Like any good lady from the South, I have several sets of dishes.  I swore that I wouldn’t be this way when I got married, but I am.  Sadly (or not so sadly). So, because I am finding myself with china galore, I make sure that we use it!  Because why else do we have it!?  My weakness, though, is not for dishes or china.  It is cloth table linens.  Don’t ask me why, how, when, or where…I just love them.  And yes, every time we sit down at the table for dinner, we use cloth napkins.  None of this paper towel stuff.

100% Linen napkins from SFERRA; RE: Martha Stewart Living [November 2011 magazine]

Now, back to the app.  I was looking back through my November 2011 edition of Martha Steward Living and happened upon the above picture.  I am certain I missed it the first go-around otherwise I would have purchased these already.  I ventured to SFERRA‘s website to check out these amazing linen napkins and what doth my eyes see?!  OVER 100 COLORS OF 100% LINEN NAPKINS.  (in multiple sizes no less!)  Man was I excited and I hadn’t even happened upon the good part yet!

I am perusing their site and noticed that they have a free iPhone/iPad app!  It’s called Linens by SFERRA and it’s the greatest thing since sliced bread.  (Download it here)  The app allows you to coordinate your table linens to match perfectly with your dishes and china.  You take a photo of your dinnerware, touch any color on the image and instantly get its match from SFERRA’s 101 colors of Festival table linens.  It.  Is.  Amazing.

Linen Colors by SFERRA

The pictures above are from me messing around with two of my sets of china.  You can see that they give you several coordinating options to choose from.  If you don’t like those selections, you just touch a different part of the dish (i.e. another color or area) and a whole new set of options come up. You can select up to 3 coordinating colors and buy them right from the app!

Their dinner napkins aren’t quite in my price range, however they have two sizes of cocktail napkins. (this I know because I noticed a 6×6 square napkin in the photos on the website but they weren’t listed to buy, so I called their support line and they added the 6×6 option back on the site.  SO if you end up buying some 6×6 napkins, I’ll take the credit for it! :))

I ended up purchasing two sets of 6″x6″ napkins: one set in Curry, one set in Grey.  (Which happen to be the colors pictured above in the Martha Stewart add–Martha does know best…)  BOTH colors were recommended for my sets of dishes so they’ll work with both!  That’s all I have for today…just one great app that just coordinated my new cocktail napkins with my dishes perfectly.  What more could a girl ask for!?

So, in my 25 years I have received a lot of birthday cards.   Not one, and I mean not ONE holds a candle to the card that our dear friend Cody Haltom made for me this year.  Cody is an incredibly talented designer and member of Public School in Austin, TX.  You should check out his work if you haven’t already…it is much more than superimposing people’s faces on other people’s bodies so don’t get the wrong impression.

Cody, knowing how much I love my alma mater, sent me this image on the day of my birth. Please see below, the BEST birthday card I’ve ever received.  Nick Saban’s (the football coach of Alabama) face superimposed on Brad Pitt’s body.  The caption in the email said that he just knew that I was going to leave William for the Pitt/Saban combo.  All I have to say to that is…don’t tempt me…don’t tempt me! JUST kidding!

Pitt/Saban amazingness

Tonight I found my newest obsession.  I know I have mentioned this before but I love a good invitation, card, etc. I think that is part of the reason we put so much time into our Christmas cards each year. There is something really satisfying about opening a really well designed card or invitation. All that said, I am that person that has a box FULL of invitations that I have received over the years that I love.  What I’m going to do with them is beyond me.  But, I have them!

Tonight I was reading one of my favorite blogs, Sugar and Charm and she posted today about Paperless Post.  The post caught my eye because of the selected images of invite designs she had used for her landing page.  I clicked on the link to Paperless Post and what do you know?!  I have no idea how I haven’t heard of this company before!  It is a similar idea to evite, but WELL designed.  They have hundreds of invitation designs and they are all completely customizable.

I posted about how I was hosting our Ladies Crafting Spectacular Pumpkin Carving get together in my post this past Saturday.  I had planned on just sending out an email which is what I always do.  But I thought about how excited I am when I get a break from electric and internet bills in the actual mail, and what is so different in email?!  Between junk mail, spam, and work related emails, these should be a sight for sore eyes! I hope the ladies like them!  (please keep in mind that all of the ladies I sent these to could have designed something themselves WAY better, BUT us design and Photoshop challenged people have to stick to what we can do!  And that for me is “click here to input text” on a pre-made card!  Ha!)

Front of the envelope the invitation recipient sees before they “open” the invitation
Inside of the invite that I designed for our pumpkin carving night (before the invitation slides out of the envelope!)

I didn’t send one to myself so I’m not QUITE sure if this is the way it works, but I assume you receive a link to click on.  The actual “opening” of the invitation is animated which I thought was great.  You first see the envelope with your name on it.  It then turns over and the top opens.  Then out slides your invitation!

Took me 4 tries but I captured it AS it’s coming out of the envelope!

I haven’t quite figured out all of the options to “share” the invitations.  I emailed mine but there was a Facebook/Twitter option as well.  Keep in mind these aren’t free.  Each invitation costs one “stamp” and if you customize the envelope, add your logo or some other things, it costs one “stamp” + one “coin”.  They give you free stamps and coins just for signing up.  And if you “like” their Facebook page you get additional ones.  SO, I created this card without having to purchase anything.  I used the freebies I got for signing up.  But, I checked out the prices and it’s $10 for 75 “coins”, which I don’t care how you look at it that’s cheaper than designing, printing, and pony-mailing invitations!

Lastly, here’s the precious invitation! Looks much better when the information isn’t blurred out, BUT I don’t want strangers a-knockin!

Here are some other examples of their Halloween cards (I snagged these images from Sugar and Charm.  This is what caught my eye in the first place):

Y’all should check out BOTH Sugar and Charm and Paperless Post!  SO glad I stumbled across their site tonight!  I’m going to be sending one out for my birthday get together next week!  I’m already picking out which one I want to use!!

**As a side note, just because I am always incredibly impressed by young people, I was reading the ‘About’ section on their site, and Paperless Post was created by a brother and sister and the site debuted just in time for their 23rd and 25th birthdays!  WHAT AM I DOING WITH MY LIFE?!  Wow. They’re pretty sweeeet!

We’re here! Bagdad Theater for the Wildwood release (put on by Powell’s)

Last night was such at treat.  I posted yesterday about the release of Wildwood, the new book written and illustrated by the collaborative efforts of Colin Meloy of the Decemberist and his wife, illustrator Carson Ellis.  The event was hosted by Powell’s books and I think turned out to be a HUGE success (must have been–the tickets were sold out!).  I was interested to see what kind of crowd the event drew. Like I said yesterday, the book is technically a “children’s novel”, however it definitely has an adult sophistication to it.  I was pleasantly surprised to see the number of children-teenagers who were at the debut.  I definitely didn’t have the chance to do anything like that growing up.  I will take a momentary pause to say that it was not my parents’ fault.  How wants to debut a highly anticipated novel in Texarkana, TX. I’ll tell you.  No one.

Got my copy! Got my seat! Ready to hear Carson & Colin speak! (100% did not realize that rhymed until I was proofing this post)

The one thing I was disappointed about was they did not do personalized signings.  All of our books were signed already when we arrived and were handed out as we walked into the theater.  I was a tad bummed, but I completely understand why they did it.  The Bagdad Theater holds 590 people (yup, had to google that) and we would have been there all night if each guest had 1-2 books signed and personalized.  I was thrilled, however, to see that they both signed each book.  Not sure why I assumed that only Colin would sign them but both of their signatures are there on the front page!  Personalized or un-personalized, this marks my FIRST signed first edition book.  That the book is a children’s novel, set in Portland, and I attended the premiere makes it all the better.

Colin Meloy of the Decemberists reading from Wildwood.  Map of Portland, as interpreted from the book, in the background.
Carson Ellis talking about her process of illustrating the novel. AMAZING to hear her speak about it!

In case you’ve never been, the best part of a book premiere, hands down, is hearing about the book from the author(s) themselves.  This experience was unique in that we heard from both the author and illustrator.  They talked about their inspiration, process, struggles, future plans, etc. etc.  For some reason, hearing a reading from the author makes me enjoy a novel SO much better.  I think it derives from hearing the enunciation and tone the author’s voice gives the passages.  You hear how the characters’ voices sound in the author’s head, the ups and downs of their voice while reading–it makes the experience for me.

There would be no way for me to go through everything they talked about last night, but I have jotted down a few of the things I found most interesting to share.

  • The illustrations in the book were created with pen, well ink, and gauche.
  • Wildwood is the first edition of a three-part (potentially more) series.  Colin is already about 40 pages in to the next installment and they hope to have it on shelves in about a year.
  • There is a brief mention of a badger carrying a rick-shaw in the novel.  Colin said it really didn’t fit but he put it in the book just because he knew that Carson would love to draw it.  Turns out, the publisher pushed to remove the illustration but they fought to keep it.
  • The process of developing the coyote soldiers was very interesting.  They started, in her first sketch, looking more dog-like, on all fours, wearing armor.  They went through a few different sketches before they decided to take a Wind in the Willows approach to animalanthropomorphism and make the coyotes a little less realistic and a little more imaginative. Thus, the coyote soldiers depicted standing on two legs wearing Napoleonic regalia.
Signed first edition of Wildwood!

I fell asleep while reading last night but I am already hooked on this book and encourage everyone to go out and grab a copy!!  The last thing I’ll mention, because I’ve had a few comments posted regarding this, is yes, the language in this book is challenging.  That said, Colin addressed it so well last night when asked about it.  There is no reason a middle school aged child couldn’t read and digest this novel and understand its content.  There is also no reason why we shouldn’t be challenging young readers to have a better understanding of vocabulary.  SO, in answer to the questions, I don’t see any reason why a young teenager couldn’t read this.  I admit I even had to look up one word last night on the ‘ole Webster’s app on my phone.  It’s simultaneous learning and reading enjoyment! (and isn’t that the best kind of learning anyway?!  The kind disguised as something fun!?)

Wildwood Chronicles by Colin Meloy & Carson Ellis

Stemming from my post yesterday, I have begun doing a lot of research on children’s literature. Not going to lie, this is the perfect excuse for me.  Though I am an avid reader, I enjoy children’s literature almost as much as adult literature, so I’m happy to have an excuse to browse the children’s sections of Powell’s (aka book mecca) for longer than most adults should!

Tonight I’m attending an event I am particularly excited about!  Colin Meloy, the lead singer of The Decemberists, and his wife, illustrator Carson Ellis, have combined forces to produce one of the most anticipated children’s stories the PacNW has ever seen.  Wildwood is half fairy tale, half coming of age novel set in Portland, OR.  They have taken Portland’s landscape and created a fairy tale world where the real Forest Park is called I.W. (Impassible Wilderness) where no one goes in, and no one comes out. Here’s a little clip from Powell’s website on the upcoming novel:

Created by Colin Meloy, lead singer of the Decemberists, and illustrator Carson EllisWildwood (Balzer & Bray) is the first book in an epic middle-grade fantasy series. Set in Portland, this spellbinding tale features a secret world full of warring creatures, peaceable mystics, and powerful figures with dark intentions. What begins as a rescue mission becomes something much bigger as two friends find themselves entwined in a struggle for the very freedom of the wilderness the locals call Wildwood.

Here is one other review I liked by Michael Chabon, author of well a ton of things…my favorite being The Yiddish Policemen’s Union:

Dark and whimsical, with a true and uncanny sense of otherworldliness, Wildwood is the heir to a great tradition of stories of wild childhood adventure. It snatched me up and carried me off into a world I didn’t want to leave.

I think it takes a special talent to create a story so intriguing you encapsulate both ends of the spectrum as far as your audience is concerned. HarperCollins, the publisher, said, “Wildwood is a spellbinding tale full of wonder, danger, and magic that juxtaposes the thrill of a secret world and modern city life. Original and fresh yet steeped in classic fantasy.”  I loved that description.

On top of what is already an incredible work of art, are Carson Ellis’ astoundingly beautiful illustrations.  I have always been a fan of her work as I’m drawn to ornate illustration.  The color scheme, based on the samples I’ve seen, that she chose for the novel ties very well to the suspenseful tone of the story.  Nothing too bold or bright, yet colorful enough to catch a young readers eye with bold pops of color and immense detail.

Carson Ellis illustration from Wildwood
Carson Ellis illustration from Wildwood

I was lucky enough to hear Colin and Carson speak at the recent Plazm 20th Anniversary event.  Colin read the first chapter of the novel and I was hooked.  Even more so than I already was.  I am attending their release event tonight at the Bagdad Theater with my new favorite Portland friend (who happens to be an avid reader as well).  You’ll see us in line at 6 right when the doors open to get our books signed by Carson and Colin and hopefully hear a little more read and discussed by this powerful duo.

What an inspiration for William and I to see husband and wife collaborations like Wildwood.  I. CANNOT. WAIT.  By the way, I would be happy to try and pick up a copy of the book for those who are interested.  Shoot me an email if you are!  Happy reading everyone!

It has been decided.  We’ve thrown it around for a long time.  Dreamed about it.  I’ve decided it is time. Mr. and Mrs. Fancy Pants will be writing a children’s book.  We will be collaborating on the concept.  I would imagine the writing will be an 80/20 split (myself being the 80%) and the illustration will be 100/0 (myself being the 100%).  NOT.  I consider myself a novice art director, but I’m working my way up the ranks.

i’m nervous to give us a deadline on the concept since I have thought rather un-seriously about this for so long, however, if I toil over it for too long without getting anywhere, I’m going to have to slap a deadline on myself.  I know nothing about writing books.  But I do know good literature and I know a man with an eye for design.  Certainly we can figure out the rest.

We will most likely self-publish from Kickstarter to hang on to the integrity of the creation that comes out of this project.  We may be lucky enough to find a publisher that wants to publish the story as close to its original form as possible but I am hearing from others that that is highly unlikely.  Right now I have so many ideas, I’m fairly certain if you were to crack open my head (which would be quite messy) it would look something like this–

Convoluted Mind Map

–minus any semblance of organization or sense.  I’m looking forward to it though.  I’ve been looking forward to starting this project for so long.  If we’re able to pull it off, it will be such a fusion of the two of our talents (emphasis on the word IF).  I have nothing groundbreaking to share about the project other than it is.  No working titles, no nailed down characters, protagonist, or theme.  Just a drive to make a dream a reality.  Keeping my fingers crossed from here until it’s completed!

Spirit of 77 in Portland, OR

Monday night was probably my favorite night we’ve spend in Portland thus far. Considering we spent it in an empty sports bar might lead you to believe that I’ve had a REALLY bad time in Portland thus far, BUT before you start feeling sorry for me, take a look at where we were. If you have ever visited Spirit of 77 on NE MLK, you know exactly what I mean–and yes, this encompasses everyone on the planet Earth because I refuse to believe there is anyone who doesn’t like this place (though, I’m sure there is…but I’m making a point here people. So just go with it.)

Spirit of 77 is in a nutshell a sports bar. But it is unlike any other sports bar you’ve ever been to. I know when most of us think “sports bar” we think of a dingy, hole in the wall, beer on the floor, beer on everything really, people yelling too loud, memorabilia that looks like it walked out of Applebee’s…you know what I mean. But, if I could incapsulate Spirit of 77 in one sentence it would be:

The most timeless representation of the evolution of sports and the experience that goes along with being a fan wrapped into one building, under one roof making it impossible to not be a fan of the game–whatever game that happens to be.

View inside Spirit of 77
Incredible wood signage instillation you see immediately entering Spirit of 77.

OMFG Co. happens to be the genius behind this whole project. They are a design/illustration/branding/we do everything under the sun group of guys located next door to Mr. Fancy Pant’s studio in Portland, OR. Check out their site. Their client list is amazing.

AIGA did a case study on the development and execution of making Spirit of 77 what it is today, interviewing the guys at OMFG Co. I love what they had to say about the goal of the whole project:

The goal was implicit in the brief: reinvent the sports bar. Make it a place where people actually want to go to, sports fanatic and “civilian” alike. The survey of friends and family, when asked, “Where do you go when you want to watch the game?” never had a clear answer – it was a weighing of lesser evils, proximity, and limited by the size of your group.

The cliché is unfortunately true: sports bar food is usually sub-par, the drinks are unexciting and the testosterone levels are uncomfortably high. The design of the room, the marketing materials (if they exist) are usually uninspired or off-the-shelf from a beer company. The main feature—the endless sea of big screen TVs—creates an unpleasant atmosphere, with pockets of gatherings competing for attention, as opposed to the sense of community you have in a stadium or arena.

We wanted a place with a point of view, thoughtful design at every corner, a locally sourced and inspired menu, and a top-shelf bar program. Most importantly, we wanted a sense of community akin to being at the game itself, drawing from the best aspects of sports and leaving the hostility aside. The collective cheering, rooting for your team, and the shared groan of losing—you feel a part of something bigger. It’s invigorating, to say the least.

Dart board area
Basketball goals! (photo above and below curtesy of OMFG Co.)

I will say, I cannot wait to go watch an Alabama game there. They are showing the September 10th UA vs. Penn State game and you can bet your bottom dollar I’ll be there. It was a completely amazing experience to be there basically by ourselves though. There was one other group of people there when we arrived and one other couple there when we left. It is my understanding that this is FAR from the norm. Spirit of 77 is normally packed to the brim with people so I was glad to catch it on a quieter evening. We will definitely be returning, though to experience the whole thing again with the excitement of fellow sports fans.

Above and below are pictures of the custom, hand-built basketball arcade (dubbed The Buzzer Beater). We played I don’t know how many games on this thing. They also have shuffleboard, foosball, and darts (all free I might add–you just have to wait your turn to play).

Mr. Fancy Pants showing off his mad skills. His scores were WAY higher than mine.
Look at that follow thru!
Having a good ole time for a Monday night! (for any night for that matter!)

Here is my favorite take away from the article (sorry for so much copy and paste but I couldn’t say it better myself):

Imbued into all components of the branding and marketing is a layer of “intelligent stupidity.” For example, using vintage sports trading cards as a base, we Photoshopped out what was once a football or basketball, and replaced it with a piece of fried chicken or a boiled egg. Once reprinted in the exact format and style of a trading card, that became the artwork for our take away menu.

The brand voice is that of a sports fanatic with a sharp sense of humor, one that celebrates the hilarious innocence of previous eras, and wants to relive those times today.

William and I playing foosball. We’re awful.
Spirit of 77 in Portland, OR

Here is an amazing explanation of the signage above the main bar (also from the AIGA article):

Above the long main bar is the namesake signage. Each letter is 4-ft. tall, and the entire length is roughly 33 feet. We constructed it from start to finish in the space, with the typeface projected onto sheets of plywood, which we cut out with a jigsaw. The result can be seen from blocks away, and is the glowing beacon for the bar.

To top off the evening, we paid the best $4 that we have in a while to have some photo booth pictures taken. Digressing a bit, but I have decided that we’re going to take photo booth pictures wherever we encounter one from now on. I mean, how great are these?! I read this magazine article in this month’s Martha Stewart Living about this couple who took one photo booth set of pictures every year. It was a cool timeline to follow as their family grew. I like it. And I’m stealing the idea.

Best $4 I’ve spent in a while. Oh by the way in case you didn’t know, Mr. Fancy Pants is, at the moment, missing some teeth.

If you ever come and visit us here in Portland, we’re probably going to take you to Spirit of 77. So get ready.

To read more about the whole project–which I strongly recommend because it is incredibly interesting and informative–click here to access the entire AIGA article.

To check out Spirit of 77’s website click here.

To learn more about the talented guys behind OMFG Co. click your little mouse here.