Friday, December 31, 2010

Champagne in Style

Over the holidays I have been watching a LOT of Mad Men, and, to put it simply, I absolutely adore the "Mad Men" style. I am almost finished with Season 1 – I can't believe how long it took me to start watching this series. Everything they do on the show seems classy, even when, most of the time, it's not. Each episode I watch gives me some sort of inspiration whether it's a lipstick color or a creative concept. Recently, I caught myself wanting a pair of yellow rubber gloves to do the dishes just because Betty Draper has them. It's a problem, I know.

Today, I have been thinking more about the sixties style of Mad Men and how they would celebrate the New Year. No doubt about it, they would be using beautiful crystal coupe glasses. As we get ready to head out the door for a simple celebration with a couple of friends, I wanted to share a few pictures of my favorite vintage and vintage-inspired coupe glasses. They are beautiful, and I love a glass of bubbly.

Just an FYI, if you are interested in searching for these vintage glasses online use "sherbet glasses" instead of "champagne" or "coupe". You will get many more results, which just makes me giggle inside. I guess, since most of these were made in the 50s and 60s, sherbet sounded much more refined and "appropriate". :)

Betty with a "sherbet" glass.

These are simple and elegant. Found on ebay.

Vintage Waterford Lismore coupe glass. Found at which is a fantastic place to find vintage crystal and china.

These, from Kate Spade, are festive and fun!

This incredibly festive glass, from Glastonbury and also found on, might be my absolute favorite.

Happy New Years Eve! I wish you all a fun and safe celebration tonight.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Farewell Kodachrome

As of today, the last role of Kodachrome film is being developed as reported by the New York Times. This is a very sad day indeed, as it shows, in my opinion, the negative affects of technology on photography. Kodachrome is (was) AMAZING – one of my absolute favs. This is probably because of its ability to capture extreme color, which I am obsessed with.

I get very morose when I think about film being retired because "everyone in the world" is digital. Honestly, there is just something about film and the photographs it produces that cannot be matched digitally. Words cannot explain, the relationship that is built between the photographer, the film and the darkroom. It's a magical relationship that isn't experienced enough today. Once upon a time, I could spend hours upon hours in a darkroom. It was a zen like experience that I still yearn for.

Anyways, I digress...

I tried to find old Kodachrome slides of my work to scan in and show you today, but they seem to be in storage. You heard me right, these beautiful slides are carefully packed in a "literal" binder somewhere down in our apartment's storage basement, and I don't have a digital version. Bummer!

Let's all take a moment to remember and honor the great Kodachrome. Oh, how you will be missed.

image via NYT

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Crazy for Plaid

Reid and I are headed to Seattle next month for an annual Burn's Night Celebration. What is Burn's Night, you ask? Well, from my limited understanding considering I just learned about this Scottish tradition, it is a huge celebration all over the world that honors Scotland's most famous poet, Robert Burns (pictured above). Supposedly he wrote a lot of great poems and a lot of "for adults only" poems. So, the party we plan to attend follows tradition by having the guest dress in kilts and tartans, drink good scotch, eat authentic Scottish cuisine (I'm a little nervous) and recite Burn's poems.

I am not quite sure what to expect, but Reid is tremendously excited about it. We were invited to this shin-dig by one of Reid's favorite mentors. And since Seattle is still in the running for our next place of residence we decided a weekend getaway in January would help us explore the city during the winter.

For me, I am most excited about what I get to wear. I am leaning towards wearing a cocktail dress with a tartan (Scottish sash), but I am currently having a great time researching all things fancy-plaid. I will keep you posted on what I decide to wear, and what Reid wears (a kilt?!?). If you have any of your own inspirations, I am open for suggestions.

Here are the most inspirational finds so far:

These tights by DKNY are delightful. I just got a new simple black dress and now I may need these to go with it.

This dress is playful and looks comfortable. It can be found here, but I first saw it on Elements of Style.

I love everything that sparkles, and am so glad that sequins are such a trend right now. This skirt, from J Crew, has just enough plaid and a TON of sparkle. It could be perfect for the event, and it's on sale!!!

Since it rains so much in Seattle and since I love yellow, this umbrella from Burberry would be a nice accessory.

Super cute coat from Land's End Canvas!

Finally, this dress from Proenza Schouler (one of my favorite designers) is on Rent the Runway. I really love the dress and have been dying to try Rent the Runway since my awesome sister-in-law, Sarah, loves it. I am just having trouble with the price. Hmmmm, such a tough decision.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Home Again & A New AT&T Advertising Campaign to Ponder

Well, we are back home in Chicago. It was great to see our family and friends in both Miami and Houston. Our Christmas was fantastic and we had a lot of good, quality family time, but I am happy to be back at home and back to work with my cats by my side (they missed us terribly and kept us up most of last night with snuggles and head butts).

During our recent travels, I couldn't help but notice the new worldwide AT&T campaign, "If we lived in a fantasy world...", that was all over the place in the four airports we visited (Chicago O'Hare, Reagan, Miami and Houston Bush). It was the one ad campaign that really caught my eye. AT&T launched this major campaign just in time for holiday travel. Smart move, AT&T, since travel is so heavy during this time. I must admit, I was relieved to see the hand campaign (seen here) had finally been retired. Don't get me wrong, it was a clever campaign, but it had run its course. Guaranteed I probably feel stronger about this retirement than most, since I worked for BBDO Atlanta during the launch of that campaign and stared meticulously at those ads for hours and hours on end.

So, my general thoughts about the new campaign...
  • It's eye catching with all of the bright, saturated colors. It definitely made me stop and look.
  • It's a fun idea and visually makes you use your imagination.
  • The illustrations are good. The concept has potential.
  • The media buying is superb! These ads are everywhere. I especially love the trashcan ads!
That is the positive, now for the more critical...
  • Other than the overall idea, and the way the headline is written there is absolutely NO visual consistency. Each illustration is strong on its own, but together I keep asking myself, "Do they work?" In my opinion, this doesn't lead to a strong, cohesive campaign.
  • The fonts are playful, which I respect, but again where is the consistency? (Maybe since it is based on fantasy this inconsistency is supposed to play into that idea?)
  • The whole idea is based on fantastical places, places that don't exist. So, does AT&T have me covered even in my imagination or is their coverage a fantasy? A slightly mixed message comes across. Maybe it's just me?
I just can't decide how I feel about it. What do you think? One thing I can admit. I am very inspired by the use of modern and playful illustration in a major advertising campaign, and the overload of media placement in all the airports.

*I took all the photos at O'Hare last night on my iPhone.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Chenault Family Christmas Card

A few weeks ago, my parents asked me to design the 2010 family Christmas card. I was thrilled at the opportunity to design another holiday card. My mom and dad wanted a traditional look combined with multiple family photos from the year. We agreed on a 5x7 card with the photo collage on the front and the annual Chenault Christmas letter on the back.

And following tradition, the family is a little behind in mailing the cards. We promise they will arrive in your mailbox before 2011!

Celebrating Christmas Miami Style

During our 8 hour flight delay (American had to reschedule us due to a bag check delay that was their fault) we drove around Miami taking in the holiday scenery and soaking up the warm sun. While driving around Coral Gables, we spotted these South Florida-inspired festive decorations. I couldn't help but be amused by the decorations and wanted to share them with you.

This wreath is pretty ordinary, but the holiday bells are made from Miami's native "golden" coconuts.

The eight tiny reindeer plus Rudolph above are made from palm fronds.

Mr. Peacock here was also taking a stroll to look at Christmas decorations. I am still in shock when I see a wild peacock wandering the streets of Miami. He is beautiful!

After this adventure, we made it back to the airport and are finally settled in to my parents house in Houston. Happy Christmas Eve!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Design Inspiration Overload: Arango Miami

Last weekend my wonderful mother in law took me to the most creative store I have seen in a very long time. Arango, a famous design store in Miami, is a breathtaking find. It has been around for just over 50 years. As soon as you walk in, you instantly understand why the doors have been open so long. It is a Miami retail and design icon that I am glad I finally found out about. The store is truly incredible. It brings good, no, great design to the mall culture of Miami. Guaranteed, it is a little pricey, but the shoppers at Dadeland don't seem to care and the quality more than makes up for the price. Arango carries brands that I dream about like Alessi, Chilewich, and Goa, and also introduced me to some new designers. Below are some quick snapshots I took to try and capture the feeling of the store. Just a warning, they don't do it justice, but will at least give you a brief glimpse.

If you are in the Miami area this is a MUST see, but in the meantime you should take a gander at their website. Arango takes modern and minimalist living to a new level. As you can imagine from the pictures, it is inspiration overload. I want a little bit of everything. So cool!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Recycled Holiday Decorations

Sometimes the simplest things can brighten my day. For example, I become giddy when yesterday's newspaper and the pages of old books are repurposed into beautiful decorations. I absolutely love the idea of reusing things that are lying around the house, and by now, you know that I LOVE anything associated with typography and reading. So, it makes perfect sense that I would be beyond inspired by these easy-to-make and truly beautiful holiday decorations.

I have been wanting to make a newspaper wreath for some time now. This one (via) is elegantly crafted and the bright red door makes it even better. I only hope it withstands the rain!

This crazy ornament is just awesome. The fact that it is made from the stocks in the business section of a newspaper makes it even better. This would be the perfect ornament for a couple where one is an investor and one is an artist. You could attempt to make your own or buy it from kissa design.

Great idea for wrapping paper! I have seen this image a lot recently, but I got it from Oh So Beautiful Paper, which also has some other fancy newspaper ideas.

This whole setup (via) is adorable and looks VERY professional. I think I would get incredibly frustrated trying to recreate this one.

Beautiful, enough said! (image via)

Hopefully you are as inspired as I am by each of these. They make some great last minute decorating ideas, and some could even work for a great New Years Party!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Happy Holidays: The First Bolton Christmas Card

It is probably evident through many of my posts the past couple of weeks, but I absolutely love this time of year. Is it the giant kid inside of me or that I was raised by a holiday crazy family? I am not sure how to explain it, but I find this time of year absolutely magical.

Needless to say with the above description, I have been anticipating the design of Reid and my first holiday card for quite some time. A few months ago, I decided that our first annual card needed to be something unique and playful, just like us. After a lot of thought, research, and illustration we ended up with the above card. Throughout the process I was incredibly inspired by vintage children's book illustration (mostly French) from the 50's and 60's. This inspiration helped me keep the design simple in both shape and color. The finished card is printed on Neenah Classic Crest 80# cover in Natural White which continued to play up the vintage vibe, and mailed in a cranberry red envelope.

Overall, I am very pleased with the results, and have been dying to share this little bit of holiday cheer with you. Happy Holidays!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Away We Go!!! (the start of our holiday adventure 2010)

Good Morning! Sorry for being a bit MIA lately. The past couple of days have been crazy. The portfolio class I was teaching came to an end, which meant final critique and lots and lots of grading, plus I was preparing for an 11 day trip to see our families in Miami and Houston. Needless to say, I needed to take a couple day break from the blog in order to get everything done.

But, don't worry, I am back and for the next week and a half will be blogging from much warmer weather. We landed in Miami LATE last night, but my bag decided to stay a little longer in DC. It hitched a ride on the first flight this morning, but for now I am walking around in Reid's high school gym clothes. Let me tell you, I am looking really good. But with the view seen above (from the Bolton family's backyard), I don't really care how I look. I am currently sitting outside, drinking cafe con leche (aka: fancy Cuban coffee) and working.

Anyway, I just wanted to share a small bit of warm weather with you. Glorious, huh?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Black Swan: Dark and Breathtaking

I finally saw Black Swan on Sunday night and the wait was well worth it. The film is amazing – hands down. It is darkly twisted and also precisely beautiful. It is one of those rare movies where every minute pieces together seamlessly. I think all the main actors (Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, Winona Ryder, and Vincent Cassal) shine in their roles, and some will probably get award nominations in a couple of weeks. To be completely honest, I couldn't stand Portman's character, which means she captured the uptight, perfection-driven, obsessive-in-more-ways-than-one ballerina perfectly.

More than the story and the acting, I was blown away with the overall beauty of each scene. I expected the film to be aesthetically pleasing (i mean, it is about ballet which is simply a stunning art form), but this film surpasses all my expectations. The entire story plays on the classic archetype of black and white/evil and good. Black Swan pushes that well-recognized theme visually throughout the movie. The entire movie plays on contrast. The lights and darks are constantly intertwined and mixed. Keeping the audience asking, "Who is good?" and "Who is evil?" And the costumes help emphasize this psychological debate better than anything. In my opinion, they may be the best part of the movie.

The costumes were designed by the Mulleavy sisters of the fashion label Rodarte. Black Swan is their first attempt at costume design and I am perfectly speechless. AMAZING! I hope they do more film in all their free time. I have always been a fan of their work and I know that I will keep watching for what is next.

Below are some of their initial costume sketches and photographs of the finished designs. I have always been inspired by and envious of fashion illustrators. They seem to capture humanity, elegance and beauty in a fluid, effortless way. These are beautiful and capture the heart and soul of the film.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Color Inspiration: The Walk to Target

I am constantly amazed by how inspiring routine (and often mundane) everyday life can be when I actually take a moment to stop and look closely and critically at my surroundings.

Yesterday, I decided to walk to our neighborhood Target at dusk during the first real snowstorm of the season. I really don't know why I thought this mile walk was a good idea when the weather was so bad, other than I had a case of cabin fever (which tends to happen very frequently to me during the winter).

As I set out on my trek (which is exactly what it ended up being after I bought a 20lb. bag of kitty litter that I walked home with), I noticed that the sun was starting to set and the coloration on the snow was breathtaking. So, as any normal, creative person would do in a snowstorm, I took off my gloves and started taking photos with my iPhone. (I really hope I get smart phone gloves for Christmas so I can leave the gloves on next time). A couple of the photos turned out really well and inspired the two winter color palettes below.

This photo was taken on the long, windy stretch leading up to Target. It was so quiet and serene as opposed to its normally busy and chaotic state. The inspired colors are supposed to feel cold and muted with a hint of warmth from the lights above. I really dislike winter color palettes that are drab and focus on gray and blues. The warm colors of winter are the best part!

The second photo was taken at the local tree stand. Oh, how I love this time of year. Through this color palette I wanted to show the festive side of the holidays with the lightness of snow. The pink and blue are so unexpected and add a necessary bit of flare.

Hope you enjoy and don't forget to "stop and smell the roses". You never know when you will be inspired!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Vintage Equestrian Paint by Numbers

(image via)

As most of you know by now, I absolutely adore horses. I love everything that has to do with them and equestrian style: clothes, toys, paintings, etc. Since riding boots, leggings and even blazers have been a hot item for the past couple of years, I have been in hog heaven. Partially because I can wear my real riding clothes and boots on the streets and people think I am the epitome of fashion (or not, but it is wishful thinking).

Over the past few days I have been thinking about horses a little bit more than normal. It must be that I am really starting to miss riding, or that I am still frustrated with myself for not buying a beautiful 1950s paint by number horse painting the other week at the Randolph Street Market. It is very similar to the one below which can be purchased here.

I am completely enthralled with these vintage paint by numbers lately. Why? I am not quite sure. They are classic kitsch. But they are beautiful in their simple division of color and shape. It is amazing how fantastic they can look framed on a wall.

image via

I am mostly drawn to the equestrian paintings and other animals, but you can find these paint by numbers in so many different themes. And the best part about them, they are cheap and can be found in many thrift stores, Goodwill Stores, garage stores, ebay and, quite possibly, your grandparents basement. It could be the perfect holiday gift for your hipster or artistic friend.

(This one is for sale on etsy!!!)

Next time I see a great one, I am not passing it by. Or maybe I will just buy a kit and make my own?