If you have spent any time here you may have deduced that I am a bit quirky, or as my Latin mother would say, "Ju aaard (rolled 'r') so corky".  Yes, I am both quirky & corky I suppose. My latest quirk has involved my bibliophilia and gadget obsession. Last Christmas my husband gifted me a Kindle Fire and I promptly developed my newest quirk/cork. On said Kindle I can download the first few chapters of a book I may be interested in, this is enough to usually entice a potential buyer to go to the check-out to continue reading the full tome. In my unique case I have developed a mini compulsion with reading the first few chapters of oh, about 100 (or a 1,000) or more books.  That's what I have been doing every evening for the better part of a year-- reading chapters of multiple books. It's an enjoyable pastime and it's free, so I have continued this pursuit with gusto. When my husband borrowed my Kindle for a flight cross country he was  insensed to discover my peccadillo.  He would start to delve into what he thought was going to be a thrilling read only to find that my Kindle was loaded with these teaser chapters, which prompted him to ask, "What is wrong with you?" Last night after I confessed my obsession to one of my all time favorite people, I realized how insane it seemed, not the act mind you, but my palpable excitement at describing the sheer joy I get from this weird 'thrill'. I think I scared her with my over the top enthusiasm. I hung up and decided to finally download some books come bed time, full versions, I did after all have a gift certificate from last Christmas that I was hoarding. I chose non-fiction because I find reality/life infinitely more interesting, but I do believe The Night Circus will be the next fiction book I read. The books that I will be reading well into the new year will be The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson. If you listen to This American Life the name may be familiar to you. Mr. Ronson is smart + funny, I like that in an author. Moon Walking With Einstein is the type of title that compels you to read on, that's just creative genius, right?  The book is about a subject that I have great interest in--memory. The subtitle is 'The Art and Science of Remembering Everything'. It's a serious goal of mine for 2013 to become a mental athlete, since physical athlete hasn't panned out thus far. I found Pigeons by Andrew D. Blechman from Jules's book club pin board. I am an animal lover and I have always had a lot of respect for pigeons, they aren't as 'rat with wings' as you may think, they are actually surprisingly interesting. I think this will be a good read. Lastly, (and I can't wait to start this one) is Agent ZigZag by Ben Mcintyre.  I am a little in love with Mr. Mcintyre, loved The Napoleon of Crime and all the other teaser chapters I have read from his extensive output.  I am sure this book will be a hum dinger of a story it has already been optioned to be made into a movie.

So, this my friends, I do believe is my last post for 2012. I am saddened to say farewell (albeit temporary), but I have to finish up the much needed overhaul of the blog re-design and that means I will have to shut this space down for a wee bit. I am getting very excited for you to come visit my new 'home' on the web!  I'll still be around the usual places like Pinterest +Instagram and I may even try my hand at that Tweeting bit you kids do. Don't fret you will still be able to find me blathering somewhere in the ether!



It seems impossible that I have not only been practicing my lettering, but trying out new techniques.  I decided awhile back that no matter how busy I got that I was going to make time to practice.  I can't just will myself to become better at this discipline, I need to put the time in.  Last week I decided to take a lesson to learn how to use an oblique pen.  Why?  I read that it will assist with angle, which is an important detail in calligraphy, this tricky angle quotient.  What did I learn?  I learned that I am horrible with the slant, just horrible, a lot of new students are. Like thousands before me, I destroyed my tines, but eventually can see how this odd looking instrument can assist in creating beautiful thin hairlines and a uniform look to my lettering (something that has alluded me for months).  The teacher suggested I buy an oblique pencil which I have since ordered.  It's supposedly a great tool to practice your pointed pen work. I have been practicing using these free Dr. Joe Vitolo videos (excellent to see how to create your letters) and using these free guidelines (the largest version under the Copperplate/Engrosser's Script Instruction ).  I have been using the Canson Pro marker paper, it's nice and smooth and I can slip the guidelines under the paper and see them clearly. My traditional calligraphy is pretty rank (it might make your eyes bleed), but I am going to just keep practicing and see where it takes me.  My goal is by this time next year to have legible letters/words to show you in the Copperplate style. It is going to take a lot more practice!  Let me know if you have any questions about any of the above, I am happy to try to answer them.



After working my way through all the 'This American Life' archives, I found myself in my usual predicament of nothing to listen to.  I briefly considered taking up a language or three, there are some pretty swell language podcasts that may end up on regular rotation at the studio. 'Un espresso, por favore, grazie'.  Italian would be high on my list, although it might be more pragmatic to learn Spanish as that is my mother's native tongue and her English has been suspect for my entire existence. Case in point, she has emphatically stated after eating a large meal that she ate 'like a bottomless pig'. I actually think her version of the popular euphemism is better, so I use it often, feel free to crib it too.

Anyway, I found Snap Judgement the other day and it filled the empty hole in my heart (and head) that was there due to 'This American Life' aural withdrawals.  It is in the same vein as T.A.L. so if you are a T.A.L. addict like myself you will find yourself in familiar territory. Start with the 'Found' episode as that is the one that got me hooked and the story about what spectacular event happened to the guy at the pool party will certainly BLOW.YOUR.MIND.  Now for the negs of the podcast, the host Glynn Washington, great voice, obviously a talented guy and good storyteller, but he is almost a caricature of a DJ, it's a little cheesy, as is the music.  I love music and I consider my taste in music to be above average (I am sure I will regret writing that one day), the music on this show makes no sense with the content, there's a disconnect.  If you can get past the 70's late night DJ vibe (think 'Play Misty for Me', but not as cool) then you are in for some great tales.  If you take a listen let me know your thoughts. Am I off base?  Are my assessments accurate? Did you love the 'Found' episode?

P.S. Forgive me for not getting up my usual Pinterest Curator series, it's just they take a bit of time and right now I am borrowing it (time that is) so I need to wait to the new year, but I have my eye on several new prospects to introduce you to!



I love beauty products so much, like I would marry them if I could.  I started off my once illustrious career in PR/Branding in the cosmetic industry so I know the ins & outs and can speak of quality products with authority (I also am a beauty big mouth so let me have at it).  Above is my new beauty/make-up regime, these are the products I have been using everyday so I won't scare my husband or the neighbors--it has been working.  I recently ran out of my Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer, it's pretty spendy so I thought I would try a drugstore option that has been getting rave reviews--Garnier BB Cream. I have mentioned BB creams prior (I am a fan), I liked the Smashbox offering but I am in between shades right now so its been benched for the season. My skin is dry, so if you have oily skin this BB cream may not be for you,  it has a very emollient texture, in fact I put it on in the morning without putting on any other moisturizer. BB Creams are different from a foundation or a tinted moisturizer (sort of in between in texture/consistency) so getting the feel for how much to apply may be a bit tricky at first, use a light hand and build. I am using the Light/Medium, it looks much darker right out of the tube (the very large tube), but it's deceiving, it matches my skin quite well. It's sheer but has good coverage. I have been using the Neutrogena Night Retinol cream and have been having good results with it lightening the hyper-pigmentation on my cheeks, I don't think I would have been able to get away without concealer if this was a couple months prior, but today I am happy to say I just use the BB Cream (great because I have been both lazy & busy). Like a regular moisturizer you are going to want the product to 'set' before applying the rest of your make-up. I usually put it on and then make my coffee and come back to finish the rest. I have been foregoing the mascara--shocker and just curling my lashes, it's easy and makes me look more awake than I feel. I think most women could use a little blush, it's the easiest way to get an 'insta-pretty' look, it's also the most wrongly applied cosmetic or the one one that women skip all together, gah!  My motto?  'No one blushes mauve' so stay away from colors that look dusty, browny pink, they aren't usually flattering. Tarte makes the best sheer cheek stains that will make you look like you have naturally rosy cheeks (this product will last you forever too). The best way that I have found to apply is with a brush. I learned that trick after seeing this gorgeous make-over and this video, I couldn't replicate her results with that type of brush but was able to do so with the foundation brush shown above.  With the brush you get sheer, luminous natural looking rosy cheeks. Lastly I swipe Burt's Bee's Honeysuckle over my lips, it's a sheer nude lip tint, it feels nice and moisturizing without the stickiness of a gloss or lipstick. Altogether I take about 4 minutes tops (maybe) to look natural and like myself but without scaring anyone. If you have any questions ask them in the comments I am happy to answer them!



I don't usually get the pleasure of seeing where the stamps I make end up.  I assume they all go to good homes and are kept clean, happy and are honored to be of service to their new owners.  So, when I do get an email that proudly displays their new addition in its new habitat I am immensely proud like any Mama would be. Juley is the owner/brainchild behind the newly launched MCRN Bar, "an online, subscriptions-only baking company that delivers monthly Southern-inspired French macarons". Is that genius or what?  I think it's a sweet idea indeed.  I love the packaging and I am sure the macarons are every bit as delicious as they look, perfect timing to launch in time for holiday! Macrons seem to be the Blogista's dessert of choice so I am sure we will be seeing MCRN Bar all over the blogosphere soon; I will be delighted to know that Juley's new stamp will be working hard behind the scenes to ensure that her packages look that much prettier. Congrats + Big Thanks to Juley!

Okay, so what have I got baked up for you today?  I think you should have your own custom stamp with your own artwork on it, don't you?  Yes, I do believe that would be a grand idea!  To enter to win let me know if you won this prize what you would want your stamp to look like, what would you be putting on it? And why?  Would it be a logo? A Bookplate? Return address? Your childs artwork?  Your artwork? A fave quote?  Leave a comment below or re-pin, tweet, FB Like (or whatever it is FB'ers do).  I am going to make you work hard for this one as I need to get you in 'shape' for the next giveaway (a big one).  This prize is (as always) open worldwide, good luck!  I will announce the winner next Monday, December 17, 2012.

P.S. And the Winners are... Last week's winner is: Lois (she sent me a photo of what she wanted to do, now that's motivation). And because I can never make up my mind I am going to give prizes of the flags to Michaela, MellieMel, and so you don't think I am just picking people with 'M' names, Susan Hwang. Thank you all for playing!