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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Building a better lunch box...

School is back in session, and so is packing lunches.  My client's are always trying to figure out how to make this less of a chore and more efficient an activity.  Not to mention the amount of space in the kitchen devoted to this exercise... drawers of ziplock bags in all sizes, insulated lunch packs everywhere, dozens and dozens of plastic containers spilling out of every cabinet - this is not for the faint of heart...

If you've eaten at a Japanese restaurant, you've probably seen a Bento Box... a pretty box, usually of hard plastic (use to be lacquered) with divisions for various small bites of mixed foods.

The Bento box has now gone mainstream and taken school lunches by storm...  dozens and dozens of websites and blogs have popped up devoted to packing the bento lunch.  So far, my favorite is  Kelly Lester has come up with a sturdy, non-toxic, environmentally friendly and dishwasher safe divided box that does the trick for packing lunches.

Yes, you can make your own bento style lunch by taking various sized containers and packing them into an insulated bag.

And the fun doesn't end with the boxes... there can be art in packing the Bento box - and creating interesting, exciting and sometimes amazingly beautiful lunches...

Sites and blogs abound on packing bento lunches, even for vegetarian kids. is a San Francisco woman who offers loads of great ideas along with videos.


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The art of ART...

One of the best decisions I ever made was to invest in original artwork for my home.  While my art has been an investment, each piece has not been excessively expensive - and it brings such joy into my life everyday.  I have a Pottery Barn house, but my original artwork makes it feel like a designer showcase...

Throat People by Hyland Mather

Ceramic torso by Jenny Jones

by Hyland Mather

by Hyland Mather

Self Portraits by Jamin

Self Portrait by Anthony May

I choose art by what I like.  I go to art shows, galleries and Pro Art open houses.  I like to know the artist and get an understanding of how the piece came into being.  When I find an artist I really connect to, then I try and buy new pieces at various stages of their career.  

Sometimes I grow away from a piece and it's okay for me to let it go.  I either give it to a friend or trade it back to the artist for a newer piece.  I also rotate some of my art.  I love this bumper sticker, "good art does not have to match the sofa".  

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Happy Birthday Post-it Notes...

Turns out this year is the 30th birthday of 3M's famous Post-its notes.  Who can live without these colorful sticky squares?

Here's a brief history from Wikipedia:

In 1968, Dr. Spencer Silver, a scientist at 3M in the United States, with the help of Jesse Kops, a fellow scientist, accidentally developed a "low-tack," reusable pressure sensitive adhesive.[1] For five years, Silver promoted his invention within 3M, both informally and through seminars, but without much success. In 1974, a colleague of his, Art Fry, who had attended one of Silver's seminars, came up with the idea of using the adhesive to anchor his bookmark in his hymnbook.[2][3] Fry then developed the idea by taking advantage of 3M's officially sanctioned "permitted bootlegging" policy.[3] 3M launched the product in 1977, but it failed as consumers had not tried the product.[4] A year later 3M issued free samples to residents of Boise, IdahoUnited States. 90 percent of people who tried them said that they would buy the product. By 1980, the product was being sold nationwide in the US;[4] a year later Post-its were launched in Canada and Europe.[5]
The yellow colour was chosen by accident; a lab next-door to the Post-it team had scrap yellow paper, which the team initially used.[7]

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Self storage...

Here's a great post from about self storage...

The state of self-storage in the U.S.

The New York Times ran an incredibly well-researched and informative article this weekend on the current state of the self-storage industry. The article gives insight into how the downturn in the economy is affecting storage units in terms of capacity and purpose of use. Additionally, the article confirms that the majority of units remain full of clutter, but it paints a vivid picture of people who are using the spaces for other, non-clutter reasons.
Some of the more powerful quotes from the article:
The Self Storage Association, a nonprofit trade group, estimates that since the onset of the recession, occupancies at storage facilities nationwide are down, on average, about 2 or 3 percent. It’s not a cataclysmic drop but enough to disorient an industry that has always considered itself recession-resistant, if not outright recession-proof…
“Human laziness has always been a big friend of self-storage operators,” Derek Naylor, president of the consultant group Storage Marketing Solutions, told me. “Because once they’re in, nobody likes to spend all day moving their stuff out of storage. As long as they can afford it, and feel psychologically that they can afford it, they’ll leave that stuff in there forever.”
After a monumental building boom, the United States now has 2.3 billion square feet of self-storage space. (The Self Storage Association notes that, with more than seven square feet for every man, woman and child, it’s now “physically possible that every American could stand — all at the same time — under the total canopy of self-storage roofing.”)
A Self Storage Association study showed that, by 2007, the once-quintessential client — the family in the middle of a move, using storage to solve a short-term, logistical problem — had lost its majority. Fifty percent of renters were now simply storing what wouldn’t fit in their homes — even though the size of the average American house had almost doubled in the previous 50 years, to 2,300 square feet.
Maybe the recession really is making American consumers serious about scaling back, about decluttering and de-leveraging. But there are upward of 51,000 storage facilities across this country — more than seven times the number of Starbucks. Storage is part of our national infrastructure now. And all it is, is empty space: something Americans have always colonized and capitalized on in good times, and retreated into to regroup when things soured. It’s tough to imagine a product more malleable to whatever turns our individual life stories take, wherever we’re collectively heading.
Be sure to check out the article, which tells a fascinating story.
Posted by Erin on Sep 10, 2009 |
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