Keeper of the Keys

Today my work key ring broke.  I have two sets of keys: home keys and work keys (which I keep in my car with my ID lanyard).  Choosing the appropriate key ring has become a bit of a chore, because the criteria is extensive.  My work keys include keys to my classroom, my classroom storage room, the copy room and administrative wing; they’re too heavy to keep on my lanyard.  I need them at various times throughout the day, and I also have student workers who use them to go make copies.   One of my workers in particular tends to put my keys into his pocket and forget they’re there.  He’s almost left for the day with my keys in his pocket.  Plus, I am not the most organized of teachers, so I misplace my keys regularly.  So, therefore and thus, my main criteria are durable, visible, and big.

I’ve decided to replace my key ring with the same type that I had before (after all, it lasted for a year and a half of heavy use, and one I bought for my home keys didn’t last more than 3 days). It’s Areaware’s Reality Key Chain by Harry Allen.  It’s thick and rubber, with no movable pieces, but it has some heft and is easy to see.  I think I’ve also decided I will get the matching skeleton key key chain from Areaware as well.

I like the bright rainbow colors and the tactile appeal of these key chains.  Plus, they’re really hard to lose!

Anyone have a good suggestion for another key chain that meet all my criteria?  I’d love to know.  Put it in the comments.

Pantone Color of the Year: Tangerine Tango!

The year of Honeysuckle pink is over, and Tangerine Tango is here!

From Pantone.com

Those color people, Pantone, predict the hot color for the upcoming year. They analyze trends including buying habits and fashion shows, and decide what is going to be “in”. Apparently orange is the next big thing. So of course, I have to run with the inspiration. It was hard to find something in pure tangerine–not too orange, not too red, not too salmon–so there’s a bit of variation.

Tangerine Tango skirts and tops

Forever21 cardigan, $12
Knit sweater, $23
Scoop neck top, $11
Maxi skirt, $16
Moon Collection patchwork skirt, $42
ASOS high waisted skirt, £23
Forever21 ruffle mini skirt, $12

Tangerine Tango Bags and Shoes

Michael Antonio high heel shoes, $20
Jessica Simpson stiletto high heels, $44
Martinez Valero platform sandals, $40
Blowfish flat shoes, $30
Forever21 clutch handbag, $13
ASOS oversized clutch handbag, £20
ASOS pin bag, £25

Pantone Color of the year inspiration

Free People evening dress, $30
Wrap dress, $39
Ruffle dress, $34
Oasis boat neck dress, $45
Cut out back dress, $30
Strapless summer dress, $22

What do you think about Tangerine Tango?

What Have I Done For You Lately?

Having this blog makes me happy. It channels something I already do (incessant internet searches for cool, reasonable stuff), into something I can share. Sometimes I write about stuff I already own, and sometimes I write about what I want to own. This blog has even gotten me to pull my credit card out from time to time; because of this blog I have bought a LOT of MAC Cosmetics, a dress, a pair of driving gloves, and matching flocked hangers for my closet.

So I was wondering: have you ever bought anything because of this blog? Maybe subscribed to Birchbox or bought some amazing Zoya polish because you saw it here? If the answer is yes, I’d love to know what you bought! Comment below, so we can share in the shopping!

Pinterested?

I have an accordion file upstairs in my office/library room filled with magazine pages. See, I have a magazine issue. (Geddit?) I love the beautiful pictures, the glossy pages, the ideas and inspiration that fill every magazine. I would like to keep a copy of every magazine that appeals to me. But that takes up a lot of room and odds are, I won’t ever read the magazine again. I kept a ton of magazines in my old apartment and ended up having to cart them, box by heavy box, down three flights of stairs to the trash. So now I’m on a “current issue only” streamlining kick.

But what about all the pretty pictures? The things I want to buy, just not yet? The inspiration for crafts and projects and home design? That can’t all go in the trash! Thus, the accordion file, filled with pictures of beautiful things. I go through it every now and again, pull out things that I’m over now, put back the things that I want to keep.

The accordion file has just been PWNed, and pwned HARD. Think of all those images, all the pretty things you see on the internet, all the books you want to read, clothes you want to buy, and adorableness you want to put in your pocket and keep forever, and then add social networking. Like a giant bulletin board, Pinterest lets you create and share images. If you like what you see someone else put up, then you can “pin” it on your own “board”. It appeals to both sides of the brain; the creative side which loves a plethora of images and ideas, and the logical side which likes things organized and easy to find. You can “follow” trendsetters or people with tastes that interest and intrigue you and see what they are pinning, you can search for images, or you can be the first one to pin an image. As Pinterest says, it’s a visual catalog of the things you love.

It reminds me somewhat of Tumblr, except less “stream-of-consciousness”. You can take on multiple subjects, but they are all organized into their own boards. I’ve taken the approach that my Pinterest boards are going to be kind of like the mansion of my mind, with different rooms. I’ve got a scintillating group of celebrities inhabiting my dream cocktail party in The Cocktail Lounge, fashion is covered in four boards: In the Dream Dressing Room (for clothes), The Beauty Bar (nails and makeup), Shoe Closet (for shoes, of course), and The Drawer of Finishing Touches (for accessories). Home goods and furniture can be found on a board called House Proud, books are in The Library, and inspiring house, travel, and outdoor scenes are located in Favorite Places and Spaces. Plus, I have a board called Beautiful Things for anything that doesn’t fit into those categories. However, you can organize your boards however you like: by color, theme, by project idea or by the categories that Pinterest suggests when you first set up your account.

Your account can be connected to your Facebook or Twitter accounts, and you have the option of posting or tweeting your pins, as well. But the account itself–well, that’s the tricky part. See, I had to wait for mine. The account is free, but currently Pinterest is in private beta. Which means you can’t just sign up and start pinning. They have to approve you first. But I HAVE GOOD NEWS! *drumroll please*

(All good news should be preceded by Hot Alex, don’t you think?) As part of finally being approved, Pinterest has given me FIVE invitations to others to sign up. No waiting to be approved; if you’re cool by me, you’re cool by them. I feel very exclusive right now. So, lovelies, first five comments on this blog post get the invites! Simple as that!

Let the comments begin!

All images in this post found on Pinterest

…But is it Art?

I have a confession: sometimes Etsy overwhelms me. I love it, and can find unique and beautiful things there. But the quality can vary. With something like artwork, where I know what I like when I see it, and usually can’t search for something specific, it can feel like a waste of time as I wade through everything I don’t want, and don’t find anything I do want. Sometimes I wish someone would come in and curate the collection for me.

20×200 feels like that curated collection. Billing themselves as “Art for Everyone”, they have limited print runs of art in three sizes–8x10s for $20, 11x14s for $50, and 16x20s for $200. The art tends to be modern art, and may not be for everyone’s taste. But some pieces are quite good. And you really can’t beat the price if you’re just looking for the right thing for that nook in your house.

My only complaints would be that I think the jump from $50 to $200 for a picture that’s only a few inches bigger seems too steep. Also, I wish they had very large prints for sale for a reasonable price. They have a couple of larger prints, but they are $1000 and up.

Special bonus: if you’re a member of HauteLook, they currently have an offer for a certificate worth $50 for only $29. But it ends Monday, so hurry!

Prints showcased in this post, from top to bottom, are as follows:
1. Live With Art by Little Jacket (Sold out)
2. Day 256: Vintage Airline Tags by Lisa Congdon
3. Can You Imagine by Trey Speegle
4. Squeeze by Gary Peterson
5. Untitled (We are going to make it through this year if it kills us) by Mike Monteiro

Fun with Photoshop

I took a whole one-day intensive course in Photoshop, and I’m still not really good at it. At home I have Adobe Photoshop Elements, which is much easier to deal with. But of course, it does less. I’ve found a good way to make my Photoshop creations more professional looking is by using brushes. And I’ve found a great site for downloading brushes for free.

Brusheezy offers brush sets for effects, backgrounds, and designs of all kinds. They can be used to create effects or as designs themselves. I like creating designs with brushes which I then transfer and silkscreen.

All you do is download the brush set, unzip the file, then put it in your Photoshop brush file. Next time you start up Photoshop–voila! There will it be. Download is free and registration on the site is optional.

Today I found and downloaded these Commedia dell’Arte brushes. I can’t wait to decide what to do with them!

Putting on My Smarty Cap

Today I went to the art museum. I go there a lot, relatively. Like, compared to the average person. I hit up the museum once a month or so. At one point I was mayor of the museum on Foursquare, and I was insanely happy. I love museums. I love their stillness, their peacefulness. I love the fact that I can stare at a painting for as long as I want, and nobody cares. I can commit each brush stroke to memory, or fall into the colors.

The museum has a wonderful exhibit going on right now called Sensory Crossovers: Synesthesia in American Art. Synesthesia refers to sensory fusions or crossovers. For instance, there are those who can “see” sounds, and “hear” colors. The artists depict music, storms, math, and foghorns. The exhibit is interactive; dial a phone number, enter the code by the painting, and it plays the music or sound that the painting is related to.

lone figure and tree in stormy sunset by e.e. cummings

This was my second time at this exhibit. Each time, it blew me away. But the first time, I got a real shock–one of the beautiful abstracts was by e.e. cummings, the poet who wrote the poem my blog title comes from. He’s been a favorite of mine for many years, and I never knew he painted.

Noise Number 1 by e.e. cummings

It impresses me when someone who is so talented hones another skill. The restless who never stop growing and learning always are my heroes. Cummings pushed the boundaries of form in poetry, which made him special. And then he took all the leftovers that he didn’t put into his poetry, I like to imagine, and put them into his paintings.

dive for dreams by e.e. cummings

dive for dreams
or a slogan may topple you
(trees are their roots
and wind is wind)
trust your heart
if the seas catch fire
(and live by love
though the stars walk backward)
honour the past
but welcome the future
(and dance your death
away at the wedding)
never mind a world
with its villains or heroes
(for god likes girls
and tomorrow and the earth)

Fourth Dimensional Abstraction by e.e. cummings