Monday, September 29, 2014

Museum of Design Atlanta (MODA) - A Photo Tour

Saturday I visited MODA - the Museum of Design Atlanta.  This museum is located on Peachtree Street across from the High Museum.   It is a small museum on the ground floor of a building that also houses a branch of the Atlanta Public Library.  You enter the museum through the gift shop, with an education display showing 3-D printers at work making models.  There is a hallway and two gallery rooms in the museum.  The current display is about 100 years of design, and features posters, book catalogs, and vintage advertising.  I am very interested in children's book illustration and Mid-Century advertising, so I found this exhibit fascinating!
This photo shows portraits of early 1900's artists including Louis Comfort Tiffany and Charles Dana Gibson.  A Windsor chair is part of the exhibit, and there is an interesting early photo showing Windsor chairs on display.
This 1967 Children's Book Exhibit Catalog was illustrated by Andy Warhol.
This 1966 Children's Book Show Catalog was illustrated by Tomi Ungerer.
This Call for Entries: Children's Books brochure was illustrated by Luncina Wakefield in 1950.
This 1965 Children's Book Show invitation is so bright and colorful.  The style of illustration looks familiar, but I cannot place the artist.
This 1951 AIGA Journal was illustrated by Feodor Rojankovsky, a frequent Little Golden Book illustrator.
There is a portrait of Charles and Ray Eames, with a quote about Modernism in design.
This piece was one of my favorite features of the exhibit.  It includes paperback book covers from 1961.
This 1955 poster promotes Disneyland.  I love the juxtaposition of the homespun design (with buttons!) promoting a fantasy world for children.
This 1965 poster promotes popular television.  Note that The Andy Griffith Show and The Dick Van Dyke Show are prominently featured.
I love this retro inspired poster of a woman with "paint by number" style deer illustration.
This 1939 New York World's Fair poster was stunning in person!   I love anything related to a World's Fair or exposition.
This Bob Dylan poster was also amazing in person.
There was an area where you could make your own design, and of course I tried my hand at making a simple layout.
The exhibits at the museum rotate frequently, and I intend to look for upcoming shows and visit again. I highly recommend a trip to MODA for anyone interested in design.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Book Review: What Counts Most Is How You Finish - Shelia Payton

In August, I interviewed Shelia Payton, the author of What Counts Most Is How You Finish, for this blog (interview and author spotlight here).  I enjoyed the interview and information on this book, and I am glad that iRead Book Tours also gave me the opportunity to review this book.  

What Counts Most is How You Finish by Shelia Payton is a motivational book about goals, achievement, and living a good life.  Although the audience for the book is young adults 16 - 25, it will also be of interest to adult readers.  I found it very motivating, especially with goal setting and pivoting (reevaluating goals).  I plan to sit down to assess some personal goals as a result of reading this book.

The book is divided into sections:
Being You
Taking Care of You
Dealing With People
Overcoming Challenges
Staying Focused
Achieving Success
Making a Difference

Each section is filled with short, positive chapters.   I think the structure of the book will be very appealing to young readers.

I took notes as I read the book, and found many memorable passages and ideas.   A few highlights included:

  • Make Time to Do Things You Enjoy -- emphasis on a network of friends with shared interests.
  • What Someone Does Is More True Than What They Say -- "If you see someone doing things that contradict what they say, believe what they do, rather than what they say" (p. 80).
  • Trust Your Instincts -- "Follow your first mind" (p. 81).
  • Complaining Is Just the First Step -- step by step tips on moving from complaining to action, with a plan.
  • Don't Let Fear and Doubt Take You Out -- the valuable reminder that if someone else has done it, you can too.
  • Pivot -- This was a chapter that I know I will reread again.  It is about reevaluating goals and seeing if things need to change in order for goals to be achieved.  Ms. Payton writes, "There's no rule that says you have to keep doing what you're doing -- especially if what you're doing isn't moving your life in the direction you were meant to go" (p. 128).  She suggests that readers can "plot a new course and reinvent your life" (p. 131).
  • Each New Day Is Filled With Opportunity -- This is another great motivating passage about moving out of the past and any regrets to focus on what we have now.
  • Life Teaches You Lessons -- I love Ms. Payton's reminder that "... how your life turns out is not so much determined by what happens to you, but how you deal with it" (p. 163).
  • Decisions Have Consequences -- Ms. Payton discusses the value of making a five year plan and breaking goals down into small steps.  I think this idea is invaluable for both young readers and adult readers as well.
  • Everything You're Looking for Is Not Straight Ahead Of You -- This is another very helpful chapter with motivation on changing plans, timeline, or goals as needed.  

Ms. Payton's writing style is engaging, with lots of personal anecdotes and examples involving famous people.  Her writing style is very readable, with short, direct chapters and clear, affirmative suggestions.

I very enthusiastically recommend this book for young readers, parents, teachers, and anyone who wants to find inspiration and motivation for making and achieving goals.

I received this book from iRead Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Book Review: Dancing on the Head of a Pen by Robert Benson

It is a delight and a rarity to read a new book and to know, from the first few paragraphs, that it is a book you will read again (and again).  Dancing on the Head of a Pen:  The Practice of a Writing Life by Robert Benson is one of those unique books.

This book about writing and spirituality combines some ideas from two of my longtime favorite books, Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg (about writing) and Take Your Time by Eknath Easwaran (about slowing down to live mindfully).

The book is composed of twelve short chapters that deal with creativity, inspiration, the practice of writing, the technique of editing, and slowing down to write and to live.

Robert Benson recalls a trip he made as a young man in his MGB convertible.  He rode out west in a leisurely way, enjoying the trip, and stopping when he felt like a break.  This is a metaphor for his way of writing.   He espouses writing 600 words a day, stopping at that point, and then starting the next day at the same point.  He recommends writing with the barest of book plans - a list of stories, but not an outline.  He reminds writers of the inspiration that can be found in reading their old journals, walking, and just being quiet.  "Do not be afraid to be quiet.  Never be afraid to be alone" (p. 25).

I also love his idea of writing for a jury box.  Before starting a new work, he constructs a jury box of 12 readers that he imagines experiencing his book.   I think this is a really unusual and creative way of looking at a writing audience.

Robert Benson also talks about "Hat Tricks" and the three hats that a writer must wear:  beret (creative writer), baseball cap (rewriter) and fedora (business person who handles the synopsis, cover letter, etc.).

He recommends making a shelf for influential books that inspire and motivate your writing.  I found this idea intriguing as well.

He talks about things that inspire:  journaling, a swipe file (i.e. newspaper stories, random lines, and anecdotes), a book of quotes, and a spare parts file (items edited from your work but saved for later).  He recommends collecting things that move you, reading aloud, blogging, and writing letters.

He also talks about the power of walking, observing the world, and thinking as you walk.  Dylan Thomas inspires this idea:  "A poet is a poet for such a very tiny bit of his life;  for the rest, he is a human being, one of whose responsibilities is to know and feel, as much as he can, all that is moving around and within him" (p. 131).

I truly cannot recommend this book highly enough for anyone who loves to write.  It is sure to find a place on my personal shelf of books that influence and inspire me.

For more information:
Robert Benson's biography
A sneak peek at the book Dancing on the Head of a Pen
Robert Benson's website

I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Book Giveaway - This Ain't No Disco: New Wave Album Covers

New wave music was popular in the 1980's, my college years, and I loved it.   You'll find several new wave songs featured on my Music Monday posts, including:  "I Melt With You" (Modern English), "Be Near Me" (ABC),  and "Bizarre Love Triangle" (New Order).

You can find some fun lists of new wave music online:
100 Greatest New Wave Songs at DigitalDreamDoor
New Wave Hits of the '80's at Like Totally 80's
The Most 250 Archetypal New Wave Songs at Nothing But Good Things

I am giving away a copy of This Ain't No Disco: New Wave Album Covers (published 2005, Chronicle Books) by Jennifer McKnight-Trontz.  This is a fun book with lots of music memories from the 1980's.  It is in good used condition.

This giveaway will run through Thursday, September 18 at midnight.  I will draw a winner on Friday, September 19.  The winner will need to respond to email within 2 days.  This giveaway is U.S. only.

Entry is easy.  Just leave a comment below with two things:

(1) Your email - comments without an email address will not be published, and will not be eligible for the drawing.
(2) Your favorite new wave song - you will find lots of choices at the links above. 

Thanks for reading and good luck in the giveaway!

CONGRATULATIONS to giveaway winner, Susan S.!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Music Monday - "I Melt With You" by Modern English (1982)

"I Melt With You" by Modern English was one of my favorite songs from the 1980's.  It came out in 1982, during my college years, and I thought then (as I still do) that it was a perfect '80's love song.  "I'll stop the world and melt with you ..."   For your retro enjoyment, here is the original video:

Thursday, September 4, 2014

So You Think You Can Dance - Finale

So You Think You Can Dance concluded season 11 last night.  It was a fun show, packed with lots of dancing.

Cat Deeley opened the show by announcing that the winner will appear on the cover of Dance Spirit magazine, perform in the cast of On the Town on Broadway, and win $250,000.

We then met the judging panel:  Tara Lipinski, Adam Shankman (I've missed him this season!), Jenna Dewan Tatum, Debbie Allen (another of my favorites), Mary Murphy, and Nigel Lythgoe.

The dancing began with a wonderful Broadway routine performed by the top 20 to "Doctor Jazz" (Jelly's Last Jam).  It was choreographed by Warren Carlisle, and both Ricky and Valerie had exceptional solos in the dance.

Then the reprise dances began.  The judges picked a favorite, and so did each of the dancers.  Mary's favorite was Jessica and Casey in the Travis Wall "kiss" dance to "Like Real People Do" (Hozier).  It was lovely, although Casey almost dropped Jessica at one point.  I was watching with friends and we all gasped.

Debbie's favorite was Ricky and Valerie (her favorites of the season) in Phoenix and Pharside's number about an inventor and a life size doll.  It was danced to "Turn Down for What" by D.J. Snake and Lil Jon.

Zack's favorite was his dance with Amy that was choreographed by Sonya Tayeh.  It was about the loss of a friend to death, and it was danced to "Europe After the Rain" by Max Richter.

Nigel's favorite was Rudy and Allison Hoelker in the Ray Leeper number "Dirty Diana" by Michael Jackson.  He reminded us that Allison will be a pro dancer on Dancing With the Stars this season.  That will be fun (and good for her!).

Paula Abdul appeared out of nowhere.  Evidently she has been judging the Australian version of the show.  She introduced the winner of this season's Australian SYTYCD, Michael Dameski.  He danced and was impressive, although a bit more gymnastic (and less emotive) than I like.

Valerie's favorite was her tap routine with Zack that was choreographed by Anthony Morigerato.  It was performed up and down a set of stairs to "Sing" by Ed Sheeran.  This was also one of my favorite numbers of the season.

Les Twins performed as guest dancers in a fun hip hop routine.

Ricky's favorite was his Sonya Tayeh dance with Jessica to "Vow" by Meredith Monk.  It was just as good in the reprise.

America voted on their favorite hip hop routine last week and the winner was Carly and Serge in "Senile" by Young Money.  This was the skeleton hip hop number that I remember not caring for because the makeup covered their faces and depersonalized the dancers.

A clip aired of Jasmine Harper from last season visiting the top 4 dancers in rehearsal.  She brought singer Ciara, and they encouraged the dancers.  This was sponsored by Degree for Women (evidently a big sponsor of the show this season -- kudos to this company for airing dance themed commercials).

Jenna's favorite was Tanisha and Rudy's Sonya Tayeh dance to "You Need" (Bengsons).  Tanisha is such a good dancer!   I had hoped that she would make it to the final 4.

Enrique and Sean Paul performed a Latin/hip hop music number.

Adam's favorite was Zack and Ricky's Pharside and Phoenix hip hop routine, performed with a playing card theme to "The Antidote" by District 78.  I was surprised again at how well they performed this hard hitting hip hop number.

Cat announced the fourth place contestant -- Zack.  I really like Zack and think he showed a lot of growth this season.  I hope he continues on and explores dancing on Broadway.  I think his versatility and tap style would lend itself really well to that venue.

Tara's favorite was Emilio and Jasmine's "Get Low" (Dillon Francis and D.J. Snake).  This Tabitha and Napoleon hip hop number is about a snake charmer and an enchanted snake.  

Jessie Tyler Ferguson took over hosting temporarily and was a hoot, especially in an exchange with Travis Wall about extemporaneous dancing.

The top 10 dancers and the All Stars performed a beautiful number choreographed by Sonya Tayeh and Christopher Scott.  It was about people connecting at a busy train station and it was performed to "Sweet Disposition" (Tender Trap).  If you can find this video online, see it!  It is amazing.  (I have not posted SYTYCD videos as they tend to not stay online for very long.)

Jessica's favorite was her dance with Robert, choreographed by Travis Wall.  It was performed to "When I Go" (Over the Rhine).

Cat then announced the 3rd place dancer -- Jessica.  Jessica is a pretty girl and a talented dancer, but I never really connected with her performances.  I think she has a lot of talent, though, and hope she has a great career.

Cat's favorite was Valerie and Ricky in the Travis Wall routine "Oh Darling" (Gossling).  I really liked this number, too ... and love that it featured the top 2 dancers.

I had hoped all season that Valerie and Ricky would be in the top 2, and I was delighted that they were.   Cat announced that the winner was Ricky.  Yay!   He is one of my favorite dancers ever on SYTYCD - charming, versatile, and absolutely amazing in every dance style.

I really enjoyed this season.  There were so many strong dancers.  I hope the show is renewed for Season 12, next summer.

What did you think of the finale?   Did your favorite win?   I would love to hear from you in the comments, below.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Changes at my eBay Store

Hi vintage friends!

I've been hard at work on my eBay store, making some changes for fall and the upcoming holiday season.

When you visit, you'll see that my store now focuses on children's books, pretty vintage cards (holidays, cats, dogs), Christmas ornaments, and a small selection of vintage puzzles for children that tie in to children's books.

I have moved my cookbooks, vintage sewing patterns, and Roadside Americana items offline.   These items will be featured periodically as shorter listings (auctions and fixed price listings).

Children's books have always been the heart of my store (and they are my favorite thing to find, research, and list as well), so I am really excited about this change.

Pretty vintage cards - especially Christmas cards and Valentines - have become an exciting secondary market for me, and I will be adding more of those leading up to the holidays as well.

I hope you'll visit Birdhouse Books and check out the changes there.