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  • Academy Awards - Part 2!

    Aaaand we're back! Hope everyone had a good weekend!

    Today, it's going to be another "Movie Poster Inspiration" post, but this time we'll take a look at the Best Animated Feature Film category. Unleash the child in all of us!

    Animated Films aren't just for children anymore; man, just watch any anime film or maybe Eight Crazy Night with Adam Sandler. Animation was meant as a medium that could portray something only a child-like imagination could feasibly think of. We can't always bring our dreams into reality (although technology is advancing to that level pretty soon), so we turn to animation.

    This year's Oscar nominees are definitely my favorites that have come out this year. I will wholly admit that I have seen all of these films, and I admit it with pride! I'm not quite sure how the Academy judges these films, but I've got a few hunches up my sleeve for who they'll pick. Will it be another steal by Pixar? Or will underdog ParaNorman sweep the award? Maybe it'll be fan favorite - or should I say "nerd" favorite - Wreck-It Ralph?

    So take a glance below at the impressive poster designs for each nominee:

    1) Brave

    This is the first released poster of Brave. It's from Pixar, and is the story of a Scottish princess who tries to change her destiny through magic and archery. Along the way, she reconnects with her mother and saves the kingdom.

    It's a good story, and I love Pixar to death, but I must admit this isn't my favorite film from them. But did you see Merida's hair? Holy cow!

    2) Frankenweenie

    This is a re-telling parallel of Frankenstein, only with with pets.

    I'm always a little apprehensive about Tim Burton films. However, this one had some charm...if you can get past the big eyed characters that is.

    3) ParaNorman

    This film is about a little boy who can see the dead, and must rescue his town from the incurred wrath of a witch.

    This is another stop-motion animated film (what a trend this year!), and was definitely a come-from-behind surprise hit with the audience. Here's to you, ParaNorman!

    4) The Pirates! Band of Misfits

    Pirates! is about a band of "misfit pirates" who are out to win the Pirate of the Year Award! Enemies and shenanigans ensue!

    I LOVE Aardman Animation Studios. If you recognize the style, it's the same studio that brought us Chicken Run, Flushed Away, and Wallace & Gromit. My childhood was spent with Wallace & Gromit, and I say that their humor was on-par with this film as well.

    5) Wreck-It Ralph

    Okay. I have to say it. This was my favorite animated film of the year. Bar none.

    "Ralph" is about an arcade, where many games congregate together after-hours to mingle.  Ralph, however, is a game villain and goes on an adventure to prove that he can be a hero.

    This was just a clever concept overall, and with the inclusion of popular video game characters like PacMan and Sonic the Hedgehog, it just made the experience all the more memorable. If you go to Disneyland today, there's an actual Wreck-It Ralph game you can play in the Tomorrowland arcade.

  • Movie Poster Inspiration - Academy Awards

    Yesterday was that love, heart day, y'know...BUT today, let's talk about something else that comes around this time of the year: the Award Shows!

    To me, film is the most engaging reflection of humanity today. Sure, we've still got faults (and some trashy films that truly need to go), but for the most part, we as a species have produced some of the greatest moments in time. It's why we buy movies and watch them over and over and over...

    You get the idea. Once a year, though, there are award shows that honor the best filmmaking of that year. These were the films that we knew would be instant hits: not just based on the actors involved, or the hype on the net, but also because of their poster designs. After all, these were the images we saw on billboards on our daily commute, in our shopping malls, on street signs and buses. There's no escaping where a film can be advertised, but gosh darn it, they do a good job at enticing us to look. In fact, businesses all over have adopted the style of "dramatic marketing", putting their products or services in interesting situations to keep us from changing the channel. Two words, my friend: Super Bowl.

    The Grammy's and the Globes have passed, but the biggest night of all is the Academy Awards, on Feb. 24th. There's lots of awards to go around, but as we lead up to the event, we'll work our way down the categories. Today, we'll start with the movie poster designs of those films nominated for the Big Kahuna: BEST PICTURE.

    So, check out the list below and make sure to stay tuned for more posters of films being nominated this year. Perhaps, you'll even find some inspiration for your own design as you peruse.

    1) Argo

    2) Les Miserables

    3) Django Unchained

    4) Lincoln

    5) Zero Dark Thirty

    6) Amour


    7) Life of Pi

    8)  Beasts of the Southern Wild

    9) Silver Linings Playbook

  • Valentine's Day - Lovely Fonts for Free

    So, Valentine's Day is tomorrow.


    And if you are like some of my're going to wait until the last minute to get a gift for that special someone.

    But fear not! Flowers and candy make everything nice, but nothing says 'I love you, baby' like a heartfelt message in a card.

    Today, I've compiled for you a list of lovely, romantic, and cute fonts that you can easily download and use to create that special message. And best of all, they're all free!

    So, take it away you last-minute miracle-makers and make like Gandalf in "The Return of the King":


    Check out these amazing fonts below:

    1) Heart Attack by Phantomhive Company

    2) Clipper Script by Mans Greback

    3) Jellyka Delicious Cake by Jellyka Nerevan

    4) St. Andrew's Queen by Jellyka Nerevan

    5) Frykas Light by Baobaby Studio

    6) Blessed Day by Billy Argel

    7) Take Me Out by Maria Elisa Pardi Designs

    8) Bedtime Stories by Lars Manenschijn

    9) Janda Romantic by Kimberly Geswein

    10) New Garden Light by Billy Argel

  • Valentine's Day Part 3: Party Planning

    They're heeeeere....

    Valentine's Day-obsessed fangirls! And all the Facebook posts that come with it. *sigh*

    Just kidding, but this is the week: this Thursday is Valentine's Day! Woohoo!

    Today, I've got some fun tidbits to help you make that Valentine's Day party even better. Whether it's for your child's classroom, or a for your friends and family, there's a load of cute Do-It-Yourself ideas out there to spruce up the fun.

    1) Rose Cupcakes

    I'm a simple gal: give me roses, give me love letters, and I'm a happy camper. But if you really want to go outside the box for your special someones, then bake them Rose Cupcakes. How is it done?

    It's actually NOT frosting you see in that picture, but fruit leather! And it's surprisingly easy to make. To learn how to make them, follow the instructions from Spoonful, HERE.

    2) Edible Arrows

    Cupid never takes a day off, that's for sure. Over at the Coterie blog, they've created Edible Arrows! It's made from strawberry Airheads, pretzel sticks, and heart-shaped cookies. Making me hungry, right now...

    3) Heart Doilies

    Remember those paper snowflakes we used to make in elementary school. Well, with hearts it's the same thing!

    Take some different shades of red and pink, and fold them up. Cut the full fold into a half-heart, and unravel. Bam: cute as a button table decorations.

    4) Valentine Shoe Boxes

    Again, let's harken back to the good old days of elementary school, when everyone got a Valentine. It's a tradition that still stands today, so why not have it for you party.

    Step 1: Have a corner of the room where people can decorate shoe boxes just for them.

    Step 2: Have various candy stations or decoration stations so that your guests can make and create things to put in their shoebox or other shoe boxes.

    Step 3: Enjoy the fun and the chaos!

  • Sports Banners Galore

    Hello everybody!

    February 3rd was a big day in America. It was East Coast vs. West Coast in a battle of the biggest and baddest football players around! Super Bowl XLVII!

    And the winners are...

    The Baltimore Ravens!

    Good for them. Those guys haven't been to a SuperBowl in a long, long while and it was their time. But now that you're hung over from beer, burgers, and booing, let's take a deep breath and take a look around.

    You've probably seen more ads for the Super Bowl than you realize, especially if you were in Baltimore, San Francisco, or New Orleans this past weekend. What's more is most of them were either from your television or from hanging banners all over town.

    When it comes to advertising for sports events, you can't go wrong with a banner. Whether it's for a local team, Minor League, Intramural, or tiny tot soccer, check out some tips below on how to make your next sporting event banner spectacular.

    1) Team Logo

    No-brainer, am I right? It all starts with the team name: something cool, something catchy, something that your mom didn't make up when you were 10. Then it's on to the mascot: and it's all about the intimidation.

    To help you with what NOT to do, try to avoid these embarrassing team mascots:

    The Fighting Artichokes - Scottsdale Community College

    Evergreen Tree - Stanford University

    Banana Slug - UC Santa Cruz

    Buckeye Nuts - Ohio State University

    Fighting Pickles - North Carolina School of the Arts

    Anteater - UC Irvine

    Take it from me...don't take it from them.

    2) Banners to Beat the Weather

    You've got your design and you're ready to go, but here comes the choice: what type of banner do you need? Well, if you're playing a sport, chances are you will be outdoors or in some very large venue.

    We recommend our specialized outdoor banners for situations where the sun is going to be beating down your back at the height of the day. It'll be beating down on your banner as well, and nothing looks more silly to the enemy than a faded banner made from felt and Elmer's glue.

    3) Colors of the Rainbow

    When I was in middle school, I played on a soccer team with the colors Royal Blue and Hot Pink. We were called the Torpedoes. Why? Because there was nothing else that could possibly match the colors and make us sound intimidating!

    AH! MY EYES!!

    Take my story as a lesson for you: if you can pick your own colors, please for the sake of your corneas, do not pick hot pink and blue.

    Here are some color combos that will save your eyesight:

    Red & Green (Christmas colors, c'mon!)

    Orange & Blue

    Black & White

    Black & Any color...

    Purple & Blue

    Yellow/Gold & Blue

    Green & Blue

  • Make Way for Lunar New Year!


    The Lunar New Year is here and it’s the Year of the Snake! This Chinese holiday is a symbolic festival for the coming of spring, and can stretch over a period of weeks. There’s food markets, dancing lions, flying dragon kites, and so much more.

    For many Chinese communities, and other Asian cultures that follow the calendar, this is a time to celebrate the new year with family and friends. Just this past weekend, in Riverside CA, “Lunarfest” was held in downtown Riverside. Not only did they celebrate traditional Chinese new year, but they opened the festival to all ranges of Asian culture, from the Polynesian islands to the Japanese taiko drums. They had some pretty amazing decorations, banners, and plenty of food to go around.

    The official Lunar New Year’s day is February 10th, so there’s still some time to plan a grand celebration. Whether it’s smaller affair for your family or a street festival for your community, here’s some tips and traditions to get you going:

    1) Year of the Snake

    According to the calendar, this is the Year of the Snake! If you want a mascot for your event, then a snake is the way to go. Have someone design a truly unique snake for your Lunar New Year festival. Make it cartoony, realistic, hardcore, whichever way you want to go.

    2) Red Envelopes

    Unlike the popular Les Mis song, red here does not symbolize “the blood of angry men”. In fact, red is a very lucky color in Chinese culture. Children traditionally receive red envelopes with money in them from family and friends. These envelopes can be decorated however you like, with some designs incorporating cartoons.

    3) Fireworks!

    Now, don’t go grabbing firecrackers off the shelves just yet. While these are traditional and great fun to watch, make sure that you have some authorities on hand to supervise the launch. Otherwise it’s illegal in most of the United States (!).

    4) Dragon Dance & Lion Dance

    It’s said that the faces of dragons and ferocious lions, along with loud drums and cymbals will scare away evil spirits from the festivities. That’s why many temples or community groups will have dragon and lion dances at their festivals. These colorful props are entertaining for children and adults alike. What I love the most about the lion dancers is how acrobatic they are!

    5) Paper Lanterns

    Although lanterns are used frequently in Chinese holidays, they vary in shape and size, depending on the holiday at hand. For Lunar New Year, they’re a bright red and oval or spherical shaped. However, they’re all made from paper.

  • Spring National Bridal Show

    We talk a lot about trade shows and banners, and all manner of advertising, but here’s something that we don’t usually come across: the National Bridal Show! Over yonder in the land of Canada, this “spring” show (funny how it’s in winter...), takes place from January 25th-27th in Toronto.

    It’s a smorgasbord of exhibitors that have services for everything a bride could need, from cakes to dresses to food to banners and other decorations. They’ve got DJ’s, venues, photographers, honeymoon spots, and makeup studios. They even have an insurance group, for when something goes truly wrong before your special day and you need coverage.

    Like I said, a smorgasbord. Enough to make any bride-to-be swoon at the possibilities.

    Let’s take a step back and take a look at a few of the fun things that are going to be at this year’s show. For today, I’ve perused the list of Exhibitors to bring you some of the wedding decorators heading to the show this year. Maybe you’ll find something you haven’t thought of before:


    1) Infinity PhotoBooth

    I personally just found out about these things recently at a company party. I knew they existed in arcades, but I didn’t know you could actually snag one for an event like a wedding! Let your guests entertain themselves with silly photos and other hijinks.


    2) Paper Impressions

    These guys specialize in invitations. No more generic brands for you! Check ‘em out and look through their gallery of custom designs. They have two collections to choose from: Modern and Luxe.

    3) Unique Invasion Entertainment

    Not only can they provide you with a DJ and some live entertainment, they also offer a staffer who can help you plan out the entire night, without having to wrestle with the DJ on the day of the wedding.

    4) Wedding Walls - a.k.a Step & Repeat

    Now, here’s something I know a little but about! Alright, these are what’s called Step & Repeat Banners. They can be created as long as you like, and with any repeat patterns you want. What’s nifty about these things is that they resemble those red carpet premieres that Hollywood loves, so it’s a perfect photo op for your party, or in this case, wedding!

    5) Chair Covers Plus

    These guys do everything for your reception tables: chair covers, table linens, napkins, drapes, capes, and more.  Customizable and a wide selection of bows and bands for your chairs.


    Well, that’s it for now folks! As the National Bridal Show draws closer, I’ll be updating you on the nifty things on display and more.

  • Tech & Design of CES 2013

    So, we've looked at some booth designs, marveled at the sheer awesome screen-space for some of the biggest names in the industry, and been dazzled by the glitter. But alas, all good things must come to an end...

    However, here's the fun part: now that CES has ended, we can now take a look at the best tech and show-stoppers that have emerged from the exhibition floor and the presentation demonstrations. I've collected my personal top 3 favorite things from this year's show, both tech & design, and have it for you all here to enjoy.

    1) Samsung's "Floating TV"

    a.k.a. That's a Big TV

    Lots of folks have been talking about this. It's an 85 inch, ultra HD monster on a specialized easel stand that gives it the appearance of "floating". Unfortunately, as with all new and shiny products, it's got a price tag that costs the same as an Engineering degree, but that doesn't take away from the wow factor.

    Now here's how they displayed it:

    They put these magnificent beasts on pedestals. Than again, this entire show was ego-tastic, so let's just smile and nod.


    2) Sony Xperia Z

    A.k.a. The Best New Smartphone coming out this year.

    Tech sites everywhere are raving about this sleek new model for the coming year, boasting a high resolution screen and a camera that'll put your iPhone to shame.

    Here's the display at the Sony booth:

    Instead of keeping this beauty behind glass, Sony laid out a beautiful buffet spread of Xperia goodness for all attendees to enjoy, along with what looks like their new tablets as well.

    3) Valve and the Xi3 "Piston" PC

    a.k.a. Yet Another Reason to Switch to PC Gaming

    This little handheld box is already packing a punch, and it's not even on the market yet. Valve has teamed up with Xi3 to create the "Piston": a solution to the hardware problems of PC gaming.  With this device, they promise a better experience with PCs and PC gaming without the hassle and floorspace of a bulky, expensive traditional tower. Not only that, you can bolt this thing straight onto your TV or computer monitor like a normal PC. Valve is also partnering with Steam, who are already major game providers for gamers on a budget. Bravo, Valve!


    So, there you have it. My top three tech joys and designs to come out of CES 2013. As this year progresses, we can see which of these comes out on top. Stay tuned!

  • The Best Sweet Sixteen in the World

    It’s every American teenager’s dream: to have  a massive mind-blowing party when they come of age. For some, it’s sixteen; in other cultures it’s thirteen, fifteen, eighteen or even twenty. Regardless of what age you reach adulthood, you know what to do about it, right?

    PARTY. HARD. Like it’s 1999.

    But let’s not get too hasty here, cowboy. Or cowgirl.

    There’s a lot of planning that needs to go into the perfect Sweet Sixteen bash (or Fifteen or Eighteen or--), and lucky for you, I’ve scoured the internet for the top things you’ll need to look fantastic for your next birthday bonanza.

    1) The Cake

    Food. Enough said.

    Alright, I’m just kidding. But seriously, folks, if you want to blow the minds of your party guests (like Scanners!), than get a seriously awesome cake. Keep in mind though, that although you’re trying to impress your friends, it is your party.

    Here’s some examples of birthday cakes that blew my mind:

    Why? WHY NOT.

    I know it says 30th Birthday, but really that could be for any girl!

    2) The Threads

    As a lot of other girls do, I tend to ogle over dresses. Be they spring, wedding, or prom dresses, sometimes it’s just fun to feel like a princess.

    GENTLEMEN: I haven’t forgotten about you either. Now, when it comes to your birthday, be yourself! If you’re looking to dress yourself up a bit, you don't have to keep with boring black and white.  Check out some spiffy tuxes I found below:

    Hey, if Ryan Gosling can pull it off...

    The Brown Tux

    The WHITE Tuxedo

    3) The Party

    So.....where is your party? It's an important question, but the good news is that not all parties are held in grand ballrooms and rented out stadiums. A great party can easily be held in your own home or a smaller venue. From banners, to decorations and table centerpieces...whatever your tastes may be, I hope you'll be inspired by some party venues I've found:

    Yes, you can even party with the dinosaurs!

     4) The Theme

    Okay, so usually a party is some sort of color theme, yes? Well, that doesn't have to be the case. As evidenced by MTV's "Super Sweet Sixteen" show, themes can range from punk to jungle, to Vegas casino. You just have to pick the one that fits you best.


  • Have An Eco-Friendly New Year's Eve

    It pays to be green in this economy. Not only are you contributing to saving the planet, but you’re also saving your wallet’s life (the poor thing). So! Here are some tips to planning a greener, more eco-friendly party for this coming New Year’s Eve.

    Compostable Cups

    Is compostable even a word? Oh well, what I mean is for you to find some bio-degradable cups for all that free-flowing bubbly and soda. Be sure that they can be used for compost when they’re tossed away. For plates and utensils, usually glassware is the way to go! If you don’t own a large set of washable tableware, then there are businesses out there that will rent some to you.

    Organic Bubbles

    There is such thing as organic alcoholic drinks, so take advantage of the availability! Or, if possible, try to find some good wine and/or made from local brewers and wine connoisseurs.

    Also, if you’re planning a dinner party with your New Year’s festivities, look for local growers and farmers for your ingredient needs.

    Biodegradable Decorations

    Instead of throwing away the tarnished and ripped Christmas wrapping, put them through the shredder and you’ll have some colorful confetti and streamers already made!

    Remember those time capsules you made at school as a kid? Grab some tin cans or containers and use them as table centerpieces, for things such as flowers, streamers, etc.  After the festivities, you can let your kids take home the cans and transform them into their own time capsules.

    Re-Useable Decorations

    As for other decorations, try to create them out of recycled material, such as aluminum cans or plastic bottles. If you have kids over as guests, make a crafts table where they can make their own decorations out of recycled material.

    When possible, reuse old decorations from previous years (especially if they don't say what year their from on it). Create a home custom banner that can be brought out every New Year's where you won't have to suffer through finding a new decoration. It can be hung outside your house or above the fireplace.

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