So I don't usually talk about my fitness goals on here (mostly because I feel ashamed of how pathetically amateur I would sound). But in the midst of an unusual burst of optimism, I feel the need to gush.

Today I went running. In Chicago. In February. Did I mention it's pretty cold here? Anyway, I should point out a few things before you're tempted to yank the horn that I am currently tooting on right out of my clenched fists. I give you exhibit a: I have always hated running. And most athletic activities in general. And I have always envisioned myself as "the fat kid". I don't say this in an effort to elicit an "ohhh", but rather to further point out how our perceptions of ourselves and our abilities are not always accurate (and in fact, usually are not accurate at all). Exhibit b: I grew up in Arizona. Well... sort of. I lived in Arizona until I was 8 years old, then I lived the rest of my childhood in upstate New York. But... I have a theory on this one (and feel free to call me crazy, that's totally your God-given right). I have theorized from my own observations and experiences, that a person's ability to tolerate extreme temperatures is entirely dependent on the climate they were exposed to as a small child. Take me, for example. I feel like I am always cold. Always! And actually, further evidence suggests that my "normal" body temperature (ie: the temperature of my body when I am not inflicted with fever) is between 97º and 98º (there's a lot of fascinating info on body temperatures... For example, I had no idea the average body temperature for people living in Russia is 97.9º!) Then there's Ben (who grew up in the Dakotas and northern Wisconsin). He is always overheated. I actually think a lot of this has to do with the circulatory system of the two sexes, but the point is I do not deal with cold weather very well. And finally exhibit c: I am not the most motivated person (frowny face ). But every now and then, I surprise myself.

This year I was extremely adamant to write an official 'New Year's Resolutions' list, because if I've learned anything from previous years, it's that writing something down doesn't make it so. So this year I have a new strategy: I'm going to keep my goals at the front of my mind, stop focusing on numbers, and pay more attention to how I feel. No more weigh-ins or measurements. And no more beating myself up! I'm well aware of what's good for me and what's bad for me, and I know what makes me feel better. Around my high school years, I became increasingly aware of the body image issue. And I always thought there was some secret floating around that I wasn't allowed to know, some unmentionable way of living that all the pretty, thin girls knew about and weren't telling me. And now I know it's more complicated than that. There are genes, body-type determinants, activity-levels, nutrition factors, etc. etc. etc. And I really think there are too many things to do in life than waste time worrying about it. So here's to the new year (only 2 months late), here's to living life, and here's to listening to our bodies. If you pause to listen, I think you'll find they can tell you a lot.


:::Please Enjoy a Brief Intermission Whilst I Sob Uncontrollably:::

A friend and fellow-designer (thanks, John!) just posted a link on facebook about a really upsetting website. Don't worry - it's not porn or violence or nudity. It's something much worse. It is... Logocare. I'm going to go ahead and provide a link to their webpage, but I'm only doing so in an effort to reveal to you just how terrible it is. I trust that you're a smart, level-headed person and that you will not give in to the dark evil of cheap, fast branding.
(holding breath)... here.

It's pretty obvious to a trained eye that they don't know what the eff they're doing. I mean...
(what the... WHAT IS EVEN GOING ON HERE!? Is that supposed to be broccoli hanging off the 'g' there???)

and here:
(I can just hear it - "what will make this logo look really cool.... OH I KNOW! LET'S USE A BUNCH OF FREAKING GRADIENTS!!")

as for the website itself:
(I wasn't aware that newsletters came in the 'trapezoidal' shape, but whatever, I'm no mathematician)

This kind of thing is so upsetting to me because I fear that an uncomfortably large portion of the population truly cannot tell the difference between an effective logo and utter crap. And this website (and the people behind it) are taking full advantage of that fact (not to mention the fact that our pockets have become rather shallow these days). Hey, I understand that people are simply not able to shell out as much as they used to (preaching to the freakin' choir), but you really do get what you pay for. And when services like these make it increasingly difficult for designers with legitimate college degrees, experience, and creative expertise to find work, it's all the more insulting.

A logo is the face of a company, the first thing you see, the identity of an organization. Can you find someone who will design you a logo for twenty bucks in under 24 hours? Absolutely. Will it withstand the test of time and effectively represent your company with grace, dignity, and fortitude? Hell, no. What people don't seem to realize is that a logo (and good design in general) is not just a pretty picture. An effective design has hours of thought behind it, research, painstaking attention to detail. So how can a person put together a good design quickly and for little-to-no pay? They can't.

And now... I will get off my soapbox, curl up in the fetal position and have a little cry.


The Gem Show = Frantic Happiness

The Tucson Gem, Mineral & Fossil Showcase is the largest gem and mineral show in the United States, boasting more than forty separate sites around town, thousands of sellers and buyers in attendance, and everything from diamonds to jewelry findings to prehistoric fossils to lamps made out of salt rock.

(please do not touch the cauliflower)

(yet another tent o' beads)

(prehistoric fish fossils!)

(I've always wanted my own hand-carved lion statues)

Inevitably, I spent more money than I intended to (and I only made it to two locations!) but I found it way too difficult to merely window shop. Here are just a few of the treasures I acquired:


Handmade Market @ Empty Bottle THIS SATURDAY

Just a reminder: fuzzy grapefruit will be at the Handmade Market in Chicago on this Saturday, February the 13th from 12pm - 4pm. I'm sharing a table with the absolutely awesome (and girl-crush-worthy) Melissa Rutherfoord from Melissa & Zoe, and I've been crafting up a storm, so it should be pretty awesome. And just in case you've waited till the last minute to purchase something lovely for your special someone, fear not! I'll have plenty of Valentine-themed notecards available, and there will be lots of other cool sellers to choose from (check the official Handmade Market site for a full list of sellers.) Yippee!