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Journal

Words do this to us. They feed us even before we see. They build expectations. They are things too. And they lead us to see other things in a certain way. Words activated like and paired with the visual are the message.

It was a dark and stormy J.Peterman dress

Andrea Chesney

It's hard to believe we haven't yet raised a Harvey Wallbanger in a leather-gloved hand to the wordsmithing genius of the J. Peterman Company catalog. So here goes. Bottoms up!

Surprising our mailbox again today after originating as the guilty-yet-name-dropped delight of clever sartorial royals who traversed the 1990s, the J. Peterman Company catalog offers a painstakingly crafted, boredom-be-damned, curated collection of rare bird splendor. It woos the shopper via the kind drawings a very fine illustrator might come up with when he or she is besotted and mostly wearing nothing in a secret Italian love nest or a Napa vineyard retreat. Everything moves its hips! Everthing sways! Everything feels like it is ready to call you over, or fall off a gorgeous body!

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Take the long view

Andrea Chesney

How we see it: build a building, and you're responding to a client's immediate need for a hotel or store. You're impacting the skyline long-term too. What you do now, this week, to your brand affects your future's skyline in the same way. 

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MLB Backpack Promo Gets Into Your Kitchen & Your Mind

Andrea Chesney

Baseball season is well underway. But before this moment, die-hard fans got in some early team-dating at Spring Training. Spring Training is a magical time of year in the MLB world. Sunshine, no pressure, all love, honeymoon smiles, suntans, beery friendships and mini tailgates of joy. The practice games take place the Cactus (Arizona) or Grapefruit (Florida) zones. Good things happen...

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Money vs Art vs Money & More Money

Andrea Chesney

While lots of stuff, not all of it shiny and pleasant, is going on the world, from the kidnapping of 276 girls to heating-up zones of bloody war strife to the bites, penalties and desperation via a hurtling ball in Brazil, the Whitney opened a Jeff Koons retrospective.

Much to-do has been made about the cost of this exhibition. No expense spared! 1% and 99% be damned, jobs news eghh, because if it's 11 a.m., it's museum party time somewhere! How can one help but employ a little side-eye right about now?

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UNIQLO (hurry & shop it)

Andrea Chesney

Whaaaaat??  Is that sun? Whatever is breaking through 2014's grey just clicked our seasonal shopping switch. We're starting off by looking for some basics for work, trips, summer places we plan to go. We hit a few sites then, bored or sticker-shocked, zip eagerly back to Uniqlo. Still easy to see why California’s busy tech population loves this fast clothing store group as much as busy New Yorkers, creative Londoners and of course, the famously style-savvy in the store's homeland of Japan. Uniqlo is Uniqlo and there’s nothing like it. They are even handing us hair ideas:  http://www.uniqlo.com/us/lifetools/hairdo/

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Wonderful World of Wackaging

Andrea Chesney

"Hey you… I’m your laundry detergent. Wait! Before you make me clean something, do something for me won’t you? Come a little closer. Yeah, closer. Really close. Now, go ahead. Sniff me. No, it’s okay. Do it.  It’s just us here. Oh yeah, you like it, don't you, I see your face. Pretty amazing, aren’t I? That’s lavender, baby. I’m going to relax you more than yoga because you don’t have to drive home from experiencing me, do you? Honey, you gonna like me so much, I’m going to follow you around the rest of the week. I’ll even help you go to sleep. You’d like that, wouldn’t you? I knew you would….

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Go To Eleven

Andrea Chesney

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This is the story of how the design on the capsules over the corks in bottles of Cliff Lede Vineyards wines came to be. It’s also the story of how some Napa wine reminded us that it’s good to strive to exceed goals, even if you only do so for yourself.

In the 1984 movie This is Spinal Tap, rock band character Nigel Tufnel is giving the director of the faux documentary (that the movie pretends to be) a look at his band’s equipment. He points with pride to their Marshall guitar amps. One has been customized just for them with a knob that has 11 as the highest setting, versus the usual 10. Nigel believes this new painted-on “11” setting really makes the amp  “one louder” than the former 1 to 10 dial. It’s a classic joke in the movie and one that jumped off the screen into popular use in real life. The phrase “up to eleven” still refers to anything that’s reaching its highest capabilities, or going beyond the known “best” possible example. Real musicians loved the idea of being somehow better than the best and reaching out for a magical state of more. They liked the movie’s hopeful whim so much that they actually created a real-life demand for equipment with knobs that went up to the fabled 11 mark.

The use of this “11” story at Cliff Lede Vineyards is a nod to insider wit. Okay. But it’s also a serious statement here at the winery: it’s a promise that this wine is going to be a note better, a tone better, a finish better than what you’ve decanted elsewhere. The place may welcome you with California casual warmth, and a smile, but the wine is as serious as it gets.

Looking at that “11” dial capsule design as we savor an elegant cab during a tasting, we are reminded that impossible standards can be reached. We’re standing in a charming country-style California winery while experts guide our experience precisely because someone knew that dreams matter, that constructing a goal of this size is a worthy task. We liked that the way the place says, in essence, that you can have some fun while retaining your belief in meeting the highest standards. Why not “11” from an old cult flick as a talisman for this very modern establishment? Why not a top-flight vineyard tasting room manned by guys with a distinct roadie vibe but who nimbly educate us about the vintage (score another level 11 for service: wise, and super charming). Why not a vineyard cat, a super-cool orange tom, ambling in from the sunny terrace to make sure things are going well with the guests? Why not? It all works, so let it blossom.

Thing is, on that Monday, we realized that sometimes a glass of wine is more than a goblet of happiness on a perfect California afternoon. Sometimes it’s also proof that choosing to go beyond one’s best is a tangible art form. It’s a reminder that the desire to try harder connects so many us over time, across industries and beyond rules or logic. It’s evidence of a next act, and deciding to go for a bigger game. We could see green hillsides and the roof of the vineyard-associated five-star Poetry Inn as we sipped our five-star (to us) Cliff Lede treasure. We looked again at the 11 topping the bottles, and raised our glasses to those who keep raising the bar, nudging the dial, trying a little harder than the rest.

Note: “Established in 2002, Cliff Lede Vineyards encompasses 60 acres in the famed Stags Leap District of Napa Valley. Owner Cliff Lede, viticulturist David Abreu, winemaker Kale Anderson and consulting winemaker Philippe Melka form an unrivalled team, making the most of this remarkable property. The winery produces Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon. Their flagship, Poetry Cabernet Sauvignon, is crafted from the steep hillside portion of the estate.” Read more on the Cliff Lede Vineyards site.

Food Network, Sign Her Up: A Wine Country Star Named Wendy

Andrea Chesney

We at WTAT love our wine. All the wine. So when one of us gets to make a trip out to wine country, we are in heaven. In Napa recently, we experienced many fantastic things. Fine food, gorgeous weather, visits to a number of top-of-the-chic-meter vineyards for tastings with friends, Californians who know and love their special vintages. Over drinks at the end of our latest trip, at the bar of our beautiful five-star lodgings, we all agreed that the highlight of our dazzling week had been not the brilliant Kenzo Estate or even the delightful world of Cliff Lede Vineyards/Poetry Inn (more on this one later) or even our beloved old Silver Oak, but this surprise: a private tasting and a chat with a woman named Wendy Day, the Sales & Hospitality Director at Celani Family Vineyards

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Amazing Nail Art That Will Make You Want To Fantastic-fy Your Fingers

Danelle Cheney

We all know that nail painting takes one thing above all: PATIENCE. That’s why these nail designs grab (and keep) our attention. The amount of patience involved multiplied by the imagination of these artists is... well, we're a little jealous.

Naomi Yasuda:

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Special Bonus Nail Design! Jesus Fresco by Madeline Poole Nails:

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Finding The Higher Level

Andrea Chesney

Someone in a meeting says, “What we want to do is take this to the next level.” And while that’s true, everyone in the room cringes a bit, because that is now a clichéd phrase, a hackneyed directive. It lost its muscle about 9 years ago really, because too many people said it and didn’t mean it. Another nice sentiment bites the dust. But you can still bring back its power for your brand.

A higher level is a shoe company like Tom’s deciding to sell one, give one, and thus changing the world in a real way. A higher level is what Apple does, or what some filmmakers do. But too many people have kidnapped the phrase via corporate-speak seminars and tossed it like bagged cheese into rooms where it has no business being. A higher level is not the same thing but in blue.  A higher level is not an awkward revamp, or shuffling pages, or forgetting that navigation matters on your dazzling new site. A higher level is not saying “Cloud” without a strategic, logical, useful reason. 

What a higher level is, is this: thinking beyond the point where you think “they’ll be okay with this much, maybe, so stop there."  It’s bigger than the 10% switch up; or maybe it’s the 10% change, but with balls. It’s deciding to be the best, no matter what it takes. It’s risk. It’s passion and innovation driving a hot car through the center of a sleepy tired town. It’s throwing down some color and parking your brilliant flame-throwing brain right there in the middle of town and saying, Hey look at this! Game-changer!  And making everyone else think that maybe there’s more to marketing and innovation, and building the economic health of your world than just the rulebook or a company form or what the division jailer of historic convention ever expected. Skip the next level, because competition is already there, right now, out there. Go farther. Imagine your highest level. Use your critical thinking to imagine your best. Use your gut to get there. It pays.

No Exposure = Big Exposure

Andrea Chesney

This tv ad for Four Seasons Naked Condoms has been seen a million times without anyone buying media time. How? Easy. It was banned in Australia by “tv watchdogs” and ended up on Youtube for the world to see. There’s a lesson for daring companies. Read more on the NY Daily News.

Astrology For The New Year

Andrea Chesney

According to the planets and the experts who can read them, this holiday season has been stressful on personal relationships. We’re all supposed to hide or at least try to stay cool, calm and quiet, especially through the beginning of the new year. Watch the snow from under a blanket in a safe armchair!

Anyway, if you want to know more and have some fun learning about 2014, some of the world’s top astrology sites have a lot to say. Read what Eric's team has to say about the upcoming year and what it can do for our personal growth.

More:

planetwaves.net

cainer.com

michaellutin.com

mollysastrology.com

Best Taxis In The World Are Where?

Andrea Chesney

Congratulations, London. Your taxi fleet and its drivers have won "best in the world" ranking number one over New York City and Tokyo in an annual global survey of the taxi trade, according to an article in The Sydney Morning Herald. The article also says drivers report "the most common activities in cabs around the world include texting or emailing (19 percent), sleeping (15 percent), eating (10 percent) and kissing (9 percent)." Perfect timing: J. Crew placed an artistic rendition of a bedazzled taxi in the windows of their brand new London store. 

(NOW CLOSED) Christmasy Cheer Giveaway Featuring Ugly Sweater Party!

Danelle Cheney

We're teaming up with Katie at the Ugly Sweater Party on Etsy to give away our favorite Christmas accessory: party-ready holiday earrings.

We at Words They Are Things each have a pair of special sparkly earrings made by Katie in her secret North Pole workshop, and they made our holiday season infinitely more enjoyable and celebratory:

Not only are we giving away a pair of earrings, Katie has generously created an exclusive coupon code that we'll share with everyone who enters. Spoil yourself or give them as fun Christmas gifts. Or both! Yay earrings for everyone! Yay glittery holiday cheer! Make sure to check out all the items Katie is crafting for your holiday enjoyment in her shop.

 

To enter for your chance to win, please:

1. Like Words They Are Things on Facebook OR follow @WordsThings on Twitter. If you already do like and/or follow us, skip this step!

2. Leave a comment telling us what you think the perfect occasion for these fun earrings would be. Please make sure you provide your email address so we can email your coupon code, and use the same name you go by on Facebook or Twitter so we know who's who.

After you leave a comment, please give us 24 hours to send your exclusive Ugly Sweater Party coupon code. If you don't see it in your inbox, check your spam folder and if you still can't find it, let us know.

This contest will close at 11:59pm EST on December 18. A winner will be randomly chosen and notified by email on the 19th. We'd love to ship the giveaway in time for Christmas so please be prepared to respond within 48 hours!

A Brand Audit Is Like Figuring Out Why This Shoe Is In Your Closet

Andrea Chesney

You think you know your wardrobe. You think you know your closet. You think you remember why you bought that, and why that happened, and what that’s for. You think it’s mostly fine. And maybe it’s the, you know, too warm too cold sudden rain unexpected wind that’s throwing the occasional wrench into your cupboard of sense, planning and style. Because, you have a wardrobe brand statement somewhere, right? So it must all be fine, right?

Well.

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