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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.

Filtering by Tag: words

Go To Eleven

Andrea Chesney


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.

A "We Hope We See You Again Soon" To Ann Demeulemeester

Andrea Chesney

It’s been announced that fashion original Ann Demeulemeester will be departing her label. As a young member of the Antwerp Six of the 1980s, she brought her viewpoint into play with her vision, once saying that she felt she must push herself to keep creating something new within her defining style. With this effort, she made her name in the world and brought her ideals before the eyes of millions. In an industry where some great talents understandably find it easier to work from their own established templates to keep rapidly serving the hungry mouth of the endless show season cycle within marketing formula edicts, the Belgian-born designer kept things fresh with a world eye. We look forward to seeing what she does next.

View her site here.

Tell us what you think.

Go On Girl, Spend It Like A German Bishop

Andrea Chesney

Whaaaaaattt?  So while you were debating over buying some fluffy new towels, the Bishop of Limburg in Germany (state of Hesse) was allegedly skipping along in his bishop boots and throwing down the big Euros to perk up his new bishop pad. So says a story in, an English-language German news-site discussing articles that appeared in Der Spiegel and Nassauische Neue Presse among other publications.

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That Android Logo? Irina Did It.

Andrea Chesney

While most of the world is clutching an iPhone, one of us also owns an Android (yes, we know, it’s incompatible with the rest of our totally Apple world. But it wasn’t dropping calls in some big, old fortress-like city buildings or their conference rooms, so we still pat it fondly). Anyway, we often wondered who was behind the little robot guy logo that’s the face of the android smartphone world. We found out: Irina Blok. Read more about her invention as well as Irina's thoughts on what makes a good logo, and why she says, “You give a life to this individual, and then they have a life of their own.”

Image from  Google Inc , courtesy of the New York Times.

Image from Google Inc, courtesy of the New York Times.

Commas Are Not Salt

Andrea Chesney

Some people love commas. LOVE them. They put them everywhere they can put them!  Like this:

Some people, love commas! LOVE them, they, put them everywhere, they can, put them!

We have worked on projects for individuals who have PhD credentials, articles and books under their belts. These individuals, some of them, loved to put commas, everywhere. 

Never put a comma between a subject and its verb

Commas are not salt. You should not sprinkle them in as if you’ve had too much wine. People will talk. You can probably go comma-crazy if you are writing humorous dialogue for a space alien and wish to indicate many pauses. You can also sprinkle away if you are developing a code for your secret bunker home school’s new cult language. Just remember that reading a sentence embroidered with commas can cause the acid gases of exasperation to build up in the reader’s veins.

What is okay? 

That comma some people use before the last and in a sentence (“The 8" high heels, the whips, and the almond oil were ready.”) is also called an Oxford comma, or a Harvard comma, or a serial comma. Use it? Don’t use it? It’s largely up to you. You can also check the preference listed in your organization’s style guide.

A comma before a nonrestrictive appositive. (“We will always adore Paris, the golden goblet of true style.”)


Shadow Of A Retrograde

Andrea Chesney

Astrologers are saying this upcoming Mercury retrograde will be an annoying one. The usual "don't make large purchases, don't buy electronics, expect travel schedules and meetings plans to go awry" stuff is supposed to be even more intense through November 21st-ish. They are also saying we are in the pre-retrograde shadow already and it might be affecting communications and the way we express ourselves. Feeling thick-tongued and like you can't quite get your thoughts out there? Supposedly this is because Mercury is in Scorpio, affecting how we feel and speak. Jupiter in Cancer may make you more protective as well, like a dog guarding a toy. Venus is in Sag, by the way, so make sure you take time to create, play, have some fun. Good food should be on the table, too.

What Would James Franco Wear?

Andrea Chesney

According to the, a London City lawyer was ordered to take down a blog post that said female law firm recruits should not wear bras that are red. A nice plain neutral t-shirt bra is okay. This humorously intended "stiff dress code"-revealing advice was deemed “too racy.” Read the full article here.

Okay. Yet, most firms are missioned for the pursuit of money. And we notice the kabillion dollars and/or scoops of hot fame being consumed by those who aren’t quite following the rules of workplace fashion: start with Miley and the Kardashians, pause before James Franco and Katy Perry and Zooey Deschanel, and consider TV pundits who span the range from conservative to Rodeo Drive. Head up to Microsoft’s or Google’s campus. Text Madonna.

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Gov Shutdown Now A Brew-Haha: Sip & Sign At Starbucks

Andrea Chesney

From on October 10: 

 "08:00 GMT: Starbucks, the world’s biggest coffee chain, announced on Thursday it would jump into the muddy waters of politics by asking its customers to sign a petition calling for an end to the US government shutdown that has left hundreds of thousands of federal employees off the job.

“The petition, which will be available at Starbucks’ 11,000 US locations beginning Friday, October 11, calls for reopening the government, paying off debts on time and passing a long-term budget plan by year’s end, AP reported. In addition to customers, Starbucks is trying to get the CEOs of the nation's largest corporations to sign."

More here.


WTH, Bridget? WTF, Jennifer?

Andrea Chesney

Okay, try to follow this with us: snarky pissed-off critics are spilling that Brit author Helen Fielding kills off her hero Mark Darcy in the upcoming third installment of her Bridget Jones’ Diary book series titled Mad About the Boy. This character destruction happens so Bridget can have a toy boy, be a single mum and yammer about dating and Spanx and we already fell asleep. Fans of the movie or the original book are expressing dismay all over the place. We smell alternative fan fiction. But in more shocking news, Jennifer Ehle, who played Elizabeth Bennet in the Pride & Prejudice BBC TV series that made Colin Firth famous as the original real Mr. Darcy ... 

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Fashion Finds: Fall Is Very Nearly Here

Danelle Cheney

When we shop, we're looking for designs that make our lives more comfortable and beautiful. We're also looking for good deals — thank you yet again, T.J. Maxx —  because hey... who doesn't love a bargain? Check out the goodies we found, and their lovely T.J. "Must-I-needa" prices.

Clockwise from top left:  1 "Flirty" leather bag by Rebecca Minkoff, $99 2 "Quinne" caramel leather booties by Franco Sarto, $59 3 "Steph" vino leather satchel by Aimee Kestenberg, $179 4 Black leather buckled booties by Franco Sarto, $69

Clockwise from top left:

1 "Flirty" leather bag by Rebecca Minkoff, $99
2 "Quinne" caramel leather booties by Franco Sarto, $59
3 "Steph" vino leather satchel by Aimee Kestenberg, $179
4 Black leather buckled booties by Franco Sarto, $69

Another Word for %&#!

Andrea Chesney

We notice that people who decline to use or endorse the official finger-waving swear words of our planet actually have their own words they use in the same emphatic way in moments of emotional duress – so, really, what's the difference?  Hmm?

The Hey you, yeah YOU &%# is still coming out as a verbal popped cork, wethinks.

File: Sugar, fudge, fap it, maroon, feckerington, duck it, monkeybumper, billystomper, ships on toast, naff off, fetch, dagnabit, gosh, shut the front door, snap !


Uranus In Aries

Andrea Chesney

We’re not astrologers. But we have a couple of friends who are very into it. They’ve been telling us about Uranus in Aries. This is another planetary influence that’s a life-changer. It’s been “on” since May 2010, and lasts until 2019. It can catch you by surprise, but it’s really just about getting back to who you are, and pushing you back onto your real path (by push we mean nudge you to get that promotion, or kick you right over a cliff into a whole new meadow). It’s a bit beyond Life as a strategic challenge, and more about experiencing the life you were born to lead. Take the process a bite at a time.

Wear Your Weekend Shoes.

Andrea Chesney

What would happen if you could bring the energy of Friday and Saturday nights to Monday morning? The swooping, great thoughts, big goals and dreams and passions. Is there value in being the person in the tall heels, the marathon number, devoted volunteer, flawless stylista, amazing parent, passionate observor on Monday? What would happen? What new insights would be available for your life? Your relationship? Your job? 

Anyway, booties we love for fall, while you are thinking about that.


Dressing Your Truth vs. —

Andrea Chesney

 So I have learned about this thing called Dress Your Truth.

Disclaimer: The video I was shown slapped me in the face so hard, I am not sure I fully understand the explanation given for the idea. But it seems to say that women fall into one of four categories of beauty. Types 1-4. As a female woman, you need to wear the right clothing for your Type, your Type of natural beauty. In the right style and colors assigned to your Type, you would feel truly comfortable, happy, experience well being and feel at peace with your life and inner self. You might sparkle.

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A Sparkly Heart For Lazy Phone Man And Friends

Andrea Chesney


Motorola, we love lazy phone guy. We talk about it, and the deft way it has fun with the truly huge presence of the phones in our life and what they represent as we try to apologize and accommodate around them. How do you find another way to talk about phones when you’re not an iPhone? Motorola the sleeper finally let its agency take a re-imaging step the way Samsung did a few months ago with their eye poke at the crowds waiting outside the Apple store for the iPhone 5. (Don’t worry, Mayhem Man (Dennis Haysbert) – we’re still mentally engaged to your fineness.)

We want to go to a casual bar party where Mayhem Man, Captain Morgan, Lazy Phone Guy, and Flo and the life of any party, the PooPourri Girl, are just hanging out. Right? And then Heineken Man and some Old Spice Guys and the Orbit Girl join them, and there is like a little macho-ego spokesman throw down, but then the Most Interesting Man in the world comes over and shows them the Hope Diamond or a polo pony, and it’s cool and everyone laughs and orders tapas. The Wendy’s girl tries to join them but they’re like, uh, girrrrllll, not yet. And so she goes to sit with the Jimmy Dean Delights Sun Man and the Sonic guys.