i am not always great with change.

sometimes it really hurts.

especially when you mess with my favorite comfort foods.

example 1: my blue box kraft mac and cheese

let’s get right to the brass tax.  i think they have shrunk the noodles.

i was so shattered at the prospect that i took this picture with the fork in the bowl (albeit a large bowl that maybe holds the entire box of mac and cheese) so i could create some context for future reference.  i know it doesn’t help.



chicago, illinois 7.2014

this is…errr was one of my favorite treats on the planet.  i will spare you the rant that i did write and delete because we are focusing on the potential of smaller noodles and not my rocky relationship with kraft blue box as i work towards a healthier lifestyle.  i have not purchased or consumed any blue box since this discovery because A) healthier lifestyle dictates i steer very clear and B) the fact that they might have changed it is just too much for me to bear….

anyone else noticed this? was this a one time bit of personal confusion?

that is what i thought with example 2…but the scenario has repeated itself.

example 2: my stouffer’s french bread pizzas – deluxe

why ohh why would you stop cutting the pepperoni into quarters?  now i have to hand shred them.  sure i was always interacting with the pepperoni making sure that they were evenly distributed across the pizza but that doesn’t make your hands greasy.  shredding the pepperoni does.  it happened a few weeks ago and i prayed it was just a random mistake but then it happened again this week and i think this might be the way of the future… (candidly, i did get better pepperoni coverage but too much work.  please see an au’ natural look beside a hand shredded option…


opelika, alabama 12.2014

example 3: mcdonald’s egg mcmuffin muffin

(okay, so i get that my choices of comfort foods might qualify me for a food intervention but please note that i am working to train myself to really like fruits and vegetables….very slow road…and feeling a bit of food shame right now.)

at this point i suspect that they have only switched the mcmuffin in the alabama market.  “research tastings” in airports across the country and on ashland avenue in chicago appear to still match the original recipe but we might have a switch-a-roo on our hands.  in alabama i have experienced a less bread like mcmuffin that does not really toast as well and doesn’t seem to have the same binding characteristics as

am i alone on these?  have you noticed these changes or others in the products you buy and eat?  please share them in the comment section below…


and the winner is…..

…the humane society!

please meet ella.  super cute right? she was adopted from this local humane society by our lucky drawing winner michele.  ella is michele’s second cat from this humane society, first one named cali, and she has been so impressed by the work they do that she chose them as the beneficiary of the $500 prize money!


further, michele has earmarked the donation money to be used to purchase the Stretch and Scratch cat scratchers on their shelter wish list with the remaining money going to the purchase of cat food, cat toys, and other supplies purchased to care for the cats and kittens they bring into the shelter.

great choice michele!

happy friday to all!

not sure what this is all about?  check out this previous post to gather the details: where would you donate $500?

fun with fonts

as of late i have been spending a lot more time in the south, specifically in the atlanta airport and in auburn, alabama, and have been receiving quite an education. whenever i think i have something figured out, one more detail is often added and i find myself somewhat lost again.

for example, have you ever noticed how close the atlanta braves “A” is to the university of alabama “A”?  or even, as i was watching a baseball game between the atlanta braves and the oakland a’s and realized that although the coloring was different i wasn’t sure for a second (or maybe 10) which team was actually which (especially because they do weird themed uniforms on occasion).

this brings me to the magic of font style and i offer up the following challenge to YOU… can you name which “A” belongs to which team?  and no, i am not going to give you any options but there might be a hint or three in the paragraph above.  (the answers are at the end of the post but don’t cheat!)

a's for blog

the challenge with these many “A”‘s i would contend is that 3 of the 4 are so close to one another geographically that a sense of own-ability is pretty well lost.  in focus groups, people will often say that the style of the lettering means nothing but i contend that fonts DO convey a strong sense of self and help a brand tell a cohesive and compelling story and represent the essence of a brand’s identity. here are some examples of some brands you might have heard of….

fonts for blog

can you see how the lettering style really supports the feeling and story you attribute to the brand?  would you have the same sense of product efficacy if listerine was written in the coca cola font?  i would expect it to taste good but not do much for my mouth.  and if the listerine font was used for tiffany & co, the delicate sophistication i associate with their jewelry would lessen exponentially.

can you think of any font styles that you have seen that captured a brand essence just so?  or a lettering style that just did not feel like it matched the product?  share your thoughts in the comments section.  there are so many amazing examples ALL around us!


“A” key: Atlanta Braves, University of Alabama, University of Arkansas, Oakland A’s


keep calm and summer on!

summer's selfies!now that i have your attention, let me tell you a little about my girl summer.  may 15th she posted this picture on facebook with the following caption:

“Well in princess crazy world, when you brush your newly grown back hair and it comes our in large chunks you have 2 choices you can let it ruin your day or turn yourself into a human potato head and try facial hair selfies.  I chose the latter.”

she epitomizes beauty and love and has been fighting breast cancer with inspiring grace and unbelievable humor.

have you known someone who has fought an epic battle?  do you recall feeling a sense of helplessness?  it seems that we are not alone.

so what does one do when they feel helpless?  well, in the teachings of my girl princess crazy, we work hard to put more love and kindness into the world.

i challenge all of you to do two things…

  • start looking for occasions when you can practice a random act of kindness and DO IT!  offer someone else who looks exhausted your seat on the train/bus, pay for the person in line after you in the drive through, give a stranger a card wishing them a most spectacular day or even just say it and mean it!  the options are endless…
  • pass this on.  encourage others to take a moment in this crazy fast paced world to step back and share a smile or jump on an opportunity to do something unexpected and nice for someone else.

there is no real way for me to properly convey the strength and awesomeness of summer.  she lives in bloomingdale, il and the city has designated this friday, june 6th as “Keep Calm and Summer On” Random Act of Kindness Day.

to learn more about our tenacious summer and to join the facebook movement for this event this friday, click on summer’s RAOK event !  feel free to share your random acts of kindness with me or with summer as we are working to compile a book for summer that includes the myriad of gestures made in her honor across the globe.  be a part of the magic!

i think amy said it best…

“Please join the movement of random acts of kindness for my dear friend Summer. For those that haven’t had the pleasure of knowing her, think of the best person you know and that’s her. It would mean so much to her if all over the country and world people were doing nice things for other people in honor of her life. Keep Calm and Summer On.”

keep calm and summer on princess crazy!  with boundless love….


oui s’il vous plaît

picture it.rainy day in paris and you stop into a cute little cafe to have a bit of a nosh with some heart healthy wine.

you settle into your chair and start perusing the menu and see this as an option….

IMG_2540paris 5.2012

i must say it wasn’t quite what i was expecting.  oddly, this was the only item on the menu that brought the core ingredient back to its roots.

beyond their choice to include a LIVE pig, i found their actual choice of pig visual a bit disturbing.  sort of glad there is no eye contact but he looks as if he is asking for you to please not order the grilled pork through his prison bars.

i obliged.  the steak was delicious.



thank you tory burch

so it isn’t too often that i have the pleasure of ordering something online and find myself needing to sit down while opening the snail mail box because it is so well done.  in preparation of an Indian wedding i was attending, i ordered the most ornate sandals i could find.  Tory Burch helped make the magic happen.

upon opening the box i was greeted with Tory Burch branding on the inside of the main shipping box and an orange paper wrap around the box itself with a greeting from Tory, thanking me for my purchase and her hopes that I love my new purchase.



chicago, 2013

well done Tory.  i am yours.  (and keep in mind that at this point, i still have not even seen the shoes yet!)

i then carefully unstuck the gold sticker so i could get to the shoes.  i was greeted then by a beautiful box and a well thought out/unique envelope (that even included a sample of her perfume [brilliant]) with my receipt.  finally, at the base of the shoe box was a high quality shoe bag.


i am so impressed with how she has created such a complete brand experience from a simple online order.  many many thanks!

ohh and of note, the shoes were perfection!


lost in translation

one of my favorite things to look for, especially in asia, is the way they use the english language on packaging, shirts, or just anything that can be printed!

example #1: mint package


shanghai, china 9.2013

pure gold!  why?  well, because it is….

–       fashionable

–       minty

–       healthy

–       delicious

kidding aside, it is amazing to see the influence of the english language.

and here is another example that i had to own: a cd case that says on the front “Don’t pay attention to all the static.”  seems totally normal-ish right?  the plot thickens…  on the side where it looks like it has the item number and such (that little bit of orange on the right edge of the case) it continues to say… “HAPPY MUSIC, BER15120, A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.”  this appears to be a very very deep cd case.


tokyo, japan 2002

and yes, of course i have more.  the topic choices and mixing of messages never gets old. enjoy these beauties…


chinatown, singapore 11.2013

in case you cannot read them…

– Good good study   day day up

– Sleep whenever he woke up / Count the money a few hand cramps



– (and one not included in this batch..) DO IT AND I RELAX


little packages

full disclosure, i really really enjoy little packages.  (wait till i share my condiment collection.  yep, i’m that cool.)


auburn, alabama 2014 *** any westin anytime *** manila, philippines 7.2009

they are brilliant!  in the US we are accustomed to using these sorts of things for travel or trial but in lots of other countries, they are sold like this because people are paid daily and therefore can only afford to buy day to day.  i have seen this in Brazil, Mexico, India, and the Philippines to name a few.  the types of products range from shampoo to candies to spices for cooking.  seeing how the traditional trade shop keepers integrate them into their store takes space efficiency to a new level.



udaipur, india 11.2013

one thing we do a bit more in the US with our little packages, is try to maintain the brand experience in its cute miniature package structure.  i have a Maker’s Mark package in my office that just makes me smile!


baltimore, maryland 2009

the pigeon chronicles: an introduction



historically, i never thought much of pigeons but over the past few years i have found myself oddly intrigued by them and the roles they have played in various cultures and civilizations around the world.

you know i am making you curious.

so welcome to the pigeon chronicles!  here you will be able to enjoy some of the little facts i have learned about pigeons and maybe even acquire a new found appreciation for our feathery friends!

as well, i talk a lot about perspective and while today we created our perspective of pigeons based on our own context, historically they were seen very differently and brought so much more to the table.   i hope that as you read these pigeon chronicles they help you consider the unseen potential all around us and in places we never even thought to look.

seem like a possible over promise on my part?  fair.  but you check back with me after volume 5 and let me know….




finding it hard to believe that a box of rice could get you excited?!if yes, then clearly you have never been rice shopping in san martin, argentina.

the success of this particular package is not really driven by traditional measurements but by the sheer fun and craziness of it.

am i building up enough excitement and anticipation yet?

ladies and gentlemen i present you with lucchetti’s diana arroz.


san martin, argentina 3.2012

yes, this package really exists.  awesome right?  but wait.  it gets better.  the advertising campaign that accompanies the package takes us all to yet another level i am not sure i knew even existed.

check it out…. i promise you will not be disappointed…

you are so very welcome!