Monthly Archives: February 2013

Art, passion, and Steve Jobs as inspiration – thoughts on his legacy in honor of what would have been his 58th birthday

steve-jobs-infographic

 

 

 

Steve Jobs, who would have turned 58 years old today, is very much on my mind. After just finishing Walter Isaacson’s biography of Jobs, I consider myself even more fortunate to have lived during his lifetime and to have reaped the benefits of his accomplishments: he transformed our very ability to communicate through revolutionary innovations in the computer, music, publishing, imaging, and mobile phone industries. This came, in Isaacson’s words, not from being smart:

“Was he smart? No, not exceptionally. Instead, he was a genius. His imaginative leaps were instinctive, unexpected, and at times magical…Like a pathfinder, he could absorb information, sniff the winds and sense what lay ahead.”

One of the quotes for which Jobs was best known was the admonition to “Think Different.” He lived that way. In Jobs own words:

“Some people say, ‘Give the customers what they want.’ But that’s not my approach. Our job is to figure out what they’re going to want before they do…People don’t know what they want until you show it to them. That’s why I never rely on market research. Our task is to read things that are not yet on the page.”

He certainly showed me what I wanted before I knew I needed it. We used to be PC people until my daughter wanted an iPod. We went into an Apple store and asked about the compatibility of iPods with a PC  running Windows XP, which we figured we were going to need to buy to support her iPod. The Apple salesperson said, “why don’t you think about buying an Apple?” I had only vague impressions of Apple’s incompatibility with the PCs that dominated the world, so initially I was skeptical. But after asking a lot of questions and learning about the quantum leaps in Apple’s hardware and software, buying an Apple seemed to make perfect sense.

Thus, in 2004, we bought a Mac G5 Desktop computer with a gorgeous 20-inch cinema display (along with an iPod for my daughter). On the same day we brought it home (after the data was transferred from our old Dell computer), we also purchased a new barbeque grill (charcoal-based, of course – for us, it is the only way to grill). Now we had two projects: assemble the grill, and assemble the new computer. Guess which took less time? The computer, of course. We have been devoted Apple fans ever since. My daughter had one iBook that lasted her through middle and high school; her Macbook is getting her through college. And I love my Macbook Pro (although I’m still learning about all its bells and whistles), which finally replaced that old non-Intel-based G5 that just couldn’t keep up with new software.

Jobs had many virtues and blessings yet fell short in some areas. His anger, always on a short leash, could be a hurtful thing. But part of what made him angry was his frustration with the fact that most people could not see things as clearly as he could, and were more willing to accept compromise instead of moving heaven and earth to achieve what he believed was absolutely necessary. More from Isaacson: “ With a ferocity that could make working with him as unsettling as it was inspiring, he also built the world’s most creative company. And he was able to infuse into its DNA the design sensibilities, perfectionism, and imagination that make it likely to be, even decades from now, the company that thrives best at the intersection of artistry and technology.”

I’m no Steve Jobs, but I feel a kind of kinship with him. I am asking people to “think different” about invitations, gifts, memories, and keepsakes. I’m showing people what I believe they need even though they don’t know it yet. I am passionate about preserving memories and bringing all of my artistic capabilities to helping people connect to the feelings of their most joyous life milestones. When people have asked me why I don’t sell my collages unframed, I tell them it is because the frame is an integral part of the design – as Jobs was committed to keeping his products in a “closed” system, I am committed to providing a “fully integrated product” that comes framed and ready to hang. And I love the fact that my handmade works of art can be sold across the country (and around the world, for that matter) thanks to advances in technology – I provide something that is high-touch in a high-tech world. I hope that Jobs would approve.

And I intend to keep pursuing my passion – to share my ideas and my talents with as many people who will listen, and realize that they need what I have to offer. In a very small way, it is something I can do in honor of Jobs’ memory. This illustration provides a “Cliff Notes” version of life lessons you can learn from Steve Jobs – following this path, one can lead a rewarding life.

Perhaps it is fitting that this year’s Academy Awards ceremony is held on Jobs’ birthday. After all, another of the industries he revolutionized was animated film. Happy Birthday, Steve Jobs. I hope you are celebrating, wherever you may be.

Do you feel inspired by Jobs or connected to him in any way? How has he influenced your life? What lessons do you draw from his life and legacy?

 

Where do car sales and Black History Month come together? President’s Day celebrations, of course

Yes we did -  not just once, but twice

Yes we did –
not just once, but twice

I’m so old that when I was growing up, the birthdays of Lincoln and Washington were honored as separate holidays, only 10 days apart.  That gave us two days off from school. Now, President’s Day combines the two celebrations  to give us a single three-day weekend and, as is the case for many other American “holidays”, it has become an excuse for putting sale prices on everything from cars to Coach bags (online – sign up for their mailing list if you want access to their sale).

President’s Day always falls in Black History Month. This President’s Day, we can choose to celebrate the history-making re-election of our first Black president (Bill Clinton’s claim to the title notwithstanding). Had he failed to win reelection, Barack Obama’s presidency may have gone down in history as just an aberration – a blip. But thanks to a broad coalition of Americans coming together, Obama was resoundingly voted in for a second term.

As The Huffington Post reported, “President Barack Obama did not just win reelection tonight. His victory signaled the irreversible triumph of a new, 21st-century America: multiracial, multi-ethnic, global in outlook and moving beyond centuries of racial, sexual, marital and religious tradition.

I remain optimistic about hope and change. I remain optimistic about the future of America and the possibilities for the next generation. I believe that given the alternative of electing Mitt Romney, America chose to stay on the right path. In President Obama’s words: “If you’re walking down the right path and you’re willing to keep walking, eventually you’ll make progress.” 

So let’s keep on walking. And let’s make some progress.

How about you – any special plans (shopping or otherwise) to celebrate President’s Day?

 

Happy Valentine’s Day – how it started and how to celebrate it in (conventional or unconventional) style

Love is all you need.

Love is all you need.

Happy Valentine’s Day! The historical foundation for this celebration of love and romance is a bit murky. For example, the Catholic church recognizes at least three different saints named Valentine or Valentinus. One was a priest in third century Rome during the reign of Claudius II.  Believing that soldiers would be more effective if they were single, he outlawed marriage. St. Valentine disagreed and secretly performed marriages. He was imprisoned and sentenced to death, becoming a religious martyr. In the year 496, Pope Gelasius made February 14 a celebration in his honor.

According to one legend, Valentine himself wrote the first Valentine card. Apparently, he fell in love with his jailer’s daughter and sent her a letter, signing it, “from your Valentine.”

There is nothing like a handwritten note to express your love, but today’s technology offers you a wide variety of convenient ways to convey your feelings. Online sites such as rattlebox.com (beware, there is music when you open their site) and paperlesspost.com (their website notes that “because of an influx of love” you might have trouble getting through to them today, so be persistent) offer ways to send cards ranging from sweet to seductive. Your local drugstore carries mass-produced valentines for everyone you might be connected to: spouse, children, uncles and aunts, cousins, work associates, grandparents, and more. Higher-end artsy cards in limited production can be found in high-end gift shops.

For those with less love in their heart for the entire Valentine’s Day experience, check out the anti-Valentine’s Day ecards at punchbowl.com.

I thought I had seen it all before a Facebook posting sent me to (WARNING: don’t click on the following link if you are offended by strong language) Calligraphuck. Their motto? Exquisite expletives. Boy, do they deliver, in the most elegant calligraphy, expressions of love I have never seen in print. Their blog is pretty cheeky, too. Based in London, they do ship to the United States – it may be too late for this year, but you may want to bookmark the site – there’s always next year.

As for me, well, I prefer a more conservative way of expressing my love for my dear husband. The photo featured in this post is a Pinterest pin that I made for our last anniversary, but it serves as a nice Valentine’s Day sentiment as well. It has proven to be pretty popular, with 150 repins, mostly from a board where you may find some inspiration for today: The Say It From The Heart group board.

And speaking of Pinterest, in honor of Valentine’s Day, I have added a new board on red weddings – you may find some inspiration there for a celebration of love any day of the year.

Here’s to love: the great adventure!

The greatest adventure!

The greatest adventure!

Mitzvah keepsakes: Carol Colman Creations featured in Mitzvah Market newsletter article on bar/bat mitzvah invitation keepsakes

mitzvah-marketVery excited to be featured in Mitzvah Market’s newsletter about invitation keepsakes. Here is what they have to say:

“Once your child’s Bar Bat Mitzvah service and celebration are over, you are left with great memories. Your photographer will create a special album, the videographer will produce a fun video and now we have ideas on how to preserve your child’s Bar Bat Mitzvah invitation too!

Many invitations set the tone for the type of party you will have and it’s an important party element. We have come across some great keepsake ideas that also make great gifts.

From creative frames to stained glass boxes and more, you can hold onto your Bar Bat Mitzvah invitation in a number of ways. Your child might even thank you for doing it…one day!”

Mitzvah Market has lots of great ideas for planning mitzvahs – check out this great resource.

 

 

Celebrate the Year of the Snake – prosperity is in the forecast for those born under this Chinese Zodiac sign – happy Chinese New Year!

Welcome Year of the Snake!

Welcome Year of the Snake!

What do I have in common with Audrey Hepburn Oprah Winfrey, Jacqueline Kennedy, and Sarah Jessica Parker (besides the fact that we all are women)? All of us were born under the same sign of the Chinese Zodiac: the Snake.

And today we say goodbye to the just-ended Year of the Dragon and welcome the Year of the Snake. What year is it? Good question. Wikipedia tells us that depending on what year you count as year 1, this is the Chinese year 4711, 4710, or 4650.

People born in the Year of the Snake are supposed to have good luck. According to the Chinese Zodiac, the Snake is the most enigmatic, intuitive, introspective, refined and collected of the Animals Signs. Ancient Chinese wisdom says a Snake in the house is a good omen because it means that your family will not starve.  People born in the Year of the Snake are thought to be quite intelligent and wise, great mediators, and good at doing business. And this happens to be the year of the Black or Water Snake, which is supposed to be particularly fortuitous for doing business.

The concern with prosperity for a new year is reflected by the “loud and enthusiastic greetings” which often accompany the Chinese new year. Wikipedia tells us that “the most common auspicious greetings and sayings consist of four characters, such as the following:

  • 金玉滿堂Jīnyùmǎntáng – “May your wealth [gold and jade] come to fill a hall”
  • 大展鴻圖Dàzhǎnhóngtú – “May you realize your ambitions”
  • 迎春接福Yíngchúnjiēfú – “Greet the New Year and encounter happiness”
  • 萬事如意Wànshìrúyì – “May all your wishes be fulfilled”
  • 吉慶有餘Jíqìngyǒuyú – “May your happiness be without limit”
  • 竹報平安Zhúbàopíng’ān – “May you hear [in a letter] that all is well”
  • 一本萬利Yīběnwànlì – “May a small investment bring ten-thousandfold profits”
  • 福壽雙全Fúshòushuāngquán – “May your happiness and longevity be complete”
  • 招財進寶Zhāocáijìnbǎo – “When wealth is acquired, precious objects follow”

They all sound pretty good to me. As they say in Southern China: Gong Xi Fa Chai (pronounced ‘Gong Hay Fat Choy’), which means “congratulations and make a fortune.”

Best wishes for a happy and prosperous year of the snake to one and all!

Would you like to send a Chinese New Year’s card? Find ecards here