Thursday, July 31, 2008

MO Music (Part 2 - Hallmarker Edition)

There are so many note-worthy bands in Kansas City (and surrounding areas), that i could have dozens of these posts. But there won't be many this good. Haha. What can i say, Hallmarkers like to rock. Check it:

Softee - A lo-fi pop-rock four piece. All of the members cute girls, all of them designers. And you would be able to tell from the glorious posters, cd covers, and endless creative merchandise they have. My first month at Hallmark, i heard about these ladies more times than i did greeting cards. They don't disappoint either. The shows are always full of energy and way fun. Tomorrow, they have another butt-kicking performance, 10PM at the Brick, to kickoff there newest EP "Birds & Aliens" (see above poster). Expect good times, some surprises and a chance to buy a limited edition first run of the EP (w/ screen printed CD sleeve).
Playing with Softee, will be two other solid bands:
Big Surrender
The ACB's
I hope to see you there.

NoMathmatics - DJ-ing, retro video playing, dancing robot machines! Again, this brings another big crowd in KC. They encourage their crowds to come dawning sweatbands, 80's attire, or robot suits. And one of the guys is an art director on Shoebox. Why wouldn't you go really?

Travoltron - Nate and Samantha L. listed in our bloggers on the right, also are part of a band... this one. Sort of a disco indierock powerpop sound that makes you want to dance. I've only seen them once, but oh did i ever dance.

(you can totally tell they are creatives just by their flashy myspaces, huh?)

There are definitely some more Hallmark bands, but they escape me at the moment.

Some other notable bands this time around: The Architects, It's Over!, Aaron Hale and the Boy Detectives (EP out this Tues), Queen's Club

Stay tuned for part 3, which will likely be rap and hip-hop. If you have recommendations, please let me know!


Wednesday, July 30, 2008


One of my co-workers, Piper, came back to her desk and found a little treat. She's not sure who to blame (thank), but she sure is happy.

We snapped a picture with my cell phone so the quality is poor. It's a great little knitted wrap that goes around any writing utensil. Apparently (from the tag and button attached) it is from a group called "KNIT HAPPENS | We knit, we tag, we drink!" Well, we like it!

And Piper says, "THANKS!"

Green :: Donating Products for the Greater Good

Every business has some level of unsold products, and it can be a challenge to dispose of those products efficiently and responsibly. For Hallmark, the answer for many years has been to donate excess product inventory to help enrich the lives of less-fortunate people.

From 2006 to 2007, Hallmark doubled its product giving to a group of pre-approved charitable agencies serving the communities in which Hallmark operates. “By donating surplus products, we can support our core mission of enriching lives by strengthening relationships,” says Brenda, from Hallmark's Corporate Contributions Group. “We also minimize expenses associated with discarding products and keep those products out of landfills, which is environmentally responsible.”

Here are just a few examples of the organizations that Hallmark has benefited, while at the same time, keeping excess product out of landfills.

City Union Mission, which distributed last year’s Father’s Day T-shirts and boxer shorts to homeless men.
Harvesters, which packs Hallmark plates, napkins and cups along with canned food for its member agencies.
Head Start, where teachers use Hallmark stickers and stuffed animals to encourage good behavior.
The Guadalupe Center, which includes a senior center, youth development, and drug rehabilitation program, decorates the facility with piñatas and other party decorations.
Della Lamb Community Services, which takes bridal shower invitations and uses them for writing practice by refugees learning English through its adult education program.

Monday, July 28, 2008

More KC Rankings...

Folks, I'm telling ya...

Next to Beijing, Moscow, Seattle, and other fab cities, KC, MO also made Fast Company's latest List of 12 Fast Cities.

Also, boasting affordable housing, terrific schools, and top of the line entertainment, KC ranks 6th on Kiplinger's list of 50 Smart Places to Live.

And if you are still wondering if KC is a great place to live, check out our strides toward sustainability, in this article, which highlights KC's "Sustainable Skylins" initiative.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Feist and a Lesson in Storytelling

One of the schools that Bess and I visited in Atlanta this week used the following videos as a lesson in a design class: audience and storytelling are critical to design problem-solving, and this was the example the professor used. Very cool, I think. Enjoy!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Green :: Food Composting

The first things that come to mind when I hear the word "recycling" are newspapers, plastic bottles, and soda cans. But I usually don't think about recycling food scraps.

Food is actually the second heaviest waste stream in our landfills. And the cafeteria within Hallmark (The Crown Room) feeds a few thousand people each day, you can imagine that there will be food waste. So, we're doing something about it!

Here is how it works: Each year, Hallmark’s kitchen workers scrap the food, paper and bones off dishes into a sink with a grinder. It comes out on the other end as 130 tons of kitchen waste, which is ground into compost. The result: organic compost free of pesticides and herbicides, which feeds a local rain garden of native Missouri plants.

Click on this video link to watch a recent news spot by NBC Action News (KC NBC affiliate) on Hallmark's Food Composting initiative (there is a 15 second advertisement, and then the story will start).


This month's theme for the Artist Trading Card (ATC) trade at Hallmark was "tutti fruiti." Seems like everyone had lots of fun doing a creative exercise!

Here are a sample of the ATCs.

You can see all of the summery fruiti cards on my ATC blog.

Thursday, July 17, 2008


Last night I came home and there was the BIGGEST box EVER from Amy Butler. Inside was the Amy Butler bag I had won from the
decor8 Amy Butler mood board contest!

It's HUGE! I looked on Amy's Sweet Life BAGS page, but I didn't find my style of bag. Hmmm... maybe it's a brand new style! Anywho, I freakin' LUV it!

Thanks Amy and decor8!


Chris (mentioned below for the "This Crazy World" art exhibit) and his cohort Mirna have a great blog that's been added to the list of Hallmarkers Who Blog on the right. -------------------->

Chris S. and Mirna K. --- Two Headed Beast

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Welcome to This Crazy World!

Many people probably have no idea, but Hallmark has a totally killer image archive that holds images spanning at least as far back as Hallmarks existence (almost 100 years). This archive is so cool in fact, that i hear Urban Outfitters has asked if they could partake in its splendor. Every so often, we have an artist here use The Archive in a fun, new way. This month Chris has floored me. The sheer awesomeness and [what some people might call] "unHallmarkness" of Welcome to This Crazy World, i think, makes people double-take on the images. It definitely has inspired me to reconsider my hesitance at using the archives and thinking, "i don't think i can do anything manly with lots of watercolor flowers." Nice work Chris. Click the image to the right to get a taste. I don't know what else to say, so i think i will let the pictures do the talking.


Here are some pics from the reception:

Creativity requires the courage to let go of certainties.

-Erich Fromm

Monday, July 14, 2008


Last Thursday was another fun-filled monthly meeting in my Hallmark TrendPlant group.

Our object of our afternoon retail excursion was to see if the business had:
• theme or intent
• if the product or service reinforced by experience
• what could have been better
• what was great

First we went to Blue Grotto, a new pizza place in Brookside, for lunch.

This gorgeous place used to be some sock store. But now owner, Chris Graham makes authentic Italian pizza. The secret is this super-fine flour used in the crust, which Chris special orders for his pizza.

The place has only been open for like a month. So go check it out! (Sorry I didn't get any pics of the pizza, but the all LOOKED exceptional!).

Brookside had just started their summer sidewalk sale. After lunch we walked over to Shop Girls.

Super cute store with unique stuff. And a super cute business card.

Then we went next door to 5B & Co. Candlemakers. They make handmade candles.

Too many scents to smell! The food smells made me want dessert!

Then on the way back to Hallmark we went to B Bop comic store.

Love the store sign.

I even found a cute birdie Brookside brochure. I even found the new Blue Grotto restaurant listed!

I can't wait for our August TrendPlant outing!

Our Interns are the Best!

I just wanted to post a shout-out to all of our Creative Summer Interns here at Hallmark! Hailing from exotic locations throughout the US of A, they represent many areas of expertise, like Graphic Design, Animation, Industrial Design, Writing, and Architecture. It has been a fab summer so far, and my team is proud to be a part of the internship program, especially since we get to spend so much time with these stellar young people!

Green :: Lights Off!

Remember when your parents used to constantly remind you to turn off the lights around the house? Part II in my "Green" post-series discusses "Lights Off," an ongoing contest here at Hallmark.

Recently, a team of 18 volunteer Hallmarkers wandered the office complex between 6:30 and 7:30PM, checking over 5400 (!) cubicles for lights left on. Why? Electricity is 75% of our carbon footprint and lighting counts for most of it.

A summary of their findings was displayed outside the cafe shortly after their endeavor: Of the over 5400 cubicles counted, 472, or 8.7% had lights on (the summary was broken down by floor number and section, so you could see just how good-or not so good-your area fared). 91.3% with lights off is pretty good, actually, but there's obviously room for improvement.

So, each area now has an opportunity to practice improvement! Each quarter, a volunteer team will count lights left on. To the areas 1) that show the greatest percent of improvement and 2) that have the greatest percentage of lights off, goes a celebratory bagel breakfast!

Friday, July 11, 2008


PS. Just curious of any of our readers use twitter?

MO Music (Part 1)

(and KS music too)

Pretty much anytime you see me here at work, I have my ears covered in headphones. Most likely dancing at my desk... like now. Music just keeps my creative juices flowing. I'd like to think that a lot of people are the same way. Believe it or not, Kansas City has a lot of offer when it comes to a music scene. Probably the biggest act from Kansas City, is American Idol winner David Cook, and of course there is always the jazz. If neither of these are your thing, maybe some of these will interest you:

The Get Up Kids - The Get Up Kids are probably the most recognizable indie band from the area. They're from Lawrence, KS, which is about 45 minutes from KC. Now defunct, the band originally laid ground for most of the bands in the scene today. Yeah, right there in the midwest. The New Amsterdams, The Terrible Twos, and Reggie and the Full Effect are the current spawns from TGUK. All of which are pretty notable.

The Terrible Twos - Out of that group, locally, Matt Pryor's children's music group, definitely get a lot of recognition — at least with the mothers. At the end of the month (July 29th) they have their latest effort coming out, and what songs i have heard from it i really like... what, it makes me feel young again. Like, 5 years old young.

Vedera - (vay-dare-ah) Freshly signed to Epic Records, they put their new EP on iTunes and now in a couple stores in Kansas. It's just 3 songs from their upcoming full length due out soon. This weekend they have a show at the Beaumont Club here in KC, and then they are back out on the road to do some west coast shows. I really recommend checking this one out on MySpace.

Republic Tigers - Appearing on Letterman, and as background music on the ever-popular Grey's Anatomy, Buildings and Mountains has become the juggernaut that launched the Republic Tigers into stardom. But they still hang out here. In fact, I saw a couple members on July 4th just having a good time with friends like the rest of us. They used to just play the local bars here in KC, and love the Record Bar, their old stomping ground. But for now, at least until August, they are on the road, so you should look them up.

I saved a bunch of artist for another time because the post was getting a little lengthy. I hope that tickles your creativity for now.


Thursday, July 10, 2008

"If I ever decide to move away from the hustle and bustle of New York...

...I'm moving to Kansas City!"

Friends, that is a direct quote from the talented author of Habitually Chic, a blog featuring "glamorous lives and stylish places."

A well-connected and talented young interior designer in New York City, she recently visited KC as a judge for the Kansas City Home Design Magazine Design Excellence Awards. During her trip, she resided and dined with several phenomenally talented Kansas City-based, nationally-renowned designers and award winners, visited some of our fab antique shops, and strolled some of our tree- and fountain-lined streets. Check out her full review in her KC trip post, We're Not in Kansas Anymore.

Thanks for the props, Habitually Chic! Oh, and for future geographical reference, Kansas City (at least the part of the city you visited) is on the Missouri side of the state line. Next time you come, you'll have to venture into KC, Kansas for some of the most tasty KC BBQ! Hope to see you again soon!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Oliver = Revilo

Want to meet a nationally-renowned cartoonist and Hallmark humor writer/illustrator? Just stop by Barnes and Noble on the Country Club Plaza in Kansas City tomorrow night! Here you can meet Revilo (simply Oliver spelled backward) in the flesh and get his autograph in your very own copy of his new book, Unknown Worlds: A Collection of Paranormal Cartoons.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Hilarity + Sweet Design = Great Book!

Check out this awesome find I spotted at Barnes and Noble last night. Were You Raised by Wolves: Clues to the Mysteries of Adulthood, by Christie Mellor is hilarious (not to mention incredibly well-written, full of experimental typography and hand lettering, brimming with fun line-work illustration, and is all wrapped up in a simple, flat-outcool color palette. Take it as a dose of mid-afternoon "I'm tired of working and I wanna go to happy hour" inspiration.

Browse Inside this book
Get this for your site

Oh, and also take a peek at Christie's blog on Christie's attitude surrounding motherhood is totally the type of mom-'tude that I want to have someday!

Johnson Co., Kansas

A Forbes Magazine article published at the end of June 2008 ranks Johnson County, Kansas #3 on the list of America's Best Places to Raise a Family.

"Home to Kansas City suburbs Overland Park and Olathe, Johnson County ranks third on our list because of its affordability and accessibility. Family-friendly perks include an average commute of 20 minutes, 5,000 acres of parkland and over 4,000 recreational programs annually."

I'm a proud Johnson County resident, and can attest to the livability of my city, Merriam, KS. I'm an outdoorsy farm girl from Iowa, so I am thrilled with the hundreds of miles of biking and running trails, lakes, and open space in Johnson County. I'm currently renting a brand new, spacious, three-bedroom/two-bathroom townhome for $975/month, and my daily commute to Hallmark is only 10 miles (15 minutes).

I also enjoy numerous social hangouts, including KC favorites like Tanner's, Barley's Brewhaus, and The Beach Bar and Grill, which is right next to Shawnee Mission Beach Volleyball Club. And what girl doesn't love to shop! Here are a couple of the places I frequent: Oak Park Mall and Town Center Plaza.

Finally, though I don't have children yet, but I have friends who do, and they have found excellent schools for their children in Johnson County. Click here to learn more on Johnson County schools.

Monday, July 7, 2008


.... is not just a modern-day buzzword here at Hallmark. Throughout our company, we're doing all sorts of things to reduce our carbon footprint and decrease our impact on the environment. To prove it, I'll be posting examples of our green initiatives each week. Here's the first!

For one of our largest mass-channel retail partners, WalMart, we created this line of green cards. These sweet cards hit the end cap displays in the card section of most WalMart stores nationwide this summer.

From the back of each card: "These little cards are greener than most because they are made from half sugarcane by-products and half recycled paper. That means no new trees were cut down to make the. So not only are they fun to send, but they're extra good for the earth, too."

Not only are they earth-friendly, but they only cost $0.94 each, so they're good for your pocketbook too!

For more posts about green initiatives at Hallmark, look for our new logo, or click on the "green" label.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Wait!? People are doing cool things... in KC!?!


Check out local design/letterpress studio, HAMMERPRESS, featured on Design*Sponge. Just goes to show the amazing talent... in the midwest... right here in KC.

Click THIS.