THE WORK WE DO: The Wonder Jam


design  THE WORK WE DO: The Wonder Jam

It was just over a year ago when I first heard about The Wonder Jam: Allie Lehman announced on her blog that she and her husband, Adam Lehman, were starting a new business together to help entrepreneurs “be the brand of their dreams.” I was just starting to think about how to make writing Hither & Thither viable (financially) and needed some advice. I was particularly excited to find a team that might be able to consult on design as well as all of the stuff I’d until then ignored, but wanted to learn about (SEO? Alt Tags? What?). And before I knew it, we were redesigning the site!

It’s been such a pleasure working with them; I told Adam the other day that he could easily be the volunteer coach on a kids’ basketball team—their enthusiasm is wonderful. But what’s really amazing is, just over a year later, getting to follow all of their success. So I wanted to ask them about how they took that leap to create the thing of their dreams. 

To start, we’d love a little background about your history at The Wonder Jam. How did the idea for this business come about?


Places on Earth
Let there be light
City in Green
Guest Quarters
Sponsor highlight: F...

Julia Child: The ultimate entrepreneur?


design  Julia Child: The ultimate entrepreneur?

Do you know what you’d like to be doing, career-wise, in five or ten years? (Or now, perhaps?)

Some certainly do. I have a feeling that, for my part, the future hold many roles. There was a time when I thought I would be an academic: I finished two master’s degrees, and the coursework for a PhD, but realized more years put toward a thesis wasn’t a good investment if you don’t want the end-goal. Then we moved to New York and I dabbled in magazines a bit before starting at the bottom at a mid-size book publisher. I took an internship, and worked as an editorial assistant for a few years, eventually working my way up to Editor before leaving to stay home with Hudson. Since then, blogging has become a part-time job, and so I get to put on quite a few creative hats: freelance writer, photographer, publisher, advertiser… somedays it feels like one big internship. It’s challenging and dynamic, humbling but full of possibility—it can be very rewarding. And it has opened a lot of doors—though it’s hard to know which ones to step through right now. I am so lucky to get to stay home with Hudson and Skyler these years (my primary role is caretaker). But I imagine that one day—sniff, sniff—they’ll go off to school and I’ll be happy to build on this media experience.

But while I’m very happy blogging at the moment, I do imagine that the role will evolve. So I’m especially fascinated whenever I hear about men and women who create a job for themselves—often after devoting a number of years to parenting, and sometimes simply to fuel a creative need.

Julia Child, of course, is first to come to mind when thinking of inspiring self-starters. She took her first cooking lesson at the age of 32! There’s a great article on Inc. with her “Recipe for Entrepreneurial Success,” my favorite being the author’s distilled: “Don’t wait till everything is perfectly organized to start a new project. You have to learn along the way.” 

Later today, I’ll be introducing another new blog series that you’ll find appearing regularly on Hither & Thither. “The Work We Do” will feature creatives who work in fields many people aspire to, and which will ask each person how (and why, and when) they started doing what they do. I love getting a look behind the scenes. I hope you will, too!

Where do you stand on this? Are you in your dream job? What was your trajectory? Be sure and check back later today and join the conversation!

[Photo of Julia Child taping The French Chef via, courtesy of Paul Child.]

Bookish designs
Haus Interior
Gift Guide for Guys
The Ford Foundation ...
Patrick Blanc Vertic...

See America


uncategorized design  See America
uncategorized design  See America
uncategorized design  See America
uncategorized design  See America

Have you heard of the Creative Action Network? They “run crowdsourced campaigns around causes, inviting artists to build collections of original, visual, meaningful content.” I learned about it by way of Hannah (who shared their Covering the Classics campaign) and Shayna (who designed that beautiful Muir Woods poster above).

In this case, over 185 artists created over 600 poster designs highlighting natural landmarks and treasured sites in a campaign to support the National Parks Conservation Association and revive the legacy of the New Deal (and New-Deal-era posters). Anyone can submit artwork to a campaign and 40% of profits from work sold is given to the artists. What a great idea!

These are some of my favorites (you can browse by state).


Spite and Malice
Hither & Thither...
Architectural Potter...
Happy Thanksgiving!
Making Mint Chocolat...

Our Birth Announcements


family design  Our Birth Announcements

Last month we got to send out these lovely letterpress birth announcements, welcoming Skyler, to our friends and family. My friend Eva, at Sycamore Street Press, offered to design them for us as a baby gift.

I can’t believe how different our little girl looks every day—this photo was taken when she was almost two-weeks-old. (Though she sort of looks like a wise old soul, doesn’t she?)

family design  Our Birth Announcements

I first met Eva (in person) at my first visit to a Renegade Craft Fair in Brooklyn. (I think she was pregnant at the time with her lovely daughter, Ingrid, and we were all melting in the summer heat.) She and her husband, Kirk, founded the paper company with the mission of a “hand-drawn life” and have fashioned many beautiful things up in the mountains of Utah.

This year they announced two new collections—complete wedding suites and animal return address stamps—and there’s a new baby collection on the horizon. Actually, I was excited to learn that they are releasing a line of gift wrap and baby cards inspired by Skyler’s birth announcement! Be sure to have a look.

Good news: Sycamore Street Press is giving Hither & Thither readers 25% off everything in their shop with the code Hither2014, through May 7th! And contact them if you’re interested in custom work.

P.S. Our first week home with Skyler.

Sponsor highlight: T...
Eleven months
Herman Miller Collec...
Happy Birthday, Aron...
Copper pendant light...

Happy six years, Hither & Thither!


travel style new york home food drink family design california  Happy six years, Hither & Thither!
travel style new york home food drink family design california  Happy six years, Hither & Thither!
travel style new york home food drink family design california  Happy six years, Hither & Thither!
travel style new york home food drink family design california  Happy six years, Hither & Thither!
travel style new york home food drink family design california  Happy six years, Hither & Thither!

It’s been a fantastic year. I can’t believe this past Sunday marked six years of blogging on Hither & Thither. It continues to inspire me—owing so much to the feedback and comraderie I get from readers, but also thanks to the joy of having an outlet to practice skills like writing and photography and to the joy of documenting and sharing personal milestones. I would have never expected this to become the rewarding work that it has, when Aron and I first started building the space together on that cold January day. (He wrote the first post! With no photos!)

I really enjoyed looking back over highlights last year, at five years, and hoped you might again, too. (Warning: it’s a long one!) …


Thanksgiving for two
Wayfare Magazine
To & From
How do you like your...
Travelogue: Seattle ...

Hither & Thither has a brand new look!


design  Hither & Thither has a brand new look!

Hither & Thither has had a few small updates over the years (nearly six years now to be precise), but I’m so excited to finally reveal a completely fresh, redesigned site! Hooray! This was long overdue.

A big thank you to Allie Lehman and Adam Lehman of The Wonder Jam for all of the hard work they put into the design and, behind the scenes, for their counsel; I was thrilled to collaborate with such a friendly and talented duo. And thank you to Matt Hartgering for the awesome site development.

design  Hither & Thither has a brand new look!

I just love how much more intuitive it feels to me (and I hope to you, too). Categories along the top—Family, Travel, Design, Style, Home, Food & Drink, New York, and California—can all be searched visually. (And, soon, so too will be the Travelogues that are linked in the right sidebar.)

Here are a few more of my favorite new features:


Places on Earth
Spanish Tile
Dioramas In Miniatur...
Hither & Thither...
Wayfare Magazine

‘Tis the season: holiday cards!


design  Tis the season: holiday cards!  design  Tis the season: holiday cards!

Hard to believe, but it’s time to start thinking about holiday cards. Seriously, where did the last ten months go?!

Ever since I heard Minted CEO Mariam Naficy talk about starting and growing the online stationery’s business at Alt SF (she was completely inspiring), I’ve been curious about the brand. Minted sent me a box of samples from their new holiday collection and I was really impressed! Now I find myself favoriting far too many designs on their website for our holiday cards this year. (There’s something like 700 holiday card designs—all beautiful—so for a non-committer like myself it’s going to be a tough choice.)

I’ve started going through Lightroom to tag photos that include all three of us as well as my favorite ones of just Hudson. (Because then you can then test a sample photo in various designs and I’m thinking that will help me narrow things down.)

It’s funny: I used to be self-conscious about sending photo cards (sounds counter-intuitive for a blogger, right?)… but I realized how much I love seeing others’ pictures and reading their updates. They’re the best! And now that we have a cute boy who looks different every month, I really look forward to sending them out! Frankly, I also love it when people send those family update letters, but I figure everyone’s heard enough about our goings-on for that.

design  Tis the season: holiday cards!  design  Tis the season: holiday cards!

Looking through the site, I was really impressed with how well Minted tries to cover all family make-ups and practices. Classic or modern, foil printed or letterpress, religious or generically holiday… you can search by New Year’s cards, pet cards, newlyweds, new baby and so on. And many cards can even have the number of photos, the colors, and even the phrases customized.  For example, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year can just as easily be swapped for “Merry everything and Happy always” (like this one). There are postcards, flat cards, folded cards, extra-thick cards, or these cute mini books—which would be awesome for families with multiple children… or a couple sharing wedding photos with far-flung family.

design  Tis the season: holiday cards!

I haven’t picked out our cards yet (and always like saving them for mailing out), but perhaps the most wonderful bit of all? I get to import all of my addresses and they’ll pre-address the envelopes for free. Hand-writing them or even trying to figure out how to put the darn labels in the printer and get them centered and right-side-up usually takes me about a million years so this was what really sold me. Who knows? It may mean I’ll actually have the energy to write some personal notes!

Do you send holiday cards? Do you try to get them out right away? Or do you wait to see who sent one to you? (Confess! I know some of you do!)
Good news: Minted is offering $25 off + free shipping through 11/11 with the code JOY25FS.

This post is sponsored by Minted. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Hither & Thither.

Heloise Hilfiger and...
What a wonderful wor...
City Modern (and som...
Alma Allen Sculpture
BRIKA and a Well-Cra...

An 80-foot slide. In their house.


new york design  An 80 foot slide. In their house.
new york design  An 80 foot slide. In their house.

I can’t get over this: the David Hotson Architecture group designed an 80-foot slide inside a New York City penthouse, called Skyhouse, to take residents from the attic (where a hole is cut into a vertical glass partition) to the ground floor, four levels down.

The whole place is incredible—the views alone are enough to make your jaw drop, nevermind that there’s also a 50-foot climbing wall on a central beam that extends up from the living room and a stainless steel slide! The building itself dates to 1896, a beaux-art skyscraper with a dramatically pitched roof, but you’d never know it from the interior.

new york design  An 80 foot slide. In their house.
new york design  An 80 foot slide. In their house.

Can you imagine?! The designer notes that guests have the option of using yellow cashmere blankets to speed-up the ride down. I guess if it’s too much, you always have to the the option to get off on the third floor. Eek!

P.S. My favorite NY real estate storyModern architecture in Manhattan, and an underground house in the Swiss Alps.

[All photos via David Hotson, seen first on Handmade Charlotte]

City Island
For the commitment-p...
Long story short...
City Bakery Love
Getaway in the Catsk...

A new bike for Aron


family design  A new bike for Aron

I have been so happy with the Linus Dutchi I bought last Fall. It’s just such a pleasure to ride, with long front and rear fenders and an internal gear box, and I love it’s classic look.

So when it came time for Aron to get a bike for himself (we’ve been coasting along on a loaner from his family up until now), he chose a cream Linus Roadster for himself. You really can’t live in Davis without a bicycle; you’d be missing out on one of the great joys of this town. So you may as well get yourself something you love.

family design  A new bike for Aron

family design  A new bike for Aron

I made him let me take a few glamour shots on his new bike yesterday afternoon, on our ride through the arboretum. Isn’t the UC Davis Redwood grove gorgeous, by the way? It’s my favorite little stretch of the bike loop that runs around the campus arboretum.

Linus Bikes—and their awesome bike accessory shop (NB: Linus gave us a generous discount on our new bike, but we would have chosen the brand regardless and I would recommend them without hesitation.)

P.S. Hudson’s helmet and front-seated child seat.

Jane's Carousel
Light as air
Gift Guide: For the ...
Holiday in Palm Spri...
Tidepools near Monte...

Patrick Blanc Vertical Gardens


travel design  Patrick Blanc Vertical Gardens
travel design  Patrick Blanc Vertical Gardens

While walking in the 2e arrondissement on our recent trip to Paris, I was stopped in my tracks by the sight of this vertical garden.

This past April, on the rue des Petits-Carreaux, Patrick Blanc installed “L’Oasis d’Aboukir.” I did a little digging around and found this collection of press about the French botanist’s projects, as well as a hardcover book, The Vertical Garden: From Nature to the City travel design  Patrick Blanc Vertical Gardens

Amazing, isn’t it?

Here are some other things catching my eye of late:

Abbey’s cheat sheet to Paris with a 4-year-old. (Confession: with major caveats, on the whole, we found Paris to be pretty toddler-unfriendly. More on that another time.) We actually met up with Abbey while there!
Loving the cacti images in this roundup. I think this is more-or-less the aesthetic vision I have for our home. (Maybe we should go shopping at this store, which looks similarly lovely.)
This Skincom Solartenttravel design  Patrick Blanc Vertical Gardens looks perfect for protecting baby-fresh skin at the beach. Thanks for the tip, Bridget!
Lovely branding work for a bed & breakfast in Cape Cod. Makes me want to go. (Or rather, go back!)
I don’t wear a lot of jewelry, but I’d love something from this collection.
Love finding brilliant picnic bag design. (Now we just need the bicycle bar cart!)
While I’m still most looking forward to seeing new releases Before Midnight and This is the End right now, I love it when Sofia Coppola comes out with a new film–if only because we get to see more interviews and pretty photos. (And yes, I appreciate the irony of saying that about a film/filmmaker trying to comment on celebrity obsessed culture.)
This video of Kids Trying New Foods is pretty awesome.
And finally, I got the date of Manhattanhenge wrong again, if you happened to catch my briefly posted post yesterday. Whoops. (I think I do nearly every year). But you can see why I think you need to check it out.

Happy Father’s Day to you and yours! And congratulations to all of the graduates! Have a great weekend!

Faking it
Cape Cod or bust
Is this the end?
Daytrip along Califo...
Local Daytrip: Bogle...

Exploration (and some Friday links)


design  Exploration (and some Friday links)

Elisabeth Thurston Fraser and Miya Hirabayashi are about to release the inaugural print edition of Equals, “Exploration,” with essays and photographs devoted to cartography, uncharted territory, nostalgia, and souvenirs. For almost a year, they’ve been publishing contributed work on their site, the Equals Record (you can read my essay, “Being Camera Ready,” there), and have decided to create a new publishing platform that can really showcase content from up-and-coming writers, photographers, and illustrators. It looks beautiful and I wish them much luck!

I’ll be sharing ideas for Mother’s Day gifts next week and this would make a nice addition to the list. (You can buy the book at a reduced rate or purchase a limited edition gift package here.)

Here are some other things of note lately…
Gallery Wall
Light as air
December at John Der...
Gem and Stone

Go play with your food


food drink design  Go play with your food
food drink design  Go play with your food

While I tend to use Instagram in completely predictable ways (look at this cute kid!), some people are using the forum to showcase far more creative endeavors. Malaysian artist and architect Hong Yi (aka Red) developed and photographed a new art piece to share each day of the month of March, using only food. When I first saw bits of the series on Handmade Charlotte, I think I may have gasped. She was interviewed about the project on DesignBoom and I found it fascinating to think about how this endeavor pushed her knife skills: “my ‘creativity with food’ series has helped me push the limits of my creativity, and has taught me to work within the confines of a very small area—my previous works range from 1 x 2 to 3 x 4 meters. I’ve learned to slice, dice, stir, boil…who would have thought I’d need that to do art!” It would be a fun challenge, wouldn’t it? To develop a project like this for a set period of time and see where your talent leads you?

I’m particularly fond of the squid and ink composition that evokes Moby Dick—made with just one material.

Here are some more favorites…

Far South
Pushing the pancake ...
Ginger Syrup? Yes, p...
Visit from the folks
In season: Apricot T...

Life’s Measuring Stick


family design  Lifes Measuring Stick

family design  Lifes Measuring Stick

I knew as soon as we moved into our house that I wanted to track Hudson’s growth on a wall or door-frame. But I’m not 100% positive that this will be the home we live in all of the years he’s under our roof. I looked at a lot of options for wall-mounted growth charts, thought of making my own, and landed on Baum-Kuchen’s Life’s Journey Measuring Stick. We’ve tacked it up on the inside of his closet door, so that it hangs vertically, but you could even lay it out on the floor to measure each month or year and then fold it back up to safely store.

Yesterday, when I told Hudson “You’re 21 months old today!” he knew just what to do. I couldn’t believe it! He ran over to the door-frame, backed up against it, and waited for me to place a book on his head. He tried to steal my Sharpie (frightening thought), which made me think I must have let my hand slip. But no, in fact he grew roughly another inch last month!

family design  Lifes Measuring Stick

Slow down, kiddo!

[top photos via Baum-Kuchen; bottom from my iPhone]


Places on Earth
Lots and lots of but...
Visiting FAO Schwarz
Typeface for doctors
Seeking the perfect ...

Beautiful creatures (and some Friday links)


design  Beautiful creatures (and some Friday links)

A while back, Aron posted a few of Bryant Austin’s incredible photos of whales along with the New York Times story about his exhibition, where Austin displayed some life-sized images of the magnificent mammals. (One 30 feet wide!) I wish we could have seen the photographs in person, but Austin has just had them published in a book, Beautiful Whaledesign  Beautiful creatures (and some Friday links) . I came home to find it on our table last week and just continue to be amazed by the beauty and scale of these creatures, with their features so closely captured underwater.


I love this relationship saga so much! (And I know what it’s like when you’re seduced by that particular younger, sexier model.)

Are you watching Nashville? I’m hooked. My girlfriend and I text each other excitedly when there’s a new episode, but never more than after seeing this sweet scene.

Pure Green Magazine, a gorgeous new quarterly that you may have seen in print at shops like Anthropologie, just released an iPad edition and their fifth volume is on one of my favorite topics, Wanderlust.

I had no idea about the Daffodil Project, despite having admired them all so much last spring. Lovely idea, New York.

This Op-Ed about the tax code and working parents led to a lively debate—and no matter where you stand, I think it’s an interesting one.

We loved this hotel‘s restaurant, The Blue Duck Tavern, when we were last in D.C.—now I want to stay there.

Brilliant idea for a picnic bag!

Remember my haircut photo? I should pick one out for Hudson, too! I cut his hair for now, but I’m really a one-note song.

Did you check out BRIKA yet? (Just a reminder: They’re giving $15 to new members and offering free shipping on orders over $50 through the weekend.)

Finally, Luvocracy did a little interview with me last week in honor of upcoming Earth day, if you’d like to check it out!

design  Beautiful creatures (and some Friday links)

[Photos of whales: Bryant Austin; photo of installation Austin's studio, Studio Cosmos. Incredible, right?]

All Three
Alma Allen Sculpture
Thinking about: Adul...
Massimo Vitali's Bra...
Patrick Blanc Vertic...

Bicycle Bar Cart


food drink design  Bicycle Bar Cart

This DIY Roving Bar is all kinds of awesome. We need one of these for our Davis Farmer’s Market Wednesday-night picnics in the park.

P.S. Bike season! Biking with Hudson (and seeing the world through his eyes), and biking while pregnant: A Bicycle built for Two (and a 1/2) in New York City.

[photo via Vive la Bici facebook page]

Let there be light
Melted Chocolate Chi...
A New (Old) Address?
Life's Measuring Sti...
Lamingtons (and Sund...