Creativity is just connecting things.
— Steve Jobs

Tag Archives: kids

Introducing the Hallmark Kids Collection Website

Hallmark research finds a discrepancy between how much moms think they encourage their kids…and how much kids say they receive.

To bridge that gap, Hallmark launched Kids Collection, products designed for parents to show their love, encouragement, understanding and acceptance of their children. The cards and gifts are designed for school-aged children in kindergarten through high school.

My goal was to help families to visualize the product line in their homes and enhancing their relationships. To do this, the site embraced a hand-made visual treatment.

Ultimately, the website has been warmly received by consumers and retailers.

Read the official press release.

See more in my portfolio.

Halloween In Kansas

Our super friendly neighborhood put on an amazing Halloween event for the kids this year. It all centered around a scary hay ride that took kiddos up and down the streets, some of which, were decorated by volunteers from each. Melissa and I did the cul-de-sac near our house, and I thought it turned out great. Later, when it was dark, a neighbor and I put on some scary costumes and surprised the hay riders as they passed our house.

Spooky Cul-de-sac:

Halloween 2009

My Halloween Kiddos as Peter Pan and Wendy:

halloween munchkins

Greener Pastures

As it turns out, I did find a new job. I’m at Hallmark Cards in Kansas City, Missouri. Technically, the company is located in Missouri but we now live in Kansas. On this side of the road, it’s Kansas. The other? You get the idea.

Anyway, we’re slowly adjusting to this new environment. We chose to lease a place for 2 years instead of buy. Hmm, Matt’s not motivated to buy* a house lately? Go figure!

Realistically we only had 4 days to find a place, and this was the best of the lot. It’s certainly a nice house and neighborhood, but we’re just not able to determine if this is the final destination.

The job is good and nuts at the same time. Tons of massive corporate change plus a bad economy makes for alot of freaked out people making interesting decisions.

Melissa and the kids are trying their best to assimilate and meet as many neighbors as possible. It’s not easy but luckily they are all quite cute, which I’m certain helps in their efforts. 😉

When I explain what I’m doing in Kansas, I say imagine if a big tsunami rose up out of the Great Lakes and just washed us to Kansas. That’s what it feels like. We had to sell our house in a short sale. We said goodbye to the investment we put into it, all of our friends and family, and fled the flood.

We feel eternally grateful for Hallmark lining up at the right time like it did. It really was an amazing feat and we will never forget it.

Luckily I’m in a great position to bring my expertise to bear in ways that I didn’t imagine prior to accepting the offer. Many things are in the works and I can honestly say that I can see some really impressive developments coming from Hallmark.

I’m excited, inspired, and most of all, tired.

I wish my Detroit comrades only the best and consistently say great things about the auto industry when asked. We truly didn’t bring this cataclysmic change upon ourselves and the outside world needs to understand that. They like to think the domestics just weren’t selling well, therefore they are having hard financial times. The national media has done an amazing job casting this as a sales issue rather than a complicated financial industry chain effect.

Other than work, I’m listening to the audiobook of Craig Ferguson’s “American On Purpose” and it’s great stuff. I’m hoping to set up a band here, but I know that’s really just crazy talk. I can’t even imagine the logistics of such an effort with everything else I have going on.

Been a Long Time, Been a Long Time

I don’t normally post about my career but kinda feel compelled to. I was laid off last week and it’s weird. I’m shocked because I really thought Digital was a strategic advantage and direction for my company, especially in the Detroit market, where clients just refuse to pay for anything that could be misconstrued as an elaborate production. Digital is theoretically cheaper but that’s only true for so long. Once you get deeper into creative and integration with other platforms, costs typically go up.

Regardless, I’ve been away from the blog for a while now because I’m searching for a new job. My net is cast over the whole U.S. right now and while I prefer Silicon Valley, Chicago and the East Coast, I’m entertaining all offers that could lead to a bright and stable future.

I just spent hours rewriting my resume into the early morning and really think it paints a clear picture of who I am, what I’m interested in producing, and how I think. I hope an employer sees it the same way. 😉

In the meantime, I’ve put my house up for sale . It’s really bizarre to see it listed but I have to. The Detroit market is devastated and frankly, everyone here thinks they’re next to be laid off.

For now, I’m spending time with my family by taking Elise to ballet classes, rocking Miles to sleep and rubbing Melissa’s feet/letting her sleep in/keeping the house neat to help relieve her stress. I so hated to give her the news of my layoff after the year she’s had in the hospital with a high-risk pregnancy and premature delivery.

When Melissa and I decided to move back to Michigan in 2000, we knew it was a risk. There just aren’t as many places to work here as other markets. We’ve had fun in Michigan, met tons of great neighbors, and worked with some fabulous people along the way. But by far, the best thing has been having our kids with our families around to share in that experience.

I will post any updates to the search here. I wish everyone in Michigan and all connected to the auto industry all the best. It’s unnecessarily brutal out there due to circumstances that were really beyond any of our control.

Time to get back to making Miles smile.

ICON Quotes

I’ve had the great opportunity to work with some really funny people in my career and found it entertaining to record things overheard in the office. I’ve been saving this list until I left ICON and I think it’s safe to let them run free now. I’ve abbreviated the names to protect the innocent.


JR: So what could you do for another thousand dollars? Well, I could go out and buy a big hand and smack you with it.


JL: Oh come on, they’re not urge overkill ugly.


JL: Hey what kind of candy bar is that?
JR: None-of-your-f’ing-business-bar.


JR via email: Hi [client name], I just sent you an email detailing why you aren’t receiving my emails.


JR (to client): We have an aggressive vitamin C application policy with sangria as the delivery vehicle.


Homeless Man to SP outside SP’s apartment:
HM: I’m from the Big Apple, I’m from Detroit, I’m from Philly. Basically, I’m international!


SP: Another disconcerting meat form is the kabob in England.


JR’s friend gets a photo of an ugly nascar driver and is asked to “make him look normal.” To which he replies, “I’m a retoucher, not a geneticist.”


Paraphrasing client’s purchasing dept: “Um, your rates are just 20% higher than others.”
RC: You know, if i could just reach through the phone


JR: Like I told my english teacher, “lady, i’m an artist. you can’t restrict genius.”


RC: The client is so far up my ass right now I can see him when I brush my teeth.


SP on The Melvins: It’s like drinking robitussin but at least robitussin makes you better.


MB on Ryan Adams: Is his tour sponsored by Kleenex?


Sp on JR’s wedding return cards not having return addresses on them: What are you? Friends with the unabomber or something?


JR: We need to get some good shin guards for [coworker] so we’re not so afraid to kick him in a meeting.


RC: Everyone got their weekend liver in? When I’m done with mine I transplant it back in the baboon I keep in my basementand I only feed it grain.


After PW received a new Lenovo laptop, it quickly crashed itself beyond a blue screen of death and resulted in his 1+ hr tech support call/argument about wanting to return it immediately. This conversation followed:

on JL reporting that Macenstein’s report of Safari slowing down your cpu down 76%:
SP: I’d rather have a browser that slowed my machine down temporarily than having one that fucked itself to death.


SP: I wish there was a conspiracy channel. I’d watch it all the time. Even the reruns. Anything that has the words exposed or revealed in it, I’d watch it.


MB: You know my friend claims to have downloaded an entire copy of CS3.
JR: Well give him a call and let him know after the FBI shows up that you’ll stop by his house and make sure his kids have enough to eat.


SP via IM after viewing the promo video for Fair Warning, a Van Halen tribute band:
“what a pussy.
get a life.
what a fucking looser
he should go die in iraq.”


SP: was u2 ever playing small gigs? jesus.
SP: even in like 86 they were playing stadiums.
MB: bono’s mother’s uterus was a stadium.


SP on using an iPhone to pick up women: Oh I’m just sitting in a coffee shop, using my iPhone, trying to pick me up some Tiguana Tail.


JR: He basically told me that he wasn’t going to try to do his job, so I should get used to mine being real shitty.


It’s not your fault. It’s Comcast!


MB: Irritable is the new happy.
SA: (laughter)
MB: Thank you, I’ll be here all weekNOW F OFF!

Hail To The Victors!

So I came home from work yesterday and my wife tells me that her new friend has a nephew who is in the hospital. I asked why. She said because he was hit by a F-350 after the Michigan/Penn State game in Ann Arbor. And he wasn’t alone. He was with 4 other U of M students and they too were all hit by this truck. Two died. One more is expected to die as well. The nephew has many broken bones and his skull was cracked open. He will require countless hours of physical therapy. I can’t say what the last person’s status is but I think it’s pretty horrible. The truck hasn’t been identified but the police could specify the vehicle type because of the paint it left on another vehicle it smashed into on its way out. The driver hasn’t been found. The police don’t know where the vehicle is from.

And this is all because someone wanted to beat the traffic out of the stadium. The sick thing is that these kids weren’t attending the game. They were leaving their apartment after watching it and wanted to go out somewhere afterward. They weren’t drunk. They weren’t instigating anything.

To top this off, the police officer told my wife’s friend that approximately 12 people are killed after each Michigan football game due to drunk driving but the school keeps it hush hush because that would kinda put a damper on all the illegal drinking going on in the parking lots on campus and possibly lower attendance. Sorry but I think if anyone finds their lives to be so shitty that they have to sit in a fucking parking lot and drink until they can’t drive your car all in the name of “school” and “sport” I’m not impressed.

More College Stupidity

It was discovered that a college student was writing down the ISBN numbers and the pricing of his required textbooks. His goal was to then search the web for the same book but at a better price. Sounds like a smart kid. Unfortunately, his college didn’t like it. They kicked him out of the bookstore and said, “we discourage people who are taking down alot of notes.”

To top it off, the headline for this story in the school’s online newspaper reads “Coop Discourages Notetaking in Bookstore.”

It should read: “Coop discourages student from finding better prices on overpriced textbooks.”

I hope those kids wise up and stop buying everything possible from their bookstore. They should learn a lesson.


Defining Your Self Image

Microsoft’s Zune player is getting all the press lately since it’s release and it just made the rounds on the Today Show. The video has a section when after Matt Lauer and Al Roker make mention of how they’re “iPod guys”, Matt asks Al about what’s on his iPod right now (keep in mind, this is supposed to be about the Zune).

Al makes a quick comment about 1) how the Zune’s store is a little more “unwieldy” than the iTunes Store 2) he’s aware of the iPod rumors regarding larger screens and then 3) replies with some kids show music that he plays “for the kids in the car” and says something to the effect of how it’s what his kids listen to. Then he said something that really caught my ear. He said, “Hey, I drive a minivan. Cool was long ago left behind for me.”

Some people will say, “Come on Matt, it’s Al Roker. What do you expect?” But I still think it’s shocking that a person who went out and bought an iPod, downloads music from the iTunes store and actually continues to use his iPod even in the car defines his level of “coolness” by the car he drives. I wonder if Apple has done any research into consumer’s self image post-iPod sale.


Weece’s Deep

My little Elise really loves those motorized cars like the Barbie Jeep, so I’m sure I’ll have to break down in the spring and haul one back from Toys R Us just like the rest of the parents in my neighborhood. As luck would have it, it seems there’s a new kids Jeep based on the Hurricane concept vehicle. I think she’ll be getting this one instead of Barbie 😉