Thursday, September 30, 2010

85 Days 'til Christmas!

You read correctly, 85 days until Christmas. Not 25 days, 85 days. Why do retailers already have Christmas trimmings in their stores?

On Tuesday of this week, I put out two pumpkins for Halloween and felt extremely awkward. Why, you ask? It was September 28, not October. What happened to Halloween, and more importantly Thanksgiving? Sure, Thanksgiving is considerably less materialistic and candy-tastic that Halloween and most retailers do offer some spooky treats. It's a no-go on Thanksgiving... Let's go from spooky to Santa overnight before October even gets here. 

How many holidays do you think there are between October 1 and Christmas? You'd be surprised.

October 11 - Columbus Day(also Thanksgiving for our Canadian friends)
October 24 - United Nations Day
October 31 - Halloween
November 2 - Election Day
November 11 - Veteran's Day
November 24 - Tie One On Day(It's not what you think)
November 25 - Thanksgiving
December 2 - Hanukkah
December 15 - Bill of Rights Day

Sorry for my little retail gripe. Let's focus on the holiday at hand people. Christmas will be here soon enough!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Twisted/Leaning

I have tried and tried to do Wordless Wednesday but I need to be able to give some commentary. So let's play captions again! The house is actually pretty cool and there are more photos of it.

Last weeks winner was Chris from San Marco USA. Make sure you send me some contact info so I can snailmail you some goodies.


Sunday, September 26, 2010

Sylacauga Saga!

Talk about looking back in time!

This short video, produced by a manufacturing group, profiles our fine, Southern town and it's history in the cotton industry. Best I can tell, the video was distributed as a public service-type program and was orginally broadcast in 1951. There are still so many sights around town that looks startlingly like the do today.

Glad we were able to find this unique piece of our local history.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Friday Find - Leica M7 Hermés

Is there really anything that needs to be said?

Leica cameras are some of the finest and most sought after cameras on the market, and developing a line with Hermés will certainly bring the luxe photogs out in force.

This very limited edition film-type camera opened up at a cool $14k and this morning there are a few floating around on eBay in the five-figure range. 

Biggest question of the day... Do they come with that orange box?

Speaking of orange boxes, did you see the fab Madame Sunday take on the orange box on her blog? Worth a read, my friends. Priceless!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Luxury Dining

Okay people, caption contest... Go.

Best caption today and I'll send you a fun Cupboards package with some koozies or other cool stuff. Ha! That's specific, huh?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

#LetsBlogOff - Plugged In or Shut Out?

The latest in the #letsblogoff series- 
Do social sites like Facebook connect the world or isolate people?

Since you already have Facebook open on another of your tabs, look me up. 

Wait a minute, you can't. Why? Not on Facebook. So I'm seriously in the minority considering that 500 million people are active users(and according to Facebook, 50% of that are online at least once a day).

Do I have any right commenting on Facebook then, as an obvious hold-out? Sure I do. That's my right as the Head Typist on this blog and most know that I have a comment on just about everything. I'm not going to get in to why I don't have Facebook, other than to say that it has absolutely no appeal to me personally. When I deleted my Myspace page a couple years ago, my personal online social life ended.

Until of course, Twitter came along. (Follow me HERE)

Everyone uses social media for something different from the next user. The marvels of Twitter and linking it with Cupboards has been somewhat a whirlwind of social successes. When I step back and look at the last 16 months(our active Twitter life), I recognize that without it my daily life would be different. There are pros and cons to everything we do in life, and my visual nature wants me to write down a list(so I did). My list has lots of pros(not going to go in to all of them):
  • Social media has allowed me to meet fellow designers and industry professionals from around the world that I may have met otherwise but would rarely have the opportunity to seriously engage in a meaningful exchange
Think about it... In each industry you have trade shows and conventions and the like. What's the average interaction like in that environment? Shake hands, exchange niceties and business cards, try to keep from standing in the middle of the aisle and disrupting the flow of scurrying convention-goers. Sheesh. Those same meetings now go something like this: Connect on Twitter, talk/email/chat on phone about things you might/might not share with strangers(for weeks/months/years), plan to meet at convention but text each other at the airport and embrace like long lost cousins. (You think it's crazy... well maybe it is crazy, but its reality nowadays)

Are the people that I have connected with on social media my friends? I certainly think so, and if someone close by tweeted me and invited me to the ice cream parlor or coffee shop for a visit, I doubt it'd be a hesitation. 
  • Social media has reinvented customer service policies. 
The next time you're on Twitter, do some fun searches... like "customer service fail" or "bad service" and marvel at what comes up. If you haven't, you'll be shocked at how honest(fairly or otherwise) that people are. Businesses have to do better or risk the barrage of not just negative comments, but nasty ones. Gone are the days of quietly mentioning to the manager that there was a fly in your soup.

There are only a few cons that I could come up with as far as my social media use goes... I get less time to look at ebay, the world knows I eat WAY too much ice cream and until the rest of rural South businesses catch up I am occasionally told that I'm just "wasting time."

The cons aren't so bad... I spend less money when I'm not on ebay, I like ice cream and I've rarely given a whole lot of credence to negative people.

The big question is whether or not the social media in my life inhibits my personal life and interaction. I can confidently say that it has done the polar opposite. We have a small business in a small town. As much as I would love to say that Cupboards has the same amount of foot traffic as Wal-Mart, it doesn't. There are some days that I just don't see a whole lot of people, and after having your head stuck in a series of folders for a few hours it's nice to be able to take a few minutes and laugh at a blog post or chat with a friend on Twitter(or Facebook, if that's your deal).

Am I interested in every time someone has a snack or runs to the bathroom? No, and I try to leave those same details out of the Cupboards twitter stream. The balance between a business social media presence and a personal one is a careful dance though, and I believe that without some personal touches even the biggest most corporate social media accounts get stale. Therefore, my tweeps(twitter followers) occasionally get the dose of football-cheering, motorcycle-riding, sunrise-enjoying, dog-walking, recipe-sharing personal stuff that I do on a daily basis.

Exactly 6% of the people in my cell-phone contacts list are folks I follow on Twitter. If social media inhibits personal interaction, it isn't showing up in the numbers.

Maybe I'm the exception, but without social media my daily interaction with people would take a major hit- not because I ignore those around me in real life, there just aren't that many people around. Social media has been really good to Cupboards, and me personally. It'd be sad to give it up.

Now... I'm gonna go tweet this so my friends can read it!

Monday, September 20, 2010

$10 Basement Makeover

Not everyone requires the services of an interior designer- Beyond that, not everyone requires more than a crisp $10 bill and a trip to the office supply store to appoint an entire basement with jaw-dropping wall appointments.

A friend of mine emailed me the story of Charlie Kratzer from the Lexington(KY) Herald-Leader. Drawing inspiration from classical literature to the harlequin pattern from a Panera Bread take-out bag, this lawyer-by-day created quite the conversation piece in his Lexington home's basement. The article features a 180 degree visual of the room.

10 bucks in Sharpies, eh?

Recently, Charlie has taken his Sharpie skills to Horse Mania, a public art project. Charlie's entry was based on Alice in Wonderland.

What do you think? Sharpie-art in your future?

Friday, September 17, 2010

Friday Find - Pallet Plate Rack

The slow home movement is really one that I get in to- I love the idea of repurposing and reusing older "high mileage" items in new settings.

This one may push me right over the edge.


I like rustic, and I love cabins and houses in the woods... but please. 

These were in a post from the Remodelista site- a site that I read quite regularly. Thank goodness we are all allowed our own tastes... this one wouldn't make it in my house(even if I have one that isn't hooked up to electricity).

Usually on my Friday Finds I give you a link to where you can buy whatever I've found... No link today, but if you come by our shop and want one I can arrange that for the easy fee of a trip to Blue Bell. Then again, 50 cents may still be a bit expensive.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Is this someone's kitchen?

One of the bright spots in my day is Catalog Living. It always makes me laugh and has truly changed how I look at the immeasurable amount of catalogs I get.

This gem was there a couple of days ago: Here's the original post.


Don't get me wrong, I love open shelves and the tractor seat stools are fantastic. I guess the clock replaces the egg timer that was lost last year- either that or it didn't match and there was nowhere to hide it.

Think they draw water from the well outside?

What do you think? Is it too far-fetched, even for a catalog?

Let's hear it, people.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Friday Find - Blue Bell Creameries Parlor

If I were to ever feel guilty about eating ice cream, it would be today. Thank goodness I don't know what ice cream guilt feels like.

At promptly 10am, I walked through the doors of the Blue Bell Creamery in Sylacauga. Now if you aren't completely sure where our shop is in Sylacauga, I can walk out the front door and see the Blue Bell facility about 2 blocks north of our showroom(in other words, close enough that I could walk). Our current location has been open for just shy of two years now and I embarrassingly admit that this was my first trip to Blue Bell. I wasn't avoiding it on purpose of course- I just knew that after one time, they'd have to lock the doors when they see me coming. It's no stretch that I'm and ice cream-aholic.

My trip was mildly planned. At about 9am I emailed Mindy Grier at Blue Bell and warned her that I was going to be there and to lock the freezers. Mindy is the Administrative Manager and she warmly agreed to meet me and chat for a while. She handled my request very graciously considering I wanted to show up in less than an hour.

Can you believe the sky? How blue?! The weather here is quite nice today. Perfect for ice cream, I must say.

Mindy proceeds to give us a snippet of the tour offered to guests- as someone that barely announces my attendance, I was impressed. When you arrive at the creamery, much of the manufacturing is visible from the parlor and country store area. Since much of what they do is a secret, I couldn't snap any photos. Let's just put it this way... as we stood in front of a large window into the packing part of the facility Mindy said, "The kids love this part." I quickly replied, "I love this part!"

As we stood there, what appeared to be the Homemade Vanilla ice cream was being packaged in the traditional half-gallon cartons. Workers busily and seamlessly moved about, seemingly unaware of the volume they were producing. I asked exactly how much ice cream to they produce- 52 half-gallons per minute. We were there 40 minutes give or take.... that's over 2000 cartons! This year, our Blue Bell creamery will produce over 11 million gallons of ice cream.

If you are in Alabama, Tennessee, South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, Florida or Kentucky, the Blue Bell Ice Cream in your local grocery was born here in Sylacauga.

This is in the main hallway of the tour. Everything shown here is made at the Sylacauga creamery. See that orange bucket on the left? Georgia Peach and Homemade Vanilla.... heaven.

Of course, I had to know if Mindy had tried them all- she explained that she has certainly tried. Apparently, there are freezers and cases in the employee break areas. Maybe I should've asked for an application?

The parlor, country store and creamery receives 18,000 visitors a year, but Mindy says this year well over that number will tour the facility.

Who cares that it was only like 10:30am, I was getting ice cream. The parlor 24 flavors at hand and it is the real deal, as close to the churns as you can get. Cake Batter is my weakness, and I'd never tried Blue Bell's version. Ate every bit.

Mindy was even our scooper- it was easy to tell that she is multi-talented.

The parlor was a flashback to a different, slower time where one can truly enjoy a local delicacy and visit with friends. I hear the after-school crowd fills the parlor quite well.

If you happen to be in the central Alabama area, or will be travelling through(or like us, are SO close all the time) make sure that you stop in and visit.

The parlor is open 9am-4:30pm Monday through Friday and if you'd like to have one of the guided tours(about 45 minutes) they are available by appointment on those days from 9am-1pm. General admission is $3 and $2 for seniors and kids. Don't fret about your costs, you get a dish of your favorite flavor at the end of the tour.

Just want some ice cream? 50 cents a scoop and you can eat all the ice cream your tummy can hold.

Blue Bell Creameries
423 North Norton Ave.
Sylacauga, Alabama 35150


Make sure you tell them that the gang from Cupboards sent you!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

16 Things You Didn't Know About the NFL

With the NFL regular season kicking off tonight, I thought this infographic might be a neat one to share. 

So... all that's left is telling us who you cheer for? Click the pic to enlarge!

Drinking from the Sink

I can't decide if this is a green product or what. I suppose that a water fountain eliminates the need for a disposable cup, but what about all the water that goes down the drain?

Works pretty easily it appears. After affixing to your faucet, simply squeeze off the udder-like bottom and viola, a vertical stream. The Tapi fountain is a product of Dreamfarm and if you can't live without one, you can buy them here.

Reminds of me of the old school versions from back in the 80's...

Remember this gem?

Nifty, huh?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Flying High - Aviator Chair

So Restoration Hardware does very little wrong in my eyes, and this Timothy Oulton chair is no different. Taking cues from the riveted aluminum bomber planes of World War II, this over-sized comfy chair would go just right in my den.
photos via restoration hardware 

The description from Restoration Hardware is as follows:

"Drawing inspiration from World War II bomber planes, this chair's aerodynamic curves are hugged in riveted aluminum, while the seat and back are swathed in ribbed leather with the busted-down softness of a vintage bomber jacket. A low seat and raked back give it true flyboy swagger.

  • -Inspired by fighter planes, from its aluminum-wrapped curves to its padded leather seat and back
  • -Leather-clad wrap-around top rail
  • -Kiln-dried frame
  • -Distressed Whiskey leather has a supple broken-in hand and a burnished warmth
  • -Aluminum has a matte finish that's lightly distressed for a vintage look; some nicks are to be expected."

Flyboy swagger, eh? Yes, ma'am.

What's better than this awesome chair? Getting this awesome chair on sale... Check it here.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Friday Find - Tailgating Innovations

With the college football season upon us and planning for our opening weekend tailgate at Auburn University tomorrow it made perfect sense to keep the Friday Find in line.

At this point, are there really words that can describe the perfection of a Tailgating Innovations set-up? Tailgating is a fine social event at football stadiums across the nation and in the South, it becomes an art. For a football nut like me, the only drawback to tailgating from sun-up til game time(which we plan to do tomorrow, with a 6pm local kickoff) is that I'll miss all the other games going on throughout the day. The Tailgating Innovations trailer prevents the hauling of one's tv to campus for the day... very nice. Featuring a 47" HDTV as the centerpiece of the tailgating luxury, the trailer also has a grill on a 180 degree swing-arm, lots of cabinet storage inside, electrical outlets, Sony surround-sound system and a pre-wired satellite system. Stock the trailer up at home and the trip to and from the game gets lots easier.
Sure would look good in orange, eh?

You can talk with the folks at Tailgating Innovations and get your tailgate set-up here. Prices start in the $12,500 range.

If you will be in the Auburn area tomorrow let us know! We'd love to meet you and I'm sure that we could find a koozie to fit your favorite tailgate beverage.

Happy Friday everyone... Football is here!
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