Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Good design is...

We went to the Design Museum in London at the weekend to visit a very interesting exhibition about the work of Dieter Rams, an industrial designer who was the Head of Design for Braun from 1961 to 1995. He's generally considered the inspiration behind many of Apple's designs, including the iPod and the MacBook, so I was already expecting clean and beautiful products. But I didn't expect to find his work and his vision of what good design is so inspiring. .

According to Rams:
Good design is innovative.
Good design makes a product useful.
Good design is aesthetic.
Good design makes a product understandable.
Good design is unobtrusive.
Good design is honest.
Good design is long-lasting.
Good design is thorough down to the last detail.
Good design is environmentally friendly.
Good design is as little design as possible.

(Copyright Dieter Rams, amended March 2003 and October 2009)

I was so inspired by his words that I actually took more photos of his quotations than the actual products, so I'll leave you with my favourites:

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

12 months of being 30: The Blog Camp edition

* This post is part of my 12 months of being 30 project, an attempt to record what happens during my year of being 30.

We celebrated the very first Blog Camp right after my birthday (and I did go on about being 30 maybe a teeny tiny bit too much!). Barely two months after that, we organized an almost impromptu Blog Camp 1.5 in England. There was Blog Camp 2.0 which I couldn't attend but I followed in the Blog Camp blog. And we have just come back from Blog Camp 3.0. So you could say that my year of being 30 is also the year of the Blog Camp :)

This was the last time that we celebrated Blog Camp in the mythical blue room, and in the place where the idea of Blog Camp was first conceived. Incidentally, I was reading back to the wishlist Julie posted when husband had the idea for Blog Camp, and you should go and read it because that's exactly what Blog Camp 3.0 was!

Like both times before, I had an amazing time and it's taking me some time to digest it all. I'm still reflecting on the fun and the laughs, the photographs taken and the creative art journaling (that you can see here), the conversations (at Starbucks, in the kitchen, at the table, in the blue room...), the food, the coffee, the wine, the thoughtful presents. But above all, I'm still marveling at the fact that I've been so lucky to find real friends through this dear blog. That something that started as a personal project to push my writing has given me this community of friends, online and offline. And that I've actually got to meet some of them.

It's been there all along, but I truly saw it last weekend. It's not simply that there are real people behind the blogs, it's that there are real friends. The ones who have been at every Blog Camp with me, the ones who came to the first one, or the second one, or the new additions on this third one. They're all friends.

And I'm so grateful for it.

12 months of being 30: November & December catch up

* This post is part of my 12 months of being 30 project, an attempt to record what happens during my year of being 30. During November and December, I did my writing and collage, but I forgot to post something here, so I'm catching up now!

November felt like a transition month. I was still getting used to my new job. Already looking forward to Christmas, but without wanting to get too excited. It got cold, but I managed to keep the blues away thinking about the simple things that make me happy. And, of course, in November, we got engaged!

December was all about Christmas, and I loved it! This year I realized that I love the run up to Christmas probably a tiny bit more than Christmas itself. The parties, the drinks after work, the office party, even buying the presents can be fun (maybe because I was very organized!). I always go home for Christmas, and this year, we celebrated it twice: Once in Spain with my family, and later in England with boyfriend's family. It was the best of both worlds! December was also a month for looking back, saying goodbye to 2009 and looking forward to the future!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


3:365, originally uploaded by ByBlanca.

Words haven't been flowing easily lately. I've been quiet, both here and offline. I've also been moving more slowly, and doing less of everything. It's almost as if my body and my mind need to hibernate for the winter, or at least take a rest.
And for once, I'm not fighting it. If there is something I learnt during the past of year of writing, observing, reflecting, recording my thoughts in this blog, experimenting with writing and art journaling, etc. is that I need to allow myself to go through these quiet, still phases.
It's difficult and frustrating at times. My to do list is not getting any easy to manage, but all I can do at the moment is to keep adding things to it, so that when the next phase starts, and I'm full of energy, I can put it to good use. And it's going to happen. I know it. So I'm just waiting.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


I really love my hometown. It's one of the most beautiful and friendly cities I know. It's full of nice independent coffee shops and great tapas restaurants. There are historical buildings everywhere you look, and a story in every corner.

Even The Independent UK thinks so.

Friday, January 1, 2010

A meaningful 2010

So, after looking back at 2009 here and in my previous post, what's left for 2010? Surprisingly, not resolutions (if you don't count the ones that I'm keeping from last year), but a single word that will hopefully carry me through the year.

The truth is that I've been having problems expressing exactly what I want to accomplish in 2010. I guess it feels like such an important year (probably, because I'll be getting married in August!), and it's a bit overwhelming. And so I have started multiple resolutions lists, both as drafts in this blog and in my journal, but none of them felt right. Until a single word popped into my head and I realized that it really encapsulated what I want 2010 to be: Meaningful.

Now, I've seen people around the blogosphere choosing their own words at the beginning of the year. I think it all started with Ali Edwards who has chosen a word for each year since 2007. Last month, Christine Kane hosted a Word of the Year month in her blog, in which several people revealed what their word for 2010 was.

But I really wasn't looking for a word myself. However, once it came into my head, I knew that I should use it instead of a list of resolutions this year. Because meaningful really is what all the thoughts in my head are about. It's not about spending less time online, it's about making the time I do spend here meaningful, visiting inspiring places, connecting with creative souls and not just jumping from one website to the other. It's not about buying less, it's about thinking carefully about what I need and want, and buying only those things that will make me happy for a long time. It's not about reading all the books in all the lists of books to read before you die, it's about reading those that mean something because they teach me something, or simply make me laugh, if that's what I need. It's not about going through an uncluttering phase and getting rid of stuff, it's about keeping and living with those things that are beautiful, useful or special. And it's definitely not about organizing a party for our wedding, it's about creating a day that is special for us, our families and friends and that we'll remember for ever.

It's about living a meaningful life, savouring each moment, reflecting on each decision. Giving meaning to every day.