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Monthly Archives: July 2012

  • Gorgeous Getaways

    Summer is almost over (sorry--it must be said) and there are a few things still on our to-do list that haven't been checked off. We've been to the pool, eaten al fresco, even slept a night under the stars. But darn it--we still haven't made it out to the Okavango Delta!

    That's in Northern Botswana, by the way, at Abu Camp Safari Lodge. Six tented suites on the edge of a private game preserve of nearly 500,000 acres. Tons of elephants to see, if you can tear yourself away from the incredible room.

    Here are a few other gorgeous places that will just have to wait for next year:

    Fasano Boa Vista, near Sao Paolo, Brazil boasts 39 rooms in a row of concrete blocks. So cool we'd feel instantly A-list just by stepping over the threshold.

    The Oberoi, Gurgaon is in New Delhi. It's made of stainless steel and glass and every room overlooks an incredible, central reflecting pool.

    When we're in a "big city" mood, Andaz Shanghai fits the bill. It's a chicly sparse hotel in the heart of Shanghai. (You'll be happy to know that all minibar snacks and non-alchoholic drinks are free here, so go nuts!)

    Finally, just say the word "spa" and we're in. At the Tierra Patagonia Hotel & Spa in Chile, guests start off each day with a guided nature hike, then retreat to the spa. Yes please.

    So when you've booked these spots for next summer (notice we've helpfully linked each place to its website--you're welcome), let us know.

    Maybe we'll run into one another in the hallway!

  • Nice Nails, Ombre!

    Hold on, hold on: we have finally mastered the art of the home manicure and amassed the requisite products. We have the soaking bowl and fluffy towel on stand-by, as well as all manner of lotions and potions for setting the scene of a perfect naked nail. We have the tools and files and clippers and--well, you get it. We have a lot of stuff that helps us get the salon look without the salon price (not an original phrase, but it's the truth!).

    So this season's nails are throwing us for a little bit of a loop. We can only susect that nail professionals got together and said "all these clients are doing their own nails with their lotions and potions and such; let's start a trend they cannot possibly re-create at home so they need to come back to us."

    At least, that's our impression of the ombre nail trend, where an individual nail subtly changes color from bed to tip. It's been around for a couple of seasons now, because when it's done right, it is pretty amazing-looking. However, when it's done wrong, yeesh. Talk about amateurish! We've tried this, and our nails ended up looking like they belonged to a kid who tie-dyed a shirt a week or two ago.

    There are a few good tutorials out there, so we're not giving up yet. Thankfully, there's also a trend of doing each nail a different color, light to dark, on the same hand. This involves 5 different polishes, and it's kind of cheating, but it still looks cool. It was invented, no doubt, by someone who has had as much luck re-creating this look at home as we have!


  • Eleanor Grosch

    It’s sometimes said that the creation of art is a solitary pursuit. Eleanor Grosch’s success, however, is based in large part on tapping into a group. Whether music lovers, cyclists or Aesop fans, Eleanor speaks to a wide audience through her art. We spent some time speaking with her recently.

    GreenBox: Do you have formal art training?

    Eleanor Grosch: I went to USF in Florida to study fine arts. It was great but very general. I never got design experience until I started teaching at a school for graphic design. I was teaching some of the lower level classes and I had to learn the programs really well so that I could teach them. I almost feel like I went to graduate school!

    GB: It’s interesting that your graphic design training came later, since so much of your work is very graphic. How did you get started with your current style?

    EG: I started doing posters for rock bands in 2002. I was living in Tampa and talked to a promoter about it. He said, “sure, make a poster for free,” so I did (laughs). I started screen-printing them and I noticed that the way I was working worked very well with screen printing.

    I got a lot of exposure that way. It worked out really well. It was my own thing, but something that people were interested in buying. You always want to have things that people are interested in and that you can make money from. It was not profitable at first, but it got me recognized in that community.

    GB: How big a leap was it to go from rock posters to fine art prints?

    EG: Often, I’d spend a long time on an image, but I’d hear, “I like the image but I hate that band.” So I started doing art prints.

    GB: A lot of your prints involve bicycles. Are you a cyclist yourself?

    EG: When a friend and I moved to Philadelphia in 2005 for a change of scene, we wanted to live in a city where you don’t need a car. We tried New York, Chicago, Boston, then we tried Philadelphia. It was February and it was frigid. Just the coldest. And we loved it. We figured if we loved it in the cold, we’d love it year-round. We didn’t have a car and realized that people biked around the city a lot. In 2005 biking, and bike messengers, were the height of cool. When I met my now- husband he was a bike mechanic and it has remained a part of our lifestyle now. I go to the gym sometimes but I prefer riding my bike. It’s the perfect way to exercise. It’s just become sort of another element to add to what I’m doing artistically. Bicycles are simple forms that you can make into a bold, graphic look, and people respond to it because it’s trendy.

    GB: Another frequent topic in your art is Aesop’s fables. What’s the background there?

    EG: I’ve always loved animals and Aesop’s fables. So classic. I thought that might be a kind of a fun story to tell through art. And they actually sold really well, and I thought, “I’m on to something!”

    GB: Who are your artistic influences?

    EG: A lot of my work is reminiscent of Charley Harper. Eerily so. I wasn’t familiar with him until people started commenting on the similarity, and then I went “Oh wow.” He’s a shape-based, very geometric artist who got a lot of press in the 60s.  Todd Oldham recently reissued a book of Harper’s work. Our work is eerily similar. What must have happened is that when I was a kid I saw Harper’s work or work like it. Even in high school I started drawing animals in a geometric way, so it must have entered my brain somehow. I have since found that a lot of the artists I was into are ones that he was into as well. It’s very weird to think that people born 60 years apart can have such similar minds.

    GB: Speaking of geometry, a lot of your work overlaps positive and negative spaces, especially animal bodies. It almost looks mathematical. Do you have a background in math?

    EG: I was always terrible at math, but geometry was my one talent! My mistake would be that I would look at how things actually looked. Often in math books you’ll see “this is not an accurate representation of the angles involved” but I couldn’t get past that. I would do relatively well in geometry, though. I had to work very hard at it—it’s no harm to work hard at something, As for the positive/negative, it’s a fun thing to play with in my work.

    GB: Do you do your work in a studio?

    EG: I work at home on the couch! I have a laptop and I sit most of the day and draw. Around 5, I’ll stop. Ever since I got married last year I try to be not on the computer after 5 and not at all on the weekends. I am trying to establish balance now. If you want to be fully charged, you need to get some relaxation in. I have worked hard and now I need to reestablish what the boundaries are. It’s easy when you love something to want to do it all the time. But then it becomes work and I don’t want that.

    GB: One final question: you feature animals in your art so often; what animal would you want to be and why?

    EG: Definitely an ostrich. They are flighty and kind of silly and they’ve got big legs. That’s like me. The flightiness is kind of like me. I fell like I’m a practical person but I want to go go go so sometimes I just need to calm down.


    Feel free to browse Eleanor Grosch's GreenBox Art Collection.

  • Visionary Art

    What is Visionary Art? It's art by someone who is self-taught, with no formal art training. Unlike Folk Art, which is based on a tradition that's passed down through a specific group, Visionary Art springs from one individual's solitary mind.

    Perhaps you never knew that. And perhaps, like us, you never knew there was an entire museum devoted to Visionary Art.

    Now that we know, we can't wait to get there.

    The American Visionary Art Museum, or AVAM, is located in Baltimore, Maryland. It's filled with items that are every bit as fascinating--and quirky--as pieces in folk art galleries. Like a ship made from over 100,000 toothpicks. Or a castle scene sewn from 1,200 stitches of sock thread per square inch and measuring less than 3 x 3 inches overall. (Both are pictured in this post.)

    AVAM's current exhibition runs through September 2. It's called ALL THINGS ROUND: Galaxies, Eyeballs & Karma and it features the works of more than 70 artists, all around the theme of, well, the circle of life. It's work you probably won't see anywhere else, and definitely not all together.

    While you're there, stop by the museum's fabulous store, Sideshow. Speaking of quirky, you'll find it there, including some pretty show-stopping jewelry.

    Here's to Vision!

  • Water by Design

    We here at GreenBox love design. You know this already. And since you're here, you probably love design too. So is it taking things too far to say that we've been obsessing over water bottle designs lately? There are some gorgeous ones out there. And if you need any convincing, we've gathered a few here for your consideration:

    Let's start with the alex bottle. This beauty screws apart in the middle. Why's that important? It's ideal for cleaning, and the halves fit inside one another for storage. And you can mix and match by, say, getting a black top and a white bottom. It's 100% BPA-free, premium-grade stainless steel with a strap made from 100% recycled water bottles (if you can't beat 'em, join 'em, we suppose).

    On to the Lifefactory bottle. it's glass, which makes it stand out right there. Glass is breakable, right? And isn't portability the whole point of water bottles? True. However, these nifty bottles are wrapped in a silicone sleeve (comes in 6 colors). It's ideal for gripping and keeping it safe. Kind of like your fancy phone ensconsed in a shell, right? That comparison aside, there's something rather old-school about this bottle that we like.

    Now, here's the vapur, which just may be our favorite because it's so darn clever. This bottle is more like a tube--think toothpaste. They're made in the USA of BPA-free plastic; 3 layers of it. The inner layer is FDA-approved polyethyline and the outer two are durable nylon. It stands when full, folds when empty, and attaches to a bag with a caribiner. Freeze it and use it as an ice pack, empty it and stick it in the top rack of the dishwasher. There are a ton of different designs and colors available. Brilliant.

    OK, are you with us? We told you there were some pretty impressively designed water bottles out there. So now there's no excuse for not staying hydrated!

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