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Entries in san diego (16)


summer treat: shave ice

//photos: Erika Firm

Why did nobody tell me how amazing Hawaiian shave ice is before? YUMMY. I had a chance to try it for the first time a few weeks ago at the Gravy co-working event Lori hosted at her lovely Paper & Thread studio (photos coming soon of her super adorable workspace). It was about a zillion times yummier than any other shaved ice treat I’ve had before. I am so thankful to the Gravy team for introducing me to Kam Shave Ice. I am planning a trip to Oceanside Pier so I can have more soon. See you there!



bekka's yard sale tomorrow


Hey San Diego peeps! Bekka is getting rid of nearly everything she owns to start fresh in the Big Apple, so if you are in the San Diego area this Saturday August 6 swing by her yard sale. For sale: clothes (sizes small and medium or 4), shoes (women’s 9), kitchen items (dishes, small appliances), decor, ALL of her craft supplies and art supplies, books and much more. There will be a few small furniture pieces as well. If you are interested please email hello [at] mintedcondition [dot] com for the address! Starts Saturday at 8am.


only in SoCal: dogs and toddlers share the swingset

Yes, this really happened. I really did see a dog swinging on the swingset at the local park (Del Mar, Ca). That’s the pampered pooch’s master pushing him. He said the swing was part of his dog’s daily routine. I kid you not. My cousin (the adorable toddler in the photo) was not the only one confused by this. The doggie did seem amused, I must admit. 

Only in Southern California. 


in the press: bridal insider

The Royal Wedding approaches! I hadn’t thought much about it until Eventity asked me to participate in an inspiration shoot with A Royal Wedding theme in San Diego. I whipped up some pretty menus using our Wonderland motif. Now I’m super curious to see what the paper goods at the “real” royal wedding look like. My gut tells me that Kate is going to look stunning, but the paper goods are going to be a bit stale and crazy traditional, if it’s anything like their uninspired wedding invitation. Where’s the drama??

Anyhoo, I’m officially on board for watching the Royal Wedding. Anyone planning a viewing party? Believe it or not, we don’t have a decent television in our house! 

Many thanks to Eventity for including us in this inspiration shoot, and to Kristina Chartier Photography for shooting such lovely photos. Hop on over to Bridal Insider to see the lovely champagne, ivory and gold tablescape in all its glory.


even more notes from the AIGA Y16 conference

Last weekend I geeked out with fellow graphic designers at the 16th annual AIGA Y Conference in San Diego. Here are some more notes I took during Raphael Grignani,  Lab Partners and Frank Chimero’s speeches.


more notes from the AIGA Y16 Conference

Last weekend I geeked out with fellow graphic designers at the 16th annual AIGA Y Conference in San Diego. Here are some notes I jotted down during Brian Boyl and Jen Bilik’s speeches. 


north county graphic design: design decline & movie night meetup thursday march 31, 2011


I do hope you’ll join us for our next North County Graphic Designer MOVIE NIGHT, which will also be our very first DESIGN DECLINE show. We’ll meet Thursday, March 31, 2011 / 6pm at Clients & Profits in Oceanside.

Here’s the scoop: print and bring a rejected logo (or other project) that was rejected by your client, but you secretly loved, along with the design the client eventually approved. (If the logo was a rebrand, bring the original if you’d like). In addition, write a brief blurb about the brand you were designing for (i.e. industry, audience, etc.) to put the design in context. The designs will be voted on and the winner will get a prize! 

FYI: no need for fancy formatting, mounting or anything crazy. We’ll just tack up copies on the whiteboard.

Oh, and we’ll also watch a short film about graphic designers and have a good chat.

Many thanks to our friends Mark and Chris of Clients & Profits for generously hosting movie nights! We’ll have snacks and cocktails, so RSVP via email, leave a comment here on the blog, or on our LinkedIn Group, so we can be sure to have enough to go around. Looking for our LinkedIn Group? Do a LinkedIn “group” search for “North County Graphic Designers.”

Hope to see you there! All creatives welcome. This is a free event. NCGD co-founded by Delphine and KMG. Artwork by Kerry Layton. Thanks, Kerry!!


week in review: february 28 - march 1, 2011

This photo is from last weekend — we woke up to a VERY unusual sight: ice! 

In case you missed it, here’s what happened on the blog last week:

• A peek at a Delphine wedding invitation in neutral and white colors … haute off the press 

• We welcomed March and announced the next North County Graphic Design meetup

• The Ritz-Carlton hotel has a wedding magazine and Delphine was featured 

• Love the dark and moody deep teal, verdigris and slate color palette from a favorite film

In studio news, Friday we signed a big contract that we’ve been working on for nearly six months. I celebrated with a giant margarita and a much needed night off from work.

Yesterday I had a mini reunion with some of my interns from last fall. I miss you, ladies! Next week I’ll post some new internship opportunities, so stay tuned. I also had a last-minute meeting with a bride, so John and I frantically cleaned up the studio (it was a disaster). The bride was visiting from out of town and had no idea she would be meeting with us, so I was especially thrilled to see that one of our invitations was pasted into her inspiration journal! Of course after these two meetings I was pooped, so I took a dinner break and went out for burgers with my boys. After our little one was tucked in, I went back to work and knocked out a pretty new logo and website design for a friend who is also a client.

The life of a small business owner is never boring or dull, and always always busy. I swear my to do list only expands, never shrinks! Hoping to get some sketching done today. I’ve been up working since 5:30 am and have gotten through about 1/4 of my list so far … I’m off to make a pot of coffee. 


north county graphic design: meetup wed march 16, 2011

Join us Wednesday, March 16, 2011

8 am - 9 am at E Street Café in Encinitas, California

Kick off the day on a positive note with other North County graphic designers. No major agenda, just say hello and get to know each other and share some great coffee. If you’re really not a morning person or are just plain cranky until the caffeine kicks in [ahem… me], then just “nod” and take time to adjust to the morning sunshine. We look forward to seeing you! 

R.s.v.p. by leaving a comment on this blog (or on the LinkedIn thread or email Kathy or I directly).

Join our LinkedIn group: do a GROUPS search for “North County Graphic Designers” on LinkedIn to join.

I hope to see you all there. All creatives welcome.

NCGD co-founded by Delphine and KM Graphiques. Artwork by Kathy McGraw.


field trip: birch aquarium in la jolla

Our first grader is on “ski week” vacation. Why they don’t call it President’s Day vacation is beyond me. But I digress …

It’s one of the busiest times of the year at the Delphine studio, so we couldn’t take time off for a proper vacation. Nor do we ski. Chilliness and I don’t mix very well. Instead, John and I are taking turns taking half-days off with our little one this week for a “staycation” in San Diego. We’re super lucky to live in a city where other people love to visit — there’s lots to do here. We decided this is the year we’re going to actually take some time out to enjoy our back yard! Hopefully we’ll find time to take some time together as a whole family to enjoy it all together soon.

It’s Museum Month in San Diego, so we went to pick up our half-price museum pass at Macy’s on the way to our first museum trip this week. We were super sad that they are all out of passes! Major bummer. We decided to press on anyway, and visited the Birch Aquarium in La Jolla, California yesterday.

This giant wolf eel looked super grumpy!

This gigantic fish tank is home to some pretty huge fish, including some that seemed larger than my kid! 

The little suckers on the octopus and starfish are really amazing up close. I also like this red and pink color combination. Inspiration strikes me in some of the strangest places!

My favorite tank is the reef tank, because it reminds me of snorkeling with my family in the Florida Keys. 

These sea plants remind me of fern botanical prints. Love the shapes here.

Hard to beat this view! The Birch Aquarium is available to rent out for special occasions like weddings and corporate parties. I’ve been to a few wedding industry events here.

We had a fabulous visit, and Alexander told me “this is one of the best days ever.” Awwwww. Just that made it worth it! 

All photos: Erika Firm


geek chic for 2011 design & blog conferences

Normally at this time of year I’d be starting to freak out about trade shows. Atlanta just passed, NYIGF is going on right about now, and the National Stationery Show is coming up in just a few months. In years past, I’d be a hot mess right now, trying to finish up collections, make travel arrangements, scrape together pennies, design my booth, and schedule meetings on the other side of the country, all the while juggling running my business, design projects, and family life.

This year I’ve decided to take time off from the shows. That’s right: Delphine will not be exhibiting this year. A lot of factors went into this decision, but the major one was my sanity. I was a little worried that I would feel left out as the tweets started pouring in from Atlanta and NYIGF, but instead I just feel relief. I really can honestly say that I don’t miss the shows at all. I do miss seeing my friends, but the shows themselves: nope.

Not doing the shows left me with time to fill my calender with some of the things I’ve always wanted to do: like enjoy lectures and design conferences. This year quite a few are right here in San Diego (BlogHer, Engage11, and my favorite conference: the Y Conference). I haven’t decided if I’ll go to all three yet, but for sure I’ll be at two of them.

In preparation for the Y Conference, I am hoping to splurge on a few things I’ve been needing wanting for a while now: 1} a brand new field note book from russell+hazel, and 2} a bright yellow Caran D’ache pen to record all the genius things I learn at the lectures. Nobody will want to be near me if I’m not properly caffeinated, so 3} a new yellow travel mug for coffee (Crate and Barrel) is in order. I swear we used to have a dozen travel mugs and they’ve all managed to disappear. Does that happen at your house? Where do all the travel mugs go?  It has been a few years since I got a new pair of glasses, and I’m totally in love with everything about 4} these Warby Parker frames.

It can get chilly in lecture halls, so a bright yet cozy scarf like 5} this lightweight yellow and white scarf from J. Crew would be lovely to have stashed in 7} a chic and understated waxed canvas tote bag (also from J. Crew). John, I can hear you … and the answer is no, it is NOT POSSIBLE to have too many tote bags. Besides, I don’t have anything as cool as this one. For real.  When attending design conference, there are almost always swag stations sponsor rooms. For these, it is imperitive to have a supply of up to date business cards. Plus, it’s always nice to be able to hand a new friend a fresh card from a 8} swanky metallic leather business card holder, not a beat up one from the bottom of your tote bag that’s covered in gum, pen marks or cracker crumbs. It goes without saying that 9} new shoes—stylish but comfy ones by Tom’s—would be super nice to have, too.

A friend has convinced me to join the Greeting Card Association. I was on the fence about it, until I realized that the annual conference will be in 6} Austin this year. My two best friends in the whole world live there, (surpise R + D! I’m coming to visit this summer at long last).


north county graphic design meetup: july 7

North County (San Diego) Graphic Designers Morning Meetups return! Join us Wednesday, July 7 2010 at Moonlight Beach (Encinitas) at 8am. Kindly rsvp by leaving a comment here, or on the LinkedIn group: North County (San Diego) Graphic Designers. See you at the beach!

UPDATE: we'll try to snag a picnic table, near the snack shack : )


y conference: doyald young


Last Friday and Saturday I took a much-needed break from the studio to attend the Y-Conference. One of my favorite speakers was Doyald Young, typographer, educator, author, and AIGA Distinguished Medal of Honor recipient. He was welcomed to the stage with a standing ovation.

Doyald spoke about his work, "I draw letters in very small little strokes. Takes me forever to do it."

He spoke about drawing, "I start with a 2H pencil" and "the darkest moments of my life have been saved by drawing."

He spoke about doing the right thing, even when it's hard, "You think you won't see it but I think it does make a difference. I fuss with one pixel at a time."

I had the great pleasure of chatting with Doyald and members of AIGA San Diego over lunch. We asked him how he deals with the adulation, and he admitted that mostly it embarrasses him. He told me he has never been really sure of himself, and that while he knows he has "achieved a certain level of proficiency," he is not entirely comfortable with the attention he has received lately.

He was completely unpretentious, raw, and real. Unguarded. Honest. It was incredibly refreshing. I had been having a rough week, and thanks to Doyald Young, I'm feeling much better about the world.


in the press: exquisite weddings magazine

It was awesome to see John quoted in Exquisite Weddings magazine. He dished about what makes a truly unforgettable invitation, discussed color trends, eco-friendly invites, and lots of other details. Congrats, John!


dreamy party

Dreamy party tonight. Dreamy is located in the Lumberyard in Encinitas, Calilfornia. See you there!