Category Archives: Best of Modern Kiddo

It’s official: the Peach has entered the PRINCESS stage

Over the weekend Peach returned from visiting her friend down the street wearing the pinkest of pink princess creations. But what made it work was the absolute joy and huge smile the Peach was wearing along with this polyester pink outfit. She held up the sides as if she was wearing a wedding dress and whispered to me, “isn’t this beeeyootiful?”

And then she started spouting off the names of different princesses to movies she hadn’t seen–Ariel! Cinderella! Sleeping Beauty! Jasmine!

Well, I knew it was going to happen.

The Peach has discovered princesses and all the glamour that goes along with being one.    I know a lot of women (including myself) who roll their eyes when they see all the princess themed stuff out there. In fact, I didn’t like it when family members would call the Peach “a little princess” when she was a baby. For some reason I connoted the word “princess” with spoiled-have-daddy-buy-you-a-new-car-when-you-turn-16-never-earn-a-paycheck lifestyle. Where I got this, I honestly have no idea. Maybe some random movie or TV show? I’m not sure.  Princesses weren’t about being empowered and strong! They were simpering seconds who needed to be saved, right?

And let’s not forget the pink princesses who reign supreme and assault you as soon as you enter any toy section of a store—yeech!

But hang on a second… if you think about it, Disney princesses are all pretty good ladies. They’re always fighting for their rights, kind to others, never giving up, and oftentimes very humble.  Not bad role models, in my eyes.  I wouldn’t mind hanging out with Merida from Brave. And I have a feeling Cinderella and Snow White are probably good eggs as well as animal lovers.

And let’s face it—those princesses have great wardrobes.  The Peach admittedly seems more enthralled with the dresses than some Freudian review of what it means to be a princess—especially since she’s never even seen one of the movies.  Then I thought back to when I was a kid and I loved princesses too when I was her age!  I loved pretty pretty pretty dresses! I still do love a fabulous dress and it hasn’t hurt my I.Q. or made me less successful or less funny or employable!

I’ll take dressing like a princess any day of the week over the Peach wanting to dress like a teenager and wear skimpy clothing. In fact, I have a sneaking suspicion that I will miss this glittery, tiara loving, pretty dress stage when it is over. Especially when it is this darn cute!

Have you dealt with the dreaded princess obsession? Please tell me I’m not alone in my mixed up feelings about princesses.

The Cutest Lil Ugly Critter // Meet the Nauga!

Do you know this goofy fella? Many years ago Greg and I were thrifting and he walked up to me holding this lil guy. He had a quizzical look on his face, “Why do I know this? WHAT is it?”  I got wide eyed. “What is it??” I shrieked. “It’s a NAUGA!!!” Oh yes, friends. The ever lovin’ Nauga.

Back in 1936, the UniRoyal company produced a sturdy synthetic leather they called  Naugahyde. It was used on chairs and couches and touted as more affordable and longer lasting option than leather. Fast forward to the 1960s and, in an effort to stand out  amongst the competition, UniRoyal partnered wtih legendary ad man, George Lois to launch a genius marketing campaign worthy of Don Draper.

Lois and designer Kurt Weihs came up with the brilliant idea of inventing an imaginary creature they would call the Nauga. The idea was that Naugas were a rare and exotic creature who lived in Sumatra and shed their hide each year—resulting in Naugahyde. (Rest assured, it was all tongue-in-cheek and no Naugas are harmed for Naugahyde! But there many people actually believed the elaborate backstory about the Nauga being an actual animal—to this day questions are still raised!) The Nauga became so popular, he even made an appearance on Johnny Carson in 1966!

They took things to the next level when they offered a free Nauga doll with every Naugahyde reupholtering. These little Nauga dolls are totally collectible now, so if you see one…scoop it up! There are actually a few on eBay right now.

So remember that thrifting day when Greg came up to me clutching the Nauga? Well, I jokingly said to him, “Were there any more??” And he grinned and ran off….and came back with it’s identical twin. We thought it was hysterical (and hey, at 99 cents a piece how could we say no??).

I’m a big fan of the quirky spokesperson/ animals, so this guy makes me laugh! He’s a little bit ugly, a little bit kooky, a little bit spooky and a whole lotta playful! What do you think? Do you love this fella or does he freak you out?? haha. I guess the one thing he isn’t is cuddly!

Real Life:: A Date to the Bike Hop!

Confession: I love vintage bikes.

When I was in college, mountain bikes were all the rage, but I wanted a simple vintage bike to look like the young women that peddled around the campus in the fifties.

I was bemoaning this fact to one of the TAs in my dorm, who told me that in the basement of my dorm, there was the “bike jail” where they stashed confiscated bikes and there were bikes in there from the forties to last year.  And with a pair of scissors, I could easily “borrow” one of the bikes. No one knew what to do with them! One night I went down to the basement and “borrowed” the prettiest blue Schwinn from the sixties and peddled away. I like to think that its past owner was smiling somewhere.

And thus began my very long love affair with vintage bikes. I knew my sweetie Eric was meant for me when he professed a similar love.  In fact our first date was supposed to be a bike ride through golden gate park.

So, it was no surprise that Eric and I were determined to go to the local Bike Hop which was happening at our favorite tiki bar about a mile awhile from our house! We hired our next door neighbor to keep an eye on the Peach and peddled away on our little date.

Here is the magnificent steed I rode to the bike hop. Eric gave me this beauty as a Valentine’s Day present ages ago. I loved it so much that I refused to put it in the garage, but instead had it in our living room.  If a bike could be yar, this bike would be yar.

Here’s Eric on his faithful red beauty.

We biked off and were the first people at the hop. So, we ordered our “usuals” (Eric’s painkiller and my missionary’s downfall–with extra downfall) and snagged a great seated view to the bikes.

And, man, did we see some great old bikes.

And there was also a lot of great vintage dress watching too!

But the best (and biggest surprise) of the day was that I won for best girl’s bike!  Hot dog!

All in all a great date, to say the least.

Are you a fan of vintage bikes?




Vintage Olympics // ¡Viva Mexico 1968!

The year was 1968 and the Summer Olympics (or the Games of the XIX Olympiad, as they were officially called!) were held in Mexico City, Mexico. The Mexican Olympics were notable for many things: they were the first Games hosted by a Latin American nation, they were the first Games to feature a woman torch-bearer lighting the Olympic flame…they were the Olympics where more world records were broken than in any other prior Olympiad and they were the Olympics where two African-American athletes took a stand for human rights by infamously raising their black-gloved fists. But perhaps one of my favorite things about that Olympics? The innovative (and crazy excellent!) graphic design system created to celebrate these Games. The bar had been set high by Tokyo in 1964, and the Mexican Olympic committee wanted to make a similar splash.

Pedro Ramirez Vázquez, Chairman of the Organizing Committee and an important Mexican architect, took the lead on the design committee and eventually selected Lance Wyman as head graphic designer (USA) as well as Eduardo Terrazas (Mexico) as the lead on Urban Design.

Sketches and color explorations from inside Lance Wyman’s studio:

“As I recall there were only two mandatory requirements; that we use the official five ring Olympic symbol to identify the games, and that we use three languages—Spanish, English and French—for all written communication. The Mexico 1968 logotype, which was based on traditional forms from Mexican culture as well as being Sixties pp-art kinetic typography, set the tone for the entire graphics system. It was designed by integrating the official five ring Olympic symbol into the number “68” to create a parallel line typography that suggested imagery found in Mexican pre-Hispanic art and folk art. The logotype powerfully expressed a sense of place and culture and visually exclaimed the Games were in Mexico.”  —Lance Wyman

from The Olympic Image: The first 100 Years, Compiled & Edited by Wei Yew  © 1996

Ahhhhh! I just love everything about this look. That lettering is so terrific. And that hat?? Man. What a souvenir, eh? It’s so clever—combining traditional Mexican imagery with 1960s op-art. No wonder it’s so legendary!

They also created a simple but bold icon system to help code all the various events. And then, of course, there was the color.

“Colour and Mexico are synonymous. We used bright colour to code the sport events, the motor routes, the entry tickets, and the seating sections in the venues. We applied colour liberally to postage stamps, publication mastheads, souvenirs, and stadium plazas. Colour helped transform the 1968 Summer Olympic Games into a Mexican fiesta!” —Lance Wyman

The amazing thing was how the logo and graphic system was integrated into every visual aspect of the ’68 Games, from tickets to events, to stamps, postcards, signs, programs, even clothing!

I just love it….it’s still as fresh and modern today as it was back then. What do you think?

Chairman of the Board :: Vintage CLUE

Meet my favorite board game. Clue. This charming lil “murder mystery” detective game is really one the whole family can get into. The premise? Someone has killed Mr. Boddy and you must deduce WHO DONE IT! Players get to choose from 6 different “characters” (aka suspects) and you travel around Mr. Boddy’s mansion, collecting clues. The ultimate goal is to figure out who was the murderer, in what room he (or she!) killed Mr. Boddy and with which weapon. Sounds grisly but I promise ya, it’s not at all! The feels a bit like an Agatha Christie Miss Marple mystery—and because it’s not scary, its great fun for kids. Over the years they’ve released several different versions of the Clue board game, with the graphics updating to reflect the design of the time.  We love it so00 much we have four different sets! You might recall we also took it camping with us.


Clue first got its start in 1944 in Birmingham, England when solicitor’s clerk Anthony E. Pratt filed a patent for a game called “Murder!”   It was eventually licensed to Waddingtons (in the UK ) and to Parker Brothers (in North America, where it was renamed it simply “Clue”). Pratt’s original game was slightly different from the version finally released in 1949. Originally he had ten characters who would become suspects and eleven mansion rooms as possibilities for the scene of the crime—including a gun room and cellar.  Most intriguingly he had nine murderous weapons, including such gems as the axe,  a syringe, poison and the mysterious shillelagh. (!!!!)

Let’s take a look at one is one of my favorite versions, the 1963 edition. Just look at the cute illustrations!

Cuuuuuuuuuuute, yes?? I bet Mr. Green did it. With the shillelagh. Hee.

But as cute as this is, I have to confess my REAL favorite is the one I grew up with. That’s THIS 1972 version. And oh ho ho, is it different. You don’t get the same charmingly sweet drawings, but this version has the added layer of mystery and drama by showcasing actual actors as the characters. And oooh the drama!

I mean, look at that mysterious spray of broken pearls!  The cream colored princess phone that’s off the hook (literally and figuratively).  Amazing! I love the design of this edition so much…

I was always Miss Scarlet….and I was verrrrry transfixed by The Lounge. And The Ballroom. And ze candlestick. We played this game alot growing up. I still can hear my favorite aunt, Tante Maria counting out her prediction in her cute German accent, “It vas Mista Green, in de conservatory….mit de leadpipe!” My Uncle Max was always sneaky and would try and spy on us to see which portion of the notepad we were marking off when we got our clues (top portion meant person, middle was weapons, bottom was rooms!).

I love to see how they have updated the game over the years. The latest versions I’m not too keen on, but just look at these two. SO MUCH FUN!

OK friends. Do you love Clue?? And did you know there was a CLUE movie? I haven’t seen it in years but I remember loving it. I wonder if it has stood the test of time….hmmm. Perhaps I will cozy up in the Lounge with my candlestick and a copy of it this weekend!