Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Jonas Brothers Meet Our WAG Intern!!

WAG had to post this! When young people get this excited there is reason to celebrate! Yeah to our intern Lauren, who a week after interning with us, had the best day of her life, read on....

Jonas Day, Sept. first <33333
by Lauren Marie Pereny
Friday, September 3, 2010 at 10:12am

So yesterday I met the Jonas Brothers. It may have been the craziest and most surreal thing that has ever happened to me. I was nervous all day. It hadn’t really hit me until that morning, and then I started freaking. It’s crazy when you dream and wish for stuff and then it really happens. I’ve been waiting three years for yesterday.

I’ll start in the morning. So I found out at like 5:30 in the morning about some thing they were having at walmart when I was up with a stomach ache. So I text my friends and go back to sleep and long story short, we went. So when we got there at 11, there were 1,500 people already there, and they only gave away 500 wristbands. So we thought it would be a waste if we stood in the hot sun so we went inside and talked to some people and gave us a hint on where to go. So I wander off and I see a big group of people so I ask them what’s going on and I call my friends over and we waited for like, 45 minutes and then they - the Jonas Brothers!- walked through like ten feet away from us. There were only 30 of us, so it was crazy.

Moving on, I had no idea what was going on with my meet and greet until 5:30. I asked just about everyone in the whole venue where I needed to be and where were meeting and no one knew anything. It was bad. But I don’t want to dwell on that. It was all worth it. (:

So we’re waiting in line and the most wonderful thing happened. It started raining. Yes. Raining while I was waiting to meet the Jonas Brothers. But I met some super cool people in line and we kept each other sane.

But I’ll skip ahead. So we walk down the stairs and there’s the backdrop, and they’re right behind it. I feel like I’m going to puke all over someone, and I was just so excited it was crazy. So we walk up and I pushed the girls behind me to go first. So they go and I saw kevin’s hand and head and I was freaking. The guard asked me if I was going to pass out, I was like, uhhh, I’m meeting the Jonas brothers! So they tell me to go up and I shake my head and I’m like, I can’t do this. But I tiptoe around the corner and I see Kevin and I’m like, Kevin, omg!

I pretty much give him the biggest hug ever and just throw my arms around his neck. And he’s all like, thank you so much for coming, thank you for all your support and I’m like, mentally freaking out. So I see Nick, and omg, he’s so freaking gorgeous, omg omg omg. He had his headband in and I was all unffff. I hug him and he’s all hey, and then I see Joe and I looked into his eyes and I wanted to melt right there. I hug him and then I took a step back and I was like, what do you want me to say? You’re the Jonas brothers. I wanted to say something memorable and cool, but, you’ve heard it all. And Nick goes, just be like hey, what’s up. And Joe said, that’s lame Nick. LMAO. And Nick goes, so…how are you? How was your day? AND AT THIS MOMENT I AM FREAKING OUT BECAUSE IM TALKING TO THE JONAS BROTHERS AND NICK JONAS JUST ASKED HOW MY DAY WAS. I was all cool on the outside though. :P

So i was like, umm, you have no idea what it took me to get here. I had no idea what was going on and it was supposed to start at six and I didn’t want to miss it…and Joe was like, woah, that’s crazy, but you’re here now, so that’s good. I replied, yea, it was all worth it. And then I remembered the picture and I said to them, either we’re doing a cute pose or we’re all smiling. And I pointed at Nick and I was like you especially. And you too Joe. But Kevin’s always happy. And he laughed. KEVIN JONAS LAUGHED AT ME. So Nick was like we can all just smile. So I get in between Joe and Nick and the guy takes like 15 seconds to fix his camera, so I’m dying and then we smile and the security was like, alright keep moving. And I looked at Joe and hugged him again. Like a crazy tight intense hug and my face was all in his chest and I was like, ahshslfnslamjajala. He probably thought I was crazy. So I walk out and I’m like, bye, thank you for everything, I love you, sorry for freaking out, I’m just so excited. And they’re like, no you’re fine. And I walked up the stairs and started bawling and I felt retarded but the tears wouldn’t stop. I was sobbing. It was horrible. Lol.

But yes, most amazing thing ever. Sorry it’s so long.


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Why Volunteer? WHY NOT?!!

We all have such busy lives- professional lives, family lives, and friends. It’s sometimes hard to find a minute in the day to touch base with those you love and when you do, its mundane conversation like ‘whats for dinner’ or ‘can you pick up Matthew?’ We have such minimal time left for things that really matter- like the love and friendship of strangers, who may or may not, have similar life experiences.

How do you become involved with something that has absolutely nothing to do with you? Why would you bother? How can something that you never thought about ever in your life become a major life force that not only changes your life, but also drives your behavior? What entity can give you so much energy in the middle of your busy, busy life?

Volunteering. When you volunteer you expect nothing in return. You are giving your time, energy and efforts to something you know you won’t gain anything tangible but you will gain something that money can’t buy… a full heart. Volunteering is a way to share with the world your interests or talents that are unique to you.

A few months ago, WAG volunteered to assist in an invitation for a local fund raising event. The group, Corey’s Crusade, is a Piedmont, California group dedicated to raising funds to help find medicine and a cure for ALS. WAG assisted by creating the artwork for the invitation- a small task for a design firm. As every design project requires some insight, (we don’t design in a vacuum!) we had to do some research to see exactly what the cause was for, who the target audience was and the best way to communicate the message. As WAG began to ask these questions, WAG saw a need to further offer assistance to Corey’s Crusade and their battle with ALS.

Ted, Wendy, Corey and Claire Reich lead Corey’s Crusade. Together, they have raised over $1 million for research and are leading a national campaign to create a ‘Young Faces of ALS’ (YFALS) group. As Corey was diagnosed with ALS at the age of 21, the Reich Family has vested much of their time to bringing awareness and funding to this under-researched disease. Corey say’s it best on the YFALS Facebook page:

"For 70 years Lou Gehrig has been the face of ALS. Sadly, in that time, not a single effective therapeutic has been discovered and most Americans know little to nothing about the disease. It is time to put a new, younger, face on the disease. I hope to be that face, and raise not only awareness, but also the funding necessary to put an end to ALS."

How can that be?! How can the infamous speech of Lou Gehrig on the 4th of July 1939 have gone unheard? One of the most famous speeches in American history?! Lou Gehrig didn’t mention he was sick with a disease that would kill him in less than 3 short years – he died June 2, 1941. American’s loved Lou but they didn’t realize nor did they understand the full impact of his retirement; no momentum was born to assist others with the same disease that took the beloved New York Yankee’s first baseman. Not until now!

The Reich family, along with other families across America, are vigilant in working for a cure and they need help! They need research and research costs money! Who will contribute? How can we build awareness of this horrible disease? How do you get others to care? Why would anyone volunteer to help if they weren’t personally affected? This is a big challenge.

I can only think of one reason anyone would volunteer and that only reason is love: love for each other, love for mankind, love for people who have been given a diagnosis that one wouldn’t wish on their worst enemy. Can a design firm share this ‘love’? Can a design firm spread the ‘love’? WAG said YES we can! So WAG started a Facebook page for YFALS and in less then a month, the page had over 1000 fans but we didn’t stop there!

WAG designed the YFALS logo, awareness button, powerpoint template, letterhead, a restaurant promotion (thank you Adesso, Oakland!), t-shirt and we’re planning a Pub Crawl in Walnut Creek, CA in December. It wasn’t hard to get involved- we just utilized what we had- our design and promotion expertise! Everyone has an expertise and every expertise can be utilized by any group of volunteers.

You can volunteer too! You don’t need to have the disease or know someone with the disease – you only have to want to share your expertise with a group that really, really needs your help. You won’t get a paycheck or a free lunch, but your heart will fill with contentment knowing you are working to help others and that is something money can’t buy.

Please help WAG to bring awareness and funding to YFALS. Support the YFALS Facebook page by becoming a ‘fan’ or contact us to offer your expertise. WAG can assure you you’ll be glad you did, we are.

Click here to see more of WAG’s work for YFALS!

Click here to become a ‘fan’ of the YFALS Facebook page!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Wedding Bells

On August 7, 2010, after a year long engagement (and 10 years of dating), I got married. It was a perfect day full of friends, family, love, and dancing!

I loved every minute I spent in the year planning my wedding. Honestly, I never got to the point of horrible stress and frantic meltdowns. Part of that is due to my Type-A nature and love of events and planning, but the other part is owed 100% to my work. Most brides are able to plan their weddings in spite of their job, I however, could not have executed my wedding without the help of mine. The day after the wedding, a friend asked “what is the greatest tip you would give another bride after planning your wedding?” My reply “…get a job at a graphic design firm.”

Our wedding took place in my dad’s backyard in Sonoma, CA, and despite what many people initially think, a wedding at home takes MORE planning and logistics (and is no more cost effective) than renting an established venue. Nothing is provided, nothing is included, every single item needs to be created and brought in. We rented chairs, tables, a bar, benches, glassware, flatware, etc. So once I had figured out all the big items to accommodate our 130 guests, it was time to think about the little details that give every event their own unique personality.

The wedding invitations were clean and simple; moss green ink on ivory paper, mounted on thick, moss green paper. Our wedding ceremony took place under a big oak tree, so our invitation featured a faded out oak tree with a quote on the bottom that read “Every oak tree started out as a couple of nuts who decided to stand their ground”. I designed the stamp on zazzle.com to match the invitation, with two connected acorns and our initials, M+C, on the top. Thus, without even meaning to, a theme was born.

So why, you may ask, would my best advice for other brides be to get a job at a design firm? All the little details; the things that people barely notice, but that pull everything together and make an event look complete and well thought out, that no detail was spared. WAG designed ten coordinating pieces for me; table numbers, a giant seating chart, menu cards, stickers for the favor boxes, photo sharing cards, programs (attached to paper fans, they were adorable!), and signs to direct guests in the right direction. They also designed a map, an information card and a closure sticker, all for the welcome bag given to guests staying for the weekend at The Lodge at Sonoma. These were the types of details that I simply could not have done on my own, or that would have cost me thousands of dollars to have a stationery company design and print for me. Even though WAG did not design my invitations everything still coordinated with the invitation, matched its clean and simple aesthetic, and played with the oak tree and acorn theme.

I am confident that having a job at a graphic design firm saved my sanity. It’s tiny little details, like all of these things, that I would have wanted to do and had a picture of in my mind, but that even with my rather savvy Microsoft Word and Excel skills, never would have come out looking as perfect as they did. I was able to have even the smallest detail (like the photo sharing information card that directed our guests to upload the photos they took to a shutterfly.com sharing site) fit seamlessly into the rest of the wedding. All the ideas that I had and thought, “Oh, that would be so cute!” were ideas that I was able to have turned into reality…all because of my job. I really don’t know how other brides do it (without spending thousands of course).

While I’m sure that not everyone noticed all these details that I spent 2 months concocting, and most people didn’t say anything, I’m confident that our guests walked away thinking “that was beautiful and everything was so well done”. Our wedding had the exact personality I dreamed of; simple, welcoming, romantic and classy. It wasn’t the chairs we rented, or the tables, or the bar (although that helped!)- it was the little things, and all the thought and care that not only I, but my very talented co-workers put in to make August 7, 2010 perfect.

Morgan Nelson

For more photos, check out the WAG Flickr Page!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Observations on Shopping and Eating Local

I’ve been buying fruits and vegetables at our local farmers’ market for awhile now, and enjoy the experience. It’s great getting out early, chatting with the sellers (who more likely than not, are the owners of the family operations), running into friends, and having a breakfast pastry and tasting lots of vendor samples while strolling around. I really love the heirloom tomatoes, especially sliced up with some burrata, basil and olive oil. They’re much better than any I could grow, though my farming skills are pretty dicey, so the cards aren’t exactly stacked in my favor.

My wife Jan loves farmers’ markets more than I do, and she really goes out of her way to buy local products–she’s really “loco for local”. Last night she happily reminded me that the tuna in the Salad Nicoise was bought from a fisherman in Eugene, from one of our trips visiting our son at college. And the olive oil is from Corning, a stop on the way back from Eugene. Local in a roundabout sort-of-way.

Of course, not everything can be local. A lot of my shoes and clothes are made in Italy, though I know there are a lot of local clothes designers in the Bay Area–at least for women. My favorite sport is baseball, and Rawlings MLB baseballs are made in Costa Rica. (Interesting aside–a typical Major League game uses about 100 baseballs). And I‘m not a nutcase about local–it’s just interesting to know where the things you use and eat come from.

Speaking of good food, I recently noticed a burst on the front of my Lay’s Potato Chip bag (their regular potato chips rank as one of the world’s great snacks) and realized that even Frito-Lay, the world's biggest snack-food maker, is getting into the locally-made act. “Discover where your Lay’s chips are made” it proclaimed. (Don’t you just love to see bursts get noticed?).

They are focusing on 80 “local” farmers from 27 states who grow the potatoes used to make its chips. Want to know where your chips come from? Grab your bag and go to


and then enter your ZIP code and the first three digits of the product code from the bag and up comes the location of the plant from where they were made. Intrigued, I checked my potato chip bag and found out they were made in Modesto. The site goes on to say that Lay’s bought 283 million pounds of potatoes from California farmers last year. Which I’m sure helped out the local economy in the Central Valley tremendously.

"Knowing where food is made and grown is important to consumers," says Dave Skena, vice president of potato chip marketing at Frito-Lay. "Sharing with consumers how regional we are is relevant and compelling."

OK, Dave, calm down. It’s not that compelling. But it is interesting to see how very big companies can take a trend and run with it. And sometimes with weird twists–I’ve read of spas advertising “farm-to-spa” by integrating locally grown fruits and herbs into skin treatments and massage therapies. At least Lay’s is still taking the potatoes and frying chips. And though rabid locavores would probably insist on frying their own chips (I’ve done that–they’re tasty but pretty time consuming), the Lay’s ingredients are very straightforward: “Potatoes, Sunflower Oil, Salt."

My business partner, Francine Pinoni, is from Michigan. One of the Lay’s TV spots features Michigan farmer Brian Walther, who appears with his brother, Gary, in a spot that aired in that state and tells viewers: "Next time you grab a bag of Lay's in Michigan, think of us." Considering how many people Francine knows in Michigan, she may even know these guys.

"Lay's Local" was the brand's biggest 2009 campaign, and it seems to still be going strong. It doesn’t claim that its products are locally grown, but, rather, it’s “celebrating the contributions people and communities across the country have made to the Lay's brand."

And to their credit, the campaign reminds us that Frito-Lay is an American brand that supports American farmers in tough times. Just like I do, when I pick up my heirloom tomatoes each Sunday at the farmers’ market.

Bon App├ętit!

Jim Walcott-Ayers