November 15, 2013


It started last July during a stay in Lincoln City. 

Sitting on a piece of driftwood, watching the waves alone, I stopped being frustrated by things that were out of my control and things Id tried to change without success.

I looked at my frustration in a different way, and I realized that the spectrum of my creative direction skills are much wider than what Ive been using. I also realized I needed an additional outlet for these creative abilities—one that friends and coworkers had actually been pointing me to for years. 

Those thoughts were the seeds of the side/passion* project I want to tell you about today.

Its called LierreStudio, and its my own way of providing concepts and creative direction to individuals and small businesses. (Details are at the newly launched

One thing thats inspired me, and that helps bolster my courage, is the community of creators and entrepreneurs in PDX who meet, discuss and support one another. Im ready to be a more active participant in that community, rather than someone who sporadically engages. Because I know I cannot completely build something new on my own. And I cannot be perfect, either. I will need help and encouragement at times. I will want to return what I receive, too.

Thats my way of asking if youd keep an eye on me while Im getting warmed up (even if youre not in PDX). Send me a link to an article or presentation or event you think might be helpful. Talk to me more about what my plans are. Collaborate with me. Maybe give me a chance.

A handful of you are already connected to LierreStudio. If you're not one of them, please check out the site, and follow LierreStudio on Twitter and Pinterest.

Thanks for reading and letting me share this new adventure with you.   


* Yes, this is currently a side project. I am still employed as an ACD and wont take on any assignment that represents a conflict of interest.

November 12, 2013

extended snooze

Although I’ve tried a few methods to really get back into consistently blogging here, none of them have been successful.

Image credit: Jesse Lefkowitz (image has been recolored)

In the past four months, the reason has been my time and energy were more focused on a new project (I will share more about that here this evening later this week).

I’m not sure if this blog will fade away, or if it will return in a different form after a period of hibernation. I hope the latter is the case, but who can say what the future holds?

October 19, 2013


You’ll be the kind of guy
who would never wear pink
but will acquiesce to painting
a small powder room a hint
of it—the color maple leaves
appear as they twist from
red to orange

The shade will be further
acceptable in your mind
when I tell you that we will
hang selected rectangles
from the Periodic Table,
a school-aged favorite
of yours and mine

bitter rival

I was expecting Sleigh Bells’ latest album, Bitter Rival, to be like their first two: brilliant and fun in a few places, but generally too loud and unruly.

Reader, I was wrong.

True, it is still loud and unruly in places, but the band has found a way to make that feel more approachable. It’s pop-rock-punk enjoyment that sounds like imagined high school memories—if high school had been the cinematic kind I’d hoped to have (and that no one probably ever does).

October 16, 2013

carry out with care

When you have an idea you’re passionate about and you have the skills to begin executing it, do yourself a favor.

Don’t tell everyone what you’re planning to do.

No matter how hard you’re working or how determined you are, some people just can’t (or won’t) recognize your idea’s potential, and their lack of support can be damaging. Some of these people will share opinions with you based on what they believe is linear, logical thinking; they will also believe they’re being helpful. Unfortunately, some people’s intentions won’t be as kind. Their jealousy or insecurities will led them to be dismissive or otherwise harsh.

You don’t need any of that.

What you need is a few trusted friends to wholeheartedly support you—whether they’d make the same kind of leap you’re making or not. Share your ideas with these people. Let them be a boost when you need help.

And if you can’t immediately find anyone who fits that category, hide your plans in your heart until you can.

October 11, 2013

Badweek Friday

Laziness doesn’t compel her
(How could it do much at all?)
Still, she slumps away from
the muse, the goals, the plans 
she digitally chiseled out for you

The side of her right pinkie
wont be stained blue tonight
but something inside her has 
Its grown cold and colder still,
worn, and sadly regretful, too

October 10, 2013

a familiar paradise

Although it’s not a commercial network, PBS clearly uses the networks’ technique of trying to replicate a particular show’s success. But this was never so evident as it was last Sunday night, when the first episode of The Paradise aired.

Let’s see. Mr. Selfridge, a series about an ambitious, slightly offbeat merchant with a thrilling department store, featuring an earnest shopgirl with a bit of pluck, and the requisite period-piece dramatic subplots, is a hit on PBS.

Why not show another series about an ambitious, slightly offbeat merchant with a thrilling department store, featuring an earnest shopgirl with a bit of pluck, and the requisite period-piece dramatic subplots?

Photos: BBC (uncredited) and John Rogers/ITV

In truth, The Paradise is based on an Emile Zola novel, which was written about 130 years before the Mr. Selfridge series was written and The Paradise aired before Mr. Selfridge did on the BBC.

That’s just not how things unfolded at PBS, so The Paradise seems to be an attempt to capitalize on Mr. Selfridge’s success. It was difficult to watch the former without making comparisons to the latter, and that tarnished the show for me a bit. Although I did enjoy it. 

The comparison also made me wonder if the real Selfridge was aware of Zola’s novel, which was published before he established his store, and if it (or public response to it) influenced him in any way. Just add that one to the research list.

October 9, 2013

not waiting 30 years

I met with a financial planner late last spring, and it was a strange experience for me. None of my answers about what I wanted to do with my future seemed to satisfy him. I’m not sure what he wanted me to say, but I wonder if it had something to do with having a lot more money.

I did not see him again. Nor did I look for another planner.

The thing is, I could make an improvement or two in what I do with my money, but I’m not keen on the idea of planning for this supposedly magical time in the future called retirement. It’s not denial. In fact, it’s the opposite. Financial planners and brokerage firms would have us believe that someday—when we retire—we will have the ability to do whatever we want.

Perhaps we will. Perhaps not.

One of my family members is retired and this person’s dreams for retirement included traveling. But a major health issue has prevented that.

As appealing as it may be to imagine we can create a financial cushion to lounge upon in the future, there are some things we cannot plan for and some things money cannot fix.

I don’t want to wait to live a hoped-for life until I am 65 or 70. I want to live in this moment. There are sacrifices that come along with that, just as there are sacrifices with waiting. But the one difference is that my short-term circumstances are more easy to predict and make plans around than my long-term circumstances.

Since that sort of thinking is not in the interests of financial firms, we can all expect to be subjected to commercials like the following. It riled me up so much, I just had to write this post for this week’s Wildcard Wednesday.

October 4, 2013


He cannot be bothered
with details and the little
inconsistencies in what
little he does know

All he can see is gold
a distant glimmer, a vain
hope he says he wants
instead of true love

October 3, 2013

happy book

I don’t really have anything to review this week, so I’ll give you brief, initial thoughts on a book I’m currently reading, The Geography of Bliss by Eric Weiner.

Generally, I like it. It’s interesting, funny and well written.

It’s the author’s exploration of happiness around the world—which places have (or seem to have) the happiest residents, what constitutes happiness in different countries, and how our perceptions of what’s needed for happiness are or are not accurate.

I’m not exactly sure if he’ll come to some sort of general conclusion about happiness and place, but I’m guessing not. Because it seems like one of those mysteries that people debate for centuries—or even millennia—without ever really solving. But who knows? The scientists researching the topic may surprise us.

Something I’ve particularly enjoyed so far is the chapter on Iceland, which includes a true story about a man who visited there on one of Icelandair’s famed stopovers and fell so hard for the place he moved there soon afterward. That definitely resonated. Honestly, I am still wondering about moving there.

Here’s an excerpt from that chapter:

“But the number crunchers at the World Database of Happiness say that, once again, we’ve got it wrong. Climate matters, but not the way we think. All things considered, colder is happier. The implications of this are tremendous. Maybe we should all be vacationing in Iceland, not the Caribbean. And global warming takes on added significance. Not only does it threaten to ravage ecosystems, flood coastal cities, and possibly end life on earth, it’s also likely to seriously bum us out.”

I like that. A lot.

September 26, 2013

not super

Oh, how I was looking forward to seeing Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Oh, how disappointing it was.

I really wanted to stop watching after ten minutes, but I decided to stick with it. I hoped it would improve and that there might be some foreshadowing of more intriguing storylines (or subplots) to come. I hoped I would end up caring about the characters.


I was bored.

I missed the days of Alias and Heroes—two shows with similar themes but executed in much, much better ways.

And that’s all I have to say about that.

September 25, 2013

...of odds and ends...

1. I like this commercial although it makes me feel old—the same way hearing the Cure while grocery shopping does. I almost wish commercials and stores were still playing my parents’ music.

2. The bit at the end is great, but can we please retire the something-funny-happens-during-a-meeting-around-a-big-conference-table technique (at least for a few years)?

3. Twelve years ago, during a First Thursday night out in Portland’s Pearl District, I saw a large-scale painting that reminded me of the Take on Me video. I really wanted it (and not just because of the video). Yet I believed I couldn’t even think about affording an original painting. I wish I had thought otherwise. It will always be the one that got away.

4. a-ha is still one of my favorite bands, and while I love, love, love Take on Me, I prefer many of the songs from the collections that followed Hunting High and Low, including Memorial Beach and Minor Earth, Major Sky (sadly, you cannot purchase the later on iTunes).

September 20, 2013

noble woods park

I don’t know what to say to you, park of my heart
Even calling you such a thing (regardless of what
the city’s plaque says) is not quite enough

You are the barely tamed woods, Nature herself,
a facet of the Divine hidden from traffic and fabs,
strip malls and quickly built subdivisions that
cannot be bothered with quiet, green mysteries

You are some of the best moments and days
of my childhood, when I snuck off with friends
from the safety of our neighborhoods to find you

We wandered on trails (and off) in places like you
Adventurous and fearless, we believed nothing bad
could happen and the future didn’t concern us

Now I know we received the gift of contentment
Just as I know I cannot fully accept it today as you
reach into my heart to plant another present: hope

It’s a hope that one day I will not walk alone 
in your twists and turns alone and that contentment
will become something deeper and softer still

September 19, 2013


* Two rentals and a new release *

Cloud Atlas: As predicted, it took liberties with the book seemingly to make a point about something that the book left ambiguous. But that didn’t bother me much. What did was the opening that introduced all the stories right away, rather than letting them unfold one-by-one as the book did. It also didn’t play up the stories’ different genres as well as the book did, and I especially found this to be the case with the musician and reporter stories.

Quartet: It’s a boring movie with a great cast. There, I said it. 

The Spectacular Now: I thought this was going to be one type of movie, but it turned out to be something else. And I love it for that. Some may not. Some may be disappointed that the fun John Hughes-style high school flick darkens, but it’s necessary, it’s real, and it somehow still manages to land in a hopeful place. The cast is great, too. You’ve probably never seen Kyle Chandler as you will here.

* Fashion *

Keaton Row: I was thrilled to find out about this website with a free styling service, since I have been without that type of assistance since Casey moved to NYC. The idea doesn’t quite live up to the execution. I was teamed with a stylist who had pretty good suggestions, but they were all items that sold out between the brief time she recommended them and the time I tried to order them. I’m also returning the two things I did order because it turned out they violated two “don’ts” I specified for the stylist. Plus, she never followed up with me about the feedback I had on the lookbooks she created for me. Next!

Philip Lim for Target: Oh, how I wish all the ads and promotion about this line had been much, much clearer that it would be available in a limited amount of stores. Had I known that, I would have shopped online at midnight on the release date rather than going to my nearest Target, discovering the line wasn’t available there, and then seeing everything I wanted was sold out online. Sigh.

* Eating *

Bethany’s Table: I live in a suburban area, and generally I am really happy with my decision to live where I do. However, finding delicious, nearby places to eat is difficult. As many of you know, I heart @decarlipdx. Mingo (West) is pretty good, too. But up until recently, that was it. I am thankful that Bethany’s Table, which opened a couple of years ago, has improved to the point that it consistently offers the same quality I’d enjoy within the city. And I am really looking forward to next month when they restart brunch service.

September 18, 2013

personal fit

A blogging friend, Dale Sheffield, recently posted the following on her Facebook page.

"About losing weight (because some people have asked): The basic formula is "eat less, move more" but how that applies varies from person to person. That's why there are thousands of different diet plans and workout routines. Try something and if it doesn't work or you don't like it try something else. It took me over 5 years to find the perfect combination of things for my brain and my body. My three main pieces of advice: (1) Don't compare yourself to anyone. (2) Don't ever give up. (3) Believe you are worth it."

I think that’s one of the best things I’ve ever read about losing weight, and she knows what she’s talking about; she’s lost a significant amount of weight while also visibly gaining strength.

Her quote also mirrors some of what Mireille Guiliano talks about in French Women Don’t Get Fat, which I read this past May and have basically adopted as my own approach to losing the few pounds that have crept on in the past couple of years. In addition to acknowledging that there’s not exactly a one-size-fits-all approach to obtaining and maintaining a healthy weight (i.e., the things I need to cut back on aren’t necessarily the things you need to cut back on), here are a few things I love about it:

1. It takes a long-term view. Using the book’s approach to weight loss, it might take three months to see a change and even double that to get where you want to be. This can be frustrating in our gotta-have-it-now culture, but it feels like much less of a hardship and has allowed good habits to take hold better than other things I’ve tried in the past. It takes the focus away from getting to a certain size or shape and shifts it to something sustainable: a healthy, yet entirely pleasurable, way of life.

2. It doesn’t demonize food. In fact, it does the opposite. It has encouraged me to enjoy the very best food I can, truly savor everything I eat, and allow certain kinds of foods to be treats—something I don’t experience every day so am more likely to appreciate it.

3. It promotes increasing everyday exercise rather than hardcore, boot camp-style fitness. While I loved the Crossfit training one of my friends provided before closing her studio, it was an added expense and not always easy to fit into my schedule. But walking more often isn’t either of those things. Taking the stairs instead of the elevator isn’t. And neither is using at-home fitness apps for a quick tabata workout or going for a run.

Those are just the things that are working for me. But I’m all for whatever works for you—as long it’s not harmful. (P.S. That applies to more that personal health and fitness, too.)

smoke signals

August 25, 2013

september restart

Today I want to tell you that I’ll be using a new schedule and structure for this blog beginning next month.

I will be posting three times a week: Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.

And yes, I’ve succumbed to the bloggy tendency toward alliteration, which means:

Wildcard Wednesdays: This is when general musings or occasional silliness are likely to appear. Or I may stick to poetry—haiku or a revision of a previously posted poem.

Thumbs Thursday: On this day of the week, you’ll see my own like/dislike (thumbs up/thumbs down) list of recent things I’ve seen, read, eaten, etc.

Free Verse Fridays: Can I write and post one new poem a week. Sure, why not?

Thank you for your patience as I’ve spent the bulk of this year figuring out what I wanted this blog to be. I’m hoping this is the key I’ve been seeking.

* fingers crossed *

polishing in progress

Abstract ivy leaf? 
Multifaceted gem? 
Mark of the future? 

Wait and see...

August 8, 2013


Today I want to tell you about three different facets of lierre.

1. lierrepoet: Yes, this is where you are. I am getting closer to refining this blog to be more focused on poetry, while also incorporating imagery and a regular posting schedule (probably not daily, but more than weekly, too).

2. lierrestudio: Until recently (as in yesterday morning), this was simply the URL and name for my portfolio site. When I came up with the name and procured the domain, I thought it might be useful for something else in the future. To be notified when the future coalesces, visit the site and get on the In-the-Know list. Note: in a way, this has something to do with the importance of side projects.

3. mslierre: This is the new URL and name for my portfolio site. Since I’m also known as MsLierre on Twitter and Pinterest, this seemed like an obvious replacement.

style & life advice

Here’s an exchange that happened today on Twitter that ended in a brilliant don’t-think-I won’t-do-it idea.

@MsLierre Coworker to me “You’re fashion-minded. Should I tuck my shirt in?”

@tbrandis What is the proper rule for tucking when wearing toe shoes and a hemp shirt?

@MsLierre In that instance, tucking is not necessary. But going home to change and maybe become a grown-up is.

@tbrandis you could start a whole PDX fashion advice blog where the only advice was go home and become a grown-up.

always with me

Today it comes into view
a crystal, a gem, a shiny stone
I can wear as a decoder ring

And I do wear it

And I do see what it reveals

That bright, quiet moments
causing my belly to flutter
and my heartbeat to slow to
a steady, meditative rhythm
were never about him at all

They weren’t a flash of
biblical prognostication
about his return or our future

I don’t know if they were
more or less selfish than that
but they appear to be like
unchanging truth governing
the ways of the universe

Bubbling up in me

Thrumming as a cello

It is the very thing I’ve been
running to and hiding from
poetry, my own

two week echo

I haven’t read a book in two weeks.

That’s what happens when you read a book you like so much that you just have to savor it awhile.

This time, it was Khaled Hosseini’s And the Mountains Echoed.

Wow, wow, wow.

Beautiful. Lovely. And a bunch of other gushy words I just cannot even think of because the book left me dumbstruck with how well done it was.

I hope you will read it and enjoy it as much as I did.

July 31, 2013

goodbye july

Today I want to tell you that I have not disappeared.

Usually when I go weeks without posting it’s because things are stupidly exhausting. And there were definitely dumb reasons why my energy was drained this time around.

Yet there was an interesting and refreshing reason why I didn’t have time to post, too. I cannot say more than that at this point, but there are a couple of other things I’ll want to tell you soon(ish).

Until then, I will probably being communicating more through Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest than I do here. Connect with me in those ways if you haven’t already.


July 14, 2013


I’m amazed at how much easier it was to think clearly (and often poetically) in the past 11 days.

It was refreshing.

It was what vacations should always be.

If you haven’t taken one lately, do it. A day or two is not enough. Get away from the everyday, get away from the person you’ve let yourself become due to the hectic pace of the working world.

I wish this for you.

desperate moment

I didn’t mean to
turn the music up
quite so loud
nor did I mean to
drive away with
such audible speed
the way a teenage boy
in his overblown
four-door Honda
would to assert
his presence
But unlike him
I immediately knew
that it wasn’t
fooling anyone
not even

micro book reviews

I’m reading lots again! I love it. I missed it.

Here are super brief reviews of my recent reads.

Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls by David Sedaris: his funniest collection since Me Talk Pretty One Day. LOL funny

Who Could That Be at This Hour? by Lemony Snicket: a fun mystery with a whole bunch of quirky characters, including Snicket himself; the first of a four-part series (I look forward to reading the rest)

Best Kept Secret by Jeffrey Archer: This is the third book in the literary equivalent of a soapy British period piece; I enjoyed the first and second books in the series, but this one was exasperating (probably because it felt too soapy)

The Blue Bistro by Elin Hilderbrand: it’s chick lit, which I rarely read anymore, but it was a quintessential summer read that I needed when everything else in my life felt heavy

Pure by Julianna Baggott: the first book in a YA dystopian series; never heavy-handed, but fascinating in many ways

Sisterland by Curtis Sittenfeld: I thoroughly enjoy Sittenfeld’s writing, even when I’m not happy about the choices the main characters make; I saw one of the revelations toward the end of the book coming, the others were little surprises that made me realize I’d been making certain assumptions with the characters all along

And now I’m a quarter of the way through Khaled Hosseini’s And the Mountains Echoed. I’m really liking it so far. I’ll let you know what I think when I’ve finished.

July 11, 2013

dinosaurs & toddlers

When I graduated from college in 1996, I entered the advertising world in an in-between sort of time. Digital was ever-so-slowly getting warmed up, and since most traditional agencies didn’t really get it, interactive-focused shops started popping up and a schism began to form between the old and new ways of communicating about products and services. And even though I was just starting out, I had experience with both. I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised about the arrogance on both sides about their superiority, but I was and still am. Here are short open letter-type messages to both.

Traditionalists, as much as I admire your sentiments about the importance of creating great work—even if it makes your clients (and perhaps the audience) nervous—the template for what constitutes great work is worn. So, so, so worn. Being funny or provocative isn’t enough anymore. People see right through it. They don’t want it and don’t have time for it. There are exceptions—I think of Old Spice Guy as one of them—but increasingly they are just the springboard to something more innovative and interesting. And being interesting might not look the way you expect. Likely, it’s much more simple.

Technologists, I like the way you often focus more on current and potential customers more than the work itself. But I wish you’d get treated for your frequent bouts of analysis paralysis and that you wouldn’t take “good ideas can come from anywhere” so literally. When I work with you, I see how easily great ideas can lose momentum, as well as the ineffectiveness that happens when people don’t really know what their roles are. Also, consider that UX was once an inherent part of what art directors and writers did when organizing content for print pieces. Digital and print ARE different, but they have more similarities than you know. Learn from the past, yo.

I wrote this post after reading (and both agreeing and disagreeing with) The Dinosaurs of Cannes; seeing the simple way a product was portrayed in this video; and considering the way Epipheo communicates for their clients.

1:01 ocean

If you need a petite escape, travel back in time with me to yesterday morning, on a beach in Lincoln City, where the wind whipped, the sun started breaking through the clouds, and the waves were at their Oregon beachy best.