eighty-eight: a letter + package for Raj

Raj is an amazing man, and remarkable doctor. Fourteen years ago he joined the U.S. Army Reserve; currently he is serving our country in Iraq. He sent word of his safe arrival and mentioned he was winning friends with his French Press (which he packed in lieu of deodorant). Raj’s stories are bone chilling and the work he and so many of our men are doing is truly heroic. I decided a little appreciation was in order.

March 30, 2011


My Dad forwarded your email and recent photos from the desert—your gear must weigh a ton! And your stories are so heart wrenching. It’s hard to imagine life in a war torn nation, especially the lengths people will go to in an effort to generate fear.

Thank you for aiding the wounded soldiers who are so earnestly protecting our country. I think what you are doing is so admirable. And thank you most of all for being so brave, so that the rest of us don’t have to be. Our country is so appreciative of your sacrifices (even if we aren’t always the best about showing our gratitude).

I packed you a couple of essentials—the deodorant you left behind (appropriately in Swagger scent), a replenishment of coffee beans and the coveted Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue. Something tells me it will win you even more friends than the caffeinated brew.

I hope the next few months of duty fly by and you’re back at home with your wife and daughter in no time. Thank you again for your service to our country.

All the best,


favorite design

eighty-two: in memory of Elizabeth Taylor

On March 23, 2011 the world lost a legend. Elizabeth Taylor was more than a Hollywood starlit—she was a tireless advocate for AIDS research. I am a sucker for anyone with a cause (and an ah-mazing collection of jewels).

March 24, 2011

Dear Elizabeth,

I hope you’re resting in peace comfortably. I imagine you lounging on a red velvet chaise, looking gorgeous as always. Your family surrounded you in your final moments. And today they laid you to rest—fifteen minutes after schedule, just as you requested.

Your violet eyes captivated audiences and dozens of suitors—you are a film legend. Most impressively, you championed a noble cause: AIDS research. You helped raise more than $100 million dollars and boosted public awareness. I hear you really lived life to the fullest, which I greatly admire. I know your children couldn’t be more proud of you or the legacy you leave behind. And your fans, well, you will live forever in our hearts and on the silver screen. Rest in peace.



P.S. I’m so sorry all the newspaper headlines scream Liz—I know you really hated that moniker.

P.P.S. Who got all your fabulous jewels?

seventy nine: a letter for a brilliant teacher

Confession: I really loathe math. And while I’m no longer forced to do long division, I still feel a lingering resentment for numbers.

It all started with a ski trip. While I was earning gold stars in ski school, the rest of my fourth grade class was mastering their multiplication tables. I returned, behind, and frustrated. It took me longer than I’d like to admit to learn them (if we’re laying it all out there, I still get stuck on the x 12’s). And so began my aversion to numbers…

Despite it all, my favorite teacher in high school was a math teacher. My tests were red-pen central (I had a tutor too!), and still I adored and respected this lovely lady. She and her husband have a charming special needs son named Timothy. And the family grew by one in 2010—they adopted a daughter named Rebecca from the Ukraine. I could not be in more awe of this woman—then or now.

March 21, 2011

Ms. Meyers,

I know you said I could call you Kathi at graduation nearly ten years ago, but it still doesn’t feel right, especially  in formal correspondence.

May I just say, I was just thrilled to reconnect with you on facebook! I sigh a little, knowing you are no longer teaching. I’m sure you made the right decision for you and your family, but I just keep thinking of all those troubled students who will never experience math enlightenment!

I am continually amazed by your strength and patience with Tim. I can’t believe how much he’s grown. And that dog of his is adorable! But I was most thrilled to learn about the newest addition to your family. I poured over your blog entries and cried as I read the story of your journey to adopt from the Ukraine. Rebecca is one lucky girl. And you are one selfless lady.

Your courage and conviction are an inspiration to me. Perhaps we will reconnect properly, in person, one of these days. Until then, I wish your whole family continued blessings.

All the best,


Simple Song

seventy-seven: sympathy for Japan

Heartfish Press: 100% of  the proceeds of this lovely letterpress print go to the earthquake and tsunami relief effort in Japan (purchase here).

I am just heartbroken over the recent events in Japan. It seems like the whole world is crumbling, bit-by-bit. I was particularly moved to hear the stories about people helping each other—no looting or chaos, but selflessness in the face of extreme adversity. I’m not sure I would behave so well.

March 19, 2011

To The People of Japan,

My thoughts and prayers are with your country at this difficult time. I cannot imagine your loss or the harrowing road ahead. I am so awed by your courtesy and willingness to help one another. It is admirable.

And to the courageous men and women involved in the nuclear crisis at Fukushima, I commend and thank you. Your commitment to Japan and your incredible determination are beyond words. You are true heroes.

May you receive aid and assistance expeditiously. And may you be comforted knowing that people all over the world are wishing you well during this difficult time.

With Sympathy,


seventy-five: luck for Lonny’s Michelle Adams

Friends, I had the distinct pleasure of speaking with Michelle Adams of Lonny Magazine fame this past Saturday. She was a complete delight (I have to admit I was a little star struck). In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, I’m sending a wee bit of luck her way… a day early.

March 16, 2011

Dear Michelle,

I just wanted to wish you luck on your tv segment this week. I know you will be a sensation (just like the last few shows). That Nate Berkus is one lucky man!

As I mentioned on Saturday, I just adore what you’ve done with Lonny! Simply brilliant! You are leading the charge of online magazines and doing a damn good job. I hope you pat yourself on the back at least twice a day. Thanks for bringing a little beauty and decorating genius to my inbox. And extra thanks for being so lovely in real life.

So, lots of luck! I can say with complete confidence, your outfit is a total showstopper, wink.



Dee & Lala


seventy-three: cheers for Alex

My dear friend Alex just completed her Masters in Photography in London (big cheers!). A few weeks later she packed up and headed west, to San Diego. She’s settling in and has a running wish list: a proper job, new friends, and a lovely apartment to call her own. I wish I had a magic wand to make it all happen lickety-split. Since these things can take time, I’m sending Alex a letter of encouragement and this lovely chambray shirt. I hope she likes it!

March 14, 2011

Darling Palex,

I am so very proud of you—you and that Masters are big time! And such high marks too, what a superstar. I know someone will snatch you up in no time. While you’re waiting, take some photographs lady. My walls are longing for more of your work!

I know we’re both rotten at change, but I hope you can embrace your new city and grow to love it like you (now) love London. At least you’ll have more sunshine and brother along for the ride. Oh, and the French Toast at The Brockton Villa in La Jolla will cheer you silly. And if ever things get really grave, just put on the ruby red slippers and dance. It works every time!

I know good things are in store for you friend. I can feel it. Congratulations on your success and your new beginning! I am so excited for you!



P.S. The gum is for your new friends—everyone appreciates a friend who has gum, wink.

Paper+Cup Design

sixty-eight: a letter for a brave girl

I recently found out someone I know is sick. And it is very unlikely she will get better. I know a letter won’t change her prognosis, but I wanted her to know I’m thinking of her.

March 9, 2011

To the Brave Girl with the Awesome Shoe Collection:

I’m not sure there are any right words for circumstances like these, but I wanted you to know I am thinking about you. Always. Since you shared your news, I haven’t been able to get you off my mind. I am so sorry this is happening to you—you are the least deserving of such luck. I can’t begin to imagine what this must be like for you.

In a relatively short time I’ve come to admire your spirit—you’re such a hard worker and always eager to lend a hand. You’ve got a great heart and excellent taste in shoes (if I do say so myself). I admire you. I know I wouldn’t be half as brave in the face of such adversity.

If there is anything I can do for you, now or down the road, please let me know. I know there are a lot of people out there who care for you and support you. Just think of me as one of the local ones. If you ever need to talk, rant, cry—I’m here. I really do mean that.

With complete respect and admiration,


kate spade

sixty-seven: a letter for Women For Women

International Women’s Day has been observed for years and years (it dates back to the 1900’s). But I love that it’s gotten more and more attention in recent years. It’s even an official holiday in twenty-six countries; men honor their mother’s, wives, girlfriends, etc. with token gifts. How neat is that?!

Women for Women is an organization that champions this effort year round. They give hope to women survivors of war, aiding them financially and providing skills to help them establish self-sufficient businesses. So in honor of IWD, I made a donation to the organization and sent along thanks to the people who make it all possible.

March 8, 2011

To the Brains + Muscle Behind Women For Women,

A sincere thank you to the dedicated employees and volunteers of your organization. I am honored to support such a worthy cause, and proud to see all the good work you are doing in war-torn countries. You are changing thousands of lives and impacting entire nations. Thank you for raising awareness and for giving those women a voice that can be heard.



kate spade (who partners with this organization: check it out!)

sixty-three: a letter to the Store Manager at Starbucks

I am particularly fond of small acts of kindness, helping a blind person cross the street, assisting a mother and her baby carriage up the subway stairs… it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. But what I love most of all is catching someone else in the act. It reminds me that there is goodness in the world.

March 4, 2011

Dear Starbucks Store 16211 Manager,

I wanted to share with you an experience I had in your store on March 2nd.

An older gentleman and his service dog were standing around the beverage pick up zone—he was confused about where to order. When the man realized he was in the wrong place and saw the snaking line, he decided to forgo the coffee. One of your schedule managers Alneis (I’m most definitely butchering his name, my sincere apologies) observed the situation unfolding and sprang into action. He approached the man and got him his “black coffee.” The old man was elated, flashing a “thumbs up” to his waiting friends.

I was so pleased to witness this small act of kindness that made someone’s day. I applaud the efforts of Alneis and wanted you to know about his quick thinking and expert customer service. He inspired me to do something equally nice for a stranger.



Mudlark Stationery

thirty-seven: a letter for David Nicholls

One Day is a love story that spans twenty years. I fell for the characters and weeped when it was over. I would tell you to read it immediately but I am always a little wary of making recommendations. I will say, this story touched me and will stay with me always. One of David’s characters (Emma) longs to be a writer. I chuckled over this bit of the book, a girl after my own heart:

“She drinks pints of coffee and writes little observations and ideas for stories with her best pen on the linen-white pages of expensive note-books. Sometimes, when it’s going badly, she wonders if what she believes to be a love of the written word is just a fetish for stationery. The true writer, the born writer, will scribble words on scraps of litter, the back of bus tickets on the wall of a cell. Emma is lost on anything less than 120gsm.”

Dear Mr. Nicholls,

I absolutely loved your novel One Day. Hats off to you!

Great Expectations is my favorite book of all time. I re-read it often and had just finished the passage you quote in Part One when I picked up your book. In other words, you had me from the beginning. And then this beautiful story unfolds and I find myself totally wrapped up in your characters. I rooted for Emma and Dexter with every turn of the page, cringing at moments and crying at others. I didn’t want their story to end or yours for that matter. I really delighted in the ending—you gave me time to dry my eyes and collect myself before the last page. Brilliant! It also should go without saying—I LOVED the letters most. More people ought to write letters. And like Emma, I often wonder if my love for the written word is just a fetish for stationery.

Upon finishing the book I went immediately to your website (I wanted more!) where I promptly listened to songs from Emma’s mix tape for Dexter and then wandered over to your blog. I’m quickly becoming a groupie. I look forward to ‘watching’ the story of Em + Dex on the big screen this summer. In the meantime, I will hope like hell that you’re hard at work on another wonderful read with equally lovely characters.

All the best + continued success,


Sugar Paper