An Ode to Lisa Frank

August is finally upon us. As summer winds down and the days become shorter this time of year usually means one thing for many people – back to school shopping. I can’t help but get a little nostalgic around this time of year. I remember being in elementary school, carefully milling over the school supply section of kmart or the now extinct Hills department store selecting only the best school supplies my parents’ money could afford me.

For elementary school girls in the early to mid 90’s this usually meant one thing – Lisa fucking Frank. Like a dayglow nightmare, she was there to separate the “cool” girls from the plain Jane solid notebooks, and no one at that time wanted to be plain Jane solid notebook. For those that don’t remember or never experienced Lisa Frank, it was the fillet Mignon of school supplies.

Similar to many fads Lisa Frank took the school supply world by storm, then vanished seemingly overnight. It’s been years since I’ve noticed even a pencil pack, that is until now…

ImageThere I was at the Dollar Tree grabbing a few notebooks and suddenly it appeared. A wave of nostalgia came over me, gave me a swift punch in the face, and now there was no going back. I wanted it… no I needed to buy this book of stickers. My entire childhood was right there for sale, and it was only $1.

As insane as it sounds I instantly needed to find more. I went to every drugstore in town hoping to find a folder, a notebook, maybe even a pack of pencils, but my search turned up nothing. Surly Ms. Frank must still exist, but where?

After getting home, perplexed by my find I decided to look it up. A quick google turned up her official website A few items showed up on amazon and ebay respectively but otherwise, nothing.

If anyone has any leads on to where to find new or vintage Lisa Frank items, feel free to leave a comment.

Bonus: Here’s an example of what one of my many notebooks may have looked like circa 1994-95.



Jake’s Candy Fun Pack


I originally posted about this on my tumblr http:// but I felt that the true beauty of Jake’s Candy Fun Pack couldn’t truly be admired in that format, which is why I’m writing about it here.

Few things thrill and excite me as much as a surprise grab bag – or in this case fun pack. It could be a bag full of used catheters and 20 year old fruit cake and I’d still buy five of them. Something about the allure and excitement of random crap thrown together into a neat little package makes my eyes light up like a kid on Christmas morning.  Before I reveal the contents of the fun pack, allow me to provide some back story on it’s origins.

There I was, 11:30am at the Bargain Warehouse.  For those that have never experienced the Bargain Warehouse it’s a hodgepodge of overwhelming randomness. It’s not uncommon for a pile of mattresses to be neatly arranged next to a box full of random auto junk. Literally, their inventory is out in bins that sorting through has become a new favorite past time of mine.

Sorting through one of such random bins full of Jeff Foxworthy quote keychains and Scarface cigarette rolling machines I glance to my left and I see it. It beacons me over from on a display, yes an actual display in the Bargain Warehouse. Surly this was no ordinary fun pack, and the Bargain Warehouse made sure that such a fun pack would be look upon with the same prestige and honor the likes of Licensed Marvel wall mounted lights and Elvis barstools had.

Feeling as if I had struck gold I quickly throw the prized fun pack into my cart along with my other assorted purchases. I don’t know who Jake is but he must be a really fun guy. I couldn’t wait to get home and see what treasures were lurking inside.

ImageThe first thing I pull out of the bag is the candies.  From the looks of them these candies must have expired more than five years ago. Oversized generic pixie sticks, assorted gum, a mini gummy burger, mounds bar, and a green apple sucker, all the staples were accounted for. My kid brain made me eat the giant pixie sticks first. I needed to get a sugar rush as quickly as possible before unleashing the rest of my bounty.


If there’s one thing Jake knows, it’s fun, and he sets the bar high in that respect. The latest fashion robot (fake Optimus Prime/transformer thing) and a paddle ball make it clear that Jake has a quality assurance with his fun packs that surpass all other fun packs that came before them.

ImageAs fun of a guy Jake is, suddenly the fun pack takes on a serious tone.  Just to prove to kids today that life isn’t all slightly outdated candies and unlicensed robots, Jake includes a book because knowledge is power. From the Lightning Reader series, and ego-boosting Confident 3 Reader, we have Mr. Smith’s Surprising Pet.  I don’t want to give anything away so if you haven’t read this one you might want to stop reading now, in fact you may have wanted to stop reading 4 paragraphs ago, but I digress. Mr. Smith’s surprising pet is a dinosaur. Yes, a real live dinosaur. I didn’t see that gripping plot twist coming either. I’m still in shock.