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And 471 Days Later...

Comment ♥ 145 days ago

It’s been 471 days since I last blogged (!!!). But it’s okay, I have a pretty good excuse:

Sam and Josh were born last October. They’re amazing, delightful, adorable little guys. Really, just 5 star human beings all around. A+++ WOULD BIRTH AGAIN. But yeahhhh, twin pregnancy and twin babyhood knocked me on my ass and I’m only now starting to feel somewhat functional again. Emphasis on the somewhat.

I’m working on some site stuff around here and then I will be back to posting (semi?)regularly, Lucky, lucky you, right? Apologies to anyone who tried to email or contact me in the past year or so. I’ve been in a stress- and sleep deprivation-induced fugue. I had to declare email bankruptcy and get rid of thousands of unread emails (mostly Gap sales ads, I’m pretty sure) to start over. (Feel free to email me again now that I’m not drowning.)

See you soon.

XOXO

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Ch-ch-ch-changes!

1 comment ♥ 616 days ago

Happy New(ish…) Year, I guess? I had a week of drama, a week of busyness, and a week of being computerless thanks to a broken laptop charger. So far, this year has been…something. Blargh.

I’ve been struggling a lot with what I want this website to be, why I so completely sucked at blogging all of last year, what I want to doooo with my liiiiiife, etc, etc. Sometimes I think I just want to burn the internet to the ground. Dedicate my days to reading books and playing on the floor with trains and reorganizing my pantry or whatever it is normal people do all day. But I think we both know I’d be back within a couple months, like the crazed junkie I am.

The thing is, I really do like keeping a daily journal and posting pictures of my ridiculously awesome kid and whining about whatever first world problems are currently driving me crazy. I have an awful memory. Really, truly awful. When I’m not writing or taking pictures daily, it’s like that time just disappears. Whole periods of my life that didn’t even happen. Sometimes I feel totally zen about that, whatever, yeah, live in the present. But mostly it makes me sad, especially now that I have this little preschooler running around, saying and doing hilarious things nonstop. I also love having a place to get out the thoughts that are banging away in my head. Anything to keep my brain from being a hamster wheel at three in the morning. The blog is part scrapbook, part therapy, and I want to take advantage of that better.

The other thing is, I need to start getting serious about my design/freelance stuff. I’ve walked so many small business owners through the process of developing a business plan and defining goals and all that professional-sounding stuff, but the idea of doing that for myself seems terrifying somehow. I have a great day job that allows me to work from home, but there have been so many company reorganizations in the past year that I honestly have no idea what department I’m even in anymore or whether I’m a technical lead or a PM and it’s left me feeling less stable than I’d like. Plus, the job ties me to an 8-5ish schedule and endless conference calls, which means I’m pretty much boring Ezra to tears 95% of the time. I’d like to…move on. You know, one day. I’d like to officially be working towards that, instead of just dreaming wistfully about it while muting my third conference call of the day so I can pour goldfish crackers into a bowl and put on Dumbo for the millionth time this week.

Soooo, I think my real problem is that I’ve been trying to cram both of these things—the I’m-a-special-snowflake personal blog and the I’m-so-talented-and-professional designy blog— into this one space. And it’s not working. Obviously. I’ve failed at both purposes because I can’t fully commit to either because they just don’t work together for me. I do not, for example, feel okay selling ads on a blog that’s about what I ate for lunch or what Ezra said this morning. I especially do not want to monetize anything related to E, because even though I want and sometimes need to share stories about him, I know I don’t own his stories. I also don’t always feel comfortable directing potential clients to this site because, hey, maybe reading about how much I’m trying and failing to have a second baby isn’t part of my elevator pitch. So many other bloggers have successfully combined the two and I thought I could do it. But I can’t. I feel too weird and hesitant and gross about advertising or monetizing or any kind of -izing something that involves my family, and I’m really not going to get anywhere professionally without all that izing, so I just froze in place. It’s time to break the two apart.

Over the next couple months, I’m going to be making some charges here, refocusing, refining, strategerizing, whatever it is real bloggers do. I’ll be preparing new content (actual content, not a half assed round up of the past month’s instagram pics!), and pulling the more personal posts out of here and into a shiny new blog somewhere else. (I’m not sure where yet but if you’re just dying to find out, you’ll have to follow me on twitter probably.)

Because if I’m having trouble keeping up with one blog, the obvious solution is to try to manage two blogs, right?

So, that’s where things stand right now. Thanks for sticking around and putting up with me.

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Gold Mason Jars for Everyone!

3 comments ♥ 689 days ago

My current bit of wedding frippery has been to start working on centerpieces that combine the ridiculous mason jar trend (is it even legal to get married without mason jars these days?!) with my (hopefully temporary) obsession with all things sparkly. Because I am nothing if not a super dedicated SCIENTIST, I got whatever various gold painty things the local craft store had to test a few different methods.

Martha Stewart Gold Liquid Gilding

This tiny jar of liquid gold was mesmerizing in its liquidy goldness and looked pretty, but it was messy and I’m pretty sure my cats got high from the smell for the few minutes the jar was open.

Martha Stewart Gold Glitter Glass Paint

I thought this one would be favorite, but it was too sheer. And somehow not sparkly enough. Of all the options though, it was definitely the most durable. That’s gotta count for something, right?

Gold Leaf

A little bit of glue, a lotta bit of gold leaf, and BAM. I wasn’t sure how much I would need, so I just a strip of the glass instead of the whole jar. I loved how this turned out, but everyone else I’ve asked is only meh about it.

Krylon Glitter Blast

Did I get a crappy can? Is this the worst stuff in the world? Am I just too stupid to follow directions correctly? IT IS A MYSTERY. It took almost the whole can to cover one little jar, and it came out incredibly splotchy and gloopy and disgusting. F- WOULD NOT BUY AGAIN.

Krylon 18K Gold Plate Spray Paint

This is just good ol’ spray paint. Shiny, easy, no problem. I sprayed the outside and inside to see how it changed the look. Everyone else liked this the best, though opinions were split on which version was best.

What will I end up doing? Well, honestly, probably nothing because I am lazy. But we’ll see!

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Free Download: Social Media Icons (Glitter vs Watercolor edition!)

34 comments ♥ 774 days ago

I’m slowly working on a digital shop of goodies, but I’m feeling generous today, so I’m releasing two mini sets of pretty social media icons, just for you!

download here: sparkle icons

download here: watercolor icons

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Easy Chicken Fajitas & Lazy Salsa

1 comment ♥ 902 days ago

Fajitas. They’re like tacos, but…veggie-er. Fajitas are one of my favorite meals to make when I’m lazy and I don’t want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen and I want to pretend I’m being healthy. Bonus: They’re pretty cheap. Super bonus: My toddler will totally eat them. In a slightly modified format.

the magic sauce

The secret to great fajitas is the marinade. I started using Bragg’s liquid aminos instead of soy sauce because it makes me feel like a hippy. Combined with oil and a generous amount of lime juice, you can’t go wrong. We mix up the seasonings but my favorite combination right now is cumin, chili powder, and oregano. Plus the garlic, cilantro, and peppers that I just can’t seem to avoid using in every recipe of mine.

marinating chicken, chopped up peppers and onions


cook, cook, cook!


Fajitas
  • Approx 1/2 lb. boneless skinless chicken
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into strips
  • 1 green bell pepper, cut into strips
  • 1 orange bell pepper, cut into strips
  • 1 jalapeno, cut into strips
  • 1 yellow onion, sliced
  • fajita marinade (see below!)
  • 8 flour tortillas
  • salsa, avocado, or other toppings

Fajita Marinade

  • 1/4 c extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 c liquid aminos or soy sauce
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 serrano pepper, chopped up and optionally seeded
  • 1/2 bunch of cilantro, loosely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder

  1. Combine marinade ingredients in a large bag. Add the chicken and marinate for at least an hour or overnight if you can.
  2. Grill the chicken in a grill pan over high heat until cooked through.
  3. Remove chicken from pan and cut into large-ish pieces.
  4. Reduce heat to medium and add peppers and onions. Cook for 4-5 minutes until softened.
  5. Add chicken and any accumulated juices back to pan. Stir.
  6. Add salt or other seasonings to taste.
  7. Warm tortillas over an open flame or a griddle.
  8. Place a bit of the fajitas mixture inside each tortilla and top with salsa and avocados.
  9. Eat and enjoy!

I know there are millions of unique and interesting and delicious salsa recipes out there, but on lazy days, I make lazy salsa. Tomatoes and whatever get thrown in a food processor, pulsed a few times, and that’s it. I don’t even need to pull out the cutting board. It ain’t pretty and it ain’t fancy, but it’s good, dammit.

Please ignore the sad-looking homemade tortillas!

I ruined the ‘quick and easy’ part of this recipe by trying to make homemade flour tortillas for the first time. I was going to post about it but, well. The results were just embarrassing. My childhood was full of many sweet, amazing, tiny Mexican grandmas who made amazinggggg flour tortillas. Mine were okayish, but really, I didn’t stand a chance. Homemade tortillas from grandma have no competition.

To get the toddler to eat these, I chop up the fajita fillings and some avocado, and mix it with shredded cheddar. I smoosh all that between two tortillas and then heat over the stove until all melty.
I can pretty much put anything in a tortilla with some cheese and Ezra will eat it. (He gets that from me.)

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free download: DO IT NOW print

3 comments ♥ 911 days ago

download here: 8×10 pdf or 1200×900 jpg

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free download: Herringbone Patterns

47 comments ♥ 915 days ago

download here: herringbone patterns

Hey, look, I made you a present: a bunch of herringbone patterns! Exciting, no? In addition to the .pat file for Photoshop, I’ve included 15 100×100 png images for blog/twitter backgrounds. Or, you know, whatever. Enjoy!

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Chocolate Cake with Raspberry Cream Cheese frosting

9 comments ♥ 961 days ago

This cake was Cris’s late birthday/early valentines day treat. “Chocolate!” he requested. “Raspberries! Cream cheese!” It took me three attempts to perfect this recipe. Three delicious, fattening attempts. Happily, when it comes to cakes, even when you fail you win.

This cake is based on the traditional egg-, butter-, dairy-free crazy cake recipe. I only added cinnamon and chocolate chips because I can’t not, you know. It’s my thing. It’s what I do. Raspberry filling is sandwiched between the layers and then it’s all topped with some amazing raspberry cream cheese frosting. The cake is super moist and chocolaty, the raspberry sauce is perfectly tart and jussst thin enough to soak into the cake a little bit, and the frosting? Well. The frosting is ridiculous. Normally this would be cooked in two 9” round pans, but I found these mini heart springform pans at Target and I had to buy them because that’s just what happens when I’m allowed to go to Target unsupervised on a payday. This recipe made 6 little heart cakes. Six!

You may think that’s a little excessive, but YOU ARE WRONG.

Cake:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups cold water
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Sift flour, sugar, salt, soda, cinnamon, and cocoa together in a large bowl.
  3. Make three wells. Pour oil into one well, vinegar into second, and vanilla into third well. Pour cold water over everything and mix with a fork.
  4. Add in chocolate chips and stir.
  5. Bake in 2 round 9” pans for 30 minutes (Or 6 mini heart pans for 25 minutes) or until a toothpick comes out clean—you know the drill.

Raspberry Sauce:

  • 1 1/2 cups frozen raspberries
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons clementine or lemon juice

  1. Combine all the ingredients into a small saucepan and simmer over medium heat.
  2. Allow to slowly boil for 5-15 minutes until sauce has thickened to desired consistency.

Raspberry Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 8 oz. cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup raspberry sauce, strained through a fine mesh strainer OR 1/2 cup raspberry jam

  1. Cream together cream cheese and butter.
  2. Slowly add in powdered sugar.
  3. Add raspberry sauce and mix until well combined.

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how to use clementine sketch without pissing me off

11 comments ♥ 977 days ago

Clementine Sketch is a free handwritten script font. It’s a cute font. It has its uses, sure. But I keep seeing people using it incorrectly and it’s starting to make me angry. Yes, there are probably more important things I should be worrying about, but whatever.

Here’s the deal: Because this a connected script font but it’s no fancy opentype font, you’ve got to make the letters work for you. For the first letter of every word, use the capital letter form. At the end of every word, use a caret (shift + 6). If you’ve got a v or w mid-word, use a caret at the end of the letter preceding it.
So, instead of typing “codswollop!” you would type “Cods^wallop^!”
A little annoying, yes, but it keeps whatever you’re typing from looking all weird and cut-off. It’s worth it. Trust me.

And that concludes my little lesson/rant. Thanks for humoring me.

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{freebie!} Chevron & Zig Zag Photoshop Patterns

6 comments ♥ 993 days ago

Chevron patterns, you guys. I’m so trendy! (Or, uh, I would have been trendy like six months ago, whatever.) I’ve been working on a perfect pattern for a client project and I ended up with quite a few that didn’t make the final cut. Nothing too fancy here, but I didn’t want all my hours of sweat and blood and tears to go to waste, so I figured I’d pass them on. Credit appreciated, but not necessary. I’d love to see a link to anything you make with these!

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