Month : May 2011

Brownies, á la Gwyneth.

Who doesn’t love a delicious brownie recipe?

The cooking world is buzzing about Gwyneth Paltrow’s new cookbook, honoring her father’s memory and the culinary adventures they embarked upon together. She has taken his delicious tried-and-true recipes and balanced them with her lifestyle of eating healthy and natural foods. While I haven’t purchased her book (yet), I came across this recipe in an interview she did for Self Magazine. These brownies turned out perfectly fudgy, but still somehow light. A glass of milk must accompany. Enjoy!

  • 2 cups white flour
  • 1 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 1 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup light agave nectar
  • 1/2 cup strong brewed coffee
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips, divided

Heat oven to 350°. Sift flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and a pinch of salt into a bowl. Whisk maple syrup, oil, brown rice syrup, coffee, soymilk and vanilla in another bowl. Fold wet ingredients into dry ingredients. Pour half the batter into a greased 9″ x 11″ baking dish; top with half the chips. Pour remaining batter into dish and top with remaining chips. Bake until knife comes out with crumbs adhering to it, 30 minutes. Let cool.

The new look of Liz Ink & Paper.

Almost three years ago, I unexpectedly lost my day job.

Two weeks later, fueled by panic, faith, and an uber-supportive hubby, I launched Liz Ink & Paper.

Yes, there are a few more details to the whole story, but that’s the synopsis in a nutshell. I do believe some of the best creative ideas come in the wee hours before a deadline, and I am proud of what I came up with for a brand back in ’08, crunched for resources – time, energy, research. I originally focused on a niche of invitations, baby announcements, and holiday cards. While those projects are still near and dear to my heart, I am anxious to work a bit more with small business clients and find a balance in my brand that caters to both types of clientele.

A move from my old website seemed a fitting time to take a fresh look at Liz Ink & Paper and what I want it to be. The new design reflects more of my typographical design style. The color palette is much more neutral than the previous “cute” pink and brown, and the fonts are cleaner and bolder. The tagline remains the same, although I will most likely only use it when marketing to the personal clients.

I’m very excited about this fresh new look the role it will play going forward. Thanks as always to the Liz Ink clients for your support – here’s to an amazing fourth year in business!

In the words of Baz Luhrman…

Wear. Sunscreen.
If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it.

Consider this post my public service announcement for the season. If “The Sunscreen Song” and this video don’t motivate you to slather on the sunscreen this summer, I’m not sure what will! I am a sun worshiper – I’m at the pool every free second I have between May and August. And during college and the year I got married, I was an almost daily visitor to the tanning bed. I’ve had my share of bad, peeling, sunburns.

I also happen to be fair skinned (and as they mention in the video, I definitely have 50+ moles). I am married to a red-headed “ginger” (although don’t call him that – he hates that term haha). After years of prompting, this video was the final nail in the coffin when it came to convincing him to go to my dermo for an exam. There’s no particular spot he’s worried about, but after my several scares, and this video, I believe anyone with our traits should definitely get checked out on a regular basis, by a professional.

I myself have had several painful procedures, but they were minimal compared to what you see in this video. Thankfully, everything I’ve had was caught early enough that nothing spread. I keep my date with my dermo like I would an anniversary dinner. Priority. If you have light skin, light hair, light eyes, are prone to burning, or just have a spot that makes you go “hmm”, Get. Checked. Out. It’s so much less scary to go in now than later.

Slather it on, people. PSA concluded. Over and out.

So, why the switch?

I’ve had a few questions as to why I decided to move/re-name/re-brand my blog. Some of it was motivated by the marketing girl in me, some of it was about new creative avenues, and some of it was influenced by advice from my web designer husband. Here is a breakdown of the “why…” topics:

Q: Why did you choose WordPress, of all the blog avenues available?
A:
For several reasons. I liked that going to WordPress meant I would no longer have a monthly subscription fee. Yes, I pay for hosting of my domain, but to simply be able to edit, house photos, etc – WordPress doesn’t charge for that.

So why not Blogspot, or other “free” services? Because of the wider range of creativity I could have here. I could create a template (with web help of course) and make my blog uniquely me, use any fonts and colors I wanted, and truly brand myself, as opposed to choosing from a drop-down list of a mere dozen or so template options. Even if I hadn’t had immediate (and free!) access to a web designer, I could have found many options from the zillions of either free or super cheap customizable templates available online. (One thing to note: WordPress.org does offer a templated, easy-peasy version of blogging, for full customization possibilities, you need a personal web host with a WordPress framework).

WordPress is also one of the largest website frameworks out there, and as such, has a TON of online community support for anything you might dream up and want to do with your site. The open-source nature of WordPress users allows you to get your hands on a plug-in for just about anything you might want to do – embed a slideshow of your work, build an elaborate submission form for readers to submit information/attachments, the list of possible tools goes on and on. Page works predominantly with WordPress, but if he ever gets stumped on making something “work” – there is a whole online community of free, instant help available to him.

The final “seal” in the deal was when our corporate site at work recently switched to a WordPress environment. The ability to suddenly have so much more control over the look and feel of the site (without any extensive code or web design knowledge) was very exciting and I knew I wanted that functionality for my own site.

Q: Why the name change?
A:
I created Everything Yellow on a (very short) whim, four years ago. I knew very little about the blog world and honestly didn’t give much forethought to how I would use the blog in the future, or even for how long I’d really keep up with it. I had chosen the name because it was short and concise, and summed up “me” in a nutshell – a lover of everything yellow. As my blog has evolved and I’ve found my groove as a blogger, I realize the sentiment of loving yellow holds true, but that “everything yellow” isn’t what my blog is ABOUT. It’s not about “everything out there that is yellow”. Rather, it’s about life. It might become apparent here that I work in brand marketing for a living…I gave quite a bit of thought – perhaps a ridiculous amount – to what this new (and hopefully more permanent) name would be.

To just call the blog, “Life” (which I’m sure is taken already anyway) was a little boring and nondescript. It still needed to have some “me” in there, and for me – that means incorporating yellow, the color – and concept – I try to live my life by: sunny, optimistic, outgoing.

Keeping my husband’s advice in mind that it needed to be clean and short for searchability and strong URL purposes, the list came down to four names. At one point, I loved, “YellowColoredGlasses” – as a play on the idea of seeing the world through rose-colored glasses. This concept developed further and evolved into the final name – Life in Yellow – and the tagline immediately formulated in my head as a further explanation of the name. To live “Life in Yellow” is to live life joyfully, enthusiastically, and completely out loud. I love that it is all-encompassing and not too specific. Yes, I like to cook. Yes, I love to organize. But unlike a lot of blogs out there, I’m not trying to market mine by being a guru on any subject. I’m just a twenty-something living life…and documenting along the way. (Bonus – the URL was available!) 😉

Q: What was the genesis for the new look?
A:
Certainly, a new name allowed for a new look if I wanted to create one. With so fewer limits now that I was working in WordPress, I wanted to capitalize on the opportunity to brand my blog. I wanted clean, and I wanted colorful, with some sort of icon that readers could instantly identify with my blog. I have always been more of a typographical designer than anything, so picking fonts was the natural first step for me. I chose a heavier “headline” type of font, and a slimmer, copy-friendly font for longer bits of running text. Both can be found at FontSquirrel.com – they are “Bebas” and “Caviar Dreams”.

For an icon, a speech bubble seemed a natural fit – after all, isn’t a blog just virtual conversation in the cyberworld? The bubble was a clean and simple design, one that I could easily place text over if need be, and it wouldn’t become too busy. I incorporated it into the header of the blog, as well as the categories and comments portions.

I came up with a palette of colors to pair with my beloved yellow – after all, it’s not the easiest text color to read, and even I can get a little burned out on it from time to time! I played with countless combinations and finally found the perfect pink, green, blue, and grey hues to add to my brand’s palette.

Phew! I feel as though that was a lot of rambling from me…but hopefully I answered once and for all the most popular questions I’ve received in recent weeks. I do love these kinds of projects, and if anyone would ever like a two-cent opinion on their own blog branding, I’d be more than happy to weigh in!

Welcome! Please take one!

Thank you so much for the kind words, anticipation, and patience as we’ve pulled this new site together! I’m thrilled to be in my new digs and get to work on some posts! I have a LIST of post topics from the past few weeks and am chomping at the bit to get them published here, so check back often in the coming days for new stories and pictures!

In the meantime, let’s get started with the very first Life in Yellow FREEBIE! From time to time, I plan to share some design work with you all free of charge, to use as you please. You will notice there is only this one lonely Freebie post (for now!) but I will be adding more on a regular basis. Check back often under the “Freebies” tab, above!

If you’re planning a get-together this Memorial Day weekend, or even if you just want to dress up a snack for you and a special someone, try these patriotic treat toppers! Just print out the PDF on white cardstock and use a circle punch to cut out. I used a variety of punch sizes for different effects – some are 1-inch circles, others are 1-5/8 inch and 1-3/4 inch, layered on top of each other. Once punched, adhere circles back to back with a toothpick inserted in between. Easy peasy, and a cute little detail for your red, white, and blue treats!

I promise! It’s coming!

The new blog really is getting wrapped up (in the small amounts of spare time between the hubby's PAYING clients!) 🙂

Thanks so much for all of the posts and comments and texts asking….I'm so excited to reveal it and I have been promised it will happen before Memorial Day….(in time for a patriotic FREEBIE! for all you fun readers!)

Back soon with the details!

hello, spring. it’s about time.

1 (Last post until the new blog reveal!)

Finally, this week, the seasons seemed to have clicked and we are enjoying some spring weather. What better way to get out and celebrate than a trip to the first farmers market of the year? A treat for all of the senses. I love the sounds, the sights, the smells…and of course, the TASTES. 🙂

IMG_9656

Notorious breakfast burritos…

IMG_9654

…and epic crab rangoon…

IMG_9658

…and our loot:

* Asparagus

* Green beans

* Garlic

* Garlic & Sweet Pepper focaccia bread

* Chipotle goat cheese (spicy! love it)

* Whole grain orzo (can't find this anywhere – very excited)

* Summer squash

* Zucchini

IMG_9661

Bring on the fresh meals of summer!

*****************************************************************************************

This is the FINAL post here on Everything Yellow. It's been fun…and almost four years worth of pictures and stories. Stay tuned…I will be back very soon (hopefully within a week) to reveal where you can follow from here on out!

seeing green: part 2

2

(Only two more posts until the new blog reveal!)

I am finally getting around to my paint project with this dresser.

Here is some inspiration I’ve found along the way…

20090217120928_405

DSC_0114

Green campaign chest lonny

With that inspiration in mind, here’s a look at the before…you may remember I inherited this dresser from my parents’ attic and used it in my bedroom at college….where I swapped out the previously brass hardware and used black SPRAY PAINT (no sanding, no poly protective coat – just straight up spray paint!) to give it a “fresh” black coat. Ah, to be young and careless…and on a budget of five dollars. 🙂

IMG_0701 copy

Not terrible from a distance, but worn spray paint + five years of no TLC = a surface that is rough and looks dusty all the time when you get up close…

IMG_0702 copy

So here are some pics of the “during” phase… (hooray for our new electric sander!)…

IMG_0706 copy

with a coat of primer…

IMG_0708 copy

and now for some GREEN! Here is the final choice… (50/50 combination of Valspar colors “Spinach” and “Simply Green”)

IMG_0694 copy

I haven’t fallen head over heels with any new hardware so, for now, I’m working with what I have already. Someday when I least expect it, I”ll stumble upon some I love and swap it out then.

After three coats of color, and three more of poly, here is the end result!

IMG_0714 copy

IMG_0716 copy

IMG_0717 copy

Ahhh soooo much better!! I don’t love it with the paint color and oak trim that it is in our current home, but hopefully in another few months, we’ll be in a place that we own and can change everything…will love this punch of kelly green so much more with pewter walls, white trim and dark wood floors. 🙂

IMG_0727 copy

Linking up today with BeColorful’s “Motivated Monday”!

Becolorful