Tuesday, September 16, 2014

It's always fun working on a project that you get an immediate vision for the second you're brought on to the job. When Jessica reached out to me to help move her website from a wordpress.com blog to a self-hosted Wordpress site, I immediately envisioned a slightly quirky layout with playful accents. I wanted to let Jessica's content do most of the talking, so besides a few pops of gold & pink, the overall look is incredibly streamlined & minimalist.

The site needed to highlight three things:

(1) The blog (obviously). We needed a user friendly blog feed, with easy links to comment, share posts on social media & quick navigation to allow readers the abilty to flip through her content.

We made sure to include prev/next links on each blog post page, and a quick drop-down "archives" list on the home page. Social share buttons were added at the end of each post. And a custom pin-it hover button was added on images, in line with the coloring of the rest of the blog.

(2) Her Work. Jessica creates incredible work - from writing to photography to graphic design. We needed to make sure there was enough room to showcase everything.

We had some fun with her photography page, and used a masonry layout with lightbox feature to display the photos. I thought it was a fun way to show an overview of her work without using a traditional slideshow. The lightbox feature, then, allows for users to look at each photo in detail if desired.

(3) Jessica's Personlity. Jessica is quirky & fun, and slightly edgy in real life. I wanted to make sure her website reflected that.

She put together the fun skull mark featured on the side & sent me a few patterns to use on the site. We used pink because she's slightly girly, but we picked a more muted pink so the site wouldn't come off as too young. The gold stripes added some playfulness to the site. I love the overall look! To finish it all off, Jess had an amazing photoshoot & her "About" page really shines. Especially with the added Jay-Z lyrics.

And the site is responsive, so it'll look lovely on your iPad & even on your phone.

Client: Jessica Willingham / Weird & Wonderful Willinghams
URL: http://jessicawillingham.com/
CMS: Wordpress 4.0
Theme: Custom template using Twitter bootstrap
Hours to Complete: 16

Looking at sprucing up your own website? Check out my web development info here.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Hello fall TV schedule!!! I have a history of posting my fall TV watch list here on Interpret As You May. It's one of the few posts that have made regular appearances since the very beginning. And for good reason: we all can get excited about the return of new shows!

So, what's on my watch list this season? It's a little less than in years previous. Some of my favorite shows are gone & there really weren't a whole lot of new ones that caught my attention. But that doesn't mean I won't be glued to my television for ungodly hours each week anyway....

Here's what I'm watching, in order of premier date:

September 16 (tomorrow!!!)

  • New Girl (Fox)
  • Mindy Project (Fox)

September 25

  • Parenthood (NBC)

September 27

  • Saturday Night Live (NBC)

September 28

  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine (Fox)

October 5

  • Bob's Burgers (Fox)
  • Mulaney* (Fox)

October 14

  • About a Boy (NBC)

October 15

  • Top Chef (Bravo)

So... only one new show made it on my list of 9. I guess I may finally have a chance to watch Revenge on Netflix.

What are you watching this season??

Comments | Tags: TV, my life
Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The michelada is a simple cocktail. Mix beer with tomato juice & some lime, and there you go. It's a good alternative to those who aren't quite a fan of the Bloody Mary but still want an excuse to drink before noon.

For some reason, I never ventured into the world of micheladas until about a month or so ago. One day, as I was ordering my usual pitcher of mimosas, C decided to betray me & forgo the mimosas (not his favorite) for the michelada on the menu. I was stuck drinking a pitcher alone. And then I realized he'd made the better choice.

Naturally, once I discovered my affinity towards this new cocktail, I became obsessed. We made them almost every weekend - and some days after work - for a while. I was testing the waters. Dreaming up ideas and possibilities for what I could do to it to make it mine.

The answer came during a brainstorming session. I dubbed September officially "Beer month" around here (more to come on that later) and I just knew a michelada had to be included. C suggested we make our own tomato juice. And then he mentioned freshly roasted hatch green chiles were available at our grocery store that weekend. Brainstorming cocktails at a dog park at 8 am on a Saturday morning never fails to produce amazing results in our house.

The following day as I was grocery shopping, I realized it was the final day our grocery store was selling roasted hatch green chiles. I had to jump at the opporunity. So without any planning or forethought, I picked up 4 lbs. of chiles and ran around the store getting tomato puree and other ingredients I thought may work. As soon as I got home, I went to work. Over the next hour, I boiled and stirred and tasted and seasoned... until I created an almost perfect Hatch Green Chile Tomato Juice. After letting it sit for 24 hours and making a few other adjustments, it was time for the ultimate test: how would it taste with beer?

The verdict: Amazing.

There's a few options with this tomato juice, which you can customize to your personal preference. The first is the most obvious: To strain, or not to strain? I opted to not strain, because I loved the idea of floating chunks of vegetables in my drink. If that grosses you out, by all means, strain! The second is whether or not to make the juice spicy. I opted to go less on the spice, but I think next time I'll go the opposite way. Finally, the amount of salt is up to you. We tend to like our things salty in our house. But if you're either looking to reduce the sodium in your life - or just don't like salt - you can reduce it. (And if you want more, add it!)

The beer you mix it with is up to you, but I went with a traditional Mexican Lager (Modelo). My suggestion is to stay within that variation of beer. Unless you're feeling adventurous & are just really curious how tomato juice and a chocolate porter taste together.

So if you're convinced that you, too, must make this amazing creation... head on over to Fueled by Coctkails for the full recipe.

(And if you are a Bloody Mary fan, I have you covered too. See the Hatch Green Chile Bloody Mary recipe here.)

Cheers!

Sunday, August 31, 2014

One of my first posts on this blog was a love note to my nephew who had just turned one. He was my everything back then. He changed the way I saw the world, he changed the way my family interacted with each other -- he changed everything. And here we are. He's turning 5 years old today. He started kindergarten last week & has already been given awards and such. (He's apparently so tired when he gets home, he'll only ever tell part of his day before excusing himself from the conversation.)

This kid is just the best. I love him beyond words. It's been a tough year in his life. His house burned down & they had to start from scratch. But the community supported Danzig & his family and they're in a good place right now.

As I've done since birthday number one, here's a quick look back at the life of Danzig...

September 2013

October 2013

November 2013

December 2013

March 2014

April 2014

May 2014

August 2014

Happy birthday, Danzig! I hope it's the best. 

First | Second | Third | Fourth birthday picture recap

Friday, August 29, 2014

At the beginning of August, I set out to the Pacific Northwest with my mom & sisters in tow to explore the city of Seattle. This was my second time in the PNW - I went to Porltand last May & fell in love with that quirky town. Seattle wasn't at all what I was expecting -- it didn't rain once the whole time we were there -- but it was beautiful and so much fun to expolore. We had great food, went on great adventures and I'm extremely glad I had the opportunity to go.

Here's a few shots from my time in Seattle, and a list of where we ate & explored. Click the link to the full gallery at the end of the post for even more pictures of my PNW adventure....

Here's most of the places we went while in Seattle... 

Coffee:

  • Voxx Coffee - Cute neighborhood (right around the corner from where we stayed) and pretty good coffee. Great for watching locals run to and from work.
  • Analog Coffee - Definitely the most hipster place we went to all trip. I loved this place. The coffee & donuts were great. I loved the capital hill neighborhood.
  • Blackbird Bakery - This was a quick in & out once we got to Bainbridge Island. I wish I was hungry because their pastries looked incredible.
  • Cafe Cesura - We stopped here on the way out to the winery. The coffee was really good, but the atmosphere was a little cold & formal. But if you're in Bellevue, it's good for the area.

Drinks/Dinner:

  • List - This place was amazing. Four of us shared nine small plates. We had a few cocktails. All amazing. They just get packed really quickly & are a tiny place. So go early.
  • Canon - If I had to pick a dream spot, this would be it. It was pricey & made my family a bit uncomfortable (a little too uppity for their tastes) but I was in heaven. I threatened to stay there alone while everyone continued on. But, sadly, I wasn't in Seattle only for cocktails. Maybe next trip.
  • Von Trapps (now called Rhein Haus) - This was so much fun! Beer. Indoor bocce ball courts. And great sausage. We celebrated my mom's birthday here & it was the perfect pick.
  • Molly Moon's Ice Cream - Goodness. Best ice cream I've ever had. I picked up a lavender lemon flavor, while my mom got the salted caramel, which was incredible. Totally worth finding.
  • Eastlake Bar & Grill - So while this wasn't my favorite spot ever, the view was amazing & it was down the block from where we stayed. If it's convenient to go sit on a patio by the water & drink cocktails, I'm all in!
  • The Crumpet Shop - While I wasn't really a fan of Pike's Peak Market (way too many people!), this crumpet shop made up for it. They were amazing & I left wishing I'd ordered a second one.
  • Rachel's Ginger Beer - The second spot in Pike's Peak Market that made the crowds worthwhile. I almost brought a few gallons home, but sadly they had to be refrigerated.
  • Quinn's Pub - We finished our last night in Seattle here & it was hands down my favorite place of the trip. The cocktails were insane. The food was exquisite. And I loved the neighborhood it was in. Totally worth checking out.

Playing Tourist:

  • Bainbridge Ferry/Bainbridge Island - This was an almost all-day excursion but it was so worth it. The ferry ride was really fun & the island was beautiful to explore! It was great to see more of Washington than just the city of Seattle.
  • Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery - My mom visited here a few years back & insisted we drive out to take a tour. And I'm so glad she did. It was lovely! Instead of the traditional winery tour, we opted for the garden tour, which gave us a more intimate look at the grounds surrounding the winery. That was a good choice.
  • University of Washington - My sister Dana is headed to grad school next fall to get her Masters/Ph.D. in Classics and Latin. U of W has one of the best programs around, so we snuck into the classics building, listened in on a class & even snuck into an empty classroom for a bit. The campus was gorgeous & I'm really hoping she gets in. I'd definitely visit her all the time.
  • Freemont Troll - Ok. So this wasn't exactly the best use of our time. But it was close to the University & we just had to. It was hilarious.
  • Moss Bay (Kayaking) - This may have been my favorite non-touristy (kind of) thing we did. I'm not usually an adventurous type, but something about kayaking under sea planes landing and taking off just sat right with me. And these guys were super nice & a great place to rent from!
  • EMP Museum - Of the super touristy things we did, this was my favorite. The museum was quirky & had so many interesting artifacts and hands-on exhibits. It was a little pricey, but a great way to spend a few hours.
  • Space Needle - One cannot go to Seattle for the first time without going to the Space Needle. It was a little cheesy & crowded, but the view of course was gorgeous & I would have kicked myself for missing it.

And that's all from Seattle. I'm headed to Chicago (one of my favorite cities ever) at the end of September... let me know if you have any suggestions. It'll be my first time there without family. So I get to do more "me" things ;)

Check out more pictures in the gallery (click the button below...)

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