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
Saturday, September 13, 2014

Who doesn't love a good bachelorette party? Especially if it's a theme bachelorette party. 

At the beginning of the summer, I made drinks for a 90's themed bachelorette party, held in a beautiful apartment rental in the heart of downtown Austin. Some of the girls wore their PJ's & we rocked out to pop music from my middle school days, while ongoing games of truth or dare & cootie catchers were thrown around. I created Fueled by Cocktails for events like this -- special affairs that deserve an extra special cocktail menu.

I was hired for this party by Meg of Everyday Meg. We've been blogging friends for a while, and met at last year's Texas Style Council, which was where the initial idea of Fueled by Cocktails came from. Meg & her friends welcomed me into their party, and it was such a great time!!





I served three drinks at the party... Each was based on something from the 90's, was super colorful & was made with the intended audience: girls doing girly things with other girls. (Sorry, Scotch.)

Gushers Shooter

First up was a shot with a Gushers thrown in the bottom. This shot features Loopy vodka, rum & Midori. I added some lime juice to cut the sweetness. The Gushers in the glass just adds a little extra challenge at the end (because it tends to get stuck in the bottom) but the challenge led to extra giggles, so it's worth it.

See the recipe to make your own Gushers shooter here.

Lisa Frank Fizz

I couldn't go to a bahelorette party without bringing some champagne with me. In my opinion a party isn't a party without something sparkling being passed around. The addition of pink edible glitter, strawberries, Ruby Red vodka & blood orange bitters is just what makes the champagne a cocktail. We went through an entire bottle of champagne in less than 30 mintues, but luckily I always travel with two bottles. Because when you run out of champagne, the party is over.

See the recipe to make your own Lisa Frank Fizz here. I suggest you also pick up some Lisa Frank stickers to play with while drinking this cocktail. It just somehow makes things even better.

Kel's Orange Soda

What would a 90's party be without some sort of Nickelodeon reference? We played with the idea of Gak, but really... who wants to drink something gloopy and green? So we opted for something prettier but just as culturally significant: Ke's Orange Soda. Made with whipped cream vodka & a splash of vanilla creamer, it's soda with pizzazz.

See the recipe to make your own Kel's Orange Soda here.

A big thank you to Meg for the pictures & the opportunity to have some fun!

If you'd like to hire me for your next party, let me know. I offer a variety of services through Fueled by Cocktails, even if you don't live in Texas.

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

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