Exercise 2 | Wolf Like Me

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I’ve been doing a lot lately in preparation to go back to work soon. While my resumé and portfolio site are as up-to-date as they possibly can be right now, I’ve taken on a lot of personal projects to stretch my legs/learn new skills/sharpen up old ones. Last night after Alex went to bed I decided to try to some photo illustration. I mean, I’ve done this kind of stuff before a little, like when I worked for Totino’s and even a few times with Vita.mn. But this felt more like doing design for design’s sake. It’s an incredibly enriching process. Even though I haven’t had a real design job in over a year, I actually think I’m better than I ever was before.

(it probably sounds ridiculous, but I did a ton of maintenance on my Pinterest boards over the weekend and now I have like 8 boards for different facets of graphic design instead of one big massive one; like “Art Direction” or “Packaging” or “Typography.” IT was kind of like a light switch off when I created them all and I now feel inspired to just create).

What’s cool about having these self-initiated projects is that a lot of them are good enough (in my mind) that I stick them in my portfolio. Recently I had an almost job offer (ha!) for a designer who can also do food photography. I started the food photo project basically as something fun to do while being a full time stay-at-home-mom and in the process, picked up some skills that are valuable to a potential employer. That’s cool!

With these photo illustrations, I mean, it was just messing around (I made these in InDesign), but who knows, maybe some art director from some magazine someday will be like “Hey I like these, do you want to do something for this magazine?” And I’ll be like “Yeah”. So anyway, with that all said, here’s a few photo illos I did for fun and practice. I began by searching for hi-res photos on Creative Commonsnot really knowing what I would do, and it went from there. I just kinda dig the wolf and winter aesthetic. I think 100% because I am excited about Game of Thrones being back. WOLFLIKEMEWOLFLIKEME2WOLFLIKEME3

Garden Cocktails For Your Weekend

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For this edition of Cookin’ Sisters (that’s not what it’s called) we thought nothing would be more fitting for the middle of summer and the sometimes oppressive heat than some delicious cocktails. I encouraged Addie to come up with some drinks that were good and boozy but also a little innovative. AND! I wanted to use local spirits because there are *so many* in Minnesota. By the way, we (me, Addie and Alan) all tested these out and can vouch for their fortitude. We have two for July and we’ll have two more in August!


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Chamomile Basil Lemonade

I wanted to make a fresh herb cocktail that was a little less obvious than some cocktails can be, but one where I knew the flavor combinations would be spot on. I have fresh chamomile growing in my garden and I had the idea to use chamomile simple syrup to elevate a simple lemonade cocktail to be a bit more floral and fresh. It pairs really well with the basil, which is subtle enough because you’re only using it to shake the drink and then garnish. This is a drink that I originally wanted to make without the alcohol, but the addition of vodka was a no-brainer. Feel free to omit the booze for an n/a summer drink you can enjoy anytime.

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Ingredients

1 1/2 ounces chamomile simple syrup
1 ounce vodka
Juice of one lemon
5 fresh basil leaves (3 for muddling, 2 for garnish)
Soda water
Lemon wedge (for garnish)

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Method

For the simple syrup: Heat equal parts water and sugar in a saucepan on the stove. Add your fresh chamomile (dried if you don’t have fresh, preferably loose-leaf). For this recipe I used 1/2 a cup each of water and sugar to about 1/4 cup of the chamomile flowers. Steep for 15 minutes and strain. Let cool.

Using a cocktail shaker, muddle 3 to 4 basil leaves in the bottom of the cup. Add simple syrup, vodka, lemon juice, and ice cubes. Cover and shake for about 15 seconds. Pour into a lowball glass filled with a few ice cubes. Fill the rest of the glass with sparkling water. Finely chiffonade the remaining basil for garnish.

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Blueberry mojito

I have a soft spot in my heart for rum. I went to college in small town Wisconsin, so I cut my teeth on cheap rum and cokes. While white rum doesn’t quite have the same warmth as a darker, spiced rum, it’s perfect for fresh garden cocktails. Upping the ante by adding blueberries to the ubiquitous mint mojito makes it feel even more summery and adds a little more depth (Ed. note: July is also National Blueberry Month!). If you grow your own mint, you’ll have it coming out your ears by the time July rolls around when the fresh local blueberries start arriving. Which will be the perfect time to make this drink over and over.

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Recipe

1/4 cup blueberries (half for muddling, half for slicing)
1 ounce white rum
1 small bunch mint (about 10 leaves or so)
1 teaspoon white sugar (more if you prefer it sweeter)
Juice from one lime
Soda water

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Method

In the bottom of a lowball glass, muddle 6 or 7 mint leaves with the sugar and lime juice. Add half of the blueberries and mash into the mint with your muddler. Add the rum, sparkling water, the other half of the blueberries sliced in half, and the rest of the mint leaves. If you prefer to mix separately and strain before adding the soda and garnishes, it will be much cleaner, but I prefer the look and taste of it without straining. That being said, you may wish to use a cocktail straw in that case.BLUEBERRYMOJITO-11

Small Bathroom Renovation: A Plan

 

We’re making plans for the (far) future of our time in this house, and that includes a ton of projects: redoing the unfinished half of the basement/building a laundry room and workspace/studio down there. Redoing the basement bathroom. Fixing up the porch. Finishing the wall in the finished part of the basement. Mostly deep renovating projects. But then, we’ll get into some delightful cosmetic renovations with other parts of the house, namely our two bathrooms on the main floor. They’re just a little dated in the style.

 

 

We call this the “small bathroom” because it’s quite small. And yes, it’s super cluttered. This is off our bedroom; I’ve never shown it here on the blog! The yellow tiling is pretty bad, and there’s plenty of cabinet space, but because of how low down they are, they’re poorly used. All this brown and tan. Yech. It’s not my thing.

A few things we aren’t going to change is the plumbing or lighting. That stuff will remain the same. I’ve looked at heaps of bathrooms on *the web* and I’ve come up with a scheme that is modest and modern. SMALLBATH2

Matte Marble Subway Tile, Mirror, Sink/Cabinet,
Faucet, Live Edge Shelf, Hexagon Floor Tiling, Hand Towels, Towel Bar

This would be our first true foray into dramatically changing the look of a room in the house. Everything else is basically just tweaks, updates and furniture/wall hangings. It’ll be super exciting to get in there!

Then, for our other bathroom (the “big bathroom”), the style will be much the same. And sadly because we have recessed lighting in both rooms, I had to scrap my plan for integrating this great sconce from Cedar & Moss:

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I’m also intrigued by brushed brass/gold faucets. They seem to be all the rage lately. And we do have brass accents in the house, so it could work. Kohler has a stunning collection: Screen Shot 2017-05-18 at 8.29.05 AMSo, there’s lots to explore. I wish we could jump right in but sadly I think this bathroom project is quite a bit further down the line.

Slogan T’s for Tots (that aren’t cheesy)

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I’m generally not a fan of baby clothes that have something to say like “Strong like mom!” or “Woke like Grandpa” idk. Why? WHY? In my experience, 99% of slogan clothing for babies is cringe-worthy, so I made it my mission to find a few that are actually good, cute-but-not-cutesy and gender neutral (plus I love doing mooboards. you know me).SLOGAN

Top Row:
Small is Beautiful, Yay, Pizza

Middle Row:
OK, Hi, Young Scrappy & Hungry

Bottom Row:
Beach Bébé, Be Kind, Babe with the Power

Favorite Products for Summer

SUMMERPRODUCTSGrowing up, I was a tomboy. Not like, wearing dresses and climbing trees like Caddie Woodlawn, but like shopping in the boys’ section at Old Navy. That kinda thing. Femininity has never been something that came super naturally to me. There were periods in my life where I tried to even out my more masculine side by going hard “girly”. I liked how I looked wearing makeup, but it also made my skin itch and I touch my face too much. I’ve realized this recently when in a therapy session. I’ve never felt like a conventional woman, but in the last year I’ve embraced my own brand of womanhood. I found out that long hair suits me as long as I wear it up, jewelry’s not really my jam (unless it’s this cool teething necklace), and try as I might, I just can’t get on board with wearing makeup. But, I much prefer myself when I look put together. I recently got microbladed so I could have natural-looking brows without having to pencil them in every morning. I got my hair colored so I could get away with taking fewer showers but also so it didn’t look so bland (my mother has referred to my natural hair color as “dish water blonde”. Lovely!).

All this to really say, I’m lazy, and I’ll take whatever shortcuts I can get. I may not be the woman who looks like she was born wearing lipstick but I still have a few go-to products that are giving me life this summer.

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Sea Mist Texturizing Salt Spray — Herbivore

I love this stuff. Since getting my hair bleached, it really only looks “nice” when I get a professional blowout (or when I give myself one, which is a capital P Pain in the Butt). So, I’ve decided for the opposite approach: I mist this in my hair post-shower and put the dryer on the cool setting. The result is natural and fun, and smells great.

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Perfect hair Day — Living Proof

I’ll be honest, I kinda hoped bleaching my hair would mean I didn’t get greasy roots, at least not for a few days!!! No such luck, unfortunately, so I picked up this dry shampoo and it seriously takes 30 seconds to give me clean hair. Being a full time mom right now also means I just can’t shower that often, so this saves me sooooo much time.

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Cloud Paint in Dusk — Glossier

I never said I didn’t like to wear any makeup, but when I do, I prefer to have it enhance the au natural look. This dusk color is not too pink; it really makes me look more like I’ve been out in the sun. And with my fuller brows, I feel like a Nordic princess (and I only just recently figured out how to give myself milkmaid braids, lol).

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Anti-Chafe Stick — Body Glide

I picked this up last month when I had to wear a long dress and be in an outdoor wedding and it is a GAME CHANGER. This summer has seen me getting out for a lot of walks with the babe, and I like to wear short shorts, but I also have thick chubby thighs and chafing is the worst thing ever. I was skeptical that this little stick would make that much of a difference but it truly does. (By the way, there is a “for her” version, which is just a way for companies to trick women into feeling like their problems are somehow soooo much different to mens’. Skip it).

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Facial Spray — Evian

I love this shit. It’s especially great on long flights. It hydrates your skin and sets makeup. I would recommend everyone – man and woman – keep a little can with them daily.

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Racerback Bra Clip — Bllatta

This is an odd one, but I was grateful to find out about these things because I didn’t want to have to find a racerback nursing bra. Summertime is for wearing tank tops and showing off tattoos.


Additionally, I use a daily moisturizer, anti-perspirantand concealer because those baby-induced dark circles are no joke. I also have a water tracker app to keep me hydrated. I highly recommend it!

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