Thursday, December 31, 2009

Favorites of 2009

December 31st, 2009.  wow.  what a great year.  here are a few highlights.  enjoy!

Favorite New Blog: JewelryWhore

Creator of JewelryWhore, Jade has been artfully running the site since January 2008.  I stumbled upon this treasure during a normal afternoon of blog-hopping and I have been mesmerized ever since.  Her blog is packed full of goodies like DIY projects, weekly sample sales, the latest jewelry trends, styling advice and so much more.  The variety of styles and price points showcased is refreshing.  I'm hooked.

Favorite New Burger Joint: Umami Burger
My apologies, Father's Office.  You make a hell of a burger, but it's time to move on.  I recently had the most delicious burger of my life at Umami Burger Hollywood.  With the recent explosion of high end burger joints serving craft beer to match, Umami Burger has risen to the top.  They boast 10(ish) yummy burgers, DELICOUS sides and an acceptable beer/wine list based on an interesting concept that I will leave to Jonathan Gold to describe.

The restaurant is dedicated to the concept of umami, the savory, meaty "fifth taste" that may be technically defined as the carboxylate anion of glutamic acid, which is to say the dash of soy sauce in your stir-fry or the catsup you like with your fries. - Jonathan Gold.  full article here.

Does that make sense?  All you need to know is the food is delicious.  JUST GO!

Favorite New Weekend Activity: Hiking

My handsome and talented boyfriend recently turned me on to the wonderful world of hiking.  A couple months ago I found myself on top of the highest peak in the Santa Monica Mountains.  This profound experience has led to many subsequent hikes all over southern California.  For me, hiking has been a challenging, exciting, emotional, rewarding experience.  California is such a beautiful state that I am finally beginning to explore.  And now I look forward to my first backpacking trip in a couple of days.  I'm so excited!!

My New Hobby: Photography

This magical art form has interested me since I was a child.  My sisters and I would create elaborate sets for our fashion shoots that consisted of "clothes" made out of old sheets.  I continued to document my life through photography and in 2006, I earned a degree in Commercial Digital Photography. After a 3-year hiatus in which I discovered my current career, graphic design, I have recently drifted back.  It's no mystery, I got an SLR for my 30th birthday (October) and since then I rarely go anywhere without it.  I continue to explore new techniques, such as using Photoshop to create panoramas and fake tilt-shift miniatures. Photoshop is a powerful tool that I am glad to have on my side.  Documenting our hikes has been quite a thrill as well.  I enjoy exploring this world through a lens, and I will continue to do so.

Thank you for reading.  Don't forget to visit my friends!

Monday, December 28, 2009

my holiday card

happy holidays!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Dos Equis Logo

Last week I spent a couple of hours creating this logo for a video spoof on the Dos Equis, Most Interesting Man in the World commercials.  I redrew the Dos Equis logo from scratch and made some adjustments to better accommodate the updated subject matter.

With the help of some friends, Rikki Glassman created this hilarious video.  Difficult to explain, this is a must see.

that's me!!!!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

It's that time of year again!

GAG gift giving time!  Around this time every year, my department gets bombarded with ridiculous graphics requests for gag gifts.  It has always mildly infuriated me that for two weeks in December my time and talent (I'm using the word loosely) is spent creating the silliest, most ridiculous items you can imagine.  The purpose of these items is to entertain and humiliate co-workers, a sport that interests me little.  I worked (and continue to work) on my share of stupid, waste-of-time gag gifts, however THIS year I got a real gem.
The Boarding Pass.

I designed a fake boarding pass and accompanying sleeve to inform Mrs. Managing Director's Wife that Mr. Managing Director is taking her to France in 2010.  This was less of a gag gift and more of a Christmas present.  This project fell right into my creative wheelhouse and boy was it fun.

Following some light internet research the design fell into place quickly.  I ran into a few question marks while creating the sleeve, considering airlines don’t issues these anymore I didn’t have a good sample to look at.  Are they shorter or longer than the boarding pass? Are they open or closed at the bottom? After some consideration, I went with a size and design that made sense to me. Printing had the usual snags but nothing I couldn’t handle. At the end of the day Mr. Managing Director is happy and I have another piece for my portfolio.  Everybody wins.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

homemade vanilla extract


My apologies if you are one of the future recipients of this homemade gift, but I couldn't wait any longer.  This one has been on the works for weeks and I'm ready to share.  For the past six weeks I have been brewing homemade vanilla extract in my very own kitchen.  It's a simple process: vodka + vanilla beans + six weeks = vanilla extract.  Well, it's a little more complicated.  directions here.

After whipping up the vanilla concoction in a large mason jar I had plenty of time to ponder packaging variables.  Boy, did I ponder.  I found the bottle right away, but the label took a bit more tinkering.  Due to the shape of the bottle, the label needed to be round.  My first attempt was  I uploaded a design and my order arrived a few days later (love the quickness).  Unfortunately, the stickers were a tiny bit too small.  I had enough time to find an alternative and although no one else on the planet would have noticed, I knew that those tiny labels would haunt my dreams forever.  So, I searched online and luckily found (correction, my boss found it) exactly what I was looking for.  Thanks Pike!

When all of the components were ready I strained the vanilla mixture (now vanilla extract), poured it into the individual jars and slapped on the labels.  It didn’t take me long to realize that the cork stopper was unsuitable for liquid (Doh!).  I traveled with three bottles recently and found that the cork cap soaked up the vanilla.  In fact, that cork LOVED my yummy homemade vanilla extract.  No matter how tight that cap was lodged into the bottle, the vanilla was still going to escape through the cap.  What is the lesson here people?  Cork is an unsuitable stopper for liquid.  The rest of the bottles have been repackaged into 3oz glass bottles with an airtight bail-and-seal hermetic closure.

This was a fun project.  I encountered some hiccups along the way but I’m happy with the end result.  Looking forward to handing these bad boys out!

Make vanilla extract at home and order my labels here.