One Hot Chick

Now that Chicks Rock is linked up with the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund, Nick asked me to help him spruce up the graphics on the game.

My first task that I am working on is to work on the front page of the game.  Using the above chick that I designed, I am in the process of making her “run” from rocks that are falling out of a barn. Here is a shot of the existing front page:

And here is (still a work in progress) the new front page:
I still need to put the rocks in as well as the text and a few other graphic items, but this should give you the general idea of the new look of the front page (as long as Nick approves it, of course).  I struggled to get the chick to appear as though she is running.  What are your opinions?  Did I do okay?  Can you tell she is supposed to be running?  Input and critiques are welcome!

Once the front page is complete, then I’ll move on to the graphics for the actual game (once you hit play), which will include a side facing chick and background graphics.  And finally, I’ll do the app icon.  It’s a lot to work on so it will take a me a little while, but I’ll keep you posted?

What do you all think?  Is she one hot chick? 

Pretty In Pink

For Christmas, Nick and I got $40 in gift cards to Starbucks, which is kind of funny because we aren’t coffee drinkers and probably venture to Starbucks about once every three months or so.  We decided to make a big dent in them today by not only getting beverages, but also breakfast sandwiches (turkey bacon, cheddar cheese, and egg whites on a whole wheat English muffin to be exact).  Since all the gift cards are in my possession, I took one for the team and made the Starbucks run.  As I stood in line, I noticed the woman in front of me.  She was probably about 20 years older than me, but I became very envious of how put together she looked.  She was causal, yet comfortable, and stylish with jeans, an oatmeal colored sweater, a scarf and gold flats.  I was embarrassed and felt like a total slob standing next to her in my Nike running shorts and Michigan sweatshirt.  At that moment, I decided I should make more of an effort to put myself together better on the weekends, even if I plan on just sticking around the house.

Fast forward a few hours, I had a mini meltdown about the stresses of life.  Nick comforted me and after about ten minutes of pouting, I got over it and decided to put my new-found desire to look nicer to work.  I pulled on my unlucky blue jeans (although I said I wasn’t going to wear them until I heard back from the jobs I interviewed for, it’s Saturday, so I won’t be hearing any news from either of them today anyway), a similar, yet much older and outdated wool oatmeal colored sweater, and a camel colored scarf.  On a side note, I used to accessorize all the time with scarves but after criticism from several people here in Texas about my scarf-wearing, I stopped wearing them, until today!  I took my hair out of a pony tail and felt much better, but there was one last item I needed: A new coat of nail polish on my toes!
(Don’t look too closely!  My feet are completely calloused and have a few blisters from all the running I’ve been doing!)

This particular shade is embarrassingly old.  I got it in the 7th grade when my mom treated me to my very first (and probably only) professional manicure for my birthday.  Nothing like magenta toes to lift my spirits and make me feel like I look like a civilized person!

After wearing my nice, causal weekend wear for a few hours, I peeled it off and put the gym clothes back on but this time for the use they were intended for, not going to Starbucks, but rather, going to the gym!  After a sweaty 40 minute session on the stair master, I headed home, stopping at the mailbox to find a fun present for me!
Cute personalized recipe cards!  There wasn’t a note from a friend or anything so I’m thinking the company, In-Vita Paper Studio, sent them to me directly.  I’m not quite sure how they got my address; perhaps from a form I filled out for The Knot or The Nest, perhaps somehow through my blog (although my address isn’t listed here).  Either way, they are super cute and I was very excited to find them in my mailbox!  Thanks In-Vita!
It’ll give me a good reason to make and write down my own recipes!

Tonight is guys night- a Poker and Pampers party for our friend, Drake, who is a soon to be dad, so I’m on my own this evening.  While I won’t be using my new present tonight, I’ll be using the last of our stocked-up Groupons for De Rice Thai takeout (not nearly as good as Best Thai, but it’s still comfort food) and snuggling up on the couch with Jackson to watch Netflix shows that are otherwise banned when Nick is home (Say Yes to the Dress being the least embarrassing to admit I watch).  Nothing like some quality cheesy chick show time!

Happy Saturday night everyone!

Portfolio Overhaul


It seems as though every other yea or so I do a design portfolio overhaul, updating it with new projects and, well, just completely changing the look of it.  My latest overhaul started over the summer and I’m happy to report that I completed it this week!  Obviously, I wasn’t working on it non-stop for the past six months.  I tend to pick it up, do a big chunk, get bored and put it down for a while.  To be honest, designing a portfolio is a pain in the butt.  It’s almost as bad as writing a cover letter.  I hate rehashing projects that I’m not that pleased with, so this time around, I decided to rework some of my projects from grad school.  Most of that consisted of touching up and reworking the graphics.  I am much happier with the quality of them now and it makes me more proud of my finished portfolio.

I’ve learned the lessons over the years that while an odd shape, say 10″x10″, is really cool, it’s not efficient when it comes to printing, since 10″x 1o” is not a standard paper size.  I’ve also learned that having the color bleed to the edges is not a good idea either.  Most printers don’t bleed to the edges, which means having to go up in paper size and trim it down.  I’ve done portfolios that were too busy, which takes away from what I’m really trying to show.  I’ve done portfolios that were just flat-out a mess.  Of course I didn’t think that at the time, but looking back at these old portfolios, I think to my self, “what the heck was I thinking!?”  Here are a sampling of portfolio covers over the years.
This was my very first portfolio (cover) from 2005.  The materials in it are all over the place.  (Sorry, I’m not posting whole portfolios over the years.  It’s way to embarrassing!)  I had no clear direction of what I wanted to show, so I showed just about everything, from urban planning projects, to GIS maps, to art work from my studio art classes in undergrad.

In 2006 I made a smaller work sample document featuring some of my projects from grad school.  This was much more focused, but the layout wasn’t particularly great.

In 2007 I expanded on the work sample of 2006.  I decided to make this portfolio 10″ x 10″, a horrible decision because of the increased cost of printing.  While to cover looks fairly simple, the content is all over the place graphically speaking.  This was a “what was I thinking” portfolio.  Nothing clean and simple about it!

In 2009 I decided to go back to the 8.5″ x 11″ format, except the pages bled to the edges, which still required printing on 11″ x 17″ and trimming down.  The content was much more streamlined but there wasn’t a lot of white space to give the eyes a break.

Alas, we come to 2012.  In my mind this is the most thought-out portfolio I’ve made so far.  I’ve grouped projects based on “The City”, “The Neighborhood”, and “The Site”.  There is plenty of white space, clean lines, and efficient page structure for printing.  Perhaps in five years I will look back at this portfolio and have another “What was I thinking” moment, but for now, I think it looks pretty decent and for your viewing pleasure, you can check out my “master piece” of 2012 by clicking here!

What do you think?  Look okay?  Would you hire me after seeing this portfolio? 😉

**Update** The covers don’t read very clearly in this post, but if you click on each of them, they will pop up much larger and clearer.

La Madeleine Inspiration


Last Thursday evening I had a Delta Gamma Foundation of Dallas meeting at La Madeleine.  These meetings have a tendency to drag of forever so I made sure to order dinner.  Typically, when I know that I will be eating out, I go online and look at menus ahead of time.  Otherwise, I’ll spend way too long trying to decide what I want while the waiter or waitress is impatiently tapping on his/her note pad waiting for me to order.  Having a plan ahead of time spares everyone the agony of my decision-making process.  Last Thursday was no different.  I had a plan to order the Turkey Bistro sandwich, however once I arrived to La Madeleine, I saw all the flashy signs for new entrees.  So new, they aren’t even on the website yet!  The pictures scrolled on their electronic screen of the new dishes and my mouth began to water when I saw the new pork dish.  I wish I could remember what it was called exactly (since it’s still not online yet), but it was something like Balsamic Glazed Pork with Roasted Vegetables.  Yum!  Of course my original plan totally changed and I ordered this new pork dish.  The guy at the register even said it was amazing, so it was an easy switch.

My buzzer finally went off signaling me to get my newly anticipated Balsamic Glazed Pork.  Just as the menu described, it came with roasted vegetables and a quinoa salad.  The meeting began and I enjoyed my dinner.  Losing concentration on the topic at hand, my thoughts quickly went to, “I can totally make this at home!” and “In fact, I can build on it, adding other veggies like brussels sprouts and cauliflower.”  I spent most of the two-hour meeting thinking about recreating this yummy dinner and before I knew it, it was time to head home!

Fast forward a few days, I stocked up the refrigerator and went to town making my La Madeleine inspiration.  While I don’t have an exact recipe for you yet (I’m horrible about measuring things and it still needs a little tweaking anyway) plan on seeing one soon!  But in the meantime, here are a few snapshots of my version of Balsamic Glazed Pork with Roasted Vegetables and Quinoa Salad!
Balsamic vinegar simmering and reducing down to a nice thick glaze

The one of the biggest heads of cauliflower I’ve ever seen (and it was the smallest one at the grocery store)!  This picture doesn’t do justice as to how large this cauliflower is!  The sign at the grocery store said it’s from Texas.  As the saying goes, everything is bigger in Texas!

The finished product.

 And the all important close up shot!

I’m working on my photography skills.  As you can see, I haven’t mastered the art of making food look amazing.  It doesn’t help that you can see the paper towels, soap, and dish scrubber in the background!  Ha!  Eventually I’ll upgrade to using a real camera instead of my phone to take all these lovely pictures, but for now, you’ll have to use your imagination and know that most everything I whip up is pretty yummy despite poor picture quality!  Nick can attest to that, too.

Chicks Rock Fights Ovarian Cancer

Exciting news!  Nick is working with the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund to have ALL of the proceeds generated from the CHICKS ROCK game (via ads) donated to the foundation!  It’s a very near and dear cause for us and ovarian cancer affects thousands of women along with their loved ones.  Help us raise money by downloading the super cute game, CHICKS ROCK, onto your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch.  It’s totally free and available in the app store!

(Plus you get to hear Nick sing the intro song at the beginning of the game.  He’s got quite the voice, huh?  Along with that great voice, he’s got a great heart; one of the many reasons why I love him!)

**Update** The Ovarian Cancer Research Fund just posted a link on their website as well, talking about the partnership and why Nick decided to link up with the OVRF.  Check out the post here!

A Walk In The Park

You may remember my post about my lucky blue dress.  Well, I think I have an unlucky pair of blue jeans.
They aren’t anything particularly special.  I bought them right around New Year’s from the Gap.  I was feeling very out of date with my existing jeans selection and with all my working out lately, I finally felt comfortable about getting skinny jeans.  Well, they are actually straight leg jeans since the Gap was out of my size in the color of skinny jeans I wanted.  At any rate, they don’t flare at the bottom, something I’ve avoided for a long time because I feel like the flare balances out my seemingly thick quads.  Now that I’ve jumped on the bandwagon, I love them, however every time I’ve worn them this year, I’ve had bad luck.  A lot of bad news has come my way this month and while it might not be the fault of the jeans, I am wearing them every time bad news hits.

This weekend was a nice, sunny weekend so Nick and I decided to go to White Rock Lake for a walk.
 Thinking we weren’t going to walk more than a mile or two, I put on my new (unlucky) jeans and we headed out.   Well, after about three miles, we had to make a critical decision: keep going or turn back as we were getting close to the half-way point of four and a half miles.  At this point, I realized I should have worn my running shoes for this trek instead of my casual walking shoes, and perhaps a pair of socks, but I was feeling okay, so we decided to make the loop around the entire lake.
White Rock Lake Water Works 1

White Rock Lake Water Works 2  We made it to about the halfway point and I knew I made the wrong decision.  My feet were killing me!  But there was no turning back, cause either way we went, it was four and a half miles back to the car.
White Rock LakeNick had to listen to me complain the rest of the way around the lake.  The funny thing is, is that I wore these same shoes over the summer when we visited the flea market in Canton, TX and logged five miles that day and ran into the same experience.  You would have thought I learned my lesson, right?  After several stops, we finally made it around the lake.  I was so happy to get in the car and take my shoes off, driving barefoot all the way home.

When we got home, I walked by the mirror and saw that both of my heels were covered in blood!  I’ll spare you any pictures of the damage, but the pain equaled exactly how it looked!  (It took me about 48 hours before I could put shoes on that covered the heels of my feet, and it still hurt!)  So while the unlucky blue jeans didn’t cause the bloody blisters, had I not wore them, I wouldn’t have worn those particular shoes and I would have saved myself the pain and pints (well, not really that much) of blood lost.

Now, if you remember, last month, I posted about a few job interviews I had coming up.  Well, I should be hearing VERY soon on both of them and I’m scared to wear those damn jeans.  I don’t even want to touch them or even look at them!  No more bad luck!  I refuse to wear those jeans until I get some good luck my way!

Do you have anything that you feel brings you good or bad luck?

Thai Takeout Fake Out

Thai Takeout Fake Out was actually on Friday night, but the weekend has gotten away from once again and I am just now getting it up on the blog!  So let’s get started.  I announced to Nick that we would be having Thai Takeout Fake Out for dinner.  He would be having Taste of Basil with Pork and I would be having Red Curry with Tofu.  Missing the “Fake Out” portion of the Thai Takeout Fake Out, he thought I had already decided on what he’d be ordering from our favorite Thai takeout place, Best Thai.  Granted, he usually orders Taste of Basil with Pork, he thought I was being presumptuous for picking out what he’d be ordering.  I clarified that we weren’t going to order takeout, I’d be making these dishes, hence “Takeout Fake Out”.

Inspired by a recent post over at Eat, Live, Run, I decided to make Red Curry with Tofu for me.  I used Jenna’s Fire Pot Soup recipe to create the foundation for my curry sauce, but instead of making the recipe exactly as she wrote it, I referred to my Best Thai takeout menu for additional veggies to add.
Chopped up and ready for the sauté pan are sweet potatoes (not on the Best Thai menu, but I added this from inspiration from the Kashi Red Curry Chicken entry), green and red bell peppers, zucchini, and garlic.
The diced sweet potato hit the heat for about 5 minutes.
I added the bell peppers and continued to sauté for another 5 minutes.
And into the pan went the zucchini and garlic for 3 more minutes. Once the veggies were mostly tender with a little bit of crunch left in them, I set them aside and moved onto sautéing the tofu.
I let the tofu get nice and golden on the outside, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes.  Once the tofu had a nice, crisp exterior, I set it aside with the veggies and it was onto the curry broth.  At this point I began to really refer to Jenna’s Fire Pot Soup post.
I mashed the red curry paste and oil together.
Into the pan went the light coconut milk and chicken broth.  I deviated from Jenna’s broth at the point, adding  only 3/4 a cup of chicken broth because I wanted it to be more of a sauce than a soup.
I added regular basil (instead of Thai basil, since I already had it on hand, lemongrass and two dried Thai chilies.  I couldn’t find fresh Thai chilies so I figured these would work well enough.
I added the veggies and tofu and let the flavors meld together while I got working on Nick’s Thai Takeout Fake Out dish.  His Taste of Basil with Pork recipe came pretty much directly from Leite’s Culinaria Thai Basil Pork (Pad Gkaprow Mu) with the few minor  substitutions of regular basil instead of Thai basil, tamari sauce instead of regular soy sauce, and dried chilies instead of fresh ones.
Chopped onion and garlic.
Into the pan they go!
Along with the pork.
And the chilies and sauces.
Stir in the basil and it’s done!

Thai Takeout Fake Out was a success.  Our dishes didn’t taste exactly like Best Thai takeout, but they came pretty close and they were probably a healthier too, since I had control of the ingredients.  While picking up the phone and calling the Thai place (which is programmed into my phone) is pretty convenient, making these dishes was actually a lot of fun.  I’m looking forward to making more Thai Takeout Fake Outs in the future.

Have you successfully recreated any of your favorite restaurant or takeout dishes?