The Age of Aquarius

Graphic Design

In the fall of 2010, on a tip from a friend, I wandered in to Aquarius and fell in love. My wardrobe and I have continued to improve vastly ever since.

5 years later, it’s time to celebrate another anniversary. I have tremendous admiration and respect for owner, buyer, and all around heart and soul of the store, Sara Ash Jessop. She’s done wonders for San Antonio (and for me) and continues to carefully curate one of the most beautiful spaces in South Texas.

I started as a shop girl a few weeks after the store opened. This was the first of several chances Sara has taken on me through the years. These days, it’s always an exciting creative challenge when Sara asks for my help. Typically, it’s a trunk show graphic, maybe an email, or a mailer but the annual anniversary party invitations are always special.

The art deco-inspired fifth year anniversary invitation was no different.

Aquarius is 5!

Aquarius is 5!

As the store celebrates it’s fifth birthday, I look back and I feel lucky to have been chosen to change and grow along with it – to see and learn so closely from someone who’s passion and vision became so beautifully tangible (to the benefit of many).

Cheers to Sara – to her hard work, her foresight, and her ever-impeccable sense of all things stylish.

Thursday Night Fever

Graphic Design

It’s time again for Blue Star Contemporary Art Museum’s second annual fall fundraiser – Black Tie Disco Bingo.

Get down for a great cause on Thursday, November 19 from 7pm to Midnight

Get down for a great cause on Thursday, November 19 from 7pm to Midnight

As if you needed another excuse to dust off your bell bottoms… As if I needed another excuse to continue my obsession with vintage graphic design…

The beginnings of my most recent project (above) with Blue Star Contemporary Art Museum were nothing short of superfly. Take a peek at the Save the Date and stay tuned for images from the out-of-sight event and dyn-o-mite invitation.

 

Te Amo, Red Dot.

Graphic Design

RedDotH Fashionably late is still kind of in, right? Because I completed this project back in April of 2015 (whoops) and I’m just now sitting down to gush about it.

When my friends at Blue Star Contemporary Art Museum again called on me to help design their event collateral and identity I jumped at the chance to help honor a long-standing community influencer and local San Antonio artist, Cruz Ortiz.

If you’re not familiar with Cruz or his work, do yourself a favor and at least briefly handle that oversight. He has an immediately recognizable style packed with personality and an aesthetic that typically weaves in a seamless wink or two.

Enjoy a few pictures from the fabulous event below (and a few more here) and take a quick look at the event invitation materials I so enjoyed putting together.

Red Dot Event Pictures courtesy of the Blue Star Contemporary Art Museum Facebook page

Red Dot Event Pictures courtesy of the Blue Star Contemporary Art Museum Facebook page

A full-suite view of the invitation collateral

A full-suite view of the invitation collateral

Top: Front (R) and Back (L) panels, side by side Bottom: Interior panels (first opening of the piece)

Top: Front (R) and Back (L) panels, side by side
Bottom: Interior panels (first opening of the piece)

Adios amigos – ’til next time!

The Pros & Cons of Getting Older

Graphic Design

It’s not the years in your life, it’s the life in your years (and all that jazz).

Not too long ago, I was way too eager to add a year or two when someone said “How old are you?”. I’ve always been a little big for my britches, so I wanted some extra street cred. Unfortunately for me, I very recently realized that I’m a bit too close to hitting the age where you may in fact want to start subtracting…

While age IS just a number, it’s nice to know that while I continue to accumulate wrinkles and white hairs, I’m gaining hard-earned wisdom.

Many of these birthday-related revelations were inspired by a quick project for my favorite San Antonio boutique, Aquarius.

Visit, sign up for their email list, list your birthday (year not required), and know that when you gain that next year of wisdom, one of these bad boys will arrive in your mailbox to prove (yet again) that the best gifts might just be the ones you buy for yourself…

Taking the sting out of getting older.

Taking the sting out of getting older.

New Year, Same Old Me

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I’ve created blog posts before to try and keep myself accountable to the lofty goals we all try to set for ourselves every January. Spoiler alert: I just tallied, and last year, I went 1 for 15…

In the 24 days of 2015, it’s been increasingly weighing on me to put some semblance of commitment to myself into words. I take on too much and leave too little for leisure. I have so many lofty goals but they’re always on hold as I catch myself saying yes and yes to more and more. I’m declaring 2015 as the year of ME. I’m taking my life back.

I’m off to a good start, at the end of last year I shed some much needed skin and started working at a place that values me as a human being, has a no working on weekends policy, and actually told me they were happy I was finding my voice instead of stifling it under impossible expectations and even more ridiculous deadlines. I cannot tell you how much happiness you find when you simply feel supported.

But, beyond all of that I still need to make room for more of what I want to do. Truly, you only live once, (cringe-worthy YOLO, and all that jazz).

2015, the year of ME includes more:

  • Painting
  • Being Outside (will this be the year I finally go kayaking?)
  • Yoga (thanks to my relentless and incredible friend Chantil)
  • Vegetables (and other healthy habits)
  • Seeing the world (this is simply non-negotiable)
  • Languages (I’m going to finally learn spanish, or get damn close)
  • Reading, Exploring, & Learning
  • Budgeting
  • Spending time with the people I loveThe 2015 year of ME includes less:
  • Dairy & Carbs (I’m crying already, but we’re doing the Whole30 starting in Feb..)
  • Negativity (which thanks to my new work life balance, this has almost disappeared anyways)
  • Excuses
  • Projects I don’t want to take on
  • Stuff (I LOVE buying stuff – see oniochalasia – but I need to focus on doing it less)And there you have it. Habits are hard to break, but wish me luck – and expect some very different recipes in the coming weeks…

 

B-I-N-G-O

Graphic Design
My repurposed designs and these beautiful vintage bulbs placed in a modern installation created a larger than life event feel.

My repurposed designs and these beautiful vintage bulbs placed in a modern installation created a larger than life event feel.

Branding and identity challenges are always fun, but couple that with a clean slate, a retro game, and a vintage feel and I’m more than intrigued. When I was asked to create the event identity and collateral for Blue Star Contemporary Art Museum‘s Inaugural Black Tie Bingo fundraiser, I jumped.

Through many logo concepts, and countless font choices what you see here is where we landed. I think the outcome was very well-suited for the event – a mixture of vintage simplicity and clean modernity. Upon arrival, I was elated to find that the artwork had been recreated large scale on the walls (and of course, obnoxiously had to pose with it later in the evening – see final image).

My logo design on the wall behind the event's stage and podium.

My logo design on the wall behind the event’s stage and podium.

The event itself was nothing short of incredible (which is both indicative of how much fun we had and how much more I should get out) with a silent auction, artists calling each round of Bingo, and delicious food by recently named Bon Appetit “Best New Restaurant” and local gem, Hot Joy. I can’t say if I will be asked to design the invitations again next year, but I can say we’ll be back with bells on for the next one!

(If you’d like to see more pictures of the event try here, here, or here)

The final event invitations and collateral.

The final event invitations and collateral.

Posing with my name on the wall.

Posing with my name on the wall.

SLOW COOKER CHIPOTLE CHEDDAR MAC ‘N CHEESE

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I find that when I’m feeling happy, I like to cook. There was a large piece of my life that thankfully ended recently that saw take out, pick-up pizza, and heat & eat food every night. I did not have the time, the energy, or the will to devote more than 30 minutes to feeding myself (much less my poor boyfriend) when I crawled in the door at night.

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Before I get ahead of myself here and act like I’ve accomplished some great feat, let me just say that this recipe (which I modified to my own liking from this one) took MAYBE 30 minutes to put together.. However, it feels so much more satisfying to gently check a slow cooker every 45 minutes or so than to try to decide if I want pepperoni, meat lovers, or cheese crust tonight.. (usually the answer was 2 out of 3, always choose cheese crust my friends, always).

But enough about me. Enjoy this super easy, (super cheesy) delicious comfort food now that our South Texas weather is finally ducking under 90 degrees…

Slow Cooker Chipotle Cheddar Mac ‘n Cheese

Ingredients:

  • 2 Cups Elbow Macaroni (or noodle of choice) cooked for about 6 minutes
  • 4 Tablespoons of Butter
  • 1 Cup of Milk (I used 1%)
  • 1 Cup of Shredded Gouda Cheese (or any mild, easy to melt cheese)
  • 2 Cups of Shredded Chipotle Cheddar Cheese (or again, choose another)
  • 1 Cup of Fat Free Sour Cream (or you know, at this point, full fat.. why bother?)
  • 1 Can (10.75 oz.) Campbell’s Cheddar Cheese Soup (it killed my soul a little bit to buy this… FYI)
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Pepper
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Dry Mustard

Directions:

Set aside your almost-cooked noodles and make sure you have your slow cooker (and a liner) handy. Spray the liner with non-stick cooking spray.

Melt the butter in a sauce pan. Once butter is fully melted, slowly add all of the shredded cheese and milk, about a half cup at a time, alternating, stirring constantly (do this at a low enough heat it doesn’t stick, but high enough it keeps fluid).

Add the noodles, cheese mixture, sour cream, cheddar cheese soup (again, gag, why does this stuff make me so queasy? maybe I just feel my inner Paula Deen coming out?), salt, pepper, and dry mustard to the slow cooker and mix evenly.

Cover and cook on low for 2 hours, stirring occasionally.

Seriously, this is way too good.

Next adventure? Lemon Chicken Orzo soup..

 

LIONS & TIGERS & BEARS, OH MY!

Graphic Design

It’s an honor and a privilege to work doing what you love. It’s an even bigger honor and a far greater privilege to be asked to do what you love for someone very dear to you.

WizardQuoteImage

I have known Sarah and Hunter for a little over 2 years now but they have been together nearly 10. They share a rare and very special kind of love that hardly exists anymore these days. Childhood sweethearts who stood the test of time and grew into themselves both individually and together, and came out stronger and better for it. They are both passionate, determined, and the whole world is ahead of them. Knowing them makes me better too, as I imagine it does for everyone in their lives.

Their ceremony and reception were absolutely beautiful – but more importantly, everything about their wedding was perfect for the two of them, and peppered with cheeky but classic references to Sarah’s favorite, the Wizard of Oz. I enjoyed working with them on Save the Dates, Wedding Invitations, and other details (hand chalked signage, Bachelor/Bachelorette weekend t-shirts, and more) as the big day approached. There truly is no greater joy than lending your time and your talents to the people you love.

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To Sarah & Hunter. May life grant you all of the happinesses it has to offer. Cheers!

Kitchen Ambitions

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Maybe Hump Day’s not the most exciting day of the week, it’s definitely not typically a day for me to strive for many accomplishments. Since this is a week of firsts for me, I ambitiously planned not one, but TWO culinary extravaganzas. Here I will outline the first.

Much to my boyfriend’s dismay, I planned a healthy dessert (well, a healthy FAT dessert – see, avocado) to follow a healthy dish (here comes the bigger shocker . . .) & then, I actually made both of them. Though, I will say, I had to stop at the grocery store on the way home to pick up a pasta just in case. He was fully resigned to hating it.

He loved it. 

Here’s the recipe (please note: I modified the recipe a bit, but the link to the original is on the Trader Joe’s website) & a step by step in pictures below (because, I’m admittedly a spaghetti squash newbie).

1. Milk, english peas, light cream cheese, & parmesan 2. Slicing that squash was not easy, but all my digits are intact  3. You can really scrape all the way out to the skin, so waste not! 4. Spaghetti Squash is no longer daunting, it practically falls apart with no pressure. 5. BACON 6. The sauce with peas, great thickness to it that I wasn't expecting 7. Finished product 8. Happy (Empty) Plate!

1. Milk, english peas, light cream cheese, & parmesan 2. Slicing that squash was HARD, but all my digits are intact 3. Scrape all the way out to the skin 4. Spaghetti Squash is no longer daunting, it practically falls apart with no pressure 5. BACON!!! 6. The sauce with peas, has a great thickness to it that I wasn’t expecting 7. The finished product 8. Happy (Empty) Plate!

Spaghetti Squash Carbonara via Trader Joe’s (with my modifications, serves 4-6)

– Large Spaghetti Squash
– 6 slices TJ’s Applewood Smoked Bacon, chopped
– 4 cloves of garlic, minced
– 1 cup of light cream cheese, cubed
– 1 cup Fresh English Peas
– 1 1/2 cups of Low-fat Milk
– 1/3 cup of grated fresh Parmesan Reggiano

Cook the squash: Use a sharp knife to cut squash in half lengthwise. Use a large table spoon to scrape out the seeds and string (this had that old pumpkin smell to it, I put it down the disposal rather quickly). Season with salt and pepper, place cut side up in a microwave safe dish and add about an inch of water to the bottom of the dish. Cover dish with cling wrap and microwave on high for 8-10 minutes. (I had to do each half of the squash separately) Allow to cool enough to handle before unwrapping. Use a table fork to scrape squash from top to bottom to separate flesh into strands of “spaghetti.” Prepare Sauce: Cook bacon in large skillet until crisp. Remove from skillet with slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel. Pour off bacon drippings. Add garlic to pan and sauté until opaque, about 1 minute. Add milk, cream cheese and peas; simmer over very low heat until cream cheese is melted and mixture is well blended and heated through (you can add more milk if too thick). Add squash and bacon; toss to coat. Sprinkle on Parmesan cheese and serve right away.

Verdict: Absolutely delicious. I can’t wait to try more spaghetti squash as a substitute for pasta. Obviously, it’s much healthier, & I would be lying to you if I felt good about myself while saying “I couldn’t even tell the difference”. Because really, what kind of asshole who can’t tell the difference between a squash and a delicious carb? Well, I promise you, I couldn’t (or didn’t) notice.

Now, onto dessert!

A Few of my Favorite Things

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Dark Chocolate + Avocado ??

Certainly raises a few eyebrows. BUT if you’re looking for an easy (& I seriously mean easy) & healthy dessert option, may I suggest this Dark Chocolate Avocado Mousse recipe via Refinery29?

1. Ingredients ready to mix. 2. Mashed with fork 3. Loaded up & ready to go 4. Fresh pomegranate seeds 5. Another favorite, raspberries 6. Delicious. Pure heaven.

1. Ingredients ready to mix. 2. Mashed with fork 3. Loaded up & ready to go
4. Fresh pomegranate seeds 5. Another favorite, raspberries 6. Delicious. Pure heaven.

Recipe:

  • 2 avocados (fairly ripe – but obviously, not overripe)
  • 5 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder (recommended 60% cacao or more – in my opinion, the darker the better when it comes to chocolate, also helps to mask “avocado” taste)
  • 4 Tbsp agave syrup (I used some organic, raw blue agave syrup found at Trader Joe’s)

Ready? You may need to take notes. This is fairly complex.

Peel, & dice avocado. Add cocoa powder & agave syrup. Mash with a fork until all lumps are gone & ingredients are evenly blended.

If you really wanna get picky, you could do this with a mixer & it would be even smoother & creamier. Serve with fresh berries (I added raspberries & pomegranate seeds – YUM). This recipe is seriously THAT easy, probably impossible to screw up, AND I can think of a million ways to modify depending on how you like your chocolate . . .

  • Throw in some peanut butter.
  • Throw in some hazelnuts, or even better, hazelnuts AND nutella. Or just nutella.
  • Go crazy with fruit, add blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, all berries.
  • Dark Chocolate and orange pair nicely – throw in some mandarins if you’re feeling adventurous. Citrus also helps to keep avocado from getting weird as quickly, so toss in some fresh orange juice if you don’t plan to eat within a day or two.
  • Top with your favorite fro-yo, ice cream, sprinkles, etc. & enjoy a variation on a sundae.

Avocado is a healthy fat, great for skin, hair, nails, among other things. So, while this is not necessarily a guilt-free indulgence, you should certainly feel good about getting your dessert kicks in with a fat that’s good for you.