The photo above is a (rare) candid snap of me at work. But in this moment I wasn't really working at all. I was reading an email from Jeremy - we were falling in love.
Today is my last day of nine-to-five work. Third Degree Advertising has given me a wealth of experience and has turned me into an award-winning Senior Art Director. This place has been my second home for almost five years and my coworkers are like family. They've seen me laugh, cry, go from red to black to blond and have watched me grow up.
I am so very thankful.
And I'm so very excited for what's next.
Remember the hail storm that demolished our veggie garden? Well, apparently our vegetable plants are little badasses that have come back with a vengeance. Look! We're even getting a little squash - isn't it adorable?
We spent a little time cleaning everything up. Trimming off dying stems that sustained too much damage and getting leaves out of our beds. We've been watering and tending and encouraging our little veggies to come back. It's working! Nature y'all!
When my dear friends Mario and Erin decided to tie the knot I was really hoping they'd ask me to do the invitations. They are super cool and have really great taste. Need proof? You might remember when I featured their rad kitchen in the ranch home they just remodeled. Like Daniel & Megan, Mario and Erin are both designers (web/graphic and interior) so it was a little intimidating coming up with the perfect design for their invites.
Mario and Erin gave me the liberty to do anything I wanted - which sounds glamorous but in reality can be overwhelming. I knew that Mario and Erin were to be married in a really gorgeous backyard full of flowers - I found some vintage illustrations of some super sexy flowers and decided to run with it.
I originally designed these in a super neon lime green and grey but toned it down a little when I found out Erin's bridesmaids were wearing kelly green. I love how non-traditional the scale of imagery and typography is for a wedding invite. A big thank you to Mario and Erin for allowing me to push the envelope on this one.
A variation of this meal has been my go-to for about a year now.
It is toast (I toasted this in my cast iron pan with a little bit of butter) smothered with goat cheese, covered with arugula (or spinach) and topped with a fried egg. I also dressed it with a little balsamic vinegar, dill and rosemary.
I also tried a new technique for my eggs - I heated a little butter in a pan over medium/low heat. When the butter was sizzling I cracked the eggs in the pan. Then I covered the pan for about 4 minutes, just until the yolk had a slight white glaze over it. It required no flipping - there were no runny uncooked white but the yolk was nice and oozy.
As always, ingredients highlighted in green are local.
I love the idea of spontaneously packing up for a weekend and going camping. The problem is that I'm no expert in camping. I feel like I would pack up and arrive on site without the necessities - like firewood and bug spray. Or a bunch of food with no utensils. But at the same time I don't want to pack up my whole house for what's supposed to be a rustic weekend.
So I'm looking to you all for some advice.
What are the necessities when it comes to efficient camping? What kind of food do you pack? Any other general advice or tips?
Do you ever hear a word for the first time ever and then hear it over and over again for the next few weeks? I first heard about the super grain quinoa (prounounced keen-wah) about a year or two ago and now I see it every where. I JUST heard about créme fraiche the other day when an English friend of mine was talking about cracking an egg on pasta and topping it with a dollop of créme fraiche. Then another friend tweeted about eating some créme fraiche on strawberries for dessert. Then I stumbled upon some créme fraiche at the farmer's market - so I had to get some - and eat it on strawberries, of course. All saying "créme fraiche" over and over again in my head wondering if I'm pronouncing it correctly or if I sound like an ignorant Okie.
Quinoa with Asparagus and a Fried Egg
A quinoa bowl is something I go to when I need some protein and am feeling unimaginative - but it's filling and really good for you.
1 c. quinoa
1 bunch of asparagus
3 large green onions (or one small regular onion)
1 bulb of fresh (straight from the earth) garlic
Toasted pine nuts
Salt and pepper
(Ingredients in green are local)
Wash your quinoa under cold water. In a medium sauce pan bring 1 cup of washed quinoa and 2 cups of water to a boil. Bring down to a simmer for 20 minutes. Toast your pine nuts in a skillet just until browned. Set aside.
After the quinoa has cooked for 10 minutes or so, lightly steam your asparagus and chop your garlic and onion. In a large skillet, sautee the garlic and onion in a little olive oil until just translucent. Add your steamed asparagus and cooked quinoa. Scramble it all together. Salt and pepper.
Meanwhile, fry your eggs however you like them. Throw everything in a bowl and top with oregano and pine nuts. Top with your fried egg, salt and pepper a little more and enjoy.
Serves 4 (or in our case 2, with leftovers)
Strawberries with Créme Fraiche and Dark Chocolate Shavings
1.5 c strawberries (tops trimmed off)
1/3 c créme fraiche
1-2 tbs. maple syrup
1/4 c dark chocolate (I prefer 85% cacao) chopped finely
Whisk your créme fraiche and maple syrup together until smooth. Top your strawberries with the créme fraiche mix and dark chocolate shavings. Serves 2.
Jeremy and I are both huge fans of coffee (especially on Monday mornings) so when Dressing on the Side sent us these Morning Buzz t-shirts we were more than happy to model them.
On a related note, my favorite specialty coffee drink is an Americano (a couple shots of espresso and hot water) with a little room for cream. What's yours?
This is Liz's last week here before she starts her new adventure in North Carolina. I decided to cook for her whatever she wanted for our last weekly Wednesday night dinner get together. She requested good ol' mac and cheese with extra cheese. I was happy to oblige. This mac and cheese is something I used to make before I got into cooking - we're like old friends that get together a few times a year but it's as if we haven't skipped a beat.
I've changed up the recipe here and there. Sometimes I throw in some spinach or sometimes I make it with an onion. Last night I made it with an entire bulb of fresh (from the earth) garlic and garlic goat cheese. You can use any type of cheese you like - just make sure you use a lot.
Kathleen's Mac and Cheese
1 package (16 oz.) whole wheat elbow macaroni (I used a slightly larger pasta here)
12 oz. sharp cheddar
8 oz. garlic goat cheese
3 tbs butter
3 tbs all purpose unbleached flour
3 c whole milk
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cayenne
1 bay leaf
1 bulb of fresh garlic OR a small onion
*ingredients in green are local
First, get some water boiling for your pasta and preheat your oven to 375f. Mince or finely chop your bulb of garlic (or an onion, alternatively). Then shred all of your cheese. Over medium heat, melt 3 tbs of butter in a wide skillet - when it's melted wisk in your flour and keep wisking for a minute or two. Add your garlic (or onion) and continue to wisk until the garlic is nice a fragrant (or the onion is translucent) - don't let the flour butter mixture burn. Add in your 3 cups of milk and whisk in the cayenne powder and salt. Throw your bay leaf in too. Let this simmer (but not boil) for about 7 minutes.
Your pasta should be done at this point. I cook mine to al dente for about 6 minutes. Strain and shock with cold water. Set to the side.
Temper in your egg - I do this by whisking the egg, with a fork, in a small bowl. I whisk in 2 tbs, one at a time, of the warm milk from the stove. This slowly warms up your eggs without cooking it. Then, whisk the egg into your egg mix and let this simmer for another 5 minutes or so, occasionally stirring. This should thicken up quite a bit.
Now here's the fun part. Mix in 3/4 of your cheese into the milk/egg mixture and stir it in as it gets all melty and gooey. Then dump your pasta back into the large pot you used to boil it in (with no water) and dump your cheesy mix on top. Stir it all together for a minute or two to get the cheese inside the elbows. At this point you could also dump a bag of fresh spinach or baby kale into the mix.
Pour your cheesy macaroni in a buttered pan (about 8x10 or so). Top with the rest of your cheese. Stick in the oven for 45 minutes. Cover with foil for the first 25 minutes and then uncover to get the top nice and browned. Because Liz likes her mac extra crispy on top I did not cover this mac at all.
J and K as Scribblenauts. Drawn with a fine tip Sharpie on vellum, scanned and colored in Photoshop.
I've been drawing, painting, designing and making art my entire life but have never really considered myself an artist. That label is reserved for the classics like Monet and Van Gogh, who by the way, have never inspired me in the least bit. Or it's a label for art school hippies that can't get a job. It's because of these preconceived notions that I don't identify with the label "artist" when I have a bachelor's degree in fine arts and make a living, essentially, making art.
However, I've never completely identified with the label "graphic designer" because that conjurs up images of a dude with a goatee piecing together clip art for a company newsletter on his Apple Macintosh computer.
With all of that said, one of the things I'm most looking forward when I go full-time freelance is getting back to my roots - busting out my old Berol Prisma colors and putting Sharpies and technical pens to paper. Dusting off my Xacto blades and crusty watercolor brushes. I'm looking forward to incorporating, and even relying on, hands-on art into my designs. I'm looking forward to not just pouring my heart into my designs but a little sweat too.
I'm going to redefine what it means, if only to me, to be an artist and a designer.
Sundays are about baking, cooking, soaking and baking some more. This past Sunday I made banana bread with crystallized ginger and dark chocolate and just about died it was so good. You will have to read this book for the recipe. It's worth it.
The Emile Henry loaf pan is a birthday gift from new friend and food blogger Megan-Joy. It's perfect and a piece I will have in my kitchen forever. This banana bread was the perfect first recipe for it.
It's easy, if not cliche, to find metaphors in nature. So I won't go there. But I will say - I think I have a thing or two to learn from spiderwebs. Things like how to have a work ethic or "you can rebuild your veggie garden that was devastated by a hail storm".
Nina Katchadourian* found a not so trite way of saying it. In fact, it's genius.
P.S. there isn't anything that gives me the heebie-jeebies more than walking through a spider web. Am I right?
*Via The Jealous Curator.
First, I have a confession to make. When Jeremy and I were first together I would get these late-night (and a little tipsy) cravings for a McDonald's Filet 'o Fish sandwich. And I would give in to these cravings on an almost weekly basis. The McD's fish sandwich was always luke warm, at best, and the little square of cheese on it was always a little waxy and dried out. I'm going to assume this is because NOBODY but me ever orders a filet o' fish and it lives under heat lamps for a better part of the day. I always felt a little gross but secretly satisfied after eating one. That's how much I love me a fish sandwich.
Since turning to whole and local foods, I can say, with confidence, that I have not given in to one of these cravings and never will again. Ever. No, really. (But no judgment to those who do!) Especially after Friday evening when Jeremy requested a fish sandwich for dinner.
I was happy to oblige this special request using homemade bread, homemade mayo (with dill mixed in) and bass caught by my dad - pan-fried in a beer batter (equal parts Abita Wheat and unbleached all purpose flour). And it was delicious.
I can safely say that I don't miss the McDonald's version anymore. Really.
Sunday was gorgeous - the sun was shining and our squash had just started blooming. We harvested a few more radishes and felt proud of our little veggie garden. Then around 3PM, sun still in the sky, our local weather men told us to put on helmets and hide in our basements. The sky quickly turned angry and dark.
Jeremy and I ran out to our backyard and covered our gardens with some tarp. And then, from our bedroom window we watched they sky pour buckets of ice over our lawn.
The veggie garden was demolished - the tarp barely held up a fight. Everything was smooshed. Flat and sad. Here's to starting over.
Okay, I can't help myself. Here's another sneak peak at the home office. Things have already changed since taking this photo - the shelves are filling up with my design books and supplies. But here you can see that the windows have a fresh coat of white and the walls have been painted. Yay!
I was so inspired by Victoria's set-up here and thought something like that would be perfect in my new office. This weekend I'm going to gather a few more pots and plants to play on this look for my own space.
Up until now my office has been the place I put things I don't want to deal with. Things like old photos, class projects from art school, old art supplies and a random Alf doll. Stuff that is hard to identify, catalogue, organize or toss. Stuff I've been avoiding dealing with for the past couple years since moving into our home.
But in order to get my office ready for full-time freelancing I've been forced to focus and clean everything out. In my desk I found some old notebooks Liz made for me, by hand. This one is a notebook that she sewed envelopes into - to house little collectibles. Genius.
Also, that top photo is a sneak peak of the office in progress. I found a huge cutting mat that is now the new surface for my desk - and you can see the color of the walls - and the top of one vintage yellow chair. More on that later!
Lately I've been picking up a few wardrobe pieces for my future in freelancing. Because my future is so uncertain and hard to picture I find myself grasping onto small details - like what I'll be wearing. Things that are a little more casual, like rompers - and like this handmade racer-back tank by local artist Nora Ivy.
You can get one too at Collected Thread.
First, a little background. I used to be the worst vegetarian ever. I stopped eating meat, officially, at 15 years old or so. Some people don't like onions - I didn't like meat. My motives for being a vegetarian continue to change and evolve as I get older - but that's not what this post is about. This post is about the fact that I used to only eat bread and cheese. If you were to photograph my food up until last year it would be a sea of beiges, browns and orange.
This post is about the fact that I bought some radishes at the farmers market a few weeks ago and let them go bad in my fridge. Because I didn't know what to do with them. I've NEVER had them. I had some sort of fantasy that my week would be filled with fresh salads topped with radishes - that never happened.
But, then... nature y'all. I grew these radishes from a little seed and by GOD I was going to eat them. I figured smothering them in eggs and cheese was a good way to start.
Asparagus and Radish Tart
1/2 c whole wheat flour
1/2 c unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 c cold butter
1 c garlic goat cheese (or any cheese of your liking - this is what I had on hand)
1/2 c heavy cream, divided
4 egg yolks
1/4 tsp salt
1 small bunch of radishes, sliced thin (I grew the French breakfast variety)
1/2 bunch of asparagus, cut into 1 in. pieces
Ingredients in green are local, orange is from my backyard garden
Preheat your oven to 425f. Dump your flour in a food processor or bowl. Cut in your butter until coarse. Pour in 1/4 c cream and stir until all part are moistened. (This was a disaster for me - I didn't trust that the mix was moist enough - so I added a little milk, but too much. Then I had to keep on adding flour until I got it to the right consistency. So if you're dough isn't moist enough just add 1 tbs. of cream or milk at a time.) Turn the dough into a 9-inch pan (I used a square one - but you can use round). With floured fingers press the mix into the bottom and sides of the pan. Prick the shell with a floured fork. Bake the pie shell for 10-12 minutes. Take out and let cool for a few minutes (in the pan) on a wire rack.
Lower the oven temp. to 325f. Layer in the cheese first on top of the somewhat cooled crust. Layer half of your cut asparagus and thinly sliced radishes on top of the cheese. Beat together the egg yolks and 1/4c of remaining cream. Pour into pie crust. Sprinkle the remaining asparagus and radishes on top. Bake 20-25 minutes, or until set.
Because of my dough fiasco I think my crust was much more like a biscuit than a crust - but hey, it was delish.
In passing, I told Jeremy I wanted some vintage lockers for my office. He couldn't track down the real deal but he did find these amazing vintage locker bins and gave them to me for my birthday. As I was opening them I squealed "is this a chicken coop!?" I'm a little obsessed with getting a chicken or 3. Chicken coop or not, I love them - they're now in the office filled with paper swatch books and design books.
Jeremy's sister was temporarily storing some furniture in our garage/shed and I moved this mid-century modern sidetable of hers inside - to temporarily admire it in our home. When she found out that I had fallen in love with it she offered to let us keep it. Thanks, Julie! We'll give it a good home for life.
Monday evening starting around 5pm the sky turned green and buckets of rain and hail started pouring down on Oklahoma City. The tornado sirens were blaring. I skipped my usual stop at the gym to head straight home to see what our local meteorologists had to say about the conditions outside. Instead of heeding the warnings to put a helmet on and get in my basement I decided to cook. And then bake. A couple hours later not only had the rain stopped but the sky was on fire with sun. I took the opportunity to visit my backyard garden and picked some arugula to use for dinner.
Whole Wheat Linguini with Mushrooms and Arugula
3/4 package of whole wheat linguini
3/4 c dry white wine (I used a $3 bottle of Chardonnay)
1/4 - 1/3 c heavy cream
1/2 c finely shredded manchego or parmesan cheese
1 1/2 c sliced shitake mushrooms (these cook down quite a bit - you may choose to add more)
1 bulb finely chopped fresh garlic (or 4-6 large cloves of dried garlic)
1 bunch of small green onion
A good handful of baby arugula
2 tbs olive oil
A pinch of salt
*items in green are local, orange is from my backyard
Boil your linguini until al dente (usually 7-8 minutes).
Meanwhile, sautee your chopped garlic in a glug of olive oil in a medium/large pan. Add salt and pepper. After a couple minutes add your mushrooms and soon after the white parts of the green onion. Save the green parts for later. After the mushrooms release their liquid and are cooking well add the dry white wine. Allow this to simmer for a few minutes and then add the cream. I did this by sight and just added enough cream until it gave the sauce a nice creamy texture (probably between 1/4 c and a 1/3 c). Allow this to simmer for another 2-3 minutes. Add more salt and pepper if needed.
Fold in your linguini, arugula and remainder of green onions. Take off the heat and serve topped with shredded manchego cheese.
I had never cooked with wine or freshly picked garlic before this meal. I felt all fancy and Top Chef about it. Oh, and I should note that this meal was even better as leftovers the next day.
J & K started this blog project to document the remodel of their 1929 historical home in the heart of Oklahoma City. It has now turned into a documentation of life, food, fashion, freelance, inspiration, design, adventures and details around the J & K house.
Kathleen works as an award-winning brand consultant and designer specializing in small business branding at Braid Creative & Consulting. Jeremy is a software engineer and is the left-brain to Kathleen’s right.
You can contact Kathleen at
jeremyandkathleen (at) gmail (dot) com.
All photos and graphics by Kathleen unless otherwise stated. Feel free to use them with permission or credit.
Anatomy of an Outfit
Sometimes I like to get dressed and take pictures of myself. For all of my outfit posts click here.
Freelance Matters: A series about how I tackle freelance issues such as estimating, billing, to-do lists and how to fire a client.
Trekking to Everest
In October 2010 Jeremy and I trekked through the Himalayas to Mt. Everest Base Camp. It completely changed my life. Read about the entire adventure, day-by-day, here.
Braid is a creative & consulting business I own with my sister. We do branding and business visioning for creative entrepreneurs. On the Braid blog I share branding adventures, how-to articles and advice on the creative process. If you need a little brand therapy of your own visit Braid or subscribe to the Braid blog RSS feed here.
What We Eat
We like to eat really good food - at least 3 times a day. Sometimes I blog about it - click here for recipes and yummy ideas.
J & K: Blog Archive
- ► 2012 (182)
- ► 2011 (257)
- Goodbye, nine-to-five
- Veggie Gardening: NATURE Y'ALL!
- Mario & Erin: Vintage Flower Wedding Invitations
- Eggs on Toast
- Time Lapse Foodtography
- Quinoa and Créme Fraiche
- Morning Buzz
- Say goodbye, for now.
- Kathleen's Mac and Cheese
- Identity Crisis: Artist vs. Designer
- Banana Bread with Crystallized Ginger and Dark Cho...
- The Evolution of A Fish Sandwich
- Aw, Hail!
- I miss Saturday morning.
- J and K: Home Office Sneak Peak
- Collector's Notebook
- Nora Ivy
- Electrical Box Monsters
- From the backyard to the table: Radishes
- Vintage Lockers
- From the backyard to the table: Arugula
- Weekend magic.
- Strawberry Cupcakes
- Scooty Boots on a Leash.
- Baking Bread
- Weekend to-do.
- Homemade Vanilla Extract and A Homemade Life
- My friends are the best.
- Ampersand Wallpaper
- The J & K Headquarters Remodel
- A very local pizza
- Veggie Gardening: Lesson Learned the Hard Way
- Breakfast for Dinner
- Inspired to Embroider
- ▼ May (39)
- ► 2009 (406)
- Eva Black | Spaces
- Emma Dime
- Life as an Artistpreneur
- Jane Reaction
- Ink & Letters
- Meg Biram | The Edit
- Sarah Von Bargen's Small Biz Blog
- Design Crush
- The Equals Record
- Emmarie Designs
- Rory Gordon
- Yellow Brick Home
- The Creatives Project
- Silly Grrl
- Photographers Skeen
- The Clothes Make the Girl
- Bringing Design Home
- Pip & Estella
- A Practical Wedding
- Kind of a Sideshow
- Sandra Juto
- Old Sweet Song
- Rambling Renovators
- Brooklyn Bride
- Design Crush
- Experiment in Poverty
- The Jealous Curator
- Making it Lovely
- Dressing on the Side
- The Oklahoman
- Young House Love
- Oh So Beautiful Paper
- A Cup of Jo
- Brooklyn Limestone
- Glamour Weddings