Monday, August 27, 2012

Website design.

This sure has been a Summer of trying all sorts of new things. I'm not about to stop anytime soon. I've really enjoyed documenting all my new adventures here, and I hope you've enjoyed reading along with me as I learn. Maybe I've even taught you a few things :)

For those of you who don't know, I am a graphic designer. I consider myself mildly creative and my style is very clean and fresh. I feel like I have a lot to offer potential customers of mine when it comes to logo design and promotional material creations.

But... I don't do websites.

Until now.....

I'd really love to expand my freelance business, and in the current market, digital marketing really is the most effective way of reaching customers. SO - I hate am forcing myself to love website design.

I've thought for a long time how I can venture into this world of website design. After talking to some fellow graphic designers and friends, I've decided to jump into it with both feet. I will now be offering my customers basic website design. Until I get more comfortable with it all, I can't make huge promises to anyone. However, I have no doubt that I'll pick up the knowledge quickly and be a pro in no time!

My first website customer is a new gym coming to Goshen. The owners are friends of mine and they've agreed to be my test-the-waters-and-build-a-website guinea pigs. Their address is Keep in mind the site is under construction (and, well, built by a newb... ME!) so don't judge too harshly.

While designing this site, I've made decisions about fonts and concept and layout, etc. It reminded me of a graphic I saw a while ago on Freshlime Digital Marketing's website.
Image Source
I don't plan to include flashing graphics or highlighted text or slow loading images, so I think I'm safe with this first site. It still has lots of tweaking to be done, but for my first site, I'd say it's not bad.

Visit if you're interested in checking out my personal website that includes some of my graphic design work.

Happy Monday!

Saturday, August 18, 2012


This entry won't be long. It's very quick and to the point. I tried something VERY new to me. 

I had sushi for the first time ever

Two of my girlfriends, Dina and Marah, and I had a date at Cerulean in Winona Lake. (Dina had never had sushi before either. Marah is a young pro.)

The experience in a nutshell was awesome. I felt very overwhelmed initially because most of the ingredients on the menu looked like foreign language, my senses were on overload and, to be honest, I was sooo intimidated by this new experience. I need to learn to relax.

For the appetizer, I ordered their tempura ebi sushi, which is shrimp, cucumber, spicy sauce and scallions. The waitress said it was a good "starter" for a sushi newb like myself because it is made with cooked shrimp, rather than raw fish. And it was good!

For dinner, I ordered the Arctic Char, which (according to the waitress and later confirmed by Wikipedia) is a cold water fish in the salmon family. It tastes just like salmon, too. It was served with fettuccine, house whey, olive oil, pistachios, roasted carrots and garden herbs. And it was fabulous. 

For dessert, all three of us ordered the Whoopie Pie gelato. (no photo, I dug right in without considering it) It was chocolate gelato with a layer of marshmallow cream between. YUM. YUM. YUM. If you know me, you know how much I love whoopie pies - like more than mac & cheese. And that's a LOT. I mean, how many other couples do you know who had pyramids of whoopie pies at their wedding reception in lieu of a giant wedding cake? Yea, I think only Mike and me. 

If you've never tried sushi, do it. My belly and my spirit left extremely happy and I plan to return very soon! 

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Bathroom redo.

I'd like to begin by saying anyone who installs carpet in a bathroom should get his/her head checked. I don't care if that "anyone" is YOU reading this. Get your head checked.

A bathroom is a very moist place. Yes, I said moist. Carpet does not belong there.


Moving on.....

The carpet in our bathroom has bugged me for (how long have I known Mike?) 4 years! I think mostly because I imagine miniature sized creatures living under the foam and eventually taking over our house. It would be them or the spirit of the dead Amish boy in our basement that eventually does us in.

Just kidding, future buyer of our terrific home.
There is no spirit.
I speak nonsense. . .
Recently, I got an itch about this bathroom of ours and hastily decided to redo it. Carpet, cabinets, whatever needed done. This bathroom needed a facelift!

Our house is still for sale (details here), so any remodeling/revamping/reanything had to be done on a small budget and still look great. I had been mindlessly surfing Pinterest for 5 hours an hour or so one day last week, and I found a great tutorial on how to stain your cabinets to look more modern. I figured if she can do it, so can I. So the plan was to replace the carpet and snazzy-up the cabinets. Got it.

I made a trip to Lowe's to get all the supplies I would need for this bathroom overhaul.

I only spent $50 and I purchased stain, poly/topcoat, floor tiles, foam brushes, floor prep goo, painter's triangles and mailbox letters. No, the letters weren't part of the project, but we did need them. So I got them. Side note: If you've never heard of painter's triangles, hear it here first. They're amazing.

I drove home. Took one last sad look at our ugly outdated bathroom, and got to work.

That is when I turned into an animal.

I began ripping up and slicing the carpet, yanking out nails and tack boards and staples, hammering down staples that I couldn't get out of the dang floor, chucking pieces of foam and carpet out the window into our driveway. I was a hurricane. And I was sweaty. If you want a workout, redo your bathroom, I'm tellin' ya!

Again I say... carpet in the bathroom sucks. Seeing the underside of bathroom carpet that has been around for 20+  years (including around a toilet) is not for the weaker stomachs. Boys are gross. I'll let your imagination take that one away....

After the carpet was removed, I got to work on the cabinets. I won't go into great detail on the process of staining because Monica pretty much covers it, and I followed her steps. I didn't use the same brand of stain as she did, though. I found one by Rustoleum called "Kona" and it worked out lovely. I did, however, use one of Mike's old socks like she suggested for staining. That worked great! Thanks, Monica!

Here is the long and short of the staining adventure:

In between the staining steps, I got to work on the floor. We've used the peel & stick linoleum squares before in our foyer, so I was familiar with the installation process. It's pretty simple. 

1. Prepare floor with goo
2. Let goo dry
3. Measure tile
4. Cut tile
5. Measure again
6. Cut a little more
7. Measure again
8. Pray it fits
9. Press down

I repeated this process many many many many..... times. Luckily, heavy duty scissors do cut these tiles, so trimming and getting a piece to fit correctly is not complicated, only tedious. It involves some math... and geometry... 

The entire bathroom redo process start to finish took 5 days. We're very happy with the final product, and Mike is very proud of me for taking this on and seeing a great end result. He honestly wanted very little to do with this overhaul - not because it didn't need done, but because this isn't his sort of thing. But it is mine!! 

The before and after photos are the best, so I will share a few of those....

See how dirty that carpet was?????

We have a door to cover the trash can, but we can't find it. It broke a while back and we hid it before a showing, aaannnddd we're not sure where it is. Once we find it, I'll stain it and install it. Promise.

I am proud of our bathroom. And I'm almost SURE that the next buyer that comes to see our house is going to see this bathroom and be SOLD. (ha!)

We are still praying for the right buyer. 

Friday, August 10, 2012

Laptop on fire.

My laptop is hot stuff.

No, like it gets super hot when it's turned on.

Wait. This is sounding all wrong. Start over.

I'm afraid my laptop is going to overheat some day, melt my counter apart, start a fire, burn down our house and our cats will run away in the chaos never to be seen ever again.

How about that?

Seriously! It gets so warm sometimes it's too hot to touch the bottom portion to move it. I'm really cheap and don't want to go spend hundreds and hundreds of dollars on a fancy schmancy cooling pad. [What, they're only $20 most places, you say? well...]

Until that big $20 purchase, I have been using my own solution. It's a cooling RACK.

And it works the same as when you bake cookies. Sort of.

It doesn't have any snazzy fans, but it does allow for air flow and keeps the underside of my laptop much cooler so I don't singe the top layer off our countertop.

My husband appreciates that. And our 2 cats appreciate a roof over their heads. At least, I'm assuming they do. They don't say much besides FEED ME.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Neosporin miracle cream.

Source Source
There are millions of home remedies out there from which to choose. Everywhere you look there is a new use for witch hazel or baking soda or toothpaste. Well folks, I have a handy tip of my own and it involves NEOSPORIN! I've been using Neosporin for years on cuts, burns, rashes, you name it. The second I have any type of skin irritation I reach for this awesome stuff!

About a year ago it occurred to me that this miracle cream that heals all wounds (except a broken heart) could be great to heal a zit. A pimple. A third eye. After all, once you've tortured your clogged pore by pushing and popping and scraping, isn't it just an open wound at that point? Wouldn't Neosporin do the trick on your ugly red bump the same as it would a paper cut?

The answers are yes and yes.

After I've done the aforementioned torture (any other pickers out there??) I put Neosporin on said blemish and within a day or two it's cleared up. Much quicker than if I used the zit cream that just dries it out. Our skin needs moisture and time to heal. Neosporin does that.

Seriously, try it!
As if my personal testimony isn't enough to convince you, I'll take it one step further. I recently shared this home remedy with my hairdresser. She apparently went right home and tried it. After talking to her the other day, she thanked me big time for suggesting it to her. She (a fellow picker) said it has helped her so much and she's convinced. It really works.  
Happy people make me happy.

[I was in no way compensated for these statements. I am simply paying it forward.]

Have a great day!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

10 Minute Banana Bread.

Apparently my mother-in-law makes really delicious banana bread. Or so my husband says. Though I've never experienced it, the raves from the hubs are rather convincing. This doesn't surprise me. She's a fantastic cook and always outdoes herself at family gatherings, making way too much food for the head count and forcing us all to eat it. Maybe FORCE is too strong a word . . .

Anyway, I've never in any way felt one bit of pressure to feed my hubby well and make his belly happy. No, not an ounce of pressure to be held to such high standards of cooking and baking that he was privy to as a child. [oh I forgot - "insert sarcasm font"]

Well, a few months ago we had a few rotten bananas that I forgot about let go bad on purpose. I once heard that these disgusting, black, compost-worthy things were good for one thing and one thing only. Yes, one look at the bananas and Mike was demanding I make

Banana Bread.
(a food I've never made from scratch in my life)

He also threw in a little elbow jab of "My mom makes the best banana bread." So, instead of taking the easy way out and calling my fantastically ingredient-savvy mother-in-law for her legendary banana bread recipe, my pride called rank and shouted "I will create my OWN banana bread recipe and Mike will love it and I will pass it onto my children and their children and it will be famous!!" and then I laughed uncontrollably like Dr. Evil and Evil Ursula's love child.

Don't let me fool you, of course I resorted to searching Google. Shameful. I literally typed in "easy banana bread recipe" and clicked on the one that said "10 minute banana bread." I figured, yea I've got 10 minutes to spare while looking in the mirror and calling myself a lazy piece of . . . " 

LONG STORY SHORT - I made the bread according to the recipe I found that day (The Fresh Loaf originally from The Joy of Cooking) with only one exception: I did swap whole wheat flour in for the white flour that it calls for. We loved it! Though, I don't recommend using cinnamon, especially if you have a husband who hates cinnamon. Just sayin'....

Also, be warned, it's called "10 minute banana bread" but that's the prep time. The bake time is more like 50 minutes. Sneaky.

It's very yummy and a little bit of me is super proud that I can follow simple instructions bake banana bread my husband loves to eat. I've made it a few times since the first time, sans the cinnamon of course, and I get that warm fuzzy proud feeling every time he inhales a slice in 2 seconds.

I made a double batch of this on Sunday, because we had SIX rotten bananas that I forgot about again let go bad on purpose. I didn't take progress pictures. However, if this tells you anything . . . after 3 minutes of it being out of the oven, this is what it looked like:

I even brought some to work yesterday. Besides the coworker that claims to hate bananas (GASP!), the bread was well received by the tummies who got some of it.

The Mike-Meter is at an 8.73 (he's been watching too much Olympic gymnastics). This time around he says it was a little too moist. I blame this on wanting to eat it too much and taking it out of the oven too soon. Overall, on a good day, I'd say he'd give it a 10.

Here is the official recipe from The Fresh Loaf:

Click to view larger

After plugging all ingredients in (no cinnamon, whole wheat flour) I discovered it is 225 calories for a slice that is 1/8 of the loaf. That's a pretty big slice, but I'm betting if you love this recipe as much as we do, you'll be eating more than that.

Go ahead, try it tonight!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Weightloss frustration.

I have to vent a little bit.

It's going to sound petty and vain and you'll be thinking "Get over yourself, Angie" or "Really? There are starving children in Africa and you're worried about THIS?"

or maybe you'll be thinking "Angie, you are my idol!" I really have a hard time judging my readers...

But I digress.

Since January 25, I have been on a conscious track to lose weight. Hubs and I want to start a family sometime in the future and I refused to add to my already overweight body. I'm on a mission to lose PRE-baby weight, unlike most my friends who are trying to lose post-baby weight. I didn't want the process to be THAT much harder, so I'm being proactive.

Also in January, I purchased my first smart phone [welcome to 2012, Angie!] and one of the first apps I downloaded was My Fitness Pal. From that point until about mid-June I worked out, tracked my calories, made smart meal decisions, drank more water and in about 5 months I lost 20 pounds. Then I slacked off, stopped running like I had been and just wasn't as mindful of what I was eating. I gained about 2 pounds back in the last month and a half.

But two weeks ago, I made a decision to get back on the horse. No more fooling around. I began REALLY tracking my calories, drank lots of water and I worked out 3 times last week. On Friday, I weighed in and had lost 1.5 lbs. Woo! Back on track and doing well!

This week I worked out 4 times (so far), drank over 100 ounces of water each day. And I was feeling really good. I weighed in this morning.

I've gained 2 pounds.


I was doing so well the past 2 weeks. Worked out and burnt a ton of calories. Was under my calorie goal every single day.

What gives?

That question is rhetorical, of course. I'll get over it, put my big girl panties back on and move on. But this is exactly the point in a weight-loss journey when most people would say "It doesn't work" and give up. However, I've been in this exact situation before. And I know from experience that it will not always be like this.

Our bodies are so complicated. And especially as women, we may have a "fat day" or Heaven forbid a "fat week" where we just can't win [or lose, whichever way you look at it]. It could be a number of things.

After I had my little pity party this morning (that surprisingly, no one attended besides me), I ate my bagel thin with organic peanut butter and got ready for work. Today is a new day and I will lose those 2 pounds next week and THEN SOME!

Scale, you don't KNOW me. I'm someone's idol.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Skinny Chicken Pot Pie.

I love Chicken Pot Pie.
Wait, love isn't strong enough of a word.
I would marry Chicken Pot Pie and have its babies and call them mini-pots. 

The thing keeping me from eating Chicken Pot Pie for every single meal of the day is that it's so fattening. But delicious. And loaded with carbs. But delicious. 

What's a girl on a diet to do? 

Mama Laughlin to the rescue. I love this chick. She's hilarious and doing a magnificent job at losing baby weight while keeping life in perspective and being a human. Right up my alley. I follow her posts and was skimming through her recipes earlier this week. I found a skinny version of chicken pot pie and the heavens separated and angels began to sing. 

I made a couple adjustments to the recipe and will note them below. 
The ingredients are simple and able to be adjusted to your liking. Well, at least I did.

What you'll need are:

-1 rotisserie chicken  *I used 2 boneless/skinless chicken breasts
-carrots *I used 20 babies. Carrots! Baby carrots! 
-6 celery stalks-1 small yellow onion *I left out the onion. Hubs doesn't like it and I have a Mike Meter at stake here!
-4 Tbsp. fat free evaporated milk
-1 cup reduced sodium chicken broth
-1 1/2 Tbsp. cornstarch
-1 can Reduced Fat crescent rolls

DIRECTIONS (complete with my own pictures. You're welcome)

1. Preheat your oven to 350.

2. Cut up carrots and celery. Put in a pot with 2 cups of water and simmer until veggies are soft. Good to do this first because it takes the longest.

3. Cut up chicken into bite size pieces, cook in skillet, set aside.

4. When veggies are soft, drain them - but be sure to save the vegetable stock!

5. Set veggies aside and pour vegetable stock back into pot.

6. Add in 1 cup of chicken broth, 4 Tbsp. of fat free evaporated milk, and 1 1/2 Tbsp. of cornstarch (mixed with a little water first). Stir.

7. Add back in your veggies and chicken.

8. Simmer for a few minutes. While that is simmering, take your reduced fat crescent rolls and roll them out on the bottom of a 9x13 ungreased pan, pressing the seams together.

9. Pour mixture on top of crescent rolls.

10. Bake at 350 for 15-17 minutes.

I let it set for a few minutes before digging in. My mouth thanks me. Burns are bad.

Overall, this was good. I love veggies and chicken. And crescent rolls. All the goods were there. I put all the ingredients into My Fitness Pal and divided the dish by 8 servings. My version turned out to only be 164 calories per serving! And you know I ate 2 servings :) 

Some things I might change for next time are as follows:

* I would shred my chicken instead of chunks. Like Mama L did. I should have just paid attention, right?

* My version was too runny, less gravy-like. I'd prefer it a little thicker. I would think I need more corn starch. Or less broth. Suggestions?

* My version had soggy crescent rolls in the bottom.  I would think I could cook the crescents in the pan before adding the veggie/chicken mixture (sort of like pizza crust is done beforehand) so it is flaky and delicious.

* Another way to avoid the soggy bottom could be to add the crescent rolls on TOP of the mixture, then bake. 

The real test is the Mike Meter. 

He gave it a 5.2. His comments were that it tasted like chicken noodle soup without the noodles. He agrees with my tweaking ideas. I think we will see this one again, though - with the adjustments. It was tasty!

Happy Cooking!