November 30, 2016

making a family cookbook: part 3

While on a family vacation a couple years ago, we decided to make a family cookbook. It would be recipes from aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. This year it was finally completed! Read ahead to learn how it went from an idea to finished books. This project will be broken up into 4 parts: 1. Getting started, collecting recipes, and taking pictures, 2. Organizing the book and design, 3. Naming the book and making the cover, 4. Printing and finished book reveal.

Part 3: Naming the book and making the cover

1. Think out loud and ask around for name ideas. When it came to naming the book, I of course wanted to think of something amazing. It needed to be clever and creative. I wanted something unique to fill the front cover instead of just "Wright Family Cookbook 2016". Boring. I wanted people to be able to reference the book by its name, not "the family cookbook". At dinner one night, I asked the table to help me think of a name. I told them I was open to something creative with our last name, food puns, rhymes, etc. My dad immediately came up with a whole list of ideas but it was my brother who had the golden answer: Wright Bite. I knew right away that was the name of the book.

2. Design the front cover. Just like the name, I wanted something unique for the cover. I didn't want a plain white page with the title font in the middle. It didn't need to look professional but I wanted it to look better than a 7th grade school project. I knew I wanted the image to be a lay-flat design on a textured background. I played around with the idea of purchasing a stock image or doing all the staging and photographing myself. When I couldn't find a stock image exactly like I wanted, I decided to try making the cover image all on my own. I got out my 18" marble pastry board and set up my make-shift photography studio in front of the window. I looked around for some props and ended up grabbing some measuring spoons, a whisk, knife, and fork. Going along with the minimal design, I chose props that were black and silver. I cleaned up the photo in photoshop and added the title font. Since the book had a unique name, I made sure to include a second line for the family cookbook title and year. 

The title font is Chasing Embers!

READ MORE!
Part 1: Getting started, collecting recipes, and taking food pictures
Part 2: 
Organizing the book and design
Part 4: Printing and finished book reveal
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November 28, 2016

november favorites

What I've been loving this month!

Say Yes to the Dress. i hadn't watched this show in YEARS and sometimes you just need a syttd marathon, ya know? i was in that mood most of the month

Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life. ALL. THE. FEELS. too many thoughts to post in this little snippet but overall, i loved the revival and i'd love to discuss it for hours.

AE Ahh-mazingly Soft Jegging Sweater. i have it in two colors! it's so soft and warm and they had some amazing deals on it over the holiday weekend

Blogmas 2016 starts December 2nd!

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November 16, 2016

making a family cookbook: part 2

While on a family vacation a couple years ago, we decided to make a family cookbook. It would be recipes from aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. This year it was finally completed! Read ahead to learn how it went from an idea to finished books. This project will be broken up into 4 parts: 1. Getting started, collecting recipes, and taking pictures, 2. Organizing the book and design, 3. Naming the book and making the cover, 4. Printing and finished book reveal.

Part 2: Organizing the book and design

After the deadline passed, the book took me a little over a month to complete and then 2 weeks to print & ship. 

1. Organize the page order. Once the deadline has passed and all the recipes are logged, it's time to order the pages. Since I did this project in photoshop, it was important to determine page order and page number before starting on the actual recipe page layout. This was important because I made one page at a time and there isn't a way to insert a recipe page further back and have the rest of the book automatically adjust. InDesign is another great tool for this kind of project but I have no idea how it works. First off, start a numbered list in word so that you can record the page order. #1 is the front cover (the pages number printed at the bottom of each page will be different than this list). Include any extra content, table of contents, and section divider pages. It will automatically adjust the numbers as you rearrange the list of recipes. To start ordering the pages, I did one category at a time starting with breakfast at the front of the book and working my way to drinks at the back. Looking at the first category, I made a note next to each recipe with information like long, short, picture, no picture, 2 pages. Then it was just a matter of putting the puzzle together. I made sure long recipes had the entire page, recipes with a picture had the necessary room or an additional page, short recipes could share a page, recipes with 2 pages started on an even page so they would lay as a spread and not get split up, etc. I also made sure to mix up the recipes as far as what family submitted it and that pictures were spaced throughout the category. For the larger category like desserts, it was easiest to cut up a piece of paper and physically layout the section in front of me. This was by far the most complicated part of the book. Because once I started working on the actual page, I couldn't go back and add/subtract a recipe before it. This order had to be final.

2. Design the pages. I made my book 8.5x11" with a full bleed so my templates were 8.75"x11.25". I designed a right page and a left page template. I looked at a lot of my favorite cookbooks for layout inspiration to help figure out exactly how I wanted this cookbook to look. I wanted spacing to be comfortable and an overall clean, minimal feel. I set up the design and placement of the recipe name, submitted by, personal comment, ingredients, instructions, and picture. I used GoBold Thin at 50pt for titles, and Avenir Next Condensed Regular at 14pt for the rest of the page. When the templates were complete and identical, I started on the actual pages. In photoshop, I made one page at a time and saved the file in a master folder. This works best if you have the page order word doc open on the desktop as well. In photoshop, open the odd template --> save as --> Page1.psd --> fill with content --> save. Open even template --> save as --> Page2.psd --> fill with content --> save. My project ended up with 86 page files.

READ MORE!
Part 1: Getting started, collecting recipes, and taking food pictures
Part 3: Naming the book and making the cover
Part 4: Printing and finished book reveal
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November 9, 2016

what i'm watching

Every fall I look forward to my favorite TV shows coming back into my life and all the new shows that could work their way into my heart. Unfortunately, sometimes my staple shows have dragged on too long and I end up cutting them from my schedule just a few episodes into the season. And sometimes those new shows that I set a series recording for are just not what I had hoped they would be and they end up cut from my schedule as well. Here are the TV shows that made the final cut and i'm still watching.

*note that some tv shows not listed here I am watching one season behind on netflix ;)

1. BlackishAndre 'Dre' Johnson (Anthony Anderson) has a great job, a beautiful wife, Rainbow (Tracee Ellis Ross), four kids and a colonial home in the 'burbs. But has success brought too much assimilation for this black family? With a little help from his dad (Laurence Fishburne), Dre sets out to establish a sense of cultural identity for his family that honors their past while embracing the future. 

2. BlindspotA beautiful woman is found naked in Times Square, her memory erased, her body covered in a series of coded tattoos. But as "Jane Doe" and the FBI team who discovered her work to decipher, investigate and solve the complex treasure map of her body, an ever-widening web of conspiracy and corruption is revealed, as is the truth behind Jane Doe's real identity and the identity of the people who sent her to the FBI in the first place. But what does this nefarious group really want? And can Jane and her teammates stop them in time?

3. The Flash: After being struck by lightning, Barry Allen wakes up from his coma to discover he's been given the power of super speed, becoming a superhero, The Flash, fighting crime in Central City.

4. The Goldbergs: Before there were parenting blogs, trophies for showing up and peanut allergies, there was a simpler time called the '80s. For geeky and movie obsessed youngest child Adam (Sean Giambrone), these were his wonder years, and he faced them armed with a video camera to capture all the crazy. The Goldbergs are a loving family like any other -- just with a lot more yelling. Mom Beverly (Wendi McClendon-Covey) is a classic "smother," an overbearing, overprotective matriarch who loves her delicious kids, but still rules this brood with 100% authority and zero sense of boundaries. Dad Murray (Jeff Garlin) is gruff and sometimes oblivious, parenting with half his attention span but all his heart. Sister Erica (Hayley Orrantia) is popular and terrifying, doing her best to cover up that she's the smartest of the clan. Barry (Troy Gentile) is a passionate dreamer, who maybe dreams a little too big and who always gets the short end of the stick.  Adam (Sean Giambrone) is the youngest, a camera-wielding future director who's navigating first love, and growing up with his family. Rounding out the family is beloved grandfather Al "Pops" Solomon (George Segal), the wild man of the clan, a shameless Don Juan who's learning as much from his family as he teaches them.

5. The Good PlaceFrom Executive Producer Michael Schur ("Brooklyn Nine-Nine," "Parks and Recreation" and "Master of None") comes a smart, unique new comedy about what makes a good person. The show follows Eleanor Shellstrop (Kristen Bell, "House of Lies," "Veronica Mars"), an ordinary woman who enters the afterlife and, thanks to some kind of error, is sent to the Good Place instead of the Bad Place, which is definitely where she belongs. While hiding in plain sight from Michael (Ted Danson, "CSI," "Cheers"), the wise architect of the Good Place (who doesn't know he's made a mistake), she's determined to shed her old way of living and discover the awesome (or, at least, the pretty good) person within.

6. Holiday Baking Championship: The search to find the greatest holiday baker begins as eight amateur bakers enter the kitchen, where they show off their family traditions and superb baking skills. To survive the challenges from week to week, they must prove their abilities in front of our tough-love judges: Duff Goldman, Nancy Fuller and Lorraine Pascale. Hosted by Bobby Deen, this baking championship is the sweetest way to celebrate this holiday season.

7. Jane the Virgin: A young, devout Catholic woman discovers that she was accidentally artificially inseminated.

8. Last Man Standing: Tim Allen will return for a fifth season as "Mike Baxter" in Last Man Standing, a show about everything that families are dealing with today – all filtered through the blunt "man's man" comedy of an iconic American dad. Mike continues to be surrounded by forces seeking to challenge his ideas on just about everything in which he strongly believes. He tries to escape all the female drama at home in the warm, manly embrace of his job at the Outdoor Man store, a sporting goods emporium where he is marketing director. Also, he still revels in his Outdoor Man video blog, which he delightedly uses as a pulpit for his opinions and a voice to appeal to those who agree that manliness is under assault. When he's supposed to be selling mountain bikes or kayaks, for some reason he always ends up spouting off about the environment, Obamacare, international politics or any other topic occupying his mind.

9. New Girl: Taking a modern look at friendship and romance, ensemble comedy New Girl enters its fifth season with an uninterrupted run of all-new episodes that is full of change for its group of five friends, their interconnected romantic exploits and their often hilariously misguided attempts to find their respective places in the world.

10. Scream Queens: Season Two of Scream Queens graduates from the college campus and into a hospital with a haunted past, as a new and terrifyingly funny mystery begins. Each week, Season Two will delve deep into the fascinating and bizarre medical cases under observation at the hospital, while using the building’s sordid history as the springboard for the series’ overarching mystery.

11. This is Us: Sometimes life will surprise you. Starring Mandy Moore ("A Walk to Remember"), Milo Ventimiglia ("Heroes," "Gilmore Girls") and Sterling K. Brown ("The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story"), this refreshingly honest and provocative series follows a unique ensemble. As their paths cross and their life stories intertwine in curious ways, we find that several of them share the same birthday and so much more than anyone would expect. From the writer and directors of "Crazy, Stupid, Love" comes a smart, modern dramedy that will challenge your everyday presumptions about the people you think you know.

12. TimelessFrom Eric Kripke ("Revolution," "Supernatural"), Shawn Ryan ("The Shield") and the producers of "The Blacklist" comes this thrilling action-adventure series in which a mysterious criminal steals a secret state-of-the-art time machine, intent on destroying America as we know it by changing the past. Our only hope is an unexpected team: a scientist, a soldier and a history professor who use the machine's prototype to travel back in time to critical events. While they must make every effort not to affect the past themselves, they must also stay one step ahead of this dangerous fugitive. Can this handpicked team uncover the mystery behind it all and end his destruction before it's too late?

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November 2, 2016

making a family cookbook: part 1

While on a family vacation a couple years ago, we decided to make a family cookbook. It would be recipes from aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. This year it was finally completed! Read ahead to learn how it went from an idea to finished books. This project will be broken up into 4 parts: 1. Getting started, collecting recipes, and taking pictures, 2. Organizing the book and design, 3. Naming the book and making the cover, 4. Printing and finished book reveal.

Part 1: Getting started, collecting recipes, and taking food pictures

1. Figure out what you want to include in the book. Flip through other cookbooks (both professional and family) and decide what you want to include other than recipes. Think about what would be cool to include in a book that will only be made once and hopefully passed on as the family grows. Some ideas: current family tree, biographies, kitchen equivalent charts, old and new family pictures, anecdotes of notorious family moments, a name attached to each recipe, a personal comment about each recipe, etc. For my family's cookbook I chose to include family pictures, names attached to each recipe, personal comments about each recipe, a picture for each recipe. and a letter from grandma in her handwriting.

2. Send an email to all family included in the cookbook. Explain what you want from them, how to submit their content, and give them a deadline. Ideally, a far deadline is best so that people can put in the effort and time needed to make the cookbook something great. Plus, it will give people the opportunity to send in seasonal recipes. Send a reminder email every couple months so that the deadline doesn't sneak up on anyone. 

3. Start collecting your own recipes. Think about your favorite meals as well as popular family recipes. Start typing them up and make a rough schedule to get them made and photographed well before the deadline. I typed mine in Word and made notes for the category, personal comment, and my name. 

4. Organize your files as they are submitted. Everything will be so much easier. I had two organized spaces: a master recipe log in excel and food section folders in finder. Each recipe had it's own folder that contained the typed word document and any pictures. That folder was then placed in it's food section folder (breakfast, soups & salads, appetizers & sides, main dishes, desserts, drinks). In both places, each recipe had a food section and a name attached to it.

5. Take pictures of the food. This was my favorite part of making the book. I wanted to have a picture for almost every recipe in the book so I scheduled and spaced out making my recipes over many months. I looked on pinterest and other cookbooks for food picture inspiration. I'm no professional, but I learned to work with what I had. I had a white tri-fold poster board, 18" white marble pastry board, a couple vinyl flooring samples, and a large window. Natural lighting is always the best so I timed cooking and baking based on the sun coming through the window. Set up a few feet in front of the window at a time when no direct sunlight actually shines in on the set up. For me that was usually mid-day or before 4:00pm. Choose the background for the picture (I switched between marble and wood vinyl) and then stage the food. I used props (like a fork, rolling pin, coffee mug, napkin, etc) and pops of color. For some color in my pictures, I bought a $2 small blue plate at Target and a couple fabric squares at JoAnn's. You can see in the pictures below what my set up usually looked like. I would take about 30 pictures with different angles, zooms, and props so that later I could choose the best one for the page layout.

READ MORE!
Part 2: Organizing the book and design
Part 3: Naming the book and making the cover
Part 4: Printing and finished book reveal
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