how now how design

Two years ago, I was fortunate enough to have attended my first work-related conference, HOW Live in Denver. It remains, to this day, one of the few good things that came out of working for my previous employer because it was one of the most amazing experiences in my professional and personal life.

I met people and learned things that changed the way I look at design. I remember a fellow coworker (and fellow attendee) and I saying at the end “We just want to stay here and learn more things FOREVER!”.

Wednesday night I leave for Boston, to head out to my second HOW experience—with the added bonus of attending the InHOWse Managers part of the conference as well.

I’m so excited. I need this. I’m hitting this point of feeling both overloaded with work (workload wise) and creatively drained. I just need some inspiration, direction, a creative kick in the butt.

Plus, I’m ridiculously excited to meet other in-house designers and find out how their departments work.

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glazed over.

On a snowy Rochester afternoon I turned this…

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Into this…

Back when we shared an apartment on Oxford Street, Anna and I had talked about doing paint your own pottery. I used to paint ceramics as a kid, because my mom made things for craft shows. Anna also did a lot of pottery in HS. Nearly 5 years later, we got our collective acts together and actually went!

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Matt D. and Adam came too!

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It was relaxing and fun and I kind of feel bad about how messy the table was when we left—but I suppose they’re used to that sort of thing. There were flecks of glaze everywhere, brushes a plenty and a rogue octopus stamped onto the paper covering.

I already want to go back. I may have convinced my Matt to try his hand at painting next weekend—which will be just in time to pick up my fired sugar skull mug.

I am going to drink SO MUCH TEA out of that thing.

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a victorious macaroni and cheese.

Back in January, I signed up for Weight Watchers which has had the assumed benefits of nearly twenty pounds lost thus far—but an unexpected perk has been a newfound joy of cooking. I never really cooked growing up. I baked, but that’s different. Baking is like science, chemistry. It’s very precise and so long as you’ve measured everything right, you’re golden. Then most of the fun comes at the end—making it pretty. Usually icing is involved.

But cooking, cooking is an art. I envy those who do it well. But now that cooking is about the only way to reliably stay on-plan, I’ve been forced to catch up on those missed years. With the internet as my guide, I’ve been brave enough to try my hand at dishes like this, Skinny Baked Broccoli Macaroni and Cheese.

I made this tonight for Anna and I, with plenty left over for Matt when he gets home. Even with the swap outs that make this particular recipe a “skinny” version of the original classic, it was absolutely delicious. The only thing I added was a little bit of chicken, since I had a small skinless, boneless breast defrosted in the fridge.

And for my first solo attempt at making mac and cheese of any sort (I made a roux!), I’m calling it a success.

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