Monday, March 30, 2015


A few weeks back, when life had me so busy my head was spinning, a friend posted a picture of the most delicious looking breakfast treat; pancake sticks with bacon hidden on the inside. As a midwestern girl, my jaw dropped and drool started puddling at my feet at the sight of the bacon-filled treat. I cataloged the image into my mental recipe book and trudged on through Canoecopia and the rest of March, fueled by the thought of bacon decadence in the near future.

Finally, this past weekend, I was blessed with two days off in a row that I filled with that Spring cleaning I talked about last week. By the end of the day yesterday, I was starving and in need of a protein and carb filled meal to replenish me.

So, I picked up a pound of thick-cut bacon, cut each strip in half, and baked it in a 400 degree F oven for about 45 minutes, and the bacon was nice and crispy. While the fat rendered from the bacon, I thawed about 4 frozen bananas which were added to my pancake batter. Once the bacon reached peak crispiness, I allowed it to cool temporarily, to allow for easier handling.

To allow for quick preparation, I heated my counter-top electric griddle to 325 F. I then ladled narrow strips of batter onto the griddle, placed a piece of bacon on top of the batter, then ladled on a little bit of batter to cover the bacon. I waited for my batter to start bubbling before making the first flip, then over they went to cook the other side of the cake.

In a matter of moments, I was serving hot bacon pancake sticks to my son, husband and brother in law. I can honestly say I haven't had such gratitude for my cooking as I did last night. The bacon-filled treats disappered just as quickly as I prepared them. Fortunately, we had a couple leftovers, so the little man had a couple for breakfast this morning. (Don't tell anyone, but I froze four for myself to use in case of emergency ... or a high stress week). Yum-O!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015


... And it exists at the bottom of a coconut latte from Java Cat in Monona. Photo and design by yours truly, Valerie's Workshop! #typeincoffee

Having a sweet doodle break whilst "working" at Java Cat this afternoon. I quickly roughed this one out as my gelato reached it's peak temperature for consumption. Pina colada gelato and a coconut latte were exactly what my frozen midwestern psyche needed on this cool spring day. As I nibbled on my snack, my tastebuds transported me to a blanket on a lovely white sand beach. I could practically feel the sun warming my sandy skin, basking in the tropical heat. Can you tell how much I want a vacation? A girl can dream, I guess. 

So, in the meantime, I'll continue sipping on my latte (I devoured the gelato instantly after capturing this photograph) and whistling while I work. Possibly some Bob Marley refrains. They should keep the tropical mindset intact, don't you think? 

And, as if on cue, the sun has broken through the clouds as I've been typing. It's seems things are working in my favor!

Sun is shining ... 

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Certification Addiction

As I mentioned in my last post, part of my spring cleaning involved logo revisions and website updates. One of the main reasons for these adjustments was to fine tune my internet presence and provide a more consistent image/brand across all apps and platforms. I am ready to take Valerie's Workshop to the next level!

There's that old saying that you should make a career out of what you do procrastinating. Well, I wish I would have done that when I was in college twelve years ago. Back then I was working in a student run graphic design office. Facebook had just launched and I was sucked in like a moth to light. Each time my mouse wandered, I'd end up on Facebook. Flash forward to 2014, after years of frustration in freelance graphic design, I am offered a social media management position at a local outdoor retailer. Within days, I sign up for HootSuite, begin linking accounts and create several highly successful social media campaigns.

Well, we're now several months deep into 2015, and I have realized how much I love this new job. I'm just getting started, though, as a social media manager, and know I need to broaden my knowledge and skill set if I want to make a career out of this.

Here in lies my certification addiction. Today I enrolled in an online certificate program entitled Advanced Social Media Strategy through Newhouse and HootSuite. This is my ... sigh ... third certificate since receiving my bachelors degree. I was offered a huge discount, delayed payment and exceptional customer service, so I could hardly resist enrolling. Within no time at all, I will be a HootSuite certified social media advocate, and hopefully kickstarting (hint hint) the next chapter of my career.

Stay tuned!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Spring Cleaning

As April rapidly approaches, so does my 30th birthday. This milestone is causing all sorts of energy to stir within me and I'm trying to ride the wave to success. There are a many projects on my docket at the moment and this energy is helping me focus, prioritize and act.

The first project is a little bit of digital spring cleaning. As you may, or may not, have noticed, I did a bit of redesigning on Valerie's Workshop. I attempted to update all of my social media accounts to match, which include Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. I refreshed the content in my portfolio to include my social media campaigns for Rutabaga and Canoecopia from the last year. I even updated my resume, and revised my references, too. You never know who's looking or when you might need to share that valuable information. If you are wishing to view these updates, click on the links at the top of the right column.

With my digital house in order, I plan to move on to my regular house. I recently began cleaning my home's infamous project room, aka Valerie's Workshop. This is where many of my non-digital designs originate. It also happens to be where the bulk of my son's toys are stored. Both parts of the room are spilling over and need to be corralled. In the next few weeks I hope to finish the organization process by installing some shelving, sorting (and donating some of) the toys, and storing them neatly in their new home. Our living room/library/piano lounge/overflowing closet also needs love as the seasons change. We have more books then we could possibly ever reread and it's time we downsized our dust gathering collection.

Maybe, by the time 30 arrives, I'll have burned through all this excess energy. Sometimes I feel I must look like a manic robin, popping from project to project, or worm hole to worm hole, as the sun shines warmly on my shoulders. I can feel spring rapidly approaching, and I know I must work quickly to stock my home and great ready for the new work of summer. I have two projects in the works that I hope to announce details on in the next few months; one personal, one professional. Please stay tuned as the next chapter of Valerie's Workshop takes shape!