Archive for December, 2008

Happy New Year: 2008 In Review

This is actually my first time sending out a year end summation to everyone, but I figure it is about time I start doing it. There have been so many changes this year, that I was surprised Dennis and I were able to handle it so well. There will be many more changes to come in 2009 that I am very excited about as well. I will briefly discuss them below, but I mainly want to talk about what has gone on this past year.

The Job Offer

As most of you know, Dennis was offered a position in the United Kingdom this year. That left us with a very important decision to make. It was very difficult to leave our home and our family, but in the end we felt it would be a very exciting opportunity for us. Needless to say, we were on our way to England.

Starting Red Headed Frog

Red Headed Frog continues to evolve, and next year will be no different. We launched the blog in March, and we are constantly updating and tweaking our design and strategy. Starting the company from scratch has been a very interesting endeavor, and we have learned a great deal about business and project management as a result. My technical skills have grown, but I know I still have a long way to go to reach our goals. I am glad to say we’ve had around 11,000 visitors so far and growing. 2009 is certainly going to be a very exciting year for the company.

The Move to England

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We were planning on being in England by February, but it took us until July to get everything in order. Brighton was highly recommended to us by our friends here so we decided to give it a go. We were not disappointed. I LOVE this place.

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Brighton is an amazing city on the sea, attracting 8 million visitors annually. There is a thriving arts community here and it is quite a tolerant an eclectic area – I have been told perhaps one of the most tolerant areas of the world. Down stairs from our temporary housing is the most amazing Thai restaurant called Sabai; they have a mojito-chili drink that is out of this world.

Making Wonderful Friends

During September and October Dennis worked on AntiXSS, a solution to the most important security problem on the internet for the last 4 years, and he published a solution. During that time Dennis and I met a wonderful group of people that I am glad to call our friends. They have been incredibly welcoming and kind to us. Dennis and I are not used to such kindness and hospitality in others. We were truly grateful to meet such wonderful people.

Trip to Mallorca, Spain

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In November, Dennis and I planned a trip to Mallorca, which is a little island off the coast of Spain. We had a fabulous time! Unfortunately, it was the first time in about 40 years it snowed up in the mountains. That made it incredibly cold down by the coast in Palma where we were staying. In the end, it didn’t matter at all. We enjoyed ourselves so much, and managed to see so many wonderful things. It was a very memorable trip.

The Proposal-by Dennis

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This Thanksgiving was a fairly important time of the year as Samantha and I as we celebrated our third anniversary together. For our anniversary Samantha painted me a beautiful painting that is a remake of a painting she did three years ago at a public art installation declaring her love to me. It now hangs over our bed. I put together a special trip to Mallorca Spain, and I asked Samantha to marry me. She said yes… 🙂

Christmas-By Dennis

Samantha got a little pine tree and it smells so much like home, and we decorated it with origami birds.

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On December 21rst – Winter Solstice, we had 7 hours and 52 minutes of daylight. They also have a celebration here called burning of the clocks that we went to, and we really loved it – it was so much fun. You can watch a video about it here.

Christmas we missed our families and Samantha made Chicken Mole for dinner and we had a small gift exchange. She got me a Moleskein Notebook and Fisher Space Pen, I got her a gorgeous full length mirror with the most amazing frame I have ever seen on anything.

Plans for 2009

I don’t know where we will move to in 2009, but we are seriously considering Kemp Town or Hove. Additionally, Dennis and I are planning to downgrade our lifestyle considerably. I think it will do us some good especially with the recession hitting so hard. Red Headed Frog will be subject to quite a few changes. We are tweaking our business model, re-designing our website and designing and creating new products among other things. I am taking this on as a full time endeavor now. I am very excited to work on all we have planned for Red Headed Frog this next year, and very thrilled to share the outcomes as well.

I hope everyone has a fabulous new year. We miss and love all of you very much.

With Love,

Samantha and Dennis

December 30, 2008 at 9:38 pm Leave a comment

Beautiful Silk Clutches

I am in love with Etsy right now. I found these clutches today, and I just had to share them with everyone. I am not really a clutch person, but I have been noticing a need for them lately. It just isn’t practical carrying around a large hobo bag during a Friday Pub Night.

These beautiful clutches are designed by an online studio named FIAZ CO. The clutches are limited edition handbags made from high quality fabrics, and lined with 100% Dupioni silk with a seamless bottom for extra strength. The bags are priced at $65.00 per plus shipping cost. My favorite is the cherry blossom clutch. It would go oh so well with my black and white 50’s style summer dresses.

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December 29, 2008 at 5:16 pm Leave a comment

Fuel For Life Fragrance: Beautiful Package Design

I am not really a big fan of Diesel clothing, but I sure do love their package and ad designs. I saw these while I was Christmas shopping, and just had to sit there and admire them. I will say this about Diesel, they sure do know how to make a graphic designer tear up in a good way.

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December 29, 2008 at 3:49 pm Leave a comment

Fashion Crush: DOLCE&GABBANA Summer Dress

I love this dress. It is so very flamboyantly me in a very fabulous way. You know, I have only recently fallen in love with skirts and dresses. I would only really wear jeans or dress pants, mostly because they were far more practical. I am having an o’ so wonderful time experimenting with the A-Line cut.

This fabulously colorful summer dress was created by DOLCE&GABBANA. I am also in love with their fall designs as well, but that is for another time. I could go on and on. Take a look at this dress. It brought a tear to by eye.

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December 28, 2008 at 6:56 pm Leave a comment

Art Pendants By Madison Craft Studio

I found these over the weekend, and I think they are absolutely beautiful and clever. The pendants are designed by Madison Craft Studio, an online store run by Etsy.
The artist prints her designs out on a high quality laser printer, then seals the design on a Masonite tile. The price range is quite reasonable as well. They run from $4.50 to $6.50 for each design. It is certainly worth giving the store a view.

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December 28, 2008 at 6:16 pm Leave a comment

Merry Christmas From Red Headed Frog

We just wanted to wish everyone a very safe and happy holiday. We decided to give ourselves the gift of a clean flat this Christmas. I am very excited about this. 😀

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December 25, 2008 at 10:32 am Leave a comment

Happy Holidays

Dennis and I decided to get a small tree this year. I went down to Churchill square, and picked one out. I thought I would be able to carry it home, but it was much heavier than I anticipated. I just had it delivered.

Unfortunately we threw away most of our Christmas decorations in the move. Nevertheless, we came up with a wonderful solution to this issue. Dennis and I decided to make origami cranes and a star for our decorations this year. Well, I did cheat a little by purchasing some 99 cent Christmas glitter orbs. I think they bring the tree together nicely.

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December 22, 2008 at 1:49 pm 1 comment

Wrapping Presents With Discarded Newspaper

I thought this would be a good idea, but I didn’t know how it would turn out. I was actually quite pleased with the outcome. I suppose you really have to like the crafty style it portrays, but I have a bit of a fondness for it.

I used two sheets of the LUSH Times newspaper they give you at the LUSH store. I used ribbon from last year for the bow, and discarded black construction paper for the label. The peacock feather was just lying around in one of my drawers as well. I think it turned out quite well.

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December 22, 2008 at 1:44 pm Leave a comment

Our Favorite Biscuit Recipe

Since it is close to Christmas day, I decided to share a few very delicious and simple recipes with everyone. Dennis and I are certainly going to make these on the 24th.

The first of the two is our favorite southern biscuit recipe. It is a very simple list of ingredients, but the key to making them turn out fabulous is in the kneading. I do have to admit I am certain that the type of milk we use has quite a bit to do with it as well. Here is the recipe below. If you decided to use it, let me know how they turned out.

Ingredients

2 cups of all purpose flour

2 tbsp of granulated sugar

4 tsp of baking powder

1 tsp of salt

1/3 cup of butter

3/4 cup of whole milk ( I use Gold Top Jersey and Guernsey Milk. I really think this makes the biscuits.)

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First, you want to combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl and mix well.

Next, add the butter and cut into it with a fork until the butter turns into small balls of flour. (This part can be a bit tricky. Just make sure that there aren’t large clumps of butter in the bowl. You are looking for small balls of flour and butter. Make sure not to mix them too much as well.)

Then, add the milk and stir the dough until you make a ball. (The dough will be a bit sticky. Just sprinkle some flour on it so it won’t stick to your hands.)

Sprinkle flour on a cutting board, spoon in the dough onto the board, and lightly knead.

Flatten dough until it is about 1 inch thick, rub some flour on the rim of a drinking glass, and cut out the biscuits.

Place them on a lightly greased cookie sheet and bake them for 15 minutes, or until lightly browned on top, at 425 F. Serve hot with butter.

December 19, 2008 at 7:00 am Leave a comment

5 Minute Chocolate Cake

This recipe is one of our favorites as well. It makes one serving, but it is big enough to share with someone else. You can choose to put icing on top, but it is just as delicious without it. Let me know if it turns out well for you.

Ingredients

4 tbsp flour

9 tbsp your favorite hot chocolate mix

1 egg

3 tbsp water

3 tbsp olive oil

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First, combine the flour and chocolate mix in a large, lightly greased coffee mug. Add the egg, water and olive oil. Stir well making sure there are no clumps in the mixture. Place the mug in the microwave for 3 minutes on high heat, and watch it rise. It will settle back down when it is cooled. Serve hot with or without frosting.

December 19, 2008 at 6:59 am 3 comments

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