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No longer a refuge. An adventure.

Kudos Kitchen custom tile eat. live. travel. write.
Welcome -  eat. live. travel. write. has had a little bit of a face lift, thanks to Fine Lime Designs and the fabulous artwork of Lisa Orgler.  It’s been a while coming (Melissa and I started talking about this at the beginning of the summer but the little matter of launching Food Bloggers of Canada kind of threw our timing off a little!) but finally it’s done!

You won’t notice a huge difference but I am hoping that we have optimized the site for ease of use and made it a little cleaner and tidier.  Some features:

* Now instead of two full posts on the home page, you’ll see excerpts from the 5 most recent posts with a “read more” option (which hopefully you’ll click!).
* Looking for my archives? They’re all the way down at the bottom of the page along with the categories which will continue to be listed (along with post tags) on each post.
* Looking for my Food Network Canada articles? They have a tab all of their own! (please note that the Food Network Canada website is undergoing a massive transition right now and the links may or may not be stable for the next little while).
* Looking for other places I’ve been featured on the web? Also its own tab :)
* Wondering if my recipes have been published anywhere? Check out the “Books” tab.
* Curious about the macaron classes I give at Le Dolci studio in Toronto? Click on the “Classes” tab up there too.

Now, eyes right >>>>> Yep, all the way to the right at the top of the page. Aren’t those liquorice allsort buttons adorable? (Thanks Lisa – also the artist of the gorgeous new header – more on that later). Well right there you can follow me on Twitter and Flickr as well as subscribe to eat. live. travel. write. by email or by RSS feed.  Hopefully it’s all clear. I love my new blog buttons :)

All this said, there are a number of things that are still “in transition”. Such as, ahem, 300+ posts whose main images have to be reselected so they appear at the top of the post (February 2010 – June 2011. So yeah, I’ll be right on that. Bit by bit.

If you notice anything odd though, email me so I can take a look at or fix.

Speaking of the gorgeous new header – a dozen macarons to whoever can tell me what’s different? Oh, wait, I haven’t got time to make macarons this week so how about I just tell you?  eat. live. travel. write. is no longer my “creative refuge from academia” – it’s now chronicling “culinary adventures near and far.” Why the change? Well, those of you who have been reading my blog for a little while might remember the decision I struggled with earlier in the year regarding taking a (prolonged) break from my PhD. A difficult decision but one I have not regretted. So now my blog is no longer my refuge but a big part of my life. That I wouldn’t change for the world.

Many of you have asked me “Why liquorice allsorts?” for my header. I mean, I get it – macarons might have been more appropriate (and, at one point, I did have macarons as my header – you’ll have to have been reading since the very beginning to remember that!) – well originally, my tag line was “A blog about all sorts of things.”  Amanda, my blogging instructor, suggested this was not great for SEO.  I had no idea what that meant back in May 2009 but nodded and took her suggestion of “My creative refuge from academia” and that’s what it became. It was still a blog about all sorts of things… and still is. But I felt it’s now a “focussed” enough blog to own this new tag line. I hope you agree.

To celebrate this fresh new look, I have a unique giveaway from my blogging friend Renée of Kudos Kitchen.  Speaking of gorgeous – did you get a load of the beautiful custom-painted tile Renée sent me a few months ago as I was sharing the plans for my new tagline with her?  It’s the most perfect trivet ever – I was going to send it to my mum but it’s so pretty I couldn’t give it away ;)  Renée, apart from blogging, specializes in painting custom tiles and glassware items that are as unique as the people she paint them for.  Whatever sparks peoples passions or interests, Renée can help them celebrate their own unique style with a fun and functional brand of painted pieces you won’t find anywhere else.   You can check out her Etsy store here.

She paints both ceramic tiles and, since fairly recently, glassware items.  You can find her complete glassware portfolio here.  All of her items are dishwasher safe and painted with non-toxic enamel paint for durability.   Renée loves special orders so whether it’s your blog header or something completely different, all you need do is attach a photo or give an idea of what you have in mind and she’ll be happy to get back to you with your design quote.

Renée has agreed to donate a custom tile or glassware item to one lucky eat. live. travel write. reader (US and Canadian addresses only, sorry international friends) to celebrate my fresh new (out)look.  All you have to do is leave me a comment on this post telling me what you’d have painted – glassware or a tile – and what you’d have painted on it.

For an extra entry, you can tweet this message:

Celebrate @eatlivtravwrite ‘s new look by @finelimedesigns + @lisaorgler with a @kudoskitchen giveaway http://bit.ly/szvBHA

Then come back and leave me a comment telling me you did.  I can’t think of a better holiday gift for the food enthusiast in your life :)

Good luck. Contest closes Tuesday November 22nd at 6pm EST. I will draw the winner using Random.org and announce the winner on Wednesday November 23rd.

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59 Responses to No longer a refuge. An adventure.

  1. Lindsey November 15, 2011 at 06:13 #

    Looking good Mardi!!!! Bravo!

  2. MikeVFMK November 15, 2011 at 07:21 #

    Love it, Mardi. Really clean and sharp. And it’s great having those tabs to sort by. Love the makeover.

  3. Tonya - What's On My Plate November 15, 2011 at 07:53 #

    Love the new look! So much cleaner and more streamlined. Love it!

  4. Kim Foster November 15, 2011 at 08:25 #

    Love, love the face lift, Mardi. It’s so elegant. xo

  5. Kim Foster November 15, 2011 at 08:27 #

    Oh and Renee’s tiles are simply gorgeous. Anyone would be lucky to have her work in their kitchen. xo

  6. brilynn November 15, 2011 at 08:27 #

    I would get a custom tile done, I’m looking for a new design myself so perhaps once I figure out what that will be, that’s what would be on my tile. I retweeted you as well! :)

  7. Cher November 15, 2011 at 08:35 #

    Congratulations on taking the leap! Love it.
    Beautiful. (P.S. Renee does awesome work, doesn’t she :-) )

  8. Paula November 15, 2011 at 11:07 #

    I love the new look Mardi! Your licorice decorated social icons are adorable and I’m enjoying the larger post area too. Lisa and Four Lime Designs certainly know their stuff.
    I can see why you decided to keep Renee’s tile all to yourself! She does amazing work and your tile is no exception. All those tiny black background strokes…Renee never misses the tiniest of details.
    Congratulations on shifting focus from a refuge to a life of adventure, it truly is more representative of you and your blog. Continued success and may all your adventures bring you much happiness.

  9. Gina November 15, 2011 at 11:43 #

    That artwork is adorable, I’ve seen Lisa’s drawings before she is so talented. I liked it here before, but the redesign came out beautifully. In my next life I want to be a blog designer, just need to get through this one first. WIshing you the best.
    -Gina-

  10. Chef Dennis November 15, 2011 at 12:07 #

    Hi Mardi

    I love Melissa, she is absolutely my favorite designer. I can feel the difference on the page, its clean and sleek and the images really pop out ! Isn’t wonderful having so many talented people in our community.

    Best wishes!
    Dennis

  11. Isabelle @ Crumb November 15, 2011 at 12:17 #

    Congrats on the fresh new look, Mardi! So exciting to see it finally unveiled after all those weeks of anticipation. :) I love the new tagline, and the clean, organized look… great job by everyone involved!

  12. Melissa@EyesBigger November 15, 2011 at 12:32 #

    Ack! that trivet is adorable! It was fun to work with you my dear. You’re not just my business partner and client but a lovely friend :)

  13. Adriana November 15, 2011 at 12:35 #

    I love the new look of ELTW! The buttons are adorable – Lisa did a fantastic job. Renée is super talented too – I’d love to have a tile like yours but with my logo (the fleur de lis with the pava, the traditional Puerto Rican countryside hat). I look forward to your new culinary adventures, Mardi.

  14. Sandi November 15, 2011 at 13:20 #

    Fresh new look, nicely done!

  15. Mushrooms Canada November 15, 2011 at 14:10 #

    LOVE the new look Mardi!! :)

  16. Jasanna November 15, 2011 at 16:17 #

    Love the new page! Looks awesome!!

    http://munchtalk.blogspot.com/

  17. Marie November 15, 2011 at 17:20 #

    Congratulations on your redesign Mardi. I think you hired a fabulous team to help you on this, and I’m happy that this is now your “official” adventure, and not just a refuge! With the time and effort you put into it, you deserve your success. I hope you keep on growing as a writer, blogger and food lover – I’ll certainly keep on reading!
    As for the fabulous Kudos Kitchen giveaway, I think your trivet looks so good that it’s probably exactly what I would ask for – a trivet adorned with my blog’s logo and colors. Thank you for the opportunity and Renee’s Etsy store is a great find!

  18. Angela November 15, 2011 at 17:29 #

    Love the new streamlined look–very nice. I took an extended break from my Ph.D. and have not regretted the move in the least. Do what you love!

  19. Rhonda November 15, 2011 at 20:25 #

    First off…tweeted! Now to the good stuff, your site has such a light, airy look, very easy on the eyes. But I have to admit my favorite part is the new icons, as soon as I opened your page I noticed them! Melissa did a great job, how fortunate you are to have such an excellent designer and friend.

  20. Kiri W. November 15, 2011 at 22:14 #

    Your site looks wonderful! Congratulations of the facelift, though i don’t envy you all the work!

    I’d love to get a glass painted in a pattern of teal and white or orange & green :)

  21. Kiri W. November 15, 2011 at 22:14 #

    I alos tweeted! (kirikiri1)

  22. Stephanie @ Eat. Drink. Love. November 15, 2011 at 22:51 #

    Love the new look! I would probably love a painted piece of glassware, but the tiles sound beautiful too!

  23. Michelle November 15, 2011 at 23:47 #

    I love the new look Mardi! And the new buttons too!

    I love painted tile, and I actually have a few framed up. I got that addiction from my mother-in-law :) I’d love to have a caricature of my cat Holden on it, he’s a character and very cute!

    Good luck with all your adventures! Looking forward to reading more about them.

  24. Ann November 15, 2011 at 23:54 #

    Congratulations – The blog looks terrific and I noticed your social buttons right off! Thanks for the giveaway – it’s terrific! I think I’d have a tile painted with the word “EAT” ….but just artistic enough that you’d have to look twice to see what it says!

  25. Carolyn November 16, 2011 at 07:00 #

    Congrats on the mini facelift, Mardi!

  26. Boulder Locavore November 16, 2011 at 07:13 #

    Congrats Mardi! Everything looks fantastic. Thanks also for the resource in Renee; will definitely go check her out on Etsy!

  27. JulieD November 16, 2011 at 07:52 #

    I love your new design!!! I love the header & I love the social buttons. :) Even the font you chose. Congrats!!!

    I would choose a custom painted tile if I won. :)

  28. Christy Miller November 16, 2011 at 08:20 #

    I have four daughters. I would have it painted with a reflection if each of their different personalities. I tweeted this. I found this because of a tweet and am excited to read this blog!

  29. Jill @ MadAboutMacarons November 16, 2011 at 09:20 #

    Mardi, BRAVO! Your site looks fabulous – so clean and easy to find everything. Love the buttons, too. I know what you mean about Melissa – she is fantastic and like you, a wonderful person.
    Great job and super new title. That first photo looks like your front door plaque, is it? Dr Mardi. Even although you told us the changes, can I please have some of your macarons? Please?

  30. Trix November 16, 2011 at 10:05 #

    Beautiful new look Mardi!! Love it. Hmm, I am a dreadful artist so I think I would let Poppa Trix paint me a surprise on the tile! : )

  31. Amber Hernandez November 16, 2011 at 10:12 #

    Love your page. I saw you via Kudo Kitchen by Renee and came right over to see what all the fuss was about. This is my first visit but won’t be my last. Since it is my first time over I have no idea what you changed but love the layout and the buttons are great and easy, right away I grabbed your twitter link to follow. I would have Renee paint my shop on a tile..although I paint myself I admire her work and love her custom tiles :)

  32. Amber Hernandez November 16, 2011 at 10:15 #

    P.S. I tweeted the message for an extra entry…yeah me :)

  33. Lynn November 16, 2011 at 10:22 #

    The site looks wonderful Mardi, clean and crisp. And I love your new tag line.

  34. Winnie November 16, 2011 at 10:22 #

    Mardi I absolutely LOVE the changes you’ve made to the site, both in looks and in spirit. WELL DONE!

  35. Katja of Skimbaco November 16, 2011 at 10:59 #

    Looks fantastic!! The buttons are so cute :)

  36. sippitysup November 16, 2011 at 11:09 #

    I have been attempting some similar redesign ideas. It’s a a hard process isn’t it? Congrats on your success with it, Especially in light of all the work you put into Food Bloggers Canada! It inspires me to re-focus on my new needs. GREG

  37. Belinda @zomppa November 16, 2011 at 11:11 #

    Love it! Looks so tempting. =)

  38. Nancy/SpicieFoodie November 16, 2011 at 11:16 #

    Congrats Mardi! It is looking lovely :)

  39. Jessica | Oh Cake November 16, 2011 at 11:59 #

    Nice facelift! :) Very cool tile. I’d do a tile as well. With a chocolate layer cake with pink frosting and my tagline (Oh Cake… because everyone loves Cake!)

    Very nice!

  40. amelia from z tasty life November 16, 2011 at 14:54 #

    fresh! love it! must feel nice to start clean again.

  41. Heather | Farmgirl Gourmet November 16, 2011 at 18:57 #

    Lovin your new look Mardi!! Looks fantastic. :)

  42. Amanda November 16, 2011 at 19:02 #

    I would absolutly hands down get a tile. That’s a no brainer. I’d want it to have my tagline “Mixing up traditions”. Ohhh that would be so cool! I already told you how great your site looks ;)

  43. Emily @ Life on Food November 16, 2011 at 19:09 #

    I love the new look. I think your title is beautiful too. I would get a title and maybe have my new last name on it for our kitchen.

  44. marla November 16, 2011 at 23:20 #

    Your blog re-design looks wonderful! Congrats :)

  45. linda @spiceboxtravels November 16, 2011 at 23:27 #

    Hi Mardi, I found you through Twitter. What a beautiful site! I also like your blog name– it would have been a great name for my site as well, with a shared focus in food and travel. And macarons. Hope to see you on Twitter– I’m @spiceboxtravels.

  46. Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen November 16, 2011 at 23:28 #

    Looks nice and clean, great organization with the tabs up top too!

  47. Kim Bee November 17, 2011 at 00:14 #

    The redesign looks gorgeous. Been considering it myself. The look is very streamlined yet still very you. There’s a food bloggers of Canada, I had absolutely no idea. Not sure how I missed that.

  48. Diane {Created by Diane} November 17, 2011 at 01:30 #

    looks great!!!

  49. Cucina49 November 17, 2011 at 01:56 #

    Congratulations on your redesign–something I need to do myself one of these days. Everything looks great!

  50. Maya November 17, 2011 at 21:56 #

    Your banner and that trivet look gorgeous! I’m a fan of both Renee and Lisa, and it’s so refreshing that your new look has got something to do with these two bloggers. Also like your new tag-line, it’s more aligned with your blog and life now :).

  51. Liz November 18, 2011 at 15:58 #

    LOVE your new look!!! I’d love to have a tile painted…so fun!

  52. Liz November 18, 2011 at 15:59 #

    I tweated your giveaway :)

  53. Cristina, from Buenos Aires to Paris November 18, 2011 at 16:28 #

    Wow!! The new layout is so well-organized, clean, effective AND nice!!
    Good job!! (now I think I should change mine =(

  54. Nelly Rodriguez November 19, 2011 at 08:44 #

    I’d have a tile painted of my blog banner as well!

  55. Nelly Rodriguez November 19, 2011 at 08:45 #

    I tweeted!

  56. penny aka jeroxie November 21, 2011 at 06:03 #

    Nice one Mardi! Hooray :D

  57. Sam @ My Carolina Kitchen November 21, 2011 at 07:54 #

    She’s quite talented. Your redesign is lovely and has a very clean look. I’ve never painted anything, but I would love to try my hand at it. Renee’s work is very inspiring. Perhaps I’ll have to give painting a try.
    Sam

  58. Debbie November 21, 2011 at 17:10 #

    I love painted tiles – they remind me of the ones I saw in Andalucia Spain and Portugal. I would love a similar design as in the Alhambra.

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