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

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 and announce the winner on Wednesday November 23rd.

59 thoughts on “No longer a refuge. An adventure.”

  1. 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! 🙂

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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!

  5. 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!

  6. 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.

  7. 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!

  8. 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.

  9. 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 🙂

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

  11. 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.

  12. 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!

  13. 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. 🙂

  14. 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!

  15. 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?

  16. 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 🙂

  17. 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

  18. 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 😉

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  21. 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 :).

  22. 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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