Icons Help Win Website Award

Expanding Health Care Icons

Expanding Health Care Access and Coverage Icons

Remember the Iconathon event I talked about a while back? The final icon set, developed from the symbols created during the workshop, can be seen in the image above.

Many of the icons from this set were used in the new Health Care Policy and Financing website. I was part of the design team that re-designed the site to be more consumer-friendly, with a focus on the Coloradans who are trying to obtain and use health care coverage. Late last month, the website was presented with a Silver Leaf Award from Colorado Healthcare Communicators in the category of Website – Budget under $15,000. I am super excited about the award and honored to have been a part of the re-design process! Take a look at a snapshot of the new website’s homepage below:

Screen capture of  colorado.gov/hcpf homepage

Expanding Health Care Access and Coverage Icons used in the re-design of the colorado.gov/hcpf website

 

You can downloaded the icons for free from The Noun Project’s website at this link (note: the site doesn’t work well in Internet Explorer; use Chrome, Safari, or Firefox instead): http://thenounproject.com/HCPF/#.

How would YOU use these icons? How else can the health care industry develop better tools to communicate with the public? Share your ideas and thoughts below!

 
The views expressed in this post are mine and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing. I neither claim nor imply that I am speaking on the Department’s behalf.
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Recipe Hack: Frozen Yogurt-Covered Fruit Kabobs

At our house, we’re trying to substitute guilty snacks with healthier options, so last night I tried a variation on the following recipe (found via Pinterest): http://www.onegoodthingbyjillee.com/2012/04/frozen-yogurt-covered-blueberry-kabobs.html#more-1852

 Here are the ingredients I used:

  • Frozen mixed berries (I used just the blueberries and attempted to use the raspberries and blackberries* but only managed to get 1 raspberry on there)
  • Fresh strawberries (about 10), washed and tops cut off
  • ½ of a fresh banana, sliced
  • 6 wooden skewers
  • Plain Noosa yogurt, mixed with a few drizzles of honey (you could really use any brand/flavor of yogurt)
Image of mixed fruit on wooden skewers, with yogurt
Fruit (strawberries, blueberries, bananas, 1 raspberry), placed on wooden skewers; honey-infused yogurt

Here are the steps to take:

  1. Let frozen fruit thaw on the counter for 10-or-so minutes*; prep the fresh fruit
  2. Spread a bunch of yogurt on a plate, drizzle generously with honey (if you’re using flavored yogurt, you can skip the honey), and mix together with a spoon
  3. Stab the fruit* with a skewer
  4. Roll the skewered fruit in the yogurt*
  5. Place the fruit kabobs in a mason jar or other container
  6. Stick ‘em in the freezer (they freeze rather quickly)
Image of fruit kabobs after being rolled in yogurt, then placed in a mason jar
Skewered fruit, rolled in yogurt, then placed in a mason jar

*Lessons Learned:

  • I don’t know if it was the Noosa brand or what, but the yogurt seemed a little lumpy (even before adding the honey) and hard to spread without my fruit getting all squirrel-y so I used a spoon/my fingers to help completely cover the fruit.
  • The frozen rasp- and blackberries break apart when stabbed with the skewer; they’re probably cool if you wait for them to thaw/use fresh ones.
  • The frozen blueberries are stab-able, if the skewer is wiggled-in, rather than attempting to pierce it straight through. (Or, you could just wait for them to thaw/use fresh ones ^_^ )
  • I recommend slicing the strawberries before putting them on the skewer, to make them easier to eat when frozen.
Image of frozen fruit kabobs in a mason jar
Frozen fruit kabobs in mason jar

I ate a couple of these today – super yummy AND easy to make! I bet you could even do mini-versions on toothpicks, if you don’t have the freezer space for tall ones. I definitely think the blueberry and the banana are my faves.

 
What are some healthy alternatives that you’re trying? Share them in the comments below!

By Hand: Grocery Lists

In a recent post, I talked about my love of sketchnotes and visual note taking. I am like, OB-sessed with practicing my handwriting every chance I get. I found handwritten grocery lists to be a great way of exercising these skills, and have collected some that I’ve done in the past few months for you below.

For each list, I tried to practice a different visual element each time: using images in place of words; writing text in all-caps or all lower-case; cursive/scroll print; block letters; bullets; and frames/containers (frames and containers are shapes that surround a word/words in your notes). You can learn more about sketchnote practice in Sunni Brown’s super-helpful-webinar-series-on-visual note taking or in this post by Craighton Berman.

Sketchnote of grocery list items

Grocery list sketchnote; text and icons practice.

Sketchnote of grocery list items

Grocery sketchnote; practicing all-caps, alignment, and bullet points.

Sketchnote of grocery list items

Grocery list sketchnote practice of various “typefaces”.

Sketchnote of grocery list items

Grocery list sketchnote study of various “typefaces”; this one’s a little lazy :-)

Sketchnote of grocery list items

Grocery sketchnote; practicing handwritten fonts and some icon doodles.

Sketchnote of grocery list items

Grocery list sketchnote study of various “typefaces”.

Sketchnote of grocery list items

Grocery list sketchnote; text and icons practice.

Sketchnote of grocery list items

Grocery list sketchnote; practicing text styles and containers (i.e., enclosing words in shapes to emphasis them).

Sketchnote of grocery list items

Grocery list sketchnote practice of various “typefaces”.

Sketchnote of grocery list items

Grocery list sketchnote using (mostly) images/icons to capture the needed grocery items.

Sketchnote of grocery list items

Grocery list sketchnote study of various “typefaces”, plus an icon drawn by my hubby.

Sketchnote of grocery list items

Grocery list sketchnote; practicing containers (i.e., enclosing words in shapes to emphasis them).

Now that I’ve discovered the AnyList app, I’m no longer handwriting my grocery lists (if you’re a list-maker, you seriously need to check out that app!) but I definitely plan on continuing to practice sketchnotes :-)!

How do you practice your sketchnote skills? Let me know in the comments below!

I *heart* sketchnotes

I was first introduced to sketchnotes in 2012, at the ASTD Conference in Denver. Since then, I’ve completely delved into the world of visual thinking with fervor and I have to say: it’s f-ing awesome! I use every opportunity I can to practice my sketchnotes and today I want to share with you a couple I drew up the other day during Dan Roam’s presentation on vivid thinking.

Sketchnotes are notes that capture information through the use of both images AND text, similar to a comic book strip, except you arrange the content in a way that makes the most sense to you. When you look back at them, they serve as a better reminder of what happened than your typical text-only notes. The reason they’re so memorable is because our brain is geared to process images extremely well.

For this sketch note, I used a 5 x 7 Neuland sketchbook and a Sharpie Ultra Fine Point permanent marker.

SketchnoteSketchnote

I then scanned the drawings and colored them in using my new Wacom Intous tablet and Sketchbook Express.

Sketchnote edited with Wacom Intuos Sketchnote edited with Wacom Intuos

Do you ever sketchnote? What do you like about visual notes? Share your thoughts below!

Learn more about Sketchnotes here and more about why doodling matters here
 
 

Expanding Health Care Iconathon

Expanding Health Care Icons

Expanding Health Care Icons

This past July, I had the opportunity to participate in a super cool event called an Iconathon. Iconathons are design workshops hosted by The Noun Project and a sponsoring organization where a bunch of like-minded people get together to create icons (symbols) that represent a specific civil topic or theme. The theme for the Denver Iconathon was Expanding Health Care Access and Coverage.

During the event, participants developed symbols for 18 pre-selected referents. The final icon set can be seen in the image above, and can be downloaded for free from The Noun Project’s website at this link (please note that the site doesn’t work very well in Internet Explorer; use Chrome, Safari, or Firefox instead): http://thenounproject.com/HCPF/#

Here’s a blog post about the event by The Noun Project: http://thenounproject.tumblr.com/post/61032491330/new-health-care-icons-added-to-public-domain

Do you have ideas for how to use these icons? How else can the health care industry develop better tools to communicate with the public? Share your ideas and thoughts below!

 
The views expressed on this post are mine and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing. I neither claim nor imply that I am speaking on the Department’s behalf.

I spy faces in various places!

{._.}

(>_<)

|*_*|

< ^_^ >

It doesn’t take much to create a face: two marks for eyes, one for a mouth; a nose isn’t even necessary most of the time! In The Blue Umbrella, a new short by Pixar, you’ll find adorable examples of personified everyday objects:

Example of face from The Blue UmbrellaExample of face from The Blue UmbrellaExample of face from The Blue UmbrellaExample of face from The Blue Umbrella

Long before The Blue Umbrella, I loved spotting “faces” in everyday, inanimate objects! Below is my own random collection of faces I’ve come across around town, at home, or in places I’ve visited:

closeup of doorknob that looks like a face

Doorknob with a rather large nose at the Castle Marne B&B.

lamppost "face"

This downtown Denver lamppost kinda looks like it has eyes!

pear with dimples for eyes and mouth

Whatchu lookin’ at?!

three windows on a bank building form the shape of an abstract "face"

“Face” formed by windows on a building in downtown Denver.

Denver water meter cover "face"

There’s something charming about this water meter cover… maybe it’s big, round eyes?

a "face" on the sidewalk made from shadow and chalk

Shadow + chalk line = cool face

sandwich with tomato eyes

Sandwiches look so cute right before you eat them.

Steampunk robot face public art in Downtown Denver

Okay, so this is an ACTUAL face, but it’s still cool & random nonetheless.

An abstract face formed by iron building architecture

An abstract face formed by building architecture

Do you think a nose is an essential element of facial composition? Where do you  see faces? Leave your comments below!

I like to pretend…

…I’m a food critique, mostly because I’m pretty particular about what I put in my mouth (ha).

The other day, my husband and I tried a new BBQ joint on South Broadway called Gary Lee’s Motor Club & Grub. Him being from Mississippi and me from Texas, we know some good ‘Q when we eat it, so we were pretty excited to try this new (to us) spot.

On first glance: pretty sweet place. The décor is sorta motorcycle hipster chic, with lots of wood, exposed beams and ductwork, and a really nice, spacious patio facing Broadway. We sat right on the edge of indoor/outdoor, where the garage doors open up to the patio.

The service: was good. Not great, but good. The waiter mentioned eating BBQ from a place up the street for lunch; not exactly something I would admit if I worked at a BBQ joint.

Closeup image of prosciutto-wrapped jalapeno

Prosciutto-wrapped jalapeño popper (day after)

Image of inside of prosciutto-wrapped jalapeño popper

Inside of prosciutto-wrapped jalapeño popper (day after)

The appetizer: We had the prosciutto-wrapped smoked jalapeño poppers to start. They’re marketed as “house smoked jalapeños stuffed with cheese and wrapped with thinly sliced prosciutto”. Let me tell you something: that prosciutto was most definitely NOT “thinly” sliced. I love prosciutto; this was more like thick-cut bacon. It was very smoky, and very flavorful, but I wish the prosciutto had been sliced thinner so that I could have enjoyed the stuffed jalapeños more. Instead, the overwhelming flavor of smoky meat was too much for me and I only ate one popper.

Image of pulled Pork BBQ with Brussels Sprouts

I sort of forgot to take a picture BEFORE starting to eat :-)

The main course: There was no bread*. We split the pulled pork with the Memphis BBQ sauce and the caramelized Brussels sprouts. The plating of the meat was a little sloppy, but hey, it’s BBQ so it doesn’t have to be neat. The Brussels sprouts were tasty, but a little al dente (I prefer the sprouts at Steuben’s). The pulled pork was on the moist side, which is great, but only if you have something to soak it up with (and Brussels sprouts don’t really do a good job at that). I was displeased with their side selections: the only potato option they have is mashed (meh), and there were no corn OR corn bread* options (which are kind of BBQ-side-staples in my book).

The drinks: I had a spicy Bloody Mary and my hubby had a beer (Avery IPA). Both were tasty and left us satisfied.

Image of leftover pulled pork turned into sandwich; with chips and baby tomatoes

Leftovers!

Image of leftover pulled pork turned into sandwich; with chips and baby tomatoes

The leftovers: were even better than the 1st go-round! I made myself a BBQ sammich with some sliced Muenster cheese, chopped onions, and mayo on a bolillo bread roll. Cue chips and baby ‘maters and I had myself one yummy lunch.

The verdict: I wish they had bread. I would go back to try the tacos (which the waiter raved about, but… really? You’re a BBQ place, not a taco place, come on now) or maybe a sandwich and definitely another side. Depending on that experience, I might even go back to try their brunch.

Score: 3 out of 5 (I’d go back)

 

*Okay, sure – if you order a sandwich, you will receive bread. However, the dinner plate options do not come with a bread accompaniment & while this is not an ABSOLUTE necessity, I like to have some cornbread, a dinner roll, or SOME-thing with my BBQ.

Sketch Block is Everywhere

I *heart* typefaces. I especially heart handwritten typefaces and one in particular has been popping up a bunch over the past few months – it’s called Sketch Block and it is EVERYwhere!

Lukas Bischoff designed the typeface in 2009. It’s no surprise that Sketch Block is a popular font – it’s fun, slightly whimsical, and yet, unlike some other handwritten styles, it’s super easy-to-read.

Today, I’ve gathered some Sketch Block sightings for your viewing pleasure – check them out below!

Sketch Block on Asher Roth album cover

Sketch Block on album cover

Example of Sketch Block in a concept design for a non-profit website

Sketch Block used in a website concept

Example of Sketch Block in a concept design for a non-profit website

Sketch Block used in a website concept

Final design for non-profit website header using Sketch font

Sketch Block used in website header

An example of Sketch Block from Pinterest

Sketch Block used in a DIY tutorial from Sarah Scoop

An example of Sketch Block font in an NPR website ad

Sketch Block in ad on NPR’s website

An example of Sketch Block font in an NPR website ad

Sketch Block in ad on NPR’s website

An example of Sketch Block on Nature Valley packaging

Sketch Block on packaging

An example of Sketch Block on Nature Valley packaging

Sketch Block on packaging

Sketch Block Typeface used on packaging

Sketch Block Typeface used on packaging

Sketch Block Typeface used on packaging

Sketch Block Typeface used on craft tool packaging

Typeface similar to Sketch Block Typeface; used on ketchup bottle packaging

Typeface similar to Sketch Block Typeface; used on ketchup bottle packaging.

Sketch Block font on a magazine cover

Sketch Block font on a magazine cover