All posts by Anastasia

Site Launch: Don Stuart

One of the sites we’ve completed recently is for Seattle-based writer, educator, and consultant, Don Stuart. I’m particularly happy with the design of Don’s site, as I enjoyed designing with the large photo-based background:

Don Stuart Website

Don has a wealth of writings and a new book in the works as well. We really enjoyed working with him, and are currently in the process of designing and building a new site for his wife, Charlotte, as well.

We built his site in WordPress to allow for easy updating, and did a responsive build so that it works well on a variety of browser sizes (from mobile to large screens).

You can find his site at:

Happy 100th Grandma Mildred

We just got home from a weekend in LA to celebrate Jay’s grandma Mildred’s 100th birthday. She’s such an amazing person—funny, full of incredible stories, and still extremely present, even after living in this crazy world for 100 years. It’s hard to even wrap your head around all that she’s lived through: the depression, too many wars, the population of the world growing from 1.6 billion to close to 7 billion. Wow.

Happy birthday Grandma Mildred. Here’s to your 101st year!

Site Launch: Author Marina Koestler Ruben

This post is coming a bit late, but I wanted to showcase another author site we completed in the summer. This one is for Marina Koestler Ruben who is the author of How to Tutor Your Own Child:

Marina was great to work with, and she’s a great blogger too! If you spend any time around children, her blog is full of great bits of wisdom on how to bring learning into everyday activities.

For Marina’s site design, I wanted to use the colors / feeling of the book cover, but not match it completely. I ended up using graph paper and doodles/illustrations at the top and as design elements throughout, which brings in the feeling of learning and school, while not feeling too elementary or specific.

We built Marina’s site in ExpressionEngine which allows her to easily update the pages and blog. She’s doing a great job!

Visit Marina’s site.

Site Launch: Author Ilene Beckerman

We recently finished a new site for author Ilene Beckerman. She’s most known for her book Love, Loss, and What I Wore as it’s been made into a play with productions in New York and Chicago. Her latest book The Smartest Woman I Know is about her grandmother, Ettie, and what it was like growing up in New York around their stationery and magazine store. I enjoyed all her books, which I read as I was designing the site.

The design is bright and vibrant, with different colors on each of the pages (to complement the book cover colors). It was especially fun to use some of her illustrations from the books on the site as well. We built the site in WordPress to allow for easy updating.

Check out her website and her tour dates this fall.

Italy, the rest of our trip…..

Tuscany View
Our view in Tuscany

We’re home now and I finally have enough brain power (post jet-lag) to upload some more photos. So I just posted a bunch more photos over here (on Flickr) of the final day we spent in Lake Como, and the 10 nights we spent in Tuscany. We stayed at Jay’s dad’s first cousin’s place in the hills of Massarosa. They’ve lived there for 15 years and have a beautiful b&b, with the gorgeous view you see in the photo above. We did day trips from there—to Lucca (ancient walled city), to the beaches of Viareggio; to Florence, to the hill towns north of Lucca, to a local winery, and to Vinci (birthplace of Leonardo).

Enjoy the photos!

Our view for the weekend: Lake Como

Lake Como View
Lake Como View

Since I last posted, we’ve traveled from Amsterdam to Italy. We met up with Jay’s parents in Milan, and yesterday we drove up to Lake Como. I actually did the driving! It wasn’t bad—Jay’s a great navigator, and we only kinda got lost once and almost went to Switzerland!

We’re spending three nights here before we head down to Tuscany. We’re staying in the little town of Tremezzo, which is on the west side of the lake. When Jay and I visited here in 2000, we stayed in Varenna, which is on the east side. There are some lovely little towns here on the west, but unfortunately the main road running up along the lake on this side runs right through the towns, so there is a constant din of traffic. We’re going to head to Bellagio and/or Varenna tomorrow on one of the boats, so it will be interesting to see if they’re still as quiet and peaceful as Jay and I remember from our last visit.

So I’ve posted some photos from the last day or so you can check out (see photo set on Flickr). They mostly include some views of the lake, and our visit to the Villa Carlotta botanical gardens, which are right down the road from where we’re staying:

Villa Carlotta is the most famous public villa of Lake Como, in particular for its centuries-old 70,000sqm botanical gardens. . . . It was built, as a summer home, by Marquis Giorgio Clerici, an important gentleman from the Spanish and Austrian Milan.

The gardens are very beautiful and varied–including bamboo, pines, azealas, citrus fruits, hidden pathways, arbors, etc.

Iceland Stopover

Iceland, View from Our Room
View from our room, Blue Lagoon Clinic Hotel

As I mentioned in the previous past, we stopped over in Iceland last week for one day/night on our way to Amsterdam. We had a very relaxing stay at the Blue Lagoon Clinic Hotel which included use of their private pools, and day passes to the Blue Lagoon which was just a short walk away.

I have to say, it’s a perfect way to unwind after a 7-hour plane flight. Jay and I agreed that we’d do two nights next time!

You can see some more photos here (on Flickr). I didn’t take my camera to the Blue Lagoon, but it’s more fun watching the live feed from their webcam anyway! (Although you might catch it after hours, with less people depending on what time you look at it…)