Tomato Cucumber Salad

By September 19, 2014 Food

In Blacksburg, Va, we are lucky enough to enjoy our local farmers market twice weekly, year-round. I’ve found that Wednesday is the perfect day for me to stop by on my walk home from class. On my last visit, I picked up some beautiful heirloom tomatoes, a bag of spinach, two pears, and one very large cucumber.

Farmers market finds

I was most excited to make something with my heirloom tomatoes. Farmers have grown heirloom tomatoes for generations, predating the use of modern genetic breeding to develop tomatoes with disease resistance and uniformity. Many consider heirloom tomatoes to appear more natural and to have a better flavor.
I decided that instead of making a Caprese salad, my usual tomato side dish, I would switch things up and make a light, refreshing tomato cucumber salad.

Tomato stack

Heirloom tomatoes

First, I cut the tomatoes into wedges, sliced the cucumber, and diced one quarter of red onion. Then I tore apart two sprigs of basil and added about 1/2 cup of feta. For the dressing, I combined extra-virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and red wine vinegar. Finally, I seasoned with salt and pepper.

Tomato cucumber salad

Salad close-up

It hit the spot! I guess you can’t go wrong when you’re simply tossing a salad. Have any favorite tomato dishes you’d like to share?

10 Best Websites for Designers

By September 15, 2014 Design

Code Academy

We’ve compiled a handy list of our go-to resources for when we’re working on a project and need to learn a new skill or just get a little inspiration. We have found these websites really helpful and hope you do too. Please comment if you have a favorite or if there are any others that you’d like to share!

1. Code Academy

Whether you’re a beginner or just want to expand your skills, Code Academy is a wonderful resource for learning web development. Code Academy’s approach is task-based and interactive. It includes a written lesson followed by a short assignment that you complete and submit on their platform. It’s simple to use and gives helpful feedback along the way.


2. Aquent Gymnasium

Aquent Gymnasium is another free resource to use when learning to code. Aquent was created with designers in mind, so the lessons are relatable and easy to understand. Once you take a quick quiz proving you are in fact a designer, you can access their video lessons where the instructor gives a tutorial and you work through it on your own.


3. Freestyle

Have you ever heard of Twitter Bootstrap? Well, Freestyle is just like that, but for native apps. If you’re not familiar, Freestyle is a simple framework using CSS that designers and developers can use to build native apps for both iOS and Android.


4. Cloud.typography

Hoefler & Co., the makers of Gotham and many other beloved fonts, have developed another webfont solution for design professionals. Cloud.typography is the online library of all 900+ of their fonts, including their new ScreenSmart collection. Like Google Fonts, Cloud.typography will allow you to link their fonts to your webpage through CSS. They offer five free fonts when you sign up, but the service is subscription based.


5. Pttrns

Pttrns is our go-to site when looking for inspiration for mobile user interface design. Browsing through the patterns is a good way to stay up-to-date on the latest trends for mobile design.


6. PatternTap

Like Pttrns, PatternTap has a large library that can spark creativity. What’s nice about the website is you can filter which platform you want to look at, as well as the type and style.


7. Really Good Emails

Really Good Emails is a great source for email design inspiration. Having to work on email design over the summer, we have a new appreciation for this overlooked form of communication. You will never look at your emails the same way again!


8. Designspiration

This website covers all design mediums! This is our go-to for everything from logos to layouts. You can easily spend hours browsing through their archives. Though we certainly love Pinterest, Designspiration is a nice alternative when working on a project, because everything submitted is carefully reviewed by administrators.


9. Who Pays Artists?

This is a valuable resource for designers and artists who do freelance work. The website allows you to enter some basic information about the job you’ve completed and how much you were compensated. This is handy if you’re unsure about how much to charge or if you just want to get a little more information about competitive pay rates. This totally breaks down the barriers and gives you the facts.


10. Social Good Ipsum

“Smart dummy copy for people who give a damn.” There are loads of these Lorum Ipsum generators out there, but this one gives you filler text that’s focused on social justice. It’s a sneaky way to have a little extra fun with your comps and also save the world.

Guest Post: Sarah Sundberg’s Bedroom Tour

By September 5, 2014 Decor, Photography

Hello, everyone! My name is Sarah. I met Tara and Katherine three years ago in our Intro to Drawing class and have been friends ever since! As a fellow graphic design major, I see the two of them pretty much everyday. We love to bond over both the stresses and pleasures that accompany our lives as graphic designers. I have followed their blog since the beginning and love it! I am really excited to see where it goes, and to make my debut on The Mountain Creative. Today I’m sharing my bedroom with you.





Above Night Stand


In the little free time I have, I follow blogs. The blogs that inspire me most are ones that feature all-white rooms. Decorating in this style has always been a struggle for me because I am a collector (a nicer way to say hoarder), so I have a huge selection of things to hang up and string throughout my room. The clutter became overwhelming. When I moved into my new apartment, I decided to decorate a bit differently- this room would be white. White comforter, white walls, white furniture.
White everything.
I finally obtained the type of space I admire on the blogs I follow. I feel at peace here. The white makes me feel clean and refreshed after a long day’s work. Don’t get me wrong, I still have my treasures scattered about my room, but only for small splashes of color. There is no better feeling than to lie down and see the moon peeking through my lace curtains. Perhaps the only exception is waking up to the curtains fluttering in the morning breeze, illuminating my very own white room.

Here’s the three of us studying abroad in Ostia Antica, Italy | June 2013

Summer Floral Color Palettes

By August 28, 2014 Design, Photography

Even though we’re back in Blacksburg and busy getting into the swing of school, we’re holding onto summer as tightly as we possibly can. We’re excited to start celebrating fall on the blog soon, but not quite yet. So, here are a few floral color palettes to keep summer alive. Just like last time, you can download all of these color palettes from Kuler if you are an Adobe user like us. We took these photos over the last few years from all around the world- from here in Blacksburg, to Charleston, SC and all the way to Portugal. Let us know if you like our photos or end up using these palettes as inspiration for a project!

Horizontal Pink-01
Blacksburg, VA | Download

Vertical Blue-01
Blacksburg, VA | Download

white and purple
Charleston, SC | Download

pink and yellow
Lisbon, Portugal | Download

Peach Sangria

By August 21, 2014 Food

Blue Ridge Mountains

What started as a Sunday search for some summertime berry picking ended in some very sparse peach picking. Apparently, mid-August is crazy late in the berry picking season in central Virginia and every single place we called had been closed for weeks! We decided that we should just pick some peaches instead, but were almost unable to do that. One of the orchards we wanted to visit was also closed for the season, and the others cautioned us because there were so few peaches left! We were pretty determined, so we headed out to Chiles Peach Orchard in Crozet, VA anyway. We had a wonderful time walking up and down the rows of peach trees, even if there were far fewer peaches than normal. We were able to do pretty well and came away with a handful of beautiful donut peaches. They were sweet and delicious and definitely did not disappoint.

Orchard Sign

Red Wagon

Peach Tree

Katherine Picking

Dead Peach

Orchard View

Tara Walking

Once we got finished picking, we decided that making sangria would be a fun use for our little peach collection. We picked up some other berries and fruits and got to work.


Peach Sangria Ingredients
-3 ripe donut peaches
-1 mango
-1 pint of blueberries
-1/2 lemon
-Several sprigs of mint
-1 bottle Reisling
-approx. 2 cups seltzer water (depending on how strong you would like the Sangria to be)


The instructions are pretty simple. Wash all your fruit and berries, dice them, slice them, and put them in your pitcher. Add the bottle of wine and then add the seltzer. Cover the Sangria and let it sit overnight. Enjoy! We chose to make our batch a little less strong so it was super light and crisp and the perfect summer drink! The lemon and mint in particular gave the sangria a refreshing and flavorful twist. Let us know if you get a chance to make any fresh Sangria before the summer ends.

Washing Peaches

Washed Peaches

Mango Chopping

Lemon and Mint

Seltzer Water

Peach Sangria Top

Peach Sangria Cups

Peach Sangria Side

A Relaxing Summertime Playlist

By August 11, 2014 Music

Rainy Mountains

It’s a rainy, cool summer day here in Virginia. We wanted to share some mellow summertime songs to go with the mood. We hope you enjoy. Let us know which songs are your favorites or if you have anything to add.