Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

December 3, 2013 by steph

We Wish you a Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

We wish you a Merry Christmas & Happy New Year. Enjoy my retro-style, vintage inspired Christmas desktop wallpaper with custom illustrations. We hope it brightens your holiday season. 

We made it to fit your 27" iMac display. Download the Christmas wallpaper (2560x1440)

Appreciating Differences

May 1, 2013 by steph

I find myself drawn to both extremely structured and very organic imagery. The simplicity of Scandinavian design or edgy (but thoughtful) graffiti can catch my eye. A perfectly formed tulip or a charming meadow of wildflowers are equally enchanting.

City or country, gourmet restaurant or food truck, wine or beer...there is beauty in opposites and differences. A balance in life comes from appreciating what is both on your left and your right. If design was always structured and perfect, it would be stifling. But if all we had was chaotic and unstructured designs, it would leave us feeling unsettled. So we look for a middle ground with our work.

Here are desktop wallpapers for your personal enjoyment. We hope you appreciate the differences.

Gold and Black

Silver and Blue


Golden Gate Bridge

February 11, 2013 by steph

Last November we created a poster of the Golden Gate Bridge to celebrate 75 years of history (1937-2012).

This year for my birthday we walked south across the Golden Gate Bridge from Fort Baker to the Presidio. Along the walk we joined hundreds of tourists from around the globe as we gazed upwards at the towers and looked east to Oakland and Berkeley and west to the Pacific Ocean. These wallpapers are from the photography we shot while walking.
We hope this will inspire you to appreciate the icons of your geographic region as well as a reminder to look up and appreciate a new point of view.
Each wallpaper below includes a stanza from the poem, The Mighty Task, by Joseph P. Strauss, Chief Engineer, Golden Gate Bridge and Highway District.

The Mighty Task is Done

Written upon completion of the building of the Bridge in May 1937, by Joseph P. Strauss, Chief Engineer, Golden Gate Bridge and Highway District.

At last the mighty task is done;
Resplendent in the western sun
The Bridge looms mountain high;
Its titan piers grip ocean floor,
Its great steel arms link shore with shore,
Its towers pierce the sky.

Golden Gate Bridge

On its broad decks in rightful pride,
The world in swift parade shall ride,
Throughout all time to be;
Beneath, fleet ships from every port,
Vast landlocked bay, historic fort,
And dwarfing all--the sea.

Golden Gate Bridge

To north, the Redwood Empire's gates;
'To south, a happy playground waits,
in Rapturous appeal;
Here nature, free since time began,
Yields to the restless moods of man,
Accepts his bonds of steel.

Golden Gate Bridge

Launched midst a thousand hopes and fears,
Damned by a thousand hostile sneers,
Yet ne'er its course was stayed,
But ask of those who met the foe
Who stood alone when faith was low,
Ask them the price they paid.

Golden Gate Bridge

Ask of the steel, each strut and wire,
Ask of the searching, purging fire,
That marked their natal hour;
Ask of the mind, the hand, the heart,
Ask of each single, stalwart part,
What gave it force and power.

Golden Gate Bridge

An Honored cause and nobly fought
And that which they so bravely wrought,
Now glorifies their deed,
No selfish urge shall stain its life,
Nor envy, greed, intrigue, nor strife,
Nor false, ignoble creed.

Golden Gate Bridge

High overhead its lights shall gleam,
Far, far below life's restless stream,
Unceasingly shall flow;
For this was spun its lithe fine form,
To fear not war, nor time, nor storm,
For Fate had meant it so.

Golden Gate Bridge

Marvelous Munich

November 13, 2012 by steph


We might have missed Oktoberfest (intentionally), but that didn’t take away from our enjoyment of Monaco di Baviera (as the Italians refer to it). We loved all of the delicious food and drink, world-class museums and beautiful green spaces, and came to really appreciate this self-proclaimed "northernmost Italian city". Our favorite part was just walking through all the parks and breathing in the scent of Autumn’s arrival in Bavaria; the beer and pretzels are a close second. Munich was the perfect relaxing end to our trip.


Museums and Sights

Englischer Garten

This large public park (larger than New York’s Central park) is 910 acres of beauty and relaxation. You can go there for cold drinks, hot food, live music (oompah), leisurely strolls, lovely bike rides, competitive pickup soccer and beautiful views. This park really is the best way to spend a sunny Saturday. If traveling to Munich again, we would set aside an entire day to just enjoy this park and all that it has to offer.


The Viktualienmarkt is a daily food market and a square in the center of the city that includes 140 stalls and shops. It is packed full of energy and delicious food and drink. For people that are slightly obsessed with food (while eating breakfast we talk of lunch, at lunch we discuss dinner, etc.), this is a paradise. I can still smell the deliciously stinky cheese and robust espresso. Oh and it has a a genuine May Pole!

Haus der Kunst

This museum is used to showcase temporary and traveling exhibitions, and has a complex and controversial past. Originally built as the Third Reich's first monumental structure of Nazi architecture, it was intended to house art they deemed Germany’s finest. It now contains artwork Hitler would have condemned and viewed as "degenerate". Due to lucky timing, we were able to see a very interesting exhibit that examined this complex history and the building’s ideological uses called Histories in Conflict. The other current exhibit, Ends of the Earth, presented a comprehensive historical overview of land art from its beginnings to 1974. Both shows were extremely well conceived and presented.

Learn more about the exhibit Histories in Conflict

Learn more about the exhibit Ends of the Earth


This park was constructed for the 1972 Summer Olympics, and now serves as a venue for cultural and social events. On a beautiful fall day at the end of the Munich marathon it was packed full of people, and we loved just walking around and seeing all the interesting architecture. We were in the mood for a bit of a workout and hiked up the hill in the middle of the park. Our worthwhile reward was a stunning 360-degree view of Munich and the surrounding area.

Nymphenburg Palace/Park

This palace was founded as a summer residence for the rulers of Bavaria. Arriving too late in the day to go into the palace itself, we spent hours enjoying the beautiful and relaxing park. We felt like we escaped the bustle of the city walking along lovely canals and lakes, surrounded by trees on tiny pathways, and not hearing a sound besides the crunching leaves beneath our feet.

Neue Pinakothek

The Neue Pinakothek focuses on European Art of the 18th and 19th century. The extensive collection is presented in a very thoughtful manner, and we really appreciated the informative audio guide.

Alte Pinakothek

The Alte Pinakothek is one of the oldest galleries in the world and houses a famous collection of Old Master paintings. We were actually lucky enough to attend a concert in the Rubens gallery, and during intermission walk through more galleries to view additional impressive works. Stunning music and artwork, it was a brilliant last evening in Munich.


Food and Drink


We love Lebanese food and were lucky enough to find Ksara (thanks Qype). Everything was spiced perfectly and very fresh. From the falafels to hummus to fattoush to batata harra, everything was delcious. The only thing we would change is how quickly we ate everything...don’t get between us and our hummus!

Der Pschorr

This biergarten and hall serves up big beers and giant plates of tasty food. The place was buzzing with hungry and energetic people, giving us a glimpse of the energy that must be in abundance during Oktoberfest. They place an emphasis on locally sourced items, which made us happy, and the späztle, sausages and beer were very very good. Just keep your elbows down or you might get bumped by one of the zippy beermaids.

Hans Am Gluck

This had to be the restaurant with the coolest interior on our trip. They placed tree trunks throughout the restaurant making it feel like you are sitting in the middle of the woods from a Brothers Grimm story. The burgers were yummy, the crowd was young and fun, and our server was delightful. Did we mention they made the best BBQ sauce outside of the US?


We tried to go to this restaurant twice, the first time there was no room and the second time our only option was to sit outside in the cold, with a heat lamp. We figured if it was that crowded on the inside it must be good, and it was. In addition to the heat from the lamp, we were warmed by hearty German dishes and wine. This would definitely be a place we would keep going back to if we lived in Munich.

Wirtshaus Zur Brez’n

In need of a brezel (pretzel), weisswurst and mustard experience we went to Wirtshaus Zur Brez’n. Everything we had there was very tasty and Stephanie (the pretzel hater) was won over by this Munich tradition. It turns out all she needed was really yummy mustard to go along with her pretzel. Who knew?


We always find ourselves searching out good Italian food wherever we go, and we were able to find Seerose based on a local’s recommendation. It was perfect. We had breakfast and lunch here, and Bryan was able to practice his Italian (nothing makes him happier). A cornetto with marmellata and a stunning cappuccino took us back to Sicily...bravo Seerose!



Espresso am Viktualienmarkt

While in the market we were needing some caffeine to keep going, and the most delicious smell pulled us into this small stand. The coffee was brilliant and exactly what we needed to be reenergized. Great espresso blend and a perfectly pulled shot!

Aroma Kaffeebar

This was probably our food/drink highlight in Munich. Everything was perfect. The staff was delightful, the coffee was delicious, the pastries were spectacular, the interior was beautiful and the crowd was really pleasant. The only thing we would change is the it possible to move an entire cafe from Munich to Oakland?

Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Langenlois, Linz, and Munich

November 13, 2012 by steph

This autumn we traveled to Europe for our inspiration trip. This year's forcus was on Germany, Austria and a side trip to Czech Republic. We had an amazing time in Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Langenlois, Linz, and Munich. I hope you enjoy our travel stories and tips in our Things We Like section of our website.

Below are moments we captured on the trip and we want to share them with you as desktop wallpapers. I hope they inspire you as they inspired us. Feel free to use as wallpaper for your iPad, iPhone or desktops.

Berlin, Germany



East Berlin Railway

East Berlin Railway

Neue National Gallery in Berlin Mies van der Rohe

Neue National Gallery in Berlin by Mies van der Rohe


Prague, Czech Republic

Prague Metro

Prague Metro Escalator

Prague Vltava River

Prague Vltava River


Vienna, Austria

Vienna Metro Mural

Vienna Metro Mural

Vienna Schönbrunn Palace

Vienna Schönbrunn Palace


Langenlois, Austria

Langenlois blue wall

Langenlois blue wall

Langenlois vineyard

Langenlois vineyard in the Kamptal


Linz, Austria

Linz Danube River

Linz Danube River

Linz Ars Electronica Center

Linz Ars Electronica Center


Munich, Germany

Munich Underground Marienplatz Station

Munich Underground Marienplatz Station

Munich Nymphenburg Palace woods

Munich Nymphenburg Palace woods

Innovative Linz

November 11, 2012 by steph


Linz is the third largest city in Austria, and while it has an industrial and manufacturing history, it is also extremely innovative as one of the leading cultural centers in Austria. It was even named the European Capital of Culture in 2009. We both felt it came across as a very livable, approachable and interesting city.


Museums and Sights

Ars Electronica

This center for electronic arts houses six floors of creative work from hi-tech laboratories all over the world. It is absolutely the most interactive museum (for kids and adults) that we have ever been to. Everything was really fun and the 3-D video exploring the universe was exciting and informative.


This gallery of contemporary art is also a striking piece of architecture on the Danube River. Sadly, the museum was closed while we were in Linz, but we enjoyed the building while partaking in a meal outdoors at their restaurant/cafe.


We went on a stroll through the city from beautiful church to beautiful church and each one had interesting and unique elements. Some churches were very ornate while others possessed a simple gracefulness. We found the walk and churches to be a rejuvenating way to spend an afternoon.


Food and Drink

Lentos Restaurant-Cafe-Bar

We loved sitting outside the Lentos and enjoying a tasty meal along the Danube. They had fantastic beer, comforting food, a stunning view and the weather was great. We would have loved to be able to go in the Lentos, but this was a great consolation prize.

Die Donauwirtinnen

If we could have any restaurant in our neighborhood in Oakland, we would love it to be Die Donauwirtinnen. The restaurant and staff were charming, the food and drink were exactly what we love, and the dessert and coffee were a perfect end to the evening. Two huge thumbs up for this place.



Cafe Traxlmayr

We came here for the Linzer Torte and it was very good. We actually are hoping to look up a recipe for this Christmas because Stephanie is convinced it is the perfect December dessert.

Schloss Café

The food and coffee here were fine, maybe even good, but the view was out-of-this-world fantastic. Up above the city and overlooking the river, we enjoyed breathing in the fresh fall air and of course resting our legs after the hike up the hill.



Landgraf Hotel & Loft

This was a nice hotel with nice rooms, but what we loved was the super tasty breakfast, the lovely morning staff, and the excellent location right next to the Ars Electronica Center.

Charming Langenlois

November 10, 2012 by steph


This charming town was delightful to walk through, is surrounded by beautiful vineyards and has the bragging rights to some pretty incredible wines.


Museums and Sights

Loisium World of Wine

This museum was the biggest surprise of our trip! We thought a wine museum couldn’t be informative and fun, that you really just go for the tasting at the end. We were so wrong. The Loisium museum is very informative about process and history, has a variety of interactive opportunities and filled with beautiful artwork, design, mindblowing installations and even a water show! Of course the tasting at the end is a pretty nice way to end a museum visit.


Food and Drink

Restaurant Vineyard

We had dinner here, which included very good soups, salads and wine. However, the best part about this restaurant is the breakfast (you probably need to be staying at the hotel to get it). It is the kind of European breakfast buffet you dream of, Stephanie still wakes up dreaming about it. It literally had everything you could want and more: beautiful austrian breads, soft stinky cheeses, smoked fish, cured meats, omelets, homemade jams, delicate honeycomb, pretty pastries, etc. The bread really is so delicious there, it is almost worth a hop over the pond.


This place was sooooo charming and our server was incredibly accommodating. We ate Austrian meats and comfort dishes complimented by fantastic local wine. It was the perfect end to a delightful day in Langenlois. The heuriger (wine-tavern) really is a genius concept.




Rathauscafé was a sweet little cafe where locals go for a nice cup of coffee, pleasant conversation and very good pastries. They had the most flavorful and moist cake we ate while in Austria.



Loisium Wine Spa Resorts

When at Loisium Wine Spa Resort, we kept on thinking how very lucky we were to be staying in such a beautiful hotel in such a gorgeous part of the world. The design of the hotel is really spectacular and there are thoughtful details everywhere you look. Then you step outside and see the pool with stunning vineyards as a backdrop. It is ridiculously fantastic. If we could spend one week relaxing anywhere in the world this would be at the top of the list.

Historic Vienna

November 8, 2012 by steph

Bryan came into Vienna with the flu, which could easily taint the memory of a city. While it did make for a slow and rough start, we ended up being able to find a lot of things to enjoy. We hope that someday we can go back and visit feeling 100%, but until then we will reminisce about the fun things we did, remember our awesome hotel that got us through the hard days, and be thankful that you can’t smoke in cafes in California. (flu + smoke = unhappy Sicilian American guy)


Museums and Sights

Upper Belvedere

The Upper Belvedere palace was the perfect location to the view the splendor of the Jubilee Exhibition: 150 Years of Gustav Klimt. The show presented a look into Klimt’s personal family history, his development as an artist, and some of the most moving work from his Golden Phase. His work really is even more captivating in person. We also loved the Belvedere gardens that provided relaxation and a beautiful view of the skyline of Vienna.

Learn more about the Austrian artist Gustav Klimt.

21er Haus

The 21er Haus is a fantastic modernist building that focuses on Austrian art of the 20th and 21st centuries. We enjoyed their collection well as their exhibition BUSY Exhausted self / Unlimited ability. This special exhibition examines stress, depression, and burn out that is connected to our current inability in society to differentiate between work and leisure. The videos, installations and sculptures reminded us of our own struggle and desire to create a work/life balance.

Learn more about the exhibit BUSY Exhausted self / Unlimited ability.

MAK (Museum for Applied Arts)

The Museum for Applied Arts is a dream for any designer. They house textiles, metal works, graphic arts, glass, ceramics, furniture and cutting edge special exhibitions. We spent the majority of our time exploring three fantastic special exhibits. The largest show, MADE 4 YOU, looked at design from a social, ecological, and cultural perspective. It focused on sustainable and successful design for the future, Design for Change. One of the coolest things they had on exhibit was early Apple Computer prototypes from legendary German Californian product designer, Hartmut Esslinger.

The Committee of Sleep was an intriguing installation from taliaYsebastian that explored innovative uses of freely available energy sources. THINGS. plain & simple traced the simplicity of design found in European and Asian art history. This is the kind of museum we could spend an entire day in, from opening until closing.

Learn more about the exhibit MADE 4 YOU.
Learn more about the exhibit The Committee of Sleep.
Learn more about the artists taliaYsebastian.

Schönbrunn Palace

Our last day in Vienna we went to Schönbrunn Palace and spent our time exploring the gardens, climbing up to the Gloriette and touring the beautiful summer palace. While we still don’t understand the obsession with Empress Sisi, it provided an interesting look into the Habsburgs and was a wonderful place to enjoy a pretty day.


Food and Drink

Dots TwentyOne

We found this restaurant at the 21er Haus and enjoyed some tasty Pho and a vietnamese salad in the beautiful sunshine outside. It was also a wonderful surprise to find the delicious Austrian Trumer Pils on the menu (which also happens to be brewed in Berkeley). We enjoyed celebrating the Austrian connection to our home in the East Bay.

Österreicher im MAK

This meal of modern Viennese cuisine was a fantastic way to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary. The food was delicious and the location was beautiful. We voted Bryan’s plate of venison the most stunning dish of the trip…perfection.


We went to the Naschmarkt one evening to get dinner and found ourselves overwhelmed with the variety of options. In the end we decided we were in desperate need of some falafel sandwhiches and fries (we ate a lot of falafel on this trip) and enjoyed a flavorful dish from a fun and fiesty spot. This energetic market area would be a great place to go back to multiple times.


We wish we could only say wonderful things about this place because it was so promising. We loved the vibe, the crowd, the decorations, the drinks, but there are two issues that kept it from being good. The biggest problem is that they totally lost our ticket and we waited over an hour for our food. The second problem was that our meals were not what we envisioned or really wanted when ordering (we were trying to order healthy...a bad idea on a trip). Double disappointment. All the other food looked spectacular and our waiter apologized with free drinks. We will hope that we just got unlucky.

Pizza Mari

After a cold rainy day, we were a bit grumpy and in need of food that would comfort our souls. So of course we wanted pizza. Good pizza. Awesome pizza made by Italians. Pizza Mari. They make pizza the way it should be made, create some delicious panna cotta and serve perfect espresso. Italy we love you and so does Vienna.Oh and the best thing was they did not allow smoking inside the restaurant. Perhaps the rest of Vienna can take note: Vietato fumare!



Let’s get this out there, we cannot think of a way to say this nicely, we do not get the Viennese coffeehouse and the reputation that it is something people need to experience. Maybe we picked the wrong places, maybe we picked the wrong drinks, maybe we picked the wrong desserts, but everything was just....okay. We don’ t mean to offend, and we do like that you can hang out for hours reading every possible German language paper that exists, but for a place that is supposed to have one of the oldest coffee cultures in the western world, we felt like it should knock our socks off. Socks are still completely on. But we will try to focus on the positives.

Cafe Museum

We really did enjoy the apple strudel here, warm apples and flaky crust, it was good. Bryan especially is a fan of all apple desserts, don’t get him started on his love for the fritter, and it passed his apple standards.

Cafe Demel

Everyone has their opinion on which sachertorte is the best and battles have been waged over the title “The Original Sachertorte”. We think it is just okay. The frosting was the best part, but even that was just so-so. The display case was really pretty (remember we are focusing on positives).

Landtmann’s Parkcafé

Landtmann’s had a great pastry stuffed with nut filling called a nussbeugerl. Stephanie thinks it is the best thing we got at a traditional Viennese cafe, probably because it wasn’t too sweet and it made the coffee more enjoyable. The location was a great place to stop when at Schönbrunn Palace.



Hotel Daniel

This gorgeously designed hotel really saved us when Bryan was sick. The staff was very helpful, the restaurant/cafe was awesome, our room was super cool and the location next to the Belvedere and public transport was perfect. When we didn’t leave the area for a couple of days we really enjoyed the locally made pastries, their turkish and traditional coffee, the main courses and Stephanie’s personal favorite sturm. Sturm is autumnal semi-fermented grape juice from the first grape harvest of the season, and it is the drink by which she now judges all other drinks.

Our Prague Experience

November 7, 2012 by steph


When walking around Prague, we kept on saying how much it felt like a movie set for a beautiful historical drama that is full of charming and striking architecture…and then we stumbled across an actual Hollywood action film in progress! It turns out we weren’t the only people recognizing Prague’s cinematic nature. We only wish that we had set aside more time on our trip to explore this magical place with a very creative vibe.


Museums and Sights

Dox Center for Contemporary Art

This large modern gallery, formerly a factory, has changing exhibitions and was one of our favorite experiences interacting with art on this trip. In addition to spectacular work from national icon, Karel Nepraš (sculptural and graphic art), Čestmír Suška (sculptural objects), and Veronika Psotková (sculptural objects), we were able to enjoy a very special and rare early screening of the documnetary, Marina Abramović: The Artist Is Present. It was a very memorable day for us, full of incredibly thoughtful and thought provoking work.

Learn more about the artist Karel Nepraš.

Learn more about the artist Čestmír Suška.

Learn more about the artist Veronika Psotkov.

Learn more about the film Marina Abramović: The Artist Is Present.

Veletrzni Palace

This museum houses a permanent exhibition of 20th and 21st century art as well as temporary exhibitions. The architecture and collection were very interesting, but we were especially in love with the temporary exhibitions. The Slav Epic by Alfons Mucha depicts a stylized history of the Slavic people and is impressive in both scale and technique, while Brazilian artist, Amalia Giacomini’s linear driven work focused on the presence of space and boundaries.

Learn more about Alfons Mucha - The Slav Epic.

Learn more about the artist Amalia Giacomini.


Food and Drink


It may have been a bit too smoky in Lokal, but the food was delicious and the beer even better. The interior was very fun, our waiter was extremely helpful and we appreciated the bartenders attention to keeping everything tidy and shiny.


The kitchen was closed when we arrived (bummer), but we were able to enjoy Czech beer in a festive and thoughtfully designed place. By the way, the beer in this country really is spectacular, the rumors were not exaggerated.



Cafe Louvre

We came for the historically beautiful interior and a coffee break, but once we sat down we decided a meal was in order. Bryan was excited to try out the Czech style goulash in hopes that he would be reminded of his childhood. It turns out American goulash is very Americanized (surprise), and Czech goulash is very tasty. Also, we fell in love with dumplings...we are thinking a winter dumpling party could be a lot of fun.

Kavárna Obecní dum

This Art Nouveau cafe is truly beautiful, and despite coffee that was just okay, we enjoyed the views and experience. We especially loved touring around the Municipal house afterwards and taking in all of the details.



Boat Hotel Matylda

A hotel on a boat with doors that open onto the Vltava river; this hotel was a perfect fit to the magical city of Prague. We watched a stunning sunset, woke up to swans outside our door and loved walking back along the river at the end of a full day. The staff was helpful, the breakfasts were good and we even enjoyed a nice Italian dinner in their restaurant.

We loved Berlin

November 5, 2012 by steph

Mazzarello Media and Arts - Berlin - Instagram

We loved Berlin. It was close to perfect. So perfect we thought about looking up how much it would cost to rent a place and wondered how hard it would be to work remotely indefinitely. Alas, we can’t move there (not now at least), but we remember it all fondly and hope to return someday.

Museums and Sights


The Reichstag building is the meeting place for the German parliament and its glass dome has a wonderful 360-degree view of Berlin. The informative audio guide gives a great introduction to the city and its layout, and provided an excellent and stunning start to our trip in Berlin.

Berlin Wall Memorial

The memorial along Bernauer Strasse informs and reminds visitors about the time of the division of Berlin and Germany. The history is explained through stories, sculptures and a remnants of the wall that provide a tangible impression of how family, friends and city were divided. We found it both informative and moving, and when standing next the wall with border strip and watchtower we were overcome with silence.

Hamburger Bahnhof

The Hamburger Bahnhof is a former railway station that now serves as a museum for modern and contemporary art. In addition to Kiefer, Rauschenberg and Warhol, we found some challenging and intriguing temporary exhibitions, and enjoyed Dan Flavin’s colorful light installations.

Bauhaus Archive/Museum of Design

The museum takes a thorough look at the history and influence of the Bauhaus movement through its collection of art pieces, items, documents and literature from the Bauhaus School. We really enjoyed seeing the broad spectrum of work from students and masters and listening to the audio guide’s insight into the school and its members. It was perfect for a Bauhaus geek like Bryan.

DDR Museum

This interactive museum shows everyday life in East Germany, also known as the GDR. The cars, clothes, music, homes and other elements of life in East Germany are displayed and through “hands-on” experiences you are able to step back in time and learn in an innovative way. If the movie Goodbye Lenin could be turned into a museum, it would look like the DDR Museum. They were able to walk the line between serious and humorous, sad and ridiculous, which is a very, very difficult task.

East Side Gallery

This gallery is a portion of the east side of the Berlin Wall and has 105 paintings by artists from all over the world. As one walks alongside it, you can’t help but think about those who experienced the change of this wall from something that was created to contain to something that now serves to inspire. The variety to the work reminds us of freedom from past control and the need to remember the past but continue to look forward.


The Martin-Gropius-Bau is a beautiful hall that originally was a museum of applied arts and now hosts high quality temporary exhibitions. We were able to see two very different, but equally interesting shows about Dennis Hopper and Olympia. The exhibitions were presented brilliantly and we can now say we have a much greater understanding of Dennis Hopper’s creativity and the surprising mystical origins of the Olympics.

Dennis Hopper - The Lost Album

Olympia: Myth - Cult - Games in Antiquitiy

KW Institute

KW Institute is a contemporary art institution that has no permanent collection, it instead focuses energy on innovative exhibitions and creative programming. We happened to be in Berlin at the time of Wael Shawky’s exhibition Al Araba Al Madfuna, and were blown away by the quality, scale and thoughtfulness of the work. He is a storyteller and artist that draws you into his narratives, and then shows the connection of past and present.

Wael Shawky

Berliner Dom

The Berliner Dom is Berlin’s Cathedral and we were able to attend their vespers service in a week that had been full of museums and photography from the moment we woke up. We were reminded that the best time to visit any cathedral or church while traveling is for a service where one can fully experience the intent of the space, instead of just looking around and snapping photos. Taking time to slow down and contemplate is just as important when we travel.

Food and Drink


This is the kind of place I would want to go on any rainy night. It is cozy and warm, the food is delicious and the wine recommendations are spot on. They were down to earth and helpful (since our German is extremely limited), and it is the only restaurant we went back to on our entire trip. We are still dreaming of their charcuterie and wine.

Café am Neuen See

A lovely lakeside location in Tiergarten where we enjoyed tasty soup and flammkuchen with refreshing beer. They have a biergarten and restaurant, making it perfect for a warm day or cold evening, and after going to Munich we would say it feels like a bit of Bavaria in Berlin.

Witty´s Organic Food

A great place to consume bio currywurst, fries and beer. I don’t think we will be attempting to make currywurst at home anythime soon, but we still found it a intriguing combination that we can imagine one would get a craving for. Sidenote: as a people who really don’t like mayonnaise, we love fries and mayo when in Europe, why is that?


A restaurant and biergarten that serves up really big and super yummy beers. Sadly we came right before closing (no food) on a cold evening (no one outside), but we would love to be at this place on a warm summer evening. Who’s ready to go back to Berlin? Us!!!

Markthalle Neun

The market hall reminded us of the San Francisco Ferry Building, with beautiful food items, but smaller and more charming. We wanted to buy everything, but stuck to lunch from one vender and pastries from another. The massive crowd did result in a long wait, but the food was fantastic and unique. I only wish we had more room in our stomachs to try additional items. Did we mention we would love to go back to Berlin?


Rachel and Michael, our awesome Airbnb hosts, recommended this place if we were craving falafel wraps. We were in need of something vegetarian, but satisfying and were crossing our fingers there would be some spiciness (we were going through salsa withdrawals). Zweistrom delivered everything we wanted and more. Thanks R&M.

Mogg & Melzer

This joint brings New York food culture to Berlin, and as west coasters who rarely enjoy good pastrami we were pulled in by the delicious smells and design of the space. The food really was fantastic and the architecture of the building (Jüdische Mädchenschule) is definitely worth the trip as well.

Anna Blume

We heard brunch was big in Berlin, and it turns out brunch is really big in Berlin. At Anna Blume we ordered the special for two which was more food than we could dream of eating (meats, cheeses, eggs, breads, vegetables, fruits, jams), but it was all very good. It was also fun to experience the charm of Prenzlauer Berg at this buzzing location that made for a great last meal experience in Berlin.


Berlin coffee culture was absolutely fantastic, and to be honest led us to feel a bit disappointed with any coffee we had on the rest of the trip. Sorry Vienna coffee houses. A few of our favorites include:

Bonanza Coffee Roasters

Roasters that make a mean espresso. It appears to be a place everyone wants to be on a lovely sunny afternoon.

No Fire No Glory

A delicious flat white and lovely place to sit outside on a beautiful fall day.


Lovely people, relaxing vibe and good taste in music. Oh yeah, delicious coffee and pastries to go along with it.

Cafe Fleury

Cafe au lait and delicious pastries. Best place to spend a Saturday breakfast/brunch and relax.


Recycled Design Apartment Berlin

We loved loved loved this place, the charming Prenzlauer Berg and the owners, Rachel and Michael. They design beautiful furniture and have great recommendations for restaurants, museums and anything else you can think of. They quickly felt more like friends than hosts, and were thoughtful to buy us a bottle of sparkling wine for our anniversary and coffee and pastry during a morning hang out. If we could go back to Berlin, we would definitely stay at the Recycled Design Apartment. Honestly, we would live there permanently if we could.

8-Bit Builder

October 22, 2012 by steph

Both Bryan and I grew up wanting to become architects. We spent years playing with Legos and blocks, and often incorporate that passion for structures into our photography and design. Video games were also integral to both of our childhoods, and we find the simple design of early games very fascinating.

This wallpaper is built up of small pieces becoming larger pieces that become part of a design construction. It is the creation of two kids who grew up in the 80's playing a lot of Pitfall and wanting to become Elyse Keaton on Family Ties someday.

Download 1920x1200 WallpaperDownload 2560x1440 Wallpaper


June 27, 2012 by steph

San Francisco Cityscape

We recently were asked to create a cityscape for a client's website icon. We had so much fun creating it we decided to create a desktop wallpaper (now big enough for a 2560x1440 screen)!

Do you recognize any buildings?

Celebrate Spring

April 16, 2012 by Steph

Springtime is a welcomed season of change. Living in California, our spring might not be as dramatic a change as living on the East Coast, but nevertheless we love the new colors all around us. This desktop wallpaper series celebrates the spring season with three floral desktop wallpapers with lilies, chrysanthemums and magnolias, hand-drawn by Stephanie.

Enjoy these springtime floral desktop wallpapers, now formatted for 2560x1140 screens! Works really nice as your iPad or iPhone backgrounds as well!

Floral Desktop Wallpaper

Floral Desktop Wallpaper


Light in Motion

February 29, 2012 by Steph

The way that cameras work is exciting, confusing and stimulating to me. I love that light goes through a lens, an image is captured and people are inspired. A lot of my photography is all about exploring my creativity. What can I capture? What can I create? What do I see beyond what is present? In these images the colors were inverted and removed, allowing us to more clearly see the movement of the light.

I hope that in some way they encourage others to think about what we can see in the world we encounter every day. That all of us would take time to see the unseen.




Light in the Dark

February 20, 2012 by Steph

When I was a kid, the twinkle lights would come down after the Holidays were over, and I was always a little sad. Now we leave some lights up in our home throughout the winter months, making it easier to get through the long dark nights. There is something so magical about those tiny little lights.

For these wallpapers, we took photos of the lights we found on a tree while walking around one evening this winter in the Presidio of San Francisco National Park. We love all the different ways the same set of colorful lights can be seen. We hope they brighten your winter season as you anticipate the coming spring.





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Vampires, Blutbads and Walkers...Oh my!

February 19, 2012 by Steph

We are not huge fans of horror movies. In fact, I still have nightmares from seeing a small part of A Nightmare on Elm Street in 6th grade. However, we are constantly drawn to vampires, werewolves, zombies and other creative monsters in television and film. Maybe it’s the winter weather getting to us, but we have been obsessing over several monster shows including Being Human (UK), Grimm on NBC and The Walking Dead on AMC.

Being Human (UK)
The show is about how a vampire, werewolf and ghost live together in a house in Bristol, and work at a local hospital. Everything about this concept is interesting to me. How did they all become friends? Why is the ghost still here? How can a vampire work at a hospital? Then the bigger questions keep me coming back for more. What makes us human? When do we lose our humanity? The show allows us to consider a world where there are vampires overcoming addictions, werewolves working on anger management, and ghosts conquering co-dependency. A world where monsters are more human than we imagine.
This is a show that I thought I wouldn’t like, but with each episode I find myself liking it more and more (a good part of that is due to the clever acting of Silas Weir Mitchell as Monroe and the fact that they actually filmed it in Portland). At a basic level it is a crime show where all of the criminals happen to be monsters and the main detective a descendant of the Grimm family. The monsters are interesting and complex, and the writers have done a fantastic job of making them believable. I like battles of good vs. evil, but even more when the lines of where good and evil begin aren’t quite clear. Any show that can make me laugh out loud, jump in fear and tell an interesting story in under an hour, is worth watching.
The Walking Dead
Since it is a show about zombies and the end of the world, there are monsters and beautiful shots of desolate cities, but there is also great acting and storytelling. The show brings forward the same interesting questions presented by Lost, Battlestar Galactica or Lord of the Flies. How do we as humans react in disastrous situations? Do we resort to chaos or come together for the future of humanity? Are we able to look forward and dream? Who finds freedom in starting life over? Of course, it is still a zombie show, so be prepared for creepy chase scenes and gruesome deaths. The fear is part of the fun after all.


A wonderful 2011...Hello 2012

January 24, 2012 by steph

We had a wonderful 2011! It was a year full of great people and exciting projects. 

We ended up working with 34 wonderful clients! Here is a sampling of some of our favorite projects:

  • Boilerhouse Restaurant - Website Design and Implementation
  • Craneway Pavilion - Website Design and Implementation
  • Critical Pass - Website Design, Implementation, and Product Photography
  • Savvy Bride - Logo Identity Package, Website Design and Planning
  • Duxbury Court - Website Design, Implementation and Illustration
  • Matter - Identity Package, Website Design and Implementation
  • WebEngine - Identity Package, Website Design
  • Cutline Communications - Business Cards, Website Design and Implementation
  • Christ Church - Teaching Series Designs, Promotions, Video Production and Photography
  • Peerless Lighting - Identity Package, Softshine Video Production, and Promotions
  • Pig in a Pickle - Logo Identity

We are so excited to see what 2012 has in store for Mazzarello Media and Arts.

2011 favorites

2011 favorites

2011 favorites

Childhood Recollections

January 23, 2012 by steph

These images come from my painting series exploring my love for my family and childhood recollections. Each animal represents a person and their actions show a vivid memory.

As winter gets dark and rainy, I find myself needing something fun and cheerful to look at. What could be better to brighten the day than a little bit of color and silly animals?

And yes, I put a bird on one

To see the original paintings:





Movies Make Us Merry

January 12, 2012 by steph

During our time off for the holidays, we had fun running around Oakland and San Francisco, hanging out with friends, drinking some good cocktails and watching films. (What break would be complete without some good movie watching?)

Certified Copy

Our friend, Jeffrey Overstreet , is a wonderful writer and one of the few film reviewers that we would follow blindly into a theater. He had said that Certified Copy was his favorite film of 2010, so we knew that we needed to watch it. We found it on Netflix and were pleasantly surprised that 1) It was available on Instant Play and 2) It stars Juliette Binoche. Who doesn’t love Juliette? 
The film is fascinating and confusing, and after we finished it, I wanted to watch it all over again. It is all about love and pain and connection and conversation, but it is also as incredibly suspenseful as a thriller. I think I could watch it several times, and still be as equally captivated and confused.
If you have already seen it or are curious to find out more, here is Jeffrey’s much more thorough review.

Tree of Life

This film was more of an experience and a process than a movie. Bryan compared it to poetry and I compared it to a dream. It is the kind of film you talk about for hours and think about for days (but not in the terrifying Requim for a Dream type of way). It is about life on both a small and grand scale. How we came to be. How we live. How we hurt. How we love. How we will exit. To say it is touching isn’t really accurate, but to say that it touched me would be true.
The acting was brilliant, especially the main boy played by Hunter McCracken. (Bryan and I have agreed to disagree on whether we thought the mom was too angelic/light). The visuals, sound and editing were fantastic.I look forward to watching it again, and will be sure to start it early to leave time for conversation to follow.
For more comprehensive thoughts, we hand you over to Jeffrey Overstreet again.


This is the first movie that made me really like 3-D. I generally find 3-D films annoying and headache inducing, but Scorsese made Hugo more thrilling, beautiful and touching with his use of the technology. The story is sad and heartwarming, fantastical and historical, adventurous and sweet, for children and adults. It is my definition of a perfect holiday movie or a movie I would love to watch when I am sick and in bed (Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Amelie, Indiana Jones and Never Ending Story are some of the others on that list). See it while it is still in theaters.

Wizard of Oz

We both had seen the Wizard of Oz before, but never as adults and not on the big screen. Of course it is a delightful classic, we loved singing along to every song, and the monkeys still make Bryan scared, but what made it really enjoyable was seeing it at the Paramount Movie Classics. We may talk way too much about how much we love going to the Paramount to watch films, but we will not stop until every person in the Bay Area gets the opportunity to watch classic movies the way they were meant to be seen, on the silver screen. Check out the schedule and be sure to get there early for a great seat. 


From the people that brought us Helvetica and Objectified, comes a new design-geek documentary about the city. Urbanized completes the trilogy. We absolutely loved the first two films by Gary Hustwit, but this one we liked. If you have seen the other to films then this is a must see, but I caution you this film is less focused than the previous. It seems that this documentary would have been better in a TV series format on PBS. There simply is too much information to cover and this film is all over the map.
It spreads itself a bit thin trying to cover “the issues and strategies behind urban design and features some of the world’s foremost architects, planners, policymakers, builders, and thinkers.” What it does well, however is get you excited about living in an urban environment. This film moved us and made us think about our city and some of our favorite European cities. Two of our favorite parts of the film are when the film crew interviews the mayor of Santiago, Chile about public transportation and the story of the brilliant New York City High Line park.

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Chaos & Destiny

January 12, 2012 by steph

In the past few months I have been working and thinking about patterns inside of chaos, tendencies amongst chance. That when we step into something it may seem like everything is taking place randomly, but as we pull backwards trends slowly appear. I guess the same can be said for when we zoom in tightly/microscopically and begin to see the structures that exist as well. Life seems full of chaos and structure, chance and destiny.

When I first saw the structure of DNA in high school I found it fascinating, both the shape and the way everything matched up so precisely. These tiny and miraculous building blocks. In math, I loved figuring out the shapes that existed inside the functions. That numbers and letters could tell us something about lines and space.

While I continue to delve into my ideas and create new work, please enjoy these wallpapers that are photographs of my recent explorations with ink.




Collaborating with other Creatives

November 21, 2011 by Steph
We thoroughly enjoy collaborating with other creatives. It gives us energy. It challenges us to grow. It takes our creativity to another level. Working with Brandularity and Isaacs Ink has been a pleasure, and we look forward to future opportunities to utilize their skills.
Brandularity helps start-ups, Fortune 500s and non-profits understand their audience and tell their story. After seeing their amazing work firsthand, they are our go to team when our clients have branding needs. They are extremely thorough and abounding in creativity. What more could we ask for?
Isaacs Ink
We like words. Nora Isaacs loves words and lives amongst them. As a writer, editor and author she crafts beautiful sentences and conveys fascinating ideas clearly. She has written articles, taglines and product descriptions for our clients, showing us what a wordsmith looks like firsthand.


Inspired to create

November 11, 2011 by steph


Italy’s financial problems are all over the news, but our news about Italy is that we were reminded of how wonderful it is. A country that is full of culture, creative people and fantastic food.

Last month we traveled for two weeks in northern Italy. This trip was all about being inspired to create. To fill ourselves with visuals that would stimulate our designs and artwork. To see beauty and then come back home to create it. By our estimation the trip was a success in a variety of ways. We are creating on our computers, on canvas, with the camera and in the kitchen.

Here are a few of the things that inspired us while we were abroad, and we look forward to showing you our newest creations very soon.

Italian Cinema

November 11, 2011 by steph

Something is lovely about black and white photography. It tells a story in a way that color doesn’t. Through simplicity it explains complex ideas. I always find myself looking at black and white photos longer than color images. Maybe my eyes are less overwhelmed? Maybe there is something intangible that black and white images convey?

I feel the same way about film. I especially find myself visually drawn to the films of the 40’s-60’s in Italy. Their artistry. Their storytelling. The raw way in which they were shot. When I think of Antonioni (L'Avventura), Fellini (La Strada, 8 1/2), Rosselini (Roma, Città Aperta), De Sica (Ladri di Biciclette), just some of the filmmakers that led the way in Italian cinema, I wish I could see the world through their eyes. Through their cameras.

The wallpapers we include here are paying respect to the filmmakers who opened the eyes of the world to the beauty of Italy, film and art.












In Love with Piadine

November 9, 2011 by Steph

LambruscoThe Italian cuisine is known and loved all over the world. It is comfort food that is delicious, fresh and seasonal. Even the pickiest of eaters won’t turn down fresh pasta or perfectly cooked pizza. It is our absolute favorite, and after this recent trip we fell more deeply in love with the cibo of Italy.

The exciting thing about Italian food is how regional it is. In Emilia Romagna you must try “this”. In Veneto “this”. In Lombardy you cannot forget to sample “that”. Each place we went there was food and wine that came from down the street and recipes that didn’t leave the province.

The following are some of our favorite food and drinks that we truly enjoyed for the first time on our trip. For the items that cannot be replicated at home or found in a great restaurant, we recommend finding a way to make it to Italy. It’s worth it.

Tigelle and Gnocco Frito

I don’t feel I can really do tigelle and gnoccho frito justice. The are bread. Tigelle is round and flat. Gnoccho frito is rectangular, fried and puffy. One takes these breads and fills them with creamy cheeses, hard cheese, lardo (yes I wrote lardo), prosciutto, salami there is no wrong combination we could find. Although everyone has personal favorites. You drink lambrusco with them (see below). They are simply delicious.


Imagine very thin flat bread sandwiches filled with all of your favorite fresh and local ingredients. A bread that is so thin it lets the products between its two pieces shine bright, and yet you still find yourself loving the bread in all of its tortilla thinness. What do you want on it? Roast beef, arugula, grana padano, you go. Prosciutto, arugula, cherry tomatoes, and squacquerone cheese...great. A sandwich, but so much more.


Warm weather begs for a refreshing drink. In the past I would have said the margarita (or a ver cold beer) is the answer to this need. This is no longer the case. The spritz is lovely, thirst quenching and makes me want to eat a bunch of salty treats. It is made of wine, bitters (Campari or Aperol) and carbonated water. We have made it the official drink of summer in the Mazzarello home, and I am pretty sure we will find a way to enjoy it this winter as well.

Tortellini in Brodo

This is the dish that changed my life. I know that is a dramatic thing to say. Who says that about little pieces of pasta filled with meat and floating around in a thin broth? I do. I say it proudly. This was my Ratatoulle moment. The moment where childhood slammed into the present and I could imagine myself as a small Italian girl coming home to a steaming bowl of Tortellini in Brodo. This is Mario Batali’s recipe that I am hoping to try, please invite me over if you make it at home.


The idea of drinking a sparkling red wine seemed silly to me at first. Sparkling wines should be light in color. I should be able to see the bubbles. Now I am trying to convince Bryan that we have to have a party and only serve Lambrusco so that everyone else can see how tasty it is. We had it at almost every meal while in Emilia Romagna, and it went with every single bite.

Balsamic Vinegar

The good stuff. I mean the really good stuff. The kind of vinegar that will change your view of all vinegar, and make you feel like someone has been keeping a secret from you for your entire life. I am sure that there are other great brands out there, but we have to recommend trying Leonardi balsamic if you can find it. After perfecting it for four generations, they have mastered their craft! Our cousin works there, we saw the process of how they make it, and now we can’t use anything else.


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Pixel Love

August 31, 2011 by steph

As designers we have great respect for the "pixel". The little blocks of color coming together to form something larger and more beautiful are both symbolic and necessary in our work. However, sometimes in the process of stepping back to see the big picture we forget about the humble pixel. These wallpapers are my shout out to those lovely squares and all that they do for us.

Pixel Love

Pixel Love

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Paper Experiment

May 4, 2011 by steph

After watching a documentary on paper folding on Independent Lens: Between the Folds, I pulled paper out of the cupboard and started folding and folding and folding. I followed no rules or instructions, just created symmetrical folds and allowed shapes to form.

After photographing the paper I became interested in what would happen if I introduced color and texture into the black and white images. These wallpapers are the final result of my paper experiment. If you would like to see the original photography check out Playing with Paper on our portfolio.






In the mood for a dance break...

April 28, 2011 by steph

Cold War Kids

Sometimes we need a bit of a break from our computer screen during the day, a time to move our muscles and release the tension. (We also found out from a scientific study that we are supposed to move once an hour to keep our muscles from atrophying...think about that).

During these times we have our favorite “release-the-stress” music:

If you don’t take dance breaks, you should start, and if you already do, send us your favorite get up and dance music because we could always use more recommendations.

Battle of the Bands

April 18, 2011 by steph

Each year around Bryan’s birthday we find ourselves anticipating one of our favorite yearly traditions. We aren’t big followers of traditions in general, we don’t fill stockings at Christmas, we are grossed out by green beer on St. Patricks Day, we are freaked out by the concept of a giant bunny hopping around on Easter, we don’t like loud fireworks shows on the 4th of July, we don’t wear costumes on Halloween, but we love, love, love the Battle of the Bands at UC Davis Picnic Day.

Marching bands from all over the state come together to rage by the river all day long. They play oldies, 90‘s grunge, Lady Gaga and school songs with such enthusiasm. Bryan’s favorite activity is standing in front of each band when it is their turn to play, and getting his ears blown out while dancing to the beat.

It is one of the highlights of our Spring, and Bryan’s favorite birthday event. Next year, mid April, keep your calendars open and be sure to make it out.

It’s a Hard Knock Life

April 11, 2011 by steph

AnnieI was always a choir/musical kid. Inside and outside of school I liked performing music for others or even just singing to myself. I remembering watching the musical Annie whenever I got a chance, and dreaming of running up and down the stairs and jumping on top of beds. (On a sidenote what was up with the "orphan adopted by rich people" obsession in the early 80’s?).

When I mentioned my Annie obsession with a group of friends it turns out they all grew up watching it too. I had no idea I wasn’t the only one. It turns out kids all over America were watching this musical over and over again and dreaming of having really red and really curly hair.

So after my most recent Annie viewing, we followed it up by watching Life After Tomorrow, about all of the kids that starred in the musical on Broadway. This let us know what it was really like for all of the kids who were able to achieve my dream of being a part of the musical. It was a really interesting look at how adulthood was thrust upon them. The documentary was actually much more fascinating than the musical itself, but I must admit I still loved singing along with every single song.

Photography Documentaries

April 5, 2011 by steph

Heri Cartier-Bresson

We often find ourselves working thematically through our Netflix queue. We become obsessed with documentaries on education on America, infatuated with Italian neorealism, passionate about post Apocalyptic thrillers, enthralled with Japanese Anime, and entertained by miniseries about 18th-19th century British aristocracy.

A recent theme was photography documentaries that included:

Both of these films provided interesting insight into how and why photographers work.

Along with those films we highly recommend the following documentaries that deal with similar topics:

Our Design Process

March 23, 2011 by steph

This week's wallpaper is based on our design process. We felt like we needed to visually illustrate our process so we could see it and then we realized we needed to share it. Since adding it to our website we have had wonderful feedback. We even had a friend beg to have it made into a shirt. Well, wallpaper is a start. Enjoy!

Here is how we break it down:

  1. Everything good always starts with rumination and pondering.
  2. Espresso is always our fuel for thought. Locally roasted Bicycle Coffee does the trick. 
  3. Brainstorming.
  4. Expresso.
  5. Ideas.
  6. Expresso.
  7. Ideas.
  8. Bright Idea!
  9. Let it simmer.
  10. Take Action.

We take our clients seriously. In fact we are quite choicely about our clients, because we know that their organization and projects live with us in our home while we work for them. We are passionate about what they are passionate about and that means taking the time to create a great solution.

So what is your creative process? What do you dream about?

Mazzarello Media and Arts Design Process

Kara Thrace meet Coach & Mrs. Coach

March 15, 2011 by steph

BattlestarSometimes Bryan and I fall in so deeply in love with a television show we begin to imagine we are a part of the show ourselves. As a child, Heathcliff Huxtable was my dad, Zack Morris was my boyfriend and Vicky was my robot sister. As an adult, I tried to avoid “The Others” on the island, drank coffee at Luke’s in Stars Hollow, walked the gangways of the Battlestar Galactica and smelled the green grass of the Dillon Panthers stadium.

When a favorite show comes to an end I feel like I am saying goodbye to a friend and faced with the realization that time really is passing by. The shows took place while important things were happening in our real world, and in some strange way, those memories are tied up in each other.

Friday Night Lights

I believe saying goodbye to the worlds of Battlestar Galactica and small town Dillon, Texas have been the hardest. Two worlds that couldn’t be more different, but with such beautiful writing, acting and production value the viewer was pulled into both of these shows in such a real way. I have never had a desire to live in outerspace or small town Texas, but both of those shows made me want to check out housing prices in Dillon and university Aeronautics degree programs. Their last episodes brought tears to both of our eyes.

Our only consolation is that we now have the Braverman family, and since they live in the Bay Area we are hoping to run into them at our farmer’s market or a Cal Bears game.

City of Inspiration - Cordoba, Spain

December 21, 2010 by steph

We have almost reached 31 wallpapers for the month of December with these next four composites of our photographs from our time this October in Cordoba.





Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

December 15, 2010 by steph

Very Merry

We are now halfway through the month of December and have created all the remaining wallpapers we will be giving away this month. Before we share our love of Spain with the rest of the designs, we present one more holiday inspired wallpaper for you to enjoy these next couple of weeks.

Make sure to check back on Thursday for the release of our Sevilla designs.

Download the full size wallpaper (1900 x 1200px)

Journey through Light and Darkness

December 7, 2010 by steph

Shadow and light, high and low, round and angled, up and down, open and closed...we understand one only in relationship to the other.

One time when we were at a film conference at our university the speaker, Scott Derrikson, spoke of how his films focused on darkness in order to reveal light. This idea has stuck with us throughout the years. We often find ourselves drawn to films that deal with difficult issues and flawed characters revealing the need for beauty and goodness.

Recently we have been watching stories of people on epic journeys, climbing mountains, traversing deserts and immigrating to new lands. Films that have shown that getting to the top of the mountain or crossing the ocean doesn't mean the journey is over. When one goes up, one must come down, they can only be fully experienced together.

As each person goes through life the contrasts surround and envelop us. We experience joy and sorrow in one day. Laughter is followed by tears. Pain and ecstasy can come simultaneously.

These photos are our look at the idea of the journey through light and darkeness.

Shadow and Light

Shadow and Light

Shadow and Light

Shadow and Light

Shadow and Light

Shadow and Light

Video Games and Turtles

September 23, 2010 by steph


This image is adapted from my painting series exploring my childhood, and serves as a tribute to my love of all things video games.

When I was a child, my brother and I received our first Atari and we were bouncing off the walls with excitement (I am pretty sure there is a VHS tape somewhere in my parents house to prove this). Our first Nintendo was my opportunity to hone my skills at Tetris, which has provided a lot of help over the years as we fill trucks to move. Then we enjoyed our Sega Genesis, where my obsessing over Sonic the Hedgehog verged on being out of control.

Currently, we are still going old school with our PS2 that most importantly enables me practice my Rock Band skills, so I am prepared when the Pixies call me up to help them out.

Wild Beasts

August 13, 2010 by steph

The Wild Beasts hail from Kendal, England. The band is a recent discovery for me, that comes along with a recently released second album titled Two Dancers.

The group provides interestingly beautiful vocals with well matched music. While listening, I was continuously surprised by the ever changing journey for my ears. I find this variety invigorating for the creative process, making Wild Beasts some delightful designing music.

Check them out, and be sure to do something creative while you are listening.


Twisted Math

July 14, 2010 by steph

Twisted Math

I really enjoyed patterns in math, the lines and shapes created by numbers and the challenge of problem solving. Once called the "Queen of Math" by a teacher, I had considered becoming a math teacher myself. While I didn't end up going down that path, the beauty of art is that all different kinds of minds can create, what I loved in math can now become my creations.



May 26, 2010 by steph

This drawing is from a several years ago, around the time that we were watching documentaries and reading about food production in the 20th and 21st centuries. It was a drawing that organically developed from my mind processing ideas that I had previously not really considered.

Growing up in Southern California, I never experiencing farming or factories first hand, so I will not pretend to be an expert. I know that with advancing technology there are both pros and cons financially, ecologically and sociologically.

This is the same story in the design world. Designers used to create everything with their hands, but with the development of computers the role of the designer has changed quite a bit, for both the good and the bad.

Often we rely too heavily on the computer, I personally believe that it is important for our work to still feel touched by a human hand. A large portion of my work combines something I have personally drawn, painted or photographed with the technology available on photoshop and illustrator. I find myself drawn to the merging of organic and clean, hand-drawn and computer generated...that by beginning a design with our imperfect hands we create something uniquely us.


Neue Helvetica Tribute

May 19, 2010 by steph

This week's wallpaper is a tribute to the Neue Helvetica typeface family. The phrase "I would love to be a part of this beautiful family" is 11 words long, representing the 11 fonts that we used from the family (there are 51 total). See if you can find all the words.

It was great to be able to celebrate type forms as artwork and not necessarily function. The plan is that every now and then we will release a typeface tribute wallpaper for typefaces that are important to our work.

History of the the Neue Helvetica Font Family
Except below from the Linotype website

Designer: Linotype Design Studio, 1983
The Neue Helvetica® Font Family is part of the Linotype Originals.

In 1983, D. Stempel AG redesigned the famous Helvetica typeface for the digital age, creating Neue Helvetica for Linotype: a self-contained font family. Today, this family consists of 51 different font weights.

Neue Helvetica sets new standards in terms of its form and number of variants. It is the quintessential sans serif font, timeless and neutral, and can be used for all types of communication. Neue Helvetica is one of three Helvetica typeface families from Linotype.

Ring Ring

May 12, 2010 by steph

This week's wallpaper is a fun illustrative pattern of an old school rotary telephone. As we are working on our new website (coming summer 2010) we are working out new patterns and illustrations of common objects in our life. Although we don't have a rotary telephone, communication via phone is an important aspect to our daily lives. Can you remember back when we were all tied down to a phone jack on the wall? So much for privacy in those days. But there was something cool about the crazy, curly phone cords.


Spring Pop

March 17, 2010 by steph

You know it is spring when you have a hop in your step and the sun is shining on you. Suddenly the world is full of possibilities and colors are popping up all around you.

In this week's desktop wallpaper we wanted to create a visual representation of our emotions at this time of year. We hope you have a good week! Get out and smell some flowers!



December 16, 2009 by steph

We realize that we live in Oakland, CA and that snow is not very common in the month of December, but we did get a bit of snow here in the East Bay on Mt. Diablo. While we rarely get to enjoy snow here in the Bay Area the natural beauty and and intricacy of a snowflake is universal.

Click for the full size image.


Over the Rhine

September 29, 2009 by steph

When the days start getting darker earlier, there are three things that I want: a warm drink, a crackling fire and to listen to Over the Rhine. Their music makes me relaxed and invigorated, melancholy and hopeful, chilled and is perfect for the time of inbetweens.

I also must mention that they are even better live than on their cds. Karin Bergquist has a voice that is absolutely spectacular in person, Linford Detweiler is a beautiful storyteller, and together they thrive when interacting with an audience. See if they have a show near you sometime soon.


Little Dorrit

September 28, 2009 by steph

I never thought I would be writing/typing/saying this, but I really love Masterpiece (Theater). I grew up thinking that Masterpiece Theater was full of strange accents, boring stories and a great thing to nap to. And now I keep finding myself addicted to Masterpiece movies over and over again.

The most recent favorite is Little Dorrit, winner of seven Emmy Awards. It is a great story, full of beautiful cinematography, acting, sets and costumes. It looks at debt, greed, pride, classism in a different time and place, but the story is something that says much to us in our current world.

I watched Little Dorrit online, but the website says that Tuesday (tomorrow) is the last day it will be available in its entirety. However, it is definitely worth putting in your Netflix queue. For more quality online videos, be sure to check out the great PBS' video website.


Discovery Park

September 25, 2009 by steph

This week's image comes from a series of photos we took at Discovery Park in Seattle, WA June of 2007. It is a gorgeous 530 acre park right in Seattle. It was a great source of refuge for us when we lived there for 2 years. Once you step into the park you are in another world, surrounded by great beauty. If we timed it with a sunny day then it was really great.

We too hope you find sources of inspiration in your own backyard. It might just be the trick to getting out of a creative slump.

View the image full size.


Farmers' Markets

September 24, 2009 by steph

If I am feeling down, if I need visual inspiration, and if I desire lots of delicious fruits/vegetables/cheese/bread...all I need is a trip to the farmers' market.

I love becoming a regular at the market. It is so fun to know which guys sell the best stone fruit, who has delicious heirlooms, and where I can buy that amazing bag of lettuce that never seems to end and always stays fresh. I enjoy getting a great deal or extra sample of delicious paratha. And I really love seeing the same smiling faces week after week.

I am super lucky to have a fantastic market in walking distance on Saturday mornings, but if I happen to miss my market, I know another market is nearby and waiting for a visit. For a great resource to find a market near you, check out

Peter Pumpkin Patch

September 17, 2009 by steph

When we were up in Seattle we found ourselves very inspired by the farms in Autumn. There was a weekend where all of the farms encouraged people to come out and learn about how they work and enjoy their bounty of fruits, vegetables, cheeses, wine and more. This event provided us with new colors, textures and images to inspire our work.

Now in the Bay Area, we found out that Spring Hill Cheese Company in Petaluma is inviting everyone to come out and and "experience the farm atmosphere" at their Peter Pumpkin Patch. You can taste freshly made cheese and ice cream, dig for potatoes, pick pumpkins, visit a hay maze and more. On the weekends there is also live music.

Peter Pumpkin Patch is going on September 25 - October 31, from 9 am until dusk and admission is free.

So take a day to be inspired by nature in Autumn...and try some delicious cheese while you're there.

Pheobe in Wonderland and Blame It on Fidel

September 14, 2009 by steph

This last weekend we watched two films that focused on the lives of children, but they were not movies made just for kids. Both Phoebe in Wonderland and Blame It on Fidel take us on journeys as the world is changing around the lead characters. The main characters struggle with feeling a loss of control in their lives and have to mature greatly over the course of the film to deal with the circumstances they encounter.

The films are full of emotion, pain, laughter and talented children actors. Kids that already know how to make the viewer laugh and cry in the same scene. Kids that could teach some adult actors a thing or two.

While the stories are very different, they seemed a nice complement to one another, helping us to recognize that the lives of children are not as simple as we might remember.

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September 8, 2009 by steph

I came across the Noisettes, and while Wild Young Hearts is not out yet...I am very excited to get it in the mail once it is released on the 22nd of this month.

The band is from London and this album, their second, is said to be, "a set of sleek pop songs steeped in soul, dizzy on disco and harking back to the days of blues and jazz greats." Sounds good to me.

What I've heard so far has made me want to get up dance, and seeing as Autumn puts me in a dancing mood, I can't wait to hear the rest.

(Oh yeah, check out their video page, I particularly love Never Forget You.)


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