Category: Trader joe’s

ArtBehind the Scenes: Interview with a Trader Joe’s Chalkboard Artist

Good afternoon, LuLu*s loves! Today I am super stoked to bring you one of the coolest things I’ve found in forever! After reconnecting a few months ago, I discovered that my lovely friend Rachel is currently working as a chalkboard artist at Trader Joe’s – yeah, she makes those awesome signs all over the store! She is awesome and she graciously agreed to submit to my interviewing her to give all you ladies a sneak peek into her colorful world!
So, we know you do the chalkboards at Trader Joe’s. What is your official title?
Crew member! My position is the same as everyone else in the store; I just get to do special tasks.
What do you do exactly?
All the signs in Trader Joe’s are handmade. With the exception of receipts, if it has words on it we design it in-store. On paper, I’m responsible for making sure that every product has a shelf tag with a price and for highlighting products. In reality, that has translated to everything from sewing a giant turkey, crafting a 4 foot 3D hot air balloon out of paper, small illustrations, and much more.
It’s pretty rare to be an artist in your twenties . . . and get paid for it. How do you feel about that?
I feel really lucky. Making a sign for cereal may not be the kind of art that allows for a lot of emotional expression, but I get the opportunity to experiment, learn new skills, and color almost everyday . . . and as you mentioned, get paid for it!  You can’t beat that!
Do you have any artistic inspirations or role models?
Dana Tanamachi is definitely a role model. She is bringing a lot of positive attention to hand lettering. I love the vintage styling and how accessible her work feels. I want to apprentice under her!
What is the most challenging aspect of your job?
The most challenging part of the job is finding snap-inspiration when you just aren’t excited about the product.  It might be the third time you’ve designed a sign for the same cereal, and you have to make it seem exhilarating . . . you gotta get creative.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever gotten?
The best piece of advice I’ve ever gotten was to “get out of your own way.”  Sometimes we create roadblocks for ourselves that don’t exist; you have to believe it’s possible in order to really pursue your dreams.
Favorite drawing medium? 
Chalk is great for its handmade appeal, but I think Woodcraft markers may edge out chalk for my favorite medium.  I use them at work almost exclusively and have recently bought a set for myself. They are so pigmented and you can use them on almost every surface imaginable.
And an extra-special treat, crafted just for us!

Like whatcha see? If you’d like to see more of Rachel’s work, visit her blog: Font or Fiction!


GeneralThe Wonderful World of Sipping Chocolate!

I sit, swiping the last remnants from this tiny cup, with my right hand; typing with my left. 
It wasn’t long ago that I met the richer and more petite cousin to my long time friend, hot chocolate. It was at a wonderful bistro in Sacramento called Moxie, where my sister and I had just finished a beautifully filling meal. Always a sucker for dessert (and to try something new and exotic) I carefully chose the Sipping Chocolate!
With the same Mayan origins as hot chocolate, sipping chocolate arrives as a denser and more chocolaty delight. Thicker, and served in much smaller portions, this warm drink serves as a wonderful alternative dessert.
At my last trip to Trader Joe’s, I picked up their version of this “food of the gods”, and am pleased with the results.
For a delicious and lightweight dessert try adding a touch of vanilla or cinnamon! Yum!

 (Ceramic cup by artist, Ari Grie)

GeneralIt’s Tea Time! Lulu*s Picks Their Favorite Teas

Two days ago I got that dreadful feeling that I was getting sick. With a heavy head and a decent night of sleep, I managed to get on my way to work with a steaming mug of tea. After a day full of trips to the microwave, and teabags piling up in the compost bin, my cold recessed as quickly as it had set in.
Besides being healthful and soothing, there are just so many teas out there to choose from. I toured our warehouse finding out some of the employee favorites, and learned a thing or two!

PG Tips is a British tea company with the cutest little sock monkey spokesperson; and specializes in rich, black tea. Marlene in processing says to try it with milk and honey! Yum!

On a similar note, Valerie in graphics reminisced about her aunt who brews a traditional English Breakfast tea, tossing in ground up lavender for a subtle aromatic flavor.

Mighty Leaf Tea has some of the most beautiful teas I’ve seen, and pictured above is one of their new Holiday Teas! The description states that “Holiday is a festive blend of Chinese black tea with cranberry, orange, papaya, apple, peach and spices.” Wow!

Another new holiday tea that was mentioned by KB and Sara in processing was this blend of peppermint and green teas from Trader Joe’s. I could definitely see decorating the X-mas tree with this one!

My personal morning picker-upper is the exotic Coconut Chai by Zhena’s Gypsy Tea. With a sublime blend of coconut flavor and a peppy black tea base, I will totally forget that coffee even exists.

With so many varieties, brands and rituals,  what do you do for tea?

GeneralRecipe: Healthy Almost-Vegan Pancakes

Not a Saturday morning goes by where I don’t start craving pancakes! Warm and straight off the griddle, it would take one strong will to say no to a giant stack of pancakes. 

But why should anyone have to say “no,” especially when pancakes can be a healthy, wholesome snack? I’m not a vegan, but I love this recipe that substitutes a little fruit and nut butter for eggs and oil. The result is one dense and delicious pancake.*Note pancake mixed used is not vegan. 
Here’s what I’ve been whipping up lately:
   Serves 2-3 people (depending on how hungry everyone is).
 *Mash up one ripe, medium sized banana in mixing bowl.
 *Add two heaping spoonfuls of organic creamy peanut or almond butter.
 *Mix with fork to make a smooth paste.
 *Add two cups of Trader Joe’s Multigrain Pancake Mix (fiberlicious!)
 *Add one cup So Delicious Coconut Milk (I use vanilla) *Note: Soy, almond, or other milk substitutes can be used if desired.
 *Stir until smooth.
 *Pour 1/4 cup mix on hot griddle to form each pancake.
 *Work some magic with your spatula and talent for timing!
 *Serve hot with Trader Joe’s Organic Maple Agave Syrup Blend (I shop at TJ’s a lot…)
 *Enjoy, rub your tummy, and say ”yum!”