(Working) Tools of the Trade

(Working) Tools of the Trade

tools for publishing and owning your own business

Since we're such a small team (of two!) we rely heavily on great tools and technology to help us make the most of our time and mental energy. These are our essential tools to making our busy lives work. Even if you're not going to be ~starting up a magazine~ any time soon, we love these tools for our personal use as well. If you're looking to cook a lot of food, or streamline your life when it comes to organization, check out our recommendations below.


google docs - For forms, spreadsheets of all kinds, and most especially editing articles. It allows for really amazing collaboration, as well as the ability for multiple people to edit a document at the same time. It's not perfect but we haven't found a better replacement yet.

evernote - We use this for just about everything! Reference for taxes, shipping, business stuff, Adobe tutorials, recipes, contacts, contracts, email templates, and most especially, this is how we sort through and refer back to all our contributors. I went a little more in depth with this on my personal blog a while back.

airmail / boxer - On Mac, we use Airmail; on iOS we use Boxer. These are the most comprehensive email clients for multiple accounts, and give tons of flexibility and features, the most important for us being quick forwarding to Evernote and quick email templates.

dropbox - I don't know how we would do business (or even just live) without Dropbox. I keep my entire hard drive on there so I can access any file anywhere I need to. We travel a lot so it's crucial to be able to find and download documents on my phone at a moment's notice.

pepperplate - When it comes to recipe testing, or any kind of digital meal planning, I absolutely adore Pepperplate. There are some like it, but none as good looking or as perfect for my needs. You can find out more at their website, but you can basically add recipes in (or get them from the web), make a shopping list, add each recipe to a calendar, and get timers for when you're ready to cook. If you're looking to cook a lot of food and need to have things ready before food spoils, this app is helpful. If you're looking for an easy meal planner, be sure to check our printables out!

planbe - No other digital calendar is as good as this, in our opinions. It's one of the few calendars left to actually show events on the month view (and in a beautiful way), it mixes both tasks and events (and lets you mark tasks complete!), and it looks closest to my favorite calendar design, the Day Designer. Each view (day, week, month, or task) is really well thought out.

noteshelf - This is the best "digital sketchbook" you could ask for. It has great papers and writing/drawing tools, as well as the option to add your own papers and notebook covers as well. It also lets you draw on/edit PDFs and syncs with Evernote.

wunderlist - For shared tasks and assigning tasks with each other. It's got recurring tasks, subtasks, folders, and file attachment so it works for what we need.


We currently use Squarespace, Shipstation, Shopify, and Mailchimp to run everything behind the scenes. Like Adobe below, these are all pretty self explanatory - but let me add, after years of trying to find the right tools for these essential parts of our work, these are really the best out there and work very very well.


adobe creative suite: adobe camera raw, photoshop, indesign - These are all standards of the visual profession, so I won't go deep into anything here. We basically process all of our RAW photos in ACR and export them from there, then work on them in Photoshop for further refinement.

vsco film - There's the hugely popular app VSCOcam, which we also use on mobile, but for a lot of our regular photography we use VSCO film. Not only is it fast to use, but it is absolutely the closest match to film I've ever used or seen. I use it in conjunction with my own custom actions to make photo editing quick and painless.

clamcase & SD adapter - On the road, these are so helpful in creating imagery and text. I like my tablet because it's smaller than a normal laptop and I can obviously use it as a touchscreen, so adding a keyboard to it is a natural extension for working while traveling. The keyboard is just like the keyboard I use on my desktop Mac, and it's very sturdy. The SD adapter makes it possible to edit DSLR photos on a mobile device, it's really awesome!

moleskine - For almost all of my illustration and lettering work for the magazine, I use kraft Moleskine cahiers. I have a pretty tall stack, and now I use almost an entire sketchbook per issue; I think it's pretty fun to look back on the old books! I like that the book lies flat, and is easy to fold over for scanning. The size and paper quality is perfect for my needs and they don't take up too much room. Most water-based mediums I use work on these, and if it's too much I'll just use a watercolor block instead.

I also use an extra large size grid paper black Moleskine as a planner - it's large enough to get big swaths of information in at once, for note-taking, planning, organizing and more. I've learned that I personally can't have everything digital - some things are better on paper, and I only have so many devices to work on at once!

mediums for making - I use a variety of mediums to get certain effects for each article. Mostly, I use a mix of watercolor, ink, marker, pen, and pencil - almost always in black because it scans best.


Because it's a topic that deserves its own dedicated space, we have a full post on our favorite (and most useful) kitchen tools.

Are there any tools or services we might've missed? Do you have a better suggestion for any of these? Are there any parts of our magazine that you'd like to know more about? Let us know in the comments!

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