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in food, photography

Hostess in training Valentine’s Day Edition

With the house coming around the corner, it’s really time to brush up on those hostess skills. And what better challenge than an adorable Valentine’s dessert? And what better adorable Valentine’s dessert than a red velvet cupcake?

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Red velvet is a craze. It’s a trend. It’s hip. But most of us don’t care about that. Most of us just care that it tastes delicious. Or many of us just consider it a cream cheese frosting delivery system. But these scrumptious cream cheese frosting shovels are not so easy. It’s a science really. It’s literally exactly like a volcano science experiment where you mix in some baking soda with vinegar. Supposedly to make the batter airier and fluffier. If you believe in things like that. science.

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in home

Interior Design by blackmana – App Review

Have you ever wanted to make an EXACT, to scale, blueprint of your future house so that you can plan out furniture placement, decor, and paint colors? I have! Which is why I started looking for iPad apps that would help me do this very thing.

Interior Design by blackmana is $8.99 in the App Store. This is by no means trivial. I normally only download free apps, and I will only actually purchase apps if I happen to have an iTunes gift card. I just so happened to have such a gift card. Even so, I think this is well worth it if making a replica of your home is important to you. This app has close to no in-app purchases and everything from furniture to textures to materials are included.

Let’s talk about the different features of the app. There are three different views.

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in diy

The best worst DIY Cheeseboard

We love to scroll through people’s blog posts, make snap one minute judgements about them, and then decide whether or not we want to like or pin them. What we don’t realize is how much time and effort might have gone into that blog post. For example, I did this just the other day when I saw a DIY Cheeseboard post on Coco + Kelley. I decided that was going to be my first DIY project. Even when gathering the materials that cost a grand total of $25 I made jokes about quitting my day job and becoming a cheeseboard artisan. Let’s just say it is a good idea that I did not do that.

$25 dollars of material

+ 8 man hours (due to my incompetence not because it should take this long)

= a product worth probably less than $10 (again due to my incompetence)

Having said that, I LOVE my cheeseboard. Mostly for the memories, the laughs, and the incredible amount of fun I had on my first real DIY project. You can find the original Coco + Kelley post here. And below you will find my personal interpretation of that post.

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in food, photography

Hostess in Training 1.6.2016

This week I made one of my husband’s favorite desserts, miniature clementine cakes. I got the whole idea of baking these the first time from the movie “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”. From Kristin Wiig singing “Space Oddity” to Ben Stiller outrunning a volcano, the movie is so surreal and yet so believable at the same time that it really makes you think about how amazing life is. I would like to think we live in a world where those things could happen, a world where clementine cake could win the good graces of an Afghan Warlord.

Which is why I bake this cake. I took the recipe straight from the blog The Woks of Life except I substitute Pamela’s gluten free pancake mix for the flour. The only reason I started doing this was because at the time, my husband was trying to isolate an allergy and we started cutting out gluten. They were so delicious that I just always make them this way. And I tend to keep Pamela’s pancake mix in the pantry because it is just really good.

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The second element of today’s training was to try out a new technique of food photography that was inspired by A Brown Table. It was just so unique and such a huge departure from the normal bright, nearly over-exposed photos that are normally associated with baking. What do you think?

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in inspiration

Style Inspiration: NYC Restaurant L’Amico

These days no matter where I am, a restaurant, a coffee shop, a clothing store, a friend’s house, all I see are possible design ideas and inspiration. This was no different at L’Amico, a bright, modern farmhouse of an Italian restaurant with an open kitchen and wood everywhere.

What I noticed upon entering the restaurant was that I loved everything about it. It made you feel hip and yet at home at the same time. The front wall of windows had been retracted so that the whole restaurant was open to the busy streets of Midtown Manhattan and yet it still felt cozy. I began collecting observations so that I could understand how this ambiance was created.

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Open Kitchen: You can see the chefs hard at work in the background of the photo above. It was essential to me when choosing a floorplan for my own home that the kitchen be open to the family room. To me, a kitchen is a family room and they should naturally just be parts of the same room. This is how you achieve that feeling of warmth.

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