a little bit anthro, a little euro, and a dash of rock n roll
so i have a friend named holly. we met in college and were introduced through a social club and a slew of other amazing mutual friends. as life goes, holly and i lost touch over the years. luckily though, we have the innernets, which allows me to
stalk follow her life as she got married, travels, and recently moved to vienna. i think you should all follow her blog because she is HILARIOUS. seriously. hilarious.
anyway, she and her husband have been on a heinous apartment hunt since they moved and they think they might have found a place. the dilemma, as she laments on her most recent post, is that the place is a little bit seventies (which can really lock you in on a color scheme if you know what i mean). she asked for help, and i figured i would do my best at showing a modernized version of a seventies scheme could be.
so here goes:
i chose to create a bit of a softer version of the (i can only imagine how seventies) “blue and yellow” that holly describes in her kitchen to use throughout the apartment. i have found that a common color scheme throughout an entire space not only unifies the look, but can make a small apartment seem larger because everything flows from one room to the next.
i have recently been turned on to the idea of using color schemes from master painters to decorate with. i hadn’t thought of it before, but you are guaranteed to have colors that work together and it gets you away from using schemes that have too little color and can become boring.
because she moved to vienna, i chose austrian painter gustav klimt and his painting avenue of schloss kammer park
with the colors set out, i came up with a design that has a nice anchor color (grey) and a deep secondary color (navy) with a few pops of color in between (chartreuse, olive, and coral).
it has a bit of european femininity, mixed with modern, heavier pieces to man it up a little for will. i also think it is just kismet that the beatles abbey road poster fits so well with the colors (although i think it does need a giant gilded frame to truly fit in).
i hope this helps you holly.
how to make a guinness chocolate cake (and have fun while you do it)
so there is this cake that i usually make around st. patrick’s day (because i feel the guinness makes it festive and semi-irish). this particular cake is very moist (i hate that word but i can’t find a good pseudonym) and has a rich, dark chocolate flavor. the best part of it is that you can have extreme bragging rights because you make it all from scratch. even the icing (and it isn’t even that difficult).
that being said, when a friend, shane, approached me asking me to teach him some “cake lessons” claiming that “he didn’t know anything about cake and wanted to learn” i was 10000000% positive that guinness cake should be his first undertaking.
so here is what you need and i will tell you how to make it. (word of warning: this cake is time consuming (3+ hours) and expensive ($40 if you have to buy all the ingredients), but it is well worth the wait and the cost)
delicious guinness stout cake (serves 12 all at once or 1 for 12 days):
the key to this recipe is to make the icing and sauce first!
2 cups whipping cream
1 pound bittersweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup salted sweet cream butter
bring whipping cream to a light boil (simmer) on medium to low heat. remove from heat and immediately add chocolate, stirring until creamy. transfer to a glass bowl and place in refrigerator until firm. when icing has firmed up, place butter into a mixer and beat until soft and creamy, add chocolate mixture and beat on high until well incorporated and fluffy. (set aside in refrigerator until the cake is ready to be iced)
2 cups lindemann’s framboise lambic
2 cups fresh raspberries
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
in a small sauce pan, bring 1 cup of framboise to a light boil on medium heat, reduce heat to simmer and add 1 cup fresh raspberries, 1 cup granulated sugar, 1/4 cup brown sugar. simmer until sauce begins to thicken and raspberries are no longer whole (about 15 minutes) **be sure to keep the temperature low, if you don’t this will boil over into a HUGE mess.
remove from heat and strain seeds immediately.
put the sauce back in the sauce pan and bring to simmer on low again, add the second cup of framboise, the remaining brown sugar, and 1/2 cup of fresh raspberries. simmer until incorporated and thickened (10 minutes).
remove from heat and allow to cool.
4 pack of guinness extra stout (you will only use 1.5 bottles but it is best to have a little extra)
2 cups of unsalted sweet cream butter
1 1/2 cups of unsweetened baking cocoa (I like the hershey’s kind the best)
4 cups cake flour (one box of swan’s down will cover you)
1 tablespoon baking soda (NOT BAKING POWDER!)
1 1/2 teaspoon of salt
4 extra large eggs
1 1/3 cups sour cream
pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees. grease and flour 3 9” cake pans (set aside). melt butter in a medium sauce pan on medium heat, when melted, add 2 cups of guinness and bring to a simmer. add baking cocoa a little at a time, stirring until incorporated (some of the oil from the butter will be floating on top, but that is ok). set this mixture aside and allow to cool.
in a large bowl combine cake flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt and mix until incorporated. (set aside)
in a large (and i mean large) mixing bowl (or your kitchenaid) blend sour cream and eggs until well incorporated. add the cooled chocolate stout mixture and blend until incorporated. (if you are using your kitchenaid, now would be the time to employ your flour shield) set your mixer on low and add 1/2 cup of the dry ingredients at a time until there are no lumps in the batter. (if you get to hasty you will have a HUGE mess on your hands)
evenly distribute batter into 3 cake pans and bake for 35 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. allow cakes to cool on a rack for 2 hours (or cheat like i do and put them into the freezer for 30 minutes)
when the cakes have cooled, remove them from the pans and slice off the tops until they are even. layer the cake with a bit of icing between each layer. spread the icing on the outside and top with fresh raspberries. drizzle the raspberry syrup on cake as you slice it and garnish with raspberries.
HOORAY! you did it!
and now for some baking pro tips:
1. when measuring liquids, place the measuring cup on the table, measuring liquids while holding the cup will yield inaccurate results.
this is my “let’s try that a different way” face.
2. set out your ingredients beforehand (including your glass of wine…lol). you don’t want to be elbows deep in a pie crust and find out that you don’t have enough butter.
3. have something to do to pass the time while you are waiting on the baking. (a watched pot never boils!)
a big thanks to my cutie husband paul
for the photos!
until next time!
hola y bienvenidos a mi casa
one of the things i really believe about entertaining is that it is my job, as the hostess, to create an environment that people will not only remember, but that will also make my guests feel special and welcome.
one sure-fire way to accomplish that goal at a dinner party is to ensure that every guest has a seat at the table with a place set for them. this means everyone, at one table, with matching or coordinating place settings. Now I know that not everyone has 50 place settings of the same china (i don’t either and no one expects you to) but you can make your place settings look coordinated without matching dishes. a great way to accomplish an ecclectic, yet cohesive look is to take the dishes you have and mix and match with another set (maybe borrow a set from a friend). if you are not as lucky as i am and you don’t have a next door neighbor with almost identical plates to you, mix them up. pair a fiestaware salad plate with a white dinner plate, or a china bowl with your casual dishes. mixing patterns makes for an interesting table, the keys to making everything come together are to make sure that you place all of your items where they belong on the table so the place settings look the same and to use one single, unifying element. it can be a napkin ring, a table mint or a flower on the plate. at this party, it was a gold ribbon and a sprig or rosemary.
photo (sara kerens)
also, as a rule of thumb, if you don’t have enough room for everyone at your table, split the group fairly and evenly between the tables you do have so one group will not feel left out from the others. this can get to be a sticky situation, especially if you have a guest of honor, like a friend from out of town or a person celebrating a birthday that everyone will want to sit near. if you feel comfortable with it, assign place settings. if you don’t want to assign seats, facilitate seating arrangements by graciously allowing couples to sit together and taking your seat last.
finally, rolling out the welcome mat sometimes means that you need to be prepared for unexpected guests. a gracious hostess would never turn away a dinner guest, even if they were not invited. i always have at least one extra place setting handy (sometimes more, depending on the openness of the invitation). this will ensure that any unexpected guests feel natural and comfortable in your home.
for an overnight guest, you can make someone feel welcome and relaxed by providing a clean and simple sleeping space. try to keep your guest room free of clutter and unnecessary items. if your house is like mine and your office is your guest room, try to keep the sleeping area separate from the work space and make sure that your desk area is de-cluttered.
also, make a place for your guests to place their luggage and provide a mirror or a vanity area for them to get ready.
lastly, leave towels available for your guests to use and make sure that you leave an open invitation for them to “make themselves at home”.
do you have any special ways to make people feel welcome? share them in the comments :).
until next time!
so this isn’t a travel blog… promise.
i know the last couple of posts have been a little travel-y, but i have been zipping all around lately to visit friends and family. in reality, i am anticipating having to become a total grownup and work at the pie shop all the time, which will really cut down on my traveling at my whim.
so the last bit of travel bragging before i get back to the good stuff.
hanalei bay with the family. (photos courtesy of my sweetheart: paul)
just flying over the islands.
went to see the sunset around the bay from the house we rented. behind us is the house they used for the vacation set of the descendants.
looking down into the valley from the crest of a mountain top. we also saw this from the sea.
my beautiful sister emily and her husband to be ben-jam-in. (yes he likes to carry things)
rachel and i building a fire pit on the beach. the fire never happend though it is illegal to build beach fires in hawaii.. whooooomp whaaaaaahh.
just a little cliff diving at the queen’s bath. on a good day, the water is churning from the waves coming in through the rocks.
till next time.
easter dinner on the porch
so the last few weeks i have been up to my eyeballs in pie stuff. literally. well… maybe not literally, but it has had me pretty busy.
i am going to have to find something interesting to keep me sane over the next few months. who knows what it will be.
in the meantime, we had a lovely easter dinner at our house a few weeks ago and our talented friend nate made a commemorative video. i am going to post pictures and a party set up tutorial later, but for now, enjoy!
so i have had a ton of friends getting engaged right now and a lot of them are asking me if i have any insider tips on how to buy flowers from a florist. here are some of the most recent questions i have answered. do you have a friend getting married? hit me up with your questions and i will give you inside tips. :)
Q. I noticed that some provide an itemized quote while others give a flat rate. Are there any pro’s and con’s to each method?
A. If they did a flat rate, you should ask what that includes. You want to make sure that it doesn’t include a lot of filler flowers, like button mums, daisy mums or carnations if that is not what you are expecting to recieve.
Q. I also noticed that some do entire event decor, like linens and chair covers. But others do just flowers and vases. One florist told me it would be cheaper if I provided all my own vases, candles and other centerpiece items and all she provides are flowers.
A. IMO it is better to have them provide vases. Cost on most standard vases is pretty nominal and your florist should not charge you a huge mark-up, a general rule of thumb is that a clear vase of average size (not more than 12” tall) should be under $15. If it is a big fancy one, tell them to rent it for you. You’ll pay a little extra, but it is worth the valuable time you save. As far package deals go, sometimes they are good and sometimes not. Ask for an itemized list, especially if your rental space comes with linens. If not, it is usually less expensive to rent linens from your caterer or the furniture rental place.
Q. Are there any pro’s and con’s to those who work in a flower shop and those who do it in their garage?
A. Have you seen weddings that this person has done before? If so, did you like their style? If not, don’t go with them because even if they say they can achieve your look, they should be able to prove it. Otherwise, if the person has a good portfolio and you trust them to do the job, it won’t matter where they make the flowers as long as they have adequate cooled storage so the flowers don’t wilt.
Q. How specific should I be when telling my florist what I am looking for for my wedding?
A. Floral design is an art form and designers are artists in their own right. It is important to let the florist know what you are expecting and you want to communicate your design expectations with an amount of clarity and detail that makes you feel comfortable, but let them be creative. Remember that the person you hired is a professional and if you interviewed enough florists, you should trust them to make some design decisions. Plus, if you let them be creative, they are more likely to give you something more incredible than you expected!
Q. Is it more expensive to do silk flowers or real flowers.
A. In my experience, it is more cost effective and generally better to purchase real flowers rather than silk. I believe this for three reasons. 1. there is no mistaking the difference between aesthetic in real and silk (not to mention the smell) 2. It is difficult to find florists who deal with silk flowers and it is often more expensive. 3. When the wedding is over, you are left with huge quantities of silk flowers and they will just get dusty in the attic.
have a good day!
welp oops i accidentally didn’t post for like one million days
hi everyone! it’sah me!
mario! megan! i accidentally have let my blogging slip because i have been really busy with this project. it is really exciting, but it takes a lot of time too. in other news, paul and i have been taking some fun trips and we are going to be moving soon, so expect lots of photos of our new house. in the meantime, here are some things i have been up to:
visit to the eiffel tower. it was splendid.
saw alex in grenoble
precious house where alex lives in the french alps
road trip through the south of france and into spain
sagrada familia, one of many gaudi works that we saw in barcelona
mary and i in front of our pop-up pie shop in bishop arts :) (photo: kelsey foster)
pie shop candids (photos: kelsey foster)
life is good. i promise to be a better poster from now on!
this news story made me cry. literally. sobbing.
so it is not a secret that i love dogs. i have the two cutiest puppies in the world. this video (that has been circulating all over the internet) shows amazing heroism from one dog to another.
watch this video.
I’ve really been loving all of the vibrant dahlias we have been getting at the flower shop lately. When these red/orange asiatic lilies came in to the shop I couldn’t help but mix them with red and yellow dahlias to make this fall-tastic arrangement. :)
Now I just need to name it.
dinner in a tent
so this is a post from way back in the oklahoma city days, when we used to have dinner parties at paul’s house all the time. (that being said, this was the night that i cut my thumb really bad with my new global knives and so i think there is some kind of psychological reason that i have not gotten around to posting this yet).
one week night, everyone was already going to paul’s for lasagna, so i thought it would be fun to surprise everyone with a tent-dining experience. luckily, paul had enough white ikea curtains from the red house days to make a nice big tent. you should probably have a tent dinner party too because it was really fun (minus the thumb cutting)
tips for building a dining room tent:
1. thumb tacks work great for holding up fabric and they leave minimal damage
2.try to use smaller pieces of fabric, like curtain panels, to make the tent. the bigger the fabric, the heavier it is, the more likely you are to have a catastrophic cave in.
3. cover the doors. nothing ruins a tent party like a big fat open door.
4. allow some sort of ventilation (if you leave a 1’ gap above the floor and maybe put in a fan small it is best)
5. don’t forget the mood lighting, string lights are a good thing both in the tent and outside of it for a warm glow.
6. dangle some things from the ceiling. there isn’t really a reason for this other than it just looks pretty neat.
7. don’t invite smelly people (but seriously tents are pretty tight quarters)
8. leave the tent up after the party. it is really fun to have a tent in the dining room.