Snapshots of Life Lately

I take a lot of photos to say the least. I am a very visual person and while I love looking back at photos throughout my life, I really do it because I love the art of photography itself. I am self taught and learning more and more each and every day. I will be honest though, on a day to day basis I shoot with my iPhone and then post to Instagram. I do this because it’s so simple and instantly rewarding. The iphone takes beautiful photos, it fits in your pocket, you can edit them right there on the spot and then upload them without having to do much more… pretty easy! That being said I also really appreciate photography that takes a little more time, with a little more thought behind it. I have a DSLR camera that I love very much, and while I mostly use it to take photos of food for the blog (you can check them out here), I try and take it out with me every so often so that I can mix it up a bit and get creative. I always learn something new when I do that! It’s a little more work than using my good old iPhone, but it’s much more rewarding. I thought it would be fun to start sharing some of them on the blog! Here are a few shots I snapped recently!

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This is my baby Winslow – If you follow me on Instagram, you know he’s one of my best posers!

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This is my cousin Shira at NYFW. Portrait Photography practice

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I love the way the water acts as a mirror after a storm.

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Shadow Play

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Survival of the fittest

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Another one of my cousin Shira. Portrait photography practice, but without reflectors or lights it’s hard to not have harsh shadows.

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Graphic

What do you love photographing most?

In the Mood to Sit by the Fire

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1. JCrew Lodge Moccasins in Pale Thistle to keep our feet cozy.

2. Zara Home Cashmere Knit Pillow to rest our heads on.

3. Top Shop’s Diamond Knit Snood to stay extra warm and cozy inside.

4. William Sonoma’s Snowman Mugs to sip a delicious tea in, like this one or this one!

5. A House in The Sky by: Amanda Lindhout to curl up with.

6. Faribault for Target Wool Throw in Ely Plaid, to cover up with.

7. Thymes Fraiser Fir Candle to fill the room with the smells of the holidays. (This is by far my favourite candle right now)

What better way to get cozy than by a warm crackling fire?

Happy Holidays!

 

Let’s Play: The Worlds Cutest Cardboard Coffee Shop

I’ve always been a fan of kids, they just have this energy that brightens your day. Having a bad day? Hang out with a cute kid. Seriously, they will remind you what life is really about without even realizing it. They know how to live in the moment, laugh, be themselves, speak the honest truth and play. That’s the key, they know how play, and have a good time. Pretend play is so important for kids. Give them a cardboard box with a door cut out and a whole new world will emerge from their minds right before your eyes. It’s something I wish we didn’t lose as we got older, because it’s the purest form of creativity.

The other day while pinteresting (is that even a word?) I stumbled across the worlds cutest cardboard coffee shop Millz Coffee, named after an adorable little barista; Emilia. I was blown away to say the least!

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Photos from 45wall design.

Millz Coffee isn’t your average coffee shop. Traci at 45Wall Design created it completely out of cardboard for her daughter. What started out as a joke, stemming from Emilia’s love of a wooden play coffee maker, turned into a reality that is so well done, even an adult could get imaginative in there.

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How delicious do those baked goods and that caramel Latte look? Photos from 45wall design.

Everything right down to the last detail was thought of and then made by hand. From the logo and menu to the cardboard counter, display and espresso machine, to the felt coffee bags, coffees and desserts this play coffee shop is a kids dream come true! I just had to share it with you!

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Photos from 45wall design.

Be sure to check out the whole project out here! Wouldn’t you have loved one of these as a kid? A little creativity really goes a long way.

10 Reasons Why I Love Figs

I love figs for many reasons, here are 10 of them.

1. They taste amazing

2. They are rich in minerals that contribute to health and wellness.

3. They are super versatile and can go well in sweet or savoury dishes.

4. They are beautiful to look at.

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Photo Sources {Left to Right} Image 1, Image 2, Image 3, Image 4, Middle Image, Image 5, Image 6

5. If you can’t find them fresh, dried figs are just as delicious.

6. They make a pretty centrepiece for your table.

7. They are super easy going and can be eaten raw, dried, baked, sautéed or pureed.

8. They are sweet but only from natural sugars (Candy you have met your match)

9. They are fun to photograph

10. They make me happy

So there you have it! Now I’m curious, What do you love about figs?

6 Beautiful Product Packagings That You Will Love

I’m guilty… I tend to judge a book by its cover! I do… and not just with books. I’m aware that it’s unfair to ugly products that are actually amazing, but I am a very visual person and I can’t help that I am inherently drawn to things that are pleasing to the eye. What can I say? If I see something that has amazing packaging, I’m sold before I even try it. You had me at hello pretty candle or book or soap. I strongly believe (and I know I am not alone) that a well packaged item is already well above the rest, and I get so excited when I buy something that is not only a great product but a visually pleasing one as well that will look good even when I’m not using it. I decided to put together my favourite product packaging designs. These brands got it so right and I am in love with each and every one of them! packaging-luxe-and-honey

1. Fleur: I can’t figure out if this was ever used for a real store, since the website isn’t working, but this one is more than just packaging, it’s branding and it is perfection! I love the sophisticated feminine feel of it. If I had a choice of florists in my neighbourhood and this was one of them, I would definitely go here first. The whole look really leads me to believe that they are the best florist in town. Let’s just hope they are!
2. Siggi’s is a dairy company based in upstate New York. This all natural product has no additives or preservatives and is filled with simple ingredients and not a lot of sugar. The packaging portrays this beautifully with it’s very simple, clean look. I also love the drawings for each flavour. I’ll be honest, whenever I am looking at yogurts in the grocery store this one pops out right away. You just know it’s a good product from looking at it.
3. Brooklyn Candle Studio is a small business located in Red Hook. They sell handcrafted, hand-poured scented candles and they are beautiful! I love the simplicity of the label on the mason jar. The font and layout is perfect!
4. Martino Group is actually a property developer that has taken a holistic approach. These bottles have an old apothecary feel to them and I love the dark colour of the actual bottle, but the labels are modern and clean and really give the product an upscale, lavish feel.
5. Herbivore botanicals is an all natural skin care and beauty company. Their products have a fresh feel to them. Clean, simple layouts with nice fonts and graphics. Not only are their products great for you, they would look great in your bathroom.
6. Hopscotch Candle: I saw this on pinterest a little while ago and wanted one right away. I love their logo, it really isn’t anything outrageous, but it works so well and the gold lid is a beautiful touch. Who said less is more? Well, they were right.

I Hope you enjoyed the items I picked out. Are you like me? Do you sometimes find yourself buying products based on their packaging? What are some of your favourite designs?

DIY Inspiration: Holiday Cards

I am big on making my own cards, and have been for as long as I can remember. There is something really special about spending time creating something from scratch rather than running to the nearest store to buy a card that everyone and their grandmother is going to get.
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This year I have been falling more and more in love with typography and the art of lettering. I bought some calligraphy supplies and have been slowly trying to teach myself how to use them properly to create beautiful script. It is a true art, and a lot harder than I ever imagined, but I am enjoying the process. I also bought myself a little watercolor kit for kids. I haven’t done watercolor in some time, but it is so therapeutic and fun! It’s also really inexpensive, I got some brushes, a water-colour tablet and the paints for under 10$.

I decided that this holiday season, I wanted to create a card that felt holiday, but wasn’t just about Christmas or Hannukah, and I wanted it to have beautiful lettering and water-colour graphics. Here are some beautiful cards that I am drawing inspiration from, most of which are from Etsy!

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1. Happy Holidays Card by Shannon Kirsten on Etsy

2. Give Thanks free download by Jenn of Ruffled Sunshine

3. Illustrated Menorah by Rifle Paper Co.

4. A Very Merry Christmas to you by 1 Canoe 2 on Etsy

5. Happy Holidays Illustration by Lily and Val on Etsy

6. Cones and Acorns Card by Small Adventure on Etsy

This year there is a big emphasis on shopping local, it’s a great way to keep small businesses thriving, and It makes gift giving a little more personalized. Check out Etsy for some amazing handmade cards that you can purchase (if you are too busy or not the crafty type), it’s the next best thing! There are also some great free printouts from freelance graphic designers that you can find on pinterest, like these!

Happy crafting!

Homemade Oreos

Growing up, my mom held strict rules about what we had in our kitchen and junk food was limited. No yummy sugary cereals, cookies, soft drinks or TV dinners. I grew up on delicious home cooked meals, lots of salads and fruit. Of course I had junk food from time to time, my mom wasn’t that strict, but it was never really kept in the house. At the time, I didn’t understand how wonderful this was and how lucky I was, but I thank her now for instilling healthy habits in me from a young age. I now appreciate cooking and baking. I love bold flavours, spices, experimenting with new foods from different cultures, making things from scratch and sitting down for a good meal with family. At the time though, all I wanted was a bowl of delicious fruit loops, these Trixx yogurts with a pack of sprinkles you mixed in before eating, Michelina’s tortellini and broccoli frozen dinners, soda and Oreos! Anyways now that I’m all grown up I tend to steer away from packaged foods, sodas and junk foods. I do eat them on occasion, but I rarely keep them in the house. So when I saw this recipe I screeched! Homemade Oreos, it’s the best of both worlds!

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This recipe is extremely simple. It took about 10 minutes to prepare and about the same to assemble. I won’t call it healthy but it’s not processed (it will keep for a week in a well sealed container) and you know exactly what you’re eating… except for the vegetable shortening, I am not sure about that, but it is essential for keeping the filling from melting and turning into a gooey mess. I want to find an alternative (anyone have any suggestions?)
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My boyfriend took a bite and was disappointed that it wasn’t soft and fluffy. I guess he was expecting a whoopee pie from the way it looked (which is a great idea – Oreo whoopee pies? yum!) but this is no whoopee pie, it’s an Oreo cookie, and they are crunchy and slightly bitter to counter the sweet, creamy centre! I really liked the way they turned out, and urge you to try it!
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Homemade Oreo Recipe (from Smitten Kitchen, my favourite source for baked goods)
Makes 25 to 30 sandwich cookies

Chocolate wafers:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch process cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar (this will give it that bitter and sweet balance. Add 1/2 cup more if you want a sweeter wafer)
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) room-temperature, unsalted butter
1 large egg

Creamy Filling:
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) room-temperature, unsalted butter
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Here’s what you need to do:
First, set two racks in the middle of the oven. Preheat to 375°F.

To make the wafers:
1. In a food processor, or bowl of an electric mixer, mix the flour, cocoa, baking soda and powder, salt, and sugar well. While pulsing, or on low speed, add the room temperature butter, and then the egg. Continue processing or mixing until dough comes together in a mass.

2. There are two ways to do this.
– You can take rounded teaspoons of batter and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet approximately two inches apart and with moistened hands, slightly flatten the dough.

or

- You can divide the dough into 2 pieces, wrap with plastic wrap and cool in the refrigerator at least 1 hour. Then, knead the dough slightly to help soften it and avoid cracks when rolling. Place one piece between 2 lightly floured sheets of parchment paper and roll into a ¼-inch-thick rectangle. Repeat with the other piece of dough. Using a 2 inch round cookie cutter, cut the dough into circles. Place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet approximately 2 inches apart. Any scraps will have to be re-chilled before you can re-roll it.

3. Bake for 9 minutes, rotating once for even baking. Set baking sheets on a rack to cool.

To make the creamy filling:
1. Place butter and shortening in a mixing bowl, and at low speed, gradually beat in the sugar and vanilla.
2. Turn the mixer on high and beat for 2 to 3 minutes until filling is light and fluffy.

To put it all together:
1. In a pastry bag with a 1/2 inch, round tip, pipe teaspoon-size blobs of cream into the center of one cookie.
2. Place another cookie, equal in size to the first, on top of the cream. Lightly press, to work the filling evenly to the outsides of the cookie.
3. Continue this process until all the cookies have been sandwiched with cream.

**If you don’t have a pastry bag, you can easily use a zip lock bag with the corner cut off.

Enjoy them with a glass of milk and share them with all your friends and family!