Library Haul: Spring Break Edition

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What’s better than a mid-afternoon affogato? An affogato with new books from the library!

Stephanie’s picks this week:

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Life Unstyled: How to embrace imperfection and create a home you love

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Pretty Pastel Style: Decorating interiors with pastel shades

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Nic’s Pick’s

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Vintage Parties: A Guide to Throwing Themed Events—from Gatsby Galas to Mad Men Martinis and Much More

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The New Bohemians Handbook: Come Home to Good Vibes

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What are some of your visual treats you enjoy flipping through?

Eyelash Envy

Some women are blessed with long, dark, beautiful lashes. The kind that get in the way of their sunglasses, and trap flies.

We are not those ladies.

Both of us are eager to try eyelash extensions, but the price tag is a bit steep for us to maintain. Until we can save some money, we’ve both been using Castor Oil Eyelash Serum,

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This has been compared to R&F serum at a fraction of the price. Results typically take at least a month of nightly application, which means patience and remembering. Ugh. Two things we are not great at…

…but if it means eyelashes that a giraffe would be jealous of…well. Worth it.

Spring Reads for Book Club

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Photo by reza shayestehpour on Unsplash

Thanks to my BookRiot weekly e-mail, I went down a rabbit hole of new books to add to the list. Some of these sounded like a good fit for the Mixed Print book club:

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The Reluctant Fortune-Teller – Norbert Zelenka has always lived life on the sidelines. It’s why at seventy-three years old he’s broke and alone except for the company of a Chihuahua. But when “Carlotta’s Club”—three strong-willed seniors with plenty of time on their hands—decide to make Norbert their latest project, he reluctantly agrees to their scheme: establishing himself as the town’s fortune-teller. Soon his life begins changing in unexpected ways.

It turns out that years of observing other people make Norbert an excellent card reader. As Norbert’s lonesome world expands with new friendships and a newfound self-confidence, he finally finds himself in a place where he belongs. But disaster looms on the horizon. When a troubled young woman goes missing after a bad reading, Norbert must find a strength beyond the cards to bring her home safely.

A heartfelt story of coming-of-age late in life, The Reluctant Fortune-Teller is a poignant reminder that we’re never too old to learn new tricks.

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Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions (An Auntie Poldi Adventure)

Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions has it all for hungry readers: hilarity, intrigue, the magnificent landscape of Sicily and food! Mario Giordano has created a world that spins in technicolor like a Sicilian carretto and, like the traditional donkey carts painted in an explosion of color, this novel is a celebration of the palette of Italian life and the Sicilian experience in its specificity, warmth and drama. Delizioso!”—Adriana Trigiani, bestselling author of Kiss Carlo

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 Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine: A Novel

“Beautifully written and incredibly funny, Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine is about the importance of friendship and human connection. I fell in love with Eleanor, an eccentric and regimented loner whose life beautifully unfolds after a chance encounter with a stranger; I think you will fall in love, too!” —Reese Witherspoon

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 The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo: A Novel

“Imagine if Mariyln Monroe lived to be 79 years old, decided to write a tell-all book, and plucked you (assuming you’re an unknown journalist) out of obscurity to write it. Such is the premise of The Seven Husbands of Eveyln Hugo, and it’s fascinating.”

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Currently Reading: Leave Me Alone with the Recipes

In an age of endless influencers, it’s so exciting to come across a purely original voice. I’m reading Leave Me Alone with the Recipes: The Life, Art, and Cookbook of Cipe Pineles, an illustrated semi-biography of the first woman art director for Conde Nast, Cipe Pineles.

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Editors Sarah Rich, Wendy MacNaughton, Maria Popova, and Debbie Millman all write about the influence Cipe had on their own work, as well as her trailblazing efforts in a male-dominated field.

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The true gems are in the gouache illustrations of Cipe’s family recipes. These were found at a book sale, all part of a private journal that Cipe created. Thank goodness Sarah Rich serendipitously came across it and shared it with the world. I’m so in love!

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Image from BrainPickings

We’ve started a Pinterest Page of Original Influencers. Who else should be on that list? And what are you reading this weekend?

Link to book:Leave Me Alone with the Recipes: The Life, Art, and Cookbook of Cipe Pineles

 

Working Girl Cake

I have a whole Pinterest board dedicated to Cakes. Birthday cakes, baby cakes, wedding cakes, cookie cakes, naked cakes, drip cakes, vintage cakes, meringue cakes…you name it, I’ve pinned it. I have the best intentions of making Nicole and I the most grandiose, sparkling and macron themed birthday cake, but then every year our birthday pops up OUT OF NOWHERE and I just make us cocktails.

This past weekend I hosted a baby shower and I had all intentions of making the most grandiose sparkling blueberry drip cake, and then as everything else, the date popped up OUT OF NOWHERE. Bound and determined to still make a cake, but knowing I didn’t have time with my 438 jobs I currently have, I had a creative working girl solution.

I found an inspiration photo on Pinterest.

Then, I ordered (from a local grocery store) a 3 tiered chocolate cake that was just iced. No piping. No decoration. Just iced. It was $17. That is the greatest time and mess saver and I will never, ever bake a cake again after coming up with this genius plan.

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Then, I made a ganache. It’s easy. Equal parts chocolate and heavy whipping cream. Melt slowly in the microwave with 25 second increments until melted and smooth.

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Next, the drizzle. Spoon it around the edges of the cake to give it the drip look. Mine got a bit wonky on some spots, but that’s the charm of home made.

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Then, fill in the top.

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Since it was a baby boy shower, I decided to top the cake with blueberries and blackberries. Just pile them on. No rhyme or reason.

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Tada! They will think you worked days in the kitchen, when in reality, it was more like 15 minutes. And all under $25. They will love it. Here’s proof.

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If you are a more tactile, flip-through-the book kind of baker, here are some of my favorites from my home collection:

Butter Celebrates!: Delicious Recipes for Special Occasions

Butter Baked Goods: Nostalgic Recipes From a Little Neighborhood Bakery

How to Be a Domestic Goddess: Baking and the Art of Comfort Cooking

The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook

Anything But Neutral: Home Inspiration from the Movies

Both of us are OBSESSED with charming, cozy, European home design. The quirkier and more colorful, the better. I think we both know our husbands will only allow *so* much whimsy in our house. Therefore, we live vicariously.

PADDINGTON BEAR is making the rounds in our family. I read the first book to my kiddos earlier and thought it was a delight. OF COURSE the movie is, too. The set design and use of color reminds me a lot of my all time favorite movie, Amelie. So it’s no wonder I want to dive in and live in The Brown’s colorful house.

Take a peek:

A charming cherry tree mural, winding with the spiral stair case!

A red bedroom with matching upholstered headboard! Reminds me of another favorite room…

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colourful paddington bear movie interior set design

A carousel horse in the office!

Midcentury lamps mixed with tear-drop chandeliers!

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Candy-striped wallpaper! Painted furniture! Art everywhere! Hanging at crooked angles! (Reminds me of my house, actually…)

Oh, the color, the whimsy, the charm.

Excuse me. I’m going to run to the store to pick up some blue paint…or go shopping using this fun site, Film & Furniture.

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Little doses of Paddington inspiration:

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Read “A Bear Called Paddingtonto your kiddos.

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A cherry blossom umbrella! For those of us who might not be able to wrap our spiral staircase with a mural…

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Market baskets to keep all your books and plants in, and to use while walking down charming British streets. {I actually do have about 1000 of these in my house…}

Book Love: Folk Art Techniques

My personal artistic style is messy, dreamy, and intuitive. I very rarely sketch out ideas or work with a final image in mind. This might be why I’m compelled to buy every art-technique book out there, because the process is so foreign and fascinating.

I LOVE folk art, and folk design, from all regions of the world. Lately a few new books have been published with step-by-step techniques and ideas, and are welcome additions to my collection.

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Imagine A Forest: Designs and Inspirations for Enchanting Folk Art

Enchanting folk art! Mermaids and sirens, beetles and butterflies! Wallpaper inspiration for daysssss. Usually I check out a book from the library before purchasing, but I went with my gut and bought it. So happy I did!

Then, it wasn’t enough. I needed MORE. So, again, sight unseen, I purchased Creative Folk Art and Beyond:

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This fun book caters toward those who require more instruction and steps to create their work. It’s like a sketchbook and journal all in one. Also a good keeper!

If you are wanting to add even MORE folk art instruction books, here’s a list I found:

Folklorique: A Folk Art Coloring Book: A Unique Antistress Coloring Gift for Men, Women, Teenagers & Seniors with Relaxing Patterns, Stress Relieving … Relief, Mindful Meditation & Relaxation)

Modern Folk Embroidery: 30 Contemporary Projects for Folk Art Inspired Designs

European Folk Art Designs (Dover Pictorial Archive)

Etchart: Hidden Forest: Reveal the wonders of the wild in 9 amazing Etchart scenes

I’ve also put together a Pinterest Board on swoon-worthy folk art, both traditional and contemporary.

One snowy day, sitting by the fire, I decided to try my hand at folk-style art. This was extremely satisfying, and maybe now I should set my career sights as a wallpaper artist? Yeah? Maybe.

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pattern play by Nicole Chilton