Some photos I styled from a photo shoot a few months ago for Southern Season. What a joy it is to work on these projects.
I’m really excited about this upcoming class at Gather on Saturday. It finally feels like Spring here in North Carolina and I am definitely in gardening mode. In the class on Saturday you will make and take home this DIY Succulent Wreath full of over 30 different succulents. Not only do these plants look gorgeous but they are super easy to maintain. This wreath just needs to be spritzed with water twice a week to stay looking so green and lovely.
I think this would be really fun to take this class with your Mom or give her the finished piece for her gift. Space is limited. Register and see the list of other upcoming food, craft, gardening and business classes at Gather here. Hope you can join me!
PS – tonight I am teaching a class on product photography. There are a few spots available for that too. You can sign up for that class here.
Brussels sprouts have become my new food obsession. I was a little late to the party, just not having been exposed to them, I guess. About a year ago, I had them as a side at a BBQ restaurant, and from that point on I was a convert. They taste a little meaty and have a unique flavor that you’ll probably either like or not. I could eat vegetables all day, fruit on the other hand is a chore for me.
Yesterday, because of sleet, my husband and daughter were home a little earlier than usual so they whipped up this pizza. It was great, one of the best homemade pizzas we’ve ever made.
|Recipe: Homemade Pizza with brussels sprouts, mushrooms & fontina|
The Oxford Exchange is a 24,000 square foot coffee & tea shop/restaurant/bookstore/gift shop/interior design studio & coworking hybrid space located in Tampa, Florida.
The restaurant focuses on simple meals using seasonal and local ingredients. It has expansive white diamond patterned brick walls, black and white checkered floor tiles and an abundance of tropical plants.
In addition to the restaurant, The Oxford Exchange houses both a tea bar & a separate coffee bar with rich architectural details that harken to a more glamorous era, like many modern commercial spaces these days.
Their gift shop is filled with specialty artisan made items, vintage gifts and home decor pieces and their bookstore is well stocked.
The coworking space includes a couple of conference rooms and private desks where members can work.
What do you think? I spot a trend here, don’t you? Maybe I’m on to something with Gather after all … ;)
This past Sunday my husband decided to whip up these Lemon Ricotta Beignets, which are basically fried dough with ricotta in the center and cinnamon sugar on the outside. They didn’t look pretty but they sure were good. Here’s the recipe for making at home:
|Lemon Ricotta Beignets Recipe|
What do you think of the law of attraction? I believe that when you put your ideas, thoughts and visions out there in a place where others can see them, more connections begin to naturally happen with those things that you are inclined towards. As one of my Gather coworkers mentioned, it’s as though you are giving voice to your ideas, which may have otherwise been buried in our subconscious. It’s allowing others (and yourself) to see and react and interact with those ideas, which can be a really powerful and affirming thing in your life. Gather has been a great example in my life of that theory in practice.
Recently, I decided to sit down and write out a list of my wildest dreams, something that at times in the past few years, I felt unable to even imagine. In part because I was (and am) living out a dream I’ve long had, I felt like what more can there be to dream for? Owning a space like Gather has been something I dreamt about and imagined when I was young but was never sure how all those pieces would fit together – it’s sort of amazing how they did. And I am grateful and content living them out now but I also know that in order to grow I do need new dreams too. The other part that was blocking me from imaging big things was the fact that I’ve just been too overwhelmed with tasks and the business of running a business, and even parenthood to feel like I had room in my head for more expansive thoughts.
But, I had a moment of clarity a few days ago when I realized that a lot of things I used to write and journal about when I was an angst-ridden teen, when all I did was dream about the future, had strangely come true. How just writing these ideas many, many years ago helped form a roadmap in my mind of what I wanted and didn’t. And I thought about what it could mean if I allowed myself to dream in that way now. So, I took the time to make a list full of pie in the sky dreams, many of which I have no idea how they could ever happen. And you know what’s crazy? The very next day, one of those wild, outlandish ideas I had written out started to become a reality. A conversation led itself directly into an opportunity that was on my list. How strange, amazing and beautiful such “coincidences” are. If only I allowed myself more time to appreciate and cultivate such thoughts and not write them off as just foolish ramblings, imagine how much more fulfilling life could continue to be.
One of the things I love about Gather, and a part of what attracted me to the space in the first place, is the enclosed patio in the back. When I first saw the space though, the garden was totally covered over in weeds. My friends and family spent many weekends helping me clear it out and planting new plants, and my husband built the three picnic tables that span the space. Here are some photos that my friends Brett & Jessica took at a potluck I hosted in July full of local makers, Gather coworkers, friends and creative entrepreneurs:
One of my favorite things in the world is enjoying a home cooked meal with friends and this space is a natural extension of that. Ultimately, I would like to create a community garden in the space, build up the garden beds and host more dinners, parties and events there.
I can’t wait for the weather to warm up again so I can start hosting more outside events in the space. I’m not a huge fan of traditional networking events, but something happens when a meal is shared: people loosen up, and laugh and learn more about each other, then naturally organic business connections (and friendships) are made.
I think many creative entrepreneurs (myself included) are shy, homebodies, who don’t love the traditional suit and tie style of networking, but real life, in person connections are very important to a thriving business. I created Gather with this premise, a space where creative entrepreneurs could work, hang out, and become better business owners, that is organic and warm, comfortable and caters to their niche business needs.
Dram Apothecary is a Colorado company that makes bitters, syrups and teas from plant-based ingredients. The owner Shae Whitney’s background includes food science, herbalism and botany. There are a couple of companies in North Carolina who make bitters that we stock at Gather and I use them to flavor the teas lattes that we serve to make really unique drinks.
Bitters are typically used in mixed alcohol drinks but can also be used to make your own soda, juice or in cooking recipes.
Located in a sleepy downtown, one Yelp reviewer notes that the only other business open in the same town as Dram Apothecary is the post office which has very limited hours.
I just ordered some syrups and can’t wait to try them in some new recipes!
This past Tuesday I had the pleasure of doing some more prop & food styling for my client Southern Season. I thought it would be fun to show some behind the scenes iphone pics from the last shoot. You can see some of the final images here.
For this shoot that I worked on last year, I sourced tables, linens, fabrics, bowls, florals, backdrops and a ton of other props sitting just out of frame in these pictures, in shopping carts.
For this particular shoot we were trying to convey a look that was American, modern, just a touch masculine and a little bit rustic. I made sure to pick pieces that I felt evoked that story without being too over the top: a wide wooden plank top table, rich blues, greens, and teals, marble, aluminum, green and white flowers, denim, burlap and ticking stripes.
I then arranged those pieces so they became a small cohesive environment that looked like a realistic table setting in the final picture. I actually made a half dozen or so on the fly environments like the ones above and below.
I take a lot of informal pictures like these with my iphone so that I can get a feel for what the layout, colors, etc. look like through the eye of a camera but they are not composed thoughtfully and are more like a quick sketch. I can’t wait to show you behind the scenes pics and final photos from the shoot I just worked on. Stay tuned for those in the coming weeks.
How adorable is this copper watering can? I am now on the hunt for one in my thrifting adventures. If you’d rather skip the chase, I scouted out a few below:
Editorial photographer Alun Callender is gifted at making photographic portraits of creatives that are visually rich and saturated in color.
I like how his photographs resemble a painting with the figure directly in the center, and their work all around them.
You can see more of Alun’s work on his website here.