As you may have noticed, I took a bit of a hiatus from blogging at the beginning of the year. I was feeling pretty burned out after the rush of the holiday season, both here and at my nine-to-five job, so a break felt overdue. After a few months off, I returned feeling refreshed and more creatively excited than ever.
Lately, I’ve been positively brimming with new ideas—I pop up at night to write them down, I scribble them on post-it notes at work and I record them, line by line, in my Notes app on the bus during my evening commute. And it feels great. I’ve been getting back into the swing of blogging, with ambitious goals to match my renewed creative inspiration.
As surprising as it might sound, baked goods are not really my vice. I love baking cakes and pies and cookies, but once I’ve had a few bites of my creation, I’m satisfied. That’s why it gives me such pleasure to bake for other people. Other chocolate-loving, dessert-devouring, sweet tooth-having people.
My boyfriend and I recently hosted a birthday party for his sister, who has some dietary restrictions: she doesn’t eat refined sugar, dairy or gluten. I firmly believe that birthdays should never be celebrated sans cake of some sort, so I took this occasion as a challenge to create something that was safe for Alex’s sister to eat and truly delicious for those of us who are used to eating “regular” cake.
The toast phenomenon is alive and well in Seattle, and I’m not mad about it. Toast, as a food, is both disarmingly simple and eternally comforting. All it requires is a slice of crisped up bread and an ever-changing array of toppings. It’s a simple meal, so it demands a certain attention be payed to the ingredients. As Ina says, you’ll want to use only the best.
Painters from the Dutch Golden Age have always been a favorite of mine—I love their use of moody shadow, saturated color and beautiful melancholy. The still lifes speak to me, but The Girl with the Pearl Earring…well…she’s magnetic. I’ve always found her over-the-shoulder stare to be far more captivating than Mona Lisa’s smile (sorry, da Vinci), and my obsession with her only grew after reading a fictionalized account of her creation and watching the subsequent movie starring Colin Firth as Mr. Vermeer himself.
Image via Emily Henderson
Let me start by saying this: I blame Emily Henderson. I blame her for my sudden and unwavering obsession with all shades of the color blue. I blame her for my burgeoning menagerie of brass animal figurines. I blame her for my weirdly encyclopedic knowledge of artisan tile makers, but most of all I blame her for the private investigator-level of research I’ve achieved in my hunt for vintage seascape paintings.