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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Favorite Wedding Cakes

Even though I've been married nearly 5 years, I still devour the wedding blogs and love to see what new in the bridal world. Wedding cakes are no exception, and here's a few of my current favorites...

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Homeade Vanilla Extract

I always make my own vanilla, it's much more cost effective than buying those little bottles. With all the baking I do, I go through about a liter a year. It was time for me to make some more, so I thought I'd tell you about this simple process.

All you need are 2-3 vanilla beans and some vodka.  Just slit the beans down the center, and plunk them in your bottle. Don't cut all the way through, and don't scrape out the seeds, just cut a slit down one side. This allows all the magic inside the bean to get out and do it's thing. So once your beans are slit and in the bottle, you need to forget about it for a while. Store the bottle in a cool, dark place (like a pantry) for at least 8 weeks, giving it a shake once or twice. After 8 weeks (mark it on your calendar so you don't forget), your vanilla is ready to use! It should be a nice dark amber tone and smell heavenly. Please resist drinking it... your baked goods will thank you.

I chose this vodka simply because I liked the bottle. That's a good reason, right? This brand came in various infusions, so I thought I'd try the vanilla, maybe it'll give it a stronger flavor. I'll let you know how it compares. I like the simple look, so a little careful peeling and the label came right off.

My vanilla beans are from Penzey's, they're a great quality for the price.

 Once you make your own vanilla, it's hard to go back to store-bought. Commercial vanilla usually has some additives, including a syrup added to the extract to give it a sweet aftertaste (this is unnecessary when you're using it for baking).  Even if you don't bake as much as I do, this vanilla extract lasts for years, the flavor will only continue to strengthen.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


It's very dreary here, and I'm still sore from painting like a fiend. But this image is so cheery, it feels like sunshine to my imagination. I love everything about it, from the yellow couch, to the wire lamps, to the framed silhouettes. Wondering how I can recreate this look someday...

photo via escapade

Monday, March 28, 2011

Weekend Glimpse

This weekend was the big move for Annie + Chris, and so our time was spent cleaning, packing, moving, and painting. The house was built in the 50's, and has a lot of charm. Annie has lots of remodeling projects planned for the future, so it's going to be fun to see it evolve.

 Moved a few things into the living room... isn't that fireplace fabulous!

 The new homeowner, putting a fresh coat of white paint on.

 A battle between a little superhero and a vacuum.

My dad, cleaning the light with an xacto knife (this is after he scrubbed the crystals). He cracks me up.

Not pictured:
- extremely sore muscles and joints
- my little sister's senior graphic design show
- too exhausted to remember anything else

Friday, March 25, 2011

Happy Weekend!

photo source unknown, please comment if you know it. via An Apple A Day

Happy Friday! My sister is closing on their new house today, so this weekend will be packed to the hilt with cleaning, painting, and moving. We've got some lovely colors picked out... lots of whites, grays (of course), a little hint of mint, and maybe a black wall or two. I'll be sure to share photos of the progress!

Anything exciting planned for your weekend?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Salted Caramel Brownies

Just thought you should know that my salted caramel frosting tastes AMAZING on brownies.

Salted Caramel Buttercream, recipe here
 Double Chocolate Brownies, Ghirardelli mix

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Fruit + Herb Soaps

Check out these gorgeous soaps! When I was at the Martha Stewart show, she demonstrated how to make these using fruits and herbs. It looks like a fun and simple project, the only supply you'll probably have to buy is glycerin soap base, available at most craft stores. I love the variations in color from using more or less of your fruit, these would be so pretty packaged up as a gift! The soaps are molded using recycled food containers we all have lying around, such as water bottles, milk jugs, pudding cups, etc. These soaps are supposed to smell amazing. I'll definitely be trying this one!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

ABC Carpet & Home

I have heard people sing the praises of ABC Carpet & Home for years, but never had a chance to see it for myself. While we were in NYC, Heather and I spent an entire afternoon drooling over the 6 floors (!!!) of goodies. Here's a little peek of what we saw...

And that's just a glimpse of it. I have never seen such a fantastic selection in so many different styles, it was truly a visual overload. If you ever get a chance to visit ABC Carpet & Home yourself, do it!

Monday, March 21, 2011

NYC Glimpse

Here's a few photos from our trip last week! We went to NYC with Cory's agent, Matt Silver, his wife + my BFF, Heather, and their most adorable baby, Elsa.

First up, the whole reason for the trip: the premiere of The Last Flight of Petr Ginz. Here's the gang looking unintentionally cool outside the Walter Reade Theater at the Lincoln Center. The premiere was completely exhilarating. I am so proud of my hubby, and it was wonderful to see him recognized for his amazing work. I just about cried when the theater went dark and the huge screen lit up with his art. This was a dream project for him, and I can't wait to see where it's going to take us.

Cory and I at Rockefeller Center, this was the only really cold day.

At the Martha Stewart show! As soon as I knew we were going to NYC, I secured tickets for Heather and I to attend. It was sooooo much fun! The set is gorgeous, Martha is completely fantastic, and the experience is a blast. If you watched the show last Wednesday, March 15th, it was a live taping and I was in the audience.

Lovely cupcakes from Magnolia Bakery.....mmmmm.

We stayed on the Upper East Side in Manhattan, and there was a H&M right around the corner. We girls spent an afternoon there, and brought home some goodies.

Elsa and I in Union Square... we stumbled on a little market there, and had some delicious treats.

Heather and I on the Staten Island Ferry... this was so relaxing and enjoyable, and free! What a great view we had, and even in the early evening it was incredibly warm.

Gorgeous sunset view of Lady Liberty.

Cold and windy on the way back, but so fun to see the city lit up!
So all in all, a marvelous trip. Not much sleep, but lots of good food, wonderful friends, and memorable times. I'd love to visit again soon.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Happy Weekend!

photography by Oliver Schwarzwald, image via blue pool road

Unfortunately, I won't be returning from NYC laden down with lovely packages such as these, but I'll share some photos of our little trip next week. 

Have a happy weekend! 

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Food on Sticks

We're probably all familiar with craze of cake pops, but here's some other foods that look adorable on a stick!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

White on White

While I'm too much in love with color to ever decorate solely with white, I can certainly appreciate how serene the effect is. Check out these fabulous white on white living spaces that I've discovered on Pinterest.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Last Flight of Petr Ginz

By the time you read this, I will on a plane headed to NYC. I am so ridiculously excited to be there, it's been over a decade since my last visit. The shops, the food, the buildings, the're all calling to me, and I am going to soak up every experience I can.

However, the real reason for this trip is to attend the premiere of an independent documentary, The Last Flight of Petr Ginz. This story told is that of Petr Ginz, a boy growing up in Prague during World War II. My oh-so-talented husband served at the Art Director for the animated portions of the film, and he also prepared many of Petr's original drawings and paintings for animation. Cory created some of the most beautiful pieces for this documentary, including a stunning outer space sequence. His artwork was brilliantly brought to life by animator Danny McNight. The film will be premiering at the Lincoln Center in NYC, and I am so delighted to be there.

A bit about Petr Ginz: By 14 he had written five novels and penned a diary about the Nazi occupation of Prague. By 16 he had produced more than 170 drawings and paintings, edited an underground magazine in the Theresienstadt Ghetto, written numerous short stories and had walked to the gas chamber at Auschwitz.

But this is a story of celebration as well as tragedy, a testament to how a boy’s wonder and creative expression represent the best of what makes us human.

And here's a little peek!

The Last Flight of Petr Ginz from Cindy Hill on Vimeo.

Update: I am so sorry about the wrong video being shown here for the past few days! Blogger must have messed something up, since the embedded tagline was still correct. I didn't notice it until just now, as I didn't have internet access while we were traveling. I've corrected the code and got the right video showing now!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Weekend Glimpse

We had some amazing weather this weekend! I hope it was equally lovely where you are.

New tablecloth + forsythia blooms
(the tablecloth is Dwell Studio for Target)

Cupcake papers are so pretty, I decided to put some on display.

Sweet, fluffy, babies! I love them.
My dear neighbor has some chickens, and just got these tiny ones.

Not pictured:
- talking paint colors for Annie's new house
- Seinfield re-runs
- grilled cheese sandwhiches
- massive ordering of supplies for an upcoming craft show
- planning new jewelery designs
- lots of dishes to wash
- red shoes

Friday, March 11, 2011

Happy Weekend!

source unknown, please comment if you know it

Just a quick post to stay hello before I dash out the door... I hope you have a lovely weekend ahead filled with happy things and baby elephants!