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Fresh Squeezed Citrus Apple Spritzers

I’m into making healthy drinks lately because the weather has been gorgeous and the weekly outdoor markets are finally packed with yummy fruits and vegetables. Yesterday I was so inspired when I found lots of citrus fruits including beautiful pink grapefruits and blood oranges. I immediately bought some, headed home, and started cutting and juicing and came up with a very easy little “cocktail” below, only this one doesn’t have alcohol (though you could add a shot of saffron-infused gin or top with champagne and you’d have a wonderful cocktail for sure!). I also found some chamomile flowers and lots of citrus-hued tulips so after I made the spritzers I added a few chamomile blossoms to the drinks and then I cut the tulips down very short, removed all of the leaves, and put them in a small ceramic container on my table.

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To make the drink you need:

  • Lots of yummy citrus fruits like blood oranges, pink grapefruit and oranges. Then just one lemon and one lime.
  • Squeeze them all by hand (or use a juicer) and pour through a small strainer into a glass pitcher (to remove pulp and any seeds).
  • Fill the pitcher 1/4 of way with squeezed juice.
  • Next, fill the pitcher with no-sugar added apple juice. The pitcher should be about halfway full now.
  • Add slices of citrus fruits to decorate and flavor the drink.
  • Pour into glasses and top with sparkling water or, if you prefer, top with sparkling water, tonic water, and a splash of champagne or saffron-infused gin. It depends on whether you are looking for good health or a good time I guess!
  • Cut a few slices of citrus 4 ways and turn over a few times in a shallow bowl filled with white grain sugar. Garnish the drink with the sugared citrus, add as many as you’d like. You can even top with a few chamomile flowers to make it spring-y and pretty.

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A very simple farmers’ market visit gave me such a boost of health, energy and creativity for under $10! You truly can find inspiration anywhere. I hope that you enjoy this little spritzer and pretty tulips and I wish you a lovely weekend. See you next week!

(photographs/styling: holly becker for decor8)

Posted in Sweet on April 17, 2015

Spring Poppy Berry + Cream Cake Recipe

Hi, it’s Liz and I’m so glad to be here today because I’d like to take you on a little trip to delicious food for celebrations starting this month on decor8! It feels like spring just took off this weekend where I live after an endless winter (at least it felt endless!), and all of a sudden green is everywhere! People are simply longing for the sun — they’re sitting on benches and on the grass eating their lunch, turning their faces towards the sun. At our market, the stands are filled with the first local plump red strawberries of the season. Isn’t this when you enjoy inviting people over again? Last weekend I kicked off the BBQ season and had friends stop by for a spontaneous evening of food and drink. Why not start planning some nice get togethers of your own to celebrate spring or even a birthday, or anything else that feels good and gets you together with those you love? I’ve started the celebration theme by making a multi-tiered cake with poppy seeds for you today and I’ve filled it with layers of yogurt, cream and berries. Yum! This should get your inspired to invite over some friends!

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Berry & poppy seed cake (8 inch diameter)

Cake
3 tablespoons poppy seed
1 cup unsalted melted butter
1 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
4 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla sugar

Filling
2 cups crème fraîche
1 cups yoghurt
3 tablespoons vanilla sugar
1 cup whipping cream
1/4 lb raspberries
1/2 lb strawberries

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. For the dough, roast the poppy seeds in a pan (without oil) and let them cool. Melt the butter and allow to cool. Mix the flour with the baking powder. In a bowl, mix the eggs, sugar and vanilla sugar with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add the melted butter, poppy seeds and flour and mix. Lightly grease a silicone baking pan and pour a third of the dough into the pan. Bake in the oven until golden, approx. 25 minutes. Repeat twice more with the rest of the dough.

For the filling, mix the crème fraîche with the yoghurt and vanilla sugar. Whip the cream until stiff and fold under the yoghurt mixture. Hull the strawberries and slice into halves. Place one of the cakes onto a plate and place some berries on top. Spread some of the filling over the berries. Repeat with the other cakes. Decorate with some berries. Refrigerate for at least one hour before serving.

(Photo: Lisa Nieschlag (“Liz”). Recipe from “DAYlicious” authored by Lisa Nieschlag, Julia Cawley, Ulrike Dittloff, Jessica Hesseler, Daniela Klein and Susanne Schanz.)

Posted in food on April 16, 2015

The New Bohemians: Book Review

Do you love cheerful rooms packed and layered with color, objects, pattern and texture? Are you a fan of a more bohemian eclectic style at home? LA-based blogger and designer Justina Blakeney debuts her first book, The New Bohemians, this week which spotlights 20 creatives living in the United States (mostly west and east coasters) who range from shop owners and entrepreneurs to urban farmers, parents, city dwellers, artists and bloggers. If you like to break decorating rules and welcome total creative freedom in how you dress up your space, this book will feel like a warm, validating hug. Justina even shares corners of her own home and rooms in her sister’s house which are totally color-drenched and piled high with curious objects to explore – so much eye candy!

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The New Bohemians reminded me that there really is no single way to decorate that is “right”, which is important especially when you have both print and new media promoting only very specific looks – you can feel a little left out if your home doesn’t fit what is considered on-trend. This book is perfect for all of the bohemian spirits out there – the rebels who want to mix their foo dogs with Etsy finds, mid century credenzas from craigslist topped with pottery from the 70s scoured at the thrift shop and globe collections displayed in the fireplace alongside vintage Suzani’s used as wall or bed coverings. I found this book to be a completely authentic glimpse into the mind of Justina and what she loves the most and shares frequently online which is how I first discovered her a few short years ago. She shows homes in her book that in her signature Jungalow style and the homeowners, well, “They embrace free-spirited, no-rules lifestyles and apply that attitude to all areas of their existence, including their homes,” which is the absolute message you get with the flip of every color-drenched page.

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In addition to showing out-of-the-box spaces, Justina shares 12 DIY projects inspired by the objects found in some of the homes, so there are projects for you to try. I also like the Adopt An Idea pages (see above image) throughout the book that encourage readers to try the look at home and how.

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This bedroom is in the home of Justina’s sister and I just love it – so perfect for a little girl and loads of fun too.

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This black cabinet above is MAGIC. I would definitely own that and make it work in my house. Definitely a rare and beautiful object of art. The lamp shade and the touch of greenery creates such nice balance too and I like the wall treatment too. This is a trend in Germany at the moment, people living particularly in the more creative cities like Berlin love to leave some walls in their old apartments very bare by tearing off the wallpaper and exposing the plaster and whatever was there before. My friend did this and found newspapers layered into the plaster from 1901. What a wonderful surprise!

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I really like framed butterflies suspended from the wooden branch from the ceiling and that squishy leather sofa. The wooden star is a nice way to conceal the radiator too without blocking the heat.

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When I see anything draped from the ceiling, I think of the 60s and 70s. I was born in the 70s and so I don’t remember a lot about our home but I do remember my mother loving her macrame classes, plants, draping things from the ceiling, bold wallpaper, chinoiserie anything, Chinese black lacquer furniture (with Ming details), shag carpet and color, color, color! In many ways, Justina’s book reminds me of my mom and the style of homes in the 70s and 80s. For instance, my mom would have totally rocked this pendant light shown in the photo below.

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Oh and another bonus that I like about this book is that some of her tips from her Skillshare class on styling, Style Your Space Like a Pro, ended up in the book like how to style a bookshelf in 10 steps. So if you took the class, you can have all of her ideas in one place, with photos and of course, completely gorgeous and new content to inspire you. For me, this was such a big plus because so many times when I see people teach online I often wished they had books that contained all of their knowledge so I could refer back to it for years to come.

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You may purchase your own copy of the book today right here and a big congrats on Justina for her book and thanks for including me in your book tour!

(images with permission from The New Bohemians)

Posted in Books + Magazines on April 15, 2015

Enjoy Easter + A Baby Update

Hello dear friends! I want to wish you a lovely and relaxing Easter weekend, whether you celebrate or not, please be safe and enjoy your friends and family and hopefully a long weekend with Monday as a vacation day! We are taking off on Monday to spend with Aidan’s grandma so I won’t be back on decor8 until Tuesday. Next week, I will pick the winner of our Aether Cone music player giveaway so please don’t forget to enter here. You just may get lucky. Someone has to, why not let it be you?

Holly Becker's baby from decor8

That’s my “little” boy above in his Petit Bateau overalls and onesie. He looks so handsome in a fresh, clean stripe! He started crawling at nearly 6 months, walking before Christmas at 10 months and on April 9 he will be 14-months-old and he’s already so clever and lovely and always running around and just so happy, happy, happy! He loves to open every drawer and cabinet, turn every key, go out each day in his stroller for long walks, play in the sand pit in the park with his friends who also have American mamas, and said Mama awhile back as his first word and hasn’t stopped saying it since. Just this week he has now added Mommy. He loves to eat everything from bananas to Japanese mochi, croissant, smoked salmon, olives, avocado and shrimp. He adores books but at his age they usually end up in shreds so I’m saving the good ones, and those I had as a child, for later on when he doesn’t eat them.

He sleeps from 7:30 – 7:00 each night – I know, right?! A blessing! He started sleeping through the night at around 10 weeks old so we got really lucky with this little guy, our only child. We’ve decided to just have one baby so he’s always going to be an only and that’s fine by us because I always said I only wanted one. Though after having a baby, if I were 30 again I would definitely have more kids. But my life is already so big, you know? I have so much going on and with one child, it all still feels so manageable and everyday feels busy but normal busy, not chaotic… When he goes to bed I’m not wiped out exhausted, and I can’t be because I work until midnight or later once he has fallen asleep. I’m both career-oriented and family-oriented so I feel with one child, I get the best of both worlds and I don’t want to rock the boat for me personally. I don’t know if I could be like these super moms out there who can do it all. I feel like that’s not my destiny. So I’ve decided that being content with my little guy is just fine.

He is everything and more as far as babies go – bright, curious, compassionate, caring, smart and very friendly. He has 7 teeth, very blue eyes like my mother and her side of the family, is about 82cm tall and wears a shoe size 22 – so he’ll definitely be tall like me and my husband.

I still maintain that this little boy is THE best thing in my life that has ever launched through me. My books, this blog, all of the great successes I’ve had career-wise, I’m extremely grateful and hold all of them in very high esteem too. But nothing is like having my own child. I can’t believe sometimes that I was on the fence for many years, waiting for the perfect time to have a baby, always wanting to have a family but also not willing to have one until things were just so. But then the clock ticked louder and louder as I approached 40 and thankfully my good friends gave me a “talkin’ to” which is southern for a healthy lecture, and my baby came soon after. Good girlfriends ARE gold, the ones who say what you need to hear, not the ones who just support everything you do whether or not it’s good for you.

Yeah so life is really nice with a baby. I feel so lucky to have him, especially as an older mom though it seems most moms over here are beyond 35 and just jumped over the 40 mark so I’m not alone. It’s nice to have a little person who is so in love with me and even though a lot of times (he is already in his toddler stage with meltdowns, etc.) he is angry because I won’t let him play with the knives or drink the shower gel or spray the glass cleaner into his mouth (!), I still see his big love for me the moment he falls or needs a hug or wants to cuddle. He knows his mama will love him forever and I will. When he runs to me in the playground with tear-stained cheeks because some kid stole his toy, I just want to press pause and have him stay this little forever. But then I think about how he’ll someday be a teenager that I can watch Fast & Furious with (by then we’ll be on what, number 30?), well that sounds pretty good to me too. I look forward to all of the stages of his life, but this toddler stage is definitely pretty hilarious at times then extremely heated and then in the flip of a switch, quite touching and sweet. You know, typical little one.

So that’s my baby update. I try to keep him off of my blog and a healthy distance from my career but I know so many of you have followed me since I got pregnant and then, when I gave birth so many were very encouraged by his birth story, so I want to give you mini updates from time to time.  I post his photos a little more on my Instagram account @decor8 if you want to follow me over there but even on IG he’s not splashed all over the place but he’ll pop up over there more than here in case you would like more regular updates.

Have a lovely weekend everyone, whatever you do or with whomever – enjoy yourself!

Love,

Holly

(Photo: Holly Becker for decor8)

Posted in baby on April 04, 2015

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