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Germany: World Cup 2014 Winners!

I don’t typically discuss sports here or get into anything potentially heated like breastfeeding (!), sleep training, religion or politics but c’mon, let’s talk about that World Cup 2014 finale last night? Was that great or was that great? Before the game began I predicted on Instagram that it would be a close match and that Argentina would play strong. And during the game on Twitter I openly confessed that though I’m a fan of the German team, whoever ended up winning the point last night deserved the world cup because that was a battle to the finish. Both teams were strong but you have to give credit to Germany because at one point they only had 10 players on the field, one of their star players, Sami Khedira, couldn’t even play because he injured himself 15 minutes before the game in warm-ups, and Argentina had a red card that wasn’t even held against them (that was such an unfair call)… Yet they still won (read more here for a play by play recap).

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And how brilliant was coach Joachim Löw in the end to pull out their big star Miroslav Klose (who received a standing ovation as he left the field) and replace with glorious #19, Mario Goetze, who scored the goal that won them the World Cup? And to top that off, the strategy (in my opinion) to pull out Mesut Özil and replace with Per Mertesacker in the final minute by Löw to eat up time on the clock was equally brilliant. You have to give Germany a huge high five for winning the World Cup, Manuel Neuer was aces and that was the best played game between two strong teams that I’ve ever seen in all of my years of watching sports teams battle it out for the World Series, NFL, etc. I’m really proud to wake up in Germany today and the spirits here are so high, I thought the fireworks and car horns were going to go one for hours last night. So exhilarating. I jumped with Aidan in my arms and we all cheered and then Aidan got fed and very milk drunk and passed out until 8am this morning. Babies. His first world cup! Hurrah!

Did you watch the game? What did you think?

(images: hugo boss/GQ magazine)

Posted in events + markets on July 14, 2014
decor8 great.ly shop

Delicious Bites: Strawberry Pavlova Recipe

Are you ready for a delicious Strawberry Pavlova recipe? You’ll want to Pin and make this one! Hi there, it’s Jillian here with this month’s Delicious Bites column. I’ve just spent 5 weeks in Europe and I was there for the start of the berry season. I just love berries and I can’t tell you how many punnets of strawberries and raspberries I consumed while I was away. So with berries on my mind I decided to make a Strawberry Pavlova. Australia claims the Pavlova but our close friends and neighbours from New Zealand also claim it as their own. Whoever invented it was pretty clever because the combination of a crisp meringue shell, fluffy marshmallow interior topped with lashings of cream and fruit is a winner. I’ve seen many pictures of desserts claiming to be Pavlova but I’m pretty hard line when it comes to the definition. A Pavlova must be tall and it must have a marshmallow interior and if not, then it’s not a Pavlova.

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Do you have one of those old fashioned common sense cookbooks on your bookshelf that you turn to time and time again? Well I have a few and one of those is Maureen’s Simpson’s Australian CuisineI can’t claim this Pavlova recipe as my own, because it comes straight from the pages of this well used book, but I’ve changed the method a little. As long as you follow the recipe, it’s actually pretty easy to make but you need to allow plenty of time to make the meringue base and time to let it cool. The base can be made well ahead of time and stored in an airtight container. Once it’s decorated, the Pavlova loses its crunch quite quickly, so don’t decorate it too far in advance.

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Don’t worry if the top cracks while it bakes– it’s amazing what a dollop of cream can disguise. Generously top with berries. You really need something tart with a Pavlova to counteract the sugar in the meringue. Raspberries, blackberries or blueberries work well or as my brother prefers, simply drizzled with passion fruit pulp. Once decorated, stand back and bask in the glory as every-one admires your creation. Here’s the recipe for you.

INGREDIENTS: 4 eggwhites / Pinch of salt / 1 heaped cup (230g) caster sugar / 1 teaspoon white vinegar / 1 20 ml tablespoon cornflour / 1 teaspoon vanilla extract  / 1¼ cups (300ml) thickened cream, whipped /1 punnet strawberries, washed and dried / Optional – icing sugar

METHOD: Preheat the oven (conventional) to 180°C/350°F. Line a flat baking tray with baking paper and using a 18cm (7 inch) cake tin as your guide, mark out a circle on the paper. Flip the paper over and use this as your template. In a large clean dry bowl, beat eggwhites with the pinch of salt until stiff. Add the caster sugar gradually, one heaped tablespoon at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in the vinegar, cornflour and vanilla extract. Pile or pipe the meringue mixture onto the baking tray, keeping within the marked circle. Smooth the top so it resembles a flat cake. It needs to be at least 5-6 cm (2-3 inches) high. Place the Pavlova in the oven and immediately reduce the oven temperature to 130°C/275°F and bake for 1¼ – 1½ hours or until the Pavlova is dry and very lightly coloured. Turn the oven off and allow the Pavlova to cool completely in the switched off oven. When cool, remove the baking paper from the Pavlova and store in an airtight container. Just before serving, top the Pavlova with the lightly whipped cream and berries and lightly dust with icing sugar if desired.

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This recipe serves six. If you’re serving a crowd you could make 2 separate Pavlovas or one really large one as this is an easy recipe to upscale. For each egg white, you need ¼ cup caster sugar, 1 teaspoon of cornflour and ¼ teaspoon each of vanilla extract and vinegar.  If you’re making a larger Pavlova, make an 8 or 9 inch template and extend the cooking time by 15 – 30 minutes. I hope you enjoy the recipe.

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See you all again next month with another Delicious Bites recipe. – Jillian

(text/styling/photography: jillian leiboff)

Posted in Delicious Bites on July 14, 2014

Gorgeous Event By Bash Speciality + Rock Paper Square

I found out about Bash Speciality a few days ago when I received a comment from them on one of my posts, so I had to click on their link to check them out since the name Bash just sounded so fun and party-like – and I was right. Bash Speciality is a rental company specializing in supplying furnishings and more for weddings, events, staging and photo shoots in Victoria, BC and recently they worked with Rock Paper Square and photographer Lillie Louise on this lovely modern (elopement) wedding party. You can see all of the photos on 100 Layer Cake and at Bash Speciality, but here’s a few of my favorites below with a focus on the stunning florals done up by Rook & Rose and the fabby color scheme and decorating. Tres cool!

Rock Paper Square Styled Shoot

About their inspiration Rock Paper Square comments, “The inspiration behind this shoot was to combine our love of home decor with our love of weddings! Bright, modern + architectural elements such as custom built furniture paired perfectly with designer furniture, colorful florals, and original artwork were a nod to this real-life couple’s playful personality.” They nailed it!

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Rock Paper Square Styled Shoot

Rock Paper Square Styled Shoot

Rock Paper Square Styled Shoot

Don’t you just adore the happy brights?! Isn’t this seriously SO cool?

(photographer Lillie Louise)

Posted in events + markets on July 10, 2014

Photographer Jessica Sample

I’ve been highlighting photographers on decor8 for years and thought I’d start doing it again more frequently since, as I once said back in February 2008 (!!!), it’s so important to highlight the many talented people out there shooting because we all tend to take for granted that someone is behind the lens working hard to capture all of these beautiful moments, places and spaces that we’re drooling over in our favorite magazines and on sites like Pinterest. Jessica Sample, who shot the story I just shared about actress/singer songwriter Mía Maestro, deserved a post of her own on decor8 and to encourage you to visit her website where you can see an insane amount of beautiful, huge images in every imaginable category from portraits to lifestyle, fashion, hotels, interiors, kids, food, travel and even video work.

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Jessica Sample is an award wining professional photographer with a degree in Photography from Brown University. She grew up in L.A. and is currently based there yet travels extensively for her work. In fact, long before becoming a working girl, Jessica traveled all over the world with her parents to destinations like Bhutan, Africa and Indonesia. Before she started shooting full-time, she was the Deputy Photo Editor at Travel + Leisure Magazine (the first mag I ever subscribed to when I was 15 years old!) in New York City and frequently shot their features. In addition to her online portfolio, you can follow her on her tumblr blog here.

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I’m so glad that I came across this wonderful photographer, aren’t you? Thank god for the internet. And don’t you just adore the two portraits above, particularly the one with the vinyls and record player? Such a casual yet gorgeous shot. I’d love some photos taken of me like this – my goal for later this year in fact as I’ve invited my neighbor Christin Lange back to work with me again later in the Fall. She shot our newborn photos for Aidan, do you remember those? They were in my birth story? I’ve invited her back to do some mommy + me shots of us together now that he’s bigger. In fact, today he just turned 5-months-old and I really can’t believe it because days feel so long but the period of time seems so short. Must be a typical parent feeling, right?

(Photographer: Jessica Sample)

Posted in inspiration on July 09, 2014

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