Recipes

How To Make Infused Sugars: Chai, Vanilla + Lavender

September 12, 2016

Hello everyone and happy September! I hope you all had a wonderful summer full of lots of fun memories. Every year my husbands family has a huge baking weekend to make Christmas cookies, (which isn’t until December obviously), but we have started to make our own vanilla sugar months in advance to ensure it is well infused for our favorite vanilla crescent cookies. (My husbands family background is Czech so I am sure there are a few of your out there who make Vanilkové Rohlíčky over the holidays!).

How To Make Infused Sugars: Chai, Vanilla + Lavender

Rachel Korinek | Two Loves Studio

So it is time, and we have made a big batch of vanilla sugar for the holidays. We also whipped up a batch of chai infused sugar and lavender sugar to add to our favorite baked goods over the coming months. They make for wonderful DIY gifts if that is your thing. Those foodies in your life are sure to appreciative!

Each recipe makes a cup of sugar, and you can either make a big batch now and store it for a couple of months then divide into little jars for gifts closer to the gift giving season. Or add straight into the jars you intend to give. (Which ever you have space for storing I guess!). Any of the recipes can be divided up once the flavors have been added. If you intend to split up the vanilla sugar, just divide the bean up into 3 parts and add the seeds and pod to the sugar. I would stick to 3 small jars for each bean so as to get maximum infusion!

You can totally eat the lavender buds, but I would remove the chai spices before adding the sugar to any treats. I like to keep the chai spices mostly whole so they are easy to remove before using. You can however use a mortar and pestle to break the spices up if you wish. Time to start collecting jars!

Chai Sugar
Ingredients
1 cinnamon stick
¼ teaspoon whole cloves
4 teaspoons cardamom pods
4 whole star anise
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 cup granulated sugar

Directions: Chai Sugar
Gently crush or break the cinnamon stick into half. Add the cinnamon pieces, cloves, cardamom pods, star anise and ginger to the sugar. Stir and store in an airtight container for a few weeks. Remove spices before adding to your favorite cookie recipe.

How To Make Infused Sugars: Chai, Vanilla + Lavender

Rachel Korinek | Two Loves Studio

How To Make Infused Sugars: Chai, Vanilla + Lavender

Rachel Korinek | Two Loves Studio

How To Make Infused Sugars: Chai, Vanilla + Lavender

Rachel Korinek | Two Loves Studio

Lavender Sugar
Ingredients
1 tablespoon culinary lavender
1 cup granulated sugar

Directions: Lavender Sugar
Add the lavender to the sugar and stir through. Put into an airtight jar and shake. Store for a couple of weeks up to a couple of months. For finer sugar and lavender buds, you can pulse the mixture in a food processor. Add to your favorite cookie recipe for a floral palate.

How To Make Infused Sugars: Chai, Vanilla + Lavender

Rachel Korinek | Two Loves Studio

How To Make Infused Sugars: Chai, Vanilla + Lavender

Rachel Korinek | Two Loves Studio

Vanilla Sugar
Ingredients
1 vanilla bean
1 cup granulated sugar

Directions: Vanilla Sugar
Slice the vanilla bean lengthways and remove the seeds. Stir the seeds through the sugar. Store in an airtight jar with the vanilla pod for a few weeks or until ready to use. For finer sugar, you can pulse the mixture in a food processor. Add to any baking recipe or holiday cookies (or your coffee or tea!).

How To Make Infused Sugars: Chai, Vanilla + Lavender

Rachel Korinek | Two Loves Studio

How To Make Infused Sugars: Chai, Vanilla + Lavender

Rachel Korinek | Two Loves Studio

How To Make Infused Sugars: Chai, Vanilla + Lavender

Rachel Korinek | Two Loves Studio

What’s your favorite infused sugar flavor? – Rachel

TIP FROM HOLLY: These also make for great party gifts for your guests to put near each plate on the table with a little tag with the guest’s name on it – they can take it home and it serves as a seating card.

(Photography, Styling, Recipes and Text: Two Loves Studio)






Decorating Tips

17 Tips For A Beautiful, Organized Office Space

September 8, 2016

My friend Holly Marder, who lives in the Netherlands, has such a beautiful home-based office that I thought I’d share a tour of it with you today along with my 17 tips for a beautiful, practical office space that I took from each view of her space. Located on the top floor of her home, this open concept, large loft space is flooded with natural light and as a stylist and photographer, Ms. Marder definitely required this for her work. I visited her here last summer and just loved it! It feels like the best spot to be creative and that is exactly what she uses it for. From her client work to her photography and writing assignments, it’s the place where all of her creative ideas see the light of day and where others are born. Would you fancy a look?

17 Tips For A Beautiful, Organized Office Space

1. Neutral palette – I love how neutral and natural everything looks while also feeling very modern, light and fresh.

17 Tips For A Beautiful, Organized Office Space

2. Lots of pattern – From the weave on the chair seat to the subtle pattern on the Superfront cabinet, the herringbone patterned rug, the wood grain on furniture and accessories, the beams in the ceiling, lines in the floorboards, watercolor prints by Silke Bonde that are available at The Poster Club (I also have these in my home), and the cushion covers (many of which are African Mud Cloth, I get mine on Etsy at Homegirl Collection and One Fine Nest), there is an abundance of pattern in this room – mostly subtle, but sometimes bold. The mix keeps the room tranquil but still lends a cozy vibe and keeps the space from looking boring which can easily happen in mostly white or neutral rooms.

17 Tips For A Beautiful, Organized Office Space

3. Accent piece/s – This cabinet by Superfront is a real stand out piece despite being subtle, it’s still very noticeable when you enter the space. It’s unique and the minty color is just fabulous combined with those perfect brass handles.

17 Tips For A Beautiful, Organized Office Space

4. Organized – This space has a sense of clarity and openness yet it’s not entirely empty – there are things out and displayed yet they are stacked and positioned so neatly and with great care, so you feel more like you have entered a retail space and not so much like the prop space of a stylist where things are constantly being rotated in and out according to her client’s orders.

17 Tips For A Beautiful, Organized Office Space

5. Open storage – I really like how Ms. Marder uses every chance to showcase the things she loves and to tuck away the bits she doesn’t. These fabrics, some from Molle, are far too pretty to place inside of a cabinet, so she has displayed them on this wooden leaning rack by Walden.

17 Tips For A Beautiful, Organized Office Space

6. Texture – Holly has a nice mix of texture in the space from wood to ceramics and textiles. Some of her ceramics from Anne Black and just gorgeous. Mixing in ceramics always brings in a sense of personality but also warmth, especially pieces that look made by hand versus mass produced and perfect.

17 Tips For A Beautiful, Organized Office Space

7. Lighting – I can’t say how much I love how her space is bathed in natural daylight. It’s just gorgeous, isn’t it? And I love her lamps and pendant lighting too in brass and wood (wood pendant over her round table is by Iumi, wall scone by Schoolhouse Electric and desk lamp from House Doctor). Natural light doesn’t always come easily. Sometimes you have to remove a wall, pop in a skylight, remove heavy window treatments opting for lighter ones (i.e. simple roman shade), even install windows or replace old ones with those that allow in more light. There is usually expense involved in making your home light and bright when you aren’t blessed with natural light. No matter the expense or hassle though, it’s worth it if your mood and work depend on it.

Note: Look at this room before (HERE) and (HERE). See what I mean? A white wooden floor bounced the natural light back up and painting the walls made it even brighter so those two tricks really gave the loft an airy, bright mood. Definitely worth the time and expense to renovate.

17 Tips For A Beautiful, Organized Office Space

8. Massive desk area – I have had a full wall with my desk like this for the past 5 years and I honestly could never go back to working on a single desk. I love it so much and I find that most creatives, after they try it, also can’t go back to working on a single desk. To spread all of your work out on a surface and be able to stand and move around as you shuffle papers and work – it’s great. Add good music to the mix and the basic tools you need to work (printer, computer, paper, etc.) and you’ve got everything you need.

17 Tips For A Beautiful, Organized Office Space

9. Open Space. When I look at this office, I don’t feel like it’s packed. I don’t feel overwhelmed or stressed. I don’t feel like there isn’t a way to quickly transform it for a workshop or photo shoot or to welcome a client. It does feel very flexible and open. I like this sense of open space. Everything feels like it can be moved around and used in a new way. Even her desk – nothing except her minty green cabinet is screwed into a wall. Everything else can be moved about so she has total creative freedom here.

Note: You can see how this space has been used in the past for workshops (HERE) and (HERE).

17 Tips For A Beautiful, Organized Office Space

10.  Character. This sofa! I really adore this wicker sofa, more than I should because it’s a special piece and I’ll most likely never be able to find one like it. But I do adore it. And this is what every room needs, those special pieces that only you can have and that are special – you sourced it from a flea market, it was handed down from family, a few pieces that have a story to tell. They add soul.

17 Tips For A Beautiful, Organized Office Space

11.  Fresh Greens – While not the focus in the room, I like how she has added some plants in the space to bring in some natural greenery and life. When it comes to plants, I’m a bit of a minimalist and though jungle fever is trending and I love how it looks in the homes of others, I prefer only a few per room. Same goes for flowers, I like some dotted around a space – mostly those that look fresh picked from an English garden, but I’m also not into perfect arrangements that overtake a space.

17 Tips For A Beautiful, Organized Office Space

12. Mood board. I know everyone organizes their thoughts differently, I admit to using Pinterest more than pinning on my own walls these days, but I still love a nice arrangement of things pinned to a wall near my computer. It gives my eye a place to rest during the day that often centers me and helps clear my mind.

17 Tips For A Beautiful, Organized Office Space

13. Texture. When you have texture, you bring in warmth. The more natural texture (vs man-made cheap synthetics) the better – wood, wool, clay, wicker, straw, cane. It also adds dimension and makes you feel good. Stepping on a soft wooly rug with bare feet is so nice in any season.

17 Tips For A Beautiful, Organized Office Space

14. Pillows. Maybe it’s the American in me, but I love throw pillows. Stacked on a cabinet, in a cabinet, positioned nicely on a chair or sofa, on my bed, on the floor – I really enjoy having them in a space – and why not a work space? Sometimes you may need to sit on the floor to work on a project, or you just require an extra one for your back while seated. They add a element of home to what could easily turn into a boring, generic work area, don’t you think?

17 Tips For A Beautiful, Organized Office Space

15. Contrast. You always need heathy tension in a room or else it can quickly look to too same-y or boring. This wooden cabinet, because it’s so dark and unexpected since it’s old and everything else in the room is somewhat new or modern, is just perfect. Because the doors are glass, it’s not too heavy looking and it houses fine textiles and pieces worth showcasing.

17 Tips For A Beautiful, Organized Office Space

16. Pretty objects on display. This space definitely has a lot of beautiful objects in it. Even simple pots for plants and baskets for storage, though currently not in use for their intended purpose, look beautiful displayed simply on a bench like this. Some are tempted to store everything behind closed doors if not being used, but often objects that are pretty to look at can make an impact when not tucked away.

17 Tips For A Beautiful, Organized Office Space

17. Styled right. This work room is styled like a store. In fact, when I look at it, I think Ms. Marder has a retail space in her future or an online shop because she has the eye of a shopkeeper for sure. I really love how she folds and drapes and stacks her objects that eventually go out to her design clients. Working daily in a space where such care and love is given to objects can’t help but inspire your work!

I have to add that whenever I think about the day when I worked with Holly in this space, I hear the Australian band Boy & Bear. Do you know them? It’s all I heard when I looked at these photos this morning while writing this post. They’re a great band and super nice for listening to while working.

For more resources and ideas of how this space was put together, refer to Avenue Lifestyle here.

(Photographs + Styling: With Permission from Holly Marder. Text: Holly Becker)






Decorating Tips

Micro Trend: Float Frames For Photography + Art

September 7, 2016

One trend I’ve spotted lately when it comes to wall art and photo framing is the gorgeous, light and airy-looking float frame. Have you noticed this too? Generally made of acrylic with brass bolts and screws, they are modern and clean — just perfect for fine art photography, family photos or special documents or keepsakes. I’ve been spotting them around and noticed that Artifact Uprising rolled them out in five sizes just this week so I thought to highlight them as I really love this look and they carry them in 12×14, 17×20, 26×26, 24×30, and 30×42.

Micro Trend: Float Frames For Photography + Art

Micro Trend: Float Frames For Photography + Art

Micro Trend: Float Frames For Photography + Art

What do you think of this look? I love it – such a nice change from traditional frames.

(Photographs: With permission from Artifact Uprising)






Events + Markets

Meet Me In Hamburg This Saturday, 10 September – FeierLaune Buch Party

September 7, 2016

Hello dear friends. This is a quick post to let you know that on Saturday morning I’m going to be in Hamburg at the Deichtorhallen for Blickfang International Design Fair from 10-11 am to present the German edition of my new book, FeierLaune, for the first time – it’s not even out yet so no one has a copy and won’t for a few more weeks! If you’d like to come, we’ll be having breakfast and talking about the book and I’ll be signing copies and meeting everyone – it will be very nice and my little boy will be with me so he can meet everyone and be at mama’s book launch party. I’ll also have some time between 11:15-12:30 for interviews if you’d like to meet one on one.

Meet Me In Hamburg This Saturday, 10 September - FeierLaune Buch Party

To register, just use this link and I’ll see you there!

Thank you DVA/Random House and Blickfang for hosting this special event in celebration of my 4th book.

(Photograph: Janis Nicolay for Decorate For a Party)






Events + Markets

8 Messages From The World’s #1 Chef Massimo Bottura

September 6, 2016

I just arrived back home after a whirlwind trip to Berlin to interview Massimo Bottura, chef patron of the Michelin three-starred restaurant Osteria Francescana, who was recently crowned the #1 chef in the world (as voted by a panel of nearly 1,000 gastronomic experts worldwide) presiding over the #1 restaurant in the world. When I was given this assignment, I viewed it as an honor but also a challenge since the food scene is not entirely on my radar YET I do know about passion, art, culture and the craving one can have from the very core to follow dreams and live their life immersed in what they love. So after seeing Massimo on Netflix (The Chef’s Table Episode 1), I felt entirely ready to meet this hugely talented and successful man and experience his passion first hand.

8 Messages From The World's #1 Chef Massimo Bottura

After I arrived at the IFA in Berlin, I watched a fantastic presentation by Massimo for Grundig about his goal to change the way the world looks at food through Food For Soul* (his non profit organization) and his collaboration with Grundig for their #RespectFood movement. #RespectFood focuses on how much waste food. That we need to use the leftovers, clean our plate, use what is in our refrigerator and don’t let it go to waste, don’t put more on our plate that we will eat, have a conscience when it comes to the meal before you, etc. With so many starving in the world and 1.3 billion tons of food being wasted, it’s a call to action to put more thought into cooking than just the recipes we make.

Grundig #RespectFood Manifesto
1. Eat Leftovers
2. Know Your Fridge
3. Check The Dates
4. Shop Smart
5. Love Food Hate Waste
6. Take Leftovers Home
7. Use It All
8. Clean Your Plate
9. Eat What You Need

During Massimo’s presentation, he jumped in with the chef he originally had there to prepare his recipe for him and instead, he asked us if he could cook while he spoke and of course, the audience didn’t object – it was a great privilege to watch him at work – directing the chef while speaking to us and making some jokes along the way. He is focused and intense but also all over the place and very spirited and energetic – you can’t predict what will come next, I love it – so it’s fun to watch him in his element with pots and pans and delicious aromas filling the air… His energy is contagious and it’s obvious that he loves being in the kitchen. We even got to sample his broth with breadcrumbs and parmesan which was light and lovely.

After his presentation, I was ushered into a private area for the press – I was with CNN Turkey, Wallpaper magazine and several members of the British press, and I had 15 minutes to meet Massimo in a small conference room and that is exactly what happened — and it was an exhilarating ride. After we wrapped up, I asked if he’d like to present in a video a few words from his heart for the decor8 audience – I told him it could be any message he’d like to send forth, and below, you will find my video of Massimo. But first, here are 8 messages from this famous chef that I had to share from our meeting together…

  1. ON LOVE: When I asked Massimo about his relationship with his American wife, Lara Gilmore, what she brought to their partnering, he immediately said, “Culture, Poetry and Balance. Mixing the Italian irrational way of acting with the pragmatic way of an American is the perfect mix.” I personally loved hearing this, he is so in love with his wife but also has so much respect for her, it’s very touching.
  2. ON RESPONSIBILITY: “Cooking is an act of love but today, cooking is a call to act. Chefs today are much more than their recipes, we can do so much more, we have a responsibility, much more than the sum of the recipes.” He is referring here to how much food we waste and how chefs and all of us need to think more about what we are using. He was raised in a culture where you eat the entire animal so to speak, so nothing is wasted, and this is important to him in a world where so many are starving.
  3. ON GETTING YOUR MESSAGE OUT: “You communicate, it is your job, you are writing, you communicate with hundreds of thousands of people. It’s you, the press, that is the most important thing, if you evolve, if you transfer these kinds of messages.We (chefs) have so much spotlight that we are moving from us to others so we can do like this repertoire and have the full attention of the people, that’s a very good thing.” Massimo feels very thankful for the press that he gets now from being the world’s #1 chef, not for his own ego, but because now he is able to get bigger, more important news out to the world like his nonprofit, Food For Soul.
  4. ON FUTURE CHEFS: He sees a lot of chefs who think success comes overnight or from winning a contest on television. He believes this is just not the case, “The young generation, they have to know that being a chef takes a very long time. You have to grow like a tree, very very slow with big roots, and then you can shine. But first of all, you have to know everything and then forget about everything, but first you have to know everything and to know everything you have to travel a lot, experience a  lot, you have to do all this.”
  5. ON INSPIRATION: “When I watch a movie and go to the movie theater, most of the time, I go and watch the most stupid thing ever but what I need is two hours for me to isolate myself, I don’t even know what I watched.” He said that is when the ideas come, and we both agreed that isolation can often breed inspiration.
  6. ON MUSIC: “When I leave the restaurant, in my house there is a room, a music room, and this is where I decompress. The music is perfect, most of the time in there especially in the darkness I find a creative earthquake, a very important moment in which I really find myself mixing so many different aspects of my passion… Art, music, especially when I’m alone.” He mentioned Opera, Pavarotti, Billy Holiday, Led Zeppelin – all great music inspires him.
  7. ON DESIGN: “We grew up with a kind of feeling and passion for design, we waited 6 years for finding the right sofa. I was walking on the streets of New York, and I saw two shadows, two gray chairs and I put them on my shoulder and I walked from mid own to uptown with them on my shoulders and I walked back home… How can you throw away two chairs like that? Now they are in my living room.” Massimo is a big fan of recycling and using everything, from food to the objects he uses to decorate his home.
  8. ON PERSEVERANCE: I asked him about the time when he was not the most popular chef in Italy, when reviews were not so positive. I asked him how he pressed forward and stuck to his ideas and he simply said, “I was so sure about what I was doing, it was so clear to me that I was on the right way. For the young chefs if you have a good idea, keep doing it, go ahead, if the idea is really right… you will be recognized.”

Here is Massimo with a message for all of you…

* Food for Soul is a non-profit organization founded by chef Massimo Bottura to promote social awareness about food wastage and hunger through a wide range of initiatives in collaboration with chefs, artisans, food suppliers, artists, designers and institutions. You can get involved here.

(Photo + Video by Holly Becker for decor8)






Books + Magazines

Blog Book Tour UK: Decorate For a Party

September 6, 2016

Hello everyone! Today is a very special day because it begins a full two week period of reviews for our new book, Decorate For a Party, by bloggers in mainly the UK with the exception of Avenue Lifestyle since she helped us shoot the book! Each day, for the next two weeks, someone will review the book on their blog. Holly Marder, one of the wonderful photographers who helped Leslie and I take photos for the book, kicked off the reviews today on her blog Avenue Lifestyle and we are really pleased and happy by what she’s said because even though this is my 4th book, each book always feels like the first all over again – the anticipation, the shaking knees, the pounding heart… It’s such a rush to see what people think about your projects and ideas once they are out there. Leslie and I really hope that you will enjoy it.

Blog Book Tour UK: Decorate For a Party

Here is the line-up for the next two weeks if you’d like to follow the reviews, I can’t wait to see what each person thinks and what they are responding to from the content and photos.

Monday 5th September – Avenue Lifestyle – READ REVIEW HERE
Tuesday 6th September – Try Small Things
Wednesday 7th September – Wee Birdy
Thursday 8th September – My Sweet Savannah
Friday 9th September – 91 Magazine

Monday 12th September – Color Outside the Lines
Tuesday 13th September – Lobster & Swan
Wednesday 14th September – The Relished Roost
Thursday 15th September – Heart Home Magazine
Friday 16th September – The Decorista

Blog Book Tour UK: Decorate For a Party

Blog Book Tour UK: Decorate For a Party

A big thank you to Jessica for planning this blog tour and to all of the bloggers who will do the reviews, thank you so much!

Pre-order your copy here:

USA/CANADA: Blog Book Tour UK: Decorate For a Party

UK: Blog Book Tour UK: Decorate For a Party

German edition: Blog Book Tour UK: Decorate For a Party

Italian and French coming soon!

xo Holly

(photographs Holly Marder)






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