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Interior Motives

Decorating and DIYing our house to make it a home.

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Good Enough To Eat

Tried and true recipes my family loves.

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Life Lessons

Navigating motherhood through life's little lessons.

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I Heart Pinterest

When all else fails, go to Pinterest!

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Pretty As A Picture

Photography tips and tricks for the average person.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Oktoberfest Carrot Cake

Husband has been experimenting with making beer. I've been experimenting with making desserts to pair with his beer. It's a nice little combined hobby we share.



For Husband's birthday last year we sampled a nice bottle of craft beer called Three Philosophers Beer with Godiva dark chocolate and an award-winning Raspberry BellaVitano cheese by Sartori. Amazing combination.

As we continued to investigate flavors and food pairings, I knew I needed to find a good recipe for carrot cake that supposedly would go well with Husband's IPA.

I found a "healthy" recipe for Carrot Cake from Tiffany at Nature Moms Blog and adapted it a little using ingredients I already had on hand. My biggest issue with Carrot Cake is the amount of sugar in it, so this was an interesting alternative.

As I mentioned before, I originally made this to pair with Husband's IPA which has a fruity aroma and four different kinds of hops in it. But after taste testing it, Husband says this cake will go better with his Oktoberfest beer because of the applesauce in it. (Hence, the cake's name.)

Aside from the fact that I now need to come up with a different dessert recipe to go with his IPA, what I find really intriguing is the texture of the cake itself. Very hard to explain, extremely moist, somewhat dense, not sweet at all, but the cream cheese frosting makes up for the lack of sweetness.

Oktoberfest Carrot Cake

1 1/2  cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
2  teaspoons baking soda
2  teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt

2 cups grated carrots
2 1/2 cups applesauce
1 cup skim milk
1 cup pancake syrup*

Cream Cheese Frosting

1 pkg light cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 - 2 cups confectioner's sugar (depending on how sweet you want frosting.)
1 teaspoon vanilla

*Original recipe called for real maple syrup, but I didn't have any, so I used what we
had in the fridge!

DIRECTIONS

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray one 13x9 pan with cooking spray.

2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients and stir to combine.

3. Add the rest of the ingredients until combined. Pour batter into prepared pan.

4. Bake for approximately 40 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.
Allow cake to cool before frosting it. Make frosting and spread over cake.



So maybe it didn't go with his IPA, but the pan is already almost empty. With or without beer, it tastes great! Enjoy!


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Social Media Equals Sales?

I've read a lot about how businesses must embrace the channels of social media. But I've also witnessed firsthand the criticism of how social media does not grow a business. I really had to think about this...and it hit me.

Social media can increase sales, but sometimes it does it in a round-about way.



Meryl Streep said it well in the movie, "The Devil Wears Prada," where she repudiates Anne Hathaway's snubbing of what seems to be insignificant decisions in fashion.

"...You think this has nothing to do with you. You go to your closet and you select...
I don't know... that lumpy blue sweater, for instance because you're trying to tell the world that you take yourself too seriously to care about what you put on your back. But what you don't know is that that sweater is not just blue, it's not turquoise. It's not lapis. It's actually cerulean. And you're also blithely unaware of the fact that in 2002, Oscar de la Renta did a collection of cerulean gowns. And then I think it was Yves Saint Laurent... wasn't it who showed cerulean military jackets? I think we need a jacket here. And then cerulean quickly showed up in the collections of eight different designers. And then it, uh, filtered down through the department stores and then trickled on down into some tragic Casual Corner where you, no doubt, fished it out of some clearance bin. However, that blue represents millions of dollars and countless jobs and it's sort of comical how you think that you've made a choice that exempts you from the fashion industry when, in fact, you're wearing the sweater that was selected for you by the people in this room from a pile of stuff."

What may look like a "pile of stuff" to a novice (or a business owner) may really be a necessary tool into sending your business/products/services skyrocketing out of the red and into the black.

Here are some brands that are trending on the growing social media giant, Pinterest.

Nutella, RumChata, Hershey's, NYX Cosmetics and Sephora, just to name a few.

These brands, like RumChata (a rum-based cream liqueur) are now the fundamental ingredient for making "RumChata Cupcakes," which has been re-pinned over 500 times
(at last count.) Did RumChata ever think about the cupcake business? I doubt it.


In this day of recycling and repurposing, women, who make up 80% of the Pinterest market, are now scouring for the above-mentioned ingredients/products or even discarded items (old Mason jars, shipping pallets, etc.) in hopes of creating the next best ____ (fill in the blank.)

So even if businesses are not seeing direct sales increases right now, give it time, and don't discredit social media. Because let's face it, it is everywhere and its influence, although seemingly insignificant at this point, might just be your next secret weapon in growing your profit margin.

Enjoy those cupcakes, people.
 


Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Constructing Your Creative Space

I once wanted to work at Google (see their Bangkok office below?) only because I thought their work space was cool and catered to the creative types. Now it seems, that everyone and their mother has jumped onto that bandwagon.


I've been thinking about my own work space and how it can be a conduit to creativity.

Then I began to think about our kids, and how Husband is a big proponent of thinking "outside the box" (although he would never use that cliched term) and prompting an environment of learning or as he calls it, "wondering." (Ask me one day about our parent meeting with our eldest daughter's science teacher, it's quite the story.)

If my children were still under the age of six and finger painting, I think a space like this would be so amazing:


(Of course I found this on Pinterest, of course Martha Stewart featured it. *sigh*)

In my perfect house, my perfect office would look like this, natural light, open but private, a clean space I could go on and on...



Then again before I allow my interior designing thoughts to be boxed in, with the advent of
the laptop and wifi, should there only be one "space" in our home where we can work? Hmmm.

And what really helps with creativity? Is it environment? The merging of minds? Serenity? Or how about just plain old hard work?

I was intrigued by this Mashable article on the science of genius and their Q&A with author Jonah Lehrer.

It seems that everything factors into attaining creative ideas, but being creative is a plausible pursuit for everyone.

environment + fresh minds + debate + brutal honesty + perseverance
+ child-like "wondering" = creativity

Let me "wonder" about all of this and I'll get back to you about my decorating decisions. ;)

Friday, February 1, 2013

Valentine's Day Around My House

I've already started decorating for Valentine's Day. It's my way of cutting through the dreariness of the Midwest winter blues. Anyhoo. In my ongoing quest to stay as frugal as possible, I'm also decorating on a budget. Let me tell you, you have to be creative when you're cheap frugal. Here's my creation which was inspired by Pinterest, of course.


Last year I bought the "LOVE" foam shape for only 97 cents. What a deal.


I created the background using the Janda Stylish Script font (which you can download for free here) and printed it on photo paper.


After, I stuck the foam on the outside of the frame (which I already owned.)


It took me all of 15, 20 minutes to make this? I love cheap and fast seasonal decorating!


Of course you do realize that you won't be able to get this song out of your head, whether you like the song or not...

Here are some other Valentine's Day inspired decorating around our house:





Hope you're putting a little love into your decorating this time of year!