Be Your Own Barista / Coffee At Home


I love me some coffee, but it can get quite costly going to your favorite coffee shop everyday. So I recently invested in very affordable coffee gadgets that should be a staple in everyone’s kitchen!

First, great coffee starts with great beans. Luckily, living in Portland means I get to sample coffee from very talented local coffee roasters. For instance, Stumptown Coffee Roasters are a BIG deal in the Northwest, try them out for yourself and order their beans here. It is important to take all measures in preserving the freshness of your beans, so grinding them yourself just before use is key. Make sure to purchase a grinder that is capable of sizing the grinds.

Friends, I can’t stress enough how highly I recommend the Chemex System for pour-over coffee. It filters out unwanted sediment particals, fat and oils resulting in less acidity and more flavor! Since the Chemex is a glass vessel that uses its own special paper filters, you can forget about BPA’s transferring into your brew or that yucky mildew/mold build-up that lurks in the pits of the KEURIG. Bring filtered water just under a boil in a coffee drip kettle, using the kettle is how you will achieve the full on Barista pour-over experience!

Can I tell you how much easier the clean up is compared to your traditional coffee maker? Just toss the used filter and rinse! (Don’t forget about sprinkling your used coffee grinds into your garden, it does wonders for your roses!)

If you fancy iced coffee, using the Chemex is the perfect vessel to make cold brew. Now go grab your favorite mug and enjoy your new coffee ritual, you can thank me later! Below are links to easily purchase your essential coffee making tools.

Chemex / Filters / Grinder / Kettle

Sweets / Little Mermaid Inspired



ariel2When my niece turned 3, she in good taste, requested a Little Mermaid party theme. Every year I have made the sweets for her birthday, but this was one was dear to me, as The Little Mermaid has always been a favorite of mine. I chose to keep the palette soft and sophisticated. I decorated the cake with ombre ruffles in turquoise which is reminiscent of ocean waves. I modeled the mermaid (Ariel) out of fondant and gumpaste and hand painted the facial details using a mixture of vodka and food coloring. I used a fluted circle cookie cutter to make the fondant oyster shell she is sitting inside, cutting notches out of the top part with a xacto knife to look more shell-like. When it was fully dried I painted it with gold luster dust. The cupcakes were all topped with fondant coral pieces I made from using a Martha Stewart silicone mold I found in Michaels.  The starfish cookie favors were all decorated with a layer of colored fondant and royal icing dots for the details. I was really happy with the outcome of everything. This theme it is so versatile,  it would be so pretty for a beach inspired wedding, maybe omitting the mermaid as the topper and instead designing a large edible coral figure with some shells.

: photos by ollie + bird


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