Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Updated Look

Those of you who have been following me for a while may have noticed that I have once again changed the look of my blog! I recently changed the background and added tabs at the top of the page. What do you think?

Is the more neutral background professional or boring? Do you like the quick link tabs at the top? What are some more tabs I could add?

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Doughmaker Loaf Pans

Okay, this might be kind of silly, but I just have to share the awesome new bread pans I got. My old bread pans were the non-stick kind with a coat of that teflon stuff that flakes off. You know the kind I mean, right? Well, it seemed unsafe to have to pick that stuff out of my food, so I asked for new pans for Christmas, specifically the kind that didn't have a coating. A family member got me some Doughmaker loaf pans. I'm going to gush for a minute, so I just want you to know I'm not affiliated with Doughmaker at all!

These pans are so great! First of all, they're non-stick, but you DON'T need to use any kind of Pam spray or wax paper liner in them. I loosened the sides a little bit with a rubber spatula and my pumpkin bread just popped out. Plus, if you do use a knife and create scratches, it doesn't matter. It's still non-stick. Something to do with how the interior looks like a bunch of flat pebbles. 

Here's my bread, which came out perfectly. The recipe is from my Joy of Cooking cookbook, which is starting to look a little the worse for wear, but that's another story. Anyway, the bread recipe is also great and has come out perfectly every time I've made it. You can see in the picture that half the loaf was gone before I even had time to get my camera!

Has anyone else used these pans? If so, do you like them?

Sunday, February 26, 2012

BESTeam Feature: Oscar Night!

Well, it's Oscar night tonight, and I think that anyone who's spent most of the day getting ready to walk the red carpet might have started with a little something like the Dead Sea Mud pictured below. It comes from Ancient Oils on Etsy. I know, it looks kind of dirty, but it's mud, right? And if it were white or pink, would you really trust it to be all-natural? If you're not walking down the red carpet, I think it looks like a super fun way to start a girls' night in!

Now that you're suitably pampered, what are you going to wear? I absolutely love this hand-painted silk chiffon ruana by Joyflower on Etsy. Can't you see yourself or one of the stars in this? What I think is great is the many ways it can be worn. Look at Joyflower's shop to see many other hand-painted silk pretties!

Are you enjoying reading my features? Would you like to write some of your own, and be included in similar stories? Consider joining the BESTeam on Etsy!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Please Take My Survey!

Happy Presidents' Day! I'm doing a little bit of "market research" to find the best way to expand my blog. I would love if you could take 20 seconds and look at the survey on the right side of my blog and mark the topics that you'd be most interested in reading more about. Thanks!

(As a reward for looking here, you may see a picture of my super cute dog, Radar, both before and after he's been groomed. :)

If you would like to see more pictures of my dog and hear obnoxiously cute dog stories, make a comment below!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

BESTeam Feature

I'll tell you, this is the weirdest winter I've ever had in SD, because it's mid-February, and I swear there's new green in my not-so-snow-covered lawn . So you know what I'm thinking? Spring! And Spring brings us to flowers, and you know how I feel about flowers.

I love flowers! You probably know that already because whenever I have the chance to post pictures of flower hair clips, I do. :) Today, however, I have an actual flower to post, or at least a picture of one, by Vintage Daisy Studio on Etsy.

In a different kind of flower, I found a neat necklace from Patty's Dream Design. The little flower and bird motif enclosed in a glass pendant is just sweet as can be.

On a simpler note, here is another type of handcraftedness featuring a flower. This pretty silver pendant is by Rio Rita and has a carnelian stone at the center.

Are you enjoying reading my features? Would you like to write some of your own, and be included in similar stories? Consider joining the BESTeam on Etsy!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Outliers Book Review

I just finished reading Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell last night. Wow! The sub-title of the book is "The Story of Success," and it really is. This is non-fiction, and talks primarily about how a lot of successful, famous people have a rags-to-riches story and how people often glamorize the Lone Ranger concept of one person succeeding alone. The concept of this book is that no one can be successful alone, and that a lot of seemingly small events compound to create opportunities that aren't obvious alone.

One of my favorite chapters in the book looks at a study comparing successful concert musicians with regular musicians. There was not a single successful musician who made it on ability alone. All of them, EVERY SINGLE ONE, had practiced at least 10,000 hours over around 10 years to get to the professional level. Lesser musicians practiced 2,000 to 3,000 hours over the same time frame.

Gladwell went on with the 10,000 hour rule to look at other people considered head-and-shoulders above others in different fields, e.g. Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. All of them had had some kind opportunity which allowed for this type of practice during important parts of their lives. I think the significance of this, particularly for artists, is incredible.

I encourage everyone to read this book. There is so much more than I've mentioned here. I just checked it out from the library, but I'm now seriously considering buying it. I have another of Gladwell's books, The Tipping Point, which I'm looking forward to reading next.

Has anyone else read this or any other book by Malcolm Gladwell? Did you like it? Let me know!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

BESTeam Feature

Ah, nostalgia! They weren't exactly the same, but my grandparents did have a large fork and spoon hanging in their dining room. I don't know why, but does it really matter? ;) Whenever I see something like this, it brings back memories. This fork and spoon is by Redemption Art on Etsy. Redemption Art focuses on Hawaiian curiosities, and that's where my grandma grew up, so I guess I learned a new connection today!

This next item is a necklace from Beader Bubbe - it's not nostalgic, per say, but it give a rather calming feeling, and that's what Hawaii is all about, right? I just love the blue and the subtle design that looks both raised and etched.

Are you enjoying reading my features? Would you like to write some of your own, and be included in similar stories? Consider joining the BESTeam on Etsy!
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