instagram vids

I’m loving the new video feature on Instagram- the only thing is I would like to make my videos better with a tripod or a steadying grip, (which are actually available! at photojojo). Here are some general pro tips for shooting better instagram videos (also courtesy of photojojo). I really enjoy watching the videos that people spend a bit of time and thought into shooting (this applies to pictures as well). No one wants to see your grainy under-lit dinner!! Putting some light and composition into your ‘grams and vids makes the internet and instagram feeds a more beautiful place.

What are your instagram video secrets?

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homemade ice cream sammies


I picked up these Tovolo ice cream sandwich molds on a whim since I’m craving ice cream sandwiches that you apparently can NOT find in South African grocery stores (let’s blame my recent ceaseless sweet tooth on the running, shall we?).

You do not technically need to spend money on some plastic ice cream molds, you can use cookie cutters and parchment paper a la Smitten Kitchen (you can also just use her entire recipe because, let’s not kid each other here, she’s the Queen).

But if you’re like my mom and like a little brownie with your ice cream, might I suggest using brownie batter and making them reeeally thin?

You need:
Your favorite brownie recipe (store bought if you want to blaspheme/be REAL)
Your favorite ice cream (I used madagascan vanilla, IT’S RIGHT NEXT DOOR)
Ice cream molds
Saran wrap for storing

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chipotle duck carnitas + habanero cream sauce

duckcarnitasduckcarnitas2duckcarnitas1duckcarnitas3One of my classic woe is me tales of living around the world is the utter lack of delicious Mexican restaurants easily available when a craving of enchiladas verdes or adobo pork carnitas should strike. We poor souls are left to fend for ourselves, but these duck carnitas almost makes up for being far away from Taqueria y Fonda (between 107 & 108 on Amsterdam, people!)…..almost.

This recipe is easy to do but a bit time consuming because you have to slow cook the duck breasts- you could do the duck part the night before or in a slow cooker while you’re at work, but I like it best for a relaxed Sunday meal.

Duck carnitas with habanero cream sauce (for 2):

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diy: correspondence


In a world of texts and emails and instagram, sometimes real live paper invitations are a pleasure (anachronism?) to receive. No grown ass woman can be bothered on a regular basis but sometimes on occasions like Thanksgiving or P’s 30th it is fun to make it special and exercise your inner creative.

Watercolor paint/stamp/ink friendly blank cards and envelope
Watercolor paint
Stamps & ink
wax seal & sealing wax
optional: paper to line the envelope.

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diy: travel jewelry pouch



A while ago I ordered Kathleen Whitaker’s staple earring from Pretty Mommy. It came in the most adorable little bag. I used the bag constantly to store my jewels while traveling, or working out or showering at the gym. I sort of ran it into the ground so I made some DIY replacements.

red, black thread
scissorsblack cord
(optional) embroidery hoop

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diy: guestbook (expat necessities)

guestbook1 guestbook2 guestbook3

Like expats everywhere we are lucky to get many visitors- our house is like a hotel with friends and family coming and going constantly, complete with busy seasons and once in a while double (or triple!) bookings. Sometimes it makes us sad to be far away but the adventures had with visitors more than makes up for it. I’ve been meaning to make a guest book to keep track of it all for years and I finally got around to it last week.

To make up for all the friends who came pre-book and didn’t get to write a note, we went back through P’s Google calendar and wrote a list of all the people who have visited us through the years. Going through the calendar was the best part of this project, we got to re-live memories like when we went to India for the holidays, met friends in London the next weekend, Minneapolis the weekend after that for a wedding, and then two weeks later a girl’s trip to Turkey. Living in Berlin was a wannabe jet setter’s dream. Also, I am a new evangelist for Google Calendars because without P’s use of it there is no easy way we would have been able to recall all of our past guests.


1 blank book (there are lots of blank scrapbooking type books but scrapbooking makes me barfy-faced, so I found this at my favorite stationer’s)
alphabet stamps, ink
wax seal, sealing wax, candle
guestbook pen (optional)

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