Around Here…

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Oh boy, the studio has been hopping! Dream projects are coming to fruition, the sidewalks are lined in pink petals, we have a brand new interview we can’t wait to share with you (an illustrator this time!), and we are both feeling artistically and creatively inspired thanks to the end of the short and dark winter days. Are you feeling it too? We hope so!

A few things to help you hop into spring:

Need a crowd-pleasing but pretty Easter dessert option? How about our edible floral-topped Banana Cake with Dulce de Leche?

Tristan has been diving into Kindle First new releases, which are FREE for Amazon Prime Members! I had no idea, so thought you’d appreciate the heads-up as well.

Just when I banned myself from adding any more stripes to my wardrobe, I came across this 100% cotton not see-through, 5 star reviewed, steal. Yeah, I caved.

Pollen. If you have allergies, you know what I mean. If you’ve maxed out on allergy meds, but still have sinus pressure, try adding a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to hot water. Around here we put it in apple cinnamon tea with a bit of honey – it helps!

Need a spring break art project idea? Stuffing flowers in between the pages of my parent’s vintage books was a favorite childhood pastime, but this flower press is way cuter (and probably less annoying for vintage book collecting parents)!

Author / Miss Michelle P.

Miss Michelle P. is a photographer, and the co-creator of Foto Rx Premium Photoshop Actions. She lives in the Pacific Northwest. Her muse is light.

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Super Easy Spinach Pesto

spinach and almond pesto via besotted blog

We make pesto of some sort at least once a week, it’s so easy that most of the time my two year old daughter makes it (supervised of course), it takes about 5 minutes start to finish (clean up from toddler cooking–add an extra 30-60 minutes). On a side note, I realized that if E. makes something, she is more apt to eat it, it might be a good ‘trick’ to motivate those picky eaters to try something new. You won’t need any special skills, but a blender or food processor and you can really get creative with your ingredients.  Pesto is incredibly versatile it can be used on pasta (our fave), spread on bread or crackers, used as a dip for veggies, we’ve even been known to use them with our scrambled eggs! Mastering this culinary taskmaster is not only easy, but it gives you cred in the kitchen (perfect for a newbie chef)!

We have been using spinach instead of the traditional basil because we usually have a bag on hand, you can of course add some basil to your spinach pesto, sometimes we’ll add a handful of leaves if we have.

//INGREDIENTS//

3-4 cups Spinach firmly packed (we use a bag of Trader Joe’s organic baby spinach, you can sub for all basil or add some basil leaves, we’ve even used Kale, optional)

Garlic (2 peeled large cloves, or 3 small ones)

1/3 cup Olive Oil (don’t pour in all at once!)

3-4 T Parmesan

Salt & Pepper (a pinch)

1/4 cup Almonds (you can omit or switch them up and try walnuts, hazelnuts, pecans, brazil nuts, or the traditional pine nut, experiment! You can roast but we don’t)

//RECIPE//

We do this as a dump all your ingredients (except the olive oil) into the food processor or blender situation. I put the garlic at the bottom so it gets chopped nice and fine (you don’t want to chomp on a giant piece of garlic). We start with about a tablespoon pour of olive oil and pulse, we keep slowly adding the oil and pulsing until the pesto is finely chopped and resembles a thick paste, you may have to scrape the sides down with the spatula a few times after pulsing. You may not even need to use the entire olive oil!

To use for pasta just cook your pasta as directed on package and drain, we return the pasta to the now empty pot and start stirring in the pesto to coat the noodles. The heat from the pasta is sufficient to warm up the sauce, we sprinkle a little more parm on and dinner is served! Pesto also freezes beautifully, making this meal come together even faster! Enjoy!

//ALTERNATE PESTO RECIPES TO EXPLORE//

Brazil nut & argula pesto

Pea & spinach pesto

Roasted red pepper pesto

Sun-dried tomato pesto

 

 

 

 

Story Starter No. 01

illustration by julianna swaney story starters via besotted blog

A lot of you may know (because we blabbed like crazy) that we took on the Everest-esque task of doing Nanowrimo and writing a novel in a month last November. It was an exciting and invigorating time for us and we were on an accomplishment high for a few months after. Sadly, we haven’t been writing since. We decided we needed a little push, an assignment perhaps? Some inspiration? Maybe you are feeling you need that too?  We wanted to launch a new series under Inspiration Rx (when you need a little shot of inspo), we wanted a way to get us writing, shooting, drawing or whatever medium it may be, just doing something creative. We feel it positively impacts our lives both personally and professionally. We will be posting weekly ‘Story Starters’, a little snippet to get the wheels churning, we would love it if you played along, all you need to do for the writing prompt is write a few sentences and if the muse calls keep going! For the photo or drawing prompt maybe the sentence will conjure up a visual? We do hope this becomes a fun exercise for you as well! You can add a link in the comments (site, instagram, pinterest) to what you may have done so we can all visit and give you a hip, hip, hooray for your efforts. Wish us luck on this new adventure, here is Michelle’s brave (and delightful) contribution!

Story Starter No. o1:

He arrived out of nowhere but came from somewhere…

… a home, possibly humble, but maybe not… perhaps he had loved a dog, a mother or a doddering great uncle, annoying cousins or the almond-eyed girl in the house next door. He gave no clues to his previous life, though there were times they saw him lost in thought, his eyes shimmering with shards of sorrow, exposed by the evening light.

We hope this inspires you to do something creative today!

illustration by julianna swaney

The Whole Package

great packaging guide via besotted blog

We’re not ashamed to admit to falling head-over-heels for a pretty package. Who hasn’t swooned over the elegant minimalism of Rodin, the mercantile charm of Merchant and Mills, or the graphic goodness of Mast Brothers Chocolates? The packaging is seductive, and its allure becomes an integral part of the value of the product. Sometimes this infatuation is fleeting, dissipating as soon as the product is put to the test, but when the stars align and the quality and care taken with the package design mirrors the quality of the goods within, we tell our friends (you!), we give them for gifts, and generally shout our adoration from the rooftops.

If you are putting together your own brand / line of products and are working on your packaging designs, here are a few things you may want to consider and avoid:

CONSIDER

how it will photograph.

how it will look grouped on a store shelf.

if it will be Pinterest – worthy.

less is more! Especially when it comes to copy (unless you are Dr. Bronner).

AVOID

following fads: there’s no faster track to a dated look!

colors that are tough to print: those berry reds and teals can be extremely difficult to color match.

chaos! Keep your line simple, cohesive, and branded, you don’t need 14 different looks for your packaging.

resting on your packaging laurels. You’ll want to re-evaluate how your packaging is working for you as your brand evolves.

Need more inspiration? The Brooklyn Candle Studio candles in the photo above perfectly complement their heavenly scents by leveraging botanical illustrations. Karla put such thought into the packaging for her wax seal sets – just add a bow and it’s gift-ready. For an entire line of beautifully packaged products, look no further than Ila from Sunday Suppers!

Author / Miss Michelle P.

Miss Michelle P. is a photographer, and the co-creator of Foto Rx Premium Photoshop Actions. She lives in the Pacific Northwest. Her muse is light.

VICINITY STUDIO | PINTEREST | INSTAGRAM | TWITTER