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21 Aug 19:00

Use a Bottom-Up Approach to Learning to Code If You're a Beginner

by Melanie Pinola

Use a Bottom-Up Approach to Learning to Code If You're a Beginner

Some people say you should jump in and just start trying to make an app or whatever it is you want to make when you're interested in learning to code. Others recommend a "bottom-up" approach, learning the basics first and slowly building over time.


19 Sep 18:00

Learn Yoga in Five Minutes a Day with These "YogaGrams"

by Melanie Pinola

Learn Yoga in Five Minutes a Day with These "YogaGrams"

You don't have to commit an hour or half an hour every day to a yoga practice to reap the benefits. In less than five minutes a day, you can learn new yoga poses.


08 Sep 22:00

Why Learning to Play an Instrument is Good for Your Brain

by Patrick Allan

If you're looking for an exercise that's fun, interesting, and will work out your entire brain, grab an instrument and start playing.


11 Sep 21:00

How to Repair a Damaged Professional Relationship

by Dorie Clark

How to Repair a Damaged Professional Relationship

If you've spent enough time in the workforce, you almost certainly have a trail of damaged professional relationships behind you. That doesn't mean you're a bad manager or employee; it's simply a fact that some people don't get along, and when we have to rely on each other, there are bound to be crossed wires and disappointments.


15 Sep 13:30

Make a Jewelry Stand Out of Plastic Soda Bottles

by Eric Ravenscraft

Make a Jewelry Stand Out of Plastic Soda Bottles

Jewelry comes in a variety of shapes and sizes, which makes at-a-glance browsing difficult if all your stuff is in a box. If you'd rather have a stand, but don't want to spend a ton of money, you can make a nice-looking one out of plastic bottles.


15 Sep 14:00

Joinery 101: How to Attach Boards with Dowels

by Kit Stansley on Workshop, shared by Whitson Gordon to Lifehacker

Joinery 101: How to Attach Boards with Dowels

In the last Joinery 101 post, we took a look at joining boards using clamps and glue. Dowels are a simple way to make glued joints even stronger by using small pegs to keep things together.


16 Sep 12:00

Wrap Kitchen Tongs in Cardboard Tubes for Clutter-Free Storage

by Mihir Patkar

Wrap Kitchen Tongs in Cardboard Tubes for Clutter-Free Storage

Kitchen tongs are awesome for many things, from squeezing citrus to grabbing hard-to-reach items . But they make a mess when stored in a drawer. A simple cardboard tube is the answer.


17 Sep 20:30

How Effective Different Forms of Birth Control Are Over Time

by Patrick Allan

How Effective Different Forms of Birth Control Are Over Time

When you're deciding what form of birth control to use, it's important to go over all of your options. When comparing, you may want to consider how effective one form will be over extended periods of time.


18 Sep 20:00

For Those About to Drive an SUV, We Salute You

For Those About to Drive an SUV, We Salute You

Submitted by: (via Mykalb)

18 Sep 09:00

Would You Like To Experience Three Minutes Of Torment?

by Alec Meer

I myself experienced three minutes of torment just moments ago. It’s always a nightmare when my girlfriend heads into the bathroom before I can get in there for my first wee of the morning.

I felt much better when I experienced a different sort of Torment – a proper in-game look at the next RPG from Wasteland 2 creators inXile. It’s fascinating to see how Tides of Numenera is trying to evoke its spiritual predecessor Planescape: Torment without, in fact, being a Planescape game.
… [visit site to read more]

16 Sep 15:30

Make Sure No One Uses Your Mug

Make Sure No One Uses Your Mug

Submitted by: (via Izismile)

13 Sep 17:00

The Department of Redundancy Department Sends Their Regards

The Department of Redundancy Department Sends Their Regards

Submitted by: (via ZeroAndUnder)

Tagged: birthday , quote , duh , failbook , g rated
10 Sep 21:26

Momo Dumplings

I'm in France right now, for a relatively quick trip. Or, another way to think of it, a quick trip flanked by two long flights. I took it as an opportunity to up my dumpling game, making and freezing an assortment of them in the weeks leading up to my trip. It made it easy to leave some for Wayne to enjoy while I was gone, and to pack a box, bento-style, for my flight. Dumplings at 30,000 feet are a treat, and worth the effort - filling, nutritious, plane-friendly finger food. Here's the wildcard. This time I made my own dumpling wrappers. It's only about half as crazy as it sounds. In reality, making your own wrappers is very similar to making fresh pasta (not difficult), and equally satisfying. So, I thought I'd share the basic jist of what I did to make momos - or what I think of as Himalayan dumplings. Little poufs are stuffed with a ricotta cheese base mixed with chopped cabbage, spinach, ginger, chiles, cumin, scallions, and the like.

Andrea Nguyen is the angel that sits on my shoulder anytime I attempt dumplings. I keep her book on the counter and her voice in my head. We made dumplings with homemade wrappers together years ago, and I was by no means a natural. She assured me, even ugly dumplings are usually fine once cooked. And she's right! ;) I used Andrea's framework for the filling, but switched up the ratios and technique a bit, based on what I had around the kitchen.

A few suggestions if you're a dumpling beginner: Start by using pre-made wrappers before graduating to homemade, allowing you to focus on folding technique. Start with simple folds - like half moons or big hugs before graduating to more complex shapes like the momo. This was my first attempt momo-folding. Not perfect, but delicious!

As far as fillings are concerned, it can be helpful to make them a day or two ahead of time. Once you've nailed your filling, and are confident in your folding, then consider making the jump to homemade wrappers. It's absolutely worth the effort, and you'll likely swear off pre-made. The last thing I'll mention about making your own wrappers is that it enables you to boost the wrappers with color, flavor, and ingredients - for ex: turmeric, or other spices. Or juices - beet, spinach, ginger, etc.

I use Andrea's dumpling book, but here are a number of other resources she has provided for those with dumpling aspirations:
- Favorite Asian Dumplings from Scratch (Craftsy class - online)
- Asian Dumpling: Learning to Prepare Dumplings at Home (San Francisco Cooking School - in person)
- Andrea's Basic Dumpling Dough (Chow)

Momo DumplingsMomo DumplingsMomo DumplingsMomo Dumplings

Continue reading Momo Dumplings...
08 Sep 12:00

The Only One I Can Rely On

04 Sep 00:30

Five Ways to Update Old Kitchen Counters

by Kit Stansley on Workshop, shared by Andy Orin to Lifehacker

Five Ways to Update Old Kitchen Counters

Old counters can make a kitchen feel out-of-date, but replacing them with new, expensive materials isn't always an option. Here are a few less expensive ways to update old counters.


05 Sep 15:30

Google Gives You Some Pro Tips for Eating Sushi

Google Gives You Some Pro Tips for Eating Sushi

For those of you not familiar with the original video, here you go:

Submitted by: (via Metro)

Tagged: sushi , pro tip , life hacks , food , Video , win
05 Sep 16:30

A Little Help When You Need it Most

03 Sep 14:00

Capturing Unenthusiastic Teens: Forget the Perfect Pose and Get Photos You Truly Love

by Melinda Smith


I wrote an article recently sharing some tips for Capturing Busy Little Ones, and had a request for a similar article for photographing teens. Since I love photographing teens (who doesn’t??), I’m thrilled to share some tips. These aren’t tips for photographing the aspiring model teens. Those teens are usually pretty easy to photograph, they will pose for you until the cows come home, and love every minute of it. No, I’m going to let you in on some ideas for photographing those teens that aren’t so enthusiastic about being there.

Sometimes they’re super shy, and they just feel uncomfortable with the attention on them. Sometimes they are self-conscious, and think that they aren’t photogenic, so they feel awkward. Sometimes mom made them get pictures taken, and they’d rather be shoveling manure than sitting there with you and a camera. Whatever their hang-up is, these tips will help you capture them in the truest way possible, and get through it with your sanity intact. You might even get through it with a new teenage friend!


Get to Know Them

Here’s a newsflash: teenagers are people too. They have real feelings and ideas, and sometimes very strong opinions about what they like, and what they don’t like (if you have a teenager of your own, you didn’t need me to tell you that). Spend some time feeling them out, and finding what makes them tick. Watch for cues to let you know what they are going to be down with, and what they might roll their eyes at.

For example, you might notice that they avoid eye contact, and act very uncomfortable when you talk to them a lot. In that case, you may want to do more photos where they are looking at something in their hands, or looking away from you, and ask for eye contact only briefly. Maybe you might notice that the photo shoot was all mom’s idea, and the teen is not at all happy about it. You could diffuse the situation by addressing it directly. “Hey, it’s a bummer to get pictures taken, huh? Moms are so annoying sometimes.”  Ask them questions about their life. Pay attention to more than just the words they say; their body language will give you cues about their personality too.


Don’t Force a Smile

Some kids just don’t like to smile, or they might be angry that they are getting their picture taken in the first place. Repeated requests to “smile” will only make things worse, and at best, get you a fake cheesy smile. Your goal during your session with an unenthusiastic teen, is to gain their trust. Let them know that you are on the same team, and that you aren’t there to torture them. Assure them, through your actions, that you aren’t going to try to make them into something they’re not. The easiest way to do this, if you haven’t picked up on enough cues, is just to ask them.

I might say, “Sometimes people really love jumping pictures. Is that something you would do, or is totally not your style?” They’ll usually let you know exactly how they feel about it, in words or expression, and you can quickly move on if it’s not their thing. Sometimes those that resist the smile the most may actually give you a real, genuine, smile towards the end of the session when you’re best buddies, and they trust you.


Photograph Their Passion

Before your session together, encourage your teen subjects to bring things that are important to them. It’s fun for both of you to capture those “action” shots of things that they truly love to do. This also gives you opportunity to give them genuine praise, and puts them at ease. Help them think outside the box. If they are a writer, maybe they’d want to bring a few favorite journals to “write” in, as you photograph them. If they love to run, capture some action running shots, and then a few with them holding their track shoes, or a race medal.

Giving them something to do really helps the shy ones. If they play a musical instrument, you could take some photos of them holding it, but don’t forget those action shots too. Ask them to play something for you, or show you some tricks on their skateboard. If they’re hesitant to actually perform, remind them that the camera won’t capture mistakes, and you’re an expert at making people look really good. That might be enough to loosen them up, and let their passion show.


Do the Unexpected

Most teens will expect you to ask them to smile and look at the camera. They’ll expect you to ask them to “sit there”, “stand here”, “look at me”. Sometimes just shaking things up a little will help them loosen up. You could ask them to lie down in the grass, or climb on a big rock. Maybe a silly expression, or twirling in a field, will shake it up a bit. DO be careful that you watch for cues from your subject before you ask them to do crazy things. Remember to ask them first, like I mentioned before. Some teens will do whatever you tell them to, but they will become increasingly uncomfortable if they aren’t feeling like themselves. Also, sometimes it helps to explain to them WHY you are asking them to do an unexpected thing. You could say, “The sky does amazing things with your beautiful blue eyes when you look up into it. Would you be okay lying down in the grass so we could give that photo a try?”


Capture Something Different

Teens like to be unique. They like to have photos that their peers think are “cool”. You might be tempted to just snap the basic head shots when you have a teenager that isn’t super easy to photograph, just to get it over with. Instead of going into safe mode, use this opportunity to capture something unique. There are lots of details that you can capture without them needing to look at you and smile. Eyelashes sweeping the cheek, hands clasped at the knees while sitting down, profile looking at a distance, details of a guitar with their face blurred in the distance, a close-up of their favorite quote in a book as they read it; those details can tell more of the story of who they are, and sometimes give them a moment to relax. If I’m not taking a photo with their face in it, I’ll tell them that they don’t even have to worry about their expression right then, because it won’t be in the picture. Sometimes they breathe a visible sigh of relief when I tell them that.


Be Yourself

Teens know when you’re being fake. Don’t change your personality to try to be more like them, or to attempt to be “cool”. They’ll trust you more if your compliments are genuine. Look at them when you compliment them, don’t give a routine “you look great” while fiddling with your camera. If you’re a jokester, throw those zingers out. If you are quiet and thoughtful, let that thoughtfulness shine through. You won’t connect with every single person, but you will show your reluctant teen that you are sincere, and that means a lot to them.  Don’t treat them like little kids. They need to know that you recognize them as the almost-adults that they are. If you show them respect, they will usually show you respect right back.

Whether you are photographing a teen who loves to pose and smile, or a teen who is less than enthusiastic about the whole thing, you are lucky. What a privilege to photograph a person at a time of experiencing such beauty, daily transformation, and figuring out the world! Now, go have some fun with your camera and a great teenager. I’d love to see your teen photos in the comments if you’d like to share!


The post Capturing Unenthusiastic Teens: Forget the Perfect Pose and Get Photos You Truly Love by Melinda Smith appeared first on Digital Photography School.

04 Sep 14:01

How to Edit Newborn Photos Using Lightroom

by Cole Joseph

Cole’s Newborn Photography Workshop is on sale now at Snapn Deals. Save 72% until September 16th, grab a seat now!

BW.jpgNewborn photography requires a tremendous amount of patience, skill, a willingness to be okay with accidents, and even stronger photo editing skills as these precious little newborns often have numerous skin imperfections that can cause you to spend a significant amount of time editing and retouching the photos.

Until recently, to truly excel at editing newborn photos you had to be quite proficient using Photoshop, but now with Lightroom 5′s newest tools you can get great results with far less time!

Here are my top 6 tips for quicker and more effective newborn photo editing in Lightroom:

1. Slightly Overexpose in Camera

To get amazing final edited newborn photos you first need to focus on getting your exposures as close as you can in camera. Since newborns often have some redness to their skin, the best way to help minimize that is to slightly overexpose your photos while shooting. Doing so will help you achieve that soft, creamy and bright skin that we all love!

Slight Overexpose

2. Shoot RAW

I always shoot in the RAW file format. There are many advantages of shooting in RAW, but for newborns which require a lot of touching up and white balance changes, shooting in RAW will help keep the color tones of your images as natural as possible – even when making big adjustments.

3. The Magic “C” Sliders

If you’re after soft and creamy skin tones, the two sliders in Lightroom that will help you the most are the contrast and clarity slider. By reducing contrast you will smooth out the tonality of the image (just watch the histogram when you change contrast) and it will help remove the dark shadow areas or even bright highlights. Remember, for most of us, the goal with newborns is soft, airy photos – rather than edgy high contrast imagery. Adjusting the clarity slider downward a bit will help give you the “creamy” factor. Just be very careful to not remove too much clarity! I recommend somewhere between -10 to -20.

Contrast and clarity sliders

4. HSL Sliders for Adjusting Skin Tones

Adjusting the white balance will only get you so far, sometimes you need some fine tuning on the skin tones and that is where the HSL sliders can really help. While you can manually adjust each color slider, the real trick is to use the targeted adjustment tool on each element (Hue, Saturation, and Luminance) to fine tune your skin tone corrections. Simply click on the targeted adjustment tool, go over a part of the image with the skin tone color you want to fix, click (and hold) then adjust with your mouse up or down and you’ll see the sliders adjust.

HSL Sliders

Tip: if you are trying to remove redness, click in the photo where there the skin is red, and follow this sequence with each slider using the targeted adjustment tool:

Hue: move the mouse up and the red/orange sliders will move to the right
Saturation: lower the mouse and the sliders will shift to left lowering saturation
Luminance: raise the mouse to adjust the targeted color sliders to the right, raising the luminance (brightness) of those tones in the photo.

See below for video tutorial of this technique if you are a visual learner.

5. Choose Wraps, Blankets and Props Wisely

Extremely light colored wraps or blankets can be so cute, and can look great with color images. But, if you are a fan of classic, timeless, black and white images I’d urge you to stay away from blankets or wraps that are too light, or even white in color. There simply isn’t enough contrast in color between the baby and the blankets for an effective, and attractive black and white image, and your photo will often look too washed out.


6. Presets for Speed and Consistency

Once you find an edit or a look that you love, make sure to save it as a preset so you can use it on other photos that were taken with similar lighting and settings. Not only are presets vital for saving you a ton of time while editing, but they also will help you create a consistent look to your photos.

Specifically for newborn photography, I created a complete Lightroom presets collection that make soft, creamy and dreamy newborn photos with the simplicity of just one-click.

Newborn Lightroom Presets

I sure hope that you can put these six tips into use right away and start editing your newborn photos quicker, with better results. If you have any questions at all, just let me know down below, I’d love to hear from you.

Cole’s Newborn Photography Workshop is on sale now at Snapn Deals. Save 72% until September 16th, grab a seat now!

The post How to Edit Newborn Photos Using Lightroom by Cole Joseph appeared first on Digital Photography School.

02 Sep 08:32

Vegan Banana Pecan Muffins

by joythebaker

vegan banana pecan muffins

Yesterday we talked about my favorite Vegan Egg Substitutes because I feel like I should know what the heck is going on when it comes to egg-free baking.

Today we’re putting our new lessons into action and making Flax Seed Eggs for tender Banana Pecan Muffins.

It’s simple!  While we aren’t necessarily glazing everything in chocolate ganache or drenching everything in browned butter, this still feels pretty great!  Let’s go let’s go!

Vegan Banana Pecan Muffins

I want these muffins to be as healthful as they are delicious.  That shouldn’t be too hard.  Bananas are sweet and forgiving, pecans are perfect, and maple syrup is always right.

White Whole Wheat flour adds an additional heartiness and nuttiness to the muffins and cinnamon and nutmeg balance all of the flavors.  We’re breakfasting!

Vegan Banana Pecan Muffins

Flax seed eggs help us make these muffins vegan aaannndd also add a wonderful amount of moisture.  These little gems will stay fresh for days!  That means we can make these muffins on a Tuesday and enjoy them aalll week long.  Rejoice (I did)!

Vegan Banana Pecan Muffins

Mega mashed banana, coconut oil, flax seed eggs, maple syrup, molasses, and vanilla extract.

It’s LOTS with the flavors and moisture.

Vegan Banana Pecan Muffins

Wet meets dry, with nuts.

Vegan Banana Pecan Muffins

The banana batter will be rather thick and glossy.  Perfectly scoopable.

Vegan Banana Pecan Muffins

Twelve muffins.  Twelve pecan halves.  Twelve muffins ready for the oven.

Vegan Banana Pecan Muffins

These little muffins offer everything we could ask for from a sweet morning pastry.  I love the depth of sweetness the maple syrup and molasses add to the muffins.  Cinnamon and nutmeg always compliment bananas.  Our flax seed eggs are working overtime with coconut oil to offer just the right amount of moisture and fat.  Very good things!

Happy weekday breakfast!

Vegan Banana Pecan Muffins

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

makes 12 muffins

Vegan Banana Pecan Muffins


    For Flax Seed Egg
  • 2 tablespoons ground flax seeds
  • 6 tablespoons water
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking powder
  • For the Muffins
  • 3 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 2 cups white whole wheat flour (or all-purpose flour)
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
  • 12 pecan halves, for topping


  1. First make the flax seed egg. In a small bowl stir together ground flax seeds, water, and baking powder. Allow to sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a muffin tin with 12 muffin liners and set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together mashed bananas, flax eggs, maple syrup, molasses, vanilla, and coconut oil until thoroughly combined.
  4. In a separate medium bowl whisk together flour, baking soda, spices, and salt. Stir in the pecans. Add the wet ingredients all at once to the dry ingredients. Stir until thoroughly combined and no flour bits remain at the bottom of the bowl.
  5. Divide the batter between the muffin cups in the prepared baking pan. Top each muffin with a pecan piece. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until each muffin is cooked through. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for 5 minutes before removing from the pan and placing on a wire rack to cool completely. Or, serve warm with coffee. Muffins will last up to four days well wrapped at room temperature.
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28 Aug 06:37

Vegan Carrot Jalapeño Soup

by joythebaker

vegan carrot jalapeno soup

Soup is my barometer.

Soup tells me how much a restaurant cares about the details of their dishes.  It’s not the daily fish special or the fanciest steak on the menu that can tell you everything about a restaurants menu… all of the details and love and care  (if they are there) are in the soup.

I’m talking about in the development of flavors, the house-made stock, the onion dice, the thorough puree, the texture, the garnish, the temperature.  And… since soup is not one of those glitzy menu items like pork-belly-this or fried-brussels-sprout-that… soup sits around waiting for just the right amount of salt and heat and garnish to make it shiiiine exactly bright.

Vegan Carrot Jalapeño Soup

Last week I ordered Carrot Jalapeño Soup at Sylvain, one of my very favorite New Orleans restaurants.  On point.  The soup was perfectly creamy (probably laden with an ample amount of heavy cream), and juuuust spicy enough to make me question and affirm my choices.  The soup had so much love and care, it really could have outshined any type of bacon fat on the menu.

Because some of a good thing is never enough, I made my own Carrot Jalapeño Soup, vegan and with feeling.

This soup is spicy, creamy, filling and delicious!  Dang near as delicious as this Vegan Cream of Mushroom Soup, but maybe that’s just me having a thing for raw cashews.  Let’s discuss.

Vegan Carrot Jalapeño Soup

This soup, as most soups do, comes together rather discretely with sautéed onions and garlic.  I also added fresh thyme leaves before adding the spice of fresh jalapeños and sweetness of fresh carrots.

Building flavors is key.

Carrot soup is also lovely with the balance from fresh celery.  It adds just the right amount of earthiness to the soup.  Celery always seems rather affirming in nature.

As the soup simmers, with carrots, jalapeños, and vegetable stock, we make a simple cashew cream.

Vegan Carrot Jalapeño Soup

Cashew cream is born (bus mostly blended) from raw cashews and filtered water.  It remarkable that such a simple mixture can add such a wonderfully creamy texture to our soup!

Vegan Carrot Jalapeño Soup

Once the carrots are simmered to soft, we puree the soup (jalapeños, broth and all) into a smooth puree with an immersion or upright blender.  The blending is satisfying and steamy.

Finish the soup by stirring in the cashew cream, tasting, and adding salt and a touch of pepper.

Vegan Carrot Jalapeño Soup

Because I didn’t strain the soup or the cashew cream, we’re left with a hearty soup full of character and bite.  I used two jalapeños per pound of carrots.  The jalapeños were de-seeded to remove a bit of the spice and bitterness.  It’s just enough spice to compliment the sweetness of the carrots.  This soup is simple, yet full of comfort and care.  I hope you love it!


Vegan Carrot Jalapeño Soup

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

60 minutes

about 6 cups

Serving Size: serves 4

Vegan Carrot Jalapeño Soup


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme, coarsely chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 1 pound (about 8) carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 2 jalapeño, seeds and ribs removed and sliced
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup raw cashews soaked in 1 cup water for 1 hour
  • 3/4 cup filtered water


  1. In a large saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are tender and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, thyme, and celery. Stir and cook for 2 minutes.
  2. Stir in the carrots and jalapeño.
  3. Add the vegetable stock and stir to combine. Reduce heat and bring to a simmer.
  4. Simmer uncovered until carrots are completely soft, about 30 minutes.
  5. Drain water from the raw cashews.
  6. In an upright blender, combine cashews and 3/4 cup water. Blend until smooth. Place in a small bowl and set aside.
  7. Once the carrots are soft, remove the soup from the heat and use a immersion blender to blend smooth. If you don't have an immersion blender, you can blend the soup smooth in an upright blender in three batches. Be careful not to fill the upright blender too full with hot liquids while blending. If using an upright blender, transfer soup black to the pot and stir in the cashew cream.
  8. Taste and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  9. Soup will last, in an airtight container in the refrigerator, for up to 7 days.
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29 Aug 19:30

Match Your Suit and Shoes Perfectly with This Cheat Sheet

by Whitson Gordon

Match Your Suit and Shoes Perfectly with This Cheat Sheet

If you're still learning how to dress a bit better , it can help to have some little "cheat sheets" on hand. This graphic from Slaters shows you what color shoes go with what color suits.


15 Aug 08:13

New Orleans: ManhattanJack

by joythebaker

Manhattan Jack New Orleans

I’m taking my time getting to know New Orleans.  There’s so much to learn about the food culture here.  Things like where you get your beignets, where your po’boy bread comes from, and who makes your King Cake all make a difference when it comes to New Orleans food staples.  So much pride and so much nuance.  It’s a really exciting place to explore food.

I talk about a few of my favorite New Orleans spots here, but I’d love to get down to the nitty-gritty of my experience of this glorious city.  First up:  ManhattanJack, a bakery that has quickly become my happy place.

I hope you come visit New Orleans, and I hope you eat all the things.

Best New Orleans Bakeries - ManhattanJack

I’ve made my way in and out of a hearty amount of New Orleans bakeries lately.  There’s the bakery I go to for a really good baguette, the bakery for the perfect croissant, the bakery for the best doughnut.  ManhattanJack is the go-to bakery for extra decadent, over-sized, home-style sweet treats.

Maybe the cookies are a tad too big (never a problem).  Maybe the brownies have a little too much caramel (not even possible).  Maybe the Black and White Cookies are the size of your face (and sooo!?).  Essentially it’s the bakery I want to call home sweet home.

Best New Orleans Bakeries - ManhattanJack

This is my happy place.  I demolished that Chocolate Dot Cookie in no time.

The Chocolate Dot Cookie is a thick, crisp, crunchy, sweet cookie.  It’s like a crumbly shortbread-type cookie with dark chocolate and sprinkle sides.  It’s just right.  The brownie is coated in caramel, fudgey chocolate, and candy pieces.  It’s 100% over the top.  So delicious and it’s totally normal that it took me three days to finish.  Thanks for helping me demolish all this goodness, Summer!

Best New Orleans Bakeries - ManhattanJack

I dream night and day of the perfect Black and White Cookie.  Soft and cake, topped with dark chocolate glaze and sweet vanilla glaze.  This is just right.

I also love the ManhattanJack is bright and airy.  Plenty of comfortable seating at a cozy table, couch, or common table.  It all feels modern, comfortable, and unpretentious.

Best New Orleans Bakeries - ManhattanJack

Heck yes there’s chocolate-dipped shortbread!  I love when food is graphic.

ManhattanJack also has a stellar savory menu with a really delicious Club Sandwich and breakfast sandwiches that are BEYOND perfect for a lazy weekend.

ManhattanJack is my spot for:  treats to take to a small dinner party / afternoon snack with tea cookie and my laptop / late Saturday brunch / the best Black and White Cookie in town.

4930 Prytania Street
Uptown New Orleans

The post New Orleans: ManhattanJack appeared first on Joy the Baker.

15 Aug 11:30

Turn a Shelf into a Clothes Hanging Rack with PVC Pipe

by Alan Henry

Turn a Shelf into a Clothes Hanging Rack with PVC Pipe

If you have an ordinary shelf in your bedroom or closet and want it to pull double-duty as one you can hang clothes from, a little PVC piping is all it takes to do the job. The folks from The Family Handyman show us how it's done.


12 Aug 18:18

Hilla Shamia ‘s Wood Casting Exhibits Ornamental Merger Between Aluminium and Wood

by Ada Teicu

Wood casting by Hilla Shamia Hilla Shamia s Wood Casting Exhibits Ornamental Merger Between Aluminium and Wood

Imperfection is what drives the train of carefully hand-made products. Israel-based product designer Hilla Shamia showcases a wonderful symbiosis between wood and metal in her Wood Casting collection. Creating an inspiring way of combining wood and cast aluminium, the designer sees beauty in the imperfection and highlights it for us to take a closer look: “The negative factor of burnt wood is transformed into aesthetic and emotional value by preservation of the natural form of the tree trunk, within explicit boundaries. The general, squared form intensifies the artificial feeling, and at the same time keeps the memory of the material.”

Wood casting by Hilla Shamia 1 Hilla Shamia s Wood Casting Exhibits Ornamental Merger Between Aluminium and Wood

Molted aluminum is poured directly into the wood, burning its way into the crevices to shape unique furniture pieces. The tables and benches preserve the old tree trunks while exhibiting a fresh, modern design. Slightly burned in the zone where the two materials meet, the wood evokes new visual potential for the world of furniture design. How do you feel about this cast aluminum and wood furniture? We would love to know if you’ve seen anything resembling this technique before.

Enjoy and share if you liked the uniqueness of this collection!

Wood casting by Hilla Shamia 2 Hilla Shamia s Wood Casting Exhibits Ornamental Merger Between Aluminium and Wood Wood casting by Hilla Shamia 3 Hilla Shamia s Wood Casting Exhibits Ornamental Merger Between Aluminium and Wood Wood casting by Hilla Shamia 4 Hilla Shamia s Wood Casting Exhibits Ornamental Merger Between Aluminium and Wood Wood casting by Hilla Shamia 5 Hilla Shamia s Wood Casting Exhibits Ornamental Merger Between Aluminium and Wood Wood casting by Hilla Shamia 6 Hilla Shamia s Wood Casting Exhibits Ornamental Merger Between Aluminium and Wood Wood casting by Hilla Shamia 7 Hilla Shamia s Wood Casting Exhibits Ornamental Merger Between Aluminium and Wood Wood casting by Hilla Shamia 8 Hilla Shamia s Wood Casting Exhibits Ornamental Merger Between Aluminium and Wood Wood casting by Hilla Shamia 9 Hilla Shamia s Wood Casting Exhibits Ornamental Merger Between Aluminium and Wood


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13 Aug 07:05

Roasted Tomato and Feta Guacamole

by joythebaker

roasted tomato and feta guacamole

I wish there was some sort of Willy Wonka-style candy factory that produced savory avocado delights instead of candy.  In addition to that statement making me sound stone-cold craaaazy, the reality of that sort of factory would be absolutely AMAZING!  Don’t lie.  You want in.

I’d totally Veruca Salt my way all up in there.  No shame.

Since there is no fantasy-land avocado factory I’ve settled for roasting a big ol’ bunch of cherry tomatoes, and tossing them (along with just a little too much feta) into a batch of creamy do-no-wrong guacamole.

Roasted Tomato and Feta Guacamole

Don’t roasted cherry tomatoes look a little bit like candy?  If candy were vegetable.

Related and rhetorical:  why won’t I shut up about candy!?

Roasted Tomato and Feta Guacamole

These avocados feel like a hot commodity here in the South.  In California, they grow on trees (like money, and Jimmy Choos) and you always have a friend who complains about the random avocado tree littering their backyard with avocados.  Oooooh how I long for such produce problems.

Roasted Tomato and Feta Guacamole

In-skin slicing, because we’re very smart and very efficient.

Cilantro and onions in the avocado bowl all for the mashing.

Roasted Tomato and Feta Guacamole

Coarsely chopped roasted tomatoes and big crumbles of feta are folded into the mashed avocado mixture.

Lots of fresh lime, salt, and pepper, too!

Roasted Tomato and Feta Guacamole

That was easy, wasn’t it!?

It’s natural to feel mostly like a magician.

Roasted Tomato and Feta Guacamole

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Serving Size: 4 servings

Roasted Tomato and Feta Guacamole


  • 1 heaping cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper to roast
  • 4 ripe Haas avocados, pitted and sliced into chunks
  • 1 small yellow onion, peeled and finely diced (a heaping 1/2 cup)
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and finely diced
  • juice of 2 limes
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
  • heaping 1/3 cup crumbled feta
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • corn chips for serving


  1. Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place tomato halves, cut side up, on the baking sheet. Drizzle lightly with olive oil and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Roast until bubbling and slightly wrinkled and dry, about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven dan plow to cool on the pan until cool enough to handle. Place all of the tomatoes on a cutting board and coarsely chop.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine avocado chunks, onion, jalapeño, lime juice, and cilantro. Coarsely mash with a fork or a potato masher. Add tomatoes, feta crumbles, salt and pepper. Stir to combine. Taste and season as necessary. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for about an hour before serving. Serve with corn chips.
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17 Jul 01:26

16 Reasons You’re Succeeding in Life (Even If You Don’t Feel You Are)

by Marc Chernoff

16 Reasons You're Succeeding in Life (Even If You Don't Feel You Are)

It’s often hard to tell just how close you are to success.

At times we all feel less than successful.  We feel like we’re running in place, struggling to make even the slightest bit of progress.  And while this is a perfectly normal feeling, you have to ultimately break free from it and see yourself and your life in a more positive light.

The key is to pay attention to the small things.  Just because you’re not where you want to be, doesn’t mean you’re a failure.  In fact, quite the opposite is true.  To be truly happy and successful today doesn’t mean you don’t desire more in the future, it means you are sincerely thankful for what you have already accomplished and patient for everything yet to come.

Every morning when you wake up, think of three things that are going well in your life at the moment.  As you fall asleep every night, fill your mind with an appreciation for all the small things that went well during the day.  Examine your daily successes.

Give the power of your thinking to the positive influences in your life, and they will grow stronger and more influential every day.  Remind yourself of what works well and why, and you’ll naturally find ways to make lots of other things work well too.  The most efficient way to enjoy more success in life is not to obsess yourself with what hasn’t worked, but instead to extend and expand upon the success you already know.

Here are some much-needed reminders – sixteen good reasons you’re already succeeding in life:

  1. You are walking your own path, not anyone else’s. – One of the most foundational sources of both success and happiness is simply being comfortable with who you really are.  Not trading your reality for a role or your truth for an act.  Not giving up your freedom of thought.  Not putting on a mask.  So never let anyone’s ignorance, hate, drama or negativity stop you.  If you desire to make a difference in the world, you must continue to be different from the world.  Don’t be scared to walk alone on your own path, and don’t be scared to like it. (more…)
28 Jul 01:04

18 Ways You’re Making Your Life Harder Than It Has To Be

by Marc Chernoff

18 Ways You’re Making Your Life Harder Than It Has To Be

Life is not complex.  We are complex.  Life is simple,
and the simple thing is the right thing.
―Oscar Wilde

When we were young life was easier, right?  I know sometimes it seems that way.  But the truth is life still is easy.  It always will be.  The only difference is we’re older, and the older we get, the harder we make things for ourselves.

You see, when we were young we saw the world through simple, hopeful eyes.  We knew what we wanted and we had no biases or concealed agendas.  We liked people who smiled.  We avoided people who frowned.  We ate when we were hungry, drank when we were thirsty, and slept when we were tired.

As we grew older our minds became gradually disillusioned by negative external influences.  At some point we began to hesitate and question our instincts.  When a new obstacle or growing pain arose, we stumbled and fell down.  This happened several times.  Eventually we decided we didn’t want to fall again, but rather than solving the problem that caused us to fall, we avoided it all together.

As a result, we ate comfort food and drank alcohol to numb our wounds and fill our voids.  We worked late nights on purpose to avoid unresolved conflicts at home.  We started holding grudges, playing mind games, and subtly deceiving others and ourselves to get ahead.  And when it didn’t work out, we lived above our means, used lies to cover up lies, and ate and drank some more just to make ourselves feel better again.

Over the course of time, we made our lives harder and harder, and we started losing touch with who we really are and what we really need.

If you’re nodding your head, here are some ways you’re likely making your life harder than it has to be, and some ideas on simplifying things:

  1. You look to everyone else for the answers only you can give yourself. – For much of our lives – especially at the beginning – we get told what do, how to think, what looks good, what “success” is, etc.  You don’t have to buy into any of it anymore.  Feel free to peel back the layers.  Think for yourself.  Listen to your Self.  Break the mold.  When you stop doing what everybody else wants you to do and start following your own intuition, you will find exactly what you are looking for. (more…)
04 Aug 01:02

20 Bad Excuses Holding Good People Back

by Marc Chernoff

20 Excuses Standing Between You and What You Want

Live by choice, not by chance.  Make changes, not excuses.  Be motivated, not manipulated.  Work to excel, not compete.  Choose to listen to your inner voice, not the jumbled opinions of everyone else.

Over the years, likely without your conscious knowledge, you have adopted self-limiting beliefs that are quietly sabotaging your best efforts for personal growth.  If you pay close attention to your self-talk, these beliefs will reveal themselves in the form of excuses.

Truth be told, if you really want something, you will find a way.  If you don’t, you will find an excuse… and then you will live with that excuse every day of your life.

This is precisely what makes so many of us unhappy.

Angel and I speak with hundreds of coaching clients and blog subscribers (subscribe here) every month, and this one self-defeating ailment always rears its ugly head eventually – excuses, excuses, excuses.  And I’m not above the excuses either.  I catch myself making them sometimes too.  But that’s the key – we have to catch ourselves before our excuses become hopeless regrets.

So let this be your wake-up call.

Stop making excuses for why you can’t get it done and start focusing on all the reasons why you must make it happen.

NO more negativity.  NO more laziness.  NO more quick fixes.  NO more blaming others.  NO more “I’ll do it tomorrows.”  NO MORE OF THESE EXCUSES:

  1. “It’s too late.” – It’s never too late to live a life that makes you proud.  If you don’t learn anything else from this post, learn that.  We get one shot at this.  There’s no age limit on changing your course, and to settle in and be stuck in a life that isn’t authentic is a tragic waste.   Honestly, it’s never too late or too early to be who you are capable of being.  There’s no time limit – you can simply start and stop whenever you want.  You can change or stay the same.  You can make the best or the worst of it.  It’s up to you, so make the best of it.  Do things that startle you.  Feel things you’ve never felt before.  Spend time with people who help you grow.  Live a life you’re proud of.  And if you find that you’re not, have the courage to make a change. (more…)
13 Jun 21:00

Focus on the Skills You Have Instead of Following Your Passion

by Sebastian Klein

Focus on the Skills You Have Instead of Following Your Passion

"Follow your passion," might be common career guidance, but is it good advice? Success can also come from refining the skills that you already possess, rather than worrying if your job is right for you.